Exalted - The Venemous Monk

Session #5: Wu Jong of the Jades [1/28/14]

After having killed Junichiro, Ruko tells Mayor Bruce Walters to send a carrier with a letter to Po Shiang that says that Ruko has been taken care of. The letter, as Po Shiang demanded, needed proof of the exalted monk’s death. Ruko comes up with an idea. He would send a replica of his medallion that proves that he’s the real leader of Cabal Ganju. He haggles with Mayor Bruce Walters and manages to get him to talk to a master woodworker, Olus, who makes a fine replica of the original.

Ruko takes some time to better get to know Alundra at The Woodworker’s Alehouse. He lies to her about being an Anathema. She tells him she’s from the southern town of Yane and that she was once worked as a labor slave.

The plan is to head toward Jades, which is where Mayor Bruce Walters says Po Shiang was headed. Alundra offers to come along so long as he can front food and some money for her services. She has been to Jades before and will be willing to help him. They barter and agree on 130 jade scrip, food, and access to a “secret place” that only Ruko himself knows about.

Before they go, Ruko goes about the town gathering supplies. This leads him to Greasy Joan, a disgusting old woman that sells all manner of supplies and food. After a bit of work and a promise to talk to Mayor Bruce Walters about lowering the taxes on her business, Ruko gets a good deal out of the old woman.

Ruko returns to Mayor Bruce Walters. They take the fake medallion and smear it with the monk’s blood. He also mentions the issue with Greasy Joan’s taxes and gets her the tax break she wants.

Ruko and Alundra start their journey toward Jades. As they travel, Alundra tells more of her life as a slave—sold into plantation labor. They travel swiftly, only camping for short times. They make it to Lake Carda in a few days. They stop at a small rice house known as the Winnett Rice Shop, where Alundra luxuriates in the fresh dango.

Their travel takes them through the forest. On the seventh day of their travel, Alundra is pulled into a tree suddenly. Arrows come flying from the canopy like so many times before. Whoever is attacking is once again following them on their journey. Ruko scrambles into the tree and manages to cut her down. He uses his lightning speed to run down the side of the tree and catch her before she can smash into the ground.

The two manage to escape the forest and get into a clearing. They find a small cave opening and hide for the night.

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Session 4: A Deadly Duel

After reading the note attached to the arrow, Ruko crumples up the note and tosses it behind him. The red-haired woman, who finally introduces herself as Alundra, asks about the contents of the letter, but Ruko tells her not to worry.

Alundra reveals the extent of her injury from the battle with the cat beast known as the Night Stalker. Out of both sincere care for and perhaps a bit of lust toward her, Ruko throws her over his shoulder and carries her back to the Summers family farm.

When they arrive, Erik Summers welcomes them inside, and they patch up Alundra. There are a few humorous exchanges between Ruko and Timmy Summers, who has now taken to wearing paper prayer beads and his father’s white robe to try and be more like Ruko.

In the morning Ruko leaves with a mended but still hurt Alundra. Before he goes, he offers Timmy an actually set of prayer beads, and the family show their support by offering him what little they could, a loaf of fresh bread. Ruko and Alundra first return Mr. Jones’s pet goat Bessie. When Ruko hears that the farmer plans to slaughter the old goat, he bluffs him into thinking the goat actually defeated the Night Stalker. Farmer Jones promises not to kill the old goat and even gives her a cushy bed in the stables.

When they check on the remains of the Night Stalker, they find the body gone but the head still intact. Ruko takes one of its teeth as proof of defeating it.

The two spend the rest of the quiet morning and day traveling back to Pine Acre. The town seems at peace, and the two travelers return to Mayor Bruce Walters’s mansion to report on their findings. When they arrive, they are led up to Mayor Walters’s office, but the person that greets them is not the mayor. In fact, Ruko immediately recognizes him as Junichiro, a member of The Cabal Ganju.

Ruko calls Junichiro a poisoned follower of the dishonorable Po Shiang, but Junichiro seems to believe that it is Ruko that brought dishonor upon his former clan. When Ruko tries to talk sense into him, Junichiro states that he has heard of his killing of the Dragon-Blooded Marin and hints that it was Scarlet Dumas that had told him about the encounter. Junichiro soon makes his intentions clear: he is here to kill Ruko before he can cause any more trouble.

An epic battle ensues between the Exalted and the human Immaculate monk. Already injured from his battle with the Night Stalker, it almost appears as if Ruko might lose. During the last desperate blows, Ruko leaps upon Walters‘s desk, kicks a wooden block filled with letter openers, and slices Junichiro’s eye, ear, and wrist. He soon fell to the floor in a forming pile of his own blood.

After the battle ends, Mayor Walters appears from a side door and thanks Ruko for once again saving him. He says that Junichiro arrived with other monks looking for Ruko, and they took the Mayor’s daughter Maribell with them to the town of Jades in the southwest. This prompts Ruko to fess up about his identity, claiming that he is in fact not Wu Jong from Jades. Alundra seems a bit taken aback by this, but Ruko promises to tell her more of his story over tea at The Woodworker’s Alehouse.

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Episode 3: Hunting Season [10/4/13]

Ruko stands outside of the Moonsilver Manse with Maribell Walters. They travel on foot back toward Pine Acre. The entire way Maribell is not very responsive or gracious toward Ruko’s “help.”

On the third day of travel, Ruko and Maribell find themselves amidst the forests that lead to and surround Pine Acre. During their travels, Ruko hears some noise overhead in the canopy of vegetation. He attempts to sneak away, and as he does a single arrow comes whirring through the air and narrowly misses impaling his skull. Tossing the girl over his shoulder, Ruko rushes through the forest, evading a flurry of arrows with some smooth moves. He turns and catches the last of the arrows, snapping it and tossing it behind him. This action brings an end to the onslaught, but Ruko remains on his guard.

As they approach Pine Acre, Maribell starts to soften a little bit but still refuses to talk. Pine Acre is in the same shape as when they left. Ruko takes Maribell to Mayor Bruce Walters’s mansion. Maribell is unhappy to see her father and runs past him as he offers her an embrace. Ruko explains the situation with Marin at Larjyn and why Maribell is acting this way.

Mayor Walters thanks Ruko and mentions another problem. Local farms have had their livestock slaughtered by some unknown beast. Ruko says that he will be glad to investigate, which leads him to the Summers farm to the southeast of Pine Acre proper.

Ruko arrives at the Summers family farm and is greeted by Erik Summers’s two children, Pearl and Timmy. After a short and awkward altercation between Ruko and the young boy, who went off to cut his hair to be more like Ruko and closer to spiritual enlightenment, he talks with Mr. Summers. They investigate the dead livestock. While investigating, Ruko discovers a strange, large paw print and white animal hairs. Ruko decides to head to another neighboring farm that also suffered from attacks.

On his way through the forest between the farms, Ruko hears a voice behind him. He turns and finds the red-haired woman from Lake Carda standing behind him. She is exasperated at finding that it is Ruko wandering the forests. They find another print in the ground similar to the one before. Ruko continues on his way while the red-haired woman heads off to explore the wilderness.

Ruko finds a similar scene at the Jones family farm. They decide to set up a trap for the creature; they take the Jones family’s eldest goat Bessie to draw in as bait.

On his way back to the Summers farm with Bessie, Ruko hears a scream off in the forest. He ties Bessie up and goes to investigate. He comes across a clearing with the red-haired woman backing up from a massive white cat with black stripes. A fight ensues between them, and after getting injured, both Ruko and his companion defeat the beast, ending with a final blow from the woman’s red sword that knocks the beast’s head clean off.

As they catch their breath, another arrow like the ones being fired before, lands in the ground between the two of them. A scroll is wrapped around it that simply reads, “You will suffer, traitor.”

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Episode 2: Cowboys and Martial Artists [6/30/13]

After sneaking into the Dragon Blooded Marin‘s camp, Ruko makes camp for the night. He awakens to the sounds of rustling, and he quickly monkey leaps into a tree. Two scouts from Marin’s group scour the woods for the late night intruder. Ruko realizes he left his backpack on the ground, but the guards pass it by without noticing.

After the guards pass, Ruko grabs his belongings and attempts to sneak away. One of the guards hears him and eventually discovers him hiding. He calls to his companion, and Ruko responds by knocking him out. He hides again when the other guard returns. Ruko goes back to Marin’s camp, but he finds it gone. The tracks from the cart that he once followed are now gone, so he is forced to follow the guard dragging his unconscious companion along.

After a few days of travel, Ruko remembers the map he stole from Marin and follows the path to the location marked Moonsilver Manse. When he reaches the ruins of what appeared to be a once lavish city, he sees a contingent of Marin‘s soldiers marching toward what’s left of a temple. The Moonsilver Manse is a pale, desolate shade of its once powerful beauty. While battered and broken down, the Moonsilver Manse is still a sturdy holding.

Marin‘s soldiers makes their way toward the manse atop a hill, weapons drawn at the ready. Standing outside the entrance of the temple is a warrior wielding a goremaul. The captain of the soldiers confronts the man, demanding tribute and the manse. The man refuses, raises his hammer, and with one swift move bashes in the captain’s skull.

Ruko rushes in to help the man dispatch of the other soldiers. The man introduces himself as Mustang Thunder. Ruko uses his fake name of Wu Jong just to be safe. Mustang leads Ruko inside the manse, where he sees a number of refuges. Mustang explains that he came from Jades originally, and the Dragon Blooded influence there led him to escape with his wife and a group of poor citizens.

Mustang tells of how the Dragon Blooded have been at his doorstep several times. Ruko explains that he’s following their leader Marin to try and return Maribell Walters to her father in Pine Acre. Mustang decides to help him. Ruko asks about the refuges, but Mustang’s wife Akara walks in and assures that she can take care of them.

After looking over the stolen map, the two discern that Marin must have traveled to Larjyn, which is the nearest city and part of the Chayan Republic. They arrive at the gates, but they aren’t let in at first. With a bit of talking, they get one of the guards to take them to meet with Scarlet Dumas, the matriarch of the most powerful family in Larjyn.

Ruko and Mustang question her about whether she has allowed any Dragon Blooded into the town, and she feigns knowing anything of the sort. With a bit of persuading, they talk her into letting them conduct a search about the town. The first place they go is the hall of records, where they meet with a strange man named Octavius, who is in charge of the vast library. They eventually find a recent record book dating back a few months with bits of information whited out. Mustang goes to tell Scarlet about the entries, and she acts angry and says she will take care of Octavius and question what this means. She also offers Ruko and Mustang a place to stay for the night.

Mustang goes back to the record place, and Ruko, who was left behind to watch Leonidas, gets absorbed in some of the many books. While he isn’t looking, Octavius slipped out and now is nowhere to be found. They head to the tavern, take a meal, and decide it safer to sneak out during the night and head back to the Moonsilver Manse.

They allow a few days to pass before going back to Larjyn, and they find smoke on the horizon as they approach. They ride through a town of dead bodies, and they make their way toward Scarlet‘s mansion. On the way they find Marin’s cart of the lumber and tributes from other towns as well as some of Marin’s guards outside the mansion. Ruko and Mustang ride through right up to the house, taking the guards out along the way, and the horse kicks the door right down. Inside Scarlet and Marin are having tea and look surprised at the sudden interruption.

They demand that Maribell be returned. Marin laughs and states that she went with him willingly. He goes to get her, and she reveals that she indeed did leave on her own. Ruko demands that he leave the small towns alone, and Marin says that The Realm will get their needed tribute and will take control of the Moonsilver Manse. Mustang refuses to hand it over, and they end up agreeing to a one-on-one battle. Marin seems cocky until he realizes that Mustang is an Anathema.

The fight is over in two rounds, ending with Mustang crushing Marin‘s head into the Dumas garden fountain. Maribell is distraught, and Ruko and Mustang decide to take her back. Scarlet promises to bury Marin in an unmarked grave, and she tells them that if The Realm find out, her city will be torn asunder. Mustang and Ruko part ways at the Moonsilver Manse, and Mustang promises that if their paths cross again, he will gladly fight at Ruko’s side.

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Episode 1: Our Journey Begins [9/23/12 & 2/8/13]

Ruko travels to The Temple of the Silver Celestials to meet with Wei Zhang, who has summoned him for an unspecified purpose. He is allowed in by a set of sentries, who are beings shrouded in black energy with intense starry eyes. Wei is connecting stars along the crystal ceiling. Steel Sunset lays nearby, napping.

Once he finishes his weaving, Wei Zhang and Ruko speak about whispered rumors coming from the nearby town of Pine Acre. It has been said that a group of Terrestrial Exalted have arrived from The Blessed Isle seeking tribute from the small towns. Wei asks Ruko to go talk with the people of the town and assess the situation. He is to report back once he has discovered and should be on the lookout for any activity by the Cabal Ganju.

After setting out, Ruko gets a bit lost and ends up at Lake Carda. There he runs into a woman bathing. She has fiery red hair down to her butt. There is also a pile of her clothing nearby, including a large sword with a red blade. She notices him and shrieks, forcing him to turn his back while she gets dressed. Despite being extremely annoyed with him, she ends up showing him the way toward Pine Acre before leaving to the south.

Ruko eventually shows up, but the people of Pine Acre are wary of him. He goes to an inn— The Woodworker’s Alehouse. He’s greeted by an elderly man with graying hair standing behind the wooden bar. The innkeeper tells Ruko about someone who came into town making demands. He overhears some tavern dwellers talking about the man who came through as well as guards that will be returning.

The carts arrive during the night. They circle the wagons, and the leader heads toward the opposite part of town toward the Mayor’s house. After meditating, Ruko jumps from his room and starts stalking the man, ending up at the Mayor’s house. He sneaks into the cellar and eventually up into the kitchen where he hears voices. He hears the man he followed demand extra money in exchange for the safety of the mayor’s daughter. Ruko sneaks out and monkey leaps back into the tree and over the wall once again.

He follows the man back to his caravan and notices that his face is far darker than before. Mayor Bruce Walters delivers the money, and the man and his men leave that night.

The next morning Ruko visits with the Mayor. Ruko claims to be Wu-Jong from Jades and makes up a story of the mysterious man, who he learns is named Marin, doing something similar in “his own town.” The Mayor, distraught, tells Ruko that 5 Dragon Blooded are wandering that area and that Marin is traveling back to his town in Larjyn. Ruko offers to help for little more than some rations and a horse, and the Mayor takes him up on the offer.

Ruko follows after them, stopping that night and sneaking upon their camp. He snoops around as the guards sleep for some useful information. He finds a scroll, nearly wakes up the guards, and heads back to his own camp. He finds a map leading to a Moonsilver Manse.

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