Arc 1, Session 3: Xin Wude and the Star Bandits.   Posted by GMLian.Group: 0
GMLian
 GM, 300 posts
Thu 11 Sep 2014
at 18:16
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Noisy End listens to him speak, ignoring Cold Copper's scared stammering.  "Cold Copper, please be silent and enjoy the feast.  Wude and I are going to go for a private consultation."

She takes Wude's hand and drags him away from the table to the cheers of the men inside.  She keeps holding his hand, pulling him to her small shack.  Wude instinctively knows, though, that this is definitely more business related.  Her flirtatious demeanor's mostly gone.

"It isn't safe to talk about magic in front of the men,"  She says once they reach her rude room:  a bed, a weapons rack (with her sabers in place), a few bottles of wine, and a small altar to Nuwa.  "And it's not safe to talk about curses like that in places that aren't prepared for it.  They have a way of being... infectious.  I have to make my own spells in here, where Nuwa keeps them from escaping.

That's what I think this is.  An infectious curse, but, Destiny can't be easily considered to be magic either.  After all, we can't control it.  But she almost certainly infected you, given how you're concentrating on her.  Hold up your sword hand, palm up."

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:17, Thu 11 Sept 2014.

Xin Wude
 player, 172 posts
Thu 11 Sep 2014
at 19:21
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Wude follows his host without hesitation, and once within her chambers, agreeably complies with her instructions by raising his sword hand.

"It's true," Wude observes ruefully; "ever since that fateful encounter, I've suffered a kind of preoccupation. Our contest before the meteor was the most peace I've enjoyed, to be honest, waking or asleep."
GMLian
 GM, 304 posts
Thu 11 Sep 2014
at 19:28
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Noisy End Discovery:
10, 8, 6, 5, 5, 2 & 1
*Discover Curse 25 + Wu Wei 10 + AB 10 + Laughs 5 (Condition) + Fears 5 (Wude admitted it) = 55

Wude can attempt to resist; this is an Earth Curse that saps away his cultivation whenever he's not fretting about the Sword Sinner!  If he successfully resist, then it's just momentary jitters and nothing to worry about.

Xin Wude
 player, 173 posts
Thu 11 Sep 2014
at 19:39
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Resist Discovery: 9, 6, 5, 5, 2, 1 & 1
Nothing's gonna come close to even preventing that from being a Minor. (And, honestly, it's a legit claim.) I'll just float the 5's.

GMLian
 GM, 305 posts
Thu 11 Sep 2014
at 19:55
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Minor, Duration 1, Interval 1 Session.

She exhales after a few moments of looking at his palm.  "Yeah.  Just like I thought.  I can sense it on you.  When you lost to her, Wude, it began the seed of a curse and she's been building it up.  Obsessing over her- over her hold on you- that's a strong curse and it makes her stronger.  You think that she is important to you and you are to her, but that's not really the case.  You're as important to her as a deer is to a wolf, that's all.

I can try to break this but I can tell she's strong.  Even if I do break it, she has a hold on you one way or another.  She can still keep on bringing it back.  You'll need someone to keep contesting her spiritual hold over you or you'll never be free.  I'm not sure you CAN be free."

Xin Wude
 player, 174 posts
Fri 12 Sep 2014
at 01:41
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"I'm under no illusions about what I am to her, Noisy End. She made that perfectly clear."

He stews silently for a few minutes. The curse hangs on him with almost palpable weight. "And who could contest such a hold, Noisy End, if I can't? Is there any end to this curse that doesn't end with me run through by her blade?"
GMLian
 GM, 308 posts
Fri 12 Sep 2014
at 16:35
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"You say that, yet you obsess over her so- as if she's still your problem.  Even if she's all of Shen Zhou's problem, deep down inside you think she's exclusively yours."  Noisy End rests on the edge of her bed, folding her arms.  "I can try at mitigating the one you've got right now, with your permission, of course.  You may find the process unpleasant.  I'm good with curses and all that but I'm no daoist of the Dragon Well.  I'd suggest keeping someone who knows the priest's arts around you at all times to do that sort of thing, go in for regular checkups like going to a doctor.

Besides that, there is one end, and that's for her to either start ignoring you- which I find completely unlikely- or to run her through yourself."

Xin Wude
 player, 175 posts
Sat 13 Sep 2014
at 02:41
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"There's a Daoist priest who got dragooned along with me in Hanging White Paper. Giant of a man. Even you'll say so." He smiles pleasantly, trying not to seem quite as fixated as he is. "His facility with such things, I couldn't testify to; it's clearly beyond the ken of a blacksmith's son."

The truth is, Noisy End is completely right. Wude does think the Sword Sinner is exclusively his. And in the end, someone's going to get run through.
GMLian
 GM, 311 posts
Sat 13 Sep 2014
at 14:19
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Noisy End reaches out and takes Wude's hand, patting it.  "It's not your fault.  Well, if your priest's a Daoist he's probably better than I am.  He'll have more training.  If it's not fighting or Fire curses I kind of... fumble around a bit until something works.  Again, I could give it a try?  The alternative is letting it sit; it's not directly harming you now, and what replaces it could be worse.  She could build off of it but I don't think her power's as refined or directed as that."
Xin Wude
 player, 176 posts
Sat 13 Sep 2014
at 14:58
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"Any help you can offer would be gratefully accepted," Wude responds with evident sincerity.
GMLian
 GM, 313 posts
Sat 13 Sep 2014
at 15:23
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Noisy End tries to undo the curse:
10, 9, 8, 4, 4, 3, 3 & 3
*Spends a ChivJoss
*Soothe Curse 33 + Learning 5 + AB 10 (I'd say a set of 3s after using a ChivJoss counts for luck!) + Laughs 5 (Nuwa's Blessing) + Tool 5 = 58

She made this curse Interval 1, Duration 2 Sessions, so it's soothed down to Trivial.  Sadly another discovery is out of the question for her on this scene so those 4s go to waste.


She's right.  It's not pleasant.  She brings him over to the statue of Nuwa, where there's a bowl with some suspicious red stains.  She draws a small dagger, gives him a sympathetic look, and slices the back of his sword hand with the dagger and squeezes out the blood.  A spurt of blood gets on her silk outfit but she doesn't notice.  She starts chanting some weird doggerel of Daoist and Buddhist extraction, resembling both but coming close to neither.  It doesn't feel like it's working.  She presses down on his hand, hard; despite her size she's not as strong as anyone would think her to be.  She starts sweating and reaches for a small pan of salt, and Wude knows exactly where that is going.

A break in his concentration on the Sword Sinner.  He recognizes that she was trying to AVOID his kind.  He realizes how easily she was spooked by Old Doctor Cat.  The Sword Sinner is afraid and unsure.  She was afraid.

"Nuwa protects,"  Noisy End finishes her chanting, finally letting go of Wude's hand.  "I- think that's done it.  I got lucky, again."

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:23, Sat 13 Sept 2014.

Xin Wude
 player, 177 posts
Sun 14 Sep 2014
at 14:11
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
The pain jolts through Wude like an arc of lightning; for a split-second, he can think of nothing else. When it begins to subside, however, there's something different--he feels lighter, more free, if only ever so slightly. Lightness brings clarity, and clarity calm. He knows before she speaks that whatever strange ritual she's performed, it's worked.

"My debt to you only increases, Noisy End. I did not realize until this moment how heavily I've been burdened."
GMLian
 GM, 319 posts
Tue 16 Sep 2014
at 17:19
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"Think nothing of it, Wude."  She waves her hand, "It's a hard burden, the least friends can do is help you carry it.  If I see that bitch I'll beat her down for you too."

She smiles at Wude, then opens her mouth to say something when the door knocks.

"Boss?  There's some old foreigner, babbling at us and waving his sword around at anyone."

"Heaven damn it, Coal Eye, I'm busy!  What if-"

"Not anymore, boss, and don't try fooling me.  And the star's cooled to the point we can mess with it.  I'd poured some sand over it then water over the sand and such to hasten the process.  We're good to try to pry it out."

Noisy End growls, "Wude, you'd better go save your barbarian friend.  I'm going to get out of this... silly outfit."
Xin Wude
 player, 179 posts
Tue 16 Sep 2014
at 23:26
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"Ahh, that would be Chlodovech." Wude notices the look Noisy End gives him when he says the name. The Eccentric shrugs and smiles. "You get used to the tongue."

He stands, bows long and deep to his host & friend, and starts out the door. But he stops, turns around, and smiles warmly. "And I don't think you look silly at all." There's no insincerity in his voice; if the dress is ill-fitting on a woman of her figure, the gesture the dress represents befits a noble spirit in rustic circumstances.

Walking back out to the courtyard, he follows the sound of two languages being spoken in mutual incomprehension and increasing anger. "Chlodovech; it's all right! They're friends; I'll explain." He speaks in the barbarian's harsh tongue. "Friends," he says, now addressing the Bad Star Bandits, "this one is with me. Please, let him pass."
GMLian
 GM, 325 posts
Tue 16 Sep 2014
at 23:38
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Noisy End turns red, unable to reply to Wude as he leaves.

The Bad Star Bandits have surrounded Chlodovech.  Few of them are actually armed, apparently having gotten the memo earlier.  The Bad Star Bandits part.  Chlodovech's in a guarding position, but he relaxes once he sees Wude.

"Ah.  I thought you'd been captured,"  Chlodovech admits, sheathing his sword. "You won, then.  That's good."

"Ah, this is your barbarian friend." Cold Copper approaches Wude from behind, putting a hand on the fellow Sword Eccentric's shoulder companionably.  "That's an ugly fellow.  Now, was miss Noisy End successful?"

Chlodovech walks through.  He nods his head at the Bad Star Bandits in a sort of apology that cuts across cultural divides.  The Bad Star Bandits bow back.  The savage barbarian and barbaric bandits acting as cordially as any proper Confucian- well, for them, anyway- looks surreal.

Eight more of the bandits start tromping through the gates, bearing a small boulder still glowing a sullen red on scorched bamboo poles.
Xin Wude
 player, 180 posts
Wed 17 Sep 2014
at 13:48
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
A bemused smile crosses Wude's lips as the barbarian and the bandits find a modus vivendi; say what you will about life in the Jiang Hu, it does foster a kind of understanding rarely found in the stratified world of towns and fields. "More important than winning a fight," he adds as Chlodovech approaches, "I hope to have won us new allies."

Turning his attention to Coal Eye, Wude nods affirmatively. "She's a most surprising woman--and quite a skillful one, too. Hardly what I would've expected when I first entered the clearing." That the curse hasn't been wholly lifted, the Sword Eccentric sees no need to specify. Better for Noisy End that her men have a high opinion of her craft, and better for Wude that knowledge of his 'affliction' be limited--and in truth, she did make it much easier to bear.

"Tell me, Coal Eye, do you have much experience with such material? I myself know a little of the smith's art, but I've never had the chance to work with anything that's fallen from the heavens."
GMLian
 GM, 326 posts
Wed 17 Sep 2014
at 15:18
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"Yes, but winning is good too."  Chlodovech says with a wink, "These look to be a rabble but we'll never say no to more allies."

Cold Copper then moves to intercept the barbarian, no doubt trying to figure out how in blazes Wude learned his tongue.  Chlodovech seems content to allow this to happen.  This lets Coal Eye direct them to his rudimentary forge, and he beckons Wude along.

"Partly."  Coal Eye tells Wude, scratching his beard.  "I've worked with it once, as a boy, with my father.  He was working with a Sword Devil, I think.  I can't be sure, I was pretty young and he was acting secretive about it."

The rock is still glowing red.  Coal Eye gestures at a bucket of sand-water slurry, obviously intending Wude to throw it over to hasten the cooling process.

"I remember them saying that the amount you'd get varies.  There's a lot of iron in the outer crust but it's not as useful.  You have to smelt it out and by the time you do it's no better than any you dig up out of the ground.  What we want is the pure iron core, and that could be the whole damn thing or something the size of a steam bun.  What we're going to do here is try to cool the outside jusssssssst right to crack it open like an egg.  I'll have to admit, Star Claimant, that even if this thing is almost entirely the core iron we want I may not be qualified to handle it.  I'd be worried about ruining the stuff."
Xin Wude
 player, 181 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 13:28
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Wude accepts Coal Eye's instruction and throws the slurry over the glowing meteor; he's hardly useless when it comes to things like this, but his years of apprenticeship under his father's tutelage seem like a lifetime ago.

"Did you say a Sword Devil?" He does his best to ask the question off-handedly, but no doubt a hint of his interest comes through. "I wasn't aware that they worked with those outside their own clan. Do you recall anything about how your father came to work with them?"
GMLian
 GM, 328 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 14:41
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"Not a clue," Coal Eye says cheerily as steam hisses from the meteor.  There's a loud crackling sound, like ice breaking on a thawing lake. "I think it was a Sword Devil.  It's those tattoos on the arms, you see, and that one had a lot of them.  And my father was part of the Rivers and Lakes way back when, so I'm betting they were either friends or owed each other something.  I'll never know.  He passed when I was a teenager, doctors said it was probably the sword entering his throat that got him."

Coal Eye takes a sledgehammer by the forge and makes two big strides.  Then he brings the hammer down in a perfect blow right to the center of the meteor.  It cracks open.

"Well.  I've not heard of that ever before." Coal Eye whispers, taking a step back.  "Shit."

The core isn't meteoric iron.  It's pure white pristine jade, resembling a congealed lump of mutton fat... the Imperial Gem, worth ten times its weight in gold and a hundred in silver.
Xin Wude
 player, 182 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 14:53
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Wude stares dumbfounded for a long moment. It probably doesn't do for the Star Claimant to look so befuddled in front of the Bad Star Bandits, but chances are they're probably a bit too busy staring at the priceless hunk of jade, too, to notice.

"I'm not an expert in these things like Scholar Cold Copper, but I'm thinking that might be an omen."
GMLian
 GM, 329 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 17:01
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"I'm thinking you take this out of here, now, and find yourself a much better smith than I am because I don't even know where to begin to start."  Coal Eye agrees.

The rest of the Bad Star Bandits gape openly.  Even Cold Copper's attempts to talk with Chlodovech stop dead as he looks at it with obvious befuddlement and lust.

Only the freshly-changed Noisy End seems immune to its charms.  "Wait,  that's not meteor iron!  I got my ass kicked for this?"

"Yeah, you did, boss."  Coal Eye swallows, "Wude, I repeat:  I would suggest you and my boss and your friend make most excellent time back to wherever you came from before I murder everyone in their sleep with a rusty knife over this."

"I told you.  Flesh of the moon,"  Chlodovech says grimly to Wude, "Though I expected it to look a bit less... fleshy."
Xin Wude
 player, 183 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 17:41
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"I'm sorry I doubted you," he mumbles toward Chlodovech, forgetting to speak in the barbarian's own tongue. Finally, he regains his senses enough to formulate a plan.

He prevails on Noisy End's hospitality one more time, asking the leader of the Bad Star Bandits for the means to transport the heavenly jade back to Hanging White Paper--and a tarp or blanket to cover it from prying eyes. He gives his heartfelt thanks to Coal Eye, tells Chlodovech to grab himself some food before they leave, and then looks to Noisy End.

"I don't wish to seem ungrateful, but I think your smith is right: I should be off to Hanging White Paper forthwith. I know it's short notice, but I hope you'll accompany me. Signs like this"--he nods toward the hunk of jade--"tell me that heaven isn't going to wait on us."

He turns back to Cold Copper. "If you're willing, my friend, I'd have you join us too. It's a real fine mess I'm in the middle of, I know, but your wisdom would be most welcome. Besides," the younger Eccentric adds with a knowing smile, "you can't convince me you're not the least bit curious to see how this turns out ...."
GMLian
 GM, 331 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 17:54
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Coal Eye is able to rig up a backpack with a bamboo frame, a tarp, and a harness that'll practically make Wude look like a traveling Buddhist monk.  Chlodovech takes this moment to help himself to some boar and deer meat.

"No worries.  I'm going with you to meet this Commander Zheng Tien Fong,"  Noisy End agrees, "We need to discuss this potential alliance as soon as possible.  Plus I need to make sure someone else doesn't ambush you on the road to steal this prize."

"Oh, I'm curious."  Cold Copper says with all of his heart, "But I'm also curious about tigers and you don't see me trying to inspect one face to face, so I'll find out what happens from a very far distance.  Here, let me give you my last wisdom on this matter:  run now, run with your prize and don't come back here.  You have a most excellent head on your shoulders, Xin Wude, and I would hate to see the Emperor cut it off."
Xin Wude
 player, 184 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 21:37
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
Wude responds to Cold Copper's refusal with an amiable laugh and a slap on the back. "As you like it brother, but you'll forgive me if I hope that it's not too long before our paths cross once more!"

Turning to those who are accompanying him on his return, the Sword Eccentric smiles, bearing his heavenly burden as happily as he can. "If there's no time to lose, then let's not lose it!"
GMLian
 GM, 332 posts
Thu 18 Sep 2014
at 21:40
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Xin Wude and the Star Bandits
"This is going to be another day-long sprint through the wilderness again, isn't it."  Chlodovech mutters... only to get picked up by Noisy End like a sack of flour.

"Let's go!"

Session 3, Scene 1 end.  Expect a new thread to meet back up with Cai Lu and Tien Fong.