Throwing off the enormous dragon puppet, a team of ninja set out to dispatch the heroes, but have underestimated their quarry. A deadly battle takes place on the Prince’s streets, and by the time authorities arrive, six black-clad, tongueless Five Storms Ninja lie dead, with two escaping past the gathered crowd.
A wild-card combatant had joined the battle, a strange sorceress called Shikibu, who says she is an ally of the kami of the Forest of Spirits. She states that she has walked a long way to meet the Wheel-Breakers, and offer the group safe passage through the forest (for there are obviously parties who wish to see the heroes perish). In exchange for safe conduct, which would bypass potential enemies, Shikibu requests the party speak to her kami friends, for they will ask of them a favor. She does not know what the enigmatic kami desire from them, and promises them safe passage beyond the Forest of Spirits, regardless of whether they render aid to the kami.
Upon returning to Prince Batsaikhar’s palace, the group finds a cold reception, and a gift of four fine horses, shaggy mountain steeds trained for rough riding and rougher combat. These horses come complete with fancy, custom-made saddles depicting scenes of the hero’s achievements during the Prince’s Feasts. He additionally gifts them a fine wagon, knowing they had to abandon theirs in the necropolis.
The gesture is clear. Prince Batsaikhar has learned that ninja have been sent after his guests, and he no longer wants anything to do with them, lest his glory and reputation become stained. Not waiting for morning, the party arranges for accommodations with the intent of getting an early start on the next day.
In the morning, as they are preparing to leave, Blue Beak discovers a scrawled note from Ranya, who seems to be missing.
I have something I need to do. I will catch up with you. I am leaving this note so you won’t worry.
The party has no choice but to leave without the impetuous girl, and hopes that she will be alright on her own, wherever that might be.
Next Session our heroes join Shikibu and travel to the Forest of Spirits.