- Anto and friends arrange for the wood sorcerer Sasaki to move some trees in the Forest of Chin for the spirit Brown Feet
You do the dance to contact Brown Feet (which involves walking around a particular tree three times counterclockwise, then back the other way; whoever is doing this has a very disturbing feeling of being watched and about to be eaten, and should make a Strong Will (Resolve) roll of 3+ to continue.)
After about half an hour, Brown Feet yawns on a branch above you, looking as if he's been sleeping there all afternoon.
Sasaki bows and introduces herself. Brown Feet explains that there are some trees which are the wrong trees for where they are, such that it is particularly inauspicious, and he wishes them different. Sasaki inclines her head, and asks if the trees also wish to be different. Brown Feet purrs amusedly, and says that some do, and some will agree anyway; none will gainsay the change. Sasaki allows as this might possibly be able to be done, but it will be a great undertaking and most difficult and taxing, and she does have commitments elsewhere which she has had to postpone... Brown Feet yawns again, and says he is sure he can make it worth her while. There are names of the Liveroot Trees that can be offered, there is buried silver, there is a peach pit from some old peach tree that nobody has bothered to plant...
He grins, catlike, at the last, and Sasaki inhales with a hiss. "I think we can do business, honored spirit", she says.
Sasaki and Brown Feet start to wander off, but Anto asks "Don't you think we'd better come along, in case you need any help? I've never seen trees move before."
Sasaki laughs. "In case I need help? Truly? How would you (her gaze sweeps over everyone else as well) assist?"
She regards Anto with a questioning look, not bothering to hide some good-natured amusement underneath.
Lijuan bristles. "If Brown Feet gets lost, Ho and I can find him!"
Cai Wen smiles brightly. "Might they need persuading? I concede that the idea of my talking a tree into doing something is quite a stretch, but if I don't try, I'll never know."
Hana says in her gentle voice, "As a group, we have some little talent at handling the unexpected.
Besides, I must confess that I burn with curiosity to see how a sorcerer...persuades the trees of this forest to change their locations." She smiles disarmingly.
Sasaki nods to Hana. "You, at least, are honest enough to own your curiosity." And, to Anto, "And I am indebted to you for the initial invitation. So, very well, you may come and... assist, though must negotiate your own fees with the good spirit here."
Brown Feet leads the group deeper into the forest - those with navigation-type abilities find the path rather perplexing, as it's nothing resembling straight, and also doesn't appear to be avoiding major obstacles, though it does skirt around cleared land rather than crossing it. (Sasaki can get various plants to bear fruit for meals.)
It's several full days of strenuous hiking to get to the area where Brown Feet says the trees are in the wrong place. To most people's eyes, it's a lovely and secluded deepwood glade, alive with small creatures and small growing things under huge trees.
Brown Feet leaps around in the branches of the trees, explaining how these two should be on opposite sides, and of the two oaks *here*, one should be a cypress. Those are the most important changes, he says, though there are others.
Sasaki says that moving the two trees is not difficult - she can make them walk, and ensure that they are healthy when rooted again. Changing the oak into a cypress will be less easy - she thinks that one possibility would be to cause the oak to produce an acorn which would be a true offspring, then change the acorn to a cypress seed, then grow the cypress seed to maturity. That would not be the same tree, but it would be a true offspring. The other possibility will be to devise a ritual, which will take longer, but the shtick of "change one tree into another" isn't actually very hard.
She asks Brown Feet to explain this to the trees, and to ensure that they understand. He scratches his claws on the bark of the various trees, and yowls a bit, and says that they understand. She regards him a little sternly, and asks if they object, or have opinions. He says that the oak would prefer to be a cypress, rather than fall that its seed may be a cypress - but if she thinks that's too difficult...
She says she'll listen to the trees for a bit, thank you, and sits down under the oak in question and shuts her eyes for about half an hour. After that, she says that she'll work on setting up the ritual. Does Brown Feet want the trees moved before or after that? Before, he says. In that case, they will need to finalize the agreement of payment.
Moving the trees takes three days, since she can only make one walk at a time (so there has to be an intermediate hole). She tells everyone to stay well back from the walking tree, lest it decide you are a combatant.
It sounds as if working up the ritual will take at least a week, so you all begin to think that you may want to leave without seeing the whole process, if you want to get back for the next run.
(The walking-tree thing appears to be a wood-sorcerer shtick - it's likely an actual combat shtick, which has the (in this case useful) side effect of moving the tree. )
Off we go, then. Anto thanks Brown Feet and Sasaki for letting us witness such unusual things, and tells Brown Feet he'll probably see him again someday.
Brown Feet purrs and says he is at your service.
Sasaki is a little distracted by thinking about her ritual, but does bid everyone goodbye and good luck with their future travels.