A Journey to the SeaOpen Adventure
Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:23 AM
He looked at the cart, it surprised him in his new clothes that only a short time ago he had been prepping this cart to run the fortress. Now they were going on a steam ship. He was astounded, his troubled thoughts earlier were for the first time set aside. It was only when Jaya nudged him with her elbow that he snapped out of it.
"It just doesn't seem right. It's too easy, everything happened, too nicely."
Bayari smirked, "If I didn't know better I'd say you were jealous of her." he teased. His eyes didn't meet Jaya, instead he was admiring the clothes he now wore a new navy blue silk changshan, the garment alone cost more than his entire previous outfit. He looked up at the woman ahead of them. She was talking with the woman from the South.
As they got on the ship, the young shaman was in awe of the machine. "Besides, I'm sure she is nice. We have to trust people and she's done a lot of both of us." he said. "How's your wound by the way?" he said turning towards her with a bit of concern, as the steam stacks of the ferry bellowed into the sky above them.
Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:28 PM
After getting the tickets, the entourage boarded the ship and as the group broke apart to wander the luxurious wooden deck, Bayari and Jaya walked on the starboard railing. Discussing the adventure thus far and their new companion who Jaya wasn't at all taken to and yet the Shaman seemed to be much more welcoming. "No, I'm not jealous of her," the Indian growled under her breath. "There's nothing to be jealous of, she's a criminal. You heard her, she doesn't even have a name, why would you want to live like that?" then wincing slightly, she turned away from him and looked down at the river below. "My wound's alright, I'm sure after tonight I'll feel much better."
About a half hour later the great smokestacks of the steamship bellowed white and gray clouds into the sky as the whistles sounded off. The mighty ship began to sail down the river and a slow pace and the entourage began preparing for what seemed to be the most relaxing part of their journey; with Siyah's gold, no matter what its origin, that seemed to be the case. Their rooms were some of the best on the ship and as the voyage continued and Jaya found herself fattening on fresh oysters, choice cuts of beef, and imported wine from Europe.
If all went according to plan. the ship would take them far into the Empire's eastern interior, then, as Siyah said, any numerous safe passages could be acquired to finish the rest of their trek to the coast. "Once you are out of the western mountains, everything else is easy."
One night however, the interior of the ship made room for a card tournament and given that of all the vices of the empire, gambling was impossible to enforce, the ages within the casino parlor ranged from ten year old's to the ancient. Siyah gave each one of her companions a pouch of money to take with them and as she strolled in, black silk trailing behind her, two men at the edge of the room seemed to push their hats down over their eyes as the tournament began.
Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:29 AM
His companions each did their own things. Siyah being the life of the boat, and Jaya eying her suspiciously. He wondered why his first traveling companion was so suspicious of the bandit. Thus far she had been very generous. And if she did have her own agenda, wouldn't it be useful to their own.
One night they headed down to the riverboat's casino. To Bayari it was as if they were stepping onto another ship. There were bright lights, loud noises, pings and whistles from the machine, and a band playing. Once again Bayari was overwhelmed. His apprehension earlier in the trip had begun to subside. He attributed his doubts now to home sickness. With this bag of money in his pocket he thought of himself as a high roller.
He looked over at Jaya noticing that she was still eyeing Siyah, "Hey, you've been on her the whole trip, if she's such a evil thief why she's giving us money and all this stuff, shouldn't she be selfish?" he asked her. "Lets go play." he suggested heading over to a table where the dealer was playing out the game of black jack.
Sitting down next to several men, many dressed in dinner jackets, he smiled widely, "This is the game where you say hit me right? You won't actually hit me, correct?" the ignorant Shaman said.
Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:15 PM
Black Jack wasn't at all the best card game the Indian knew, but being in the guard and having a knack at remembering trivial information in the clerk profession, she could wager the odds of the next cards appearing in the deck. Soon the grimace that she wore though much of journey began to wear off as a pile of green, blue, and red chips began to build around her hands. Hand after hand, Jaya knew when to hit, stay, and most importantly, when to double down, which she always came up successful. Gambling was illegal in the western fortresses, but for those minority peoples who didn't have the privilege of war-time combat, border patrol, and other more daring occupations, cards and vices helped pass the time.
As the night wore on and her stack increased, the squire yawned as she looked at Bayari who was doing moderately well. "Should we get moving, I feel like we've had enough fun with these poor !@#$%^&*. It also didn't help that the more money one spent the more drinks the casino parlor offered to them and amidst the tobacco smoke and thrill of the cards, Jaya had gotten herself rather tipsy. "Not that anyone could keep up." She smirked and pulled Bayari out of his seat with his earnings, looking back with a grin at the men she had essentially robed.
Meanwhile, Siyah, Adila, and Niccolo were having similar luck across the casino and reached the roulette wheel. In a bold move, Siyah placed three valuable chips on '00' and in a stroke of luck it hit. However, before Siyah could reach for her new stack of wealth a dagger slammed its way in through the table as one of the men from the back approached her, grinning.
"I believe that it is us who has claim to these, Miss Xie Xianguha," his teeth yellow and prickly stubble covered his white face. "You owe my friends and I a great deal for the lace that you are running around in."
Siyah looked up at the men, many more now as they began to circle the table. "I'd kindly ask you to step away, sir, I have friends with me."
"That means nothing to us!" He roared and one of the man's associates flipped the roulette table as the casino went quiet.
"Krugg, our debts are settled, don't try to start something here," said the bandit slowly reaching into her dress. But both Siyah and her compatriots would realize they were very quickly becoming surrounded.
Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:06 PM
"This is a surprising side of you." he commented to the squire, he looked at the chips which she was carrying proudly, "Admit it, you're starting to enjoy yourself." he said smiling.
Suddenly a loud voice boomed through the Casino. Bayari looked over to see that a man was yelling at Siyah, looking angry. By the way they were talking they seemed to know each other. He looked around the room seeing a number of very well built men watching the conversation as well, their bodies tensed up for a fight.
Bayari gulped, he had a bad feeling about this.
Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:27 AM
Reaching into her dress and pulling out one of her sais, she flung it at the central chandelier, which swung knocking into the other oil lamps before breaking from its chain and crashing into the poker tables in the middle of the room. Upon its crashing to the ground shards of glass, covered in burning oil, flew about the room wounding guests, foes, and allies alike as Siyah made a break for the far window of the casino parlor.
With the room going up in flames and smoke and Krugg's thugs only temporarily occupied by the glass, Jaya grabbed both Bayari and Niccolo and ran behind Siyah towards the window and after the black bandit crashed through the glass and dove towards the dark water of the river below. They each landed in subsequent splashes before Jaya's head broke through the top of the water with great gasp for air. The others broke through a few seconds later and the Guardswoman watched as the bandit began swimming towards the shore. Where the Timurid disappeared to, she didn't know.
"Wait! You devil!" hollered Jaya as she reached the shore and clenched her fists. "Where in the hell do you think you're going?"
Siyah stopped on the mud bank and turned to the Indian with a glare. "Getting as far away from you people as possible, you're nothing but bad luck."
"We are?!" Jaya roared trudging through the mud, "You nearly got us killed back there! I'm going to wipe all the confidence off your face if you don't tell me what the hell that was all about."
"You just try, little girl, I'd love to see you try."
Jaya jumped towards the bandit and the two began rolling against each other in the mud as Niccolo and Bayari arrived on the shore. They watched for a moment before Niccolo tapped the Shaman on the shoulder. "Do you hear that?" he said and sure enough, through the brush of the trees near the river, the sound of strange chanting began to echo through the forest.
Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:11 PM
Running from the burning flames, he lept into the cold water of the river below, swimming furiously to shore reaching it shortly after Jaya and Siyah. The two women were at each other's throats. Part of Bayari felt it had only been a matter of time. But now wasn't the time for the two to have their rivalry out.
As they attacked each other he moved to break up the fight only to be tapped on the shoulder by Niccolo. He paused hearing the sounds as well. "HEY!" he shouted to the two. "You can determine who the queen bee is later. Someone's coming, and with our luck they won't be friendly." he said as he tried to step into the middle of the two.
He felt himself knocked back onto the ground, as the two vastly more physically adept women get going at it. Hitting the mud, he say the lights approaching through the trees.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:52 PM
"What is this?" said one of the women, looking down at Jaya and Siyah, "We saw a burning ship, are you responsible?"
The bandit and guard separated as Siyah spit a wad of dirt into the Indian's eye. Then Jaya looked up at the Amazon and pointed at the woman in black. "It was her fault, I'm an Imperial Guardwoman...a Squire, she blew up the ship to escape debtors."
"That's a dammed lie! You know it!"
The blonde woman looked over Jaya and Siyah to the rest of the group assembled behind them. "And they are with you?" she asked.
"We are," chirped Niccolo, "We've been travelling together since Fort Jochid."
The two Amazons looked at each other before calling through the brush in a language that only Niccolo was familiar with in saying, 'Come...we found them...the ones who burned Fort Jochid.' There was a rustling of branches and leaves before ten more Amazons bounded out of the brush and descended upon the group with muskets and bayonets at the ready. The suddenness of their assault left the party shocked and confused as ropes were tied around everyone's hands and led them forcefully away, up through the brush and towards a large camp in the middle of the forest. Along the way, Niccolo smirked at Bayari.
"If we had to get captured though, what better people to do it, eh?" at that he was promptly kicked in the side and continued to walk along.
They led them through the forest into the large camp where the Amazons took them to a wooden platform in the middle where a woman, tall with long blonde hair and a fair face looked down at the party. "Who are these who you bring to me?"
It would be the first time Bayari would look upon the visage of the Empress.
Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:49 PM
Adila was not so lucky, and the athletic, but still relatively diminutive Timurid would be driven sideways into the wall by one of the larger patrons as he bulled his way past her, his fists clasped around money. As smoke and flame filled the casino with screams and shouts, Adila struggled to her feet, a window next to her would provide an escape route if she could get up and smash it, but as she struggled to her feet, her back was driven painfully into the wall. Krugg had her by the front of her dress, and he roared over the crowd, "If I can't take my blood out of her, I'll take it out of one of her friends!"
Adila recoiled at the roar and the foul breath of the man, as she struggled against him, Krugg tried to drive his dagger straight into the Timurid's throat, but Adila blocked the blow with an arm-bar, just barely. She pushed off from the wall, as she grappled with the man, her wits and confidence returning to the warriors' heart as they fell to the floor. As she tried to force his arm back, and he twisted his arm, trying to get it out of her grasp, he was able to bring his knee up into her gut, the blow was glancing, but she still let out a grunt as the two continued to struggle. She held his wrist tight in her grasp as he tried to force the dagger closer to her neck, she sprawled atop the hulking thug; as he tried to renew the push, the Timurid bit into his wrist. Krugg let out a cry of agony, and he released the tension on his arm, momentarily, but it was only a moment the Timurid needed. She spun his wrist, audibly breaking the joint in her strong grasp, and drove the knife backwards, directly into Krugg's windpipe, the man's eyes went wide in surprise, his gaze already getting cloudy.
His grasp on her loosened, and she tore herself away from him, the adrenaline of their fight had allowed her to focus on him, rather than the intense heat that was now engulfing the room, and she found herself struggling to breathe. She also realized that she needed to desperately get off this flame-engulfed hulk pronto, but she refused to do that without her faithful steed Mikail, located in a stable towards the front of the vesel. Adila threw herself through one of the glass windows and out onto the main deck promenade, flames were already licking across the ceiling, and very few people were left on board. She ran through the thick smoke, trying to get away from the flames that had completely engulfed the rear of the boat. Many people were crowding forward, trying to get to some small boats located there, and she could hear not only the screams and shouts of the people, but also the noises of the animals in the stable, being abandoned by those who were fighting for self-preservation.
As she ran towards the front of the boat, she would hardly recall the blast from a storage room located along the main deck promenade, that was clearly filled with something explosive, probably fireworks or some sort of gunpowder. Adila felt sharp pains in her side as shrapnel from the blast penetrated into her left side, and she was thrown head over heels into the water with a yelp. She struggled to swim, the wounds in her left side inhibiting her movement due to the pain, and she could feel splinters within her skin. She was starting to founder quickly, but as she gurgled and went under, she would sink for a few seconds before finding the muddy bottom, and she knew that the crew of the riverboat had started to ease its course towards land in a bid to run aground and possibly save some passengers who refused to jump.
She had taken a deep breath before she went under, and her lungs were complaining harshly as she crawled along the bottom, and when she broke the surface on the muddy bank amidst tall grass, she heaved a breath before finally sucumbing to exhaustion. She fell flat into the muddy bank, still half in the water, breathing in gasps and utterly spent, her dress had slipped up her leg enough to show the dirk in its clasp, the symbol of the Timurid kheshigs on the pommel. Blood was seeping out of her wounds into the murky water, wooden splinters sticking out of some. In her mind, which had retreated against the pain and was closing in on unconsciousness, she was wondering if she was at her end...
Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:52 PM
The Amazon spoke to Jaya, Bayari was still amazed. There was something different about these ones. They were even more elegantly dressed than the Amazonian officers at the fort where their journey began. They raised him up from the mud. Suddenly though they gripped him firmly. They mentioned Fort Jochid, the home of the corrupt magistrate, that now seemed so long ago even though it was only a few days.
They were soon marched at bayonet point by the Amazonian guards though. Bayari looked sullen. He was finally in the East but the change which he was expecting had not come. Instead they were marching him along him with the bayonet bumping time and time again into his back. He shivered in his formerly luxurious clothed, now muddy and soaked with river water. He was exhausted.
I should never have left. he thought to himself. He thought back to the village he left, it was poor, hungry, but it was predictable. You knew your place, you knew what the next day would bring. He had dreamed most of his life about what going East would mean. Now as he trudged through the muggy terrain of China, he knew it brought nothing but misery. The wider world was a place for the rich, the strong, not someone like him. It was just too... hard.
Finally they came to the camp. It was brightly lit. Great silk tents stood, in the center, decorated with platforms he had never seen before. The Amazonians were all dressed immaculately, their weapons, armor, clothing, all clearly made by the finest craftsmen (or women). In the center of the camp was a large wooden platform built to tower over the rest of the camp. Upon it stood a lacquered wooden throne, and on it sat a European golden haired woman in a white dress, with a diamond crown on her head.
Bayari recognized her face from the golden coins in his pocket. He knelt on one knee, in awe of the Empress, "Your imperial higness." he said as he hung his head down.
Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:11 PM
"A river boat was burning on the water, we dragged them from the shore line. They are from Fort Jochid, the outpost that was attacked by bandits a few days ago. The Chinese woman is responsible for the burning of the fort, she is known in the area as the Black Bandit." The Empress nodded at the Amazon's words and turned to Siyah who hid her face from Theresia's gaze.
"This is true? I heard rumors but I did not know I would meet the bandit face to face."
"The magistrate was corrupt," Siyah blurted out before being kicked down into the dirt by one of the Amazon guards.
"Take her away, I will deal with her later," said Theresia as the guards picked up the bandit by her arms and began to drag her towards a tent. Then, the Empress turned and smiled at the other three, "You have been on a journey that I myself envy if you started from Fort Jochid. You have come a long way, the bandit will be killed for the destruction of Imperial property, but what are your names and where are you headed, we will take you to your destination to avoid any other mishaps."
Looking at each other Jaya and Niccolo paused, both of them nearly wanted to speak for the bandit who was being dragged away, screaming with every violent curse against the Empress pouring from her mouth. "We are heading to the coast," said Jaya, finally, "To bring Bayari, the shaman of the Leopard Village training with other masters in his order."
The Empress nodded and looked at the Shaman, "And tell me, Bayari, what have you learned thus far on this journey?"
OOC: Shammy, will get your stuff tomorrow.
Posted 18 January 2013 - 03:13 PM
Now they were before the Empress of Tianxia, one of the most visible avatars of the great strength of the realm. A hero in her own right. She was speaking to him, asking what he had learned.
He looked down at his damp cloths. The once bright robes were much like the image he had had of the Empire. In his mind everything beyond the village was a paradise. Grand monuments around every corner, bellies full of food and wine, but it wasn't. The Empire was dirty, there were villains out there. He was not sure what to say.
Bayari looked up at the Empress, "I think, that I've learned that there is corruption. I think I've learned that the Empire is fragile your highness." he finally said boldly. "I've learned that even as greatness rises the seeds of its decay are planted. There is great evil in the world, ones most people inside their homes don't recognize. I think that means we need great strength of good to combat it." he finally said.
Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:20 PM
She clapped her hands, "Anita, tell your soldiers to wait, I want to hear this young man's answer."
"Of course, Majesty," said the guard and Siyah's eyes met Bayari's own.
"You have been on the journey longer than I have and you have your own perspective. Should I have this woman killed or is she a benefit to myself and to my empire?"
Meanwhile, back on the river's shoreline, Adila's body moved with the ebb and flow of the river. Her face stuck down in the mud and appearing more dead than alive to the old man who had come to investigate the steamship's destruction. Picking the woman's body from the muck, he looked at the fine clothes and the dagger sticking out from her leg. With a smile, he hoisted her onto his back and slowly began to travel back towards his village.
When Adila would wake, she would be in a bed with warm rags over her head and the heat of a fire flickering over her skin.
"I imagine you are someone important," said the old man as he noticed her eyes begin to part. "Though I am not sure whether your importance brings me fortune or ill-will."
Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:19 PM
There was quiet for several minutes as he looked at the ground, sure she had cheated them, but she had also treated them with compassion. And Fort Jorchid? That was as much the magistrate as it was her. What happened when those entrusted to protect, became corrupt?
He looked back at the queen, "I think." he said pausing, "I think that what the Magistrate did was unjust, and that she at one point fought for justice. But then she pursued her own ends. I think that if she strives for justice, she should have to work to achieve it." he said. "But I think it'd be a waste to just kill her."
Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:15 AM
"I..." Siyah muttered as she looked at Bayari and then back at the ground.
"You heard him," said the Empress as she raised her hand. "Let the bandit go, she well be used to inspire justice throughout the borders of the Empress. Impressed military service for four years on the northern and western frontiers. She can see our borders safe and our officials behaved." Smiling at Siyah, the Empress's figure seemed to cut into the bandit's soul. "But you are on a small leash. If I am told of any disturbances, resulting from you, you will be executed. I promise this."
"I understand," said the bandit and felt the guards pick her back to her feet. Then they carried her off towards the tents in the back of the campground while the Empress turned back to the small entourage.
"You made a wise choice, to spare her life, I believe you are already well beyond your years Shaman. Since you are traveling east, you will accompany my camp and I back to the coast. There you can complete your training in the ways of your ancestors and I will let the masters know of your wisdom and your bravery to come so far."
Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:22 PM
Adila would awake with dull pain emanating from her flanks and a light groan, she had thought herself dead for a moment, the light of the fire bright to her eyes as they were pointed right at the dancing flames. The soft blankets that covered her body felt comforting to her, they weren't the elegant sheets that she had been able to sprawl out in on the steamship nights previous, they still had a bit of roughness to them, she was certainly in no company of a noble. She wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but for that moment, the blankets felt like the one she had carried on her journey, her journey from Timuridia, atop...
"Mikhail..." she uttered sadly, and almost inaudibly.
Her reverie was broken quickly, when a sagely voice from a dark figure nearby, said, "I imagine you are someone important. Though I am not sure whether your importance brings me fortune or ill-will."
Well, at least he seems respectful, Adila would think lightly. She mustered the heartiest of voices she could, and replied in a croak, "Until recently, I would think fortune, but now I am not so sure after the past few weeks..." She stopped short, and let out a little grimace of pain; as her consciousness grew, so did her pain from her side.
She slowly opened her eyes a little wider, and looked over at the older man, "Where... where am I?"
Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:14 PM
"I..." he wondered how he had stumbled into such a position. To be asked by the Queen of Tianxia was indeed both a weighty request and offer. The shaman could scarcely believe that he had stumbled into such a situation. He looked around the camp in awe of the splendor. It was what he had imagined the wealth of the East truly being. Would this woman prove to be worthy of the legends told over her? Thus far the rest of the trip had been a disappointment. He bit his lip for a moment withholding judgement.
"Yes your majesty." he finally said. He didn't have much of a choice did he? With any luck things would be more hopeful going forward. He looked at his companions. "What do you have planned for us if I may be so bold to ask?" he said, "We've travelled a long way, and nothing has gone according to how we expected it to go."
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