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Pathfinder MK1 RPG--Tian Xia Shenanigans


MaskedRiderChris
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IC: Tchono rapidly has come to like the ryokan called "Baba", because while inexpensive (AKA cheap) the food is decent enough and the drink surprisingly good. Also, although it is in a somewhat sketchy part of town? Most people give someone as big, green, and scary looking as you are your space. Probably thinking you're some kind of oni at first sight. The people you actually have dealt with, while much smaller than you--you tower head and shoulders over most everybody here--once they got over your appearance, were almost fawning polite to you. Whether it's because they truly want to give you what you want or because they want you to leave them be, you've yet to figure out. City folks are weird like that, you're learning in your time here. Almost elaborately polite to each other by your standards, anyway, they are. 

 

In regards to your mission, in the brief time you've been here, you're beginning to find that, as per usual, the rumors of war brewing are slightly exaggerated in the telling. Not by much, but this is not quite the hotbed of upset you'd been led to think it was. Simmering resentment against the Higashiyama Clan, certainly, but simmering enough that with a bit of prodding in the right direction? You may not be much of a cook yourself, but you know that a simmer can be coaxed into a boil in little time; whether it boils contentedly or boils over is a matter of finessing and observation. Among other things of note you've heard (and likely relayed to the Khan in your letters); the city is in the grip of a fearsome cult that is affiliated with the Higashiyama fancifully known as the Flaming Fang Cult. Perhaps the fact that those who speak too loudly against the Higashiyama tend to be assaulted by the minions of said cult and made examples of contributes to this state of affairs? Between them and the dreaded (and much spoken of in private) Devil Mask shinobi (ninjas) the Clan are known to employ for more subtle maneuvers, you suspect this is perhaps the greatest reason that most people prefer to keep their heads down and not say too much in public. Something that (likely) galls you.

 

One pleasant morning, when you're taking breakfast at Baba, someone comes in that provokes a startled reaction from the kindly old lady who runs the front of the house.

 

"Welcome to--oh, M'Lord! What can this humble old lady do for you today?!" A pleasant chuckle and a mellifluous male baritone voice replies in a soothing tone:

 

"I'm not that far up, Oba-san. But this servant would like to procure a private room in the back of your establishment, that I might take tea in peace?" The elderly lady falls all over herself assuring the newcomer this is easily done and hustles him to the room in question. At first glimpse he is a striking figure, when you notice him for the first time; as tall as you are, at least, but of a more slender build that makes him look taller than he is, clad in a simple purple kimono, a large straw hat obscuring his features that long silky auburn hair falls down from, providing a pleasant contrast to the color of his garb. You also notice that his Minkaian has an unusual accent you can't place immediately. A moment after they walk past you, all of a sudden that same voice murmurs in your ear, as though he's whispering into it:

 

"Do please come meet me in this room she is taking me to--my employer would like me to have words with you in private about working for him."

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Tchono considers for a few minutes, giving the stranger time to settle in to his room. Going down the hall, he raps quietly on the door. Hearing the invitiation to enter, he does so, closing the door quietly, he turns and bows to the stranger "Thank you for your invitation, how may a simple bow maker as I do for you?"

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13 hours ago, Corsair said:

Tchono considers for a few minutes, giving the stranger time to settle in to his room. Going down the hall, he raps quietly on the door. Hearing the invitiation to enter, he does so, closing the door quietly, he turns and bows to the stranger "Thank you for your invitation, how may a simple bow maker as I do for you?"

The tall fellow is sitting on a cushion by a low table, where a tea set is already present. The tea here is not the best quality but still perfectly good. Oddly enough, he is still wearing that wide brimmed straw hat even indoors. 

 

"Enter, friend! Tchono-san, correct?" He pronounces your name perfectly, oddly enough. As soon as you settle in, the tea pot levitates into the air and pours hot water into both cups, then quietly lowers down onto the tabletop. He takes one cup and offers it to you with a smile.

 

"Let us drink tea and discuss business, Tchono-san. You strike me as someone who will appreciate directness, so allow me to come to the point; my employer is in search of good men to help the cause he has chosen to involve himself with in this city. That cause is to undermine the doings of the Higashiyama Clan. As he prefers to stay behind the scenes, I am here on his behalf." He pauses there to allow you to process this as he sips his tea.

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Arkady, drawing you into things a bit more, now....

 

IC: "GIT THE HECK AWAY FROM OUR KIDS, YA CRAZY FUR-BEARING VARMINT!!!" A horde of angry peasant voices had hounded you from the village on the outskirts of Kasai, accompanying their irate words with flung pieces of refuse that--the ones that actually connected--felt like most anything they could pick up that wasn't nailed down to hurl your way. So much for inter-species relations! A good while after you left that send off committee behind, a familiar looking raven settles onto your shoulder out of nowhere with a rustle of feathers and murmurs into your ear in a familiar sounding voice;

 

"Pay them no mind, little fox friend. You're destined for more and greater than that. Just remember to be at the docks of Kasai on *insert day of arrival here* to find out what is in store for you. Rest assured it will be better than dodging scraps and garbage!" 

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Tchono thanks his host for the tea and knows he should not be surprised that it is brewed exactly as he prefers it at home on the steppes of Hongal, strong and piping hot. Taking his time to answer, he speaks. "Thank you for your hospitality to this humble rider of the Laio Tribe. I was tasked by my master to find out how serious the situation here in Minkai actually is. As a Warrior of my people I am constrained by that honor that I am placed under in my actions. And seeing how you treated little Oba-san on your arrival, and her reaction to you, I would be honored to join with you and your allies in protecting the people of this place from those who would do them wrong."

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Well, that was a rather inhospitable reception even by human sub-standards, and come to think about it, the monkey tactic of flinging their own refuse rather suggested humans might actually be related to primates. Anyways, it might be worth looking into whether they had had any recent troubles with not-quite-so-well-meaning visitors in the recent past, if Hoshiku could be bothered to actually care. But surely there'll be other villages more amenable to hearing legendary tales both traditional and currently in the process of being established; his spending time administering minor healing magics, giving sagely advice and generally being a helpful wandering preacher in such more hospitable human dwellings will be both more conducive to his ultimate goal and, quite frankly, more deserved by the recipients of any aid he might render.

 

One of the benefits of not actually being a priest in the strictest sense is having a rather handy little bag of minor magical tricks, Hoshiku muses as he Prestidigitation-s himself clean of the mess, making a mental note that as funny as that sounded, it was not fit for inclusion in the legend of Hoshiku.

 

When the raven settles on his shoulder and whispers in his ear, the Kitsune slightly cocks his head, saying with a toothy vulpine grin, "Oh, I assure you, they are beneath my notice. You, on the other hand, I'm curious about. Humans do not tend to think highly of Heng Fei's children, either, so one might argue we share that tentative bond, right? Though being who I am, I would be remiss not to consider you might well be an arcanely familiar messenger than a divine one. Or perhaps you are, pardon the pun, an even shiftier creature? Either way, if you have observed me, you know I am in essence who I profess to be, and feel that might be needed. So I will be at the docks of Kasai at the allotted time, and not just for trying to satisfy my curiosity."

 

Straightening, Hoshiku adds, "Now, if that will be all for now, kindly do be on your way. I think I see signs of the next village on the horizon, and a Kitsune talking to a raven is really not a level of strange going-ons I'd care to have to explain to superstitious humans. Well, not until I have a better idea of what exactly you are, and whether it might help my legend-building, anyways." With that, he steadily continues on his way toward the presumed next village; should the raven feel compelled to respond and have a longer chat from trickster to trickster, he might just need to avoid the place. Would totally be worth it if he got anything interesting out of the feathery messenger.

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4 hours ago, Arkady said:

Well, that was a rather inhospitable reception even by human sub-standards, and come to think about it, the monkey tactic of flinging their own refuse rather suggested humans might actually be related to primates. Anyways, it might be worth looking into whether they had had any recent troubles with not-quite-so-well-meaning visitors in the recent past, if Hoshiku could be bothered to actually care. But surely there'll be other villages more amenable to hearing legendary tales both traditional and currently in the process of being established; his spending time administering minor healing magics, giving sagely advice and generally being a helpful wandering preacher in such more hospitable human dwellings will be both more conducive to his ultimate goal and, quite frankly, more deserved by the recipients of any aid he might render.

 

One of the benefits of not actually being a priest in the strictest sense is having a rather handy little bag of minor magical tricks, Hoshiku muses as he Prestidigitation-s himself clean of the mess, making a mental note that as funny as that sounded, it was not fit for inclusion in the legend of Hoshiku.

 

When the raven settles on his shoulder and whispers in his ear, the Kitsune slightly cocks his head, saying with a toothy vulpine grin, "Oh, I assure you, they are beneath my notice. You, on the other hand, I'm curious about. Humans do not tend to think highly of Heng Fei's children, either, so one might argue we share that tentative bond, right? Though being who I am, I would be remiss not to consider you might well be an arcanely familiar messenger than a divine one. Or perhaps you are, pardon the pun, an even shiftier creature? Either way, if you have observed me, you know I am in essence who I profess to be, and feel that might be needed. So I will be at the docks of Kasai at the allotted time, and not just for trying to satisfy my curiosity."

 

Straightening, Hoshiku adds, "Now, if that will be all for now, kindly do be on your way. I think I see signs of the next village on the horizon, and a Kitsune talking to a raven is really not a level of strange going-ons I'd care to have to explain to superstitious humans. Well, not until I have a better idea of what exactly you are, and whether it might help my legend-building, anyways." With that, he steadily continues on his way toward the presumed next village; should the raven feel compelled to respond and have a longer chat from trickster to trickster, he might just need to avoid the place. Would totally be worth it if he got anything interesting out of the feathery messenger.

In reply, the raven simply gives a hoarse croak, cocks its head, and flaps off into the distance--heading in the direction of Kasai, you notice. How convenient...

 

The village you come to is slightly more welcoming than the last one; but they seem more interested in hearing about the story of Morinuhata. What seems to preoccupy them more than the glorified events you depict is the fact that the village was overtaken by Oni as opposed to bandits or even rampaging samurai--the lot of peasants is a rough and hard one, after all, and some invaders are even worse than others, relatively speaking. With that having been said, you are curtly thanked for the news and sent on your way in a gruffer, but more mannered way than the last village. As in nothing being thrown at you on the way out; you're given some food and tea for your troubles, though, which is a nice change. Kasai is soon looming in the distance for you--so close now!

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Hoshiku grins as the raven flies off. That was rather the kind of reply he would expect from an arcane familiar, a bird probably not clever enough to offer a witty comeback, but presumably quite capable of relaying the message. If his guess as to the raven's nature was correct, at least it might draw some kind of reaction from his would-be-employer.

 

The next village offers a reaction more like Hoshiku what would expect. After all, despite what some Kitsune elders would have you believe, not all humans are complete idiots, and will have the sense to hear you out when you approach peacefully. And a good thing, too,  because these folks were right, come to think about it: emboldened Oni daring an incursion into Minkai proper, even if only at the very frontier, that was concerning. What if some dark power was considering even bolder action? No wonder the Goddess of the North Star had guided him onto a path of delivering his cautionary tale to human - they needed it! Though perhaps not for quite the reasons he had focused on.

 

As he draws near the capital, seeing Kasai looming in the distance, Hoshiku pauses, sitting on a large rock by the roadside and gazing in the direction of the looming city. It would have walls, and gates, and guards, probably asking way too many questions. No wonder Kitsune would normally just shift to human form and pretend to be some lowly human peasant; surely Kageku would have no trouble at all. Hoshiku shakes his head, pounding a fist onto his thigh, and mutters to himself, "No, Hoshiku needs to do what humans would think honorable. Go there, introduce myself, and inform the guards I bear grim tidings of Morinuhata." With a sigh, he stands to be on his way, wondering whether there is any way being madly honest could possibly qualify as clever.

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At the unexpectedly hospitable invite, Hoshiku pauses, looking at the roadside traveler, momentarily cocks his head, then says, "It will be my pleasure, Isihiro-san. I think some fresh tea under a clear sky, in open-minded company, that is a luxury I should not pass on before I make my way into the city. I doubt the common folk there will be much more welcoming than in the surrounding villages, after all."

 

He bows slightly as he continues, "My name is Hoshiku, likewise bound for Kasai", before sitting down, holding up his Tsuzumi hand drum for a moment. "I could accompany you if you like", the Kitsune offers. He grins a toothy vulpine grin as he adds, "Beyond that or a good story, I don't think I can offer much else. Well, perhaps a prayer that the North Star might guide your path?" As he asks, his hand briefly touches the silver butterfly symbol dangling around his neck.

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Tchono did not know the word to describe how he felt, partly satisfied at the day's work[?] of having Shojiki mount two fine mares for a buyer, and feeling the fine horse stepping along smartly, obviously pleased with himself. Partly anxious, wondering what things will come about in Minkai, the rumor that Oba-san was having to pay protection for her inn, troubled him especially. The beauty of the day was somewhat lost on him, when he heard music and singing and as he turned the road saw a simply clothed man and a kitsune?!?

 

I guess this would have occurred the afternoon after his meeting with Brasdir Lanlyss.

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23 hours ago, Corsair said:

Tchono thanks his host for the tea and knows he should not be surprised that it is brewed exactly as he prefers it at home on the steppes of Hongal, strong and piping hot. Taking his time to answer, he speaks. "Thank you for your hospitality to this humble rider of the Laio Tribe. I was tasked by my master to find out how serious the situation here in Minkai actually is. As a Warrior of my people I am constrained by that honor that I am placed under in my actions. And seeing how you treated little Oba-san on your arrival, and her reaction to you, I would be honored to join with you and your allies in protecting the people of this place from those who would do them wrong."

"Well, now--that didn't take much selling at all," the stranger in purple laughs, clearly amused. "You don't even know my name yet. Allow me to correct that oversight; my name is called Brasdir Lanlyss, attache to Lord Hwang Iscariot." After he says this he removes his straw hat on the way up from the bow he offers you, revealing slyly twinkling green eyes, narrow and handsome features that speak of more than a bit of Elvish ancestry, as if his delicately pointed ears were not tell tale enough...and a pair of small horns that curve back from his temples that sprout from patches of bronze colored scales. Horns that look decidedly draconic to you. Further, you notice that his Minkaian has a slight, but distinct accent you can't place right away. 

 

"It is a good thing to meet one as straightforward as you are, Tchono-san. Honor and honesty should go hand in hand, don't you think? Not always the case, sadly. I should be glad to meet you at the docks tomorrow morning, then, for to meet the others I have in mind to join us--including the ones from the West whose air ship shall be arriving then." He gives a time (approximately 9 AM) and insists you enjoy another cup of tea with him before you take your leave.

 

"I shall look forward to seeing you, good Tchono-san. May we begin auspiciously in this endeavor!" 

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Hoshiku snorts slightly, then flashes a toothy Vulpine grin as he says, "Some might think you are inviting such trouble, Isihiro-san, being willing to travel with an undisguised Kitsune. Superstitious folk might not take kindly to such an association." He taps his drum a little absent-mindedly, then adds, "And you should know I do not plan to keep a shifted low profile in Kasai. My being Kitsune among humans, that is what the path the Goddess of the North Star has outlined for me requires." He again taps the drum, this time clearly for emphasis.

 

Then, the Kitsune once again cocks his head, thoughtfully gazing off into the distance for a few moments, then asking, "Actually, Isihiro-san, would you mind satisfying my curiosity on whether you have had any other strange encounters in your travels to Kasai?"

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"Well, my foxy friend," here Isihiro let's his aasimar heritage come forth. Shining golden eyes, tattoos glowing and moving and Icihiban, a stylized hare tattoo jumps out from his robes becoming an actual hare. Upon seeing Hoshiku's vulnerable smile, he quickly jumps back to Isihiro, forming a tattoo again. "you are not the only one who isn't always what he appears to be, although I don't have to change to appear as a normal human. Also, please excuse Ichiban, he's usually more friendly than that."

"And to answer your question, it appears that a raven, or the master of one has been keeping an eye on me. This creature or person has the ability to invade my dreams. The raven encourages me to meet it at the docks in Kasai. I had thought that perhaps the raven might be the Yata-Garasu, but perhaps it is only hubris on my part to think that the divine might be interested in a simple monk as myself. Still, my order thought it important enough that they gave me leave to investigate it."

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