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[Chronicles] The Burning of the Eternal Gate

QuothQuoth the RavenMiami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
edited August 2015 in The Writer's Block
Hey everyone! Here is the mighty thread for our new letters game. The theme is wuxia Arthurian kaiju. The rules are simple:
1. Have fun.
2. Write in first person POV.
3. Write in the form of something that is aimed at some audience, be it a letter or a journal entry or a monologue as recorded by a listener.
4. Do not get too precious with your characters; we're all playing in the same sandbox, so be prepared to share your toys.
5. That said, do not kill other people's characters without asking them first.
6. Try to treat things other people write as canon, meaning don't contradict them if possible. But narrators can be unreliable at times, so there is some flexibility.
7. See rule 1.

More rules added as needed. This OP will serve as the repository for updates and whatnot, so when in doubt, peek up here for info. I'll either make an OOC thread if requested, or we can keep OOC chatter in the chat thread.

I'll start, and whoever wants to go next, add a reply with NEXT as the text so people know you're taking your turn. Please post your story within 48 hours so things don't get bogged down, and don't call next unless you're pretty sure you can make it.

Some generators for your use and amusement:

Martial Arts School Generator: http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=maschool
Martial Arts Move Generator: http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=mamove
Cat-people name generator: http://fantasynamegenerators.com/cat-people-nekojin-names.php#.VbBcqflVhBc
East Asian town name generator: http://fantasynamegenerators.com/east-asian-town-names.php#.VbBcwPlVhBc
Arthurian name generator: http://fantasynamegenerators.com/arthurian-names.php#.VbBc8_lVhBc
And, most importantly, KAIJU GENERATOR: http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=kaiju

UPDATE 7/23/15: Per VP's suggestion, if you reference someone else's character in your story, tag that person behind a spoiler at the beginning so they don't miss it. Remember, you have to tag them before you post; you can't edit in a tag later because it won't notify them. If you forget, just tag them in the chat thread.

UPDATE 7/24/15: Per questions from KC, you can include more than one letter in your post if one person is writing to two people about the same topic, but in different ways. Try not to be redundant, of course. The idea is that each post should move the story forward somehow, once the first round of character introductions is complete, so related letters/articles/etc. would naturally go together.

UPDATE 8/22/15: You're not supposed to write from the POV of someone else's POV character, but you can use other people's characters in your story, or write from the POV of side characters they invent.

ElJeffe on
tapeslingerbigrickcookKCWisechiasaur11

Posts

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    Dearest Hana,

    The healers tell me to write you to distract myself from my injuries. I confess that I find the idea foolish; not because I lack the desire to write, for I am eager to explain my delay in visiting you, but because the notion of distraction from such a thing seems patently ridiculous. The burns covering both my legs are in constant pain, echoes of the agony I felt when the giant monster consumed me with its flaming breath. Still, I am here in Saivi, and the monster is dead, and the knights who found me say I acquitted myself well for a first hunt.

    You would not believe the destruction that creature wrought before I slew it. It was such that I could not close my eyes and keep my feet on the path to you and Mother. Long scars of broken trees carved through ancient forests, herds of livestock decimated, whole villages reduced to smoldering ash… But you are safe in the city, where such tales are the province of storytellers in the markets. Words are mere words, and they bite without teeth.

    I hear you say, “But sister, tell me of the monster!” He was as tall as the lighthouse at the harbor in Gimcho, with skin like a turtle’s and great spines ranging along his back. His maw was blunt, like Auntie’s dog’s, and above it his eyes were set wide apart, bright orange like hot coals. When he roared, it was the sound of thunder when lightning strikes close, and he smelled of smoke and sulfur and blood. The knights called him Dahrgu, and he came from whatever secret hell they all come from, and to which he has been returned.

    I am sorry for the ink stain. The healers were right: in writing, I forgot my pain and moved without thinking, which of course reminded me and startled my hand. Do not worry, for they tended to me quickly; one of them even has a little magic, a wondrous cooling touch that any in summer would envy.

    You will want to know of the battle, I am sure. I tracked the creature to Seocho, then followed to Ersai, observing how it moved, helping people escape its deadly breath. Eventually I ran ahead of it between villages, climbing to the top of a tall tree and waiting in the Silent Stance of the Gentle Killer. I was downwind, so it could not smell me, but I struggled not to choke from the foul stench preceding it. When it finally passed, I leaped onto its back, using its spines to climb toward its head in the hopes of ending it with a quick thrust of my pudao.

    What a fool I was. It felt my movement, of course, and began to roar and shake itself like a wet dog. I was nearly thrown from its back, and dropped my weapon in my haste to keep from falling. It reached for me, but could not stretch its arms to catch me. In a rage, it spewed fire so hot the trees lit up like paper, then turned its back to the flames as if to cook me alive. My palms became so slick with sweat that I nearly lost my grip and fell to the ground.

    The Clutch of the Great Vine saved me, and I must thank my old master for compelling me to practice it despite my stubbornness. Wasting not another moment, I used the One Hundred Warriors Whirlwind to ward off the fire and carry myself to the top of the monster’s head. I landed in a crouch and slid down its forehead, pulling my short sword from my belt as I did and burying it in one of the great orange eyes.

    How it roared! The sound was a terror from afar, but close as I was, it shook me like an earthquake. My ears still ring with it. And it loosed more flame, scorching my legs as I already told you. It was all I could do to hold fast to my weapon, pushing it farther in with all the strength that remained to me, until at last, after an eternity of pain, it gave a mighty shudder and fell to the ground, dead.

    I do not know how long it was before the knights found me, but they brought me to Saivi on a litter. There was a feast in my honor, I heard, but I was too unconscious to attend. (You see, I am still myself enough to tell jokes.) Now I am less a mighty hero and more an invalid, to be tsked over when bandages need changing. When my legs have healed, I will finish my journey to you and Mother, and we will drink to my good fortune. After that, of course, I must return to The Grand Ki-Rin School. The path of the warrior does not end with a single battle, nor with one dead monster.

    But come, tell me of your life, and the city, and what new schemes Mother has concocted for bringing more custom to our humble shop. Has she given up on the cats at last? And whatever happened to that young friend of yours, with the plums? Please, write to me here, if only to keep me sane until I can walk again.

    All my love,

    Kimi

    tapeslingerMagellKCWisebigrickcook
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Heartfelt Greetings Lee Yun,

    I have been unsettled for long weeks and it is my great shame I have not corresponded. But there is much to rejoice, my friend! I am possessed of a salvaging permit signed by our favorable Knight-General Passefir.

    You will find its reproduction following the waiver of life and limb I was obliged to sign. I feel the waiver is of greater import, as it clearly defines the business relationship to which I in my haste too freely agreed. I foresee many a new scar, each with its own tale to tell, before my return. See enclosed a list of accoutrement I shall require to make the most of our venture, and ensure its celeritous delivery to me at Echo Ridge. And before you succumb to a blathering rage at the expense, believe me when I say that treated dragonskin boots and weskit will keep me alive and increase our haul triplicate, and I daresay keep my physick bill manageable.

    That they are the height of fashion in the martial lands nearest the Eternal Gate should be of no concern to you.

    Tell me, is our patron pleased with the progress? He ought with news of this permit and the first lading hitting the shores of Gimcho, well on their way to our storehouse. I confess to some worry leaving you at Xu’s mercy, under his watchful gaze. But I have every confidence in you, Lee, that you will navigate these strange times and bring us to great fortune.

    His investment coin has gone to good use, paying for a local translator and a small but adequate salvage team. I haven’t learned to pronounce their names yet, but they are sturdy and stalwart and surprisingly good-natured considering the hellspawn next door. And I discovered two of them are women! But when I tried to send them away, Laist (my translator) assured me that this was not forbidden. It was with great reluctance I allowed them to stay on. They at least have nimble fingers and can strip the flesh quickly.

    Noteworthy of our efforts in the field, there is something of a competition among the salvaging teams. First rights at salvage, enforced by the martial presence and protected against poaching in exchange for a share of the goods. The Knights and Masters have not the bodies to spare for these carcass retrievals, and most of the salvage teams have not the martial expertise or the coin to hire guard. What I mean to say to you, friend, is that we run an uphill race, and there are many hands along the path guiding us to victory while concealing their cutpurse.

    I have lain eyes upon the Eternal Gate. It is a sight to behold, and all the likenesses over which we pored do it no justice. The gate is under strict quarantine miles distant from its wary eye. Though I have only seen it from afar I feel as though it knows our presence. I cannot adequately explain the feeling. Suffice to say I would go no nearer if our salvage efforts did not require it.

    My mind does wander, does it not? Do write back soon, I find myself nostalgic for the Western lands.

    Your friend and partner,

    Shy Liwei

    P.S. How is she? Send her my regards, will you?

    [Attached reproductions of the Salvage Permit and Life Waiver; a crude sketch of the Eternal Gate rimmed in the fires of sunrise; a list of requested items; a shipping manifest and contact information for delivery of “rare goods”.]

    bigrickcook on
    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    QuothtapeslingerVanityPantsKCWisechiasaur11
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    My ever cautious Eigyr,

    I am still well, contrary to your dire expectations! There may yet be a man or woman born to mortal flesh destined to be my destroyer, but I can promise you that their cursed hide is nowhere to be found on the northern isles. I rest today after the tournament, with my spirits as hearty as my flesh is bruised.

    You would have trembled if you had seen me on the first day. I know I am no mountain of a man, but I always supposed my stature nearer the standard than any extreme. A glance around proved my estimates, if not false, far from adequate for the task before them. I was near the smallest in the halls that morning, and by a fair measure. The old legends speak of giants who walked the world before men, and I started to suspect I was in their company, not the one intended me. Even some of the women managed a full chi above my height.

    Worse still, I found that not a one of them was an amateur, the village strongman attempting to make his first mark on the world. Each that dared speak boasted of an ancient school or a daring new training method. One man even boasted that he hailed from the infamous and feared Academy of the One Hundred Cruel Bats. Another in my place, not even one I would dare call a lesser, would have fled rather than face the terrors already before him. But, as you well know, I am the most bullheaded and foolhardy excuse for a knight ever to blight your eyes, and perhaps the least sensible man ever to wander the lands blessed by the sun. One who would laugh while crossing the river of the weeping damned could hardly be expected to flee from mere mortal danger.

    I have heard you praise my smile when you thought me absent. I know you will be pleased to hear it was with me from the first. I closed my eyes, gave due respect to the honorable and worthy foes who joined me in an attempt to further our mutual pursuit of mastery, and began my work.

    I suppose they must have been surprised to see my enthusiasm. I have seen more than my share of battle, and few have matched my smile after the first glancing blow. Fewer still retain it after they felt the sting of a changdao passing through one of their less important organs.

    My skill had its place in the accounting of the day, and the school of the inner ocean may claim my name in its pantheon of debtors, but the shock my foes must have felt to see me stand through their blows was the largest part of my victory. The legends speak of those stern to inflict, but I have always found it better to be stubborn to endure.

    And stubborn I was! Stubborn through all the tourneys and conflicts, against the fiercest of foes. Did you know that the master of the islands held one of the monsters that wander in the outer forests? It was a small beast, as these things go, no taller than three men standing on each other's shoulders, and with no gift for the flames. Still, it was enough to drive away any who dared challenge his station. I hear rumors he fed it on any champions who disappointed him, whether through failure of skill, or simple arrogance unsuited to their station.

    You are an astute and gifted reader, far surpassing my limited knowledge of these arts. I have no doubt that you noticed the past tense. I will not worry you with any further details.

    I am well, no matter what the physician I left this message with may claim, and hope to find you in a similar condition when I return.

    Your dearest admirer
    Kalles of the bloody smile

    chiasaur11 on
    QuothKCWisebigrickcook
  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Character reference list:
    @Quoth : Kimi referenced in the 4th and 5th paragraphs.
    @BigRickCook : Obvious reference throughout.
    Shy Liwei,

    Has the road between us grown so long that you’ve forgotten my nature? Or have you only misjudged me all these long years? That you should think I should let greed come before sense, and coin before friendship…

    Trust that I never doubt you. Of course you may have the items that you seek, I only hope that they arrive there in time. I insisted the tailor make them to order for you—quality takes time, they say.

    As to our patron… I confess, his temper has been uneven of late. The shipment is near, but Xu nurses a fear that the people will be unaccepting. I fear, at his very foundation, he is as distrusting as he is wealthy, and many a night I have toiled away, plying him with sweet wine until his thoughts turn more pleasant.

    Another attack has left a young hunter at the mercy of the so-called modern medicine here in Saivi, a fact that has only caused more grief in our endeavor. It’s hard for them to see that good may yet come of these tragedies, but we may yet prove the wiser and, more importantly, profit from it.

    To that end, I have made arrangements to speak with this injured hunter. It is my hope that I might offer her a sample of what you’ve sent me—a trinket, really—to demonstrate its curative properties. A scale or two should do, when ground and steeped.

    Should this go well, word will travel and we need only capitalize on our advantage.

    Loath as I am to be so far apart from a trusted friend, knowing that someone as capable as yourself is working hard to secure our goods, and our future, brings peace to my heart. Know that these Western lands are as you left them, the fireflies as bright in the night, the air as sweet, and it will be all the sweeter when you return and we reap the rewards of our efforts.

    For now, take heart that we are on the right path. I advise you to encourage this competition of salvage rights among your own men—and women, as it may be. It is not enough that we should be the fastest, or the best. We must dominate the field. To that end, we must grow ahead of ourselves.

    Enclosed along with this letter, you will find a small chest of coin. Let this be a reward to those of our men who secure the greatest number of salvage rights in the month.

    Be certain that any other players in the field know that we two do not shy away from paying well. And should that turn any favorable eyes towards us, as it surely will… Well, we will need all of the extra hands we can manage, soon.

    In trust and good faith,
    Lee Yun

    P.S.
    My dear friend. Please understand that, in all things, I look towards your best interest. Let this time apart be a balm to your spirit, and look not into the past for old grief.

    [Enclosed: Two parcels wrapped in parchment.
    1: A small wooden box with a curious engraving on the latch. Inside, two rows of silver coins, polished and ordered neatly—the equivalent of around a month’s wages.
    2: A pair of boots and a weskit of the sturdiest and cleverest making, but designed to look as gaudy as possible. See photo below for an example of the boots.]
    Boots_zpshmvqezow.png

    VanityPants on
    Gokai_zpsdvyiviz0.png
    QuothKCWisebigrickcook
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2015
    Dearest Kimi,

    I do hope this letter finds you; you prove most difficult to track, unlike those great beasts who roam the countryside, laying waste to all with tooth and flame. In truth, I had not thought finding you possible, but imagine my fortune when I ran across the young nurse in Saivi, excited as she was by the injured warrior she had only just treated!

    And oh, the tale she told! A young neophyte of the Grand Ki-Rin School, dragged into town unconscious, her body burnt and blackened from the waist down, her weapon lacquered black with the stinking ichor of her fallen prey. I hear you made use of the One Hundred Warriors Whirlwind! A fine technique, and one of my favorites! Oh Kimi, I could not be more proud of you! How you have grown from the timid child I once knew!

    You must understand the effect your tale had upon this girl. Do you know that she has decorated her fingernails in brilliant verdant green, the color of your venerable school? Do you know that she regales all she meets with the story of your triumph?

    I do love a good story, Kimi. Allow me to tell you one? Please, just one?

    One day, in the black swamps south of Ersai, a man sought the witch Yun-Tse, hoping to have his daughter healed of a terrible case of the rotting sickness. And he found the witch, who was good and kind, and she healed the girl, and the father was joyous!

    I admit it is not exactly a tale for the ages. I lack your gift of storycraft.

    Are you well, Kimi? Are your legs healing? I hear they are more scar tissue than not. I trust it is most painful. Pain instills one with great focus, does it not? I did not truly understand this before now. Thank you, friend, for granting me such insights!

    Shall I tell you another story, Kimi? I promise this one will hold your interest!

    It is the tale of the young woman Ling, seeking to prove her worth to a dying father. “Daughter,” said the father, half deaf and all blind, stinking of incontinence, “it is my dying wish that you should slay one of the god-dragons that blight our land!” (In truth, he might not have used these precise words, but I am trying to channel your gift for embellishment.) “Go, child, and make me proud. (This, however, I swear upon my mother’s shallow grave, is accurate to the word.)

    Ling kissed her father’s red-pocked cheek and set out to find the beast Dahrgu, who had just set flame to a small village to the north, and whose death our young hero knew would bring a tear of joy to her father’s milky eyes. And so she waited atop a tree in the Silent Stance of the Gentle Killer, motionless, hungry, tired, and yet resolute. She waited and she waited, through three sunsets and two sunrises, and at last she spied her prey. Using the One Hundred Warrior’s Whirlwind – apparently a very popular maneuver! – Ling dashed to where the monster was, and prepared to strike.

    Imagine her surprise when she discovered the prey was also predator! At its feet cowered a neophyte whelp, brandishing a blade in a manner less a threat than an offering. Our hero swept in to rescue this pitiable creature, then returned her attention to Dahrgu. The battle was great and terrible, like something captured in tapestry, but in the end Ling’s blade found the monster’s great eye and that pulsing gray matter beyond. Blessed victory! Oh, how great would be her father’s pride!

    But then: misfortune! For as she returned her attention to the whelp, the demon Dahrgu let out a final, desperate, searing breath. The whelp was set aflame, and the young woman, Ling, found herself engulfed in fire from head to foot. Remembering her training, the hero, that slayer of beasts, burrowed into loose earth to extinguish the flames. She lost consciousness, then, only regaining her senses many days later. Others might have succumbed to such terrible wounds, but our hero had once received the blessing of a kind old witch, and such magicks tend to persist.

    Our hero returned to her father, and told him the tale of her conquest. “Pardon me,” said the father, “but I have heard this tale before. This is not your victory! Deceiver! Vile thief of legacies!” (Again, I may be guilty of embellishment.) The father died, then, of heartbreak that his daughter might have such a serpent’s tongue.

    Ling was confused at first, but she was a clever girl, and she deduced the apparent sequence of events bit by bit, as a child assembles puzzle cubes. And she vowed to find the worm who had stolen her glory.

    And they all lived well and fine, ever and after.

    It is a better story, isn’t it?

    The young nurse thought so. She was rapt with attention from the first word to the last. I asked her to expand upon the story you had told her, that I might revel in every last detail. I wanted to know everything there was to know about you! Every detail! She was reluctant to reveal such exacting minutae at first. I think my exuberance may have unnerved her. In the end, though, she gave such a complete accounting of the story. I dare say you would be proud!

    I intend to find you, my friend. I think we will have such tales to share! But first I must speak to more of your acquaintances. It is my endeavor to find everyone you have spoken to, everyone upon whose life you have had such profound impact. Only then, when I have visited everyone you have ever known and ever cared for, will we meet.

    Oh, Kimi! I cannot wait.

    Yours,
    Ling-fe of the Sapient Lotus

    Addendum: Please, Kimi, give my warmest regards to Hana.

    [Affixed to the bottom of the letter, each with a dollop of wax, are five ragged fingernails painted in verdant green.]

    ElJeffe on
    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
    chiasaur11VanityPantsbigrickcookKCWise
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    edited July 2015
    [Two letters, delivered by passing blue bird to a village in the mountains]


    Most Great and Exalted Master,

    The Black Fox shakes his tail in four sacred greetings to you, Master, and he screeches high and loud at the Three-Pocked Moon. May this letter please you, Master, as it is sent from the sandaled toes of Tay’mir, the smaller of the Five Brothers.

    I have sat at the foot of this mountain for three days, considering possible passage through Tay’mir’s sacred belt and on to the Crimson Valley beyond. Forgive my ignorance, Exalted One, but I am now befuddled by your map and it is no longer useful to me. No one since Amir of the Nine Tales has ever set foot in the Sacred Valley, and he has left no markers to indicate how he penetrated the Five Brothers to gain entry. I pray that you can proffer a clue to me. Does your vision offer any clarity?

    Master, I’m afraid that there is other news that I must put in this letter. South and west as I am from all who I love and all that imperil you, I must tell you that the earth shakes here, and the plants grow oddly. Where Amir wrote in his Tales of vivid emerald and perfect mauve, even supple pinks and pulsing golds among the flowers at the feet of the Five, I can find no such hues. All is awash in a gauzy grey, the color eaten away, sucked into earth that is cracked, not quite brown, and sometimes quivering under the feet. Where the trees of the Tales proudly reached almost as high the Brothers themselves, the ones that I’ve found here are bent over as a maid-servant who polishes the temple floors or broken as a crone’s back. Though they are not naked, they are not proudly shrouded, and while the leaves aren’t fully dried and withered, they appear dwarfed in nature, Master. As if something, somehow, stopped the new spring, halting their triumphant emergence.

    I can only imagine what I will find, if I can find, the valley beyond.

    Apologies, Master. You did not train me to doubt. I will find the valley beyond. The Blessing of the Red Fox compels me to continue. The Blessed and Cunning Fox Knows No Fear.

    I am right to remember it, as my training commands.

    I have remaining five Feathers of the Blue Jay, and so must now limit my communication with you unless you see fit to send me more. I pray that you will look upon this servant favorably, Master.

    Your humble servant in the service He Who Hunts for All in the Night,

    Tenwen of the Marigold Path


    ***


    Zynthia, keeper of my heartsong, I grow impatient with your petulance.

    You send me fantasies and rumor when these eyes, these fingers, this heart longs for stories of your sweet days, your fair dreams, our dear gift bestowed to us by the Gods. For the remainder of my journey, you cannot, must not, send me a letter like that again.

    Where I might overlook your emotional outburst, given your physical state and position of the Three-Pocked Moon in relation to Eminent Silver, I cannot abide by your insistence on fantasy and innuendo. Of course the Exalted had a vision. Of course he heard the voice of the Black Fox himself. His age brings him wisdom and that wisdom has made him entrust me with one of our most sacred documents. My success could bring the School of the Illuminated Path immeasurable power. We need this, Zyn.

    And you, my love, must not give me away. Do you not remember when I carried you upon my very back out from the doomed Lower Hills? How our fresher air, cleaner crops brought you back to life? The Exalted Himself laid his hands upon your ankles to lend you his life force and blessing. So please! Write not of any more nonsense and misfortune.

    Tell me instead of the condition of our little gift. Do the kicks come with strength and fury or does our little one stretch and tumble instead? Do you carry high like the Eminent Silver or low like the Three-Pocked Moon? Every little village has a way of knowing what the final result will be. I will not pretend to know, but I hold fast to my hope.

    Remember to keep my traditions after the delivery: place the child at the top of the stone steps at the feet of the Onyx Fox, the afterbirth in the bowl beside its tail. Never turning your back to our God, back away from it slowly and, upon reaching the top step of the many you’ve climbed, kneel and place your forehead to the gleaming stone floor and beg for blessing. Do this within the first twelve bells of the child’s birth.

    And remember that you promised, upon tying your waist to mine on our joining day, that you would forsake all of the Lower Hill traditions. My God is your God now. My people are your people. This child belongs to the Black Fox.

    As you perform the rites, I will have entered the sacred valley between the Five Brothers and will have, hopefully, placed my hands on the crimson petals of the Virgin’s Promise. If the Exalted’s map is correct and the Blue Fox truly lives in the peach orchards of the Eight Sisters, then and only then, will I be able to begin.

    I pray this, every night. So that you and our little gift can live in a safer world.

    Until that sweet day that I may return to you, keep me in your high-sun prayers, and whisper my name to the prancing kits in our collective dreams. I’ll do the same and sing your heartsong by the light of my fire.

    Yours until my time to pass beyond,

    T

    KCWise on
    VanityPantsGethElJeffebigrickcook
  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    [Intercepted and translated]

    My lord;

    I again must ask why I remain in this godless land? We are treated as hardly more than chattel by the emperor’s representatives, and all attempts to further trade negotiations are rebuffed by insistence on ceremony. Ceremony! We have been here two months and have yet to speak about more than tea and the emperor’s greatness! Ever since a certain admiral refused the kowtow we have been nothing more than a curiosity to these people!

    And the barbarism and blasphemy that we see every day! They send their sons and daughters, yes, daughters, off to die with hardly more than a small blade and some colourful fabrics and when they come back, if they come back, the poor, bloodied cripple is worshipped instead of treated!

    And worst of all, young Richard has been taken with the thin veneer of romanticism of this blasted country. He talks about the skill and beauty of their swordplay, even as the monsters shrug off their attacks like a horse swats at a fly. It is nothing compared to the heavy cannoneers of the isles back home, and the glorious might of ships like the Relentless, which sits in the harbour with her charges awaiting cargo that will never come! The crew of the Relentless was trained for battle, not to sit idly by in port.

    The longer we stay, the worse our lot becomes and the delegation that accompanied me chafes to be on our way back home. Well, all except the aforementioned Richard, who carries on and on. I swear, that boy has not the sense of a mule.

    I know that you were hoping to further the legacy of your line with the fortunes that seem to be at everyone’s fingertips here, but I assure you, my lord, all hope of trade is lost. This is a land in decline.

    Your humble servant,
    Captain Christopher James,
    dated on board of His Majesty’s ship Relentless, 10th of April, 1788.

    Tube wrote: »
    No, I hate D&D more than the other subforums because it's more of a pain in my arse.
    KCWisebigrickcook
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    To my heedless foster brother, whose bravado is only matched by his undeserved fortune

    Oh, Kalles.

    You must have known I would find out. Even when we were children, you never could hide anything from me. Even if Eigyr never wrote me, I would have heard stories of all the grand tournaments. How many times is it now that you have gone on your own to some land on our borders to challenge all and sundry?

    And this time you even fought a great beast. I suppose you think victory will excuse your folly.

    I fear you presume rightly. The high courts have often placed valor past prudence. If we sought to punish every over-enthusiastic knight, the great halls would be empty. I would prefer if you did not set such a poor example to the young, but I would also prefer if I could give orders to the very tides themselves. I doubt the heavens will grant me either request.

    I hope this letter finds you in good health and, in the slim hope it will encourage you to wait until you fully heal before charging into another international incident, I include a story.

    You must have heard of the visitors to the high court of late. The islanders, from even further than your current northern clime. They come in ships laden with oddities and trinkets, chief among them their weapons, metal rods that spark like the breath of the great beasts. I assume they are meant as toys, like our own fireworks, for there is little chance any of their ‘bullets’ could pierce the hide of a walking mountain.

    I have been in conference with several of their representatives over the past two months, and I…

    You have known me since childhood, Kalles. Most who know me only from afar speak of my dignity, my restraint, my wisdom. They would be shocked at my actions. You, on the other hand, remember me as a little sister, enthusiastic, quick of wit and finger. You know me too well to be surprised.

    So many of the visitors are arrogant, claiming knowledge in all arts greater than ours, calling our customs barbaric, and refusing the most basic of concessions expected of a guest. I felt that they could use a lesson in manners.

    I told them of the Emperor.

    You would have been proud of me, brother. I described his glory in more ridiculous terms every day, in ways that would shock the most seasoned of knights, no matter the wonders they have seen. Do you know that he rules the whole of this land? By his hand, the sun rises and sets. His wisdom is such that not even a gnat can act without his understanding, but his prudence restrains his hand so that even a child can walk the streets without the slightest restriction. He can move faster than thought, but with the force of a monster on the prowl. I could continue, but I assume your imagination can fill in more stories than I could ever commit to ink.

    None of them doubt a word of it, or at least, none of them dare question it. I almost pity one of the younger members of their company, Richard by name. He seems taken with the tales of the Emperor’s glory. How will he cope when he finds the man absent, with only a ‘lowly courtier’ on the throne?

    I know it is a childish game, but you must grant me some mercy. My position leaves me ill-suited to the excitement of tournaments.

    There are times I regret my calling. But by birth and appointment, I could never refuse my station.

    Your loving foster sister, the bottom of the steps, whose reign shall be interminable, the sage whose strength surpasses the limits of the lot of man, by the light of heaven and the wisdom of the waves, daughter to the chief among the dragons, and chosen of the King above all…

    (There are times I tire of listing titles, but I could scarcely ignore etiquette when lambasting our guests for their lack of manners)

    Anglise

    chiasaur11 on
    Nova_CKCWise
  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    chiasaur11 wrote: »
    Nova_C

    Ah, what the heck.

    NEXT!

    I don't....what?

    Tube wrote: »
    No, I hate D&D more than the other subforums because it's more of a pain in my arse.
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    Nova_C wrote: »
    chiasaur11 wrote: »
    Nova_C

    Ah, what the heck.

    NEXT!

    I don't....what?

    That means your character will be in the story.

  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    I was sure I was editing this post, not making a new one! Whoops! Oh well. @Quoth @ElJeffe @VanityPants

    Cheeseliker on
  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    quick, scurried handwriting

    Dearest Hana,

    This letter will be short as I do not have the time to write a long one. I must be delayed from my journey home once again. It is not my wounds. A man named Lee Yun gave me a tonic, made from the scale of a beast no less! that greatly aided their healing. He said the beasts hold many treasures in their bodies, treasures that could enrich the lives of many. I am only grateful that I am able to walk again, though the pain is still such that I must chew Soothroots daily to numb them. I cannot say how long I will be.

    I left Saivi but upon continuing my journey, I received troubling news. I'm afraid I cannot elaborate but...it has shaken me. A...friend of mine has died and I must see to...

    There is something I must deal with before I can come home.

    It appears the world is full of liars and killers, Hana. My joy has been dashed to pieces. My heart aches and my legs burn with a fiery agony that I cannot douse. Why has misfortune befallen me? Am I being punished?

    Two faced the monster. I thought one dead. One lies and one speaks the truth. One hunts and one runs...I apologize, my words do not make sense. The Soothroots cloud the mind at times.

    Still, I must persevere. I must face...what is to come.

    I cannot say where I am but know that I am safe. Tell mother that I love her. Will you do that for me?

    There is something else you must do for me. Do you know the old blade mother has in the chest in her room, her grandfather's blade? You must take it, Hana, keep it close. Though it's edge is dull, it's sharp enough to cut.

    I know you don't understand but you must trust me. Keep it close at all times.

    If you meet a woman named Ling-fe, be wary. She has thought up some insult from me and she is dangerous.

    Be wary and stay safe, sister. I love you and wish to be with you both very soon.

    Remember the sword. Remember the name Ling-fe.

    All my love,

    Kimi

    Cheeseliker on
    ElJeffe
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    (Just a quick note, not claiming another run or anything, but weren't there plans to move this to the public section, or did those fall through?)

  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    @VanityPants and probably to @Quoth .

    To the Inestimable Lee Yun,

    It might well please that I have attained something of a title here in Echo Ridge. You shall however have to wait for the end of my correspondence to learn it. The gear requested has well-served our endeavors, and I await your delight when you and Xu see the increased haul. I doubt even a curmudgeon such as he can complain.

    It is odd, hearing your efforts so far afield the Eternal Gate. Though danger lurks at any moment here, there are many warnings when the Gate casts its baleful gaze upon us and spews forth its sulfurous denizens. Despite the danger of proximity, there have been no escapes into the citizenry or the lands beyond in all my time here, thanks to the efforts of our exalted Masters. To be reminded that the creatures still roam and terrorize from the initial exodus is telling enough the worthiness of the Knights and Masters.

    How fares this hunter from receipt of our medicinal scale? Has she improved? Dare I ask if we have sold out? Are the wives clamoring at the windows for more?

    Apologies for the surfeit of questions, to be sure.

    To matters here… the chest of coin is all but gone, given over to a wily pair of salvagers. I daresay they are dreadfully skilled in concerns both business and military. It is my desire to see them deputized in the company lest they realize they can strike out on their own. Culda and Elisant will, I believe, serve us well.

    As per your suggestion I have let it be known that we are a force to be respected and admired. Not so free with coin that we appear frivolous, but at the least that we are serious. It has borne some fruit in attracting new salvagers to my side, and if all goes apace, the esteemed Culda and Elisant will take charge of their own salvaging unit under our banner.

    In less happy news, I have had to release Laist from service. He was my translator, you’ll remember, and once I learned some of their language I discovered he was speaking ill of us and our venture, and I cannot have that kind of dissembling at this critical stage. I offered him a generous severance but he slapped it out of my hand and left, cursing me in three languages.

    I will find a better translator, one with respect and cunning, never fear.

    There is so much more to tell you, but I shall endeavor to keep only to matters of import. The aforementioned Culda and Elisant I have recently discovered hail from the School of Flying Hawks, which explains their nature as warriors and their acumen in concerns of the mind. They have shown me some of their maneuvers after a near-death experience with a monster we thought dead, but I find I lack the basic skills for their Soaring Flight Punches and their weightless Air Swoops, instead managing only a Slipping Pratfall, if you’ll forgive the poor joke.

    Yes, I am learning of soldiery, slow but sure. It is necessary to avoid earning a base and embarrassing death out here. Recall the scars I foretold, for they are mounting. The scale-tea has kept me well enough, though.

    Soon I will be capable not just to sweep in after the Knights have completed their butchery, but to join them in their gruesome work, ensuring first salvager’s rights at every opportunity.

    The nightlife in Echo Ridge leaves something to be desired, my friend. There are no dances, no shows. Night is owned by the shadows of the Eternal Gate, and though it appears safe within the Ridge no one travels or carouses by night. Perhaps it would suit your bookish nature, but I find my mind stirring deep into the entertainless evenings, thinking ever more of home.

    She always loved the fireflies. You tell me not to look to the past for old grief and yet throw our happiest memories in my face. [The script is hurried here, and a splotch of ink mars the page. The writing that follows is back to form.]

    No, it is not your fault, my friend. Perhaps you are right. Time apart may soothe, if I can but think on other things. I fear there is no room for courting here until I learn more of the language.

    I look forward to your correspondence, as ever, Lee.

    Warmest regards,
    The Peacock Dragoon, Shy Liwei

    P.S. I wear that title with pride. To do otherwise would doubtless spiral me into obscurity.

    bigrickcook on
    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    KCWise
  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    [Intercepted and translated]
    My lord;

    I was overjoyed to receive your message ending our ill fated mission to Canton and authorizing our immediate departure, but as I'm sure you've noticed, we have not yet been able to leave port. This time, however, the Chinese are not at fault and have, in fact, been instrumental at helping us repair the Relentless.

    Yes, my lord, the Relentless has sustained severe damage. One of the creatures that come from beneath the sea appeared offshore just as we were unfastening the lines holding the Relentless to port. The small Chinese ships, if such tiny craft even warrant such description, worked to herd the creature towards several of their warriors standing upon stone pedestals by the water but the crew made their wishes known to me in no uncertain fashion and even I could not let such brave but foolish people die needlessly. Despite the panicked cries of dock workers, we cut the remaining lines and turned the Relentless to meet this behemoth.

    Oh, such a battle! The crew, even after months of inactivity, performed their roles with precision and haste! The Relentless was near ignored by the monster until I ordered the first broadside. I cannot describe how much I had missed the thunder and fury of our heavy cannons! The locals could learn a thing or two from our engineers back home, I dare say! I digress!

    I ordered the first volley and after the smoke cleared there was a gout of flame from the creature's maw. We had its attention for sure! The armour of the top decking deflected most of it, but a few fires broke out and one of the masts was consumed before we could conceivably react. The crew swarmed the fires and I ordered a second volley. Not all the cannons were ready, so there was a popping of cannon fire (I was sure to give the faster teams an extra ration of rum!) and the chase was on!

    The creature dropped down, like an enormous lizard, and swam for the Relentless. I knew that not even the deck armour could withstand the jaws of such a monster so I ordered the helmsman about and took the Relentless further out to sea, the giant beast following in our wake. I gave the rear cannons freedom and the crews, relishing in the glory of battle, raked our pursuer. I could see the water behind the creature turning black, but before we could deliver the killing blow it managed to snare our hull with it's claws below the waterline.

    It felt like we'd run aground! Everyone standing on deck was knocked prone, myself included and then came a terrible crash as a massive claw destroyed the remaining masts with a single stroke and very nearly turned the rear cabins to splinters! Men were launched overboard, but then the monster clawed its way to the side of the ship and without waiting for an order from me every cannoneer opened fire. At such a close range many of the iron bolts penetrated right through the scaled hide and exploded out its back in clouds of black mist. With a final terrible roar, the creature released the Relentless and fell back, nearly swamping us in the process.

    Recovery for the men tossed off the deck began immediately, but I am sorry to say twelve souls were never recovered. It grieves me to say that Richard, the boy who I spoke of in the last letter, was one of those twelve. I may have regarded his fancy for the local custom with disdain, but he was a brave lad, and he never faltered in his duty.

    I have included the names of each sailor lost, as well as information on where to send the condolences. Please forward those on to their families. Those men died as heroes and deserved better than to be lost in waters so far from home.

    I will update you on the progress of the repairs to the Relentless as well as when we expect to be underway.

    Your humble servant,
    Captain Christopher James,
    dated on board of His Majesty’s ship Relentless, 20th of September, 1788.

    (Attached are a list of 12 names and addresses, with condolences written for each, including one Richard Desmond Penhale, 15, from London, England)

    Tube wrote: »
    No, I hate D&D more than the other subforums because it's more of a pain in my arse.
  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    Meixiang, my dearest friend, you will not believe what happened to me today!

    I know that your experiences training at the House of Glass Feathers will make my story sound like the ramblings of a bumpkin from the mountains of Guangxi, but I swear to you it is true!

    This morning started with my mother and I arguing as we always do until I finally gave in and started doing all the chores as I always do, but by midafternoon I was finished and had escaped her cruel reign to walk along the shoreline. Whenever I am out there with my bare feet in the surf I am at peace, but that is also when I miss you the most! Do you remember the old coin we found? I pray constantly to find a twin so that you can keep one with you as well. I wish you'd taken the one I have for luck!

    I'm sorry, I ended up rambling after all! The story! Like I said, I was out walking in the surf when I came across what I thought was a drowned man, but when I turned him over it was a boy no older than us, but larger than any man I'd seen before! His skin was paler than it should have been and his appearance and clothing were strange. I wonder if he is one of those foreigners we keep hearing about that arrived in Canton last year. Anyway, he wasn't quite drowned, but after turning him over he started babbling and crying and then started choking. I was able to get him to retch up more water than I thought could fit in a person and then calm him down, but he was feverish and was far too large for me to move on my own.

    Jianguo, you remember him I'm sure, helped me move him to my brother's room and after my mom was finished panicking, we set to work trying to break his fever. I was sure he was going to die right there in front of me! He didn't, though, and now is resting quietly and we've sent word to have a doctor visit the village soonest.

    Enough about my adventures, though! I haven't heard from you in weeks! What do the masters have you doing now? I was appalled by your last letter regarding the regimen you were doing then, but surely you're not still moving sacks of rice and polishing floors!

    Please write me back!

    Your friend,
    Bao Chen

    Tube wrote: »
    No, I hate D&D more than the other subforums because it's more of a pain in my arse.
    KCWise
  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Cynthia,

    You were dispatched to locate and deliver a list of reagents, not to entertain sobs from rag bearing filth that cannot so much as comprehend why it rains on the fields they tend, much less comprehend why their suffering ought to wax.

    I know as well as you the magnitude of your talents, but I also hope you understand as well as I that those talents may be replaced at my leisure. Do not dare think that you have the currency to romance insubordination.

    With the above set to sail, out of respect, I will answer your questions.

    When shall I heel the hounds? When every bib in the Emperor's court is so salted by tears that they are set rigid. When Noriko Herself comes before me and without quiver of defiance rolls in the mud at my whim. When the odor of ruin is so pungent that you cannot even smell the gweilo through it.

    Is my grievance so terrible? Grievances are for commoners and peasants. My claim was taken by another; ten lifetimes spent at a traitor's hearing would not see as much insult and profanity as that which has befallen me. You can never understand the wretched evil that was done. It certainly cannot be detailed with parchment & ink.

    Locate and deliver the reagents, send no further correspondence.

    Burn this letter, that I may know you have read it and understood it. That I may know only your eyes sought these answers.


    Not today, motherfucker
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited October 2015
    @The Ender not saying it has to be sent to the writer of your letter, but it's on the table if you want it.

    To the man who has fallen so low as to kill the messenger of the bottom of the steps.

    Greetings.

    I do not give your name or title, not from ignorance, but because you merit neither. I had hoped you still held a last shred of respect for some matter beyond your own preservation, some tiny shred of honor to separate you from common bandits. Whatever you once were, my father held you in enough esteem to give you a place in his court. I do not wish to think my father a fool.

    If he was, I am twice the fool.

    Since my reign began, in word and deed, you have dishonored both of our stations, placed the mandate of heaven below the calls of earthly desire, and in general acted with discretion less fitting a jiedushi than a drunkard in a low class brothel. But my reign was weak after the years of the empty throne, and even with the heavens themselves smiling down on my young face, I was forced to appease the regional governors. My foster father granted me enough lessons in the histories to understand the fate of an Emperor who made enemies too swiftly.

    And after all these years, you must have felt certain you were safe. I may have grown strong, but strength called to strength. I would be too occupied to notice your crimes against natural justice and the cries of your people. The raiders from the frozen north, the visitors from across the sea, and above all the endless stream of beasts emerging from the gate would prevent me from even noticing your little misdeeds.

    Perhaps you even thought your actions were just. But even you must have some understanding here, some shred of your conscience that is still worthy of the name, that speaks to the depths of your depravity.

    Why else would you be so offended at such a simple reprimand? Your office was not taken from you. Your life was spared, which is far more than you deserve. You were simply denied advancement, given a chance to consider your misdeeds and restore those you harmed to their proper place. A better man might even consider it an honor.

    And instead you plot treason. No, more than plot. This very letter is stained with the blood of my servant.

    I was giving you a chance. Whatever his faults may be, for I never knew him, I wished to honor my father’s legacy, to spare those he valued. When this message returned to me unstained, I would know that you had some small shred of restraint, that you honored my station even if you thought it did me no credit, or that you valued the lives of others above your own security.

    You do not.

    And for that, you will face justice.

    I know the lengths you have already gone to cover your trail. I doubt the courts will hold you, and even a ruler is bound to her laws.

    But there are other ways. And by the end, you will come to see that it would have been better if you had marched to the gate and thrown yourself into the mouth of one of the great beasts than to leave yourself to my tender mercies.

    Take what measures you see necessary. Pray to whatever will still listen to your venom. It will do you no benefit.

    Yours in good health

    The bottom of the steps, whose reign shall be interminable, the sage whose strength surpasses the limits of the lot of man, by the light of heaven and the wisdom of the waves, daughter to the chief among the dragons, and chosen of the King above all

    Anglisse

    chiasaur11 on
    Quothbigrickcook
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