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Community => Play-by-Post => Topic started by: Gatac on September 16, 2012, 08:30:14 AM

Title: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 16, 2012, 08:30:14 AM
This is the story of a great empire in a time of great crisis. No. Well, yes. But not, strictly speaking, what we're here for.

This is the story of a woman who still struggles with her destiny. Okay, that is true, but not really relevant for this part, either.

This is the story of another woman who has to find the truth.
 
---

San'in is a group of islands, and the southernmost province of the empire - according to the empire. When the empire expanded South 300 years ago, it swallowed San'in, and it's been a bad case of indigestion ever since. It turned out that all the energy that the families of San'in had previously spent fighting each other was easily turned on the (superior) occupiers, creating a period of unrest that lasted for a further 100 years until Emperor Mifune made a very wise and honorable decision. He would leave the island province to its own affairs and withdraw his men in exchange for prompt payment of taxes. The families of San'in reluctantly agreed, if only to get the Emperor's army out of their province, and when the deal was finalized, they went right back to fighting each other.

It should be noted that San'in still pays exactly the same amount of taxes today as it did when the deal was struck. I don't have to tell you what happened to the few tax assessors who were dumb enough to come here and announce themselves.

Nowadays, of course, it's all a little less...energetic. Trade rules the seas around San'in, particularly the trade with the mainlanders to the West and the Hanse foreigners who cross the ocean in perilous journeys to trade. There's hardly any large-scale bloodshed any more in the archipelago. People speak fondly of the old days of glory, but overall, San'in seems to be coming out of its teenager years and settling down a little. Wonder of wonders: referring to Shinju, the Southern Pearl, as Sin'an's "capital" is no longer grounds for a beating. It's not that San'in acknowledges the Imperial designation of its biggest city and port as the provincial capital, it's just that the Shinju families have finally gotten powerful enough that nobody can openly dispute their influence any longer.

So what brings Aiko Inaba here? The young samurai is, ostensibly, a crime fighter, but her self-chosen mission is far more personal: to find the people behind the murder of her Lord, and bring them to justice. A little side gig - just a small favor, really - has paid for her passage and a stipend of 500 silver coins in spending money, leaving Aiko well-equipped to get settled in.

Oh, you want to know what that small, insignificant little favor is? Well, it's probably best if you ask her...
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 01, 2012, 09:32:59 AM
Aiko Inaba arrives in San'in in much the same condition as she left the Forge, the heart of the empire's nascent industrial revolution. A week at sea on a trade ship has been hard on her hair and hands, but it has also given her more than enough time to go over the facts of her case again. It was only a few months ago that she was one of Lord Koto Uratamata's faithful retainers, pursuing peace and justice on his holdings, until he was found dead with his throat cut and his chonmage cut off like some sort of sick trophy. Aiko followed whatever meager trail there was, ultimately leading her to believe the feared bandit Blue Oni had killed her lord - and his trail lead to Kargbeck, a former trading post of the "Hanse" foreigners that has grown into a well-fortified city right on the empire's coast. It was there that she met the Blue Oni - and realized that he was not the man who had killed her lord, as the Blue Oni is not a man, but a curse passed from brigand to brigand. But she learned something else, too: that the cruel fate of her lord was bound up in a far-flung conspiracy against the emperor, who remains lost ten years after his mysterious disappearance.

Shinju is a bustling port that pay only bare lip service to its nominal imperial allegiance with some flags; the chatter of traders and seamen is a far more honest appraisal of the city's loyalties, and it is predominantly in San'ben, a mixture of Low Imperial and all sorts of trade languages from other islands and even the mainland nations that the rest of the empire prefers not to trade with. This is also reflected in the architecture: less elaborate wooden carvings and big houses, more simple shacks decorated with vivid colors and natural items. It's pretty and dirty and Aiko's already seen three minor crimes by the time she's stepped onto the pier.

"Guides! Transport! Lodging!" goes the refrain from a young man standing on top of a small box on the pier, greeting the newest arrivals. 25-ish, sunburnt skin, loose-fit clothes - he looks like someone who makes enough to scrape by, won't amount to much more than he's doing right now and is perfectly fine with that.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 02, 2012, 10:26:44 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko descends the gangplank with something approaching relief. It's not that she's averse to travelling by ship -- and in the weeks and months since her Lord's death following the web of clues, hunches and lies across the length and width of the Imperial heartland it's felt like she has travelled in more ships than she has years. No, it's the confinement she dislikes; like a wild beast that has been caged, she yearns to be on the move, to tread her domain underfoot, to root out those that impinge upon it, that challenge her.

She never used to feel like that. She'd always been content to follow at the heel of the man who had been more than her father, to lead the hunt for the enemies of the Law inside -- and outside -- its boundries. But with his death, with the obfuscations and impediments and whispered insinuations... something changed. Grief and anger and duty and love: they've all burned away, leaving something cold and sharp in their wake.

"Ho, boy!" she calls out to the spruiker, though in truth they are likely the same age. "You have made a sale."

He pauses when he catches sight of her blue eyes -- legacy of her long lost gaijin father -- but , holding up one of the more agreeable hanse coins salvaged from the incident in Kargbeck seems to reassure him about what he's seen reflected in them.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 13, 2012, 07:50:08 AM
"Right this way, right this way!" the boy calls out, eagerly grabbing the Hanse coin from Aiko. His voice washes over her like the warm rays of the afternoon sun as he leads her down the pier. "You've been on that trade ship for what, a week? You're going to need a place to sleep, and don't even try to argue with me that you have business, because that needs to wait until you're rested. You need something quiet, not one of those tourist traps. My uncle runs a guesthouse, he's a great cook, too! My name is Tuku, by the way. What's yours?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 13, 2012, 08:53:31 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko falls in step behind her new found guide, taking stock of the bustle and hustle around her. Something about his good natured cheer brings a small smile to her lips, a reminder of simpler and more straightforward times. Sadly, those times are long departed. So when he inquires as to her identity, she keeps the answer simple and straight forward.

"You can call me Shimura."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 13, 2012, 09:12:02 AM
"Shimura, that's a nice name, very regal, you Northerners all have nice names," Tuku says. "Is it okay if I just call you Shimura? We like it simple here. No kun that, no sama this, it honestly annoys the shit out of me." He puts on a bad impression of a noble High Imperial accent. "My heart and my arse are yours to command, Lord Shikiritavumatekozen-heika-denka-sama!" He rolls his eyes. "So the drama! I mean, like, relax yourself for a moment, people. I woke up today and the weather was nice and I just knew I would have a good day. It's not that complicated."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 22, 2012, 11:07:25 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"An admirable attitude, my young friend," Aiko agrees with an air of sagacity. "Shimura is the name I gave, so it would seem churlish to insist on being addressed in a manner otherwise."

Privately, she nudges the shape and feel and taste of that name with her thoughts. Until the moment she spoke it, the idea of passing incognito with a name other than her own hadn't even occured to her, much less what name she should give in lieu of it.

Shimura. Tuku is correct; it is a nice name. It's not one she's aware of having ever heard or encountered before, but it feels... suited to her. Like a scabbard and a sword.

"So, Tuku, tell me about your uncle and his guest house?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 22, 2012, 11:20:45 AM
"Oh, yeah, Uncle Po," Tuku says. "He's a mainlander, actually, well he's from the mainland but he's been living here since before I was born so I don't know if that makes him like a honorary native or whatever. A city like this, you get a lot of people who weren't born here, so it doesn't really matter to me. Some people are cool, some people are assholes, that's true no matter where they come from." Tuku shrugs. "So Uncle Po can't see too well anymore, that's why he had to give up sailing, but he's a great cook and all he does all day is tidying up the guest house so I'm sure you'll find that to your liking. It's so easy to get a room in this city where you'll catch lice or get bit by bedbugs, but not at my Uncle's house! He won't even joke about it. That man is very serious about everything he does. Not like me, I'm more of an easygoing kind of guy, you know?"

Their wandering down the pier takes them into the harbor proper, where colorful shops sell all manners of wares - lots of fresh fish right next to street vendors with hot cauldrons of oil frying up today's catch for the seaman on the go. "Oh, you gotta try the fried squid later!" he says. "It's so delicious, but you shouldn't eat before going to sleep, it'll really keep you up, you know what I'm saying?"

It is then that a girl with a flower in her hair takes swift steps towards Tuku; his smile briefly falters before coming back brighter than before.

"Mina, baby!" Tuku says. "I'd love to hang out -"
"- Tuku, today is the tenth -"
"- and chat, but I have a customer -"
"- Tuku, the tenth, the rent -"
"- you see my customer, that's Shimura, she's from the North -"
"Tuku! The rent!"
"- so I really gotta be off! Love you, baby!"
"Tuku!" Mina calls after him, but he's already hustling forward and away from her, his constant swill of words only minutely interrupted.

"So, like I was saying, don't eat the fried squid before sleeping, it's really good but it's also really heavy in your stomach," Tuku says. "But the upside is you don't have to feel it squirming! I know a lot of people here who say live squid is the way to go, that the fresh taste is worth it, but I prefer my food dead, you know?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 22, 2012, 11:26:59 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Wife or landlady?" Aiko asks as she looks in Mina's direction, fixing the young woman's features in her mind for later investigation. "And how much of that rent are you looking to your new friend Shimura to contribute?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 22, 2012, 11:30:18 AM
"Girlfriend," Tuku says. "And don't you worry about her or me trying to bilk you out of money, I charge everyone the same - I really should get like a price board or something, do you think that would help? Anyway, you can ask anyone in town, Tuku doesn't overcharge anyone, especially not a pretty lady like you - I just couldn't live with that hanging over me, you know? So don't worry about me. Just forget Mina said anything. I mean, I love her to death, but the drama on that girl! So unrelaxed!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 22, 2012, 12:12:08 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)The inquisitor reaches out and clasps her hand lightly on her guide's shoulder.

"Tuku, it does you great honour that you are seeking to provide for others than yourself." Her voice carries the weight of personal experience of such generousity.

"And it is no less honourable to accept assistance in reaching that goal."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 25, 2012, 11:46:36 AM
"Okay, look, Shimura, you're like super-nice for offering," Tuku says, "but I don't do deals with handshakes these days. You want to give me a business loan - that would be nice - or even gift me some money - that would be mega-sweet - we'll do it in writing and get a witness."

Tuku's cheerful facade seems to falter here for a moment.

"And you have to rest first!" Tuku says, his smile returning. "Come on, we're almost there."

---

Uncle Po's Guest House is easy to recognize because it bears a large sign saying exactly that on the front. A smaller sign underneath proclaims the prices - 12 silver per night and person, inquire about our exchange ratios and group rebates inside! Tuku leads Aiko inside - the setup resembles a tavern, albeit with cleaner decoration and sheets on the tables. A man who looks to be about 65 is sweeping the floor, though he stops when he hears the door open.

"Welcome to Uncle Po's Guest House!" he says with surprising enthusiasm. "How can I help you?"
"It's me, Uncle Po! I brought you a customer!" Tuku says.
"Ah, good, good!" Po says. "Get our guest a drink, I will be right with you."

And with that, he continues sweeping. Tuku grins at Aiko, then jogs behind the counter, fetches a ceramic jug and drafts a frothy pale beverage from a casket.

"I'm afraid we can't offer water, so, here, have some of this!" Tuku offers. "The foreigners make it - it's like sake, but it doesn't go to your head so much and it keeps better, too."

Regardless of the relative merits of various low-alcoholic beverages, Uncle Po seems to have finished sweeping the room; he puts the broom into a corner and then walks to join Tuku. Although his back is hunched from a life of hard-labor, the hump as it were still hovers in the realm of the endearing rather than disturbing.

"My apologies for the delay, honored guest!" Uncle Po says. "Now, may I ask your name and how long you will be staying?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 25, 2012, 01:57:47 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Sensing that the conversation has reached its conclusion, Aiko simply nods and allows Tuku to lead her the rest of the way in -- relative -- silence. A silence she almost breaks upon reading the sign, because damn that's some overpriced shit going on right there for the run of the mill establishment she finds herself walking in to.

She looks around the interior, to Uncle Po, to the alcohol, to Tuku, then back to the drink. On the one hand, refusing it would be potentially ungracious, while on the other they'll probably want to charge for it which isn't ideal when you want to haggle over the price of lodging.

"They call it bier, don't they?" she asks, playing for time, and fortunately the old man moves over towards her about then, removing the need to consider the brew any further.

"My name is Shimura," she answers his inquiry with a simple and mostly sincere smile. "Your nephew has been extolling the virtues of your establishment, and it does indeed fulfil all his descriptions. Alas, I am altogether unsure of how long my business will keep me here, and I fear my small purse might be more profitbly extended in lesser lodgings."

Spoiler: show


We'll start by getting a sense of Uncle Po: 1d20+15=27 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3749980/)

Then we'll drop Charming on him for a +5  disposition shift, followed by a bit of buttering up with Impress: 1d20+7=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3749916/) (maybe even 21 depending on Po's appearance mod or lack of) to hopefully get that disposition to at least intrigued

All that, because it supposedly affects Haggle, which isn't one of Aiko's strong suites: 1d20+3=15, 1d6.open(6)=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3749891/) = 20




Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 26, 2012, 10:57:54 AM
Spoiler: show
Po's Bluff: 1d20+5=24 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3751760/)
Po's Resolve: 1d20+7=19 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3751761/)

This and the Charming puts Po at +6 disposition.

Po's Haggle: 1d20+7=12 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3751764/)

That plus disposition gets you a margin of 14 - everything's half off!


Aiko's read of Po is difficult, but rewarding. The good manners don't come naturally to him - he is a sailor and hardened by the trade - but he's been doing this long enough that he can project a convincing aura. Somewhat orthogonal to that is whether he really wants all this, and the answer is Yes. Po might not have picked the business, but damned if he's not going to do the best he can with it.

Aiko's polite-if-slightly-out-of-her-depth Northern tourist shtick seems to get her past Po's defenses easily enough; the old man gives her a genuine kind smile. "Ah, Shimura! What a pretty name!" Po says.
"It's so funny, Uncle, I said the same thing," Tuku adds.
"And I'm sure you flatter my nephew's salesmanship a bit too much," Po says. "You're here for business? Well, I appreciate that the coin in your purse is not yours to spend on frivolities, then. How about this: I have a room by the kitchen. Some guests don't like it because they can hear me work in the mornings, but I assure you, it's as comfortable and clean as any in this house. I will rent it to you for a mere six silver per day -"
"Uncle!" Tuku says.
"- and I would be very happy to host whatever business meetings and negotiations you have in this city. This is a quiet house, you know, a little off the beaten track - many businessmen appreciate that."
"Uncle!" Tuku exclaims, a little too loudly to be a sincere protest. "That is only half of what we charge everyone else! That's not fair!"
"It is fair that the lady has a place to sleep and pays what she is able to," Po says. "If your salesmanship is as good as she claims, then surely we can make up the difference in volume. Now, Shimura, if that is to your liking, I will go prepare your room. You may wait here."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 26, 2012, 11:22:21 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko does her best to hide her smile at both Po's generosity and Tuku's reaction to it.

"Yes, that would be most agreeable," she bows her head in gratitude. It used to be so simple; an inquistorial retinue almost always had accomodation provide by the local authorities, and when such lodgings were unavailable, it had been someone else's responsibility to arrange them.

She reaches inside her robe and pulls out her purse. Grimacing a little, she swirls her finger around its contents and picks out what amounts to 30 pieces of silver in a variety of different coins both Imperial and Hanse. "I  believe this should cover the next five days," she says, handing over the coin with a sense of reluctance.


Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 06, 2012, 11:04:17 AM
Po counts the money quickly with a polite smile, then whisks it into his purse and walks off to provide the room.

"Not to give you the impression that we're pushovers or that we bilk other customers," Tuku says. "It's just that my uncle, he's a real sweetheart. And he's in charge. Me, I charge everyone the same. That's my policy. So! Do you want me to guide you now, or do you want to rest first? It's fine if you want to rest, that's what you're here for anyway, but if you're gonna sleep I'm gonna head back to the pier and get some more customers in the meantime, if you don't mind."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 06, 2012, 01:43:03 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko chuckles at Tuku's forthrightness.

"Well, my young friend, which would you prefer? A single large payment that leaves this place empty to the eyes of others, or a series of smaller payments that add up over time to a larger amount and which lets others see you carrying out regular business? Your uncle is as wise as he is generous."

She gives him a genial pat on the back. "I believe I shall rest and allow you to return to the docks."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 11, 2012, 09:12:30 AM
Tuku looks at Aiko like she just invented the concept of marketing. (Fun history fact: marketing was invented in 1884.)

"I prefer a sustainable profit margin, thank you," Tuku says. "I'll see you later."

---

Suitably rested, Aiko picks her way back to the harbor. In a way, this place is charming. It's not as regimented as the docks in the Forge or as dreary as the harbor of Kargbeck - there's a light breeze coming in from the sea, and the sun lazily hangs in the sky like it's telling you to not take everything so hard. The vision upon entering the harbor is that of Tuku pushed against a wall by a fellow whose appearance suggests both a lot of time spent working out and a truly unfortunate taste in haircuts. Aiko cannot make out what their disagreement is about from a distance, but given Tuku's all-around stellar service, it can hardly be a dissatisfied customer, right?
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 12, 2012, 07:14:44 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko rubs the bridge of her nose. Given the lad's earlier conversation with Mina, the chances that this is simply the landlord looking to collect the money owed him is high. Of course, given the way her luck's been running, it could just as easily be a stand-over man for the local crime lord, or just some thug trying to claim the best touting spot.

"Truly an auspicious beginning to these preceedings," she sighs, settling her twin jitte slightly more accessibly in her sash before heading towards her erstwhile associate, As she does so, she scans the docks for signs that the man accosting Tuku is not acting alone before focusing on him and trying to read his body language.

"Tuku," she announces her presence in the tone of voice typically used by responsible adults in charge of children with a tendency for testing their leash. "There you are. Excuse me, but is there a problem?"


Spoiler: Checks • show

Notice: 1d20+14=30 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3781044/)

Sense Motive: 1d20+15=32 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3781052/)


Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 24, 2012, 12:07:18 AM
The henchmen of the big-muscled lunk are almost criminally bad at hiding, at least from Aiko's perspective - they hang around on the periphery of the scene, keeping anyone from approaching too closely. She counts four of those, some with sticks pushed through the back of their belts, others apparently unarmed - street thugs, in other words.

The large fella snarls at Tuku. "Do we have a problem, Tuku?"
"Not at all, Ox!" Tuku replies.
"Because it looks like you're spending my money on hiring bodyguards."
"No!" Tuku says. "No, she's a customer!"
"You have customers?" Ox says. "What a likely story." He turns to Aiko. "I don't know what twig-neck Tuku paid you, but it's my money. Hand it over and we won't be having problems."

The appraisal of Ox's personality is brief, as is indeed his personality: he is used to swinging his power around, and he hasn't hit anyone yet who swung back. He clearly recognizes that Aiko's no stranger to fighting, but his threat assessment seems to be "Eh, she's small and alone, we can take her." and not much beyond that. And you know what they say about guys with short...thought processes.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 25, 2012, 03:31:15 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko eyes Ox speculatively.

"My name is Shimura, and Tuku speaks the truth," she states simply, "What exactly does he owe you?"

"I don't know," Ox says, "I'm bad with numbers. Oh, wait." His face turns into a grin. "How about everything in your purse? That should do nicely as a down payment."

Pursing her lips slightly, she looks past the human roadblock at her erstwhile guide. "Tuku, how much do you owe him, and for what?"

Tuku's attempt to generate sounds other than a weak warbling of his throat are stymied by the large hand around his neck. "I don't think you understand how this works, little lady. I tell this idiot how much he owes me. And he hands it over, and then we don't have a problem. Now, you're going to give me everything you have, or my hand's gonna be around your neck."

"Ox, I want you to remember that I tried to be reasonable and treat you as a man," Aiko says in a reasonable, friendly manner. Then she punches him him in the throat before drawing her jittes.

Spoiler: Initiative! • show

Aiko's Init (roll twice, keep best): 1d20+10=22, 1d20+10=28 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799326/)
Ox's Initiative: 1d20+4=11 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799321/)
Henchmen Init: 1d20+2=7 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799322/)

Aiko's 1st action: Unarmed attack 1d20+10=19 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799316/). Damage  1d4+3=6 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799337/)
2nd Action: Draw her jittes

Ox's damage save: 1d20+6=15 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799338/)

 Ox attacks: 1d20+6=16 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799339/) and 1d20+6=13 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799340/).


Ox swings back, but he's not nearly fast enough to hit the nimble detective. Two of his guys draw their sticks and close into melee range, the other two stay back.

That could have gone better, but at least Tuku's free, Aiko muses as she takes a step backwards and adjusts her grip on her weapons. Ox would seem to be as solid as his name suggests, and is likely the greatest threat. Still, his minions and their weapons can't be ignored. So deciding, she moves to take out the nearest of them.

Spoiler: Round 2 • show

Aiko's First action: Anticipate (Ox+club dudes) -- 1d20+15=29 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799345/), granting +3 dodge bonus.
Second action: Disarm -- 1d20+4+2+9=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799346/) + action dice 1d6.open(6)=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799347/) = 25.
Assuming that's successful: Free attack -- 1d20+9-2=23, 1d6+2=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799348/)

The thug has to roll a nat 20, but let's give him his fair chance. :D
Henchmen's Resist Disarm: 1d20+5=10 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799349/) That's... not a nat 20.
Damage save!  1d20+3=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799350/)  And he's out.

Oooh, Cleave Basics! 1d20+9=15, 1d6+2=6 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799351/)
Second thug's damage save: 1d20+3=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799352/)

Ox tries to grapple: 1d20+8=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799354/)
1d20+12=14 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799356/) Crap. Ah well, let the pummeling commence
1d20+5=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799360/) Okay, that's a hit:   1d8=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799362/)
Aiko's Fort save: 1d20+5=15 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799363/)

Thug's second attack: 1d20+5=6 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799361/)
Ooh, error'd -- that's worth an AD for the attack to hit Ox instead

Second attack -- against Ox: 1d8=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799364/)
  Wow, this guy can handle a club.
Ox's Fort save: 1d20+7=9 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799365/) That's a fail :) Comedy gold!


The first thug's grip on his weapon is all bluster and little skill; twisting it out of his hands with one of the jittes is child's play, as is the brutal back-hand she deals him with the other. He topples backwards like a felled tree, opening his partner up to a swift probing attack. Sadly, he weathers it stoutly, and it provides Ox with the opportunity to catch Aiko in a bearhug from behind, opening her up to a retalitory attack

The first blow catches her across the hip and belly, a stinging blow that knocks the wind from her body. As he wind back to deliver a second blow, Aiko goes limp. The sudden lack of resistance causes Ox to pitch forward without warning -- straight into his minion's swing. The resounding crack and the way he slumps to the ground are both pretty good indicators that the behemoth isn't going to be getting up for a while.

Spoiler: Round 3 • show

Disarm: 1d20+9+2+4+5=27 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799382/)
Henchman's defense: 1d20+5=9 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3799385/)


Squirming out from beneath Ox, Aiko finds herself able to capitalise on the thug's shock to twist the club from his hands. But instead of following that up with the expected beat down, Aiko instead waits to see if he merits further effort on her part or if he's going to realise the futility of further aggression

Futility. Definitely futility. The henchman mumbles a half-apology and then takes off. A quick look around confirms that the other two henchmen who held back are also gone. Tuku's picking himself off the ground while... well, actually, the crowd doesn't seem to give much of a hoot. "What did you do?" Tuku croaks. "Oh, man. This is not good."

Tuku's reaction is not... unfamiliar to Aiko, given her line of work. Victims fearing the repercussions of their abuser's temporary defeat. "He attacked you and threatened me with similar violence," she shrugs. "So I'll repeat my question: how much do you owe him, and what for?"

"Oh, him," Tuku says. "It's not that I owe him anything in particular...he just goes around and he roughs up people for their money...the problem is I owe his boss, Auntie. She's not gonna be happy one of her guys got beat up." Tuku forces a smile. "Hey, like, it's not that I'm not grateful, you saved my ass, thanks, and it felt good watching you clobber those guys. Just... this ain't over. But don't worry, Auntie's more reasonable than this idiot. I'll smooth it over with her."

Hmmmmmm her inner detective latches on to the evasive explanation. "Different creditor, same question," she repeats herself, looking around the docks for anything or anyone useful. "I imagine Ox's friends are probably running off to tell her what happened, so alacrity of response would be appreciated."

"Geez, you're really nosy," Tuku says. "I just owe her, okay? It's not about money. More like I did a really stupid thing and she saved my ass..."

"I consider myself to have a vested interest in you continued wellbeing," Aiko answers. "After all, you are the best guide in these parts and I'm staying at your Uncle's place, and I'd hate to lose access to either of those." She favours the lad with a quick smile. "I assume Ox here is probably not one of thise island's favoured sons by the general populance?"

"Hardly," Tuku says, ushering Aiko away from the slowly-recovering brute. "If he was just a random thug, nobody would give a shit. But he works for Auntie, and she has a way of making you give a shit."

"And I take it she condones his extortion?"

"Condones, tolerates, is cool with, however you want to say it," Tuku says. "I don't know what her opinion is, I just know she doesn't stop him."

"Then I suggest we go to see her straight away and discuss the matter. He'll be sore, but if this Auntie tells him to back off, I'm guessing he'll do what she says. Otherwise I might just have to kill him, and I'd rather avoid that if I have to."

"Alright," Tuku says. "And the tour of the city after that?" he adds with a small smile. "I still intend to do that and charge you for it, you know. Verbal contract."

"Verbal contract it is. Getting Ox to lay off you might be a down payment."

"Personal favor," Tuku says. "Sorry, but if I considered that a down payment, I would have to charge you less at the end and I charge everyone the same."

Aiko smirks. "Yes, I do recall you making that boast. Just how much is this going to cost me?" An idea strikes her, and she rolls Ox over with her foot, checking him for his purse.

"10 silver," Tuku says. Ox's purse turns out to hold about five times that. "Uh...you really want to add insult to injury there?"

"Personally, I'd happily bury the idiot in the sand up to his neck and let the tide come in. But in the interest of your continued god health, wouldn't it make more sense for us to take charge of this and return it to Auntie, rather than let some cutpurse claim it and for us to get the blame?"

"Oh," Tuku replies. "Yeah, that makes sense, I guess." He looks at Aiko. "So, uh, Shimazu...I don't wanna pry, but you seem...pretty used to this stuff."

She focus her blue-eyed gaze on Tuku. "When you have a gaijin father who was absent from much of your life -- through no fault of his own, mind you -- you learn how to take care of yourself." She attaches Ox's purse to her belt, wincing as the movement stresses the no doubt rapidly brusing welt across her hip and belly where the thug managed to land his all too solid blow. "Come on, let's go."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on December 15, 2012, 02:14:33 AM
The walk to “Auntie” is as short as it is quiet; Tuku seems to be composing a speech in his head, while the bag of coin taken from Ox weighs a little heavier on Aiko than expected. A couple of eyes have been following you since the beatdown, but they’re accompanied by bemused smirks - it seems some dockworkers are interested in how this will shake out. The road leads to a - well, it seems to be a tavern, except it’s airy and bright and there’s more eating than drinking going on, a deeply weird state of affairs. Tuku seems to know where he’s going; he passes the barkeep and the servers with a few nods and leads Aiko to the back, into the kitchen. Inside, you find three cooks in the process of creating lunch for the patrons, as well as a forty-something woman with an apron over her short-sleeve kimono and a big smile on her face.

“Tuku!” she says, rushing in to hug the guide. “How are you? And who’s your friend?”
“I’m fine, Auntie,” Tuku says, returning the hug. “And that’s Shimura, she’s taking the tour with me.”
“Oh, that’s so nice!” Auntie says. “Did you just get here? How do you like the Pearl so far?”

Aiko inclines her head respectfully. “Yes, I arrived here only this morning. Your island has a character all of its own.” She smiles a little. “And so far, its best guide has been living up to his promise to show it to me.”
“That’s great!” Auntie says. “Why don’t you two settle down outside and have some lunch? My treat.”
“Sure,” Tuku says. “Would you join us? We have something to discuss.”
“I would love to!” Auntie beams. “Just find a table, I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Tuku leads Aiko back out; they find a table and take their places, with Tuku smiling at Aiko. “Not the crime boss you were expecting, eh?”

“Perhaps,” she answers, looking around the establishment as she remembers the gaijin city of Kargbeck and its charming barkeep come cold-blooded criminal mastermind and his army of mind-controlled child thieves. “You never can tell. Good choice of table, by the way. The wall’s at our backs, and the window is an easy enough dive away but far enough away we can’t be grabbed through it.”
“I knew you’d appreciate that,” Tuku says. “So, tour with free lunch, am I the best guide or what?”
“My L--” Aiko catches herself. “Someone I used to work for had a saying that there was no such thing as a free lunch. We may not have to drop any of our own coin, but I have a suspicion that we’re going to earn our meal.”
“Tour, free lunch and employment opportunities,” Tuku says with that salesman smile of his. “See, Shimura, I like you Northerners, I really do. But you have got to learn to go with the flow a little.”
“And if the flow ends in a waterfall?”
“Clench your buttocks and hope the water’s deep!” Tuku replies.
Auntie arrives, carrying two plates, each generously stocked with fillets of freshly steamed fish and assorted greens, half of which Aiko does not recognize. “Here you go, dig in!” Auntie says, then grabs another chair and sits down at the table. “Oh, the sticks!” she says, grabbing two pairs off a neighbouring table. “I’m sorry, I must be getting a little forgetful at my age.”
“From the way Tuku describes you, I can’t believe it diminishes your edge even slightly,” Aiko smiles politely. Gesturing with her chopsticks at the greens, she says “I’ve not seen the like of these on the mainland. What are they?”
“Oh, they’re from the islands to the South,” Auntie explains. “You have mangos, potatoes, a mixture of things they call ‘salad’...it’s all as fresh as I can get it. And before you ask, no, we don’t serve rice. I’m a little proud of that, actually. It’s just so...well, you come here, you know what rice is. I want to give my customers something new. Come on, try it.”
“I’m familiar with potatoes,” Aiko explains. “I was in Kargbeck a while ago, and they served them there. The only way I really found to enjoy them was when they were sliced thinly, fried in very hot oil, and salted.” She pokes the slices of mango tentatively, taking a couple of attempts to capture one in her sticks. When she tastes it, however, her eyes go wide. “That’s amazing.” She grabs another slice. “It’s... it’s...” she tries to capture the thought. “It’s like eating a kiss shared with a lover.”
“I’m glad you like it,” Auntie says. “Tuku, you said you had something to discuss?”
Tuku stops stuffing his face for a moment, chews, swallows, then turns to Auntie. “Yes,” he says. “We...well, we kind of...uh, we beat up Ox.”
“The entire incident is regrettable, but Tuku is of value to me, and all attempts to reasonably discuss Ox’s belief that he was entitled to Tuku’s money and limbs were met with with threats and eventually violence.” Aiko unhooks Ox’s purse from her belt and places it on the table. “We relieved him of the burden of this, lest its presence in the middle of the docks without him awake to discourage them present anyone with too great a temptation that it overcame their senses.”
“Thank you for your forthrightness,” Auntie says. The bag of coins quickly disappears into a pocket of her apron. “Ox is a hothead and a bully, but he is useful in his position. That you intervened to save someone in trouble speaks highly of you, Shimazu. As does your ability to handle Ox and his friends in a fight.” Auntie smiles. “You understand that the business demands that I do not simply forgive you, but I believe we can enter into a mutually beneficial relationship. You are staying at the house of Tuku’s uncle, I assume?”
Aiko nods. “Yes. Tuku’s family have been both generous and useful to me in my brief time on the island, as I’m sure they will continue to be so. As, I have been led to believe, you have been to my young guide in a time of need.”
Auntie smiles. “I see we understand each other. I will speak to Ox later and impress upon him the importance of using his brains every once in a while. Well! Thank you for coming right to me to settle this issue. Enjoy your meal, and I hope you have a great time here!” Auntie gets up and returns to the kitchen, leaving Tuku and Aiko to enjoy the rest of the fish.
“See?” Tuku says. “Totally reasonable.”
“So, what sort of criminal empire does Auntie run?”
“Oh, smuggling and protection money,” Tuku says, “about what you’d expect. She doesn’t have a ninja clan at her disposal, like some of those Northerner gangsters I’ve heard about. Is that true, anyway? I just...I can’t imagine how that works, all those trained assassins hiring themselves out. Oh well. Just one more thing from the empire we’re not looking to adopt here.”
Aiko nods. “Does she actually offer protection, or is it more like protection from Ox?”
“No, it’s protection,” Tuku says. “You don’t want to know some of the characters that sail into this port and think they’re gonna take us for all we’re worth. We don’t exactly have a military, or lawmen...but we do have Auntie.”
Aiko taps her fingers thoughtfully to her lips as she considers that. “How interesting.” Interesting, even tempting, really. Bare months ago, the idea of this lawlessness would have dismayed her even for all of her fallen lord’s world of grey morality to which she largely subscribes. If it weren’t for her oath to avenge his murder, and then the bestowal of Matsumoto’s quest after the fate of the Emperor, the idea of staying here, of making a difference, instead of just enforcing justice... “Any ideas on how she plans on calling in the debt for Ox’s misfortune?”
“I don’t know,” Tuku admits. “You seem like the ‘point at a problem to make it go away’ type, so...if Auntie has any problems right now, she might be thinking of you as the solution.”

“Well, I’m sure I’ll be hearing from her sooner rather than later. I’m standing for you while I’m here, but she’s too canny not to realise that I might be gone and might feel the need to ensure a certain degree of security for you and yours before that happens if she doesn’t call in the marker soon enough.” She finishes the fish as she talks these thoughts through. “So, with today’s Ox disaster averted for the time being, what’s next on our itinerary?”
“The markets,” Tuku says. “I thought you might need to do some shopping - and it’s a grand sight, too.”
“Sounds like fun.”
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on December 31, 2012, 05:26:22 AM
The markets of which Tuku speaks are a sight, indeed. Here, the sprawling port has left an expanse of nothing, like a grand plaza, with a fountain in the middle - and then someone said “Let there be capitalism”, and there was, and it was good. The free room is crammed full of ramshackle stands, clad in a full-blown visual offensive of colorful cloth to protect shopkeepers against the sun. The cacaphony of murmuring voices is pierced by a few vendors who put their vocal chords on the line to scream out their daily bargains to anyone who will listen. It certainly seems like everything is for sale here, except for peace and quiet.

“So!” Tuku says. “Souvenirs, or information?”

“Well, considering my financial situation, I’m thinking information first is going to be the most prudent course.”
“You are such a stick-in-the-mud,” Tuku says. “Prudent, pah. But fine, since you saved my ass...”

Tuku leads Aiko through the market stalls, maybe hoping she’ll stop and buy something - no doubt he’d get a cut. Leaning against the central fountain but shaded from the sun is an old man dressed in rags, fast asleep. Tuku gives him a soft kick to startle him awake.
“Whu?” the man babbles. “Tuku, what in the Hells...”
“Wake up, old man,” Tuku says. “My friend has coin and questions.”
“I can fix that,” the old man says, sitting up straight, throwing a glance at Aiko. “Now, why don’t you run and buy me something to drink so the lady and I can conduct our business.”
“I’ll be back in a bit,” Tuku tells Aiko. “Try not to let him talk you to death.”

As Tuku leaves, the old man fixes Aiko in his gaze - which isn’t easy, as his eyes don’t seem to be quite willing to do so. “Now, what are you looking for?” he asks. “Come on, I don’t have all day.”

“Just how well tapped in to the local goings on are you?” Aiko asks. “Hate to think I was wasting my coin.”
“Little lady,” the old man says, “the whole damn city’s here, every day, shouting over each other to tell me their business. What they don’t say, they act out, thinking I ain’t watching. If it’s happening, I know about it. Ask your questions.”
“I’m looking for a man, a northerner like myself whom I ‘m told most likely came here over 10 years ago. He would have had the bearing of a noble, even though he might have been pasing himself off as a common man.” She proceeds to give an accurate physical description of the Emperor -- not as he would have been known to the public, but as his inner circle would have known him, stripped of the artifice of office and pared down to the man who ruled the nation as you would ride a spirited steed.
The old man starts nodding absent-mindedly in the middle of Aiko’s description, then finally gives her the “Get on with it” hand gesture. What a rude fellow! “Lady, I didn’t figure you for one of those people, but here we are.” He sighs. “Like clockwork, I get one every year, rolls through here asking questions about this guy. Emperor something or another. And I’m gonna tell you what I tell everyone else: get out of this city. Get as far away as you can. I don’t know if he’s here, but I know asking around about him gets people disappeared. And here comes the part where you tell me it’s too important, or that you’re not afraid of a fight, or whatever, but I’m telling you, if you take my advice and leave, you’d be the first, and it’d be real good for my conscience if you’re the last to ever ask about this guy. Don’t feel so good watching all you young’ins get themselves into trouble for that.” He sighs. “I suppose you’ll want to know where all the other guys said they were going next in their search, or am I actually getting through to you?”
Aiko shrugs. “Actually the idea of a fight I don’t need to get involved in terrifies me. But not as much as the idea of one I do. I literally have nothing left to go back to: my enemies have killed everyone I called kin or friend, they have cast me down from the calling I once dedicated myself to. Dying is something I figure I’m due to do pretty soon, and if it happens then I might as well do it this way and hope I piss enough of them off before I go down as I can. Actually succeeding at this point would be gravy.”
The old man raises an eyebrow. “Okay, that’s a new one,” he says. “I usually get the ‘destiny and honor’ speech. Well, however you want to do it is fine by me. Turn around, do you see the cross on that building way down that street?”

A brief visual inspection does indeed reveal a building with a cross mounted on top. A place of worship built by the foreigners; Aiko knows them well from her time in Kargbeck.

“Supposed to have hidden in there at some point,” the old man says. “Don’t see a lot of people coming or going anymore. Nobody who went looking for him there came back to me, so...that’ll be fifty silver, good luck, thank you, come again.” The old man reaches for a bottle of sake fashioned from a squash and takes a swig.
Aiko raises an eyebrow. “I take it that they just turned around and went straight into the Church as soon as you told them about it?”
The old man nods. “A couple even ran. Honestly, it’s been years, do you think a couple of minutes are going to change anything? Young people, pah. Always in such a damn hurry.”
“So they never asked you to tell them what else you knew. Say about that church, and the priests that run it, and which ones haven’t tried to proselytise their strange faith.”
“No, they didn’t,” the old man says. “Like they think I’m just here to point them at that church. But I’m gonna need to see some coin before I say anything more about the church, lady.”
Aiko smiles a touch grimly. “Like I said, I want to take as many of them with me as possible. Now, I could just run off to that church without giving you a backwards glance or a handout, like I figure most of the others have done. And that’s probably not going to end well for either of us. Assuming, of course, that you’re not simply the bait in a long laid trap. So why don’t you tell me all about what I’m going to end up walking into, because telling me it’s death trap when we both know I’m already essentially in it is worth exactly squat. Now, telling me what I need to get out of it on the other side? Well, that’s worth something. Consider it an incentive, because I’m not going to give you anything right now. You can keep quiet, sure, and you’re not going to get anything more than you’re already getting. Talk to me, and you’ve got at least an even chance of coming out ahead.”
The old man reaches for a crutch and rises - unsteadily - to his feet. He sizes Aiko up, then takes another swig from his bottle. “Lady,” he says, “you better pay up, now.”
(Sense Motive: 1d20+15=25 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3845413/))

The old man is clearly past his prime, but seems quite willing to fight. Besides, even if you win, do you want to be known for beating up the elderly?

Aiko moves away, well out of range of both crutch and any particularly fortuitous displays of drunken mis-coordination. “So, a likely fatal visit to the church it is, that neither of us stand to profit from,” she shrugs expansively. “Shame, but such is life. Guess you’ll have to spend another year wondering what might have been.”
“Come back here, you cow!” the old man shouts, but doesn’t seem willing to follow you. You now note that his right foot seems to be missing. “I won’t forget this! You’ll be sorry you cheated me!”
“No. As you said yourself, I’ll be dead, and, as such, beyond all caring. The only one who’ll care is an old man that life has left cowed, who’ll probably be cheated next year too, if the drink and the fear and the shame that he had nothing left inside of him worth the risk of spitting in the face of fate or the 50 silver you’re trying to wheedle out of a dead women hasn’t claimed you first.”
The old man glares, then sits back down in the shade of the fountain. This is Tuku’s cue; he appears from the market with a new squash bottle and sets it down next to the old man before following Aiko.
“That was a pretty loud business transaction,” Tuku says.
Aiko seems genuinely disappointed at the old man’s failure to rise to the bait. “Salvage jobs, especially failed ones, are never exactly quiet,” she answers as the pair move off. “What’s the story with his foot?”
“Gangrene,” Tuku says. “The surgeon had to take if off. He’s been a drunk layabout since.”
“Ah. What can you tell me about the church?”
“Not too much,” Tuku says. “Foreign traders hang out there every seventh day, when they ring loud bells. The priests keep to themselves for the most part. To tell you the truth, I’ve never been inside.”
“Have many of the locals been swayed to the gaijin faith?”
“A couple, I guess,” Tuku says. “Nobody I know, though.”
“How long until the next gathering?”
“Should be tomorrow,” Tuku says. “Um, Shimura...it’s not that I don’t trust you or anything, but you’re not going to stiff me on my fee for the tour, are you?”
“Only if I’m unavoidably killed.”
“Yeaaaaaah,” Tuku says. “I’m gonna have to ask for my money up front.”
“I’m not surprised you’ve not been inside there, he of little faith,” Aiko jokes.
“What, I’ve totally got faith!” Tuku protests. “I go to the temple and light the sticks and everything. I mean, when I have the time. I don’t get paid to pray, you know.”
“No. You have to be a priest to do that.”
“But if I was a priest, who would guide you?” Tuku says. “See? I’m just playing my part in the eternal path of the Heavens. So I won’t have you complain about my lack of faith.” He smiles. “Besides, you’re a manipulative tightwad. I’ve got to make sure we both still know what you owe me when we’re done talking.”
“It’s 10 silver against your continued good health, isn’t it?”
“It’s 10 silver, and if you’re fishing for a discount, forget it!”
“Well, we can’t have your life being worth anything can we,” Aiko teases, poking out her tongue.
“Careful, Shimura,” Tuku says. “The last girl who teased me like that is still stuck with me. Now, are you sure you don’t need anything else from the market?”
Aiko shakes her head. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Well then!” Tuku says. “The next part of the tour are Shinju’s famous thermal baths...if you’re interested.”
“Sounds fun.”
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on February 16, 2013, 05:55:33 AM
Even before I breathe, I stare.
I stare at the towering brown buildings chased in regal red and blue and yellow, built like arrowheads stack end-to-point towards the sun. From them pennants snap and twist, their lines rippling and lashing against the playful harbor wind. A thousand flags, a thousand clans, a thousand ambitions all fluttering against the vast blue sky in the forms of cats and birds and fish and an infinite number of other siguls and signs and icons. Many of the same are draped from gleaming banners that flap against the buildings, and my eyes wander up one, following a line of leaping silver fish hurtling up a green-blue stream that splashes through silver rocks.

Above me maidens lean over a balcony, slender lips pursed and eyelashes glittering, calling down from behind fans and facepaint. They're dressed in robes patterned in birds and flora and fish, dyed in vibrant purple and emerald green and deep blue with great bows in elaborate knots holding them shut. Some robes are threadbare and worn, and some eyes are wary, and some hide splashes of freckles that run down their necks into puffed up, pale bosoms.
Oh.
Perhaps not maidens, exactly.

I stare that them, capturing and storing every line and freckle and mole, instinctively building a composite of a what it is to be a person in this exotic, colorful place.

They soon stare back, their hands slowing, and their twittering lips caught in surprised "O" shapes.

Before me stevedores lift and grunt and chant the same strange bird-words but in a gruff basso as coffers and chests and great rough timbers are heaved onto carts which dart off behind limber, wiry runners. They wear headbands of twisted fabrics stained by sweat and spray, but even they don't go unadorned. Rings glint from ears and pendants and necklaces chime in abundance. Beards and mustaches are wild and curly or meticulously tamed and sheathed in slender silk, and thick, strong wrists are wrapped in twists of still-bright colors.

And the people. A riot of golden faces and sharp eyebrows, slight lips, pointed chins, high foreheads and upturned noses chattering and gesturing. They argue and laugh and bargain and threaten and cajole, hands darting and fidgeting, accenting every statement. And more from every nation I have never seen, and I am filled with a sudden, surprisingly deep ache to see more of the world.

No one is quiet. Nothing is plain. Everything is enameled and painted and carved and I am captivated by the sheer decadent vitality of it all.

Than there is stillness.

The runners stop. The stevedores lean on pilings. The maidens are hustled in by lean figures in plainer, more subdued clothing. Men in elaborately layered robes stop stroking beards and tugging their earlobes. Some figures step back, and some step forward. Some have knives, some have hatchets, some have billhooks, and some have bodyguards.

And they all stare back.

...I am not breathing.

I forgot to keep breathing.

I force my lungs to compress to speak and from my lips sluices a torrent of filthy harbor water.

I am aware that within my armor things that were wriggling and pinching have stopped, and from my leggings slide various dead things and weeds and bits of garbage.

I spit and cough, mostly in forced exaggeration.

I am aware that I stink. Terribly.

...I should say something.


"Uh."

Groping my sodden, slimy backpack for my purse, I dig out a fistful of silver.

"...I need a guide..?"
---

Well, here's something that the sailors and mariners of Shinju haven't seen yet. This...this thing not only just climbed out of the ocean, it also looks around and stares and coughs and generally acts like it only has half an idea what being alive means. Soon, there's mumblings of demons and bad omens and people try very, very hard not to look at Jett or even acknowledge she's there. Even when she asks for help, the reactions are more "That thing can talk?" than any genuine interest in her wellbeing.
Still, as Jett arranges her gear, a woman's voice - unsteady, but audible - comes closer. She wears a flower in her hair and has an unsteady smile on her lips. "You...you said you need a guide?" she says.
Jett snaps her head in that direction. "...yeah." She starts gearing back up, not bothering with the armor, though she's definitely getting her weapons set up right. "...I need to be clean. And new clothes. And...uh, that is it for now."
The girl still smiles. "Um, okay. I can help you with that for ten silver. Do you...do you have money?"
Jett grabs her coins and gives out 13 without counting. "..."
The girl takes her money, counts it out "One, two, three, four -" and then hands back three coins. "And here's your change. Thank you for hiring me. My name is Mina, by the way." Under her breath, she mutters "First customer, Gods..."
Jett cocks her head. "Oh. Thank you. Lead on." She looks around for signs of arms and armor. "Err, Lead on, Mina. Sorry." Jett smiles a small, awkward smile.

The sailors on the dock are definitely armed, even if only with a working knife. Armor however seems to be utterly absent from the people of Shinju, probably an artefact of heavy armor not being conductive to surviving going overboard. Mina still smiles as she quickly ushers you past a few particularly grumpy sailors. "*ahem* The city of Shinju was founded more than 400 years ago by one of the three great families, although there is no definitive record of which started it. Our scholars assume they all saw the favorable trading conditions here and worked together." Translation: they all claim to have founded it, and the wrong answer can get you cut. "Shinju means Southern Pearl, by the way. Pretty name for a pretty city, don't you think? Oh, forgive me, I am so rude...what is your name? Like I said, I'm Mina." She repeats it like for a slow child.
"...oh. Jett. Uh, Jett the Cold, Javansdottir, 3rd Rangers...." She squints. "...do you care where I'm from?"
"Uh, yes?" Mina answers. "Um, I mean, yes, of course, I love hearing about where people are from! You meet so many people from all over the world here! Not like the empire, where anyone that doesn't live on their island is a 'foreigner'."
Jett visibly brightens. "That's good. I'm....hmm. I was from Gibraltar...oh. I was _born_ in Byrnhild. A village not far from Mordheim, owned by Jarl Torvald the Great."
"Oh, are you a northman?" Mina asks. "That's...something you might not want to tell people. There's a northman in these seas, he's a pirate. You don't want to be a pirate in a city of sailors, trust me."
Jett nods. "I'm not a pirate. I'll keep that quiet."
"So..." Mina says. "Not a pirate. Good. I'm sorry if I'm prying, but you want supplies...what for? You're not a pirate, but you are a...mercenary?"
"...I guess I could be.." Seconds trail by. "Oh! I have a letter..." She rummages around in her meager belongings. "...the...Sage..."
"...she gave me this..."'
There is ominous squishing from pack.
"...gods be damned. She gave me this letter."
Jett produces a fistful of muck that might have been parchment.
"...to find a Shoe-gen-Jah."
"And...it's ruined."
"......Fuck......"
Jett looks crestfallen at this development. "That's why I sailed here. I'm...uh..."
Spoiler: Jett's Bluff • show
1d20 → [1] = (1)    http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/search/1186365

"I'm...uh....a lost family! To the Woo-gen."
"...okay," Mina says. "Well! If you're going to lie to me, you can just not say anything, you know?"

"Actually, forget I asked," Mina adds.
"....it....yeah. I'm not a pirate. That's still true."
"It's just," Mina explains, "you don't seem like a bad person. But I can see you're a violent one. And I'm...I'm a little nervous, because I'm with you and I don't want trouble."
"...Ah." Jett smiles. "I am. I won't cause you harm. I know myself, and I know this: the Sage Ataraxia, of Gibraltar, cast my fate. She said Sanin would have my answers to my...uh...quest. Destiny."
"I'm sorry the letter was ruined. I bought a hammock on a ship traveling to Sanin, but the sailors tried to steal me."
"They failed. But I had to hide in the midden, and swim through the harbor."
Her face wears a genuine smile. "Life is messy."
"Sure seems like it!" Mina says. "I bet Tuku would eat you right up, he's more of an adventurer than me...I'm just, I'm a little boring, I suppose." She looks at you. "So...speaking of messes, I think we should get you clean first."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on February 24, 2013, 06:30:16 AM
Shinju's bathhouse is justly famous for its architecture, its historical significance as one of the oldest buildings in the port capital of San'in, and as a social hub where the simplest sailor may sit right next to a noble. Endowed with generous funding by the noble families (who realize that good public health and sanitation is the key to keeping a trade port alive), the baths remain affordable to all without descending into the poorer fates suffered by equally ambitious yet sharply underfunded institutions in the mainland empire.

Oh, and you can totally get a massage with a happy ending, if that is your thing. Tuku had to visually hold himself back from mentioning this as part of his standard shpiel to Aiko, which consequently leaves his introductory speech slightly...disjointed. It gets even less coherent when he spots Mina giving much the same speech to Jett, though he interrupts her before she can get to the part about happy endings.

"Uh, Mina?" Tuku says, walking up to her. "What are you doing?"
"Excuse me, Jett," Mina says with a strained smile, then turns to Tuku. "I have a customer!" she whisper-snarls. "And so do you, so stop talking to me!"
"Mina, we talked about this..."
"I know all the damn speeches!"
"...but you don't pay Auntie."
"All we're doing is paying Auntie!"
Tuku sighs. "Look, Mina, I've got it handled, okay? I just need you to do literally anything else but the stuff that you need Auntie's permission for, which you don't have, and you're getting us both in trouble here."
"Nobody knows - or at least nobody knew until you made a scene about it!" Mina says, now speaking openly.
"Oh yes, you break the rules, but I'm the one getting you in trouble," Tuku says. "Look, I know you want to help, babe..."
"Do not call me Babe, Tuku!" Mina snarls. "I'm not one of your two-week girlfriends! I have a name and you had better get used to treating me with some respect!"
"Please, Mina, don't be like that!"
"Like what, Tuku?"

Aiko and Jett exchange a glance. People are staring at the scene and it doesn't look like this little argument is going to end by itself.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on February 24, 2013, 02:24:13 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko rubs the bridge of her nose, wondering if the favour owed Auntie might well focus on marriage guidance for her guide, then takes the opportunity to scope out Mina's tag-along.

A stinking gaijin -- quite literally! -- reeking of the brine... and other things. To look at her, she might be kin more likely to Olafsen than any of the Hanse of Kargbeck whose blood is mingled in her own veins. Still, there's something else unsettling about the woman that Aiko can't quite put her finger on that has nothing to do with being obviously armed.

Time enough to think on it later. Now, it's all about the spat.

She walks over and grabs the arguing couple by their ear. "Enough, the pair of you!" she orders with all the authoritarian certainty she can muster, keeping a firm grip to ensure she has their attention. "One more cross word from either of you and I'll toss you both off the docks."

She lets go. "Now, are you going to behave?"

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on February 24, 2013, 03:49:27 PM
Right off I like the guardswoman. She's got clarity.
Well, I don't know she's a guard, but she's got the right focus, and weapon, to do the job.
And blue eyes. Hmm.


"...is...uh...Auntie a problem?"

Jett stares at Aiko for some long few seconds, then waves in greeting.

"I'm Jett...Jett the Cold."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on February 26, 2013, 12:03:13 PM
"Hey!" Tuku says at getting grabbed by his ear. "What the hells? Keep your damn hands to yourself!"
"Tuku..." Mina begins, already trying to smooth things over.
"No, we can have that out right now!" Tuku barks, then stabs his finger at Aiko's collarbone. "You owe me an apology and I better get it right now, or you are flat fucking on your own in this city, sister!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on February 26, 2013, 05:20:18 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko's eyes narrow. Tuko's a good kid, but he has this odd knack of standing up, buckling under, and giving grief, to the wrong people. Some of it she can understand. Some of it. But it's irritating, too.

"I don't pay people who walk out on their contracts," she answers simply and quietly. "Now, shall we all calm down and enjoy the facilities instead of squabbling like children trying to attract Auntie's attention?" She casts a glance at Mina and the odd woman who had announced her name as Jett, assuming they wil have the common sense to agree, then back to Tuko.
Title: Shinobi
Post by: Valentina on February 26, 2013, 05:55:36 PM
Jett shrugs, looking blank.
"...yeah...I wouldn't pay to watch people argue either..."

Not if I could shut one of them up with a knife.

"...I remember...Corinth took me to the Opera once."
"Ha Ha, that was paying to watch people sing about arguing..."

It was surprisingly intense.

"Hey Mina, does Shinju have an Opera House?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on February 28, 2013, 08:25:29 AM
Tuku glowers at Aiko, but when he looks like he's about to reply, Mina puts a hand on his shoulder.

"Shinju does not have an opera, I'm afraid," Mina says. "But we do have a local theater established by Hanse sailors twenty-three years ago, if you're in the mood for culture."
Tuku turns to Mina. "Really?" he whispers.
"Let's do our damn job and get paid," Mina whispers back through a forced smile. "But we are here for the baths!" she says in her normal guide-voice. "The baths! Did you know that every stone used in the construction of this building had to be imported? Shinju's natural volcanic rock is too porous for construction of this scale, which is why most buildings are constructed with wood."
"The natural wellsprings have been credited with 14 miracles since the baths were founded," Tuku jumps in. "The Shinju springs are actually the only location in the empire that are considered holy and have been consecrated both by Shinto and Hanse priests."
"And one day every three months, the baths are free to use," Mina concludes. "Unfortunately, today is not one of those days, but if you stay in Shinju for a bit, you may be able to treat yourself to a free visit!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on March 14, 2013, 09:41:08 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)There's a little voice in Aiko's head that wishes mayne Mina had ended up her guide instead of her boyfriend, but the die has been cast on that one. And it could be worse -- she might be fighting ninja death squads instead of dealing with the clearly entrenched bone of contention between the two of them.

"Yes, baths now, culture later," she says. "Some of us desperately need to relax in some nice hot water and maybe have one of those miracles happen."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on March 19, 2013, 09:41:48 AM
For obvious reasons, Mina takes the two of you deeper into the baths while Tuku stays behind. Once you're out of his earshot, she speaks up again.

"I have to apologize for my boyfriend," Mina says. "He's a little...overprotective." She leaves it at that, though.

Soon, you come to the changing rooms, where a variety of women in a variety of states of undress are both getting ready to get into the baths and getting dressed to leave. While you still wonder about the security of the accommodations for your belongings - Open shelves? Really? - a mousy little woman who's at least a head smaller than even Mina walks up to you and promptly makes herself even smaller by bowing to you.

"Hello and welcome," she says. "Please hand over your weapons and leave your clothes on the shelves. Thank you!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on March 19, 2013, 06:57:38 PM
...like Hel I will.

"..."

Attempting to hold back a pair of Daggers in her otherwise mountainous pile of weapons (8 not counting throwing knives or arrows!) by concealing them in towels or sponges or the like Jett makes an untrained Prestidigitation roll.
Spoiler: show

http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/search/1210725/
8.
Ouch. Action dice!
+4
+2 -what the hell, throw the good dice after the bad.
+5.

Total Conceal action: 19.
3 AD spent, roll log here: http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/search/1210730/
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on March 20, 2013, 09:38:46 AM
Spoiler: Bath Attendant's Notice • show
1d20+3=15 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3982229/)


Jett starts handing over her weapons with one hand while grabbing towels with the other; under the weight of her surprisingly numerous arsenal, and the quick moves of her hands, the bath attendant quickly loses track and fails to see the pair of daggers Jett managed to fold into her towels.

"Thank you!" the attendant says, then turns to Aiko. "Please hand over your weapons and leave your clothes on the shelves. Thank you!"

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on April 07, 2013, 07:48:36 AM
Aiko begrudgingly does as the attendant tells her; Mina waits for you to undress, then leads you into the baths proper. You find yourself in a large stone hall, with a central pool of steaming warm water in the middle. Split off to the sides are about a half-dozen niches, some of which hold smaller pools of water, some just include benches, and others have a metal pan with glowing hot rocks in them heating them further.

"Isn't it great?" Mina beams. "Just the place to relax in after a long day of -"
"You bitch!" comes a shout from behind. Before you can properly see what's going on, someone runs up from behind and tackles Mina. Mina only gets off a surprised yelp before both she and her attacker splash into the central pool, leading the other women to flee shouting from the scene.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on April 07, 2013, 01:50:34 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"And this is why we can't have nice things," Aiko mutters irritably as she enters the pool and wades towards the scene of the conflict. Looks like I'm going to have to smack a bitch. And fuck me but I think I'm going to enjoy it.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on April 07, 2013, 03:10:34 PM
Y'know what Bjorn? Guardswoman has this nailed down.
Well, she's at least moving like she does.


"...."

Jett piles her towels next to the pool edge, except for a couple of rather rigid ones she's planning on "sitting on," and sliiiiiiiides in with a clear intention of making herself into a kind of Stinking Gaijin Broth.

As a kind of afterthought she adds, "there might be more; keep your head Guard-girl."

Spoiler: show

Somehow that kind of sounds like really good advice...

Aiko gained Pathfinder Basics: Plains!
Aiko got +2 to Notice!
It's Super Effective!

Also, although she has spoken and thus given any additional trouble warning of her presence, Jette decides that the copious steam and swirling water might just be potentially concealing enough to attempt to Take 10 for a 26 Sneak,

No reason some much desired bathing couldn't be combined with some prudent positioning.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on April 08, 2013, 09:00:04 AM
Spoiler: Feel free to ignore this Gman, but what the heck, it seemed a good idea at the time... • show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBNcjvxLfFc

You encounter a wild EVIL-EX
Who do you choose?

Player 1 chooses AIKO


AIKO uses GRAPPLE: 1d20+12=22 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016268/)
EVIL-EX attempts to EVADE: 1d20=7 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016280/)
EVIL-EX is held

EVIL-EX uses BREAK FREE: 1d20=3 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016283/)
But, it's not very effective...: 1d20+12=28 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016275/)
EVIL-EX is pinned

AIKO uses REPEATEDLY HIT THE EVIL EX IN THE FACE WITH THE POOL SURFACE (PUMMEL): 3d4+9=16 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016348/)
It's super effective: 1d20=12 vs dc 18 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016291/)
EVIL-EX is fatigued

EVIL-EX uses BREAK FREE: 1d20=3 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016373/)
But it fails...: 1d20+12=18 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016375/)
EVIL-EX is pinned

AIKO uses SUBMERGE (PUMMEL): 3d4+9=14 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016380/)
It's super effective: 1d20=2 vs dc 17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4016383/)
EVIL-EX is double fatigued

EVIL-EX uses LEMME GO BITCH
AIKO counters with DEMAND ANSWERS WITH EXTREME MENACE

EVIL-EX surrenders!

AIKO has beaten EVIL-EX
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on April 20, 2013, 07:31:40 AM
(Rolling with Mr. A's version because he is fun and amuses me greatly)

After several near-drownings, the assailant stops flailing and, in between gasps for air, mewls what passes for a note of surrender. Now that the blur of action is over, you can see that it's actually a woman with short-cropped hair and a rather dramatic scar running over her left eye - which, on closer examination, appears to have been replaced with a painted glass marble. Despite the stereotypical "tough" cred implied by such an injury, however, the woman has the look (and fighting prowess) of a nigh-helpless waif.

"Please," she whimpers. "Please, you have to *cough* understand, she killed my mother..."

Mina wades closer, her face frozen in shock. "That is not!" she says, before realizing that she forgot a word or two there. "That's not what happened! I don't know what happened! I don't know who she is or what happened to her mother! I have no idea!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on April 20, 2013, 02:54:19 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko throws up her hands in frustration at her life.

"Ordinarily, hanging around butt naked with a bunch of other..." -- she pauses for a beat trying to find the right word then goes with what she's got -- "women... in a spa would probably be a reasonably troublefree and probably even enjoyable way to spend an afternoon after a day of boat travel, industrial relations, and far too many people trying to beat up the people I'm relying on. I am noticing a distinct presence of trouble and lack of personal enjoyment right about now, so before I snap and start slaughtering the next person to look at me funny, how about you people tell me what the fuck is going on. Preferably before Auntie's goons -- because I'm going to guess this place pays protection money to her just like everyone else here -- or your boyfriend comes in to see what the fuss is about."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on April 20, 2013, 02:57:36 PM
Very wisely Jett remains submerged, and does not look at Aiko funny.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on April 28, 2013, 09:25:21 AM
"I told you, I don't -" Mina starts to say, then wades closer and looks at the scarred woman.

"Chiki," Mina says coldly. "You're Chiki."
"So glad you remember me, bitch!" Chiki spits. "Got yourself a bodyguard, huh? That's the first smart thing you did, the whole city will be after you when I tell them what you did!"
"I didn't do anything!" Mina says, then turns to Aiko before her puzzlement becomes a question. "Chiki is Auntie's daughter. She left two years ago, I didn't know she was back."
"You snake!" Chiki shouts, thrashing in the water a bit but stopping her struggle when Aiko's look turns to 'Don't make me drown you again'. "You have no right to speak of her!" Chiki says. "Murderer!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on April 28, 2013, 04:13:04 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko looks at Mina then back to her captive with a mixture of exasperation and bemusement.

"If Mina's a murderer, Chiki, she's not a very good one. I met with Auntie this morning after that idiot Ox of hers got beaten unconscious after he made the mistake of trying to extort my guide."

She nods her head towards the taciturn Jett, who seems to have been fortunately overlooked by the chaos surrounding the ronin inquisitor. "With the exception of our friend behind me, Mina's pretty much the only person in this gods forsaken crapsack that I haven't had to either fight or wanted to slap a whole lot of sense into, so that's two things against you right now. But I'm a firm believer in everyone having their say, so you're going to calmly sit down here in this nice relaxing spa and tell us -- calmly -- your story from the beginning. And you'd better fucking make sure you don't rack up another black mark. I'm mildly annoyed now, and you really wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on April 28, 2013, 04:21:15 PM
Deciding an introduction is order, Jett elects to silently goose Chiki, and when noticed she stares at Chiki with an expression of "I politely request you resist the impulse to become a problem" while remaining submerged.

"....."

Bubbles float up without comment.

When it's apparent Chiki's not the vanguard of some Naked Urchin Assassination Squad Jett will surface and get about the business of properly washing.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on May 07, 2013, 05:11:41 AM
With the current excitement concluded, you drag Chiki into a nearby alcove. Under the watchful eyes of Aiko and Jett but staring daggers at Mina, the scarred girl unfolds her tale...

"So, I get back here yesterday, alright?" Chiki says. "Not that I suddenly got homesick or shit like that, I'm just flat broke and out of friends, getting back here was the only move I had left. So I go to the tavern, round back, 'cause I know my mom's bouncers wouldn't let me see her. So I step into the kitchen, and this bitch" - she points to Mina - "is there, and she's got a knife, and...she's holding my mom..."

"That's not true!" Mina says.

"Shut up, bitch!" Chiki spits. "You killed my mom! You slit her throat!"

Mina looks to Jett with a "She's crazy, you see that, right?" expression.

"And before I can scream or run," Chiki continues, "she throws something at me, like a dart? I'm out like one, two, gone. Woke up an hour ago in the bilge of a ship with water up to my ears. She almost killed me, too. So I free myself and I get on the pier and I ask where the bitch is, and people tell me she's gone to the baths. I go here. You know the rest. So, anyone maybe gonna ask her why she killed my mom and tried to kill me?" Chiki looks up to Aiko and Jett.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on May 07, 2013, 05:34:02 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Chiki, allow me to repeat myself: I sat down and ate with your mother this morning," Aiko jabs a stern finger in what she hopes to be the direction of Auntie's restaurant. "As far as murders go, that's gross incompetency. However, there is clearly only one way to resolve this."

She turns to Jett and offers a small bow before stating in the gaijin tongue. "My apologies, but it appears ths family mess we've stumbled into means I must abscond with your guide for now to resolve it. I can only assume you'll be coming along for the fun?"

Keeping a firm grip on both girls, she leads the group back to the changing room to get dressed, leaving the threat of deliberately non-lethal violence hanging over both their heads if they misbehave while doing so.

She calls out for Tuko as they exit, holding up a finger and a scowl when he appears so as to forstall any questions or commentary he might offer. "Chiki here thinks Mina murdered Auntie. We're going to show her she's wrong. Please lead the way."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on May 08, 2013, 04:08:32 AM
I should say something.

"Uhm..."

Something!

"...I...sure?...I..."

Jett gestures lamely at her many sheathes and pouches, and the stained-but-enduring contrast they make to her nearly disintegrated clothing.

"I'm sort of...lacking...I still need clothes...I mean, it can wait...for...Auntie."

Jett turns to Mina looking somewhat bewildered. Her daggers are sheathed, her axe secured, her throwing knives tied in neat stacks, her armor bundled up -it's clear Jett has two major approaches to problem solving.
One's not quite clear, but the other is definitely violence and it's unlikely that neither she nor Shinju will profit much from her muddling around unattended.
The dogs might eat well, though.


"...it is really good to be clean. So...I have that."

"Thank you, Mina...yes, I'll come and help you and Chiki."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on May 08, 2013, 01:39:31 PM
While Mina and Tuku are occupied with each other, Jett slides up to Aiko, leans in very close, and imparts:

"Chiki's story is, uhm, like mine. Almost exactly. I hid in a bilge. I broke out. Swam through the harbor. That's...well, you can tell...uhm...probably..."

Out of steam, Jett steps away rather suddenly.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on May 09, 2013, 04:50:49 AM
Aiko nods to Jett's story and files it away for later consideration. Nothing is simple in this blasted tropical paradise.

On the way out, the attendant deftly steps in your way.

"Thank you for your visit!" she says. "I will return your weapons as soon as you pay for your -"

She doesn't get much further than that, because Aiko is already digging through her purse to fish out the silver; she drops the coin in the attendant's hand.

"Thank you!" the attendant goes without missing a beat or taking a breath. "Your weapons, Madam!"

As the group hurries out to locate Tuku, the attendant calls out "Thank you for your visit! We hope to see you again!"

---

As it happens, Tuku is outside, enjoying a light after-lunch snack of mitarashi dango (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mitarashi_dango_by_denver935.jpg) skewers from one of the food vendors outside the baths. Ah, the sun overhead, a soft breeze rolling through town, what could be better?

"Tuku!" Mina calls. "Tuku! Here!"

Tuku quickly chows down on the last two balls on his skewer, then jogs over to meet the rest of the group stomping back to the harbor to auntie's restaurant.

"Mmphs thh mhhttmmr?" Tuku asks, then chews further. He sees Chiki being led to the side of the group by Aiko and startles away for a moment. "Chmkm?"
"Yes, Chiki," Mina says, keeping to the other side with Jett.
"Whmre ahm wm - *gulp* - where are we going now?"
"To Auntie's," Mina says coldly. "Chiki thinks I killed Auntie yesterday."
"But -" Tuku begins, then surveys the collection of facial expressions and shuts up.

---

The late lunch period is in full swing at Auntie's, with the tables outside well-frequented; you find Auntie whirling past the tables, serving bowls of soup and fish with greens to the many patrons, most of them ship officers who can afford her fare. As she sees you approach, she gives you a wide smile and waves you closer.

"This is Auntie," Mina explains to Jett, "the leader of the local...neighbourhood association. As you can see, she is in shining health and will hopefully live for many, many years to come." Mina turns to Chiki. "I'll have your apology now, and...say...30 silver, to repay us for the baths and the trouble?"
"No no no no no," Chiki mumbles. "I saw what happened!"
"With your good eye?" Mina retorts.
"Ladies, ladies, please," Tuku says. "Can't we all just forget this unfortunate episode? Chiki, you could invite us to a second lunch!"
"Second?" Mina asks.
"Hey," Tuku says, "the first one was really not lunch at all, more, like...a really late second breakfast? A midday snack? Come on, Shimura, back me up here."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on May 09, 2013, 05:50:13 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko's eyes narrow slightly as Auntie approaches. Chiki's presence has been aggravating, but she does seem to believe she saw what she saw.

And Aiko has seen some things herself recently.

Auntie is called away by a patron before she can do much more than wave to the group. She doesn't seem particularly shocked to see Chiki, but they’re also still a ways away - she might not have recognized her at the distance.

Of course, she may not have recognised her at all. Yes, it might be something of a long bow to draw, but only a few weeks ago, she had a rather in-depth conversation in which a suit of armour had answered her questions instead of the man wearing it.

“We’re having lunch, the five of us,” she declares, favouring a no doubt grinning Tuku with a warning glance. “Now do me a favour and do not mention Chiki’s name or that they’re related unless Auntie specifically does so herself. Call her Yukio. Something might be wrong here and I can feel it in my gut I’m not going to get any peace until this is sorted.”

Rubbing the bridge of her nose, she turns to Jett. “After lunch, we’ll buy you some new clothes and then hopefully all get on with out lives. Probably won’t work out that way though.”

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on May 09, 2013, 10:05:57 AM
"Shimura...thanks, it's...good."

Jett goes as directed, trying to be below notice.

"This could be awkward."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on May 15, 2013, 06:13:07 AM
You find a free table and sit down for lunch. The rolling breeze is nice and soft, and the sea birds provide a relaxing soundtrack. After a few minutes, Auntie approaches your table with a smile.

"Welcome back!" she says. "Tuku, Shimura, good to see you - hello Mina!" Mina stands up, and the two women embrace briefly. "And two new friends, too!"
"Auntie," Tuku begins, "these are Jett and Yukio."
"Why hello, Jett!" Auntie says, extending her hand. "Are you new in town, too? You must be hungry!" She then turns to Chiki, and her smile loses some warmth. "What brings you back here?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on May 15, 2013, 06:33:52 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko makes a small show of being surprised at her reaction "Is there a problem, Auntie? We met at the baths a little while ago."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on May 15, 2013, 06:36:48 AM
"Not a problem, Shimura," Auntie says. "I just didn't know my good-for-nothing daughter was back in town." Auntie gives Chiki a fake smile. "How's my favorite little failure doing?"
Chiki, for her part, just looks like she's ready to cry.

Aiko notes that while Auntie seems to recognize her daughter, she hasn't actually used her name yet.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on May 15, 2013, 07:41:12 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)“We’ve only just met, but I found her to be a very forthright young woman who knows how to speak her mind.”

“Well, if you like her so much, go ahead and keep her,” Auntie says. “We’ve got nothing to discuss.”

“Oh?” Aiko asks. She can’t help herself but be just a little genuinely intrigued by the filial disharmony and the reasons behind it, even if that wild hunch of hers is correct and this is all a performance to some darker end. “The word around here is that Auntie can always find a use for people...”

(Sense Motive: 1d20+20=32 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4050160/)+1d6.open(6)=2 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4050167/))

(Impress: 1d20+7=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4050162/))

(Auntie’s Bluff: 1d20+15=33 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4050165/) )

“Yes, well, some people are only useful as an example of what I will not tolerate in my house,” Auntie explains in a huff. Chiki’s still cowed by the hostility and the weirdness of seeing her mother alive and well, but Aiko’s starting to get a feeling for what’s wrong here - ‘Auntie’ doesn’t know why Chiki left home.

“Well, that’s certainly understandable,” Aiko nods sagely. “It’s sad that the bonds that hold a family together don’t always possess the strength we might wish. Is it because you drink too much Yukio? A woman in Auntie’s position of esteem does have a certain image to maintain, and a daughter who wakes up in the docks so addled she has no memory of the night before would be a liability...”

Aiko smiles, as she offers a possible no concrete statement but loads of innuendo and baited hooks. All in the hope that ‘Auntie’s’ desire to latch onto a safe haven of status quo will gloss over the fact that this isn’t really the investigator’s bag. She shoots a look at Tuku, hoping the gobby youngster might come to her aid in the selling this...

“Yeah,” Tuku says. “Why you gotta be so...drunk all the time, Yukio?”

Auntie smiles again. “Yes, well, you’re not here for the family drama. Please excuse me, I have other customers. I’ll have something for you to eat in a moment, Jett.” With that, she hurries off toward the inside of her restaurant.

Mina looks to Aiko and Chiki. “...what just happened?” she asks.

Aiko sighs, a mix of emotions -- weariness, compassion, anger -- colouring her voice as she rests her hand on Chiki’s. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I think we just had a conversation with whomever... or whatever... killed your mother.”

“That’s impossible!” Mina says. “She looks and sounds exactly like Auntie!”

“Yeah, I’m like 99% sure this is all some sort of misunderstanding,” Tuku says, then looks to Aiko. “But you’re interested in the 1%, aren’t you? Well, I hate to be a materialistic weasel, but investigations into the identity of underground bosses are not included in my guide fees.”

“When she comes back,” Aiko says, hand remaining... guidingly... on Chiki’s, “we’re all going to order our food to go. Our friend Jett here has a most pressing appointment with the seamstresses and tailors of this place. And we’re going to smile while we do it.”
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on May 15, 2013, 12:56:06 PM
"I'm...not really hungry anyway," Jett offers.

She turns to Chiki, opens her to mouth to speak, halts, and instead unhesitatingly puts her hand on her Chiki's shoulder.

"Let's talk later, ok?"

Jett's posture is unusually upright, her eyes moving, her previous hesitancy banished.

"We shouldn't be in danger right now, but I bet all bets are going to be off very soon."

Jett glances around the table, eyes gleaming.

"Mina, Tuku: if you have to hide can you?"

Spoiler: show
Here's a freebie for the investigator: Jett probably hasn't heard the "don't make waves with combat fatalities speech," and while it seems plausible she might work it out by herself, who knows what some (freshly scrubbed) gaijin doesn't or doesn't think?
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on May 25, 2013, 08:59:58 AM
"I...I don't know," Tuku says. You can tell that the idea of having to escape his island paradise life has never occurred to him.
"We could go to my uncle's farm," Mina offers.
"You have an uncle?" Tuku asks. "You didn't tell me you have an uncle."
Mina looks away. "Yeah, we don't...we don't talk about my uncle in my family. But we could crash at his place."
"Okay," Tuku says. "Why don't you talk about him?"
"Gods, Tuku," Mina says. "So not the time right now."

You quietly excuse yourself from your table, choosing not to wait for further scrutiny (and possibly poisoned lunch) from Auntie. Instead, you make for the nearest tailor while discussing options.

"So," Chiki says, "before this goes any further, I should probably say that I don't have any money" - Tuku winces at that - "and I know none of you want to get into trouble here. And I'm sorry for acting like a colossal bitch in the baths...so, I understand that you have no incentive to help me, but...I really need help. And I don't have anyone else. You guys not killing me and going along with me to find out the truth, that's the nicest thing anyone's done for me since I left...or before, really."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on May 25, 2013, 09:21:21 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko pats Chiki's shoulder. "Occupational hazard," she responds before looking to Mina.

"The fact that both you girls are still alive tells us something else about our opponent, whomever or whatever they are: they don't kill out of a desire to kill, but for specific purpose. We need to divine what that purpose is."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on June 02, 2013, 02:48:00 PM
"Blood is the truth in everything, right? Blood rules us all. And I see bloodshed in following this path."

Jett shrugs.

"...and peace is boring."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on June 16, 2013, 07:57:02 AM
"Okay," Tuku says. "Okay, one thing at a time. We're just drawing attention standing around over here, we need to get off the street. We should go to the guesthouse and figure out our next move."
"You mean we should pack up and leave town before whoever is imitating Auntie decides that Chiki needs to die because she's the only witness to their crime," Mina says.
"Well, I didn't want to put it like that!" Tuku says. "You're always so dramatic!"
"I think a certain amount of drama is justified!" Mina retorts.
"Ugh," Tuku says. "I sure know how to pick 'em. Alright, but what I said still holds. We should regroup and make a plan."
"Oh, because you're the expert on fighting bodysnatching criminals!" Mina says. "Jett and Shimura are the experts! They should be coming up with the plan!"
"...which they can do in the safety of the guesthouse," Tuku says. "What part of this are you still not getting?"
"Ack!" Mina shouts, then turns and starts stomping off towards the guesthouse alone.

Tuku turns to the rest of Team Trouble In Paradise. "Seriously, guys," he asks, "am I wrong here?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on June 16, 2013, 11:41:37 AM
Jett shrugs, and turns to look at Shimura.

"I can do that."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on June 17, 2013, 12:20:24 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko nods. "Tuku has the right of it: we need to plan. But first, we need to find our new... ally here something to wear. And I think for safety's sake you're going to have to put up with a bunch of women clothes shopping Tuku."

Spoiler: show

Notice or Search: 1d20+14=29 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4091526/)

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on June 17, 2013, 12:50:56 AM
Jett nods.

"This should be simple. I just need one of everything."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on June 20, 2013, 08:08:13 AM
As it happens, Tuku actually knows a good tailor in town (because of course he does), and so Mina's panicked desire to seek safe harbor is overridden by more practical concerns. The tailor's shop is not hard to find, being that it's unusually colorful even by San'in standards, standing out from the comparatively drab shops around it. The proprietor smiles when he spots Tuku, and the two men exchange a quick greeting.

Let me be clear here: the tailor is the biggest goddamn man you have ever laid eyes on. Built like a sumō, his great height and broad shoulders are overshadowed by his enormous girth and thunderthighs. He offers you all his hand to shake as he introduces himself. "Name's Kamekona, friends," he says. "Underwear, outerwear, beachwear, formal dress, riding gear, sailing gear, shoes and hats and bags and saddles. Whatever you need, I've got it or I can make it."

Aiko's glance at a nearby silver mirror done up in the style of the foreigners shows a man behind the last corner, slowly peeking out every few seconds.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on June 20, 2013, 08:35:34 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko offers a smile to Kamekona as she claps Tuku on the shoulder, her eyes returning to the mirror every so often to ensure the tail is still in place. "The island's most voluable guide has highly recommended your services. As you can see, our friend here is in urgent need of a suitable wardrobe as would befit someone looking to walk amongst us as one of our own." She pauses then shrugs fatalistically. "Well, as much as she can, anyway."

As she talks, she attempts to get a sense of the giant. Particularly how he's likely to react to intention to request  quiet access to the back door so she can nip around and collar their tail.

Spoiler: show

Sense Motive: 1d20+20=29 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4096492/)

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on June 20, 2013, 09:20:19 AM
"Blending in, brah?" Kamekona says, smiling at Jett. "Yah, you look out of place, and it takes a lot to look out of place here. No worries, I think I can help. Step inside!"

Kamekona's broad smile carries through to his voice. It's hard to imagine that he wouldn't accommodate paying customers with a reasonable request. The operative word being "paying".
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on June 20, 2013, 11:36:53 AM
Jett does as she's bid, and smiles sincerely as she says, "I like your shop. It's gorgeous."

Her smile broadens.

"Fearless, too."

"So what I'm after is..."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 02, 2013, 08:25:59 AM
Kamekona lays out a large (no pun intended) variety of clothes - neutral-colored kimonos, overcoats, light gowns - the foundations of a proper wardrobe, in other words. Mina weighs in with fashion advice (Apparently green is not her "color"? Is that a dig at her foreign heritage?) while Tuku comments on the blend-in value of the resulting combination. One thing becomes clear pretty quickly: Jett's face is...problematic, especially the pallor of her skin. Mina recommends make-up, Kamekona recommends his selection of reasonably-priced hats. The whole shebang comes to fifty silver.

Meanwhile, Aiko circles through the back, around the back and behind the corner where she saw the figure tailing them.

Spoiler: Aiko's Sneak • show
1d20+5=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4113733/)

Spoiler: Opponent's Notice • show
1d20+8=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4113737/)

Spoiler: Aiko spends an Action Die... • show
1d6.open(6)=2 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4113739/)


Aiko has to dart from cover to cover to evade the man's looks, as he keeps his eyes on the front of the clothing shop but periodically turns around to check behind him. Aiko's just a few feet away when she dares to lean out to get a better look at her dance partner. He's a sixty-ish man, a foreigner, wearing a long with a light vest of leather armor on top. Dangling from belts slung around his waist are several blades that are too big to be called "knives" but too short to be proper swords, as well as a gonne and a few leather pouches.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on July 02, 2013, 09:24:05 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Great, she thinks. This stuff was so much easier with the Boss's goon squad.

The fact that the tail is a gaijin rather than one of Auntie's locals takes her by momentary surprise. Then her train fo thought snaps back to why she originally came to this tenuous outpost of the empire and the other people she'd been talking to. She could of course just talk to him, but all those sharp pointy party favours don't really leave her in a conversational mood.

Definitely easier with the goon squad. Ah well.

Emerging from her hiding spot, Aiko strolls nonchalantly past the old man. When the motion of her approach causes him to turn to investigate, she surges forward, driving her knee quite forcefully in the ancestral jewellery cabinet then bringing her elbow down sharply on the base of his skull.

Aiko doesn't get invited to a lot of tea parties.

Spoiler: show

Pummel: 1d20+10=29, 3d4+9=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4113773/)
I think we'll drop an AD on that as well, so he's going to be stunned for at least a round.


Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 02, 2013, 12:17:21 PM
Spoiler: Opponent's Fort save • show
1d20+6=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4114006/) That definitely hurt, but didn't drop him entirely.


"Ach!" the man calls out, crumbling to the floor - and rolling to his side. "Hör auf! Stop! I am no enemy!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on July 02, 2013, 04:04:03 PM
Jett counts, pays, and smiles again.

"It's fine, it'll be good enough if I keep my mouth shut and my head down."

Jett playfully stuffs a hat onto her head, yanking it down around her ears, before adjusting it's fit.

"I need to change clothes and find Shimura. Nice to have met you, Kamekona. I'll come by again some time."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on July 02, 2013, 09:19:41 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Resting her hand on the hilt of her sword, Aiko purses her lips in an expression of dubiousness.

"You have a short amount of time to persuade me of that, or this conversation will end with you being shorter than when it started."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 04, 2013, 08:01:23 AM
Kamekona smiles at the prospect of a repeat customer.

"No worries, brah. You need anything else, you just come back."

---

"You are after the fox demon, yes?" the old man asks, slowly picking himself off the ground. "I have tracked it from the empire to here." Noting Aiko's lack of reaction, he continues. "Meine Güte, do you people not know your own legends? Fox demons that can take the shape of humans. They are, how do you say - kitsune. This one is supposed to have five tails - a very old fox demon, almost as old as me." He chuckles a little at this own joke. "Five tails are enough for everyone on this little hunt, yes? Ah, my manners, where are they?"

He holds out an empty hand.

"Herbert Grimm," the man says. "Monsterjäger."

Aiko has to admit that, even now, that is the craziest shit she has heard all day.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on July 05, 2013, 12:41:00 AM
Aiko's shadow spawns a figure in loose traveler's garb sporting a wide hat, and it states:

"I am Jett The Cold, Javansdottir, 3rd Rangers. You're far from home, herr Grimm."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 05, 2013, 07:24:39 AM



Aiko does have to admit that it is the craziest shit she’s heard all day. It also makes a disturbing amount of sense.

She knows the stories of course. Most people do, but most people haven’t had suspects desperately tell them to her face in an attempt to avoid punishment for their crimes. Her Lord had always dismissed these claims as mere superstition, to be ignored by the logical mind.

She doubts her Lord ever had a conversation with a suit of armour rather than the man inside it, or flew through the air like a bird.

“Give me your weapons and your story, in that order,” she instructs this teller of tails [see what she did there], moving backwards enough to give him room to divest himself of his knives. “And why is it that you think following me will lead you to your fox?”

Grimm starts stripping off his visible weapons.

“I watched you test the demon,” Grimm says. “You do not have my gift for truthseeing, but your senses are sharp and your wits less prejudiced than that of others. I will also readily admit that you are faster than I am, and quieter than my ears can follow. I have experience, young lady, but I am old and alone. I do not know what your business is with the demon or with the woman it is imitating, but I hope you are open to aligning it with my mission to exterminate this abomination in the eyes of the Lord.”

“Which Lord would that be?” she asks. “Are you aligned with one of the noble houses of the Empire?”

Grimm rolls his eyes. “The Lord Almighty,” he says, “our Father who art in Heaven. Didn’t you see our house of worship?”

Just as Aiko realises she’s walked into the middle of some sort of foreign religious vendetta, Jett makes her presence known.

"I am Jett The Cold, Javansdottir, 3rd Rangers. You're far from home, Herr Grimm."


“Not farther than you, Norne,” Grimm says, sizing her up as if to determine whether she counts as enough monster to be jäger’d, but seems to come down on the “no” side of that equation. “And who are these two now?”

He looks to Tuku and Mina, who have followed Jett outside and now shrink back slightly.

“Uh, my name is Tuku,” Tuku says, “and I’m just a regular guide trying to get paid. Same goes for my friend Mina.”
“Um, hi,” Mina says. “Technically I already got paid.”
“You did?” Tuku asks, turning to her.
“Cash up front,” Mina says with a nod.
“Gods damn it,” Tuku says.
“Though they are not my pantheon, I will thank you not to insult your higher powers,” Grimm says, cutting the two short. “We cannot afford ill fortune in this.”
“Yeah, uh,” Tuku says, “what exactly is ‘this’, then?”

“Where’s Chiki?” Aiko asks as she indicates Jett should collect the discarded weapons.
“Still inside with Kamekona,” Tuku says. “Now, about that guide fee...”
“Mina, if you wouldn’t mind?” she nods back towards the shop, stepping back just far enough so she can keep an eye on the entrance. “I don’t think we should leave anyone alone right now. Tuku, go with her.”
“...fine,” Tuku says. “But when we’re back, we are seriously discussing a payment schedule!”
“Tuku...” Mina goes, and that’s all she needs to say, really, as she drags him back to the shop with her.

“Jett, Have you heard of this...” Aiko stumbles over the word “monster yay-gah? Or people like him, anyway.”
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on July 05, 2013, 01:15:55 PM
Jett steps sideways to open some space between herself and Shimura, her hands clear of, but not far from, her own weapons.

"Yeah...he's a slayer -a priest tasked with stalking and killing monsters as much as proselytizing."

"They're dangerous. If they're old, they're really dangerous."

"There aren't many around, and Herr Grimm's probably authentic. I've heard of thief-priests who impersonate churchmen to lie and rob, but little about being a Monsterjäger lends itself to wealth and comfort, so I doubt he's a fake."

"Tell us Monsterjäger Herbert Grimm, what do you think I am?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 06, 2013, 02:59:18 AM
"The legends of the North are many and often retold," Grimm says. "Beings have many names, and names stand for many beings, and there is no one central authority who teaches us that elfs are this, wights are that, and norns are those."

"I call you Norne, cold one, as you appear cloaked in the guise of a woman, but are not of this world. You are a being of fate and ill omens, and although people may not put a name to it, they can feel it in you, not the warmth of true life, but the cold of pure spirit," Grimm continues. "That is why your life is battle and death. But you seem genuinely confused, cold one." Grimm strokes his chin. "The people tell that the gods and spirits of the North are caught in an eternal cycle, and from that they assume that nothing can genuinely change, that what is written is the all of what can be, again and again. But you...your name is not among the legends, Jett. Perhaps our understanding is incomplete."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on July 06, 2013, 03:16:38 AM
"....."

Jett is clearly flabbergasted.

"I...guess we should talk. At some point later, I mean. We've got a few things happening at once, but if Shimura sees the good of it I think we can be of help to each other."

"To think of it, I guess I don't know what she's about either. All we had in common before a few hours ago was our guides..."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on July 08, 2013, 08:42:43 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko has now hit the point where she pines for the simplicity of dealing with court nobles plotting to use foreign technology in a bid to assume dynastic power.

Instead, she simply takes it all in stride for the time being and peeks again in the direction the civillian trio should be returning from.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 20, 2013, 05:07:23 AM
Aiko's worries prove unfounded when Tuku and Mina emerge unharmed from the tailor's shop with Chiki in tow. Judging from Chiki's new scarf and hat to better hide her identity, it looks like Mina's already spent her guide fee.

"So, um," Tuku begins, looking at Grimm. "If you're going to be traipsing around with us -"
Grimm tosses a small pouch of silver at the guide. "This will be enough, yes?"
"Uh, yeah," Tuku says. "10 silver. I'll count it out and make change when we're at the guesthouse."
"Tuku..." Mina sighs.
"I charge everyone the same price," Tuku says.
"...I wish you'd shut up about that," Mina says.

---

On your way to the guesthouse, Aiko insists on doubling back a few times - on the mainland, she would expect ninjas to be after her, and to be fair, Grimm was following them to the tailor. But here, she eventually has to come to terms with the fact that the kitsune that seems to have replaced Auntie either does not control her own clan of shadowy assassins or simply doesn't care to have Team Hunter followed. You enter the guesthouse to nods from Tuku's elderly uncle, once again sweeping the floors, but conversation ceases when you spot a new guest sitting at a corner table, slurping a bowl of broth with rice and fish - a young man with a handsome face, but altogether too much poise in his movements and too many hiding places for weapons to be disregarded.

Grimm's right hand is on his gonne as he steps in front of the civilians. "Yokai!" he says sharply. "Everybody, keep your distance."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on July 20, 2013, 05:19:06 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Aww, fucking hell," Aiko curses. Life just keeps getting better, doesn't it. "Competetor or target?" she asks bluntly. "Because either way you need to get your hand off it."

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: MirddinEmris on July 22, 2013, 12:47:02 AM
A young, slender man, who was obviously in need of a bath, clean clothes and possessed other signs of a long travel, looked surprised but otherwise calm and collected. He turned his head, revealing his eyes, squinted as if this room was brightly lit, smiled a little, trying to ease the mood and talked in the soft voice:
 
"Is that a way to greet a stranger? Such rude words should not be talked with such beautiful voice, onesama. And as far as i know, my business in this town have nothing to do with you. After all, what a lowly sarugaka can have in common with such...remarkable people as you? " In support of his words he waved his hand, slowly, at a large backpack, lying near his seat and covered with many masks of all sorts, and a pretty big umbrella painted in bright colors and depicting various folklore figures. Then he turned to a man with gonne "Oyaji, i didn't do anything to earn this insult from you, so, please, could you lower your weapon so we can talk like civilized people?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on July 23, 2013, 04:02:56 AM
Jett has a great deal of nothing to say, and proceeds to not say it.

In fact, now that everyone's paying attention to the handsome man, maybe it's also a good time to put an eye out.

Metaphorically.

Spoiler:  Sneak and Notice. • show


Jett slips out of view, and takes 10 on Sneak (via Huntsman) for a total of 26.

Then, Notice: 1d20+13=29 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4143613/)

A still mind makes for keen senses.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 23, 2013, 08:40:42 AM
Grimm eases off the gonne, but keeps his hand close to the handle.

"I meant no insult," he says. "I did feel it prudent to warn my new companions. There are many devils in this city, few of them obvious." His eyes narrow. "If you can be honest with me about the purpose of your disguise, we will have no quarrel."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: MirddinEmris on July 23, 2013, 07:17:19 PM
Anji tilted his head a little and with a little amusements in his voice asked.

"Disguise? What are you talking about, oyaji? I'm not wearing any". His face assumed a pensive expression. "You are talking about yokai in this town and from what i can gather, you have a quarrel with them, probably a serious one. So, you see me and assume that i'm working for them and took this course of action. Hmmm, i see... but tell me, old man, how did you knew about my blood?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 27, 2013, 11:39:04 AM
Grimm smiles...grimly. "The uncanny surrounds us all," he says. "People have learned not to question it. But I am a man of knowledge and a keen student of details. The disguises of demons and other such beings are of no consequence to faith-steeled eyes like mine."

"I have no quarrel with yokai that keep to themselves," he adds. "But I am hunting a murderess and I do not know what allies she has here. You say you are an actor? We may have need for you."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on July 27, 2013, 12:17:03 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"For a gaijin, you're awfully opinionated about the locals," Aiko remarks upon Grimm's behaviour. "So, not a threat? No? Good. And you, 'Mr Innocent Actor', I don't suppose you're familiar with a woman known in these parts as Auntie?"

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on July 27, 2013, 03:01:14 PM
"Everyone has opinions, I simply prefer that people know mine so that there are fewer misunderstandings," Grimm replies. "And the denial of the supernatural is hardly unique to these lands. Even when I am successful in a hunt, the common people prefer to believe that I am unhinged or a liar than to face the idea that they were under the threat of beings they can neither comprehend nor fight. If it comforts them, I let them believe so. There are things in this world one is better off not knowing, and it is no coincidence that we talk of being God's children, or that the great original sin was the gaining of knowledge beyond God's plan for us - because knowledge of the dark without a fire to light it does nobody any good."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: MirddinEmris on July 30, 2013, 12:52:03 AM
"Quite a zealous one" Anji murmured after gaijin ended his passionate speech and with slyly smile turned to the girl, who obviously though she was in charge. " Don't remember saying anything about being innocent. Usually i charge a hefty sum for my 'acting' skills...but this situation aroused my curiosity, so you don't mind the reward for my help. Besides, it's not like i has anything to do right now." He finished his broth in a single gulp and with a polite gesture invited others to join his table. "Allow me to introduce myself. Name is Anji and to put the end to this matter - i'm human...well, mostly human anyway, let's just say that one of my distant ancestors wasn't one." He stared at Grimm, with expression telling that this matter is really over. "I'm not associating with anyone of importance and don't have powerful enemies, at least not here, so being with me shouldn't put you in trouble...more trouble. And that is probably all you should know about me. You asked me something about Auntie? Well, from what i heard she is local oyabun, but i never worked for her. Is this related to yours yokai business?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on August 04, 2013, 08:32:08 AM
"Indeed it is," Grimm says. "A kitsune has taken her place, a particularly murderous one at that. I do not mean to alarm you, but she does not enjoy competition - and you, mein Freund, are exactly that. Though you are only touched by the forces beyond, your wider view of the possible will let you unmask her. Yokai see yokai, yes? She will not rest until she has silenced everyone who can expose her."

---

Jett's Scouting Report:

Enemy Tails: 0
Suspicious Goings-on: 0
Other blatantly obvious plot hooks: 0

NOODLE STAND ACQUIRED
TARGET LOCKED - SPICY UDON
Jett Alone, Silver Two!
CLEAN SEPARATION
SPLASH IN FIVE - FOUR - THREE - TWO - ONE - IMPACT IN MONEY BOWL CONFIRMED
Copy, Jett Alone, we have the package!
COMMENCE SLURPING...
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 08, 2013, 03:17:33 AM
"Not my business, old man," Anji says, waving Grimm off. "I can take care of myself."
"See that you do, yokai," Grimm snorts, then turns back to Aiko and Chiki. "I have...concerns over the safety of this place, and I do not wish to draw the kitsune's attention to the yokai if he does not wish to work with us. Perhaps we can retreat to the church of my people - we will be safe there, and it will give us time to figure out how to get rid of the kitsune."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 08, 2013, 03:32:45 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Temple of your people, huh?" Aiko asks. "Oddly enough, that's somewhat recently been dded to my list of must visit places. Now seems as good a time as any I guess."

Then, looking around.

"Hey, where's Jett?"

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 08, 2013, 04:52:46 AM
*poof*, head around corner.

"What? Is lunch done?"

"Not coming with us...?"

".....so be it. I'm ready."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 16, 2013, 09:46:57 AM
Grimm takes the motley crew back across town to the market square and across it, staying on the open plaza instead of venturing into the crowd. Aiko notices that the beggar who pointed her toward the foreigner's temple in the first place is missing from his place near the fountain, but Tuku can only offer a "Weird..." when this fact is brought to his attention. In any event, you make it to your destination in one piece and swiftly enter the place of worship. It's a little darker and danker than a proper temple mostly because the shrine is way inside the building. What light there is is either from candles or sunlight breaking through panels of colored glass, assembled in mosaic into indistinct images. Unlike shinto decoration, the whole place has a charm best described as "rustic", and seeing an effigy of a man nailed to a cross by his hands and feet hanging over the shrine is not exactly reassuring vis a vis the peaceful intentions of the foreigners at large.

Grimm takes a swipe of water from a font near the entrance, dabbing some on his forehead. Well, it's very considerate of the temple to let you freshen up, but it's no good if you half-ass it, is it?

"Wait here," Grimm says.
"For what?" Tuku asks.
"For me to return," Grimm says. He gets two steps before Tuku follows up.
"Well, where are you going?"
"To get help," Grimm says, then walks away deeper into the temple before Tuku can make further inquiries of him.
"That's what I love about the foreigners," Tuku says, "always so forthcoming with details."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 17, 2013, 02:21:15 AM
Ever the professional (?) Jett susses out useful defensible points or locations capable of concealment.

Whatever this place means to Grimm she's either not interested or hiding it well.

To Mina and Tuku she says:


"Tell me of San'in's gods."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 17, 2013, 03:20:24 AM
Aiko follows behind Grimm, not letting him out of her sight.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 17, 2013, 09:31:08 PM
"San'in has a rich and varied religious tradition!" Mina says, not able to help herself from tour guiding. "You have the worship of the four winds, the trinity -"
"You mean the trimurti," Tuku corrects. "Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva."
"- and the trinity of the foreigners -"
"But they only have one god," Tuku insists.
"Yeah, but it's in three parts," Mina says.
"Huh."
"The sea dragon cults," Mina continues, "the stonekeepers, the Northman...Valhalla? You would know more about that than me, Jett - oh, and your standard-issue shinto."
"Point being," Tuku says, "whoever you worship, we have a temple and the right trinkets for sale."
"Tuku!" Mina spits. "A little respect?"
"Well, it's just..." He looks at Jett. "You don't strike me as the religious type. Why do you ask, anyway?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 17, 2013, 09:41:01 PM
Jett becomes very still, almost guiltily.

"I...uh...just like to know. I feel more oriented when I understand things like that. Who your gods are tells me about what you value most."

"Before we took Gibraltar I hadn't been more then a half-day's travel from the village. Now I'm in what feels like another world, with no reason to ever go home."

"And...uh...I like your 'tour guide'....

Jett audibly gropes for words, before finishing lamely:

...words."

"The more I know, the more I want to know. It's like trying a new food, except that each bite makes me hungrier."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 17, 2013, 09:59:15 PM
"Okay, that I sympathize with," Tuku says. "Speaking of which, after all this monster hunter business, I think I need a little afternoon snack. Hey, Mina?"
"Yes, Tuku?"
"You've been here, haven't you?" he asks. "I mean, you know about the three-gods-for-the-price-of-one thing."
"Yes, I've been here," Mina says, rolling her eyes.
"So, are there any snacks?" Tuku asks. "I heard they have crackers."
"Those are not snacks," Mina says.
"And now you see why I do not participate in organized religion," Tuku says.

---

(Aiko's Notice: 1d20+14=28 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4222027/))
(Grimm's Tactics: 1d20+12=26 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4222028/))

Aiko follows Grimm deeper into the temple, into a maze of pillars and stonework, losing sight of him for seconds at a time. His path doesn't seem to be making much sense - it's almost like he's...doubling back?
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 17, 2013, 10:01:35 PM
Jett giggles.

"Beware discount Gods."

"Sounds like really good advice!"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 18, 2013, 01:13:44 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko doggedly pursues Grimm, one of her jitte held ready along her inner forearm just in case.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 21, 2013, 06:46:27 AM
Aiko's path down the aisle of the temple leads her past several of the pillars, past the altar and into a roundel behind it. The roundel is ringed with more of the colored-glass windows, shining sunlight down onto the floor, where a single young foreign man is silently practicing a series of whirling movements with a wooden quarterstaff. As Aiko draws closer, he stops his kata in a ready position with his arm stretched out and his back to Aiko.

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-xHG-CpOLHBU/Uj2iPkHrRnI/AAAAAAAADKE/4o5TnKv8fGw/s800/lasko-faust-gottes.jpg)

"Meister?" he calls out.

"Ich bin hier," comes Grimm's voice from behind one of the pillars Aiko passed - not a surprise to the detective, but two on one sounds a little too much like a fair fight. "I told you to wait," he says to Aiko, eyes narrowing at her.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 21, 2013, 07:16:35 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"No offence, Grimm, but I don't know you from Izanagi," Aiko answers as she shamelessly surveys the monster hunter's half-dressed acolyte.

"I'm not just going to let you wonder off. Especially after you usher us all in to this stronghold with tales of malevolent shapechangers. And be honest, you'd do exactly the same, so stop being such an enormous arse and introduce your young... friend."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 21, 2013, 08:49:34 AM
"Ich glaube, sie hat euch gerade dick genannt," the acolyte says with a sly grin, the edges of which Aiko can barely make out as he whirls into his next kata.

Grimm's scowl, however, softens.

"You are right to be vigilant," Grimm says. "As far as I know, the kitsune can only retain one foreign shape, so to assume my identity she would have to permanently give up Auntie's place. To do so would be a grievous loss of power, so I was working under the assumption that we do not need to worry about her impersonating one of us."

He clears his throat.

"My reasons for asking you to stay behind was to talk to my acolyte Markus here and give him a chance to dress himself before he talks to four unfamiliar women. But I can see that my terse way is...unhelpful in engendering trust. I apologize if I seem short with you. I do not mean to come across as an...enormous arse."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 21, 2013, 09:26:08 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"And apparantly we're also working under the assumption that our murderer works alone without others of her kind?" Aiko suggests with a wry smile and a brief nod of her head to the elder gaijin before her attention returns to Markus

"Bitte, nicht das bedürfnis verspüren, nur für mich eilen. Ich bin einfach nur bewundern ihre..." she falters, realising her mastery of her father's language obviously isn't as complete as it could be, and finishes just a little sourly in her own tongue "...form."

Still, could be worse, right?

Don't you dare answer that.

Spoiler: show

And to save our readers a trip to Google Translate: "Please, do not feel the need-to rush just for me. I'm just admiring your ... form." Sadly, a good double entendre doesn't always survive translation intact.

Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 22, 2013, 11:42:20 AM
The acolyte grins, flexing an arm for Aiko before a disapproving glance from Grimm sends him scurrying to grab his linen shirt. Together, the three of you walk back into the temple main hall to rejoin the others.

"I have not heard of kitsunes working together," Grimm says. "They are said to be fiercely territorial - they will seek to rid an area of all yokai, and I cannot see two kitsunes joining forces - unless one is certain it has full control over the other, which given the inherent...trickiness...of kitsunes would seem a highly unstable equilibrium at best. Still, I admit the sociology of demons is not my particular field of study. What are you thinking, specifically?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 22, 2013, 09:27:50 PM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"My first question is why a murderer would not seek to similarly dispose of any witnesses to their deed, even when they've committed the killing in the guise of an innocent party and they subsequently assume the identity of their victim?

"Following on from that, where is the body? And if as I believe we have the genuine Mina with us, then either your supposition about maintaining a guise being an all or nothing affair does not rely on the death of the original which means there was a very definite need to kill Auntie, or maybe the impostor was already standing ready in their stolen form and sent an accomplice to do the deed so the real Auntie would never be noticed to be missing. I admit that the last is conjecture that is made without any knowledge of what the shape-changing ability entails or how long it takes to effect."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 23, 2013, 03:16:02 AM
Jett pipes up.

"As I was once told, 'corpses create questions, but witnesses can be forgetful. What I mean is a witness can be intimidated, discredited, or mistaken. A dead body is unmistakably the victim of something. A kill without a tangible victim is halfway to perfectly done already."

"Also, who is Herr Acolyte here?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on September 28, 2013, 08:53:42 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"My first question is why a murderer would not seek to similarly dispose of any witnesses to their deed, even when they've committed the killing in the guise of an innocent party and they subsequently assume the identity of their victim?

"Following on from that, where is the body? And if as I believe we have the genuine Mina with us, then either your supposition about maintaining a guise being an all or nothing affair does not rely on the death of the original which means there was a very definite need to kill Auntie, or maybe the impostor was already standing ready in their stolen form and sent an accomplice to do the deed so the real Auntie would never be noticed to be missing. I admit that the last is conjecture that is made without any knowledge of what the shape-changing ability entails or how long it takes to effect."


"Um," Chiki pipes up. "She put me to sleep and put me in the hold of a sinking ship and I almost drowned," she says. "She was definitely trying to get rid of me."
"The kitsune looked like you?" Grimm asks of Mina, who nods. "And you don't have a twin sister?"
"No..."
"Troubling," Grimm admits. "I thought the disguise required killing the target - but if it is easier, then that also greatly simplifies reacquiring a disguise. I remain confident the kitsune at least requires physical contact with the target, however...but clearly you would have noticed if someone had touched you and taken your form, so either my assumption about only retaining one disguise is false, or she visited you while you were asleep..."

Mina's face goes a little pale. It's hard to tell which possibility scares her more.

"As for the body, your guess is as good as mine," Grimm says. "Being that this is a busy port and that she snuck Chiki into the hold of a ship, the corpse could be a few days' travel out on the sea already - likely unrecognizable and liable to be dumped overboard when found."

Jett pipes up.

"As I was once told, 'corpses create questions, but witnesses can be forgetful. What I mean is a witness can be intimidated, discredited, or mistaken. A dead body is unmistakably the victim of something. A kill without a tangible victim is halfway to perfectly done already."

"Also, who is Herr Acolyte here?"

Grimm nods to that. "Which is why I doubt the body of Auntie is still on this island," he says. "If it were, it might still be dug up at some point and identified through advanced methods of deduction and science."

"Regarding your other question - this is Markus, my apprentice. I thought it best that he come with us - his skill in a fight should be helpful."

Markus bows to Jett at the mention of his name, favoring her with a slight smile.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 29, 2013, 01:53:13 AM
Jett nods to Markus in a dull greeting.

"Another strong arm is welcome. I'm Jett the Cold."

Her attention shifts back to Herr Grimm.

"Is this kind of creature not normally bloodthirsty? Or is she very arrogant? Also, why might she impersonate Auntie and not a queen or a courtesan or the like -someone who washes less dishes, you understand?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on September 29, 2013, 03:04:30 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"It still doesn't explain why the murderer didn't kill Chiki outright," Aiko continues along her line of thought. "If this fox could put her to sleep and transport her to the hold of a ship, it could have just as easily stuck a knife through her heart along the way to make sure she was disposed of."

She shakes her head. "This fox you hunt may indeed be the means by which Auntie was dispatched from this life, but whether in concert or coercion, I do not think she was the ultimate killer. I have a nasty suspicion that what we face isn't something pretending to be Auntie, but something that has taken up residence within her and which wears her like clothing. Something that clearly needs access to and control of Auntie's criminal empire."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on September 29, 2013, 03:13:16 PM
"But that likes cooking and being sticky-bun cheerful to strangers."

Jett shrugs.

"We should get acting before we get ambushed."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 02, 2013, 08:04:18 AM
"So," Chiki pipes up, "you're saying my mother might still be alive?"
"And that we don't know what we're up against," Tuku says. "Not that thinking it was a kitsune really helped us so far..."
"Um," Mina says, "can we go back to the part where we just went from 'a fox demon stole my appearance by touching me' to 'an evil spirit possessed me and tried to make me murder Chiki'? I mean, if Auntie's alive, that's good, but...how exactly are we going to fight this thing in her?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 02, 2013, 08:59:31 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Bear in mind that I'm rather new to all this strangeness, and that I'm only extrapolating logically from what Herr Grimm has said," Aiko shrugs a little uneasily.

"What little I can remember from the tales of my childhood suggests that foxes are tricksters rather than deceivers, and might more likely assume identies on the fly to passingly fool humans. A creature that can only assume a form once? That suggests to me the sort of investment of time and resources that speak to a situation where rather than disposing of the victim the... oni... instead harvests that body for use as a disguise." She sighs and places a hand appologetically on Chiki's shoulder.

"I'm sorry, but if all else is true as you recall then I believe your mother has most likely truly departed this life. And you Mina: because your location has been alibied, it seems more likely that your likeness was copied rather than having been been forced to act under possession. Because if our villains possessed that power, why not simply use it on Auntie herself?"

The Inquisitor casts a glance at Grimm. "That makes sense, right?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on October 02, 2013, 11:39:41 AM
"...hmm."

"There could also be several different creatures in play."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 06, 2013, 09:05:30 AM
"Leaving aside the possibility that Chiki's testimony may be unreliable," Grimm says.
"What!?" Chiki fumes.
"You are clearly traumatized and under a lot of stress," Grimm says. "I think you honestly believe what you have told us, but the mind has a way of convincing itself that it saw things that never happened - especially as one obsesses and tries to make sense of events, it is easy for our memories to become more like what we think we must have seen than what actually transpired. In the end, we can only rely on impartial observation. We know that Auntie has been replaced by a yokai, who does not have her memories - or at least not all of them, failing to recognize Auntie's daughter. Clearly, we must gather further evidence to find out Auntie's fate."
"Mira," Chiki says quietly. "Her name was - is - Mira. And if there's a chance she's still alive -"
"- then we'll do everything we can to save her," Grimm reassures her. "We are simply operating off too many assumptions right now. Shimura, you are proving to be a most adept thinker, and Jett, your...unique...perspective is also helpful. Chiki, we will of course rely on your help with regards to your knowledge of Mira and her activities. Together, we should make an effective investigative team."
"What about us?" Tuku asks.
Grimm raises an eyebrow. "Are you still looking to get paid, guide?"
Before Tuku can answer, Mina elbows him in the side. "I think what he meant was, how can we help?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Valentina on October 11, 2013, 01:41:01 AM
Jett nods along, absently checking her sheathes and bandoliers and pouches, tightening straps and shifting loads around incrementally as she listens.

"Find or avenge Mira. That I understand."

She taps a drawn knife against her lips thoughtfully, increasingly animated.

"Before action; reconnaissance. And maps. We need maps."

"Tuku, Mina; can you find out if anything's changed in Auntie's business? Has she shifted interest into a new area or trade or anything? Having even a rough guess at what's she after is a good start. It'd be good to know what areas she controls as well. Where she's strongest, and what that strength will look like when it's used."

Turning to Herr Grimm and Markus, Jett adds:

"If we can avoid leading a mob here is there any problem with using this church as base? Are there any...uh...unusual traits to it? Hidden areas? Extra basements? Sub-street accesses? What is the island stone like? Is Shinju built atop anything? It would be good to know what the land is like beneath the port."

"This is starting a skirmish that could become a war, and we should prepare accordingly."

"War. Always war. The wind blows, and I taste ash."

With that pronouncement Jett slips the dagger back into it's sheath, and become still again.
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on October 13, 2013, 04:34:31 AM
"We'll get on that," Mina says, dragging Tuku along with her.

Grimm raises an eyebrow at Jett's question. "Not to my knowledge," he says. "The island is soft rock, spewed from a volcano, as far as I know. It does not support tunnels and other such tricks. But yes, we will be safe here. Our traders have made it very clear to the locals that our church is considered hallowed ground, and any intrusion by force will be answered in kind."

"We cannot confront the yokai while it is in Mira's place," he continues. "We will have to find a way to lure it into a trap."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on October 15, 2013, 08:16:30 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Chiki, is there any part of y-- of Auntie's usual routine that you think we might take advantage of? Assuming the imposter keeps to it as part of their masquerade?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 01, 2013, 07:08:34 AM
Chiki thinks long and hard about that.

"Mira holds a meeting with her lieutenants every two weeks, where they talk business and induct new members," she says. "But I don't know on which day it falls now, it was years ago and I have lost track."
"One of her henchmen would know," Grimm adds. "Where are these meetings?"
"Out at sea," Chiki says. "She does not want gang members openly coming into her place of business, and there is too much scrutiny elsewhere."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 01, 2013, 07:13:52 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"Is there a particular boat that the gang always uses?" Aiko asks. "Or do they just hire one as needed?"

A thought occurs to her. "What are the chances it was the boat the imposter dumped you in?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 01, 2013, 07:24:49 AM
"I don't know, but - I don't remember what ship I was on," Chiki admits. "It was a ship, I was trying not to drown, I just got out of the bilge and bailed through a gonneport..."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 01, 2013, 07:28:05 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)"What about you two?" she asks the guides. "I'm sure at least one of you are naturally observant enough to have picked up on such a regular movement on Aunt-- on Mira's part, given she's such a central figure here."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 01, 2013, 07:31:26 AM
"Sorry, I don't know anything about that," Mina says.
"...I might know something," Tuku offers, "but your payment history for my previous guiding is less than stellar. I will have to charge extra for this information, cash up front."

Grimm rolls his eyes and reaches for his purse again, but Tuku stops him with a gesture.

"Not you," he says, eyes on Aiko. "Shimura asked the question."
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Mister Andersen on November 01, 2013, 08:41:32 AM
(http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g199/misterandersen/games/aiko_inaba_portrait.jpg) (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=4504.60)Aiko looks at the moneygrubbing little weasel through slightly narrowed eyes.

"Really?" she challenges him coldly. "We're faced with a supernatural murderer that has already physically implicated Mina -- your girlfriend -- in its crimes. It already knows you're associated with people aware of its existence and current assumed identity. And it has direct control over Ox whom I imagine would be all too willing to let slip his leash in order to exact a most brutal revenge on you and everyone in your family for his utterly humiliating defeat this morning?"

She pounds her fist into her palm. She's seen this sort of small-minded self interest too many times before, but it's never really fallen to her -- apart from that one time with those naval sailors -- to try and appeal some sense of honour and duty , to beat back the fear that there might actually be something greater and better than can spring up if one can only hack away the brambles and uproot the weeds choking it back.
 
"Where do you think you're going to be able to spend your money, Tuku? Where are you going to go? You're on an island that's now run by whatever it is pretending to be Auntie and the gang she's taking control of. A gang that controls the docks, the businesses, the lives of far too many. Do you think you can maybe bribe them to let you go? What bribe would be worth the wrath of a murderer that has no reason to let you live? They'll take your money and betray you and Mina and your uncle to Auntie without pause.

"Your one hope -- your family's one hope -- is to help us remove the imposter before it can consolidate its power any further. Free the island from its grasp and you free yourselves." She smiles a little. "Besides which, you'll have earned the favour of Mira's heir. Isn't that right, Chiki?"
Title: Re: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
Post by: Gatac on November 01, 2013, 11:34:25 AM
Tuku holds up a hand. "Alright, alright, cool it," he says. "It's the Morningstar. One of Mira's friends owns it, a certain Captain Tsubasa. I've helped with loading up provisions a few times."
"Then you know your way around it?" Grimm asks.
"Uh, yeah."
"That sounds good," Chiki says. "Thank you, Tuku."
"Yes, thank you, Tuku," Mina says. "Maybe next time you can just come right out and say what you know."
"Well, maybe I will!" Tuku replies.
"I think we would all appreciate that," Grimm says. "Now, to planning..."