Dates: 34th-44th Days of the Season of Fire (Summer)
Year: 4652 1A
Location: City of Xing Ta; Mt. Agate; City of Hiyokuna; Burkhan Uul
The seekers wait within the chamber of healing of Xing Ta’s tower for the decision of the Coveness and her council regarding their release. Several hours pass without event before an envoy arrives to meet with the seekers. Initially posing as their escorts to a portal back to the Material Plane, the envoy reveals itself as a team of assassins sent to murder the seekers and prevent them from leaving the Shadowwild.
The assassins almost succeed in their task before Gohan, the monkey tag-along, shapeshifts into the form of a massive Roc and rescues the seekers, plucking them from the tower and flying away from the city. As they escape, Fen Chi appears with a legion of city guards to stop the assassins and contain the battle, granting the seekers a safe escape from the city.
Gohan deposits the seekers in the forest near the portal from which they first arrived, shapeshifting again into a humanoid form. Cloaked in animal furs and a wooden mask, “Gohan” keeps their true identity private as they make rounds among the seekers to restore at least some of their health so that they can escape the Shadowwild, even resurrecting Plyn who had suffered mortal wounds from the attack. Before leaving the seekers, “Gohan” warns them of a strange prophecy made by someone belonging to House Shimazaki, foreshadowing a war between the eladrani of the Feywild and the drow of the Shadowwild. They cite needing to follow up on their tasks and disappear, leaving the seekers to fend for themselves.
In short order, the seekers encounter another team of humanoids within the forest: a small outfit of warriors from the Ten’No’Ha, the same order to which Ji Ren belongs. The two parties meet and the seekers return to the portal where an encampment is established to house a squadron of Izanagi’s paladins within the Shadowwild. The portal to the Material Plane has been stabilized and exploratory expeditions into the world of the drow have become more aggressive, sanctioned by both the Lord Deneki and Tseng Chi Ong.
Upon crossing the portal back into the Material Plane, the seekers find themselves in the midst of the Season of Fire and in the company of yet more paladins, Tseng among them. Ji Ren gives a full report to her captain before he escorts them back to the Golden Tower of Hiyokuna to meet with the Lord and return Gotama.
Tetsu Tora departs from the seekers to visit the slums in which he grew up as they come before the Lord and their sponsors, meeting both General Kizoku and the Lady Shimazaki. Elated and relieved to have his son back home, the Lord declares himself indebted to the seekers. Salty that it wasn’t by his authority that found the prince, General Kizoku leaves them to tend to his troops. Satisfied by their performance, the Lady Shimazaki makes good on her agreements with Ziyou Jingshen and Singh Gunja by renewing her contract of sponsorship with Jing and releasing Singh’s family, who have actually received noble treatment by the Lady during Singh’s absence.
Jing is appointed by the Lord to be the Master of Ceremonies of a gala to celebrate Gotama’s return and his upcoming 18th birthday. The seekers spend a week in Hiyokuna preparing and waiting for the party: Jing and Singh work together to rehearse and hire other performers, Plyn (who’s budget has been unfrozen) resumes work on his projects and assists his uncle visiting from the Feywild to stabilize the portal to the Shadowwild, Tetsu remains with Gotama as his friend, and Ji Ren pays a visit to the Temple for ritual cleansing after spending time in the land of the drow.
During her meditation at the Temple, Ji Ren is dropped in on by an unexpected visitor: the goddess Izanami herself. They converse for what seems to only be a few minutes, the goddess curious about the first eladrani to enter the Shadowwild and who chose to kill some of the drow there. Enlightened about the nature of one Izanagi’s most powerful disciples, Izanami leaves Ji Ren with a simple yet difficult question: what is it that you fear? The goddess’s magic, however, left her reeling and unconscious, only to be awoken by Tseng hours later.
All attend the gala in a week’s time in good health and high spirits. Jing and Singh as well his family put on a phenomenal show for all the noble houses, and even Ji Ren and Tseng entertain the crowd as they perform a beautiful dance originating from their homeland. A few seekers are also reintroduced to people from their pasts: Singh meets the noble girl, now a woman, who gave him his first kiss, Meilin Modi, the newly appointed Haku of Sakumotsu; Tetsu also meets someone from his past, but not nearly as pleasurable of an experience: General Kizoku was the commander responsible for the destruction of his monastery while plotting to assassinate the Lord Deneki. Tetsu challenges the general to hand-to-hand combat in the middle of the gala and defeats him only barely, walking away with heavy wounds as the general is arrested after being exposed for his plans.
Jing quickly puts on a performance to distract the crowd after the battle to keep spirits high as Singh is pulled aside by an unexpected gala attendee: Pakhwan, his underworld contact who assigns him to his assassination tasks. Singh had failed to steal a mysterious scroll from Lady Shimazaki, which led to his sister being framed and his family under arrest until he had succeeded in finding and returning the prince to clear his name. However, his employer had not forgotten and still wants him to complete the job, or suffer the consequences of breaking the contract. Begrudgingly agreeing to complete the job, Pakhwan informed him of one caveat: he must work with fellow seeker, Plyn, who is far more educated on matters of the arcane and is also deep in the ranks of an underworld guild. The two meet and decide to enlist the help of the other three seekers to ensure the success of their mission.
The seekers travel to Burkhan Uul, one of the three dwarven kingdoms, to acquire a map of the Juren Canyons, the location of where Lady Shimazaki has hidden the scroll after Singh’s attempted theft. They meet Oyuun, current guildmaster of the Bunn’o Cartographer’s Guild, who is visiting with her family friend, Temür Bolad, a retired dwarf warrior living alone in the lowland woods of the mountain. They purchase a beautifully carved canoe from Temür, who also warns them about the beasts living in the Juren Canyons.
Armed with the most accurate map of the region, a sturdy canoe, and their resolve, the seekers travel northward to the Juren Canyons to retrieve this mysterious scroll of House Shimazaki…