|"Better late than never"|| The run begins on the Day of the Slumbering Bear in the Month of the Late Bear in the Twelfth Year of the Bear since the Regency Council was formed|
The run takes place in the Dragon's Throne
After the not-quite-fiasco of last run, a new set of people are urgently tagged in by Kuan-Xi to continue the work on the vice mayor and regent plots. Newcomers are: Shen-Ji, Lijuan, Kasumi, Wei Han, and Shuyan.
Shen-Ji, Kuan Xi, and Kasumi go to visit the Steppes regent, and they notice some odd things about him:
- He has some light northern corruption
- When they ask to see his wife, he goes and makes a sandwich,
- and then barges in later on his wife as they discuss things.
He clearly needs some more examination, but people feel Xiao Fa is probably needed to figure him out. When poking around for possible favors, his wife does mention that the thing the Steppes is in need most is some foolproof way to identify beastmastery now that the beastmaster of men has been making a nuisance of himself. The party agrees to look into it, but must head off before further discussions are concluded.
They head off to the party, which has a lot of "low-status" merchants, and dancing, as well as the standard one-upmanship of color skills that Dragon's Throne parties tend to have:
- Wei Han serves drinks and sends the Golden Duke over to talk to Kuan-Xi so she can pump him for info.
- Lijuan loses an arm-wrestling contest, and introduces one of the merchants to Kuan-Xi in recompense (She’s the mystery Shopper! Shhhh!).
- Shuyan ties in a literature contest.
- Shen-Ji discusses armor with the Golden Duke, and proves more knowledgeable.
Then, there is a round of dancing! After the dancing, the party resumes:
- Lijuan battles the Craneslake Heights regent in storytelling, and is told the Continuing Tales of Yoshi and the Yumekui.
- Kuan-Xi engages the Heights regent in storytelling herself, and asks about the Light and Dark folks and why they are here. The regent gives hor some stories of previous visits, but no details on their current objectives.
Finaly, it is time to earn their favor from the Forest Regent. Monkeys are unleashed, destroying the event, and the Gold Duke is made a laughing stock. The forest regent owes a favor to the party now, their plan being complete.
Then, after the party, Shuyan and Kuan-Xi talk to the Strand regent. The Regent wants to know Shuyan's grand plan. At first there is some dodging about Serpent's Will being done and nobody knows Serpent's will, but Shuyan is willing to guarantee that the regent will stay on as regent should there be an unfortunate change in domestic policy in the Strand. She seals a document promising this, and another favor is acquired.
That seems like a good day's work for the tag end of the day that the previous run left them with.
The following day, people split up and attempt to sway the voice of the people in favor of candidate Wang.
- Wei Han holds forth in oratory in Bronze to the guards - they should support Wang because Serafina is a rule-breaker. They mostly buy it and the Bronze district starts swinging that way.
- Lijuan goes to Pewter and bribes the urchins with an archery contest for 50 li of pork buns.
- Shuyan performs in Copper, doing snake dancing and persuasion.
- Kasumi eavesdrops on the important people in Ivory, and hears that Wang Xiaofang is missing.
- Kuan-Xi does oratory in gold, while Shuyan's Snake of Secrets looks for Wang. Shuyan determines that the pirate queen (Vice-mayoral Candidate D apparently) may have taken him.
Everyone meets up for lunch, and then heads to the Dulcet Harp, where Wang was staying, and tracks where he might have gone. A servant reveals that pirates stormed the place and kidnapped him! They rush off to the river, where a pirate ship turns out to be lurking.
Kasumi sneaks aboard and finds Wang, but the pirate queen spots her, and combat is engaged! Shuyan shows off her new snake teleport technology, and Lijuan pins the pirate queen to the mast by her sleeve.
- "Let him go and we'll leave you with your lives!" -
- "I set the map on fire." -Shen-Ji
Pao protects Wang, and the pirates sizzle. Kasumi gives Wang an escape smoke, and he vanishes, and then everyone else flees back to their own ship and Kuan-Xi commands the waters of the river to get them out of there.
|Phase I||Phase II||Phase III|
|N/A||A: P S Bz C I||A: Bz C P S|
|+17||B: G J||B: J|
|C: Bs O C||C: -J I G|
A: Wang Xiaofang B: Hadisen C: Serafina D: Pirates!
The party tries to go shore up some more votes in the last round:
- Lijuan and Shuyan head to Gold to tell stories.
- Wei Han goes to Brass to try to get rid of Serafina's influence.
- Shen-Ji nails down Silver.
- Finally, Wei Han works on Bronze, Lijuan and Shuyan work on Copper, and Shen-Ji protects the Pewter influence.
Serafina keeps fiddling with the scoreboard, though. After the final round is over it looks like the party is winning, but, Serafina drops by to discuss "solutions from one who is doomed". Her conversation, as always, is a source of slightly askew phrases:
- “Competition enlightening”
- “Precisely what I do not mean”
- “She wants to worry her enemies”
- "You have allied with forces of Darkness - one wonders as to the proximate cause." -Serafina
- "We did not know of your great power, and approached those of lesser status."
The party ask why she is here in the first place. She says that they have come to bring the gifts of enlightenment to those who would prefer darkness. In the immediate moment, though, Serafina offers them the same deal that the Dark made: to infiltrate one of her own into their ranks.
- "Abject surrender is a negotiating point."
She proposes the following “speculative demands”:
- The light shall cease efforts to make any further changes and allow the party’s puppet to be installed as your shadow government,
- The light shall send one of our number to infiltrate your council and offer advice.
- "We think that you are the minions of the Most Powerful Flying Slug." -Serafina
The party counter-proposes sending an emissary to Serafina’s lands instead. She is happy to take this reversal fo the deal. They can infiltrate her lands, and she will control the Vice-mayor. They clarify, that this is not what they meant. The party still gets to pick the vice-mayor and send a representative to Serafina as their concession. She doesn’t think that’s a very good deal, but talks about it. Things break down when it’s revealed that whoever they send isn’t coming back for a while.
While they are negotiating, Kuan Xi uses good listener to get her to talk more about her goals. Serafina seems somewhat resistant to this, but does open up a little. Her primary goal (at this time) is to inconvenience the forces of darkness. There is never more than a singular agent of the darkness, but Serafina's team seeks mutual enlightenment, similar to their own objectives, and so sends more people.
Before the negotiations break down, Lijuan offers to take the Light’s agent into House Foon in exchange for Serafina's surrender on the vice-mayor issue. This is met by strong objections from Shen-Ji, who thinks that abject surrender is not necessary when crushing and further fighting is possible.
In the end though he is outvoted. Candidate Wang ascends to the office of vice-mayor, and Serafina’s representative ascends to the office of majordomo of house Foon.The day is saved, for now. Shen-Ji promises all that they will rue this day's work though.