Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Feng Shui: Penultimate

As the story winds down, we find the Dragons approaching the Mountain of Storms, which the Ladies of Jade & Ivory have told them is the stronghold of the Eternal Chameleon.

They climb into the foothills with their contingent of soldiers, staring up into the rain-slicked mountains. And then, in a flash of lightning, arrows! Soldiers and sorcerers appear and fire, accompanied by four lieutenants: A sorcerer, a martial artist, a dude in a huge suit of armor crackling with electricity, and their general, the man known as the Demon River.

Lord Smoke fires before the enemies can attack, however, felling two of the soldiers. Celeste shoots, Melody tries (and fails) to use magic (dice were not cooperating), and Bai leaps up into the foothills to engage directly. The martial artist leaps down and engages, but Bai sets them on fire. Demon River fires at Lord Smoke, declaring him to be most dangerous, but never quite hits well enough.

The dude in the armor, though...when Celeste shoots (and spends Fortune), he calls to the heavens and lightning lances down at her! She employs her counter-ritual and prevents the lightning from hitting, at least accurately, and the fight rages on. The soldiers the Dragons brought fire a volley and mostly miss (because that's what mooks do), but they do manage to take out a couple of the opponents.

Lord Smoke fires arrows at Demon River, felling him. Bai throws the martial artist down the mountain, and Chrys coldly dispatches them with a headshot ("Dodge this" counts as Blam! Blam! Epigram! because the bad guys haven't seen The Matrix). Celeste fires on the Lightning Eater and he explodes in a blast of electricity. The last one, a sorceress named Ghost Tears, knows she's beat and vanishes.

The characters enter the cave, and written on the wall is a warning: Continuing on faces four tests.

The Blade's Embrace: The Dragons and their five surviving soldiers press on through a tight, tiny hallway...and then the blades start popping out. Bai and Celeste survive unscathed, but Chrys and Smoke bleed...and behind them, they hear the screams of their soldiers. Only one survives.

The Demon's Mouth: They emerge into a rounded room, and encounter a stench of monstrous proportions. Bai and Smoke double over, retching, but Chrs and Celeste hold it together (as do Melody and the surviving soldier). The Dragons stumble forward into the next trap...

The Deluge of Pain: They stand in a huge, featureless plain and in the distance hear the distinct twip of multiple arrows. The Dragons dodge, but Smoke and...someone else (I think Celeste?) are struck. The soldier, however, manages to dodge the arrows, and Smoke acknowledges him as "Fang" (you survive all this as a mook, you get a name).

The Endless Road: Past the featureless plain is a corridor that just continues forever. The Dragons walk, and find themselves lulled into zombie-like shambling...all except Smoke, who manages to find the light within and keep his focus. The Dragons emerge into an endless cemetery.

Each of the headstones in the cemetery bears a name, but, Celeste notes, also a character meaning "Vengeful Dead." She warns them about this, and in the distance they see a mausoleum. As they approach, they see a monstrous spirit rise up...Wildfire, the spirit of vengeance. As it springs forward, the dead rise around them.

The Dragons fight valiantly, though, Smoke felling ghosts with his arrows and Chrys shooting at Wildfire (but not doing much damage to his ectoplasmic form). Melody threw magic at him and stunned him, and Celeste counter-ritual'd his "eat people for health" power (she wasn't sure if this version of him had it, but that's not the kind of luck you test).

Wildfire leaped at Melody and bit her open. Celeste jumped to her aid and Bai healed her, and Smoke shot and Chrys shot him until his form vanished. Bai patched up Melody with his Healing Petals, and the Dragons listened and heard voices from the sepulcher. Inside, they found a casket with the void inside, and heard the Eternal Chameleon's rants.

They climbed in, onward toward destiny and, perhaps, the end of the Chi War.