Melon Sash wrote:
Ameiko shakes her head. "Don't worry so much. I'm fine." She gives Melon a pat on the shoulder, then pulls away from her.
"I'm definitely going," she tells Tevyn. "Is everyone else ready?" She slings her samisen over her shoulders, checks to make sure her sword belt is secure, and takes a deep breath. "Let's go!"
Then she collapses in a heap on the ground, unmoving.
Melon Sash wrote:
"It's nice to see you doing better," Melon tells Ameiko, "You seemed troubled the other day. Don't worry, we'll be in and out of Brinewall before you know it."
Ameiko shrugs. "Yeah, a little troubled, plus I wasn't feeling very well. I think it must have been something I ate. It didn't mix well with my worries."
Gilfroy Fezziwig wrote:
"Before we turn down this ominous and foreboding path, I'd like to go on the record up front and state that any ambush we may or may not encounter is not my doing."
"You mean those masked men I saw you accepting money from last night have nothing to do with it either?" Ameiko asks with a chuckle.
Sense Motive DC 16:
Ameiko Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
Despite her jovial demeanour, Ameiko looks a little pale, and you get the sense that she's doing her best to hide her true state.
Ameiko chuckles at Malan's comment. A smile slowly creeps onto her face and she laughs at Gilfroy's spell. "Yes, you're right," she says. "I need to stop worrying so much. Thank you, Malan. You you, all of you for coming out here. I appreciate it."
Ameiko remains in high spirits for the next little while, as camp is set up and dinner prepared. After dinner, she begins playing music and singing as usual. She seems a little off her game, however, her voice just a little flat, her fingers occasionally slipping on the samisen. She presses on for a while, nonetheless, but it becomes clear she's getting a little frustrated. Eventually, she stops and puts the samisen down. "I'm sorry," she says. "I'm feeling a little weird. I must have had a bit of bad meet with dinner tonight. I think I'm going to lie down early."
Ameiko nods and smiles half-heartedly. "Maybe," she says, seeming somewhat distracted. "To be honest, I'm much more nervous about our destination. I hope I haven't led you all into terrible danger."
"Oh?" says Tevyn. "That's too bad. I keep hearing about the grandeur of cities. It's been hard for me to imagine that they can be as majestic as a forest or as stunning as the coast but I've always wondered about them. I suppose if nothing else, it'll be a good place to re-supply."
Ameiko laughs lightly. "Depends on the city, really. Magnimar's a lot nicer than Riddleport. Parts of it could even be described as majestic. I've heard Korvosa is impressive, too, but I haven't actually been there. Come to think of it, the only big cities I've actually been to are Riddleport and Magnimar. My adventuring days didn't take me all that far afield really. People in Sandpoint think I'm well-travelled, but that's because most people in Sandpoint have never even left Sandpoint. I also listen to stories, so I hear about other places a lot. But there's a big difference between hearing stories about places and actually knowing those places through real experience. I daresay you're better travelled than I am. Brinewall will actually be the furthest from Sandpoint I've ever gone."
He pauses a moment, and then turns to a less confusing topic. "I don't recall if you've ever mentioned, have you been to Riddleport before? I understand it'll be quite a bit larger than Sandpoint."
"A lot bigger than Sandpoint," Ameiko says. "Not Magnimar big, but still pretty big. I've been there a couple of times. Not for several years though. I went once during my adventuring days, and then I went shortly after purchasing the Rusty Dragon in order to set up some supply contacts. I've been back once since then."
She hops down off the wagon to walk beside Tevyn and his horse. "To be honest, it's not much of a place to see. I personally would have preferred bypassing it on our way to Brinewall, but it's part of Sandru's regular route, and it wouldn't have saved more than a day or two's journey anyway."
Ameiko looks up from her Samisen. "Thank you!" she says. "I find music in battle can help fire up the spirit as well as distract from the horrors of it all." She shifts over to get closer to Tevyn and his horse, and says in a slightly lower tone, "I'll confess though that there's more than a little magic involved. Talent is necessary, sure, but it's backed up by magic. Not that the magic doesn't involve some skill too, I suppose, but it's nothing like the magic Corinna was throwing around in the battle." She shrugs. "Anyway, I'm rambling."
Ameiko nods approvingly. "Abrazân. I like it. It fits."
Ameiko buys a few loaves of bread for the caravan as well as a few pastries for herself, Tevyn, and Gilfroy. Any attempt by the other two to contribute to the price is waved away by her. "No, no," she says. "It's the least I can do for dragging you so far away from home."
After buying the items, she suggests a short walk through town (there's really not much to see) to eat the pastries and then back to the caravan. The three of you get back to the caravan in loads of time for departure.
Ameiko is indeed awake. Running an inn for a few years has gotten her used to getting up before dawn. "I could do with a walk," she says, jumping down from the wagon she was seated on. "Sandru said this place is a bit rough, though, so we should be careful." She welcomes Gilfroy along when he joins them, too.
Fresh bread turns out to be a little difficult to find. You pass up several merchants offering "fresh" bread that clearly was baked several days ago, but you do eventually find the local bakery. The delicious smells wafting out from it are a pleasant change from the rest of the town and positive proof that the bread here truly is freshly baked.
Ameiko nods. "I suppose we should probably keep the singing and dancing to a minimum tonight. Just in case."
Ameiko shrugs. "Who knows?" she says. "It could be. Then again, it might not." She laughs. "I'm not being very helpful, am I?"
Ameiko stifles a chuckle at the weary/wary comment. "It's unlikely that we have anything to worry about," she says as she regains her composure. "But you're right to stay watchful. You never know."
Smile bonus earned.
"Not bad," Ameiko says with a shrug and a smile. "It's been awhile since I've travelled like this, so I'm not quite used to it anymore." She rubs the back of her neck. "I've got a bit of a crick in my neck, but otherwise, it was fine. I'll get used to it again soon enough, I'm sure. As for the rain, I kind of like the rain." She smiles and steps out into the rain. "It can be refreshing."
By lunchtime, however, she's clearly no longer enjoying the rain.
Ameiko frowns. "I'm afraid the stories I could tell of my family are not ones you'd want to hear. I could tell you of the arguments I had with my parents. I could tell you how my mother fell off a cliff and died on the rocks below. She either jumped or was pushed. I can tell you how my brother killed my father by pouring liquid glass over him. I have no stories of my family in Minkai. I know we came from there, but that's it. I know nothing of my grandfather or anyone before him. I don't even know why we came over here from Minkai. That's part of why I'm going to Brinewall. I want to know about my family."
She sighs and lays her samisen down. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to get morbid. There are other stories I can tell, ones that will be more entertaining." She jumps off the wagon and picks up her samisen again. "I need to go speak to Sandru before we set off again." She hurries off.
Ameiko gives Melon a sympathetic smile. "Yes, it's part of what they are, but my point remains. There's a lot more to Brevoy than Swordlords. There's a lot more to the Mwangi than...dark-skinned people. Likewise, there's probably a lot more to Minkai than samurai and ninja. Don't put too much faith in stories. Stories exaggerate in order to make them more interesting. Trust me. I'm a storyteller. I know."
Ameiko is a little startled by Melon's sudden appearance as well. She nods at Tevyn's words. "I've heard a few of those stories as well. Like most stories, there's probably an element of truth to them, but they're mostly exaggeration. While there may be samurai and ninja, that's hardly likely to be Minkai, Melon. There'll be normal people, too."
"This Minkai," Tevyn asks, "Is it a city? Or a country? I know very little about that part of the world."
Ameiko Knowledge (geography): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11 -- That's enough to know that Minkai exists, but not much more. :)
"A country," Ameiko says. "It's where my family comes from originally. To be honest, I don't know much about it other than from the very few stories I was told as a child. I'm not even sure exactly where it is other than it's in Tian Xia. But Tian Xia is a very big continent. My family owned a very old samisen. I asked if I could learn how to play it. My father wasn't able to find me a teacher specifically for the samisen, but he was able to find me one who could teach me similar stringed instruments. He also had this one made for me. I took what I learned about other strings and sort of worked out how to play the samisen on my own." She chuckles slightly. "It's actually entirely possible that I could go to Minkai and discover that I've been playing it completely wrong all these years. However, I manage to make music from it that people seem to like, so that's all that really matters."
"Thank you. Malan takes Tevyn's comment as a complement. At the comment about Ameiko's instrument, he takes a closer look at it. "It is indeed an interesting implement. What is it called?"
"A samisen," Ameiko replies. "And yes, it's Tien. From Minkai, actually. Well, not literally from there. This one was made in Magnimar, but it's in the style of instruments from Minkai."
Ameiko is still seated at the back of the covered wagon. She's playing her samisen alongside Malan's flute playing. The mixture of skill levels makes for an interesting combination, though not unpleasant. Ameiko seems to be enjoying herself, enough so that she hasn't noticed the food that has been placed beside her.
"I saw him briefly last night," Ameiko says. "He was heading up to his room at the Dragon. He wished me a good night. Everything seemed fine. He's probably just running late."
At that moment, one of the serving girls from the Rusty Dragon comes running through the crowd. She makes her way over to Ameiko and holds out a letter to her. "This was left for you," she says.
Ameiko takes the letter, opens it, and reads. "It's from Rajah," she says. "He says something unexpected has come up and he has to take care of it immediately. There are no details about what. He says to go on without him and he'll do his best to catch up in a few days time."
"Thank you!" Ameiko says with a smile. "The combination of weapon and musical instrument usually turns heads." She suddenly shivers slightly. "Just a little nervous," she says embarrassedly. "It's going to take us a couple of weeks just to reach Brinewall, but I feel like this is a pretty big moment nonetheless. The first step to solving the mystery of my family."
Ameiko and Koya come back over, having finished their discussion.
"Koya has agreed to accompany us as well," Ameiko says. "Looks like we should have a good sized group, especially if Shalelu agrees to come along, too. Of course, this all assumes we're definitely going. I really ought to get back to the Rusty Dragon and take some time to consider the rashness of my actions. I can have a bit of a tendency to jump into things without thinking them through. Thank you all so much for being willing to do this for me."
Ameiko stifles a slight chortle. "Melon," she says softly, "you have quite a...um...way with words."
Ameiko turns to Tevyn. "That's actually a good way to look at it, Tevyn, thank you. If you're going to be joining me on a lengthy journey, you'll need supplies. Since I'm the one dragging you along, it's only right that I pay for the supplies. The treasure is a convenient way to pay for them. I'll let you all choose how you want to equip yourselves, however. You know your abilities and needs better than I do. As a tip though, unless one of you knows how to wield those strange swords, I bet Savah would pay very handsomely for them." She smiles.
Ameiko's eyes widen slightly. "Oh right, the treasure!" she exclaims. "In all the drama about the letter, I forgot the treasure. You know what, you all can have it. You did all the work retrieving it, and I don't really need it. The letter's enough for me. Split it up amongst yourselves however you wish. Not you, Sandru," she adds with a smile. "You didn't trudge through the swamp after it."
Ameiko looks a bit stung as she follows Melon and the others out onto the street and hears Corinna's words. She sighs. "That's a good point. Perhaps I'm being rash."
At Tevyn's words, she shrugs. "My brother died a few years ago, my parents a little before that. As far as I know, I'm the last. I've always figured I've got some distant cousins back in Minkai, but they're half a world away, if they even exist."
Melon Sash wrote:
Just out of interest towards Corinna: would her character see merit in this mystery? I figure there should be the stuff of arcane academic value in this. Dissertation, fame, honorary degrees in Korvosa and Magnimar.
A chance to travel with Sandru...
"That's a good point, Melon," Ameiko says with a frown. "Maybe I'm rushing this. But I need to know. I need... I just need to know. We'll have to be careful, though. However, if this place is as far away as Corinna says, we'll have time to plan."
Corinna Valdemar wrote:
"I've just told you everything I know," Corinna tells Ameiko. "I'm sorry. The maps were in Korvosa, but all they showed was a dot on the coast at the mouth of the river. It's north of Riddleport." She shrugs. "I can't be of any more help than that." She does her best to detach herself from Ameiko and continue toward her family's home.
Ameiko nods. "I understand. Thank you for everything you've done already."
She turns back to the others. "Of course, you're all welcome to come. Thank you all for the offers and for everything you've done so far. I'm not entirely sure what to make of all this. I have no idea what we'll find when we reach this Brinewall place. And if the family's enemies will truly wait there forever as the letter says, there could be danger. I have no idea who these enemies are. My father never told me. I suspect he didn't know himself, as this letter obviously never reached him. My grandfather must have died before talking to my father and then Tsutamu died before he could deliver the letter. There could be anything waiting for us there."
She thinks for a moment. "I don't intend to leave right away, so there's no need to rush. I have to get affairs settled at the Rusty Dragon, and I'm sure Sandru will want to restock his caravan. I'll also see if Shalelu will come along. Once she's back from wherever she's off to, at any rate. And if Rajah and Gilfroy can convince Koya to come along, we should have a good little number. For the moment, let's plan for a departure in about a week or so. That should be good, I think."
She looks over at Sheriff Hemlock, suddenly remembering that you're all still in the garrison with him standing nearby. "So sorry, Sheriff. I didn't mean to take over the garrison with my personal plans."
"Corinna, wait!" Ameiko calls after her. She rushes to catch her. "I don't think the swamp will be much help at this point. The answers clearly lie at this Brinewall place. If you know where it is, could you help point me in the right direction? I need to go there. At the very least, point me to these maps you've seen. Or better yet, point Sandru in the right direction because I've just decided to hire his caravan."
She turns and calls back into the room, "Sandru, you're looking for a client, right? Well, consider yourself hired!"
She looks back at Corinna and says softly and conspiratorially, "The guy travels all over the place, yet barely knows a thing about geography."
That's right. Sandru, caravan master extraordinaire, doesn't have a single rank in Knowledge (geography). :)
Corinna Valdemar wrote:
Noticed. Just too disgusted to care. All I had to roll was a 3 to get some sort of return on max ranks and a feat. Why don't you ask Ameiko? She's a bard and can take 10 on Knowledge checks. :P
Actually, she can't. She's not a high enough level bard. And she doesn't have any ranks at all in Knowledge (history), so she only gets a small bonus from bardic knowledge and her Int bonus. Same goes for Knowledge (geography). Everyone seems to think she's super high level for some reason. I blame Melon. ;)
Ameiko Knowledge (geography): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
"I have no idea," Ameiko answers, looking distant. She's still staring at the note, but seems to be staring right through it. "I don't recognize any of these details or names, except Tsutamu. He was my grandfather's bodyguard, but I never knew my grandfather. He died before I was born. I barely knew my father. We...we didn't see eye to eye. He didn't approve of my lifestyle. He...he thought it was beneath me. I was a Kaijitsu. I was supposed to be a noble of Sandpoint. Ha! Noble of Sandpoint. What does that even really mean? But nobles of Sandpoint don't run off seeking adventure with Varisians. He certainly didn't approve of my relationship with...with Alder, Sandru's brother." She sighs and folds up the paper in her hand, crumpling it slightly as she does so.
She takes a deep breath. "I need to find out more. Does anyone know of this Brinewall place? Where is it?"
While Sandru is examining the contents of the bags, Amieko picks up the piece of paper and begins looking it over. Her expression changes quickly from initial surprise to concern and even a hint of sadness.
"Melon's right," she says. "It's written in Tien. It's a letter from my grandfather to his son, presumably my father. I never met my grandfather. Looks like the relationship between him and my father may have been just as bad as the one between me and my father."
She pauses for a moment to compose herself, then begins to read aloud:
"My son, my heir. You know now that I have kept secrets from you. You were always a perceptive son, and while you may not understand my reasons for secrecy, I hope that you realize it was necessary. Know that I was not angry with you for opening the warding box—I was angry with myself for withholding the truth from you and forcing you to seek out what I should have given to you. The words I spoke to you were from anger with myself, and it shames me to think of them now. I write this note as an apology, and to beg you to leave these secrets to history.
"The next few days will be the most important I have faced in many years. If our family’s enemies have, as I hope, forgotten us, I shall reunite with you and your wife, and your mother and I shall reveal the truth to you. But if they still seek the contents of the warding box, I fear that I may not speak to you again. The box holds our family’s greatest treasure, so I have returned it to Kortun’s care, and it shall remain hidden in the secret third vault under Brinewall Castle—obscured from our enemies, I hope and pray. I will not grant our foes the satisfaction of killing me themselves—if it comes to it, let my death, by my own hand, be my final act to protect you, so that our enemies believe our line ended.
"I have instructed Tsutamu to keep this letter from you, delivering it to you only should I fail to return as I hope to. If I can, I will reveal all to you myself. If I cannot, this final missive from a father to a son must suffice as an apology in place of an explanation, and you must destroy this letter, flee to the south, and never return to Brinewall. If our enemies find what I have hidden, there will be nothing here for you. If they do not, they will lie in wait forever for your return.
"I hope to see you again soon, my son. But my heart tells me I will not. I am sorry to have failed you. But I am proud of you, and I know you will survive this old man’s shame. You are strong, and you must remain so. For if you are reading this and I am gone, know that our enemies will never stop searching for us, and that is why I cannot reveal the truth to you until I know there is no chance of them finding us again.
"Rokuro Kaijitsu. Sunday, 29 Desnus, 4681."
Knowledge (geography) DC 12:
Brinewall is a ruined town well to the north of Riddleport near the mouth of the Steam River, about 500 miles from Sandpoint.
Knowledge (history) DC 14:
Brinewall was a town north of Riddleport. It was destroyed by an unknown scourge on the first day of Sarenith in 4681, just a few days after the date on the letter.
Knowledge (history) DC 18:
Brinewall's last commander at the time of the town's destruction was a man named Andril Kortun.
Knowledge (nobility) DC 25:
Tsutamo was Rokuro Kaijitsu's devoted bodyguard.
Only one roll should be made for the two history spoilers.
Ameiko Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Ameiko puts down the cold iron sword and picks out the other one. Unsheathing it, she examines it. "Different material for the blade, but otherwise pretty much the same as far as I can tell. I'm sure this loose hilt can be easily fixed, but that can probably be left for the rightful owner to take care of. He or she is certainly going to have enough money for it." She places the sword back in the box.
Gilfroy Fezziwig wrote:
But I can still fluff it out to say that they're a little stronger, just like I plan to fluff it out tat as he rises in level, the "shadow spirits" get more prominent and meddlesome, even though nothing happens mechanic-wise.
"I'll keep that in mind," Ameiko says, eyeing Gilfroy a touch suspiciously. Turning to Tevyn, she says, "A sword, you say? Well, I'm pretty good with a rapier, but otherwise, I have to admit, I'm not much of a sword person. Still, I'll be happy to take a look at it."
She finishes serving the breakfast and returns to the kitchen.
Ameiko does a quick double-take upon seeing Gilfroy come down the stairs. She recovers quickly, however, and goes about serving breakfast. When she places a plate in front of Gilfroy, she says, "Would the...uh...ghosts?...like something too?" She smirks and addresses the rest of the group, "Just let know when you'd like me to go down to the garrison to look at those items."
"It is my intention to claim a fair portion of the treasure once we have made an attempt to locate its owners, of course." Malan gives a sideways glance and grin at Blue Rajah. "You and Ameiko being so well traveled, we would ask if you wouldn't mind taking a look at some of the treasure for us? Your vast knowledge could be instrumental in locating the treasure's owner. We can bring some of the items here for the two of you to peruse if it would make it easier for you."
"I'd be happy to help out," Ameiko says. "I can go round to the garrison with you after breakfast in the morning if you like. Things are usually pretty quiet at that time of day." She glances around a bit. "So, uh, where's Melon?"
Melon Sash wrote:
"You're right! I remember hearing about it while I was in Magnimar; figures that the big things happened here while I was gone," Melon nods appreciatively at the fresh new bread, grabbing a small loaf about as fast as the tray hits the table. "But this time is different! This time we're both here! What you say, Ameiko, you join us in the swamps today? It'll be fun! And your helpers can easily run this place for the day. Right?"
Ameiko frowns. "Oh, I don't know, Melon. My days of slogging through swamps are long over, really. There's more than one way to help a town, and I'm doing what I can here. And while I'm sure my staff could manage without me for a day, I wouldn't want to take off without giving them a little advance warning. But thanks for the offer. Maybe another time." She smiles.
Melon Sash wrote:
"Ameiko, when last did you see such an exciting bunch of upstarts, out to make Sandpoint a better place?"
"A couple years ago," Ameiko answers without even pausing to think. "They were saving the town from giants."
She places a basket of fresh bread on the table. "Tea coming right up," she says to Tevyn.
"That's right, you did mention it," Ameiko says. "Melon distracted me. One special concoction coming right up." She smirks and heads into the kitchen.
A few minutes later, she returns holding a steaming mug of...something. It smells vile. Rotting flesh is the most polite term Aago can think of to describe the smell. It looks thick and goopy and may even have chunks of...something in it.
Assuming he drinks it... The taste is absolutely horrendous. But it does seem to work quickly. His headache starts to diminish almost instantly.
Quick note: Melon is massively embellishing the "Tian goods". Old Foofelah told you the goblins found treasure and the skeletons took that treasure back. There were virtually no details of what that treasure was. Certainly no mention of "Tian" as the goblins wouldn't know how to tell the difference between something from Tian Xia or anywhere else. The fan with the map on the back is the only thing Tian-like encountered by the party and even there, Melon has jumped to conclusions as no one has actually identified it as Tian in origin. :)
Ameiko shrugs. "Well, my family came out here. That's all I know of for certain, but I do know there's a trade route between Tian Xia and Avistan via the Crown of the World. I'm sure others have come over." She pauses for a moment and then looks Melon straight in the eye. "Did this goblin really say they found Tian goods or are you just adding to the story to make it sound better? I find it hard to believe a goblin would know what Tian goods look like or would have even heard of Tian Xia."
Melon Sash wrote:
Forgot to reply to this one earlier.
Ameiko seems a bit surprised by the mention of the fan seeming Tian. She pauses in her moving about and looks back at Melon. "No, I haven't seen this fan. Tian, you say? That's unusual in these parts, though not unheard of. I wonder if it belonged to my family and was taken in some earlier goblin raid."
Corinna Valdemar wrote:
"If you insist," Ameiko says with a shrug. She makes no argument about accepting Corinna's money.
It comes to 4 sp, assuming Corinna just has a meal and a single drink.
Everyone except Corinna:
"Hey, hey! I'm trying to run a business here!" Ameiko says with a laugh. She strolls past Gilfroy and plucks the cream pie from his hand. "Thank you for the donation!" she says without pausing in her movement, and continues on into the kitchen.
I presume Gilfroy is using prestidigitation for these summonings?