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  #26  
Unread 20th of April, 2007, 04:01
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Takeshi dismounts and leads Daisuke off into the undergrowth. They remain on the ridge and in the undergrowth as much as possible to avoid discovery. Heading downstream, so the current won't pull them down to the ferry when they do attempt to cross the river, Takeshi looks for a bend in the river which would prevent observation from upriver, preferable one near an island in the river which would cut the swim in half and give Takeshi a place to observe the opposite bank from cover. If and when he finds such a place, Takeshi then looks for a fallen tree. He breaks off any limbs protruding more than two feet from the trunk, and with Daisuke's help, manhandles the tree to the edge of the cover, and waits for dark. As darkness descneds, he eases the tree into the water, and holding onto it to keep above water, slowly begins kicking his way accross the river.
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  #27  
Unread 20th of April, 2007, 16:18
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Interlude 14: The Shrine of the Five Martyrs

Interlude 14: The Shrine of the Five Martyrs

Takeshi and Daisuke swim the river. They land far downstream on the BangXie riverbank. From there they set out again.

There are fewer refugee camps than Takeshi saw the last time he was in BangXie. The other refugees have either moved on, found jobs, enlisted in an army, or sold themselves into slavery.

Across the border in Miao Province they camp out again. The next day they reach the Village of the Five Martyrs.

The village lies at the top of a waterfall, beside a mountain lake. It is protected by a steep cliff to the south, the falls to the east, and the lake to the north. They can see fishing boats on the lake. A rope hangs across the lake as it narrows near the the falls. A ferry is dragged along the rope across the river to the far side.

The road intersects at the edge of town. Another road leads West to ZhiYi Province, and south to wind down the cliff beside the falls. At the intersection there is a prominent shrine dedicated to the Five Martyrs, with architecture that far surpasses anything in the humble community.

In the shrine there is an inscription etched in marble that tells the tale of the Five Martyrs.

"In the 150th Year of the Monkey, a horde of rampaging Shamaalite barbarians crossed the mountains and invaded the empire. Their army was forced to halt outside of this stronghold, as it was guarding a natural obstacle. Though it was held by only a token force, the barbarians stopped to rest overnight and prepare their seigeworks to take the stronghold the next morning. As the Shamaalite army slept, five heroes infiltrated the barbarian camp and slew the King of Shamaal and many tribal chiefs. Once their ambush was sprung at the heart of the enemy host, the heroes knew they would have no chance of survival. Their sacrifice saved the empire. The factions of the divided enemy turned on each other and the Imperial army was able to divide and rout the remmants."

Once Takeshi has read the inscription, a bright light forces him to wince. As the light fades, he beholds five spectral figures of immense size. One is an aristocratic officer. Another is an ascetic friar, The third is a dignified scholar. The fourth is a tough-looking sergeant, and the fifth is a spirited maiden.

The ghostly figure of the aristocrat speaks. His voice has an unworldly resonance.

"It is fate that has brought you to this shrine. We who saved the empire long ago will enable you to save it again in your era. But first, you must prove yourself."



OOC
Takeshi swim roll 16+mods

http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=988460

  #28  
Unread 20th of April, 2007, 22:18
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With a deep bow, Takeshi responds, "It has been my honor and the honor of my family to serve the empire for many generations. I long to return to the imperial gardens. What may I do to serve you, oh martyrs?"
  #29  
Unread 21st of April, 2007, 07:09
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Interlude 15: Sanctification Round 1

Interlude 15: Sanctification Round 1

The sage spirit steps forward and says “To save the emperor, you must resist the evil spirits that haunt Shan Mountain, and for this you must be sanctified.”

Takeshi suddenly finds himself in a different place. Everything has a golden hue, as if viewed through a colored lens. He is no longer at the Shrine of the Five Martyrs. Instead he is in an arena. It is 70 yards wide, enclosed within a bamboo fence six feet high. Beyond the bamboo fence there is a ten foot concrete wall with viewing stands for spectators rising high above. The surface of the arena is sandy clay.

The arena is empty of spectators. The five martyrs stand beyond the bamboo fence. Takeshi shares the center of the arena with…himself. It is like looking in a mirror. A gnome identical to Takeshi, but with a sinister expression and cold unfeeling eyes stares back.

The ascetic monk martyr continues “To be sanctified, you must first defeat the evil within yourself.”

Without further prompting, the dark clone attacks.



OOC
Interlude 15 and 7:8 (1d20=8, 1d20=4, 1d20=15, 1d20=4, 1d20=17, 1d20=11, 1d20=17, 1d20=9, 1d20=14, 1d20=8, 1d20=10, 1d20=19, 1d20=20, 1d20=16, 1d20=12, 1d20=10, 1d20=19, 1d20=7, 1d20=15, 1d20=8)
Initiative: Takeshi 8+mods, Evil Takeshi 4+mods. Takeshi wins

09 Takeshi 235E/185N
05 Evil Takeshi 240E/175N

Evil Takeshi is identical to Takeshi, but with one negative level.


  #30  
Unread 21st of April, 2007, 09:10
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Takeshi closes his eyes for a moment and focuses on the feeling of the wind blowing accross his face. His focus narrows from the empire, to the many thousands of refugees, to those remaining in Miao province, to the people at the Shrine of the Five Martyrs, finally, to himself. Prepared by his brief meditation, he prepares to battle his inner darkness. Speaking a few words of druidic tongue, his staff grows and shimmers with power.

ooc:
cast shillelagh, step to 180n,240e

spells prepared
0th purify food/drink, purify food/drink, light, flare, mending
1st cure light wounds, cure light wounds, goodberry, shillelagh
2nd bear's endurance, heat metal, owl's wisdom
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  #31  
Unread 21st of April, 2007, 23:59
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Interlude 16: Sanctification Round 2

Interlude 16: Sanctification Round 2

As Takeshi enchants his staff and advances, his evil clone withdraws and summons a flaming sphere.

The sphere appears behind Takeshi and hits him from the rear. His back blisters as it burns.



OOC
7:12 and Interlude 16 (1d20=3, 1d20=14, 1d20=5, 1d20=16, 1d20=2, 1d20=17, 1d20=6, 1d20=20, 1d20=3, 1d20=1, 1d20=6, 1d20=18, 1d20=2, 1d20=5, 1d20=2, 1d20=18, 1d20=20, 1d20=8, 1d20=20, 1d20=8, 1d20=2, 1d20=13, 1d20=14, 1d20=15, 1d20=12, 1d20=19, 1d20=15, 1d20=16, 1d20=10, 1d20=16)

09 Takeshi 240E/180N. HP 15/24. Casts spell and steps.
05 Evil Takeshi 235E/170N. Steps and casts flaming sphere. Takeshi fails save with 3+mods. 9 pts of damage


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Unread 22nd of April, 2007, 13:43
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Knowing that pressing the attack without consideration often results in rash decisions, Takeshi puts some distance between himself and his shadow.

ooc:
run to 175n,245e, to 100n,245e
  #33  
Unread 23rd of April, 2007, 11:44
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Interlude 17: Sanctification Round 3

The evil aspect of Takeshi laughs to see his opponent run. Rather than pursuing with the flaming sphere, Evil Takeshi leaves it to burn in place as he begins a spell of summoning.



OOC

Round 2
09 Takeshi 245E/100N. HP 15/24. Runs
05 Evil Takeshi 235E/170N. Starts casting
  #34  
Unread 23rd of April, 2007, 12:05
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Takeshi ignores his mirror, responding with a summoning spell of his own.

ooc:
spontaneously sacrifice heat metal to cast summon nature's ally II.
  #35  
Unread 24th of April, 2007, 09:41
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Interlude 18: Sanctification Round 4

Interlude 18: Sanctification Round 4

“An early wolf is better than a late wolverine!” taunts the Evil Takeshi as his summoned wolf appears between the two combatants. The wolf charges Takeshi, tearing his arm in its jaws, and knocking him prone.

Despite the pain and jostling, Takeshi is able to maintain his focus on the spell, and continues casting.

Meanwhile the flaming sphere rolls steadily towards Takeshi.



OOC:
5,7:12 (1d20=17, 1d20=13, 1d20=13, 1d20=1, 1d20=5, 1d20=20, 1d20=9, 1d20=15, 1d20=1, 1d20=12, 1d20=7, 1d20=12, 1d20=1, 1d20=17, 1d20=8, 1d20=10, 1d20=13, 1d20=16, 1d20=7, 1d20=16, 1d20=19, 1d20=2, 1d20=20, 1d20=1, 1d20=19, 1d20=5, 1d20=16, 1d20=6, 1d20=8, 1d20=11)

Round 3
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 8/24. Starts summoning.
05 Evil Takeshi. 235E/170N. Finishes summoning. Instructs wolf. Moves sphere to 240E/150N. Wolf arrives at 245E/135N. Charges and attacks Takeshi. Hits with 20. Confirms with 9+mods. 7 pts of damage. Trip 15 vs Takeshi 1. Takeshi is knocked prone. Takeshi concentration to keep spell when damaged=12+mods vs. DC 19 Succeeds. Concentration check 7+mods to keep spell when tripped DC 15. Success.
  #36  
Unread 24th of April, 2007, 11:09
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"That may be so," Takeshi mutters under his breath, "but a crocodile should put a crimp in your day."

A crocodile appears just behind the wolf and attacks it at Takeshi's command. Takeshi, meanwhile casts a healing spell on himself.

ooc:
Finish summoning a crocodile
Instruct it to attack the wolf (grappling on a hit)
to hit 15 damage 11 grapple check 22
If the wolf is successfully grappled, cast cure light wounds on myself.
If the wolf is not successfully grappled, cast cure light wounds on myself on the defensive.
roll for concentration to cast on the defensive if necessary 18
  #37  
Unread 25th of April, 2007, 08:59
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Sanctification Round 5

Interlude 19: Sanctification Round 5

As his first minion is eviscerated by the crocodile, Evil Takeshi immediately begins another summoning spell. Meanwhile, the gravely wounded wolf bravely manages to break free and retreats back towards its master.



ooc:
Interlude 19 (1d20=17, 1d20=17, 1d20=2, 1d20=14, 1d20=16, 1d20=7, 1d20=11, 1d20=17, 1d20=6, 1d20=2, 1d20=16, 1d20=11, 1d20=16, 1d20=10, 1d20=3, 1d20=20, 1d20=15, 1d20=13, 1d20=3, 1d20=20)

Round 4
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 17/24. Instructs croc to attack wolf. Hit with 15 for 11 pts of damage. Wolf rolls 17+mods to resist grapple. Croc grapple succeeds. Takeshi casts CLW for 9 pts.

05 Evil Takeshi. 235E/170N. Starts casting another summoning. The wolf attempts to break free. Rolls 17 vs croc 2. Succeeds. Escapes to 245E/110N. Moves 40 ft back to 245E/150N.
  #38  
Unread 25th of April, 2007, 22:45
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Confident that his crocodile will have things well in hand without further instructions, Takeshi begins casting a new summoning spell as well.

ooc:
sacrifice owl's wisdom to cast summon nature's ally II
  #39  
Unread 26th of April, 2007, 11:30
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Interlude 20: Sanctification Round 6

Interlude 20: Sanctification Round 6

As Takeshi starts to summon another ally, the crocodile catches up to the wolf and bites it in half.

Meanwhile, another wolf appears and charges Takeshi, mauling him. As Takeshi is thrashed, he loses his concentration and his spellcasting is spoiled.


ooc:
Interlude 19 (1d20=17, 1d20=17, 1d20=2, 1d20=14, 1d20=16, 1d20=7, 1d20=11, 1d20=17, 1d20=6, 1d20=2, 1d20=16, 1d20=11, 1d20=16, 1d20=10, 1d20=3, 1d20=20, 1d20=15, 1d20=13, 1d20=3, 1d20=20)

Round 5
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 10/24 Summons. Croc charges wolf. Hits with a 17 for 15 pts of damage. Wolf is killed. Croc is at 245E/145N

05 Evil Takeshi. 235E/170N. Finishes summoning another wolf at 235E/140N. wolf charges Takeshi, ending at 240E/100N. Bites Takeshi, hitting with a 17+mods. 7 pts of damage to Takeshi. Takeshi is still prone, so no roll to trip. Takeshi concentration check 2+mods. Fails. Loses spell. Evil Takeshi starts another summoning.

Last edited by crueldespot; 26th of April, 2007 at 19:30.
  #40  
Unread 27th of April, 2007, 01:56
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Takeshi grows tired of talking to himself, as it were, and except for instructions given to his crocodile, fights on in stoic silence.

ooc:
Instruct Croc to attack evil takeshi, Croc charges and attacks, grappling on a hit. Takeshi casts bear's endurance on himself on the defensive.

croc attack 12
croc damage 10
croc grapple 16
takeshi concentrate 18
  #41  
Unread 27th of April, 2007, 09:17
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Interlude 21: Thoroughly Chewed

Interlude 21: Thoroughly Chewed

Takeshi is able to perform a ritual to gain vitality, even lying prone while being mauled by a wolf. The wolf continues to bite him. Takeshi is now thoroughly chewed.

Meanwhile the Evil Takeshi avoids the jaws of the summoned crocodile and steps away to begin the spell to acquire another wolf ally.



OOC:
Interlude 21 (1d20=16, 1d20=1, 1d20=8, 1d20=13, 1d20=3, 1d20=4, 1d20=8, 1d20=4, 1d20=19, 1d20=14, 1d20=5, 1d20=4, 1d20=16, 1d20=18, 1d20=19, 1d20=10, 1d20=18, 1d20=16, 1d20=18, 1d20=20)

Round 6
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 15/24 10 temp) Succeeds on defensive casting. . Croc charges to 240E/165N and misses.

05 Evil Takeshi. 230E/170N. Wolf bites Takeshi with a 16+mods (inc vs prone) to hit. 5 pts of damage. Takeshi is still prone, so no roll to trip. Takeshi concentration check succeeds. Evil Takeshi steps away from Croc and starts to summon again.
  #42  
Unread 28th of April, 2007, 13:45
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Who knew my dark side was so tenacious

Takeshi closes his eyes to focus on the good within him, and begins casting once again.

ooc:
croc attacks Evil Takeshi, grappling on a hit
Takeshi spontaneously drops goodberry to cast summon nature's ally I, casting on the defensive

croc attack 21
croc damage 14
croc grapple 22
Takeshi concentration for casting on defensive 15
  #43  
Unread 1st of May, 2007, 09:41
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Interlude 22: The Scales Tilt

Interlude 22: The Scales Tilt

Both sides of Takeshi’s personality are beset by the creatures summoned by their opposites.

With the first bite of the crocodile, the scales tilt in favor of Takeshi. His evil twin is gored and held like a rag doll in the jaws of the crocodile. Evil Takeshi is still alive but helpless.

Meanwhile the summoned wolf continues to maul Takeshi, interfering with his spellcasting. Takeshi is now bleeding from multiple bite wounds.



ooc:
Interlude 22 (1d20=19, 1d20=19, 1d20=13, 1d20=4, 1d20=9, 1d20=19, 1d20=20, 1d20=6, 1d20=11, 1d20=17)

Round 6
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 11/24 10 temp). Casts on the defensive. Croc attacks and hits for 14 damage. Evil Takeshi rolls 19+mods to resist grapple. fails. Fails to maintain spell with 19+mods.

05 Evil Takeshi. 230E/170N. Wolf bites Takeshi with a 13+mods (inc vs prone) to hit. 4 pts damage. Takeshi rolls 4+mods to maintain spell. Loses spell.
  #44  
Unread 2nd of May, 2007, 08:29
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Knowing that he can't continue this fight in this manner for much longer, Takeshi quickly utters a prayer that his crocodile shall remain strong for a bit longer. With only one healing spell left, Takeshi turns his attention to his defenses.

ooc:
croc attacks evil takeshi (I'm not sure if this is a grapple attack or a bite or a tail lash)
Takeshi takes a total defense action.
  #45  
Unread 2nd of May, 2007, 11:12
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Interlude 23: Sanctified

Interlude 23: Sanctified

As Takeshi huddles in a fetal position beset by the wolf, the crocodile shakes Evil Takeshi in its jaws, thrashing the life out of him. With a few more shakes, Takeshi’s rival aspect is killed.

In a blink, he is back at the shrine in Miao Province. This was no dream. His wounds are real and painful.

The spirits of the shrine look down on him. “This symbolic victory enables you to accept our blessing of sanctification.” A bright glow fills the shrine and surrounds him with a luminous aura. The glow subsides as it seeps into him. “You are now protected from unnatural evil. Your virtue shall allow you to pass among the otherworldly spirits of Dian Province. But we warn you: These are not the only foes that you must face. Fortunately, you can face them with comrades. Other heroes have been sanctified at our shrine. Together you can lift the curse.”

With a bow, the spirits disappear.
Daisuke nuzzles Takeshi. A crowd approaches. They behold the gnome with awe. Soon the village chieftain himself rides out of the village at a gallop. After they exchange introductions, the chieftain offers Takeshi the hospitality of his home. “Welcome to the Village of the Five Martyrs. Only once before have the Spirits of the Martyrs appeared. This is a great honor.“



OOC:
Interlude 23 (1d20=7, 1d20=8, 1d20=4, 1d20=6, 1d20=10, 1d20=5, 1d20=17, 1d20=10, 1d20=8, 1d20=10, 1d20=1, 1d20=20, 1d20=17, 1d20=1, 1d20=16, 1d20=3, 1d20=11, 1d20=18, 1d20=5, 1d20=12)

Round 7
09 Takeshi 245E/100N HP 11/24 10 temp). Full defensive. Croc rolls opposed grapple check to inflict damage. 7+mods vs 8+mods for Evil Takeshi. Croc wins. Damage vs Evil Takeshi = …well, minimum damage roll is enough to finish him off.
  #46  
Unread 5th of May, 2007, 00:59
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As Takeshi feels the warmth of the martyrs' blessing and hears that he can not pass unmolested by the spirits, a brief moment of pure joy runs through him. I'll be able to return to my gardens!!! His joy, however, is short lived, as he recalls what has been done to the gardens.

"This great evil must be overcome, and I shall do by best, such as it is, to accomplish that great goal."

Takeshi graciously accepts the chieftan's hospitality, and at the dinner table that evening asks about the prior appearance of the spirits, and if the chieftan knows of the other heros the spirits spoke of.
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  #47  
Unread 6th of May, 2007, 06:01
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24: Henchmen of Golock

Interlude 24: Henchmen of Golock

The inhabitants of the village are respectful towards Takeshi, but a little nervous because they are unfamiliar with gnomes. The village shaman heals him, and he is given a seat of honor at the dinner table.

"The only other time that the spirits have appeared was eight days ago. The other heroes that were sanctified by the spirits were henchmen of the wizard Golock."

Takeshi has heard of Golock, and knows that his dreaded tower is in the town of Ichiba, across the river from Dian Province.

"They were a remarkable band. One looked like a young wizard. Another was a huge outlander. One was an Imperial messenger, and there was an elven warrior maiden. Three of them were halflings. They were followed everywhere by a solomn clay giant. For hundreds of years the spirits were silent, and now they have spoken twice in a fortnight. Truly these are strange times with the emperor lost."


OOC: 600xp for defeating Takeshi's evil aspect. He now has a permanent protection vs evil spell on him.

Last edited by crueldespot; 6th of May, 2007 at 06:03.
  #48  
Unread 7th of May, 2007, 11:55
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"May his name ever be blessed," Takeshi responds, almost involuntarily, as the emperor is mentioned. He briefly relays the story of the chipmunk and how he came to be at the shrine of the five martyrs. "It seems that great things are in store for our empire. Do you know, may I ask, how the henchmen of this Golock came to be here?"
  #49  
Unread 8th of May, 2007, 11:30
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Interlude 25: A Strange Tale

The village chieftain nods respectfully during the story of the talking wooden chipmunk, but is not sure how to react to such a strange tale.

"I am sorry to say that the henchmen of Golock were not nearly as conversational as you, Sir. They did not tell us about their mission. I presume that they would return to Ichiba once it is completed."
  #50  
Unread 8th of May, 2007, 14:05
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"Just so. I thank you for your hospitality, and pray that the spirits will look on you and yours with favor."

In the morning, Takeshi rises early and walks briefly through the forrest, returning with five pine sapplings which he plants in the villiage square in honor of the martyrs.

Taking two rice balls with them, as when they left the barge, Takeshi and Daisuke set off for Golock's tower. The pair pauses on the banks of the bronze river for a long lunch, as Daisuke munches berries and Takeshi gazes wistfully at the imperial gardens, disheartened to see weeds and overgrowth where there should be only order and beauty.

Upon arrival at the tower, he requests an audience with the dread wizard.
 

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