Hikuru - Sea of Storms

Dusk Gathers in Fallen Harp Bay
Session Seven

Prologue Ren:


DM: Ok, so last you were seen by the group, you dashed past on your way to the ship. After you dissappeared over the horizon, you went back to the Furishouhou which is sitting at anchor. Two awnings have been set up, fore and aft. Some crew rebraid ropes in front of the first while Ouritsou and Ningkyo sit on rope piles beneath the other. You dash up and after peppering you with questions and getting confusing and unclear answers, Ningkyo takes you to the cabin to see the charts. She pins down a piece of muslin and has you charcoal in what you remember of the routes and such. Assuming you have no time for chit-chat once this dutiy is discharged, you swan dive back over the side, Head back to the beach and start asking around for traces of ,,, ‘someone like me’?


Ren: yeah


DM: This fails instantly when talking to lizardfolk. As far as they’re concerned, you’re one of the infinite variety of mid-sized human-a-likes. Talking to humans gets you a bit more.


DM: You find one fish-hook maker, obviously of very little means with a mangled leg. He tells you that he was out along the far edge of the swamp looking for crabs when he saw someone dive off the edge of the pier. He waited for them to surface, out of idle curiousity, but they never did He kept an ear open but noone was missing, so he asked the Tengu


Ren: the Tengu?


DM: Giant raven-ish hengeyokai-types more towards raven than man, very connected to the spirit realms


Ren: hmm ok


DM: The tengu weren’t out that night. he said “it was strange, they had read the omens that it was going to be a very auspicious night to be in temple.” One of them said a strange thing He said – ‘and the higher that temple in a mountain, the better’ but he wouldn’t explain it. Thats all the old man knows.


Ren: Thank him and walk on then.


Meanwhile Han:


After Ouritsou pulls you out of the shop he leads you down the street to the dockside and pulls out a hinged case with a square of muslin in it. Theres a rough map charcoaled into it, one that looks very close to what you’ve just seen in Takeshis. “Ren just came back to the ship, said something about finding a map full of things, so she traced this onto the charts we have aboard. I figured it was relevant and you would want to know. Plus it lets me off to take a walk around.” Ouritsou grins. “Ningkyo drew the short straw over who gets to bring it to you.”

DM: Curtains Raise, Main Party. Leaving Takeshi sitting amidst the scroll-strewn wreckage of his shop, Toshi and Goro emerge into the daylight.


DM: After the dark of the shop, the contrast with the sunbleached streets is jarring and the heat haze makes the far ends of the docks and the ships at anchor blur and writhe.


DM: Goros grip on his katana’s scabbard tightens as his eyes adjust.


DM: Towards the bridge, yarimen, towards the far ends of the docks, more yarimen. Directly across the docks, another trio of yarimen, a pair of bowmen and sitting upon an up turned keg, a figure wearing the swords of a samurai and the fine clothes of a man of rank.


DM: Shogunate emblems are prominent throughout, Goro recognises the hatamoto from his time at the governors palace.


Goro: * Rumbles quietly in what might be a chuckle *


Toshi: ::glances over at Goro::


Goro: “Hatamoto!” :: Starts walking slowly towards to the Samurai :: “While your men seem to be everywhere you are a difficult man to find”


Toshi: ::grins::


DM: The hatamoto remains seated and nods slightly. After a moments pause he nods again, slightly deeper. “Indeed, I thought, it could not be that an emissary of such respected and staunch traditionalists as the Stone Circle would come to a town and fail to make the due courtesies.”


DM: “To avoid misunderstandings, I thought, as I was coming to the docks I could do you the favour of making it easier.”


Goro: “A most generous gesture” :: Returns the nod ::


DM: Light words are somewhat belied by the tight grips and watchful stance of the yarimen.


Indeed. It is a fine day for a walk, the hatamoto says without blinking, “let us walk to the contemplation garden at the temple.”


Or if you have duties that are urgent…?


Goro: :: moves into step with the hatamoto ::


Toshi: ::follows along::


Goro: “Nothing could bring me greater pleasure:”


DM: The hatamoto nods. “I hope your journey here was swift, and that your efforts here rewarding?”


Goro: “The Furishou is a fine ship, although I must admit I am more at comfort in the mountains and forests”


My investigations here so far do seem to bear fruit


Goro: “At least we have word that the Sahuagin are concerned there may be Elven dealings, so I close in on my quarry”


:: Grins a toothy grin of pleasure at the thought ::


DM: The hatamoto looks sideways at Goro, then stops in the street.


DM: “The… but that cannot be.” His face creases into a scowl. “Samurai you mock me!”


DM: “Elves, sahuagin, these are things from ages past – is this what the Empire comes up with to justify their interventions here? There is piracy and raiding aplenty that has been left to long unattended without dredging up these legends!”


Goro: :: Anger flares across Goros expression before he carefully closes his eyes takes and takes a breath to contain his feral nature ::


Goro: “I am Goro, Samurai of the first pack of Stone Circle Lord Osamu Hayato, since birth I have hunted and killed what to you may seem Legend”


Goro: “I care nothing for your local politics, I am uninterested in Piracy”


Goro: “I will however, not tolerate being called a liar, for it not only insults myself and my clan but dishonours my Lord”


DM: The hatamoto narrows his eyes. “There may have been a misunderstanding.” Looking past the samurai, Toshi sees Han approaching slowly down the street.


DM: “I have been listening to hair-splitting legalities and trivia for weeks now as a guest of the mokudai.” The hatamoto frowns. “It may have blinded me to the truth when it rises in front of me.”


DM: “Please tell me of this hunt. Perhaps I can assist.”



Meanwhile Han:


DM: So you are watching from behind the yarimen towards the bridge


DM: The whole group is moving up towards where you and Ouritsou are standing


Han: eye up the guy they’re with. What do i make of ‘im?


DM: Noble, fine clothes, well used swords,.The hatamoto, a medium sized man wearing functional gray robes. His most noticeable feature is blue-gray hair that drifts around his head as if underwater. His swords are obviously well worn and cared for, the cloth wraps of the grips stained dark.


Han: Right. So, i’ll bow to them when they get within bowing range


DM: ok. They appear to have stopped just now


Han: Ill leave them to their discusion, but kep a wary eye on it. When the hatamoto guy raises his voice, I move for my sword, but wait… If Goro draws his, i’ll move in


DM: Ouritsou whispers in your ear “Captain, this look like we could use some help? Shall I get the crew?”


Han: “Not yet… None of this ties him to us, if it goes badly, we just set sail, and leave them in our wake”


DM: “Aye captain.”


Han: “Wait here” I walk over, slowly, like a man wary of getting kicked by a spooked horse


DM: The yarimen see Han approach. The sergeant scowls at the Captain as sweat runs from under his helmet. “What do you want?” he growls.


Han: “I had hoped for a pleasant conversation, but failing that I was just going to inform Goro that our other guest may have found something of interest. However, seeing as you are clearing in the midst of something, i shall leave you to it.”


::bowing deeply to both, and walk back to the ship::


DM: You come back to Ouritsou at the edge of a building “What next, Captain? Cut ’em loose and head for the horizon?”


Han: “no not yet… Seems Goro has the situation well in hand.”


DM: “What do we do if he decides we need to be taken in hand, captain?”


Han: “Can’t tell if it’s fear or respect, but that Hatamoto just barked at me like a seargent who’s commanding office just chewed him out.”


Han: “I wouldn’t worry about it, if he becomes a problem i’ll deal with it personally”


DM: Ouritsou nods



Goro: :: back talking to the hatamoto :: “and that is what we have found so far”


Toshi: ::looks from Goro to Han and back::


I think I’ll leave you to it as well.


::heads off after Han::


Han: ::to Toshi::


DM: Leaving Goro and the hatamoto, Toshi walks along the docks to where Han and Ouritsou are standing


Han: “What was that all about?”


Toshi: “I’m not entirely sure. Well, you know, other than the general sense that the Shogunate is muscling in here and wants its tidings as rulers. And it appears those two have met before. I’m still not sure if they like each other or not.”


Han: “yes…. He did sorta have that look of wanting to kill something that only a friendship with Goro seems to cultivate.”


Toshi: “In any case, that man has been a guest of the mokudai for some time, he’s bored, and doesn’t seem receptive to any information on what is causing the shipping disruptions.”


Han: “well… that could mean one of two things. Either he’s too busy to care, or we’re not telling him anything he didn’t already know”


Toshi: “Or he thinks Goro is crazy.”


Han: “Goro IS crazy. He’s been bred to be crazy, i think. That sorta of fanatical Devotion to a cause. It’s not… natural And i saw genuine fear in that man’s eyes. Crazy or not, he would not have risked lying to him lest Goro tear him in half. If he truly believe him crazy, he would have know that no even his legion of 50 men would have stopped him.”


Toshi: “True enough.”


DM: “And he’s going to stay here when we leave…?” Asked Ouritsou


Han: “I guess that’s raelly up to him”


Toshi: “You know…with the legions of men not being able to stop him and all.”


DM: Ouritsou looks unhappy.


Toshi: “Would you prefer he didn’t?”


DM: “Well… if he’s shouting at Shogunate nobles… what if he decides we need to storm Kyuden Taira?”


Toshi: “The noble shouted back.”


For all we know this is a normal conversation for them.


Han: “Enough!”


Ouritsou, trust me. It will not come to that. You have my word


DM: Ouritsou looks relieved. Down the cross alley, a street back from the docksides, there is a movement. Takena Toryo and a few men and lizardmen make their way towards their ship, avoiding the large armed contingent on the dockside


DM: They appear to be heading down the back alleys towards the swamps.


Toshi: ::glances at Han::


Shall I follow them quietly?


Han: “If you can.”


Toshi: ::grins::


::heads off::



Meanwhile Ren:


DM: You can just about see theres something happening way down along the docks but from this distance (towards the swamps) you’re not sure


Ren: casually saunter closer


DM: you see the group walking towards you – you also spot Han and Ouritsou standing just to one side of the docks


Ren: is the bigwig guy sitting under an awning?


DM: Not anymore, they’re all walking up, he was just sitting on a keg anyway


Ren: I’ll wander close enough to hear what’s going on. I think she’ll probably stay to keep an eye on Goro seeing as he’s been left alone. Once it looks like he’s not that much in trouble, I’ll wander off to go continue searching



Meanhile Toshi:


Toshi: Following, with all due stealth


DM: Ok, it would be trickier given high sun and poor cover except they’re all trying to sneak past the shogunate not expecting to be followed


Toshi: Okay.


DM: They make good time down the streets, into the swamps it gets squelchy, but easier to be sneaky there


Toshi: More cover, I assume. Well, proper cover rather than disappearing into crowds.


DM: yes – there were few crowds on the streets at present


Toshi: Are they meeting with lizardmen?


DM: They go down to the tents around the house of Splendours where there is a concerted rousting out of miscellaneous crew


Toshi: Okay…


DM: There are harsh looks between them and others but they gather up and head for their boats


Toshi: Hmm.


DM: While they’re getting everyone together you overhear Toryo and his first mate – they have another target, they’re going to intercept. He says something about ‘towing the boat out’


Toshi: Hmm. well, okay. I suppose I should head back and report.


DM: They hit the water edge and row out to the boats – you’re not going to follow easily anyway


Toshi: Do I hear/see anything else as I’m slowly, stealthily withdrawing?


DM: Once all the crashing humans are gone, you realise that there are in fact a whole bunch of crocodilians just lying about drifting in the shallows, nosed up to trees, being very, very invisible. One of them watches you with a single eye, grins. They don’t interfere, but it strikes that there probably is no such thing as a private conversation in the swamps here


Toshi: ::smiles back, nervously:: Hear anything good?


DM: There is a deep rumble, possibly a laugh, but no reply.


Toshi: ::heads off::



Meanwhile Goro:


Goro: “And thats everything we know!”


DM: assuming of course, you do indeed tell him everything


Goro: skip on names of people who have told me things but all we really know is there is piracy and some of it is normal and some of it is…. clearly involved in the struggle for control of this area but that


DM: The hatamoto is all for taking the information you have and going down stabbing lizardfolk however, he does recognise that ‘no piracy’ achieved by scorched-swamps is not a way to run a feifdom. After hearing your information he’s willing to help you root out whatever the deep source of all this is, with one slight caveat he would prefer that whatever you do not be creditted to anyone, or to everyone – as in, entirely seperate from the arbitration


DM: What exactly do you want to put to him?


DM: (his pov – takeshi’s leaving town, therefore the problems gone away, neh? he goes hangs some lizardmen if they get out of line and its all sorted?)


Goro: eh? he thinks killing some people will wrap thing sup?


DM: more that the impetus has been drained and that there is a finite problem now; once an example has been made, more new pirates won’t pop up because their support is gone


Goro: No no no unacceptable – Piracy is the symptom and not the cause


DM: “Was the ‘cause’ not outside agitation through the fence and his backers? That’s gone now, so won’t it drain away?”


Goro: Is this guy an idiot? I KILL ELVES


DM: He is having trouble expanding back the wheels within the wheels. After the second time through he gets at least part of it. The fence/lizard pirates was just a chip on the board, there is a game going on he is not aware of – you want to upset the gameboard, neh?


Goro: I’m just a piece on the board, it’s not my place to upset to gameboard just to take the piece of been told to take. These Elves die by my hand – worth also mentioning my brothers


DM: He nods, looks pensive. This is apparently a lot to take in. He strikes as a conservative, this kind of out-there weird is not what he likes but he seems to be taking it in. He proposes that he continues to act as if it were a conventional piracy problem force the opposition to move covertly or act to replace what they’ve lost draw down their resources or maybe expose themselves


Goro: Does the Hatamoto know anything about whats been going on that hasn’t been mentioned so far – noticed any strange incidents?


DM: He was instructed to come here and take over in the name of the shogunate. The administration in place was failing to maintain order. He is near certain that the chaos here is being fed from the Empire, and by political faction fighting within the Delta Cities. He has no time for the River Reed faction in Delta Cities with their ‘innovations’ and adapting tradition’ He believes if there were any people likely to be under the sway of forbidden arts from the elves spit Its them, or their offshoot, the Spring Tide great clan within the shogunate


Goro: remind me of the other side of pirating, if I recall right the guys we met earlier were imperial right? working against what they believe are people working against them?


DM: They were a group from the North (not admitted, but probably Delta cities)


Goro: I’ll ask him about the ships they were talking about, the ones theyve been raiding, is the Shogunate involved in I’ll delicately rephrase smuggling to something like gifting supplies – also the ships with oil? If the Imperials arent involved and the Shogunate aren’t involved then its Pirates or Elves


DM: He does not know, but wouldn’t not expect to know either – this is way out of his field. Ships with oil does spark some sort of recognition, he rememberes hearing something but its vague


Goro: I would appreciate if he could investigate further


DM: He will look into it. He has one or two individuals on his staff whos purpose is to be informed, he will query them and see what they might know.


Goro: After this I think, if he is happy to stay out of our way in our duties then I am happy to stay out of the politics in controlling the city


Goro: If I am correct, attaining the Fan is a different politics correct? it is to be given to someones daughter in another city and so nicely is outside of this set of politicking?


DM: It is separate to this politicking but it would be politicking ‘against’ the shogunate


Goro: and I have made no other promises than I can recall that would conflict with this arragement? oh ofc, but its all in the details :)


DM: no, agreeing to live and let live with the hatamoto is compatible with everything else to date… the mokudai never explicitly said ‘you have to help us in the name of the Empire’


Goro: okay, I’m good with everything there so far, he didn’t know anything but was able to tell me some stuff. I didn’t give him any names but was able to explain the situation and the urgency of it along with my disinterest in everything else


DM: He is satisfied with this. As the conversation goes on his initial annoyance at having a pile of complications thrown on his patch reduces. He realises the good in seeing theres a knife out there rather than being happy in ignorance.


Goro: After all that wrap up, bowing etc and head back to the ship



Meanwhile Ren:


DM: You don’t find a better source than the old man among the humans. Asking around a bit more you do get a suggestion to ask the Tengu. You find an old tengu, his beak worn clear in places sitting on a bar within the prayer gate that stands by the edge of the swamp. There was a creature, with a heart of water, a cousin of yours. But his heart was dark as the deeps, dark where the sun shines no longer. I would not seek this cousin of yours, sea child, for you might find him.


Ren: shiver Thank you oh wise one. I fear you may be right


DM: “Be wary as you swim, for the dwellers of the deeps are roused and a terrible rage is on them. Your cousin was just a harbinger, woe to those upon who their hand will truly fall in anger.”


Ren: “I had heard they were swimming again but had thought it merely old tales. I shall be more careful in future. Thank you for your warnings”


DM: “Be careful as you swim, though I fear less for you than those who have no feel for the currents. Go with fate, sister.”


Ren: “Many thanks.” bow deeply and head back to the ship



Main Party:


DM: It is mid afternoon and the Furishouhou rides easy at anchor


Toshi: ::jogs up to the boat::


DM: Han, Goro and Toshi have arrived at the quayside where it is tied


Goro: “The Hatamoto knew little of note, he has been more concerned with the shogunate dominance over this city”


It took me some time to impress upon him the severity of my hunt and my disinterest in his politics but I believe he eventually understood


Goro: “He has agreed to some discreet investigations in relation to those strange ships the, shall we say imperial loyalists, were attacking if they are not shogunate then they are Pirate or something of greater interest”


In exchange for staying out of our way I agreed to not influence myself in the politics of this city one way or another


Toshi: "A fair trade. Takena Toryo seem to be moving out. They have another target, and are going to intercept. And there was something about ‘towing the boat out,’ though… ::looks down:: “I’m not much of a sailor and I’m not sure what boat they were towing where.”


Toshi: “It might be fun to follow them and do some investigating of our own.”


Ren: ::Ren clambers up the side of the ship, dripping slightly::


I think, tonight, I shall sleep on the deck.


Ren: ::Ren proceeds to pull in the netting she had been sleeping in and string it along one of the sides of the ship::


DM: The rest of the ships crew are beginning to move around more as the days heat eases. Activity along the docks is picking up in preparation for twilight fishing.


DM: Ouritsou looks at Toshi and Goro, and then at Han. “So, we have supplies in hand for another run back to Jumana, but its always better to get fresh supplies if we’re going on a longer run. Not everyone loves biscuit and weevil.”


Goro: “Yeah, the biscuits weren’t great, good weevil though!”


DM: Ouritsou looks slightly worried. “…there are ‘bad’ weevils?”


Goro: “Now you mention it, I think they’ve all been good! But yeah, less biscuit next time”


Han: “Get whatever provisions you deem necessary”


DM: “Aye, Captain.”


Ren: ::Finishes re-making her bed and comes over:: “So did you talk to the busy man?”


Han: “Yeah… you could say that”


Ren: “good. He had met someone like me you know. Only I don’t think it was my brother or sister.”


Han: “What do you mean ‘Like You’? As in… a…”


Ren: "From the sea but I don’t think he meant like me


Han: “Hmm… well… Goro’s friend, that Hatamoto, looked…. like a sea dweller”


Ren: ::Ren purses her lips:: “No, that’s not who he meant I think. His stock is too watered down.”


Han: “His hair did that wavy, underwarer thing like yours”


Ren: :: Looks confused:: “My hair waves? I hadn’t known it communicated on its own. Anyway, I don’t think we want to meet who he meant.”


Toshi: “I’m confused. I think we found out he was visited by a sahuagin.”


Ren: ::looks stricken::


Toshi: “Does that mean he wasn’t visted by one of those, that it was instead someone like you?”


Ren: “shhh you shouldn’t speak of them”


Toshi: “Or that you are one of those?”


Ren: “I most certainly am not!!!”


Toshi: “Okay, that’s good.”


::still looking confused::


Ren: ::gets agitated:: Maybe, maybe I shouldn’t be here. Maybe I should be sleeping in the town tonight,


::starts packing up her netting again hurriedly::


Toshi: “Oh, I picked up his map. I wasn’t sure what you meant when you mentioned it…”


Ren: ::pauses, then keeps going:: “I just thought it might help you. I might be wrong. He had been working on it is all. I should go”


DM: Ouritsou looks at the map, then opens the scroll case he’s holding


Toshi: ::looks down at the map:: “How is this going to help? And why do you think it might?”


DM: Takes the map and holds the muslin from the case over the map. “Huh, they match.”


Ren: “You all are far more head smart than Ren is. You should figure it out. I have to go. Now.”


DM: Ningkyo looks at Ren’s packing “Is there something we should know?”


Toshi: “I am certainly feeling like I’m missing something.”


Han: “Almost certaintly”


Ren: “You called them down. I won’t be here when they come. Good day to you. I’ll be… I’ll be…” ::Ren looks around worriedly:: “I’ll be somewhere if you need me”


Toshi: ::still looking confused:: “Calling anything down takes a little work, in my experience.”


Ren: ::Takes her bundle of things and leaps overboard::


Han: “Good riddance”


DM: Ningkyo looks at Han. “… that was ominous, in the very literal meaning of the word.”


Han: “Yup… that girl is allergic to giving straight answers”


Goro: “I thought Takena was being silly when he said it, but if Ren believes it maybe there is something to it. But if I’m right then it might be best if only myself and Toshi stayed aboard tonight.”


Han: “…are you asking me to leave my ship?”


Goro: “It might be best, if you stay I think you will have to meet them”


Han: “This is my ship. I don’t care if the 7 Gods of thunder themselves show up… I shall be here to meet them.”


Goro: :: Grins ::


Goro: “That is reassuring, I would hate to have to explain to you what happened to your ship in the morning.”


DM: Ningkyo looks at the others. “If the Captains staying, so are we, right men?”


There is some slightly less than fully enthusiastic agreement


Han: “I appreciate your Sentiment, Ningkyo. However… I will force no man to face that which they do not wish to. you may stay or you may leave, either way you are still my crew and your beth will be waiting for you … if the ship still stands”


DM: There are a few worried looks around, but Ningkyo, Matsubou and Satsujin are staying and it steadies the rest of the crew. Those who might want to leave, can’t loose face now. Ouritsou whistles from the dockside where a cart and supplies has arrived, see all the expressions along the railings. “What? What happened?”


Han: “Ah… the Last supper has arrived”


DM: The crew breaks out the winches and hauls the supplies aboard. There are a few cages of chickens and a tasty piglet chief among them. Once everything is stowed, quick work is made of preparing food and the crew eats heartily. After finishing, many turn to checking the boarding irons. Ningkyo finds Han. “Should we bind the ship tighter to the docks? If the hull gets holed it might stop us sinking but it’ll prevent us making a run for it.”


Han: “No. Keep us seaworthy.”


DM: “Aye, captain.”


Goro: :: Goro spends the rest of the evening checking over his weaponry and approaches sunset in meditation on deck surrounded by a small arsenal of weaponry ::


DM: The crew goes through their usual port routine, perhaps a little quieter and more nervous than usual


DM: The sun begins to set and the mists steal into the harbour again, the light being replaced with the sounds of swamp creatures.


Curtains Fall



Finally, Ren:


Ren: Ok so, keeping to VERY shallow water need to find somewhere else to stay


Ren: I’m gonna head to shore quickly I think and then look for… maybe some nice lizardmen who’ll put me up?


DM: Well you have lots of options there any particular flavour – and by that I mean social, the old hands, the young bravos, etc.


Ren: old hands probably and it’d be nice if they have a view of the harbour from where they are


DM: Yeah – you can find a decent spot along the swamp line. Roughly where Moju’s place is but at the waters edge but! – once darkness falls, then its going to be hard to tell whats going on


Ren: this is acceptable. She wants the comfort of knowing if she COULD see anything she could go help her friends but this way she cant so she’ll just sit and worry and pace a lot probably

View
At the Sign of the Triangle
Hikuru Session Six

DM Curtains Raise.


DM Standing outside the Four Seasons Trading and Ship Outfitters’ the sun has burnt off the mists in the bay. The bustle of the town has slowed a little as those who can seek the shelter of indoors or shade. Its sticky and the clicks and buzzes of insects is omnipresent. Ssenio and Takena Toryo have agreed to furnish information on their understanding of the sea-borne misdeeds and requested that you meet them aboard the Wise Choice after nightfall. Ssenio is wary of trouble following you and suggested that the reason for your visit could be communicated to any inquiring parties as tracking down forbidden crafts. He suggested you speak with at least a few other traders to make this plausible. Making his excuses that trade needed to be attended to, the meeting was ended. Takena Toryo remained on the roof, Ssenio saw you out. The Furishouhou sits at anchor off shore, you can see the Red Coin making ready to sail while porters continue to unload the Loyal Brother.


Toshi looks from Ren to Han to Goro


Ren blinks at Toshi


Han So… Forbidden crafts


DM Some lizardmen from Four Seasons bustle past with crates on their shoulders.


Ren absently sniff at the lizardmen


Ren looks around at Han expectantly


Han i have a bad feeling about this. I don’t like that Toryo guy. Something… just doesn’t feel right


Ren His ship smells funny. I don’t want to go there


Han Define ‘Funny’, Ren


Ren Like the nasty water. Where we found the monkey man


Han If that guy is a pirate, i’m the king of Siam


Ren Should I address you as Your Highness then


Han Do you see a crown


Ren You could have taken it off


Goro If he’s not a Pirate then what is he


Han I don’t know. But there is something about him. Can’t quite put my finger on it. Something about him just… doesnt feel right…


Han I got it. He feels like a Lord. A Feudal Lord. Or… Or some military leader


Goro The question in that case is to who he gives fealty


Han That just it… i don;t think he’s giving anyone fealty. Or if he is, he’s hiding it well


Ren does it really mater we still don’t have that lady’s thing


Han I think he’s gone Rogue…


Ren well are we going to go get the lady’s thing or we gonna stand here til some fisherman notices us and gets antsy


Han Either way… he is no Natural born sailor, that’s for sure


Ren smugly few truly are


Han Fishermen here know better than to gawk, less a cutlass remove the part of them that thinks from the rest of them


Goro Could be something to do with the unnatural state of floating on the water


Ren sighs ponderously


DM A trio of yarimen emerge from the streets to the base of the bridge. Their officers confer briefly then those who were at the bridge head back the way the others arrive.


Han But you’re right we need to be doing something.


DM A tengu and a human come down the street arguing about pickles


Goro Lets find this other northerner, Takashi, he should be mixed up in things also


Han Indeed


Ren takes two steps left. looks confused. takes two steps right. Looks up at Goro and Han


DM The distant ends of the docks are beginning to shimmer in the heat. Another lizardman with a tray of boxes and bowls arrives at Four Seasons and goes inside


Ren starts shifting back and forth on her feet looking decidedly unhappy


Han What


Ren Can’t we MOVE somewhere. I know I’m not into this whole politics stupid stuff but it seems stupid to stand here talking about a guy when he and his lackeys are on the other side of the door right there!! And its HOT!


stamps her feet for effect


DM A lizardman comes back out the door with a stack of empty boxes and heads down the street.


Goro Tilts his hat back to look up at the sky I guess it is a little hot out in the open, any suggestions on where we should start looking


Ren Presumably not here!


Toshi Let’s go back to the Furishouhou then, and figure out how we’re going to pass the rest of the day.


Toshi It can’t be any warmer on deck than it is here.


Han And here


Ren stomps off towards the Furishouhou without waiting for the others


Toshi If we’re going to start checking papers for these ships, we can do so in the afternoon, after the heat has broken.


Goro Well as I said, Taskashi is the other name I was told to look for, where he is I dont know, hes another northerner and deals with some traders


DM Another group of yarimen emerges from the edge of town further down towards the House of Splendours. They appear to be talking the harbormaster who is sitting under a canopy


Han Well… we could ask at the house of spledours. Seems like that where all the action is


Toshi frowns If Takashi deals with traders, he might know where to find him, nodding slightly towards the harbormaster


Han Good idea… I’ll go talk to him. Being the captain of the Furishohou is useful for more than just passage


DM Strolling across to the Harbormaster you see he is collapsed in a wooden chair fanning himself


Han deep bow


DM The harbormaster looks pained as he rises, bows, and collapese back again.


Han Greetings Harbourmaster. May the Blessings of the Water Kami be with you today


DM The yarimen and their sergeant stand back. They are wearing shogunate emblems, which seems odd. Blessings of the fates upon you, Captain. Are you well


Han I am most well, our Journey was swift and Sure


DM That is good, and prosperous I hope.


Han However, i fear i must apologize for a grievous error on my part. It has been some time since my crew has docked here, and far too many moons since i have set foot here myself… I am afraid i no longer know the place as well as i once did. I seek a man by the name of Taskeshi… I was wondering if you knew the gentlemen. Oh… and regarding our Berthing charges… where should i have my men deliver them?


DM Takeshi-san can be found over there, he points to a shop along the row with a three-part triangle sign, though he had been dealing quite a lot with the swamp-dwellers, you should check whether he has suitable supplies. My cousin, Inomoro, has an excellent supply shop should you have needs. That is his place there with the wreath of seaweed. Your docking fees… well, his eyes flick to the yarimen, there are ongoing discussions about the rates and receivers.


Han Ah… i understand fully the rigors that are placed on Honest businessmen. Please, send word to me as swiftly as possible.


DM I shall, though I understand that prudent business often necessitates swift departures. Noone could be held to blame for such circumstances.


Han Smile and Bow We leave. As we are leaving, to the others “Seems imperial Troopers are starting to take control already. Once the have the docks under their control, they essentially have the whole town. The master there pretty much told us to leave town or face the consequences.”


Toshi Then we should chat with Takashi-san sooner rather than later.



Meanwhile Ren:


Ren When I get there, I’m diving and going swimming to cool off, literally and metaphorically.
DM Heading past all the traders back towards the boat you notice that one of the trading outposts appears to be the one your looking for. There is a harassed looking man inside rummaging through boxes and drawers. Maps and scrolls spill over, some have fallen to the floor
Ren duck inside, and make a show of fanning myself from the heat “Its HOT today. Didn’t think I could quite make it to the water without a break.”
DM The man looks startled
Ren Sorry to intrude. The sun was just so…. hot
DM “Please excuse me, you are welcome to the shade, may I offer you a drink” his body language contradicts his words
Ren “Oh that would be delightful Have you any water?”
DM “Yes, please, if you could just wait.” He passes out through the back of the shop
Ren Ok Find the nearest place to sit and do so. while he’s out squint at the maps
DM The maps are of what you’re used to The sea of storms, There is a route picked out on it from Qafayah to here and then south
Ren Try and memorize how it goes
DM There are a number of marks with dates between here and Qafayah
Ren crap, do I think I can swipe it
DM Hmm. Its pretty obviously what he was working on. you could grab it and run if you like
Ren no… I’ll just memorize as much as I can
DM The man comes back with a deep cup filled with water. “Please, accept this with my compliments.” He says, even as his expression telegraphs ‘go away’
Ren “Oh thank you very much” Drink deeply “Being out of the water can sometimes be so burdensome.”
DM I would hate to keep you from the comforts of the waves, sea-child.
Ren Thank you for your concern. I could wish everyone was as thoughtful as you are. Have you met many others like me before
DM Strange, never before this week, and now you are the second.
Ren Really? unfeigned shock Where did you meet him
DM The man looks deeply uncomfortable, almost scared. “Down in the towns”
Ren I am sorry to be so prying, only I have not seen one like myself in many years. I thought I was the only one in the area. Really Was he working on a ship?
DM “No, I’m sorry, I really have duties to attend to, if you will please excuse me.”The man looks rattled but ushers you towards the door
Ren Oh yes, of course. Thank you ever so much for the water and the news
DM Yes, yes, good day to you and fates preserve you." As you turn to leave you think you hear him mutter “fates preserve us all.” You see the others coming across the docks from the harbormaster
Ren Leave the cup, head out. Head to the ship. Find a map and draw what I remember on it.
DM that’ll take a little while but sure
Ren I’m expecting it to mainly just be the route itself. Then its off to go find my long-lost cousin, which will probably involve me going up to people going “have you seen someone like me” Nice and blunt



Main party:


DM As you walk along the dockside you see the different trading houses


Ren Runs up at a dash


DM The seaweed wreath is near, and beyond you see the triangles that are supposed to be Takeshis


Ren “He is ever so busy but check out his map when you get to see him. I have to go find somebody.”


Dashes off


Han “Who is ever so busy” shouting after her


Toshi The world may never know. Come on, let’s go talk to Takashi.


Han “i…” shaking my head


Toshi Before the Shogunate takes your ship as custom.


Han i go with them


DM The triangle sign hangs over a small shop


Toshi head for the triangle sign


DM It is small and dark, with shelves from floor to ceiling. Inside a man works frantically amidst a pile of scrolls, maps and charts. He has an abacus to hand and a brush and paper. Boxes and drawers have been pulled untidily open or hang in their traces, spilling more parchments and scrolls


Toshi bows deeply Good day. Do I have the pleasure of addressing Takashi


DM The man looks at you with something akin to horror, but quickly recovers and bows in return. “Good day to you, I have the honour of being Takashi.”


Toshi smiles


DM He is a man, thin, with a scribes build. His clothes are cut in a Northern style but he seems to have dressed in a hurry today. As Goro blocks out the light in the door way his expression sinks a little further.


Please, come in, how may my humble establishment serve you


Toshi We are investigating the recent shipping disruptions. I understand you have some connections here in the city and would be willing to assist in our enquiries. I’m sorry, have we come at a bad time. looks at the paper in front of him


DM His eyes track Han as he starts to peer at the shelf contents.


Toshi Steps forward, taking up more of his field of vision


DM “I am a factor for some trading concerns, mostly from Kinu Toshi. Indeed as you can see I am unfortunately very busy at the moment. Perhaps if you tell DM what you need I can have another of the factors furnish your needs. I am currently experiencing some delays to my shipments that may hinder my means to meet your needs, you understand.”


Goro Accidentily leans too hard on a shelf sending its contents flying


DM Wood cracks, scrolls tumble all over the floor, Takeshi barely hides a pained expression


Toshi those delays are precisely our concern. the sooner we can discuss the circumstances with you, the sooner we can leave you to work.


Goro glance tiredly at the tumble on the floor, supress a yawn and look around for somewhere else to lean on


DM I am afraid I do not know why my shipments have been delayed. These pirates we hear so much about


DM Rumour has it that the young lizardmen are taking to raiding, with the border in flux, some say it is time for a new leader to take over from Lord Five Tiger but these are rumours, I hear a great deal of them. Where did you say you had come from


Toshi We represent private interests.


DM I see. Well I am afraid I am just a humble factor.


Toshi I believe we have a mutual friend in Ban Tsoi.


DM Takeshi’s eyes narrow. Indeed. That is interesting.


DM In that case, you can tell Ban that I’m out. I’m leaving, if he wants to find me he’ll be lucky.


Toshi Oh


Han i think we’ve already found you


DM … Takeshi grimaces. Indeed. So what does Ban Tsoi want


Han Nothing more than your cooperation. So please… do you best to answer the lady’s questions


Toshi What do you know about the disruptions, who do you think is connected, and while we’re here, why are you seeking to run for the horizon and disappear from under our friend’s nose. You may start with the rumours you’ve heard, and your opinion of them.


DM Takeshi looks around desperately and then his shoulders slump and he sits down on his stool.


Han If you’re very lucky, we might forget about the last question


DM I am almost sure that the supply disruptions have been caused by the lizardmen down in the swamps. They have recently gotten better sea-going vessels and weapons.


Toshi From whom


DM They have a fence for the things they plunder and a line on where good prospects are likely to be and when. What would you do if you knew who did it Does it matter


Toshi It all matters. What’s the fence’s name


DM Takeshi shrugs. It was me.


Toshi Ah. Go on.


DM He looks at you. You are not the first persons to come here, I was told in no uncertain terms to disappear a few days ago by parties I am inclined to heed. So I am liquidating what assets remain to hand and I’m going.


Han Northerners


DM Mostly I want to make sure I am not leaving any creditors sufficiently motivated to find me.


DM Northerners.. He looks puzzled and peers at a map. I believe… yes, I believe you could say he was from the North.


Toshi Who? looks down at the map then back up at Takeshi


DM Takeshi looks at Toshi, then Goro, then Han. Not people. Not Imperial. I won’t say their name. They can tell when you say their name in the stories. Maybe its a story but I’m not taking a chance


Goro Fae


DM No… thats what it said to me. Takeshi looks confused It thought I was working for the fae, said I was a pawn, said I should go away. This is me heeding it.


Goro and were you deadly serious


DM Takeshi shudders. Not that I knew, but… but when monsters from the stories start turning up in my garden then I am not sure any more. I am going to find a monastery, somewhere quiet and far up a mountain. Far, far from the sea.


Han … don’t blame you.


Goro Why would anyone think you were working for them What have you done


DM I brought in weapons for the young bloods in the swamps, I found some blue seas navigators to show them the ropes, I told them where the ships were and sold on the loot. As best I know, thats not what makes warding sign the elves do. Hell, I thought they dropped firey death from the skies, what would they need me for


Toshi If they ‘d wanted to drop fiery death from the skies, I’m sure they wouldn’t have asked you to leave so nicely.


Goro and so we get back to, who warned you to leave


DM … Takeshi frowns No, elves drop fire on people, I didn’t know they worked on land. This… they said they were not happy about what was happening to their realms from the shipwrecks. I think it looked in my mind. I don’t know. I’m just doing what I’m told.


Just then Ouritsou peers in the door. “Captain Han I need you for something”


DM Takeshi looks warily at the newcomer.


Han Yes. If you’ll excuse me bow to the others and leave with Ouritsou


DM Takeshi looks at Goro and Toshi. Are there elves here What are they doing When did this happen


Toshi You still haven’t answered the question.


DM Takeshi slams his hands on the table. No! I won’t! They can drag you out of the spirit realms, they can bind you so deep you can never see the sun again… there are fates worse than death, and they know them!


Toshi Fine. We’ll need that map.


DM Take it. Takeshi pushes at the pile of scrolls on the table. The depths with my creditors.


Goro Take the Devils advise Takeshi, leave tonight Turns and heads back out


Toshi rolls up the map, bows shortly


DM Takeshi shudders and nods.


Toshi Thank you for your assistance.


leaves


DM Curtains Fall

View
Four Seasons Trading and Ship Outfitters
Session Five

DM: curtain raises


Interlude Ren:


DM: As you take your morning swim you meander in and around the various ships – and quickly realise that the nasty taste seems strongest coming from an old cask lying in the mud near the foot of the jetty. You avoid it for now, its a little much to face first thing in the morning, but you do notice it has been here for a while, perhaps a few months from the level of silt built up around it. You also confirm that the ‘traces’ you tasted before are definitely from the ‘Wise Choice’ but thats faded almost completely
Ren: now is this taste similar to the wreck or similar to the nasty creatures?
DM: … which nasty creatures? this tastes similar to the wreck
Ren: in the old harbour- kinda sahuagin kind of thing I thought?
DM: oh, well, that’s more ‘distinctive’ than nasty
Ren: ah ok – are there other aquatics watching this harbour btw or is it pretty empty?
DM: Theres a lot of activity in and around the edges of the mangrove swamps, mostly lizard folk and the like, there is one of those heron-type things away off over one side but he’s just fishing. There’s a big salt-water croc floating about somewhere, you haven’t spotted him, but he’s left bones about.
Ren: if I tried to get to that cask would it be likely to attract attention or could I do it surruptitiously?
DM: Its in the shallows up against the dock
DM: you would probably do it quietly as long as its not full daylight/a busy time
Ren: ok, back for late breakfast then!

DM: The Furishouhou rides gently at anchor in Fallen Harp Bay. As the sun rises, the mists brighten and slowly roll back to reveal the vivid greens of the swamp vegetation. The other ships that ride at anchor are brightly painted junks and sleek dhows from different points around the sea of storms. Small fishing boats are beginning to come back in with the night catch. All along the docks the town bustles to life.

DM: Ningkyo leans on the railings watching the shorelines. “Looks busy at least.”

DM: Ouritsu passes around more coffee. “We managed to get all our crew back after the night, so not too busy, thank the fates.”

Ren: ::Ren lounges on the deck, looking decidedly unconcerned::

Ren: “Why were they likely to disappear?”

DM: Ningkyo shrugs – “Too much excitement and people get lost, arrested or dead. Too little and they tend to make excitement out of boredom.”

Ouritsu shugs “I wouldn’t like to try and keep a dockside in good order.”


Ningkyo laughs and points – “they don’t…”


Ren: ::Ren’s head swivels to watch where Ningkyo points::


DM: The days first fish traders are arguing as boats are unloaded and fish gutted right there. Gulls swarm and people jostle with handcarts and packs. You can hear the shouting from across the bay.


DM: “So if you two,” Ouritsu points at Metsubou and Toshi, "went drinking with the Captain last night, what did you do? he asks Ren


Ren: “I went for a swim, ofc”


::She turns her eyes full on Ouritsu and opens them wide:: “What did you do?”


DM: Ouritsu grins "went off down to that dive in the swamp. Moju’s. Whole bunch of lizardmen down there and some locals – got these giant berries they just leave ferment. Sweet, but pretty strong. One fell in the bonfire and burnt blue.


Han: ::emerging from Below deck::


Ren: ::Ren giggles:: “Now you’re just telling me tales!”


Han: “i wish he was…”


Toshi: “Not a bad tale, if it is.”


DM: “It did! I swear, may my teeth fall out if its false, it burnt blue!” Ouritsu waves his hand


Ren: ::Ren giggles and winks at Ouritsu::


DM: Ningkyo looked interested. “Sounds like just the thing to have for fresh fish…”


Ouritsu shrugged “They don’t keep aparrently – got to drink them fresh. Eat them…” he looks puzzled. “I can’t remember which it was.”


Goro: :: appears around a corner into the docks and continues to walk towards the ship ::


Ren: ::waves at Goro:: “And the hero returns!! Or maybe he just had too many of those berries?”


DM: A crewman runs down the gangway to the dockside and ties it off.


Goro: :: Steps up and walks onboard ::


Ren: “Morning!”


Goro: “Yes it is”


Toshi: “Welcome back.”


Goro: :: Puts his pack down and stretches ::


Today we have two people to talk to, one a Lizardman called Ssenio the second a Northerner Takena Toryo. I’m told between them they have a hand in most if not all the scheming of this town, whatever is going on at least one of them should know.


Toshi: “Okay.”


Ren: “Does Toryo have a ship?”


Goro: "That I do not know. I believe he is a factor for traders from the city of Kinu Toshi


Ren: “Ok, well lizardmen can be quite nice sometimes although a lot of people don’t like them.”


Han: “that what they say about Sailors”


DM: Metsubou looks thoughtful. “I like lizards.”


Toshi: ::with a small smile:: “I’m sure he’ll give us his own reason to dislike him, rather than anyone presuming dislike simply because he’s a lizardman.”


Ren: “I’m just saying.. sometimes people forget that different people are people too…”


DM: Ningkyo smiles. “Thats true. Tends to stop after the first time you’ve had someone strange save your neck.”


Ren: “we should look at the ships here today too”


Goro: “And those whose neck has been taken by someone strange tends to not learn from the experience”


DM: Ningkyo looks at her coffee. “…that is also true.”


Toshi: “If you’re interested in ships, we should look at the Wise Choice. Rumours aren’t always the best sources of information, but there is one that the Wise Choice was involved in the unfortunate ship burnings recently.”


Ren: “It certainly smells like it has been”


Toshi: ::looks sideways:: “And not involved as one of ones being burnt.”


Ren: ::Ren wrinkles her nose in disgust::


Goro: “Do we know who the captain of that ship is?”


Ren: “surely the fact its here and they aren’t means your rumour is right?”


Toshi: “As are we.” ::smiles at Ren::


Ren: “But we don’t taste like that water. Not as much as they do anyway..”


Han: "Beats me but i’m pretty sure someone on the ship would know


Ren: “Well whoever the captain is, he keeps a good ship, which is kind of odd unless his sailors enjoyed what they were doing, I think…”


Han: “That kinda thing is hardly a secret”


Ren: “I highly doubt if you asked their crew ‘did you kill all those people?’ that they’d be willing to say yes tho..”


Goro: “Sometimes I can be quite convincing when I ask the questions”


Ren: ::Sizes Goro up and down:: “Yes, I suppose you could be”


Han: “no, but i’m pretty sure the crew can tell u who the captain is” At least… staring at Metsubou “I hope so”


Ren: “Could just ask the fat guy from the docks too”


Ren: :: Turns to Han :: “Can I borrow a rope?”


Han: “of course”


Ren: ::Turns to Ningkyo:: “Where are they kept?”


DM: “What size do you need?”


Ren: "Um… " ::Ren spreads her hands as far as they’ll go, then repeats it 3 more times:: “About that big”


DM: “Not anchor cables, then, right.” Ningkyo shouts and a crewman scurries up with a coil of rope. “If you need any lifting and shifting, just let us know.”


Ren: “Ok! thank you!” ::Takes the rope and sits down crosslegged on the deck and begins to knot and unknot the rope, muttering to herself"


Han: “Dare is ask what you are intending”


Ren: “I’ll need it later.”


Han: ::Han waits for a real answer to his question::


Ren: ::When its knotted just so, Ren coils the rope up and tucks it safely out of the way behind some gear on the deck where it’ll be out of the way, but within easy reach::


So, who are we talking to first then?


DM: Ningkyo shrugs and turns to Han “Captain, usual port watch?”


Han: “Indeed”


DM: The sun is beginning to break through the mists and the day is getting warm. It feels like its going to be hot before midday and the humid air is full of the buzz of insects.


Goro: “This Lizardman Ssenio should not be too hard to find if he acts as one of the main trading agents, I suggest we start with him”


DM: Ouritsu shades his eyes and stares at the dockside.


Ren: ::Ren falls in beside Goro and looks up:: “where to sir?”


DM: “It looks like the major factors are over there.” he says. “Perhaps start there – if he not there, his competitors should know where to find him.”


Toshi: “That’s convenient.”


::looks to Goro:: “Shall we, then?”


Goro: :: Picks up pack and starts heading down to gangway ::


Ren: ::scampers after Goro::


Han: ::looks to the heavens, and mutters a desperate prayer::


::i go with them::


Toshi: ::follows, waving good-bye to the crew::


DM: Once the initial bustle of the fish landing has passed the docks have calmed down somewhat. The major activity appears to be portage involving the Red Coin and the Loyal Brother. There are clerks with tallies and crew foremen shouting around stacks of boxes and bales.


Goro: :: Grab someone as they go past :: “I’m here to speak to Ssenio”


DM: “Yes sir, that is his shop at the end of the row, sir.”


Goro: :: Let him go and start heading in that direction ::


DM: A sign of hangs above the shop that proclaims ‘Four Seasons Trading and Ship Outfitters’ The shop appears equally busy to the others, raised above the ground level on stilts with a short walk-way section across the front and step up from the ground.


DM: The front of the shop is heavy wooden shutters currently thrown open to see the harbour. This makes it as hot inside as out, but the lizardmen inside do not appear to mind.These are dressed in short tunics with many belts and pockets. One wears slightly more traditional styles.


Goro: “Who is Ssenio”


DM: All eyes turn to Goro. The more formally dressed Lizardman steps forward and bows. “I am Ssenio, owner of this humble establishment. What may we provide for you sir?”


Ren: :: peers around Goro trying to get a better view::


Goro: “Politness dictates that I offer to continue this conversation in private”


DM: Ssenio glances at the other lizards in the ship and nods shortly. His tail twitches as he eyes Goro. “As you say. Bring refreshments, we shall take them on the roof.”


DM: He crosses to the back of the shop, past an alcove to open a window in the back wall.


Goro: :: follows through ::


DM: “Forgive the inconvenience, these premises are not the best design, please, follow me.”


Ren: ::follows close on Goro’s heels::


DM: He steps out onto the wide windowsill and climbs up the stairs attached to the back of the building. The lizards in the shop watch you pass through, one goes out, the rest return to their tallies and discussions.


DM: The stairs leads up to a slatted veranda sitting atop the pitched roof of the shop. Other shops have also expanded onto their rooves this way, but the nearest is some way away and a small pavillion-roof provides shade and privacy.


DM: There is man already up there, sitting with charcoal and paper and sketching the ships in the harbour below. He wears swords and is dressed in a plain but well cut kimono. We have guests. Ssenio says as he emerges onto the roof and the man stands to greet the new arrivals. They bow greetings; Ssenio low, the man not so low.


Goro: :: Ignore the bow and look for a seat ::


Toshi: ::also bow greeting, then find a seat::


Ren: ::give Ren’s clumsy, awkward looking bow and move over to sit near Goro nervously::


Han: ::bow snd stand at the back::


DM: Ssenio and the man exchange glances. Ssenio sits, the man remains standing. “Apologies for the poor furnishings of this place but it is private as you requested.”


Goro: “Before we begin might I know who I am addressing?” :: Nodding towards the new comer :::


DM: “No.” The man says shortly. “Who are you?”


Goro: “Very well. I will begin by explaining what is about to happen. I will explain who I am. Then I am going to explain why I am here. You, Ssenio, and possibly your colleague will then decide whether to answer me truthfully or not.”


DM: “That is reasonable.” Ssenio says


Goro: "Should I find you have lied, I will be forced to return. My name is Goro, I am a Samurai of the first pack of Stone Circle Lord Osamu Hayato. I am here because of the disturbances that have been happening, I am here to deteremine whether they are related to the Elven deviants I have been sent here to track and kill


DM: Ssenio wrinkles his nose. “I see…”


Goro: “You will now tell me what you know about the recent attacks of Piracy, should you know something a lie about it or attempt to conceal it from me it will be considered an admission of your collaboration with the Fae”


DM: Ssenio nods. “As you say. We cannot tell you everything, just what we know and what we suspect.”


DM: "Of the attacks being hailed as piracy there are roughly three types. Those being carried out by reavers, mostly lizardmen from the swamps, that are actual piracy for loot and plunder. There are those being carried out as part of the weapons smuggling from the Delta Cities into the Shogunate. And there are the actions we are taking to try and thwart these weapon smugglers and choke off this flow of arms and supply to our foes. This is Takena Toryo, he, his crew and ship the Wise Choice are currently my means to act on this policy.


Ren: ::Ren bares her teeth::


Goro: :: strokes one of his enlarged canines thoughtfully ::


DM: “If you believe thath elves,” this last is hissed, “are taking action here, then they must be acting through our foes, for they are not working with us.”


DM: Ssenio raises a finger. “However, as you may imagine, there is a great deal at stake here – as a servant of the Stone Circle I am sure you can understand that there are ways that must be taken to reach our goals. Ways that might not be understood by our local law enforcement. I would appreciate your discretion.”


Goro: “How are you finding your targets? and what forces once you encounter and engage them do you face?”


DM: At this Ssenio looks at Takena. “I must ask that you be satisfied by our saying we have thus far encountered nothing that made us suspect overt elven involvement in all this. Merchant seamen, some guards, nothing that coin would not hire from the docks of any port.”


Goro: “and the captains?”


DM: Takena frowned. “So far those that survived to questioning were… aware that they were up to something but not what”


Goro: “Possibly some form of domination, that would be consistent with Fae tactics”


DM: “They believe they are smuggling supplies – luxuries, or arms, or arcane crafts from the colleges of the Free Isles”


Goro: “Or maybe simple ignorance”


:: Sighs ::


DM: “Yes.” Takena nods. “They know they are doing illicit deeds, but maybe not of the scope you suggest.”


Goro: “and the goods they were actually carrying? what manner of weapons are we talking about?”


DM: Ssenio shrugs. “That is what we,” he indicates Takena, “do not know.”


Ren: :: Ren opens her mouth and then closes it with a quick snap::


DM: “It appears to be some manner of treated whale oil, or a new kind of elven fire.”


Ren: ::Ren opens her mouth again, hesitates, and then closes it again::


DM: “Burns well,” Takena grins, “thats enough for me.”


There is a rattle at the stairs and a lizardman bearing a covered tray comes into view. His eyes swivel at the atmosphere and he quickly sets down the tray and leaves.


Ah, refreshements? Ssenio lifts the cover of the tray to reveal stacks of rice balls and some pickles


Goro: :: decline waving a hand ::


Ren: ::Ren’s hand darts forward, but she stops short of the refreshments as Goro waves his hand.:


DM: The tray is set in easy reach.


Goro: "These captains are carrying some sort of Elvish fire in their holds without realising it? How much would you say judging from the devestation? would it be only part of a cargo or the main?


DM: Takena frowns. “I regret I have not enough experience to say whether those ships would have burned differently to other with different cargos.”


Ren: ::Ren glowers, and her hand snakes out and grabs a rice ball which she proceeds to sniff::


DM: Ssenio speaks “Apologies, we partly conjecture. These are whalers passing south and obviously fully loaded as from a full hunt but we could think of no reason why the Shogunate would need to smuggle whale oil. They have their own coasts and catch. We thought it might be something that looked the same that they could not get from just doing their own whaling.” Ssenio picks up a pickle. “I am afraid I concern myself mostly with the work of finding and sinking, not the grand reasons and why’s”


DM: Takena holds up a hand “Though, this is recent, we do not know if we are missing other shipments or their nature.”


Ren: ::after fingering the rice ball for a while, she sniffs it again and pops the whole thing in her mouth surreptitiously::


Goro: “Please then, explain to me how being a whaler fully loaded warrents burning to the waterline? I’m afraid I dont see the connection”


DM: “These ships are identified for us, we know when they are due to arrive so we know where to lie in wait.” says Takena


DM: “It is possible that some poor unfortunate might stumble along at the wrong place and time, but then should the ship we were watching for turn up as expected, we would know.”


DM: “we are just the actors in place for our masters, we obey as is proper.”


Goro: “Then it is clear that I need to be talking to your master”


DM: Takena shakes his head. “Absolutely not.”


Ssenio nods. “Ah, I am sorry, we cannot do that. But, I may have an idea to benefit us both”


DM: If your objective is to remove any elven influences, then we can provide you with what we know of where the traffic is coming from and you could pursue those. Should you happen to encounter our masters or their agents, I am sure you will find yourself with comparible agendas"


Takena growls. “That is a lot, Ssenio-san”


DM: Ssenio shakes his head. “I know what I cannot do, I know what can be done. We are not opposed here, there must be away to reach a mutually satisfactory position.”


Goro: “Normally… This would be the point where I explain how I will kill all but one in this room And the everyone in the rooms below, until I am told what I need to know but I can see your dilema and Loyalty to a master is something I can appreciate. I accept your proposal and request that you also bear a missive to your master explaining my purpose here. We are working for mutual goals here”


DM: Ssenio brighten up. "Yes! A letter, I should have thought of that. Indeed, and we could detail a time and place, should my masters wish to assist you they will know where to find you.


Takena interrupts. “Shall we agree to proceed on this basis?”


Goro: “That is agreeable”


DM: Ssenio bows “That is most satisfactory.”


Goro: :: Return the bow ::


DM: Takena bows, this time with respect. “Most satisfactory.”


Goro: :: Return the bow to Takena also ::


Ren: ::bows her awkward bow as well::


Han: ::bow and leave::


Toshi: ::bows, turns to leave::


DM: Curtains falls

View
Goro Meets The Mokudai
Session Four Postscript

Meanwhile, Goro;
Goro: Which ever servant it is who has come to wake me will find me already awake in meditation before my weapon, the room neatly put away as if I never slept
DM: So they leave the tray of food, kneel, bow, inform you of the mokudais request, and leave, closing the shoji
Goro: Food will divided into two, half to be eaten slowly and deliberately the other half to be parcelled and packed away as rations for future times. One last double check over gear and clothing to make sure everything is correct and in order, a few whispered mantras to focus and out to this meeting we go
DM: There is a boy waiting outside your room. He bows and leads you back to the large audience chamber you saw before.
Goro: Follow and wait to be announced
DM: The mokudai is sitting on a cushion, surrounded by scrolls and an abacus. He has a scribe with him with pen and scroll. The scribe stands, crosses to you. “You are Goro, here from Lord Hayato, is that correct?”
Goro: “It is. I assume you have also been informed of the Nature of my visit?”
DM: “I have, but let me announce you to my master”
He does so and the mokudai bows. “Forgive my poor hospitality, we have many guests here at present”
The old lizard mokudai wears in plain cloth robes elaborately embroidered with the Five Tiger mon. His scales are faded and worn with age. A staff of mangrove wood lies on the tatami beside him.
You wished to speak with me. From what you have said to my scribe, I am most interested to hear more.
Goro: :: Take a seat opposite him :: "Reports of distruption in this area have drawn my attention, as you’re scribe may have informed you my Lord has tasked me with the tacking and destruction of some particularly deviant Elves. My task here is to ascertain whether there is a connection between the happenings here and the quarry of my hunt
DM: The old lizard looks down at his scrolls. “These are grim tidings. It is true, there has been lawlessness in this region. That is my failing, but elves? What horrors could they be planning?” He raises his head again. “Your Lord and his allies are famed in the Empire, any assistance you can give will be appreciated. If we can quash this piracy – this elven ploy, you suggest – then the magistrate may look favourably on House Five Tiger retaining this town. What do you need?”
Goro: “Initially I and my associates would merely request any information on the attacks that are available in the hope of understanding fully what we face, once we do it would be my expectation that a swift killing stroke be applied. It is of course possible that this has nothing to do with the vile Fae and is merely a case of common piracy, in that event while I’m sure we would wish to assist in anyway we can my path would lead me elsewhere”
DM: The old lizard smiles to reveal gaps in its teeth “Normally it would be rude to wish to swiflty be rid of a guest, but for those reasons you give, perhaps you will forgive me if I do so. To get to this point, and resolve this let me tell you what I know. I trust in your discretion for the information I am about to tell you.”
Goro: “Of course” :: nod slightly ::
DM: “Many outsiders still lump all lizards together with those that still bask in the swamps. While this is not true, it suits my Lord Five Tiger to perpetuate that image. Prior to your coming, I would have said this was some manner of power struggle between factions of Kinu Toshi. Since the magistrates arrived some weeks ago, I do not know who this has affected these schemers. My clanmate Ssenio is a factor for traders from that city, go talk to him. He tells me he knows nothing, perhaps you can shake something loose. Ask the northerner Takena Toryo what he believes is going on. One or other or both of those must be involved. I have not heard anyone report strange behaviour, I assume neither has been doppelganged.”
DM: “Finally, if anyone knows what is going on in the swamps, it will be Henudai and Haruta. If there are brash clutchlings involved in anything, they are always in the thick of it. That is all I can tell you. I am tied down here in questions of law defending my houses claims before the magistrate.”
Goro: “You have been most helpful, should it transpire that this is not the work of the Fae I will make sure word reaches you of the Guilty parties, otherwise be assured you will have assisted in the destruction of another Fae.”
DM: You make your excuses and wander back towards the ship.

View
Five Tiger House
Hikuru Session Four

DM: Curtain Rises
Han, Toshi and Metsubou are walking back from the House of Splendours through the night streets of Fallen Harp Bay. The patch of light and revellery that was the serving tent gives way to flickering lanterns hung from the occassional building. The town is quiet, with only a few errand runners abroad on the streets. As the darkness falls, in the time before either moon rises, parts of the town fade and others become more prominent as the distant but lit become more visible than the near but dark. The governors palace has many lanterns hung about it, and at the far side of town the estates of the local notables show lights but the homes of the peasants, the fishers and the craftsmen are dark. Though the bridge across the bay has a lantern hanging above the pillars at its entrance, the island beyond is dark. Perhaps there was a light there, perhaps your eyes play tricks in the darkness.
Toshi: “What’s on that island? I forget…”
Han: “That’s where the Five Toger house is located”
Toshi: “Ah, right. I thought it was empty — I must have imagined the lights.”
Han: “Hmm…perhaps we are not he only ones who have business here tonight”
Toshi: ::small smile:: “Or perhaps our co-conspirators are already there. Shall we take a look?”
Han: “Lead on”
Toshi: ::regards the island and the bridge::
DM: The light at the base of the bridge provides a beacon.
Toshi: ::heads towards the bridge::
Han: ::follow::
DM: The night watch at the base of the bridge is a pair of lightly armoured men with yari
As you approach one stands up while the other stays seated at the crate that has been pressed into service as a go board
Toshi: ::glances at Han::
DM: “Are you lost, travellers?”
Han: “Is no longer the House Five Tigers?”
DM: The human guard grunts and looks at his companion. “It is, as of this evening”
Han: “Then No. We are not lost.”
DM: “Who knows when the magistrate makes his decision”
Beneath the light of the lamp you see the guards wear the mon of Five Tigers
Han: To Toshi “If you’ll excuse me for 1 second”
Toshi: ::folds hands politely::
Han: Go up to Guard, and whispher in his ear
Han: “I told this young girl tha teh view from Five Tiger Island are the finest in all of Fallen harp bay, and i would very much like to make good on my promise to her”
DM: The guard grunts and looks a little puzzled. “But its dar…” then he stops
“Ah, well be careful if you are off the path, parts of the hill are steep.”
Han: ::bow::
Toshi: ::smiles::
DM: “Have you light? The island is dimly lit – I can lend you a lamp – for a coin or two deposit.”
Han: “Of course. Again, i am in your debt”
DM: The other guard speaks for the first time. “Try not to drop it, it is probably the dryest place for a hundred miles”
Han: ::give him the coin and then look at the Go Board::
“black wins in 4 moves”
DM: The guards both look at the board and one starts laughing.
Han: ::walk off::
Toshi: ::follows::
Han: To Toshi “Don’t Ask”
Toshi: “About your Go prowess? I’d assumed you’d learned somewhere along the way.”
::follows on::
Han: ::stares at Toshi for a second, confused::
::proceed towards house, making sure to set the lantern down a good bit away from the house::
DM: The bridge span is narrow, elegant stone and woodwork in the Imperial style. It arcs across the bay in a manner that suggests it is meant purely for display.\ At the island side of the bridge a tall slope rises ahead and the path dissappears into the woodland. The path is marked with stones and winds around the shoreline.
Han: ::We stop for a time and survey the house for sings of movement::
DM: You see the shape of the house standing against the sky high above, the outline of the roof breaking the treetops. The first moonrise has cast its dim light. Apart from lantern holders, now dark, and the occassional small shrine, the path is the only construction on this side of the island. The path up to the house must be on the far side. All seems dark and quiet. There are nightjars in the trees and noisy crickets.
Toshi: “Could be that I imagined the light.”
DM: On the far side of the island there is a path up to a set of stairs, which then switchbacks up to the house. From here you can make out that there are lights within the house, behind closed shoji. There is also a small bay with cottages on stilts down by the water. They appear to be occupied as you see the faint glow of a hearthfire.
Toshi: “Hmm. I thought this house was supposed to be empty.”
Han: “It would appear not.”
Toshi: “The caretakers must be sticking around.”
“Well then.”
“If we were surveying properly, we would watch to see when they retire for the night.”
::glances at Han::
DM: The path upwards becomes boarded steps and roots, pine-needles and stones which make the going treacherous.
Toshi: ::rather than going straight up to the occupied house, watch the windows for movement and light, and survey the house — entrances, exits, defenses, etc, as far as we can without, oh, falling into the water::
DM: Reaching the top of the steps reveals walkways laid out in a terrace fashion leading up to the main house veranda. There are lamps within the central part and one wing, the opposite wing and two parts of the building behind appear to be unlit. The top of the hill is landscaped to be surrounded by forests on three sides and have a view of the waterways from the last. Keeping to the forest perimeter you see that the house is not built for defense, it has shoji walls, open verandas and walks between sections. Apart from the centre portion, there to not appear to be strong walls with barrable doorways. This would be the type of place that relies on guards and guardians not fortifications. You complete a circuit to the top of the path up. There are effectively ways into each wing seperately but the gardens could be tricky to cross as there are gravel paths and other obstacles that could be noisy if encountered
Toshi: ::take a good look around, nod, then turn to Han::
“I think we’ve seen a fair amount.”
“We should thank the kami for allowing us to pass through their forest before we leave.”
Han: “Sounds good to me”
DM: Waiting, watching the house for the caretakes to go to bed, time passes. Noise on the pathway reveals a group returning to the house, a pair of young lizard folk in Five Tigers livery help an eldery lizardman climb the stairs. Another carries baggage and a last a lamp
Toshi: ::very, very quietly:: “Perhaps the mokudai?”
Han: “Maybe”
“It would fit”
DM: The group climbs the stairs and as soon as they reach the level top, the old lizard shakes off his helpers, grabs the stick his helper profers and sets out.
The nightingale walkways sing beneath his feet as he moves, counterpointing the tapping of his staff.
Han: ::retreat further into the forest::
DM: A call from one of his helper makes him turn round irritably, following a pointed finger towards where the watchers were. He waves his hand dismissively and turns back towards the house. The lantern bearer and the porter follow him across to the house.
Toshi: ::under my breath, very quietly:: “Perhaps we should head out.”
Han: ::nods::
Toshi: ::looks around::
“Just one short moment.”
:;Very quietly thank the kami for their permission to let us pass, their kindness, and their service to the land. Then leave::
DM: There is a crunch of gravel near the treeline back at the house as, shielding the lamp from the house you leave. Heading briskly down the steps and back around the island, the lights in the house are doused behind you. The cottages by the shore are still dark and there are less lights among the estates of the notable as you return across the bridge. The guards accept the lamp back and return a smaller coin. The streets are very quiet at this late hour.
Han: ::bow::
Toshi: ::head back to the ship::
DM: Back aboard the Furishouhou, the rest of the night passes uneventfully and day breaks gently through mists hanging thickly over the town
Toshi: ::wake up, prepare for the day::
Ren: ::Ren sleeps heavily in her hammock over the side of the Furishouhou, allowing herself to sleep late after the prior day’s exertions::
DM: Ouritsu and Ningkyo are breaking fast with Metsubou on the after deck, gently prying descriptions of the House of Splendours from him.
“many people” munch “from north” munch “some from Qafayah” munch “one was a big monkey”
Ningkyo and Ouritsu look at Toshi. Ouritsu holds up a wooden mug of what smells like Free Isles coffee. “Care to flesh out some of these details?”
Toshi: “Certainly.” ::smiles, accepts the coffee, and sits down::
“It was a parody of a pleasure house, complete with beverages that were almost completely unlike either sake or coffee.”
::chatters on a little bit with descriptions of some of the people::
::including the monkey, though taking a leap of faith that Metsubou was not talking about himself::
“Did we miss anything good back here?”
DM: Ningkyo shakes her head
Ren: ::Ren groggily puts her head up and glares through the railing:: “You only missed the peace and quiet where people were trying to sleep!”
Toshi: ::looks up, notes the sun climbing higher in the sky:: “It’s a bit late to be sleeping.”
“But it’s good that you were able to enjoy the evening quietly.”
Ren: ::grumbles to herself and there’s a splash as Ren drops into the water for a morning wake-up swim::
Ren: Gonna swim around the ship, make sure its intact, see if there’s any further funny tastes, and then climb back to the ship for breakfast
DM: The tastes are as you remember them; traces of the nastiness but fading as the water from the bay was flushed by the tides (twice now)
Toshi: ::looks back to Ningkyo:: "So I guess Ren and Goro came back early?
DM: Ningkyo shakes her head. “I have no idea where Goro went to, we thought you had left him somewhere.”
“When Metsubou came back alone we thought you’d kept Goro as protection”
Toshi: “No, they both just disappeared without after we reached the House of Splendours.”
::shrug, takes another sip of coffee::
“This is nice stuff, by the way.”
DM: Ouritsu grins “Of all the people I would worry about, Goro I have every faith in. He is probably the most dangerous thing in this town by my reckoning”
Toshi: “I was certainly not concerned for Goro’s safety, no.”

View
Tracks of a Fish
Overheard Conversation in the House of Splendours

When truth can roam free
Those who seek it find the tracks
Of a shoal of fish

~ ~ ~

Metsubou and Han sat at the table in the corner of the House of Splendors. Han’s practiced eye took in the bar, soaking up the details he knew most of the others well into their cups of rice wine and ale would be missing. These sailors had coin to spend and were spending it in a place like this – a sign of two possible things in his experience.

“These sailors are rich enough to have coin to spare for the next proper ports.” Han spoke the first reason aloud.

“Maybe they think there be no next port.” said Metsubou, picking up the second.

He cast a closer eye at the three crews, which eavesdropping and time to wander to the latrines had revealed were off the Wise Choice, the Red Coin and the Loyal Brother. The Choice had a mixed crew of lizardmen and humans from the Delta cities. They were being most restrained, mostly talking and arguing quietly amongst themselves in a manner that told of the kind of ingrained discipline that came with long service under a harsh master, typically military.

The Brother was a ship from Qafayah, the shadow bazaar of the Sea of Storms. The crew was a mix of humans, different kinds of lizard folk and a hadozee like the poor soul they had fished from the wreckage earlier that day. These were all garbed in the turbans and long tunics of the Free Isles, arguing loudly and at cross purposes about card games, legends and other wide ranging topics. With them were the crew of the Coin, from Kinu Toshi, more men, lizardmen, a pair of ogre and there was a large apelike creature busy demolishing a pot of walnuts that Han had not managed to decide whether it was a very well trained gorilla or a grommam.

The Coin and the Brother were both bringing trade good to exchange for raw silk and swamp-lumber from the lizardman tribes scattered throughout the swamps and were complaining about the increased piracy along the coast between the Empire and the Shogunate. There were loud disputes over whether it was all attributable to lizardman reavers or whether one side or the other or another player from the distant cities was exploiting the situation to profit.

There were rumours that the magistrate in town was going to hold trials for everyone suspected of being involved in piracy, or that he woudl hand out warrants to hunt down and capture pirates, or that he would seize all goods suspected of being related to piracy. The magistrate was from the Delta cities and would reaffirm House Five Tigers dominion. The magistrate was from the Shogunate, a puppet of their delegation and the town would soon pass to the Shogunate. Taxes would rise. Taxes would fall. The warehouse district was full of basic goods, hoarded by greedy merchants for when the pirates cut off sea routes. The warehouses were full of weapons, slaves, cultists or stood empty. Fishing vessels remained unmolested, only traders were taken. All vessels were at risk, a whaler from Qafayah was overdue. The Lord Five Tigers would soon return in force to restore order or the Shogunate force already here would take up the task.

Han sighed at the tangle of conversation like the rope locker after cargo loading. There would be no easy tidying so he gave up.

“Finish your drink, lets find out what happened to Toshi.”

View
Bowl of the Compact
A tale of the dawn of the Empire

Land, sky and wave tops,
Clash and seethe while far beneath
Ocean deeps abide

~ ~ ~

“This is exquisite.” The water genasi trader bent to look at the blue jade bowl. It appeared to be glowing on its stand as the autumn sunlight shone through the open shoji onto the translucently thin stone.

“It is far too fine to grace this humble place.” His hostess uttered the formal courtesies with total sincerity that belied the sprawling elegance of the house and the obvious pride of place the bowl held within this grand hall. The lady of the house was fine boned, her skin albino white though her eyes where the clear, high blue of the peak of summer. She seemed impossible thin and frail but the silver-thread embroidery on her kimono told of her high place in a mighty clan, her clans central place in a powerful Imperial faction and her own mastery of the elemental arts as an air shugenja.

“Where did it come from?” The trader asked, studying the strangely worked angular patterns on the exterior. “I most humbly admit that I have travelled far in my days but I have not seen such craftwork as this.”

“It is more than fine craftwork,” the lady said, “it is a piece of Imperial history.” She turned and with a twitch of her fan, summoned servants bearing trays who quickly assembled refreshments and seating nearby.

“However, if one knew where to ask, perhaps one could get a similar piece made.” She smiled. “It is simply that few people think to ask the crafters for anything but mercy if they ever encounter them.”

Settling herself with a view out through the shoji at the lakeside below she continued.

“The bowl was made by the sahuagin, the dwellers of the ocean deeps as a symbol of the pact that has divided our world since the Empire reached the seas.”

The trader was shocked. “The sea devils!”

“So they are known.” The lady said neutrally. “For most have forgotten that in breaking the tyranny of the elves it was they who played a central role.”

“I must confess my ignorance,” the trader bowed his head, “I find it strange that one so closely affiliated with the air would credit the defeat of the elves to anything but its mastery. The elven held power through their dominance of the skies – how did deep sea dwellers such as the sahuagin have any influence on that fight?”

“It is an excellent tale,” the lady smiled and lifted her cup, “I assume you have time to hear it?”

The trader nodded promptly, discarding his plans to visit another potential client that afternoon.

“Let me tell you of the founder of our clan, the lord who received that bowl.”


The elven man-o-war was listing heavily in the skies, its huge crystalline wings scorched and holed but still it flew east. The coast was far behind and below waves were lashed to foam below over a sea gone dark beneath thunderclouds. Lord Arashi nudged the flanks of his wyvern steed with his knees and it beat its wings, gaining height for another attack run. As they rose into the gathering storm ahead, a long steel-tipped arrow was nocked on his dai-kyu and he whispered to the war kami bound to the arrowhead.

“Fly true, brother, strike down the enemy.”

He pulled the bowstring to its full draw, waited until his mount surged to the top of a wingbeat and loosed. The arrow streaked across the distance to the ship, transfixing one of the ballista crew on the open deck to his weapon and fouling the mechanism.

Lord Arashi felt grim satisfaction at this, the foul devices had cost the wang-liangs dearly in the war, even now his wing-mate was limping back to shore near mortally wounded and with a hurt mount. His own fur ached in the static-laden air but he ignored it as the last elf on the exposed deck abandoned his weapon and dived into the hatchway. He nocked another arrow and signalled his mount to dive, twisting in the saddle to put the arrow through the crystal windows beneath the ballista deck. This was just to distract those on the ships bridge while he executed the next maneuver, which was for his wyvern to wingover and swoop back up from ahead of the ship, shedding speed to pounce onto the forward deck and cling with its talons. With practiced motions Lord Arashi thrust his dai-kyu into the wide scabbard above his quiver and drew his yari from his holder. He had barely time to swing it to bear and brace it before they were rising in front of the port forward ballista pits.

Lord Arashi slammed the blade into the decking using the haft to level the balista aside even as the bolt surged from its traces and howled over his shoulder. Through the balista port he saw elf crew drawing swords even as his wyverns tail lashed into stab one with its poisoned stinger. The interior was sorched with lightning burns from his companions earlier attack. He drew his katana and was about to cut the cords tying him to his saddle and leap through the opening when his mount roared and let go of the hull.

As his mount tumbled out and down, wings lashing the air to regain stability, Lord Arashi clung to the saddle and tried to see what had attacked them. A long arrowshaft protruded from his mounts leg, elven fletched. As the sky spun crazily through his field of vision he saw the distinctive silhouttes of griffons outlined by lightning flashing in the thunderhead high above.

How has griffons made it this far out to sea, he wondered furiously. This would not cheat him of his prize, a few more griffon riders just raised the prospect of another chance to slay eleves after he had slain the mage who controlled the man-o-war and sent its crew screaming into the seas.

His wyvern screamed in rage as it stopped tumbling and swooped into a tight turn, before beating back up towards the foes. Lord Arashi did not have to guide the beast, its thirst for blood was leading it true. His hand found his dai-kyu, thankfully still secure in its scabbard and he looked up to spot his targets amidst the rain. Another lightning flash suddenly made his blood run cold as it outlined a massive shape descending through the storm. Suddenly it was clear where the griffons had come from.

The massive elven ship was bigger than anything they had heard of and griffons were swarming from what looked like a fortified erie built atop its hunched form. There was no returning now, Lord Arashi knew, he had to make sure he cost the elves as dearly as possible before he fell. He called to the war-kami of his arrow and let it fly for the nearest griffon then nudged his mount down towards the man-o-war. The distraction from the griffons has cost him the initiative and now a cluster of marines with swords and shields crouched on the aft deck, waiting for him. All they had to do was keep him on the deck long enough for the griffon riders to tear him to shreds and all had been for naught.

Lord Arashi nudged his mount down and as it dived, slashed the ties binding him to his saddle. As the wyvern swooped low across the deck, he tumbled backwards and sideways, trusting to his feline instincts. He landed on the sloping aft hull of the ship and slid sideways. The hull was slick from the rain and only by digging in his claws could he catch himself and the weight of his arms and armour. Some marines had dived to cover on the deck while another had been snatched up in his mounts jaws and a last buffetted overboard by its passage. Lord Arashi dragged himself to the nearly level centreline and drew his katana as he ran up the hull. The first marine to meet the armoured lord was slain with the first blow. Lord Arashi followed his blade down to avoid the face-slashing blow of the marines comrade then cut his legs from under him with the return of the katana stroke.

The mass of the wang-liangs body and armour smashed the smaller elves aside even where they blocked his blows. The twisting and hacking with terrifying agility for his size, Lord Arashi cut down the marines within swords-reach before heavy blows to his back told him that griffon riding archers were marking him. Lunging sideways he made for the hatchway down to the next deck but his way was blocked by the interlocked shields of the remaining marines. They realised they need only hold him off and let their wing-borne allies wear him down and Lord Arashi snarled with frustration. Drops of rain began to spatter across the hull and he was forced back as a griffon shrieked and swooped down with bared claws. His wyvern was snapping and tangling with another griffon high above.

Thundercrashed deafeningly and the storm broke. Rain grew heavier in the space of a few heartbeats until water was sluicing across the decks and the wind buffetted the combatants. Lord Arashi crouched, digging his toeclaws into the decking even as the marines retreated to inside the hatchway. Another arrow slammed into his shoulder and Lord Arashi turned and scrambled up across the ballista emplacement. He planned to leap down to the forward deck, smash through the hatch there and fight his way back but as he reached the top of the ship he stopped. Below the seas were swirling into a maelstrom and strange green lightning was flickering along the wave crests. Lightning streaked down from the storm. At first it seemed as if the citadel atop the ship could withstand it but as the bolts struck again and again in unnatural succession parts of the citadel began to crack and scorch.

The other ship was listing as Lord Arashi edged out along the wingroots to better see down. His fur crackled, and as he raised his hand he saw the same green lightning arc to his armour. He had felt the aura of magic for some time but had assumed it was emanating from the elven ship he had pursued. Now he was sure instead that something was wielding titanic powers, confirmed by the maelstron deepening and the winds above it beginning to circle. Even as the winds howled across the ship he stood upon and forced him to cling to the hull simply to avoid being blown overboard he felt it tilt and lurch beneath him. The other ship was also caught in the cataclysmic storm but appeared to be forging ahead over the maelstrom, still under control. He was preparing to reattempt the hatchway when the skies seemed to fall. The ships wallowed in the air and he saw griffons tumbling downwards when the seas erupted with tentacles. Towering pillars of dark flesh, crackling with green lightning they reached out of the seas and seized the massive ship.

Lord Arashi watched in horror as the larger ship was dragged backwards down into the green-glowing centre of the maelstrom. He had time to tear off his helmet and fling it away before the ship he stood upon was also seized and dragged down so swiftly it seemd as if the hull fell away beneath his feet. For the first time he could remember Lord Arashi knew terror, of drowning, of being unable to swim and worst of all, dying futilely without the chance to know or strike at what killed him. The ship crashed into the roiling seas and the wang-liang lord plunged in beside it. Where his massive frame and armour had bowled aside his foes shortly before now it drove him like like down through the waters like a stone. The air was torn from his lungs and the saltwater burned his eyes. He saw only green flickers as water flooded his lungs and consciousness faded.


Lord Arashi woke with a start. His lungs burned and his body ached. He rolled, vomitting water onto gray sands. Gasping, he levered himself up. His body felt as if he were threaded through with red hot wires and he barely lift the weight of his helmet. Drag marks lead from the water line to where he lay. Out to sea the storm rumbled as it dispersed.

Nearby, squatting on the sand stood a strange creature, holding a spear in long taloned hands. Its skin was scaled, green and black striped over long limbs but its most striking features were the staring black eyes over a sharklike maw.

“Dragonrider,” said the creature, its voice rattling from deep in its narrow chest, “You live yet at our mercy.”

Lord Arashi struggled to sit up but failed. His body was too starved of air, he was defenceless.

“Your people have suffered at the hands of the elves,” said the creature, “but nothing as mine. We have been hounded by the sea elves, driven to the deepest, coldest realms of the ocean. Now, the currents have changed and we offer a compact.”

“What compact?” Lord Arashi gasped.

The creature, hissed, and raised its spear. A flicker of green lightning played over the jangling braids of coral and seaweed and it brought the spear down to strike Lord Arashi’s bare foot. He felt a surge of cool pressure through his body and the agony eased. Within a few heartbeats he was able to stand. As soon as he could, he knelt and bowed deeply to the strange shaman.

“I am most grateful.” Lord Arashi sat back on his heels. “I was hardly fit to converse with you before.”

“Yes.” The shaman said. “Your kind and mine have little in common and that is good. You are of the earth and air, the forests and the skies. We are of the ocean deeps. You shall drive them from the land and we shall drive them from the seas. Once the elves are gone, we shall have dominion of the seas, from below a depth darker than a stormy day. The shallows will be free to traffic or hunt. The rest is yours, so long as you do not trespass.”

Lord Arashi nodded. “I must take this to my people but what you ask is reasonable. We have no desire to rule beneath the seas.”

“Last, we will not suffer an elf to live. The land elves are your responsibility but those who dwell in the water have seen their last generation, this we swear by Sekolah.”

“Let me take this to the elders, I cannot presume to speak for them.” Lord Arashi thought of the tyranny of the elven rule. “I do not doubt you will be satisfied with their response.”

The shaman planted his spear in the sand and rose.

“Acceptable.”


“And so my ancestor brought word of the sahuagin and their own fight against the elves. There was prompt agreement to an alliance – for victory over the elves was still not assured at that time.” The lady sipped from her cup. “But there never was an alliance as the races of the Empire are allied. The sahuagin disappeared back into the deeps – occassionally elven strongholds by the coast were smashed by supernatural storms or their ships were seen taken by sharks large as islands but that was all.”

“That is a remarkable tale, my lady.” The merchant said. “I never knew there was a compact between the Empire and the sea devils.”

“It was never tested. The Empire has no need of the deep ocean and since the withdrawal from the islands, we have little need of the seas itself. Some merchants and sailors and fisherfolk trade upon the waves, but they never venture beyond the shallows for the most part.”

“And has there been no traffic or trade?”

“None. The bowl was a gift, as to a host from a guest, when the shaman came to hear the reply of the elders. That was the only time we have received an envoy. The shallow dwelling aquatics speak of the sahuagin as monsters, merciless slayers of anything they catch. Thus the name sea-devils but they have been true to their word.”

“I wonder did they wipe out the water-dwelling elves?”

“I have never heard of a sea-elf.” The lady set down her cup. “Have you?”

View
Goro Overhears
Interlude Before Session Four

The servant leads the strange samurai through the halls of the governors residence. Tight boards of fragrant wood form passageways, shoji separate the main hall from the corridor and then shuttered windows bar the night outside.

At the end of the corridor a guard stood, one the servant recognised as part of the visiting hatamotos personal retinue. There was something strange about his face, something that told the servant this one was closer to the wild spirits than human. The iron helm atop his head marked him as in service to the clan Shoshida, whose Daimyo governed the city of Imachi.

Raised voices can be heard clearly through the door and the servant feels hot shame that he must expose the guest to such lack of harmony. The hatamoto from Imachi was arguing with the mokudai again. The mokudai was a good lizardman, the servant thought, who had kept the peace and managed the affairs of Fallen Harp Bay for the long years since Lord Five Tiger had been called to the Imperial capital.

“That you would leave me sit here, while there is piracy not a days sail from here is intolerable!”

“I will not have shogunate troops active while this remains an Imperial holding, it will not happen.”

“You would prefer piracy? Ha! This is why the magistrate must give the town to me, there is not the time to waste on pride!”

“There was no problem until you and your kind broke with the Empire. There were no pirates, order was strong and the kuge ruled well – and now look! War and brigandry, is this what your precious shogunate brings?”

The servant waves the guard to one side, clears his throat loudly and opens the door with the most fuss and noisy delay that he can.

The hatamoto, a medium sized man wearing functional gray robes kneels in the centre of the room to one side of the governors pedestal. His most noticeable feature is blue-gray hair that drifts around his head as if underwater. His swords stand on a rack behind him, obviously well worn and cared for, the cloth wraps of the grips stained dark.

The mokudai kneels on the same level on the opposite side of the pedestal, a lizardman in plain cloth robes elaborately embroidered with the Five Tiger mon. His scales are faded and worn with age. A staff of mangrove wood lies on the tatami beside him.

The servant leads the strange samurai across the bottom of the main hall. The hatamoto remained in position while the mokudai turned to the doorway.

“Our guest must be tired at this late hour. I will not trouble him with formalities, please take him directly to guest quarters and see that his needs are met. I shall meet with him once he has risen in the morning.”

The servant and samurai bowed and passed through the far doors. THe voices were rising behind them as they left.

View
Fallen Harp Bay
Hikuru Session Three
DM: The wreck falls swiftly behind as the Furishouhou lays on sail again. Twilight is falling as the mainland is sighted and lamps have been set on the yardarms as the ship works its way down the broad channels through the outer sandbars. The air is heavy and humid, the clouds sitting down on the waters and the wind drops. The ship picks its way slowly forward on what little breeze there is. Fallen Harp Bay emerges from the mists, a cluster of lights and shapes that resolves into a ship filled bay. The Furishouhou approaches the town between spurs of swamps. To port a wooded island stands in the middle of the bay, dim lights burning high above. Ahead a cluster of a half-dozen ships and numerous small boats and fishing skiffs are docked along piers beside an impressive narrow bridge that spans the bay to the island. The regular shapes of lit windows on the shore behind the ships gives way to scattered torches among the swamps away to starboard.


DM: Ouritsu calls quietly from the helm. “This is it Captain, where shall we put it?”


Han: “There!” is say, pointing to the best availible spot for a ship of this size


Ren: ::Ren slumps at the prow and moves away from the front for the first time since they set sail.::


DM: “Aye sir.” Ouritsu nods, then frowns at the heavy helm


With a look to Ningkyo, the first mate heads forwards calling ‘Hands to sculls!"


DM: A half dozen sailors drag long oars from racks and begin to guide the boat towards its mooring with much grunting and sweating


DM: Closer in the windows can be seen to be on buildins that stand on stilts above the ground – dry now but ready for the floods. Densely thatched rooves rise above low doors and smoke drifts from chimney holes.


Han: ::I head below deck to get ready to go ashore::


DM: Ningkyo takes the boat in and drops anchor off one of the long docks. Four hands swing across to the docks and haul the ship in snug to the dockside.


The gangway is being run down just as a man comes down the dock towards the ship


DM: “Hail to the ship in the name of the Empire” he calls, distractedly, as he rummages through a beautifully tooled satchel slung over one shoulder


The man – the harbormaster, it appears – is dressed in a plain kimono, loosely belted over a hairy chest and impressive girth.


Han: “Hail”


DM: His chin is bare but his mustache bristles magnificently as he finds what he was looking for and looks up


Hail! You are the captain, I presume?


Han: “Indeed. Han San Myong of the Furishouhou, at your service”


DM: “We are most honoured that you grace our humble town.” He pulls out a set of wax tablets from his satchel. “Unfortunately, there are certain personages in the town at the moment that hold to a more strict interpretation of Imperial Shipping and Licensing codes than perhaps you may have experienced last time – if ever you were here before, of course – so I must register new arrivals. What ship shall I say this is? Bound from where to where?”


Han: “As i have stated, my friend, this is the Furishouhou. As to our Journey… our destination is here”


Toshi: ::still on the ship, leans over to Ren, whispers:: “And our starting point was over there.”


DM: “As you say, sir” The harbormaster marks his tablets. “If you plan to spend any time ashore, be aware there are Imperial magistrates in town to handle the succession, they are … perhaps less used to the ways of the Free Isle and Jumana, so exercise discretion. Misunderstandings can be terribly unfortunate and hard to clean up.”


Ren: ::Blinks in confusion at Toshi and opens and closes her mouth. Her eyes swirl and she nods::


DM: "My name is Moko, the harbourmaster, welcome to Fallen Harp Bay, holding of the Lord Five Tigers.


Han: “That you kind sir, for your information. We shall take it under advisement.”


Ren: ::Ren wanders away and starts shaking out her hammock::


DM: Moko nods, "Good, I shall leave you to your business then., unless there is anything else I ought to know?


Han: ::bow to Moko, and wait for him to leave::


DM: Moko returns the bow and bustles off


Han: ::to the others:: “I take his warning seriously. IT was not too long ago that a warship docking flying the flags of our enemies would not had raised a single eyebrow here. We must be careful”


And always assume we are being watched. For surel we are


Goro: “Understood, do we know where we are headed here?”


Han: “House Five tigers, i believe”


Goro: “For the Fan, do we know yet where that is?”


Han: “I fear not… yet the only information we have leads us to the House ive tigers. so i isuggest we start there”


DM: The dominant feature of the water front is the narrow bridge that crosses out to the island you passed on the way in.


To the right of the bridge are rows of buildings with signs proclaming traders and shopkeepers. Beyond that, the liveliest building is an inn, with a foot long iron hook hanging above the door. Behind all these rises the fortified tower of the governors compound.


To the left of the bridge, a sturdy building appears to be the constabulary and behind that unlit warehouses. A small temple complex stands inland of the constabulary and beyond more low buildings.


DM: There are lights burning and people – humans, lizardfolk and others – can be seen moving around. The dock the Furishouhou is tied to touches the shore midway along the row of traders buildings.


Han: ::pointing:: “The Five Tiger House is over there… nestled in the Governors compound. It will likely be quite a hotbed of activity”


DM: Ningkyo clears her throat. “And what is the decision on shore leave, captain?”


Han: ::Give Ningkyo a quizzical look::


::sigh::


Fine….


Rotating, tho!


I don;t want the entire Crew running around her, i’ll never fin them all again


Ren: ::gives a sloppy salute to Han and pipes up:: “With permission sir, I think I’ll take a swim!”


Han: ::even moer Quizzic al look::


DM: “Yes sir, by half watches as you say” Ningkyo bows, turns, and shouts at the crew.


Han: " You are not part of my Crew. You can do whateer you wish"


Ren: ::cocks her head and then grins::


DM: “Fall in by watches!” She walkes down the men counting “one, two, one, two, one, two”


Han: ::to the Crew:: “Oh, and Guys?. Look like the damn Magistrates are in charge now, so be careful.”


Ren: ::Ren winks at Toshi and runs across the deck to jump overboard::


Han: “Fall afoul of them, and don’t expect me to come running to your rescue”


::Smile::


DM: Reaching the end she shouts “daywatch, two’s, four hours shore leave, do not tangle with the law, you heard the captain, get moving!”


Anyone who’s not back here, on time, I will have you recaulking every inch of the deck with a leatherpunch!


DM: A group of the crew dash below decks while the rest head for their hammocks or begin squaring away the sails and ropes for laying at anchor


Han: ::to Ninkyo:: “I’ll be back in 6 hours. You can head ashore then, mif you wish”


DM: “Aye sir. Ouritsu will take this bunch ashore, keep them out of … the worst mischief”


Han: “What about Metsubou?”


Goro: :: Begins restrapping down armour and getting ready :: “Well no point sitting around waiting”


Toshi: ::nods::


Han: “Do you think he’ll stay here without me?”


DM: Ningkyo nods & Ouritsu grins “I hadn’t included him in my list of people to be assigned. He goes with you, end of discussion.”


Han: ::resinged sigh::


METSUBOU!!!!


DM: The big man emerges from below decks.


Aye captain?


Han: “We’re heading off the ship for a bit.”


DM: He looks at the town, looks at the ship, looks at everyone standing around. “We are going ashore”


He picks up a belaying pin, three foot of stout wood, and tucks it into his belt. “I am ready”


Han: “… yes. I’m sure that’ll help…”


::Cough::


Ok… lets get going


DM: “Where are you going to be, if I need to send a message? Or shall I wait to hear from you?” Ningkyo asks


Toshi: “All right.”


::heads down the gangplank::


Goro: :: follows ::


Toshi: ::wobbles a little as my feet touch solid ground::


Han: “Send notices for me to the House of Splendors”


Toshi: ::masks instability by turning back to look for the rest, holding carefully to something stable::


DM: Crossing the docks, the heavy weathered timbers creak slightly as you pass. You see banners standing about the governors palace, but not whose in the darkness


The ships at anchor appear to be down to watch-crews only and you hear the sounds of revellry from the outskirts of the town, the noise carrying across the water of the bay


DM: The docks lead to a boardwalk in front of the traders and crafts shops, which, by a series of rope bridges brings you to the edge of the dockfront and then a stairs leads down to the sands of the shore again


The House of Splendours is a large tent set on a dry patch of ground at the edge of the swamps. More tents stand around it and drunken sailors and others crowd about, waving cups and bottles, pawing serving girls, bumping into one another and cheerfully brawling.


Han: ::enter the House of Slepndours::


i recommend the Plum Sake


Not that’s it’s good, but it’s so strong masks the awful flavour


DM: Inside the House of Splendours is what someone who has never been to the Free Isles imagines one of their fabled pleasure houses looks like, with cushions set on planking and incense burners hanging from the tent ceiling


Toshi: ::smiles::


DM: The serving girls appear to be dressed in some odd costume that does not match anything that exists on Hikuru and appears to have been designed on the basis of ‘gauze is good, less gauze, better’


Coming from Jumana, with its enclaves of Free Isles traders and their genuine coffee shops, this is strange


DM: A rotund man wearing a strangely wrapped turban greets you “Welcome to the House of Splendours.” He claps his hands “Servers! Attend our guests”


The effect is undercut by the lack of free servers, all of whom appear to be overloaded with bringing tankards and trays to groups of sailors around the room


Han: ::find a Table, and sit::


Toshi: ::follows::


Goro: :: Takes a glance around the room, litfs the tent flap and heads back out again ::


Toshi: ::confused:: “Not his kind of place?”


DM: Metsubou sits beside Han


Han: “Can hardly blame him.”


DM: A server stops abruptly as she hurries past “Good evening, what would you like” – she looks flushed from running around.


Han: “I’ll take a Plum SAke, and whatver my companions are having”


Toshi: ::shrugs:: “Make it two.”


DM: Metsubo rumbles “sake”


Looking around the tent, a quick estimate put this at three ship crews


plus a few locals and miscellaneous


Toshi: “So we should find this place that supposedly has the fan…” starting somewhat uncertainly.


And see if it’s actually, um, empty.


DM: Even in the time it takes for your drinks to arrive, along with a bowl of assorted pickles, you can tell theres definitely a split between one crew who seem to be clumped in one corner and look like northerners, and the other two which seem to be another northern crew and a free isles crew


Toshi: ::frowns, looking at the one separate crew:: “What d’you suppose those guys did to piss off everyone else?”


Han: “If i had to hazard a guess… i’d say those guys are under the protaection and service of the MAgistrates…


And those guys are not”


DM: There is grim looks between the groups, but no outright brawling. A few curious glances are cast towards your table but noone bother you


Han: ok


DM: As time passes and more drink is consumed, bits and pieces of comments reach your ears


The two crews seem to be upset at the others on suspicion that they did something to another ship


DM: After some time, one of the sailors, a dashing young Free Isles man, catches Toshi watching him and walks over.


Toshi: ::blinks, looks up::


DM: “Good evening, my name is Abdallah, please, let me thank you for gracing us with your presence”


This terrible copy of home was wearying, but you have quite restored my evening


Toshi: ::smiles awkwardly, stands up to greet him and bows:: “Good evening. Call me Toshi. I did wonder at the decor…it’s quite imaginative.”


DM: “Please, shall we take a breath of air, this incense is … cloying”


Just a step outside, don’t worry, not far He nods to Metsubou and Han, cautiously eyeing the hulking man.


Toshi: ::eyes flicker very briefly, then glance down at Han:: “I shall certainly be back soon.”


::then smiling again at Abdallah, steps out::


Though the atmosphere outside isn’t much better…it smells heavy with rot.


Perhaps the overly strong incense is meant to cover that up.


DM: “My grandfather always said ‘there is an honesty to the smells of nature than perfumes cannot hope for’but then,” Smiles Abdallah “he lived near a tannery, so he would say that”


Toshi: “Few smells are more honest than that.” ::wrinkles nose a little::


I apologize for my manners, but I couldn’t help but overhear a little of what was being said inside — ships are being sabotaged?


DM: “Oh.” Abdallah scowls “Ships have been dissappearing – while those northerners from the Wise Choice have been around it seems. It could be lizardman reavers, goodness knows those have been trouble to us of late”


But they live in the swamps, they take cargo, prisoners. Someone has been burning ships


Toshi: ::frowns, thinking::


Troubling.


::looks back up at Abdallah:: “Though you seem to have made it in one piece.”


DM: “Charred hulks have been seen, and now the Wise Choice comes in with smoke-stained sails and no explanations of why – oh they say it was a fire on an island they were moored at but they left the day before yesterday and came back today – what island could they have reached that wasn’t as swamp like this one!”


DM: “But forgive me, I talk of such unpleasant things Who are you? What brings you to this interesting town?”


Toshi: “What brings anyone to this town? Looking for work on a ship, or something here in the meantime until things get a little safer.”


What about you?


DM: Abdallah smiles “I joined a ship for the dashing adventurous life of a sailor – far flung ports, distant lands, to see exotic and interesting people”


DM: “So far, I have worked on the Loyal Brother out of Qafayah, mostly bringing nondescript cargo too and fro”


DM: “I think I shall seek to sign on with one of the whalers next trip – at least then there is the thrill of the hunt”


Toshi: “Fewer exotic ports, though. And a great deal of whale guts.”


Though I suppose you’d be less likely to run afoul of whatever is burning ships.


DM: “Indeed”


Though, it has been said that some of the ships burned were whalers bringing their cargo here for sale to the mainland. I am told the fleet is expanding greatly from Qafayah – I am sure there will be work.


DM: He grins “And even if pirates or some nefarious evil strike us, why then it is a chance to vanquish them and claim the glory!”


Toshi: ::smiles:: “Indeed.”


Toshi: “Though I do wonder at how easily vanquished these mysterious foes might be.”


Certainly not beyond your abilities, ::with a smile::


DM: “Well, if they are not, then one is dead and your sould goes to the great wheel of fate.” Abdallah shrugs “There is always a next time”


Toshi: “May the next turn be fortunate, should this one prove shorter than intended.” :]


Han: ::Han emerges::


::bowing to Toshi and the other fellow::


Toshi: ::bows in greeting::


DM: Abdallah bows – a little awkwardly as if he does not do it often


Han: “Toshi”


Toshi: ::ducks head a little, looks at Abdallah::


" I hope to see you around sometime. But I believe I am, at the moment, required. ::bows:: Good evening. "


DM: “Good evening!” Abdallah looks a little flustered and frustrated, then shrugs and turns back to the House of Splendours


Toshi: ::frowns::


And it seemed to be going so well.


::turns to Han::


“So, where are we off to?
Han: Any signs of Goro or… what her name?”""


Toshi: “I didn’t see them.”


And it’s Ren.


Han: "well then, i can only assume they are either at the boat or the house Five tigers


Toshi: “We should at least look at the House of Five Tigers before planning anything further.”


Han: agreed


Toshi: ::heads off in that direction::


DM: Curtains fall.


Meanwhile; Goro


DM: where you are there is this sort of near town tent arrangement there are more sounds of activity further down in the swamps and theres more of the town back behind the docks


Goro: lets cut to the chase, we’re interested in the house so look for there up high?


Goro: or even just in the general town area to get an idea of the factions involved so we know what were up against


DM: The big buildings are the temple complex and the governors compound in town, the buildings on the island and the estates beyond the edge of town


DM: You take a stroll about


DM: heading back towards the buildings at the edge of townyou pass behind small but solid buildings that appear to be fisherfolks cottages


Goro: does activity in the town for the common people appear to have gone on as normal or has the vacuum caused problems?


DM: Things seem to be ticking along quite normally, this does not look like a ‘clash of arms’ situation – no curfew, no patrols. It smells of political wrangling to you … as your first, five minute walk has told you


Goro: Bah


DM: Passing the governors compound you get a good look at the banners


DM: A quick glance tells you its currently the base of operations of the imperial magistrates. House Five Tigers banner still flies, so nothing has been decided and two other noble banners fly – one or both could be the magistrate


DM: The guards on the governors compound are lizardmen, the composition around there seems to be generally reflective of the town. You’d need to have a sit and a think to place the clan banners – Five Tiger House was lizards, one of the first and most honoured, The other two you’re not sure off the cuff


Goro: would the five tiger clan operate without a leader until an new one is appointed?


DM: Strictly, Five Tiger has a leader, he’s just not here. So theres only really a gap in the chain of command but the chain is intact


Goro: does discipline appear to be strong?


Goro: gear well cared for etc?


DM: oh yes, in fact, you’d say the delegated authority has things well in hand its a question of this entire asset (the fief) being lifted from Five Tiger House, and reassigned to a Shogunate based family


Goro: oh


DM: gear is indeed cared for but some of the soldiers appear tense


Goro: and remind me which side I stand on, all I really recall is that I work for a wang-liang and that there are Orc Samurai who make up some of the shogunate


DM: Oh, you’re Imperial, through and through but then there are bits of the shogunate that still do what you regard as right and proper (killin’ elves) so you’re not necessarily against the shogunate


DM: You see most of the governors compound is dark, but you see lights in the central hall still lit


DM: You could march past the guards – they probably wouldn’t stop you – they’re mostly for armed mobs – but there might be ‘spalining within


Goro: Sounds tempting


DM: across from the governors compound you see the constabulary and past it farms and stabling


Goro: remind why we’re here again – I know we had to find a fan but I also know that wasnt the real reason something about disturbances? unknown factors? I’m thinking maybe asking the guy in charge about the Elves I’m after might be useful for me directly and lead on to the groups mission ie. if not maybe he knows about what is going on


DM: thats as good an idea as any. Your brief really was – ‘someone/something is stirring up things, find out who’s doing it and what their powerbase is’ – mainly ‘what do we need to know to crush this nonsense with minimum resources needed to get the job done. This was the over-arching brief into which your ’where are those blasted elves got to’ mission dovetailed. Frankly, if it turns out not to be elves, then you’re not that interested


Goro: Okay, that’s the Plan, head in and look for someone important


DM: You nod curtly to the guards, and march into the main hall You get as far as the entryway when a servant meets you “hounoured sir, how may I be of assistance to you?”


Goro: “I am Goro, Samurai of the first pack of Stone Circle Lord Osamu Hayato, I wish to speak to the Lord of the House”


DM: The servant bows deeply. “You grace us with your presence, I will fetch someone to bring you to the correct person.” He brings to to an antechamber with cushions (I assume you leave your sandles in the entryway)


Goro: of course


DM: After a few moments a man emerges, approaching middle age, properly attired as a scribe, he seems tired and his back seems to pain him when he bows to you


DM: “Samurai, you have come far, and your Lords name is an honoured one. What need has a sword of Lord Hayato’s here?”


Goro: what sort of rank is this individual dressed for? do I know how I should relate to him?


DM: He’s dressed as a mid ranking member of a household. His behaviour is proper for a bureacrat meeting someone who may (or may not) have legitimate claim to assistance. You personally outrank him, but the resources he can command are not yours to draw on


Goro: “Thank you for your hospitality” :: nod head slightly :: "I note you have kept your lords holdings and people in excellent shape since his loss " :: deeper bow ::


DM: The scribe returns the bow. The household thanks you for your sentiments – bows again – "but it is late and your business must be urgent. Please, how may I help you?


Goro: “Very well, My Lord has tasked me with the tracking and destruction of several very dangerous Elves.”


Goro: “Rumours of disruption and attack from unknown forces have been reported in this area, I have come to ascertain whether these things are related”


DM: “Elves!” The clerk looks over his shoulder “Here?”


DM: "I know who you need to talk to


DM: “The magistrate is handling the transition, but you want to talk to Hatamoto Shoshida Daihachi – he has come here with the specific mandate to crush this outbreak of piracy”


DM: Shoshida – is a shogunate clan, their candidate for the fief you would guess


DM: “The Hatamoto is staying here, but he has retired for the evening. Can your business wait, or shall I wake him?”


Goro: “No, even should he know information of use it soon will be too late to act upon it, please inform him when he arises that I will wish to speak with him in the morning.”


DM: “It shall be as you ask. Where shall I find you to send his summons? Do you require a room here or have you made arrangements?”


Goro: “A room here if it is available would be appreciated”


DM: "I will have servants prepare space for you. I am sorry that I have only such humble places to offer but by tradition, guests of station reside at Lord Five Tigers summer house during their stay and we cater mostly for messengers, clerks and soldiers moving amongst the outposts of the Empire. The servant that first greeted you takes you to a room. It is plain, but clean and with a chest to store things and a ewer of water by a basin. You have slept far worse places.


Meanwhile; Ren


DM: there is a very, very small but nicely formed pearl-fishers mooring on the far side of the island at the end of the bridge with the summer house. It is entirely hidden from this place and its approaches. Perhaps nothing to do with Five Tiger House, but its what you remember about here – along with there being lots of lizardmen living … rough.. in the swamps with their canoes and catamarans from amongst the mangroves


Ren: Is the water here still tasting bad?


DM: tastes like harbours


Ren: ok, but not that nastiness that was out near the other ship?


DM: Theres a slight lingering trace of that but it could simply be transfer off the Furishouhou’s hull (or another)


Ren: and do I remember there being any native aquatics here?


DM: This is a bit shallow and swampy for aquatics but theres lots of amphibians


Ren: ok let’s go find some amphibians to talk to


Ren: and I think I’ll swim over to that summer house and pearl fisher’s place see what’s the craic over there


DM: ok you dive in and head over there. There is definite trace taste of the same nastiness in the water, once you swim away a little you can tell its not just the Furishouhou but not which other hull it is immediately. The waters are murky – after a while you find it nearly as easy to keep your head above surface


Ren: but it could be just another ship who came through the same area?


DM: possible… it was pretty localised, so they would have had to pass near the wreck


Ren: so noted


DM: You swish around the headlands – its quite a ways to go – which is sort of the point as its hard to know its there


DM: There are a few pearl-diving skiffs and fishing coracles lying at anchor this is actually a place you like a lot, quiet, picturesque and the water tastes quite nice – a stream off the island keeps it from standing like other places


DM: theres a channel that leads in from a ways to the side


Ren: the buildings here – you mentioned a summer house?


DM: right down on the edge of the bay are cottages where the villagers live – stilt houses like along the docks. There is a structure up on the crest of the hill quite a ways up which mostly seems to be dark – certainly not lit up like a used residence would be expected.


Ren: does it look occupied?


DM: there is a glimmer of light up there


Ren: and the village here, the people are just people/lizardmen?


DM: you don’t see anyone out and around – but the houses seem to be occupied, just hour of the night really, fisherfolk would have turned in by now, pearl-divers especially


Ren: Do I, in my infinite well of self worth, think I can get up the hill without being seen? I’m thinking I think so.


DM: Oh yes, you are one with the shadow spirits – kitsune wish they were as good as you


Ren: don’t they just ok, up the hill I go


DM: Alright – you’re sneaking up a hill – its dark and there are roots, pine-needles and stones which make the going painful.


Ren: make muffled ‘ouch’ sounds – I want to attempt to get there and peek in a window and be certain people aren’t there


DM: ok, theres a path up to a set of stairs, which then switchbacks up the last bit to the house.


Ren: stealthily take the road instead of the pine needles


DM: ok, You get to the outer edge of the steps and scamper up, much more easily when you reach the top of the hill, walkways are set in a sort of terrace fashion leadin up to the main house veranda


Ren: stop a short bit down


DM: there is a central bit, two wings, and there appears to be two other bits around the side


Ren: is there anyone there?


DM: There are lights, candles or lamps, within but the shoji are shut and right now you see no movement


Ren: is the whole house lit or just a part of it?


DM: The entryway and one wing


Ren: ok, its been along day I’m going to head back down the hill as awesomely stealthily as I can and swim back to the ship – insert dashing grin to sailor on watch when i get back too,
DM: ok, sneak, sneak, sneak, swim, swim, swim, hammock, snooze, snooze, snooze?


Ren: yup

View
The Furishouhou
Hikuru Session Two

DM: Curtain Raises; Act I, Scene II, The Furishouhou


Preparations to make way progress rapidly, the crew are practiced and sure of themselves aboard the ship


Provisions are hauled up and stowed in short order, all seems well in hand.


The ship itself is an armed junk of a kind not built for considerable time in the Sea of Storms.


Its hardwood hull has lasted well and is older than any of the crew aboard but still fast and sound.


The first mate, Ningkyo, approaches Han


Han: ::bow::


DM: She bows in return “Captain, the evening tide will be soon, if we hurry we can make it. Did you want to put to sea now or in the morning?”


Han: “Our mission can wait”


I will not wisk the crew and safety of the ship


Take the time you need for preperations


Ren: Ren scampers down from the rigging and runs over “I can see well, sir. We could go now if you so chose.”


DM: Ningkyo looks at Ren curiously, noting the obvious signs of her acquatic heritage


Ren: /boldly turns to Ningkyo and gives her a full on teeth smile, her blue-black eyes swirling


Han: “Thank you for help, Ren, however, i do no wish for my crew to rush the preperations. It is an unnecessary risk.”


DM: “A daughter of the seas” Ningkyo bows and looks pleased. “Lucky”


Ren: /walks sulkily away to perch on a siderail


Han: Quietly “That remains to be seen”


Han: Louder “Ninkyo, we set sail for Fallen Harp Bay”


Toshi: ::watching the scene from the side, where I haven’t moved since we got on board, holding nonchalantly but very securely to the side::


Han: “Well you know how treacherous the journey can be, and how inhospitable the locals can be if their mood is set that way”


I want to be ready for a frosty reception


DM: The crew exchange glances.


A young man, clean cut and at home on the deck comes down from the helm


DM: “Captain, I think we have enough irons aboard in case of … misunderstandings, but it would not hurt to lay on some more arrows if we have time.”


Han: “Agreed. Take whatever time time you need.”


DM: “Bowstrings too, if we have some time.” says Ningkyo “Just to be sure”


Han: I signal a cabin boy/low ranked crew member


Please see our guests to their chambers. It’s a long journey, and i’m sure the will want to settle in


To the others “I shall be down to join you shortly”


::Bows Deeply::


Goro: :: nods in return ::


Toshi: ::bows carefully:: “Thank you.”


Ren: :: waves a hand noncommittally over his shoulder in his vague direction ::


DM: The crewman is a young man in a frayed but clean tunic and trous, he leads the group below decks.


Ren: :: remains on the deck ::


Goro: :: grabs gear and follows below deck ::


Toshi: ::following below deck::


::still nonchalantly holding on to whatever secure thing I can find along the way::


DM: “We cannot offer you luxurious rooms, honoured sirs, but they are dry and as warm as they can be.”


Han: “Ren… are you going to join the others?”


DM: “If you are like to be cold, talk to the cook for something hot”


Ren: “Must I? I do not prefer to sleep inside ships, and as such have no need for a cabin”


DM: Belowdecks: “These would be your cabins” The crewman indicates two cabins, mostly open spaces with hammocks and chests for stowage


Belowdecks: “These are mostly used for extra cargo – we run light where we can so we do not haul about extra furniture. Apolgies for the poor hospitality.”


Goro: :: ignores the crewman, picks one at random and starts stowing gear ::


Toshi: ::nods, looking around::


Thank you for the tour.


DM: Belowdecks: The crewman warily eyes the big orc warrior and leaves him be.


Belowdecks: Turning to Toshi. “Anything you need, just ask.” He pauses. “If I may ask, sorry to trouble you, but do you know why we sail for Fallen Harp Bay?”


Toshi: “Your captain has been charged with a task; I trust it shouldn’t take your and your ship too long out of its way.” ::pauses:: “It’s not mine to offer more details; I’m sure Han will inform you as he sees fit.”


::smiles a little:: “Why do you ask?”


DM: Belowdecks: “Few things more curious than a sailor, ma’am” The crewman smiles. “I should get back to work.”


Toshi: ::nods:: “Thank you again for your assistance.”


Han: Abovedeck: “You are a Guest upon the Furishouhou, Ren. you must do nothing unless it pleases you. But i need some time to discuss thing sith my crew. Some are new to the craft, and have not made the perilous journey to Fallen Harp Bay. I must make sure all is order, and the crew are prepared”


Ren: “Very well” She slips over the rail and you hear a faint splash of the water.


Han: I talk to the crew


Han: “Ninkyo, as i said we set sail for Fallen harp bay”


This is a Diplomatic mission, we’re not expecting nay resistence, but i don;t want to take any risks


Han: “We carry a precious cargo with us, and” ::nodding to Metsubou:: “we need to make sure it arrive in one piece”


Hence the extra caution i wish to take


Han: "Oh… and as some of you may have noticed.. " ::looking around:: “We have a.. what did you call her Ninkyo… ‘Daughter of the Seas’?”


She is NOT Crew


She is NOT an omen, or anything of the sort


If she wants to leap around the ship like a Fish out of a Net, so be it, she is a guest. But do not take your orders from her, and do not ask her for her help


Han: “As for the trip… you all know you jobs well, and i trust you with my life, just as every man here trusts the others”


Questions…?


DM: There is a murmur of assent from the crew.


No Captain Ouritsu glances about “Lets get ready to sail”


Han: “Excellent. Ninkyo… Take over. I shall be below deck with the Guests”


::bows and head below deck::


DM: “Alright you lot!” Ninkyo yells “I want those provisions stowed, I want every blade, arrow head and sharp thing aboard checked and oiled! Tighten those ropes, what is this a net factory?”


The crew springs to their tasks


Han: ::head to my rooms to change, and then rejoin the party::


DM: The evening is spent with crew checking and rechecking the sails and rigging, pulling out arms checking for rust or bluntness. Stores are laid on and preparations made to sail with the dawn tide.


DM: Night falls and work continues by lantern light until Ninkyo is satisfied, then hammocks are unrolled belowdecks for the crew


And over the side for Ren


Food is plain rice with preserved fish, tasty now but from the crews less enthusiastic response, something that becomes less exciting with time


DM: It is Hour of the Rat before the last of the day watch turns in and leave the deck to the watchman.


Ren: Before light has even begun cresting the horizon, Ren is up, hauling her kelp hammock back over the side of the ship. She tuts around the deck, humming to herself in the darkness and speaking softly at the sides.


She nods to the watchman on duty and ducks below decks, circling until she finds the grandest door that she assumes belongs to the captain’s quarters


She knocks loudly


DM: The watchman nods back, eyes her curiously as she leaves, then looks quickly over his shoulder to check there is nothing behind him.


Ren: She knocks loudly again


DM: No sound comes from behind the door


Han: ::groggilly:: “Ren…?”


Ren: She knocks loudly again.


Han: ::hans walks in from the Crew cabin::


::Hastily donning a Robe::


Ren: :: Snaps to a badly mimed attention and salutes ::


Han: “Can i help you?”


Ren: “The morning has arrived sir, we should be away”


Han: ::peer outside::


Ren: “I have checked the rigging and all is in place. You should come upstairs and give the word so that we might be away”


Han: “The sun has not yet graced the Sky”


Ren: “By the time you have given the word we will have plenty of light to see by”


Han: “And how will they see what they are doing?”


DM: Ouritsu arrives into the passage. He is fully dressed and looks awake and alert. “Are we starting before light, Captain?”


Ren: “They are sailors. They will know by instinct.”


Han: “No. We are not.”


Ren: “With respect sir… HE said time was of the essence”


Han: “Ren… thank you again for your aid, however, my crew, as you said, are creatures of instinct and routine”


DM: “As you say, Captain.” Ouritsu nods and heads towards the galley


Han: “And little is gained by breaking that routine now. We raise in 1 turn of the Sands”


Ren: “Then they should have no problem in finding their clothing and donning it at your command. See, one of them has already managed it”


Han: “Yes, well… while i trust my crew are all capable of dressing themselves, that is not the point”


However, if you wish it…


Ren: :: sighs, then says in a conspiratorial whisper :: “Sir I understand your fear for your ship in the dark. I promise you I am up to the task of keeping us safe”


Han: “My Ship…” almost in a shout.


Switch down to a quiter tone “My ship, Ren, will leave hen all of it’s crew are best capable of defending it.”


“I apprecate you abilities, and have faith tha they will be called upon before our trip is out
Ren: :: shoulders drooping, Ren turns and trudges towards the deck ::
Han: However, in this matter, i must insist that the initial launch happens under regular conditions”""


DM: Ninkyo appears in the passage way, looking dishevelled in her short night tunic


Captain? Is something wrong?


Han: “…Yes”


Climb back into bunk


And try to get back to sleep


Ren: :: walks back out to the deck, waves at the watchman, and heads to the very front of the prow ::


DM: Goro emerges from his cabin into the passage way


Goro: :: Blades drawn, moving quickly and quietly towards deck ::


DM: The ship, which had been moving gently at anchor rocks under a particularly strong wave


Goro: :: reaching the top of the stairs keeps low and looks out as if looking for something :


Toshi: ::steps out of my cabin, looks around the empty passage::


::stumbles a little, frowns, mutters to myself:: " I was just getting the hang of this."


Han: ::muttering:: “Oh, for Fuck’s Sake…”


DM: The watchman on deck sees, and is seen, as Goro emerges. He looks confused and makes a questioning gesture, while his hand goes to his dagger and he crouches


The ship rocks again under another wave


Ouritsu and Ninkyo appear on deck, looking around


Toshi: ::carefully making my way onto deck::


Ren: :: turns from her place at the prow and smiles down at the newcomers ::


Toshi: ::moving to where I can see, but stay out of the way::


Goro: :: Keeping move move to the watchman ::


Toshi: ::And hold on tight::


Han: “What the Hell is going on here!” ::shouting as i reach the deck::


Ren: “Shall we prepare to depart then?”


DM: The watchman looks very nervous at the fully armed samurai acting like something dangerous is about


He is doing his best to look in all directions at once, his head may twist off shortly


Han: “No!”


DM: The ship rocks again, straining on its anchor chains


This wave sets other ships nearby moving and thumps against the docks with a hollow booming noise.


Ren: “Now if someone could just bring in the plank and anchor we could be on our way. No sense in wasting time, right captain?”


Han: “No…the seas are far too dangerous this morining. I will not risk the lives of my crew in this maelstrom”


Ninkyo, see that the crew get safelt off the ship


Ren: “I’m quite certain that outside of this bay the seas are perfectly calm”


Han: “I’m calling for 1 days eforced shore leave”


Maybe the seas will be calmer tomorrow


DM: There are startled and appreciative noises from the crew


Ren: “You are being foolish!!!”


Han: ::Staring at Ren as i say that::


Ren: “We should leave now, the seas will not be a problem provided I do not wish them to be!”


Toshi: “Please, Captain, my lady.”


::turns to Ren:: “I understand you are at home, here in your domain.”


::turns to Han:: “And you, Captain, are secure in your command.”


But these games will serve no one’s purpose.


Please…


::clinging to the side::


Ren: “We are charged, are we not, with a speedy mission. Delay only ruins our chances of overtaking the Starling which left last evening!”


DM: Toshi looks somewhat green at this stage


Han: “… Starling?”


Toshi: “If my lady can indeed calm the seas, please do so, and the captain will feel secure in setting sail.”


Ren: “The ship that sailed out of the cove last night captain, heading in our destination’s direction.”


Goro: :: Ignoring all this looks out into the water aft of the ship ::


Ren: “If we leave now, I can beat them there. But every moment you delay, it makes my task that much harder”


Goro: “Ren, what do you call that thing at the back of the boat?”


Ren: :: sniffs the air and moves towards the aftdeck ::


Han: ::laughs:: “I know the Starling. Believe me… We could leave in a fortnight, and we would still defeat that ship on a race to the end of the bay. But, if you calm the seas i’m sure we can leave today”


Assuming my ship has suffered no damage, in this unfortunate storm


Ren: :: clamber up to the helmsman and lean over the railing looking at the water ::


Goro: “Yes damage, I thought I saw something come loose there”


Han: “Let me See….” ::running over::


Ren: :: mutters about humans not being able to tell a storm when they don’t see it ::


Goro: "But its hard to see, and I dont know what the bits of the boat are supposed to be like "


:: Shrugs and turns away from the aft ::


Han: “Ninkyo”


Goro: “Maybe I was just imaging things”


DM: “Yes, Captain?”


Han: “Check where Goro is pointing. Make sure nothing is amiss”


Ren: “Oh fine”


:: dives off the back of the boat ::


DM: “Yes Captain – you two – get a rope and tackle” Ninkyo points “you, get me a painting swing”


Goro: :: Turns back to the water watching keenly again ::


Han: ::Rouse the crew::


Ren: :: pops up from the water and calls up to the people above ::


Toshi: ::releases death grip on the railing as the ship stabilises::


DM: Those crew who weren’t already on deck turn up


Ren: “Everything looks normal from here, no damage, no people, no bits floating…”


DM: Word of shore leave spreads instandly


Goro: “Well my apologies Captain, it seems I distressed you needlessly”


Han: “Make the ship ready immediately. We set sail at First light”


Now!


DM: There is a confused pause, then the crew springs to action.


Ren: :: swims a few circles around the ship, elaborately making it obvious she’s checking the soundness of the hull, smiling to herself every time she’s underwater ::


DM: Preparations were already well advanced before bedding down last night and so final arrangements proceed speedily.


Ren: :: clambers up the side of the ship and goes back to her wandering of the deck, whispering softly to herself ::


DM: As the sun rises, and the tide begins to turn, the Furishouhou is ready to weigh anchor. Other ships are making ready, but neither are prepared to meet the tides when the Furishouhou leaves


DM: The sails snap as they fill with wind and the Furishouhou leaves Jumana for the open waters.


Toshi: ::watches the city disappear, then heads to the galley in search of tea::


Ren: :: finds herself a nice spot at the very prow of the ship as it exits the bay and cries out something in a foreign tongue ::


Goro: :: Returns back below deck muttering gutterly about Elves ::


DM: The ship clears the edge of the island of Jumana


and arcs south, before turning west towards Hikuru


As it completes the turn the currents turn sharply in its favour and the ship leaps forwards in the water


Ninkyo curses and shouts at the crew to trim the sails tighter


Ren: :: laughs as the spray from the prow hits her face and grins over her shoulders at the sailors before turning back ::


Han: ::Han looking really pissed off::


Toshi: ::returns abovedeck, tea in one hand, other hand poised to steady myself, but getting a little stronHan::


DM: Clouds scud across the sea of storms and the seas swell to match the brisk winds. The ship makes good time, slightly faster than the clouds, racing west.


The horizon is just beginning to darken with the signs of land when there is a cry from the lookout high above. “Smoke!”


Han: ::Clamber up the rigging to look::


DM: From this angle, against the lighter lower clouds you see the smudge of smoke rising, about ten points off due ahead


DM: Ninkyo points “Thats no island, captain!”


Toshi: ::heads to the front, frowns, Listening::


DM: A glowering crewman who has been silent until now perks up “Pirates!”


Ninkyo snaps at him “None of that Satsujin!”


Han: “Maintain Course”


DM: As the Furishouhou approaches, you can see the smoke rising from something about a mile or so to starboard


Han: “Crew to Battle Stations!”


DM: You see a fearsome sight, the shattered smouldering wreck of a ship, a boom – a large dhow – by the size of it, bow down in the waters with only its charred stern still above water. Wreckage and flotsam, including bodies, are scattered around.


Han: “… just in case”


DM: “Looks bad, Captain” Says Ninkyo


Han: “Indeed”


DM: “Shall we close or pass, Captain?” Calls Ouritsu.


Han: ::sigh:: “Lets give it one quick pass, check for survivors”


Stay Alert… whatever happened to them, lets not allow it to happen to us


DM: “Yes, Captain!” The sails are trimmed and the ship turns


As the ship approaches through the swells they calm


Ren: :: makes a nasty face, like she’s tasted something terrible and spits over the side of the ship::


DM: Bit of flotsam knock against the hull as the crew crowds the rails with gaff hooks


Barrels bob past, men and wreckage charred in some intense heat


Toshi: ::watches, frowning::


DM: In the quiet seas you hear the burnt hull creaking and groaning – it does not take an expert seaman to guess it will slip below soon


Ren: :: looks at the scene, and suddenly wretches over the side ::


Han: ::Pray to the Water Spirits::


DM: “There!” One of the crew points away from the hull as the waves rise again


Han: ::rush to see what he’s pointing at::


DM: “I saw someone!”


DM: At first there is just the sea, then at the crest of the wave a barrel and a man


Han: “Get him in!”


DM: “Put down the boat!” Ninkyo yells and a half dozen sailors are quickly launched towards the floating figure


They hook the barrel and pull the figure aboard


As the boat returns to the Furishouhou you realise it is not a human, but a hadozee they have recovered, the folds of the apemans skin hanging about him like a cloak


He is lifted up to the deck and laid out, breathing shallowly


Ren: ::moves from her position at the prow and climbs up some rigging to watch the man from above ::


Han: ::Call for Medic::


DM: The ships surgeon returns from fetching his bag


Toshi: ::steps up to the hadozee, drops to one knee next to him::


Toshi: ::eyes flick across to the crew huddled around him, then back down to the deck ape::


::holds hands out, summons focus::


::pauses, eyes closed, head lowered, then opens eyes and looks at the hadozee::


DM: The Hadozee twitches and moans


The surgeon checks over the rest of the hadozee.


This isn’t helping He untangles an arrow stuck within the folds of its gliding skin


The surgeon looks at Toshi. “Unless you can do a lot more than that, I don’t think theres a lot we can do for him – his skull is broken”


He looks up at the Captain. “I could use some of our curatives, but I can’t say it will be sure to work.”


Toshi: ::frowns::


Han: ::look to Toshi::


Toshi: ::looks distant for a moment::


Han: “Hold on..”


Toshi: ::whispers quietly, as if asking for something::


::pauses::


::eyes focus, looking up at Han::


It is beyond my power to repair.


::looks down::


Goro: :: Bends down and picks up the Arrow recently removed ::


Ren: “Maybe the water is interfering”


:: called down from the rigging ::


Han: “What?”


Ren: “Its bad water. Maybe its interfering?”


:: She shrugs and attempts to look bored ::


Han: ::turn head to Medic, and shake head::


Ren: “Sir, I think we should leave quickly.”


Toshi: ::stands up and backs away, getting out of the way, still frowning::


Han: ::To Toshi:: “Is he suffereing?”


Ren: “If that wreck still has fire… we could be caught.”


DM: The apeman twitches


Opens his eyes


one sags closed again


Ren: :: jumps down from the rigging, hopping from one foot to the other ::


DM: “Oh lord fate my head…”


Ren: “Sir we really need to go…”


Han: ::i signal Ninkyo to get the ship going::


Toshi: “he’s not comfortable.” Dark twitch of a smile. “But he will not remember what he’s feeling.”


Han: “Do you know what happened to him?”


Ren: :: jumps to the prow as the ship starts moving and clutches the railing with a grim determination on her face ::


DM: There is a creaking, rushing sound from the wreck and, in a stream of bubbles, it sinks


Toshi: “Beyond being on the ship as it was being wrecked?” ::shakes head::


As your medic says, his skull is broken.


DM: Ninkyo chivvies the crew to stations and the ship gets underway


Han: ::Gesture to Satsujin, with a Somber nod::


DM: “I was attacked.” The apeman says “We were attacked. My ship, where is my ship?”


Han: ::raise a hand to stop him::


You are safe


Toshi: ::listening, looks at the arrow that was taken out of him::


Ren: :: as the ship starts moving again, she leans out and is sick over the railing again ::


Han: “You are aboard the Fruishouhou”


Relax… try not to move. You have suffered some injury


DM: “My friends, my ship….” He moans. “We were attacked!”


Beware! Beware! The Apeman lapses into incoherency, babbling and moaning


Han: ::Close my eyes. Then turn to Satsujin, and give him the Nod::


Lets get out of here. Put this Bad Omen behind us. We have dallied here too long already!


DM: The Furishouhou is already making good speed and the crew stretch the yards tightly.


DM: Satsujin waves the surgeon away from the hadozee and turns to Toshi.


You might want to step back for this. Ma’am.


Toshi: ::regards Satsujin, then steps back::


DM: He draws his dagger, pulls the apemans head back and pushes the blade, hard, up under the jaw into the brain


The hadozees limbs flail once then is still.


Toshi: ::watches steadily::


DM: Satsujin drags the hadozee back to the opening in the rails he was brought up through shortly before and pushes the body over the side.


He dusts off his hands and pulls out a cloth to clean his dagger.


The Furishouhou quickly leaves the floating corpse behind.


DM: Curtains fall

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