27 June We approach the gates of Ordu-Aganhei… The guards at the gate entrance demand to examine our possessions after they learn that we crossed the Crown of the World. While the guards dig through our stuff, a man in purple robes runs up and announces that we have been invited to visit with the “Prince” of Ordu-Aganhei. The guards gtfo our presence and the man leads us to the vast palace inside the city walls.
The servants in the palace cleanse our bodies and armor (The poor servant who had to clean between Jira’s toes will never forget this day). We are then led into a breathtaking courtyard where a giant golden-skinned man stands; Prince Batsaikhar. A fierce samurai warrior stands guard nearby.
The Prince tells us he is going to throw us the Five Feasts of Hongal – a feast each night for the next five nights. Each given our own room and cadre of personal servants, we settle in and decide what to do before our first feast.
Rika takes a tour of the palace while everyone else decides to nap.
That evening, we all head back to the courtyard for the first feast. During the event, nobles and partygoers seem to have an affinity for laying hands upon Ulf and Shalelu. When confronted about this, Ulf reveals that the people of Hongal believe touching (or kissing) a blonde person will grant them luck, much to Ulf’s discomfort. Towards the end of the feast, some guards perform wonderful feats of precision, strength and animal handling for us. The Prince then asks us to participate in 3 competitions to show off our skills: mounted archery, horse racing and wrestling.
Zych attempts the mounted archery for us and at least hits the target.
Thom attempts the horse race for us and easily wins.
Thom attempts the wrestling match to much laughter and is fairly easily pinned by his large opponent.
28 June We take a tour of Ordu-Aganhei and find it very clean and lavish. We visit some shops while out, trading and purchasing as we go. Skizzik visits a local wizard’s house.
That afternoon, the Prince invites Rika to tea. Oblivious to his obvious advances, Rika awkwardly enjoys some tea in the courtyard with Prince Batsaikhar.
The follow-up to the feast this evening treats us to local bards singing and storytelling through use of puppetry. We are then asked to sing and perform as well.
Skizzik and Rika flub up the shadow puppet story.
Ameiko salvages the evening with a great song and musical performance.
29 June Rika has an awkward breakfast with the Prince and Skizzik notices that the servant who led him to the wizard’s house yesterday has been replaced.
That afternoon, Jira heads out to “sample” the local taverns while Skizzik, Rika and Thom set out to ask about the city and the Prince in the poorer part of town. Skizzik sneaks away from the mob of servants and guards to talk privately with a poor tavern keep. He learns that the Prince is quite harsh in punishing the town’s people and his servants, yet no one will directly speak ill of him. Skizzik then decides to sneak back to the palace instead of rejoining the group. When the rest of us arrive and everyone realizes he came back to the palace unescorted, his servants are called into the Prince’s presence. Sensing trouble, Rika accompanies them and steps in just as the Prince’s bodyguard is about to decapitate everyone (good going Skizzik)! She asks the Prince for a less severe punishment for the servants and the Prince decides that they will be “prepared” for the feast that night instead…
As the Feast of Fire wraps up that night, dazzling performances involving fire and swords please the crowd. However, after the trained performers leave, Skizzik’s former servants are brought in to attempt the same feats and end up terribly injured and maimed (Skizzik: the champion of the innocent). Per usual, the Prince then rises and asks us to try our own hands at the same feats.
Skizzik attempts to dance, Shalelu performs acrobatics and Jira intimidates in a collective show. Jira and Shalelu’s acrobatic fight impresses while Skizzik dazzles with fire despite obviously flying over hot coals versus walking on them.
30 June That morning, we gather in the common room to discuss that night’s feast: The Feast of the Honored Visitors. We are told that we are responsible for preparing the food and entertainment for the evening. After much debate, for dinner we decide upon:
Appetizer: bacon wrapped lamb and veggie kabobs
Entree: Spicy pork and lamb meatballs served over noodles
Dessert: Rice pudding with a honey glazed roll
Re-enacting a tale of us saving a village from a fierce dragon on a frozen mountain told in song by Ameiko.
The food goes over very well and the crowd is electrified by our impressive re-enactment!
After our performance, the Prince stands before the guests and publicly asks for Rika’s hand in marriage; he would like to make her his 13th wife. Caught like a deer in headlights, she asks to discuss the matter privately.
Once everyone is quickly ushered out, Rika tells the Prince that their journey to save Min Kai and her vow to help her friends see it through is more important. Smile faltering for the first time since our arrival, the Prince claims that he understands and retires for the evening.
Sensing retribution for the denied proposal, we all argue about whether we should stay the night or leave the palace immediately. Not wanting to seem completely inhospitable and raise immediate alarm, we decide upon staying the night and setting out the next morning. The only question is…will we survive the night, or will the Prince punish us as severely as he would punish one of his servants? Find out next time on Jade Regent: Damn High Charisma Scores.