THE ONI MUNASUKARU
At long last, our heroes finally face off – toe to toe – with the dreaded Oni Munasukaru. She is the last Oni, left behind by her brethren to maintain the letter of the pact the gods had placed on them, and by remaining, she insured the sanctity of her demesne, thereby keeping the Kami of the forest from discovering the escape of those that had left her behind.
But before the heroes can reach her domicile – her sanctum chamber – they must needs defeat the last remnants of her servants, all the while navigating the labyrinth that has come to be known as Munasukaru’s Penance, searching room by room to find the dreaded Oni and put an end to her vile domination over a once peaceful region within the Forest of Spirits.
An onslaught of sharp, barbed chains harried our heroes as they descended the dark shaft into the chamber below. Thick chains crisscrossed this chamber, attached to the walls and hung from the ceiling, their links clinking in the fall of water from the shaft above. Two terrible creatures, hideously deformed and wrapped in chains prevented their passage through the spiderweb network of animated chains. Worse, just beyond the chamber of chains stood a lone Ogre Mage Oni, another of Munasukaru’s samurai protectors.
“It is times like this, my comrades, when it would be handy for the Lamp of the Impossible palace to curse us with a mage of our own!"
~Lamentation of Kumori
But with deft skill, and a little luck, Kumori and his companions defeated the dreaded Kytons and slew the Oni mage, only to be confronted by yet another easily defeated group of Obake lepers.
Beyond the lepers, the group discovered an ancient library, which later proved a valuable source of information, giving the party clues as to what happened to the other Oni of this place, how they created a special portal powered by the souls of countless victims in order to flee into the outside world. One tome even contained a journal which detailed an even larger, master scheme, whereby the Oni, calling them selves the Five Storms, plan to take over the influence of Mung Li politics and thereby establishing themselves as the eventual Emperors of all the land.
But the library, they decided, for the moment had to wait. Their mission would not be complete until they destroyed Munasukaru and put an end to her vile evil torturous ways.
Five Sisters of the Broken Path blocked the way into Munasukaru’s Sanctum. They died swiftly. Munasukaru, looking for all the world like anything but a terrible Oni, was found peeling the flesh from an aranea in her hybrid form, lashed to a huge bed of long, sharp spikes. The ensuing battle was fierce. Chodak was slain, and Ranya nearly as well. The Oni attacked with spells, screaming bolts from her repeating crossbow, and finally with a stolen heirloom Naginata with the might of thunder itself.
Once the Oni was defeated, the party retreated to the library, to lick their wounds and mourn their dead. But the dead rose, for now that the Oni was gone, the Kami from the forest were not longer prohibited from entering. Hundreds of grateful Kami flooded the dungeons and, as well as they could, healed the damages the oni caused and put things right again. They raised not only Chodak, but Kwok Wen as well, who being on his last gift, decided to return home a retired and very wealthy hero. A celebration was given for the Wheelbreakers, for the Kami can be quite generous with their good will.
Now that the Oni Munasukaru is defeated, Shikibu states that she will fulfill her part of the bargain, promising to escort the party to safety so they may return to their mission – to discover the means of activating the Braid of a Hundred Masters, before giving it to their mysterious patron, The Lucky Fish, as foretold by The Prophecy of the Oracle of Meridimnus .