[Scarlet] Honor and Eta



  • edited September 2014
    Are all that are in the Heavens against me?!

    As I lunge with my right sword Nakano side steps out of the way off the log and his wings unfurl. They rhythmically beat, keeping him aloft.
  • Nakano spins as he side-steps, and brings his katana up in a wide arc for you, Ba.

    Nakanko's attack (Attack bonus +5, AC of 4)
    #DiceRoller( 1d20+9 )

    Damage (if he connects):
    #DiceRoller( 1d8 )
  • His sword flashes quickly across your left arm. You barely ducked out of the way, or it could have been much worse.

    Ba, you take 1 HP of damage.
  • I bow to Oroshutaki.
    "Thank you Oroshutaki-sama."

    I turn to watch Ba Jiao against Nakanko.
  • edited September 2014
    The blade's slash cuts into my forearm. Instinctive I clutch my sword tighter. But only for a second the pain of the cut it immediately replaced with the fiery burning of the canal water seeping from my clothes into the cut. The blood is turning my robe's cuff a deep crimson.

    Angrily I look up to Nakanko. It is then that I notice Laughing Crane and the other tengu with their weapons sheathed observing me.

    "What?!" I shout to Laughing Crane. My face blushes.

    I turn my eyes back to Nakanko, "Can't I just answer a riddle or something?"
  • Nakano steps back, his black eyes flashing with curiosity. He sheathes his katana with a flourish and crosses his arms, "Best me in a riddle contest, and I will consider you worth of continuing."

    Let's call this a skill check using Intelligence. Difficulty 9
  • Riddle Contest (+int mod. Target: 9)
    #DiceRoller( 2d8+1 )

    Can I make use of my Versed in the stories of Ninefold Celestial Empire trait?
  • Nakano bobs his head a couple times, thinking. Finally, he says with disappointment, "I do not know where Nantucket is, nor why a limerick would be considered a riddle. I think perhaps you are not worthy of this task, smelly thief."

    "Nakano-san," Oroshutaki says lightly, "Laughing Crane is an excellent swordsman. Perhaps this one," he gestures to you, Ba Jiao, "is his Kikuchiyo."

    Nakano regards you, Ba Jiao, judging your worth. He shakes his feathered head, then steps out of your way, arms still crossed. "Very well, Oroshutaki-san. If they meet your standards, then I will not impede their progress further."

    Oroshutaki bows to you both, "Continue, warriors. The eta need your service."
  • I look to Ba Jiao with a raised eyebrow. I only speak a pigdin of the shogunate tongue and have no idea what that word means.

    "Oroshutaki-san, Nakano-san, can you offer us any boon to help defeat this beast?"
  • edited September 2014
    Nakano's sharp words cut much deeper than his sword did. My shoulders visibly sag and my head drops to stare at his feet.

    Oroshutaki's words are of no comfort. I fall in behind Laughing Crane and look down as my friend tries to gain some information from the tengu.
  • Nakano shakes his head briskly "no". While he will not fight his mate, he does not think you worthy of aid. Oroshutaki, however, sees an opening for something to give, "The beggar's words ring true. Look to fulfill them. It may save your lives. The danger you soon face may add to your legends... or it may add to those of the creature." He gestures for you both to pass, bowing with respect as if to near-equals.
  • I bow as we pass the Tengu. A few feet down the road I speak.

    "Laughing Crane, ‘Under the right arm of the strong is the gift. The strong bends to the sky with two benches of stone at his feet. The gift will guide your fortune,' was the beggar's riddle."

    I lift the brim of my hat and scan about. "We must find that which bends the sky."
  • I bow to Oroshutaki. And depart without further words.

    After Ba Jiao reminds me of the beggar's riddle, I say. "A tree perhaps? With two boulders?"

    Is the beast's trail still evident? Lacking any other specific direction, we keep following it. If it goes somewhere without a clear view of the surroundings (like into a dense bamboo thicket), I want to stop and asses the situation.

    (Can you give us a description/reminder of the area? Thanks)
  • After crossing the ancient maple tree bridge, you notice that the creature’s trail crosses a grassy meadow. In the center of the meadow is a single, majestic cedar tree, with two large red granite stones under its spreading limbs. The scene is one of great beauty, impossible for even the most talented landscape artist to capture, and obviously all natural in origin. The monster’s trail, enhanced with a few threads of cloth, passes near, then turns away from this peaceful scene toward a small copse of dwarf pines.
  • As we cast about for the jungle cat's trail or a suitable tree to match the riddle I'll be bandaging my arm. Hopefully the sun will quickly dry my clothes.
  • Buried in the earth at the base of the maple tree, Ba Jiao notices that the ground has been disrupted. Digging for a few minutes, you discover a small cache of items wrapped in an oil-soaked cotton sheet. It includes two masterwork silver shortspears (yari) with darkwood shafts, a masterwork siangham, a ceramic flask containing a potion of milky liquid, and a rice paper scroll with odd writing inscribed upon it. Laughing Crane, how is it that you know one of these scrolls contains a spell to create a temporary magic weapon?
  • edited September 2014
    "Ho! What's this! A gift indeed!"

    The scroll is has a small illustration. It is actually more of an invocation, perhaps.
    It depicts Huo-qong (called Hakkonshi in the Shogunate). She is holding the paraphernalia of a part of her legend: a mirror, a brush, and a phoenix feather.

    Huo-qong's story is complicated. And long. The short version is she is an ancient hero who, after many trials and quests, eventually became part of the Celestial court.

    Whenever you see her depicted it is almost always an invocation of some part of her story. The items she carries usually give you a clue.

    In this case she had found herself deep in the wilderness and took shelter with a woodcutter's family. Over a humble but plentiful dinner of wild mushroom stew with forest greens, the woodcutter told Huo-qong how he was afraid for his wife and child when he went out to cut wood. There was a nian that haunted the mountainous forest and it's tracks had been seen near his hut.

    In gratitude for the woodcutter's hospitality, Hou-qong beseeched the Dragons of the 12th Palace of the Celestial Court and they granted her the wisdom to endow some of her martial prowess to the woodcutter's ax until he vanquished the nian. She used a mirror to reflect her image onto the ax. With the brush she painted a verse from the Moonrise Sutra. Once this was done, she pricked her finger with the phoenix feather and used it to "paint" some onto the blade of the ax.

    The woodcutter was able to vanquish the nian and Huo-qong's wisdom increased.
  • edited October 2014
    You take the small treasure trove and continue on the trail.
  • edited October 2014
    "Ba Jiao. Do you have any idea what this is?" I hold up the ceramic flask. "Do you want any of these?" I point to the yari and siangham.
  • As you near some dwarf pines on the trail, you hear voices coming from the small clump of trees, where small misshapen figures can be seen crouching in the shade. Each of these small humanoids looks slightly different from his neighbor. Some are bright blue in coloration, others have tiny horns, and a few have large tusks. The language they mutter is crude and guttural, and each of them carries a shortspear. The creatures appear to be plotting some sort of mischief. Against a nearby tree are four Medium-size wicker baskets. The trail you’re currently following does not enter the dwarf pines but skirts its edge and continues along.

    Ba Jiao, you know these creatures are Bakemono. How did you defeat a group of these beast-men the last time you encountered them? And is this the same pack?
  • "Yes, Laughing Crane. If you do not intend to use these I will gladly make the most of such fine craftsmanship."

    As we continue down the trail I'll take the weapons from Laughing Crane. "I have seen weapons vaguely similar to the Siangham used but I am untrained in their use. Yari, on the othear hand, I have employed in the past and they can be most effective." Both sets of weapons are quickly tucked into my satchel. Hopeful they won't be needed anytime soon but the day is still long.

    I pause a second to hold the flask up to my nose. It's pungent minty smell is almost overpowering. I dab my pinky finger with the liquid and rub it into my gums. "A most pleasant liquid, my friend. It is very refreshing."

    Laughing Crane's sudden stop almost caused me walk into him and drop the flask. I quickly stopper the flask and look where he is pointing. Bakemono! It is good that he is so alert. These are most foul beasts.

    "Friend," I slowly whisper,"these are creatures are foul and can only mean evil."

    As I watch these grotesque dwarves I recall my last encounter with these vermin. It was several years back when I was part of a caravan of priests that were journeying to the Golden Temple at Mount Huangshan. Unknown to our brotherhood the Bakemono had been feasting for some months on weary priests that had journeyed to the temple. As part of our observance we had fasted while on the road so by the time they reached the temple most were exhausted and unable to put up much of a fight. Luckily these goblins had grown fat and lazy. They had sprung their trap too early, not in the procession were caught in their nets. Also, it was a blessing that my pack had included some actual food which I had nibbled on during our trek. I and another brother were able to escape and follow the Bakemono back to their base camp. We were able to rescue most of the captives but poor Phra Lak was eaten.

    I recover from my contemplation and carefully look over each one of these humanoids one by one. The leader of the Bakemono bandits escaped but none of these appear to be her.
  • (How many are there?)

    I crouch and whisper to Ba Jiao, "I don't want these creatures on our flank. What say we do the villagers a favor?"
  • I can tell from the tone Laughing Crane's intent. His slight smile makes his intent obvious. I am all in favor of ensuring that these Bakemono's plans are thwarted, whatever they might be. I nod excitedly and scratch the scruffy stubble that is the beginning of a beard I've been growing the past few weeks.

    "Yes," I answer as much with the twinkle in my eye as with my whisper.
  • "Why don't you skirt around to the other side of the trees. I'll fire a few arrows then charge them. It should be obvious when I do. Then you come at them from behind. Sound like a plan?"

    [If there are more than 8, I'd like to take a bit longer to make a plan. Otherwise, I'm good to go with this, RIch.]

    Unless there is a mitigating circumstance, once Ba Jiao has had a few minutes to get to the other side, I will take a few shots at the bakemono.
  • There are six Bakemono. They are 1 HD each. You have surprise.
  • "Indeed, Laughing Crane."

    I clap my hand on his shoulder quietly and move to circle around the bakemono. If successful, I'll wait until I hear them reacting to his shots and I will silently sneak up on them from the rear.
  • Ambush the Bakemono (+dex mod & +2 trait: quiet as a mouse. Target: ?)
    #DiceRoller( 2d8+4 )
  • I'm giving you a +1 for the situation. Difficulty is 9, so you are sucessful, Ba Jiao.
  • (I want to move in close enough that they can't get to me in one round.)
    Then I will fire arrows until they see me.
  • edited October 2014
    You have initiative, Laughing Crane. Make your attack plus Fray.

    You have surprise, Ba Jiao, so make a surprise attack and Fray, then make a second set of attacks (which will happen alongside Laughing Crane's attack).

    EDITED TO ADD: They are AC 6.

    This is going to be ugly....
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