|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
Venture Captain Amara Li patiently waits in a private room of the Gilded Lotus teahouse in Hisuikirasu, the capital of Kwanlai. Beside her sits a tengu woman wearing a rich green-and-gold kimono and an elaborate beaded headpiece, her possessions and feathers immaculate. Her regal appearance is overshadowed only by the sheathed katana at her side and the stern look of an experienced warrior upon her face. Amara Li speaks once everyone has arrived and had an opportunity to enjoy tea.
“Some time has passed since I have been able to enjoy the company of distinguished Pathfinders such as you. Nearly two years ago, I expanded the Society’s operations in Tian Xia with the assistance of honored friends, and from there the Society has unearthed many discoveries once lost to this age. It is because of this matter that I would introduce you to my companion.” Shemotions to the tengu woman beside her. “This is Shiyo Takarak, a samurai of the Way of the Kirin, a noble organization we have worked with often and are sure to work with much more in the future. Shiyo has made a request of the Society, and it is our duty to oblige.”
Amara once again returns to her tea, as Shiyo begins to speak with a smooth and melodious voice. “Just north beyond the borders of fair Kwanlai lies the monstrous nation of Wanshou, a swamp-filled wasteland ruled by a vile elder kraken named Zhanagorr. Twice has he tried to expand his territories into Kwanlai alone!” She stares into her tea and regains her calm. “In the time of Lung Wa, our agents operated out of Shen-Shu, a once-grand structure now buried beneath a muddy swamp in Wanshou. Our records indicate a vault deep within contained the flute of the fallen emperor, Wise Zijao’s seal, and the second Shu coronation crown. The flute is your priority, but retrieve the other two relics if you can.”
The samurai reaches into her kimono and produces a scroll tube and a small purse, which she places on the table. “My agents report a mysterious wizard known only as Lord Rybos has begun excavating the Sunken Valley where Shen-Shu lies, most likely to unearth whatever riches were lost when Zhanagorr’s storms swallowed the region. I am told that Zhanagorr has eyes everywhere, so I suggest you avoid any settlements along your journey and travel through the swamps. I am providing you with maps to help guide you through Wanshou undetected” the tengu’s clawed hand slides the items forward— “and with coin so you might procure any supplies you need for your travels. I trust you will represent both your Society and the Way of the Kirin in a way that would make our patrons proud."
Amara Li looks up from her tea before adding,“Remember Pathfinders, you are heading deep into unfriendly territory. I suggest you use discretion while making preparations.”