Mists of Akuma

Welcome to Soburin
On the Road to Ikari Prefecture

The Tanaka Trading Company has been running a huge trade caravan from Supai prefecture all the way down the east coast of Soburin to its final destination in Ikari prefecture. On the Imperial road through the mountains between Yokuba and Ikari, General Hu Ban called a halt. He gathered a small group of 5 caravan guards from different places along the train of carts and wagons. He told the assembled group that scouts had reported possible bakemono activity in the mountain pass ahead and that it was a dangerous place to take the caravan. General Hu commanded the small group of caravan guards enter the mountain pass and destroy any bakemono or other threats in the area and then report back.


The group included a young male Soburi Samurai Lord named Subotai Korusu with beautifully crafted Tosei Gusoku armor bearing the code of arms of the Korusu Noble Family. A finely crafted family Katana was sheathed at the samurai’s hip also noting his noble birth from Korusu prefecture. Another member was a male Soburi yamabushi sorcerer from the deep wild forests of Sukochi prefecture Wang Shu. He wielded a huge Naginata with intricate calligraphy carved along its wooden haft.


The third member of the group was a yet another male Soburi who was clearly trained in the martial arts. His arms and legs were covered with vivid tattoos of coiled snakes and he carried a stout bo staff. He said very little responding to most questions by spitting or shrugging. But he did in fact say his name – Kataashi Kikku.


The fourth member of the group was a beautiful and graceful Soburi female Yamabushi wielding a katana, longbow, and steel fans. Her name was Kai Winding.


The fifth member of the group was a male Soburi warrior with a wide brimmed straw hat that kept the sun from his face and kept an elaborate samurai demon mask coverin ghis face in shadow. He went by Wei Tai.


There was little introduction to one another before setting to the task of their work. For not long into their scouting of the mountain pass, they encountered a large group of bakemono led by a shikome. The creatures were waiting in ambush where the road turned through a mountain pass with large cliffs on either side. Three bakemono archers hid some 50 feet up the steep cliffs.


A large group of 10 bakemono swarmed out from hiding to attack . The goblin like creatures were led by a large Shikome who wielded an Odachi – a Katana with a 5 foot long blade.


The archers rained arrows down upon Subotai Korusu who was in the lead. The arrows either missed their mark, bounced off his ornate Tosei Gusoku armor, or was cut in twain by a swift swing of his Katana. The bakemono on the ground swarmed forward and tried to overwhelm Subotai Korusu and Kataashi Kikku. Kataashi was fast and quick enabling him to dodge most of the blows. As he fought his hands and feet seemed to smolder with red energy.


Subotai Korusu cut bakemono down like wheat with clean strong swings of his beautifully ornate Katana. Kataashi Kikku used his staff to smash the faces of the bakemono and used powerful kicks to kill more. Kai Winding gracefully moved across the battlefield using her magic to bless the attacks and saves of the assembled heroes. Later she fired her longbow to great effect – putting an arrow through a bakemono’s throat.Wang Shu called upon his magic to summon lightning around another bakemono electrocuting it. Later he cut down another with a mighty swing of his Naginata. Wei Tai hurled kunai – specially weighted throwing knives to bury them deep into bakemono flesh.

Everyone fought bravely but the bakemono were too many. Another group of 6 were charging up the road to join the fight, replacing those that had fallen. An arrow struck Kataashi Kikku and then a small bakemono blade found its way into his back. The martial artist pitched forward to the ground blood pouring out of the horrible wound in his back. Kai Winding said a prayer and cast her arms towards Kataashi and his wounds were magically healed. He was able to get back up and rejoin the fight. Later Wei Tai was cut down a with a viscous jab from a bakemono blade. He fell to the ground apparently bleeding to death. But a minute later he miraculously stood back up having rolled a 20 on his death save. Finally the shikome swung his huge Odachi and got past Subotai Korusu’s guard. The blade cut deep into Subotai’s shoulder as the mighty samurai fell before the shikome.

Things were looking very grim when suddenly a group of 3 bakemono fell asleep for no apparent reason. A round later another 3 bakemono fell asleep again – some sort of magic was at work but no one seemed to know the source of it.. The party fought on with renewed vigor. Kataashi Kikku sent a powerful kick completely though the chest of the shikome to explode out his back in a shower of gore that covered the fallen body of Subotai Korusu in its filth. Kai Winding used her dagger fan in one hand to block and parry attacks while in the other her Katana cut down bakemono with clean and precise strikes.

The tied had turned as another 2 bakemono suddenly fell asleep like the others. Shortly thereafter the last of the bakemono were slain. Wang Shu drank a healing potion himself as his wounds were mighty. He then tended to the fallen Subotai Korusu and told everyone that the noble samurai still lived and that he was stable. Kataashi Kikku casually walked over to one of the sleeping bakemono and stomped on his skull crushing it beneath his foot. Wei Tai drew his knife across another sleeping bakemono throat to bleed him out. Suddenly Kai Winding yelled a command to stop. The sleeping bakemono were under her protection and were not to be slain. She drew her katana and unfurled her dagger fan stating that anyone who wished to further harm the bakemono would have to go through her.

Everyone stared at her somewhat dumbfounded. Wang Shu quickly came over to her side and said that he agreed. He would defend them also. Wei Tai said that the bakemono had no honor and should not be allowed to live. Kai Winding replied that all life was precious and that the creatures were under her protection. Kataashi Kikku simply shrugged and spit on the ground.


Kataashi Kikku searched the fallen bodies of the bakemono and the shikome. He found 36 CP and 22 SP total amongst the bakemono and 12 GP on the shikome. The Master Treasure List was updated. While gathering up all the coin he noticed something moving in the shadow of the trees up on the mountain. Wang Shu lit the area up with a dancing lights spell and Kataashi investigated. He only saw some small whisps of smoke gently floating on the breeze through the trees lit up by the dancing lights. He sniffed the air and it smelled of tobacco.

Kai Winding and Wang Shu spoke aloud their thoughts that they had been visited by a benign Kami spirit. They even posited that the Kami had cast the magic that put the bakemono to sleep. In order to honor the Kami spirits of the area, they worked together to build a small shrine with bits of wood and rock. Inside the shrine they each put an offering the the Kami. Wang Shu placed 2 copper coins. Kai Winding placed 6 copper coins. Kataashi Kikku placed a tiny wooden donkey he had whittled. And Wei Tai placed a bowl of bakemono blood in the shrine. After that Wang Shu used his Saxian – stringed instrument to perform a song to honor the Kami. He sang of the far away forests of Sukochi prefecture. He loved their peace and beauty and wished to return there some day.

And with that Kataashi Kikku tied up the bakemono by their hands with a leash like rope so he could control them. Wang Shu and Wei Tai carried the still unconscious body of Subotai Korusu. And Kai Winding kept a watchful eye as the group marched back towards the Tanaka Trading Company caravan. After an hour of travel, Subotai Korusu regained consciousness and walked using his own power. Wang Shu filled him in on what had happened after he fell to the Shikome’s Odachi.

Return to the Caravan
Meeting with General Hu Ban


Kataashi Kikku kept a watchful eye on the 6 bakemono he had tethered to ropes that bound their hands. The bakemono prisoners were strangely compliant. Every once in a while they would get unruly but a swift command from Subotai Korusu at the creatures in their crude language of adeddo put them back into line. Soon enough the large collection of wagons, horses, camp fires, and merchants of the Tanaka Trading Company came into view. The guards at the periphery of the encampment greeted the party and quickly led them to General Hu Ban.

The General’s private tent was surrounded by guards and many high level merchants looking on to see if they could find out if the bakemono threat was dealt with and if the caravan would be moving again any time soon. As the bakemono were led through the throngs of onlookers, they were occasionally shoved and spat upon or at least had profanities in Soburin yelled at them. But the crowd gave each party member approving nods, claps on the back, and Soburin words of thanks and appreciation as each passed by. Finally the private guards of General Hu Ban took the end of each rope leash from Kataashi and roughly moved the bakemono into a line in front of the general’s tent. The guards also directed each party member to stand in a line opposite the bakemono.

As Kataashi scanned the assembled caravan folk he catches the eye of a Soburi woman in silk robes with an ornate Katana sitting under a large tree by herself off to the side of all the commotion but with a good view of all the goings on. Her long red hair is quite striking as it is an unusual hair color for the Soburi. But suddenly the flaps of General Hu Ban’s tent fly open and Kataashi’s attention is drawn away as a hush of respect falls over the assembled caravan folk. General Hu Ban walked out of his tent with long confident steps. His elaborate O-Yoroi armor comprised of layers of silk, lamellar, chain, and plate looked extremely heavy requiring one of enormous strength to avoid being crushed by its components. But the old man underneath his immaculately clean O-Yoroi moved with grace and ease. The General’s thick left hand rested on the hilt of his Wakizashi just above his Katana on his left hip. He strode down the line first looking at each Bakemono in turn. He stopped at the end of the line and turned to face the party. General Hu Ban’s black mustached face was stern and stoic. In a deep and commanding voice he asked, ‘Who is responsible for bringing these filthy Bakemono into my presence?’


Kai Winding clasped both her hands in front of her hips and brought her feet tightly together. She then initiated seiritsu (standing bow) keeping her back perfectly straight and inclining at the waist deeply towards Hu Ban. Keeping her gaze downward and avoiding eye contact she said, ‘General, it is I who am largely responsible for their presence before you. We had met them and their comrades in battle, however, these bakemono were affected by some spell or magics of resident kami during battle. I refused to let this one…’ Kai gestured to Kataashi ‘…from slaughtering them while they slept. I do not kill needlessly. The blood of countless centuries of war and death have decimated our land. I mean to cleanse it, not to further degrade it with meaningless slaughter. If you must assign blame for this, I will accept it.’


General Hu Ban moved to stand directly in front of Kai. She continued to keep her gaze low and to avoid eye contact as she slowly moved into a seiza (seated position) by putting both of her knees on the ground at the same time. With the tops of her feet flat on the ground and her toes pointed straight back behind her, she rested her hindquarters on her calves and heels. Kai’s arms gently drifted to her sides and she put her hands palm-down on top of her thighs. Keeping her back perfectly straight she bowed again to General Hu Ban completely prostrating before him.

In an incredible gesture for one of his station, General Hu Ban bowed ever so slightly towards Kai in return and said, ‘Your words of wisdom temper an old man’s anger. Rise and speak your name then explain to me more of what happened on your mission.’

With delicate graceKai Winding seemed to float up from her seiza to stand before the general continuing to keep her gaze lowered and spoke…

Again initiating a seiritsu, Kai began, ‘you honor me, great general. I am Kai Winding, a healer who seeks to tread on the path of light in these troubled days. Per your order, the five of us took to the mountain pass to discover and ensure the path for the trade caravan was clear. With little grace, this one’ Kai gestured to Subotai, ‘walked into an ambush in a ravine and was quickly surrounded by a small group of these bakemono. We were surprised by flanking bowmen atop the ravine. Many other bakemono joined the fray along with a huge shikome warrior wielding brutal, cruel Odachi. Notwithstanding the inartful tack and much spitting from this one,’ again extending a long arm towards Kaatashi, ‘they proved their mettle and many fell. But many more of these beasts fell, we believe,’ Kai gestures to Wang ‘from the kami who inhabited that ravine. As I mentioned many fell asleep inexplicably during the battle. Afterwards, the spitting monk found traces in and among the underbrush in the ravine that seemed to have been recently disturbed as well as the slightest hint of tobacco smoke on the wind. Believing that this confirmed our suspicion as to the presence of the kami, we consecrated a small shrine in thanks and in the hopes that the kami would grant us, and this caravan, safe passage through the area.’

With that Kai, brought her long limbs back in, bowed deferentially and waited for the General’s response….

General Hu Ban nodded with respect to Kai and said, ‘Thank you Kai Winding. You bring great honor to this trade caravan and the Tanaka Trading Company. You defeated a foe with much greater numbers and with the advantage of terrain and surprise. The rest of you would do well to follow the lead of Kai Winding and learn from her honorable example. These bakemono are filthy savages but they hold information that could be of great value to us.’ (Due to Kai Winding’s actions in sparing the bakemono and her dignified exchange with General Lo Ban, Kai’s dignity score goes up by one point and her Haitoku score goes down by one point.) General Hu Ban then turned to face one of the bakemono prisoners. In Soburi he said, ‘You there. Are there more of your kind nearby? Do you have a village or settlement?’

The Bakemono simply stared blankly at General Hu Ban with an empty expression on his face. The general’s face tightened and with a flash he drew his wakizashi from its scabbard and the bakemono’s head tumbled to the ground. General Hu sheathed his wakizashi before the bakemono’s body slumped to the ground. The other 5 bakemono began babbling incoherently and tried to get away but General Hu’s soldiers kept them in place.

General Hu Ban stared intimidatingly at the bakemono and repeated his previous questions and added, ‘The first bakemono to answer my questions will live. The others will be executed.’ With the bakemono still seemingly confused he turned back to the party and asked, ‘Are there any among you who can speak their language?’

Subotai Korusu stepped forward and with his hands behind his back he bent at the waist to a 45 degree angle into a futsuurei (respect) bow towards General Hu Ban. He then said, ’General, my uncle Sho Korusu fought alongside you in Emperor Hitoshi’s rebellion. I am honored to do the same under the banner of the Tanaka Trading Company. I am familiar with the adeddo language and would be willing to translate. I am at your service.’ General Hu gave Subotai the slightest of nods in return and said, ‘Sho was a good man and brought much honor to the Korusu clan. I hope you will do the same. You may proceed.’


Subotai spoke in the adeddo language, ’Are there more of your kind nearby? Do you have a village or settlement?’ Four of the remaining bakemono shook their heads defiantly and spat on the ground near Subotai. But the fifth remaining bakemono stepped forward and said in adeddo, ‘Don’t kill me. We live in mountain cave close to where we fight. More bakemono and shikome there.’

Subotai Korusu translated the Bakemono’s response into Soburi for General Hu Ban and added, ‘General, with your permission, I can ask this one further to find their lair or even lead us there so we can make this pass safe for the Tanaka trading company.’

At this point Wang Shu stepped forward and spoke, ‘Honorable General I am Wang Shu. I wish you a good day. The pass is clear and this fiend has led us to more of his kind, but most importantly the Kami has been appeased and the caravan may pass safely through the mountain pass. We are at your bidding, how do you wish to proceed with this new information of more Bakemono near the pass?’


General Hu Ban frowned and said, ‘I do not agree with your assessment Wang Shu. But the power of the Ju-Hai Shu bloodline magic is strong. All the bakemono must be destroyed before the pass will be safe for our slow moving caravan. Kai Winding, I want you to lead Subotai Korusu, Wang Shu, and the other two back to the mountain pass. Use this bakemono as a guide to lead you to their lair. I will give you each 1 silver coin for every bakemono ear you return with and 1 gold coin for each shikome ear.’ General Hu turned to his soldiers holding the bakemono prisoners and said grimly, ‘Execute the 4 bakemono who refused to speak..’ General Hu’s soldiers quickly followed his orders and used their Katanas to behead the 4 bakemono. General Hu turned to Subotai and said, ‘Tell the remaining Bakemono that if he leads you to their lair, he will be spared. Otherwise he will be executed like the rest.’

During the entire conversation, Kataashi Kikku stood absolutely still in a relax stance, not moving a muscle – except when referenced as the ‘spitting monk’ and a barely controlled smile softened his face for a moment. His eyes, however, were carefully scanning. In particular, he kept a fascinated yet wary eye on the woman in silk robes.

Kataashi scanned the crowd. Most of the soldiers and caravan masters watched the exchanges between General Hu Ban and the rest of the party with rapt attention. Most nodded their heads in approval at the exquisite formality and respect with which Kai Winding addressed General Hu. Kataashi looked back to check on the red haired woman in silk. She was still there continuing to sit under the tree. There was a large wide brimmed straw hat laying on the ground next to her side by the tree. She removed a small flask from under her robe and brought it to her lips to take a drink. Later she filled a long stemmed pipe with some sort of pipe weed and lit it. There she sat smoking and watching and listening.


Subotai Korusu bowed to the General Hu Ban and turned to the last remaining bakemono who still lived. ‘Lead us to your lair and you will be spared. Otherwise you be will executed like the others.’

The last bakemono standing looked at the decapitated bodies of his comrades and nodded solemnly. General Hu Ban looked at Subotai’s wounds and said, ‘You fought bravely and your command of the adeddo language has helped me greatly. Rest tonight and tomorrow at dawn set out with your companions and see this done. We need to get the caravan moving again. Ikari prefecture awaits.’

With that General Hu Ban spun around and marched back into his tent. The general’s soldiers kept guard over the bakemono prisoner and the party retired to take their rest. In the morning as they were preparing to leave, one of the general’s servants approaches Kai Winding and Wang Shu. He bows to each in turn starting with Kai and finishing with Wang and said, ‘General Hu Ban would like me to ask of you a favor.’ He then carefully unwrapped a silken handkerchief. ‘This handkerchief belonged to General Hu Ban’s mother who passed many years ago. General Hu Ban wishes for you to place the handkerchief on the shrine you constructed as an offering to the Kami.’ The servant handed the handkerchief to Kai, bowed, and scurried away.

The General’s guards had replaced the ropes binding the bakemono prisoner with iron shackles around his wrists and a rope tied to the shackle to act as a tether. The prisoner was discharged into the party’s responsibility as they prepared to head out towards the mountain pass.

In Search of the Bakemono Caves

As per their orders from General Hu Ban, the party set off to find the bakemono caves with their prisoner in tow. On the way they passed the previous battle site in the mountain pass on the road and found the shrine Wang Shu had built was still in place and unmolested. Kai Winding said a prayer to the Kami in front of the shrine and carefully put the silk handkerchief she had received from General Hu Ban as an offering on the shrine.

The party continued their journey following a bakemono trail that lead off the road and deeper into the mountains. Further on the party heard some strange noises coming from down below them. Peering over the edge of a cliff they saw a bakemono down below at the edge of a clearing keeping watch some 50 feet below them. Beyond him hidden by thick trees and foliage were noises of shouting, smashing of wood and metal, and the cracking and splintering of wood. Kataashi Kikku slowly crept forward to the edge of the cliff and peered down. He could not make out what was going on beyond the treeline where all the noise was coming from but he did spot a second bakemono hidden in the brush at the edge of the tree line. Both were alert and on watch but had not noticed the party on top of the cliff.


Slowly and carefully each party member moved into position at the edge of the cliff. The goal was to take out the two bakemono sentries with ranged attacks so that the cliff could be scaled and the noises be investigated. Kai Winding took out her bow, put an arrow to the string, drew back, and took careful aim at the northern bakemono hidden in the brush. It was a difficult shot as the creature was partially behind the cover of the branches. She gently exhaled as she loosed the arrow and it slipped through the narrow window of brush and hurtled towards its mark. The tip of the arrow pierced the bakemono through the eye, exited through the back of his skull, and buried itself deep into the tree he was leaning against. The bakemono died instantly with the critical hit – pinned by the arrow to the tree. The bakemono made no noise and did not move as it expired.


Subotai Korusu drew a javelin from his pack and shifted his weight as he prepared to hurl it down at the remaining bakemono to the south. But as he did so, he stepped on a fallen dry tree branch and made a loud crack as his weight snapped it in two. The bakemono heard the noise and looked up to see two kunai throwing spikes hurled by Wei Tai smash into his face. The bakemono died instantly and crumpled to the ground.

Moving quickly Wei Tai tied a rope around a large tree near the edge of the cliff. He tossed the other end of the rope down the cliff somewhat behind another tree for concealment and cover. Kataashi Kikku then grabbed hold of the rope and deftly rappelled down the cliff with well placed feet and hid behind the tree. He tried to look beyond the tree line to see what all the noise was coming from but he still could not see beyond the wall of foliage. He did not see any other sentries, so he motioned for the next to come down. Subotai Korusu grabbed the rope and slid down the rope using his strength to slow his fall. Wei Tai slid swiftly down the rope with practiced ease and hid behind the tree at the bottom. Wang Shu grabbed hold of the rope and rappelled down the cliff to join his comrades. Kai Winding forced the bakemono prisoner down the rope which he seemed to negotiate without any issue. Then she followed down. Unfortunately, Kai lost her footing and smashed her body against the cliff side as she descended. It hurt badly but she made it down safely.

Kataashi Kikku was first across the open area and break the treeline into the foliage. As he got closer he began to see a large number of bakemono led by a shikome destroying some sort of shrine. They were hacking into the wooden posts holding up a large bell and a separate large structure holding up a collection of prayer wheels. The altar was covered in blood and was filled with human looking bloody bones. Subotai Korusu ran across the open area and breached the line of foliage to gaze upon the same. He motioned to Kataashi trying to get his attention and communicate some sort of plan but it seemed to be lost in translation. Kataashi saw Wei Tai run across the open area and vanish into the dense and thick underbrush. Wang Shu tried to move across a little further south. Kai Winding tied the bakemono prisoner to a high branch and began to run across to join the others.


Subotai Korusu boldly strode out from behind the cover and out into the open. His left hand casually rested upon the hilt of his Katana intentionally mimicking the pose of General Hu Ban. The seven bakemono and one shikome suddenly stopped their crazed destruction of of the prayer wheel, large bell, and shrine. For a brief moment their was total silence as the creatures froze and turned to face the Soburi Samurai. Subotai calmly faced them staring with an intensity that gave the creatures pause.


Subotai moved forward slowly with purpose and called out a challenge to the Bakemono and Shikome. He invoked the name of one of his Korusu noble ancestors, ‘Yabakugi!’ whose exploits from the the Ichizoku wars were known throughout Soburin. The stunned bakemono hesitated nervously gripping their weapons and looking around for possible avenues of escape until the Shikome roared in anger and in the broken language of adeddo commanded the bakemono to attack the samurai and rip him to pieces. Buoyed by the strength of the shikome, the bakemono drew their weapons and surged forward. The first bakemono to get adjacent to Subotai Korusu paid a steep price as the samurai’s right hand went to the hilt of his sheathed katana in a flash and drew it forth in a flourish with such speed that the bakemono did not even realize it was dead. As subotai slowly returned the blade to its scabbard, the bakemono crumpled to the ground completely cut in twain.

Again the bakemono hesitated but the shouts of the Shikome kept them moving. The swarm of bakemono surrounded Subotai Korusu and attacked him with advantage. The brave samurai took hit after hit and slowly fell to his knees and then to the ground as blood poured out of his many wounds onto the earth.


Having just born witness to Subotai’s sacrifice, Kataashi Kikku simply spat on the ground and shrugged as he moved forward through the thick cover of the foliage to emerge next to the Shikome. He whistled as he rushed out and raised his staff over his head. But the Shikome was ready, he saw Kataashi coming and spun around swinging his Tetsubo (huge two handed club). The mighty club smashed into Kataashi’s face knocking him backwards, his limp body landing on the ground in a heap. The Shikome laughed and beat his chest in triumph. But as he did so 4 of the nearby bakemono inexplicably fell asleep. Much like in the previous battle on the road at the mountain pass, the bakemono just dropped to the ground and fell asleep for no apparent reason.


Wang Shu moved around the foliage to get a better look at how the battle was unfolding. To his dismay he saw both Subotai Korusu and Kataashi Kikku down on the ground bleeding to death. He pointed his Calligraphy Staff at the Shikome and an electrical spark erupted nearby, but the Shikome saved versus the effect and took no damage. The creature laughed and urged the bakemono to attack. Wang Shu moved away and yelled to Kai Winding who was still by the cliff and Wei Tai whom he had lost sight of to get into the fight and that both of their comrades were down.

Suddenly two kunai throwing spikes came hurtling out of the foliage. They both sunk deeply into the back of the Shikome. The creature spun around and tried to find Wei Tai who had hurled them. But he was too well hidden amongst the thick bushes and trees. Unable to locate his assailant, the shikome screamed in frustration and then decided to give chase to the retreating Wang Shu. The two bakemono managed to use a double move to get on either side of Wang Shu. The shikome ran up behind them and hurled a javelin at Wang. The javelin struck true and Wang was bloodied.

Kai Winding finally got into the fight by firing her longbow. The arrow struck one of the bakemono adjacent to Wang Shu straight through the chest. The creature crumpled and expired on the ground dead. Wang Shu followed up with a wide slicing arc from his Calligraphy Naginata. The blade cut the bakemono in half and killed him. Wei Tai still unseen by anyone hurled two more kunai at the Shikome. Both struck the creature in the head and the shikome fell to the ground dead.


With the battle seemingly won, Kai Winding cast healing magic on Subotai Korusu causing his wounds to fade away. When the Samurai got to his feet, he laid his hands upon Kataashi Kikku and his magic healed the tattooed monk. With everyone up, Kataashi Kikku set about killing the sleeping bakemono and cutting off an ear from each one. Since General Hu Ban had ordered the death of the bakemono, Kai Winding did not object this time to their slaying. However, she asked that one of them be roused for questioning. Using his knack for the adeddo language, Subotai Korusu asked the bakemono why they were destroying the shrine. He replied simply that they were following the Shikome’s orders. They confirmed that this group was from the same cave system as the others they had encountered and then killed all the bakemono save for their original prisoner. Kataashi Kikku moved all the bodies away from the shrine and cut off each one’s ear putting it on a string. Subotai Korusu opened a cloth bag and asked that the ears be placed inside so that he may ensure their safe return to General Hu Ban. Kataashi simply spat on the ground and dumped the string of ears into the cloth bag. There were a total of 9 bakemono ears and 1 shikome ear so far to return for the bounty. The Master Treasure List was updated.

Meanwhile Wang Shu busied himself with a cleansing of the shrine area. He found human blood and remains scattered over the shrine. He removed the bones and used his prestidigitation cantrip to remove all the blood from the altar. He cleared away the debris from the broken prayer wheels and large bell but found it was beyond his skill to repair the significant damage that had been done to them. Wang Shu said prayers of thanks to the Kami and tried his best to cleanse the evil presence that the shikome and bakemono had brought to this place. In so doing he noticed something on the altar seemed to be missing. There was a circular depression in the stone about an inch thick and 1 foot in circumference. Something had once laid there set into the altar which had been pried loose. There were clear pry marks around the edges. Wang Shu took careful notes of the dimensions and made drawings and sketches of the altar.


The party scaled the cliffs carefully using the secured rope and found a good place to camp. After a long rest without incident everyone was healed up and each character was now 2nd level. They then continued following the directions of their bakemono prisoner who guided them to the cave that was the entrance to its lair.

Subotai Korusu spoke to the prisoner in the adeddo language and discovered that there was usually 1 bakemono sentry always on guard at the end of the first tunnel. It’s job was to alert the community if intruders came to the cave. Deeper in the bakemono also told of a large net trap used to ensnare intruders. The cave entrance was on the side of a cliff. Sunlight spilled into the entrance for only 15 feet or so before it turned completely dark. Any light sources would certainly have alerted the sentry, but Wei Tai volunteered to go in himself and remove the sentry. He explained in a voice that shifted with a strange auditory effect modulating into a chorus of voices that he could see well enough in the dark and should be able to scout ahead.


Wei Tai slid silently into the entrance of the cave. He moved quietly hugging the right hand wall as the tunnel banked to the right. After 60 feet Wei Tai saw a patch of large mushrooms growing out of the floor and wall on the left hand side of the cave. He could not identify what kind of mushroom it was but he was careful not to touch or step on the mushrooms. He did see knife marks and cut stems that indicated perhaps something had harvested or tended to the mushrooms in some way. He continued down the tunnel and after 120 feet the tunnel ended in an intersection continuing both left and right. And just as the prisoner had described, a bakemono guard stood idly gazing about. He seemed quite bored leaning against his spear. Behind the cover of the wall, Wei Tai was still hidden from the bakemono who could clearly see in the dark. Wei Tai silently slipped two kunai throwing spikes out of his bandolier and hurled them in rapid succession at the guard. The first kunai tore through the bakemono’s throat and the second buried itself deep in his chest. The bakemono fell to its knees and then slumped over forward to expire on the ground without making a sound. Wei Tai waited and listened. Complete silence told him it was safe to move forward. Like a shadow he moved forward to the intersection and recovered his kunai from the dead bakemono. He also cut off the creatures ear and tucked it away in his pouch.

Wei Tai looked right and left and so the passage continued in both directions. He chose to explore to the left. He found the passageway bisected again and went left and right again. Having traveled far and wanting to check back in with the party he began to move back to return to them. However, when he reached the dead bakemono at he first intersection, he heard a soft barely noticeable noise behind him. Looking over his shoulder he saw a spotted and scaly quadruped with a lion’s paws and a cat-like head sitting atop a long sinuous serpentine neck. Measuring 13 feet long and weighing some 600 pounds, Wei Tai was unnerved by its draconic like head swaying back and forth in constant motion swaying like a cobra. This was a serpopard and it clearly wanted to eat him.


The Serpopard sprinted towards Wei Tai lashing out with its retractable claws and deadly teeth. Wei Tai managed to dodge the bite and one set of claws, but the other claw caught him on the shoulder and raked down his chest. Wei Tai disengaged from the Serpopard and moved swiftly down the tunnel back towards his comrades. He called out to them in warning. Wang Shu clenched his fist and then opened it swiftly while thrusting forth his hand. Four little balls of dancing light bounced down the tunnel illuminating it for all to see. Kataashi Kikku and Subotai Korusu
moved swiftly forward down the tunnel to meet up with Wei Tai.


The Serpopard flew down the tunnel in pursuit of Wei Tai and came face to face with Kataashi Kikku. It stopped adjacent to him, reared its head back, and belched a cloud of foul smelling musk out of its mouth that filled the area surrounding Wei Tai, Kataashi, and Subotai. Each of them made their saves and dexterously slipped out of the musk cloud without being saturated by any musk. The group was split, however, with Kataashi north of the cloud and adjacent to the serpopard and Wei Tai and Subotai south of the persistent musk cloud. Kai Winding ran forward and cast a bless spell on Wei Tai, Subotai, and Kataashi.


Subotai Korusu saw no way through the cloud other than to move directly through it but he could not leave Kataashi Kikku to fight the Serpopard alone. So the brave samurai drew his katana and calmly moved forward through the musk cloud. In so doing he became saturated in the foul smelling musk and in effect poisoned. But he and Kataashi moved into flanking positions. As Kataashi spun and kicked, his hands and feet smoldered with an eerie red energy as he struck the serpopard in the back. Subotai slashed his Katana with a good strike across the front of the creature’s jaw.


Into the Bakemono Caves
Mind the Net Trap


The battle with the Serpopard continued. Subotai Korusu could feel the poison coursing through his system. In the poisoned state he was at disadvantage on his attacks and had a hard time hitting the quick creature with his katana. Kataashi Kikku, however, used his flurry of blows to land 2 strikes upon the beast with a swift kick to the serpopard’s midsection and reverse punch to its face. The rest of the party held back, wary of the large cloud of poisonous musk that still hung in the air cutting them off from the battle.


Wang Shu used his prestidigitation cantrip to create a small gust of wind in an effort to disperse the cloud of musk and dissipate it to the point of no longer being a threat. Kai Winding fired her bow and the shaft of the arrow bit deeply into the flank of the serpopard. In response the creature howled in fury as it went into a berserker like rage unleashing 2 bite attacks and 4 claw attacks. Kataashi Kikku got hit by a claw as it raked his chest but he managed to shake off the pain and keep fighting. Subotai Korusu did not fair as well. The Serpopard smashed a claw into his hip and then clamped down hard on his left arm with its jaws, lifting the samurai up off the ground and shaking him back and forth before dropping him to the ground in a bloody mess that was bleeding out.

With no-one else able to get through the poison cloud to lend aid, Kataashi Kikku got a healing kit out of his pack to help the fallen samurai. But miraculously Subotai Korusu suddenly sat bolt upright and sucked in a large gulp of air as Phil had rolled a 20 on the die for Subotai’s death saving throw and brought him back up to 1 HP and back into the fight. Wang Shu’s efforts with his prestidigitation magic to use magical wind to disperse the poisonous cloud finally proved fruitful as the greenish mist fell away. The party rushed in to attack the terribly wounded serpopard from all sides. Feeling the need to flee, the serpopard tried to leap over Kataashi Kikku and run down the hall but Kataashi thrust upward with his bo staff with tremendous force catching the creature on its solar plexus. The chain reaction of trauma set off by the rupturing of the serpopard’s solar plexus turned off the creature’s life force like a light. Its outstretched paws crumpled beneath its weight as it landed from its jump in a heap.

Kai Winding and Subotai Korusu used healing magic to heal the party as best they could. Wang Shu examined the fallen serpopard. It was a fascinating creature that he had only read about previously. It was interesting to see one in the flesh. He knew that the musk glands of the monster were prized for making perfume. In fact, he knew of several traders in the trade caravan who would pay good gold for the glands or the perfume. Wang Shu carefully cut away the 4 fist sized musk glands, one from each leg of the serpopard. He figured he could get up to 2 GP each by selling them outright. But Wang Shu had an even better idea. He could use his herbalism skill and some of the herbs and oils he had to turn the 4 musk glands into 10 vials of perfume worth about 5 GP each. Meanwhile Kataashi Kikku cut out 4 large claws from the beast to later clean and fashion into a necklace. The Master Treasure List was updated.

Wei Tai continued to sneak ahead and explore the caves. He followed the tunnel from which the serpopard had emerged and found a large cave that was clearly its den. There was a large pile of torn up mushrooms, sticks, leaves, and bones formed into a very large mound with several depressions in it about the size of the serpopard. A closer look revealed human bones, fish bones, and small mammal bones – rabbits, rats, etc. But the pile was left alone and not touched.


Wei Tai went down the opposite tunnel and found the passageway opened up into a much larger room. There he saw one bakemono standing on one end of the room and another standing at the other. Both were clearly on guard and both sides spotted each other at the same time. Wei Tai reacted first by moving swiftly back the way he came and alerted the others.


Kai Winding, Kataashi Kikku, Wei Tai, and Subotai Korusu rushed into the room to silence the bakemono. As they ran ahead, Wang Shu waved his hands and his 4 dancing lights floated into the large chamber to illuminate its expanse. Wang also reminded them to beware the net trap the bakemono prisoner had told them about. But unfortunately no one looked up to see the very large net hanging on the ceiling of the cave some 40 feet overhead. The southern bakemono yanked his hand backward and the net was released catching Wei Tai, Kai Winding, Kataashi Kikku, and Subotai Korusu. All but Kai were knocked off their feet from the force of the net but all were restrained and trapped under the net.


The bakemono fired arrows with advantage at the party members trapped under the net as they struggled to free themselves. Kataashi Kikku pulled a knife from his belt and cut his way through. Kai Winding followed suit by drawing forth her Katana and slashing it in a wide arc to cut the net and have it fall to her feet on either side of her. Wei Tai also cut his way out using his katana as did Subotai Korusu. Everyone could hear the scuttling feet of more approaching bakemono. Two large groups came from the north and the south to investigate the noises of battle and entered the fray. Kataashi and Wei Te moved to intercept the group to the north while Wang Shu and Subotai moved to take on the the group to the south.


Wei Tai hurled kunai throwing spikes at the oncoming bakemono wounding two of them. Kataashi Kikku unleashed a roundhouse kick that caved in the side of the head of one of those wounded bakemono. Subotai Korusu struggled to hit the fast moving bakemono due to his poisoned condition but Wang Shu leaped into the air and held his Calligraphy Staff high over head as he came down he smashed it into the ground unleashing a powerful thunderclap that reverberated through the caves and sent the torn and broken bodies of four bakemono hurtling backwards through the air.


Wei Tai could see beyond the edge of Wang Shu’s dancing lights. He called out that there were two shikome coming in addition to more bakemono. Kataashi Kikku called for a retreat to get to better terrain where the enemies large numbers could not overwhelm the group. He leaped into the air doing a mighty flip and landing on the other side of the net running back down the passageway from whence they had come. Everyone heeded the request and moved swiftly into the passageway as the Shikome and bakemono gave chase through the caves. Everyone that is except Subotai who hesitated to retreat in the face of his enemies. He wanted to make sure he did the honorable thing. But in the end he decided a tactical withdrawal to gain superior ground in this case was indeed honorable. Kataashi harrumphed at the mention of ‘honor’. He said, ‘Wading into battle to predictably fall like a leaf in autumn, then leaving your companions vulnerable? is this ’honor’? Calling bakemono ‘honorless ones’… is this honor to judge others with ignorance of their condition in order to self-satisfy one’s callow creed? You all keep using this word, honor. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

Wang Shu smiled and winked at Kataashi, but said nothing in response to his rant. Wei Tai stopped and turned to Kataashi speaking in a chorus of voices, ‘Honor and wisdom are not synonyms. A fool can act with honorable intent. An honorable man can act without honor in order to do something for the greater honor of all. Honor is intent. Honor is expressed through action. The bakemono are honorless because their intent is to harm and they offend the gods and their ancestors. Wading into overwhelming battle is foolish. Acting without thinking of the repercussions is foolish. It is still honorable if the intent is to protect your companions. It is not if the intent is for ones own personal glory. We are here to protect the caravan. That is honorable. Consider your actions and the intent behind them and determine if they are honorable. I am here because my current liege charged me with protecting my kinsman. Consider your in intents and reasons. Cast no derision upon me without consideration. If you think my actions dishonorable speak to me and if I judge you are correct I will make amends. Until then, we have evil creatures who cause harm for pleasure to deal with. They are not honorable.’



The bakemono were slowed by the difficult terrain of the fallen net but some had bows and fired arrows at Wang Shu and Subotai. Wang Shu put up a shield spell to keep the arrows at bay and Subotai cut the arrows right out of the air with his Katana. The shikome finally came into the light and one of them hurled a huge spear at Wang Shu catching him in the hip. The Ju-Hai Shu bloodline sorcerer cried out and yanked the spear from his body casting it aside in disgust.


Two bakemono caught up to Wang Shu but Subotai leaped back into the fray to help Wang escape. With a mighty swing of his Katana, the poisoned samurai finally hit a bakemono cutting the hapless creature completely in half. Wang Shu used his Calligraphy Naginata to skewer another pursing bakemono freeing the pair to move freely down the passageway. Wang Shu went first followed by Subotai Korusu who got into a defensive stance as the rear guard.



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