Blood Ties, Chapter 3: Xin Kao Dai

Last time on Blood Ties, everyone not named Meilin suffered through a tutorial level and received orders to infiltrate enemy-held Xin Kao Dai. Will our protagonists successfully cross enemy lines? Find out after the cut.

“Xin Kao Dai,” the captain of the Tellun’s Pride had said. “A pretty harbor, but prone to morning fog this time of year. There’s a small island very near the southern headland. We can stand off after midnight, row you to the island, and you can wade ashore at low tide. Cross the fish traps and you’ll make landfall easily in the fisherfolk’s part of the city.”

Two days later, Rollan is warm, wet, and hysterical. It’s a warm foggy morning outside Xin Kao Dai, he’s wading through the ocean with the rest of the party as they attempt to cross enemy lines, and, dammit, he’s just not enjoying it.

The party has disguised themselves as a troupe of shadow puppeteers, so they’re carrying all their equipment — shadow puppets, screen, and a massive lantern — while wading their way to shore. They manage to reach a small fishing village on the outskirts of the city without much incident. Unfortunately, the main road is guarded by a pair of Conqueror guards.

Thankfully, Rollan has a great idea: he’ll distract the guards, while the rest of the party enters the city proper. And by “distract,” I mean “dress up like a crazy person, make a scene, and claim that one of the guards’ spirit animals poisoned him.”

Did his plan work? Well … we’ll find out next time. Hooray, cliffhangers!


Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Rollan still doesn’t understand why Conor gave away the Iron Boar, or why Meilin decided to go solo. His justification: He’s an orphan and doesn’t understand familial ties and stuff.

Abeke based the party’s play on one she saw about the Great Beasts.

Rollan actually worries about Meilin! They’ll end up being a canon pairing by the next book. (Are there any shippers in this fandom? Hell, is there even a fandom for this series?)

There’s one minor incident during the trip to shore: Rollan steps in a hole. He doesn’t thank Conor when he helps him because, apparently, things are “complicated” between them.

Tarik tells the party to keep their spirit animal tattoos hidden. Rollan is obviously exempt from that, which makes him rather embarrassed. Don’t worry, Rollan, you’ll learn Summon Spirit Animal in the next book.

Rollan learns a new ability in this chapter! He discovers that he can see through Essix’s eyes.

Rollan’s original plan called for the party to rendezvous at the largest pie stall. Conor and Abeke immediately point out that they probably don’t sell pies in Zhong.

One of the Conqueror guards has a stoat spirit animal. Legend had it that a stoat’s saliva could poison a man.

Status Update!
Rollan learns: Share Husk!


Next time: Find out if Rollan’s distraction really worked!



  1. This is, what, the third time Rollan’s been useful? After the truth-finding and the lock-picking. Yay him! But then, of course, [Spoiler Alert] he goes and gets himself sick right afterwards. -.-

  2. Oh, and yes, there is a fandom. Mostly on the video game’s website forum. However, seeing as most of them seem to be about ten or eleven, I’d say the ship factor is quite low.

    1. I’ve kinda noticed that. Sometimes I peek into the forums for information on future books — it’s how I learned that they’re doing a series of novellas about Shane and the Designated Villains — but then the posts by anyone not a moderator just hurt my eyes.

      On another note: Why did I start a series that now going to be almost as long as Avalon? Seven books, a short story collection, and three novellas … what did I get myself into?

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