Talls Peaks and Small Respites
As the party made their way towards the Temple of the Clear Stone, Strawhat remembered his arrival at the temple, which he located when he became lost in the mountains. His first meeting with the Master of the Clear Stone was somewhat uninspired, after he broke his fist against the walls of the monastery, but his cleverness and resilience gave him the first hint of respect from the Master.
Huijin noticed during the travels that the party was moving in circles, and as she questioned Strawhat about this, a snowball thrown by Princess Akemi struck her in the back. During the brief snowball fight which followed (which Gin became very invested in), Huijin and the rest of the party finally lost their concentration on finding the monastery, and Strawhat noticed the path that would lead to the front gates.
Entering the Temple, Strawhat and the others found the training grounds to be covered in snow, and incredibly still. Moving into the area, the walking corpses of some of Strawhat’s fellow students rose from beneath the snow, including the formidable body of Apprentice Punching Bag.
As the party defeated the corpses, no longer filled with any of the skill they had as living monks, white, spectral spiders escaped from the destroyed bodies, dissipating into the wind, evidence of foul wizardry.
Entering the temple buildings, the party fought through a voracious ghast, the former cook who had developed a taste for raw flesh in his unlife. Setting the creature ablaze, the party sought out a way to put out the fire, and found the workshed filled with possessed farming implements. With the workshed burned to the ground and the ghast immolated, a number of other spiders crawled into the air and were swept away on the wind.
Moving into the meditation chamber, Strawhat found that one apprentice had been bound to the area as a spectre, and caused the shadows of the formerly serene room to attempt to snuff out the party. Defeating these remnants, the party gathered up the precious gems used as meditating foci, and put these representations of the temple in Strawhat’s hands.
Finally the party moved into the cells, where the novices had slept, and found that none remained. The animated skeletons, whole and partial, assaulted the group, and the fierce fighting within the cramped hallways left the party exhausted. Taking a quick break, they prepared to cross the passage to the upper portion of the temple.
While Huijin and Shiro discussed the nature of dragons, the party deliberated, deciding to press forward so that Strawhat could check the entire area for survivors and see if he could recover the centerpiece of the temple, the famed Clear Stone.
With night fully engulfing the party, they prepared to cross the thin stone bridge that spanned the two portions of the temple. Huijin, leading the way, almost walked straight into the webs of a group of albino, giant spiders, foul and unnatural creatures which had taken up residence.
While Lu Bu and Huijin fought from the bridge, Ivellios and Fini were set upon from behind, and both were paralyzed by poison. The spiders having captured their meal, the two were bundled up and dragged up the side of the mountain. With Shiro delaying the spiders with his ice sorcery, Huijin and Lu Bu finished off the other spiders. Transforming into a spider herself, Huijin was able to scale the mountain alongside Lu Bu, and the final spiders were slain just as they reached their cave in the mountainside.
Deciding the give the party time to recover after a close fight, the group retreated back into the meditation room to wait for dawn.
Items acquired: 7 gems (assorted, 50 gp ea), Keogthum’s Ointment (2 uses)