Tsuiraku-town, part 2

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.
Locked
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
Posts: 7147
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Graybeard »

[OOC: OK, so new thread, presumed to happen immediately on the heels of the old one...]

"I wonder what became of that ridiculous elf," Layla mused as she and Joe rode toward Tsuiraku-town. Truthfully, she didn't care much, although it was always better to know what an elf was up to if there was one around. Her thoughts were simply elsewhere. For one thing, she hadn't been a mother nearly long enough to get over the separation anxiety that a day in Tsuiraku-town would provoke, even though she knew full well that Faye could take care of Zachary perfectly well (not to mention all the ... help ... she'd have). For another, she wasn't quite sure how things would go at the magic laboratory. Were they ready for her yet? She thought so, based on the curt exchange with the woman yesterday, but you could never tell with the Tsuirakuans.

For another, Ace was coming back.

The laboratory was open, all right, and the robed woman ("Lifemage Madori," she introduced herself) waved Layla inside. "Let us continue your lessons," she said, acting for all the world as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened yesterday. Layla shrugged and stepped into the building as Joe headed for the liquor store; she knew where she could find him if she needed him.

------------

"What do you think that Kitaura fellow meant by 'exotic weeds'?" Faye asked Rhett. Breakfast behind them, they'd walked out among the grapevines, partly to have a private conversation, partly so that Rhett could get away from Jasmine's determined attempt to play matchmaker between the courier and her daughter. Faye had a happy, cooing Zachary on her back in the baby carrier Layla had left her. I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this, she thought; the little tyke was starting to get heavy. Best to take advantage while I can.

------------

Thus distracted, Faye and Rhett (let alone the three women still in the house with the sleeping Nera) didn't see a flare of magic down at the shack.
Image

Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
Kincaide
Errant Scholar
Posts: 101
Joined: March 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
Location: Half dead on a beach somewhere

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Kincaide »

"Could have meant there were more goons lurking around, ma'am, but if they are all like that small fry earlier then they should not be much trouble," he was happy to get out of that house. The woman, Jasmine, kept trying to get him alone with her daughter. Not that Rhett did not appreciate the effort, his encounters with the fairer sex tended be to very fleeting but he was nine years Jamie's elder. He would have felt more comfortable if Jasmine was trying to match herself up with Rhett. Sure the age difference was greater but at least they were both adults.

The baby looked up at him from his grandmother's back with his big round eyes and Rhett made a cartoony face for the tyke which was met with bubbly giggles. Rhett smiled, sure he was a smuggler and trained fighter but when you came from a family as big as Rhett's you had to be good with kids. There was always a brother, sister, aunt or uncle with a bundle of joy or bun in the oven.

"Anyway, I'm pretty sure Kitaura is on our side for now. If he finds anything that deals with us I'm sure he'll pass it on. I'll go into town tomorrow and see if some old friends have heard anything," he paused for a moment, considering if he should actually ask the next part, "It would help if I knew who you people really were,"
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
Posts: 7147
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Graybeard »

Layla was adroit enough in social situations to know when to let sleeping dogs lie. Whatever the story with the late, surprisingly-unlamented Kinabalu was, it wasn't going to see the light of day here and now, so there was no reason to push it. "You're a lifemage?" she said. "As the mother of a small child, that kind of thing appeals to me. Is there any way your lessons could help me with some healing magic?"

Now why was the woman looking at her like that? "We shall see," Madori (was it "Miss" or "Mrs." or "Ms."? hard to be sure) said, "but first, let us do some more testing." She led Layla back to the room with the diagnostics instruments, which looked just as she'd left it before seeing Kinabalu in the last few minutes of his life.

------------

Faye permitted herself a small smile as she watched Rhett mugging for her grandson. He was a natural with small children. Could anybody who'd entertain a baby like that (and Zachary's giggling made it quite clear that he was thoroughly entertained) possibly be a threat to the family?

Well, yes, actually he could.

She put the thought out of her mind as she considered his request. "It would help if I knew who you people really were." How could that be answered without saying too much? Peter had said this guy was more or less on friendly terms with the Gewehr, but she couldn't be sure ... She decided to risk a response that was technically correct, if -- incomplete. "I feel a need to be vague," she said, "but the short answer is that we're with one of the guilds in this country -- I assume you know how they operate. Don't worry, we're not interested in muscling in on the Seeadler's operation, we're not that stupid. But we are interested in getting a magical jump on some of our competition --" damn the Eisenfaust, and damn that Sonnenschein woman who figured out Tsuirakuan magic before we did -- "and my daughter has some magical talent, so she's in town studying with the Tsuirakuans. The vineyard is entirely legitimate; Layla makes very good wine, and she's a skilled businesswoman. The fact that it gives us some cover while the lessons are going on is convenient ... and I'm sure you have plenty of experience with cover, in your own line of work, don't you?" She smiled again, but this one had some teeth in it.

-------------

Footfalls coming from the direction of the shack approached the house, toward the window of the room where Nera lay sleeping -- footfalls unaccompanied by the presence of any obvious feet. Any visible feet, anyway.
Image

Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
Kincaide
Errant Scholar
Posts: 101
Joined: March 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
Location: Half dead on a beach somewhere

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Kincaide »

"Fair enough," Rhett commented, "Just wanted to know what the chances of you lot leaving me twisting in the wind were. I am, after all, an outsider to your little family and whatever merc guild you're a part of," he did not say anything about abandoning them but it was his way of letting the apparent matriarch of the group know he was not just the affable hired hand, "Not judging you none but I've been screwed over by employers before. When it gets rough and things start going wrong, when the choice is me or one of your own... well, I suppose you can fill in the rest on your own, ma'am," Rhett did not look her way when he said this.

No one likes hearing that, most people hold on to the notion of honor and never giving up and those people are idealists. Rhett was a realist, and realistically people tend to save the ones they know and care about as opposed to letting them die in favor of a vague acquaintance. Faye had a responsibility to her family and to her guild, Rhett was part of neither.
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
Posts: 7147
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Graybeard »

"Fair enough," Faye repeated. "We all have business needs, after all. I'm sure the reciprocal relationship also applies if the shit hits the fan. Do what you have to do. I will simply give you one warning: if you harm my daughter, or my grandson, I will follow you to the ends of the earth to see you spitted and roasting over a low fire." There was no hostility in her face with this declaration; it was business, after all.

----------

"The test that Das-- the earlier diagnostician performed did not show you with any great potential in life magic," Lifemage Madori told Layla. "That can come later. For now, we will concentrate on further defining your -- unusual kinesthetic skills."

Layla caught both hesitations. Kinabalu had told her that most Tsuirakuans didn't think highly of kinesthetic magic. Of course, most Tsuirakuans weren't Gewehr Wraiths, and this woman didn't need to know (if she didn't already) that she had one of those as a student. The other break in the flow of words interested Layla more. So the dead guy was "Dasuke" to her, not "Kinabalu," with whatever honorific applied, doctor or sifu or such. I get the sense that their relationship was not purely professional ... in which case she's being even more of a hardass after his death than I was after Arty's. No, don't go there.

She didn't respond directly, merely nodded as the woman led her to an array of balance beams, suspended ropes, and tight wires, all faintly redolent of magic.

-----------

The footsteps paused outside Nera's room. The window was closed and secured, but a brief pulse of magic soundlessly fixed that.
Image

Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
User avatar
kagome_kino
Forum Regular
Posts: 88
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by kagome_kino »

Maya woke up on the couch with a yawn and sat up. She looked around obviously not seeing anything "hmmm wonder if it's time to get up yet." Giving it some thought she decided to put her eye drops in and not really enjoying the process. Rubbing her poor optics she looked around the room but didn't see any human figures around "it better not still be night." getting up she stretched after a good sleep "HELLO!" she called out through the house.
Kincaide
Errant Scholar
Posts: 101
Joined: March 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
Location: Half dead on a beach somewhere

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Kincaide »

Rhett just chuckled, "I have yet to meet a man able to offer me enough to think about hurting a kid, ma'am," he had been right in guessing that Faye was probably the scariest one in Layla's group. After all, you do not wander into the forest to find bear cubs to kick, it is a good way to get your head taken off, "Well, now that that's out of the way," he looked back at the house, "We should probably get back inside before Ms. Porter starts thinking I've escaped her grasp and goes on the warpath,"
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
Posts: 7147
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Graybeard »

Layla was getting frustrated. She'd shinnied up the rope like a monkey, and traversed tight wires like a circus acrobat, yet here she was, falling off a damned balance beam like a clumsy schoolgirl. On her fifth unsuccessful try to get across the beam, she turned to Lifemage Madori, seething. "Just what the hell did you do to this thing?" she demanded. "I should never, never, never be having this much trouble with it."

"Calm down, Ms. Sorensen," the Tsuirakuan said, her voice flat (yet, clearly enough, reproving). "There is an enchantment on the beam. Nobody can cross it -- not without extending their kinesthetic sense into the magical regime, detecting the magic, working with the rugosities on the beam in both the physical and thaumatic worlds. The entire purpose of this test is to examine your ability to do so. Please try again."

Layla swore silently and did as she was told. Think about magic! She placed a foot on the beam, extended her sensory awareness through her shoe into the wood ... and there, she could sense something that was slick underfoot, yet had a certain texture to it that she could only sense and exploit magically. There, a foot in that exact spot should stick. And another step, and another spot she could use. And another, and another ...

Five minutes later, she was running across the beam, as her teacher watched impassively -- at first. When she was done, Madori said, "Very -- satisfactory, Ms. Sorensen." (Obviously "satisfactory" was Tsuirakuan for "impressive as hell," Layla thought.) "Your skills in this area are such that kinesthetic magic comes most easily to you. Now, let us examine your potential for conjuration and evocation magic..."

----------

"She's a real piece of work, isn't she?" Faye chuckled, leaving it unclear whether she was referring to Jasmine or Jamie. They started back for the house ...

----------

... Where, in the back bedroom, a softly glowing object was floating through the window toward the sleeping Nera.
Image

Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
Kincaide
Errant Scholar
Posts: 101
Joined: March 11th, 2010, 8:11 pm
Location: Half dead on a beach somewhere

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Kincaide »

"Heh, that's one way to put it, ma'am, someone is going to need to explain to her how much of a terror a young mother is. Had to deal with three of them at the same time back home, the family home was large but not large enough for that," those were good times, "You don't know the joy of the little ones until three of them set each other off like an avalanche,"
User avatar
Graybeard
The Heretical Admin
Posts: 7147
Joined: August 20th, 2007, 8:26 am
Location: Nuevo Mexico y Colorado, Estados Unidos

Re: Tsuiraku-town, part 2

Post by Graybeard »

"I can't begin to imagine," Faye said. "Layla was an only child, and one was quite enough, thank you. Now, to get back to business: the vineyard is Layla's to run, she's the one with the business acumen and the knack for making good wine. It is to remain entirely legitimate and separate from our guild that I will not name. Because of that, she's nervous, as am I, about all the deaths that have been happening around here. If you can help sort them out, we'd appreciate it, although the financial end of that appreciation may have to wait until we're actually selling some wine. Maybe you can help with that too." They approached the side entrance to the house ...

... As the glowing magical object was plunking down next to Nera in the crib. Nera herself, still asleep, now was levitating, and starting to move toward the window on the opposite side of the house from where Faye, Rhett and Zachary were entering; out of sight, out of mind.
Image

Because old is wise, does good, and above all, kicks ass.
Locked