Never deal with dragons

MikeS 2014-05-25 12:33:44
Suddenly, the ronin is in Firebolt's face. He grabs the gonneman's arms and twists the pistols away.


5 ft step and grapple: d20+16 = 22 use AD if necessary
Gatac 2014-05-25 12:51:39
(Firebolt's Athletics check: 1d20+24 = 33 SUCCESS

Takao is flat-footed.

Firebolt fires again, this time a normal shot:
Firebolt's Attack: 1d20+18 = 32 Hit!
Damage: 3d6+1d4 = 9, reduced to 4 by Takao's DR.

He drops both gonnes and draws a new pair via Quick Draw, then goes for a Trip against Takao.

Firebolt's Acrobatics: 1d20+21 = 29
Takao's Acrobatics: 1d20+1 = 5)

The gonneman answers Takao's grab by simply firing off his gonne next to Takao's head, momentarily blinding him with the flash and forcing him back. Before Takao can see clearly again, Firebolt drops down and spins, drawing two fresh gonnes while sweeping Takao's legs from under him.

"You wanna stay down now, big guy?" the gonneman asks. "Come on, we can both see you're just embarrassing yourself. Not so tough without your blades, are you?"
MikeS 2014-05-25 13:32:27
Sadly, Takao has to admit to himself that even if he had his blades, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. The gonneman is simply to nimble.

But at least Takao got him to fire his gonnes, and hopefully this would cause the watch to show up eventually.

"Fine, you win this one", Takao concedes. There would be other opportunities later.
Gatac 2014-05-28 14:05:05
"Looks like there's some sense in you after all," the gonneman says, holstering his gonnes. "But shit, you've got me all worked up now. I might just have to kick your ass some more." He takes a step forward, only for the swordsman to tap him on the shoulder with his sheathed blade.
"That's enough," the swordsman says. "Go deal with the cops, Mura." Mura just nods and hurries off, weighing the coin in his purse.

(Takao's Notice: 1d20+16 = 29)

Even from his place on the floor, Takao gets to observe the little troupe before him, trying to pick up a few details. The gonneman bears a total of six gonnes and bears himself with shifting eyes and twitching muscles, clearly the fast and nimble sort - as Takao learned in their quick brawl. The swordsman's commands are heeded without question, but to judge from his glances, he's not very enthused with the gonneman's way of following those commands. And finally there's the woman, who's been watching Takao impassively throughout - he can spot a wristband with small loops on her right arm, holding at least a dozen tiny metal needles. But if anything, she seems to following the other two around more than she's working together with either. With the gonneman backing up, she goes to Takao's side and takes a knee, gently putting his hands behind his back in order to tie him up.

(assuming Takao doesn't resist)

"I apologize for the indignity," the woman says. "Are you hurt?"
MikeS 2014-05-28 23:28:58
When the swordsman's command immediately puts a stop to the gonneman's aggression, Takao smirks at him and just says: "Thought so."

As the woman takes the gonneman's place, Takao willingly cooperates, and she really only guides his hands into position to tie them, rather than force them there.

"No apologies necessary. It is nice to see that there are people of class working for this outfit as well. No, I'm fine, probably not even a bruise tomorrow."

OOC: Impress d20+4 = 6 ack, almost an error

Takao's words are not eloquent enough to impress the experienced woman, but she can tell that he means them.
Gatac 2014-05-29 08:19:03
The woman nods in response, carefully binding Takao's wrists before she helps him to his feet.

With Takao in tow, the trio leaves the warehouse behind - a sideways glance down the pier sees Mura handing his purse to a patrol of policemen, who in turn seem singularly uninterested in doing anything to stop Takao's abduction.

Corruption. Corruption never changes.

They lead Takao down to the small dock attached to the warehouse and onto a boat made of twin hulls, both half-covered with a tented tarp at the front. The right hull holds the controls, while the left has a large metal vessel that looks a little like a tall oven, except for the shaft coming out of it, which is geared and connected to a large paddle-wheel between the hulls. The woman leads Takao underneath the tarp on the left hull and sits there with him, while the gonneman and the swordsman take command of the oven and the controls respective. The gonneman lights a fire under the oven, which soon sputters to life - and then the shaft starts turning, which sets the paddle wheel in motion and drives the small boat forward. The swordsman ably steers it clear of the dock, then takes a right and sends the boat heading further north - to a destination beyond the capital city, and further away from Takao's allies than ever before.
MikeS 2014-05-31 00:28:52
Just when I thought this plot couldn't get any stranger, I find myself on a boat driven by an oven, Takao thinks to himself.

He is a bit distressed; he did not figure that they would take him away from the capital, and from his allies and weapons. But as of yet he was alive, and stood to learn more about the conspiracy than ever before. He would have to focus on the gonneman. That was the guy with the short temper, and it should be possible to goad him into saying things he shouldn't say.
Gatac 2014-06-11 17:58:46
An hour later, the boat seems to find its destination in a riverside mill; the swordsman steers the boat to shore, the gonneman fastens it to a bollard and quickly works to extinguish the oven and get the boat covered up, while the woman takes Takao and leads him inside. The interior of the mill is mostly emptied of the machinery it once held, having been rebuilt as a covert base of operations for Ikishi's troupe of fixers. One large part of the mill has been sectioned off with a waist-height wall going around it, and to judge from the steel chains bolted to the floor, is meant to hold prisoners. Takao finds just such a prisoner: a young man in what must have been fine clothes months ago when he was captured. Dirt aside and chain around his ankle aside, he looks quite well, though, and fixes Takao with a pleading expression.

"His name is Kichirou," the woman tells Takao. "Please try to get along with him, you'll both be here for a while longer."
MikeS 2014-06-15 00:34:04
Takao nods at Kichirou, then holds up his wrists to the woman.

"I take it you will want to put on something less comfortable."

He tries to take in as much of the building as possible while the woman replaces his bonds with shackles, then points at the other prisoner with his thumb and asks her: "There are meals? I hope gonneboy doesn't make them. He looks like the type who would spit into the miso soup."

Takao makes a great show of looking around, and then asks: "What is this place, anyway? Worked here long?"
Gatac 2014-06-17 10:38:50
The woman ignores Takao's comment on comfort as she fixes the shackle around his ankle before undoing the bonds around his wrists, but the disgust is easy to read on her face.

"I will be responsible for your wellbeing here," the woman says. "If you have not yet guessed, this is where Lady Ikishi keeps her most important...guests. She will be along when time permits to speak to you." She then meets his eyes. "There is nothing you need to know about me or the others. You are in no position to be asking questions. Conduct yourself quietly and no harm will come to you."

As for the mill itself, the prisoner's holding area is - as expected - bare and easy to supervise, but what amounts to the quarters of Ikishi's little team shows more promise: clothes, gear, even weapons, though solidly out of reach for the moment. What remains of the old mill mechanism stretches upward into the second and third floor of the mill, where dark walkways and beams promise hiding spots, if one had means to summon a ninja or two. Perhaps more relevant to Takao's current predicament is the iron chain, running through a small hole in the middle of an iron plate into whatever's below the mill. Said plate looks sits on a matching iron collar built into the floorboards, with the fit just a little too snug to run a finger under the edge, by the looks of it.
MikeS 2014-06-20 23:16:51
"As you wish", Takao replies to the woman.

Shackled, he sits down on the floor, some distance away from the other prisoner.

"Shut up", he tells him before turning away and further examining the mill. The things he is looking out for most are: how many people actually live here? Only three, or perhaps four or five? He also tries to estimate what he can reach with the length of chain attached to his leg, but he doesn't try to move or reach anything yet.
Gatac 2014-06-22 11:40:15
Kichirou, who for a moment looked almost hopeful at Takao's arrival, puts up a sour expression before dropping his head again, continuing to stare at the floor. Inspecting the surroundings further, Takao can clearly make out several common areas - the beds are put away, so no counting that, but there are four zabuton around a small table. As for the reach of his chain - the parts of it that would ordinarily lie low as slack instead feed back into the hole in the floor, where something must act as a weight to keep up pull on the chain. The purpose is obvious - a slack chain is easier to turn into a weapon, and this way, any movement away or towards the hole will have the chain moving through the hole, creating additional noise.
MikeS 2014-06-22 12:05:51
Since there is no reason at all to exert himself right now, and three guards is three too many, Takao looks for the softest spot and lies down to take a nap, or at least to pretend to take one.

For a while, Takao will study the routine of Ikishi's troubleshooters through half-closed eyelids, but he will stay inactive until things have slowed down substantially.
Gatac 2014-06-29 04:52:04
Takao lies down on an old mattress and switches to passive observation mode.

(Takao's Notice: 1d20+16 = 22)

The arrogant gonneman is not just that, he's also lazy. Takao watches the swordsman admonish him more than once about one chore or another, producing eventual compliance - but he is a rash boy stuck in the body of a man. To his credit, the swordsman does not seem overly put out by this, acting the stern father of the group without losing his temper. The woman, though, keeps mostly to herself, and it is still hard to get a good read on her. Her responsibilities seem to extend to the cooking and housekeeping while the men trade off guard duty with additional cleaning and maintenance work.

After what seems like hours, distant rumbles begin - and soon turn louder, as a storm closes in on the hidden mill. At the swordsman's urging, the gonneman climbs to the higher levels of the mill and begins securing the shutters above, while the swordsman - sets the table? Raindrops soon pound against the roof and the walls, while the wind starts howling outside, leading the other prisoner to cower in his corner. As the storm seems to reach the peak of its frenzy, Takao can barely hear the whinnying of a horse outside, and then there is a loud rapping on the door. The swordsman hurries to the door, admitting a figure with a long cloak and hood into the mill, with the horse right behind led by the reins. The gonneman goes to take care of the horse, while the woman takes the mystery guest's throughly soaked cloak - revealing a woman in the twilight of her 40s in heavy bad-weather gear whose exquisite face and hairstyle nonetheless hints at her nobility. She quickly embraces the swordsman for a moment, then looks over to Takao as the swordman whispers...something into her ear. She nods and walks over to the holding area, and it is now that the other prisoner Kichirou tries to squeeze himself into the farthest corner of the pen, clearly hoping to avoid her. The swordsman brings her a stool to sit on, and with a nod to him, the woman does take the opportunity to sit down, safe behind the waist-high barrier surrounding the pen. She turns to the swordsman.

"Wake him up," she says.
MikeS 2014-06-29 12:10:36
Well, that went fast, Takao thinks to himself.

He waits until the swordsman gives him the traditional kick before showing any signs of being awake. He props himself up on his elbows and musters the visitor briefly before saying: "Ah, you must be the boss-lady. Ikishi, was it?"
Gatac 2014-06-29 12:33:32
"Lady Ikishi, if you don't mind, Shinmen Takao," the woman says. "I've worked too hard to get where I am to be brushed off as 'the boss lady'."

She fixes him with a cold smile. "You've caused me no end of trouble, Takao. I should be angry at you - but I prefer to think of this meeting as an opportunity. The way I see it, your ninja friend has hung you out to dry and Ishikawa's in no great hurry to help you, either, because it would violate her precious rules to do so. I don't know what your problem with me is, but I'm confident we can come to an arrangement we can both live with. So, what do you want?"
MikeS 2014-06-29 16:04:50
"My apologies." Takao shifts to a kneeling position, as far as the chain allows.

"You are a High Lord, my Lady, and rumor has it that you are one of the most powerful ones at that. How can a mere ronin be troublesome to a person like that? Be that as it may, the mere fact that I am here and not at the bottom of the lake suggests that you have a solution in mind that goes beyond the simple one."

He scratches his nose, then continues: "It's true, my 'friends' have been less than reliable. The ninja just ran away, and Ishikawa follows her own law to the letter. What good is being in charge of the law of you cannot bend it to your own ends, eh?"

"As you may have surmised, as a ronin I am a bit more flexible than that, and most things can be agreed on, for the right price. Do you just want to pay me to go away, or do you have something more interesting in mind?"
Gatac 2014-06-29 16:22:01
Ikishi smirks. "Law is polite fiction humored by the masses. People like us live by our own rules, don't we?"

"You'll understand if I don't trust you to work for me, but I can send you wherever you wish as a rich man - I hear Sin'an is just beautiful these days," Ikishi says. "But I've got a larger problem - and I suspect you might just be a small part of it. So I need to be sure that sending you away will help me. Tell me about your friends, Takao. Who are you working with, Ishikawa and her pet ninja aside?"
MikeS 2014-07-12 01:29:05
Friends are few and far between. Mostly, there are employers, and employers value discretion."

Takao shakes his head. "Sorry, my lady. My services can be bought, but I do not betray the confidence of my employers. It's bad for business, and even large sums of money tend to run out eventually. I take it, then, that the Lady Ishikawa is not part of your problem, since you ask about others?"
Gatac 2014-07-13 14:39:52
Ikishi smiles. "Ishikawa is part of the problem, but an easily-handled one," she says. "I have bigger concerns. A swarm of locusts headed this way. Some of them Ayami, some not - all mysteries to me, except for one name - Kirika Kamura."

She leans back. "You know that my trade is in secrets and their power. Lady Sarano was a most faithful source, but has been silenced now - although I still retain many of the most treasured secrets in my own vault, it was a rough blow to lose the sheer breadth of information. You will hopefully forgive me, then, that I was only able to find one thing about you, Takao Shinmen."

There's that smile again, which seems all teeth. "You do not seek money - but you do seek the man who killed your sensei, yes?"