When we last left our heroes, they had just defeated the evil Neeldrick Volray. In order to do this, they had to travel to the very heart of the land occupied by the tainted spirits. After meeing much resistance, and defeating Neeldrick, their suspicions about an even darker foe were confirmed. Their next task was to find out who this mysterious Negerai was, and where he resided, so they could retrieve the stone taken from Arie's family and remove this awful threat.
As they were in the woods contemplating their next move, Raven and Tupaia Dagroth heard a twig snap behind them. Wheeling around with their weapons at the ready, they did not see any great foe. Instead they spotted a strange little girl with busy hair.
Gor, the acting guide for the heroes, immediately recognized it as a child of his own race, the korobokuru. He immediately began to chatter with the young girl in their strange racial language. The girl revealed that she had been living in this area her whole life. Her parents came from a village that was nearby. Gor knew this village, for it was also where he came from, and he told the adventurers that he left it when it was destroyed by the spirits some time ago. When the girl's parents were killed, she took up residence in the woods with her brother.
The party asked her many questions about her ability to survive in the woods, which was almost uncanny, but they also found out that this girl had seen much in her 10 years of life. She knew of a great monster that sometimes dwelt in the forest. This monster was in control of all the evil spirits of the land, and he seemed to be very evil himself. She described him as being around 12ft tall, with glowing green eyes, and two spiral horns coming out of his head. From the way she talked, the creature was half beast, and half humanoid... walking on twos or fours whenever it suited. The heroes had their first description of the Negerai!
But the girl's problems were many. She was not alone in the woods, for she lived with her older brother. Gor found out that the brother had been captured by an evil band of samurai who were based nearby. They were Lord Oroki's men, and their base seemed to function as some sort of liason point between the human inhabitants and the evil spirits.
Being of kind heart, Vanoviel and her friends said they would rescue the young lass' brother. So, they set off to the south after the girl, who was leading them to the outpost.
On their way to the outpost, Raven scouted ahead and spotted some more evil spirits called Gekido No Oni. They were lying in ambush over a small mountain pass. When she reported this to her fellow travellers, they all decided to try and go around. when they got up and over the hill bordering the pass, they ran headlong into another group of the evil creatures, however, these were dispatched in no more than 18 seconds by shots from Raven's bow and a barrage of cuts from Arie and Vanoviel.
Continuing on, they spotted what they were looking for: A lone samurai guard manning an outpost gate that led into a fortification. The heroes made a plan. Tupaia would transform into a mink using her druidic powers. She would then run down to the man on guard and disable the man using a prayer from O'Ma which would reduce his health to almost nothing. Then when the man was helpless, Raven would finish him with her bow before he could ring the bell nearby and sound the alarm.
Tupaia went about the plan without a hitch, but when it came to for Raven to take the shot... she missed wide. The startled man was just about to ring the bell when the next arrow from Raven finished him.
Relieved, Kung grabbed the body and dragged it back into the woods. They were just about to enter the now abandoned post when more trouble arrived. The guard's overseer came to check the post. Jumping back into the woods, the party saw that the overseer was looking very alarmed. He was just about to ring the bell, when Kung did some quick thinking. He transformed into a copy of the guard they just killed. Using the guard's voice, he told the overseer that he was in the woods taking a piss.... quickly, he donned the dead man's armor and came straggling out of the woods looking like the dead guard.
The overseer was furious. He reprimanded Kung for leaving his post, and told him to kneel down. Drawing his sword with the intention of beheading the guard for his misconduct, the overseer raised it over his head. Just then, three arrows pierced his temples in succession, rendering him dead. Kung was saved....
Having averted the alarms, the heroes planned another attack. They would hold their ground at the outpost gate and wait for the samurai to come to them. The battle was begun by a flurry of fireball arrows from Raven and flamestrike spells from Tupaia. All hell broke loose in the compound as Samurai charged up to the gate, and archers appeared at the top of the building.
The battle was fierce, and the heroes took some injuries, but the samurai were eventually cut down or burned to death. The heroes cautiously made their way into the compound, knowing that the samurai were not the only occupants because they had seen Gekido-Oni around the place earlier.
When they opened the door to the main building, they found the spirits standing there at the ready. However this time, instead of a fight, the spirits wanted a parley. They put a protective covering of darkness over themselves and negotiated from the doorway of the building.
Van wanted to destroy them for their evil nature, but the spirits wished to go free. They would agree not to harm any of the prisoners inside the compound if the heroes would let them go. This was a dilemma for the party. They wanted to destroy the evil, but they did not want to bring harm to the prisoners. A few of their attempts to use clerical magic to break the stalemate failed. So they were forced to comply and give their word.
The spirits were allowed to walk past them, and they left the prisoners in their wake.... many of the prisoners were tainted and evil themselves. Among them was the little girl's brother. Gor took them under his care and thanked the heroes for their bravery.
The compound was searched for information and equipment, and the little girl's brother was tied up in order to be de-tainted later.
The heroes realized that the Negerai must be near, and that he was probably a ways to the south.
"Truth has no form."
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