Influence From The Shadows

Storms of Sea and Thought

Travel Upon Sea and Stone

• The new morning of August dawns continued in the Matsu Forest Lynn, after meditating, uses Ki healing on Valkyrie in order to heal her some. After the past episode, Haddiya stays is offended and not talking much, saying she will stay along, and Shadow says that he will watch over her in order to make sure she doesn’t start anything in the forest. They continue on their way, those with horses riding, those without once more on foot. J and F notice kitsunes and other spirits following them, J ignores them, F uses Ki Detection to tell that they are frightened, and disgruntled by their presence. F “I don’t think they like us here.” J “I’m used to it.” F “I’m sure you are”. Other then that the day is uneventful, and by the end of the day they set up camp near what they believe would be the centre of the forest.
• They continue forward the next day, F commenting on Andrei’s whole turning into a giant monster, asking when he learned it, if he’s been holding back on them. A “Not holding back, only learned to do it recently. Saw his grandfather do it once.” F “So, it’s a family thing. Is it a curse that we should be aware of.” A “I do not believe so.” F “Cool.” F then comments on the ‘plant bitch’ and what she was saying. J says to ignore it and move forward. At mid day they reach a massive clearing, which all but Lynn notice the ruins of grand temples, with the Harekawa standing atop the center most building. F Ki Detects, and realizes that this creature is very powerful. As they enter the clearing, the Harekawas speaks to them in their mind, asking them to go around the clearing in order to not awaken what rests here after what was done upon his messenger.” F informs them that it is powerful. L suggests they listen and go around. J asks about if just entering the clearing, and what the Harekawa would do to them. Harekawa “I will not stand against you directly, for the forest itself would not be able to stand against you.” F “Perhaps we should listen to it.” J “What will you do to make it worth my while to go around then? Can you do anything to speed our progress?” Harekawa “I could ensure that you aren’t harassed by animals, that food and water present themselves to you, and that the trip is restful.” J “Sounds good.” They go around the clearing, adding an extra week to their distance, but healing their damage and continuing to train.
• Another 13 days on the road and through the forest, across the plains, and down the street to reach Hong Kua before the end of August. The massive city rises before them, the strong smell of the salt sea rising over the plains. They head over to the city, seeing the high walls, guards, and even a few cannons. The guards ask what they are planning on doing in Hong Kua, J “Looking for a boat.” F “Travel to Varja.” Guard “You have money?” as he eyes them. J “Of course, would we have made it here otherwise?” Guard is insulted by the tone but lets them in, hoping them a good time and hoping to spend much coin within the city. They are surrounded by the sights, sounds, markets, streets, abandoned sewer construction, and market stalls. Andrei buys a good chunk of spices. They reach the docks, see the grand variety of ships there, from the nicest to the rougher pirate vessels. They check around the mid-list ships, looking for passage, asking a captain harassing a dock worker that dropped one of his crates. Not going for up to a few weeks based on how long it will take to sell their things. Too long for J, so goes to the next, who says a few days. Checks the rest in the port, but all are longer or not going to Varja. They go back to the second captain, who informs them that based on the disappearances that have been happening there aren’t any, except a less reputable captain, that won’t let them come with them. They go to the junk and find it guarded by two massive Aion, long gold hair and shirtless. J approaches, and one with golden teeth asks him “What do you be wanting?” J “To speak with the captain.” Gold Teeth “You want to speak with Captain Lo? You know what we do?” J “You know what I do,” gestures with his hammers. Gold Tooth smiles and gets the captain. Captain Lo comes, asks where they want to go (Huan Zhou), and what they are willing to do. J, F, S, and Andrei say they will be willing to fight and other tasks for their passage. L asks if she can pay, offers 10 GC, captain Lo says that would almost get her across, but 30 gc would work better, L attempts to persuade for 14, but offends him so that he now demands 40 GC. L asks F if she can borrow the extra 26 GC, he agrees and makes up another contract. Captain Lo accepts the money, then asks how much for her horse to come with, J laughs out loud. She charges another 20 GC that L has to borrow from F. Then to H. She offers to do the same work that the men offered to do, J laughs outloud. Captain Lo declines. He doubts that she is capable of the physical work that he would need them to do. H takes a swing at him, which he dodges and comments her on her spirit. H then borrows the 40 GC needed (since she gets the increased rate also) from F. J asks how long it will be before they leave, and Captain Lo says that it will be only a few moments before the last shipment from his crew is brought aboard, and so invites them on. Several hours go by, until they see a group of 9 pirates carrying stolen goods and being chased by city guards. The group helps them aboard as they list off down the side and then head out to see, all but J going below decks to ignore the hail of bolts that fall from the attacking guards, J just ducks against the prow. Then they travel.
• L combines senses with F and gives him psychokinetic armour in exchange, then works on learning Major and Organic Psychokinesis, J learns Ki Control, F works towards Zen, Andrei talks to Fenix about his lack of use of energy, so that he can work towards No Needs, and A also helps the 84 year old female cook along the journey, and is glad she can’t cut him with her cleavers.
• They travel for two months in relative peace, until it is late October. The pirates count loot and look for good targets, but most are too large or well guarded. In that late October that Captain Lo calls them on deck and points out a ship that is heading towards a storm. He asks them if they are ready or not for the work. The 50 pirates hide, get close beside the ship, move up close as one man asks if they have a problem. Captain Lo says “No, but you do.” As the pirates rise up.
• They find themselves in the edge of the storm. F waits and charges ki as the pirates throw the grapels, only 10 of the fifty get hold and begin climbing. J takes his rope tied hammer and throws it a few feet below the rail, it crashes through the hull and the deck behind, locking firmly in place so that he can begin climbing. Andrei jumps onto the other ship, grabbing on so that he can then climb up, and sees the 200 people aboard. L asks if F would like her to place him on the deck. F “You can do that.” L “I can do that now.” F “How does that work.” L “I lift you up and then gently set you down.” F “Sure, why not.” She carries him and flies him onto the deck, he seems very happy as he lands, but before he does he kidney punches the calling deckhand between the ships where he is crushed. The fins of sharks begin to swirl around. Jormangander pulls himself up over the rail, moves away from the side and pulls out his other hammer as he sees the first embedded. L concentrates on Major Psychokinesis. A moves in to attack the closest deck hand, carves into it with his blade to cleave the man’s right arm off at the shoulder so that he can bleed to death on the deck, then swings at a second that dodges, counters with a belaying pin that his sword breaks. A then prepares to transform. F ignites his arms with his technique, and charges into the mass to unleash a great area attack that sends 8 of the crew into flaming ruin off the deck, and thanks to style they give him an outline of flame, and the sharks eat the fallen in proper time. The 10 pirates climb and another ten hook on, and then 50 attack each of J, A, and F, and the last 40 attack the 10 pirates. J unleashes his counter area attacks, and between the three of them kills 4, 4, and 10 with the final attack. The mass that attacks A can’t get through his damage. F dodged the attacks against him, and J is fallen upon by the remaining 32 but they barely even bruise him. The pirates kill 2 of the seamen, while the crew kills 1 of the pirates. The storm has grown stronger around them. A transforms into his monstrous form, and unleashes an area attack and kills another 5 as they cringe before the monstrosity before them. J unleashes his hammers once more, killing wave upon wave of the men, 9, 9, 11. F unleashes his wave of AOE also, slaughtering them in great numbers as well, 5, 13, in fiery doom with the fires dancing around his hands. L concentrates more on Major Psychokinesis. Another 10 pirates climb the rails, while the rest of the grapples get onto the side of the ship, but the 19 can only injure some of the crew. The crew also fails to kill one of the pirates, the ones around A back up in fear, J defends from the small group around him, and F is saved from harm by L psychic armour around him. F unleashes another flurry of AOE, killing another 6, uses leadership to unleash a warcry to inspire the pirates to do better, and then attacks but it is show and no killing. A unleashes some AOE to crush those before him, killing 2, 9, and howls at them like a demon. L continues to concentrate on Major Psychokinesis. The pirates clamour onto the deck and with the cheer of F ringing in their ears they cut down one of the crew. The crew still back away from A, F dodges the attacks of the crew, J blocks and AOE counters to crush 3 of them, and then progresses to use his other AOE attacks, 3, 6, and then mows his way towards the captains quarters. All but Andrei hear the shout of waterspout, before the great mass of wind and water crashes down upon both ships to demolish them and hurl the party unconscious into the sea, although J was able to grab his other hammer. Darkness swirls around them and they are consumed by it.
• They travel drifting with the waves as they drift in and out of conciousness. Dreams and dark images harass their mind as they drift above and below the waves. Eventually, A, F, J, and L find themselves washed upon a beach with mountains staring before them and sea behind them, Valkyrie eating grass around them, the weather cold and rainy. The group stands and regroups, L leading Valkyrie with them. F finds Shadow’s hat and picks it up. F “He might want it.” J “He might be drown.” F “A memento then.” A “Where are we?” F “Hopefully Varja. Is this even Varja, I hope so.” J “Lets go into that mountain.” A “Fine, into the mountains.” They travel into the mountains, and just shortly before nightfall they find a small village, that appears to subsist mostly upon fish. A younger woman comes over to them, and begins to talk to them in Yamato Shun. No one understands, J “Latin” L talks in all her languages, the woman slightly nods after Yamato, and gestures for them to follow. She leads them through the village, past a small shrine to a Kami, and then leads them to a small house, she knocks, talks to a pair of voices behind and they enter. L talks in Yamato Shun to the pair of elderly within the wall, they have horrible accents. The party asks where they are (Liang Peaks in Shivat), the couple asks how they got here (ship sunk by waterspout), and J tells L to ask when it is (6,986, approaching winter). They are shocked by the date, but J and F assume that they must be using a different calendar, the couple says the traditional calendar of Kuon Teikoku. They ask for climbing gear if they can purchase some (bad rope for the nets), any landmarks (the tallest mountains), food (some rice, nuts, and salted fish), the animals that could be found (goats, large cats, and sometimes angry spirits) the elders suggest they make an offering at the local shrine, F 2 GC, Andrei 3 GC, L left 10 silver and Molly’s old food. She also buys some food from them. As they go through the mountains towards the next village. All of them go hunting for food in the mountains along the path, J kills two by throwing hammers, A fails to kill his goat, and it counters with a headbutt that sends him stumbling back, and L lifts one with her psychic powers to bring it over J to crush its skull with his hammer. J carries one, A carries the other, and L uses her psychic power to float it just behind her.
• They travel peacefully through the mountains for two days, and as the moon rises on that November night a full moon rises above them, and J asks if anyone can remember what the moon was like before they were before they sunk, and L says that it was about a week to the next full moon. J “So, we’ve either been out for a week or a month.” F “I hope only a few days since otherwise we were underwater for nearly a month underwater. Or we were passed out on a beach for that long.” L “Very strange either way, if only for a few days.”
• With the full moon high in the sky the four of them spotted five figures on the road (Taiko the Fallen in his armour and helm, and his four demon guards). T “It has been too long since last we saw each other.” J “Can’t say I agree, since I don’t recognize you.”
• F to J “So, he’s all yours, since you have that feud thing with him, so I might join in if you die or something.” F then moves to engage the Gandalfhon on the right, initiating his technique and attacking, but it blocks it with his blade and lashes in with the claw, and wraps the bladed fingers to completely grab and paralyze Fenix in its grasp, raising it up to its face. J charges T, who absorbs both of the attacks on his full shield, and he begins charging energy into his nodachi, and then cuts J slightly with his blade. J “So, those others know to stay out of this right?” T “They will do as I tell them. I don’t need their help to deal with you.” L unleashes a Mind Control on the Gandalfhon that holds Fenix, gets a hold of the creatures torturing mind. A transforms and goes to attack the Gandalfhon on the left, bringing his Nemesis infused blade to bear on the creature, carving into its flesh. Each of the Aooni use their Onikaminari, lightning washing out from their storms, the armour and mystic shields of all of them soaking up the bolts, with Valkyrie taking some pain. The left Oni then brings its kanabou against A and hurts his heavy form. The right Oni goes over to Lynn and brings its kanabou down upon her, her shield soaking up the damage. L has the controlled Gandalfhon to set down F, and then has it attack the Oni that is fighting her, and strikes it across the back of its head and wounding it. Having Surprised Taiko, Jormangander unleashes his attacks, the first being soaked up by the armour, and the second tearing into him solidly, knocking him backwards. L refreshes her psychic shield and then tells Valkyrie to run away. L’s Gandalfhon attacks the Oni again, but the claw is pulled away at the last minute by its own will, the second carving heavily into it. F attacks the Oni that is fighting and L, burying his flaming fists into the demon’s back. The other Gandalfhon attacks A, its claw grabbing onto him and decreasing his movement, then he brings his weapon down upon him in order to harm him once again, and then charges Ki. The Oni lightings lash out, L avoids the first one, F and J dodge and block, and A takes pain as it strikes him, and the second one carves into L, Valkyrie also takes damage, the lightning bolt stikes Andrei onto his back, unconscious, F armour soaks it up, and J takes another solid lightning bolt. The two Oni move over to Fenix and swing with their weapons, the armour soaks up the first, and dodges the second. T continues to charge his weapon, energy creating whirlwinds. J surprises T once more, and unleashes a flurry of blows, the first is blocked and deflected the blow, then unleashes Magnum to cleave J arm, he shouts “Run!” as he dies, from him and hurl him 150 ft. down the mountain road. F listens and flees down the road, away from the battle. L tells her Gandelfhon to hold the line, and then uses her Organic Psychokinesis in order to pull Andrei up and away, slightly more slowly. She then has her Gandalfhon attack the other, by putting its claw through the other’s chest killing it instantly, and deflecting its counter attack in order to strike at the other Oni as well. It holds the line as the two Oni and Taiko then proceed to cut it down after it buys the party enough time to escape.
• Down the mountain path they flee, charging through the falling rain and taking the one fork that they crossed earlier, in order to progress further away from the town they left, but leaving the village to not draw Taiko’s attention to it. They run down the path, fleeing and Lynn healing Andrei so that he can get back up. F uses Ki detection to see whether T and the Oni are pursuing, he can catch the faintest of blinks from them, a slow pursuit. They set up a camp far off the mountain path to rest, waiting in the dark and the rain.

Copyright © 2012 by Jeremy Marshall

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