Having learned that the Yuehs had arranged to sell the remains of the Aokis to the Perfumed Man out of Skullstone, we determined to sell the bodies of Madame Yueh and her husband instead, letting them suffer whatever posthumous fate they’d bargained for Sanrei’s kin. So at midnight the night of the attack on the Potter’s Lodge, Von and Petals led a handful of Von’s men—laden with the aforementioned Yueh corpses—to an isolated pier. Sanrei watched from cover with her sword at the ready, her senses supernaturally sharpened.
A violet mist, fragrant with strange perfume, floated in from the sea. Dispersing, it revealed a man in greatcoat and tricorn hat, surrounded by zombie bodyguards tangled with kelp and dripping with seawater. After Von negotiated the sale of the corpses—to be taken to Skullstone for unknown but doubtless sinister purposes—Petals proceeded to seduce the Perfumed Man with a dance. He demurred at joining hir immediately in hir pagoda, but stated an interest in a future visit. The mist then rolled back in, and beneath its cover the Perfumed Man and his entourage vanished into the sea.
Over the next few days, Von invested the money from the sale into various legal businesses, and began investigating certain corrupt palace officials as a favor for Sanrei. The Twlight began reaching out to various Aoki cousins that had survived the Yueh purge, and started work on a series of long sheets of ceramic—apparently for some sort of exotic seagoing vessel—to repay Von for his aid. And Petals immersed herself in practice with her artifact zills, in order to tap more deeply into their magic.
In the night, as Petals practiced on the second floor of her pagoda, the Perfumed Man came to her. There he spoke of his desire for hir in florid, morbid terms—that he would strip hir of hir flesh to make her “perfect” and bring hir back with him to Skullstone. When zie laughingly rejected this proposal, his zombie entourage began clambering in through the pagoda’s windows.
Fortunately, the other Solars were in the vicinity. Sanrei had been practicing her pottery work on the floor above. As the attack began, she leapt down from above and struck a killing blow at the Perfumed Man, only for it to pass harmlessly through him—he was a ghost, intangible, beyond the reach of mundane blades. But he was likewise unable to strike back, until he flowed into the body of the largest zombie, to control it like a puppet.
As Petals danced and clashed her zills in scything waves of sound that drove back the nearest undead, Sanrei called on the power of the Talisman of Ten Thousand Eyes that she wore at her throat. Rays of scarlet light flared across the city skyline as she shaped a spell in an instant, hurling a wave of obsidian butterflies that tore much of the zombies’ flesh from their bones and blasted a hole in the side of the pagoda.
The fight devolved into a melee, with the Solars surrounded by the dead. But Von had been nearby when sorcerous light blazed from the pagoda, and racing to the scene, he charged up the stairs and into the fray, bull-rushing the Perfumed Man’s corpse-body right out the hole in the pagoda wall. Departing the broken corpse, the ghost fled toward the harbor with Von in pursuit, eventually vanishing beneath the waves. The zombie bodyguards followed mindlessly, falling out the hole in the pagoda wall and lurching away, while Sanrei gave chase and cut them down.
Combat took a little over an hour to resolve, occupying a good chunk of a rather short session. Much of the time taken was due to getting up to speed with the rules, and I expect simple combats to go more quickly in future.
The Storyteller hadn’t yet read the battle group rules, and he decided to run the zombie bodyguards individually instead. The individual zombies were a persistent nuisance, capable of the occasional successful withering attack due to good rolling on the Storyteller’s part, but unable to follow through with successful decisives. They might actually have been more effective as a battle group, with the Perfumed Man standing back and boosting their dice pool with Order actions.