We completed our work in Moscow and discovered we will need to head into the Blasted Lands. I do not look forward to visiting an irradiated landscape but the gaijin say they can avoid the radiation. We will see. First, we have to acquire a vehicle. This should be a simple matter in Tharkold; we take one. Some want to try talking but I do not like the idea of revealing that we are the ones that have the vehicle. I will keep my tongue in my head and see how this course of action plays out.
The vehicle acquisition went well. I am mildly surprised. The trip into the Blasted Lands has been uneventful to this point…well, I spoke too soon. I was literally writing this to you and we encountered a camp site where we were attacked by some sort of feral bear-abomination, two in fact. They were simple to dispatch, unthinking brutes with no style. We found tire tracks leading from the camp and will follow them in the morning. For now we are resting here though it makes me uneasy given the evidence of what happened to the last group who stopped here. I will not sleep well tonight.
The tire tracks led to some sort of compound. I thought it wise to infiltrate the compound and investigate before approaching but the gaijin dismissed this idea. I did it anyway. They are some sort of people called Bikuni of the Way. I do not know what “way” they mean but it is how they call themselves. I offered to eliminate a guard post to enter their camp and assault them but again they decided to talk first. These gaijin are strange. At any rate, this conversation may have been the right course of action after all. I shall have to mediate on when diplomacy is called for and when action is correct.
The leader here is a woman. This cosm will never dominate. Her name is Vada she says she has valuable information about our target, Evan Belenchuck and is willing to trade that information for our services in dispatching an enemy in the region. I privately pondered what it might take to torture the information from her but I do not believe she would break. Whatever else these Bakuni are, they seem highly motivated to their cause. They might be valuable allies but in a shock troop roll only. I do not see them as great strategic partners.
The task Vada wants in exchange for what she knows is dispatching a formidable foe, a Tharkold demon alpha who controls this region. He should be a worthy opponent. He’ll never know what hit him. Oddly enough this Vada-woman has offered to accompany us on this mission. She may be a woman but she seems to understand honor. Oh, she is also a psi Sensei so if you have cause to encounter her or send anyone to meet with her they should be accompanied by a Shirudo.
The assault was originally planned as a straight forward frontal assault. I privately did not like this plan but a good shinobi follows the lead of his Daimyo or his representative and I am not in command. Fortunately, the gaijin recognized the usefulness of my abilities and allowed me to infiltrate the compound and plant two powerful explosive devices; one to break the outer wall and another to gain access to the demon’s inner sanctum. Vada’s people were tasked with absorbing the heavy losses of keeping the enemy’s ashigaru busy while I opened a breach for the gaijin and assaulted the alpha.
Things were going very well until a part of the ceiling collapsed separating one of the gaijin, Maxamillian from the rest of us. He acquitted himself well standing toe to toe with the alpha alone for some time and not dying. He also seems to understand the value of a good shinobi and appears to have some means. Should Windslersan not work out or be killed perhaps he would be a good Daimyo? We shall see.
By the time we were able to break through the rubble and reuinte the team Maxamillian and a man from the cyber papacyThomas were nearly dead. Thomas has his uses but he seems preoccupied with something and I’m not sure what. Perhaps it is his over-infatuation with his mythology or maybe it is a side effect of corrupting the body with electronics. Who can tell.
At any rate, I managed to distract the demon long enough to secure a hold on him with my mind. He choked out shortly thereafter as I cut off his wind. I have his weapon Sensei. A vicious chain not unlike the rope dart johyo you so effectively wield. It is too large and heavy to be an effective weapon for shinobi but perhaps a smaller version?
With the alpha defeated, Vada divulged her information as she said she would. She is honorable after all and did a fine job in battle…for a woman. Vada’s information points to the Nile Empire and a man called Ali “the gunslinger” Bayan. Apparently Sulaman Hasan in Cairo runs some kind of newspaper and has or had a reported inside the gang that kidnapped Belenchuck. We must travel to the Nile Empire Cairo (this core earth realm has a Cairo too) and make contact with this Sulaman so we can find the gunslinger.
We successfully arrived in NE Cairo, met with Sulaman, and he sent us to meet iwth Ali Bayan’s club where we will be able to meet with the undercover reporter. Incidentally, one of the gaijin women, Maarika can apparently make men do anything she wants. Be cautious around her and certainly either be accompanied by a Shirudo or be shielded yourself. Also, we have a mysterious Tharkold companion who goes by the name “Dead Eye” who is a capable psionicist as well…and quite good with firearms.
Unfortunately, when we met with the reporter, someone else either wanted him as well but they were willing to kill him rather than let us talk to him. I’m not sure where this will lead us next but to this point we are making progress. Windslersan is pleased to this point I believe but accomplishing this task is taking more time than I’d anticipated. I hope we can move faster and not disappoint our Daimyo. I do not wish to bring dishonor to the Iga no Mono.