After their parley with Gaul Who Grasps, the adventurers headed back to rendezvous with the Calican military forces to tell of their success. However, after a week of traveling, they were not greeted with the happiest of news. Lun excitedly met with Kao-Tsu Quan, embracing him on his arrival…however she immediately brought to his attention a disturbing event. Apparently on Richard Bishop‘s commands, a manlin soldier had been captured and tortured inhumanely for information. Lun further explained, Kao-Tsu’s monks had since refused to follow orders and were awaiting his arrival and his further orders. Kao-Tsu’s eyes darkened as he rushed to the tent where the prisoner was held and immediately dragged him out, rushing the bloodied prisoner to the monk pavilion and claiming refuge on the man. These atrocious acts would not continue if Kao-Tsu were to remain in the Calican military!
Meanwhile, Nathan Bishop strode over to his father’s tent to confront him about this incident. As he attempted to challenge Richard, his father thrust some papers at his son: new orders. These new military orders for Nathan were strictly civilian in nature and distinctly far away from combat. Nathan shook his head in sardonic anger and disbelief. As he leaned closer to speak to his father, he noticed the distinct whiff of alcohol on his breath, and as he further noticed the disarray of his father’s living quarters, he was able to piece together some reasoning behind Richard’s actions. He angrily left his father, deciding to bring his case directly to the men who counted most: the troops.
Kao-Tsu and Nathan met together and confronted Belcoot in front of the army. Together, they pleaded their case: Calica was not to turn to the depths of evil that their opponent would use. If they were to win the war, they would do so with honor and dignity, and treat their prisoners of war with that same dignity. Calica would prove themselves better than the enemy and always the bigger man. Their response was a mixed reaction from the crowd, even as Vivian’s intimidating glare struck out against the gathered troops. The men separated, a divided crew. As the night wore on, Taiass attempted to get as many troops on their side as possible, expecting a possible division of their forces. Talia Lancaster (Black) satisfied her anger by ripping into Belcoot, and warning him that in order to lead the military, he had to be fully aware of all that was occurring on his watch. People were counting on him to make decisions…and his leadership was all that was holding the Calicans together during this fragile time in their history.
That night, a silent tension filled the Calican camp as the desert breeze whisked hot sand around the tents. The only noise was a tiny pixie, singing happily to herself, for she had been tasked with a very important mission from Kao-Tsu. Shop after shop she visited, until Vivian found what she had been searching for. Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she admiringly picked up the precious item. She buzzed back to Kao-Tsu’s tent, prize in hand. Kao-Tsu thanked the fairly gratefully as he eagerly called for Lun and presented her with the biggest, sparkliest, most beautiful diamond engagement ring the girl had ever seen! Lun clasped her arms around Kao-Tsu and screeched in happiness, of course accepting his proposal. She blathered on to Kao-Tsu in a tizzy, exclaiming that they should get married right away in the camp, before it was too late and they were separated again. Kao-Tsu, in a whirlwind of happiness, agreed, and as Lun rushed off to tell her family, he searched for his closest friends to share the news!
Word of the engagement spread like wildfire. Of course, Nathan, Kao-Tsu, Taiass, and Vivian were the first to congratulate the monk. But before Kao-Tsu knew it, Belcoot came to visit the Calican monastary’s pavilion. He offered words of peace and felicitations as he brokered a deal with Kao-Tsu. Per Kao-Tsu’s wishes, Belcoot would agree to hand over all prisoners of war to the monks for their care and watch, if Kao-Tsu and Lun would agree to have their marriage be a public event. Such a spectacle would surely unite the troops and raise the morale of the Calicans. Kao-Tsu tentatively agreed, barring Lun’s approval of course. Belcoot smiled and shook Kao-Tsu’s hand, hoping for better times between them.
With that, the wedding preparations happened in a flash! Arthur Kayin Macbeth was requested to preside, and Kao-Tsu asked Nathan, Belcoot, and Taiass to be in the wedding party, while Lun called upon her mother and Talia. Vivian took over the duties of flower girl. The entire Calican camp buzzed with excitement over the event, seemingly forgetting their problems and tensions of the days before and uniting together in harmony. The day of, everything went off without a hitch (that is, after Kao-Tsu, in a panic, realized he needed actual wedding rings and relied on the donations of Talia and Nathan’s father). Lun looked stunning in an ocean blue wedding gown, and Kao-Tsu felt inches taller as he stood proudly beside his bride on the alter. Not a dry eye remained in the house as the two promised their eternal love and devotion to one another. And after the ceremony, the feast and celebration that followed became legendary in Calican history! Kao-Tsu Quan and Lun Quan danced the night away and could not be separated. Richard took the time of celebration and good will to apologize for his prior actions to his son, who gratefully accepted his father’s heartfelt apology. Vivian flitted in between the tables, nibbling on sweets and catching glimpses of Lun’s shiny, shiny rings. Taiass quietly enjoyed the party, even adding to the entertainment by performing alongside the bards with a moving violin solo. Nathan and Talia spent most of the night celebrating but also had some much needed quiet time to discuss the state of their relationship….only of course to be interrupted by matters of war. Indeed, the next day, after the hangovers had cleared and the party cleaned up, the adventurers began to think of their future preparations: planning the attack on Osh’ra.
After giving Kao-Tsu some time for a honeymoon, Belcoot gathered together the generals of the military to propose a stratagem. Belcoot thought it would be best if he lead their forces, along with Gaul’s orcs, in a full frontal attack on Osh’ra. The attack would really be a diversion. The true attack would be in the form of a small strike team (consisting of Sh’rayas the Sylvan, Nathan, Talia, Kao-Tsu, Vivian, and Taiass) who would sneak under the city through a tunnel. There they could make their way to Sh’rayas’ lab, where he can pick up the magical components he would need for the next step. Finally, they would make their way through a maze to the capitol building in the middle of Osh’ra. Sh’rayas would be able to release a magical weapon that would take out the psychics and psions and give the mage lords a chance to rise up and take the city back into their control! It was a dangerous plan, but really the only choice of action if they were to continue to weaken the enemy. The party nodded as they gazed solemnly at one another. It was do or die…..and they had no intentions of burning out before their time!