[LF] Crimson Dawn [Flashback 4]

edited June 2013 in In-Game
Ji Fang's mention of the Crimson Dawn reminds you of a night two years ago.

This was before Jun Da's wretched family showed up, so you spent most of your days on Clay Street. You'd snuck out of Jun Da's home earlier that day and spent the morning and afternoon with Boot and Chopsticks. When you asked about Dash, Boot gave you some silly answer that Chopsticks' face said was plainly a lie, but things kept interrupting you before you could press for more. Guards came by a time or two, the Basket Street Irregulars, another gang of kids, tried to start a fight, and Boot twisted his ankle on a jump between two roofs.

It's evening now, the sun setting behind the wall of Ba Sing Se and the sky is a hundred oranges and reds. Chopsticks didn't even wait for you to bring it up, he told you to follow him. More like motioned and then took off across the roofs, he was never much of a talker. He led you to Mama Feng's.

Right now, you're both perched on a rooftop across from the back window, looking down at a dining table. Dash is in the room, with another man, a guy who looks a little like Dash, actually, but older. Also in the room, is Tiss. Frail little adorable doll-like Tiss, smiling and looking at Dash with her big doe eyes. They're eating a nice meal together. You can only see Dash's profile, but he's smiling, too. Guess he does like Tiss best... huh?

"Dash has been here all day. He wouldn't tell me or Boot why." Chopsticks says quietly.


  • Something is twisting in my stomach, watching Dash smile at Tiss. I don't really know why, but I want....I want to leave. I want to run back to Jun Da's and never come back. I want to go down there and yell at Dash. I want to punch something. I want to cry.

    It's such a strange and sudden barrage of emotion...I just sit there. Staring. Then Chopsticks speaks up, and I look away.

    "So what?" I say flatly, but I can't make myself move. I just keep crouching there. "Dash can do whatever he wants."
  • "Well, yeah." Chopsticks says matter-of-factly. He's crouching down, knees high, his skinny butt barely supported almost touching the roof. It's an odd way to perch, his little brother says he looks like a stork like that. But Chopsticks doesn't care. Live and let live. But this, it bothers him.

    "But why hide it? I mean, I wouldn't care if he's sweet on Tiss." You feel his eyes on you when he asks, "It wouldn't bother any of us who he likes. Right?"

    He doesn't wait for a response, just keeps talking. "That guy in there. Ever seen him before?"

    Other than having Dash's nose and his eyes, you've never seen him before.
  • "I wouldn't care either." I lie stubbornly, but my eyes burn. I focus them on the man in the room with them. "No." I say, this time honestly.

    I look back at Dash's face, at that smile. He has a dimple on his left cheek.

    "So what?" I say again, this time angrily. I stand up abruptly, darting across the roof, heading away. Heading anywhere. I don't want to watch this anymore.
  • edited June 2013
    Chopsticks cocks his head, confused by your anger. He rises quickly and follows you, keeping pace with his long legs.

    After a couple roofs, he calls out across the night, "Dare... where are you headed?" But you don't know the answer to that, right? Just away. The act of jumping across roofs like hopping stone to stone on a river to get across. The motion helps clear your mind.

    You realize numbly that your pattern is up. You're up to Middle Ring and nearing the wall when you realize Chopsticks isn't going away. He's annoying that way, curious when he shouldn't be. He hasn't crowded you, staying a roof behind, but he's there, like a grasshopper in shadow.

    You hear a soft crash in the alley below you. You're standing on the roof of an abandoned carver's shop. It was Pan's once, but she got married and moved to Middle Ring with her husband, her fourth. Nobody ever bought it.

    From the alley, you hear muffled conversation between two men. One sounds quietly angry, threatening. The other is high pitched, younger, a little frightened.

    "...I swear I don't know anything about the Crimson Dawn! Iron Arm was talking about it, not me!" you hear the high pitched voice.

    Chopsticks is going to come over here if you don't do something.
  • I do a quick hand motion to Chopstick's before dropping down low so I can't be spotted. The hand motion basically means, hey be careful. There's trouble. I did it without even thinking, and deep down that pleases me. It's like I really am one of them. Despite everything.

    Anyways, I'm nearly down on my stomach on the roof, listening. The Crimson Dawn?I feel like I've heard that name before. Back home. But I can't quite remember. Was it one of the times I snuck behind the curtains during one of my Father's meetings? Was it a piece of gossip between the kitchen maids? Was it one of Ionesca's stories?

    I strain to listen, feeling almost desperate.
  • Chopsticks skulks up to you, crawling quietly to listen, lying right beside you peering down.

    "Who else knows?" the angry man says. Now that you see him in the moonlight, he's wearing all black cloth, even a head scarf, hiding all but his eyes. He's quick and fit, built like Dash more than anyone else.

    The frightened man, who looks to be in his twenties maybe, a dock worker probably, you spot the telltale sand on him, sparkling lightly in the night, "We don't know anything! Just... just me and Iron Arm, we were singing that song. I don't even know what it means..."

    But his pleas are cut short. In a wink, the man in black has drawn a short edged weapon and jammed it straight into his gut. The dock worker gasps, and tries to push him away. The man in black steps away, but twists the blade and cuts down at an angle, effectively emptying the poor guy's bowels to the open air. He falls to his knees grunting, trying to figue out what to do in the last moments before he dies.
  • I have to bite down on my shirt to keep the horrified scream inside. Without even really thinking, my hand finds Chopstick's hand, clinging to him. Part of me is furious. Part of me wants to jump down and fight this evil man, this bad man who just murdered, but I'm afraid. I'm not usually afraid, but there's something...something about that name. It's like the memory of a nightmare or a scary story. And now it's the image of this man, gutted and bleeding in a dark alley. The sound of his dying gasps.

    I squeeze my eyes shut like a coward. I should fight him! I should do something! But I don't. I just cling to Chopsticks, trying to make myself as small and silent as possible.

    Please go away. Please just go away. Please just go away.
  • --END SCENE--

    (You're refreshed! Now head back to your epic fight with the desert raiders)
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