The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. (C.Y. 605)
Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Content Not Found: mirumoto-katsushiro-2, Half-dragon Samurai, Dragon Clan
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer), Unicorn Clan
Tsugumi Kirigaya, Tengu Oracle, Crane Clan
and finally, the NPC;
Irda Na-Helena, Huchard Mystic (Knight-chandler), Jade Guardian (of the Diamond Throne)
Our session began on the 12th of Readying, 1150 I.C.
Soon after arriving in the City of Remembrance, the Ambassador and her associates were invited by Governor Isawa Hitori to the home of Shiba Mirabu, the Phoenix Champion, to witness the birth of his first grandchild. The Ambassador agreed to attend, and so, after arranging for lodgings in the city and selling off some of the loot they’d acquired, they arrived at the Champion’s estate at the appointed hour.
In addition to the midwives attending the birth, there was also an elderly monk with several attendants gathered at the far side of the chamber where the birth was taking place. As the Champion’s family as well as the monk were all Samsarans, it was explained that near the moment of birth, the monk would commit seppuku, hopefully reincarnating into the body of the child as it was born; a high honor being offered to the monk, who, in his youth, had served as an honored family retainer. Soon enough, the monk was duly honored, presumably reincarnating into the body of newborn Shiba Haratha.
During the celebrations afterwards, the group learned that one of the reasons that the Rebirth ceremony was being brought back into vogue was that across the Phoenix lands, several Samsaran children had been recently born without souls, their physical bodies dying soon thereafter. In addition, someone (or something) had been kidnapping Samsaran children (newborns and infants up to four months old) across the breadth of the Phoenix lands, vanishing in the night, sometimes from guarded rooms. Most of the kidnappings had been from noble or wealthy merchant families (details of what might be happening among the peasants was unknown).
When the Ambassador expressed outrage at these facts, she and her associates were invited to partake in any investigations they might care to indulge in, as local authorities were stymied. The following morning the group investigated four locations where abductions had occurred, eventually finding evidence at the most recent that not only had something come down from the rooftops to the window of the nursery, but some blue fibers were found, that were similar in texture to what might be left behind if feathers had been brushed too harshly against a surface.
That evening, not knowing what else they could contribute, they elected to stake out the rooftops near the Champion’s estate, in case the kidnappers chose to strike again. While said kidnappers did not choose to test the defenses of the Champion’s estate, both Kirigaya and Na-Helena spotted an odd, low-flying cloud dipping low over the city perhaps a mile from the estate. Summoning the Songbird to their location (an ability the Ambassador had not previously demonstrated), the group set out to investigate this strange cloud.
As they approached, said cloud disgorged two figures that unfurled large wings from their back as they landed on a rooftop, and then soon surged airborne again, this time bearing a burden about the size of an infant. Zeshyn, Katsushiro, and Kirigaya let loose arrows and crossbow bolts, quickly bringing down one of the mysterious fliers, and gave chase to the cloud as it attempted to flee with the child. The Songbird eventually caught up, but no sooner did they board the vessel and scoop up the infant (who had been dropped by the miscreant carrying it when he died) than the final Avariel (as the winged figures would eventually be identified as) launched himself into the air, carrying the crystal orb that he had been using to steer the cloud along with him.
Cortana quickly hit him with a Dispel Magic, which coincidentally turned the Cloud barge on which she, Zeshyn, and Kirigaya were standing back into mist, and only a quick application of Feather Fall saved them all from splattering over the streets below. Those still aboard the Songbird peppered the last Avariel with arrows, sending him and the orb crashing down to those same streets. The orb shattered, the Avariel splattered. After being hailed as heroes by the locals and promised literally anything their family could provide by the parents of the abducted child, the group finally retired to their rooms for the night, promising to return to the local offices of Watch in the morning.
The following morning they met with the Watch and after giving more detailed statements, waited for the trio of shukenja who had arrived to question the dead to come back with whatever information they managed to glean, which turned out not to be much. The Avariels all claimed to serve someone who called themselves “Glasatru”, who owed a debt to “Hurn of the Cauldron”. Based on Cortana’s analysis of the shards of the orb they’d carried, the most likely location for the Cauldron was Mt. Javal, a dormant volcano some 100 miles northeast of the city. The group soon adjourned to the Songbird, and set out to see what they might see.
Arriving in the shadow of Mt. Javal, they soon spotted a fair-sized cloud castle drifting among the clouds encircling it’s summit. Not wishing to draw undue attention to themselves, they took a circuitous route around the mountain, seeking to peek over the edge into the caldera of the volcano looking for signs of habitation, but could see none. As the Ambassador could see little return in attempting to storm the castle alone, the Songbird returned to the City of Remembrance to notify the Governor of the cloud castle’s presence, and to brainstorm their response.
While Governor Isawa could raise a force of nearly 150 samurai, bushi and shukenja, they had no means by which to storm a fortress in the sky. Finally, after consultation with the Ambassador, it was decided that a force of thirteen samurai and a pair of shukenja would return to the site aboard the Songbird, to hopefully take the castle by surprise. While this taxed the capabilities of the Songbird, it was the largest force they could possibly deliver.
On returning to Mt. Javal, and lining up the Songbird to drop over the battlements, many Avariel could be seen manning the walls, and ballistae could be seen tracking the vessel as well. Soon, a lone, unarmed Avariel flew out to the Songbird, introducing himself as Tavescu, the Herald of Glasatru. He politely bantered with the group, pointing out that the children that they sought were below the mountain, that his people were merely deliverymen, and that as soon as thirty more infants were brought to this site, he and his people would depart, as they found the circumstances “distasteful”. Clearly it was only the tightly packed conditions aboard the Songbird that kept the Phoenix samurai from killing Tavescu, but after informing the Ambassador about how and where his people would leave the abducted infants to be found by Hurn’s servants, he returned to the battlements of his master’s citadel.
As we broke for the evening, plans were being laid to land in the caldera and see if Hurn’s servants could be drawn out, or barring that, access to the lower reaches could be located on their own. It is now the 17th of Readying, 1150 I.C.