[LF] The Break-In [K 3.2]

edited December 2012 in In-Game
You picked up Rui this afternoon. How did you get past the guards? Did you just walk right up, hoping the hair and clothes would throw the off, or did you send Hornet or Dash? However you did it, she signed up right away. She was so excited to see you, of course, and she thinks your hair looks nice shorter, but she really wants to trim it for you.

Rui, Dash, you and Hornet are walking in Upper Ring now, what's your cover?

Hornet says quietly, "So far so good. My bow and arrows are set up, I'll peel off now and keep an eye out for you from my spot. Are you ready?"
«1

Comments

  • red
    edited December 2012
    I wanted to be the one to greet Rui, but Dash and Hornet were dead set against it. I suppose with Suli on the warpath it wasn't the brightest idea to walk right up to prison, even with my disguise. So Hornet went instead, and Dash went to keep an eye on Hornet. And I had to stay and just wait. I hate waiting. But apparently everything went smoothly, which yes, I had to admit was pretty worth it. I was so happy to see them all come walking in, and it was such a relief to be able to freely be myself around Rui. No more secrets. I promised her she could trim my hair once we're out of here, but for now, I need to keep the more ragged boyish look.

    So here we are. Rui, Dash, Hornet and I are walking through the Upper Ring streets. Rui, Dash, and I are dressed as university students, specifically students hoping to eventually be employed at the Fancy Lady Day Spa. I came up with that idea, and I have to say, it's rather brilliant. Most of the regular university students already live in the Upper or Middle Ring. But it is not uncommon to see young people from the Lower Ring come to study at the Spa. And lucky for us, Mama Feng has sewn many uniforms for aspiring Spa students. So she was able to supply us with our disguises. Rui is wearing a standard female uniform, but I, like Dash, am dressed as a man.

    The three of us stop to purchase some fruit from a stand with some stolen money. Hornet joins us there, dressed in regular street clothes that don't stand out in the Upper Ring. I don't know where she got them. I didn't ask. I meet Rui and Dash's gaze and nod inconspicuously in reply to her question. We're ready.

    The plan is to get into Jun Da's house the same way I always got out. I'm hoping based on my criminal record and Hua Tsin's tendency to make mountains out of badgermole hills, Jun Da's family will assume that I was leaving the house in a much more epic manner than quietly slipping out through a broken slat in an abandoned garden house.

    Dash will wait in the garden house, Rui and I will go inside. There was quite an argument over that detail, but Rui and Hornet took my side and finally Dash backed down. I know he's still not happy about it, despite how many times I've pointed out that Rui and I both know the inside layout of noble homes. He does not. Not to mention that Haidong might know what Dash looks like. No one's at Jun Da's house will know Rui if we're spotted.

    So we'll go inside, sneak our way to my room, steal back my stuff. If my room's been cleaned out, we'll take whatever we can find. I know of several artifacts in Jun Da's house that would easily pay for our trip that we can take if we have to. I'd rather just take my own stuff back, but, well, we're risking too much to leave empty handed.
  • This is an excellent plan.

    Your trip to Upper Ring is without incident, the disguises work perfectly as you'd hoped. You, Dash and Rui made it to the garden house just seconds ago, slipping into the little door you made in the rotted wood of the shed. You and Rui sidle up near the door and just before you open it, Dash slips near you to pull you into a kiss, a quick peck, really, but it gets your attention. He pulls back an inch and smiles, then mouths the words Be careful and quick.' Then he releases you and duckwalks backwards to the back of the shed, still smiling at you. You know he's trying to encourage you, but there's a hint of worry around his eyes. This is a bit more dangerous than your normal dares.

    Rui huffs quietly, feigning a bit of indignation. But you caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of your eye, her eyes were wide as the two of you kissed right in front of her. It was so long ago, but did Rui ever have interest in anyone? How do you think she feels about that revelation of affection just now? When you look over at her, she rolls her eyes and pats your on the arm, ready to go.

    The grass has grown higher still, this part of the garden is so neglected. As the two of you creep along after closing the shed door, you hear a piece of a conversation, male voices. They're in the garden and moving closer!

    "Honorable Jun Da," you hear the first voice more clearly as he comes closer. It's Zarro, he's using his formal speech the court tone he calls it, "Keela must be in trouble, she did not abandon you. She would never dishonor her father in this way! That Suli girl is lying again, you know you cannot trust her to make good on her lifebond to capture her. I beg of you, give O-Dun this task, do not dismiss him for what has befallen Keela..."

    "Zarro!" O-Dun cuts in with a harsh tone, "You may be a brother-in-arms, but you go too far. I begged Jun Da for my release, this I have told you. I cannot bear the shame I have caused in this household by letting Keela escape my protection. I do not deserve the right to find her. Now I have done what you asked and I will go to the monastery to retire and contemplate my next life. Jun Da... it has been an honor to serve you." You hear the clap of hand on fist, O-Dun's ritual bow is surely following.

    You creep closer now, right? Rui, she's frozen, but you have to see this. Through blades of grass, you see big O-Dun standing, his head shaved like a monk's. Beside him is Zarro, fiery Zarro, his face showing shameful sadness. Jun Da is sitting in his travel chair, the stone one he used to be able to move about on when his legs were too weak but his bending was still strong. He is withered and frail, nearly emaciated. Did he look this sick before? He didn't, did he? He was old, dying, but now, he's a shade. His voice cracked and hoarse, he replies, "Go, O-Dun. And... Zarro. I... release you, as well."

    There is a beat, and Zarro's eyes show his surprise. You know he thought the children of Jun Da would keep him serving here until Jun Da's death, even though Hua Tsin forbade him teach you, he was as much a slave here as you. But now, he's free. Two men, one broken, one unchained. And Jun Da. Sad old Jun Da.

    Rui tugs at your shirt to get your attention, you know she wants to move on...
  • Dash's kiss takes me by surprise and I feel my face flush warm. But I'm smiling softly at him when he pulls away, and I mouth back I will. I caught Rui's expression, and I suppose I should have warned her that I'm with Dash. I think I know what she's thinking. When we were little we swore oaths never to fall in love. It was silly really. I mean, we meant it at the time. Both of us knew that our fathers would most likely pick our future husbands, and so we decided to be strong warriors and swear off love. Ji thought we were ridiculous, and we were. We were so young, just children. I don't know what Rui thinks now. We were both still serious about it when I left. I have no idea if she's still sticking to our oath or not. I know I couldn't help falling in love with Dash. Maybe she's met the same fate? I'll have to ask her later.

    So we slip out, and then we hear the voices. I peer at the three of them through the grass, my heart thudding guiltily when I see how sick Jun Da looks. I have no real love for the man, but I do have a certain begrudging respect for him. I feel even worse when I hear that O-Dun is retiring to a monastery in shame. Zarro being let go is more of a good thing for him, I think. He has no real love for the Earth Kingdom either. He was just better at hiding it. Shame and dishonor. I've really done it now, haven't I? I let myself worry for a split second that maybe my father will be furious, maybe he will give me right back to Suli, but then I shove that thought from my mind. I'm already a bad person, might as well make it worse.

    So I turn back and follow Rui carefully, trying to ignore the guilt and worry that's settled in my stomach like a stone.
  • You creep through the grass away from Jun Da and towards the wing of the home where you slept.

    image

    You lead Rui down to the cellar and start making your way along the stone walls so you can slip up into your old room. Rui whispers, "What was... that thing with Dash?" Her face is hidden in darkness, but her voice betrays her shock. Maybe her hurt?
  • I pause, turning my face blindly towards hers in the darkness. I stand there silently for a few precious seconds, trying to decipher that tone in her voice. I can feel that she's stopped next to me.

    "I'm sorry Rui. I should have told you before." I finally whisper back. "I'll tell you the whole story later, I swear, but for now, I guess just know that Dash and I are together." I hesitate, but I can't help the truth that tumbles out of my mouth. "I love him, Rui."
  • Rui snickers, "I wonder if Ji knows about that." Then you're sliding open the small hatch to climb into your room. You do it slow and quiet and peek up to see what has changed....

    Inside your room, very carefully packing one of your most prized possessions, what is it?, is Trill. She's wrapping it in silkcloth to place in a small crate, a shipping crate like you've seen on the docks.
  • red
    edited December 2012
    In the dark, my eyes widen at Rui's comment. What? Ji? I haven't seen him since we were kids, minus the glimpse I caught of that firebender at the zoo. If that was even him. But anyways, we were just friends. All of us were friends. What is she talking about? There's no time, we're moving on, but I vow to get an explanation out of her later.

    When I see Trill, I actually feel relieved. I motion for Rui to stay where she is and then I slide silently through the hatch. Trill has her back to me at the moment. I can see her wrapping up the small painting I kept by my bed. It is a landscape of the sun rising over the valley we lived in. Ionesca painted it for me after we found out that I was being sent away. Ionesca, Rui, Ji, and I used to get up early and climb up the ridge to watch the sunrise. She would pack us breakfast and we'd just sit there, nibbling on fruit and bread, quietly watching the world wake up. It's one of my most treasured memories, and her painting captured it perfectly.

    I slip up behind Trill and clap my hand over her mouth. "It's Keela. Don't scream!" I whisper urgently in her ear, stepping so that she can see me.
  • edited December 2012
    When you touch Trill, she jumps and you catch the gasp in your palm, but then she hears your voice and she turns with wide eyes to see you. All sense of propriety thrown out the window, she throws her arms around you and whispers excitedly, "Oh Keela! We were so worried. Was Haidong lying about you? Did you go to prison? Did you escape? I even heard you flew away..."

    Suddenly, Trill realizes her overreaction and jumps back, dropping her eyes to the floor.
  • When Trill jumps back I startle, thinking that someone is coming. But then I realize that she's just embarrassed for forgetting her station and I almost laugh. I step up to her and throw my arms around her. "Trill, I am hardly worthy of any respect right now." I whisper, grinning. "I went to jail, I broke out of jail, I'm on the run. Please don't treat me like some snotty noblewoman. I can't stand it."

    I pull back and look at her, growing more serious. "I'm so sorry you all were worried. I promise I'm fine. I just need to take some of my stuff, and then I'll leave." I hesitate for a second, biting the inside of my cheek. This is goodbye, isn't it? "Trill, I...I probably won't see you again. So...I just want you to know...well, I just want to say thanks for being my friend." I swallow hard. "I'm going to miss you."
  • Trill stands completely still when you break the news. Then blink-blink. Tears drip down her face, just welling up from nowhere. Suddenly she takes a deep breath that breaks in the middle, "Oh Keela, I'm your friend, too. I wish Jun Da's family never came here, they drove you away. I hate them so much. I'm..." She collects herself, then she's on you again, hugging you, the permission you have her seemed to break a little dam inside her. She whispers in your hair, "I'm happy to BE your friend, Keela. I'll miss hearing about your adventures so much, they were the color in my world!"

    Then she pulls back and lets go, calming herself and moving to the crate full of your beloved treasures, "What did you need? I packed everything away carefully. I..." she sniffs once, "I can find anything you want."
  • I sniff a little, but I keep from crying. I'm really touched by how much she cares. "Um..." I quietly clear my throat. "Jewelry. My really expensive kimonos, the ones I wear to parties. That should do it." I wish I could take my prized keepsakes with me, but that would be foolish.

    "Where is this stuff going?" I whisper as she starts to take things out of the crate. "Is it being sent back to my father? Is he...does he know what's going on?"
  • For a second, Trill looks a little scared, "Keela, I don't. I don't know. Hua Tsin told me to put everything away, she is going to move Ah Ru in here. I'm sorry. I have tried to find anything out about you that I could, but they are very... difficult."

    You hear Rui whisper from the floorboards, "Hsst, Keela. You need help?" But she's actually saying 'hurry up!'

    Trill's eyes widen again, a little shocked that she hadn't noticed anyone else here.
  • I glance down at where Rui is waiting, and then back at Trill. "It's ok, Trill." I try to whisper reassuringly. "It doesn't matter. I was just curious. We should hurry." I move towards her taking anything she hands me and stuffing it into the standard university satchel I have.

    I have a good amount of expensive jewelry, as any noble girl does. I've never been a big fan of it, honestly. It gets in the way of moving quickly and fighting. So I won't miss it. Plus, it's not like I'll be going to any dances or parties. Especially with my current disguise as street urchin boy.
  • As Trill digs through the bundles quickly, handing you jewelry, you hear some noise coming down the hallway. You've only gotten a few handfuls of stuff when you hear the creak of wood indicating someone is walking this way. Its always saved you form being surprised before, you know that sound very well. Trill doesn't know it, though, she's busy digging in the crate.

    Rui, she's standing on the ground, which is a couple feet down from the floor and she's standing up, the trapdoor held up by her off hand. She's quirked her head like she heard it, too, but she hasn't reacted yet. You've got a couple seconds.
  • As soon as I hear that sound, I spring into action. I quietly hiss a warning to Trill and dart back down the trapdoor next to Rui. I have to jump in feet first, and thankfully I have some experience in doing so. I do land awkwardly on Rui's foot which causes me to stumble a little. If she doesn't pull the trapdoor closed, I will. But I don't leave. Not yet. Instead I huddle next to her in the sudden darkness, listening. I don't have a ton of jewelry in my satchel. Maybe I'll have a chance to get some more if this person doesn't stay?
  • Trill nearly drops Ionesca's painting in alarm, but she recovers. When you land on Rui's foot, she grunts, but slides the trapdoor back smoothly. There is very little light down here, only shafts of light coming from between the slats of wood above. You see Rui, she's looking right at you, staring at you with an odd look. Waiting like this reminds you of that time ten years ago, waiting with dread for the Earth Bender soldiers to come in.

    Hua Tsin comes in, hey nasal voice cutting through the air and making you a little sick to your stomach. You listen as she berates Trill for being stupid and slow and that she should be done already and she was obviously wasting time. She fumes and tells her she will be beaten and Trill whimpers quietly, begs for a chance to make up the time. Then Hua Tsin walks over to the crate and you catch the angle of her angular face as she looks in the crate for a moment. Then with a glint of anger, she says, "This is ALL you've packed? My DAUGHTER is waiting for your efforts to come to fruition and I now doubt you will ever finish this SIMPLE task." She turns and open hand slaps Trill across the face. The sound is sharp and painful.

    Rui grabs your sleeve in alarm, but you're watching Hua Tsin, aren't you?
  • I don't know why Rui is looking at me like that, but before I have a chance to ask her, Hua Tsin enters the room. I listen to her talk to Trill, fury building like fire in my chest. I hate her. I hate her. I hate how she treats the servants. Jun Da's servants are far better people than Hua Tsin could ever dream to be.

    When I hear her slap Trill, I've had enough. I can't just sit here and listen to this. I'll move to stand up, to crack open the trapdoor and do, something. That is, unless Rui tries to stop me.
  • As soon as you crack open the door, Rui practically tackles you, pushing you to the ground and lying on top of you, quickly slapping a hand over your mouth. She makes a whisper of a hsst sound, barely audible, but desperate to keep you quiet, to keep you safe.

    Above you, Trill sobs while Hau Tsin continues to fume and rant at her. It goes on for a few moments longer as Hua Tsin loses her face with street insults hurled at Trill and Trill cowers in fear, a simpering cry issuing from her as she is helpless to stop the barrage. Hua Tsin continues fuming, but her voice drops low, hissed through her teeth and savage.

    Then you hear the cricket-sound of the wood above, you realize someone is approaching, walking softly. Not creeping, the pace is quick, but either the feet are bare or it is a woman. Hua Tsin doesn't hear this, so lost in her raging.
  • At first I try to fight Rui off of me, but as soon as I realize that I'm endangering her, I stop. I lay there, fuming with rage, listening to Hua Tsin abuse Trill. I hate feeling helpless. I want to light Hua Tsin's skirts on fire, but I don't want Rui to get caught. When I hear that creak again, I go even more still, straining to hear the quiet footsteps.
  • You hear from the hallway the voice of Ning, "Mother... what has she done this time?" Her tone is annoyed, not with Hua Tsin, but with Trill.

    "She is dawdling, wasting time! Your poor sister waits while THIS ONE pines for that stupid cow fire girl!" Hua Tsin hisses.

    You hear Ning enter, saying with a conciliatory tone, "I will ensure she completed her task quickly, mother. Then afterwards, I will bind her hands and let her hang from the tree outside to contemplate her disobediance. But please, you are needed by Haidong to entertain the ambassador."

    There is another whimper from Trill in reaction to the idea of being hung by her bound hands. This doeesn't sound like a new punishment for these three. You realize this might be why Trill always wears such long sleeves on her simple kimono. Hua Tsin admits, "Yes, Ning, you are right. The insipid ambassador from the wretched Fire Nation must be placated. That Fire Girl is no end of worry for us. Haidong should have had her killed in that damnable prison like I advised." Then she swishes out.

    Trill returns to her work, sobbing quietly while Ning moves to stand by the hallway out of her way. You feel Rui ease off you, pulling at you, urging you to go.
  • I feel like I might explode. I'm shaking, I'm so angry. All my blood is roaring through my head. I let Rui pull me back the way we came because I don't know what else to do. It's taking all of my strength to keep myself under control. I want to hurt someone. Someone specifically by the name of Hua Tsin. I follow her blindly until we get back outside. As we creep through the grass, my eyes light on the tree. The only tree in the garden. The tree that Ning said she'd hang Trill from.

    I dart quietly away from Rui, moving quickly, but silently through the grass. She might not even notice I'm not following her for a few seconds. I slip through until I'm within range, but still hidden. I pause there for a second, my anger focused into adrenaline, listening, watching. Is Jun Da still in the garden? Is anyone else?

    Cause I'm going to burn that tree to the ground.
  • Rui moves on ahead and you're right, she is so concerned about getting out quietly that you slip away. You creep along to see the tree. Only Jun Da is here, both O-Dun and Zarro are gone, the rest of the family and staff are inside.

    Jun Da is in his stone chair, looking up at the heavens, humming a reflective, gentle song. You recognize it from something he sang to you many years ago. What's it about?
  • I recognize the song immediately. It's a common Fire Nation song about the dragons and our origin of power, it's a soft, gentle song, almost like a lullaby. Jun Da sang it to me one night when I first came here. I was crying in my room one night, homesick for my father, Rui, Ji, Ionesca, and everyone else I had left behind. He came in and sat on my bed and started singing it. At first I was startled that he even knew it. Then I got mad. I sat up in the bed in childish anger and yelled at him to stop singing it. Ionesca and my father sang that song to me. Rui and Ji and I sang it together sometimes while we played. It wasn't his song. He was not allowed to sing it.

    He stopped. And we sat there looking at each other. His face was calm, mine was contorted with anger and tears. The silence stretched on, and I slowly calmed down. When my anger finally fizzled out, the homesickness crept back in. I laid back down and turned my back on him, tears trickling down my face again. Then quietly, from where I was staring miserably at the wall, I whisper asked him to sing it again. So he did. He sang the whole song. And somewhere in the middle I fell asleep.

    My temper flares again, hearing it, and before I know what I'm doing, I'm stalking quietly over to where he sits. I stop in front of him, perhaps startling him, but I start spitting out angry low words before he has a chance to say anything.

    "Stop singing that song. You don't deserve to sing it. Everyone says the Fire Nation is so terrible. That's all I've heard about here. How terrible my people are. How awful I must be. Well I just want you to know that I have never seen anyone from the Fire Nation be as horrible as your family. They are selfish and spoiled and horrid and cruel. All they want is your money, why can't you see that? I hate them. And you don't do anything about it! You let them abuse the servants and me for that matter! And I would rather be branded as a criminal than be a part of this household anymore!"
  • Jun Da flinches away when you come up to him with your anger. He feebly raises his hands defensively, then he recognizes your voice and relaxes a bit. His eyes are blind now, his body wracked with age. Once powerful muscles sag with his skin and his long hair now fallen out. A shell of the man who conquered your father. His wrinkled and worn face creases in a frown and he stops humming.

    "Keela..." he croaks softly, turning his head in a mockery of looking at you when his sightless eyes are white with cataracts, his head wobbling. "I missed you, daughter of my heart. What has happened to you?"
  • I scowl at him, even though I know he can't see me. His response makes me feel guilty, which in turn makes me angrier. "What happened? I was trying to help people, that's what happened." I hiss back in a low voice. "But that's not what anyone wants to hear is it? They want everyone to hear that I'm an evil firebender. And since I'm such an evil firebender, I'm going to burn this tree down and then I'm going to leave."
  • His face shows confusion, "Keela? What has this tree done wrong? It was so beautiful once. She made the flowers bloom on its branches. I can still see them." He seems to reflect on that memory for a little while. Then, "Who were you helping?"
  • "The tree hasn't done anything, but your family has. Did you know they hang servants from their bound hands from this tree? Maybe you did. Maybe you don't care. But I care. And I am not going to let them hurt any more people like that!" I glare angrily at him for a second, my arms crossed. "It doesn't matter who I was helping. Lots of people need help and no one seems to care except for me. And if that makes me a criminal than so be it."
  • Jun Da replies with a hint of sadness, "Ah... I see. That is shameful." He swallows hard, "This is not the legacy I wanted to leave behind, Keela. You have been a good daughter, but I have been neglectful. Many times I considered sending you home, but I wouldn't dishonor your family's sacrifice. Know this. With my death, you are released from bonds to me and mine. It won't be long now before I join her. Ba Sing Se is not your home. Go home, daughter of my heart. By the time you reach your father, I am sure you will be free. But leave me my tree. I will try and make right what my children have done wrong."

    He gives a rattling sigh, "The tree is blameless. I am not. Go now, Keela. You made an old widower happy many times. You honored your family and your father's bonds."

    You hear Rui hsst at you from the grass, she's waiting nervously.
  • I close my mouth from where it's fallen open and shift awkwardly in the grass. I want to hold onto my anger, but I feel like a deflated balloon after that speech. I glance at Rui's barely visible form and then back at Jun Da. I know he's right. He looks so small and frail. He's dying. This will be the last time I see him. He has been many things to me, some good, some bad. I might have strongly disliked him at times, but he is not like his family. I never hated Jun Da.

    I hesitate a second longer and then impulsively I take a step closer to Jun Da and bend down to kiss his wrinkled cheek. I've absolutely never showed him any sign of affection like that before, but, well, I will never see him again. He deserves a respectful goodbye...and....and hopefully he'll know that I am thankful. Thankful for his care and thankful for my freedom.

    I dart quickly away before he can respond, heading back towards Rui and feeling surprisingly sad. "Sorry." I whisper to Rui when I get up next to her. My voice is a noticeably hoarse, and I don't want to talk about what just happened, so I change the subject. "Is Ji here in Ba Sing Se?"
  • Rui waits until you're near the shack before she replies in a whisper, "Of course he is, silly. Do you think I'd come to this mudhole by myself? I was part of his guard before someone picked a fight with me and I ended up in prison."
Sign In or Register to comment.