After defeating the Thorns legion, the Marukani celebrated and the heroes pondered what to do about the three Imperial legions still threatening the fortress-city of Mishaka. At that time, a mysterious stranger rode into camp; the Marukani whispered that it was the “Righteous Devil” a folk hero of the South. Who he really was he would not say, but he was there to fight the Empire and keep them out of the East. So he joined with our heroes.
Varg Silvermane and Naraka Cold-Eyes decided to act as envoys to Karal Linwei, leader of the Lookshy First Field Force, stuck inside Mishaka. En route they were harassed by air elementals, but made it in fine. Silver Star, Raven, and Righteous Devil decided instead to sneak in and sabotage the magitech of the Imperial legions. This involved Righteous Devil firing an implosion bow at their deactivated warstriders, and escaping by using a trebuchet to launch themselves into Mishaka, parrying arrow fire in flight. So the whole party got to meet with Karal Linwei, who was convinced that these “Anathema” would be useful against the Empire.
Linwei confided in them two pressing issues that she did not have the resources to investigate: a secret delivery of a magical weapon that might be ambushed, and reinforcements from Great Forks that might also be ambushed. Both were coming to Mishaka through the Mishaka Mountains, the former using extreme stealth.
Also in the city of Mishaka were old friends. Yanagi had reenlisted with the Lookshy military despite his advanced age, and was trading off roles as an artillery gunner and surgeon. Seven Devil Clever had embedded herself in a Nexus mercenary group, hiding her Lunar nature; she mentioned that she had made hunting forays into the Mishaka Mountains and brought back goats to supply the hungry soldiers.
In the night, the heroes decided to fly to the mountains and see if they could protect the secret weapons convoy from ambush. They were interrupted by the god of the Mishaka Mountains, Crystal Horns, who appeared as a great goat with adamantine horns and obsidian eyes. He was angry that a Lunar had been killing sacred goats, so the heroes mollified him with tribute. They then used their tracking skills to find the weapons convoy, which was slowly carting a large mysterious (and covered) artifact through mountain paths. The leader of the convoy was none other than Karal Satoshi, who turns out to be Linwei’s uncle (but lower ranked than she). He accepted the heros’ assistance, though he was troubled by them and particularly by the fact that they had killed Master Torek in the Realm.
Using a rock as a decoy “artifact”, Silver Star activated Stormwind Rider and hoped to trigger the ambush. He did, as four dark-clad Dragonblooded used countermagic on his Rider and began attacking with black jade reaver daiklaives. Despite them, and a sniper with a light implosion bow attacking from a nearby mountain slope, the heroes made short work of the ambush. They also took the implosion bow.
Next they turned to the issue of preventing the ambush on the Great Forks reinforcements. They decided to pray to Crystal Horns to get his attention, and offered him the jade weapons of the ambushers. Crystal Horns happened to like jade artifacts (to chew on), and so gave his blessings and pointed out where the ambush lay in wait. He also offered to help, on the condition that the bodies of the fallen not be looted or taken; this offer was accepted. The heroes found the ambush point, and were planning an assault when Crystal Horns’ son Yeshua showed up, bringing with him a fighting force of fifty quasi-sentient mountain goats. With these troops under his command, Varg rushed one of the ambush units of archers, while Silver Star aided with arrow-fire that had been poisoned by Cold Eyes. The Righteous Devil fired on another ambush unit of archers using the seized implosion bow. Set upon so suddenly and so brutally, the first archer unit was slain to a man, many by falling off the cliff they occupied. The second archer unit could not stop Righteous Devil’s rain of death, and so hastily retreated, along with the infantry group that lay in wait further down the path. As these infantry wheeled to leave, the leader used a Dragonblooded Charm and tried to envelop Silvermane’s goat-unit in flames. Varg was able to minimize casualties, and Silver Star made a legendary return shot that struck the Dragonblood leader across the cheek, infecting him with Yozi venom. He was carried off and his fate is unknown.
The Great Forks reinforcements found that they had been spared an ambush, and celebrated with their new Lunar and Solar friends. The heroes decided to go on ahead and see what their Marukani allies were up to; to their shock, they found that the gates of Mishaka had been breached, and the battle had been joined in earnest! Not only that, but the Imperial legions were activating a doomsday weapon: a Thousand-Forged Dragon!