Exalted: In A Mirror Darkly
Part 1 – The Samurai’s Son
Two Months Later…
In the last two months Liao Tsien has been attempting to gather snakes, scorpions, and other poisonous substances to brew his poisons. He also completed construction of the Black Sun Inn and Restraunt, and improved his alchemist workshop.
Ghost and his allies have left Arroyo, seeking sanctuary somewhere else.
Spear of the East was taken by Grahf during their encounter. His fate is unknown.
Ku Pulu and the Ona have been keeping to themselves in the woods around Arroyo. They have been preparing to deal with the Riders of Dark Wood.
Aldeus has spent his time training with Fei Wong. Fei Wong expressed an interest in Kiara’s abilities as a Black Rose Knight. He asks what Aldeus thinks of her, and he confesses that he is concerned with how little he knows of her. A month later, Aldeus brings her to meet his Sifu. During this visit Kiara reveals the Black Rose Knight’s secret means of gaining power. By drinking a substantial amount of alchemicaly treated Eidolon Blood, their bodies change, becoming stronger, faster, and capable of molding Essence. After a conversation, Kiara accepts Fei Wong’s offer to teach her the Golden Janissary style.
Gi Dong Bak arrives in Arroyo, and reunites with his old friends at Liao’s bar. They catch each other up on various events that have occurred… including Bak’s Exaltation and the circumstances of his exile. As the group is getting drunk, Garland appears at the door, and joins in the merryment. Garland reveals he’s was just passing by and decided to stop in and check on his friends. He also gives them a brief overview of Vaise’s politics.
With Bak’s family held in disgrace, the Unionists Daimyo (Realm supporters) are now equal in political strength to the Isolationist Daimyo. Vaise is that much closer to become a vassal of the Realm.
At the same time, Gi Dong Bak has returned to Arroyo, seeking to escape his pursuers… samurai lords who have sold their loyalty to the Realm. The Shogun has ordered the Gi Dong family arrested, their holdings to be maintained by the Shogun himself until such time as he knows what to do with them.
This has caused some unrest among the Daimyo… no one ever likes to be reminded that all that which is theirs can be taken away at a moments notice. But they remain silent on the matter for now… some out of loyalty, some out of fear.
As the group is discussing these events, a young man rushes in to the tavern, seeking them. A trader has discovered the site of a great battle, now littered with corpses. The assembled allies ride out at once to discover what has transpired.
Upon arrival, the group finds the remains of the Riders of Dark Wood and the Ona. All their members are dead, including Ku Pulu. Strange, beast like tracks can be observed all over the site of the battle, and some of the dead bear claw or fang marks, as if they were annihilated by a large animal. Seeking to discover the source of this attack, and how it may affect Arroyo, the group goes to the speak with the Duke, a Raksha who lives nearby, and who has aided them before.
After Bak promises the Duke a favor which he may claim at any time in the next 10 years, the Duke reveals what has transpired. A group of Lunar Exalted has moved in to the Dark Wood. They came upon the Ona’s battle with the Riders, and slew both groups. Now, they have the wood all to their selves. The group set out to see if they could meet with the Lunars in the Dark Wood.
The Lunars were not receptive to Bak’s attempts to parlay… and threatened to kill him if he returned. They seem to be sore over the shared history of the Solars and Lunars.
Part 2 – The Lady In Black
On the way back to Arroyo, the group encounters Grahf on the road. After being soundly defeated, they return home bearing wounds both mental and physical. That night, Danilus Exalts, further fueling Aldeus’ feelings of weakness.
The Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears has long been interested in drawing Essence wielders to her side, and lately, she’s heard rumors of the exploits of the newly Exalted Solars, Danilus and Gi Dong Bak, and their allies. She wishes to meet with them all, and in particular, Liao Tsien.
To that end, she sends the Melkin Fool in Red, along with an invitation for the company to call upon her in the Fortress of Crimson Ice. Her invitation is… not to be ignored. Once there, the The Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears reveals to Liao (in private) that word of him had reached her ears, and that his grandfather had taken great pains to make that the case. She attempts to persuade Liao to the cause of the Deathlords. The Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears is willing to part with a copy of a book that will teach Malice the secrets of necromancy, but in exchange he must “spend the night with her”.
Liao refuses the power she offers him. She is disapointed, but accepts his choice.
To everyone’s surprise, however, Aldeues, still reeling from his recent defeat at the hands of Grahf, accepts the Black Exaltation that the Lover offers. Having been rebuffed by Liao, she jumps at the chance to keep a closer eye on him through her new Abyssal. She orders Aldeus to keep an eye on Liao, and to make sure he doesn’t fall under the thrall of any power save her. Should he makes any overture of rebellion, she will simply state, “Worry not, my newest and fondest pet. I am certain of your ability to do my work, despite your best efforts.”
Hearing of his brother’s rash decision, Danilus rushes to his aid, Bak trailing right behind. They find themselves facing White Lily and the Melkin Fool, and the experienced Deathknights are more than a match for the neophyte Solars. They fail to prevent Aldeus’ exaltation, and are carried back to the dining hall to allow Liao and Kiara to tend their wounds.
Aldeus is shown a vision of Stygia, and the Well of the Void. He is told some of the secrets of the Abyssals, and instructed to keep an eye on Liao for the Lady.
Part 3 – The Library and the Darkness
Returning from the Red Sepulchure, the group is in tatters. Bak and Danilus are badly wounded, and Aldeus is dead, transformed into an Abyssal. Only Kiara and Liao Tsien are mostly intact.
Aldeus and Bak go to speak with Fei Wong. Aldeus’ teacher is shcoked and furious at his students rash decision… a choice which mirrors Grahf’s. Fei Wong beats Aldeus within an inch of his life, and tell him not to return.
At the same time, the group is desperate for answers. Bak needs to know the history of the Solar exalted, and Kiara has developed doubts about the Eidolon. To answer some outstanding questions, the group travels to Kalast to visit the university library there.
While there, the group discovered several secrets. Danilus and Tsien have discovered the method by which Orihalcum and Jade are distilled into magical materials.
Kiara discovered a partial record of the origin of the Black Rose Order, including a disturbing paragraph about Lysander, a male Black Rose Knight who created the Black Blood treatment. This treatment made the Knights strong enough to defeat the Eidolons, but drove all the male knights mad within a few months. The female knights were less susceptible, but still lost their reason in time.
Bak discovered an ancient document, written in the Shogunate, which gives a fairly neutral account of the Usurpation. It recounts the various crimes the Solar’s commited, but also expresses confusion as to the sudden nature of the uprising. There was no single event that could have rallied so many, nor was there a long conspiracy. The Dragon Blooded seemed to rise up all at once, Dragon Lances in hand, and slew the Solars. The author wondered aloud if perhaps there was some reason, now lost to history, that was behind the Usurpation.
As they prepared to rest for the night and return to Arroyo, Kiara sensed an explosion of Eidolon essence. A pack of eidolons (7, in all) was descending upon an apartment complex in the heart of the city. The group hurried to defend innocent bystanders from the eidolons, not realizing that the building was something of a Dragon Blood enclave. Only two of the sleeping Dragons awoke, and let the group escape in thanks for their aid in safeguarding their families, even though the DBs had realized their true nature.
During the fight, Aldeus absorbed a substantial amount of Eidolon essence, which temporarily gave him the features of an Awakened Knight. As Eidolon essence coursed through his veins, he saw a vision of 12 men in armor stained with blood standing before a crown of Eidolons in an underground cavern. Later, he saw a second vision, one of a man whose skin and eyes were jet black… the color of night. As the man turned and met Aldeus’ gaze, Aldeus lost control, dropped to all four, and attempted to kill his allies.
Some questions have been answered, but new ones have emerged. Who was leading the eidoons? Why did these seemingly feral eidolon work together to attack Dragon Blooded? Is that fact related to the disproportionate lack of Dragon Bloods in the region? Who was Lysander? Who was the Dark Man? And what exactly are the Eidolons?
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