Exalted: Secrets of the Lost Age

Session Five: The Blockade of Wu Jian

When the Purgatory's Zenith finally made port in Wu Jian, all aboard were amazed at the derelict state of the city – it was no more or less derelict than previously, but it is still amazing.  At the dock, the Zenith was greeted by an officious-looking bureaucrat named Meticulous Owl, who introduced himself as an assistant to the dock master.  He regretfully informed Entaro of the current political climate between the Realm and the Guild, a tense one owing to some disagreement about a shipment.  He told Entaro that, until the debacle was sorted out, the Realm was blockading Guild ships in the harbor, and that no goods could be unloaded, and passengers and crew were confined to the wharf.  As apology, he also made it clear that the wharf's establishments were open to the Guildsmen and their crews/passengers free of charge. 

The group immediately split up.  Kai Gheron slipped through the lackluster guards to meet with one of his Connections, a fellow called the Thiefmaker.  The Thiefmaker gave more background on the incident; the Guild had apparently failed to deliver on a promised shipment, things went sour extremely quickly, triremes were involved, and at least three ships were sunk in the harbor, with multiple fatalities.  The Guild has since been attempting to placate the Realm, to apparently no avail.  When asked as to the motives of those involved, the Thiefmaker could give no advice.  Entaro instead went to one of his Guild Contacts along the wharf, getting much the same information (though according to his contact, the Guild had delivered the shipment as described).  Yara also slipped through the guards deeper into the city to gather information from the Realm side of things, and learned how dangerously close to open violence the citizens were against the Guild.  The burden of the "free" services has been put on the shoulders of the businesses of Wu Jian, and the citizenry were all tired of the debacle.  Kushtaka, meanwhile, performed the Sacred Hunt on a kingfisher to add a flying form to her Heart's Blood library.  Guards will be telling tales for years about the wharf cat that decided to hunt and kill a kingfisher, apparently successfully.

The group reconvened at an establishment on the wharf called the Barrel and Scripture, a once-holy temple to the Immaculate Dragons, now defiled and debased by the denizens of Wu Jian.  Kai Gheron offered to actually pay the barkeep for their meals and drinks, which included Southern fire squid, a delicacy said to be so spicy that no mortal can enjoy it.  Kushtaka and Yara enjoyed it just fine.  Kai and Entaro found it a bit too painful for their liking.  They shared information over the meal, and decided they needed to investigate the goings-on further, perhaps by utilizing Entaro's Backing to get an invite to meet the Guild negotiator.

Before they could act on the information, a brawl broke out between two of Wu Jian's rival martial arts gangs, in this case the Raitons and the Siakas.  The group was dragged into the fight, where they acquitted themselves exceptionally well, injuring but not killing any of the gangsters who tried to attack them.  In the middle of the brawl, one of the Siakas Exalted as a fire-aspected Dragon-Blooded, burning a number of people severely and setting the Barrel and Scripture on fire. 

Everyone evacuated the building, and a fire brigade was quickly set up.  Yara kept a close watch on the newly Exalted Dragon-Blood, while Kai, Entaro, and Kushtaka helped immensely with the brigade, putting out the Barrel and Scripture before the fire could spread to the rest of Wu Jian.  Immediately thereafter, the Raitons formed a mob intent on killing the newly Exalted, but Entaro and Kushtaka managed to talk them down through a combination of reason and threat.  Before either side could catch a breath, Realm horns sounded, announcing the arrival of Realm forces.  Everyone successfully fled, and the group reconvened on the Zenith.  After some discussion, which did not include getting the Dragon-Blood's name but did involve forcing him to stand in a half-barrel of water to prevent further fires, they decided to keep him away from the Realm and likely help smuggle him out of Wu Jian when they left.

With that emergency handled for the moment, Kushtaka assumed her new kingfisher form and went to spy on the Realm triremes that were patrolling the harbor.  She learned that they were planning to attack the two-dozen Guild ships in two days, and reported this back to the group.  The group then prevailed upon Entaro to get them invited to meet with the Guild negotiator, who readily invited them to come to speak with him, at least partially due to Entaro's reputation as an Exalt. 

Once the group snuck back past the guards and into the Guild factor's domain, they were treated to a pleasant repast of foods and drinks.  The Guild factor, Iezu Zole, welcomed them like brothers and insisted they stay in his lodgings for the night.  He told them of the Guild's efforts to deliver the agreed-upon shipment, the Realm's apparently illogical retaliation, and, despite the Guild's best offers, the Realm keeps shifting their demands to end the blockade.  The Guild, at least from the factor's perspective, is wholly innocent and wants nothing more than to appease the Realm for whatever slight occurred. 

The Guild factor's spies provided the location of the head Realm negotiator, Iselsi Lien, who serves as functional head of Wu Jian's government.  Kushtaka assumed her cat form and snuck into Lien's sitting chambers, where she was meeting with none other than Meticulous Owl.  Owl seemed to be the dominant of the two, which was extremely odd for a dock master's assistant.  Lien took advice from Owl on how to keep changing the Realm's demands in the most Byzantine possible ways, obviously stalling for time.  Kushtaka returned with this information, whereupon Kai Gheron used his Sidereal magics to learn that Owl arrived on a boat from Skullstone and lived in a run-down district of Wu Jian not particularly near the wharf. 

Suspicious, Kai went to investigate Owl's lodgings himself.  He found a near derelict shanty and, moments later, he found Owl himself returning from Lien's apartments.  He watched from a hidden location as Owl searched for twenty full minutes to make sure no one was watching him, before he pulled a silver bowl from a hidden hole in the floor.  He bled into it, and knelt as if in prayer.  Kai heard a voice from the bowl demand a report, and Owl gave it, referring the the voice as "master" and promising havoc within two days.  The voice warned Owl that "agents of Heaven were about," and Kai chose discretion over valor, departing to report what he had learned. 

Now, the group plans to have Entaro join in on the negotiations the next day, while the remainder of the group goes to have a little chat with Owl during the daylight hours. 

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