I go to the Forest and use Fluttering Path for a while, and then when the time seems right, use Echoes of the Past.
- You wander deeper into the forest. Fluttering Path seems to take you *off* the path, deeper into the undergrowth. You go through some thorny brush, and the thorns catch at your clothes, untying laces and tearing the hems. Then you find yourself walking through a mud puddle, that proves deeper than you expect and you lose a shoe completely. You stumble, somewhat exasperated with the path or the forest or the Butterfly, and stumble into a clearing. You sit down on a low boulder to try to clean your feet and put yourself into a semblance of order, and look up when you hear a voice.
- A girl has entered the clearing through a perfectly sensible path opposite your brushy mud puddle, and she is hurrying over to you.
- "Grandfather, are you all right? Are you lost?"
- She has a rucksack, and she takes out a waterskin, and a small loaf of bread, which she breaks and offers to you.
- Then she notices that you are missing a shoe, and she looks appalled. She digs through her rucksack again, and finds a spare pair of sandals, which she offers, as well as a cloth to clean the mud from your feet. .
I thank her kindly for her assistance.
As I eat a little of the bread, I consider whether I have been co-opted to be one of the "people who later pay back favors in important ways" on her Path.
Int + 11 Yang with KS: Stories, Demons, and Forest of Chin (22 Dice with 23 Skill for 7's): 16 successes
- That's one version, yes.
Once I have eaten a bit of the bread, I say "Your assistance is most appreciated. Might I ask where in the Forest I find myself?"
- She looks around.
- "I can't say that *this* is really anywhere in particular. Little Teeg is that way (she points), Auld Tree is that way (points). Xing lands (points), Mong lands (points)."
- She looks concerned.
- "Where were you heading, Grandfather?"
"I was not so much heading *to* *somewhere* as looking *for* *something*. Which I suppose is likely to be around here somewhere."
And he activates Echoes of the Past, since surely this is where the time is right.
- You see a vision of this place - though it does not look like it does now, more a crossroads than a clearing, bone-dry and dusty. A boy and a girl peer in the darkness one way and the other, trying to decide which way to go. A large black bird, too large for a raven, sits on a marker stone.
- "To the west is the Well, a careful cup and a price.
- To the east is the Storm, to call up but never tame."
- They look to each other, whisper, look anguished, and head east.
When that is done, he looks around to see if there's remnants of the Marker Stone in about the place he saw it.
- No. There's the rock you're sitting on, but it doesn't look the same.
Does the direction the boy and girl headed off in match any of the directions the girl here now pointed in?
- Maybe sort of in the direction of Xing lands.
Then he looks at the current girl again:
"I don't suppose there is a notable well near here anywhere? Perhaps a little further west?"
- She looks a little puzzled by your particular phrasing.
- "The closest well is in Auld Tree, to the southwest. I beg pardon, Grandfather, did you need more water?"
- She offers you the waterskin again.
He takes another sip. "Auld Tree. Perhaps I will need to visit there."
The he laughs a little. "And forgive my manners. I am Tokai Takanata, and I am in your debt. And you would be?"
- She twitches her skirts in what is clearly "I'm pretty sure a curtsey uses skirts somehow" gesture. "I am Yeh-Shen Persistence"
Takanata puts on the sandals she offered, and stands up.
"Persistence. A fine name. Well. I do not think there is a point to remaining here, so we should likely head off again. Where were you heading? I find myself sufficiently turned around that I think it would be best to simply stay together for a time."
- Okay, you head off, and she escorts you to Auld Tree, which is a perfectly normal-seeming small Forest town. She shows you to the well, and since you do not have a waterskin, she gives you hers to fill and keep.
I assume the well also looks perfectly normal seeming. :-)
He will think briefly if the children match anything historic he can think of:
11 int + 4 yang with 2 skill: a measly 5 successes
- No, not really.
He takes a seat on a log or something, and says "Well, Yeh-Shen Persistence. I appear to be in your debt. Do you have suggestions for how I might repay you? I am something of an artist, and have some skill with divination, if either of those would be of service."
- You get as far as "Do you have..." and then you spend a Yin. That's not... *right*.
Being in her debt is not right, or asking how to repay her is not right?
- A little bit the former, but very much the latter.
If that's not right, I pause for a second and finish with "Do you have ... any understanding of the I Ching?"
- She frowns and shakes her head. "No, Grandfather."
Takanata sighs and shakes his head. "A common omission in children's education, I find." He looks around for some sticks, and quickly carves some basic I Ching reeds. (Dex + Yin with woodworking and artist extra-extra broad: 14 successes). "It is a method for understanding the world around you. Watch." He will throw the reeds a few times without much purpose, and explain some basics about how to read the patterns. He makes a teaching roll. (Charisma + Teaching: 6 successes) (Charisma because I want her to take it seriously, more than Actually Learn Now.) Then he will cast her I Ching. (Yin + I Ching Mastery: 12 successes)
- You cast this:
- She is running a simple errand, but has been diverted once from it and will be diverted another two times. By the time she is done, she will have saved a life, set a fire, and learned a truth.
- Then you also see:
- She will speak to the rock and listen to the rock, and is one of the Seven who will Ordain it into becoming a Speaking Stone.
- Then Something does the metaphysical equivalent of joggling your elbow, and you also get
- She is in a Story, and before she is done, she *will* be helped by a dog (who repays the help she has given the dog's master's master), a ferret (who recognizes the friendship she has shown to the ferret's friend's friend), and a dragon (who wishes to repay a debt to the dragon's companion's companion).
- There's kind of a pointedness to the "will" there, as if to say "she will, yes?"
Well that's overly complicated. Did I do the ordination, or am I noticing the Something's ordination, or ???
- Hmm. Something sort of in between. It was already ordained, but only because you were going to Ordain it? You think you could have picked something else - it was more of a meta fast-forward than Something using you. The fact that you kept going after the divination was... not so much being picked up and moved forwards, as noticing that you were standing on a slope and so you kept running downhill because that was easier than stopping.
I memorize her.
I metaphysically raise an eyebrow at the Something, as if to say "I see. Well, I'll see what I can do."
To her I say: "I apologize. The reeds suggest I have interrupted you in an errand, and I did not even think to ask you why you were in the clearing where we met to begin with."
- She boggles at the reeds, intriuged. "Did they really? Because that's my future, or because they... speak back to you like that?"
Takanata laughs. "They are not sassing me, if that is what you mean. It is a more immediate reading of your 'future' than I would normally expect, but sometimes the I Ching can speak to the past or present, instead of the future.
- Then she gets to the second part of the sentence. "Oh, I was on my way to the Deep Fens - it's just the time for phoenix tail mushrooms and bitterwine berries - and then to check in on Mother Xixen's bad foot and bring her some new salve. So (she looks at the sky) I really should run if I mean to get there and back before dark! Will you be all right here?"
"But yes, I should be fine here. Thank you again for your assistance, and please do not let me hold you up any further."
[Let me know that she wanders off, and I will start running around organizing assistance. :-) ]
- She wanders off.