Hikuru - Sea of Storms

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.”

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