Exalted: Tales of the Nighted City

Return to Champoor

Campaign History, Part 15

While preparing the re-purposed Ekos barge to transport the Unchained secretly back to Champoor, Shadow Scorpion and Mambu visited Tan Khari. They updated him on the political situation in Champoor and corrected many of his advisors’ misapprehensions about the standing of the royal houses.

Tan Khari understood that with the recent battle on the streets it would not be long before the satrap would send another larger army to investigate. He decided it was time to leave Sleeping Man. Shadow Scorpion suggested that the best place for them to plan to return to power and stay unseen might be in Champoor itself. He explained that they had a fortress underground which none but they knew of, The Ivory Bastion. Tan Khari, seeing no deception in Shadow Scorpion, agreed to this plan.

Mambu volunteered to help the young sultan prepare to leave, seeing his small but still impressive collection of ancient books. Reading through the more interesting volumes, Mambu found a passage about the early days of Champoor back in the First Age that described a city basically where Sleeping Man was. What interested him was that it made no mention of the hills the city was built on, only plains.

Intrigued by this discovery, Mambu went to a secluded area on top of the “head” of the hills and summoned a blood ape with the task of “dig as far down as you can.” The ape dug for a few hours, tearing through dirt and stone until he reached a metal plate his claws could not penetrate. Mambu inspected the metal plate, finding it to be of unknown construction but with surprising artistry. A nearby monastery had heard the howls of the demonic blood ape and sent monks to banish the demon, but Mambu had already dismissed it. Mambu convinced them he’d seen the demon digging and there must be something evil in the pit, leading the monks to set wards around the area and fill the pit back in themselves.

In the morning the barge set off down river to return to Champoor. Shadow Scorpion had sent a message via his hawk to one of his lieutenants informing her of this smuggling shipment, and everything went smoothly on reaching the docks. The lieutenant informed him that odd things had been happening in recent days: one of his other lieutenants had been murdered mysteriously, the ship he was supposed to return on received a surprise inspection, several of his agents had been outed, and she felt as if she was being followed. After offloading their “slaves” and secretly transporting them to Ka Bar’s school, Shadow Scorpion set off to investigate these events.

Meanwhile, Mambu helped Tan Khari, his advisor Korvis and his bodyguard Deisetzu become at home in the Ivory Bastion. Shadow Scorpion and Mambu had decided to be up front with their identity as Solar Exalted, and Tan Khari took the revelation well, though Deisetzu did not. To ease her mind, Mambu decided to craft her a weapon fit to guard the sultan. Before starting his project, he got her drunk to see who she really was under all that duty and honor. Understand the strength of her character, he felt he could make something that fit her. Mambu forged Deisetzu a katana of exceptional quality. He also committed a sorcerous working to blade that increased the bodyguard’s skills when her charge was in danger. Deisetzu marveled at this creation.

Mambu felt he needed more answers about his discovery in Sleeping man, so he conducted research in the Tome of the Labyrinthine Mind. He reached new depths in the mystical book, seeing disorganized and fragmented notes. While still brilliant and revealing new understanding of crafting and the occult, the notes also showed a growing paranoia and madness in the author. One page referenced a “solution to Aegathar,” something called “Final Wisdom,” and how a ceremonial dagger would be an added level of security beyond the Words of Activation. Also found here were further plans for the diaklave that led Mambu to decipher the measurement notation that had puzzled him before. The detailed schematics he’d found earlier for First Wisdom were not for him at all, but something much, much larger.

Shadow Scorpion followed up with one of his lieutenants, Rain, that was supposedly to have a meeting with Bronze Ledger at her tea house later that day. He found Rain being attacked by a living shadow. He rescued her and defeated the being, which left only a scrape of cloth behind. Telling her to lay low, he impersonated her and went to the meeting in her place. Bronze Ledger did not come to the meeting but her lieutenant did make an offer for “Rain” to switch to their gang. Shadow Scorpion as Rain asked for more time to consider the offer and they set another appointment for later than night.

Shadow Scorpion showed Mambu the scrape of cloth and described the living shadow he found. Mambu recognized the spell that could summon a shadow to be used as a spy or assassin, meaning that Bronze Ledger had a sorcerer of some kind in her employment.

Shadow Scorpion (still disguised as Rain) and Mambu went separately to the tea house for the next meeting. However, it was an ambush and Shadow Scorpion was poisoned. Easily defeating the would-be assassin from The Dark Waves Brotherhood despite being drugged, Shadow Scorpion decided to take him for interrogation and burn down the tea house. As they prepared their arson, three shadow-men attack them. Using the fire to their advantage, the heroes destroyed the attackers and left through a secret door to the underground tunnels with the still-unconscious assassin.

Comments

Oh, and before they left Sleeping Man, Mambu examined the Dragonblooded officer’s possessions. The satrap’s orders were to recapture the escaped slaves at all costs, and to make an example of them by crucifying one every ten miles along the river.

The jade arm-cuff Mambu discovered to be an artifact that allows communication between those wearing a matching set. He believes with some sorcerous tinkering he could “listen in” on communications between those wearing the one that matches this, and he could even make his own version for the heroes to use.

Return to Champoor
Tkniemann

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