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Back to Session 36

jetman has arrived.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Hi! )

You say, "Hola!"

Admiral Kaizoku says, "What's up? Oh, I saw an interesting Linguistics charm in Cult of the Illuminated, similar to what I had proposed."

You say, "a. Not much. b. Hm. I still haven't picked up Autocthonians or CoI, so... Well, I'll do it at some point."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "A bit of fluff text in there provided a very interesting notion, one I hadn't considered possible before... the idea of curing Abyssals."

You say, "Eh? You hadn't read Abyssals? The redemption story is mentioned, and discussed fairly thoroughly."

TonyC materializes out of thin air.

Monkey . o O ( Oh, hey. )

Monkey is ready.

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Ah, nope, I hadn't. I just had a vague notion that curing the death-loving evil and angsty people of their condition would be against WW policy..."

TonyC [to jetman]: Generally, purposely shrinking your own target market is considered a bad business move, yes.

jetman [to TonyC]: But apparently there's at least an option for Abyssals to be cured of said condition, which I hadn't realized before seeing a mention of it in Cult of the Illuminated.

TonyC [to jetman]: Oh, that? It's first mentioned in Abyssal as a possible campaign theme "redemption".

Apollonian [to jetman]: Of course, nobody said it'd be _easy_. IIRC, it requires an Abyssal who wants to be cured, a Zenith, and getting the Monstrance of Celestial Portion out of the relevant DeathLord's hands.

jetman [to Apollonian]: So we're 1/3 there!

jetman [to Apollonian]: Though I must confess I didn't think that choice would be involved in the change into, or back.

TonyC [to jetman]: That's one suggested way. GMs can of course make up other ways, but the general advice is that it ought to be as difficult or more difficult than the above.

TonyC [to jetman]: Choice is always involved. All Abyssals _chose_ to be Abyssals. Some of them might not know what exactly it entails, but not a single one didn't get asked, "Yes/No?" and answered "yes."

Apollonian [to TonyC]: One of these days, maybe I'll run a game with a circle of heist-oriented types who decide the best way to redeem Abyssals is to start by swiping the shard before it gets to Exalt anyone.

TonyC [to Apollonian]: Hmmm, to steal from Ocean Eleven.... Incarna Five?

jetman [to TonyC]: Ah, got it. A devil's bargain then. So first we have to find a Deathknight, shake their confidence (done once before) and then raid the Deathlord's base. Monkey could be in charge of showing them how much fun life is.

Apollonian [to TonyC]: Something like that. I can really see it as a multi-exalt game, actually, with a Sid mastermind, Solar face, and Lunar infiltration expert.

jetman [to Apollonian]: Are games with a variety of Exalted hanging around with each other and singing happy songs that common?

Apollonian [to jetman]: Well, no, not really. More like a Sid who has good dirt on the rest...

jetman [to Apollonian]: That's what I thought (Your Exalt) is in the right, the most powerful and most important, while (all Exalts besides yours) are deluded pretenders or useful tools.

jetman [to Apollonian]: And are we ready for the fight of Monkey's life?

Apollonian [to jetman]: Varies by character, of course... but on to the action! In a moment.

The Storyteller . o O ( First I'll set the scene, then I'll get my coffee. )

TonyC [to jetman]: No, not. Not necessarily the most powerful. But certainly (Your Exalt) ought to be, in just that those others twinked theirs.

TonyC [to jetman]: This'll be a short fight.

jetman [to TonyC]: Darn those pesky (other Exalt). Oh? Why so?

TonyC [to jetman]: Because I can run faster than Barada can. :)

jetman [to TonyC]: The old one, sure, but who knows what evil demonic upgrades he has? Maybe he'll sprout tentacles of great length!

TonyC [to jetman]: This will be the first time I run across yaoi tentacle-porn then.

The golden puzzle piece glitters and turns in the sunlight at the apex of its arc. Barada rushes forward, hands outstretched to choke the life from the impudent Monkey. A faint sound like crashing waves accompanies his charge, and a metallic ocean smell fills the chamber. Suda steps out from her hiding place, adopting a strange martial arts form that Monkey hasn't seen before as she runs across the room.

The Storyteller . o O ( And... getting coffee now that the wife is done distracting me. )

Monkey's eyes are fixed on the glittering puzzle piece as it arcs up. His hand reaches up for it....

Monkey . o O ( I suspect it'll be roll init time. So.... )

Monkey rolled 1d10 and got 7.

Monkey rolled 1d10+8 and got 9.

jetman [to TonyC]: The escape will be the tricky part... we have to leave the cube where it will be useful again, and can't just be opened up to lead a force right onto the Sun.

The Storyteller . o O ( Color me pissy... my half-and-half went sour. )

TonyC [to jetman]: Luckily, that'll be Kaizoku's worry.

The Storyteller is glad he has a pound and a half of chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Monkey . o O ( Try your coffee black. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Not a fan. )

Monkey . o O ( Switch to tea? )

Monkey . o O ( Actually, tea sounds like a capital idea. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Quite likely, but not at the moment. )

The Storyteller . o O ( In the meantime, I have ice water and beans, so all is well. )

On 1d10+11, you rolled 13.

Monkey . o O ( 2 actions. )

On 1d10+16, you rolled 18.

Monkey . o O ( Or not, depending on what's going on. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. Suda goes first, but she's setting up a form so can't do anything else. (HOU TUI, if you're curious.) )

The Storyteller . o O ( Second is Barada... )

Monkey . o O ( Quick question: Do I need to roll for Great Curse? While this is one vs. one, technically Barada never outright challenged Monkey into a duel. )

Barada opens the combat with a simple grapple attempt, lashing out with a long sleeve at Monkey's foremost leg. (Two actions, one saved for defense.)

The Storyteller . o O ( Um... what's Monkey's Temperance? )

Monkey . o O ( 2. )

Monkey . o O ( Also, I don't know if Monkey will consider this a proper fight as opposed to just goofing around. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yeah, you'd better. How could Monkey pass up a chance for a re-match, in the heart of the Realm no less? But it's difficulty two. )

Monkey rolled 5 dice on Diff2 and got 4 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Barada IS an arch-enemy after all... )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oy. You would be successful at a time like this. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Well, I'll roll the attack, at least. )

Monkey . o O ( Barada is _Kaizoku_'s archenemy. To Monkey, Barada is his straight man for his jokes. )

Monkey . o O ( Don't bother. Shadow In The Noonday Sun. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, fine. Bleah. Go ahead and describe it. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Addendum: Barada is not wearing his armor today. Instead, he's in trousers, slippers, and a big-sleeved black robe of very high quality. )

Rather than fighting a totally outclassed opponent, Monkey concentrates on the puzzle piece instead. Using Barada's attack as a spring-point, he softly kicks off Barada's sleeve and uses the force to propels him toward the puzzle piece, grabbing it as it flies by. "Got it," Monkey says as he lands.

Monkey . o O ( Barada still has an action that he can change his mind and use for something else? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes. )

The Storyteller . o O ( That's worth 2 dice, btw. )

Monkey . o O ( I'll spend it towards grabbing the thrown puzzle piece. Larceny? Athletics? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Athletics. )

Monkey . o O ( With 12 dice, I claim auto success, good for at least difficulty 2. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oy, all right. Auto success it is. )

Monkey examines the puzzle piece to see if it's obviously fake or broken.

The Storyteller . o O ( Make a reflexive Wits + Occult roll. )

Monkey rolled 4 dice on Wits + Occ and got 3 successes.

The Storyteller . o O ( It looks genuine... )

Monkey bows to Barada. "Thanks. This will help a lot. Now, as they say up North, saraba da. Gotta check this with the rest of pieces."

The Storyteller . o O ( Roll init... )

On 1d10+11, you rolled 14.

Monkey rolled 1d10+8 and got 11.

On 1d10+16, you rolled 20.

The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( See Monkey lead Barada right back to the nigh-helpless Kaizoku... )

Suda snaps, "Monkey! Discretion!" as she steps between you and the DragonBlooded. Smooth as silk on the wind, she assumes a defensive form. "Get out of here! I will hold him off."

Monkey . o O ( Blind-fighting is only -4 dice. )

Monkey rolls his eyes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Makes it harder to be aware of attacks to parry them... )

Barada laughs, an unpleasantly deep chuckle. "So you DO have the rest! Let us see if you can keep them, Anathema." He leaps atop the closest bookshelf and launches himself across the room at Suda. The force of his jump sets the bookshelf teetering and as he lands at arms' length from the Sidereal, the shelf crashes into the floor. Shouts from outside the room promise investigation.

The Storyteller . o O ( three actions. jump, attack, one for defense. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Is the noise loud enough to reach the section where the Admiral and Akbar sit y et? )

You rolled 11 dice on Barada Punch! and got 2 successes.

Monkey . o O ( 1. Perception + Awareness. 2. Looks like it's going to be Siddy-fu vs. Infernal-fu. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes to AK. )

Monkey . o O ( Jump doesn't have to be an action, btw. )

The Storyteller . o O ( I'm counting it as an action since it had a practical effect -- caused a noise to summon monks. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Monkey has the puzzle on him, right? )

The Storyteller . o O ( So it wasn't purely cosmetic. )

Admiral Kaizoku swears to himself. "Damn! Akbar, can you see anything? What is happening?" he asks, clearly frustrated.

Monkey . o O ( I see. )

You rolled 12 dice on Suda parry and got 6 successes.

Suda's nails lengthen into sharp talons as she parries Barada's jab, and a piece of his silk sleeve flutters away in the wind of combat.

The Storyteller . o O ( Damn, I hadn't realized how powerful Four Magical Materials Form was... )

Monkey . o O ( Dude, it's Siddy-fu. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Anyway, it's your action. )

Monkey . o O ( Q: does Suda manage to get at the scrolls earlier? )

The Storyteller . o O ( No, she hasn't gotten them. )

Monkey scratches his head and shrugs. He puts hands on his waist and yells, "Look, V'neef, if you aren't going to do anything, I'm leaving." With that, he turns around and walks away.

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. Camera switches to Kaizoku and Akbar. In the distance, we can hear the sound of titanic kung-fu action (TM). )

Akbar says, "What now, sir?"

Monkey . o O ( If it's possible to go to Kaizoku's room without being seen from Barada's room, I'll go there to warn them what's going on. )

Admiral Kaizoku stands and feels his way to the doorway closest to the action, motioning Akbar along. "It appears the plan has sprung a leak. Monkey is likely a match for our friend, alone, but... " He trails off. "Let me know the instant you see guards or monks approach, and draw their attention here. Then avert your gaze."

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes. Since I'm assuming you're walking out the door through which Suda entered -- opposite the one you came in -- you can get back pretty easily. You can hear people coming, though, so make a Dex + Stealth roll to avoid being seen. )

Monkey . o O ( Nah. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Didn't think so. )

Monkey just keeps going.

The Storyteller . o O ( It's a quick walk, and the frequency of the combat is getting louder as you reach the Admiral and Akbar. ("It's a trap!" )

Monkey . o O ( It is? Is that an off-hand comment, OOC knowledge, or IC deduction? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Off-hand comic, re: Return of the Jedi. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Comment, not comic. )

Monkey . o O ( No, no, I like the off-hand comic better. I picture you typing with your right hand, and your left hand has a sock puppet giving you snide comments. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Hell, he comes up with half my ideas! )

Monkey . o O ( Ah, that explain the good half of the ideas. )

The Storyteller raspberries in Tony's general direction.

The Storyteller . o O ( ANYWAY. Monkey passes a running monk, who briefly accosts him. )

Monkey . o O ( Anyway, I'm quite sure that I can get out the temple complex no problem. However, I don't know I can defeat an intensive search. The way I see it, if they start investigating, they'll be able to trace my movement to the puzzle box. )

As Monkey's walking at his usual mosey, a perturbed monk rushes up to him. "What's going on?" the monk asks in a panicked voice.

Monkey . o O ( Now, we're probably safely away from Blessed Isle. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Say what? )

Monkey says, "It's terrible. The noble lady our employer run across an old lover of hers in the library. I don't know what exactly was said, it was in the noble accents, but one thing led to another, and now both Dynasts are fighting it out over there."

Monkey . o O ( Oh, I mean that by the time they find the box, we'll be away. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Good one! But they can likely figure out the box... )

Monkey says, "Quick, they're over there! Now if you'll excuse me, I must find her father and his manservant and see if he can calm her down. Me, I'm not going to get anywhere near two enraged Princes."

The Storyteller . o O ( Make a Manipulation + Presence roll, +1 die for stunt. )

Monkey . o O ( Better spend wp for auto-success. )

Monkey rolled 4 dice on Man+Pre+stunt and got 4 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Hook, line, and sinker. )

The monk gasps. "Oh, Dragons! I'd better find the Abbot!" He turns and runs back down the corridor, looking back once to make sure that a pair of enraged Dynasts aren't following him.

Monkey starts jogging towards Kaizoku's room.

Admiral Kaizoku strains with his other senses to try and pick out what's going on.

The Storyteller . o O ( All you can really make out is a general uproar and the occasional kiai. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey, you're back at the Admiral. )

Monkey says, "Ahoy. We'd better get out of here, Admiral, Akbar."

Admiral Kaizoku says very tensely "What is happening Monkey? Status report!"

Monkey says, "Suda told me to get out and be discreet while she holds off Barada. Not sure why she's changing the plan, but I assume that means she wants you out of here before the dynasts come rushing. So, Akbar, help the Admiral up."

Admiral Kaizoku is already up, and cursing under his breath. "You still have the puzzle Monkey? We will fall back to where we first arrived. Lead the way!"

Monkey says, "Oh, puzzle? Yes. How astute. Barada practically gave this piece to me. Keep it, I might lose it."

Monkey hands the Admiral the puzzle piece unless he refuses.

Admiral Kaizoku's brow furrows. "He had a fragment?" he asks as he takes the piece and attempts to identify it by feel.

The Storyteller . o O ( Admiral, make a Per + Occult roll. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 8 dice on Per+Occ and got 2 successes.

The Storyteller . o O ( As far as you can tell without seeing it, it's a genuine piece. It certainly feels right, both physically and metaphysically. )

Monkey says, "Oh, you mean that puzzle. Well, I got both, I suppose. Do you want the box too?"

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( But wasn't this the same piece we had from Barada before? )

The Storyteller . o O ( No, it's the final one. )

Admiral Kaizoku shakes his head. "Hold onto the box, and let's _move_. Time is of the essence!"

The Storyteller . o O ( Heading out? )

Monkey says, "Err, you want me to fetch Suda and go another way? I mean, I don't feel right leaving her alone in a place full of Immaculates. I mean, she isn't nearly as good as me, y'know."

As if to punctuate Monkey's words, there's a huge crash in the direction of the fight, as if a stone wall was shattered.

Admiral Kaizoku changes course. "The stakes are now too high... Monkey, give me the puzzle box. It will be left where we came in. Go and help Suda disengage and head there, VERY STEALTILY! Akbar, you do know the way back, correct?"

Akbar nods, and leads the admiral toward the entrance, putting on his "frightened civilian" face.

Monkey gives the box to Kaizoku. "Right, storage room."

Monkey says, "See you in a bit."

Monkey bounces off to fetch Suda.

Admiral Kaizoku has a merely irritated demeanor on as he goes, storing the puzzle at the small of his back under his clothes.

The Storyteller . o O ( Camera follows Monkey. )

Monkey peeks in and surveys the... debris.

By now, acolytes, monks, and library patrons are all rushing around in a confused mob, and Monkey is hardly noticed in the confusion. He finds his way to the battlefield easily enough, but when he pokes his head in, Suda is nowhere to be seen. One of the walls has been shattered, and through the hole, he can see a trio of monks standing over a prostrate figure -- Barada.

Monkey thinks, "Typical of him. Must've tripped or something. Clever of Suda to make her escape then."

Even as Monkey watches, Barada groans and stirs. One of the monks kneels down and you think she is using a healing Charm.

The Storyteller . o O ( Make a Per + Awareness roll. )

Monkey rolled 5 dice on Per + Awa and got 3 successes.

Monkey . o O ( Oops. should've less dice. )

Monkey . o O ( Want reroll or just take away a success? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Whatever. )

Monkey . o O ( Just substract a success then. )

As he turns away, Monkey can hear Barada saying, "Anathema! An anathema here. In the shape of an old woman. It fled... toward the harbor..." He coughs, cutting off whatever else he was going to say. The kneeling monk looks up at her companions and says, "Go and inform the Abbot. I will care for Lord Barada. Quickly!" The two monks dash through the chamber and past Monkey, not giving him a second glance.

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, done posing. )

Monkey thinks, "She doesn't look that old, does she? Oh well, time to look for her."

Monkey walks briskly and goes toward front entrance, eyes and ears alert for any sign of Suda.

Monkey . o O ( Done posing. Let me know if Monkey reaches the front entrance without finding Suda. )

You don't see her or hear her voice on your way out. Once you get to the main entrance, you see a group of monks gathered in the courtyard, with the abbot at their head. Most are armed. A few are strapping on armor -- clearly, they're going Anathema hunting.

TonyC [to jetman]: Hmmmm, quite a pickle.

jetman [to TonyC]: Monkey would have to give them a fierce old woman to fight...

Monkey pauses for a moment to think on what to do.

Monkey mumbles, "Hmmm, if I keep going to look for Suda, chances are the monks will find Admiral Kaizoku and Akbar waiting for us in the storage room. Then there'll be awkward questions. And there's still no guarantee I'll find Suda in the harbor. I mean, what if Suda fooled Barada? That big lug isn't very smart to begin with.

Monkey says, "Right, it's decided."

Monkey turns around and walks briskly toward the storage room.

The Storyteller . o O ( You get there no problems. The storage room is occupied only by Akbar and Kaizoku, plus Monkey once he arrives. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( How long has it been? )

Monkey says, "Can't find Suda, Admiral. Barada thinks she went toward the harbor."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Which means she did not, clearly. Her people are known for their subtle ways, Monkey."

The Storyteller . o O ( Under fifteen minutes since the fight started. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Sure would be a good time to have Infallible Messenger... )

Admiral Kaizoku says, "And I trust you were not followed?"

Monkey says, "Ah. I knew Barada wasn't that smart. But we can't stay here long. The monks are Anathema hunting. Barada claimed an old woman was an Anathema. I think he meant Suda, but I'm not sure. Does she look old? And of course I wasn't followed. Do I look like an old woman?"

Monkey says, "I mean, if I paint creases and line on my face, hunch my back, and dye my hair white-nah, I don't think I'll dye my hair white- wear a white wig, I'd look like an old woman."

Monkey says, "But right now I think I'm a dashing young idiot-cousin bodyguard."

(From Pyramid Lobby) IsawaBrian says, "what, really? Let me see."

(From Pyramid Lobby) IsawaBrian laughs.

Admiral Kaizoku replies "Indeed. A few more minutes and we will have to depart, and return with reinforcements, Monkey." A bit more thinly, he says "Suda has considerable facility of disguise... you do remember how she appeared at that party?"

Monkey says, "Yes, that's quite a disguise. I don't think I could've done any better."

Monkey . o O ( Note: I don't mind chatting. I also don't mind the monks showing up while we're chatting. I also don't mind bashing said monks while escaping, still chatting. But are you sure you want to keep chatting? )

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Nor would I ask you to. Now, where exactly did you emerge the first time? Did you leave any traces in the hallway?"

Monkey says, "Right there. In front of that shelving. And no traces in the hallway."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Then solve the puzzle. Stand close, Akbar."

Monkey takes the box, puts it on the shelf, amongst the other knick-knacks, and starts channeling motes of essence into the box while moving its pieces.

The Storyteller . o O ( Roll it. )

Monkey . o O ( WP for auto-success )

Monkey rolled 3 dice on Int + Occ and got 1 success.

Monkey . o O ( Int + Lore is also same size pool. )

Monkey . o O ( How long is each attempt? )

(From Pyramid Lobby) IsawaBrian says, "Guess I'll just take the two bonus, then. :) Sounds good for me."

The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. To hasten things: 1.5 automatic success per try, each try takes 5 minutes, 20 successes to solve, it takes you an hour to solve without any other factors. Sound good? )

Monkey . o O ( Sounds okay to me, although I'm not sure if that's fast enough for Kaizoku. )

The Storyteller . o O ( It's not like he's got a choice... )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nope, just has to curse fate a whole lot... )

The Storyteller . o O ( So... )

Face scrunched out, tongue slightly out to the left, "Almost got it. Might want to hold on to my shoulders."

About an hour after Monkey starts working on the puzzle, the world fades out around you and then shuffles back into place as Kaizoku's cabin on the Unconquered Sun.

Admiral Kaizoku nods to Akbar and reaches for Monkey's shoulder, ear turned towards the door.

The Storyteller . o O ( Did anyone see I <3 Huckabees? )

Monkey . o O ( I suppose I should've indicated explicitly that that pose was Monkey's. )

Admiral Kaizoku strides to the door and calls out "Saji! Front and center!"

Monkey . o O ( Not I. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nor I. )

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Monkey, get started on the puzzle again. "

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh well. Anway, IsawaBrian is going to join us ASAP. And.... )

Admiral Kaizoku calls out "Leaf, front and center as well!"

Monkey . o O ( Right now? Woohoo. )

Saji drops down from the poop deck above the cabin. "Sir?" he says, bowing. "Leaf's up topside. Boy! Go fetch Leaf!" The cabin girl takes off at a run from her station at the bow, where she's been (apparently) chucking rocks at gulls.

Monkey . o O ( Another target for the bad guys. )

Your message has been sent.

Monkey starts working on the puzzle box again.

IsawaBrian has arrived.

IsawaBrian has made IsawaBrian's local name Shen

Shen (OOCly) waves.

Monkey . o O ( Q: How many motes does the box need? )

Admiral Kaizoku is all business, back to his old self as he says "Lady Suda was left behind on our trip. You will return with Monkey and send her a Wind-Carried Words message that the box is waiting in the room, clear?"

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Hey there! )

The Storyteller . o O ( Actually, it doesn't take motes per se. Speeding the process takes one mote per success, paid after each attempt. )

Monkey . o O ( Well, vision-quest failed. But hey, major plot point progressed. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Maybe I should change that to a buying successes process instead... it would be a bit more elegant. )

Monkey . o O ( Average it out... 12 motes. )

The Storyteller muses.

The Storyteller . o O ( It'd be 20 motes, actually, but it doesn't particularly matter at the moment. )

IsawaBrian [to Apollonian]: I figure, if it's relevant, that Shen is travelling about in a one-man skiff at this point.

Saji says, "Yes, sir!" He heads over to his quarters to grab appropriate garb.

Monkey . o O ( Marking down motes. And it's important, because the way Kaizoku orders it, we're seeing a 60 motes expenditure in a span of 3 hours. )

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Monkey... change clothes, something that blends in well."

Monkey stops from working. "What? What do you mean this doesn't blend well? Fine fine. What shall I wear?"

Admiral Kaizoku says patiently "Something different from what people saw you in when we were last there."

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Has Leaf shown up yet? )

Monkey goes to find his sea-chest and see what other clothes he has.

About half an hour later -- Monkey is maybe halfway done with the puzzle -- an Infallible Messenger flashes over the northern horizon and comes to a stop in front of the Admiral. It opens its mouth and Suda's voice spills out: "My dear uncle, I hope this finds you at your home. I apologize for leaving you so abruptly, but a dear friend required my company. I will book passage with a reputable merchant, I promise, and meet you at Edge-of-the-Eye, as we agreed on earlier. I will see in a week or two. Oh -- I will try to bring that cloth you wanted, too. Farewell."

Monkey settles for something resembling the garb the old sweeper wore last time.

Monkey . o O ( Ah, I see why the motes isn't important. )

Monkey . o O ( This dear friend doesn't happen to be Shen, does it? )

Admiral Kaizoku untenses slightly at that message. "Stand down, Mr. Monkey. I suspected Suda could take care of herself, but I dislike leaving things to chance." He calls out the door again "Mr. Leaf!"

Monkey says, "But I almost got it! Awww."

Admiral Kaizoku says, "Consider it practice for the next time."

The Storyteller . o O ( Everybody know where Edge of the eye is? )

Shen . o O ( Not I. )

Monkey . o O ( Nope. Which map? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I was about to ask. Near the Eye of Creation south of Eagle's Launch? )

Monkey . o O ( Good old Admiral. )

The Storyteller . o O ( check the Wiki, it's on at Edge-Of-The-Eye )

The Storyteller . o O ( Am just now putting it on the campaign map... )

The Storyteller . o O ( Actually, no. It's west of the Neck, in the northwest. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Admiral, make an Intelligence + Sail roll. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( 7000 miles away, looks like... )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 6 dice on Int+Sail and got 4 successes.

TonyC [to IsawaBrian]: So, where in the West are you from?

IsawaBrian [to TonyC]: Wavecrest by birth; all over the damn place by inclination.

The Storyteller . o O ( After consulting his charts, the Admiral determines that Edge-of-the-Eye is just over 5,760 miles away by the most direct route feasible. In the Unconquered Sun, using magic for favorable winds, it'll take 22 days of constant sailing to reach it. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Does that also take into account the powerdrive of the Sun? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Brian, to sum up the events so far this session: The Dynamic Duo have swiped the last piece of a puzzle that will lead them to a lost First Age Naval Base from V'Neef Barada who, unbeknownst to them, is now an Akuma in service to the Yozi Kimberry. In the process, they were separated from Suda, their Sidereal advisor, who just contacted them. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes, it does -- that's about the best speed you're going to get. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( OK, make it so. And Saji has to watch each casting of Calling the Wind's Kiss, so he can learn how to do it himself. )

Shen . o O ( Ooops. heh. Well, the best THEY can do. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( And hopefully, the base will have a Solar Royal Command Warstrider with a Daiklave that the Admiral stored there in times past... And a library of spells. And a pony. )

Monkey . o O ( Or you could, oh, Summon Gervesin, Messenger Soul of The Green Sun, and tell him, "I need to be at the Edge of The Eye tomorrow. Make it so." )

TonyC plays Demo-I mean Devil's Advocate.

The Storyteller . o O ( Meanwhile, we're going to switch focus to Shen. )

jetman [to TonyC]: Think about training! 22 whole days!

Shen . o O ( Yay, I exist! )

Fade to a brilliant blue sky off the coast of the Blessed Isle, near the city of Glalo. Not too close to the shipping lanes, mind, but in good fishing waters. The camera pans down, revealing the distant shoreline and finally focusing down on a small, one-man skiff bobbing in the waves. A single gull circles it, then lands on the mast. In the stern, a man is reclining, wide-brimmed hat pulled over his face. A fishing pole rests against the gunwale, line plunging straight into the sea. All is quiet save for the slap of water and the occasional bird noise, and the snoring of a sailor at peace with the sea.

Shen sleeps peacefully on his little skiff, having left his latest enterprise to once more wander the world. His line will wake him if there's fish; and his treasured baby will wake him if the sea is disturbed.

The Storyteller . o O ( Wait, what? Baby? (Did not see Dependent on the character sheet.) )

IsawaBrian [to Apollonian]: That's his skiff.

Monkey . o O ( His skiff = baby )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( He's too close to his shp? )

Shen . o O ( Just a wee bit. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Nyuk nyuk nyuk. )

Shen's sleep is disturbed by a shift in the way the skiff bobs, and, simultaneously, a polite, attention-getting cough.

Monkey . o O ( As you can see, us three are a bit of a Three Stooges. Except Apollonian, who is a lot of Three Stooges. )

Shen tilts up his hat slightly and looks in the direction of the bob, casually looking over to see who disturbs his rest.

Shen . o O ( By the by, assume Salty Dog Method is on; it lasts for a day, after all, and is just good sense. )

An older woman, of middle years and Realm features, is sitting in the bow. She's dressed in the fashion of a minor patrician of the Realm, and appears completely tranquil, her green eyes looking out of a face that has seen many years and is prepared to see many more. She has just set a bag down at her feet and appears to be unarmed. "Good day, sailor. Are you headed west by any chance?" she says.

Shen . o O ( No other boats around, I take it? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Nope. )

Shen seems undisturbed by the abrupt appearance of his new guest. "Maybe, as it happens," he says cheerfully. "Could take on a passenger, if you know your way around a ship or can handle a line. If not, sea's big enough as I can teach you, miss." He rises full to his feet and gives a slight bow, effortlessly moving with the ship's gentle rocking. "They call me Shen. You are welcome to my hospitality, as a friendly guest; may I know my guest's name?"

Suda bows from her seat. "My name is Suda, and I may be able to teach you some things."

Monkey . o O ( Quite an arrogant tone. )

Shen gives an insouciant grin. "Mayhap. There's always time to learn. Whereabouts are you headed, miss Suda?" he asks calmly as he checks the weather and wind out of the corner of one eye.

Shen . o O ( Doesn't bother Shen none. :) )

Suda says, "I am bound for Edge-of-the-Eye to meet with some of your kin. Can you take me there?"

The Storyteller . o O ( roll Int + Sail to figure distance and route )

Shen . o O ( I get +essence dice from Salty Dog, right? What's the roll command here? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( XL number text )

The Storyteller . o O ( xl # where # is number of dice. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( xld for damage. )

Monkey . o O ( pxl for private rolls. )

Monkey . o O ( pxld for private damage rolls. Oh, and roll 1d10+x for init. )

Shen rolled 14 dice on something and got 1 success.

Shen . o O ( *laughs* )

Monkey . o O ( I see that Shen and Kaizoku will be fast friends. )

Shen . o O ( The Dice Gods do not like me. I'm going to use Excellent Pilot Concentration with exclusively personal motes. )

Shen . o O ( If that homebrew charm is permitted. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes. )

Shen . o O ( Spending 12 personal motes for 4 extra successes. *grumble* 5 total. :P )

The Storyteller . o O ( Heh. )

Shen . o O ( Hey, I have to make it look good! )

The Storyteller . o O ( From where you are now, it's about 3,500 miles. BTW, we're using the sail travel times from TravelTimes/SeaTravel on the wiki )

Shen . o O ( Given that, once I recover my essence, sailing is basically my personal b****, and I can even sail directly against the wind, how long will that take me? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Hm. Well, I'm not sure, to be honest. Do you have anything that effectively raises your ship's speed for a long period of time? )

Shen . o O ( Sort of. As long as I have Ignore The Wind's Course Technique, it doesn't matter /which/ way I'm sailing; I'll always have the full benefit of the winds. Furthermore, I can cut perfectly through the water. )

The Storyteller . o O ( What's the skiff's speed rating? )

Monkey . o O ( Guesstimate: assume constant effective speed of 5. 2 weeks. )

Shen . o O ( Skiff doesn't have an official sp- okay, that works. :) )

The Storyteller . o O ( Works. )

Monkey . o O ( And if it turns out that 2 weeks is too short/too long, why, that 3500 miles was off after all. )

The Storyteller . o O ( All it means is that Shen and Suda get to Edge-of-the-Eye a week before Monkey and Kaizoku. )

Shen . o O ( Si. During which time he can, casually, show off for Suda. Assuming the dice love me more later. :P )

Monkey . o O ( Plenty of time for Shen and Suda to get to know each other really well. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The dice will only love you for unimportant rolls. The big ones will come up cruddy. )

Shen . o O ( >_> )

The Storyteller . o O ( The Admiral has documented proof of this, btw. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( This is my fate. )

Monkey . o O ( That's only for Kaizoku and Shen though. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Heh. )

The Storyteller . o O ( So anyway. Cross-cutting sailing montages! )

The Storyteller . o O ( Shen, you want to do the one for you and Suda? Monkey and Kaizoku can flip an obol to see who does theirs. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 1d10 and got 4.

Monkey . o O ( I recall a time when Monkey with his 3 dice pool figured out a demon while Kaizoku with his large pool have no idea what it was. )

Monkey . o O ( That's even. So Jetman writes it. )

TonyC looks innocent.

Shen is... relaxed throughout the voyage. See him cut around a storm without even getting Suda or himself wet for the spray. See him fish in the midst of gigantic waves! See him correct course with just a slight hand on the tiller- and send the ship careening off a huge wave and into the air, skipping over the backs of huge whales and sea elks without touching them as he makes his way towards the Eye. See him probably get a Glare or two from Suda. Mmm, fish.

Monkey . o O ( Oh, you can incorporate Monkey lazing around, Monkey doing Martial Arts training, or Monkey being look-out, and I shall spend the xp appropriately. How's that, you get to decide what Monkey's next charm is. )

Monkey . o O ( Or lack of charms. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( What was on his list of possibles? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey has no lack of charms, as working girls in ports all over Creation can attest. )

TonyC [to jetman]: Tons. But for now choose none, MA, or Awareness.

Monkey . o O ( What do you mean working girls? Half of them weren't working when Monkey was with them. )

The Storyteller . o O ( ping )

Admiral Kaizoku drives the Unconquered Sun on hard, running the First Age vessel at full power as much as possible. The dearest prize he has ever caught wind of is within his grasp, the lost technology of the First Age that will let him begin to truly battle the decadant and dark powers threatening Creation. But at least one of his enemies knows of it, and possibly more... it will not be easy, of that he is sure. He stands on the stern of the Sun every day, calling on his loyal men to attack him, with swords and thrown objects as he practices perfecting his defense. Monkey leads the way in this, and the Admriral's cunning and counterblows force him to work on his own techniques. No more does the Admiral wallow in self-pity over his blindness. Nor does he let the crew slack off, doing all he can to sharpen Saji's sorcery skills and honing Leaf's Suda-taught style. More than one tempting ship is passed up by the Solar Navy vessel, showing the flag and spreading fear in places thought to be immune to the depredations of the feirce pirates.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( So, Martial Arts for Monkey, Bulwark and Fivefold Bulwark for the Admiral. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. BTW, how do you like the conceit of the blind admiral? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Posing for Shen. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I'm seeing it as a temporary challenge... interesting, but I wouldn't want to see it permenant. Plus a healing spell that can fix him up will also help all the maimed sailors under his command. )

Monkey, during one of Admiral's training session, decides to do a scientific experiment. Channelling essence, he unleashes Distractingly Lewd Gesture at Kaizoku and waits to see if he notices.

Monkey . o O ( I'm quite sure one of the Second Circle soul of Orabilis can teach you the necessary skills. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( They'd probably want Monkey sacrificed for such knowledge, and that would be no fun at all. )

After perhaps fourteen days of sailing -- in which time Suda has revealed her identity as a Sidereal and given Shen a few tidbits on what she can do for him (in the non-sexual sense, you pervs) -- the skiff has wound its way through the Neck. On the northern horizon you can see the low brown mass of Scag Island, but ahead lies your destination: The strange city-island of Edge-of-the-Eye. At first a gray smudge, it resolves over the course of a few hours into a platform rising perhaps a hundred feet from the surface of the sea. Atop it are clustered tall, ramshackle buildings, and around it are docked ships from a hundred ports -- Onyxian galleys, Wavecrest merchants, Coral privateers, and even a few Realm vessels. On the southern side, a small fleet of Guild ships ride heavy, their presence attesting to the Guild's long reach.

Monkey . o O ( Well, I can't fault their sense though. I mean, pick the best sacrifice while at the same time taking out the most dangerous threat. )

Monkey . o O ( So, scientific experiment. Does Distractingly Lewd Gesture works against a blind opponent? )

The Storyteller . o O ( I think I have to say no. )

Shen seems... remarkably disinterested in any offers from Suda, unless she knows of secret caches of First Age sailing ships or magical maps. For a Solar, he seems to have little interest in wealth or domination; simply an unquenching thirst to see what is over the next horizon, and to have better ships to play with. He is at home on the sea and content there, the wandering eye and messenger of the Unconquered Sun. When Suda is polite enough to reveal her own nature, he replies in kind with his own, and asks a few questions about Sidereals and their duties out of polite interest. As the Edge-of-the-Eye rises into view, he gives Suda a casual nod. "You have a berth, miss, or should I head to the common dock?"

Monkey makes shhh-ing motions at the rest of the astonished crew.

Shen . o O ( Of course, when he sees theJesseLowe/Admiral/'s vessel, that's a DIFFERENT story. )

Monkey . o O ( First Age sailing ships or magical maps? Why, as it so happens.... )

Suda points over to a northwestern dock, close in to the city. "Tie up there, I think." After you've docked, paid the fee -- which Suda does -- and stowed what needs to be stowed, Suda sighs and says, "And now we wait." Admiral Kaizoku can sense when Monkey is up to monkey business, even without eyes... he frowns slightly.

Shen shrugs amiably at the suggestion of waiting, sits on the edge of the dock, and begins to fish again, testing the waters. Any good harbor should have a good supply of fish.

The Storyteller . o O ( Is Shen likely to do anything Monkey would do at Edge, or is he able to lay low? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Considering what this place is, maybe they're horrible mutant fish! )

Monkey . o O ( Hey! I resemble that remark! )

Shen . o O ( Shen is likely to fish, jaw with Suda, mingle with sailors, appraise other fish, and take his skiff out to sail around just to learn the waters nearby. Probably drink some, too, but that's about it. )

Shen . o O ( Even if they're horrible mutant fish, he'll still *fish*. It's /fishing/. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. Fast forward a week to the arrival of the Unconquered Sun. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Monkey, which MA Charms have you picked up? )

Admiral Kaizoku has Monkey bring the ship in for the final approach, as a test. The banner of the Sun flies proudly from the mast, a golden disk centered cobalt field.

Monkey . o O ( Poo Flinging Strike + Lost Monkey Form )

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay. Posing. )

Monkey . o O ( Oh, and Soul Fire Shaper Form? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Poo Flinging Strike would have made an interesting parrying exercise for the Bulwark Stance. )

Monkey . o O ( Be careful what you wish. )

The view from the prow of the Unconquered Sun is much the same as from Shen's skiff a week ago. First a gray smudge, then a precarious city on a hundred-foot tower. Absent are the Guild fleet and the Onyxian galleys, having gone their respective ways, but in there place Monkey spots a merchanter flying a familiar symbol, that of House Margard.

Shen is probably fishing on the dock when the Unconquered Sun comes in. He looks over, and for once, his aplomb is slightly broken. He gives a long, wistful whistle. "Now /that/," he comments, "Is a pretty lady."

The Storyteller . o O ( Where do you tie up? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( The most secure-looking spot. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( As in, "easiest to secure from boarders." )

The Storyteller . o O ( So, on a fairly isolated dock, in the eastern quadrant, and a bit further out from the city than most. Make a Cha + Bureaucracy roll, Admiral. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 6 dice on Cha+Bur and got 5 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( See what I mean? :) )

Monkey stands on the prow, his hands on his waist. He nimbly jumps down to the dock once the ships nears it and moors the ship.

Suda stands behind Shen and watches the Unconquered Sun circle around toward its berth. "Ah, it's about time," she mutters. "Come on, Shen. That's our ride." She picks up her bag and heads toward the city.

Admiral Kaizoku walks down the gangplank moments later, providing there are no sounds of Monkey-related carnage.

Monkey looks around. Does anyone approach him for, oh, docking fee, provisioning offers, anathema-hunting, etc, etc.?

The Storyteller . o O ( That's what the roll was for... )

Shen quirks an eyebrow, but isn't about to object to a chance to get aboard that beauty. Still, he pats his little skiff carefully. "Don't worry, sweetie. Daddy will make sure you're well taken-care of." Once he's sure that the skiff is secure and reassured, he slings his pole over his back, where it taps against his bow, carefully wrapped in some strange, dark-colored hide, and quiver (made of the same material), tucks his tackle box into his sailor's bag, lifts up the bag, and then amiably walks in the direction Suda headed off in.

An obsequious and greedy official appears, as if by magic, within minutes of tying up. Thankfully, the Admiral's charms are fully up to the task, and the mass of paperwork the bureaucrat has brought with him is quickly and cheaply reduced to but a few fees. The man goes away happily weighing a purse, shouldering his way past a rapidly growing crowd of curious sailors and city folk.

Monkey yawns and watches the bureaucrat leaves. He ponders discreetly relieving him of the pouch out of boredom.

Admiral Kaizoku asks quietly "Any sign of Suda, Monkey?" as he stands with his arms crossed, looking stern and commanding, though at nothing in particular.

Monkey says, "Not yet. Of course, we just arrived. She could be, oh, taking a bath or something."

Admiral Kaizoku says sternly "None of that. We are very close to our goal now. Scale the mast and try to spot her."

Monkey says, "Aye aye."

It takes Shen and Suda a good hour to navigate through the docks, the city, and the docks again, but at last they're able to shove their way through the onlookers and make their way to the Unconquered Sun's gangplank. Suda marches right up to Monkey and says, "It's good to see you again, Monkey. Where's the Admiral?"

Shen . o O ( Isn't Monkey on the mast, or did we get there first? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( In his quarters, if there's a wait. )

Monkey . o O ( An hour? Monkey would've climbed up a long time ago, climbed down, reported failure, and then went on an impromptu gambling game with the other sailors. )

Monkey . o O ( In his quarters. Which good, because that's where his stash of good rum is. )

The Storyteller . o O ( So... )

Shen will, regardless of the situation, be walking beside Suda. He gives a casual nod and tilt of his wide-brimmed hat to the Monkey, and spends much more of his time admiring the ship.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I'm presuming Suda will be shown to the Admiral's cabin? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes. So... )

Suda knocks on the Admiral's door. "Admiral?" she says.

Admiral Kaizoku waits pensively in his cabin, contemplating sending out a party to look for signs of Suda when she arrives. "Enter" he says coolly, standing to meet her, the artifact fragments on his table.

Shen will follow Suda, unless stopped. She said something about getting a ride on the Lady.

Monkey . o O ( Bet 3 obol they were old Circle-mates. )

Monkey . o O ( I mean, they have similar bad dice-luck, after all. )

Shen . o O ( Shen's most immediate past incarnation was Not A Nice Man. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Well, there are some clues that the Admiral may have been less than 100%% pure too. )

As she enters, Suda draws a black cloth from her bag. "First things first, Admiral. I have a blindcloth. Hopefully, it will be a bit of help." She hands the cloth to the admiral, making sure to place it in his hands.

Shen . o O ( Did he hold the islands and merchants of the west in fear of his vicious fleet of "tax gatherers" and ensnared in a web of wicked deceits and cruel, cunning manipulation? )

Monkey . o O ( Nah, that's Kaizoku now. )

Shen . o O ( *laughs* )

Admiral Kaizoku holds out both of his hands for it, and Monkey alone may pick up on his eagerness. He pulls it up and around his ravaged eyes and ties it off, letting the power of the Sun flow into it, uncertain if it will work.

Monkey . o O ( It's... it's... 3D red-blue vision! )

The Storyteller . o O ( It's a black jade blindcloth, as found at Artifacts/Seraph on the Wiki. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( I was hoping for Orichalcum, as unlikely as that would be... )

Shen tap, tap, taps his fishing rod against the tip of his hat. Not loudly; quite softly, actually. He's just marking time to himself as he studies the Admiral's suite for the signs of its construction and maker-style.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Connection's running slow... )

Monkey says, "Okay, I'm holding three fingers up, Admiral. Can you see it?"

Monkey holds up four fingers.

Suda says, "And second, this is Shen. He, too, is a Chosen of the Sun, and of the Eclipse Caste. He is also a master sailor."

Having said her piece, Suda steps back a bit to let the Solars get acquainted.

Shen gives a nod in humble acknowlegement of his title, and in greetings to Monkey. The Admiral, for his part, gets a respectful, if not particularly crisp, salute. "Top of the watch to ya, Admiral."

Admiral Kaizoku nods his head once. "A great improvement, my thanks..." he says as he takes in the room. "Welcome, Shen. Has Suda told you of the Solar Navy and its mission?"

The Storyteller . o O ( Shen: A little bit, but not much. )

Shen . o O ( Er, other than "Pirates who don't like the realm," anything important? ^_^ )

Shen gives another one of his relaxed shrugs. "Aye, Admiral. Happen she's given me a mite, but not too much. None to talkative on the open waves, is she?" He shrugs. "Sort of pleasant, actually, on a skiff; quarters are too close for jabber."

The Storyteller . o O ( Just that both Monkey and Kaizoku are Solars, and that Barada's an enemy. And that's about it. )

Monkey says, "Monkey's here. I don't claim to be a master anything, but hey, so far I survived, in style."

Admiral Kaizoku remarks "Suda is very fond of secrets..." as he motions for them all to sit at the small table his quarters has. "Monkey, the rum" he says. "Now, how well do you know the waters of the west, Shen?"

Monkey looks wounded. His rum? Why not Admiral's port? Oh, he gets it. This must be his way of getting back for his scientific experiment. Cruel cruel man.

Monkey grabs several cups and brings up the rum from the stash on his person.

Shen nods amiably as he takes a relaxed sailor's seat in one of the chairs. "Happen as I know them well, Admiral. Been a-sea since I was a lad, and have never been overfond of land since. I've sailed from the ice in the north to the steamin' south; from points off the Blessed Coast t'the Farthest Isles on th'edge of Wyld." He grins at Monkey. "Much obliged, Monkey."

Monkey gives it a shake and listens to the splash. "Not much left. So might as well finish it!" and he pours out two cups for Admiral Kaizoku and Shen.

Monkey takes a swig from the bottle himself.

Shen raises his cup in toast and downs it. Not a sailor in the world as would refuse rum.

Admiral Kaizoku takes a small sip of his own. "I will be plain then... as a Solar and a sailor, my Solar Navy needs you. Dark forces threaten to destroy creation from every angle and we have returned to beat them back. But even more, we must restore the honor and good name of the Solars, to show Creation that we are able to rule by doing the great deeds needed to protect them. There are other, lesser treasures we find along the way, and more adventure and danger than you have imagined. What say you? Will you join me to set this Age of Sorrows right?"

Shen chuckles quietly. "Sounds like mighty fine words, Admiral," he says calmly. "And on principle, you can count me in, 'specially if you give me the run of this lovely lady," he says, tapping the deck with his boot. "I'll have to see to my baby first, of course, before takin' up so wondrous a ship as this, and there's th'matters of rank'n'pay'n'cut to be determined, but I think that such things are of a secondary nature f'r now." He extends a hand towards Kaizoku.

Admiral Kaizoku smiles thinly as he extends his hand. "Oh, I'm sure you'll find all of those things quite satisfactory... Mr. Monkey has no complaints. Now... how soon can you tend to your 'baby?' We will be leaving very soon, in pursuit of something I think you will appreciate a great deal." He turns to Suda, and asks "The main component?"

Monkey walks over to Suda, grabbing another cup on the way. "Rum?'

Suda says, "Then if that's resolved... There are two things we should talk about." She checks to make sure the door is shut. "Barada and the puzzle. In whichever order you choose." She takes the rum and holds it, but does not sip. Much.

Monkey whispers to Suda, "He has a child? Or does he mean a girl? Wait, are you his baby?"

Shen nods to Monkey and then turns back to the Admiral. "Depends on you, I'm thinkin', Admiral, and yer fleet. Swift Borning's a good little skiff and'd make a fine captain's or admiral's gig, if y'have need or room f'r such a thing. Else, I'll need t'find a good captain for her 'round town."

The Storyteller . o O ( You do have room for a skiff on board, btw. )

Admiral Kaizoku lifts an eyebrow. "Barada? He survived... I presumed his mage lover plucked him from the sea on her demon mount. Curious that we did not hear about him at all, even being disgraced."

Admiral Kaizoku calls out "Girl!" to summon the cabin girl. "Have Mr. Shen's skiff stowed aboard immediately!"

Shen gives the cabin girl directions to his dock and scribes out a quick notice for her to the portmaster.

Monkey says, "Bah. He's of no consequence. I'll grant him perseverance, but he has no ability to back it."

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Well, she'll pass the orders on to some of the deck crew... )

Suda waits until the girl has come and gone. Then she says, "Barada worries me. He fought... differently than when we last met him. And he practically gave us the last piece. And... well. I suspect he was holding back when I fought him, though I can't be sure. Most worrying, I can find no trace of him in my astrological readings."

The Storyteller . o O ( BTW -- I'm assuming you've got Akbar getting supplies and such, yes? )

Admiral Kaizoku adds an order to the girl to have Mr. Akbar reprovision as quickly as possible

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Yes. :) )

Shen listens calmly to Suda and Kaizoku, not being too familiar with the scum in question.

Admiral Kaizoku steeples his fingers. "Which means... he is not under the stars? Dead? A pawn of some Deathlord? Or something else?"

Monkey says, "Really? I don't notice much difference."

Monkey . o O ( Of course, the key phrase there is "I don't notice much" )

Suda says, "Yes. He's somehow been touched by something outside of Creation, whether the Underworld, Malfeas, or -- possibly -- the Wyld. I am not sure which, but I suspect the Deathlords given the circumstances."

Shen quirks an eyebrow, and the haft of his fishing rod swings slightly, tapping against the strangly-covered bow on his back.

Admiral Kaizoku taps his index fingers together. "Especially considering the shadow-storm that hit the area after the battle... it may have swept them into one of their embraces. Given our advantage, he would do well to let us find the... treasure, and follow instead. But your stargazing cannot divert one who falls outside of fate? We must make haste then... the puzzle."

Suda says, "Yes. You have all the pieces, correct?"

Monkey says, "He might've learned a new trick or two then, but given his basic incompetence, I don't think there's much to worry about."

Monkey . o O ( Man, I feel sorry for Barada sometimes. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Got Blood and Salt? Look at Dukantha. )

Admiral Kaizoku nods his head and gestures to the table behind him. "Yes, and the one siezed from him seems genuine." He turns to Monkey and says "He was canny enough to uncover their import without the advantage we had Monkey, and has always been a worth foe, if beneath my level of skill."

Suda says, "Let us assemble it then, and see if the reality matches our hopes.

Shen clears his throat. "And what might this goal be?"

Monkey . o O ( So, excepting Jesse, who should run the game instead of answering me, can someone who has Blood & Salt tell me about the Dukantha? )

Admiral Kaizoku holds his hand out for the core of the device as he leans back to the work table, gathering them up with his other hand... a golden map, a medallion and other odd little items.

Monkey watches the shinies being assembled. Fascinating.

Shen . o O ( Think powerful Exalt plus additional power- up to Celestial Level Sorcery, I believe- from his demonic master. )

Admiral Kaizoku meets Shen's eys with his own covered ones, staring at him as if assessing him. "A treasure beyond price. But before I say more, do me a courtesy... show me your anima" he says evenly.

Suda places the core piece on the table, surrounded by the others. She stares at it as Kaizoku and Shan talk.

Shen shrugs aimiably, and sends a single mote sparkling through his peripheral essence matrix. In an instant, a burning burst of rainbow-colored solor energy flares out from the young sailor, showering the room in almost blinding light, centered around the circle-in-a-circle castemark of an eclipse, glowing like a brand on Shen's forehead.

Monkey says, "Hmmm, I'll ask Akbar to repaint the stateroom."

Admiral Kaizoku seems satisfied with that, and even a bit happy. "I thank you... a simple precaution in these uncertain times." He begins fitting the smaller pieces to the core unit. "This is a toy, one that points to where a child's father was... in a remote naval depot from the First Age, a shipyard."

The Storyteller . o O ( Roll Intelligence + Lore )

Monkey rolled 3 dice on Int + Lore and got 2 successes.

Shen . o O ( Me? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Do I get the bonus for Past Lives? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Actually, just the Admiral... and yes. )

Monkey . o O ( I don't know whether it's generic or specific. But I always roll on the assumption that the GM can always ignore the roll. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 7 dice on Assembly and got 7 successes.

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( WOO HOO! )

The Storyteller . o O ( Heh. )

Shen . o O ( Niiiice. )

Shen . o O ( "Hi. I WIN AT LIFE." )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( IF that was the important roll in the process! )

Monkey . o O ( While technically this is an important roll, the real reason it succeeds is because Suda is here and would've gotten the successes needed to correct you had you botched. )

Monkey . o O ( heh )

Under the Admiral's hands, the puzzle takes shape with surprising ease. First this piece, then this one, and this one goes here... and in only a few minutes, the puzzle is assembled. It looks like some sort of odd navigation instrument once completed, and on one side is a knob that practically begs to be pressed. Monkey presses it.

The Storyteller . o O ( if you don't mind, of course. )

Monkey . o O ( Wheeee! )

Shen . o O ( Is it a BIG, RED, SHINY button? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Some things are stronger than even fate. :) )

Monkey . o O ( Heck, for the button, I'll settle for two out of three. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Hopefully this isn't a First Age suitcase nuke... )

Shen . o O ( *FWACKOOM!* "Seven Shadow Evasion, please." )

Monkey . o O ( Oh? This is an area effect undodgeable? Hmmmm, I'll use the Applicability Trumping Perfect Dodge then. )

Shen . o O ( :points out that he has written up such a Charm on his wikipage! )

The orichalcum softens, then melts, spreading out across the table until it is a circle about a yard in diameter. Then one end rises up, forming a landscape, a shoreline, and the flat part ripples like waves on the sea. As you watch, the shoreline rises up even further, and you can see on a small peninsula a building. From the peninsula, a ship in wonderful detail emerges, flowing out of the land itself. The ship strongly resembles the Unconquered Sun, but with more soft, civilian lines. The ship sails away from the shore until it reaches the center of the disc. At this point, the land itself begins to recede away, falling into nothingness at the edge of the disc. Then a point of light rises from the edge, a few degrees starboard of directly astern of the ship.

Monkey . o O ( So, next session will be Monkey and Newly Exalted Solar Lackeys Session 1. )

Monkey . o O ( Dang. Neat CGI effects. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Can the Admiral see that? Do magical materials have water around them? )

Shen begins making muttered calculations, and without apology, grabs the nearest parchment and pen and ink set to begin mapping and charting out the route.

Monkey . o O ( Does Monkey even know where to begin looking? )

The point rises in an arc and sets at a point on the disc opposite where it appeared, over the space of about a minute. This happens ten times, during the course of which the ship encounters several different sea monsters and defeats them all in entertaining fashion. As the "sun" sets for the last time, another land mass appears on the "western" edge of the disc. The ship sails around to the northern shore and enters the island. Then the disc curls in on itself until it is a smooth golden ball, and with a soft *pop* the ball collapses into five pieces of orichalcum, quite different from the ones you started with.

Shen . o O ( Based on the display, do I have a good idea of where this place is? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Roll Int + uhh... whatever you use for Navigation. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Sail? )

Monkey . o O ( Lore? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Or Lore? )

The Storyteller . o O ( Shen uses Sail, IIRC. )

Admiral Kaizoku rolled 6 dice on Figuring the Course, figuring he can see it and got 1 success.

Monkey . o O ( The difference, IIRC. Sail usually requires landmarks. Lore doesn't. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Yes, he can see it. Sorry. Was posing. )

Shen . o O ( If I had time, I'd trigger Salty Dog Method and Hundredfold Navigator Essence, since I'm anima flaring already; I'd like to treat my little speech up there as a stunt, too. )

Shen . o O ( That work? )

Monkey rolled 6 dice on Int + Sail and got 3 successes.

Monkey rolled 3 dice on Int + Lore and got no successes but no botches either.

The Storyteller . o O ( Okay, I'll call that a 1-die stunt. )

Shen . o O ( Sweet, 15 dice + 3 autosuccesses, then. (Needless to say, I /want/ this freaking map RIGHT) )

Shen rolled 15 dice on something and got 9 successes.

Shen . o O ( And, for the fun of it, I'll buy 3 more successes with Excellent Pilot Concentration :P Just to get an even 15. )

The Storyteller . o O ( You want me to tell you or just pose it? )

Shen 's anima banner has progressed far beyond its usual burning stage. As his hand flickers over the parchment, charting out the map, it bursts into a brilliant rainbow, the light fracturing and shimmering as though shining through ten thousand rain drops.

Shen . o O ( I'd like to get told, but that's my Bein' A Badass Navigator Man Pose. :) )

The Storyteller . o O ( 'kay. )

Monkey . o O ( Heh )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Nicely done! )

Shen . o O ( Danke. This is /my/ job. You keep the boys in shape and kick ass; Monkey kicks eight kinds of ass; I take care of the ship stuff and shoot people. Quite possibly, in the ass. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Oh, does Shen have any Occult or Lore skills? They help in using the big gun... )

Monkey . o O ( Big gun = Lightning Ballista. Light Implosion Bow does not require either, but isn't very big. )

You whisper, "The ship travels from that peninsula that is the westernmost point on the Blessed Isle to a large island north of Abalone. If you have Stephenls' map, it's the one labeled Isle of Shadows. Shen has never landed on the island, but knows it to be a shadowland by reputation. It's avoided by just about everyone." to IsawaBrian.

Shen . o O ( Lore 2. No occult. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Oh, and we need to wrap up after this scene. It's past my bedtime. )

Admiral Kaizoku asks Shen urgently "Do you have the course?"

Monkey . o O ( )

Shen frowns at his charts, and pulls out some maps from his bag. "Yup, that's what I thought. This takes a straight trip-- I can take you on either the straightaway or avoid some of the nastier huntin' grounds- off th' Blessed Isle to th' Isle of Shadows, north o'Abalone. Here's the safest course from th'Edge of the Eye here, to the Isle; here's the swiftest, an' this one might be an acceptable compromise." He looks up at Kaizoku. "Aye, and then some, sir, but I'll warn you; by tale, this place is a Shadowlands." He grins. "'Course, I ain't been, an' on that account, I'm of a powerful inclination t'go."

Admiral Kaizoku says steadily "We have dealt with Shadowlands before. Set the fastest course, Mr. Shen. Monkey, check on the supply status. I will show you to the control room."

Monkey says, "Why that's just a few days south of here."

Monkey . o O ( Considering that we're near the Neck. )

Shen salutes Kaizoku, and gets to work.

Monkey says, "Aye Aye."

Shen . o O ( And fade to black for poor Appollonian's bedtime? )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Well, we should at least roar off from the dock! )

Monkey goes to see Akbar, and oh, tell him about repainting the stateroom.


The Storyteller . o O ( You might want to wait till Akbar gets back with provisions, you know. Anway. 4 xp each and I'm off to bed. Anything else will have to be over e-mail. )

Monkey . o O ( G'night. )

The Storyteller . o O ( Night. )

Admiral Kaizoku . o O ( Got it! Hope you liked it Brian! Nite Jesse! )

On to Session 38