It’s unheard of K’Tenshin to ask for help, they’re too proud. While there was no open animosity between them and the other arapagoi, such cooperation was extremely rare. So, when my sister called, I readily agreed. Not only was the thought of learning more about the K’Tenshin — first hand — appealing, blood is thicker than water, so they say.
A’horangi brought in three other adepts, ones that I already knew and trusted: Azurea (troll Shadow and Elementalist), Elisen (windling Cavalryman and Troubadour), and Lazulin (troll Raider and Sun Herald). We made sure to bring formal clothing and some gifts, small things. K’Tenshin were known for being more formal, more serious, more military than other t’skrang, so we wanted to avoid insulting them.
So off we went, on a long riverboat journey down the Serpent, past Lake Ban, to the K’Tenshin War College. The journey was about two weeks long, but uneventful. Being on the river was relaxing and we spent the time discussing what we knew about the K’Tenshin, which was much too little.
Once we arrived at the college, we were greeted pleasantly and taken to the proctor of the War College, M’Rain. He was prideful, and not happy to be asking for help. But we could tell that he felt he had to do what was best for the college. He explained the situation.
About three weeks ago by then, two college instructors had disappeared in the night. The first that the college knew of their disappearance was when their students reported the instructors had not appeared for class. The instructors were W’Stat and I’Jacloi; they were a mated pair. The two both taught fighting styles at the college, but different ones. When the staff went to their rooms, they found a disarray, clothes and other belongings strewn about. They’d obviously left in a hurry. Yet, there were no obvious signs of violence. A boatman reported that he’d seen the pair early that morning, with a third unrecognized figure, leaving on a small boat, heading west on the Serpent.
The pair hadn’t left the college in years, so for them to up and leave with no notice was shocking, out of character. We investigated their rooms. Yes, they were in disarray. Among the disarray, we found no weapons, so the pair must’ve left armed. Some of their clothing was missing, perhaps enough for a week. We spend a couple of hours searching through every nook and cranny in that apartment. Elisen finally turned up a drawing of three t’skrang. College officials confirmed that two of the figures were W’Stat and I’Jacloi, but she did not recognize the third. The three were roughly the same age, but the third, unknown t’skrang wasn’t dressed as a warrior or instructor. From his clothing we surmised he was a merchant, or someone in business like that. The artist who signed it was local, Named J’Son. We also found a small wooden token, about the size of a silver piece, with the Name Farram carved into it. We learned that Farram was a trading town about a week west of the college along the Serpent, just where the Iontos River diverted south.
We talked to JSon, the local artist. The drawing had been made about four years ago, while the locals were still resident in the kaer. J’Son said that the third figure was Named K’Rok. He had been a student at the college, but didn’t graduate; along the way, he realized that he wasn’t cut out to be a Tail Dancer.
We boarded a ship and headed west to Farram. About three days into the journey, we felt and heard a loud thud on the side of the boat. Looking around, we saw a serpent-like creature rise up out of the water, and one of its two heads grabbed a crewman and swallowed him whole! It turned out that the creatures were ufghanti, some larger and meaner than the others, but all were tough to kill. They spat poison at anyone within range and their two heads gave them a huge advantage in melee. Several of us were poisoned, myself included, but between having Kelia’s Antidote on hand, and Azurea’s wonderful healing abilities, we recovered.
There were no more problems reaching Farram and showed some locals the token. They told us that the token was from a festival held in Farram a couple of years ago. Revelers had bought them to participate in the games.
Showing the drawing around Farram got a strange reaction. Many people were apprehensive, worried, protective, when they saw the sketch. Most were unwilling to say anything. One brave soul muttered that we should talk to the town leader. A’Horangi asked, “Do you mean the mayor?” The villager scoffed, “No, more like boss. Go to the big tavern down the street,” and hurried away.
So we visited the tavern. As we approached, the area became too still, too quiet. Looking around, we noticed one person watching from a nearby rooftop, and another scampering away across other roofs. They knew we were coming.
Inside, we found not just the town boss — a thug Named V’Korn — but W’Stat and I’Jacloi! V’Korn was smug, sure of himself. We asked why the two instructors were here when they had a contract to work at the college. V’Korn’s answer wasn’t clear, but he implied that they were here to take care of a debt. Besides V’Korn there were about a dozen other thugs — melee types and archers — in the room. Elisen distracted them all, talking about wanting to sign on with V’Korn, how he’d be better at the job than they were. This gave the rest of us time and cover to scan the room for details. A’Horangi noticed one doorway that most people in the room kept glancing at, over and over again. Lifesight located two t’skrang in the basement. One was injured and on the ground, while the other was healthy and stood over the first one.
Our conclusion was that the injured t’skrang must have been K’Rok and that W’Stat and I’Jacloi were here to prevent V’Korn from killing him. Azurea bonded with the earth and identified a coal chute at the back of the tavern that could be used for a stealthy entrance.
We went to a hotel, rested a while. Then in the wee hours, Azurea crept out stealthily enhanced, using LIfesight, and snuck into the tavern’s basement. Meanwhile, Elisen went to the tavern’s front door and loudly sang and entertained V’Korn’s gang to distract them. Azurea found what we’d expected, and eliminated the guard, unshackled K’Rok and returned to the hotel with him. Fearing that the guards would notice that K’Rok was gone, we left K’Rok at the hotel while the rest of us returned to the tavern, by the front door.
K’Rok had given us a bit of information that only he and the two instructors would know, about their lack of prowess at a simple t’skrang game. So, A’Horangi started the conversation with V’Korn with this comment and a significant look at the two instructors. That got the point across. V’Korn realized something was wrong, and melee began. Before we could blink, I’Jacloi had drawn her sword and cleaved V’Korn in two. After an almost hesitant defense, the remaining thugs surrendered. Lazulin killed about half, while A’Horangi knocked out the rest, letting them survive long enough for jail.
During the brief fight, we noticed how W’Stat and I’Jacloi fought in unison, even though they used different styles. Truly a mated pair.
Afterwards, they confirmed our surmise that V’Korn had taken K’Rok captive and that their long-standing and close friendship with him demanded that they do whatever V’Korn demanded to keep him safe. The three t’skrang returned with us to the War College. M’Rain was happy to have his instructors back. At first, he was angry that they’d gone off in spite of their commitment to the college, but we framed the situation as a matter of loyalty and honor, and we expect that W’Stat and I’Jacloi will retain their standing, or even gain some, at the college.
A’Horangi stayed in K’Tenshin to study Tail Dancing at the college, while the rest of us took the next riverboat back north to Syrtis.
Lifetime LP: 132,635
Lifetime SP: 10,555.5
Lifetime TIPs: 62
LP 29,400 [28,000 + 5%]
SP 1,687.5 [1,350 + 25%]
14 days of Down-time
Forge Weapon, rank 5: 1,300
Item History, rank 5: 1,300
Awareness, rank 5: 1,300
Fireblood, rank 5: 1,300
Wound Balance, rank 5: 1,300
Conversation, rank 3 to 5: 2,100
Forge Armor, rank 0 to 4: 2,900
Resist Taunt, rank 0 to 4: 2,900
Willforce, rank 8: 5,500
Steel Thought, rank 8: 3,400
Lifesight, rank 4 to 7: 7,800
Remaining Bank: 535 LP
Training for 5th Circle Weaponsmith: 800
Kelia’s Antidote: 125
Remaining Bank: 1,094.8 SP
Remaining Bank: 19 TIPs
3 days Increase Strength to 10 [1 day spent previously] [Cooldown until March 6]
5 days Training for 5th Circle Weaponsmith
6 days remaining