The Daiklave Brigade

Part III: The Mighty, The Fallen

The Fallen Wolf of the Cutting Sea appears, and speaks of bitter news.

Some distance from Skolis Island, Beija spots a black war-ship following them. Repairs need to be done on the Daiklave and it is in no shape to outrun an enemy vessel, so they stop and prepare for battle, thinking that perhaps this ship is some ally of Hastoro.

As it approaches, they see that the crew of the ship consists of shambling, dead men, and they prepare themselves for war – but the other captain takes no offensive action, instead getting into a small boat and sailing closer. As he boards the Daiklave, he gives the heroes quite a shock.

His name is Fallen Wolf of the Cutting Sea, and he is a broken Solar Exalt. His caste-mark is a bleeding wound, and his Charms are tied to death and the dead. He explains that he was once a Solar Exalted, but that he was captured by the Silver Prince and turned into the monstrosity he is today: A Deathknight, an Abyssal Exalt. The Silver Prince, he says, is the reincarnated form of the Bodhisattva Anointed in Dark Waters, powerful beyond measure and with many deathknights serving him loyally.

Fallen Wolf explains that the Prince is amassing a great fleet, and intends to invade the West with it. It will be some time before he is ready, but he has intended to test a fraction of his strength against the Neck, Beija’s homeland, which is precariously close to his own realm of Skullstone. The Fallen Wolf would intervene, but he is busy stopping a threat from the Far West: Even as the Silver Prince moves to capture the Northwest, a dangerous raksha named Unspoken Promise is planning to invade the Southwest, and Fallen Wolf must deal with him.

Learning that Azure Veil is a servant of Unspoken Promise, the crew of the Daiklave summon her using Palimo’s conch, and with combined forces they destroy her. Fallen Wolf thanks them for their aid, but says that he must hurry further west – for the Wyld Hunt is on his tail, having chased him since he destroyed another minion of Unspoken Promise in the kingdom of Lewyn.

They part company, and the Daiklave sails northwards to the Neck, hoping to intercept the black fleet of the Silver Prince before it destroys the islands that Beija call home; Fallen Wolf continues west on his own ship, Hope Undrowned.

During the long journey north, Dr. An Daojian finds that Jewel’s condition has worsened; his half-fey nature means his Essence is strange, and his human side is dying while his raksha side is not. To focus his mind, Daojian needs to practice the Wood Dragon Style, which he once mastered – and to remember how to work this style, he recruits Beija as his student. Jewel is soon cured, and Beija soon passes out from the hallucinogenic drugs required to practice the esoteric Wood Dragon Style.

When she awakes, the Daiklave has almost reached the Neck. It makes landfall on the island of Petraya, in the west, where the Deathknight fleet will likely invade.

Here, Lin Kuei dons the simple seashell garb of the natives, and goes ashore pretending to be a wise man from another island. He warns the locals of the deathknight invasion, and urges them to assemble an army. Unfortunately, they are led by a pious fool named Yasimbo, who wishes to solve the problem with prayers to the Ocean Father. As Beija speaks to his wife and learns of a sorceress who lives on the island, Lin Kuei tries to persuade Yasimbo to do something other than pray to the Ocean Father, but he fails.

Beija climbs the great mountain on Petraya Island, for she remembers this place from the First Age. Atop it dwells an Air Dragon, who speaks of her as the Giver of Shape. Its name is Rudra, and it speaks of Beija’s First Age incarnation as “Beothar”. Owing her a favour from another life, Rudra promises that it will help her in the upcoming battle. Beija climbs down the other side of the mountain, there to find the demon-blooded sorceress Tiana – she recruits her too as a prospective ally, although the sorceress clearly practices dark and dangerous arts.

Lin Kuei, meanwhile, grows weary of the old man. He uses the Eclipse Oath to force Yasimbo to aid the island in whatever way he can; Yasimbo responds in desperation, proclaiming to the islanders that they must sacrifice women to the Ocean Father. The villagers protest, and to prevent total chaos, Lin Kuei assumes direct control. Letting his anima shine, he calls forth to nine Children of Siakal, promising them blood and prayer if they come to his aid. The Children – giant shark-gods – materialize in the village and accept the bargain.

As Beija returns, the two Solar Exalted work in tandem to organize the locals, trying to build a makeshift army in addition to the nine gods, the Air Dragon, and the sorceress whose support they have. Their position is strong, but dark clouds gather on the horizon, and the fleet of the Deathknights approaches quickly…

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