South Jersey Jade Regent

Caravan Tales, Part 1: Koya Mvashti

Koya has wanted to travel to the far corners of Golarion since she was a child and first saw a map of the world in an old history book she came across while sneaking through her mother’s impressive collection of notes, trophies, and keepsakes from her extensive travels. Although Koya has since come to learn that the old map was rather inaccurate, she’s never lost the sense of wonder she gained from the simple notion that the world she’d thought she’d known was so much larger than she’d ever imagined.

A childhood trip to Korvosa impressed upon her how different the world can be as you travel from plains to forests to swamps to mountains to large urban centers. The idea that one could make journeys 10 or even 100 times as long as the caravan route running from Sandpoint to Korvosa has long been a point of fascination and wonder for Koya.

But Koya never went on that long journey. She always assumed there would be the chance for an adventure in the near future, but the present always seemed to have a knack for getting in the way. Responsibilities to her family caravan, her several tempestuous love affairs as a young woman, the task of caring for unfortunate children who had no mother of their own, like Sandru and Zack, and most recently caring for her elderly, but not quite completely infirm, mother all worked to keep her at home.

Just as one phase of her life seemed ready to close, the next began, and before she knew it, the unwelcome kiss of old age had crept into her aching bones and wrinkled face. When her mother passed on, Koya thought she would have to stay in Sandpoint to defend the legacy of not only her mother, but of the Varisian people as well in the form of her family home. As luck would have it, one of her own foster children was easily able to convince the Sandpoint aristocracy to preserve the manor, but also use a portion of it to both benefit the town guard and serve as a local business. Thus, Aginar’s Arms and Armor was born.

With all of her affairs in order, she happily jumped at Ameiko’s invitation. After all, this could possibly be her last chance for that great, world-spanning journey, her chance to make her own “found-mark” in distant lands. Each passing mile from Sandpoint clearly invigorates Koya rather than exhausting her, as one might expect from such a long journey by someone of her age. Her stories, fortune-telling, and upbeat sense of humor enliven the caravan and have helped everyone attain a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

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The Brinewall Legacy
A Retelling by Mira Kaijitsu

For the first time in several days, Mira actually feels like she’s awake.  The whirlwind of violence and magic and revelation that occupied her world ever since Ameiko fell into the coma seems like little more than a bad dream now that everyone is happy and healthy again.  In the back of her mind, however, she knows that soon she will have to deal with the consequences of what they learned, and come to terms with the horrors they faced within the castle.  Goblins were one thing.  She hadn’t signed up for 10-legged squid demons, and knew she was going to lose a few nights of sleep over some of the things they had seen. 

For now, though, she cannot help bubbling with excitement.  She had her sister back, and the cloud of worry that hung over the camp for days was gone.  It seemed as good a reason as any to celebrate.  Mira spoke at length with Ameiko about what they had learned about the family, and while Ameiko seemed to have shared their visions, she seemed a little confused as to how it all came about.  Knowing Ameiko’s love of stories, they decided this one deserved special treatment.

Mira swept an area of the camp clean of leaves, pebbles, twigs and other debris that might be painful to fall on, making a makeshift stage.  Before the performance she spoke with Liam, knowing he would be providing the illusions for the evening’s entertainment.  She was almost used to the sensation of information suddenly appearing in her mind as if pulled from another time and place, and she imparted to Liam various details about the creatures they had encountered in order to make his illusions more realistic.  She also conjured up a few buckets of water that Liam tinted red with Prestidigitation, to be used as fake blood.

This turns out to be completely unnecessary, however.  Zack and Taylon, very dedicated to telling a complete and realistic story, elect to use Liam’s blood to illustrate the fight scenes.  Mira burns a few healing spells in the process, explaining to the crowd that this does in fact make things more realistic, since it was all she usually did in a fight.  She is also quick to point out in every scene exactly who fell unconscious and who would have died horribly if she hadn’t been there to clean up after them. 

Sound duty is Mira’s primary role during the play, however, and she embraces it with gusto.  Ghost Sound provides the creak of the lobster shells, the lapping of the ocean, and the wind whistling through an empty town.  When they reach the castle, the screeching of the bird-creatures causes the crowd to wince and cover their ears, even though Mira has softened the sound in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention from forest denizens.  During the fight with Zaiobe, she mimics the harpy’s voice with several vulgar and unflattering exclamations.  Towards the end of the play, she manages to mimic her grandfathers words, wondering if Ameiko’s dreams had included him.

Knowing Liam’s illusion spells are limited, Mira fills in the missing battle with the wight by animating a sheet with Mage Hand and allowing the audience to use its imagination as she batters it to death with a spiritual broomstick.

Revisiting the terrible experiences on a stage and around a campfire seems to dull some of the horror, and Mira finds that her excitement only grows as they act it all out.  While nightmares will still probably find her, she can’t help but look forward to what new experiences the next adventure might bring.  Unfortunately, she also can’t help but notice the touch of concern that clouds Ameiko’s face.

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Tayllon's Contribution to Ameiko's Play

Liam, already a clever man I have found, has now become a man of many faces. We have all been blessed by the many gifts of the Amatatsu family, and now is the time to use these gifts to show Ameiko what she’s been missing…

As I walk out onto the stage with the others, it’s unusual how all of us seem to come together as one retelling the story. As Liam begins changing from one enemy to the next and Mira’s mastery of sound aids him, I also stand aside him, using my skills to show the fighting styles of each opponent. Whether they came as a surprise attack from above like Pazuzu and the troglodytes, or lumbering head-on like an ogre, I do my best to demonstrate every style to perfection. In alternating fashion I also display what happened to our party in each fight. It’s up to me to show our perseverance, the struggles and trials we went through, only now realizing myself that we couldn’t have made it without all of our unique skills.

The knowledge I have gained over the years is serving me well. In between Liam’s transformations, I do my best to describe the environment leading into each encounter. Was it a horrid smell, or were there blood on the walls? My knowledge of nature displays details of the phycomid, and the smell that made us all have to battle despite constantly losing our lunches.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice Shalelu in the back of our caravan group. She seems to have a look of approval. She’s taught me almost everything I know, but this is probably the first time that she’s actually found out I’ve been paying attention to what she’s told me this entire time.

I close my eyes and look down to hide the small smirk on my face, we probably won’t have this much fun for awhile. As a new Scion for the Amatatsu family, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us to rebuild them to their former glory.

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Liam is the man, and he wrote this all by himself. also, someone is reading his journal. that asshole.

Liam’s third entry:

I was nervous. I can’t tell the others how I feel. I’m so nervous all the time. I wonder when I will wake up to have Zack kill me in righteousness. I’m changing, but I still wake in cold sweats fearing for my life amidst a sea of “friends.” Just thinking about it again makes me want to vomit again.

Knowing what we did, I should have been calm doing this show, but with Ameiko back, and having been adopted into some family, I feel refreshed and renewed. Desna be praised; this really has been a turning point for me. If I could I’d share these journals with everyone but I still feel a bit weird, awkward, and out of place. These are all good people doing good things. I have weights upon my back. I still have my brother’s jacket. I can see where the missile hit him. I still have that burned hole near my stomach. I can feel his blood on the fabric. I digress.
I have a new face now. So being on stage was easy. Seeing Ameiko reminded me of my new strength. I had to think ahead though. I had six spells left. 6. Make em’ count.

I stepped out on the stage and immediately I was not myself. My jacket wasn’t there. I wasn’t grungy. The dirt was washed clean from me. I was manicured, my hair was cut and smoothed back, my vest was fresh and clean, and my face was covered. With my mask, I was anyone. I was the announcer. My light shown overhead. And I was lost again.

“Welcome everyone! Ameiko, welcome back. This here is a tribute to you. Not only to bring you up to speed (though she needs nothing, she knows all) but also to entertain you and our group for so patiently waiting as we have tried to resuscitate you.

“Foregoing the parts I care not to stomach. Let us whisk you away to the action.”

As I wave out the actors, Zack lumbers out still clad in armor and lurching forward and tripping on a root but quickly surefooted and planted like a wall, Taylong, I mean Tayllon, lopes forward taking his long strides as he does until he is where he needs to be and immediately stopping staring out into the crowd, and Mira darting forward and about. I haven’t seen her this happy in nearly a week. It makes my lips curl into a smile.

I flash between characters, hardly looking about to my fellow actors as I narrate and change into any enemy as needed. The irony is not lost on me and I enjoy the fact of being cleansed from this earth. I enjoy the fact too that Liam is not on the battlefield most of the times. Maybe that will change though.

I only catch glimpses, realizing who I am as I flash between scenes.

We gather holy water in the graveyard.

We’re walking through the city (1 spell gone, this I note) surveying the dragon and fighting the giant lobsters.

We fight the bird people and the catapult (2nd spell) and I mutter under my breath every time I die, “good riddance.”

We meet Zaiobe only to be attacked by her as we leave the castle (3 spells down) and to have Spivey intercede and save us. (Spivey was kind enough to play herself during this bit)

The spider monster (four) and the quickling taxidermist came next. I was wounded in this battle so I was myself this time but I felt happy and was happy to be so. I was event trying to make Tayllon laugh as he carried me “off stage” but I don’t think he got it. I don’t know if I will ever see him smile much.

But back in character, I had to do the visions Mira saw. Those were exercises for me. I’ve run my whole life but even that left my winded.

Next we found the skullchild (I think Ameiko enjoyed seeing me pretend to be a child. I personally enjoyed crafting the garments for me to wear during this bit. Black knee-high socks, brown trousers with floppy feet at the knees, and a bony shirt with a skull mask? Hilarious. I think Zack chuckled at it as well. But I wonder what made him smile).

We met Kelda (played by herself but infinitely harder to work with; she didn’t know when to say her lines even after we repeated our own several times… in a row… at least she’s pretty). The ogre was five.

Last we fought the troglodytes and spearchuckers (five spells down… the finale is all that is left).

And with my last spell, and with Mira’s help, we reveal to the caravan Oji-sama, the chests, the warding box, and the visions (I milked that 6th spell for all it was worth but in the end had to resort to narration and prestidijidijitation).

And just like that, hours had passed but I wasn’t winded until the mask came off. When I was me again, I hurt all over. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I thanked everyone for watching and told Ameiko I was happy to see her awake again, and I was, but as usual, I stalked off. I prayed to Desna. I laid open my coat as always and laid upon it staring at the stars. I felt for the grass that inevitably would sprout through the remnant left by that one missile. That missile that changed everything.

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Visions of Jade

In Mira’s hands was an ornate wooden box. The sides were orange and its lid blue. Around the box’s entirely was a painting of a dragon depicted in Tian style. Knowing for sure this must be the box her grandfather had referred to, she opened it hoping whatever was hidden inside would be able to help Ameiko. As Mira opened the warding box, an emerald glow flashed before each of the party members eyes, which soon transitioned into blackness.

Each member of the party was subsequently inundated with a rapid series of visions.
An army of terrible fiends – with burning skin, glaring eyes, and sharp tusks, wearing strange armor and wielding exotic weapons – emerge in a storm from a vast forest, then descend upon a nation populated by Tian people.
This vision is swiftly followed by another: a young Tian man dressed in royal robes stands over a simple well, a friend by his side. Suddenly, the friends grows nearly three times in size and is sheated in a frightening suit of jade armor. The jade warrior draws a sword and striked down his royal friend, then holds the bloody sword aloft in triumph.
A third vision follows, this time of a young Tian man handing a beautiful sword to a richly dressed Uflen man in exchange for a bag of gold.
Finally, the vision fades, and the party members see Ameiko waking from her deep sleep, but she is dressed in the finery of an empress. She rises from sleep not in a humble Varisian caravan, but from a resting spot withing the arms of a jade throne.

Despite the visions having passed through the minds of the party in mere seconds, the party awakens discovering a new sense of awareness and knowledge.
The land invaded by the fiends was Minkai, the man murdered by the jade warrior was Emperor Shigure of Minkai.
The Kaijitsu’s true family name is Amatatsu, one of the five royal families of Minkai – indeed, the last surviving royal family.
The young Tian man with the sword was Rokuro Kaijitsu, formerly Amatatsu Tsutoku, selling the family’s legendary sword Suishen to the Ulfen merchant Fynn Snaevald in the city of Kalsgard to finance his family’s flight and exile from Minkai.
Suishen, a relic of the Amatatsu family is an intelligent weapon, and can impart much more knowledge of the Amatatsu family legacy if recovered.
Ameiko is the last full-blooded heir of the Amatatsu line.

The party stood astonished at the knowledge imparted within the each of them. They also immediately felt very at home with the statuette within the warding box, their concentration only being interrupted as a tiny spirit of a green translucent tian dragon flew into the vault quickly encircling each of them, then moving as if dancing above the statuette before flying into it. The party knew immediately they held a powerful relic of Minkai in their hands, the Amatatsu Seal. They quickly closed the Warding Box, knowing the seals energies could easily be detected by those looking for it.

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Liam's Second Vision
Affectionately known as "Liam's Second Coming"

Desna gave me a second vision last night.

I was naked; just as I was when first born into this world and just as when Desna gave me the breath of life again. I was on top of that flat mountain again, but there was no wasteland surrounding it as there is when I’m not dreaming. I want to say “in real life” but I know that these dreams are now a part of my reality—of my life. Cosmic colors swirled around us and stars shot across the skies like streaks of light. I began to approach her.

As I drew nearer she began to talk. She told me that the three who I met in the swamp were going to be drawn into an epic journey soon—one that coincided with mine.

When she spoke, I could smell flowers and it was easier to breathe. My chest didn’t hurt at all and I felt like I could float above the land.

She continued to tell me that Koya and Sandru and Ameiko would be traveling with the three and that the perils would be drastic. She told me that if ever I had wanted to save anyone, I must go on this journey with Sandru. This would be a test of my newfound powers as well as penance for what sins I have done. I would have to save Sandru she told me. I believed her. I felt that everyone I’ve met since talking with Walthus has needed a savior in some sense of the term.

I had arrived in front of her. I don’t remember this part well. I remember she was gigantic, but I can’t remember her face anymore. I almost remember her as being the colors of the cosmos. I felt like I could fit in the palm of her hand yet with godly grace she touched my forehead and I could feel new life spring within me again. I began to feel warm like I had been lowered into a bath.

She told me that as I prove my worth to her and as I prove to myself that I have changed, I will continue to find new blessings from her each day.

I wanted to thank her but the words caught in my throat and she was gone. I was in the wasteland again. I was on the flat mountain; the one whose name I said I’d adopt but still can’t remember to say. I still had a bit of the wood from the spear that introduced me to Desna. I was wearing my brother’s coat still. I heard a dog howl in the distance. I knew it was time to move on. Even though it was the dead of night I began to sweat under the weighted heat of the pounding sun. I felt like I was sweating heat.

I then awoke. Desna had blessed me alright as I had sweated acid right through most of the bed.

Reminder: When meeting Desna, ask for 15 gold for the bed.

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The Beginning

Oathday, 3 Pharast 4711
Sandru’s caravan had set out from Magnimar at the crack of dawn two days earlier. Hearing news of fiercer goblin attacks near Sandpoint, Sandru decided to hire on additional guards both in Magnimar and along the road. Though Sandru prepared for the worst, the journey turned out to be calm and uneventful. Still, upon arrival in Sandpoint, the effects of the goblin attacks had been taking a toll, depending on who you asked. Less caravans, individuals, and groups had been traveling to Sandpoint as of late. As a result, business has lulled and the town was less occupied then normal. Upon the caravan’s arrival, Sandru dismissed the workers, unsure of when the next job would be. Sandru asked his workers to join him later at the Rusty Dragon as he needed to take care of business until then.

Zack decided to visit the Temple of Desna, Iain decided to see the town guard, and Tayllon went to see the town’s foremost goblin expert. In all, they learned that the last reported goblin attack was about five days prior. The injuries were significant enough to warrant Father Zantus’ healing, and to match other reported attacks in the last weeks, was done by goblins armed with fireworks. Given the previous regularity of the attacks, it was puzzling that Sandru’s caravan, a prime target, was left alone along the journey. The three mused on this as they winded down and kicked back at the Rusty Dragon.

Excited to see the first non-regular faces in a week, Mira brought them all drinks and asked about the journey. After making small talk, Mira and the other staff began moving tables about setting up a stage. Ameiko was set to play tonight, which was a rarity, but given the stagnation, not quite a surprise. As luck would have it, since not many performers would be traveling up from Magnimar to perform at the theater, it was likely to be a busy night for the Rusty Dragon, even if it was to be a mostly local audience. Iain decided to see if he could help get more of a crowd and wandered about Sandpoint.

Later that evening, the Rusty Dragon was fairly full. Sandru’s caravan and workers had taken up a corner nearest to the stage while the locals filled many of the remaining seats. While the patrons were eating their dinner meals, Ameiko sat on stage tuning her Shamisen, then following up with rather soothing ambient music. As the meal was winding down, Ameiko stood the greet the audience and was met with a smattering of applause. She thanked everyone for coming out and started her set with several folk songs. She paid tribute to each of the local peoples of the Lost Coast, and ended her set with a song sung in her native Tien language.

Before her last song of the night, Iain spotted Sheriff Hemlock entering the Dragon. Iain tried to motion him over, but with the volume of the audience, Hemlock didn’t notice Iain, and instead nailed something new to the “Help Wanted” board before staying to listen to Ameiko’s last song. After the final song of the night, Hemlock left. Tayllon quickly excused himself from the group while Iain and Zack went to see what Hemlock had posted on the Help board. Zack and Iain learned that the goblin bounty had been reinstated and while they were discussing taking it up, Mira interjected, also interested in the bounty, finding herself bored and missing the open road. They agreed to meet and set out the following morning. While musing about any others who may be interested in helping, they ran into Tayllon, who also knew of the reinstated bounty and was also interested They retired for the night, readying themselves for the journey the following morning.

Fireday, 4 Pharast 4711
Most of the goblin attacks occurred along the Lost Coast road outside the Brinestump marsh. Knowing that, the town guard assumed the perpetrators were the Licktoad Tribe, the goblins native to the Brinestump Marsh. The bounty had been set at 10gp per relatively fresh goblin ear, as well as a 300gp bounty for the head of the Licktoad leader, Chief Gutwad. Knowing where to head was one thing, unfortunately, the four had little to no idea how to wander the swamp. It was common knowledge that Sandpoint’s fishermen fish along the tributaries of the Brinestump so they asked them for advice.

As it turns out, there were two fishing trails off the Lost Coast road. However, since the original road had, over the years, become plagued with goblins, the fishermen now use a closer trail. The party also learned that the trail eventually would lead to the Walthus Proudstump’s shack. Walthus was a hermit known to be the self appointed warden of the swamp and it was suggested that if anyone knew how to best navigate the Brinestump, it would be Walthus. The group set out for the Brinestump soon afterward.

Being a local fishing hole, it didn’t take very long to get there from Sandpoint. The fishing trail was easy enough to find, and had a clear path to take. The swamp proved to be ominous and foreboding, but the group took caution in their stride. After crossing several of the wider tributaries of Sog’s Bay by way of rarely traveled bridges, Iain spotted an ominous shadow in the distance. He alerted the group but by the time they looked in the general direction, the shadow was gone. The group took further caution as they trundled onward eventually making it to Walthus’ “shack.”

As it turned out, Walthus’ shack was actually a stone two story cottage standing out oddly amidst the wilderness, save for the swamp’s overgrowth all over the shack. Politely, they knocked on the door and were greeted by a halfling. After some short introductions, the group was let inside where Walthus seated them at his dining room table. Unfortunately, Walthus knew little about the goblins other than that they lived somewhere to the southeast. While speaking with the party, Tayllon noticed an odd, unnatural rippling effect on the halflings hand and attempted to call the halfling out on it. Unfortunately, nobody else noticed and the halfling was unfazed by Tayllon’s aggressive attempts to offer aid. The halfling did mention that he had been previously injured chasing a rather large snake off his property and was in need of strong magical healing of which, he stated the group most likely lacked.

Sensing the need to question the halfling more, or at the least find an opportunity to explore the rest of the shack, Mira offered to heal Walthus’ physical injuries, but at the last minute used her divine powers to blink the halfling seconds into the future. With a short window of opportunity, the party rushed to each of the open doors as well as upstairs. Soon afterward, the party was assaulted by a hideous faceless abomination that tore a gaping wound into Zack. The creature was defeated before it could incapacitate any of the party members and before it could flee into the swamp. Shortly after defeating the creature, the group found the real Walthus, who had been hiding from the creature having attempted to fight it off shortly before the group arrived.

In gratitude, Walthus offered his magical cloak to the party, as well as his home as a safe house while they explored the swamp. The group took the halfling up on the offer and learned as much as they could from the swamp warden. Indeed the halflings did live somewhere to the southeast, likely not far off the older fishing trail, which corroborated with what the fishermen had told the group. Outside that, there wasn’t much else Walthus could tell them. Worn out by the ardors of combat, the group decided to take rest before trekking out into the swamp once more.

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We Be Goblins!

Commanded by Chief Gutwad to find Scribbleface’s source of fireworks, the four strongest goblins of the Licktoad tribe (except for Chief Gutwad of course) set out following one of Scribbleface’s crude maps.

They fought hairy-legs-eats-goblin-babies-many and lived and found themselves outside of a shipwreck where the cannibal goblin Vorka lived. Unafraid of Vorka’s horse guardian, the goblins fought it off and started climbing the derelict only to find two dogs chained and barking. Soon, Vorka appeared from atop one of the masts slinging fire at the brave goblin heroes.

In a fierce battle, only one of the heroes died. The other three lugged Vorka’s cache back to the tribe where they were met with acclaim. Soon, the goblins learned that Vorka had her own map which showed paths to possibly even more fireworks. The heroes were sent out again and returned later with more fireworks and even more treasure.

With all the newfound wealth and fireworks, Chief Gutwad decided it was time to use their shiny new weapons against the man-folk.

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