February 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm #1711
A few days after your return to Threnody Manor. You’ve been briefed about the the estates happenings while you were gone, and you’ve already begun drafting plans for the remodel,which will be made infinity easier and less expensive by the harp. You have been summoned to meet with somone very important, a meeting you have put plans on hold to attend…
You stand along a dark dirt road, one of many that meander through the open, wilderness that lay between Fanlu’s busier parts, and the old norther wall. Except for the soft glow of watchskulls and lanterns in the distance, you might as well be somewhere out in the country. To your right, a crumbling wall marks the edge of a plum tree orchard along the edge of some old estate. A thing mist clings to the the low areas, and above it, in the pale light of a sliver moon, you can see the hunched shadow of the sleeping mountain rising over the south side of town. Several members of your cohort hang back, crouched on either side of the road. You did not need them to come, but lately, you’ve seen how every small event is an opportunity to train your men. They will learn much from this walk in the dark, even if nothing foul happens along the way. You don’t suspect it will, but few travel through the night, and those that do have purpose.
Out of the mists the Night Watchman walks with purpose. His footfalls are dead silence, and you can swear his feet never quite touch the ground. His voice is like deep and gravely, like it comes from the earth beneath his feet.
“Master Threnody, I’m glad you have come to meet me. I have called you here to discuss the dangers that have passed within Fanlu’s walls. Since that night on the docks when the sigil was stolen, I have done much investigating, and much has occurred since you left for Shen Ling. The four you met that night at the Misty Haven Tavern, are the notorious leaders of a gang of sorts. This gang refers to themselves as the Black Vines, and their leaders have sometimes been called the 4 stranglers, in whispered and dramatic fashion of course…”
He smiles and takes a long drag from his pipe before continuing
“These four stranglers are apparently brothers of sorts, the sons of an old, fat warlord who once tried to forge the clans of the vine tower hills into a kingdom. Those clans are a wild lot…spirit blooded and shape changers almost to the last one…beyond redemption, and beyond any semblance to mankind, though they walk in the skin of men…long ago they sold their souls and very bloodlines to the dark spirits that dwell among those shadowy hills to the east…Through the years they’ve made many attempts to infiltrate town, and many a night I’ve had to sniff them out and drive them away…they have been like rats that nest at the corners of our fields…pests really, but these “Four Stranglers” and their Black Vines, are different, a larger group, more organized. They claim to serve their old father, a Ching Rogoo, who in his overweight and tired old age has apparently found some source of vigor, and has once again renewed his efforts to bring the clans of the vine towers under his banner. Apparently he views Fanlu as a danger he must keep tabs on and even meddle with.
While you were gone the Black Vines made a large play on the north side of town. They stole near a dozen sigils, they took over several taverns and inns to serve as their bases and barracks. They seemed to be daring the Brotherhood or the House of Pacified Shadows to go to that part of town and face them. I drove them off, but not without great help from the Fishermen. Their leader himself came to our town when he caught wind of what the Black Vines were up to. The Fishermen are human through and through, they have a strong dislike for the clans of the Vine Towers, for any whose blood is mingled with spirits…even for me, yet they seemed genuine in their wish to keep these Black Vines from gaining any true power in town.
End result, the Black Vines gave up their ambitions without much fight. It only took a few skirmishes with the Fishermen and myself to send them on their way. They still have a few operatives who have dared to stay behind in Marshtown. Both the Fishermen and I believe that leaving these operatives in place, pretending not to know of them, is valuable for the time being…a away to keep our enemies close so to speak. The threat of the Black Vines, and of spirit bloods and shapeshifters in general will be vastly reduced with the presence of the Fishermen in Laketown, but now they feel quite entitled to stay. I see no reason to move against them, unless they give me one. I also see your men about town. I advise you come to terms with the Fishermen, and even to the Brotherhood, to see there are not breaches in protocol. My experience is, peace is best maintained with boundaries are respected…and I am nothing if not a keeper of Fanlu’s peace.”February 16, 2016 at 5:18 pm #1717
After nodding his head in greeting, Grey stands, gauntleted hands clasped behind his back listening impassive before the Night watchman, obviously attentive in spirit, but aloof of posture. When the Watchman finishes Grey brings his hands around before him and together, bowing to the wise watchman.
“Peace is best maintained when boundaries are respected”, Great Watchman your wisdom and my thoughts are matched horses in this regard. I appreciate your time and effort, I will always respond to your call and i will ever welcome your wisdom should you wish to share it with me. Grey bows again deeper this time, respect evident in his poise.
Straightening and turning to look off towards Threnody Grey continues Amongst other interests, I have already begun solidifying alliances with the Brotherhood. I see the wisdom in doing the same with the Fisher folk, I will seek an audience with White Carp. Some of my Black Jackets are fisher folk, I will ask them to see what can be done in this regard. It is my hope that we can, with the aid of others see Fan Lu bloom.March 20, 2016 at 11:20 am #1720
There is one more thing Grey. Evon consulted me on something you found beneath a tavern in Lake town…a circle of summoning, protected by spirit blooded thugs…probably also Black Vine cohorts…and a demon to go with it no less.
The uneducated call all things that rattle the doors at night demons. They have the luxury of ignorance because those like us know and deal with the truth for them. True demons, true Oni, true devils are rare and telling of deeper evils.
It had to have been Wujen work. There is an ancient spell that is known to few, more a ritual really. When done proper it creates a small circle into which the spirits cannot see or sense, a place where magic can be worked unseen. I have seen the circle you found, and it is such a creation. It is the only way a Wujen can work powerful magic within our walls without attracting the attention of the Sleeping Mountain.
Perhaps this Wujen was in league with the Black Vines, perhaps an angry disciple of Akiba who yet lives and meddles. Perhaps you have already sent them running, but such magic allows for the darkest kinds of subterfuge to be carried out unseen beneath our feet, and if the Wujen who made that circle still stalks our streets or hides in the catacombs below, we must remain vigilant.
Have you any idea who might have made that circle?
March 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm #1727
“Specifically, No. I do not. After Stern and I uncovered that blasphemous thing, We defaced it enough to render it powerless. After that I asked Evon to investigate it further with the help of some of my people. I have yet to receive a report on their findings but then I have only been home for a few days.”
Grey turns to look the Watchman directly in the eyes,
In establishing ourselves in this region, and doing the deeds we have, my friends and I have undoubtedly caught the attention of some of the less savory elements of this land. This is our burden to bear, the cost of the path we follow.
Grey places his right hand over his left forearm in recognition of the Tattoo there,
In short we have made ourselves targets, this only makes sense. Just as it makes sense for us to be prepared for foes seen and unseen and in general do the best we can. In this regard i thank you for your time and effort, it is greatly appreciated. Any further information you may come across pertaining to this matter would, like wise, be greatly appreciated.March 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm #1735
The Nightwatchman nods as he takes one more puff of his pipe. You can swear you see the smoke around him playing out in the vague shapes of dragons without ever becoming them. You both part ways, walking opposite directions down the lonely gravel road.
You pause on the road as the watchman speaks his last words for the night, uttered over his shoulder in a gravely voice as his silent strides carry him away.
“It is not only the bad who have noticed you…Not only you who walk the path…You do not bare the burden alone..others walk the night in silent accord”
He then walks off into the mists.
You realize you could just walk into the Anglers Line tonight, the large tavern said to be the place the Fishermen hold up. It would be a bold move to just walk in..or you could send word and await an invite. Either way, you think contacting them and testing the waters should be your next move. What will you do?
————————————————————————–March 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm #1744
….others walk the night in silent accord”
“I know Watchman, and i appreciate that.”
Grey thinks to himself with a wry smile striding back down the road, summoning his waiting men to him with a thought and addressing them as a whole once they are all walking together.
Tonight I am going into town, please return to the manor, I have business to attend to alone.
Then Grey speaks, telepathically,specifically to Wren, the leader of tonights group.
Please tell (Our lantern bearer) to meet me at the Anglers Line, and appraise Void of my whereabouts.Thank you.
With that Grey splits of from the group and speeds silently off into the night towards town.March 26, 2016 at 9:12 am #1745
The Anglers Line is in North Laketown. Across the street from some decrepit old warehouses. It’s a big grey building, 3 stories high, with heavy shutters and a drab, weathered exterior. The Eves of the covered patio that surrounds the first floor are sagging, and if the place didn’t look so sturdy, one might assume it could fall down at any moment.
It’s the biggest building in this little area and sticks out as such. It was probably once a boarding house for people first moving into Fanlu, but now it is a grand old tavern and saki house.
Outside the streets are quiet, but the open windows that ring the 2nd floor are alive with light and silhouettes, and voices spill out into the night. The Anglers line, though still from the outside, is alive with activity inside. There’s a pair of saloon style swinging doors that leads into the front of the place. A single figure smokes a pipe while leaning up against it. You’re not sure if he’s spotted you.
What do you do?March 26, 2016 at 9:31 pm #1750
As you approach, the figure at the door hurriedly straightens up and heads inside ahead of you.
You brush open the doors and see a cavernous and shadowy common room crowded with people and supplies…it is part saki house, part tavern, part warehouse, and part market place all in one. No sign of the guy who went in before you, but it would be easy to vanish in a place like this. The smoky tang of lamp oil mixes with that of steamed rice and fried fish. This is about what you see inside, except lit my lamps and candles instead of natural light:
March 26, 2016 at 9:42 pm #1752
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by DM.
Grey steps imperriously inside removing his hat, pausing at the threshold for an appropriate amount of time before visably relaxing is demeanor. Crossing his arms he leans against the wall to the right of the doors, chin up eyes focused on distant thoughts.
Patiently waiting, stone still, no fidgeting or looking around.
March 26, 2016 at 11:14 pm #1755
The room seems to take a breath as those who notice you enter grow silent, but there are enough people who didn’t notice you enter, who continue about there business, that it is a subtle drop in volume. When you lean against the wall, for a few moments you get the sense that all eyes are upon you, but then, after a few moments, it is the opposite. It is as if everyone in the place is avoiding looking at you. You wonder if this is a sign of respect of disrespect. Whatever it is, it is some kind of decorum. It is too consistent to not be purposeful. No one is looking at you, not a single soul..and then you see her.
A young woman in a simple, but elegant gown is walking directly at you, directly in the line of your vision. Even as the rest of the room continues to ignore your presence, she alone seems to acknowledge you in fullness. At two arms length she pauses and performs a practiced curtsy.
“Humbly I ask, that I might provide… does the handsome master come to parlay, drink, or do both this evening?”
March 27, 2016 at 10:33 am #1758
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by DM.
He nods in acknowledgement and leads you to a corner of the common room that is sectioned off from the rest by a curtain of beads for privacy, and sits you at a very fine table of dark wood.
“Thank you for what you did In Littlemountain” She coyly adds, as she backs out of the beads without giving you much chance to respond.
There is a little side hallway that leads out of this curtained area and deeper into the building. It is from this hall a man emerges after a few moments, carrying a clay pitcher of saki on a tray with two cups.
“Grey Threnody I presume? Our humble house does not often have the honor to serve landed gentry… I hear you are a man who often walks among the people? I hope our humble establishment does not fail your expectations” His tone is sincere but there is a casual hint to it, of, mocking? Is he mocking you, or himself, or merely trying to be personable, you’re not sure?March 27, 2016 at 11:35 am #1759
Grey rises from his chair as the man enters, giving the fellow an appropriate bow, before Grey removes his hat and jacket, placing both on the back of his chair before sitting back down.
Correct, I am Grey.
I have seen little of your establishment but I have no doubt that it is like it’s people; sturdy and respectable with a fine honerable history.
Grey places both hands upon the table palms up, as the man places the bottle and cups.
Then swiftly before the fellow can react, Grey gracefully grabs the bottle pops the cork and pours the saki into the cups,his motions fluid, filling them each in three even pours.
He could have done it in one pour each but that would have been to quick,in too much of a hurry and frankly bad form. Two pours each would have been totally appropriate for a normal situation but give the import of the moment Grey chose the more exacting three pours each. Leaving each cup equal and avoiding a four pour, as four is and unlucky number, being the word Shi, which closely resembles the word for Death.
So in this action he is showing his respect and his understanding of tradition as well as adding gravity by skirting death.
Stone faced Grey finishes and allows the man to choose his cup before speaking,
Thank you, and Who do I have the pleasure of drinking with?March 30, 2016 at 7:54 pm #1763
The man pauses to regard your pour. There is just the hint of one of his eyebrows raising. He waits for you to sit again and then takes a seat himself across from you.
“They call me Gill here, and this is my establishment.”
He takes the cup on his right, a sign he is interested in dialogue. Had he taken the one on the left it may have meant he was only politely humoring you.
“Just Gill. No titles. This is a simple hall for simple men. I find there are many in Fanlu who strive for something more complex… who build up estates and households to run them. This was a free town, founded by free men of humble beginnings. It would seem many came here to escape lands lorded over by nobles, only to take on their practices…lacking the noble blood of course. Your house for instance, is much grander than mine, as is your title…master Threnody…lord Threnody…and yet what great king or noble clan secures such a title? Plenty of men in Fanlu willing to call themselves lords and masters, and take up the accouterments of such, yet none of them fool me. We are all just commoners in my eyes. The people of Fanlu, one and all, are remnants spat out from the lands of nobles and high clans, fortunate enough to land beneath the gaze of a benevolent spirit and make a home here, that is all.”
You are unsure if he is being frank and bold, or just testing you to get a reaction.
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