DM: curtain raises
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: 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: 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 ::
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.
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?”
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