The next day, Kao-Tsu Quan checked on the status of his friend, Nathan Bishop. Just as the monk had predicted, Nathan was in NO shape to attend a high society party. Disappointed, Talia Lancaster (Black) left the fighter to soak his throbbing head. At least it would be easier to try get a date to the auction without Nathan over her shoulder. The four friends stepped into the elderly Lady Crescent’s mansion, who inspected their invitation and creakily welcomed them to her abode. Taiass Atwari thanked the “great one”, kissed her hand and expressed his prior acquaintance with the Lady, to the surprise of the others. The lady also mentioned to Taiass that she may need his assistance with a delivery after the auction. Immediately upon entry, they split up and scoped the room for potential dates. Talia spent the night talking about her adventures and travels to the handsome yet foppish gentlemen, but eventually held the attention of a walrus-mustached older fellow. Her knowledge of fighting and arcana impressed the don, and he took her arm honorably and escorted her to the auction. Kao-Tsu, realizing most high society dames may reject him on sight due to his diminutive stature, caught the eye of an unlikely candidate-a half orc woman, who brightened on his approach. After getting into an arm wrestling contest and a foot race with the large lady, Kao-Tsu was able to secure his date without a hitch, as she planted a wet kiss on his forehead and threw him into her carriage. Taiaiss set his goals higher-a beautiful woman, holding her head high and proud as she rejected suitor after suitor. At first his flirtations were accepted and all seemed to be going swimmingly…until he went for a walk with the woman and plucked her a sunflower. “No, I’m allergic!!” the girl wailed, as her face exploded in hives. “Get this elf AWAY from me!!” Taiass was thrown out by the guards, simultaneously as a tiny pixie hit the dirt. “Apparently no one accepts shoulder pixies as the newest fashion here,” grumbled Vivian. “No accounting for taste! I’m the prettiest thing in there!”. Taiass helped her up. They would have to find their own way into the auction. As a nobleman blustered past Taiass, complaining mightily to his carriage driver, a swift knock on the head took care of the problem and a nobility badge was procured. Next stop: the auction of Vax Lamont!
As Kao-Tsu and Talia settled into their seats next to their dates and Vivian and Taiass slipped in to the back of the hall, they looked around them. Several people of note were attending the auction: Shinzu Honda, a Shogun of the Dragon Mist Isles, and also an underground mob boss; Parrel, a red robed mage from the Shifting Sands; and Lt. Azrael, a blackguard from the Nightmare Scape, rumored to halve a retinue of vampires attending him. Whatever the grand prize was, it was sure drawing a lot of attention from many well off people! As the bidding began, Talia noticed one of the items was General Tavor Kel‘s frost blade. “Perhaps it was true that the General fell in battle”, she thought to herself. Finally, after a few hours, the grand prize was revealed. Vax Lamont wheeled out a large cage with a red cloth covering it. “So now, we come to the heart of this auction, and all you have been waiting for!” the halfling declared with a dramatic flourish of his hand. “He fell from the sky only a few nights ago in a crash larger than the heavens! To the highest bidder, you shall receive the most loyal of followers. I give you….the legendary samurai, RYU KITARU!” Lamont unveiled the cage, and the samurai in red armor from Talia’s vision stood in the cell, breathing heavily, eyes darting from side to side. Talia and Kao-Tsu looked at each other. It would be VERY BAD if any of the others in the room were able to procure the warrior before they were. The bidding was fierce and fast, but eventually with a bid of 28,000 gold (practically wiping out their military stipend), they were able to win the auction.
As the room cleared, Taiass, Vivian, Kao-Tsu, and Talia marched up to the stage and Vax Lamont handed them to the key. They freed Ryu, who agreed to be bonded to the Calicans, but the samurai seemed disheartened and weak. In fact as they walked back to their carriage, Ryu collapsed and fainted. “Let’s get back to the hotel, if everyone wants Ryu so badly as long as we are in this town we have targets on our heads!” Talia exclaimed. Indeed, it didn’t take long before their carriage was attacked by none other than Parrel and his mage cronies. The adventurers were able to apprehend the mage lord in training, who confessed that Sh’rayas the Sylvan had ordered him to apprehend Ryu, no matter the cost. Kao-Tsu and Vivian escorted the mage prisoner back to General Lang to send him back to the camp to receive Calican justice, while Taiass and Talia went back to the hotel to let Ryu rest and call for a doctor or cleric.
Taiass mentioned to Talia that he had one more mission of the evening. Lady Crescent had asked of him to travel to her mansion after the auction for a favor. Upon their return, she greeted the elf happily and mentioned to Talia that she should use her noble birth name, “Lancaster”, instead of the false surname, “Black”. Taiass raised his eyebrows in surprise. Apparently there was more that he did not know about his traveling companions! Talia looked to the ground sheepishly, and explained to Lady Crescent that the name Lancaster had been abjured by her for a reason, and to please not use that name in her presence. Regardless, the tender old woman gave her instructions to Taiass. She needed 2 boxes delivered to a merchant and to a halfling, and the contents of the boxes were to remain a secret. They were to collect the funds the merchants owed the Lady, and for their work they would be rewarded. Taiass agreed to the work, and they regrouped with the others. Kao-Tsu was found drinking with the cleric of Avandra that was sent for Ryu, and Vivian…..was nowhere to be seen. As they left the hotel, the pixie whizzed past them, giggling happily. In her arms was a small bunny rabbit. “This is Princess Diamond Tiara!” the pixie exclaimed. “Isn’t he just perfect??!?” As Kao-Tsu reached down to pet the small animal, a pair of fangs glinted in the starlight and the rabbit chomped down on his finger. Apparently this vampire rabbit was going to be a bit of a handful.
Although not all went well on Lady Crescent’s deliveries (the halfling refused to pay them and they were forced to fight him in a sewer), regardless, they job was done to the best of their abilities. The cargo got where it needed to be, and Kao-Tsu didn’t even peek at the packages’ content. They returned back to the mansion and received their reward. As they tiredly headed back to the hotel very late into the night, a shining streak of red stretched across the sky. Yet ANOTHER meteor had landed in Mixed Bag! They turned about face and ran in the direction of the meteor’s blazing trail in the sky. If someone was the first to check out this new meteor, it was going to be the adventurers from Calica!