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  #1  
Unread 1st of June, 2007, 02:35
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Prologue: Dust and Benkei

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. It's been a long night for the Immaculates. With the Onmyouji temple in flaming ruins, they now turn to round up those they carelessly let escape. All traces must be destroyed, as ordered. Several teams of troops go out into the wilderness, tracking down the handful of absconders. One such team is different, in that a young boy leads the chase.

Dust

You move quickly and quietly through the brush, your eyes wide, scanning every rock, every thicket, every tree. The young ones you are tracking obviously know nothing of evasion, as the disturbances paint a clear path for you, even with only the moon for light. Your clients, the trio of troops that follow, seem clunky in comparison, their armor ill suited for this kind of work. They leave you room, but do not lag behind.

There are two, as you can easily see. A pair of tracks extend out ward before you. Suddenly, they separate, both going in opposite directions. Looking down at the two splitting trails, a smile splits your face. It is a smile containing both malice and innocence, the kind of smile only a child could possess. Three words break the otherwise silent forest as you speak for the first time since meeting the soldiers.

"Time to play..."

You bolt down the path to the right, your clients caught slightly by surprise as they pick up the pace. Not a few minutes later, you have one of them in view. You turn to the soldiers and point, and they go off to do what they do best. The little girl screams out as she falls, an arrow lodged in her back. Begging for her life, the small one is ended before your eyes.

Unflinching, you turn back down the other path, moving like a chill breeze in the summer heat. After a half of an hour, you can see a dot in the distance across a long field, your quarry. Minutes pass as you close the distance. Soon, you're passing through someone's cornfield. You're aware of other fields ahead, as well as a small dirt road that passes between them. You're almost right on top of him. He leaps out of cornfield, and over a small wooden fence onto the road. Covered in sweat, panic in his eyes, he turns, and for a moment he sees you through the cornstalks, your cold exterior only contributing to his fright. Then you notice another in the darkness, what looks to be a traveler on the road. The elites, only a few steps behind you, leap out after the boy, one of the three shouting to the man nearby.


Benkei Minasume

Walk, walk, walk... walking is all you've been doing for a while. You have the money for a horse, but can't ride one worth a damn. The last clue on Michio led you to the An-Teng region, if only someone had let you know how ENORMOUS this region is. After taking a ferry to the mainland, the trail on your grandfather had gone dry, and for the last week you've wandered, looking for some sign of him.

You're passing through some farmland on a dirt road, the hour late. The last person you talked to said that this should lead to one of the larger towns. Perhaps you'll have more luck asking around in the pub there. You're pondering on this when a small boy comes crashing out of the corn field to your left, jumping the fence like the dogs of hell were right behind him. He turns back, horror in his eyes, drenched in sweat. Suddenly there's a rustle and three men in armor leap out after him, their blades and armor plates gleaming in the moonlight. One of them turns to you and barks angrily.

"Stand aside stranger!"

[Benkei: Perception + Awareness: 2 (9,6) 1 success]

  #2  
Unread 1st of June, 2007, 14:12
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Muttering to himself, Benkei trudges on into the night. The time for finding an inn had long past. Now he just looked for a nice pile of hay to sleep in. “Well at least the weather is good,” he mutters to himself, not bad for sleeping outdoors. Moving down a dirt road he finds himself lost in thought... how much money he had, where to find his next lead to Michio, where his next meal was coming from, how many people he could take out. Shaking his head, he tries to clear out the last thought. It seemed like thoughts of violence were coming more often as time passed.


After a time, Benkei begins to wonder how reliable the farmer he had met earlier was. Surely he should have come to the town by now. Benkei is shaken from his thoughts as a boy jumps out from the field.

Charging forward, he tackles the boy and begins punching, blood pumping in his ears, more and more joy fills him with each punch. Blood trails his fists as he lifts them to deliver another blow. Laughing, he begins to tear at the child's eyes as the boy's breathing slows.

As he steps back in horror, the boy bounds across the path untouched and leaps the next fence disappearing into the night. Disgusted with his thoughts Benkei is startled as three men appear.


“Stand aside Stranger!,” one shouts to him. Stepping back, still slightly dazed, he lets them pass by.

Last edited by Phidoe; 2nd of June, 2007 at 12:08.
  #3  
Unread 2nd of June, 2007, 05:29
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The soldiers bound by, weapons in hand. The boy breathes heavy. You both can hear his panic as impending death closes in. The boy turns to Benkei, his expression harrowing, and shouts in desperation.

"Help! Please help me!"

Last edited by Erendiox; 5th of June, 2007 at 06:46.
  #4  
Unread 7th of June, 2007, 02:41
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The boy's cries for help snap Benkei free of his daze. Without thinking, Benkei runs past the pursuing guards catching up to the boy within seconds. Reaching out he grabs the child by the his arm and lifts him onto his shoulders. Redoubling his efforts, Benkei rushes through the corn field, searching for a place to hide.

Last edited by Erendiox; 7th of June, 2007 at 07:30.
  #5  
Unread 7th of June, 2007, 16:29
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The girl had lost. Dust had managed to follow her without any problem, and then the soldiers had won. Then it was on to a different game. A new person to play with, he had been just as bad as the girl at running. But he'd gotten a larger lead, so it was more challenging to catch up with him with the soldiers in tow. But Dust had done it anyways. He was good at games like that.

The soldiers had gone off to play after he'd found the boy. But a new player, one Dust hadn't expected, had just joined. He was on the boy's side, and he was running too.

Dust smiled happily and jumped out from the field onto the trail. He started running after the larger new playmate.
  #6  
Unread 8th of June, 2007, 03:56
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Benkei

The boy falls down on his face, turning around just in time to look up to his pursuers, faces without mercy, blades raised. Suddenly, you rush past the soldiers, grabbing up the boy in a flash and and leaping into the nearby cornfield. Cursing at their carelessness, the men give chase. The boy you carry is dumbfounded and does not speak, merely holds on tight as you bound forward as quickly as you can. After shuffling your way into the thick cornfield, you believe you may have lost them. A loud rustling sound, and one of the soldiers bursting through the corn nearby, locking eyes with you, suggests otherwise. He shouts to the others, and within seconds, the trio are nearly ontop of you.

[Benkei: Dexterity + Stealth 2 + Nighttime(waxing moon) 2 + Cornfield 2 = 6 (10,8,6,6,4,3) = 3 Successes vs. Soldiers: Wits + Awareness 5 + Actively Aware 2 = 7 (9,8,7,5,5,4,4) 3 Successes ^Failure^]
[Join Battle: Benkei: Wits + Awareness 3 (8,3,2) 1 Success, Soldiers: Wits + Awareness 5 (10,10,9,7,5) 4 Successes]
[Note: Benkei has a -1 mobility penalty while carrying the boy, Soldiers are 10 yards from Benkei]

Dust

As you run forward, you see all the players run into the cornfield. Gleefully, you follow them.

[Join Battle: Dust: Wits + Awareness 5 (8,7,7,6,1) 3 Successes]
[Note: Dust is 15 yards from the soldiers and 25 yards from Benkei.]




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Unread 8th of June, 2007, 04:14
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Tick 0

The soldiers rush Benkei, their heaving frames and armor knocking down cornstalks as they go.

[Flurry: Dash/Attack (Speed 4, -3 DV): Move (Dexterity 3 + 6 - Mobility Penalty 2) = 7 yards per tick, arriving and attacking on tick 2. Next action on tick 6]

Last edited by Erendiox; 9th of June, 2007 at 10:33.
  #8  
Unread 9th of June, 2007, 08:21
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Tick 1

Dust was running for everything he was worth. No longer did he need to pa yattention to the ground for tracks, nor have to wait fro the lumering soldiers to keep up. He could move as fast as he wanted, and so he ran as fast as he could.

[OOC: Making a dash action, 3 speed. Will go again on tick 4. Speed is 3 + 6 = 9 yards.]
  #9  
Unread 9th of June, 2007, 10:32
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Tick 2

Their blades cut savagely through the air, with no apparent discretion for this newcomer's life. Both of you seem to have become targets. They swing wildly, sheared off pieces of corn flying through the air as they miss you by inches. The boy on your shoulders doesn't help balance, but you persevere, ducking away as best you can. One of the soldiers trips, his rather large sword catching a loose belt on his comrades armor. They both fall as a result, tangled in a mess of weeds and cornstalks.

[Flurry: Dash/Attack (Speed 4, -3 DV): Attack (Dexterity 3 + Melee 3 + Accuracy 1 - Action 3) = 4 (10,4,4,4) 1 Success vs DV 2 (DV1 + Cover 1) <failure>, 4 (8,6,6,1) 1 Success vs DV 2 <failure>, 4 (6,2,2,1) Botch. Next action on tick 6]
  #10  
Unread 11th of June, 2007, 05:14
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Tick 3

Stumbling, Benkei is almost thrown off balance by the boy on his back. Shifting his weight he manages to stay up though. A quick glance over his shoulder shows him that the soldiers had fallen over themselves. Instinct takes over as Benkei turns, charging the prone soldiers.


Joy fills him as he dives onto one of the soldiers, biting deep into its neck. Blood fills his gut as he drinks the sweet crimson elixir. Ignoring the cries of the boy on his back, Benkei flings the child at the oncoming service man as he tears the flesh away from his prey's throat. Sweet blood pumps out ever slower as a Ben licks his hands turning to the stunned soldier. The boy long forgotten, the man turns to run but Benkei is faster. Tackling the man, Ben yanks at his right arm, pulling and tugging until the arm pops free like a boot out of mud and sounding similar. Laughing, Ben leaves the man bleeding in the dirt as he swings the severed appendage at the boy.


The boy nervously shifts on Benkei's back, bringing Ben back to reality. Using one of the fallen soldiers as a spring board, Benkei leaps over the other and heads back towered the road. Ready to jump the fence, Benkei searches for a place to hide or at least stop himself from being surrounded.

[Dash action, 3 speed, moving 2 + 6 -1 = 7 yards]

Last edited by Erendiox; 11th of June, 2007 at 13:05.
  #11  
Unread 16th of June, 2007, 10:11
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He's better than the others. The newcomer had just dodged the soldiers, who up till now had been professional and near perfect in terms of striking those running from them. To see this newcomer avoid their blows, even making one of them accidentally attack the other, all while carrying someone, filled Dust with laughter.

He was close to them. But he hadn't been told to help the soldiers defeat anyone, only to lead them to their quarry. He had done that, and the success or failure of the troops to kill them had been up to them. Now, Dust was free to do as he wished, for a time.


So he would watch, and wait, unseen.

[OOC: Making a stealth roll to remain hidden from everyone. (Dex 3 + Stealth 2 = 5 dice) 9,5,4,2,1 = 1 success.]
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Unread 17th of June, 2007, 13:46
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TICK 6

Ben was of two minds, instincts fought with each other. Half of him cursed himself for a coward, the other half tells him to keep running, run on he does. Stumbling a little on fallen corn stalks Benkei reaches out with a hand to catch the fence. Hoping up Ben propels the boy and himself over, gravel crunches under foot as he lands. The sound off those men's skulls cracking would be more enjoyable he thinks to himself as he dashes on into the night.

[dash action, speed 3, 7 ypt]
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Unread 20th of June, 2007, 10:50
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The one elite that still stood upright gives chase. His armor and Benkei's ward seem to counteract each other, neither one gaining or losing any distance. Unfortunately, the distance between them is next to nothing. The one soldier makes a last desperate swing at his target. Squeezing his eyes shut in fear and clasping tight, the boy on your shoulders cries out in fear. The blade crosses Benkei's shirt, making a hairline slice down his backside, never breaking the skin. Unscathed, you continue your escape, your enemy off balance and exhausted. He breathes heavy and slows down, eventually stopping to look back at his comrades, defeated.

Two of the soldiers grumble out of the cornfield, finally untangled. Seeing their comrade's washed out look, they know that the boy must have gotten away. They look about for their guide, who suddenly is nowhere to be found.

[Attack: Soldier: (Dexterity 3 + Melee 3 + Accuracy 1) = 7 (10,5,5,4,3,2,1) 1 Success vs DV 1 (DV1 + Cover 1 + Willpower 1 - Action 2) <miss>]
[Reflexive Search: 2 Soldiers: (Perception 2 + Awareness 2 - 1 distracted - 2 Nighttime(waxing moon) -2 cornfield) = -1 <failure>]
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Unread 29th of June, 2007, 08:37
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Almost.

The soldiers had almost won. But almost wasn't enough, and the new person was now running for all he was worth. He had evaded the soldiers, made them look like fools even, and all while carrying someone on his back.

Interesting.

There was no need to reveal himself to the soldiers anymore. While they hadn't lost, they hadn't won either, something they clearly should have been able to do. Dust was intrigued now. But there was no reason to run after the new player, no need to let the soldiers know he was even there. After all, it wasn't like the new person was hiding his tracks any.

Dust followed the new trail that had appeared from their passage. He followed it slowly and quietly. Still, even with his great skills, Dust wasn't sure if he could track a quarry at night time...

[OOC: Not sure if I can even attempt a tracking roll at nightime. If you give the go ahead Erendiox, I have a dice pool of 6 (Perception 2 + Survival 2 + Tracking 2) for you too apply penalties? to.]
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Unread 2nd of July, 2007, 10:20
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Benkei runs on into night as a cloud drifts over head. A beam of moon light shines down on him silhouetting his running form. The cloud floats nearer, moonlight reflecting of it like aurora borealis. And he ran, ran so far away, through the night and if nessecary the day. Just to get away.
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  #16  
Unread 4th of July, 2007, 07:19
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Benkei hears the voices of the three soldiers trail off into the distance as he moves quickly through the cornfield. Leaving the farm area behind, you soon find yourself in dense forest. You continue westward, the way that you were headed. Maybe you'll run into that town you were told about, though it might not do you much good at the moment. After a few minutes, the boy breaks his silence, leaning over to your ear as you carry him through the brush.

"... Who are you? What's your name?" He asks gently, obviously curious.

With further travel, you break into a clearing, a stream passing through a flowering field. As you continue moving, the boy looks off to your left side and asks you to stop and let him off. He kneels down beside the stream, the moonlight glistening off the current, like sparks in the water. He clasps his hands together in reverence, speaking prayers softly. You hear him choke on a few sobs, a determined air about him as he struggles to finish them all. When he finally does, he wipes his eyes, gets up, and tells you he doesn't need to be carried any longer.
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Unread 5th of July, 2007, 15:34
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“Who are you? What's your name?”


Benkei continues to run as he answers, the distance beginning to sound in his voice.


“Minasune Benkei is my name, I'm almost certain thats who I am as well.” Almost chuckling out loud at his own wit he runs onward as he ask the boy his name.


In the distance a flow of water can be heard and thinking of his own growing thirst Ben heads for it. Through a field of flowers, closed to keep the nighttime dampness out, the stream trickles creating an almost surreal sense of tranquility. Moonlight hangs onto the waters of a the stream like the last leaf of autumn as the boy indicates that he wants to be let down and Ben obliges giving silent thanks for the short rest to his burning lungs that it will bring. Kneeling on the bank Ben bends down low and drinks deeply.


When he's had his fill he sits quietly listening to the child's tearful prayers, waiting for him to finish before asking what the boy had done to have three realm solders after his life.
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Unread 7th of July, 2007, 11:06
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The boy sits down beside Benkei, letting out a breath and relaxing his body. "My name is Katsua. " He idly runs his fingers through the cool running water as he speaks. "I've spent the last 3 years under the training of the Yamabushi. Their temple resides not far from here... at least... It used to." His expression is mournful, and he removes the one hand in the water to run it through his short hair as he stares into the reflection of the moon.

"... They were so angry. I overheard the elders, speaking of the Immaculates and their great distaste for our ways, though I never imagined what happened this night." He turns to you. "The realm came for each and every one of us... I wouldn't be here if not for you. I owe you my life." The boys expression turns very serious. "The only thing I can think to do now is try and get word to my home, the shrine of Kenfu... before the Realm gets to them first. I could ask no more of you, though, I would certainly like your company. The city is a very long way."
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Unread 10th of July, 2007, 03:34
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Dust followed the trail the boy had left behind. While in the darkness of the scant moonlight it would be nearly invisible to most people, to Dust it was almost as clear as day. Still though, the boy had been running, and Dust was rather tired from tracking all day long and not too keen on running. He walked, examining irregularities in the trail as he went, but mostly just keeping a steady pace.

Finally he reached the edge of the forest in this area, the trail he was following leading into it. Dust shook his head at the idea of following a trail into the darkness of the forest, especially at night. He decided that it would be more prudent, faster, and significantly easier, to simply finish tracking down the two in the morning.

Clambering up one of the nearby trees, Dust found a branch that was large enough for him and quickly fell asleep to the sounds of the night.
  #20  
Unread 10th of July, 2007, 08:32
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The realm came for each and every one of us... I wouldn't be here if not for you. I owe you my life." The boys expression turns very serious. Benkei leans in listening intently.


"The only thing I can think to do now is try and get word to my home, the shrine of Kenfu... before the Realm gets to them first. I could ask no more of you, though, I would certainly like your company. The city is a very long way."


Thinking for a moment Benkei's stomach gives a tiger like growl. “Eat the boy,” his mind screams as a pang of hunger pains hits his brain. Removing the thought from his head Ben can't help but wonder what he would taste like. The sweat on his back feels unusually cold as he tries to calm the voice in his head. Carefully Ben begins to braid two peaces of grass like the copper tubes back at the jewelers store in his home town. Slowly the feelings of hunger and bloodlust pass.


“I am going to the city anyway so feel free to travel with me, now tell me more of this Kenfu.”
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  #21  
Unread 12th of July, 2007, 01:00
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"The SHRINE of Kenfu..." He corrects you. "It's a school, where the skills and values of the Onmyouji are passed on. There are two groups, one in the city and one in the mountains. I was raised in the city until I was 6. After going through the tests to become an initiate, I was told instead to travel east and study under the Yamabushi, Onmyouji of the mountains. I fear sometimes that their sending me here was a form of rejection... but I hope that I can make something special of it." His expression turns to a modest pride. "Perhaps i'm an attempt at bridging the gap between the two methods. It's surely important that I share my experiences with the others, so that they can better understand our distant brothers."

Last edited by Erendiox; 17th of July, 2007 at 08:03.
  #22  
Unread 17th of July, 2007, 09:24
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The boy's story does little for Benkei's curiosity, who are the Onmyouji, why do they separate from themselves, what did they do to anger the realm, where was the mountain shrine, when was the shrine attacked. To many questions and he was getting tired now.


“Who are the Onmyouji?”, he asks settling for the question most likely to get a simple answer.
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Last edited by Phidoe; 17th of July, 2007 at 10:42.
  #23  
Unread 17th of July, 2007, 20:56
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Katsua smiles. "Think of us sort of like exorcists. We use ofudas and thaumaturgy to cleanse the world of impurities. That is our purpose. Our roots are nested in ancestor worship, from before the Realm was ever founded. The Dragon Blooded would have their Immaculate Philosophy replace our time tested traditions."
  #24  
Unread 18th of July, 2007, 09:59
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This boy is a threat Benkei thinks to himself, he's not sure what makes him think that but the thought becomes stronger as he tries to put it out of his head. Continuing Ben tries to ignore the voice in the back of his head.


“Ok, we'll go to the city, but lets rest here for a bit befor we move on.”


With that Benkei sits back and leans against tree growing on the riverbank. Wearily Benkei rubs his temples as sleep slowly overcomes him.


His dreams are as scattered as his mind. One dream has Ketsua betray him leading him to a cliff promising a boat only to have realm soldiers jump out from behind trees trapping them. Another he surrenders Katsua to the realm guards in the city. A third the boy lays his hands on Ben's head and the voices stop. A strange thing the ever present lust for blood almost subsides at the last as if afraid.


Dreams run through his head, not all about Katsua, and usually nightmarish.


His mother finds him in one. Tying him to a ship she sets it ablaze wail chanting in a strange language , his father standing in the background watching silently. Another a strange boy about his age runs playing in the street with the children he use to terrorize back home, kicking a ball into upturned baskets. A brick falls from a rooftop crushing the boy's skull and Ben knows he's dead as the dream fades.


Feeding off of his fear the dreams get worse.


Ben loses himself in a rage killing his grandmother, and his grandfather shortly there after. A madman runs through the night dragging people unfortunate enough to be in his path down alleys and torturing them till daybreak, stifling their cries with parts severed off themselves. The voice returns for this with a giddy laughter. Sickly he is certain the madman is him.


Sweat trickles down his brow as Benkei turns in his sleep.


A dark room with a single candle stands in front of Ben. A crimson red carpet with golden patterns illuminated, spots of darker red sparkle in the candlelight. Michio sits in a wooden chair across the lighted area. The candle sends deep shadows across the old man highlighting his wrinkles. Blue eyes glint out of the shadows cast by his brow. Blood drips from cuts littering his face and hands. Little else of him can be seen but the sweet scent of blood fills Benkei's nostrals. Michio speaks but its nonsensical.


“I can't understand, Abuelo” Ben cries out. His grandfather smiles and becones him closer. Light seeming to go through his hand as it crosses the barrier between light and dark created by the candle.


As Ben steps into the light, Michio speaks again.


“Why are you always mean,” Ben is stunned as Michio continues,”You hurt others and you hurt those that hurt you but then what, you accomplish nothing.”


“No,” Ben weeps,”I've changed, I only protect others now.”


Michio fades away as Ben repeats himself.


“Please stay, I've changed, I've changed, I've changed,” Benkei cries, but his grandfather only fades faster. A horrible sadistic laughter fill the room echoing off unseen walls as Ben awakes with a start.


Wiping a single tear from his cheek Benkei looks to the sky, from the moon he judges to have slept for only an hour or so. Searching around quickly he finds Katsua and rouses him.


“We should move on now”
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Last edited by Phidoe; 18th of July, 2007 at 10:02.
  #25  
Unread 19th of July, 2007, 09:28
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Katsua nods, and the two continue on. After an hour more of trekking, Benkei finds what he was looking for. A small town sits below the next rise. It's the middle of the night, so most are asleep, but taverns never seem to close, so after a rather strange request of the bartender, and a few raised eyebrows, Katsua sports a new set of old peasant garb. Neither of the boys have money for a room at the inn however, so the two find a cozy spot not to far from town, hidden from first glance. There they sleep, amongst the long grass, the plants and the trees.
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