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An Exercise in LeadershipEdit

The session opened with the party under attack at the Nightingale's Roost, hearing shots from flame cannons and a panic outside. The party headed outside to see a horde of zombies crawling up out of the water. Amber sent up a call amongst the panicked tribesmen, who quickly rallied to her side. Largo led the charge, and Amber used her communication skills to ensure that no tribesmen were in harm's way. This was particularly useful when the ship that had carried the zombies opened fire on the group, while Amber maneuvered the troop out of their range of fire.

Meanwhile, Fern caught a group of zombies in a bottleneck and began causing chaos, and Dax ran out to the Coatl. Once in the Coatl, he skimmed the surface of the water and fried as many zombies as he could with the Storm Shield. Fern then blasted open the bottom of the ship, causing the cannons to fall out, and Amber followed it up with forcing the water up into the ship and sinking it quickly. Largo and his troops mopped up the remaining zombies and killed off the commander, while Dax took out a small unit of ghosts before they even reached the beach.

With Amber's impressive performance and directive skills, combined with Largo's keen military mind, virtually no islanders were injured or killed in the attack.

The party salvaged the cannons and installed them in the Coatl. As they did, they were approached by local law enforcement, claiming that the party had just destroyed private property by killing the zombies. Once the party managed to calm Largo and prevent the situation from getting worse, they argued that they had been attacked first. While it was the truth, the officer was very skeptical and recommended they talk to Garret Vason of Vason's Luck, an enormous casino up on the hill toward the center of Azure.

The Roll of a DieEdit

Remembering the dice from the Coatl, Amber slipped them into her sleeve before departing. The party went to the casino and located Vason, who was in a private room toward the back. The situation was a bit hostile at first, with Vason showing a degree of disdain for Anathema, and Vason suggested a bit of gambling to loosen everyone up.

Realizing that the party had access to resources more valuable than the mere amount of jade and cowries the expenses would run, Vason suggested putting it on the table as a gambling debt. Amber agreed, and the two began playing the dice game of Catamaran. The debt was added to a substantial portion of Vason's share in his own casino, which was put up against half ownership of the Nightingale's Roost. Unfortunately, Amber lost. Vason was pleased, but a little disappointed that the game was over so quickly. So he raised the stakes to be double or nothing, to include the other half of the Roost. To compensate, he threw in the deed to a similar manse he owned, admitting it was not nearly as valuable as the Roost.

The gambling intensified, and it looked like Amber would lose again. With only two rolls left, and the opponent hold at a respectable twenty three, things looked bleak. Amber rolled the dice and looked up with a quiet smile. "Five dice on twenty five," she said. This awarded her a whopping fifty points, and Vasen blinked, then smiled. Impressed by Amber's luck and skill, he turned over the deed to the manse he had promised. The party breathed an enormous sigh of relief and left.

The party headed up the coast to examine their winnings and found a run-down concert hall manse not entirely unlike the Roost, except perhaps for its decrepit state. Named the Speckled Water, its damages seemed to simply involve a collapsed roof until it was revealed that the entire manse was mostly occupied by an enormous block of ice with jets of freezing air Essence being poured into it.

Fern, excited to see a challenge, got right to work and began a thorough analysis of the manse's systems. After quickly clearing out the manse's contents, she cast her spell and the manse began repairs. A day passed and Fern collapsed in the Coatl, exhausted but victorious. Amber offered the manse to Tepet Carian.

Before departing, Fern performed surgery to repair Capo's vocal chords. For a being of her expertise, the surgery was scarcely a challenge, and Capo was awake again and healthy within the hour.

Blood is ThickerEdit

The party departed to the arena, having heard about some sort of tournament from Vason. They prepared themselves and entered, but not before setting up a fair amount of publicity for themselves.

Their first match was against five Wood Aspects, which despite careful organization and considerable skill, did not present much of a challenge. The party mowed through them in a matter of seconds, to the point where Fern admitted a bit of remorse for them. The party then watched the next few matches, noticing the former champion, Firedust Devil, an extremely powerful Fire Aspect fighting with twin artifact flame pieces. But what really caught their eye was the Abyssal in the round afterward. It was none other than Howl of the Void himself.

The party fought their next round against "The Pigs of Summer", a set of five intelligent fire elementals. They took a bit more of a beating, but the party showed that they could mete out a great deal of punishment quickly. As well as many, many pig-related puns.

Howl defeated the former champion, Firedust Devil, in a efficient and terrifying display of power. This placed him against Largo in the final, one-on-one championship. The party did their best to equip Largo with the best of each of their Hearthstones, and Dax even volunteered Cid.

The full powers of each of the combatants were quickly brought to bear. Howl strode forward in Arcadi's armor, then raised his enormous axe, which then burst into flame. With the best of the party's equipment, Largo was blindingly fast, attempting to strike Howl no less than three times before the Abyssal even had a chance to react. Howl clearly had his own advantages, however, having been trained under the great First and Forsaken Lion himself. He dodged each of the three blows without so much as an Essence expenditure, then retaliated. Slower, but better armored and more experienced, Howl could not manage to break past Largo's incredible defenses.

The combatants tested each other at first, trying to get a feel for each other's abilities before spending their valuable Essence. Attacks were met by parries and dodges, Largo leaping about attempting to get into a superior position while Howl lazily blocked and taunted the Solar. Largo then managed to land a strike placing Cid on Howl's person, distracting him long enough to break open his guard. Largo managed a hit, a powerful blow driving his scythe clean through Howl's back and through the front of his chest.

Howl, a bit surprised by the ferocity of the strike, threw Cid out into the stands and decided that it was time to stop playing games. He called upon his powers and drove Largo's attacks away forcefully, then in a fit of anger, activated the most powerful blow he could muster. Tearing through Largo's arm and armor came a blow only an experienced Abyssal could muster, not only mangling Largo's scythe arm, but tearing into his very Essence, wounding him terribly on both a spiritual and physical level.

Amber and Fern, seeing the hit, gave a shout and moved as though to come out into the arena. Largo's eyes narrowed and he called them back. He wanted to finish this fight.

Largo reached over and picked up his scythe with his shield, his mighty arm dangling bloodied from his side. With a roar, another set of attacks, and eventually he broke Howl's guard again. Howl, tapped out of resources and finally defeated, looked up in time just to see the Vengeful Claw fulfilling its title. Largo was victorious.

The crowd erupted. A duel like that hadn't been seen since the First Age.

Finally, right after the cheering started, Dax spotted Cid up in the crowd. He was perched on the shoulder of a well-dressed man... a man that seemed somehow familiar. Dax suddenly remembered the man's name, Atterum.

Character Thoughts and ReactionsEdit

Steve is never ever ever having pigs again. Ever.

Largo wants stats for armor. Now. Yay for revenge.

Alexa thought this session went a little slowly, but was a lot of fun. Whee pig jokes! (Not that she can blame Steve for having had enough.) She is also thinking of having Fern take that one Flaw that sets your highest Virtue to 1 against certain situations, as she's been playing Fern like a kid in a candy store when the Twilight's confronted with something to fix or study. ...Is it even possible to take Flaws mid-game?

Teager feels that fate is worth tempting. Also about how nice it is to have one of the most powerful gods in Yu-Shan as a business partner.

Followed by Butterfly's Wings, Session Ten, The Pirate Ploy.

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