The Rest is Silence
|"Silence tells me secretly
| The run takes place late in the Month of the Dog in the Tenth Year of the Dog since the Third Treaty of Houses.|
The run takes place primarily in the Shrouded Isle, Whale's Ocean, and Three Piers
The group has gathered, as always, at Tahiti, but this time in preparation for doing the Phoenix's ritual. Cai Wen has arranged to have his patron Madame Song provide assistance to Lady Jin in not rolling a seven, so they should be covered for the Winter Mechanic.
Sei-Lin pipes up - Serpent has asked him to steal an artwork and give it to the Queen, and he wonders if he can just give it to Shuyan. Can Kuan-Xi ask Anto? Kuan-Xi says she was planning to summon Anto to help getting to the Whalesong Sea, so perhaps Sei-Lin can ask him then.
Then, there is a loud knock on the door. Nothing falls off the walls, but nevertheless, it feels like the whole building is shaking. The butlers and Cai Wen run for the door, and Master Zhou reminisces about Huan Ken, as is his wont.
When the butler opens the door, there is a woman in a large cloak. She thumps the staff on the ground, and declares dramatically "It is time!"
- "Is she the Dark Sorceress?" -Sei-Lin, enthusiastically
- "No, just Eto Tansho..." -Master Zhou, unimpressed
Xiao Fa invites her in for tea, promising her the rare Silver Mountain leaf.
She is ready to leave immediately, but others think perhaps they should plan a little bit more. For example, will extra mobility in water be needed? The party has some rings of water, and there are more in party loot, so those get spread around a bit.
- "Yes! For we shall fight upon the seas, and upon the shores, and upon the mountain." -Eto Tansho
Eto Tansho explains the mechanics of the ritual.
Each of the three First Triad members sings the Song of the Whale, in drift, for three turns, in three separate locations:
- On the ocean
- In the heart of Whale's Influence (Three Piers)
- In the heart of Phoenix's Influence (the top of the Summit of Fire)
In the first two turns, one triad member must sing melody, one must sing harmony, and one must sing silence. (Silence is easy to sing, though you must be conscious to do so). Each drift, each map must have one of each line sung, and each map must have one of each line sung every turn. The singing rolls will get harder as the ritual goes on - Eto says they should cap at thirty successes. (Kuan-Xi had remembered to buy singing; the other two triad members quickly do so.).
The third turn must end on silence for all three First Triad members, on all three maps.
The other two triads (Two? The existence of a third triad comes as a surprise) will have different parts to play.
Since the ritual will be conducted in multiple locations, the triad members can be used for movement. Anyone can walk up to a triad member and spend up to 12 movement points to teleport to the "next" in the circle.
Eto Tansho's triad is already on the map - Minora Tama is at Three Piers, and Setsuko is at the volcano.
So, that part is how to perform the ritual. But there will be opposition in each of the three places.
In the Whalesong Ocean, they only have to survive. At the edge of the volcano, there will be spiritual battle, which is a hex-based Othello mechanic. In Three Piers, though, Tansho says that the important thing is to be subtle and not rile up the townspeople. The more riled they are, the more they will disrupt the singing rolls.
The group decides who will go where.
- Min Feng, Cai Wen and Sei-Lin at Three Piers
- Kuan-Xi, Shen-Ji, the Danger Squad, and the crew of the Yamato on the ocean.
- Yanyu, Xiao Fa and Master Zhou at the volcano
Down to the Sea in Ships
Fireproof potions passed out, and then the group heads to the Yamato, where Captain Nishin introduces Kuan-Xi to the recently hired officers.
Can Kurogane Konami (the navigator) get them to the Whalesong Ocean, if the Wu Xing helps? Oh, assuredly so.
Once Anto arrives, Sei-Lin asks him about giving the to-be-stolen artwork to Shuyan. Did Serpent say which queen? Anto says he said *exactly* what Serpent told him to say, and he's otherwise not getting in the middle of this. Well, Sei-lin thinks that sounds like justification enough to give it to Shuyan.
The path to the Whalesong Ocean is somewhat like the path to the World Gyre - but rather than sailing north into a north wind, they must sail due north and then turn sharply to the north. Navigator Kurogane and Sailing Master Xu confer, and then the ship sets sail.
Cai Wen flirts with the two female junior officers, who might have some moll potential, and Master Zhou holds training in knockback. The latter learns something interesting about Eto Tansho: "She has no idea what is in store for her, but it's coming soon, and it's closer to a doom than a destiny." He takes her aside, wondering if she has ever been the subject of any prophecies or foretellings? She nods brightly - of course!
- "Even this mission we now embark upon was written ages past." -Eto Tansho
- "Something is coming." -Master Zhou
He wonders how she would react to being told she is about to die, and decides that while she will fake thinking it's awesome, inside she will be terrified. He decides to not tell her in so much detail, but gives her a fuzzier warning.
- "Be prepared for what comes. Meet it bravely, and together we will triumph."
Preliminaries finished, it is time to spread out to the battlemaps and start the ritual. Sei-Lin, wearing the Magpie Talisman, is in charge of moving people around, so he carries Min Feng (who has rolled poorly on speed) to Three Piers, as Kuan-Xi summons the storm.
Sei-Lin, Min Feng, and Shen-Ji arrive in Three Piers, which seems calm enough, and is populated with kids, elders, and fisherfolk. Master Zhou, Yanyu, and Xiao Fa head to the volcano, where the spiritual battle between Gold and Blue begins; flipping pieces turns out to spawn water/fire elementals, who are pesky but not hugely dangerous - at least, not yet.
The two Three Piers singers decide to both sing Silence first, so they can sneak somewhere more subtle. Sei-Lin senses some loot in a house to the top left and the ship to the bottom right, but a house to the bottom left seems to be the least populated, so they head in that direction.
On the Yamato, a kraken's tentacle comes out of the water to grab a sailor. Kuan-Xi splashes it back into the sea, but it takes the sailor with it.
The first drift's singing goes well.
The captain steers the ship to bounce the prow of the ship off of the tentacle, and Cai Wen grabs rope from the quartermaster to throw to the sailor.
In Three Piers, Minoru Tama says that she will need water from this location, so Sei Lin goes to fetch a bucket of sea water. It isn't quite loot, but he does feel strangely significant.
More tentacles grab the Yamato.
In the second drift, when the two Triad members in Three Piers start singing, people begin to notice. Min Feng disguises herself as a fisher.
Master Zhou thinks someone is lurking in the bushes on the volcano, and punches them into the volcano. There is a rumbling, and a terrible deep voice says "This is your last chance to prove your worth to me." Drowned Renyu emerges from the volcano, looking the worse for wear.
In Three Piers, Cai Wen starts thinking about luring the locals up to a building on the dock to start a craps game, and on the Yamato, Eto Tansho edges down the ship's ladder to the waterline to fetch local water.
Minoru also disguises herself as an elder, and the two of them leave Xiao Fa's magic guzheng playing the Whale melody, while they retreat around the corner of the house, pointing the elders inside towards the guzheng.
The group at the volcano attacks Renyu, including the fire elementals which have proven to be on the party's side. However, when a fire elemental attacks him, they convert to water elementals, hostile to the party.
A killer squid leaps onto the deck, and more tentacles grab the Yamato.
At spots where the tentacles have no victims to grab, they do damage to the boat instead. The tentacles at the prow of the boat have been defeated, but the damage remains. Yan Mouse directs sailors to fix the damage, and Master Ghim comes out of the hold with a barrel of firework powder.
Master Zhou tells Yanyu to Wrath of the Phoenix Renyu for double dice.
At the end of the first turn, the third triad appears, and gives the others the Blessing of the Land, before disappearing. Renyu recovers, and a lot more water elementals appear.
In Three Piers, Sei-Lin grabs the automatic guzheng and heads out the door, juggling with his feet and then climbing onto a nearby roof. This proves sufficiently interesting to get all the nearby kids to follow him.
The fishermen head after Cai Wen to play pai gow, and Sei Lin notices the loot is going with them.
Shen-Ji, who has gone back to the Yamato, summons some ripper demons to attack a new tentacle, and people notice with worry that the tentacles are getting larger.
Sei-Lin dashes down to the end of the dock and back again, advertising his performance and kiting a bunch more of the kids back to the house where he juggles some more from the roof.
Master Zhou continues to kick water elementals into the volcano, which disposes of them fairly well, while Xiao Fa concentrates on the spiritual battle.
Cai Wen starts laying out the pai gow game in the dock building, with three goals in mind. Distract the fishermen Figure out what the loot is Walk out with the loot but lose enough cash to not annoy people
He prepares the ground with True Gambling.
Meanwhile, on the Yamato: oh no, is that a ghost squid?
Xiao Fa turns on his geomancy, tapping the land for extra healing, as he is pursued by both water elementals and Drowned Renyu.
Shidehara Setsuko, who has been combing the entire map, finally gives up and shouts "I HAVE SEARCHED THIS ENTIRE MAP AND THERE IS NO WATER". That could be a problem for the part of the Second Triad's ritual that involves fetching water from each map.
Happily, Shen-Ji determines that ripper demons can hit the ghost squid, though the average sailor cannot.
Master Zhou spends three karma to bypass Renyu's defenses (no dodging, no knockback resistance), trying to hit him into the volcano again. He has the option of subverting the damage prevention or the aftermath, and leaves it in Butterfly's hands, and Renyu falls into the volcano again.
As no one has suggested a way to get a bucket of water, Setsuko says, sadly, "If we don't have a better solution, I can grab a water elemental and go into the volcano with that..."
Kiri steps out from where she has been unseen, calling out to Setsuko to not sacrifice herself. "Suicide is never the way to victory!" Well, if Kiri and Whale are anti-suicide, then the party must be pro-suicide. Master Zhou wonders if perhaps all of Triad Two will need to throw themselves into the volcano, especially since Eto Tansho is doomed.
Kuan-Xi thinks maybe suicide is not the best first plan, and suggests that someone might capture a water elemental in her magic fishbowl. That would probably work if it were small - down to 1 point. Or, she could create a spring next to the volcano!
Master Zhou gently pummels a nearby water elemental with flaming nunchaku, dropping its size somewhat. He also gives Setsuko a fire resistance potion, which might help against the lava for a moment or two. Then Yanyu pulls out her persuasion, to convince Setsuko that since Kiri is a bad guy, and is opposed to Setsuko jumping in the volcano, it must be the correct choice.
Back in Three Piers, Sei-Lin does a couple of laps around the nearest kids, pickpocketing an item from one kid and putting it on another.
Blue flips a longer row, spawning an alarmingly large number of water elementals, and inviting Xiao Fa to stand at the very very edge of the volcano to flip it back. (Performing a flip causes the flipper to take a step back).
Min Feng and Tama flee to another house, now pursued by a number of the Three Piers elders. They get the door locked behind them, though the front door is still open.
Sei-Lin starts instigating a fight between the kids, claiming that one of them stole the other's charm bracelet.
On board the Yamato, there is a lot more kraken-fighting, and at the Summit of Fire, Kuan-Xi shows up to make a spring and tell Setsuko that she doesn't have to jump in the volcano after all.
Xiao Fa hangs onto the Rod of Flight when he makes the flip, and is pushed back quite a bit, since he is not anchored to the ground.
- "I would like to not stay here, though." -Xiao Fa
Master Zhou nerve strikes Kiri, but now that Yanyu's plans to hook up Kiri and Renyu are finally at an end (Renyu having been killed in the volcano), she calls out to Cai Wen to forgive her, and he gallantly takes the nerve strike instead.
Back on the Yamato, a tentacle grabs the first mate, and new land-octopodes go after the crew and the Danger Squad.
Master Zhou sends Kuan-Xi off to the next Triad member, and she appears in Three Piers.
At the end of Turn Two, the Third Triad calls upon the Blessing of Life.Next time: Turn Three