Exalted: Great Forks

Chapter Two

Zhao and Kage land and approach the camp on foot. They see the camp flies the tricolor flag of Great Forks – scarlet, blue and gold. The two are challenged for their identities and invited into Camp Emerald. Zhao and Kage tell Sergeant Tylel they are investigators investigating a connection between the Blight and a series of disappearances and murders in Great Forks.
Zhao and Kage are approached by an immaculate monk who introduces himself as Gangfeng. Zhao returns the introduction and Gangfeng recognizes him as Fenfang’s friend. A tense moment and verbal sparring follows as Gangfeng poorly conceals an apparent dislike for Zhao.
Sergeant Tylel introduces them to the House of Learning scholar Taga and his research students Taga and Baeda. Taga explains Camp Emerald was established to research this Malfean intrusion. Taga uses an enchanted stone which flashes when in the presence of a Malfean influence. The stone flashes while the group is talking prompting Zhao to request they visit the Blight.
Zhao, Kage, Gangfeng, Taga and escorting soldiers arrive at the edge of the Blight. Zhao enters the Blight and confirms the center is a square shaped hole of unknown depth spouting flames. He then meditates in an attempt to recall the memories of that disastrous day night. Zhao remembers frustration with his father Pei Shen for pulling the camp so far off the main road. Pei Shen patiently explained it was a favor for Tai Shen, his favorite sister in law. Tai Shen was married to Yun Liu Shen (Pei’s brother) a ne’er do well actor of middling talent. Yun, it seems, wanted to perform a play for the troupe and being this far off the road meant less chance for travelers to stop by and watch. Although Pei enjoyed performing for travelers, he agreed simply because Tai asked. While Yun Lui began his play, Zhao remembers Pei asked him to help Aunt Po Lan with the troupe’s costumes She was a superstitious sort and Zhao was to help distract and calm her down. Then he was in a tent tending to his favorite niece Cheong who had wandered off and returned sick when the sounds of screaming and long flames appeared.
Meanwhile, Kage investigates the area and learns the charred skeletons if moved then vanish and appear in the place they had fallen. The group returned to the camp. Zhao uses his Zenith caste ability on a skeleton to no effect.
Once back at camp, Gangfeng directs veiled vehemence towards Zhao and Zhao replies back with cool calm. Gangfeng tells Sergeant Tylel he must return to Great Forks as soon as possible. Sergeant Tylel lit the signal fire. Kage meets the Wagon Sprit, Zhao and Kage tell Sergeant Tylel and Tage they are returning to Great Forks. The leave the camp towards to the main road but instead cut across intending to circle around back the Blight. Kage spots and captures a scout and the two return with him to the camp. They interrogate the scout and learn his name is Laren and he works for a mercenary group known as the Spite of Skulls. Zhao convinces Laren in exchange for work to tell them what he knows of the Spite’s plans. The Spite of Skulls was hired to scout Emerald Camp. The hirer is arriving very soon then they are to attack the camp and take no prisoners. Gangfeng cancels his return plans and stays to help defend the camp. Zhao and Kage decide to stay as well.
That night the camp is attacked. Zhao and Kage rush from the tent to defend themselves. Zhao joins the battle at the front gate with Sergeant Tylel. Kage, seeing assassins discarding Great Forks uniforms after murdering the watch tower guards, leaps at them. With Zhao (towel whipping) and Kage’s (stab stabbing) help, the defenders drove back the attacking forces to past the front gate. Just beyond the camp’s light, the attackers are regrouping.

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