The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

The Story So Far...
Been a long road...

Prequel: We Be Goblins!
Four goblin heroes of the Licktoad Tribe go on a quest to find fireworks. They are happily successful despite their run in with Vorka, the Goblin Cannibal.

Book 1: The Brinewall Legacy
The party meets at the Rusty Dragon Inn, Sheriff Hemlock requesting that they deal with the Licktoad Goblins that have been growing bold due to their possession of fireworks. Once they reach the goblin camp, they find that the place was raided by skeletons recently. After tracking the skeletons to a cave the party finds a tian treasure. The treasure also contained a note from Ameiko’s grandfather, and she commissioned the party to take a caravan to Brinewall to find out the truth about her family. At Brinewall, however, Ameiko fell into a coma. Searching for answers, the party faced off against Kikonu, the oni who controlled the fortess with the help of his spurned harpy lover. After facing the half-fiend monstrosity in the basement, the party found a secret vault guarded by Ameiko’s ancestors. Inside was the Amatatsu Seal, proof that Ameiko was meant to be empress of Minkai. Visions showed that Oni rule the nation through their Jade Regent puppet. However, the Seal acted like a beacon so the party had to leave quick before Oni descended on them.

Book 2: Night of Frozen Shadows
Heading north into the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the party begins to escort Ameiko to Tian-Xia. The seek a guide in Kalsgard but find them mysteriously unwilling for business. The search for Ameiko’s family sword is quite difficult as well. Turns out the oni ninja clan The Frozen Shadows was behind both the sword’s theft and the imprisoning of the only guide crazy enough to escort them. After facing down the Ogre Mage, Kimandatsu, the party headed north towards the Crown of the World.

Intermission: Eyes in the Dark
The party was plagued by the illusions of the Red Bishop; a mothman that took offense to the party’s activities in the first book. He was dealt with.

Book 3: The Hungry Storm
After many weeks of overland travel, the party reached Iqaliat, a small Erutaki village. Ulf wanted to regain his bearing here, but the village had problems of its own. The tribes shaman had angered a White Dragon and was trying to blame the party. After facing him and the dragon, the party learned their way was still blocked by the Morozko, a hungry storm. The erutaki believed something strange was happening at the Storm Tower, a strange tower near the pole, that might be responsible. There, the party found Katyana, a Half-fiend sylph that was trying to cover the world in ice. After killing her, her soul was ripped out and fused with the Morozko. After being chased by the now sentient storm, the party found a secret tunnel to escape the weather. Not to be outdone, Katiyana (now a ghost), possessed a yeti chief and tried to kill the party. After freeing him the Yeti were most grateful and guided the party through the caves.

Intermission: The Harrowing
Sandru and Shalelu went missing and the party tried to track them down, ending up in a storybook world called the Harrowed Realm. In order to escape they had to find several tokens then confront the Patchwork Lord, a skin-stealing dragon.

Book 4: Forest of Spirits
Arriving in Ordu-Aganhai, a city in the Tian-Xia country of Hongal, the party received a king’s reception. The city’s bored prince used them as an excuse to throw a five day long feast in their honor. After much food and contests, their presence finally was noticed by their enemies. Ninja attacked and ruined the final feast (and the prince’s romantic intentions for Teak). The kitsune Miyaro helped the party fight the ninja and offered to escort them to her superiors who wanted to aid Ameiko’s quest. She wanted to take them to the Kami. Passing through the Forset of Spirits, the party became host to several spirits, while driving others off. The Kami wished the party to enter The House of Withered Blossoms, a prison that once held the very oni which now control Minkai. Their laws prevent them from entering as long as a single oni was within. Finding the upper floors crawling with Aranea (including their drunk, opium-addicted master) and the bottoms filled with a hobgoblin army, the party learned much of the oni’s history as well as defeated Kimandatsu.

The Five Storms oni are ruled by Anamurumon, a owerful Wind Yai. His plan is to sire a child to take the Jade throne so he may rule through him. With the royal families all but extinguished he is close to victory. However, he is weak to weapons imbued with royal honor (of which the party has three: a katana, a naginata, and a daikyuu

Intermission: The Needs of the Forest
Teak’s sister appeared demanding her aid in protecting the Forest of Spirits. She needed help with a ritual to bind a corrupted creature that was poisoning the land. Problem is, she didn’t mention her plan to bind it into Teak. She wanted to kill Teak to end the blight once and for all but the party stayed her. Teak’s wildshape has been corrupted by this.

Book 5: Tide of Honor
Exiting the forest. Minkai has finally been reached. Miyaro guided them to a ronin camp. The eader, Jiro, at first scoffed at the idea that Ameiko was empress (especially since someone else recently made a similar claim) but he agreed to help the cause if the party would help him with a local group of bandits. The bandits controlled a powerful fortress and also had several horse-riding patrols. Jiro would lead his men against the riders while the party sacked the fortress. Not only did the PC claim the fortress as their own, but Ameiko was able to open the vault which only someone of royal blood could open and found Jiro’s family sword. For its return, Jiro pledged eternal loyalty and promised to see Ameiko to the throne.

Jiro now acts as commander for your army and had placed three taks for success.
1: Hire or buy off the ninja clans.
2: Get the merchants on our side.
3: Get what nobility we can behind us.

The ninja’s agreed to sell their services (the Jade Regent is bad for business) but only under one condition: someone already has a contract out on them and their honor prevents them from doing business until this is resolved. The party killed the ninja that was hunting them and bought the ninja’s loyalty.

For mission two, the party was told to work through the Geisha to make contacts. They are having problems with the disappearance of one of their own but agreed to help if you find her.

For mission three, many would join your cause if asked, but a man named Sikutsu Sennaka stands in your way. He is a powerful and cruel daimyo who supports the regent. He is very well armed and guarded by over 100 men. No one knows how to get to him yet.

Ameiko has grown nervous of becoming empress, but more distressingly, word that Amaya Kaijitsu, her half-sister may be making a move for the crown has left her quite shaken. Given Ameiko’s history with her family, she is afraid of how this will turn out, despite having never met Amaya.

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Teak's Journal: Entry (23)

I feel like my entire life has been turned upside down in the course of a few hours. I thought she’d be… better than that? I don’t know.

I finally meet my sister and she’s… a complete bitch. I looked up to her for so long, ever since I was a child and first heard of her from my parents. I became a druid because of her. I wanted to be like her, to protect and revere nature like her, and now… now I don’t want to be anything like her.

This monster that she sealed inside of me is disgusting. There are times when I feel like I’m about to be sick because of the feeling of it inside me; there’s times that I have been sick. I haven’t had recurring nightmares in years, but now I find myself waking up in the middle of night with visions of decay and rot. And every time I turn into an animal now, the animal looks like it’s rotting!

How could she do this? To anyone, let alone her own sister?

I hope I never see her again. I don’t need any more reminders of what she’s done. I already have a constant one sealed inside of me.

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Teak's Journal: Entry (22)

We’re finally done with this horrible place. I don’t particularly want to leave the forest, but all of those tunnels and caves and monsters… I’m more than fine with leaving those behind.

It’s also time to bring Axeth back.

There’s a sense of foreboding that I can’t get rid of. It’s ominous and puts me on edge. Maybe that’s a good thing? I’ll be taken by surprise less often, I guess. That’s good with how much trouble we always run into.

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Roux: A Whisper of Troubles

Much has happened since last I set down words on these pages, and I don’t know if summarizing all of it is strictly necessary. Shalelu-ren maintains her fast; she is on the last day now. I hope the spirit can be dispatched without too much trouble. Ameiko-ren has been accompanying us down into the prison, and has been most helpful, although I do worry about her.

Sad news: we have lost a dear companion. Teak’s bird, Axeth, fell to some hideous creatures who kept attacking with sound waves. Teak is planning on resurrecting him once we are through with the prison. I hope it works. I am concerned for her. She seems much more withdrawn than before.

Otherwise, we are making progress. We have found some of Munasukaru’s children and dispatched them. One was quite rude and doubted my capabilities. I did not get the chance to prove him wrong, alas, as I was petrified by this gorgon mount for the majority of that fight. Most embarrassing. The next oni decided to challenge me rather than Tallus, which, I confess, was a bit gratifying. Showing off is not my intention, but the road to perfect oneself is difficult and it’s nice to have some confirmation of one’s skills.

I believe my abilities are stronger now than they have ever been. I only hope it will be enough to help us all survive down here, and to help Ameiko-ren retake her family’s throne.

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Roux: A Variety of Escapades

We have obtained a new companion, which Shalelu is not too happy about. In truth, I cannot say I am easy with the situation myself, but it seemed dishonorable to simply kill him after Ameiko dismissed the charm. I hope he will not cause trouble, and I hope Shel will be all right.

We have defeated more oni. I believe we are nearing Munasukaru, if the increasing numbers of her children are anything to go by. I will be glad when we are out of this place. Even the walls seem hostile.

In the course of a fight with some more hobgoblins, Ameiko fell off the cliff we were on and into the water. I was very worried, but fortunately she was able to patch herself up. We then engaged in combat with some giant fish, which resulted in a fair amount of ridiculous antics.

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Roux: A Myriad of Quarrels

Our explorations through the prison continue. We are making good progress, I believe, though we met a great deal of resistance from some hobgoblins. We eventually eliminated their leader, but not before they had caused us a fair amount of trouble. Unaccountably, Teak decided to defend one of the creatures that had fallen unconscious (after her own attacks, no less). I can’t think what had gotten into her. The others were none too happy, particularly Shal-ren.

Two more of our number now have spirits: Bastien-rao and Shalelu-ren. The one with Bastien seems harmless enough, but I am concerned about the one that has taken up within Shalelu. She says it makes her hungry, but no other ill effects are as of yet apparent. Still, I am concerned. Mama Koya can force it out of her, but such an action carries its own risks. It is up to Shal-ren to decide what to do, I suppose.

The hobgoblin leader, a distasteful creature calling himself the Swine Shogun, proved a difficult fight indeed. He nearly struck a very powerful blow to Tallus, but Nate pushed him out of the way and allowed it to hit him instead. He was very upset. I have never seen him like that. I shall have to have a talk with him; it is one thing to use your anger against an opponent, but it is a fine line between that and letting it control you. I am concerned about what might happen in the future.

I have learned two new spells, one of which my new spirit friend will no doubt like. We are all getting stronger with practice, but I fear that our enemies will be stronger still. It is fruitless to worry, yet I cannot help myself sometimes. If we were to lose anyone else…

Enough. We shall just have to prevent it from happening.

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Roux: A Consideration of Knowledge

In addition to the oni locked in the lower levels and the araneas upstairs, there are apparently numerous other creatures that have taken up residence in the prison. We discovered some people who had been enslaved by a hobgoblin tribe down here. After setting them free, they described that the leader of the tribe (the self-proclaimed “swine shogun”) keeps a dire boar as a pet. They were ignorant of what is awaiting us on the lower levels, save that there is at least one more.

The hobgoblins have so far not proved nearly as difficult to deal with as the morghs. And quite pleasantly flammable. Shalelu-ren is a great help down here.

On that topic, it seems that she and Bastien have sorted things very well indeed. They both seem very happy, and I am gladder than I can say that they found one another. They are quite adorable together.

I wonder if I will ever experience such.

I know very well that I am probably being foolish

It is not the time for such thoughts. I have a mission to fulfill and more to learn.

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Six Weeks

Slow, slow me down
Her blood, on my bones
Let go, lay to rest

Alone, I fight these animals
Alone, until I get home

Coming back, I’m coming back
She follows me into the woods
Takes me home

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Teak's Journal: Entry (21)

This forest is beautiful. It’s not quite like the jungles that I prefer, but this place is wonderful anyway. I’m so glad to be back in some place that’s green. It makes me feel so much more optimistic and happy!

I talked to Archibald the other night. I found out that he was framed for the murder of his girlfriend! How awful is that?! I can’t even imagine why someone would do that to him! To anyone!

Either way, I hope it goes well with him and Shalelu. I want them both to be happy.

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Roux: A Conglomeration of Spiders

We have encountered the kami of the forest, and they are quite fascinating. They have tasked us with discovering how certain oni they had imprisoned in the House of Withered Blossoms had escaped, and eliminating those who had. One oni remains in the prison who was tricked into remaining there by the others.

A great number of creatures appear to have taken up residence in the former prison since the oni escaped, among them some araneas who will likely prove a problem sooner or later. For the moment, we retain an uneasy peace.

We also encountered some mohrgs, which were highly unpleasant. I had the embarrassment of being paralyzed by one of them and propped up in a corner like a statue while Sandru-tzu was obliged to look after me. Apologies, Feliu-rhi, I have disappointed. I shall endeavor not to make such errors in the future.

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