After my dutiful study of Yubi-Jutsu, the Grandmaster summons me to the ‘meditation room’ (as compared to the billiards room) and I’m worried that Colonel Mustard is hiding behind the door wielding a candlestick. Instead, the Grandmaster insists that I join him on another (doubtless drug-induced) spiritual journey. When we’ve entered our trance I note, to my ‘surprise’ that his ethereal form is that of a ‘young woman’. Hopefully my ethereal form is something similiar to Brad Pitt as he appeared in Thelma and Louise.
In any event, our spiritual trek takes us to the gateway to the Seven Heavens, where the Spirit Tiger meets us and confirms that Kwon will not help me in this mission because the ‘Evil gods are angry’. Left unspoken is the assumption that Kwon is washing his hair and is too busy to meet with me.
Aside : Wouldn’t the fact that the evil gods are ‘angry’ be even more of a reason for the ‘Good’ god to help me in my quest? And what happened to the promise that I could call on Kwon for help in Book 2?? All forgotten, apparently.
But wait! I spoke too soon! The Spirit Tiger does state that although Kwon may not help me ‘directly’ she (the Tiger) will strive to protect me on my quest. Sounds like a loophole to me, and I’ll use it and be grateful!
Back in our regular bodies, the Grandmaster refuses to give me another pipe of whatever it was that we both have been smoking, and gives me no other option, stating that I must kill the Usurper, take his place, and that I will not return home for ‘many a long year’. There is no explicit comment as to whether he actually looks sad at me leaving Gorobei to take my place.
In a James Bond moment, there is no feast to mark my departure, and I leave ‘incognito’, so that the ‘Usurper’ will not set defences against me. Given that he / she / it has apparently ruled Irsmuncast quite comfortably for around twenty years, the recent concern about the Usurper suddenly defending against me seems odd. I resist the temptation to check whether the Grandmaster had placed a bet against me ever returning home.
There’s a crapload of exposition here, but, to summarise, I hitch a ride on a spice ship to the Island of Plenty, and look up my old buddy Kiyamo, who I helped in his (mini) war against the demon Jikkyu. And by ‘helped’, I mean ‘won the whole thing for him by taking out the enemy leader’.
I confirm (upon the book’s query) that I assisted Kiyamo in his war, and I learn that not only will he provide me with a ship to the mainland, but that 100 elite warriors will march in the near future to Irsmuncast to assist me in the overthrow of the Usurper.
I get the choice of ordering these reinforcements to march across the civilised portions of this world, or alternatively travelling through the ‘Valley of the Lich Kings’.
Given the ominous nature of the latter name, I ask that my samurai reinforcements take the boring path through the civilised part of this world. I think if you voluntarily send an army through an area called the ‘Valley of the Lich Kings’ you deserve whatever you get.
Thankfully, no mention is made of claiming reimbursement from me for the guest house that was destroyed in the battle at the end of Book 2.
I now get the option for myself of travelling to Irsmuncast through the ‘civilised’ parts of this world, or alternatively discussing my options with Glaivas, my liaison from Book 1.
The choice here essentially allows you to select one of two major ‘paths’ through the first half of the book. I think the road trip with Glaivas is the way to go, but I’ll leave this entry here.
Stats : Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +1, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : +1, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5
Awesome names : Valley of the Lich-Kings is suitably ominous.