Welcome to another Tuesday where tonight I want to look at laying some more ground work for this weeks session and leading up to this months adventure. We will be introduced a bit deeper into a gruff man that has joined his ward, Kyoko, on her quest to save her people and those who she saved from the Oni in Jade Point!
Moving through the tents, caravans and bedrolls – hastily put down and then abandoned just as quickly as people huddled near the fires to shake off the chill that seemed to be rolling down the ridge above them.
“Look alive, I don’t like how the chill settles on the grass while the sun still pokes her head above the horizon” the Captain, Kuang Ping, muttered as he placed hot soup in the hands of the handful of troops he had with him to protect Kyoko.
Reaching the bubbling pot in front of a gathering of refugees from Jade point he turned around and started to place bowls of the hearty meal in their hands. The people stared at him in shock as he jiggled the bowl around in front of them. “You going to take it so I can continue to monitor the perimeter or not?” he asked a tired, gruff man who had the appearance of a sailor.
“How can… ” the man began looking at his fellow shadow bruised, “Is the curse lifted?” he asked a tinge of excitement touching his voice as he grasped the hand of Kuang.
Smiling down at the man and those who clambered around him he shook his head, his smile unable to mask the sadness in his voice as he spoke “The Shadows taint has not yet left your body, but you are not cursed.” the man said as he sat down in front of the gathering of men and women. “When I was a child I wandered the Forest of screams, not its actual name but when the moon was dark and the wind pushed through those twisted branches,” he stopped a warm smile appearing on his face, “My brother used to tell me that there was nothing in those woods, he was strong, one of the last blessed by the lotus in my clan before the harrowing…” his smile dropped. “One night one of our dogs, my mothers prized bitch, ran into the woods at night. She was ready to pup you see and tried to find a place that she could get away from the other dogs. I couldn’t handle seeing my mother that distressed and so I chased after he dog into the woods. It wasn’t long until I became lost, but I was not alone in those twisted branches for like I chased after something that gave my mother joy my brother did also – and he chased after me into those woods.” a crowed gathered, people who could not see the shadow bruised and those travelling with him and the adventurers and, Kuang paused as his eyes met those of Siu, the ancestors emissary, after a nod of reverence towards the golden scaled creature he continued. “My brother was so fast, I did not even see the Oni and the Gaki before they were on me,” Kuang stood up and drew his sword as he began to spar with the fire – his movements like if a snake and the wind had created a being of war, “he drew his sword, this sword, and defended me for hours. Constantly in motion; striking, fading, feinting before decapitating another horrid creature as we constantly moved out of the woods. He was a being of fury, or righteousness but a beacon of light.”
The old mans voice wavered as he stared at the fire dancing along his polished silver of the blade, the reflection of the moon on one side and the flickering flames on the other. “As he pushed me out of the woods he drove his blade through the throat of the most monstrous Gaki I have ever seen but not before one of its limbs pierced him in his side causing him to lose his grip on the blade as he was thrashed around. I did what any brother would do, I rushed forward and ripped the blade out before cutting my brother free, wrenching the limb out as the beast thrashed and wailed. I stood and attempted to lift my brother up but the beast wasn’t done with us yet. I received another one of its barbed limb through my thigh, severing it and pulling it through I moved myself and my brother to a safe distance, bandaged our wounds with my robe and we made as much haste to the safety of the walls of our keep, supporting each other until we made it through the gate.” Kuang sheathed his blade and sat with his back facing the fire a dance of light and shadow. “The wound carried some taint of the shadowlands. I was wracked in pain but I refused to leave my brothers side,” he scoffed with a smile, “they set my bed next to his so I could be next to him as he fought for his life.”
“he did not make it.” Kuang said looking up towards the gathered audience to his tale. “Before he did he imparted some wisdom to me which I want to share with you now. Do not dwell on what can not be changed. Every power in the land has both a light and a shadow, a yin and yang, and only when there is balance and understanding of such can true power be realised.” Kuang stopped and swallowed. “you see, the power of the lotus that he had received was balance. He could see both sides and in some way that night, the taint of the Gaki that courses through my veins is also a power. After my brother died I could see spirits, benign and malicious, light and shadow and I thought it a curse. But after joining her ladies guard I can tell you now – that the curse has a light to its shadow. Being able to see the taint in others, to see the dark has saved my life and hers more times than I care to count. Don’t view your curse as one, but look for the light to its shadow. You are unseen, unremarkable, unnoticed whilst you bear that taint. That’s a blessing. Imagine what you could do with the power to be a presence in the crowd, maybe you just need to make use of the curse for it to no longer be one.” he said as he stood, looking towards a few men who were meant to be on patrol with a frown.
“Captain,” a timid voice, a young boy who survived Jade Point but was lucky to be untainted. “What happened to the dog?”
Kuang grinned. “The bitch had nine puppies, she had returned home at the first howl of wind through those cursed branches.
Well that was a bit of a longer one tonight, I think when it come to introducing communication between NPCs, or at least dialogue the write-up tends to be longer and more complex. Let me know if you like what you’ve read tonight and what you think of Captain Kuang Ping! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for this weeks twist, well maybe some of you already can see what’s coming, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe