Ginjo and Sukh, together whith Ginjo's niece Phubi, Irak and the other sohei, Shheng and Shek, and the rehabilitated bakemono made their way through the lost valley. Everyone, ans especially the bakemono were bemused by what they found-- a series of beautiful stone villages, all deserted, and marked my signs of deliberate destruction. Frescoes, sculptures, engravings-- all forms of representational ornamentation had been defaced. The remnants showed that the destroyed artwork had once depicted creatures that were bakemono or at least very similar to bakemono, with the same vulpine features as the monumental statutes that had guarded the gates. The artwork seemed to show them in a variety of sophisticated activities-- playing music, studying the stars, reading from scrolls, and designing buildings.
The party had entered the valley from the east and moved westward. Finding a larger village with several strucutres still standing, they entered the largest, a three-story tower.. Inside they encountered a pair of zombie, their large pointed ears marking them as former bakemono. Phubi drove them away and the party climbed to the top of the tower. In the courtyard below, they saw a mob of skeletons and zombies gathering, all seemingly former bakemono. Ginjo and Sukh jammed the door at the top of the tower so that it would open just enough to allow one monster to squeeze through at a time. The skeletons reached the top of the stairs first. Phubi presented her holy symbol and the first skeletons stopped in the doorway. Other skeletons and then zombies pushed them through where they met the blades of Sukh and Ginjo. Almost laughing like a pair of drunken farmers harvesting the wheat, the two friends joyfully cut up the undead mob.
When this job was done, the party had a chance to survey the landscape. The valley extended further to the west, as far as the eye could see in the late afternoon sun. The orange light marked the course of a distant river and a few more villages.
The party decided to press on rather than spend a night in a place that still might hide the walking dead. They head for the river and camped on its banks. In the morning, they ate and pressed on. In the late morning, they heard loud shouting and traced it to its source-- the remnants of a battle! Three dead people-- human rather than bakemono, but neither Pasari nor Zhou-- had been killed by arrows and spears. The people were squat and hairy with rough clothing. Puzzling over what they found, they were surprised by the sound of approaching riders-- eight human men, mounted on giant lizards. They resembled the dead, and their rough features was all the stranger on a living person.
The men challenged them in strangely-accented bakemono, demanding to know who they were and what they had done. Ginjo answered, starting to tell the history of his family before Sukh urged him to let the riders they were puzzled by the sight of the dead men and had no hand in their demise. The riders were quick to accept this, and also expressed great suspicion of why Ginjo was traveling with "tyrant dogs"-- pointing at Soft Ear and the other bakemono. Ginjo began the story of how his friend Gunjar had converted the brutish bakemono to his religion of forgiveness and peace, but was again interrupted by Sukh.
Sukh had found tracks-- like those of a dog-- and pointed them out to the rider. They nodded with grim satisfaction and rode off in the direction of the tracks, urging Ginjo and the others to follow. The tracks led into a ravine, where they were ambushed by a group of fox-like bakemono, all resembling the statutes and the defaced artwork. There was a flash of light and a flurry of badly-aimed arrows. Several rider riders were thrown from their mounts and the fox bakemono fled deeper into the ravine. Ginjo discouraged further pursuit. Phubi tended to the wounds of those who had been injured and the new acquaintances that they would go to Ronkan so that the visitors could meet Ben-Kraal, whose father had led the rebellion and whom all humans accepted as their war leader and chief.
Eager for answers to their many questions about the state of the bakemono hoeland, Sukh and GInjo agreed to meet him.