[LF] Rising Heat [K 4.2]

edited December 2012 in In-Game
Morning comes and you wake with fingers that refuse to move until you coax them and beg them to respond. Please add the Condition Injured to Keela. The morning is early, before dawn you're out in the cold desert air unfurling the sails and prepping for the day. Jyuu is just as harsh as the day before, pushing you and Hornet to do as much backbreaking labor as he can, having you re-do tasks. As you said, you re-double efforts to pick up slack, trying to make it lighter for Hornet, right? Let's see how well you pull this off. Difficulty two to do most of Hornet's work with your own. Failure means Jyuu gets upset and beats on one of you.
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  • I'm a Street Kid which means I'm good at finding the way to endure.
    Using 1 dice from the pool.

    #DiceRoller( 5d6 )
  • It isn't easy, taking on more work. Hornet notices though, and she's impressed. She doesn't slack off, however, so the two of you end up doing more work than Jyuu can throw at you. Your fingers start bleeding when you stop for lunch.

    You've been sanding the entire deck all morning. It is painful work and you have to nimbly moving around the feet of the crew and well, Min came up here a little while ago with Claw. She sees you and she is horrified. Dash had to talk her down, then tell her to go below decks. She was crying when she agreed and went below.

    From your vantage point and with your desire to work as hard as you can, you don't see much. Not the sand or the wind, just the deck. But you do notice one thing. Yesterday, Iwao and Ren were on the port and starboard sides, moving sand all day, like rowers. But today, it is a different configuration. Hanae began the morning crouched at the bow. She was wearing a little harness, to keep her from falling over, you'd guess. Iwao took a place neat the aft of the ship, by the rudder. When Sheng-Li gave the order to pull up anchor and sail, the ship lurched forward a few feet suddenly and then picked up a faster pace. It seems that Hanae's bending is more powerful and when she sails the ship, she moves it like it is going downhill, the ship skids along the sand at almost twice the speed of yesterday. Iwao seems to be busy working with Sheng-Li to make sure the ship stays upright in the powerful movements of Hanae's bending.

    Not long after lunch, when Ba Sing Se is a distant speck on the horizon, you're sailing again. Hornet is up on the mast rethreading a sail when she calls, "Red flag ahead! Beetle merchants! Sheng-Li, beetle-heads!"

    The ship turns a bit and heads straight towards whatever it is that Hornet saw. You finally see it after ten minutes of sailing closer. A red flag on a tall pole, set on top of a tent. You think.
  • I tried to wave at Min to let her know I was fine from where I was working on the deck, but the now bloody bandages on my hands didn't seem to help. I put my head back down under Jyuu's glare and kept going, listening to the faint sounds of her crying to Dash.

    By the afternoon, I'm exhausted. When Hornet calls out, everybody pauses. I take that moment to get a drink of water, trying to coax my miserable fingers to hold onto the cup. I have to hold it with both hands to keep from dropping it onto the deck, wincing the entire time. I watch the red flag growing closer. Beetle merchants, huh? I've heard of them, but I've never seen any before. I'm just thankful that it looks like we'll be stopping for a little bit. Maybe if I can rest for just a little bit, I'll be able to finish strong. My hands are a mess, cracked and bleeding and they hurt. I've had blisters before. I had to build up calluses from using a sword, but not like this.
  • Jyuu has Dash and Hornet prep the ship for the stop and Sheng-Li steers the Lucky Dragon within a short walk and drops anchor. Several beetle-head merchants come out to greet you.
    image

    They have a giant beetle, a slow beast of burden, tethered outside. When Min and Canlid come up top to go see the merchants, they ooh and aah. Mew Mew comes up and sees you right away and her face shows her worry. She comes over to you right away, whispering,"Dah-, ah, Key. Your hands are a mess. You look like you're going to die. Can I? Help?" Hornet and Dash are busy with Jyuu down in the hold, pulling out items for trade.
  • I try to smile reassuringly at her, opening and closing my hands over and over. It hurts, but it hurts worse if I let them get stiff. Do I really look that bad?

    "I'm not going to die." I whisper back. "I'll be fine. I just have to build up calluses that's all." I look ruefully down at the bloodied bandages. "But if you want to help, I should probably re-wrap my hands really quick before Jyuu gives me another job."
  • Mew Mew heads below decks and comes back up in a minute with some soothing gel, new strips of cloth and a small thin knife. Boot has already left with Canlid and Min, escorted by Captain Yun. Mew Mew pours some cold water on your hands, then takes them from you when you're ready and slices the bandages off. She slathers on some of the gel, which is cool at first, like ice. But as Mew Mew starts wrapping your hand, layer over layer, around fingers, just loose enough to breathe a little, the gel numbs your fingers. They still ache, but the bite leaves for a wonderful moment or two. Who knows how long, though.

    You see Jyuu and Sheng-Li walking and talking together, heading for the beetle-head merchants while discussing what they can trade. Ren and Iwao amble over with Hornet to check on you. Hornet says, "Good work today, Key," and claps you on the back in a good-natured manner. You know she wouldn't do more for a man, so that's all she does. "C'mon Dash," she says, and you see Dash is awestruck by the glimpse he got of your hands, he's torn up inside at this, but then Hornet is dragging him away.

    It's just you and Mew Mew. You think. That was everyone, right?
  • I'm not really paying attention to who's around, but I am glad that Hornet drags Dash away. I really don't want him to make a big scene. The gel helps so so much. I can finally relax the tension in my shoulders a little, the tension I didn't even notice was there. "Thanks Mew Mew." I breathe thankfully. "That feels so much better." I grin at her. "When'd you learn to be a doctor?"
  • Mew Mew rolls her eyes and playfully saps your forearm, clear of any wounded hands, "Shut up. I mend Canlid all the time. I'm no fancy doctor." With the two of you alone, Mew Mew ducks her head close and asks, "What do you think about the pilot?"
  • I give her a curious look. "Sheng-Li?" I whisper back. "I dunno. He seems nice I guess. Why?"
  • Mew Mew tries to hide her smile, then looks away, down to the tents of the beetlehead merchants, "He keeps looking at me, Keela. And talking to me, going out of his way. Its... I don't think I like it." She looks back at you, trying to look angry, but you see through it.
  • I grin at her terrible attempt to look upset. "Liar." I whisper, jabbing her arm, but then my smile falls a little. "What about Boot?"
  • Mew Mew looks stymied, then she quirks a frown and starts scratching her forearm, like an itch suddenly appeared. She talks to her arm, answering you, "Boot is great. I don't, ah, know what you're asking. I'm telling you Sheng-Li is... I don't know...." She finally looks up, her face shows how torn she is, "I've never had a man look at me that way that didn't make me want to run away. You should, ah, tell him to stay away from me. "

    She stands up with nervous energy, but doesn't leave.
  • I stand up too, moving in front of her, close enough to whisper. "Mew Mew. I know you and Boot are....or were....a couple. Did something happen?" My brow is wrinkled with concern.
  • Mew Mew glares at you, "What? Nothing happened, no. I, ah, I'm telling you that Sheng-Li is... He's looking at me funny. He looks like trouble. How did this become about Boot? Boot and I.. we're still close. He's my friend, Keela. I thought we were talking here... you're just judging me. That's mean, I thought..." Mew Mew starts walking off, she's a mess, her face blotchy, but she's learned, like you, how to hold in the tears.
  • red
    edited December 2012
    I catch her wrist with my freshly bandaged hand and then wince. Ow. I guess my hands do still hurt. But I'm more concerned about Mew Mew right now. What is going on? I pull her into a hug, whispering into her hair. "Mew Mew. I'm sorry. I don't mean to pry. I'm not judging! Not at all! I'm just...I just want to make sure you're ok. I think Sheng-Li seems like a decent guy. I don't think he'd ever hurt you. But I'll tell him to stay away if you want me to. Ok?"
  • Mew Mew keeps you close and whispers back, "I don't... Boot is a good person, Keela. He's been good to me. I know he won't hurt me. I-I, yes, tell Sheng-Li to stay away. He is bad news. Yes, that's what I want." Then she pulls back, that confusion still on her face, but she quirks a frown and puts on a calmer mask.

    "Are you coming? Maybe we can buy you some gloves?" Mew Mew walks down the gangplank off the ship and heads to the merchant tents.

    You're sitting there, watching them all head to the beetleheads when you hear Hanae's voice, quietly, "I didn't know you were friends with her. She's pretty. Why does she call you Key La? Is that... your family name? Or an honorific?" Hanae was in the stairs to below, hiding, she walks up to you as she was talking. She's covered in sand right now, face red from the sun, but her dark eyes are bright and focused on you.
  • I almost jump out of my skin when Hanae appears out of thin air. I was too busy watching Mew Mew walk away, a puzzled frown on my face. I have a moment of panic when she asks about my name. I better have Dash remind everyone to be sure to ONLY call me "Key." But then I smile at her, forcing myself to be calm.

    "Oh hey, Hanae. It's just a stupid nickname. I've known Mew Mew my whole life. She's like a big sister to me, so you know, she made it up when we were little." I hope it didn't sound like I just rattled off the first lie that came to my head. Quick, change the subject! "Nice bending today. We were flying!"
  • Hanae smiles a shy smile and ducks her head, accepting the praise. It really seems to thrill her a little, like the compliment on her stew, but bending, you know, its more personal, "Thank you, Key. I'm sorry I startled you... I didn't mean to sneak up. I just, sometimes people. they miss me."

    She looks up, right in your eyes for a moment, and you see her mouth open slightly, like she's struck dumb, caught in a moment. Then she looks down again, "You are a very hard worker, Key. I... think you are going to be a great sailor... do you like dried fruits?"
  • Hanae might be rather strange, but she's nice enough. I don't know why she keeps being so shy around me though. She doesn't seem to act that way around the others. I hope it's not still because I snapped at her last night.

    I'm surprised at her compliment, and I grin. "Well thanks. I'll either turn into a great sailor or Jyuu will kill me in the process. And yeah, I like dried fruits, why?" I start walking towards the gangplank, assuming she accompanies me. It would be kind of nice to find some good gloves.
  • Sure, you're both walking towards the beetlehead merchants' tents. Hanae looks away again when you grin, but you catch a grin on her face as well. When you mention Jyuu killing you, she snaps back to look at you and opens her mouth to say something, but then she freezes, her step slowing. For a moment, you think she's done talking, but then she finally says, "I make a really good date, ah, dessert. A, ah, dessert from dates." And shes blushing like crazy now.

    You're walking up to the largest tent. Boot and Canlid are talking with one of the younger merchants about some carved sled, a small one. There are probably ten merchants here, most of them are talking with the crew or your friends. Hornet is chatting with an older merchant who is showing her some arrows, Dash is acting like he's looking around, but he's pretty much trying to watch for you and the others.
  • I'm kind of glancing around, curious as to why she's blushing. I wonder if she caught someone's eye? Some of the younger beetlehead merchants aren't bad looking. Although my eye keeps straying to the tall, handsome form of Dash.

    "You'll have to make it for us sometime." I say, a little distracted because I'm scanning for Dash....I mean gloves. "I love dates."
  • Hanae fades into the background and you see Dash. He's standing by Jyuu, Captain Yun and an older merchant. The older merchant has a bigger helm with more beetle legs sticking out of the top than the others They're trading info back and forth about people and dangers on the desert. Dash breaks off from them and walks over.

    "Hey Key," he says in a sort of brotherly way, but his eyes betray his words. He comes over to you, "Are you alright? I think today's been worse."

    How have you handled money? I assume Mew Mew and Boot have some koku at least, right? To keep up appearances. Mew Mew and Canlid come over. Canlid practically bounces over, he's practically giddy. He loves beetles. He keeps gawking at the huge one outside the main tent.

    Mew Mew says brightly, "They have a few pairs of gloves, Key. Woven ones and work gloves made from a couple different skins..."

    "That beetle is...amazing, guys. He's so humongous, like an air buffalo." Canlid butts in excitedly.
  • I smile reassuringly at Dash, trying to copy his brotherly attitude. I don't know how successful I am though because the emotion in his eyes is making me feel tingly. "Yeah I'm fine." The numbing gel is starting to wear off a little. I can feel the dull ache creeping back up into my hands. They're not burning with pain though, so I'm still thankful for that at least.

    I grin at Canlid's excitement and then turn my attention back to Mew Mew. "Where are these gloves? I was thinking skin gloves might be good."

    We split up the koku before we boarded. Most of it is in Boot and Mew Mew's possession. Then Dash, Hornet, and I all have a good amount. Canlid and Min have some pocket change, specifically for them to spend on whatever they want.
  • Dash nods, forcing himself to accept your self-assessment. You know he's worried. What's odd is that he's always looked out for you and the bunch, but this feels a little different. Is that scary? A Burden?

    Mew Mew leads you over to the one girl merchant. She's wearing a bronzed hat with no beetlelegs, she's maybe a few years older than you, a little on the heavy side, but she has a pleasant face. She shows you her clothing, "The gloves, I knit these," she shows you woven gloves that are a mustard color. Then she points to some leather work gloves, "And tanned these. Father hunts crow-snakes out here, the skin is really supple. I think these will fit your hands." She ignores the open sores, doesn't even mention it, but you see a little discomfort in her eyes.

    Behind her is the older man you assume is her father, talking with another merchant and Iwao and Ren, "...yeah, the reward is crazy for her capture. And there are three different groups offering rewards! Whoever finds that Fire Nation girl will really cash in! I don't know what she did, but it must be pretty awful."

    Ren cuts in, "Oh, we heard she could actually fly, like a bird! So watch the skies, right? It could be raining money!" They all have a laugh at that. Mew Mew does not laugh, she just looks a little sick. Dash does his fake get-along-with-them laugh, he's getting a lot of practice with it.

    The leather gloves fit pretty well, but you end up wiggling your fingers a bit to get them on and that hurts. Once they're on, they help, definitely a better choice over the woven ones, they would probably only wear your hands to pulp.
  • red
    edited December 2012
    I pull the leather gloves on, trying to look calm as I tensely eavesdrop on the conversation behind the girl merchant. Three different groups?? Jun Da said I was free...so I don't think he's hunting me. So that leaves Ji Fang....and Suli? Who's the third? I would think Haidong would rather wash his hands of me. I can't picture him going against Jun Da's wish and offering money to people to find me. My hands are stinging, but the pain is almost welcome. It keeps me focused.

    I force myself to look up at the girl merchant and attempt a smile. "These gloves are amazing. I'll take them." I pay quickly and then move towards Iwao, Ren, and the merchant. "Three groups? What three groups?" I ask, casually curious.
  • Iwao answers first, "I know Suli offered some money for her capture, she told us that night, remember, Ren?" Ren nods.

    Then the father merchant adds, "A Fire Nation ambassador, from the Fang family, he offered his weight in koku!" He cackles at the thought.

    The other merchant says, "I hope he's chubby. hah." They laugh some more. Then he says, "The last one is an Earth noblelady. Says she's her friend."
  • I force myself to laugh along with them, but my mind is spinning. An Earth noblelady? What? Who is that? I don't have any Earth noblelady friends. That's...strange.

    I elbow Dash. "Let's keep an eye out, then!" I meet his gaze and it's suddenly really hard to keep up the lighthearted guise I've got on. I would lose everything if I was caught. Everything. I need to be so so so careful. "Thanks for the gloves!" I call back to the merchant, heading back towards the ship with Dash, Mew Mew, and Canlid.
  • Canlid goes right up the beetle on your way out. He pats it on its chitinous flank and giggles like a madman the whole way back to the ship. Boot and Min catch up to you and Min sort of run dances in front of you, Keela, "Hey Key! How ya doin?" She's all smiles and snickering about something.

    Boot, of course, is scowling, but you realize he's more scowling at Mew Mew, which is odd. Dash walks near you, so close his shoulder touches yours, but he's trying so hard to play it cool. And failing. Its like he's addicted to being close to you.

    In a bit, the rest of the crew comes back, too, with a small haul of stuff they traded. Jyuu seems to be in a better mood, he swaps out you and Dash and you end up helping tack the wind, which is a little painful because you're holding the ropes on the sails, but definitely easier because you're mostly sitting down while doing it.
  • I give Min a confused look, but then I catch the look on Boot's face and I glance at Mew Mew. In doing so, I realize how close Dash is to me, and I remember last night and feel my face warm. I wish I could steal away to that closet again right now.

    I'm quietly relieved to switch jobs. I actually really enjoy helping tack the wind. It's peaceful, sitting and holding the ropes for the sails. It hurts, but everything hurts my hands right now. And this definitely hurts less than scrubbing the floor. I'm enjoying the quiet alone time when Ji Fang pops back into my head. I scowl. I guess all the hard busy work was enough of a distraction. Now that I have a moment to catch my breath, Ji also catches up with me.

    He's offering a reward to get me back. Doesn't he know I don't want to come back? I told him I was in love with someone else. Well....and then...I kissed him back. More than kissed him back. I guess he probably thinks he has a chance still. Which he doesn't.

    Right?

    I scowl harder and focus on the sails overhead. I wish I could get Ji Fang out of my head.
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