Part 2 – Shade Trap- 237MoShTr
After returning to Takeo to reveal what they had seen in the Library as well as heard from the staff in the castle. “It sounds like its as master Fukiyomo was right. A lot of the characteristics of the creature appear to be similar to the Lóminau.” Takeo said nodding, but his affirmation never reached his eyes. “However something doesn’t add up. The Lóminau are said to be vengeful demons who prey on others life force as only once bathed in the light of a creatures failing life do they regain their shadow and leave for their own plane of existence. But this creature, to our knowledge, hasn’t killed anything so according to the scripts it can’t be a Lóminau but there is another creature that it could be,” Takeo began before a sound came from a corner of the room.
Two daggers were hurled through the wall at incredible speed from Takeo’s however the figure caught the blades before they hit the figure. “Good Takeo. But it is most definitely a Lóminau. I have seen it myself” Master Fukiyomo said as he moved forward and handed the daggers back to Takeo. Clasping Takeo’s shoulder the master spy bowed deeply to Kyoko but averted his gaze from Liz. “It is not often that we see one who is blessed by the light in this castle. I dare say its your presence that has the Lóminau stalking these halls.” the old man said with reverence. “The sooner we get you and your guardians away the better, the safer for you and I dare say Lady Kyoko as we will be able to better trap the Lóminau outside of the castle.
Takeo nodded but the party caught the flicker of confusion in his eyes. Walking over to a desk in LIz’s room he grabbed a quill and paper and scribbled something down quickly, folding the paper twice before muttering a short incantation of words.
“Another one of your tricks Takeo?” his master said as he walked over to him.
“Just a list of reagents and supplies to catch the Lóminau” he said as he handed the note to Master Fukiyomo. Taking the note he unfolded the paper and read through it.
“Powdered iron, crushed garnet, Lotus petal. Good. I’d suggest silk as well for good measure but each to their own” the old spy said as handed the note back to Takeo who scribbled down silk before taking it to the party.
“Whilst you follow this note to the letter can you do me a favour my friends?” he said, strange emphasis placed on the words he spoke. “I have neglected my knives – When we fought the Kapa I chipped the top of my knife in the cave. Are you able to get it sharpened?” he said as he clamped the letter tightly in the closest party members hand and nodded knowingly to them. “Remember what I said to you in the Kapa’s lair after we had fought the wolves?” he said – blocking the view of others when he moved in closer to the party as he muttered a string of words. “A blessing for you all. May the light reveal what we seek.”
With that Takeo and his mater left the room.
Unravelling the note the party were confused, there was no record of the ingredients on the note apart from the hastily written “SILK” over the top of a few words.
“Wall”, “Shade”, “Knife” and a single word that was foreign to them “Lómipilu.”
Kyoko looked over their shoulder, a best as she could. “Lómipilu – that’s a name I am not familiar with” she pondered. “but I do know someone in Heavens reach who would know. Che Shenyuo” she said as one of the more astute party members crept towards the wall where Takeo had thrown daggers. Two indents in the wall were present which matched the size and shape of Takeo’s daggers.
Master Fukiyomo stirred in the dark. His eyes and ears moved about the cities, towns, castles and halls as he struggled to hold onto the connection he had outside of his confines.
Takeo had proven himself useful but the creature, his captor, had began to thwart his efforts in the castle and the spy worried.
The sound of ripping fabric snapped him out of his connection as the creature pushed its way into the dimension where he was kept.
“you know you’re tricks won’t save you forever” the old spy said to the faceless creature as it moved around the room. “The emperor will see through your illusions.” The creature ignored his words and brought forward a bowl of food. The old spy knew there was no poison in it and that the food was a way of keeping the man alive. Resigned to his fate he ate the food quietly.
“What is light and warmth but can’t be seen or touched. What pushes back the darkness but is brittle and breaks with pressure?’ the creature asked as it suddenly appeared crouching over the old man.
Master Fukiyomo considered the creatures puzzle before shrugging and eating the remainder of his food “I guess some form of magic crystal?” he replied. The creature exhaled in frustration before leaving the dimension, the sound of ripping fabric resonating through the small chamber.
The old spy smiled. “Hope” he said to himself as he finished the last of the food. “There is still hope…”
As Kyoko lead the party through the final halls in the castle heading past the servants quarters they appeared at a sliding door to a small outside courtyard. The central portion of the courtyard saw a large fountain fed pool that was designed in such a way that the trickling of water resonated through the enclosed area. Kyoko nodded to two guards that stood in the courtyard and walked forward, leading the party and Liz through the tranquil surroundings.
Moving through the courtyard Kyoko led them towards a large curtain of vines and flowers where the slightest trace of diffused smoke and low singing could be heard from within the tangled mess of foliage.
“It must be a rare day indeed for the Princess of the Harimasu to visit me today” a voice said from behind the curtain of leaves. “What can I be of service for our bringer of light?”
Kyoko smiled and pushed past the curtain of vines, her chipper and unable to hide the mirth in her voice. “Master Che, you don’t need to be so formal. You are probably the oldest citizen in then land and the one deserving the most respect here.” she said as the party followed her into a well hidden house under the cascading vines and leaves. “But you are right. I do have service of you.” she added as she sat next to the old man who smiled at where she sat, his eyes unfocused.
“I will be as useful as an old blind man can be princess.” he said turning his head towards the party. “I have had odd dreams of late princess. A shadow in the halls playing tag with a ball of light. The shadow cant capture the light but nor does it want to because the shadow fears what the light will do to it – but it is also drawn towards it. The light doesn’t want to be near the shadow but lingers, waiting and watching. Stepping out to confuse the shadow when it sneaks too close or gets too ambitious.” he said as he reached over for a pot of tea that had been placed next to him. His fingers and hands moving with muscle memory he poured himself a pot of tea, the worn indent of the pot and cups evident that this was a habit of his. “The ball of light has visited me as well. Said sweet things and plied me with riddles that amuse me to no end. It has also helped me around the hut. A kind stranger it is.” he added.
“I fear that these aren’t dreams Che. There is a shadow at court. My spy believes that its something called a Lómipilu. I thought that you may remember something of it and be our best bet. The library was ransacked and our tomes regarding the creatures of The Shadow have been removed or destroyed so we are in the dark.” Kyoko said as she patted the old mans hand.
“The Lómipilu, Shadow Thief. They are creatures much like the Lóminau but instead of having no shadow of their own they are shadow. Able to harness the shadows of this world to stich their own world into ours and fusing their own reality with ours.” Che answered as he turned his head to stare at one of the party members, he was starting to sweat and his eyes were wide with fear.
“Do you remember how to kill them or trap them?” Kyoko pressed, Che was shaking now.
“Alas no princess, I never fought one but I remember my mother, the light prophet, mentioning them. There was an old proverb about catching shadow that she used to say but I took it as a child story or something to praise the light.” he said as he wiped tears from his eyes. The weight of the war and his memories getting too much for him.
“One by one the shadows gathered and writhed like beasts on the prowl. One by one the Shadows tricked their owners until all was dark. One by one they grew and merged into the one true Shadow. But one by one they split from their form….” She began to recite the story.
Kyoko squeezes his hand and started to speak “One by one the lights surrounded the beast and one by one they shrank down. One by one the lights grew and truth was revealed and one by one the shadows hid from the light. One by one the shadows cowered under a box and one by one the lights held the box closed and the world was bathed in light and truth and warmth.” Kyoko finished the story and smiled at the party. “My mother also used to say the same thing to me when I was worried about the monsters under my bed. She would light candles and place them around the room, where the shadows would gather so that they didn’t look so scary when they had no where to gather.”
Che nodded and sipped from his tea. “I wish I could be of more use princess but I can hear my friend calling me.” he said as he lay back slowly, his eye lids fluttering before falling asleep in his chair. As he fell asleep his hand opened and a light shone form his palm. Frowning Kyoko reached in and plucked out a single finger-nail sized scale that glowed and shone like the sun.
“Interesting. I wonder where Che got hold of a dragon scale…”
Orb of Light
As the party of adventurers, Kyoko and Liz left the cascade of leaves and vines that separated Che from the outside world a single mote of light drifted down from the unseen canopy. As the mote of light drifted down Che began to stir and though his half closed eyes could not see he smiled at the light.
“My little friend. You have come back to me.” he said as she shakily went to pour a tea – but the stone pot was not where he had left it. As panic began to set into the old mans mind he knocked the cup off the little wooden log he used as a table and reached for the cup as it fell.
Golden digits and golden claws caught the cup and clasped it tightly as they lifted it to the shaking mans hands. As they touched the cup to the man the relief that welled up inside the man overflowed into his face and a peaceful smile replaced the look of concern. “You have saved me again my friend.” he said as he placed the cub down into the little groove it lived in. As golden digits moved the pot back to where it lived Che poured a cup of tea and offered it in thanks to the creature of light.
Sitting in silence and listening to, albeit noisy, slurping from the creature the old man smiled contently and swung his legs. “The young princess is chasing shadows again.” he said with a light giggle. “Much like mother used to when she was young. I don’t suppose you know how to catch the darkness that hides in our halls do you?” he asked the light. After a moment sound of china being placed down onto wood clinked a happy sound.
“I am afraid I do not” said the light. A deep rumbling sound as a creature that was neither light nor flesh but both opened its whiskered covered lips. “But I have faith in the princess and her hunting partners. They will think of something.”
Che nodded and looked towards the light. “I can still see them, the creatures of The Shadow. They dance with mirth as they rip us apart. I can see them reaching into my mind and take my sanity. I fear its slipping little orb of light.” Che said as he sipped on his tea.
“But perhaps I can still help the princess one last time. But I may need your help my little orb of light, my friend.” Che added as he turned to the creature who was floating above the chair. “Can you help her catch the shadow?”
The creature remained quiet for a moment as if weighing up the question and the decision. “I will do what I can – but I must not interfere.” it began to speak before pausing. After a moment it continued as if considering its options “there are things that we can not do and things we can.”
“Thank you my friend.” Che asked as he sipped from his tea. The sound of freshly falling rain splattering on the dark green curtain of leaves brought hope of a cool night.
Areas and places of note
Heavens Reach Castles courtyard – Not just a place that features a large tranquil pond and garden but where they have a small residence for a war hero and descendent of the light bringers, the original elves of this land.
Heavens Reach castle – is broad but flows well, focusing on easy of movement and feel rather than being confusing by nature to deter attackers.
Kyoko Harimasu – Kyoko takes the party to Che but leaves shortly after to avoid bringing attention to them as they plan. She also provides the names of merchants who can provide the reagents provided by Takeo but leaves it up to the party.
Takeo – is present briefly but warns the party against making direct moves against who they think the creature, The Lómipilu, is until they have worked out a plan to trap it.
Che Shenyuo – Che was born a very long time ago and remembers the first wars with the shadow. The son of a Ryokughan Merchant and an elf he has an extraordinarily, some may say unnaturally, long life span. Because of this he is looked after by the Harimasu family and guarded constantly because of the knowledge he holds.
The wars of his younger days may be over but the horrors he saw live with him today. Now that there is a call to arms again he may be the only one who remembers how The Shadow was pushed back last time.
This week has a problem to solve. How do you catch a shadow. Whilst not like the incorporeal shadow creature this one is something that uses the shadow to move between the material plane and pocket dimensions it creates. The question is how do we catch it.
For me this week is easy. The first cool sounding, plausible solution the party comes up with we go for. No holding back and jump with two feet. The outcomes is what we will cover tonight.
What ever the solution the creature will dive towards and into the nearest patch of shadow (remember that it’s human size so its got to make sense.) And it will create a portal to its central pocket dimensions. The portal will be big enough for the party to fit through (big-medium or smaller) and it will remain open as long as a source of light is present on both sides of the portal.
Our orb of light friend may pose a solution here but more on that this weekend.
Once open we cut to next weeks adventure, fighting the creature in it’s home turf.
Suggested help from the Orb.
When we look at how to catch a shadow we need to understand what is possible in this world. For us that’s easy as the above adventure states – pick something that sounds plausible that would work that the party can think of.
The orb of light can help us in our task by laying a path of dragon scales (I think we can all see where I am going with this…) to lead the shadow somewhere, provide a burst of light randomly in the room or otherwise lure, pin, or herd the creature somewhere. Perhaps for a few nights the party wakes up with more glowing dragon scales at their bed, or finds them through the room. Maybe the party fashioned weapons out of them or items that can give of bursts of light. If they want to see if a merchant or artisan is available to creature something then I would say that Heavens Reach city is the place to find them.
The creature once realised it was trapped will dive for the last pocket of shadow that is available and will retreat to its pocket dimension. Once the portal is open a orb of light will flicker down from the ceiling and pulse with a comforting glow that stops the portal from knitting closed.