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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?


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Male Half-Human, Half-Erinyes Burglar Lv4, Skirmisher Lv2

Daveth takes on a contemplative look at Azami's words. This could work.. With her bringing me there I cant get thrown out for just being there and I might be able to get a bit of information on what's going on and if my mother really is apart of this black dragon-flight or not. "Sure, I'll go. Though I'd like to make a quick stop of my own first." Daveth says with a shrug and a hint of a smirk as he crosses his hands over his chest.

Spoiler:
OOC: How far away is Lan Piu's Inn from here? I'd like to have Daveth go back and retrieve his bag


@DRA:
Stonegard is one of the Three Great Red Dragons, all thousands and thousands of years old and unthinkably colossal in size.

Sorry, could you repeat that last part- I was quietly gibbering in the corner.

How are the Emperor's relations with these Great Dragons?

Placing the gem and its accompanying scroll in a secret pocket behind a bookshelf, San Pen prepares for the evenings reception. I should have time to drop my copy of events off in the Room With No Doors.

I'm guessing we're getting close to time for arrival.


perception 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (3) + 17 = 20


Quietly seek out a Major-Domo, to find out the source of the moonstone and plum blossom displays.


San Pen:
The last bit was: "You know that another one of the The Three is called Felltouch, but you cannot remember the name of the third." You also have no idea what, if any, kind of relationship the emperor might have with these creatures.

@San Pen: The functionary that you corner, obviously frightened half to death by your monstrous appearance, says he is unsure from whence the plum blossoms came, as very many gifts of fine floral displays have been arriving all day, but he will seek out this information post-haste.

DC25 K(Arcana):
Plum blossoms around moonstone have binding and illusory power; someone has arranged them specifically to magnify certain magical effects. By moving or removing one of the flower pots, you can break the circle of power.


@Imuri:
But of course! I would expect no less from Clan Shoto. :-) Are you going to seek out the third group of Gaijin? You still have time before the State Dinner begins.


1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17 Oh, well.

While the Major Domo finds the source of the decorations in question,

You therre, get otherrs and assist me in taking these flowerrs to the otherr rroom. They are wrrong- they must be placed elsewherre. speaking to a servant

Moves wreathes to an outside courtyard, out of earshot of the reception room, moving the first one himself.


@Tokine: You head into the temple and back to your office. The first thing that you notice is Rai and Jinn have placed Izumi on a desk they cleared that is directly under a print of a small, colorful bird with a beautiful and long tail, exquisite in its silky texturing. Oddly, you cannot recall having seen this print before, but you take it as a good omen, and rightly so. Dashing to Izumi's side you see she is still alive, but barely. Shelyn's gaze is upon her, you can feel it, so you know she can be saved, but you must act quickly.


San Pen Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12

Most of the servants are too busy with other duties, and many are frightened of you. Only one, a very young boy -- probably someone's apprentice -- steps forward and takes two of the plum-blossom-laden flower pots and follows you into the next room. With his assistance, you are able to move all of them into the next room.

DC25 Perception:
You catch a glimpse of a servant watching you, flinty-eyed, but as quickly as you notice him his gaze is back on his task of placing origami figurines in tableaux depicting great legends.


@Kyras, @Azami, @Daveth:

DC25 Perception:
There is a slight rattle from behind you. Turning quickly around you catch a glimpse of a fox's face in a second-story window of one of the apartments, but it is gone in a flash.


Here we go again- 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (15) + 17 = 32 Yeah!

to hard-eyed servant
Do my actions offend you, Serrvant? Perrhaps you wish to corrrect my esthetics?


@San Pen: The man gives you a broad smile, softening his features and closing his eyes halfway. He then gets on his knees and prostrates himself before you. While a bit uncalled-for, perhaps, given how busy everyone is, this is definitely not out of line, nor is it an excessive display. There are plenty of servants both higher and lower in status than he who would be required to bow before you in a similar manner.

Nonetheless, there's still something about this guy that just bugs you. Something a little off. "Of course not, Sifu. You are favored of our beloved Emperor, may he live to be 10,000 years old, your actions are above reproach from one so humble and low as myself. Please accept my meager apologies for any offense I have committed."


"I would attend as apparently the creature knows where my sister is." He said, before abruptly realising his rudeness. "I realise I have failed to introduce myself. I am Kyras. I hail from Warbane."

He bowed, the action looking stiff. "I have suffered a number of wounds, and I need the attentions of a physic, I believe." He continued, his tone strained. "Furthermore, I would suggest that we examine the bodies of my assailants. Mayhap they will have something on them that will clue us in to the greater machinations at hand." He suggested, turning to head back into the courtyard. "And we should do it before looters get here. Bring the fool, and we can go visit Xun Rui Bao when we're done here."

Perception Check ->1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25

"So he was being truthful! Kyras said as he spotted something higher up. "Regardless of if this man is truly dimwitted or not, which I have no proof of other than your word, mind you, master Bao steered me right." He said, a look of pleasure crossing his face. "I must speak to a woman in those apartments." He pointed at the building where he had seen the face. "Will you wait for me?"

Perception Check: Looking for things of interest on the bodies in the courtyard ->1d20 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14

Before making his way into the apartment building, Kyras rummaged through the semi-melted corpses, a flicker of dark glee running through him as he examined his handiwork.


Tokine will perform a heal check. She had exposed Izumi to a channeled energy earlier, so if Izumi is still in bad straights there might be more to it. She is prepared to cast a Cure Serious Wounds if it is needed. She will also touch Izumi's brow confering her resistent touch ability for +2 to all saves for the next minute.

Heal check->1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19


to the servant

What is yourr name and position? Yourr worrds show you would be a prroperr choice to attend my next talk on Karrma. I insist you do so- give me the name of yourr superrviserr and I will rrequirre him to allow yourr attendance.

San Pen's manner shows he will not accept no for an answer


Male Human, samurai caste Ninja 7, Samurai (Broken Promise) 4 (HP 32/77 AC 22, T 17, Flat 17* - F+10 R+13 W+8; Init +9; Senses:Per +15

Dra-sama

Spoiler:
I will immediately move to the Shoto city house and begin making preparations:

1. I will demand an informant that studies powerful people of low birth - an important category when employing assassins, ronin and magistrates. I specifically would like to know about the oni, Saru-utsu. How long has he been here? What are his tastes? Any dealings with the Shoto? Has he been working for the dragon in advance of its arrival?

Knowledge (local)1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 It is generally not cool to take 20 on Knowledge checks, but if I have several informants rubbing their sources?

2. I will send for both my parents. If they can get away discretely, they must prepare and we will reconvene after my engagement at the Palace.

3. I will summon rumormongers to tell me what the Sera family is aiming for with the gaijin. I wish to know before my meeting, so their attempts at subterfuge will only fool those I wish it to.

Knowledge (local) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 I don't need to take 20 here. I own the Sera family. : } [ooc] EDIT: Suck it, Steve

4. The Shoto Elite Guard must be fully mobilized. A show of strength, safety for my parents, while looking like a full honor guard for the dragon. Said force will also need to include Broken Promise ninja, who are somewhat less visible.

5. Shugenja or another subtle tool present that allows us to pierce the veil of illusions. Is the dragon the Princess in disguise? Is the Princess a dragon in disguise? What can we learn about what they refuse to show us?

6. The most entertaining geisha in all Shoto-ville. If there is one that is talented, but has dishonored herself unforgivably, I will propose that Mother allow me discretionary use of her life. Either to gift the dragon, to please the oni, to forgive publically to show a side, whatever. You'll see a different side of Imuri if they have need of her.

7. Gifts and honorarium. A shogi set crafted from black and white alabaster after the master Shoto Ning Pa traveled abroad and first encountered the gai jin. The board is enchanted to teach the game, moving pieces and responding to strategy according to opposing skill. That he carved opposing eastern and western dragonsinto the set is a mere coincidence. : } Also, generous amounts of koku with the Shoto mark on the center of the coin, usable by the dragon's servants as credit in even the finest stores in the Empire. Perhaps this way, we can track their gift buying, bribes and supplies. Finally, three fantastic black silk kimonos with little dark green spiders that appear to move in place. There's nothing magical about the spiders, just expertly crafted kimonos and line tricks in the weave.

8. What do they eat? Preparing both cooked and uncooked meats, even a couple of live animals. Tea, sake, fruit, rice, cookies and mints. Whatever you feed a great state luncheon, and still planning for possibility the dragon might refuse to eat like we do

9. One other informant to get me as much of the dragon's full name as possible, so I can have the heralds pronounce it correctly.

nine being the sacred number of Tzeentch, which has nothng to do with your excellent game, I will stop there. I am hoping that some of these orders are farily standard fair. I expect the informants to report tome, my parents, and my sensei tonight at midnight, so I don't have to entertain them all right away. if timwe permits, I will head to another palace entrance and preapre to introduce them to Shoto Imuri - a white-clad samurai with little green spiders around the trim of his spotless kimono, and tightly pulled back hair. CLean shaven, bright-eyed and smiling. We'll see how they react to that outfit, which taches me how to behavethe next few minutes.

I know.....soon I'll get motivated and get invested in your game. : }


@San Pen: The servant briefly looks up at you, and it is clear he is experiencing a moment of panic. My name...is Wong Tsai, Sifu. Wonnnnnnggggg Tsssssssaiiiiii You wonder why he is pronouncing his name in so odd a manner, but then you feel a wave of arcane energy wash over you...

San Pen Will save:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13

...and when you open your eyes, he is gone, though you hear rapid footsteps, as of someone running, going away down a back hall. The small boy who has been helping is standing at your side, tugging on your arm. "Sifu? Sifu? What happened? You were speaking and then you weren't, Sifu. Is your honorable self feeling alright?"

It is possible to pursue if you wish. DC20 Perception means you know what hallway he ran down and can give chase.


perception 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 35

Guarrds, guarrds! To me- an intrruder in the palace!

begins to run down the hallway to give chase


@Tokine: You are able to determine that Izumi was poisoned, multiple times. As you cast a spell of healing, bathing her in divine energy of Shelyn's grace, you can see the poison get pulled out of her, an inky black cloud of malignancy rising from her pores that you form into a solid teardrop of pure yin energy, broken and breaking and seeking to disrupt. You then counter this with an equal and opposite drop of yang, painting a perfect Taijitu in the air before dismissing the entire thing. Izumi stirs under your hands. She appears disoriented, but her chi is strong and she is alive and healed.

"M...madame...Nagano-sama." she says weakly, smiling at you. "Y...you are going to be...to be late.

A Cure spell of some sort was what she needed, so your CSW does the trick...


@San Pen: Three guards immediately follow you as you trundle down the hallway. You catch a glimpse of "Wong Tsai" as he makes his way through the crowds of florists and cooks and courtiers and workers, knocking people over and shoving things in your way.

Give me four consecutive Reflex saves, and a Fort save.


Will 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
Reflex #1 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Reflex #2 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Reflex #3 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

WOW, 2-20's, a 19, and a 6!


Tokine smiles at Izumi's pluck."Yes I will, but there is still much to do. Rai, move Izumi to my bed and then summon the acolytes. Jinn, help me out of this armor, I need to bathe."

A frown crosses her face as she removes her kimono and sizes up the slashed sleeve. "Such violence" she mutters to her self as she runs her hand along the tear and it disappears. She winks to Jinn, "I should let an acolyte mend it, but ..it is my favorite." She unbraids her hair, strips from the armor and tries to wash the afternoon away.

She selects her formal white kimono, but does put the armor back on first. To her staff she will direct them to clean up and secure the building. She will assign runners to secure the services of guards the inspector recommends. The guard will be maintained at the door and on the roof.

As Jinn piles up her hair and attempts to secure it, Rai hands over the glaive, newly polished. One last check on Izumi, and then she makes her way to the inner garden and asks not to be disturbed.

She kneels at a water feature shrine and says a prayer to Shelyn thanking her for seeing that no permanent harm befell her servants. She then pulls out the scroll tube, carefully examining it, before seeing what it was the thief was after.


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

1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
I suggest you leave the bodies here, and check inside if you have business to finish here first. I shall check them for any clues while you talk...

Azami catches movement in the window above. "What is that?"


Male Half-Human, Half-Erinyes Burglar Lv4, Skirmisher Lv2

1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

OOC: Yo DRA, how far is Lan Piu's Inn from this general area? I'd like to have Daveth stop in there to pick up his bag but if it's not within a reasonable distance I wont


Daveth Ashvale wrote:

1d20 + 10

OOC: Yo DRA, how far is Lan Piu's Inn from this general area? I'd like to have Daveth stop in there to pick up his bag but if it's not within a reasonable distance I wont

It's a reasonable distance, though considering you ditched work today you may not be the most welcome presence, FYI...


@Kyras: The bodies reveal disappointingly little. Your only discovery of any significance is that each of the gangsters has an identical, plain, dark blue coinpurse with 30gp and 20 rings, each ring roughly the size of a copper piece but made of a metal you've never seen before, which manages to look simultaneously dull and mundane and yet like a fluid, living thing, though it doesn't actually move while you watch it.


@Tokine: One of the items does not suprise you at all; it is the new Telestari painting that Rhon brought. The other one, however, is strange. The thief was trying to make off with a piece you acquired some years ago, a wild and scratchy chalk-on-paper drawing made by a wood elf from the Great Trackless Woods. It is a drawing of a teapot and an inkwell, side by side, with strange swirling colors that you always found to be of sublime arrangement dancing all around them.


@Imuri: Understood on all counts. Working on everything... :-)


@San Pen: You charge through the halls, three guards in tow. One you lose early on when Wong Tsai tips a vase that trips him up. The second you lose going around a sharp corner when he crashes into a poor tea boy. The last one is with you right up until the end when your quarry, whose robes you are just getting one of your hands on, jukes sharply left down a side hall sending two geisha tumbling to the ground. Trying to turn, you and the guard crash into each other and fall in a heap on the stone floor. Wong Tsai makes another turn and vanishes, clearly he cast some spell.

However, he left something behind. In your fist is a torn piece of his robe. The fabric has a very subtle lotus motif woven into it wherein the lotus is missing one leaf. The guard looks at you apologetically and not a little angrily, though he appears to be frustrated only with himself. "I am sorry Sifu. Were it not for my foolish clumsiness we could have caught him. I will pay closer attention to my calisthenics so this never happens again. I await my punishment."


to guard
Bah, no punishment is called forr. You have alrready learrned that failure is a strrong teacherr. Since you have chosen to be the student, you have alrready imprroved. I shall take yourr example to hearrt.

Now come with me, we must collect yourr fellows and rremove those flowerrs frrom the palace.

Once they have regained the lost guards, one of them is sent off to bring back magical help, to examine the floral displays and the knick knacks that Wong Tsai was handling.
Another is sent to the Major Domo, as a mess has been created that must be dealt with quickly, lest guests detect turmoil in the palace.


Tokine tries to recall anything about this one caulk drawing that might relate it to the new one that the thief also stole.

K(art-history?)->1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20

also any thoughts on the crescent moon and seven stars

K(local(+6) or nobility(+7))->1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23

She then says a final prayer for continued protection of the Temple while she is away.

She makes her way to where the painting she initially found in the Dwarven caverns and adds that to the scroll tube, which she then drops back into into her satchel.

Back in the temple's antechamber, she will await the arrival of security, some of which she will detail as her escort for the evening.

While waiting, she will compose a note:
"Dearest San Pen, trouble indeed followed me to my temple. All is well now, as Shelyn's grace has painted over any marks of violence. But I write you to confirm the connection to "Plum Blossom" and perhaps a new connection, a slumbering crescent moon with seven stars.

With violence directed at our temple, I fear nothing is beyond their capacity to bring harm. I know you sense the danger in the Capital, but please take special care tonight for the Emperor..and especially yourself."

She will see this delivered when she reaches the Palace.


Male Half-Human, Half-Erinyes Burglar Lv4, Skirmisher Lv2

"If you do not mind I am going to attend to some business of my own quickly while he's in there. If I'm not back before your done here I suppose I'll meet you at the Palace. If possible could I meet with you at the front entrance? I've not been inside so even if I could get in I'd just be wandering around rather aimlessly" Daveth says to Azami as he begins looking around for the fastest way to get to Lan Piu's place, not only did he need to get his bag but he'd probably have to deal with Lan Piu being a bit pissed that he was rather late. Surely though he'd understand that he'd been attacked by a devil and a troll AND some hobgoblins... yeah sure technically he'd been following her and one could say it was his own fault but Lan Piu didn't technically NEED to know that part.


Pardon the lacuna, guys. End of this trip has been rough; closed interstates, fires, late gigs, now a winter storm. Blechh. Updates tomorrow for sure as we'll be staying with friends who have WiFi.


@Kyras: You've completed your search of the bodies. Are you then going in to speak with Vu, the Fox Spirit?

@Daveth: You waiting for Azami? I'm assuming the answer is 'yes.'


@Tokine:
The symbol dates back some 2500 years, to the Chan dynasty. It has not escaped your scholarly notice that the Telestari were said to have vanished the same time the last Emperor Chan went insane and slaughtered his entire family -- all his heirs -- before ending his own life by falling on his sword in a gross mockery of proper seppuku.

Tokine K(Arcana) check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

@Tokine (cont):The chalk drawing has no artistic connection that you're aware of -- it was drawn by a wood elf who had gone insane trying to find the two items that he drew. The drawing was one of the last things he did before vanishing on a journey into the dangerous wastes of the far north. Your interest in this particular piece was more aesthetic than anything since its lines are so utterly unique in their passionate and vital gracelessness. However! You do recall, now that you're looking at it again, especially since it's side-by-side with Rhon's donated Telestari work, that in the crazed and obsessive attention to detail the artist paid the items, it looks like the metalwork and design of the items he drew -- inkwell and teapot both -- are Telestari in nature. So he either saw, or owned, or knew about two Telestari items, and drew them in this bizarre way before losing his mine and heading on what was surely a doomed journey north.


@Imuri: Details on your preparations for your pending visitors tomorrow, for now I'm getting on to the state dinner...

@San Pen, @Tokine, and @Imuri:The three of you are making your way through the palace to the state dinner. There is a short interval in which guests are expected to mingle, have tea, exchange information, etc. Anything any of you wish to accomplish in that time? All of the Highest in the Empire are here, and for those who could not make it in person for whatever reason, their representatives are here in their stead.


Male Human, samurai caste Ninja 7, Samurai (Broken Promise) 4 (HP 32/77 AC 22, T 17, Flat 17* - F+10 R+13 W+8; Init +9; Senses:Per +15

Imuri moves through the crowd, observing the postures of the bonge courtiers looking to score major victory with the perfect marriage arrangement, or the most useful bits of gossip. His early training in politics takes him over, and he becomes the perfect blend of courteous good will and instinctual predator.

"I see no threats, Master Yohuro," young Imuri says in his first lessons about court. "None of these people are armed."

The proclamation earns him a subtle, but painful yanking of his kohai braid. The ancient sensei does not turn his head, but says in a practiced whisper "Speak out of turn again, and your mother will need to send me a new heir. Study them as I said. Look for the threats."

Imuri now had two disadvantages - the distracting sting of pulled hair and the unnerving knowledge that he was not a perfect student. He had spoken unwisely. He did not yet see the lesson.

The reference to his mother, always able to disapprove of him with a smile, to create doubt and shame in him with open arms, narrowed his focus. He wanted combat, but he was not prepared to fight with these weapons. He would learn.

"I see that some of them look at me, Sensei. But I also see that some fo them do not."

The old man, always the most dangerous man in the room, as far as Imuri knew, appraised the room again without looking at his child prodigy. He decided to reward the student with elementary praise. "Yes, that's a beginning. Who recognizes you? Who is distracted by your presence? Which courtier will value allegiance with you over allegiance with whomever they were speaking with when her eyes were drawn to you?"

At the phrase 'her eyes', Imuri notices a pair with shaped brows and blue irises. He decides to exercise his charms on her from a distance. As he holds her gaze, he realizes she is coyly pretending to look away from her sensei to flirt with him. Imuri thinks himself once more at the top of his game, a dangerous man able to attract attention and woo favor from even the...Sera family?

Oh, no.

The realization comes too late. Imuri realizes the Sera sensei has her back to him intentionally. The beautiful courtier is not transfixed by Imuri's strong physique or immaculate clothing or beautiful, attentive eyes. He is transfixed by hers. And she knows.

The pain in his foot is excrutiating. Yohuro-sama wore silk slippers with an inserted stone in his heels. He practiced gliding silently in those shoes to avoid heavy footfalls, but he also knew how to place that stone between the bones of his students' feet.

He bruised his pupil's foot now to recapture his attention. "I am afraid you have already failed today's lesson, samurai. You see, you have been slain by Sera-chan's glance. An enemy can as easily order you to the front lines of battle or testify against you before the magistrates as place a tanto between your ribs."

Imuri felt too stupid to smile sheepishly. His sensei went on about vigilance, about leaving no room for error, about loyalty.

"You are allowed to indulge in only one thing while you wear that mon or your daisho, young Shoto. What is that?"

"The will of my family." Imuri grimaces as the stone ground over his feet. He dared not allow his face to change color or his lip to quiver, much less limp into the room should the lesson continue. He forced himself to reply stoically "I indulge only in whatever act is necessary to bring success to my clan, failure to my enemies, and glory to the Empire."

The old man moved his foot in yet another cruel circle, underscoring his disappointment. Then he broke into a wide smile, genuine as always, as he removed his haori and handed it to an attendant. In the span of seconds, none knew he had nearly broken the foot of his student. In the span of seconds, Imuri had learned lessons that some required a lifetime to master. He took a slight step back and assumed the posture of mere yojimbo for Yohuro-sama. As he did so, he muttered his promise to his master, so quietly that only the sensei could hear.

"I understand, sama. A samuria fights with many weapons, none more lethal than the other. I will learn to feint, to parry, and to spar. I will not fail you again."

Shoto Yohuro's smile widened.


DRA wrote:
@San Pen, @Tokine, and @Imuri:The three of you are making your way through the palace to the state dinner. There is a short interval in which guests are expected to mingle, have tea, exchange information, etc. Anything any of you wish to accomplish in that time? All of the Highest in the Empire are here, and for those who could not make it in person for whatever reason, their representatives are here in their stead.

I mingle with the crowd, making respectful greetings to any I have had official dealings with.

Friends (Tokine, Inspector Cho, and others) also recieve my greeting, making it obvious that I hold them in greater favor than their standing would require.
I indicate to Tokine and Cho that I would appreciate a group meeting after the ceremony along with whatever mage type was examining the suspicious flowers (which have been isolated away from the ceremony) p.s. did examination of the knick-knacks handled by the servant Wong Tsai discover anything?
If the guests of honor are already here, I only give them a formal greeting.
I take my place for the event along with any other senior advisors, rather than with friends.

keeping an eye out for anything 'Plum Blossom' perception 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (4) + 17 = 21


Tokine will mingle gracefully. Upon meeting San Pen, she will assure him that she is alright and deliver her note (see above). She will agree to meeting later with the words, "There is much to puzzle out."


San Pen wrote:

p.s. did examination of the knick-knacks handled by the servant Wong Tsai discover anything?

The items were mundane. Whether this is a good or bad thing, no one is yet sure.

San Pen wrote:
keeping an eye out for anything 'Plum Blossom' perception 1d20 + 17

San Pen Perception check:
You see a couple small items bearing the now-familiar Plum Blossom crest; one is a doily under a tea service, the other is a silk banner, hung high with the other banners of the noble Houses in the reception room. You also notice, in a far corner of the room, a tall, slim half-elf clad in a hooded robe made entirely from a devastatingly beautiful midnight-blue fabric. He is tall and gaunt, and if not for his height and elven features would easily be able to pass for a citizen of the Empire. He stands quietly by himself, watching everyone while sipping tea. His manners are rough -- barbaric, even -- but there is something noble in his bearing.

On the forearm of his left sleeve is a symbol exactly like what Tokine described in her note to you; a slumbering crescent moon surrounded by seven stars. She does not appear to see him.

@San Pen and @Tokine: Inspector Cho readily agrees to meet with you, saying quietly "I have learned some information relevant to our horticultural interests. It should come to pass that I am given opportunity to share this with you."


At the Courtyard: Gonna get things moving along here, feel like we've stalled a bit. Again I apologize for my spotty posting over the weekend.

@Azami: as one gaijin disappears into the tenement building and the other heads off to get his bags, you realize time is getting short for you to return to the palace. You have basic info of where these two can be found, so they could be sought by gendarmes later if necessary.

@Daveth: you make your way to Lan Piu's inn without further incident. When you get there, you walk in the door and Fumiko, a cute waitress who likes flirting with you, immediately approaches and rushes you off to the shadows. "You're in big trouble, Daveth! Lan Piu's been looking for you all day! All he's been yelling about is 'where's the gaijin busboy? where the hell is he?' You should just go." She stops and looks into your eyes. "Where have you been, anyway?"

@Kyras: mounting the stairs, you hear a slow groaning creak on the second floor and an otherworldly, fluting and musical voice echoes down from above; "You can just come on up. I won't hurt you. Pretty sure I couldn't if I tried." Even through the inherent ethereal beauty of their voice, you can tell the speaker is exhausted.


At the state Dinner: all the great Houses are here represented; Motomo, Oda, Endo, Konoe, Hoshi, and of course Shoto and Sera. Shoto Imuri can be seen moving through the crowd like a magnet over iron filings, attracting a following wherever he goes. The same can also be said of Sera Zhongyi and her younger sister Aki-Kirei, though the attention each of the three scions generate is subtly different.

Eventually delicate chimes sound, and those of sufficient stature to have been invited to the meeting and dinner itself move into the dining hall. Seating arrangements here are impossibly complex, and yet all present are quite skilled at reading them. Tokine Nagano's seat, for example, is between two other cultural ministers, but second closest to the emperor out of all of them. Only the Imperial Minister of Culture sits closer than she, which is a sign of Nagano-san's tremendous favor with the current emperor.

Sifu San Pen, the Xorn whose presence in the castle is a topic of endless gossip the peaceful and wise outsider seems never to be shaken by, if he notices it at all, sits at a separate, round table with the two other main advisors to the emperor, though the Xorn is positioned closer to the emperor's right hand than anyone else present. The significance of this is of course lost on no one.

The three youthful scions of Clan Shoto and Clan Sera have been seated at the main table, away from the tables reserved for others of their houses, which is a bold move by the emperor that will set many tongues wagging in the reception, it is sure. While the powerful and avaricious young Sera Zhongyi is one seat closer to the Emperor than noble Shoto Imuri, the Shoto samurai is on the Emperor's right side while she is on the left. The great beauty, Sera Aki-Kirei, is several seats away, the significance of which is not immediately apparent, especially since the young lady herself is displaying perfect grace and humbleness at being honored simply by being allowed to sit at the main table, and if her position so far from her sister and her rival upsets her in any way, no one can tell. Imuri-san is seated between the captain of the Imperial guard, a man named Hiroto Ken, and an ancient and well-traveled merchant-woman named Katsurou Katsue, famous for her discovery of a trade route to H'arun that skirted the borderlands of the Old Land and Enhathlad, and approached that great city from the northeast. Zhongyi has similarly been placed between a warrior and an explorer, both of similar stature. An interesting move on the Emperor's part, to be sure.


@San Pen, @Tokine, @Imuri: Once everyone is seated and quiet, a gong sounds, indicating the pending arrival of the emperor. All present bow as low as possible as his kago enters through a large side door towards the rear of the hall. Once it is placed in its appropriate spot and several samurai are moved into position, the doors are opened to reveal the Illustrious Son of the Heavens, Emperor Hideyoshi Hikaru.

The emperor is a tall, slim, elderly man, well into his seventies, but still strong of heart and quick of mind and full of vitality. His beard is long, and can grow no whiter, and his moustache extends well past his chin. His carriage is erect and disciplined and his bearing is quite regal and wise. This same wisdom is reflected in his celadon eyes, a family trait of the Hideyoshi line. It is known that he has two healthy sons, both of whom occasionally assist him with matters of state, so the coninuation of his dynasty is assured.

Confidential to San Pen:
Remember. You are the only one who knows that this is not really the emperor, but just a decoy. You are easily able to spot the real emperor as he serves tea to each of the guests, disguised as a minor functionary.

The emperor hands a scroll to his Mouth, the speaker-of-His-words, and that man stands forward and reads from it: "His Imperial Majesty, Son of the Heavens, Protector of the Mists and of the Land, welcomes to his humble empire three groups of mighty gaijin, emmisaries from the west, for this and the next two nights, to speak their business to those present. Each group is allowed two representatives who may come forward and speak on their behalf. After an opening gambit made during tea, dinner will be served. Honored guests are asked to formulate questions during this time, only one per guest, which they will be allowed to ask after the meal is completed. Then the reception room will be opened for social activities, which the gaijin and all Honored Guests are free to attend or not, as they see fit. On this night we have the noble Princess Erudima del Fana del Solarian, scion of House del Solarian of Mamban, in Tiria, in the far west, and her companion, the scholar Rhon Tai, of the elven lands of Tuatha, but late of Mamban."

Another gong sounds, and a different door opens. First to walk into the dining hall is Rhon, who looks vastly different from earlier this afternoon. He walks now with the otherworldly grace of the fey, his steps light. He is clad in verdant green raiments of some sort that make him look actually quite princely. His manners and bearing, while not of the Empire, are impeccable.

Then comes Erudima.

The elven princess, while lovely in a coltish way, is simply too young to have any of the gravitas of the older ones here assembled, and too inexperienced to be able to make up for it with a worldly bearing like that of her companion, Rhon. To make matters worse, she is wearing a slightly-too-tight kimono that displays her girlish frame in a rather inappropriate way. Her walk is fine, if slightly awkward, though at least her face and hair are correct for a gathering of this magnitude. A few of the Elders here take advantage of their advanced station and immediately look at her disapprovingly.

DC25 Perception:
You see the Sera sisters exchange knowing and self-satisfied looks when this happens, though only for the tiniest of moments.

Looking around the room with obviously-shaky confidence, she begins to speak:

"Noble people of The Empire of Mists. Great Emperor Hideyoshi, I am Erudima del Fana del Solarian, and I will endeavor not to take up too much of your time." So young. She comes across as so. Painfully. Young. "I have journeyed across the heart of the West, in these times of terrible war and strife, because I was tasked to do so by the goddess Sarenrae herself, in a vision sent me while journeying to Katapesh from...from a terrible place." The mention of Katapesh, a city regarded as filthy and drug-addled and beneath contempt by those of the Empire, earns Erudima still more icy glares. "There are other groups of westerners here, this I know, and I believe I understand their intent; each will ask the Empire to go to war on their behalf; to join them in fighting for what they believe to be right. My request, as princess of a peaceful city of trade and commerce; indeed, many of you here are known to my family as great traders and merchants..." more withering looks go her way for daring to mention trade and monetary exchange in the presence of the Emperor in his dining hall "...I am here to ask you; do not go. Stay out of this war. Do not even get involved in any way. Continue to live in peace, and prosperity, and cultured elegance. Be protectors of all that is beautiful and right and good, as you have done for millenia now. This way, as the foolish west tears itself apart over invented concerns and the misguided attempts to rule made by mad people, you will stand as a reminder of a better time, and will be able to educate those who are left, reopen trade routes and cultural exchange and remind westerners what they can be, after the last blow has been struck. Please. Have nothing to do with this war. I...I beg of you. Thank you." Her last appeal clearly moved some of those present, though they conceal it well.

Erudima sits and eats with Rhon, who looks at her like a proud older brother, though she looks frankly miserable. Upon completion of the meal, she stands again, and prepares to take questions.

When it is your turn, what question do you ask?


Male Human, samurai caste Ninja 7, Samurai (Broken Promise) 4 (HP 32/77 AC 22, T 17, Flat 17* - F+10 R+13 W+8; Init +9; Senses:Per +15

Still absorbing information, and unwilling to read the Perception results before I pass the test.

Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15

Moving on...


Perception-> 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

Tokine bites at her lip as she watches the Princess, very troubled by what she sees and who she sees enjoying it. Rhon, you entrusted some of your treasures to me, but unfortunately you did not entrust your greatest. She is koi in a sea of sharks..you have misjudged your opponents.

When her turn comes, Tokine will rise and take a moment to straighten the line of her kimono. She will glance at Rhon while doing this..a determined look..as she straightens any folds or bulges.

Settled with her appearance, she turns and bows to the emperor. The majesty of the moment flowing over her as the Emperor's gaze settles on her. "With the Great Emperor's permission." She then rises and turns to the Princess, bowing again. "And your indulgence, Princess Solarian"

She waits for the majordomo to introduce her and gives a smaller bow. Princess Solarian, I would hope to hear more of the Goddess Sarenrae's message to you. I am familiar with her desire of peace and it is truly a worthy pursuit." She gives another small bow.

"But what of your beautiful city and its citizens? If war is not there today, will you be here next year asking us for help when the war does arrive at your doorstep? What of those cities in the war's path now? If so much suffering is to be endured, ...."

Tokine stops herself, not liking where she was going with this. Her voice had become a bit strained as a bit of the day's events crept into her mind. We are already at war, apparently, and I am not sure we can avoid it.

Her voice now softer and with a gentle smile, "Pardons, I will keep my question shorter and more direct. In Shelyn's eyes, it would be more worthy to save than to rebuild. How do you see it differently from Sarenrae's perspective?" She ends with another small bow.


Male Half-Human, Half-Erinyes Burglar Lv4, Skirmisher Lv2
DM Downrightamazed wrote:


@Daveth: you make your way to Lan Piu's inn without further incident. When you get there, you walk in the door and Fumiko, a cute waitress who likes flirting with you, immediately approaches and rushes you off to the shadows. "You're in big trouble, Daveth! Lan Piu's been looking for you all day! All he's been yelling about is 'where's the gaijin busboy? where the hell is he?' You should just go." She stops and looks into your eyes. "Where have you been, anyway?"

"Its nice to see you too Fumiko." Daveth says with a smirk before sighing a bit, he'd sort of expected Lan Piu to be annoyed with him but this could serve to be a bit of an issue. "I ran into a bit of trouble with a couple of people a bit ago and it couldn't really be helped apparently they were here to see the emperor or something and now I need to go to the palace because some samurai wants me to file a complaint with them. I was sort of hoping to grab my bag since I forgot it in my room." Daveth sighs a bit as he prepares for what he intends to ask next. "If you don't think it's a good idea for me to head in right now do you think you could do me a favor and go get my bag for me Fumiko?" Daveth asks disliking the fact that this breaks his 'nobody in my room but me' rule.

OOC: Not sure if I should make a bluff since while it isn't the whole truth he hasn't technically lied yet. Also that rule of his is probably something most people that work at the inn know.


Male Human, samurai caste Ninja 7, Samurai (Broken Promise) 4 (HP 32/77 AC 22, T 17, Flat 17* - F+10 R+13 W+8; Init +9; Senses:Per +15

I have to make more work for you, "plastic GM"

Spoiler:

I have a few questions I'd like the answers to before I formulate my question:

How old was our emperor when He ascended the throne. If not young, is there an example of a sucessful emperor who began his reign at an early age?

What are the chances of House Shoto gaining a stronghold in the Solarian kingdom? Is there any reason why my family can't gain from an allegiance with all three gaijin if we wanted to?

When was the empire's last war? how did we fair? Are we prepared for another?

Before the opening statement, and during dinner, Imuri assumes the position of elder statesman at the table. I don't brashly talk as if I am the next big thing, rather I try to have very measured confidence, as though such a position were common place and the real challenge would be replacing myself should I find other social circles.

Given my honored position, I study the Emperor carefully without gawking at Him. How does he regard the young girl? I think the default Shoto response is to take advantage of weakness while reaping the gratitude of a novice courtier. Is she regarded fondly, like a child of peace with potential? Or is she a chore the Emperor must endure.

I expect Him to be inscrutable, but I must try.

I will make several comments to bluff or parcel out information, so I can learn by gauging the respnses of the Sera and others:

Aki-kirei-san, I do believe the Princes has drawn some strength from your meeting with her this afternoon.

Of course the mention of mercantilism is scandalous here, but our notions would be considered altruistic and naive among the barbarians. We are seated, in the Emperor's wisdom, with courtiers, warriors and venture-captains. Perhaps we could hear from Hiroto-sama and Katsurou-san regrding the necessity of protecting the peaceful interests of the Solarians.

Also, I will make eye contact with Rhon a few times, until he gets the idea I am watching him or communicating somethign to him. When this is done, I will finish my dinner tea and turn my cup over slowly, sliding it away from me and slightly toward him. I will then give him a slight nod and turn back to the somewhat predictable comments of the merchant traveler. I will note the shorter distance between the Emperor and myself, than that of Aki-Kirei, This all will be done as subtly as I can - maintaining my edge in whatever courtly sparring with the Sera is more important than communicating my position to the gaijin.


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

With the understanding that she can find these individuals at a later date, Azami returns to the Palace to fulfill her responsibilities as a guard for the emissaries being received this evening.


Daveth Bluff check: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

@Daveth: Fumiko gives you a coy smirk. "Your room? Me?! Oh, but Daveth-san what mysteries might I uncover there! What secrets might I learn that other girls have yearned to divine!" She gives you a wink. "'Kidding. Sure I'll get your bag, but that's two you owe me now. Wait outside, maybe in the shop across the street or something, I'll be right there." With that she turns and sort of bounds off into the inn proper.


Imuri:
Hahahaa, I forgot I wrote that in my profile. :-p
The emperor was middle-aged, as most are. The most recent emperor to Ascend at a young age would have been Emperor Sing Ayumu, from some 300 years ago.

There is no reason Clan Shoto could not attempt an alliance with all three groups of gaijin, though the more you learn about each the more difficult a juggling act you might find that to be. But it is certainly possible. House del Solarian, in particular, is quite open to working with merchants and traders of all types.

The Empire has not fought in a war across the Land in some thousands of years. That war ended very badly, and is part of why the Empire has remained largely self-sufficient and carefully guarded behind the three geographical obstacles of The Great Trackless Woods, Enhathlad, and The Old Land. HOWEVER! In all smaller skirmishes or fights to protect trading and shipping interests, the Empire has fared quite well.

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