Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.

Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 14th, 2013, 1:00 pm

OOC Me either, but my social calendar's gotten a little busy lately. I'll get back when I can./OOC
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 16th, 2013, 2:12 pm

"It's part of the cover." Leo replied, still preening in the mirror and oblivious to any amused or skeptical looks.

"I'll be playing the part of a disgruntled bodyguard in search of new employment." Eve added, snapping the last plate into place with a grunt. "Fortunately, being annoyed at Leo is something that comes to me naturally."

She tried a reassuring smile, which looked positively alien on the tomboy's face.

"We've done crap like this before. Trust me, we'll get the job done."
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Alberich » November 17th, 2013, 12:45 pm

That same morning, over in Tsuiraku, Nika Azaka was entertaining her fellow denizens with another chapter in the Contest of Miseries.

“The second day of the contest began, where any might compete by telling the king of the greatest misery, to win a gift of land, jewels of gold, and his daughter’s hand. The beggars and cripples were all gone, and the crowds that gathered were smaller, this time a knot of young men and a knot of young women, all afflicted with the pains of love and desperate enough to risk the king’s attention.

“The first the king selected was a young man from a small village who was eager to pour his heart out.” And Nika gave the complainer a voice of exaggerated self-pity, both to contrast it with the king’s deep-throated confidence and to reduce sympathy for the poor wretch – who, the listeners could be sure, would fare no better than the bastinadoed begger from the previous day.

"‘Ahhh, Your Majesty,’ he said, ‘My heart’s been torn out, my sleep’s taken from me, and every day I wish it to be my last. A man is not complete until he knows the love of a woman…and this, and this, I never may have!’

“And he told the story of how he’d fallen madly in love three times in his village, only to see every one of the girls betrothed and given to someone else; and when he tried to speak with his beloveds, their fathers, husbands, and groomsmen would beat or drive him off. His own family’s flocks had been eaten by wolves or stolen by his clan’s enemies, so most men weren’t interested in leaving a daughter to share a fate with him.

“While he told that part, the king gave a look over at his own disobedient daughter that made her shiver, for well she remembered that her hand was part of the prize in this contest, but he kept quiet and let the young man go on. He was talking about the last girl he’d seen given to another.

“‘And we had met by moonlight and sworn undying love and devotion to each other. But she was given to a stinky cruel monster of a tanner. And I saw her in the marketplace the next day, walking in pain from a beating he’d given her – and yet I lacked even the sword to strike him down, and the brothers to back me against his – I lay outdoors all night and howled at the moon like a beast. For I knew I could never shield or protect her.’

"‘You’ve never been married, then?’

"‘No, Your Majesty, and I fear I never will be, and the thought is unending agony.’

"‘And if you were married, and you had a husband or daughter who was disobedient and neglectful in her duties, or chased off after men…you would exercise your rights as a husband and father, and give her a good thrashing?’

"‘Oh, Your Majesty, I could never dream of laying a hand on my one and only love…’ And the crowd trembled for his sake. In that kingdom, a man who wouldn’t beat his wife for being lazy or unfaithful was less than half a man. But the king didn’t say anything about it. He just moved on.

"‘So you’ve never had a child, never had to discipline a household?’

"‘No, Your Majesty.’

"‘Never had to negotiate a dowry, see your own children go hungry if you didn’t provide, see your name disgraced if a woman in your household misbehaved?’

"‘No, Your Majesty.’

“‘This young lady you’ve lost, now surely, before her father snatched her away and her husband gave her a thrashing, you enjoyed her embraces on a warm summer night?’

"‘No, Your Majesty, never.’

"‘Nor any other woman’s ever?’

"‘No, Your Majesty.’ There too the crowd feared for him. In that place, men didn’t admit they were virgins. If the king didn’t show him some mercy, life would go very hard for him!

“‘So,’ the king asked, ‘you’ve no notion of what this bliss is that you didn’t get to enjoy?’

“‘Well, not from having lived it…’

“‘Then I cannot say you are the most miserable of men,’ he said, ‘for how great can it be to lose something, when you had no notion of what it was? Yet I see’” – and Nika held up an open-palmed hand, as if to interrupt the young man’s protestations – “‘that this uncertainty, and this longing, are a sore affliction to you, and from these I can grant you relief. Chancellor, have this young man at once led away and castrated.

“‘For,’ said the king, ‘never again will you know the agony of wondering whether you’ll be married, or to whom. You’ll know you won’t be! And far from longing to be in her arms…you’ll never want her to see you again, and I predict that if you hear she’s coming, you’ll run away rather than let her get the tiniest glimpse of you. Even clothed. Let alone, naked. Now tell me truly – are you content with this, or shall I add greater beneficences to these?’

“The young man protested that he was more content, and that even this gift was too much for his desert, so that he begged the king’s leave to decline it and leave empty-handed; but the king was adamant that his mercy should be felt, and so the young man was led off to be castrated. And the other jilted young men, like the beggars before them, fought each other vigorously to be the first off the contest field.

“When the men were gone there remained the knot of unhappy women. Some of these had quietly slipped away in the confusion, but the ones who were left had hard looks on their faces. Life had not been kind to them, and they had no danglies to cut off. The first one who met the king’s eye shuffled forward.

"But who she was, and what she had to say, this must wait for another day." Once more there was applause and chatter, and a relaxing end to the night's work, before things broke up.

Nika was in part contented. Her new man, Drake Ator, was fumbly-clumsy about his advances, but they'd be lovers in a day or two, and for a while he'd have a hard time keeping his hands off her. That would make his movements easy to track. But she didn't know who was tracking down the girl she needed for Colin Norfall, or whether the candidate would really be suitable. She was already determined to meet the girl herself and take her own impressions. Once she got word she was on her way.

It'd still be a day or two before Henseijin was in town, and she wanted all three men firmly wrapped in the embraces of their new mistresses as soon as possible before these three had their next meeting together at the home of Ajiro Sufu. If these meetings corresponded to the passing of illicit information, as Mr. Masaki suspected, then she didn't want them to get through another without bedroom eyes following their pampered, smooth butts.

[OOC: Note: Khoo's mandate didn't mention anything about bringing pimps along, the rates he was authorized to offer definitely did not include stipends for anyone but the girl herself, and whether extra personnel would be welcome on the mission...is doubtful though it hasn't explicitly been said.]
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 17th, 2013, 2:34 pm

OOC As I've stated a few times already, Leo is not a pimp, nor pretending to be one. Its a cover story to give Eve a legitimate reason to go seeking alternative employment once they arrive, and gives Leo a reason to be there so he can keep an eye on things. There's no way Rufus (the leader of their group) is sending the closest thing he's got to a daughter on a mission like that solo. He'd be keeping to the background in this anyway, and dumping his disguise the second isn't required./OOC
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Graybeard » November 17th, 2013, 3:43 pm

OOC: Yes, we know Leo isn't a pimp, nor is he intending to pass himself off as one in this disguise. However, Khoo doesn't know that. He is quite unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the, er, escort business, and his imagination is kinda running riot here. So Layla, who basically understands the relationships among the Silver Hands and has her own reasons for taking an interest in proceedings, to the rescue, in a way that may cause Choubei some headaches, but oh well... :roll: ]

"Gee, I just don't know about the two of you," Khoo stammered. "I mean, I'm only supposed to find one--"

Layla interrupted. "Leo, a word." She hauled the con artist off to one side and lowered her voice to talk to him. "I've been told we're supposed to help this guy." She didn't say by whom. "Since we've discovered that we may have an Oshima problem again, I think we can pay for your airship ticket, if you can do your own checking on what those bastards are up to." She smirked. "At the minimum, let this kid buy you and Eve some lunch from that stand at the terminal, and watch what happens. That way, if someone gets killed, it's him and not you..."
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 19th, 2013, 8:07 am

"That sounds like a sensible plan." Leo agreed. "But awkward. Awkward in the way that it probably requires a change of clothing. I spent an hour picking out this jacket you know..."

"We heading out or what?" Eve's call cut through Layla's quiet discussion like a flat chord in a harmony. Leo winked at the vineyard owner and turned to face his associate and the young man.

"I understand your concerns, young sir and I'm prepared to allay them." He stepped forward and tipped a bow which fitted his gaudy outfit to a tee. "I propose that you travel in the company of my charming companion, while I adopt a more... discreet attire and travel separately. You needn't concern yourself with my fee, I would simply be around as a safeguard against the worst happening to Eve. Our employer likes to keep a protective eye on his investments, you understand..."
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Graybeard » November 19th, 2013, 12:17 pm

Khoo looked at Leo, at Eve, at Layla, back again. "Um, very well," he said.

[OOC: So fast forward back to Tsuirakushiti, or what? Nothing exciting is planned with the Oshima guy at the terminal as far as I'm concerned.]
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Alberich » November 19th, 2013, 4:11 pm

[OOC: If Khoo has, indeed, recruited Eve for this mission, I would be very glad to skip to the terminal in Tsuirakushiti, where she is to meet with her contact at the Adventurers' Bar, per Choubei's instructions. We can take it as read that a message got sent ahead through the local consulate, so that the contact knows to be there; and if the airship arrives in the afternoon, the contact will have had plenty of time for sleep after her hard night's work and storytelling...]
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 20th, 2013, 6:06 am

OOC I'm good to fast forward./OOC
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Re: Tsuiraku - A Contest of Miseries

Postby Graybeard » November 23rd, 2013, 11:16 am

Khoo cringed at the thought of what might happen when Anna-Lisa met him and the others at the terminal in Tsuirakushiti, as she seemed all too likely to do; particularly, what happened when she met Eve. The Anti-Anna-Lisa and the original item ... maybe they'll annihilate. In fact, however, Anna-Lisa was nowhere to be seen when the airship landed. She might be off doing something for Choubei. Or she might be "decorating" "their" flat. That was at least as scary a thought as having her show up at the terminal.

"You're supposed to be meeting a contact here," he said to Eve. "He, she or it will give a code phrase, and you or I or both respond with another one, just like they do in cheap Crystal-net fanfic -- oh, right, you don't have Crystal-net where you come from." He chuckled. "That's probably just as well. Anyway, we'll need to keep our eyes and ears open so the contact can be made."

And I can wash my hands of you and move on to whatever the next ghastly thing Choubei has in store for me might be, he thought, pessimistically but probably not altogether inaccurately. For the moment, he simply concentrated on not being recognized by anyone from Sashi Mu.

[OOC: Over to you, A.]
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