In a fishing village in Zhongdao…
Our party stands on a cliff-side. Before them is a massive turtle, the creature which Fu Lim refers to as ’A’tuin’, a powerful water spirit. While the party had been suspicious of Fu Lim’s claims previously, they now see them fully realized.
The party has much to discuss with the spirit, aided by Sulsashi andShiro’s ability to speak Draconic. Fu Lim herself is astounded that the others can communicate with this creature, which should could never understand.
The turtle tells them how it is a spirit of the ocean, as has been trying for some time to speak with Fu Lim, its new master, to tell her of her divinity. Pressing it for more information on the past, and showing it the elemental shard they carry within the Darkwood Sphere, the water spirit tells the party about the scarring of Middle Valley. Since the scarring fifty years ago, the seals placed on the Darkwood Sphere by the shrine maiden Kimiko have weakened, allowing ‘the thorn’ of the elemental shard to tear ‘a wound’ in the fabric of reality. Now, this wound, the Maelstrom, spills elemental chaos across the world, and threatens to unmake it.
To A’tuin however, there is a more pressing matter: the Shrine of Water has been despoiled, tainted by a foul creature that devours the bones of the old Water Dragon. Fu Lim must be taken to the shrine to find her true purpose, and with the party’s help, she may be able to survive the journey.
As the party heads back to the village, to sleep and prepare, they begin to speak with Fu Lim about Akemi. Fu Lim is not impressed, and reacts angrily to mention of theEmperor. When Strawhat strikes her for what he perceives as insolence, Fu Lim shakily explains how the wars and taxes of the Emperor have only ever hurt her family and village, and the brief years under the Regent were the most peaceful she has known. She seems uninterested in seeing Akemi or speaking with her, and uninterested in anything besides the fate of her village and the water spirit A’tuin.
After preparing for investigation and a sea journey, the party sets out upon A’tuin’s back. After many hours of travel, they approach an area of heavy fog, a strange mucus-like substance resting on top of the water. While previously the water spirit had cut through the sea easily, now he pulls himself slowly along, clearly struggling.
As they draw closer to the shrine, a form appears before them, a hideous, slimy mass of tentacles, something which Steve recognizes as a ‘deep grasper’, a foul water spirit, grown to terrible size. It speaks to a number of the party, offering to help them gain what they truly desire. When no members are persuaded, and after Shiro dispels an illusion of the creature with a pre-emptive fireball, the creature attacks, seeking to prevent the party from reaching the shrine.
The party fights back against the grasper and a number of it’s allies, crab-like creatures from the sea and tentacles it summons out of A’tuin’s shell. Though Lu Bu smites away the creature’s corporeal form, its spirit lingers, and is able to overpower Gin’s mind, forcing him to serve his will.
With Gin possessed, the grasper orders him to seize Fu Lim and make for the shrine, but though he begins his escape, Tzzird’s control of water releases Fu Lim, and she and Gin both swim off into the murky ocean.