MikeS 2013-10-12 15:03:01
"Sidewinder, you go after Kei. Copperhead, take these samurai with you."

As they all turn to go, Takao addresses the older samurai: "Not you. I would still have an answer to my question as to who is in command here. And your name, if you'll give it."
Gatac 2013-10-13 04:31:14
"Got it," Sidewinder says. "Catch you at the secret archives, partner."
"As you wish," Copperhead joins in. The two depart, taking the others with them and leaving Takao alone with the old samurai.

"I am known as Oo Yoshi," the old samurai answers with a soft smirk. "And for the moment it appears you are in command here. If you did not know, we do not answer to the forces in this house and shed no tears for its masters." He taps the sword at his side. "This blade serves Shira-dono, the Dragon, and his blade serves the throne in turn. I wish to see deeds to go with the tales I've heard, Shinmen-san. Acquaint yourself well on this foul night, and you shall have Shira-dono's ear in the capital."
MikeS 2013-10-13 15:05:37
"Oo-san, if you have heard the tales, then you know that, while I have shed the blood of many a bandit, I am no butcher. I need to know that I am going after the right master in this house. My companions have surmised that, while this is Lady Sarano's keep, she is as much a prisoner here as most of her servants, and instead they hold the visiting Lord Boota responsible. He may be the ultimate master of the house, but he is not here, most of the time. Thus it follows someone else runs the business in his absence, and I need to know who that is.

"Name the master of the house, Oo-san, and you shall see deeds that go with the tales."
punkey 2013-10-16 12:15:52
Nana slowly returns to the land of the conscious, moaning to herself as Toshiba and RZA leave to make haste for the hidden archives. Yukio nods to Kirika, then grabs the apparent leader of the house servants and drags her to her feet, making sure to keep her arms pinned behind her back. The sudden movement seems to jolt Nana awake, and she shakes her head, trying to clear the cobwebs.

“Ohhhh…” she moans. “You sneaky little shits.”
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Kirika says. “What is this place? Who is in charge here?”
“I want your word that you will spare me, if I answer your questions,” Nana says.
“I will not harm you,” Kirika replies. “Now, talk.”
“Lord Sarano built this house, thirty years ago,” Nana begins. “He set up the whole plan to ensnare nobles, collect their secrets and blackmail them afterwards. I came here seven years ago. I barely got to know him before he died. Lady Sarano insisted that everything proceed as her husband had planned it. So we kept on doing what we had done before. Two years ago, the previous overseer died, she chose me to replace her. I’ve been - I guess you could say I have been in charge, I give the orders, I command the servants, I organize everything, but I take my orders from her, still. The Sarano you see...that is most of the time. But sometimes her eyes clear and she gives orders, with great care and precision.” She looks up at Kirika. “That is it. The rest...I don’t think the rest interests you. You want to know the ‘why’. I don’t know that.”
“Then why is she drugged so much of the time?” Kirika asks.
“She stopped taking the antidote a while ago,” Nana says. “I think she wants to end this, but doesn’t know how, so she’s trying to lose herself. If she forgets herself, then maybe this will no longer burden her.”
“Hm. And Boota?”
“He’s...he’s taking advantage of her condition,” Nana says. “He came here and knew about the drugs, I’ve seen him bring antidote with him. Lady Sarano has ordered that he be left alone and have his every wish catered to.”
Kirika gives Nana one last look. “And you? What are you doing here? What do you want?”
“Money,” Nana says. “My family disowned me. The Sarano family was hiring...I never lacked for anything since. I can just...I can just take my money and leave. I thought about it a lot, but I didn’t want to leave Lady Sarano alone, not before know.”

(Kirika’s Sense Motive: 1d20+14 = 27)

Nana’s words ring true. She seems mercenary enough to be swayed by coin, but you don’t serve the same household for seven years without developing a certain sense of - not exactly loyalty, but attachment. And with Lady Sarano’s health on the ropes, it sounds like this house would not have stood that much longer even without your intervention, though only the Heavens know who would have arrived to pick through the pieces.

Kirika nods. “All right, then.” She looks around. “Do you see something sturdy to tie her to, love?”
Yukio looks around. “Maybe one of the beams inside the hut?” she wonders aloud.
“I would suggest the table,” Hiro Homi weighs in.

Wait, Hiro Homi? All eyes in the room turn to the entrance, where the ninja master stands rather casually, surveying the quote-unquote courtyard with a wry smile. Without his trademark hat hiding his features, the age on his face seems all the heavier.

“You moved quicker than I expected,” Homi says. “But if she is to be believed, the true answers lie with Lady Sarano and Lord Boota. What say you two go meet them before they decide to leave? I will take care of your prisoners in the meantime.”
Kirika quickly turns around and bows deeply to Homi. “I apologize, Homi-san. I know that this was not...particularly well-done, and I will endeavor to do much better in the future.”
“Let us delay evaluating your efforts until you have brought about the end of this place,” Homi says. “I think I will enjoy watching it burn.”
Kirika bows again. “Yes, of course, Homi-san.” When she turns back to Yukio, her cheeks are burning red. “Well, let’s tie her to the table and take our leave, then?”
“Gladly,” Yukio says.
Gatac 2013-10-29 12:50:57
RZA and Toshiba find the the mansion almost deserted on their way to Kei's office. Takao took care of the samurai, and the remaining servants are apparently either at their quarters or locking down the guest rooms. Even the agent's office is empty - no doubt she has tried to flee in the confusion. In any event, it certainly makes it easier to find the hidden door to the archives beneath the mansion. RZA stands close to the wall, taps it once and listens, taps it again and listens, then pulls back and throws himself against it, splintering the light shoji frame enough for the two of them to pry the entrance open. You could have asked Sidewinder where the secret latch was, but it's not like anyone's going to care anymore at this point, so why be subtle about it?

Beyond the false wall, you find a narrow staircase leading down a total of four flights of stairs, beneath even the tunnels that the servants use to sneak into the guest quarters. Once at the bottom, you find several rows of shelves stretching the room, a good forty by thirty feet. There must be hundreds of scrolls on the shelves, at the very least. Each shelf is labeled with the name of a constellation, then numbered by column and row. If there exists an index, it's not in plain sight anywhere.

"Stand back, Blueberry, wouldya?" RZA says. "This bloke's about to get paid."

Toshiba has already decided that whatever secret Lady Ishikawa hired RZA to bury is not worth pissing in RZA's okayu, so he does stand back, letting RZA do his work. The Killer Bee grabs a bag of powder from his uniform and pours it into the flame of a torch. The whole room is cast into a sickly green glow - and after a bit of looking around, RZA finds one of the scrolls spattered with spots of something that glows particularly brightly under this light, but didn't respond to the torches (and presumably sunlight). RZA doesn't bother opening it up; instead, he holds it to the torch. The scroll goes up like a greasefire, leading RZA to drop it very quickly. On the ground, it quickly consumes itself then flames out, leaving a pile of very fine ashes.

"That lady is facking nails," RZA replies. "How the bloody hell did she tag her own blackmail scroll?"

That is a mystery, indeed. Toshiba's more interested in potential consolation prizes, however: maybe he can find something on one of the High Lords in here before they have to torch the place.

(Oh, boy, Research check! Hundreds of books to check, with a base time of 1d6 days...but the information is also linked to everything else in the library, that's a quarter of the time and a sizeable DC reduction, too, so Toshiba basically can't fail.

Research Time: 1d6 = 6 a quarter of that is a day and a half. Well, you didn't want to burn the place down right away, right?

Toshiba's Investigate vs DC 15: 1d20+15 = 35 CRIT! This further reduces the time by half, so we're at 18 hours for the whole shebang. Now, this only gets you one clue by the book, but to justify the long time spent on this, I'll expand on something Boota has already all but admitted to Kirika.)

The filing system is more than a little obtuse, and the pages are written in a (rather simplistic) code, making it difficult to skim. But Toshiba is nothing if not a patient and efficient man. His friends can handle the struggles upstairs. He digs in, crossreferences, browses, and with the enchantments on his armor that keep him awake and alert, it's easy to lose track of the total time. Along the way, Toshiba learns way too much about rice quotas, noble gossip and exotic sexual fetishes than any one man should probably be exposed to, but surely there's a grain of useful information...wait, rice quotas? Grain? What is his subconscious trying to tell him? Toshiba flips back through the stacks, quickly zeroing in on copies of reports from Boota on the harvests in several provinces. Toshiba grabs an empty scroll and one of the ink pots standing around, then readies his math-jitsu.

(Fun history fact: Forensic accounting was invented by the scribes of Egyptian pharaohs.)

Well, it takes a few more hours, but Toshiba eventually figures out that the numbers simply don't add up. Boota seems to be perpetually underreporting the harvests of his home region, the fertile Firelands at the western end of the empire, ascribing losses to banditry, shrinkage, spoilage and poor yields that seem to be a) unreasonably big compared to what other regions reported and b) calculated thusly that the Firelands have managed to gain exemptions from the general taxation for four of the seven years of Boota being in charge of agriculture. That's not blatantly more than other regions - everyone has a bad year or two - but with the reduced harvest figures also come lower taxes when the Firelands do have to pay. Toshiba's best guess is that without the cooked books, the region would have paid 10 to 20% more taxes than it actually did - which doesn't sound like that much, but taken over the harvest of an entire region for seven years, it's as if a whole year has been quietly dropped from the books and probably traded away at a tidy profit. It's well-disguised corruption, but it is corruption nonetheless.

Several references to new road construction lead to scrolls about Lord Tsukareta, the High Lord responsible for much of the empire's infrastructure and internal trade. Interestingly, the man seems to live completely for his work, with the opium drawing from him gushing descriptions of such minutea as the construction of new mountain passes that even the blackmail-obsessed servants here clearly found too tedious to describe in full. His personal life is...empty, it seems. But here's the interesting part: the man likes Lady Ikishi a lot. Though at less length than his engineering treatises, he is quick to talk about how she has helped him navigate the politics of the capital and been a keen supporter of his work; at several points, he insists that they trust each other like brother and sister, even. Now, you've seen the holes in the intelligence gathering efforts here first-hand, so it might be that Tsukareta also had a supply of antidote and managed to fly completely under the radar, generating no blackmail material by pretending to be best buddies with Ikishi, maybe she's been pulling the wool over his eyes something fierce, but maybe - maybe - this is as it appears, and the Bitch in Chief really does have an actual pal and confidante.
Gatac 2013-10-31 14:01:06
Yoshi shakes his head.

"I know only of Lady Sarano," he says. "The proper Lord of this place is long gone...though there is talk of a heir who inspected the militia at the Forge a while ago. For all their influence, little is known of the Sarano family." He adds a shrug that seems as old and deliberate as the man himself. "Such questions, pressing as they may seem to you now, are above our station. To question one's betters is ego, and ego stands in the way of clarity. A man without clarity can make a thousand cuts but never once strike true. But such is the perspective of my age, Shinmen-san. I am sure your master once spoke to you of such things, and in time his teachings will make sense."

Kei's office stands empty. Yoshi keeps to the side while Takao inspects the scene, hoping to find a clue to catch up with Ikishi's agent.

(Tracking Kei's escape route...

Takao's Survival: 1d20+7+4 = 17
Kei's Sneak: 1d20+5 = 13)

And a clue he finds - a few drops of blood next to Kei's desk. The trail is small, but once he looks to the floor, the few drops of blood can easily be followed outside and into a hallway Takao hasn't been down before, one that seems to be leading into the mansion's inner sanctum. The false wall to the hidden archives is splintered, but otherwise, the room seems undisturbed, including some of the more fragile items on the desk.

"It seems your friend Sidewinder and this Kei woman had a disagreement." Yoshi remarks. "Truly, a fight between ninja leaves few traces. Will we follow the trail?"
Gatac 2013-10-31 16:01:52
Kirika and Yukio make their way to Sarano’s throne room in grim silence, their swords at the ready for any servant or guard who might get into their way. Kirika couldn’t describe the route to you if you asked her, but her ancestors are not bedazzled by the mansion’s tricky layout and hone in mercilessly on the source of the evil that infests this place. The tattoos on Kirika shift and glide over her skin and a little beyond it, like a pack of chained dogs that bark and snap at every drugged gaslight she walks past. The fire inside is strong, not as hot as when her body was actively fighting off the drug dose, but it’s enough to make her a little hot under her clothes.

Finally, the pair reaches the double sliding door leading into Sarano’s throne room. Hushed voices from inside tell of quite a few people in the room, but Sarano’s voice is difficult to pick out from the chatter.

“Are you prepared?” Yukio asks, one hand on the hilt of her sword and the other digging into the frame of the door, ready to slide it open.
Kirika shifts her sword to the side and goes up on her toes to give Yukio a peck on the lips. "For luck."
Yukio returns a quick peck, but her mind is clearly on the fight ahead. “For luck,” she repeats.
Kirika nods. "Do it."

Yukio nods, then throws her side of the door wide open, with Kirika doing the same on her side. Yelps of surprise and fear cross the room from where Sarano’s little inner circle has huddled up next to her throne - Boota and Ichi in front, Mira and Joku almost cowering behind them, with Sarano on her throne, craning her head around the wall of people in front of her to see. Her pet ocelot seems to be the only one who doesn’t care, yawning and going back to chewing on a bone.

“Hrph,” Ichi snorts. The old samurai has his sword sheathed and his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Well, at least you’re pretty assassins, I’ll say that.”
“Do something, Ichi!” Joku screeches.
"We are not assassins!" Kirika proclaims. "We are here to liberate Lady Sarano from the hold of this place and those that control it - her and all the others held in thrall here."

(Kirika Impress Roll: Roll 1: 1d20+10+4+2+6 = 39
Ichi Resolve: 1d20+12 = 30

Disposition for the members of the group at +4 now, which will make it easier to convince them to do stuff. Kirika also uses Charming on Ichi. Total disposition for Ichi: +9, Intrigued.)

“Hrph,” Ichi snorts again. “You got guts! I like that.”
“Ease up, Ichi,” Boota says. He now seems more focused and less...well, loud than before. “I think these ladies want to talk, not fight.”
“Um, if I may?” Joku says from behind Ichi. “The Lady Mira and I will be taking our leave now, if that is agreeable…”
"Stay," Kirika orders. "We will need to speak with all of you once the drugs have been cleared from your bodies - there is much wrong with this place, and we will need all the help we can to right what has gone wrong here."
“My dear Lady Tanaka,” Sarano says from her throne. “Whatever do you mean? Did you not like the food, the drinks, the...entertainment?” She smiles. “There is nothing wrong here, and there is no need for you to barge in here with a servant, scaring my other guests.”

Kirika surveys the faces of Sarano's..."court". "Your friends here would disagree." She looks each of them in the eyes, one by one. "Some of you might be parasites, living off of the largess of a woman consumed by the monster she helped create - but I wish to believe that some of you are decent people, at your core. Misguided, perhaps, but still in possession of the ability to tell right from wrong - and you must know that there is much wrong here. If this is true, now is the time to stand up and help me break the chains that bond so many to this horrible place." She reaches into her kimono and pulls out the double-dose of antidote. "This will clear Lady Sarano's mind of the poison in the air, food and water here. Please, let me set her free of this place, so that we may know her true heart."

(Kirika Impress: 1d20+10+4+2+6 = 42 +9 Disposition = 51
Ichi’s Resolve, at +4 because this won’t end well if Kirika is lying and he goes for it:: 1d20+12+4 = 25 MEGACONVINCED!)

“What if that’s poison?” Boota asks.
“Hrph,” Ichi snorts. “That’s easy to find out. I’ll test it. You say this will get rid of the drugs, woman? Then let me have a sip.”
Kirika eyes Ichi for a second, then sheaths her sword and extends the vial in an open hand. "Leave enough for Sarano, please - and know that it is not...pleasant."
Ichi grabs the vial and takes a good sip, leaving the vial half-full. As if to defy the foul taste, he swishes it around in his mouth, then swallows it. “Honor the truth, woman!” he says. “It tastes terrible.” After a few seconds, with his face still a rigid mask, he makes a muffled heaving sound, then spits a vile-looking solid blob of antidote-disabled opium onto the floor. “Clears the fog nicely, though.” He turns to Boota. “Do I look dead to you, High Lord?”
“...few poisons are of instant effect,” Boota says.
Ichi snorts again. “In that case, we will still have time to face them in battle.”
“Honored guests!” Sarano says, clapping her hands to shut the discussion down. “I am so grateful that you are all here, and that you are so concerned for me...but drinking Lady Tanaka’s brew is for me to decide, not you. Now, stand aside that I may talk to my friend.”

Ichi and Boota nod to that, stepping aside, with Joku and Mira stepping with them to keep hiding behind them. Sarano gives Kirika a smile, but with more edge than the befuddled noblewoman of the last dinner.

“You’ve come to free me, then?” she asks.
Kirika nods. "From this place, from those that manipulate you and use it for their own ends, or from yourself if need be. Nana spoke of your voluntary descent into the maw of this place - the surrender of someone who feels themselves trapped in the belly of their own beast." She extends a hand with the vial. "I am here to offer you a rope."
“I much prefer chains,” Sarano says, giving the one attached to her throne a short yank. The pet ocelot feels the tug and looks up at her, then over to Kirika and Yukio. “Oh, I’m sure Nana told you of how I’ve lost myself...some days it is easy to pretend I have, let my guests think that they have the run of the place...and my pain is very real, Lady Tanaka, and it needs to be soothed frequently. But it has not made me as dull as you think it has. I still have the power over this place. Your rescue attempt is kind-hearted, but deeply misguided.”
“...what?” Boota says, while Ichi just snorts.
“Oh, my dearest Boota, do not be so alarmed,” she says. “You will see, we’ll make it all better, if we can just forget this happened. This is a place of memories and forgetting, after all. What about you, Lady Tanaka? What is it that brings you here? If you have fought the drugs, why are you not fleeing? Why have you not already flailed and destroyed as much of this place as you can? Did you really stay your hand just to save me?”
Kirika looks into Sarano's eyes. The tone of her denial of the hold the drugs have over her sounded a familiar tone, and now she looks for the expression she has seen far too many times in lonely nights spent fitfully sleeping in alleys and under eaves, one of the addict that believes that they are still in charge.

(Kirika Sense Motive: 1d20+14 = 33)

Sarano’s eyes are not the glassy orbs of an addict, nor do they have the clarity of a healthy mind. There is something else in there, something Kirika has not seen before...something wrong. The tattoos burn and coil on her skin, screaming to let loose and destroy the thing in front of her.

“Oh, you are the sweetest thing,” Sarano says with a toothy grin. “You will make a fine guest once I teach you how to behave.”
“Hrph,” Ichi says. “You don’t have as much power as you think you have. There are three blades in this room, none on your side. The fumes are giving me a headache, so now quit stalling and give up already!”
Kirika's hands move slightly towards her sword as she looks at Boota, Joku and Mira.
“Begging your leave again, Lady Tanaka!” Joku says. “Please, I’ve no quarrel with you! Lady Mira and I are of no consequence to you!”
“I don’t like being played,” Boota says to Sarano, then turns to Kirika. “But you sound like you know what’s going on here. Then you know I’m invested in this place. I can’t let you interfere.”
“Out of the way, Boota!” Ichi snorts forcefully.
High Lord Boota to you, peasant!” Boota spits back. “You wish to cut me down, go ahead, but you know your life and the life of your family is forfeit if you lay a single hand on me, Ichi.”

Kirika's heart burns at Boota's threat, and in a flash, her sword is in her hands and at Boota's throat. "Then allow me, High Lord."
“Heavens!” Boota shouts, but it’s more anger than fear. “You dare?”
"I know much more than your investment in this place of nightmares," Kirika spits. "I know of the one who holds your strings, Lady Ikishi. I know of her plans to usurp the throne - and with your aid. I know much more than you could possibly suspect, High Lord - and I am not afraid."
“Then you should already know that Ikishi has promised your leaders the autonomy they have always craved, Lady Tanaka,” he says. “Unless of course you have been lying to us the whole time, too. Who are you, really?”
Kirika takes a deep breath, and her tattoos suddenly stop twisting and turning over her form and straighten out, returning to the form they had when she was first blessed with them. "My name is Kirika Kamura, the sole surviving member of the Kamura line," she says sternly. "The latest in a long line of those that fight for what is right - and you and your Lady have been found wanting." She looks around the room. "Those of you that have remorse in your heart for what you have done, for your complicity in holding dozens of women in drugged bondage, you have nothing to fear - but those that do not, know that I may be merciful, but my judgement is swift."
Boota just stares at Kirika. “...then your life is already forfeit,” he growls.
“Hrph,” Ichi snorts, taking in the standoff. “Interesting.”
MikeS 2013-10-31 17:47:55
"Yes, we follow, and swiftly", Takao replies.

"We have to make sure that the blood belongs to the right person, and we can't let Kei escape!"
Gatac 2013-11-01 02:23:12
The bloody trail takes you deeper into the mansion, as expected. What you don't expect is finding Sidewinder leaned up against a wall with a dart sticking out of his neck, his hand cramping around one of his gonnes. The bloody trail, fortunately, leads past him.

"I'm fine!" he growls through clenched teeth. "Got her leg, won't get far!"

Indeed, the pained moans from around the next corner would seem to confirm the "not getting far" part. Yoshi nods to Takao and sees to Sidewinder while Takao hurries on, but in a careful manner - regardless of the ultimate effects of poison was on that dart, he doesn't want to catch any of its siblings. He creeps up on the corner, which is enough to summon Kei's voice.

"I'm warning ya!" she shouts in between moans of pain. "You come at me, I'll stick ya with something you won't walk off!"
MikeS 2013-11-01 12:18:22
"Yoshi, can you go and find the other ninja that was with me, and bring him here?", Takao asks before going after the cornered Kei.

Unlike the ninja, Takao is armored, but it appears that Kei's aim is quite good, even in her wounded state.

The swordsman extends his blade around the corner and uses it's smooth surface as a mirror to see where Kei is.

"I don't have to come at you", Takao calls back at her. "With that much bleeding, you're not going anywhere soon. The way I see it, you've got two choices: you can stay over there and bleed out, or you can surrender. It's your mistress we are after, not you."
Gatac 2013-11-01 14:24:24
The reflection in the sword shows Kei leaned up against the wall at the end of the hallway, next to a closed door. She's rigged a crude tourniquet over her wounded leg, but the pool of blood underneath her is sizable, and tough as she may be, she's no longer young enough to just walk off blood loss like that.

"You got any idea what she'll do to me if I turn?" Kei shouts. "You don't kill me, she does, and if there's anything good in this it's that you don't look the torturing type - so all things considered, getting my head lopped off by you nice and quick, or just bleeding out, those are looking pretty good right now."
MikeS 2013-11-02 00:37:44
Takao calls back:"First, she has to figure out that you've turned, and then she has to find you. We are as interested as you are that the former doesn't happen. Don't you think that's worth a gamble, rather than certain death?"

Takao lowers his sword, and steps around the corner.

"It's true, I am no torturer. I have heard that the ninja you just pricked with a dart is rather good at it, though. I would prefer a different solution, though, one that allows us to stay hidden from your mistresses' eyes... and that will hide you at the same time. You are her eyes and ears here after all, are you not?"
Gatac 2013-11-02 11:50:20
Kei breathes heavily as she struggles to stay conscious.

"What makes you," she stammers, "what makes you better than her?"

And with that out, she slumps in on herself, sliding down into a twisted sitting position against the wall. Takao studies the reflection in his sword carefully, unwilling to catch a poison dart if this is a trick. But there's no twitch, no subtle adjustments, no hand slowly readying a weapon. He knows enough about deception to see that she's really lost consciousness - and enough about healing to know that she can't afford to lose much more blood.
MikeS 2013-11-02 12:32:11
Takao rushes to the fallen spy and attempts to stabilize her.

(OOC: Medicine: 1d20+5 = 20, raised to 22 thanks to class ability; should be good enough)

After he finishes bandaging her, he moves the old woman over to where Sidewinder is.

"How are you doing, Sidewinder? Let me have a look at that, will you?"

(OOC: should read the book more often - just realized Stabilize works for poison, too, so I will attempt to help Sidewinder unless you rule that I really need more equipment to help him.
Medicine: 1d20+5 = 14, raised to 22 thanks to class ability)

***description of messy medical procedure removed***

"There, that should hold up until we can get help from the others."

Takao then proceeds to search the old woman for more weapons; he doesn't want to catch a surprise dart later.

(OOC: Search1d20+3 = 6; his ideas of decency are preventing him from doing a good job here...)

Unable to move two people, Takao stays with Sidewinder and Kei until Yoshi returns with help. To keep Sidewinder conscious, he needles him:"Are you going to tell me the story of how the mean old witch manage to stick the Shadowwatch's finest ninja with a poison dart?"

Once Copperhead and Toshi get here, he plans to rush to the throne room to warn Kirika and Yukio that Lady Sarano may not be what she seems.
Gatac 2013-11-02 13:10:58
Takao's no learned surgeon, but he knows how to deal with battlefield wounds and common poisons. Kei gets a new, tighter tourniquet, and laid down on her side with her legs elevated. Quick checks ensure that there is a pulse and breathing, though she does not come to just yet. (If only you had wake-up tea...) Sidewinder gets the dart removed and some quick massage of his pressure points relieves the paralysis for the moment.

"Thanks, partner," Sidewinder says, stretching his limbs. "Looks like she ain't going nowhere," he adds, looking down at Kei. "What can I say? I let my guard down. She ran, I pulled and drilled her through the leg, spun her right 'round, I thought I had her - didn't have my guard up when she turned that spin into a throw. Now I like to think I'm fast, but being that I was rushing after her at this particular moment of the pursuit, I just didn't have the time to get out of harm's way. That's how she stuck me so good."

"Sidewinder!" Toshi calls from down the hallway, running to meet the ninja, while Copperhead walks briskly behind him with his usual scowl of disdain.
"I'm good," Sidewinder replies. "Just got a little careless."
"Unsurprising, given your resistance to learning from experience," Copperhead snarks. "Will you be requiring my help, as usual?"
"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up," Sidewinder says. "Just a paralytic, nothing fancy."
Copperhead raises an eyebrow. "Your attitude to unknown poisons is as nonchalant as it is baffling," he says. "I will see if I can enact a more permanent treatment. Pr -" Copperhead swallows that syllable as he looks up at Yoshi - "Toshiro-san, please stay and assist me. Shinmen-san, can you continue on your own?"
MikeS 2013-11-02 14:02:30
"Did you have any trouble with aiding the servants?", Takao asks Copperhead before he turns to leave.

"Yes, I will continue to the throne room to warn the other two about Lady Sarano. Yoshi-san, will you join me?"

Gatac 2013-11-02 14:15:07
"Fortunately, I am quicker than Sidewinder likes to brag, so I avoided getting vomit on my shoes," Copperhead replies. "The slaves have been treated, some of the more...trustworthy servants are helping them now. The rest are in full retreat."

Yoshi nods. "Lead the way."


Kirika takes a deep breath, and her tattoos suddenly stop twisting and turning over her form and straighten out, returning to the form they had when she was first blessed with them. "My name is Kirika Kamura, the sole surviving member of the Kamura line," she says sternly. "The latest in a long line of those that fight for what is right - and you and your Lady have been found wanting." She looks around the room. "Those of you that have remorse in your heart for what you have done, for your complicity in holding dozens of women in drugged bondage, you have nothing to fear - but those that do not, know that I may be merciful, but my judgement is swift."
Boota just stares at Kirika. “...then your life is already forfeit,” he growls.
“Hrph,” Ichi snorts, taking in the standoff. “Interesting.”

Ichi snorts once more just in time for a set of doors behind Sarano's throne to slide open, revealing Takao and Yoshi.

"Where are all these samurai coming from?" Sarano snarls.
"Yoshi-sama!" Ichi laughs. "Are you here to kill me?"
Yoshi smirks back at him. "Later, perhaps," he says. "Ichi, this is Shinmen-san, of the Seishin Dageki Ryu."
Ichi snorts. "Shinmen-san, eh? Are you here to kill me?"
"I don't believe he is," Yoshi replies.
"Hrph. Peace and quiet is one thing, but boredom another." He turns back to Kirika. "What's it going to be, Kamura-san? Speeches or bloodshed? I'd just as soon cut through this useless pile of fat, if you won't."
"I will have you all flayed to death," Boota seethes. "You'll learn what it means to oppose a High Lord!"
MikeS 2013-11-02 15:22:36
Takao deflates a bit as he surveys the scene. He calls to Kirika and Yukio:"I rushed here to warn you that Lady Sarano is not the victim here, but the perpetrator, but it looks like you already know."

While Ichi speaks, Takao nods to him as he rumbles in a lower voice to Yoshi: "Who's he and why does he think everyone's coming to kill him?"

"I will have you all flayed to death," Boota seethes. "You'll learn what it means to oppose a High Lord!"

"To quote Sun Tzu: you and what army?", Takao replies.

It seemed like the appropriate thing to say to the master villain who's honor guard was still outside somewhere.
punkey 2013-11-02 15:50:38
Kirika's blade stays the millimeter away from Boota's throat. "You have a choice, High Lord. Drop your threats against those here and their families, slink back to your mistress and simply report back what has happened here, or continue to swear harm on the victims of your own schemes. Threaten me and my associates all you want - we are the real threat here, believe me. But leave the others out of our quarrel."