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  #1  
Unread 22nd of October, 2009, 04:38
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Qwon's Story: Cliffside

The Town of Cliffside, Day.

The three men were looking for trouble. That much is obvious to Qwon even before he got within earshot. Less than a day from Cliffside, they had picked a part of the road which bent back on itself to stand. From here, they could see anyone coming from either way. So the only reason they could have for blocking the road is to cause trouble. The leader of the three looks to be the only one armed, a small sword buckled on his belt. Beside him, a weasel of a man holds the lead rope of a small mule, its back carrying an empty pack saddle. Both men are shadowed over by the third in the group, a mass of muscle and (judging by the vacant look on his face) not much else.

Once he starts to hear the conversation, Qwon knows for sure they mean trouble. They also apparently didn't know he could hear them.

"… just not sure about this. I mean, yeah, he's just one guy and looks like nothing special, but... I just don't know."

"Don't worry," the leader says, holding his hand up for Qwon to stop. "I'll handle it. You just back me if the guy tries to run."

The leader walks forward, a false smile on his face. "Hello, friend. I'm afraid we need to inconvenience you for a moment. See, this part of the road is private property now, and passing through costs money. Nothing major. A few golden Kerrs should so it, and maybe some food. My friends and I missed breakfast, you see, and we are somewhat hungry."

He pauses, glancing back at the mule. "And our mule there seems to be missing a load to carry. Would you have something worth her carrying?" As he speaks, the man's hand rests loosely on the pommel of his sword.
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  #2  
Unread 22nd of October, 2009, 06:47
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Qwon halts and squints up at the larger man, then takes a stumbling step forward before righting himself, though he continues to sway slightly. He seems perplexed for a moment, then he smiles and pulls out a large clay jug; his smile quickly fades, replaced by a look of concern. He shakes it, then unstoppers it and holds it up, peering within. Finally, he looks at the men and shrugs helplessly, staggering once more as he replaces the cork.

"I had some fine spirits but they have gone."
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  #3  
Unread 27th of October, 2009, 04:21
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The three men pause for a moment, surprised by Qwon's actions. Eventually, the large man breaks the silence with a loud laugh. "He's bleedin' pissed! Just take it from him, Lar, there's no danger here." He shakes his head and turns towards the mule, muttering, "'I had some fine spirits…'"

Lar glares for a moment at his large companion before turning back to Qwon. "Here, you're in some type of shape, yeah? I'll just help you out and take what we need, and then you can be on your way." He never moves the hand from his sword pommel, but with his other he reaches for the strap of Qwon's backpack.
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Unread 28th of October, 2009, 01:52
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"Ah, yes," the little man says, "it is only through losing what we have that we learn what we can be."

He raises a hand as if in preparation to say more, but then he stumbles forward suddenly - directly into Lar as the man reaches for him. The bald head rocks forward, in a seemingly drunken stupor. The movement, however, is timed to coincide perfectly with all the force of his forward canting body.
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Unread 28th of October, 2009, 02:14
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Qwon's head slams into Lar's face, and the crunch of a broken nose is clearly audible. Lar stumbles back a bit, both hands moving to his nose to stop the bleeding. Tears well up in his eyes, and the pain is enough to freeze him.

The other two men freeze as well, the large's hand still half-reaching for the mule's lead rope. Both have the same thoughts playing through their head. Was that an accident, or did the little man purposefully hurt their leader? And what was he talking about, "learn what we can be?"

Their ruminations are interrupted by Lar. Speaking heavily through a busted nose, he snarls "Get 'im!" and draws his sword. The other two advance on Qwon, hands raised in the universe combat pose of barfighters everywhere. Their hesitation, though, gives Qwon the chance to act.

((Qwon's got initiative over the thugs, the leader's a bit hurt.))
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Unread 30th of October, 2009, 07:03
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Hastily backing away from the advance of the two unarmed and decidedly larger men, Qwon trips and falls over backwards. The movement continues into a backward roll and then a shuffling half step, beneath the sword wielder's guard. Righting himself with a comical twist, he simultaneously brings his elbow up toward the unprotected jaw of the man called Lar.
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Unread 31st of October, 2009, 01:15
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Qwon's roll brings him right into the face of Lar, and the sharp elbow makes solid contact with the swordman's face. He falls back, sword flying free as his eyes take on the glassy appearance of one stunned.

The larger man swings a punch at Qwon, but the monk's twist took him inside the larger man's reach and the punch whistles harmlessly over Qwon's head. The other man is less direct than the others, but much more effective. He steps back from the monk's reach (or at least he thinks he does) and wings a smooth stone from the road at Qwon's head. The rock grazes Qwon on the forehead, raising a ragged red scrape just above his brow.

((1 hp damage from the rock, Lar is out of the fight))
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Unread 4th of November, 2009, 00:53
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Moving with the force of the blow to his forehead, Qwon lets the momentum carry him over onto this back, and thence into a roll. Still smiling, and still rolling, he eyes the revolving brute above him, adjusting his angle to pass through the arch formed by the man's legs. The little monk looks like a ball of tangled limbs - one flailing foot lashes upward in a deceptively powerful kick to the larger man's groin as he passes beneath his assailant. He regains his feet unsteadily on the other side - shielded now from the rock thrower - with his back to both men now.

"Now where has everyone gone?"
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  #9  
Unread 4th of November, 2009, 02:18
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Qwon's tumble brought his foot squarely between the larger man's legs, and a hissing sound crosses the man's lips. He crumples slowly to the ground, eyes bulging in their sockets from the pain.

The rock-thrower, realizing things were not going his way, turned and ran for Cliffside. Lar is lying unconscious now, and the large man seems rather incapacitated by the blow to his groin. The mule, deciding it has no interest in the event around it, begins chewing on some grass by the roadside.
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Unread 4th of November, 2009, 02:38
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Qwon retrieves Lar's sword, thrusting it through his sash while humming a tune. He wipes the blood from his head as he returns to the large man, gently putting a hand on his back and imploring him to lean forward.

"Deep breaths, my friend. The pain will soon recede."

He squints up at the sun, and then in the direction the third man had run. One unconscious and one fled and one perhaps in the proper state of mind . . .

"The world, you see, it is like a mirror. When you thrust with the sword, then you are cut. When you seek to do harm, you are harmed. You see?"

He can't tell what the other man's face shows, but he continues on anyway, as if the man understood. He moves around in front of him and extends a hand.

"Come with me to Cliffside. If you will show me the tavern, I will buy you a drink."
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Unread 5th of November, 2009, 05:12
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The man sits forward as Qwon suggests, wheezing. "What... what the hell are you talkin' about?"

"Me and my friends try to ro... try to collect from you, and you beat the piss out of us. Then, you want to have a bloody drink?" He looks at Lar's unconscious body, then at the distnat retreating back of the third man. "Ugh, fine, I'll show you the tavern. Just don't hit me again."

Groaning, he stands and gathers the mule's leadrope. He leads Qwon back towards town, leaving Lar alone on the road. "And what do you mean, the world is a mirror?"
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  #12  
Unread 10th of November, 2009, 03:43
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A short while later, and after many colorful stories cleverly interspersed with lessons gleaned from Qwon's seemingly inexhaustible store of cryptic philosophy, the two unlikely companions are seated at a bar in Cliffside, enjoying their drink. For his part, Qwon is not entirely certain that Aaron has understood very much of what he has been trying to teach, albeit obliquely. Master Arai used to say that much hard physical work was required before the brain was sufficiently open to the ideas of the way. This man might need to be hauling water and cutting wood while the sun rose and set for many years before these things would make a modicum of sense. Yet still, and despite the manner of their meeting, Qwon did not think him a bad man.

"So, tell me then, what are you doing when you are not greeting travelers to the area?"
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