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Takai

The Noble Shaming Arrow of Flaming Lae Ming Wae

0 · 398 views · located in The Horat-verse

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

Description

"Justice can be found by my arrow!"

ImageName: Takai 'The Noble Shaming Arrow of Flaming Lae Ming Wae'
Sex: Male
Age: 30
Race: Beast-Man

Physical Description: Resembling a macaque monkey, Takai has a light brown face, hands and feet, whilst the rest of his body is covered in dark brown fur. Muscular yet lean, he is able to contort his body in various ways making him a perfect acrobat. His back is marked by many scars…
Clothing:Takai often wears cotton or linen clothing in warmer colours - yellows, reds, browns - styled in classic common Yutan fashion. Everything he wears must not be restricting as he relies on his entire body to be able to move freely about.
Height: 5'9 ft - 175cm
Weight: 160 lbs - 72kg
Skin Colour: Light Brown
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Golden Brown

Occupation: Outlaw
History/Bio: Takai was born in a little unknown village in Askia. The village was raided when he was young and he was taken and raised as a slave in The Yune Empire. Lashed for his incompetence one too many times, eventually little Takai found a way to escape his imprisonment and ran from the law all the way to Flaming Lae Ming Wae where he happened upon a group of outlaws like himself. A wise old man of this rag-tag group named Master Xiao Le of Flaming Lae Ming Wae taught Takai how to use a bow. Since then, Takai has honed his chi as a master archer.

Growing up as a criminal he began to question the laws of Yutan. He saw families torn apart, people who were struggling to feed themselves and slaves that only wished for freedom - these were not bad people. As an adult Takai used his skill in stealth and archery as a way to steal from the lands of the nobles by poaching their game and bringing back his prize to feed the poor. This got him the title ‘The Noble Shaming Arrow of Flaming Lae Ming Wae’, yet he always felt that there was something more that he could do. Now, as a full grown adult, Takai traverses across the land with one ultimate goal in mind: free all slaves.

Home Town: Flaming Lae Ming Wae (current) Duri (past)
Home Country: Yutan (current) Askia (past)
Personality: Takai is a bit of a free-spirited joker. He can sometimes let minor irritations bother him more than they should, yet he never stays angry for long. He enjoys the simple things in life, like good tea, a hearty meal and a joyous atmosphere. Generally friendly and easy-going, Takai has a strong sense of moral justice and refuses to stand idly when he believes someone good or innocent is being wronged.
Fears and Desires: Fear of big bodies of water would be a strong statement. But very accurate. Takai cannot swim and thus the concept of drowning terrifies him, though he refuses to admit it. He is also afraid of returning as a slave and imprisonment. Takai desires freedom for all races, wishing to abolish slavery once and for all.

Equipment and Weapons: An expensive, masterfully crafted shortbow. Arrows, string, a dagger and a wooden flute. Takai carries everything he needs to traverse the lands and infiltrate noble houses.
Styles and Abilities: Takai is a master archer and is renowned for his skill with a bow and arrow. He is also a skilled martial artist with somewhat of a ‘trickster’ style, fast and nimble on his feet to confuse his opponents.
Chi and Augmentations: He is able to manipulate the air around his arrows to bend and curve at his will.

So begins...

Takai's Story

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Character Portrait: Takai
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In the cool of the evening, beneath the fireworks and the stars, a row of tents formed a neat line on the outskirts of town, each resting against the riverbank like multicoloured soldiers. Many of them hung paper lanterns of yellow, orange, red and pink to illuminate the wooden signage that read the names of each temporary business. Sweeping across the line of tents was a man in long, blue ornate robes, unguarded and confident. He passed Silken Skin Massage, Miss Fei’s, Byeonsu Magic Cures and NOT Fireworks, until he met eye-to-eye with a small, unassuming purple tent, barely lit with pink lanterns on either side of the door. The sign below one of the lanterns read: Fortune Teller Wu Woon.

As the elegant stranger entered the tent his eyes would meet a mysterious figure dressed in all black. A sly grin formed his moustached face, “You must be the infamous teller of fortune!”

Wu Woon said nothing, his face completely covered by a large straw hat. He sat on the other side of a table that held atop an ordinary teapot and two ordinary teacups. Strange light formed swirling shadows on the inside of the tent, forcing the newcomer to glance once or twice around himself until Wu gestured to the empty wooden chair with a gloved hand. The moustached man’s lip twitched, clearly a nobleman out of his depth, but did as the mysterious figure suggested and sat, being sure to tuck in his silken robes gracefully. He attempted to peer into the darkness at Wu’s face but could see nothing but shadows and an outline of a beard.

“Name?” Woon suddenly asked.

“Lord Yuxuan Fu!”

The gloved hands began to move toward the teapot, where a small ribbon of steam wafted from the thin spout of the pot. As if choreographed the fortune teller lifted it carefully and paused. Yuxuan watched on in nervous anticipation until Wu released the tension between them and began to pour hot liquid into each cup. A simple green tea. He waited for the fortune teller to place the pot down and gesture to drink. Both of them lifted a cup to their lips and drank hurriedly, leaving remnants of tea leaves behind. Yuxuan looked down at his cup nervously.

“You want to know the future, my Lord,” Wu Woon smiled beneath his guise, “A man true to superstition.”

Yuxuan’s eyes shot up in surprise, “Yes! Yes! I hear you are one of the best!” He shoved his cup into Wu’s hands, “Please, tell my fortune!”

“Ahh…” the fortune teller spun the cup in his fingers, rotating it a clean eight times clockwise, and then another eight anti-clockwise, all the while Lord Yuxuan Fu looked on in an almost fevered impatience, “Aahh, yes, I see now!”

“What do you see?!”

“I see you…”

“Me?”

“Yes, yes, you…” Wu Woon muttered mysticly, “Naked.”

Yuxuan frowned, “...Naked?”

“Naked and ashamed!”

There was a pregnant pause. The two men stared at each other blankly until Wu Woon suddenly stood and flipped the table over, forcing Yuxuan to stumble backwards and fall onto his backside. The teapot and cups crashed into pieces on the floor.

“How...how dare you! HELP! SOMEONE HE-” Lord Yuxuan Fu’s yelps were cut short when a bow and arrow pointed directly into his face, and glaring from under the large brimmed straw hat was none other than Takai, The Noble Shaming Arrow of Flaming Lae Ming Wae. “Y-You!” the nobleman sputtered, backing up as quickly as he could, “I know you! You’re that criminal!”

“I beg to differ, sir,” Takai spat, stepping on the man’s robes to stop his movement, “I hear you’ve been extorting money. Raising land taxes so high that some of these businesses have no choice but to go into debt or leave-”

“Lies!” the man cried out desperately, “All lies!!”

The Beast-Man scoffed, “Oh I’m sure, but unfortunately for you I made a promise that I intend to keep.”

A scuffle was had, one I dare not repeat. Two figures emerged from the tent afterward, the first a man in a dragon mask, shrugging off a black robe, straw hat and gloves before melting into the lively streets of Poyo. The second man, Lord Yuxuan Fu, emerged from the tent stark naked save for a loincloth, gagged and tied by his ankles and wrists, hopping along the bank of the Gan River as onlookers stared at him in amused horror. And that was that.

***

The Golden Peach Inn was bursting with customers that night, a crowd so large and loud that the man in the mask had to squeeze through groups of drunk patrons in order to reach one of the waitresses holding a tray of empty cups. “Ruo!” he shouted, but it wasn’t until a hairy hand tapped her on the shoulder did she hear him, “Ruo, it’s done. Come quick!”

She gasped and threw the tray of cups onto a table before following him into the crowd. By the entrance a commotion could be heard, bouts of laughter and drunken shouting that followed into the street. Takai took off his mask, convinced he wouldn’t be caught on Emperor Day, and proudly gazed at his handiwork. Poor naked Lord Yuxuan Fu hopped hopelessly down the street, his embarrassed shouts for assistance muffled by the gag. People watched and laughed at the scene.

“Well, he’s not very popular, is he?” Takai grinned at Ruo who whooped and clapped beside him, black hair bobbing as she joined in on the festivity. She grinned back, “Are you kidding? He’s the worst! All of the businesses on this street hate him for stealing our money! He’ll get no love here.”

The Beast-Man mused, adding, “This won't solve your problem, though.”

“Maybe not,” Ruo shrugged, “But maybe he’ll be so embarrassed that he’ll never show his face here again. Maybe he’ll move to Tengala. It’s something of vengeance, so let me enjoy it, monkey.”

“And you won't hand me in to the guards anymore?” he asked.

“A deal is a deal.”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu
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"MMMMRRRFFFF!" The nude man screamed through his gag, begging the goblin to take it off.

***

Laughter and merriment continued on in the Golden Peach Inn, Ruo sliding a drink over to Takai as he took a seat at the bar, "It's on the house!"

He raised the mug in thanks, "Cheers."

Beside him approached a large bear and a small woman on the Beast-mans shoulder. Ruo waved at them, shouting through the noise, "Ho there travellers! Can I get you anything? A drink perhaps, maybe some freshly steamed pork buns?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Xanth responded to Kaor's chortling with a shrug and ran an affectionate hand through the bear woman's fur. Then she threw the rest of her skewer to the dog and began making enthusiastic hand motions in Kaor's peripherals, her mass of hair wobbling precariously atop her head. Quick, precise gestures that would lend themselves well to the hands of a pickpocket. Her hands swiftly tapped around her chest and lips, which expressively but clumsily mouthed words like they were lyrics to a song she didn't know. Her one sided conversation continued on into the tavern her bipedal mount lumbered to, parting the crowds with ease - when a waitress shouted over her.

Xanth stopped talking. She turned her head down to the woman with an exasperated sigh. Her hands exploded out in several violent gestures before her shoulders shook with amusement like she'd made a joke. It was hard to tell how much was genuine frustration. She whistled a few notes and claws scrambling against bamboo floors answered. The massive mutt that had been in Kaor's shadow skidded to her feet with a bark to attention. Xanth slid down her trunk-like arm and settled comfortably on her smaller furry companion. She held up three fingers, spun one in a circle, followed by quicker and far more incomprehensible gestures, then a tap on her throat and a face like she'd bit into a lemon.

The sound of snuffling caught her ear and she looked to catch the sight of her seat slobbering on the pants leg of their Beast-Man neighbor. Her cheeks bunched up in absolute delight and her fingers wiggled a greeting, while her eyes regarded his for about two seconds before they zipped down to his backside. She moved her hands in the same - interpretive dance? she'd just challenged the waitress with, punctuated with an expectant stare.

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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"What did she say??" Ruo shouted over the noise at Takai, who whipped his head around at the waitress in bewilderment. As if he knew! Still, he glanced down fondly at the dog beside him, then up at the most ferocious Beast-Man he had ever seen, before his gaze finally settled on the mute lady before him. They were a strange group, to say the least. He decided to hazard a guess.

"You want three...three uhhh...oh, pork buns!" He grinned, thinking he had cleverly cracked the code, "Did I get that right?"

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Xanth's face and shoulders fell a little. She rolled her eyes up before nodding vigorously and flashed the monkey man an encouraging smile. She then slowly mimed sipping from a cup, formed a cross with her arms, then tapped her throat and made an expression like she had downed an entire cup of vinegar. All with the expression and patience of teaching a toddler to speak through picture cards.

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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"No....drink.....? It will....kill you...?" Takai squinted, his words stupidly slow as he tried to figure out what this lady was miming.

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Xanth flung her elbow back into Kaor's hide.

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Kaor snapped her head to attention as her Gecko rammed an elbow into her side. She gazed down at the macaque-beastman in front of her and Xanth. He was... Interesting to say the least! He at least was kind enough to try and understand her companion.
She watched as her Gecko and the curious man talked to each-other, with the latter trying his hardest to guess at what she could possibly be wanting. Kaor herself scrunched her nose up into a bemused smile, before cackling aloud at his last attempt to translate what Xanth had said. The bear-woman watched for just a moment longer before finally deigning to intercede on the conundrum.

"What the little Gecko is asking, is if you might have some sake that isn't too harsh for her throat. Something that won't burn on the way down preferably. She also wishes to know if you might have done anything amazing with your tail, sir. She finds them awful useful! She also wishes for three steamed buns, pork, for herself please. I would appreciate whatever you might have that would, ah, feed one as large as myself."
Kaor's voice was booming loud in the rancor of the dining hall within the inn, though her face never lost it's gleeful smile. She finished her speech off with a nod towards the waitress who had interrupted Xanth before. Oh! Speaking of which- "She also asked that you not interrupt her again, please! As would I! You're a dear, and we do not wish to be rude to you!"

She finished this with a wide smile, bowing her head as if to simply accept that the conversation was over, before turning her focus to the macaque-man with a curious expression. Her throat rumbled with a slight huff, before she turned to Xanth with a rapid series of focused hand movements. One claw tapped her satchel at her side, came up and tapped Xanth's chest, before returning to Kaor's chest with slowly wiggled claws.

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Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Ruo, the waitress, nodded stiffly and skittered off toward the kitchen behind the bar. Takai watched in amusement, this being the first time in the week that he'd known her that she seemed placid almost, like serving giant bear lady, small mute woman and large dog had somehow overwhelmed her. His attention turned back to 'Gecko', as the bear Beast-Man called her, and he had to remember what she had asked.

"Hm? Oh! My tail, right. Honestly I don't really..." Takai looked down at it, swishing slowly below, "I guess I don't really take much notice of it. Though it sure has saved my skin a lot over the years. Name's Takai, by the way."

And then the man's face suddenly went pallor. Forgetting that, on this glorious day of celebration and joy, he was still a wanted criminal. An outlaw. He sipped from his drink and nervously wondered if they knew him, "Ahem, what brings you both to Poyo?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Suiken knelt down for a moment and studied the links binding the the two very carefully, Standing up and scratching his chin, his face immediately broke out into a smil, which spiralled into bellowing laughter before long. "Well, I can't say you didn't get what you deserved after mocking a village like that!" he chuckled, pointing at Namari, tears now welling up in his eyes.

Then, within an instant, he sobered up, briefly bowing to both of them. "Er...sorry. But about these chains. ...Needless to say, they are cursed..." he quieted down a little. "There are ways to break such things, after all...but as I said, let us head to the Golden Peach. It's right up ahead..." the oni remarked as they neared the doors of the inn.

He pushed against the doors, greeted with the sight of a handful of patrons, including a couple of beast-men and a dark skinned woman. Looking over and finding an empty table, Suiken led the two bound humans to a seat. "First thing, I'd like to have you two do is place your cuffed hands on the table and spread both of your wrists apart as wide as you can," he explained.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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"No need to rush our business, we've only just arrived."

"You don't think he can do it," Shuin accused with a disgruntled huff. He dropped his weight into a seat and folded his arms, Namari smoothing out the lower folds of her kimono as she more gracefully joined beside him. "Everything's just a waste of time to you, huh? It's 'cause he's an oni, isn't it? I've seen the way you look at oni. Well, not 'look' look with you being blind and all, but..."

Her eyes closed, the noblewoman's expression was calm. Peaceful, even. Patiently, she adjusted the pins in her hair as the man trailed on with his ill-advised rant. She did not wear the face of a woman who had grown accustomed to circumstance. That was much too gracious for having to share company with his ilk. No, instead it was the face of a woman who veiled something terrible underneath. Thoughts perhaps beyond mere cruelty.

For three weeks, she has suffered the utter indignity of his wandering hands and eyes, peeling away any layer of privacy or comfort.

For three weeks, she has suffered harsh and sleepless nights -- during which the oaf seemed to snore all too soundly.

For three weeks, she has suffered mishap upon mishap, dragged into his personal affairs as a consequence of his hare-brained impulse.

For three weeks, she has suffered this fool's grating presence with no end in sight.

This was no 'no matter' matter. If things continued in this way, there was going to be a murder in Poyo; perhaps two, if her mood was foul enough. A forgettable life, a forgettable death, in a forgettable town. He was right about one thing. Everything really was just a waste of time.

Meditation was all but impossible with this subhuman around, so there was only one thing left that could put her mind at ease, at least for a time. She ordered a bowl of noodles with eggs and enoki mushrooms, several pieces of salmon, a dish with sesame oil, and a cup of baijiu.

"Order something," Namari said, addressing Suiken. "I'll pay."

"Hm, now what should I get... ?" Shuin mused while stroking his chin, squinting at the various women within the establishment. "You know, I can't lie. Everything here looks pretty good."

"Get? Get what? You don't have money." Namari scoffed.

His eyes settled on a certain familiar looking monkey man, and a mischievous grin slowly spread across his lips.
"Not yet I don't."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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"Well those pork buns, while still delicious, were a little light on the pork, so..." Suiken mused for a moment, before deciding on a menu item. "Chanko Nabe it is!" he grinned. A favorite of many Oni, particularly those who partook in their favorite past time, such as he. "A taste of home...didn't quite think they'd have it in Poyo, but let's see if there's is up to snuff!"

Suiken looked from Namari to Shuin. "Aren't you going to feed your er...friend too?" he asked. "A full stomach may at least resolve any ill will between you two in your, er, temporary circumstances." Suiken glanced around at all the bar patrons. "Speaking of which..." he lowered his voice. "How long ago was it that you were you cursed?"

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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"Hey punk, what did'ya say?" A voice bellowed from behind one of the extreme racists. He turned to see a monkey man, arms crossed with a frown, staring down at him menacingly. Kaor and Xanth would blink to see their new friend suddenly gone from the table.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai
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"No, no, I didn't say anything!" The punk, a young man with bangs, said defensively with his hands up, his face slowly gravitating away from the beastman's intimidating aura.

"Yeah we did!" One of the other punks, a bright eyed Yunish man with spiky hair, suddenly butt in, betraying his buddy. He threw his arm around his nervous pal with a stupid grin. "Are we about to get lectured by some bonobo now?"

"Hey, man, stop..."

Namari, still sitting at the half-cracked open table, stared across the room with mild amusement. If she had some tea right now, she would sip it. This counts as a distraction, too.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai
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Takai visibly angered but gave the punk a menacing smile and stepped forward, standing straight to tower over the two, "How 'bout you apologize to our Snow Oni friend there, before I tie you to a firework and blast you to Flaming Lae Ming Wae?"

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai
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"Of course, we were just about to leave anyway," the punk said smugly, patting his friend on the back. Passing by the oni, he leaned in and mockingly drew out, "Sooorry" as he kicked the spilled bowl of soup toward him. Suddenly, the door flew open and smashed him in the face, sending him crashing into the floorboards.

"I love the Golden Peach Inn!" said the new customer holding open the door.

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Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai
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Suiken rubbed his head, wondering why his luck had turned so sour all of the sudden. What was that old woman on about? Ashura were one in a million all across the land of Yune. As for the ritual....the woman as no doubt correct. But with her suggestion, there was far more risk involved...But that was something to think of later. For now here he lay, covered in stew and soup, rethinking his arrival in the small town of Poyo, festival or no festival. But the monkey beast-man before him seemed to have driven his current tormentors away. "I thank you, youngster..." Suiken sat up, bowing in respect. "Ah, what sort of predicament have you found yourself in now, Suiken?" he asked himself before turning to look at Namari and Shuin. "Are you two alright?"

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: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned
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Xanth's hair drooped at Takai's reply - it, just like she, was bad at hiding disappointment. She shifted around on her seat and gave a few limp-wristed motions towards Kaor before squishing and rubbing the dog's jowls fondly. Then she squinted at the beastman and shook her head, gesturing back to Kaor with the same demeanor as a teacher scolding their underling. She disarmingly laughed off whatever that conversation was, it must have just been a joke, nothing to worry about, and hopped off the dog. She opened the small pouch on her side. From within it, she retrieved a small scroll, which she splayed out on the table before them.

'For hire.'

One finger jutted up in the air, and the sound of metal unsheathing cut through the air right before two shiny daggers were plonked down on the table beside the message. Xanth's elbows slid across the table, her hands squishing her cheeks together and making her seem all the more harmless. Her eyebrows wiggled suggestively.

The commotion finally took her attention and potential employer away. She slumped, brow twitching as she watched the merriment being disturbed. Ugh, annoying. As she turned her head back, steam hit her nostrils. A bamboo basket of freshly steamed buns were laid before her. She beamed, quite alright with letting things behind her get out of hand, and did the hot potato with the bun she'd picked up.

'Good for business,' she signed casually to Kaor after catching the bun with her teeth, and jutted her thumb back towards the Snow Oni's company, 'Fear and prejudice. There's money to make off of that.'

She dropped a bun down into the dog's jaws, nodding thoughtfully, then gestured towards the noble-looking woman chained to an idiot. She tapped her pouch, then Kaor's chest, then returned to her own chest with wiggling fingers and a wink.

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
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"I can stand waiting a little longer for my food," Namari said addressing Suiken, casually brushing her bangs as the bear viciously mauled the hooligans in the background. Shuin just laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head.

"Wow... real rowdy bunch in here, huh?" he said, rethinking his plans as suddenly they had begun to draw a small crowd of bodies around them. Well, perhaps not so small, considering that same bear was now casting a massive shadow upon them. His thumb hooked instinctually but naturally under his sash, near his sword, as he maintained a polite smile.

Though Namari could not see Shuin, she could sense his unease. No, maybe not unease. More like...

"You want to have a go at these chains?" he laughed, lifting his arm up (and Namari's with it). "We'll welcome more than one challenger! Fifty gold pieces to the lucky winner! She'll be paying, of course."

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.