Liao Khan has come back to Arroyo, and he is not pleased. He spent years… DECADES planning and maneuvering so that Liao Tsien, his grandson, would be able to fulfill a prophecy.
But then Tsien rebuffed the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears offer of Exaltation. As a result of this unexpected turn, Liao Khan has had to adjust his tactics.
Using his contacts within Grafes, he has managed to steal one of the Lover’s Monstrances of Celestial Portion. And he’s going to use it to meld his soul with Tsien’s, and become an Exalted.
Meanwhile, two Solars come to Arroyo. After finding out that Gi Dong Bak is also a Solar, they are spending some time sharing information when Liao Khan arrives.
In the forest, Lily informs Aldeus of Khan’s approach, and tells him that the Lover wants Aldeus to stop Khan.
After a tense exchange of words between the Solars and Liao Khan, Tsien takes his Grandfather in to his sanctum. There, Khan reveals his plan for Tsien, but Tsien manages to turn the tables on him, trapping him in a barrier.
Meanwhile, his Solar allies, with the help of Kiara defeat Khan’s ghostly bodyguards. Now they have Liao Khan trapped in Tsien’s sanctum… for now.
Liao Khan appears to be trapped in Liao Tsien’s basement. But he still has some tricks up his sleeve. Among them, his most powerful ghostly bodyguard, Danilus.
As Tiger in the Dark and the rest of the Solars begin to head down the stairs to find out what has become of Liao Tsien, Danilus appears before them. Without a word, he smashed his brother with the Grand Goremaul they buried him with, sending Aldeus flying up the stairs to smash into the roof of the tea house.
Danilus is furious with his brother. He killed their father, and through his own selfish action, caused his own death. His is determined to have his revenge. Despite being a ghost, he somehow has access to the same abilities and Essence he once had as a Solar… or so it seems. Nyle suggests that a strange gold torc he wears may be the source of this power.
As this new battle raged above them, Liao Khan and Tsien discussed what would happen now. Tsien managed to convince Khan that his only real option was to give him the Monstrance, no strings attached. It was the only chance he had of not facing the Lover’s wrath for it’s theft.
Khan agreed… or so it seemed. The Monstrance appeared in Tsien’s basement, and after a while, Tsien climbed inside. The Monstrance snapped closed on him, impaling his heart… and he was face to face with the Lover. It had been a trick. She and Khan had been working together the entire time. By climbing in to the Monstrance, he accepted the bargain, and was transformed into an Abyssal Exalted. The Lover gloats over her victory, and Tsien vows to kill her.
Danilus seems to have the upper hand on his brother, and shocked and outmatched, Tiger in the Darkness flees in to the woods. Danilus pursues him for a time, but eventually Aldeus looses him. Eventually, Lily catches up to him, and says she has a message from the Lover. “Good Job”. By giving Aldeus the orders she did, she reinforced the perception that Khan was escaping her wrath.
The next morning, the monthly airship arrives, and begins offloading goods, passengers, and bags of mail. A messenger from the capital nails a flyer to the town’s bulletin board, announcing the 500th Vaise Budokai. The prize, as always, for the winning team of five martial artists is a boon each from the Shogun. Bak realizes that if he wins this tournament, he can have he and his father’s names cleared, and possibly even see their titles restored. Such requests have been honored in the past.
Gi Dong Bak asked Garland to travel to Nexus, or possibly even Lookshy, to see about hiring a mercenary company or two. He feels that the time is soon approaching to make a move for the throne of Vaise. Garland left on the airship, as it departed.
Gi Dong Bak and Kiara sought out the council of Fei Wong, once a legendary martial artist known as the White Tiger. He had participated in several Budokai during his years as a wandering hero, and had several suggestions for them. As they gathered Exalted were discussing their plans, a man walked in to the tea house, and introduced himself as Leon… an Eidolon.
After forcing an oath from Kiara, that she would not harm him, and that she would protect him against the other Eidolons, Leon revealed all that he knew about them.
Firstly, that the Eidolons are led by the “Ravagers”, powerful Awakened Knights. That their leader is none other than Lysander, the first male Black Rose Knight to recieve the Black Blood. That the Ravagers have amassed an army of the lesser, animilistic “soldier” eidolons. And that the Ravagers are planning to go to the Budokai, perhaps to kill and replace the Shogun. He also revealed, somewhat mattor of factly, the existance of the Sidereal Exalted, and their hand in the creation of the Black Rose Knights.
After deciding to help Leon, Andrew sought out Barson, and pledged an oath that he would not allow Arroyo to come to harm. This seemed to calm some of Barson’s doubts, but he is still worried that the presence of the Exalted will bring more trouble than aid to his people.
Meanwhile, while out in the forests near Arroyo, Cybele met with Inari, a Lunar Exalted who claims to be her Lunar Ally from ages long past. He explained that the other Lunars who have taken control of the Dark Wood do not trust the Solar Exalted, but that he has heard of her exploits in Halta, and remembers some of their time together in the First Age. He is willing to aid her however he can, but he cannot afford to compromised his position with the other Lunars.
Gi Dong Bak asked Spear of the East and Garland to go an acquire a mercenary force for him, in case he needed to make a bid for the throne of Vaise. After setting that plan in motion, the Solars and their companions set out for the Vaise Budokai.