Dates: 58th-59th Days of the Season of Fire (Summer)
Year: 4496 1A
Location: Kong Island (Hiyo-Khan Bay); Sakumotsu Region (Hiyokuna)
On their last morning on Kong Island, our heroes bid farewell to their new friends made in the Mu-Wonsung Tribe. Before leaving though, they learn that Zhou Chun’s suspicions were correct about a spy within the Tribe: Guoran Tan, the suspect, is in custody and has confessed to his betrayal. Tan also revealed that he is a member of the secretive Order of the Black Scythe, an organization of dissenters working against the Tribal Republic.
After a day of laborious rowing, they arrive in Sakumotsu with Captain Modi and his two surviving crew members. As they disembark, Captain Modi is met by the Haku of Sakumotsu: Noriko Modi, his estranged wife. After several minutes of arguing on the part of the Modis, our heroes learn that the Captain was meant to deliver desperately needed supplies to Sakumotsu for repairs, but his cargo was lost with his ship in the storm.
An hour or two is spent at a local tavern of questionable sanitation, named The Salty Fish, before Noriko is approached concerning the Holwej Fiends. Noriko informs Temür that the Fiends arrived in the region a month ago and have been terrorizing all they come across: raiding villages, burning homes, and murdering men, women, and children alike. A native druid, a half-orc, had been spying on the Fiends and was attempting to warn the human settlements about the attacks, but was taken by the Fiends in a recent strike two days prior.
Our heroes arrive at what is left of the village, witnessing to the charred corpses of the inhabitants before tracing the route the Fiends took upon leaving. As they track them into the rocky slopes outside of the Muzukashi Hills, they find the evidence of an attacked caravan and later the corpses of a few orcs that seemed to have gotten into a violent disagreement.
It is deeper among the rocky slopes that they finally catch up with a small outfit of orcs and their wolf pets, the druid prisoner in tow. Our heroes launch a surprise attack on the orcs, and successfully free the druid. Though there were only three of them, aided by their six wolves, the orcs proved to be a difficult challenge for our heroes; the druid allied herself with her rescuers and assumed the form of a mighty grizzly bear, killing many wolves in the fight.
Temür and Hideki interrogated the last surviving orc, learning that Temür’s axe was very likely in possession of Toragana, the leader of the Holwej Fiends. After disposing of him, the druid introduces herself as Emen-Gell and invites her rescuers back to her secret home within the caves deep among the hills. While tending to Kirina’s grievous wounds, she discusses the Fiends and is wiling to provide as much information as she can, but is unwilling to help in hunting them. She references foreboding visions concerning a great war to descend on Duniya, and her condemnation of the Holwej Fiends’ entanglement with the humans.
A red sun rises in the morning…