[LF] Dark Dawn Comes [K 6.1]

edited March 2013 in In-Game
After leaving Kashang Oasis on the Lucky Dragon, you sail on the vast sands for a few days. Hong adjusts to life as a passenger with great difficulty. It seems she likes to keep herself busy. So, she ends up mending most everyone's clothing. That delights Min, and the two become fast friends.

Boot and Mew Mew aren't talking. Mew Mew and Sheng-Li are, but after everyone goes to bed. Canlid has literally jumped ship twice now as he is bored out of his brain. Hanae is convinced Hong is your girlfriend. Captain Yun is completely smitten by her and can barely speak when she's around. The last week has been... complicated.

You were awoken at dawn by Hornet and went up top to work on getting the ship moving. You're at the halfway point between Kashang Oasis and Bluedrop House. This is what Jyuu Shin-Ta calls the "badlands", where your sword may be of use against bandits. At least, that's what he told you.

...but that isn't why you'll need it after all. Not this morning. The sun's rays are just lighting up the world, you can't yet see it's eye peering down at you.

Something else, however, is peering at you.
image

You, Dash, Hornet, Jyuu Shin-Ta and Sheng-Li are on the deck when someone spots this thing. Who spotted it first? It is not far away when it emerges from some underground cave, erupting through a thin layer of sand to come towards your ship. It is, as far as you can tell, half the size of your ship.

What are you doing?
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  • It's been an exhausting week. You wouldn't think that adding just one more person would tip the scales so much, but it has. The fragile balance we'd established between Ba Sing Se and Kashang Oasis is gone. I've been almost hoping that bandits would attack just so I could hit someone.

    Dash spotted it first. We were having a low, hurried, conversation by the rail. We've had almost zero time to ourselves lately. Now that Jyuu knows, he seems to take extreme delight in keeping me and Dash apart. For once, Jyuu is preoccupied with other things, but before I can even finish saying "Good morning," Dash's eyes suddenly widen, focusing on something behind me. My heart leaps into my throat, and I turn, sure it's going to be Suli or Ji Fang or at least bandits. Dash lets out a warning shout, alerting the rest of the crew, but I just stare. It's...it's...what is it?

    It erupts from the sand, and I draw my sword, more instinctively than anything else. It's so...big. If I have to go after this thing with a sword...I curse under my breath. If only I could use my bending!
  • Sheng-Li runs to the helm and screams for Dash to pull the anchor. Jyuu Shin-Ta is yelling for the sand benders, "Get up here, we've got a desert platypus-drake!" Hornet has her bow in one hand and she's climbing the mast with the other. She perches on a crossbeam and starts stringing her bow and knocking an arrow.

    The beast might be far enough distance for The Lucky Dragon to slip away, if something would just stall it. Hornet might get in a lucky shot. Maybe. What do you do?
  • I'm at the anchor with Dash, helping him pull it up, but I'm looking between Hornet and this platypus-drake. Hornet's the best shot in the kingdoms right? She can make it. Right?

    If I blow my cover...I don't know what the Captain might do. What Sheng-Li might do. What Hong might do to "protect" me.

    But I'm ready. As I help Dash pull the anchor up as fast as we can, I'm ready. I catch his eye for a second, my jaw set grimly. I'm sure he knows what I'm thinking. I won't let that monster hurt any of my friends. I will stop it if I have to, no matter the cost.
  • Hornet fires three arrows, but the thing is smart. When the first shot hits it just below the left eye, it ducks its head and rushes forward. You're able to get the anchor up with Dash and look across the bow. The monster is growing larger, coming closer.

    Hong is up on the deck, then she's running across it towards the drake. Hornet is still firing, but she yells, "Key! We gotta stop it from hitting the ship or we're stranded out here!"

    What do you do?
  • I give Hornet a sharp nod, a quick glance at Dash, and then I start running too, heading towards Hong and the drake. "You have a plan?" I ask in a low voice when I get next to her.
  • Hong doesn't look at you, she's focused on the drake as she bends her knees to leap over the edge of the ship towards the sand below. She replies right before she bounds, "Hurt it and move away. That's about all I've got. You?"
  • "Sounds good." I say back. I hesitate for a split second, my cover, Dash, the kids, everything flashing through my head. But I'm not one to be outdone. So the next second, I'm following her off the edge of the ship.

    Ok, yeah, and I'm grinning. It's just...I've been cooped up for so long! And let's face it, being a sailor is awful. It's about time I actually got to fight something! If I get in close and use small bursts, maybe no one on the ship will even notice....ok whatever. Let's just stop this thing!
  • Hong tosses a clay jug she was carrying in her left hand at the ground as she flies down to the sand. As it shatters, she draws up the liquid from it, letting it swirl about her hand and body. She leans into a run as soon as she hits the ground and you're right beside her.

    Let's see you distract this drake away from the ship.

    If you get 2 successes, it diverts its charge for the two tasty morsels closer to it. If you get 4 successes, nobody on the ship (besides Hornet, of course), manages to see your bending.
  • I'm a Fire Bender with Noble Blood and I can use Bending-Do to Heat Blast and Burn to create a Defense.

    Using 1 dice from the pool.

    #DiceRoller( 8d6 )
  • You are able to singe its mouth as it barrels forward. As you move closer, you see arrows flying at it above your head, Hornet trying desperately to slow it down, but this thing is huge

    Hong splits to your right, taking longer strides with her lithe form, hoping to draw it to her. But at the last moment, right as she sends a shearing wave of ice towards its leg, it quickly snaps at her with surprising speed. She barely ducks the snapping teeth, but the base of its jaw cuffs her shoulder and sends her sprawling in the sand.

    Then it catches your fire shield on the side of its face. The ice shear on a foreleg and the burning from your power is too much. It twists oddly in pain and the momentum sends it tumbling over itself. The charge is broken.

    And now, a two ton monster is climbing back to its feet to face you. You hear Hong groaning as she struggles to get back up. Behind the drake you hear the shouts of the crew.

    What do you do?
  • Well, so much for trying to be subtle. My small fire bursts did almost nothing to stop it. The fire shield was an instinctual response. And I doubt everyone on the ship missed the huge wall of fire that just shot up in the air. Not to mention the black smoke that might as well be a huge sign signalling my location to anyone looking.

    But I do not have time to worry about that right now. The drake is climbing to it's feet, so I attack again, quickly. This time I don't hold back. I send streams of fire into it's face, and then I run to my left, away from Hong, sending a barrage of fireballs at it as I go.
  • Good, very good. The drake is much more worried about your threat than Hong, it follows you.

    The gouts of fire arc towards its face and make it quite angry with you. That's what you wanted, right? As it stands, the sand beneath you shifts slightly, this thing is so massive.

    Now the drake is chasing after you, away from Hong, away from the ship. You cannot possibly outrun it for long. It will overtake you soon, very soon. What will you do now?
  • Well, I really only have one option. I don't think I can kill this thing, at least not by myself and it would probably take a terribly long time. So I keep running, shooting fireballs as I go, for as long as I can. Hopefully long enough that I'll divert it far, far away from the ship (and Hong). And when I can't run anymore, I'll try to fly. It worked once, right?

    If I live, I'll try to get high enough so it can't see me double back to the ship.
  • That's quite a tall order.

    I think outrunning this drake for long enough that it wouldn't come back is the hardest part. Then having enough energy to fly away? Madness...

    That's extremely difficult. 5 successes needed to pull this off. Failure means you're in some big trouble (more than now).
  • I'm aFire BenderwithNoble Bloodand I can useBending-DotoHeat BlastandBurnto create aDefense and Fly.

    Using 4 pool dice.

    #DiceRoller( 12d6 )
  • Running through sand is difficult in the best of times. Running from a drake, one would think would be excellent motivation, but the way the sand shifts around only adds to the challenge. Luckily you got a head start from the moments it took to completely break free from the ice.

    Thoom Thoom Thoom, the drake charges after you, blinded by rage, seeing a meal. You end up having to scramble up a large dune and slide down the other side. Ahead of you, down in a little sandy valley, you see several sleek skiffs skipping along with the wind, traveling at breakneck speeds kicking up sand. Too busy with getting away from the drake, you have to finally fly off, jumping up at the thing leaps in the air, jaws open wide to gobble you up. It falls to the sand and tumbles down the rest of the dune as you soar straight up on a heated gust of air.

    Then you bank and head back towards the Lucky Dragon. There's something about those skiffs, there were six of them... something seemed odd about them. Just a feeling.
  • It takes all of my remaining energy to keep myself in the air. I really want to get a better look at those skiffs, but I'm not going to be able to fly for much longer. I'm already gasping, almost completely drained. So I take off for the ship instead.

    I'm watching for Hong though. Is she still in the sand somewhere? If she is, I'll stop and land by her. If she's back on the ship, that's where I go. I doubt I'm going to be able to pull of a graceful landing. I am so out of practice, it's embarrassing really. I'd be worried about my cover being blown if I wasn't so worried about keeping myself in the air.
  • You lose altitude and have trouble turning, your arms are screaming with pain by the time you come up on the speck that is Hong waiting for you. As you come closer, you see that Hanae and Iwao are both coming up to Hong. They all see you, and the sand-benders are sort of awe struck as you land in front of them.

    Hanae says quietly, "Wow. Key... you can bend, too?" Iwao shoots her a look, not as impressed or in love with you, of course.

    Back on the ship, you see Hornet is off her perch, the ship is slowly moving with Ren doing the bending.
  • I land hard, stumbling to one knee and catching myself in the sand with my hands. I'm breathing hard too, trying to catch my breath.

    "We need to go." I get out, climbing to my feet. "Before it comes back."

    Before those skiffs show up too. I have an uneasy feeling about them.

    I don't answer Hanae, but I try to flash a smile, like Canlid does after his mishaps, slightly arrogant and mischievous. Maybe I can play this off as Key being full of surprises or something. I look at Hong. "You ok?"
  • edited May 2013
    Hong nods, "I am angry. It should not have hit me! Again, in your debt." She turns to head back. Hanae and Iwao also head back, but Hanae keeps looking back at you, sneaking amazed glances. You think the Canlid smirk worked to silence her for now.

    When you pull yourself slowly up the rope ladder back onto the ship, you're the last one back on board. Your arms feel like lead weights, sore and they want to fall off. Dash comes up to give you a quick hug, which looks mostly like a buddy hug. Sheng-Li and Captain Yun are on board by the helm and Hanae and Iwao quickly got to their stations and now the ship is moving at a very good clip with all three sand-benders working. Canlid and Min are sticking their heads up from belowdecks, trying to watch, Mew Mew and Boot are standing on deck near them. Hornet is up in the riggings, keeping a lookout. Jyuu Shin-Ta is busy keeping the sand-benders focused, but even he scowls at you.

    Everyone is looking at you, even the ones who are working look over at you. Your friends, they seem like they're wondering what to say. The captain and his son, the sand-benders, they're not sure what to think about you. Finally, once Hornet declares the drake is long gone, Captain Yun asks, "Key! Hong! Come here. We should talk." He heads to his quarters, expecting you to follow.
  • Ugh I'm so tired. I want to just hug Dash tightly, and not like a buddy. But I can't. Everyone is looking at me, and I'm not sure what to do. I try to keep Canlid's smirk on my face, but it falters when the Captain calls me and Hong to his quarters.

    I glance at Dash, trying to hide my alarm. Then I follow.
  • edited May 2013
    Captain Yun stands by the door, and securely closes it after you both enter. He gestures for you to sit at the two chairs by his desk, then takes a seat at the wide-backed wicker chair and looks at the both of you.

    It looks like this:
    image

    "So, you're benders," Yun begins calmly, stating an open fact, not accusing. "Anything else I should know about?"

    Hong gives you a sidelong glance, not wanting to speak out of turn.
  • I hesitate. If I lie now and the truth later comes out...

    "I'm sorry if it appears that I misled you, Captain." I say carefully, my tone apologetic. "I have not had very, uh, positive experiences with people learning that I am a fire bender. And I did not want my presence to create any problems."

    Evasion is always a good tactic.
  • Hong answers simply, "I never said I was not a bender, captain. It is part of me. I did not think it would be something I must announce or warn you about to become a passenger here." That seems to put Yun a little on the defensive.

    Yun answers her, "Yes, my lady, I understand. You're right. I brought you in here more for appearances to the crew, since everyone knows the two of you are acquainted and you were both involved in fighting that drake."

    Captain Yun sighs, shakes his head slightly, "You did mislead me, Key. I hired you as security for my ship and you didn't tell you could burn it to the ground. That's ah, important to know, don't you think?" The question feels rhetorical.

    He continues, "But, we did pick you up in Ba Sing Se, so I can understand why you'd hide that you were a fire bender." He pours some water into three glasses, offering one to Hong, placing another in front of himself and offering you the last.

    He pauses before touching his glass, "Key, both you and Hong saved this ship just now. Thank you. This ship is my home. It's my livelihood and that of my son and crew. I hired you for security, Key. You did more than your fair share this morning. Take the rest of the day off, rest up. You two eat with me tonight, I'm pulling out my private stash!"

    Hong looks a little surprised, and quickly takes a drink of water, letting you answer.
  • I do my best to look sheepish, but then he goes on to thank us...and invite us to dinner? I'm surprised too, although rather suspicious of his motives. I saw how he was tripping all over himself with Hong earlier. This is a rather convenient excuse to have dinner with her. Although I think that's also distracting him from being suspicious of me. Hopefully it won't occur to him that he took a fire bender on board in Ba Sing Se right when a dangerous fire bender was on the loose and trying to escape the city.

    Of course, he does think I'm a boy, so that helps too. I sigh inwardly. I was never a girly girl, but I have to admit, I am so tired of pretending to be a boy.

    But the pretending can't stop now. So I grin. "Just doing my job, sir! And wow, thank you! Dinner sounds great!"
  • The three of you finish your drink and have some polite conversation. Yun is mostly pumping Hong for information, but she's very guarded and polite, giving short answers. He does pry from her that she is Southern Water Tribe, that she learned to bend from Kitara and that she has never married. This seems to entice poor Yun, and while he is a gregarious man, he is very respectful and skillfully indirect at times, which is how he got her to admit she'd never been married.

    How do you spend your day off on board?
  • I was relieved to escape the polite conversation, otherwise known as Captain Yun attempting to flirt with Hong. I'm not sure how I'm going to survive dinner.

    I want to spend my day off with Clay Street, but first I climb up into the rigging to see Hornet...and look for those skiffs. We're moving pretty fast. Hopefully they didn't catch sight of us. I don't know who they were, but I've a feeling I'd rather not find out.
  • You climb up the mast and rigging to Hornet. She's up in the small crow's nest. When she sees you coming up, she reaches down to help you in. It's a tight fit. The crow's nest is a couple feet across, about three feet high, shaped like a large bucket turned upside down and planted at the highest point where it wouldn't cause problems with the sails or the mast's stability. All told, you're maybe three stories above the main decks, which is an odd feeling, right?

    Hornet greets you with a nod, "Nice fighting, Key. Sorry my arrows didn't help. What are you up here for? Swapping duties?"
  • red
    edited May 2013
    "No, the Captain gave me the rest of the day off." I'm secretly glad she helped me in. My arms are dead. I give her a cocky grin. "You know, for saving the ship and all."

    But my grin fades pretty fast, and I blow out a breath, leaning on the wall of the crow's nest next to her. "I thought for sure my cover'd been blown." I confess in a low voice, letting some of my worry out. "I'm pretty sure the only thing saving me right now is that everyone really thinks I'm a boy." I scowl off into the distance. "I am really tired of being a boy."

    I shake my head, focusing back on scanning the desert for any sign of pursuit. "Anyways, I saw some skiffs when I was fighting that drake. I think they spotted all the smoke I was making. They were heading right for us. I'm hoping we lost them when we took off, but, well, I've got a feeling it won't be that easy. Have you seen anything?"
  • Hornet grins back when you reveal your day off, "I thought that was your job?" But she's not objecting.

    On the boy comment, she says, "You're a pretty awful boy, you know. It's a miracle they haven't noticed, especially how you stand when you're near Dash. I don't think they want to know you're a girl. Especially Hanae."

    Hornet looks out to the east when you mention the skiffs, and points towards a set of dunes. You squint, and after a moment of blinking away sand, you see three of them running parallel with your course, angled just slightly towards you. "They aren't heading for us directly. I saw half their number split off a different direction, going towards Leyong's Peak, but these three started heading our way." She looks to you and says, "I'm pretty sure they can see the main mast at least. They'll be much closer tomorrow. I imagine we can make it to Xi Shou's Inn before they do."

    Xi Shou's Inn is the next stop on the way, you know that Yun plans on giving furlough to everyone for a couple days while he handles re-supply and trading.
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