The party, having killed Black Betty, returned to the nearby village to celebrate their victory and rest up from their injuries. While there, they learned that Black Betty’s death would likely upset the balance of power in the region and cause the local dark dwarves to go on the warpath in retaliation. The group, realizing that this would, in fact, soon come to pass, fled the area almost immediately. Hastening them on their trip was the knowledge that King Hawklight, the man who wanted the Spyglass from them, had men in the area searching for them.
The group began the long walk from Canada to Mexico, with no long-term plan or any idea of what they wanted to do beyond avoid Hawklight. Fate intervened, realizing that this would effectivley end their journey were they to succeed, and so Hawklight’s men found them. A team of five samurai on horses chased down our heroes, and, after a short fight, all but one of them were killed. The survivor, a samurai named Gobanme Senshi, was tied up and interrogated. He explained that Hawklight actually wasn’t out to kill the party, but instead, to talk to them. Mumbling a couple of half-hearted apologies for killing four men without any real justification, the group traveled to Hawklight’s home nation of Japan and visited him in person. Gobanme, still tied up, crawled away on his stomach, using his incredibly defined abs to travel like a snake.
Hawklight was angry that the party had destroyed the spyglass and killed several of his men, but he offered them a chance to redeem themselves. Hawklight’s goal was to unify Japan under his rule. Using the spyglass was the easiest way to do so, but other ways also existed. It was to fall to the party to help Hawklight to do it the hard way. Their first task: to enter and clear out an ancient cave of demons, in which a legendary treasure of the Crane clan was supposedly stored. Hawklight hoped that by finding and offering the lost treasure to the Crane, they would join him under his banner.
Having little choice but to go along with the railroad plot that lay before them, the group agreed, under two conditions: Lark wished to have a green robe that matched that of Hawklight’s right-hand man and chief advisor, and Kiroku wished to have a cabana boy. Hawklight agreed that such rewards were reasonable, however, they would not receive them just yet. The Crane mission was simply to remove the threat of death from over their heads; a second mission would be required to earn a robe and a slave.