Seasons of Ash

Souls are harvested and then released

Our heroes find and destroy a dealer of souls

Mystique, Chingy, Claire and Lu are informed of their new place in Runai society. They are representative to their house, but loyal to the Runai as a whole. They are above their old station, but not above house leadership. They are cut off from funds directly, but able to gain favor of houses and individuals to further their own path. No normal house member, even leadership can order them, but if they wish to recieve support, a little difference to authority helps. In fact, the only ones they they simply must obey or pay the consequence are the heads of the houses because they are the speakers for the Runai people.

They are told that on the northeastern border, there have been reports of raids upon some of the minor villages. The port town Tobe requests some assistance in ending the matter and securing the area.

There also seems to be a severe iron shortage. Without iron, steel cannot be made and the progress that the Runai people have made grinds to a halt. The iron mine to the south is not producing very much iron but, not much has been heard directly about why. Furthermore, the people of Bleakmoor have reduced their committment of iron and the trade ships come back with much less iron than before at higher prices.

Lastly, Lord Maru directed them to speak to Masako Takeno of house Ishikawa who told them that an unauthorized person is selling soul dust. This drug is far more potent than the typical stuff and is causing people to kill themselves or have to be killed to stop. She asks that they find the maker, kill him, burn his lab and anything else that may have to do with him. Mostly because the drug is too dangerous in the Ishikawa's eyes but, also as a reminder that distribution of soul dust is the territory of the Ishikawa house only.

Rina Wairu, later makes a counter-offer to chingy and mistique. She reminds them of their independence, like her. Her offer is that they get what they can so that the formula can be replicated, then do what they must. She says that she can run the information through a fence who will sell the formula back to the ishikawa and make them all a good bit of money.

The four go "interrogate" a young man who was found attempting to sell soul dust that he says he bought from someone else. After some unorthadox tactics, the boy leads them deep into the Undercity. In the Ashen court, the burned out ruins of the old city, Claire discovers a grisly murder and follows the blood trail. Mistique and Chingy speak to an old contact that they both knew name Jobe Namura. He tells them that a demon from the Ghost quarter is stalking the undercity. When asked about the soul dust, he links it to the demon. They then follow a ways behind Claire into the Ghost quarter.

In the meantime, Lu reverses his behavior and manages to talk the kid into trusting him. They go to get his fingers looked at. Along the way, he learns some information about the workings of the Undercity. That he mostly keeps to himself. When he returns, his companions are nowhere to be found. They stick out very much so, asking around leads him to the same murder and to the same path into the Ghost quarter.

There, each of the Keepers are assaulted by visions, seemingly attacked by specters that they can't see and stalked by a killer in the dark. Eventually, they come to realize that some spirits from the Ghost quarter are trying to communicate. They're trying to direct the group to the drug maker who they view as an interloper and trespasser on their land. Following the trail, they arrive at a makeshift shrine to those that have been murdered.

The eventually arrive at an older section of the Ghost quarter and surround a ruined building that the drug maker was using as a home and a lab. After a brawl, they manage to subdue the killer and something leaves him. While being questioned, he willfully explains that he has been kidnapping, torturing, murdering, stealing the souls and distilling that into his soul dust. It's so potent because whomever takes it is actually consuming the animating force of a human soul.

His name turns out to be Kiri Oshira, a drug addict who used to cook soul dust for the Ishikawa but, was kicked out due to stealing and using the drugs he was making. At some point, he was mugged a brutally beaten. He got his revenge by stalking and slaughtering his attackers. A kami named "Fears-Last-Breath" came to him and proposed a partnership. This granted him incredible strength, agility and endurance as long as he prolongs the murders to increase the fear of his victims.

The four destroy the lab, tie up Kiri and take him to the Lawgiver's fort. There, he is put in a cell to await sentencing. He doesn't make it to sentencing though. Chingy sneaks out and walks to the Lawgiver's fort, asking to speak to Kiri for some more questions. Once alone with kiri, he kills him. When he leaves, he lies terribly, claiming that he will follow up on the issue but had to kill Kiri. After some confusion and a short conversation with a very irritated Captain of the fort, Chingy leaves.

When he arrives at Drowned in Jade, Chingy is greeted with a fist to the face. Miss Takeno is very unhappy with the banners being stolen.

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