Hustling through the midnight streets of Epinoch, the adventurers followed the golden streak in the sky left by the second meteor. This time, the falling rock had crashed through the roof of a home, decorated in the decor of the Dragon Mist Isles. As Kao-Tsu Quan gingerly opened the unlocked door, they saw the smoking meteor, this time with a kitana sticking out of the top….and also Shinzu Honda! The mob boss sneered at the group, proclaiming that since the meteor landed in his household it was his property. Taiass Atwari countered his argument, rationalizing that the contents of the new meteor could only belong to the man who came out of the original meteor: Ryu. Honda sourly disagreed with the argument, as evinced by the band of ninjas whom he ordered to attack the intruders to his home with deadly force! Luckily, Taiass, Kao-Tsu, and Talia Lancaster (Black) were able to hold off their attackers as Vivian flew up the stairs and went for a feral assault on Honda himself. The ninjas proved no mettle for the experienced crew, but Honda was able to throw the vicious pixie off of his neck and cowardly escape through a hidden doorway. The mob boss would live to see another day, but the magical sword of Ryu’s was in their possession!
Tired and bruised, the party once again began to head back to their hotel for a much needed rest, until partway there, a magical message echoed throughout the streets of Epinoch. From the heads of eerie green flaming skulls, floating out of thin air and hovering before every doorway, the voice of Lt. Azrael was heard. “For those who would harbor the legendary samurai Ryu Kitaru, know that I demand his presence and capture. I expect him delivered to me in Ybolitos Park by 1am, or else the dead of Epinoch shall rise from their graves and devour this very city. Know that one man is not worth the lives of many, no matter his greatness. You have one hour.” Taiass sighed. Rest was going to have to wait. Again. The heroes began to run to their hotel to find the samurai, but upon their arrival, Macgresh the cleric told them Ryu, having said it was the honorable thing to do, had left on his own accord to turn himself in to Azrael. Talia shook her head in disbelief. This was going from bad to worse.
It wasn’t long before the adventurers were at the park, heading toward a sickly green glow that pulsed with power and shone ominously in the dark sky. A fog rolled in, obscuring their vision of the sleeping animals in the zoo, who prowled their cages in fear, knowing something was afoot in their home. Vivian glanced about her nervously, knowing it was likely that she would have to fight her own that evening if the rumors of Lt. Azrael’s vampire entourage were true. Finally, in the center of the park, Kao-Tsu spotted the green beacon: A statue of Orion Rainblade. However, crucified to the statue by magical bonds and held by an unholy ritual was Ryu! Somehow, Azrael was siphoning off Ryu’s magical essence and channeling it to raise an undead creature from the lake. Azrael mocked the heroes as he raised his control rod, glowing emerald and rippling with magical energy. “It’s too late to stop me! The power of the dracolich will be mine, ALL MINE!” he screamed. Ryu turned his bleeding head to the heroes. “Please, my sword,” he begged of them. “If you kill me now, it will break the conduit and end his power over the dragon. But you must hurry!” The party exchanged silent glance, and after a second of hesitation, Talia took out Ryu’s kitana. “Forgive me,” she asked the hero as she looked into his eyes and drove the kitana into his chest.
As the blood gushed from Ryu, the magic from the kitana reacted and sparked the conduit of energy leading to the control rod. Ryu’s body slumped to the floor as his magical bonds released him from the arms of the statue of Orion. Talia staggered back, dropping the kitana. “No! No! You can’t take the control from me! Take them down!” Azrael ordered his retinue, who appeared out of the shadows, mouths frothing with hunger from the spilled blood of the fallen hero. Vivian flexed her claws and bared her fangs as Taiass prepared his mind for battle. He may be facing the great ones, but they were still after his blood, and Taiass would do anything to defend himself. Kao-Tsu and Talia stood back to back as the vampires encircled them. With a burst of fire breath from one side, and a swing of an arcane broadsword, the fight began! The death knight and his followers proved awesome combatants, and it took every resource of the heroes to take them out. But finally the battle was won, and as the party took but a moment to recover, the lake bubbled with magical energy and the dracolich loomed over them, snapping his jaws.
Suddenly, Ryu, still bleeding and grasping at his chest, leaped from the ground onto the tail of the beast. “Distract it! I can take it down if it is focused on you!” Kao-Tsu baited its attacks and dodged nimbly out of the way as the others took his lead, although Taiass and Talia fell prey to the vicious dragon’s breath. Vivian and Kao-Tsu somehow were able to by themselves take enough of the attention away from the dragon to give Ryu the chance he needed to get into position. Ryu, with a sudden burst of speed, ran up the back of the beast and with a single swipe, chopped the bone dragon’s head off cleanly and victoriously. The dragon’s skeleton dropped to the ground in a heap as the samurai stepped from the rubble of bone and magic and came forth unscathed. The heroes stood injured, but in amazement of the hero. Ryu held his heart, still bleeding, but it was clear from the magic that pulsated around him, he would survive this encounter. “You have helped me regain my honor. And for that, you deserve the gift of the heavens.” He plunged his kitana into the ground, and from the weapon, the remaining magic flowed through the ground and into the heroes, boosting their abilities and magical items. The aura depleted itself from Ryu and it was clear, he was now mortal in all sense of the word….but regardless, it was clear, the Calicans had gained a worthy ally in the war effort.