Never deal with dragons

MikeS 2014-10-02 22:09:00
"We'll go wherever we need to go to avoid getting caught", grunts Takao as he breaks Kichirou's manacles open.

Having freed both of them from the shackles, he quickly steps over to their guards' quarters to see if there is anything useful: weapons, other tools, anything that will facilitate the escape or increase their fighting chance.

"It sounded like she didn't want us to go out the front door", Takao comments as he reviews their choices of exit.
Gatac 2014-10-19 06:25:34
"Alright," Kichirou says. "This is what you do, I'll - I'll just try to not get in your way."

A quick search of the quarters turns up - not a lot, actually. The most immediately useful thing is several changes of clothes. Firebolt's corner also holds some ball and powder for his gonnes, but no spare weapons. The swordsman's bed has a selection of crude swords, with the edges obviously blunted for training. Fortunately, he also has a fine sharpening stone - though it might pain Takao to ruin such an expensive tool just to restore some semblance of cutting power to a mass-produced weapon, an hour of free time should yield a usable blade. The only thing remarkable about the woman's possessions is her collection of thin needles, apparently for some medicinal art.

As for the exit - well, there's getting underneath the floor, crawling through dirt and the old drainage and then diving out into the river, the slightly more elegant climb up to the shutters on top of the mill - though that leaves the drop back to the ground outside unaccounted for - and the front door, both the easiest and the hardest way, depending on how you look at it.
MikeS 2014-10-19 19:52:17
Takao takes one of the practice swords and the wet stone, but he's not too concerned with sharpening anything right now.

He looks at the shutters, then down the floor boards that he lifted out, and finally at Kichirou and makes a face.

"I don't think either one of those is going to work well for you. Front door it is. Be very quiet; while she said she'd be in deep meditation, we also don't want to shame her by being too clumsy and obvious. And I did make some noise breaking up those boards, so she at least has an excuse and can point to that as our potential escape route."

Takao walks over to the door and opens it a hand's breadth to peer out, then waves Kichirou over. "Let's go", he whispers.
Gatac 2014-10-20 12:31:18
(Takao's Sneak: 1d20+1 = 16, reduced to 15 due to being untrained.
Yu Lee's Notice: 1d20+7: 1d20+1 = 13)

Takao opens the door fully. The night outside is crystal-clear, with nary a cloud to obscure the stars. The only sound is the gentle splash of the river coursing next to the mill. The woman is settled into a meditative pose on a nearby mound of earth; her wooden staff, driven deep into the soil beside her, glints faintly in the moonlight. Looking past her, it's almost possible to see the lights of the capital shining your way from the edge of the horizon. There's another big light to the west, across the river, and darkness to the East, where a thin strip of forest stands between the in-the-process-of-becoming-escapees and the ocean.

As for the North...well, the swamps to the North are also faintly glowing in the distance. This is not to be taken for a ringing endorsement, because Takao's pretty sure swamps shouldn't glow at all. Certainly one data point in favor of the whole "haunted" thing Kichirou and the woman were on about.
MikeS 2014-10-21 00:49:32
Even though Takao wants to head back to the city, there is pretty much only one way to go without a boat. To the South and the West, there is river, and to the East there is the ocean.

He waves Kichirou towards the swamp, and the two sneak away from the mill.

After about 10 minutes of flight, Takao turns to Kichirou:"Yes, I know you told me the swamp is haunted, and you're not happy to be here, but we didn't really have much option. We'll only go along for a little while; there's gotta be someone with a boat somewhere, or perhaps a bridge. If we can't find anything this way, we can at least wait out a search here. At least the glow makes it easier to see where we are going. Where do you need to go, anyway, if I were to take you back to Lord Hetechi?"
Gatac 2014-10-21 14:29:11
"I think we'll be fine," Kichirou says with wavering voice, "just as long as we don't spend the night. We have to keep moving. Otherwise the spirits will find us, and then...forget it. A boat, or a bridge, at least. You are right. We will just keep going until we can cross the river somehow."

"Our - Hetechi-dono's house is on an island in the capital lagoon," he adds. "I don't know if I can return like this, however. I cannot imagine what Ikishi will do when she loses her control over him."


Yu Lee's meditation is oh-so-roughly interrupted by the hoofbeats of several horses that come thundering up to the mill at full gallop. The moonlight illuminates three silhouettes, all familiar; Yu Lee grabs onto her staff and rises. Considering what she's about to tell her comrades, having a weapon in reach might not be a bad idea.

The swordsman spots it first, of course. "Lee!" he shouts. "You left the door open!"
Yu makes a show of turning around. "I did no such thing," she says. "I closed it when I came here."
The swordsman nods to the gonneslinger. "Go check it out, Firebolt," he says.

It doesn't take very long to check out; soon the cursing starts, and then Firebolt rushes back out of the mill.

"They're gone!" he shouts. "They're fucking gone! They cracked the chains and tore up the floor!"
"How?" the swordsman shouts back. "You assured me there was no way they could open the manacles!"
"Well," Firebolt admits, "not without tools..."
The swordsman looks to Yu. "They had help," he says. "Your help. One of your needles?"
Yu shakes her head. "They are too delicate to open the locks. Firebolt tested them beforehand."
"Then what?" the swordsman demands. "Out with it before I cut you down where you stand!"

"Now, now," Ikishi says, climbing down from her horse. "There's no need for all these shouts and threats. What matters is that they're gone. You heard nothing, Yu?"
"They made noise inside the mill to disrupt my meditations," Yu says. "I acted on the assurance that there was nothing they could do there to escape."
"Nothing, right," the swordsman says. "They were tearing out the floor."
"By hand?" Firebolt shoots back.
"Impressive, if true," Ikishi says with a smirk. "Though why open the front door, then? Hmm. I do believe our friend Takao Shinmen still thinks he's playing with us." She turns to the swordsman. "Be a dear and fetch my luggage, would you kindly?"

As the swordsman walks over to the horse, Ikishi closes the distance on Yu.

"What wrong have I done you?" she asks. "This is the second time this week that you have betrayed me. Are you bored, dear?"
"I have served you without complaint for years," Yu replies. "Yet I now realize the bondage you have put my people in, and the blood of your deeds clinging to my hands, too."
Ikishi hauls her arm back and slaps Yu across the face. "Ingrate!" she hisses. "Thousands upon thousands of your people owe me their lives! What is your sudden moral turmoil weighed against their wellbeing?"
Yu bows her head. "Order me, and I will serve," she says.
At that Ikishi pauses, and then smiles. "Of course you will," she says. "I see now that I mistook your obedience to my literal commands for a shared belief in my goals. No matter. If you would use your freedom against my interests, I must simply command you better. From now on you will not speak, move, sleep or eat without my express permission. Nod if you understand."
After a moment, Yu nods.
"Good," Ikishi says.

It's now that the swordsman comes back into the picture, dragging behind him a large sack on the end of a thick rope, unhooked from the back of Ikishi's saddle. Yu looks down at it, and before he opens the sack, she already sees that the two hands sticking out of the sack, bound to the rope with thinner twine wrapped tightly around the wrists. The sack is pulled away to reveal a man in what used to be a black-yellow uniform, now bruised and battered almost beyond recognition - Yu gasps when she sees that he still draws breath somehow.

"I don't think our guest, the one and only RZA, appreciates just how one-way his friendship with Shinmen-san is," Ikishi opines. "Did you hear, ninja? Your friend didn't wait for you. He already fled. But I do so want to see the look on his face when he sees you like this, and finally realizes who he is dealing with. Too bad for you, ninja. It seems like your suffering is only beginning." She turns to Yu. "Fix him up. I need him to live just a little longer. If he dies before we recapture Takao and Kichirou, the lives of your people are forfeit." Ikishi smiles. "There! I look forward to seeing your renewed enthusiasm for your duties."

The smile disappears quickly as she turns to the swordsman again. She speaks another command, chiseled out of pure ice.

"Find them."