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Ren Van

A Warrior Without Honor, But Maintaining his Humanity.

0 · 383 views · located in The Horat-verse

a character in “The Great Guild Fortune”, as played by Lord Saethos

Description

"I'll die not when honor dictates it, but when the universe itself does."

ImageName: Ren Van
Sex: Male
Age: 33
Race: Gwanish Human (from the Kingdom of Yeuxkyen)

Physical Description: Unusually tall compared to others of his background, Ren is slim but also maintains an athletic build typical of warriors and swordsmen. His hair is quite short, neat and tidy, either spiked up in the front or parted from one side (depending on how he styles it). He's kept it short like this since his long hair was cut in a battle, something that's cost him his honor.
Clothing: Black robes with red highlights, embroidery, and sashes, as well as a black cloak. This is typically worn under his armor, which is also black with some red and gold highlights. The armor is made to be both durable, and versatile, allowing for easy movement and speed while worn.
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 160lbs
Skin Colour: A pale peachy tone
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark brown, bordering on black

Occupation: Currently a sellsword, a merc, an officer for hire. Whatever you're able to pay for, within reason. Formerly an honorable member of the warrior nobility class in Yeuxkyen. Also formerly a member of the elite Oni warrior class, those having started as a slave.

History/Bio: Ren grew up in the city of Shakotira, in the Kingdom of Yeuxkyen. He was the son of a noble warrior family who ruled in a nearby, neighboring area, just north of the city, where the Onium had conquered. The area had been plagued by raids from the Northern Kingdom for a very long time, so much so that the many Yeuxkyen warriors made their careers, and even lives, in this region. Prowess in combat had always been important to the Yeuxkyen people, with their magnificent armies, colorful steel armor, cavalry battle tactics, and an unquestionable duty to their king, country, and honor.

As Ren was a third born, he had less to worry about in the ways of any traditional duties, but was destined for a prestigious life as a warrior in service to his warlord, and to the King. When total war broke out, Yeuxkyen found itself on the defensive against Onium and Yune, and was losing ground. Ren served in battles across the island, but it was in a battle against Onium warriors up North that his life would be forever changed. He, his comrades, and his subordinate forces, became overwhelmed by the Oni, and by battles end were captured. The city of Shakotira became the epicenter of conflict between the Onium, the Empire of Yune, and the Kingdom of Yeuxkyen.

As a result of the lost war, and the desire to maintain peace, Ren was one of many warriors enslaved by the Oni and conscripted into their armies. This "arrangement" was considered a "hostage taking" settlement, to help ensure upstart Yeuxkyen warlords would not seek further conflict with the Onium. Ren was trained to fight like the most elite Oni warriors, building on his existing skills and combat mastery learned in the Yeuxkyen army. He was outfitted and equipped in Onium armor and weapons, and over the years of his service, climbed from being a mere slave, to a respected warrior in their forces.

This changed, however, when his warlord sent him and his comrades to take a fort from a rival warlord faction. Ren and his men were beaten, captured, and then had their hair cut through. This simple act left Ren with only two choices. For warriors of his caliber, the hair was a sacred thing, a symbol of combat prowess. It showed your successes in combat, that you had not been beaten by an opponent, that you wielded your weapons and skills with such finesse that you were nigh untouchable. For many warriors, it was even expected that if you were to be beaten like this, your only choice for recourse was to take your own life. Ren had a choice, to die with honor, or live as an outcast.

Later that evening, he escaped imprisonment with some of his men, and in the dark of the night burned down the entire enemy fort, slaughtering every one of the enemy Warlord's men within it. Ren decided he would not simply lay down and die over some intangible value other men had concocted. Instead, he would live to his absolute fullest, fighting tooth and nail if he must until fate itself dragged him to his grave.

Since then, Ren has kept his hair short. The dishonor he brought had essentially cast him out from the military order of the Oni, barring him from any rights a warrior would have previously had, and he had no interest in hiding his absolute disdain for the idea that he should be dead over what he thought was a trivial matter. He found work as a mercenary, a warrior, even occasionally as an officer for some of the other Oni warlords, before making his way back to Yeuxkyen where he continued this career. On several occasions he has led small forces of peasants to storm rival warlord fortresses and castles. His employers may have thought it an amusing, silly little game. Ren did not. Never had people with so little experience been so terrifying, so awe inspiring, and so lethal.

Sadly, even in Yeuxkyen Ren was an outcast, a warrior who had failed in his duties and had even served with the enemy, no less. Still, bickering warlords had need of skilled warriors, so he continued to find employment. It was almost embarrassing, to be beaten by a disgraced sellsword leading an army of farmers. But he got the job done, served his employers well, and, most importantly, always got paid in gold. It was by no means honor, but it could buy far more, and serve Ren much better. His life has certainly become more dangerous, but also more adventurous. That's what it's like to be a sellsword, but he has his freedom, and his life.

And this is how he leads his life. For now...

Home Town: Shakotira
Home Country: Kingdom of Yeuxkyen

Personality: A little stoic, but not unfriendly. Ren has learned to be somewhat cautious of people (particularly since many of them value his life very little), but rather than avoiding them he'd prefer to size them up and see who's safe, and who isn't. He also loves adventure, of making full use of the life he has and not wasting it. While he may seem materialistic in his demands for payment, he sees it more as realistic. Ren has needs of his own to meet, and the rich have more than enough to pay him a thousand times over if they needed him that much.
Fears and Desires: Death. Only a fool or someone facing death does not fear it. He fears wasted time, potential, and life. Ren wants to make sure that when fate finally brings him his end, that he can face it with a smile on his face and a sense of satisfaction in his heart. And as for other desires, he frankly doesn't know what they are yet. He intends to continue living his life, searching for more things to bring him fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

Equipment and Weapons: Two swords, the first with a strange golden-coppery tone to the blade, and the second having a one handed grip. He also possesses a crossbow, a long bow, a pole arm, and a suit of black armor, but with red highlights. He also has a horse, and equipment for it, but sadly he has had to leave her in the care of a Yeuxkyen stable. Ren was unable to take her across the seas with him, to Yune where he now travels.
Styles and Abilities: As is typical for warriors of his class, he is a master of mounted combat, an excellent archer (both on ground and horseback), and is skilled in sword fighting. Ren is also skilled in hand to hand martial arts, and has (in recent times) been learning some of the skills and techniques of assassins, in case it becomes necessary to use in future combat.
Chi and Augmentations: Ren's chi has enabled his body to be capable of greater physical feats than typical for even skilled warriors like himself. He's stronger, faster, and more agile. Able to lift more, hit harder, run faster, or jump higher.


Image

So begins...

Ren Van's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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The dimming sky glittered with the sparkles of fireworks cascading through the air above Poyo. The town glowed a bright, golden orange, with faint hues of red from the reflection upon wood painted in a bright crimson color. Ren Van gazed out at the village as the boat drew closer to the docks, letting his hand gracefully graze across the silky glass surface of the waters. There appeared to be some commotion at one end, someone falling into the water? Seemed as though it was being taken care of though as a nearly buck naked figure staggered to the shore.

The Hedonism of some of these Yune seemed to have no bounds. Ren looked back to the town, paper lanterns were now more clearly visible, as were the revelers running about and enjoying themselves. What an exciting time, a chance to celebrate and cheer on the great accomplishments of the Emperor, of Yune! Great feats like invading Yeuxkyen and stealing parts of their land! In truth, there was only so much bitterness Ren could still feel towards that, his home felt much less homely these days than in his youth. Still, that did not entirely erase the sense of indignity the whole celebration brought with it.

Never mind that though, this was his first time being in the lands of Yune Proper, a chance to see new lands, peoples, and hopefully make a little extra coin.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________


The boat finally docked, and Ren began to step out onto the peer, boots touching down on the wet planks. It had been trickling down a little, but not so much to be a problem for the swordsman. He tossed the coins he owed to the boatman, grabbed his bag, and made his way down the dimly lit docks towards town.

Once he reached the cobblestone streets connected to the waterfront, he was greeted by the sights and sounds of crowds of men, women, and children of every race. There was running about, singing, eating, shooting off fireworks. It would almost be a wonderful thing, and Ren might just have to stomach putting on a happy face to avoid conflict, but he rather hoped he could simply avoid doing anything that would even remotely please Yune's emperor.

Some of the stalls he passed were filled with wondrous items, some from different corners of the known world. He'd even spotted some clothes from his home land! Golden robes with bright right embroidery throughout them, probably worth a small fortune, and not something that seemed practical for him to own right now. There was also a food stall he noted had noodle dishes like pho and xoi, and even had a plate of lettuce wrapped goi cuon rolls. The familiar temptation of home called to him, but he saw the stall owner was a fellow Yeuxkyenan. Dressed the way he was now, Ren suspected it might not be the best way to meet a fellow countryman.

Skipping past the stalls, Ren decided to stroll past the many columns of merchants, through the brightly lit streets and thin fog of firework smoke, to try and locate some sort of tavern or inn.

”DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLS!!!!”

Ren was startled by the screaming as he watched a towering white figure speed past him in the street. He slowed down, looking towards the crowd the individual had disappeared into, only to hear another startling shout from behind him.

”DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLS!!!!”

A deranged man, eyes ablaze, pulled back his arm, winding up for a powerful punch, aimed for no apparent reason at Ren! The fist flew forward, all power released in a forward projection to the Yeuxkyenan's face. But in a move both swift and almost undetectable, the dark armored swordsman had brushed his arm up and to the side, knocking his assailants arm to the side, gripping onto the wrist, and quickly responding with a firm slap across the screaming man's face.

A slight trickle of blood came down from the screaming man's now split lip, his eyes now glistening, lip quivering. Ren shook his head.

"You're going to need to calm down and get a grip over yourself, whatever your problem is. You go around throwing fists at random men in armor, and you're going to end up with something broken." He patted the shaken Yunean on the shoulder. "Happy Emperor's Day." Ren spoke softly as he walked away. Almost immediately after the confrontation, his eyes landed upon an inn.

The Golden Peach.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________


As he reached the doors, watching a pair of punks leaving, with hands up to their noses for some reason, he felt a sense of relief, a chance to finally relax, get something to eat, and hopefully a place to sleep. Upon entering, he was almost immediately greeted by the sight of a Snow Oni in the room.

Ren felt his heart sink a little.

Of all the places and times on this planet he had to come across another one, it had to be here?

He cast his gaze away from the blue monster, eyes catching sight of several interesting other folks here too, the Beastmen (Beastwomen as well?) in particular. One of them seemed pretty big, but despite their unique nature, Ren didn't really have any good or ill feelings towards them. He hadn't really interacted with many before, so as far as he was concerned they were just strangers.

The swordsman found himself an empty booth, placed his bag down in a corner, took a seat, and settled in. While he waited for a server to come greet him, he started milling over what he might be able to do in Yune for work, and also what he could do to avoid the Snow Oni. The fellow seemed tough, but he'd fought with them and against them before, he knew he could handle himself against them if he ever had to. Still, Ren had no interest in being someone's 'unpaid warrior' again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
The two thugs and their Oni harassment went unnoticed by most in the Golden Peach as they exited for the hectic floor of the tavern was crowded by travellers and drunkards from all over. Shoji screen windows were open, revealing beyond the sights, sounds and smells of the festival. Several townsfolk spoke out to those passing on the street. It was a lively scene.

From Ren's table he had a perfect view of a fire-swallower outfitted in bright red. She had one foot balanced on the cobblestone and one foot in the air, and with her hands she began to focus chi into a blaze of heat that launched into the air sky then down her open mouth. The crowd cheered and applauded, though it was drowned out by horns and singing from nearby street performers. The smell of baked goods caught Ren's attention as children ran by munching on warm festival snacks.

"Welcome to the Golden Peach! The peach at the heart of Poyo's orchard!" A waitress said as she approached Ren's booth with a frantic bow. She wore a flowing pink shenyi with flowers embroidered upon it, and her dark hairs were put up in a messy bun. "Happy Emperor Day! May we take your order?" She said, giving another bow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Ren looked up to the waitress that approached him, stifling a grimace at the 'Happy Emperor's Day'. He politely smiled and gave a bow of his head to her. "And a Happy Emperor Day to you. Could I perhaps trouble you for a green tea to start with? And perhaps some water too, I've had a rather long journey." He briefly admired the garb she wore, momentarily wondering if she paid for it, or the Inn did. Seemed expensive, especially with the fine embroidery.

"As for food... How about we start off with two pork buns, two spring rolls, and some huoguo." As the waitress took his order and went to relay it to the kitchen, Ren took a moment to further survey his surroundings. This Inn seemed well established. Ornate carvings crept up the walls of the separated booth he found himself sitting in, with a thin dragon head spouting from the top to connect with the ceiling.

The whole room seemed bright and lively from all of the candles and lanterns, bringing out the full colors of wall dioramas that illustrated various scenes. From calm, agrarian romances, to epic historical battles, to deals made with dragons. Of course, today the whole area seemed to be particularly fraught with effigies of the beloved Emperor as well, many of which were hung on the red support pillars that bore lovely gold colored dioramas and designs of their own.

The inside of the Inn itself (in the main area at least) was quite spacious, filled mainly with low built round tables and chairs. Their dark oak and equally ornate carvings made Ren nearly wonder if perhaps all parts of Yune had this kind of elegance, or if perhaps it was just the result of a healthy population of skilled craftsmen throughout.

Finally, his eyes were drawn back to the Oni and his companions. Ren still felt uneasy about the situation, though he tried to ignore. Tried to, until he noticed the metal chain hung between the woman and the boy with him. Were they....

Slaves?

He tried to wrack his mind, trying to recall the Empire's policies on that. He had thought it was illegal to enslave humans here. Had things changed? Or was this perhaps some less than legal affair? Either way, Ren was starting to feel a few too many familiar feelings associated with Snow Oni.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Kaor blinked at her companion, humming and watching her go about her conversations with a nod before simply smiling and leaning forth to speak with ‘her Gecko’ as privately as possible.
Well… As privately as a crowded inn/bar could be considered.
The final signing that Xanth gave to Kaor wasn’t missed, and the bear woman beamed a bright smile at her companion. “Ahh… Yes. Why not. Shall I be a distraction for you my dear? Let me see if I cannot play the part of a good woman for once, hm?

She turned her attention to the Snow Oni at hand, smiling vaguely before letting her expression darken into a mask of fury.
Two, maybe three, teenagers were giving Takai grief, and an old woman was harassing the Oni as well. Her gaze turned to Xanth with a wink, before returning to the commotion behind with that same fury bubbling up to the surface.

She stood from her table with her Gecko, giving the beloved mutt a quick pet upon the head before she quickly made her way towards the accosted group. She took note of a woman of some nobility and a peasant man chained together, of Takai and the poor Oni covered in stew, and of the trio of hecklers making their exit. Her maw opened, and as she was bringing forth a mighty bellowing roar, with which she planned to chastise the three stooges…
Their main-man found his face impacting with a door. Ouch. Hah. Hahaha!

Bahahaha! HAH! That is what you get you little cretins! Begone with you three! Before I set a mind forth for your haunches to meet my paws!” Her voice was nearly deafening to be beside, and she caught sight of more than one patron ducking away and covering their ears.
She brought her bulk over to the Oni, shifting first the massive bamboo and leather strap basket upon her back to reach inside, and then retrieve a somewhat smaller, stitch and leather pack. From within THAT pack, she removed a relatively fair sized swathe of cloth. “Good sir, good sir, please. Take this and clean yourself up some, if you would like! I take it that your night has not been going well, no? And you, Takai! Please! Don’t leave me from the fun next time! I dare say we might be a terrifying duo for those who have no respect!
She snarled out, smiling throughout her words.

She flipped a single coin to Takai, letting her expression soften before it became fierce and lively once again. A massive paw clapped the Snow Oni on the shoulder as the other offered him the ‘towel’. Her gaze slid towards the chained individuals, and as she spoke, she only hoped that her presence was enough to keep all eyes on her from this motley crew. “Now that’s something I’ve yet to see! Why are the two of you all chained up my dears? Would you like me to ah, break those links for you? Or is that what the good sir here was already offering to do? I was trying my hardest not to eavesdrop.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"Suiken stood up and brushed himself off. He bowed apologetically towards the innkeeper. "Please forgive me. I didn't mean to cause you any trouble. If you don't mind, I would like another bowl of chanko nabe...to go this time. You won't be troubled again."

The old innkeeper studied the Oni suspiciously for a bit, before taking a he took a huff from his pipe and sighed. "Don't worry about it. Just make sure you..." he glanced over and eyed the two handcuffed humans as Shuin had begun to raise an offer to the group. "...or your friends don't cause me any more trouble."

"Thank you!" Suiken stated gratefully, before he walked back towards back at Shuin and Namari. There seemed to be another human that had entered the inn just recently. He too was giving Suiken the stink eye, but the oni payed no mind. He would have a couple of kind Beast-men to contend with if he started any more trouble. "Aha..." the oni, approached his two bound companions, chuckling tiredly at the sight of Shuin's gallivanting. "I think...it'd be best to NOT put these good people up to any er...insurmountable tasks, eh?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Prefect Ro searched Ginchiyo's face for a moment, his brown eyes meeting hers. "I'm- married to the job," He explained, displaying perhaps the most humanity he was capable of. Despite the officer's awkwardness his demeanour towards Lo-Muna and Ginchiyo seemed to shift. It was in small details: the way he lowered his parchment pad, or how he'd uncrossed his arms. Prefect Ro suddenly seemed less threatening. It was a warm summer night after all, and the smells and sounds of the festival beckoned for him to return.

Small footsteps clacked. The trio of prefects turned to see a goblin in sea-fairing wear approach. "If it helps I saw everything," The goblin spoke up.

"And?" The prefect asked.

They smiled at Ginchiyo and Lo-Muna before turning back to Ro, staring up with cat-like goblin green eyes. "The truth. Every word," They replied. "A game of mahjong with two shady characters. She won. The pair of sore losers caused a scene and threw her straight into this man's cart."

"And your name, miss?"

"Not a miss," The goblin corrected. "And it's Jensu. Captain Jensu."

"Well," Prefect Ro began, turning from the goblin captain to the vendor, the beast-man, and the wild-woman. "Seems cleared up to me."

Ginchiyo had begun to negotiate a small reparation fee to the man when screams cut through. The prefects turned to see an pale blue figure a head above the rest of the crowd, running toward the town square. Just then, a sound began to echo out from the gate. The village bell.

The street stopped dead at the sound, the festivities and merriment of the festival drawing to a close. And then came the panic. Ro frowned as suddenly the citizens of Poyo rushed down the street, pushing past the mini crime scene. "It's the village bell," One of the two teenage guards informed nervously as they began to run off with the crowd. "There’s some sort of trouble out there!"

“I knew this holiday was cursed!” The other guard screamed as he ran after his partner.

"Quickly!" A voice called through the crowd. Ro turned to see the town crier yelling out over the citizens. "A state of emergency has been issued! Everyone to the town centre!" He announced. “To the safety of the village square!”

"Altan! Huo!" Ro commanded his two lieutenants. The prefects snapped to attention. "Forward by my lead."
Ro turned to face Lo-Muna, Jensu, Ginchiyo and the racist. “Stay with us,” He said before hurrying forward down the street. The brass whistle that hung from his neck bounced at his step. His long green armour rattled. His hand held down a short-sword, and on his back a tower-shield swung with each step. Upon it's bronze ribs were the yunish characters for the raging rivers province and the word prefect. Poyo was a small village, and the handful of prefects in town were perhaps the only skilled lawman in miles.

Ro pushed passed a screaming crying citizen, making way for the four to follow toward the town-square. All the while the bell rang on…

***

Inside the Golden Peach Inn the bell was heard loud and clear. And it was though the mood of the tavern shifted all in one moment. Takai, Suiken, and Namari were suddenly struck by an onslaught of patrons rushing towards the exits en masse. They pushed and shoved as they did, nearly knocking Ren’s booth in.

A guard on the street outside stuck their head into one of the inn’s shoji curtains. He was breathing heavily. "Quickly! Poyo is in a state of emergency: everyone to the town square!" He called out to the inhabitants. “Trust me. You want to be as far from the walls as possible." With a heavy swallow he too ran off with the crowd of citizens toward the centre of town.

The waitress too hurried, avoiding the cook who leapt out from the kitchen and collided face first into Kaor’s side. The cook fell to the ground before Xanth and Kaor as the waitress making a swift exit.

***

As Yamato drunkenly approached the east gate to the village the bell began to ring from the walls above. The loose assemblage of guards atop the wall’s ramparts were running frantically. Even in his drunken state, the tengu knew something was wrong.

"Hey!" A guard called out to the ronin as he slid down a ladder and staggered to into a run. He was a young man, late teens, perhaps early twenties, covered in spots. And looking like he’d never before wielded the spear that was now gripped between his sweaty palms. "Something's happening... I, I think we're under attack." He blinked at Yamato, noticing his trio of blades. "You've got to get to the village centre. We could use your help... and the Mayor will pay anyone who helps!" The guard nodded at him and began to run with the rest of the populace, hoping he’d follow.

***

The bells were faintest on the village outskirts: farmlands outside the wall but inside the Poyo's radius. And through the fields were sparse families too ran. A single boy pelted down the dirt road toward the walls, ramming violently into Sunaraashi as he did, who’d wandered outside the festival grounds. The boy stood and backed up slowly, looking at the strange Sunen in fear. "…Are you going to eat me?" He whispered, his voice trembling.

***

Samyan and her two dolls had run from the scene of their crimes directly into the cobblestone laden village square. To Samyan’s surprise, she was not the only one running, as beside her crowds began to pour into the square in panic. Bells were ringing from the village walls.

Before her towered the town-hall tower, and standing before it was a figure of red-stone decked in ancient armour, holding out a banner high in the air. His face was expressionless, his body unmoving and built out of glistening red stone. It was a statue of a noble yunish man from ages passed, propped up in the centre of the square. The stature stared Samyan down as if to tell her she did not belong here, in the heart of Yunishness. And perhaps the gods were about to make her pay for her deceit.

***

Several streets over Yuwen strolled calmly as the people ran forward toward the distant town square. It was filling to the brim with the citizenry and visiting guests to the port village. A small smirk grew on his face: both because he knew how badass he looked walking calmly in the chaos, and two... because he caused this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Suiken sighed, sitting up. "Just what's going on in Poyo? I truly wanted to see the fireworks this year," the snow oni questioned. "Such curious happenings..." Suiken shook his head, standing up from his seat. He took a step outside, just to observe whatever prompted this sudden state of emergency and a horde of people were rushing past in a panic. "Excuse me! Excuse me!" the oni called to one of the panicking citizens.

"What's the cause of all this mayhem?" he inquired.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"It seems the people here are panicked on short notice," Namari noted, with lightly narrowed eyes. "You'd think they were going to war." The words were spoken softly, but there was a bite to them. Like her mother who raised her, her tone was often thick with layers of condescension, a dash of contempt, and maybe some mild amusement. Perfectly suited for the vermin breed in this little town; should it burn to the ground, it will not be remembered as anything more than another one of Yune's ugly wounds on the land. Truly, it was a wonder their warmongering ilk thought themselves any higher than Gwanish savages.

She excused herself from her seat and, without looking, maneuvered with relative ease around the rushing patrons that shoved their way between the tables. "Forget it, I've lost my appetite. I'm going upstairs to lay down."

"You don't want to see what's going on?" Shuin asked through a mouthful after sneakily pinching a snack out of an unsuspecting man's hand and immediately eating it. "Sounds dangerous... right up your alley!" He took another bite.

Namari stared for a moment, annoyed.

"No."

"Aw, come on. It'll be fun! I'm down for a fight! Right, random monkey guy?" Shuin put his arm around the beastman's shoulder, his new best friend. "We can be the heroes who saved, uh -- what was this town's name again? Boyoh? That's a win in my book!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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The sound of bells interrupted Ren's careful consideration of the Snow Oni and his 'companions', something was going on outside, and it had the whole town in a stir. A guard had come in, telling people to get out of the building, and the waitress and chef had bolted out of the inn.

Before he got his food or tea.

Ren sighed slightly and gave a faint, half frown. He really wanted that tea, at the very least. But now it seemed like he might not even be getting any rest tonight, depending on what exactly it was that was considered a state of emergency. But... That guard had said something about the walls? Did he mean an earthquake?

He grabbed his bag, placing it back over his shoulders as he placed a hand on the hilt of one of his swords. The two that were chained up (or rather, the one girl) were making their way upstairs, which was admittedly not very 'slave like'. Perhaps the story with the Oni was more complicated.

"That guard said to avoid the walls, miss. I don't wish to presume too much, but I would think the whole building may not be entirely safe based on his assessment."

Ren made his way towards the doors of the inn, giving a polite nod in the direction of the beastmen (the bear and the monkey), and then to the Sunean. "Here's an opportunity to perhaps earn a free meal. Or die. Either way, I'm sure this should at least be interesting." He smiled softly, the only indication he was trying to employ dark humor.

Once outside, he stood next to the Snow Oni, taking in the sight of the chaos, following the crowd of fleeing civilians with his eyes. He took notice of the town's tower, a tall, narrow tower, with red brick walls on the first floor (similar to the pavilion around it), white on the upper floors, red painted wood pillars, and sloping, green roofs, likely made of copper.

The sellsword looked to the Oni, then back to the crowd. "Did anyone manage to say anything intelligible?" He asked of the large blue skin, indicating to the frenzied, panicked civilians.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Takai squinted at Shuin, "Yeeeaahh....uh, I'm gonna go!"

He made an awkward pointing geasture toward the exit and shrugged the chained guy off his shoulders. Takai slipped through the door of the inn and peered outside to the commotion with the others. He didn't manage to spot Ruo through the chaos but figured she had escaped with everyone else.

"Should probably go with 'em," the monkey man suggested, "Those bells are usually a warning of natural disaster or....yknow, just plain disaster."

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"Intelligible?" Suiken scratched his chin. "No such luck yet, I'm afraid," the oni eventually sighed. He looked back into the inn where Shuin and Namari stood along with the monkey-man. "I don't think staying here would be very wise," he warned them. "Especially not when you're linked together as you are and of...differing temperaments, perhaps it's best if we follow the crowds..."

"Though, I do want to know the cause of this ruckus," Suiken noted, stepping more out of the inn and into the busy street. He wouldn't get anywhere with these crowds, so perhaps if he stuck to the alleyways. "Follow me if you will, I'll likely just be a moment!"

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Ren turned to see the monkey beastman who had joined him and the Oni at the front of the inn, giving a slight smirk as he looked back out at the crowds. "Have courage friend. No wounded or dead by the looks of it so far, meaning our doom has yet to reach us. It may even be that this threat could be quite manageable. That is to say, IF we are all skilled enough to manage." He turned to the Oni once more, reluctantly looking the giant up and down for a brief moment, before giving a nod of affirmation.

"Agreed, and we should move quickly. All the guards seem to be following the crowds, so if they're going to need any help, it looks like they'll need it in town square." As much as Ren still had an innate distrust for the Oni, his current actions seemed the most proactive, and based on the events in the Inn, he was less sure about his relationship to those that were connected by chain.

Any reluctance the sellsword felt was pushed to the 'cautious observation' part of his mind, as he followed the Snow Oni without hesitation.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Ren Van
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The clanging sound of bells was never welcome, in Kaor's mind. Her smile dropped as swiftly as it had come, and as the group of individuals around her began to scatter and make up their minds about what next to do... She made up hers as well.

On a heel she turned, searching through the scattering crowd of people within the Golden Peach Inn, located Xanth in the midst of reaching for the pocket of the strange, chained to the peasant, woman. Kaor whistled sharply, two quick knives of sound scouring into the air as Mutt (Xanth's beloved hound's nickname, courtesy of Kaor herself,) darted into movement.

Xanth found herself being swept up into the air, a massive paw grabbing her up by the scruff of her neck and seamlessly depositing her in the large wicker basket Kaor carried on her back. Mutt scrambled on the wood floor of the inn for a moment before rushing onward, leaping up and onto the back of a stumbling man before finding his way into the basket along with Xanth.

Kaor grunted her pleasure at seeing the two she wandered with secure, turned her gaze to Takai as the poor man chose to follow both the Snow Oni from earlier, and a new, interesting individual. This man carried himself in a manner that set Kaor's fur on edge, and reflexively made her ears press flat to her head. She made no comment on it though, and as the trio of men began to make their way out into the throng of scrambling people... Kaor turned and took her two companions away from the chaos at the front.
She made her way towards the back of the dining hall of the inn. Spotting the doorway that led into the back of the building, to the kitchens, she strode through.
As she entered the area where meals were prepared, the smell of half-cooked dishes hit her nose. A quick sniff- a quicker glance about- and Kaor kept moving. Food could wait for later. Making sure she, her Gecko, and her Mutt stayed safe was the highest priority.

And the chaos of the situation was DEFINITELY not safe. So the bearwoman made her escape.

Navigating to the space behind the Golden Peach was easy enough, but the rush of people that were trying to escape even this way was frustrating.
Kaor huffed; bared her teeth in a snarl at a woman who was attempting to pull a child along. The little boy, human, no more than five perhaps, was stumbling and crying hysterically. His mother, maybe? Was ignorant to his pleas for her to wait. Kaor stepped out and yanked the woman to a stop, grabbing the boy and placing him solidly in the mother's arms before pushing the woman and HER charge onward.
Good.

She then began following the crowd, away from the square. Whatever was happening was NOT worth it. These scrambling people were more worth the help anyhow.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"Well, I'm off then," Suiken nodded, taking the less direct route through the small town and navigating between the alleyways, going in the exact opposite direction of the fleeing townsfolk. If he could pinpoint the source of the problem, then perhaps there was a chance that he could aid in finding a solution.

It was a shame. Summer, while glorious to behold, was not a favored season of the Snow Oni. Suiken simply wanted to relax and enjoy the sights of the festival with the townsfolk, but that dream seemed to have come to an abrupt halt.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Ro rose, looking back at the massive figure who stepped on him, but the chaos of the crowd distracted again.

***

Yuwen turned back to Kaor and Xanth in the street. The lantern-light shined in his eyes. "Follow me... and everything will be alright," He said with a smile. "I promise." The man wore a chest-plate, and had a blade on his hip, but nothing else about him seemed particularly assuring. And yet, when he spoke to the two, for whatever reason, they believed him- or at least, they believed he believed himself.

The super mercenary combo began to follow Yuwen as he marched toward the square.

***

One finally step brought Ren atop the town-wall. Suiken climbed the ladder up after him, and when the snow-oni reached the top he was treated to quite a sight. Over the rooftops they could see the town-square, and almost all of Poyo stretching out around it. And beyond the bright streets was the country: the rivers, the hills, the forests. Calm. Peaceful. There was no sign of a threat.

In the dark path stretching out from town person ran, not towards the safety walls but away- into the darkness of the night. A single figure, with a body belonging to a goblin. "Attention all!" They could hear the distant, echoing voice of the mayor from the town-square as he got ready to address the crowd...

***

"Attention all!" He repeated. On a wooden stage built in front of the tall town-hall tower and beside the statue of shimmering stone Mayor Loy-Qui, a rat-faced man with no beast-man blood in him, watched over the square which was packed to it's fullest with over a thousand citizens and travellers summoned by the bells, the last ones now arriving at the edges of the crowd. The town had gone into a deadly silence, the bright lanterns that swung in the winds no longer as festive as they had seemed an hour earlier. Overwhelming all was the sound of bells from each of the village's five gates, ringing together in near perfect unison. The elderly yunish man glanced down at the scroll he held in his hands. After a moment he stepped forward, his silken purple robes the only thing clear from the farthest back of the crowd.

"Poyo is under attack!" He announced loudly. "At the twentieth hour... I received a report from the farthest northern outpost, saying an army of bandits was approaching... at least three-"

"That's not bad!" A feminine voice said from the crowd.

"-Hundred!" Gasps of shock and cries could be heard.

"Poyo has thirty-seven guards, as well as the twenty prefects in Commander Ro's unit... that is fifty odd men against... three-hundred," Loy-Qui explained awkwardly, trying to raise his fingers before realizing he did not have the required digits. "And so I am forced to declare a state of emergency! And forced to ask upon you, citizens of ability, citizens of our great Yune Empire, to step forward and defend our village against this threat! For what we have not in numbers... we have in gold: three-hundred gold coins to each man or woman of any race who steps forward to fight with us! Three-hundred for each bandit who threatens our home on this holiest of holidays!"

A silence went over the crowd as the numbers sank in, despair on the tongues of the people, most whispering where to hide or how to escape the town. "Would all willing step forward... and all unwilling or unable step back and find shelter and hiding," Loy-Qui stammered. "Find somewhere safe."

"Wait!" A voice called out as the crowd started shifting. All eyes turned to one figure as he pushed past the guards and leapt onto the stage. He stood tall with olive skin, striking green eyes, a determined face and glimmering armour beneath blue robes: a heroic image next to the cowering Loy-Qui, now almost in tears.

"I have information!" The man declared as he stepped forward dramatically on the stage. "I know! I KNOW! Where the banditos will attack!" The human, Yuwen Fortune, announced loudly over the crowd. "I just escaped their foul grasps... they've set up camp in the swamp, twenty minutes outside the north-gate, and are currently preparing their attack!" Yuwen nodded eagerly at the assembled citizens. "I will ambush them... and destroy them! I have done so before, and I will do it again!"

Yuwen looked over the crowd and he raised his finger to the sky. "I will save this town! But I cannot do it alone: listen carefully, for my next words are intended only for the most heroic of warriors." He reached back and pulled out a duo of ebony jians. He rose them above his head in a cross.

"Who among you is a brave enough hero to join me, Yuwen Fortune?!" He called, his voice echoing for a moment as it travelled across the square. Yuwen paused and watched, waiting for the willing to step forward and the rest, which he predicated to be around ninety-nine percent of the current crowd, to step back.

Prefect Ro glared at the man from the back of crowd. A frown grew on his face, the truth of the scenario sinking in...

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Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"Hmm, that tiny figure," Suiken sighed, saying his thoughts aloud. "Goblin. But why said goblin ran away is a mystery..." He turned his head towards the town square. Luckily, Poyo was a small village and one voice spoken loudly enough, such as the mayor's, could be carried quite a ways. A force approaching, numbering in the hundreds. Of course a festival would be the perfect target for bandits and the like, but why was such a large force necessary to raid a small town like Poyo? Troubling. Truly troubling... and

And then a new voice spoke up. Unfamiliar, but whoever this was sounded certain that he had crucial information on these...bandits. Suiken turned towards Ren. "If such an attack is truly imminent, I intend to offer a helping hand. Quite a somber state of affairs, this festival turned out to be..." the Snow Oni scratched his chin.

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Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Sunaarashi eyed Yuwen Fortune and gave a small sigh. The bandits were probably the ones he had... business with, but it seemed he was a little behind. He didn't figure they'd caught wind of his arrival in Poyo, but he also hadn't had time to really do much investigation yet. Perhaps due to the festival, his source had never arrived.

It's almost not worth my time, Sunaarashi thought to himself, eyeing the others who had volunteered. But it's probably better to go with them directly than follow behind.

Raising a hand, Sunaarashi stepped forward, and called out. "I will join you, bithiqa."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Yuwen squinted at Sunaarashi across the lantern-lit square. He'd seen the man before, upon entering the village. "Then I will need your sword."

"A Sunen and a beast-man? We don't need to hire a bandit to fight bandits!" A bearded man screamed, his hands around his mouth like a cone.

"Then would you rather die?" Yuwen exclaimed. "Because you would not accept the help of a beast-man? Or a foreigner? Because you will not admit one can thieve and still do good?!"

The crowd quieted as Yuwen spoke. "Wise men ask for help when it is needed. I can stop these bandits, and save Poyo, but I know I can't do it alone," He admitted. Yuwen stood rose high, his gaze sweeping from the makeshift ambush team to the citizens behind them: heads becoming a blur as they lined into the distant streets. Almost every citizen of Poyo was here, as well as the visitors for the festival. The lantern light reflected off their faces, marked with fear. It reflected the mothers, and the children who clutched hands tearfully. It reflected off the guards: most of them barely seeing any combat at all. In reflected off the Mayor, the leader of this town, who had backed to the farthest edge of the stage.

"Poyo is not built for war..." Yuwen began quietly. "Your community is one of peace and happiness and these bandits have threatened that. And they've ruined Emperor day!" He clutched the hilt of his blades angrily. "And I swear to you! I swear: we will defeat them!"

"Wait!" A voice called. The crowd turned to see a man step up on the stage: Prefect Ro, weapon ready as he glared at Yuwen. "Ladies and gentlemen this man is a fraud," Ro said, his words met by gasps in the audience. Yuwen rose and eyebrow at the prefect and pointed at his own face in disbelief. Ro marched forward, pushing Yuwen back before taking his place at the centre of the stage.

"Yuwen Fortune is a liar and has ruined this festival for his own self-serving needs." Ro ripped the report out of Mayor Loy-Qui's hands and raised it high. "This is a fabricated report." Ro announced. A prefect rose another parchment in the air. "Sent via carrier hawk we've just received a message from the forest prefects. Bandit activity in the area is, and I quote, 'completely nominal.'" He threw the paper into the crowd that had grown more and more enraged. The report landed to grabbing hands. Ro turned to Yuwen grimly. "There are no bandits."

"Can you prove that?" Yuwen asked in response, defiance in his voice. "Bandits can be... very evasive." His hand lay on the hilt of his blades as the two men slowly began to circle each other on the stage.

"The prefects in the woods saw nothing," Ro spat. “You are a small, selfish man.”

"Maybe the bandits moved position!" Yuwen called, more to the audience and the soldiers he'd managed to recruit than to Ro. "Maybe they're attack the village! Maybe we have to go to the swamp and find the entrance to a secret tunnel! A tunnel that leads to the ancient cellar below Poyo! Doesn't- doesn't that sound fun!?"

Suddenly Yuwen heard iron footsteps on the wood of the stage. Large, armoured soldiers of the Prefecture were approaching, weapons ready. Yuwen turned from the soldiers down to the faces of those he hired, and the citizens beyond. Disgust, anger, and annoyance were the only expressions to be found.

"Look, I didn't lie!" He called out as the guards grabbed his arms. "There's something below this village, something worse men than me will try and get! Poyo isn't safe!"

"Please," Ro chuckled, stepping forward to the front of the stage. "I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt: Poyo is in no danger!"

Suddenly the statue beside the stage began to glow. Yuwen's eyes were consumed by light as the stone shone. And then, it blew apart by fire. A massive explosion rocked the stage, blasting everyone on it forward. A fiery piece of wood flung through Mayor Loy-Qui's back, impaling him to the stage as the crowd erupted in screams. Yuwen smashed into the cobblestone ground of the square, flaming pieces of wood zipping past him as deafening bangs roared from behind. He turned to see the town tower blowing apart, engulfed in a massive-fire ball expanding from within.

"Oh Sune!" He screamed, backing up slightly as the explosion blasted each layer of the hall apart, sending chunks and pieces scattering across town. A gargantuan piece of stone smashed apart the ground beside him as he limped forward toward a house.

"Formation!" Ro screamed in agony as he ripped his arm out from the large town emblem that had once decorated the tower, now a burning mass of molten metal which had crashed down upon the ruined stage. "Unit!" He screamed desperately through the fire and ash, searching for his men. A figure approached. "...Unit?" He whispered.

Wings expanded from the shadowy figure's form, and Ro raised his blade in horror. This was no soldier. He stabbed forward, a Tengu hand reaching out and grabbing the blade from him. The unarmed Ro dived as the Tengu proceeded to attack, flying out of the smoke and into the panicked square.

"Oh gods, not good!" Yuwen called as he pointed to the sky above. Descending from the mountain of smoke where the town tower once stood three dozen winged men, their red skin clear and their black robes fluttering violently in the winds. They wore opera masks, each one different, though even with concealed faces their race was clear.

"Tengu," Yuwen said as he turned from the approaching threat to the panicked citizens running for cover. "They were in the crowd! They were planning this!-" Before he had time to finish he was grabbed by the throat and smashed back into the cobblestone by a Tengu. One of many masked figures landing in the square. The figure who held Yuwen looked down at him. "Hello there Yuwen Fortune."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Suiken raised a brow in surprise as the walls of Poyo crumbled beneath a massive explosion. Over a dozen black winged individuals descended upon the small town, weapons in hand. Possibly a bit more about but not...three hundred as advertised. Well, that was good at least. A curious distinction between what was said and the reality of the situation but these were at least better odds. This was no longer a timer for observation. "I'm off," he nodded at the armored human. And leaped from the wall to a nearby rooftop with a heavy thud. Running as fast as he could, he couldn't help but wish it was Fall again. That was a much more suitable climate for Snow Oni, but it seemed he would have to make due.

Running from one rooftop to the next , he made his way closer towards the center of town, where the black winged bandits had landed.

When finally he landed on the ground, after a few huffs, a few of the Tengu looked on at the sudden appearance of the Snow Oni.

The Oni huffed, looking more than a little winded by his trek across the rooftops. "I hope...you do not mind if join the fray as well," Suiken spoke up, stepping to the not-quite-group on stage and bowed, lowered and extended one hand. "I may be a traveling musician...but I can fight just fine."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Lo-Muna's ears were ringing. She had managed to duck when the explosions went off but one of her ears got caught by some shrapnel. A drop of blood fell on her shoulder as she looked up just in time to see the Tengu descend from the sky. The sound of the snow oni's voice cut through the ringing as she got to her feet, looking over to see Yuwen being choked on the ground by one of the mysterious Tengu.

"Then fight!" Lo-Muna yelled at the snow oni as she raced over to Yuwen, delivering a swift, powerful kick to his assailant as she yelled, "Hands off!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Sepokku
The olive-skinned man continued to pitch his idea from the stage, holding twin blades high above his head; Ginchiyo had to admit it was an impressive show, she may have even stepped forward to join him if it wasn't for the look on Ro's face. The people who did join the Olive-Skinned Stranger were all a curious bunch, and they seemed to be losing the crowd. If something wasn't done soon, a fight would certainly to break out. Ro started towards the man, and within a minute the Olive stanger seemed to have lost all credibility. She couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the whole situation; how had this stranger managed to fabricate a report that fooled the entire prefecture?

Before Ginchiyo truly had a chance to think further on the matter, a bright light lit up the night sky as the statue of the Mayor began to glow with the ire that only fire could truly bring. She began to loop chi through her body, bracing herself as the Mayor's steel body double erupted into a conflagration that lit up the town square, seemingly determined to burn down the place he had helped build.

Stone and molten rock flew through the air, bits of it spattering against Ginchiyo like a rain of hot oil. It stung, but no more than it stung when oil popped and landed on your skin while cooking. She raised her left arm to block a large rock, causing it to split in two, landing on either side of her. There was a crunch as the piece on her right landed, indicating it had probably hit someone who hadn't scattered fast enough. There was no time to check, as a littler over a quarter century of Tengu exploded into action.

Ro was nowhere to be found, which was just as well, it was easier to fight without looking out for others. One of the feathered idiots locked eyes with her and darted straight for her, Naginata brandished for a great swing. She patiently waited the second that felt like twenty that it took the Tengu to reach her, and as its blade clanged impotently against her neck she smashed the wooden shaft of the weapon with her right hand. The bird-man left out a caw of confusion and shock as it tried to back up. Her footwork followed his exactly as she moved forward with him. Her left hand cocked back for a quarter second, then she shoved her hand through the side of her assailants skull. Bone gave way with a squelch as she flexed her hand in his grey matter.

Stopping to wipe her gore covered hand on the Tengu's robe, she looked for the next Bird to hunt. The air was hazy with smoke, and only glimpses of the carnage about her could be seen; a pair of white ears here, a tall dark skinned man just over there. But where was the Olive-Skinned Stranger?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Ren had been taking in the commotion of the city from the walls with the Snow Oni, the disconcerting news of the 'army of bandits' soon being relieved as some Prefect took to the stage to declare some fellow, Yuwen Fortune, a fraud? He was prepared to fight if he had to, but Ren supposed it was for the best that the tiny town wasn't forced to fight off 300 bandits. Numbers that were this skewed rarely translated to success.

Before he could truly relax though, the tower at the center of Poyo erupted into flames, bursting apart and sending bits of stone and wood across the town square. Hoped too soon it seemed, but the arrival of Tengu warriors struck the sellsword as odd. A fake attack immediately followed by a real one? Strange timing. And that Goblin that had been running away from the town, what was that about? Had they helped coordinate this?

The Snow Oni had darted towards the battle, leaving Ren with the briefest of moments to consider what he would do. There really was no alternative but to fight, but what was the best way? He took a glance around the part of town he could see, noting several men, women, and children cowering. The men, while not exactly impressive warriors, had the strength one would expect from farmers. Good enough? He hoped.

Ren dropped down from the wall, making his way around some of the hidden corners of the side streets, signalling to the men in hiding. "You men, get a hold of yourselves. Your wives and children are in danger, time to step up to defend them. Go grab some tools and weapons. Knives and short blades, make sure you have them tucked into a belt. Grab spears, shovels, pitchforks, and knock the metal parts off. It'll weigh them down and slow your attacks. Use the spears and makeshift poles to keep those Tengu at a distance from you, and when they get too close, use your knives to stab at them. Aim for the heads, don't bother with the armored areas."

They looked terrified at the Yeuxkyenan. "But... We're not skilled enough to fight them! What are we supposed to do!"

The warrior raised a hand to calm them. "This isn't about fighting them, it's about controlling the battlefield. They already blew up the tower, we do not want them burning the whole town down. We keep them here in town square. Guards and Prefect's can deal with any saboteurs, and town's folk can help prevent fires."

The terror remained in their eyes, but Ren's face remained stoic and unaffected. "We will save the town. Do what I said, support the guards and Prefects, and we will be victorious." With that, the townsmen ran off to either follow the sellsword's orders, or to flee, and Ren made his way to the town square, grabbing a deserted guard's spear that had been lying on the ground.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Another Tengu dove towards the female Rabbit Beastman and Yuwen, intent on ensuring their target wouldn't escape. Before it could reach them however, and wooden rod swung past the Rabbit, through the air over Yuwen, and collided with the face of the flying assailant. A loud *CRACK* resounded as the Tengu was pulled along with the spear, being cast down into the pavement head first with a loud thud.

Ren gave a nod to the Beastwoman and the Adventuring Charlatan.

"Happy Emperor's Day."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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The Tengu was very good, Sunaarashi had to admit. The way he held his sword, the extra weight behind his blows afforded by the practiced use of his wings, his footwork; it was all impeccable. The Tengu was also smart, Sunaarashi realized, as his opponent broke away from their duel unexpectedly, flipping backwards to hover above the stage, glowering down at the sand warrior.

"You are the shadow of Sune," the Tengu said, the voice holding a hint of confusion. "The one they call the Hunter. For what reason are you in Poyo?"

"Why else would a hunter go anywhere but to hunt?" Suna said, shrugging. "But it seems I've traded one kind of prey for another."

"I have no wish to die today, Hunter," the Tengu replied with what was undoubtedly a sneer. "I draw my blade for coin, not purpose. Perhaps we shall meet again."

The Tengu didn't spare any more time before launching upwards with a blast of air, the opera mask it had wore dropping from above, cracking in half as hit the stage. Sunaarashi watched the black-winged Tengu speed away, then returned to the bag he had dropped.

"To hunt birds," Sunaarashi mused, sheathing his blade and unbuckling a strap. "You need bows." To this end, he pulled one free from his bag, along with string and a quiver of arrows. Quickly stringing the bow, Sunaarashi pulled an arrow free, and with a casual pull, sent the projectile forward and through the throat of a Tengu as it passed.

The winged enemy hit the ground with a heavy thud, and Sunaarashi drew another arrow from the quiver.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Yuwen gasped as a backward bowed leg flung through the air, smashing into the tengu. Suddenly from above them the sound of feather’s slicing through air could be heard as another red-skinned attacker dove. Yuwen rose a sword in the air to block when suddenly a wooden pole volleyed over his head, smashing the diving tengu in the mask. He fell to the ground between Yuwen and Lo-Muna. Yuwen rose as across the cobble-stoned square Ren called out.

“Khe ke balem,” Yuwen replied with the bow of a Yunish gentlemen (or perhaps a scoundrel), Ren surprised to hear a thank you in the tongue of his native homeland. Suddenly an arrow volleyed toward the man. He rolled out of the way before raising his blade to defend against the overhead tengu.

Across the battlefield, a tengu’s masked mouth fell. “Gayamo!” He screamed as Ginchiyo downed his brother in arms. The tengu grunted, unsheathing his tachi and aiming it at Ginchiyo. “Stand and fight!” The tengu exclaimed, his wings beginning to flap. The fires at Ginchiyo’s feet were brushed down by the fan of each flap as the tengu lifted a good story off the air. He then dropped, his blade colliding with Ginchiyo’s as he attacked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ren Van
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"Happy Emperor's Day."

Lo-Muna looked her latest savior up and down, noting the height and overwhelming amount of black the human seemed to have donned for this festive day. The other one, the human female of earlier, had also worn a lot of black. Perhaps it was the rabbit's lucky color today.

She winked at Ren and responded, "Same to you," before Yuwen gave his response and another Tengu crashed the trio's conversation. As the Yunish human dealt with that, the Tengu she had sent flying came charging back. From her belt, Lo-Muna undid the clasps on her chakrams, the cool silver giving her a sense of calm as their weight rested in her hands momentarily. She flicked her wrist and sent the chakrams in the air before catching them in both hands, tightly gripping them.

"Damn beastman!" the Tengu cried out, swinging his sword at Lo-Muna. She caught his blade with her right chakram, following up with a left swing at the Tengu's neck. He ducked back but Lo-Muna took the opening to deliver a swift roundhouse kick, knocking him off his feet and a few feet away.

"Hey Fortune!" Lo-Muna cried out, readying her chakrams again as she saw the Tengu wasn't unconscious yet. "I don't mean to question your leadership so early but did you have another plan besides ambushing them? I think the element of surprise is gone now."