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Unread 20th of April, 2007, 17:18
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Crimson Death [GM]

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Interlude 14: The Shrine of the Five Martyrs

Interlude 14: The Shrine of the Five Martyrs

Takeshi and Daisuke swim the river. They land far downstream on the BangXie riverbank. From there they set out again.

There are fewer refugee camps than Takeshi saw the last time he was in BangXie. The other refugees have either moved on, found jobs, enlisted in an army, or sold themselves into slavery.

Across the border in Miao Province they camp out again. The next day they reach the Village of the Five Martyrs.

The village lies at the top of a waterfall, beside a mountain lake. It is protected by a steep cliff to the south, the falls to the east, and the lake to the north. They can see fishing boats on the lake. A rope hangs across the lake as it narrows near the the falls. A ferry is dragged along the rope across the river to the far side.

The road intersects at the edge of town. Another road leads West to ZhiYi Province, and south to wind down the cliff beside the falls. At the intersection there is a prominent shrine dedicated to the Five Martyrs, with architecture that far surpasses anything in the humble community.

In the shrine there is an inscription etched in marble that tells the tale of the Five Martyrs.

"In the 150th Year of the Monkey, a horde of rampaging Shamaalite barbarians crossed the mountains and invaded the empire. Their army was forced to halt outside of this stronghold, as it was guarding a natural obstacle. Though it was held by only a token force, the barbarians stopped to rest overnight and prepare their seigeworks to take the stronghold the next morning. As the Shamaalite army slept, five heroes infiltrated the barbarian camp and slew the King of Shamaal and many tribal chiefs. Once their ambush was sprung at the heart of the enemy host, the heroes knew they would have no chance of survival. Their sacrifice saved the empire. The factions of the divided enemy turned on each other and the Imperial army was able to divide and rout the remmants."

Once Takeshi has read the inscription, a bright light forces him to wince. As the light fades, he beholds five spectral figures of immense size. One is an aristocratic officer. Another is an ascetic friar, The third is a dignified scholar. The fourth is a tough-looking sergeant, and the fifth is a spirited maiden.

The ghostly figure of the aristocrat speaks. His voice has an unworldly resonance.

"It is fate that has brought you to this shrine. We who saved the empire long ago will enable you to save it again in your era. But first, you must prove yourself."

Takeshi swim roll 16+mods