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  #1  
Unread 26th of May, 2007, 15:23
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Prologue: Ryoshen and Egam

It is a warm, humid night in this provence of the An-Teng domain, with trees swaying in the wind, casting soft shadows by the pale moonlight. Perpetual wilderness surrounds the young initiate as he sprints down the cobblestone road that leads away from the Onmyouji temple. Taking a quick look back, he can see only flames and smoke in the distance, greatening the despair in his heart. Among all the things racing through his mind, the last words of his master keep his objective perfectly clear. Reaching his destination, and delivering the scroll and a warning to the next temple, is all that matters.

Tenka Ryoshen

You spend the night moving as fast as you can along the roads, trusting in your master's magic to keep you safe from harm. Morning comes rather quickly, as does the day's heat. Tempered by fierce physical and mental training as a Onmyouji initiate, you take the nightlong run and approaching heat with stride. Still, you grow vastly tired after running for hours, and resting is inevitable. As the sun rises, you pass many along the way, some innocent, others not so. To all you shrink down to a whisper, watching their gazes pass over you, oblivious. You spend as much of the day as you can moving along the beaten road, knowing that once your master's magic fades, you will have to stick to the woods to avoid trouble.

As the shadows grow long, you move into the trees, finding a stream for water and gathering up as much edible roots and foliage as you can stuff down. As the moon shines brightly over your head, you feel the gentle warmth of the Ofuda on your chest fade away. One look into a pool of water confirms that the magic has ended. Your immense hunger satisfied and thirst quenched, you fall into a deep sleep, awakening with the rising of the morning sun to continue your trek.

Travel through the forest is rough and sticky. Thick vegetation pulls at your robes as you dash through the underbrush in the direction of the City of Steel Lotus. What were once clean and orderly robes have been torn and dirtied by a constant bombardment of branches and thickets. You persevere like this for a few more days, moving fast through the woodland areas. You can feel your strength slowly waning at the pace your moving, but your goal drives you. There's nothing more important.

5 days and many scrapes and bruises later, you find yourself staring at one of the front gates of the City of the Steel Lotus. Sandstone walls surround the main metropolis, and suburbs have sprung up along the outskirts. The smell of the inland sea wafts overhead. Approaching, you worry the guards might notice you, but a small caravan of merchants are rolling in as well and you slip by along with them. Inside the city walls, all things are a bustle. You've entered on the business side of town, merchants and craftsmen displaying their wares, call out to wealthy passerbys to come have a look. Huts, carts and shops all line the streets as far as you can see. You take all this in, unaccustomed to such crowds from your time at the temple. To such a child, eager, bright and strong in youth, such a massive city can hold many possibilities...

[Intelligence+Survival: 4 (2,6,7,9) 2 successes, Ryoshen is at -2 for exaustion]

Last edited by Erendiox; 31st of May, 2007 at 14:24.
  #2  
Unread 29th of May, 2007, 13:50
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Ryoshen's exhaustion was almost instantly pushed back as awe overtook him. The bustling, crowded streets of the City of the Steel Lotus were both exciting and frightening. Never had he been around so many people before. "Be cautious in your interactions with others." His sifu's last few words still lingered in his ear. The echoing voice sent a chill down the boy's spine as he began thinking of the potential consequences of a mishap. Ryoshen shuddered, and realized that he was thinking too much.

As he walked, Ryoshen tried to remember one of the many pieces of wisdom Yoshin had provided him with. As he neared a bazaar, it struck him like a bolt of lightning. "The wise will always provide, if you provide for them." And just as soon as the memory had came to surface, providence arrived in a seemingly clockwork fashion.

An old woman, diminuitive and frail, came crashing to the ground on Ryoshen's left. The culprit of this heinous crime: a small, misshapen pebble. Her cane landing on the uneven surface, the woman lost her balance, her center of gravity shifting with her body in tow. Ryoshen immediately rushed to her aid, helping the old woman to her feet and to a nearby bench. "Thank you, young man" she spoke in a haggard voice. Ryoshen responded immediately in his most filial tone. "You are most welcome, Senpai. My only concern was of your safety." He hesitated for a split second, and then spoke. "I am foreign to this city, and utterly lost in its expanse. I wish to visit the Shrine of Kenfu, ran by the Onmyouji, but have not the slightest clue as to where it could be. Do you know of its whereabouts?"

[Intelligence 3 + Investigation 0 = 9 5 5]
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Last edited by fhgwdads05; 1st of June, 2007 at 01:21.
  #3  
Unread 31st of May, 2007, 14:12
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Tenka Ryoshen

The old woman is taken aback with this sudden kindness from a complete stranger, and a child no less. She smiles a wide, craggy smile, her skin like valleys and sandpaper.

"Of course my child. The Shrine of Kenfu is one of the city's oldest temples... " She points off in one direction, towards the city center.

"Follow this road until you reach the eastern plaza. A left and a short walk will bring you to the front gates... Blessings be with you child."

You thank the old woman as you hurry along, slipping into the crowd. Passing through the throng of people, you walk along the roadway. Buildings stretch overhead, some even three or four stories high, made of teak and quartz. Still higher are towers that stretch up upon foundations of stone, like pyramids with steps, made of lapis and some even gold. Awed, you continue, the shining metropolis to all sides of you. The road converges at a plaza, a lush fountain of stone in the center, drawing water from the River of Queens that flows beside the city. In the fountain are all assortment of tiny trinkets, prayers and tokens. These are washed into the river basin during great rain, casting wishes into the sea for the gods to cast judgement.

Taking the left as instructed, the crowds start thinning. You're leaving the marketplace and entering a different section of town. There's nothing really lavish about this place. The houses are lower to the ground, and have an less glorious look to them. It looks like the materials are poorer, and in general most of the buildings are in ill repair. Clothing lines crisscross the road, and a few people can be seen at their glassless windows, hanging clothes. A smattering of others walk through the street as well, looking worn and rugged. One middle aged man meets eyes with you, noticing your torn robes and exhausted expression. He looks suddenly startled, as if he was about to say something, but instead does nothing. As you turn from him, you notice someone in the shadow of an alley between homes, staring straight at you. He immediately turns, with a motion like he wasn't really looking at you, and walks away down the alley. You take another look around you, noticing a few people who look like they don't quite belong in the area. Then, you see the last thing you ever expected to find in a place like this. A young boy, about the same age as you, well dressed, with white hair and a carefree expression. A big red hat crowns the youth, making him stand out like a tomato stain on white.

Egam Red

The day has been average for you. Your schooling has been going well, and you never seem to need much study to understand what they're teaching you. In fact, you grow so bored of typical schoolwork that you make a habit of "borrowing" certain exclusive books from the library. The topics you frequent range from ghosts, spirits, and elementals to books detailing thaumaturgy and sorcery.

At the end of the school day, and after a few hours of raiding of the city's library, you decided to take the long way home. While you have no love of living in poverty, your old home seems so much more familiar to you than the big house your benefactors provided. You often stroll through your old neighborhood, and sometimes you spend time with friends that play there. This time something is different. There's an odd silence. Everyone is sticking to their homes, and those that walk outside are edgy, like they know something could happen at any moment. You look about, searching for more clues. There are people that do not belong. Half a dozen men linger about, sticking to the shadows. They're trailing a young boy walking in the opposite direction. The young boy looks very ragged, like he's been traveling a long ways without much rest. In fact, he looks dressed as if he belongs to the nearby Onmyouji temple. Whatever's going on, it's obviously involving the temple in some way.

You meet eyes with the boy. It seems he too has noticed something is amiss...

[Ryoshen: Perception + Awareness 5 - 2 exhaustion = 3 (9,8,4) 2 successes]
[Egam: Perception + Awareness 4 (10,8,7,2) 4 successes]

Last edited by Erendiox; 1st of June, 2007 at 01:13.
  #4  
Unread 5th of June, 2007, 08:11
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Egam has always been used to seeing broken people; his family used to be as such. But this boy was unusual in this neighborhood. He seems as if he had been through a great ordeal, and that he wasn't simply one of the orphans of this part of town. Egam recognized the temple clothes, and was confused about how this boy could have gotten so bruised and dirty. And the mysterious men seeming to follow him, like vultures circling a dying animal, scared Egam. Egam had gotten himself in trouble before, but this boy appeared to have topped Egam's comparatively small crimes. But, not wanting to simply ignore him and leave the boy to his own fate, Egam anxious walks closer to him.

Extremely nervous, Egam trys to fake being composed, and says, with a volatile mix of anxiety and excitement "H-hello. My n-name is Egam." He pauses for a second feeling awkward, and looks down for a second. In order to make this situation a little more comfortable, Egam grabs his hat at it's front tip, clumsily brings it to his chest, and bows slightly. He tries the noble's bow, seeing him do it so many times, and each time doing it so elegantly and calmly. He asks the boy his name, as he is unable to find another question in his timid state.

Last edited by youareanoobnoob; 7th of June, 2007 at 00:10.
  #5  
Unread 8th of June, 2007, 13:17
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Who is this boy?

The thoughts raced through Ryoshen's mind as he approached the boy in the vermilion hat.

Is he with them?

The boy spoke, his words so seemingly distant. The sounds were muffled to Ryoshen's ears, his senses blurred from exhaustion and a meager diet. He was ragged to the very core, and his mind slowly processed what the boy had spoke. When comprehension came upon him, Ryoshen felt a spark of life that seemed completely alien to his body's current state.

He's speaking to me. 'Hello?' Is that all he has to say?!

His interaction with people in this city had been nearly nonexistent, save for the old woman. However, the fact that boy had addressed Ryoshen was not what had came with surprise.

Is this boy oblivious? Can he not see my condition? Does he not realize the impending danger, or is he simply ignoring the fact of the matter at hand?

Ryoshen thought back to what his Sifu had said about the people of the city. Yoshin had described them as "...often oblivious or uncaring," and that finding someone who would risk themselves for another was like "looking for wisdom in the eyes of a fool." Ryoshen meditated on his master's advice for a moment, and then pursed his thoughts for another pearl of wisdom concerning the situation. In what seemed an instant, the flood gates were down and the memories rushed through his mind.

Ryoshen was flooded with recollections of his Sifu, the last day at the monastery most vivid of all. He saw Yoshin as he was murdered, however he noticed something he had not before. Ryoshen stepped into the memory as he regained his senses in the pond. As he looked up to his master, his eyes met Yoshin's. The Sifu's iron stare seemed to look into Ryoshen's soul, unwavering even as the Dragonblood bitch cut him down. Yoshin's gaze seemed to emanate an immense inner strength, far greater than anything Ryoshen had ever picked up on. "Be strong in all aspects of life, and never waver from the path you know is true. I die so that you may live. I am proud of you." The words appeared in Ryoshen's head as Yoshin was cut down. Ryoshen blinked, and returned to reality.

Even in death, he was strong. Master..

A single tear rolled down Ryoshen's dirt-stained cheek. The memory of Yoshin's death overtook him completely. As he thought of his master's strength, one of his Sifu's pearls of wisdom resurfaced. "To be strong, one must draw upon strength." Closing his eyes, Ryoshen began meditating on his master's strength. His fists clenched and his knees locked as Yoshin's iron will enveloped him. Ryoshen focused in upon his master's iron will, and brought it into his being. Opening his eyes, the boy's muscles relaxed as he stood tall. The exhaustion left his body, leaking away until only Yoshin's strength remained. Looking back to the men stalking him, Ryoshen mentally readied himself for what was about to come.

There are too many for myself, even if this strange boy aids me. The scrolls are of utmost importance; their safety cannot be compromised.

He looked into the eyes of the boy in the vermilion hat with renewed vigor, his steely gaze mirroring Yoshin's. His eyes conveying strength and composure, they spoke a simple message.

Be ready.

[OOC: Channel Conviction to remove Exhaustion]

Last edited by fhgwdads05; 8th of June, 2007 at 13:21.
  #6  
Unread 9th of June, 2007, 13:39
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As the two of you stand in the street's center, the men slink ever closer, not broadcasting their intent, but quite obviously up to no good. They wear light brown tunics, adorned also with loose sand-colored cloaks. The street has gone silent. Those that were hanging clothes outside their windows have now moved indoors. Those that were walking on the road seem to have decided to take another route to their destinations.

At this point it's obvious. The men start to circle you. Their expressions are loose and villanous. They hardly have the look of immaculates or troops... more along the lines of criminals, mercenaries at best. One of the men walks up to Ryoshen from behind, silently. His hands are lost somewhere in the expanses of his cloak. The moment is tense. Ryoshen doesn't have to turn. The look in Egam's eye tells him more than enough. A glint of silver can be seen between the folds of cloth as the stranger reaches for his weapon.

[Join Battle: Ryoshen: (Wits 3 + Awareness 2 + Stunt 4) = 9 (10,9,9,8,8,6,3,3,1) 6 Successes, Egam: (Wits 3 + Awareness 3) = 6 (10,9,9,8,5,1) 5 Succeses]
[Join Battle: Leader (Wits 3 + Awareness 3) = 6 (8,8,5,4,3,2) 2 Successes, Lackeys (Wits 2 + Awareness 2) = 4(9,6,5,2) 1 Success]
[Note: There are 5 lackeys scattered around you, each roughly 5 yards from either of your positions. The leader stands 3 yards behind Ryoshen.]

Last edited by Erendiox; 9th of June, 2007 at 14:29.
  #7  
Unread 12th of June, 2007, 14:26
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Tick 0


The sound of feet on loose cobblestones was all Ryoshen needed to realize that his stalkers had began to surround him. Unfortunately, he received much more than that. Ryoshen wrinkled his nose in disgust as the stench hit his olfactory sense like a ton of bricks. The men reeked of debauchery, the kind one could only find in a city. Opium, alcohol, loose women; Ryoshen had been only recently introduced to such depravity in his time in the City of the Steel Lotus and he despised it all already.

Scum. So these are the kinds of men my pursuers have sent to claim my life?

Closing his eyes, Ryoshen began to focus all of his attention on tactition. As one of the many disciplines Yoshin had trained him in, his Sifu had simply kindled the spark of talent that Ryoshen possessed in sensing his surroundings. The deeper his level of concentration became, the stronger his connection with his surroundings grew. As Ryoshen reached the pinnacle of focus, he could sense vibrations in the air emanating from those around him. He first concentrated on the soft trepidations caused by feet against the cracked cobblestones that made up the street.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six…They’re surrounding the boy and I…

Turning his attention in the direction of the boy in the vermillion hat, Ryoshen felt him trembling. His body’s movements spoke louder than words, and Ryoshen realized that in focusing on the boy he had diverted his attention from the potential danger. He quickly realigned himself to the men who had surrounded him.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five… The sixth?

As the question crossed Ryoshen’s mind, he immediately sensed movement directly behind him. He concentrated solely on the source, and heard the gritting of teeth and the ruffling of a cloak. A hand grasped the hilt of a blade.

The sixth.

Returning from his state of sensatory focus, Ryoshen sees the troubled look in the other boy’s eyes. It is more than enough for Ryoshen. His eyes have become Yoshin’s, and his composure is that of his Sifu’s as well.

It begins.

With either an apparent lack of care or common sense, Ryoshen hurled the tubular case of precious scrolls into the air. In the blink of an eye, he somersaulted backward and curled his body into a tight ball. An utterly stupefied ruffian leader gawked as Ryoshen rolled between his legs. Now behind the man, the boy leapt out of his curled position, snatching a loose cobblestone as he bounded upwards. Grabbing the loose cloak that hung at the degenerate’s back, Ryoshen dragged it with him as he soared into the air and over the man. As he began to descend, Ryoshen tied the edges of the man’s cloak in a knot around the cobblestone and tossed it casually towards the approaching the ground. The cloak enveloped the shocked leader as the weight of the cobblestone pulled it taut against the man’s head.

In this moment of opportunity, Ryoshen struck like thunder. The prey became the hunter as he soared over his now-handicapped foe. Ryoshen spun about, extending his right leg, and kicked the man square in the face. As he struck, Ryoshen did not hesitate. He caught the Scroll Case with ease as he nimbly set foot on the ground. Upon landing he somersaulted forward and sprung up into a run mid-stride. As he dashed past the boy in the vermillion hat, he whispered three words.

"Market. Meet me."

For the first time since the day he left the burning Onmyouji shrine, Ryoshen ran like the wind. His purpose clear and the goal close, he would take no chances. He would stick to the wreckage-strewn sides of the road, and cut through several buildings in an attempt to lose his pursuers. Ryoshen would reach the shrine, and no one was to stop him. No one.



[OOC: Flurry: Attack(Kick) / Dash (Speed 5, -3 DV): Attack (Dexterity 3 + Martial Arts 2 - Action 2) = 3 (9,8,2) (X: Channeling 1 WP for one extra Success) 3 Successes. Dash: (Dexterity 3 + 6 = 9 Yards per tick). Next action Tick 5]

Last edited by fhgwdads05; 13th of June, 2007 at 10:20.
  #8  
Unread 13th of June, 2007, 10:49
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Ryoshen's kick connects solidly, letting out a loud snap as his wooden sandals belt the man painfully in the jaw. The man lets out a muffled cry through his cloak, disentangling himself just in time to see the boy darting down the street, a scowl ornamenting his now bloodied face.

[Ryoshen: Stunt Dice: 4(8,7,4,1) 2 Success, Attack: 5 Successes vs. DV 3 <hit>, Damage: (Strength 1 + Kick 3 + Successes 2 - Soak 2) = 4(8,6,3,2) 1B Damage]

Last edited by Erendiox; 13th of June, 2007 at 10:53.
  #9  
Unread 13th of June, 2007, 21:55
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TICK 1

Egam is confused and frightened. Although the men were after the boy, the fact was that the men were still there, and that there was a good chance that they may turn on him. Confused, paniced thoughts race through Egam's mind.

"Should I fight? With what? My sword? I left it at home... What could i fight with? That stick on the ground?! No, that's stupid, it's rotting.... Should i use sorcery... ! .... wait no only the Anathema and the Dragonblooded can. Dammit. Wait! Should I just..."

Quickly turning to a nearby alleyway, Egam sprints to safety.

He hopes that he can outmanuever these men, using his knowledge of the slums to evade the boy's stalkers. Hopefully, if everything goes well, he may be able to even meet the boy in the market.

[Dash action(Speed 3, DV -2): Dex (2) + 6 = 8 yards per tick]
[Trying to use my knowledge of the city streets against the stalkers: Int (3) + Larceny (0) = (10,4,1) 2 Successes]
[Next action: tick 4]


Last edited by Erendiox; 13th of June, 2007 at 23:25.
  #10  
Unread 15th of June, 2007, 10:19
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Like a flash, Ryoshen and Egam bolt away in different directions, unburdened and quick on their feet like young children are. The leader's henchmen, seemingly too thick to give immediate chase, wait instead for their leader to disentangle himself. A sharp look cuts through their doltish expressions as the head ruffian bawls loudly at his men.

"Get after them you idiots! You two! That way! The rest of you with me!"

Two men turn down the alleyway after Egam, catching a brief glimpse of the giant red hat as the boy turns a corner. Racing to catch up, the two men turn the same corner and run headlong down the street. Up above them, standing atop a seldom used causeway that he and his friends used to play upon, Egam looks down on them. Watching as they run aimlessly in the wrong direction, Egam grins, then turns toward the market district.

The leader and three of his men chase Ryoshen down the main road. The boy's goal drives him as he turns sharp corners and evades obstacles. Following from a distance, the men struggle to keep up. You exit the plebian district, into the industrial district, under and over wagons and passerbys, then looping back into the plebian district. Finally, after much racing, Ryoshen outlasts them. His endurance is unshakable, the initiate staying spry and quick whilst his enemies start to wear down. Eventually they lose sight of the boy. Basking in his success, still breathing heavy, sweat covered, the temple of the Onmyouji stands before him. A young girl sits on the steps leading up to the front gate, a small staff cradled in her arms. She wears the similar bland gray robes of a Temple initiate, warm auburn hair tied back in a traditional style. Staring at the floor, she kicks around some stones lethargically, until she notices Ryoshen approach, upon which the girl watches sharply, a pair of green eyes studying the stranger.

[Egam's Pursuers: Street Knowledge: (Intelligence 1 + Larceny 2) = 3 (5,5,1) botch]
[Ryoshen: Street Knowledge: (Wits 3 + Larceny 0) = 3 (9,8,2) 2 Successes vs. Ryoshen's Pursuers (Wits 2 + Larceny 2) 4 (9,6,6,4) 1 Success]
[Ryoshen: Swiftness Check: (Dexterity 3 + Athletics 1 + Intimacy 1) = 5 (9,8,8,7,4) 4 Successes vs. Pursuers (Dexterity 2 + Athletics 2) = 4 (10,8,8,3) 3 Successes]
[Ryoshen: Stamina Check: (Stamina 2 + Athletics 1 + Intimacy 1) = 4 (10,9,8,5) 4 Successes, Pursuers (Stamina 2 + Athletics 2) = 4 (9,8,3,1) 2 Successes]
[Ryoshen's Extended Chase (Threshold 3) <success>]
  #11  
Unread 19th of June, 2007, 01:36
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Dirt, sweat, and tears mixed as Ryoshen drew close to his destination. While his lungs thirsted for air and his muscles ached and burned, he did not falter. Delivering the scrolls was all that mattered. His heart soared as the shrine entrane rose from the horizon; its tall wooden gates gloriously eclipsing the afternoon sun, a vast blotch of shaded crimson set on a canvas of gold. Upon reaching the stairs leading up to the shrine gates Ryoshen nearly collapsed. His hands fell to his knees to support himself as his lungs finally tasted the sweet air they had so longed for.

I've done it. This is for you, Sifu.

Recollecting himself, Ryosehn stood up. He relaxed the tension in his body, beginning with his core and ending with his digits. He looked up and saw the girl, her piercing emerald eyes warily studying him. He decided it was best he speak first.

"Greetings, sister. I am Ryoshen, student of Yoshin, Sifu of the Shrine of Gyoja," he said with a hint of modest pride. "I must speak with Master Kato at once. We do not have much time."
  #12  
Unread 19th of June, 2007, 23:56
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Filled with a large amount of pride at escaping the men, Egam began to relish his small victory. Egam did not get many moments that filled himself with pride, such as this, and the moment overwhelmed him. It was as if Egam's weak, frail ego had been pumped with steriods, and had just snorted speed. Egam tipped his hat down, so that it would only leave a small part of his face showing to passerbys, and walked with a swagger, that was one part Egam's back straight and chest out, and another two parts "pimp-esque," flamboyantly swinging his arms and moving his legs nonchalantly. With this odd, and almost ostentious, swagger, Egam calmed walked into the living room of the family's house, who's railing he had used to escape from the men. The family was very confused, first having seen this young boy climb onto their railing in such a hurry, and now seeing the young boy walk through their living room like one of the "businessmen" of the red light district.

This was short-lived however, as Egam was quick to trip on some unseen object, missed by him in this state of intense pride. The family was quick to help him up, benevolently asking him if he was alright, before even worrying about why he was in there. Egam reverted to his normal, shy state, and began to bow to each family member slightly, weakly saying sorry. For the object he had trip on, and broken, Egam gave the family some money (more then was needed for the item, as it was meant to say "Sorry for interrupting dinner!"), and hastily left the house.

Wanting to now meet the boy he had met earlier, he began to cautiously head toward the market. He would peek around every corner, and run from "cover to cover," trying to keep out of sight. However, his mind was only half on his self-preservation; the other half was focused on the boy. Thoughts raced through Egam's head. "Who was he?" "Why was he wearing monk's clothes, yet seemed so ragged?" "What were those scrolls?"

And so, Egam made it to the market. He decided to find a good hiding spot, one that would conceal him, but give him a better view of his surrondings. Seeing one of the friendlier merchants he had gotten to know over time, he noticed he was very busy with all of his customers. Realizing he could watch the market and be safe next to this man (he had been in the military many years before becoming a merchant), Egam goes towards him and asks if he needs any assistance. Stressed and realived at the same time, the merchant aggrees to Egam's help. And so, Egam helps the merchant, all the time watching for when the boy may show himself.

Last edited by youareanoobnoob; 20th of June, 2007 at 00:00.
  #13  
Unread 20th of June, 2007, 13:18
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Ryoshen

The girl shoots you a curious look when you mention the Shrine of Gyoja, as well as noting your ragged appearance, but for the moment they remain curiosities. "Of course, right this way." She leads you through the front gates, passing through the open training grounds. Where you would expect students and initiates to be sparring and exorcising, what you see is much more intellectual. Lecturing, studying, books, and meditation. There's a calmness about the place, a certain level of self reflection among the students, and you begin to immediately understand some of the core differences between the two clans. "We don't get many visitors among the Yamabushi. Mostly it's just the elders meeting every once in a while." She smiles.

As you leave the open stone gardens behind you, she leads you through a series of small stone homes for the students. All these homes are connected and similarly furnished, if you would call them furnished at all. A slightly larger home, closest to the temple itself, is where she brings you. "I can't go any further, only students here can address the Sifu directly." As you approach to open the door however, she grabs your hand in an unsure gesture and looks around uneasily. In a hushed voice, an alarming manner in her words, she comes close and whispers. "I... I'm not supposed to talk about this, but before you go in, I think you should know. We got these visitors three weeks ago, and since then there's someth...". Suddenly the door opens, silencing her, and a man emerges.

This man is tall and pale. A clean shaven beard, short hair, and long face is what you see first. Then you see his attire, which is vastly more elaborate than anything that was worn by anybody in the temple. It wasn't horribly extravagant, but it was close to what a wealthy man would wear. As you eyes move from his fine clothing and boots, you finally meet his eyes, which show borderline vexation at the sight of Ryoshen. Immediately this is replaced with a smile wider than the inland sea and teeth polished to a freakish pearly finish. His voice is high and his syllables drawn out, like a serpent on helium, but piercing, not funny. "Ah, master sifu, it seems you have two visitors. What a pleasant surprise. Shall I bring them in?" Another voice can be heard weakly from an adjacent room.

"Poe... Please do... visitors always cheer up my day..." You both enter, the girl hesitant, but following still. In the next room, you find the source of this haggard voice. Laying in bed is a shadow of a man. His eyes are strewn with fatigue, his skin at a loss for color and practically hanging off his face. His breathing is audible and heavy, and it seems he can do little more than turn his head to address you. Another man stands next to the Sifu's bed, this one big and muscular, wearing a brown tunic. He doesn't speak, but he watches you both. The Sifu speaks again, drawing in a deep breath, his words slow and lacking any sense of prudence. "Ah... a fine young lad... tell me, what is it I can do for you?".

The girl behind you makes a muffled sound, in surprise, and you turn just in time to see her grimace, her hands over her mouth.


Egam

You work hard for the merchant, distracted with the thought of what happened to the boy in the robes. It's been nearly twenty minutes since you separated, and there's been no sign of him. Perhaps he's been captured, or worse... Suddenly there's a break in the crowded streets. It seems something, or someone of importance is making his way through. A dozen pale men with long pointed beards clear an organized path through the rabble of peasants. They wear robes of fine linens with yellow and red, each adorned with a small fez in matching colors. In the center of these men is another man, even more magnanimous than the others. He wears all white, silk robes, looking on his surroundings with contempt and indifference. You don't get much more of a look at them as they march down the street.

"So I guess it's finally happening." Says Uboe the merchant as the throng passes by. Upon your inquiry, he elaborates. "Well, there's been something fishy going on for weeks. There's been talk of them tearing down the old ofuda temples. Talk of some unholy worshipping going on, obviously the realm is pissed it's been happening right inside 'their city' and all. This is the second time they've sent in some official to raise hell or whatnot." He gives you a look of concern. "I'd be careful if I were you. Be sure not to get in anyone's way. When the dragonblooded get angry, bad things happen. Just be catious and i'm sure this whole thing will blow over in under a month."
  #14  
Unread 21st of June, 2007, 01:40
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Ryoshen gave the girl a quizzical look.

What's wrong with her?

He could not understand, of course, as his parents instilled a great sense of filial piety in their children. Ryoshen was taught that honoring elders was one of the most important duties of a young person, both in the village and at the Shrine of Gyoja. Having personally experienced the peaceful deaths of his grandparents as well, such sights did not phase him. He moved closer to the aging Sifu, bowing his head in veneration.

"Sifu, I am honored to be in your presence. I am Ryoshen, student of Yoshin. I have traveled many miles from the Shrine of Gyoja. I come bearing a message of tremendous importance. "

Ryoshen paused for a moment. He turned to Poe, his keen eyes studying the man meticulously.

There's somethin about him I don't like. He shouldn't be trusted...

He then looked to the man in brown.

He is different, but... Nevertheless...

Ryoshen turned back to the Sifu, urgency in his eyes.

"Sifu, I humbly request to speak with you in privacy."
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Unread 22nd of June, 2007, 14:34
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Tick 0

Before master Kato can reply, the tall man intercedes, Poe's high pitched voice digging into your core.

"Now now my dear boy, I feel disparaged. Obviously your news is of some importance, news that I may have to act upon with speed. Our great Sifu has fallen ill, and it is my responsibility to act in his stead. You look like you've traveled a long way, and all on your own. Surely there is something amiss. What is your purpose here? Who sent you all this way? Do tell, do tell!"

[Poe: Unexpected Attack: (Manipulation 4 + Socialize 3) = 7(10,5,4,4,3,2,1) 2 Successes vs Ryoshen (Perception 2 + Awareness 2) = 4(6,5,5,1) botch]
[Poe: Investigation Attack(Speed 5, DV -2): (Manipulation 4 + Investigation 3) = (8,7,7,6,5,4,3) 3 Successes vs. DV 3 (Willpower 5 + Integrity 1 = 6 / 2) <failure>]
[Enter social combat. As a result of the botch, Ryoshen acts at the last possible time, which is tick 6. Poe will act again on tick 5.]
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Unread 26th of June, 2007, 02:42
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Poe's voice seemed but miles away to Ryoshen. It came unexpectedly, but was easily ignored. Ryoshen cocked his head slightly towards Poe, as if listening to whispers.

"I'm sorry, sir, but were you addressing me? I did not hear what you just said. My attention was focused on Sifu Kato, who seemed very much about to speak."

Last edited by fhgwdads05; 26th of June, 2007 at 21:26.
  #17  
Unread 27th of June, 2007, 06:15
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Tick 5

Poe's brow tightens, unamused. He remains speaking, but his eyes are fixed on you, like he's searching you without words.

"And just how do you presume to ignore me boy? Perhaps you should pay more attention... Our Sifu is a great man, and has no time for simpletons. Now speak or be removed from this place."

[Ryoshen: Reflexive Awareness: (Perception 2 + Awareness 2) = 4 (10,4,2,1) 2 Successes]
[Poe: Read Motivation (Speed 5, DV -1): (Perception 4 + Investigation 3) = 7 (10,9,6,5,4,3,1) + 1 (Appearance 3) = 4 Successes vs. DV 3 <success>]
  #18  
Unread 4th of July, 2007, 02:42
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Tick 6

An inner struggle raged inside Ryoshen; heart and logic engaged in epic conflict for control. Nervous thoughts and worries caused by uncertainty were encroaching on the boy. He shuddered, closing his eyes.

I can't evade this man's questions for much longer, lest I fail. What am I going to do? This isn't the time for indecisiveness, not now, no when I am so very close...

"Then you must stop running.."

Sifu?! Is this a memory?!

Yoshin's voice echoed in the head of a bewildered Ryoshen.

"Fear is as the shortened sword; it is double-edged. You must turn your fear, the very fear this man preys upon and uses against you, into a weapon to be used against him."

This isn't a memory... It can't be.... Sifu?!

"Kato will understand. Do not fear him, for he will be your greatest ally in your time of need. Do not falter, and do not look behind. You will succeed, for you are blessed so."

Sifu!! ....

Sifu!? ....

Sifu?? ....

Sifu.....

As tears welled in Ryoshen's eyes, he felt a slight tugging at his heart. At first, it was nothing, but growing as it did Ryoshen soon felt a burning sensation in his chest, as though he felt it collapsing. Then, without notice, it was if his heart exploded. A split second of agony was followed by immediate warmth and calm. Ryoshen's worries vanished, replaced by an overriding sense of confidence. He was energized, a living conduit of power and magnificence. He turned to Poe. Ryoshen stepped towards the vile man, the very ground shuddering in respect for him.

Ryoshen mirrored Yoshin in every conceivable manner. His eyes were bright and sharp, his face chiseled of granite and marble, his posture statuesque. As Ryoshen spoke to Poe, from his mouth spat the flames of righteousness and from his eyes shone the light of truth.

"I presume to ignore you on many grounds, but no longer will I do so. You dare presume your right to speak of Sifu Kato in such a manner? You address him as if you are one of this shrine, yet such is obviously not the case."

Ryoshen stared into Poe's eyes, his piercing gaze meeting that of a treacherous serpent. The light of truth brightened, and the flames of righteousness flared. The eyes of the boy were brilliant daggers, his tongue a flaming sword. He bellowed as his heart spoke.

"How dare you. Your deceit is clear. Your facade of innocence cannot conceal your true heart from me. Your opulence is but a mirror of the twisted void that you call a heart. Your fealty does not lie with Sifu Kato, or anyone else for that matter, be they at this Shrine or anywhere. Jade and power alone are what your decadent soul thrives on, and you will manipulate even the most innocent of innocents to gain but a pittance.

I will not grant you such respect as answer you on command. I will not allow you to continue such travesties of fealty and honor, and nor would my master, Sifu Yoshin, have done so. I am but his pupil, and your presence not only dishonors Sifu Kato but Sifu Yoshin as well. To honor one who dishonors a Sifu is to dishonor a Sifu, and I would rather die than do so. I will ask this of you once: Leave the presence of Sifu Kato. Immediately."

Ryoshen calmly turned his head back to Kato.

"Sifu, once again, on the behalf of Sifu Yoshin I request that we continue this conversation in privacy. This situation is grave, and must be addressed with the utmost urgency."

[OOC: Social Attack (Speed 5 DV-1 ??): (Charisma 2 + Presence 0) = 2 (8,7) 2 Successes + (Channel Willpower / Intimacy for Honoring Yoshin / anything and everything I damn well can)

Also trying to get Kato to join Social Combat, or end it, or whatever I can do if its allowed.]

Last edited by fhgwdads05; 4th of July, 2007 at 05:34.
  #19  
Unread 7th of July, 2007, 11:06
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"I presume to ignore you on many grounds, but no longer will I do so. You dare presume your right to speak of Sifu Kato in such a manner? You address him as if you are one of this shrine, yet such is obviously not the case."

The air seems to heat with every word, beams of light cast from the windows stretching, bending unnaturally, as if to surround him. The sounds of the city, of the shrine, become muffled, as if all were suddenly many miles away. Poe is startled, a mark of bewilderment crossing his face. He knows something is wrong but hasn't the slightest idea what to do. Ryoshen is trancelike, noticing nothing.

"How dare you. Your deceit is clear. Your facade of innocence cannot conceal your true heart from me. Your opulence is but a mirror of the twisted void that you call a heart. Your fealty does not lie with Sifu Kato, or anyone else for that matter, be they at this Shrine or anywhere. Jade and power alone are what your decadent soul thrives on, and you will manipulate even the most innocent of innocents to gain but a pittance."

A low rumble is now all you can hear apart from Ryoshen's voice. The air is stifling, boiling hot, as if the sun was inches away. His words boom and echo, the walls of the stone building seem to ache in protest as they're forced to bend outward. The girl standing behind Ryoshen takes a step back, wide eyed, one hand searching for support as the ground seems to tremble. Poe is nervous, though Ryoshen's iron gaze seems to clamp him down where he stands. The other now, who stands across from Poe, next to Kato, is troubled, though he does nothing to intervene.

"I will not grant you such respect as answer you on command. I will not allow you to continue such travesties of fealty and honor, and nor would my master, Sifu Yoshin, have done so. I am but his pupil, and your presence not only dishonors Sifu Kato but Sifu Yoshin as well. To honor one who dishonors a Sifu is to dishonor a Sifu, and I would rather die than do so."

Sweat actively rolls down Poe's brow, Ryoshen's gaze never flinching or leaving the recipient of his wrath. The house complains as if it would explode, books lifting ever so slightly off the tables, small items like pens and parchment stuck to the ceiling. Ryoshen's clothing lifts and sways, as if a thermal of air was rising out from his feet.

"I will ask this of you once... Leave the presence of Sifu Kato.... Immediately."

These last words shake the foundations of the temple as the ground seems to shudder in response. A thunderous boom can be heard from the sky, followed by bolt of red lightning, gashing open the top of the house and striking Ryoshen's forehead with a deafening crack. Ryoshen cries out, a mixture of pain and exhilaration as a symbol is seared into his being, sparks and molten rock spewing from where the bolt meets his skin. Fire and light surround and envelop him. The flames do not burn. The light does not blind. As the beam subsides, Ryoshen, in his moment of splendor, takes note of the underlying problem.

One angry glance seems to undo it, another boom and explosion as the magic surrounding Kato is torn off it's hinges. Shafts of superheated magic fly off in every direction, tearing holes in the stone and blowing up furniture. The remnants of the roof, having endured enough torment, collapses, the midday sun fully pouring down on the scene. As the dust settles, you catch the fleeting glimpses of Poe and his companion as they leap through the open ceiling. They have apparently taken the request very seriously.

Kato sits up, looking groggy, but is otherwise transformed. In place of the dying soul, you see a man who looks to be in his late 60s, distinguished lines cross his face and a keen intellect seems to shine from his eyes. He looks at you for a moment, then at the ruins of his home, as if he has no idea what has happened. His expression turns to that of understanding, and he nods to himself, his voice deep and genial. "I've been careless... only carelessness could explain this." He turns to Ryoshen, still enveloped by the flames that do not burn. "You have my thanks sun child... my thanks and the gratitude of this shrine..." He suddenly notices your attire, and begins to piece things together. "No... it cannot be." He can't seem to contain his smile. "You are Ryoshen, are you not? Yoshin has spoken of you many times. He rises from his chair and steps toward you. "Tell me, what has happened? Why are you here?"


Last edited by Erendiox; 8th of July, 2007 at 09:14.
  #20  
Unread 10th of July, 2007, 02:28
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He was alive. Ryoshen could not remember ever feeling life before as he did now. Every breath, every heartbeat, every neuron pulse, every bone and muscle working in tandem, it was all felt in a glorious instant. To a mortal, this would have been sensory overload. However, in that moment Ryoshen was no longer mortal, but a god.

Ryoshen felt a warmth in depth he had not once before. He felt a supreme calm residing in his inner being, greater than anthing from times before. The brilliant light and intense flame enveloping him only supplemented this, magnifying it tenfold. Ryoshen looked up, through the large hole in the mangled roof, into the sun. It did not blind him, instead filling him with even more warmth. It was at this moment that Kato's muffled voice became clear. Hearing "sun child," Ryoshen realized what had happened.

I am what the Dragonblooded call Anathema. I of the same as the Founder. I am Exalted, a progeny of the Sun.

Ryoshen smiled as he noticed Kato before him, the Sifu restored to his natural self. His mind shifted to the girl behind him. He turned his hed nd glanced to her, smiling warmly as to calm her. He then focused back on Kato, finally hearing the questions he had before so longed to be asked from the Sifu.

"As you say, most honorable Sifu, I am Ryoshen, student of Sifu Yoshin of the Shrine of Gyoja. Regrettably, I bring woeful news. I am but the only survivor that I know of from the shrine.

Near two weeks before this day, a visitor came to the shrine. He was not much unlike that man Poe in both mannerisms and attire, and he argued with Sifu for quiet some time before leaving engraged. A week from that day the shrine was attacked by three Dragonblooded. They spared no soul, murdering everyone including Sifu. If it were not for his abilities, I would be among the fallen as well. He sent me away with this, to deliever it to you, Sifu, at this very shrine."

With that Ryoshen paused, reaching for the bamboo scroll case. He brought it up, offering it to Kato, and continued.

"On my way through this city, a group of men made an attempt on my life. I have enough reason to believe that these men were hired to do so. Poe's presence here alarms me as well, and I fear that an attack similar to the one from before is imminent. What has just happened may expedite this, and I fear my very presence here endangers you all."

Last edited by fhgwdads05; 10th of July, 2007 at 03:54.
  #21  
Unread 10th of July, 2007, 14:41
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Kato takes the bamboo case, holding it as if he was cradling a child. He looks at it, then at you. "You know what's in here... don't you?" He pauses, half a grin on his face. "This is... everything." He paces round the room slowly, his voice full of energy. "Everything the Onmyouji is, from our founding to the present day, is crammed into this collection of ancient scrolls. It's our history... all we have learned. All we hold dear to us." He seems engrossed in thought for a moment. "... If this were to fall into the wrong hands, or worse, be destroyed, the Onmyouji would effectively be no more. Very few know these documents well, and none who live now understand them in their entirety. Within the scrolls are the keys by which creation can be cleansed of all its impurities, without which, we start from square one, and I don't think we have a few centuries to figure it all out again..."

Kato smiles to himself. "Yoshin did not trust me. He has held on to the originals for as long as we both have had the title Sifu, though had been generous in providing written copies of whatever sections I requested of him. Still, this case contains the only complete set of documents. There are no replicas. We feared that our knowledge might fall into the wrong hands. The question is, what to do now..." His expression turns grave as he contemplates. "...Yoshin surely sent you to me because he believed I would see to it to protect our legacy, by any means necessary... and that's exactly what I'm going to do. My students cannot stay here any longer. What has befallen the Shrine of Gyoja is evidence enough. The realm seeked to infiltrate and manipulate this shrine, and would have succeeded if not for your arrival... now that they have been foiled, they will surely do the same to us as they did to your home. Tradition would have me stand and defend this temple to the last breath, but such blunt adherence will not help us here. It's the the lives of our students, and the knowledge in these scrolls, that need to be protected. Not the temple."

He nods to himself, as if he's come to a decision. "I will have my students gather their belongings. We will leave immediately. Poe will surely alert his superiors of whats happened. The Immaculates will be quick to stamp us out. As for you..." He turns rock serious. "... you hold onto this..." He hands you back the bamboo scroll case. "Understand, we are proud and strong, and will fight for our survival, but ultimately, my students and I have too little to offer in match for the chosen of the dragons. You know what they're capable of by now. Our legacy must be protected, and you are our best hope."

The glow from your anima dims as he continues. You can feel the energy within you calm, replenishing itself. "Yoshin's act of entrusting The Histories to you means more than you know... and it's obvious now his faith was well placed. There is no doubt that much is in store for you, for good or ill. Surely you realize what you've become." Kato gets closer to you as he speaks, his voice lowering to little more than a whisper, his words supportive but not without the edge of cold hard facts. "There will be no escaping greatness my child, nor the watchful eye of those who would seek to manipulate you. Your enemies will multiply... they will seek to besiege and smother you. Hold fast to what you have been taught. Wisdom may be your saving grace."

[one point toward an intimacy with "Preserving the Onmyouji"]

Last edited by Erendiox; 20th of October, 2007 at 02:28.
  #22  
Unread 11th of July, 2007, 11:04
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With the boy in the monastic clothes gone, and disturbingly late, Egam begins to worry about the boy's fate while helping Uboe clean his stand and sell his goods. Then, a group of well-dressed men begin to force the crowds apart, as if they were pariahs, and even being near them would bring doom to yourself. However, they were instead a group of Dragonblooded, watching the market crowd with their heads tilted up haughtily, and their eyes filled with disdain. Although Egam and his family were no longer technically poor, he still identified more with the people of the slums then people like these Dragonblooded. Anger and disgust rose up through Egam. He wasn't about to pull some stunt, but he wanted to glare at these men, like many of his impoverished cohorts were at the same time.

It dawned on Egam that these men may have something to do with that boy. Why not, when the boy was from a temple, and these men were here to "close" a temple. Bidding goodbye to Uboe in a sudden rush, Egam begins to trail the Dragonblooded with Uboe yelling, confused, at him. Weaving through the crowd, trying to use his small size to obscure himself more, he attempts to follow the men, just enough to see where they are going. And, maybe, hear why they are here.

[Dex + Stealth Roll (2 + 0) = 8 6]

Last edited by Erendiox; 12th of July, 2007 at 07:55.
  #23  
Unread 12th of July, 2007, 03:19
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Surprise hit Ryoshen as Kato explained the scrolls' importance. He knew they were very important, but in actuality their value to the Onmyouji was withot limit. He accepted the scroll case, humbly bowing his head.

I finally see, Master.

With that, Ryoshen looked up into Kato's steely gaze, and spoke.

"I will be the guardian of The Histories, and will die before letting them fall into the hands of our trespassers. I will be the living emodiment of the teachings of our founder and those who have followed in his steps. By my flesh and spirit, I swear to this.

Now, we must take our leave from this place. You may not be able to safely escape without aid, so I will lend myself to wherever needed. What would you have of me, Sifu?
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  #24  
Unread 15th of July, 2007, 01:40
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Ryoshen

"I would have you deliver a message for me. The captain of the guard is who you seek. Captain Eeraileous Gustav. He will aid our escape."

Kato moves over to the far corner of the room, brushing aside some rubble and opening a wooden drawer. From it he produces a small tablet of green jade. The image of a Sextes Jylis is carved into it. "Not all have fallen under the sway of the Immaculates. Many still cling to the old ways, and would support us in our time of need. While his superiors would have him act in accordance with the Realm, Gustav's loyalties lie elsewhere, and he has established the trustworthiness of many men."

He puts the tablet into a leather pouch and gives it to you, the whole thing fitting nicely into the palm of your hand. "Go north, to the gate of the silver district. You'll find two men stationed there. Speak to the one on the left side. Show him the tablet and tell him you must speak to Gustav. He will tell you where to find him. Once you have found Gustav, tell him the worst has come to pass and the plan must happen tonight."

His eyes turn to the small one behind you. "Sasha, are you alright?" The girl nods, looking startled at the latest turn of events, but seems otherwise composed. "Then I want you to help Ryoshen. The city is very large. You must help him find the silver district." She nods again. Kato turns back to you. "She won't slow you down. Let her show you the way."

Egam

You shuffle through the crowd, staying unnoticed. It seems the parade of Immaculates is headed toward the silver district, the quarter where the majority of the city's nobles reside. The silver district is also the district where your new home stands. It's not uncommon for an extremely rich or powerful dragonblooded to come striding into the city like this, but something about this fellow tells you he's not interested in being wined and dined.

Last edited by Erendiox; 15th of July, 2007 at 14:07.
  #25  
Unread 18th of July, 2007, 00:03
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Ryoshen nodded favorably in response to the information. Any allies the Onmyouji had to bring aid in this city brought the chances of escape to a nearly satisfactory level. He accepted the pouch, holding it with great care.

"As you wish, Sifu. Our current attire will draw unwanted attention to those who wish to prevent our escape, as I have personally experienced already. Sasha and I will need to disguise ourselves."

---------------------------------------------------

New clothes had never felt so refreshing to Ryoshen before. The quick bath was nearly as so. He returned to Kato for the Sifu's blessing, and then met with Sasha near the shrine wall facing in the direction of the Silver District.

"Are you ready to leave? Embrace me, and do so firmly."
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