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Mists of War - DM Downrightamazed

Game Master downrightamazed

Three groups of gaijin approach the Son of the Heavens, ruler of the Empire of Mists, in his palace in far Lanzhu. A great war is underway in the west, this is known, but what could these strangers want?

2,801 to 2,850 of 3,468 << first < prev | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | next > last >>

"Sorry, I thought you might have already spoken with your companions. We were there as Gwen and Naradil emerged from the catacombs with Rhon's inert body. We made plans to meet with them this afternoon to help them go back. I had thought...well, unimportant right now. I am in both your and Rhon's debt, and will be there in an hour. I will see what allies I can gather in that time.

Tokine turns to Azami, Think we can find Kyras in that time? I know you would be hesitant to leave your charge un..accounted for. I dearly wish San Pen might have reemerged by now, but we do have the Advisor Chujitsuna and young Lord Shoto to message, to see if their earlier interest is still intact."

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

She gives a half shrug, wondering if the Curator is implying something with her phrasing. She looks between Ghar and the beautiful woman and then makes to turn back towards where she was headed. "I'll go get him while you two make plans. Will you be at the Temple?"

"Yes, the Temple. I need to make some preparations for this afternoon and even more for this evening. I will be there until near time to remeet Ghar and his companions. Ghar, can we walk and compare stories of recent events heading to our respective destinations?"

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

With a bow, Khangzhi apologizes to the healers husband. "I am sorry to have brought violence to your household, my honorable host. And I am sorry you have had to see this side of me. But there things the must be done now. Quickly, if I am to aid Swift, I will need some rope, and a large sack. One that my new captive would fit in." Khangzhi gestures towards the unconscious halfing before heading to the window to see if he can still see the escaping assailants. "Time is crucial now! Hurry!"

@Tokine: Ghar nods. "But we do not take the streets. We will take the shadow roads. I have learned much about your city in the few days I have been here, and the more I learn, the more I like." The sepulchral elf takes a few quick steps into an alley and reaches down to the foundation of a building. He wipes away some of the grit around the cobbles and twists something. Instantly a small panel opens in the wall, just big enough for a person to slip into.

"The syndicates are tailing us, all the time, but they cannot travel this way, in the spaces between and around and through buildings. Come. I believe I know how to get to your temple." Ghar has stepped into the passage, which you realize is identical to the kind you were just in, the one the Telestari opened and dragged Kyras into not minutes ago.

@Azami: It is not a long walk to the Gossamer Palace, and you are not waylaid. The rain begins again while you are en route, though it is thankfully not so fierce as before.

Once again you find yourself standing under the archway before the door to the Shoto City House, once again knocking on the grand doors. After what feels like an eternity of waiting, the door opens just slightly and a single functionary peers out at you.

"Ah, madame ronin-san, how may we assist you on this day?"

@Wei: The man fumbles around as quickly as he can and hands over an indifferent and threadbare burlap sack and a frayed rope. "It's all I can find!" At least he was relatively quick about it; Swift's abductors are making excellent time, running into the paddies and towards the bamboo forest. If they reach those high plants, your odds of finding them get very low.

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

"I am looking for the gaijin man who was here with me earlier this day," Azami states, trying to find a balance between the official tone of the palace guard and something more casual. "Is he here?"

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

Khangzhi scowls and prods the unconscious halfling with his foot. "And still you inconvenience me. It will be repaid in full," and quickly sets about binding and muffling the caster, paying special attention to the hands. Once done, he rudely shoves the halfling into the sack and ties it shut. Turning to the old man, (does he have a name??) Khangzhi says, "Hurry and find the police and have them take this one into custody. Make sure they know he is a mage of some sort. I must be off! Be safe, my friend." The monk then swiftly exits the healers house.

Base DC for escape artist on the bindings: 34

So, is there any way I can attempt to cut off the bad guys around a building or something, or is my only option to charge through open terrain? Fast Movement should help me clear the gap, but if can get closer to them without being seen first I would like to do so.

Male Half-elf Dragon Disciple 11

Kyras grins with a conspiratorial and sly smile. "He told me that I need to save the world. No pressure, right?" He frowns a bit to himself. 'Looks like that instruction shoukd have been not to destroy it myself.' His sarcastic and irreverent facade returns quickly. "Do you know the gaijin guard, Azami Ito? She and I must leave the city together after finding my sister, Bethany Erodal. Being imprisoned or dead would definitely put a crimp in that plan."

She has put her trust in this Elf before. It makes her a little uneasy, but she knows Ghar's intentions are proper. She steps into the opening behind him.

@Azami: The functionary bows deeply. "I am so very sorry, great warrior, but there are no gaijin in the Gossamer Palace at this time."

Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23

DC23 Sense Motive:
He is lying.

@Wei: There's no shortcuts, they're already charging across an open rice paddy. They assume you have no ranged weapons, or else they just don't care.

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

Sense Motive 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25
Intimidate (just enough to cow him as she pushes past) 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26

Her brows rise, her attention focusing to a fine point between the man's eyes, as though she might be considering exactly how to put an arrow there. "I hope Shoto does not make you take your life for such a terribly executed lie."

Bluff:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

Any Sense Motive Score:
She's lying.

Azami pushes past him into the palace. "Ah, so good to be back at the gossamer palace," she offers dryly. Turning in place to look around for some hint of where Kyras might have gone, she sighs and shrugs before taking a deep breath...

..and yelling, "KYRAS!"

Male Half-elf Dragon Disciple 11

"Oh, there she is! Sorry for her breaking protocol. I must be rubbing off on her."

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

Khangzhi stares grimly at the retreating men, and sets off after them at full speed.

Move rate at a run: 200ft

@Wei: Just as you start after the ninja that took away swift, you hear a loud whistle behind you, one whose tone is instantly recognizable, as it is the kind of whistle used by the police.

Sure enough, you glance over your shoulder and see the girl halfling, three police officers in tow, pointing at you. "THAT's the one! Him! That lizard-monk-man! He attacked me and my brother when all we wanted to do was visit the healer! We need medicine for our mom!" She is hiding behind one of the officer's legs and speaking in a loud, terrified, and childish whine.

Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18

DC18 Sense Motive:
It's pretty obvious her bogus story won't hold up under close scrutiny, a fact she must be aware of. You're guessing her intent here is not to get you arrested, but just to delay you long enough for the others to get away.

The lead officer hails you. "Sir! Please halt! We only wish to ask you a couple questions."

They're about 60' away, so unless they have a skilled monk/ninja/whatever in their ranks, (which wouldn't be unheard-of) you should be able to easily outrun these guys. If you want.

@Azami: The functionary rushes after you, and 14 servants conveniently appear out of various doors, all holding buckets and towels and serving trays and other things, all bustling around.

DC15 Sense Motive:
These are not servants, and you are in great danger.

The functionary comes up, limping a little and bowing obseqiously. "Oh. Oh Ronin-sama. Great Ronin. Great warrior. Please. Please be calm. You see through my petty deception so easily. My life is nothing. I am but a servant. Please do not shout. We will take you to the gaijin. Please Ronin-sama." One of the 14, a cowed and bent-looking old woman, approaches and beckons you to follow her.

Bluff: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 8 + 2 = 29

DC29 Sense Motive (separate roll):
The servant is most likely going to be killed, and while it's unclear where exactly they're about to lead you, it's probably not to Kyras, though you're fairly certain they don't mean you any harm.

@Kyras: Situbo-san laughs heartily. "Hahahaaa! Kyras-san, you are quite amusing in your own roguish way. I can see why my son spoke so very highly of you. I have been to Warbane, you know, which is your native city-state, is it not? A coarse and charming place, filled with mighty warriors and harsh landscapes. I greatly enjoyed besting the challenges it presented me, as much as I did the wonderful hospitality of my hosts." He takes a slow sip of his tea. You hear no more shouting from Azami, and her initial yell was muffled and far away. You know this chamber isn't too far from the entrance, but is around a couple corners.

Shoto Situbo continues. "It took me some time to acclimate myself to the manner of my hosts, and to come to terms with how differently things were done in that place. I found myself frustrated by the utter lack of protocol, the brash openness and loudness of everything, the absence of subtlety, or at least subtlety as I knew it. I say these things..." he quickly interjects, looking at you in earnest "...not to malign your home city, nor to attempt to put you off-balance, I hope you understand this. No, I say this as a confession to you of my own shame at my lack of ability to learn to appreciate what made that land great, and unique. I took longer than I care to admit to come to terms with the identity of the place in which I was existing." He pauses and tilts his head in a way eerily reminiscent of Imuri.

"Well! But I did learn. And once I learned that, things became much easier for me. No longer was I struggling against the confines of a stifling social system, rather I was moving smoothly through it, and found myself able to achieve my goals there much more easily, and made many long-lasting friends, with whom I still correspond to this day!"

It is very quiet in the Gossamer Palace. Situbo-san sits forward and pours himself a fresh cup of tea, and every clink of the service is like a thunderclap in the deafening silence. He puts the pot down carefully and sits back again, then lifts his cup and inhales the aroma of the tea, clearly enjoying it immensely. It feels like hours are passing. Your nose itches, and your left leg is getting a bit of cramp.

"Now. You have come here, you say, to ask aid of my House. This is good. You could have gone to any of the Houses, but you are here. The Shoto can certainly assist you, and we would help no matter what, but it seems that on top of any other extenuating factors, you are also a guest of our great Empire, and of the Son of the Heavens, and a guest held in some esteem, it is no doubt. We are willing to assist you, Kyras Erodal of Warbane, but how much and how well we can help will depend greatly on how much and how well you share what sort of help it is you need."

Situbo-san smiles again. "Do I make myself clear? Perhaps you would prefer it if I spoke in the direct and colorful parlance of your land." He mumbles to himself a moment, and then clears his throat. "Hmm. Let's see. How would you... Oh! I have it. *ahem*"

His voice takes on an alarmingly accurate Warbanian accent and he speaks in a loud, brash voice similar to a Cathedral Drillmaster. "Don't come into my house and act like an ass and expect me to help you! Your mouth is writing IOUs your body can't honor, so shape up! This ain't a game!" The older Shoto gives you a sly look. "How did I do? It's been quite a while since I've had an opportunity to trot that out before anyone who would understand the reference." His smile seems both genuine and lethal.

@Tokine: Ghar takes you on a bizarre journey through a shadow-city you did not know even existed. Many buildings, it seems, have extra walls and crawlspaces and airshafts grafted onto them, and these places are a veritable highway system for rogues and cutthroats and strange, skittering shadow-things. Numerous times you have to stop and wait as some black-clad figure crawls quickly by, or you see many-legged crawling things racing along the ceiling. Several times you are within mere inches of people eating noodles, sewing, reading books...doing all manner of thing. You pass within a whisper of them and they do not even know you are there.

This journey is quick and silent, and when finally Ghar leads you out into the back corridor of a bookseller's and into an alley just a scant 100' from your temple, you have a new appreciation for just how little goes on in this city that is unmonitored, and how the walls quite literally have eyes, all the time.

"Make your preparations." Says Ghar. "I must see to something a block over. I will return shortly."

In front of your temple are four soldiers clad as guards; they wear very fine armor and linens over the armor, and are speaking with passersby in what appears to be a very genial manner. Their bowing, while hindered by their armor, is actually very well-done and elegant. All of them -- two men and two women, all elves -- are very handsome in the exotic way of their kind. The clothes they wear are all ivory with silver and crimson trim, and they bear a strange symbol over their hearts, that of a pair of stylized red draconic jaws.

The Great Confluence is not a fact, but it is a theory with a great deal of support.

It is said that the source of all magic in the Explored Land is a massive boulder of some type called the "skystone" that came from across the planes, fell out of the sky, and smashed into the Land up near present-day Izmir, gouging an immense crater a mile deep that slowly, over the millenia, filled with water, eventually becoming the Deepest Lake. A pair of immense ley lines have been recorded criss-crossing through the skystone there, though it has never been conclusively proven whether the ley lines are coming out of the skystone, or just happen to cross at that point. Whichever it is, that is a place of tremendously powerful magic. Thus far the great depths of water and the dangerous creatures that live in the lake have made it impossible for anyone to harness the power there, though that certainly hasn't stopped the ley lines from bursting out into the land and helping spread magic.

Over the millenia the level of power coming from that place has lowered considerably, reducing the amount of Wild Magic to a faint shadow of what it once was, and the general power of all magic in the Land to its current state. Why this is has not been discovered, though the amount of people now living and practicing magic in the Land is one possible cause.

The Great Confluence is said to be a magical alignment, when all the gods' constellations, the moons, the stars, and the planes, will all be in a formation that will cause an arcane resonance. This resonance -- it is said -- will "re-power" the ley lines in the deepest lake and bring about an explosion of wild magic and arcane power that will fluctuate and flow over the Land; tremendous, unheard-of amounts of power that anyone could harness and use as they wished.

Most of the stellar and arcane alignments proposed by this theory have been shown to be accurate, but some are still being researched. Because of this and other counter-research, not all academics agree the Great Confluence is what many think it is; they do not deny an Alignment will occur, but they also do not see why such an alignment would bring about a mass surge of magical energy. Some believe the alignment will be off. Others believe that the skystone is the source of the ley lines, and its own power has faded too much to be rekindled. Any of these theories is about as likely as any other, and research continues, most of it being done at the University of the Scales in Lesotho and Stormfare University.

Male Half-elf Dragon Disciple 11

Kyras grins at the small taste of home. "Perfect! Throw a good spit and a hard smack in the hard, and it would be just like being in Warbane." His smile fades as he grows more serious. "We have quite a bit to offer each other, Situbo-san. I am in need of your aid to shield me from the current predicament. In exchange, I offer what thing of value I have: knowledge, information that your house can use to your benefit and to the benefit of the Empire. I make this offer in good faith, Situbo-san. As a sign of good faith, I offer a way to protect your investment: when Azami and I leave the city to fulfill our mission, given to us directly from the Emperor himself, your son will accompany us. He will learn and report all that we do and learn. This information will be valuable beyond reckoning to a man such as yourself. I know that you are a man of means, ambition, and power, and can easily see the value in firsthand knowledge and influence on a man such as myself, whose importance and unpredictability has great potential to shape the scope of the world itself."

"But, I will need Azami. That is something that I will stand firm on. She's a bit of an extra syllable in the haiku, to use your parlance, but that's something I can't and won't bend on. I explained this already to the Telestari envoy, minus the bit about the haiku." He lets the small morsel of information slip in to hopefully whet the man's appetite.

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

Sense motive 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (14) + 13 = 27
Sense Motive 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25

Azami immediately sees the reality of what surrounds her. Of course. I walked into the spider's web. By the dawn, I hate this place. But at least I know he's here. Now not to die.

She folds her arms across her chest with an annoyed sigh, the bindings of her armor creaking with wetness from the renewed rain. Giving the tiniest of bows of her head only, she casts her steely gaze across the near score of incoming threats before narrowing her eyes to the sniveling functionary. "Lying to the Palace Guard will not do you any favors. By order of the Emperor himself, Kyras Erodal is to return with me. I will not disturb peace of your house any further nor enter past this point. But the gaijin must be brought to me. Now."

Bluff 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22

Sense Motive 22:
Something's off about the 'palace guard. But she wears the insignia and is known in the guard - having been here just hours before. The rest of the statement is completely truthful.

Intimidate (appearing important, deadly serious and unmovable) 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24

Shadow Lodge

Chu snapped the book shut, his reptilian eyes were narrowed as he thought on what would come next.

Theory, Fact, Fiction, Exaggeration, Prophecy and even Folklore had roots in thing that were plausible. At least to a point. He was nothing compared to the great dragons of the land. Perhaps Na-Calanon had known more but such a conversation was now lost, sadly forever. Chu set the book down, his scaled head in his clawed hands as he thought furiously. Many, good and evil will come to harness such raw power perhaps even... No, I need to research more before I make assumptions but this library is inadequate...

He rose and scanned the shelves for another topic, while mentally locking away the Great confluence Research. 1163 His eyes narrowed, that numbered was driving him mad. Was it a date? Year? Significant time of day? He started compiling books on history, theories of mathematics, magical equations, alchemy and calenders. Anything he could think of that may contain some type of answer.

Then he remembered, he had so little time to search before the dinner. He selected the history and calenders as his starting point in discovering what the number 1163 possibly mean't.

K-History - researching years or events that correspond with 1163 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
K-Local? Searching the Calendars starting with years ending in 11, the 6th month and 3rd day. 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22

DRA I will break this code good sir! Your forcing me to think, darn you! :) Btw what is the current year, month and day? LOL >:)

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

I can't help but visualize this as a Loony Tunes segment

Khangzhi jerks to a halt, turns and gives a brief bow. Pointing to the fleeing men he says, "Officers! Your timing is impeccable! My friend has been abducted, and I require your assistance!" Nodding at the rogue, he continues, "And you should bring the halfling as well, for her own security. Though someone should remain with me friend in the house, he is quite shaken from those rogues' attempt on his life. But the rest of you, follow me! I will answer your questions on the way."

With another quick bow, Khangzhi dashes off towards Swift's abductors.

Double move (100ft) only at first, don't want the cops to lose track of me yet - hopefully they might be convinced I'm not really running from them. Also hoping one of them has a decent enough perception to see through the girls disguise, now that I've drawn attention to it.

@Kyras and @Azami: Shoto Situbo thoughtfully strokes his elegant moustache. Calmly, he asks; "And what is it you seek from me, exactly? Forgive me but I have become confused on this point; at first you were desirous of protection from accusation of murder, now you wish son? To travel with you? "

Before he can say anymore, there is a soft rattle from behind one of the paper walls, and the older Shoto grunts in response. "Hai." He arches an eyebrow at you. "It appears we will have company." A servant comes in and takes away the current tea service, while another servant brings in a fresh one, for three.

Out in the hall, servants beckon for Azami to follow them to Kyras. It takes some doing to get the wary gaijin to walk any further into the web, but once she's ascertained these functionaries are telling the truth, she comes with. These men show Azami to the door of the small room where Kyras and Shoto Situbo are seated, with a tea service for three in front of them. Kyras is to Azami's left, Situbo-san to her right.

"Ah, the Imperial Guard. How do you do?" Shoto Situbo addresses Azami, bowing low. "And how is your employer this fine day?" His face is utterly neutral as he asks this.

@Kyras only:
You notice a shift in Shoto Situbo's demeanor when Azami comes in, but it's not clear yet just what he's after.

@Azami only:
The tea makes you think strongly of home; it is a spice blend made from plants that only grow in the fine, sunny soil of the region of Tiria, and is mixed with exotic leaves from the city-state of Xai Xai, on the northeast coast of the Tirian horn. Other regions make this tea, but only in Mamban did it smell like this. The nostalgia this smell effects is damn-near overwhelming.

Tokine approaches the Guards. She gives them a smile and small bow, but her voice is tense. "Excuse me, what happened to the guards that were stationed here? You see, this is my Temple and while I recognize that you are doing a wonderful job, I do not recognize you." She looks around trying to see what what else might be out of the normal.

Sense Motive -> 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (15) + 17 = 32
Know (Nobility)for Heraldry -> 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

Perception -> 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

She steps into the room at the servants behest, the dull sound of the screen sliding shut behind her clipping off the opportunity for a swift departure from this political nightmare. Azami takes a deep breath, steeling herself.

The whole of the room smells like home. Not the estates of the Kagawa, but Tiria...Mamban, her homeland far across land and sea.

The acorn-coloured liquid streams from the clay pot into the teacups at the table; Gregor stiffly bends to take a seat at the bench, feeling the age in his knees already. He thought he'd avoided such things in becoming a merchant instead of a soldier, but there he was, aging anyway.

Rosalyn lets the door slam behind her as she enters, retrieved from her practice in the side yard of their home by their one house servant Hesha.

"Rosalyn! I swear on the Angels, if you slam that door one more time..." her mother calls out as she retreats to the kitchen to retrieve biscuits. Rosalyn pulls a face at her father and calls back, "Sorry mother!"


Gregor taps the table where she should be seated, and Rosalyn's shoulders slump as she takes the chair, ready with an excuse. "But I don't mean to drive her mad - I don't even realize I'm doing it!" she half-whines, already knowing that she isn't truly in trouble. Her hand is already wrapped around the sturdy mug of tea, inhaling its spicy steam as they both wait for her mother to return to the table.

"Your mother is not going to like what I am going to say, Rosie." Gregor murmurs to her with a sigh. "It will go easier if you do not let your feelings show - be mature, practical. Conduct yourself well, and she will relent."

Rosalyn's feet lift to their tips under the table, poised with excited uncertainty as she nods to her father, schooling her features to stillness. Daniella returns to the table, pulling the apron from her front and draping it over the chair at the end before taking a seat next to Gregor on the bench.

"Hesha has gone to the market to get us more potatoes, since Rosie's thrashing has stomped down half of the plants." Her mother takes a drink from her cup, signaling they all can drink; Rosalyn must quickly drink to keep from retorting that it wasn't thrashing, but practice. The spices fill her nose and throat with warmth, and the aching of her shoulder from the last hour of swinging at the post seems to subside a bit with that heat.

"Mm." Gregor sighs into his mug, wrapping both of his hands around it as it returns to rest on the table. "You know I'm heading to Lesotho at the end of the week for the merchant caravan trek to the Abadarian holiday celebration, yes?"

"Yes, and I've letters for you to bring to my cousins there. Silva had a child - include some trinket with the letter, if you will? Two weeks, with travel, yes?" Already Daniella is strategizing for protection of the house and the added tasks she will give Rosalyn in her husband's absence.

"I'm going to bring Rosie with, since I'm short a guard."

Rosalyn's feet bounce beneath the table, and she cannot help to smile at her father's pronouncement - an expression that fades around the edges as she notes her mother's response.

"Rosie? I don't think that is a good idea - she's only had a few years of training..."

"Some of my guards have less, Dani. Including the one that I had to let go last month that Rosie will be replacing. It's just to Lesotho, and I intend on teaching her the trade as well while we travel. She'll come back with experience in both areas, which can only help her in taking on more responsibility in the business."

Rosalyn takes a big gulp of her tea, listening to the conversation continue between her mother and father, knowing her father has already won. She does everything in her power to keep from seeming too excited, too eager; her father was right - such an attitude would strike her mother as not taking the danger seriously enough. She's more than willing to suffer the ridiculously dull scrutiny of figures her father will put her through to get a chance to test her skills in defending the caravan.

"Rosie - I suppose you are delighted your father wants to put you in such danger," her mother adds to the end of the last retort to Gregor, looking for further ammunition against the whole plan.

Squaring her broad shoulders, Rosalyn sweeps the hair from her face as her brow furrows in thought to her mother's words. Finally, she offers, "I am proud father thinks me ready, since he has hired many guards and would not want to jeopardize our business or my safety."

Her mother's pursed lips are a sure sign that the fight is over, ending with a heavy sigh. Shaking her head, Daniella lifts the mug of tea, muttering before she takes a drink, "You two will drive me to an early grave."

Later, after tea is finished --and catching the door quickly to keep it from slamming-- Rosalyn leaps into the side yard with a joyful heart. She grasps the blade from where she put it aside, watching her grip firm around the hilt with strength she has built over years of practice, the taste of warm spice still on her tongue.

"As..." she stumbles to answer the man's question, her senses filled with the tea, "As ever, he is an honor to the names of the ancestors...Lord Shoto." Though her words manage to be properly elusive, it is only because she is too distracted to be angry at such a purposely pointed question. There is a hesitation before she realizes she should bow back, which she does after a shake of her head and tightening of her jaw.

@Wei: You hear one of the policeman say "H-halfling? Wha-?" And they then descend into confused arguing as the girl halfling scampers off. So, while the police aren't currently pursuing you, they also aren't currently helping.

Putting on speed, you gain ground very quickly. Unfortunately it's not enough as the halfling's short but crucial delay has allowed her accomplices to make it into the bamboo forest. You can catch up with them in mere seconds, you know, but while they will be hampered by their prisoner, they will have the advantage of cover and a big head start.

@Tokine: One of the elven guards -- a female with raindrop-colored eyes -- steps forward and they all bow elegantly and in perfect sync. "You must be the Curator. Hello." The beautiful and graceful elf's voice is silken and lovely. "We are members of the New Church of the Old Kings, come from the west seeking knowledge, and to exchange gifts. We are the last of the original citizens of Iridian, you see, the jewel city of Shelyn, and keepers of its final secrets. Your guards stepped inside only briefly, and will be back out momentarily, we are cer-" She is cut off mid-sentence by the re-appearance of the regular temple guards, who look a bit sheepish, and bow apologetically.

"Madame Curator! Sorry. So sorry. Please forgive us. We just, uhm, stepped in to guarantee the safety of your guests, and to make sure your staff was safe, um, as well. Terribly sorry."

Sense Motive and Perception results:
Something is clearly off here. You don't recognize the elves' livery or symbols, though you know you've seen it before and you could swear you remember hearing about it being in the city...yesterday? Two days ago? You can't recall. You don't remember them being mentioned favorably or unfavorably, you just remember that their distinctive ivory clothes with silver trim were deemed noteworthy by several individuals.

The two guards are both acting quite agitated and abnormal, and you have never heard of this "New Church" nonsense. Everything the elf said about Iridian is true, but while she and her three companions DEFinitely look the part of being Iridianese, you find it very difficult to believe that is what they actually are, as that land has been cursed and uninhabitable for centuries.

@Azami and @Kyras: The Shoto patron looks from one of you to the other, then gazes into the middle distance. "If Shoto Imuri wishes to travel with you, that is his decision to make, and can be discussed among the family. But I am still not clear on where exactly it is you are to travel, and why you must do so, aside from your word that the Exalted Son of the Heavens has commanded it. What other information do you have, and how is it you two are so closely bound." He takes a sip of his tea and looks at Kyras over the rim of his cup. "Is it Duty? Or is it simply duty."

@Chu: Frustratingly, the number 1163 is not lining up with anything, as far as you can tell. As map coordinates the numbers 11 and 63 place you either up in the Frost Kingdom, at the crook of the "elbow" of the Great Trackless woods, or in the far southwest, on an anonymous stretch of ocean coastline far from any city. Both locations are, as far as you know, utterly bereft of both meaning and life, though of course you haven't checked them out personally, so who knows.

As a year, 1163 is long after the time of the Uniter, and long before the Telestari disappeared, and there are no recorded histories of any other major events happening then. Likewise, when you attempt to mix up the numbers to contrive other dates, they are all equally devoid of any significant events as far as you can tell.

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

Azami glances between Kyras and the Lord, wondering what they have already been talking about and WHY Kyras would tell these spiders anything.

"We told your son all of this just this morning, in this house. Has he not already informed you?" There was likely a more diplomatic way to phrase such a thing, but she is unsettled by the conflict of such unsafe surroundings carrying the sensation of home.

Tokine smiles to the guards...her guards, "Thank you. That was considerate. I will head in and see to these guests." She gives a small bow to them and to her guest guards and heads into the Temple. She does not announce herself, wanting to see what might her new guests are up to. See knows her staff will have been pulling items from the archives for her to select from for the Palace function tonight. She will need to see to that in her limited time her as well as greet these newcomers.

Deep in her mind, she recalls the vision of the red dragon curling around the Temple. She had thought that to be Kyras as a protective symbol. But the events of today have cast that in a new light...and clearly weigh on her thoughts.

Perception -> 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

Having now lost sight of the men he pursued, Khangzhi pauses a moment upon entering the bamboo forest. He then breathes in deeply, and the exhales, clearing his mind of distraction. Slowly, he assumes his dragon stance, closes his eyes and listens.

Perception: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 19 Trying to figure out where they are.
Survival: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19 Getting a sense of direction.
Stealth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 Breathing VERY loudly

Shadow Lodge

DM Downrightamazed wrote:

@Chu: Frustratingly, the number 1163 is not lining up with anything, as far as you can tell. As map coordinates the numbers 11 and 63 place you either up in the Frost Kingdom, at the crook of the "elbow" of the Great Trackless woods, or in the far southwest, on an anonymous stretch of ocean coastline far from any city. Both locations are, as far as you know, utterly bereft of both meaning and life, though of course you haven't checked them out personally, so who knows.

As a year, 1163 is long after the time of the Uniter, and long before the Telestari disappeared, and there are no recorded histories of any other major events happening then. Likewise, when you attempt to mix up the numbers to contrive other dates, they are all equally devoid of any significant events as far as you can tell.

Chu sits back and digests everything he's read, keeping his frustration to a low smolder and using it to push him onward. He would discover what, if anything, the numbers stood for. The possibilities were endless though. Magical equations, Magical Rituals, Mathematics, Astrology and so much more sprang to mind. So much so that he'd be buried under tomes for days trying to decipher it all. He'd have to learn a way to view these locations and hope to see something useful.

How much time until the dinner?

@Chu: a few hours.

@Wei: There are three sets of tracks that split off into the forest. Two of the sets each appear a bit "heavier" than the third, indicating the possibility that either one might be carrying something, or just walking more heavily.

@Tokine: You hear splashing.

The foyer is the same as always, but from back by the koi pond and out by the garden and...elsewhere you hear splashing and the sound of spellcasting. From the side rooms the sound of considered conversation reaches your ears along with the familiar rustle of prints and scrolls and soft *thunks* of chests and canvas packs being filled.

In the receiving room off to the side sit two extremely handsome and noble-looking people; one elf and one human, both westerners. They are seated and have cups of tea and are conversing politely with Izumi. They make no attempt to hide the fact that they both notice and recognize you, but instead of calling out or standing as most westerners would do, they subtly draw attention to your presence, allowing Izumi to excuse herself politely, saving face with both you and her guests in the process for her oversight of letting you enter unannounced.

She steps calmly up and whispers to you: "Madame Tokine, I am so glad you've come. The whole temple is slowly flooding. Water is everywhere and we can't find where it's coming from and...but doesn't make any sense, the" she trails off "'s salt water!" Your capable young assistant looks at you, her eyes huge. She leans in and whispers again. "This elf and this man have come from far away, they say, and have gifts for you. There are scroll cases on their backs and they have no weapons. Do you wish for me to continue to entertain them...?"

@Azami: Situbo-san gives you a tight smile. "My honorable son is the source of much excellent information, but sometimes I like to do my own communication. There is much in the art of conversing to be enjoyed, as in any art. So. As I have asked Erodal-san; this mission from the Son of the Heavens, how much can you tell me? The more I know of the exact nature of the danger you are in and the journey you must undertake, the more the Shoto can aid you in your quest."

Shadow Lodge

With hours yet to go Chu continues to work diligently in the library perusing several more research areas, starting with Theories of Mathematical Equations involved in magic rituals, astronomy and planar logicistics.

If the numbers had little relevenace in a point of history or a place on the world map perhaps they mean't something higher. 1163 - the first representing a particular place, the next meaning a singular time, the third indicating a number of sacrifices or perhaps items of power involved in the ritual and the last number indicating the number of practitioners needed to complete the ritual. All of this was just a theory. But he would unravel what he could in the time allowed before dinner.

Maybe they represented a place in the pattern of the stars or some other astrological landmark.

They could mean something dealing with the planes...

He shook off his assumptions and dug into the next couple books, hoping for more leads or ideas to aim him in the right direction...

K-Arcana - Mathematical equations involved in rituals 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (4) + 16 = 20
K-Geography - Astrological signs? 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
K-The Planes - numbers or theories associated with the position or number of recorded planes 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27

Male Half-elf Dragon Disciple 11

Kyras looks over to Azami, looking for some guidance as to how much to tell him. "The exact nature of the danger we are in? Well, let's see: Kalaroth, ancient dragon god seeking to return to life, has a small shard of his consciousness wedged in my mind. It has some downsides - not an hour ago, he seized control of my body and used some dark magic to kill an ancient Western dragon, though that seems to have driven him out for the time being. I'm a hunted man for the time being, though the situation is more complicated than I can explain to the Westerners or the Palace Guards."

"I am also the embodiment of one of several Gates, according to the Emperor, linked to the ancient Telestari. We need to seek the others out eventually. There is a 'Great Confluence' coming. The Emperor told me that I must find Bethany and prevent her from meeting with the Lich Queen, then we have to seek out Azami's father to destroy a magical artifact that he holds." Kyras stretches, obviously having some difficulty keeping track of the intricate moving parts of the plots that surround him. "Our quest will bring us knowledge, great knowledge of ancient empires and magic. Shoto Imuri's presence would allow your house full access to this knowledge, with no filter. In exchange, we need your assistance to prevent my capture, to find my sister here in Lanzhu, and to leave the city with a few others who can help. Oh, and the world doesn't end. That's the deal I'm offering, Situbo-san. I can tell that you are a man of great shrewdness who can see the value of such an arrangement."

Tokine's wide eyes wander across the Temple interior as her assistant fills her in.

In whispered tones back to Imuri, "Well...As to the flooding. I doubt there is little we can do till He gets here..... She pauses and smiles at the exasperated look on her sweet assistant's face. But she does not leave her waiting too long, "He, being the King of the Floating Kingdom. I was told of his coming, but not the means. The presence of salt water suggests that it is here he intends to arrive. The when and the how are still open to interpretation, but hopefully does not involve so much water that we join him in his kingdom. And as to why?....heapparentlyismyfather." She finishes that last sentence in a rush and then continues without offering a pause for comprehension.

"Keep up the bailing, and try to keep the water out of the kitchens, as we should have refreshments available, whenever his arrival may occur, but by Shelyn may it be soon. But as to our guests, I will see to them now.".

Dismissed Imuri trots off shaking her head and muttering "Did she say father?"

Tokine snaps her curator guise into place and turns to greet the pair drinking tea. "Greetings, I hope your wait has not been long and that you were well taken care of. I apologize for the state of activity within the Temple but we have been making preparations for tonight's dinner at the place. I am Curator Tokine Nagano, how may this humble servant of Shelyn assist you?" She gives them warm smiles and a deep bow.

@Tokine: The two westerners both rise respectfully and execute flawless bows in the Imperial style. You are honestly surprised at their elegance, especially the human's. Elves you would expect to be able to bow and dance and move well, but humans are usually so...awkward. In spite of yourself, you think to the blocky movements of the ronin Azami Ito and the two Gorumites who yesterday defended the temple.

The elf glides forward, his ivory-and-silver robes rustling softly as he does. "Madam Curator Nagano-Sama. Greetings from the west, from the land that was once Shelyn's Jewel, and with your aid and ours, can be again; we bring you tidings from Iridian." He smiles and his leaf-green eyes flash. The human remains quiet, but is also smiling pleasantly. "And it is not what you can for us, Beloved of Shelyn, it is what we can do for you." Without any prompting, the human steps forward and takes off his large scroll case in a single smooth motion. He unscrews the lid and pulls out a rolled-up paint canvas. Setting it on a table, he rolls it out.

It is another of the Telestari paintings, identical in type and style to the three you now have possession of, but depicting a completely different scene; this one shows a city, an empty city in a desert. The elf takes off his scroll case. "In here is the second in the triptych, and we believe the third to be here, in Lanzhu. We will give you these two if you can help us locate the third. We will also make sure you are in the room when we put them together. Do you know what that means?"

DC10 Sense Motive:
He is honestly asking. There is no duplicity or trickery at work here. Yet.

@Kyras and @Azami: Shoto Situbo gives a small smile. "Knowledge is indeed a mighty thing. You speak of much, Kyras-san, and I do not doubt you are speaking the truth. As much as the Shoto seek knowledge and skill, we seek also to defend the Son of the Heavens and the empire he commands. If you are a guest of the emperor, could you not bring your case to him? Surely with all the magic at his disposal he will have some answers, and can mollify the westerners here to petition him, should they have issue." He raises his hand to indicate he has more to say. "We are willing to aid you, both of you, but will not do so if it is at cross-purposes with what is best for the empire, or the speediest solution. Are you expected at the state dinner tonight?"

AC: 28 (T:28/FF:24) - Hp: 58/114 - Ki: 4/9 - F:11/R:11/W:12

Khangzhi stares unblinkingly at the ground, frustrated. With no obvious choices, he pulls a leaf from the forest floor and gently tosses it into the air. "Gozreh guide me, if you will," he whispers, and carefully watches the leaf drift to the ground.

Male Half-elf Dragon Disciple 11

Kyras holds his hands up in a slight protest. "I'm playing by your rules here. I don't want to put him in a position where he has to dishonor himself by knowingly harboring a known fugitive, when it is clear that the Westerners will want to know if he knows anything of my whereabouts. The less he knows, the more he has some plausible deniability. As for tonight, I definitely won't be going tonight - though Azami still might. Let me guarantee that this plan does not work in any fashion against your interests, or the interests of the Empire. Hence Imuri's presence, to guarantee that this is not the case. We can swear on Azami's unimpeachable honor if it would please you." He grins and winks at Azami, inappropriately flirtatious with his captor.

Female Human Samurai 11, HP: 84/128, 3/4 Resolve, 1/4 challenges

"Kyras--" Given their uncertainties of the loyalty of almost every person they've encountered, from Emperor to lame mute, the suggestion of involving her honor is not a welcome one, wink or no. And his assertion that he is not attending the dinner...

We are expected at the state dinner this eve, Kyras. By numerous... requests." Her tone on the last word clearly indicates the required nature of such requests, as well as her flexibility on the matter.

Tokine nods at their greetings and returns their smiles. She tilts her head in a form of mild surprise, "I was not aware that Iridian was in any shape or form to offer formal greetings. I had though Pharasma's punishment left the former glory that was Shelyn's an abandoned ruin. And yet an entourage comes out of the wasteland, organized with its own guard and offering gifts. I would be most pleased to hear of Iridan's survival." She leaves off any mention of Baslav and his apparent connection to the fall of Iridian. Instead she slides quickly to look at the proffered painting.

Sense Motive 35:
Diplomacy to gloss over unpleasantries with a bit of luck (well placed luck) -> 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (1) + 17 = 18 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 35

While examining the painting, "Telestari. Very nice. That would indeed be a very a generous offer toward this Temple. Telestari paintings are quite rare and getting rarer." She looks up to meet the gaze of her guests. Her voice looses some of its softer qualities as she continues and sort of explains how it is currently in the City's art scene. "I would like to hear your need for the third painting before I can agree to help. The presence of these paintings puts you, and by extension my staff and myself in mortal danger. This Temple has been struck by theft, attacks, and summons that have extended to my staff and myself. All have been successfully repulsed by the Temple and its allies. Currently our Telestari painting is safe...Unfortunately, it would not be a match for this desert scene of yours, as it is of a boat on the sea."

She takes a step back, admiring the bells on her glaive as she continues to talk and to give herself a bit of room, not fully trusting this pair. "News of other paintings in the city have not fared as well, as theft and murder stuck the owners. I know of two groups or entities actively seeking this art. They seek the paintings to form the Maps. To be shown the way to one of the Gateways the Telestari fled this world. I have chosen not to associate with these group because I did not believe in their goals, methods, or their attempts on my life. So please tell me, that by all Shelyn holds as beauty, that your goals are of a higher calling and your methods less drastic."

Sense Motive on their response -> 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (7) + 17 = 24

@Wei: 1d3 ⇒ 1

The leaf drifts gently down, headed toward the middle path of the three, but a small gust of wind nudges it over to the left at the last second. This trail is one of the two that looks "heavier", as if someone was carrying something.

From a ways behind you the sound of the approaching police is audible. The gentle breeze picks up a bit and becomes stronger.

DC16 K(Nature):
Judging by the quick pickup, you think a Kami is on its way, either a wind kami or a woods kami. Either one could be helpful if you are diplomatic and patient. The question is if you have time for those things.

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