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Thread: Empire Of the River God IC
Tuesday, 29th June, 2004, 02:04 PM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Empire Of the River God ICTurning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
WB Yeats The Second Coming
PreludeThe monastery is quiet. Outside the gongs ring and the sounds of people returning into the halls can be heard. Feet shuffle as weary acolytes bend and wash hands and feet, removing the dust of the fields and cleaning new found callouses. Those who have passed their acolyte days contemplate the bare room, before sinking down on their haunches to bow in the direction of the ancestral statues and take their places, around the low tables. Acolytes enter and try to copy the smooth movements of their elders, but few manage.
The gong is struck again and bowls of food are brought out by servers clad in simple brown robes. Quickly they are passed down the rows and exh keeps but one bowl. The monks eat and then rise- filing out into the courtyard, lined up from the most senior to the most junior, they slowly, in unison, perform the nightly final form, bidding the setting sun goodbye.
From a window above the Abbot watches. Sitting with him is a man, clad in a black silk kamono with a red sash. In his hand he holds a single straw made of gold. But the gold can be seen to be tarnishing. Silently the man bows, his head parallel to the ground as he silently offers the golden straw to the abbot.
Just as silently the abbot reaches out and takes the straw. He examines it, knowing why it has been brought but never the less doing it to show his appreciation to the man. With a sigh he reaches down and places it in a vase on his desk, along with 13 other such straws. His composure breaks, and he sobs. The man before him remaining bowed, not wanting to embarass the abbot by letting him be seen crying. When the abbot once again regains control, the man straightens, turns and leaves- the sound of his horse leaving, even as night falls being heard.
A month later
The auguries do not make sense. A group of Shugenja, Monks and Hamans stand huddled around the golden straws from the Abbots desk. Six straws have changed- they reflct within their depths people from across the Empire, but seven remain unchanged. All thirteen are meant to change, that there are only six worthy champions seems disturbing.
Silently the six are gathered and given to a servant
"You know where each of these goes- make sure they get to their intended recipients."
The servant bows his head, goes downstairs and silently hands the straws, one each to the riders. Each mounts and rides, spreading out asthey leave the monastery. Inside, thos gathered look at the pieces of parchment on which the straw lay, and contemplate those to whom they are being taken.
The sun burns as you gothrough your daily exercises, striving to find that elusive factor that the master tattooer reffered to. Each movement precise, a search for perfection. Your foot landing, followed by the smooth flow of hands, body, mind.
Your moving neditation is disturbed. A young boy, one of the children of the peasant village down below is running, arms waving and shouting out. Calmly you stand, your head beaded with sweat and wait for the child to arrive.
"Holy one, you must come, there is a messenger below. He says he must see you. Everyone is watching him. And Holy one, he is riding a horse and wearing only black!"
Even as the child finishes speaking it is evident that the messenger did not wait. A black clad man, red sash at his waist comes up to you, bows his head briefly and stretches his hand out. Clutched in it is a single, tarnished, golden straw.
Sakura AsanoThe guest house on the Hitena family estate seems small. There are definitely better equipped and larger guest quarters, surely they must be making some kind of point? Probably just showing the esteem they hold her clan in, As members of the Lion they have been scrupulously polite, but nothing more.
Your maid, Chisa, is busy coming out your hair, before piling it and readying it for the day. Yousit contemplating the smoothly laid out garden in front of you, concentric circles of stones blending into straight lines which flow along a small stream which remains slow until forced around a single large stone.
As you sit contemplating the garden, with the maid combing your hair, you see your personal cokk coming down the path, crossing the bridge over the stream. He is bent low, a tray of savories held in his hands as he leads a black clad man towards you.
"Mistress, a messenger as arrived and has begged audience with you. I have brought some food for you, as he has had a long journey."
Staying bowed, he pulls a small table over and places the tray of food upon it. Whereon he bows again, goes to the far end of the porch and sits on his haunches.
The messenger bows, his head remaining bent as he puts his hand out, a single, tarnished golden straw within it.
The delegates from Phoenix have been talking for an inordinate amount of time. Seated with the women in the court, the Daimyo addresses the ambassador form the Phoenix. As they talk one of the houshold guard comes and whispers in his ears. He stands and addresses the anbassador
"Surely when the time is right we wil exchange knowledge. For now I will discuss with the monastery of they are prepared to establish a monastery in your lands. I am sure that he will be able to find some acolytes willing to shoulder such responsibility."
The ambassador bows as the interview is concluded- he not having got what he wanted, a full monastery of the legendary Dragin monks in Phoenix lands. As your Daimyo exists he nods to you, indicating you should follow.
In his private study he sits.
"Come Zoriko. Attend me. There is a messenger here that comes for you."
He rings a bell and one of the guard shows the messenger in. Clearly he has been bathed and fed since he arrived, his skin still red from the boiling waters of the baths. Bowing to the Daimyo, his head almost touching the ground he straightens only slightly as he turns to you. Remaining bent he removes a small tube from his belt, removes a single tarnished golden straw from it, and presents it to you.
News on the barabarian frontier is rarely good. So when the cloud of dust being kicked up in the distance is seen the gongs are beaten. Quickly the guards move to their assigned positions and peasants in the field look up, only to return to their work when they see that clearly it is no army on the way.
You are roused from a planning session. The noble members of the household have been discussing what actions to take in relation to the renewed activity coming from the barabarians. Clearly something will need to be done soon, but first intelligence will need to be gathered. As the great General says, "Choose the field of the battle".
The striking of the gong rouses the session and the junior members of the household file out, to see the arrival of a man on a horse, clad in black woth a red sash. He stands straight as he confronts the household guards.
"I have a message for Tamejiro Iegara. Where may I find him?"
"What message would that be? One cannot merely enter out lands and demand audience with the family!" Clearly the guard captain in not impressed with the lack of manners shown by this stranger.
The man looks at the Captain, looks over those gathered there, his look stopping on you. You are certain you have never met, yet clearly he knows you. Bowing in your direction he holds out his hand.
"My Lord Tamejiro, please take this, it is of utmost importance that it go to you alone."
The guard captian in the meanwhile is clearly growing even more agitated at being ignored.
You enter into the study of Kuni Yasushi. A cousin and senior member at the monastery. Unlike you he has followed the path of the Water shukenga but you still often get together to discuss matters relating to the clan and the monastery. Often these are related, and lately the discussions have turned more and more to the Shadowlands which lie beyond the walls of the monastery.
"You know Akata, the taint is growing. More and more we find ourselves fighting those who chase after it. The ranks of the witch hunters need swelling and I believe that i will join them shortly."
Quietly he moves over to a small cabinet and removes from it a bottle of his best saki and two small, delicate glasses, made to resemble entertwined crabs. Coming back he pours a glass of saki for each of you before quickly drinking his down. He waits for you to do the same, quickly refilling the glasses.
As he lifts his glass to his lips again there is a knocking at the door and one of his servants stands there, kneeling on the floor, and keeping his head down as the door is opened.
"My pardon lords, but there is a messenger downstairs looking for Lord Akata Kuni. He is most insistent and says it is a matter of utmost urgency."
He stays on the ground, head lowered, until Yasushi dismisses him.
"Another time then Lord Akata. I suppose you should go and see this messenger."
As you descend into the monastery entry area you see the messenger, a man dressed in lack woth red sash. On seeing you he hurries over, bows and hold out his hand, within it a single, tarnished golden straw.
ooc: If anyone feels that I have treated their character incorrectly above, please let me know and it will be corrected.
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Tuesday, 29th June, 2004, 03:37 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Sakura Asano of the Scorpion Clan
Sakura gazes at the straw held out by the messenger, no emotion crossing her features. She reaches out and gently takes the straw from him, and examines it momentarily. A tarnished straw? What I am to do with this?... She glances sharply at the messenger, then gestures gracefully to him.
"Please seat yourself and eat. Tell me, from whence have you come?"
Tuesday, 29th June, 2004, 04:32 PM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
*Zokiro looks to her lord for a moment, then reaches out a takes the tarnished golden straw.*
"I would ask, sir messenger, the meaning of this straw if you know it," she inquires, her small calloused hand closing around the straw, a hand that clearing showed she was more than a courtier.
Tuesday, 29th June, 2004, 04:50 PM #4
Iegara accepts the straw wordlessly, examining it for several minutes. "This is the sum of the message? From whom does it come?"Originally Posted by Ghostknight
"What do you want?"
"I want to get the hell out of here!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, we're fresh out of that. I'm afraid all we have left is untimely death!"
Tuesday, 29th June, 2004, 06:15 PM #5
Guide (Lvl 11)
Togashi Shokai, Monk
Shokai bows and takes the straw from the messenger┤s hand. "Strange is the message. Or are there words that come with the golden straw?"
Wednesday, 30th June, 2004, 06:09 PM #6
Novice (Lvl 1)
The tribe is dancing around the great fire. Songs are being sung, much food eaten and even more drunk. As the night goes on partners are pairing off, bounding into the trees outside of the circle of light formed by the bonfire.
In the centre, led by Sitha, the great shaman of the tribes, the tribal shamans dance, circled by their apprentices, who in turn are circled by the adults. AMongsth this almost order weave the children and adolescents, dancing and twirling, adding their own unique blend into the tribal dance. For the forest has provided, The kami of the great forest have sent the wild ox through and the tribes will eat well in the coming months.
But slwoly a disruptive presence is felt. Through the dark a horse can be heard. As it arrives in the clearing the tribe falls silent, the dancing continuing until the Great Shaman Sitha faces the rider, a human clad in black.
Welcome Human. What do you want with us? You are far from your lands and riding at night through the forest at night is not recommended.
Dismounting, the human bows to the Great Shaman.
I seek Amanu. I know he is here and have something to give to him.
His eyes rake through the darkness, and seeing Amanu in the light of the bonfire he bows, and holds out his hand. In it something glints, it appears to be a straw, but one made of old and tarnished gold.
Wednesday, 30th June, 2004, 07:57 PM #7
Kuni Akata, Shugenja
Akata bows his head slightly to the messenger and accepts the straw. He looks it over very closely for a moment, looking to see if there is any writing or anything on it. He will ask the messenger with a slightly raised eye-brow "This is all? I apologies if I seem confused but it is a rather strange gift or message that you have presented me with"
"life is pain princess, anyone telling your different is selling something"
Wednesday, 30th June, 2004, 11:38 PM #8
Scout (Lvl 6)
Amanu takes the straw with curiosity. You ride through darkness and danger to give me this? It must have meaning that is as yet unclear. Can you provide more information? ~Strange indeed are the ways, of humans. But so interesting, I wonder what became of that monk?~Originally Posted by Ghostknight
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:50 PM #9
Novice (Lvl 1)
You take the straw- the tarnished metal feeling cold in your hands. Uou can feel the imperfections where the metal has begun to rot away.
As you hold it, an image comes to mind. An old man sits alone, from his head radiates beams of light- each shooting out, creating a net. As the picture flows out you can see the net, encircling the shadow lands. And along the strands you can see spiders, scorpions, centipedes and worse, gnawing at the strands, trying to break the net.
The old man looks at you- hs eyes boring into you, imploring.
"Help me, I will not live long and the ONE must be found. Already the strands break and not all my heroes can be found.
With that, the picture fades.
You see the messenger in front of you- looking at you with the eyes of the old man.
There is an old charge - many cycles ago the clans agreed to protect the Empire. Into their hands was given the charge to never allow the Shadow into the jearts of men. The temples and monasteries have always formed part of this sacred trust. The Hengeyokai, Vannara and Korobokurru have always been part of the great cycle of the Kami.
Now you are all called on to fulfill the needs of the sacred trust. Prepare yourselves- in three days time I will return. Come with me on my return it is th eonly hope of the Empire that those chosen by the Guardian answer his call- for you are the ones that together will find the ONE.
With that the messenger collapses, and slowly fades from sight- his horse, clothing and belongings remaining where they were.
Around the table, six pieces of parchment bear the face sof the Guardians chosen.
Wil six be enough? Why can not all 13 heroes be found? We do not have all clans and races- will they be succesful?
Those gathered pick up the ivory sticks, toss them into the air, waiting for them to fall and show the future. But the unexpected happens, all sticks land, but stand vertically, impossbly held in a position that is as unnatural for them as it to those observing. A slight laughter can be heard fading into the distance.
So, we are not to know. Let the Celestial Court decide our fate. The fate of the empire resides with those chosen by the Guardian and we shall not falter. Prepare for their arrival.
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 06:09 PM #10
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
*Zokiro blinks in amazement as the vision fades from her mind, and start as the messenger disappears. She turns to her lord and gives a deep bow.*
"Daimyo, I saw a terrible vision of an ancient man who is holding a net of power around the Shadowlands, to prevent them from corrupting the land. It is slowly fading and weakening as the powers of shadow attempt to devour it. The messenger, I believe, was the spirit of the guardian. I humbly ask to be given permission to persue this quest for the honor of the Dragon clan," Zokiro says, holding her bow as perfectly as she can. Such quests are often dangerous, and her life belongs to her lord. Only he can give or deny permission for such a thing.