07 – The Tall Man

As you gobble down your third bowl of stew, you listen conversations around you and try to forget about the tall man. While the guard’s conversation of the various Martial Art Tournaments would normally hold your interest, your mind keeps coming back to the tall man and his presence with this caravan.

You decide to trust your instincts. You put your empty bowl on the ground next to you and make as if you need to take a piss. Circling around camp, you creep next to the wagon nearest to the tall man and listen to his conversation.

“I’ve been thinking about the watch schedule,” Edita says.

“Oh?”

“If I switch you with Poyo, then you will be free until midnight.”

“Hmm… Suddenly, I have a lot of time to fill. Seems like I’ll have to find some way to amuse myself until then.”

“I have something for you to fill… your time with.” You hear Edita stand. “I’ll go talk to Poyo.”

“You’re the boss,” the tall man replies. As Edita walks off, the tall man mutters in dismay, “Something for you to fill? Gods, no wonder it’s been a while.” The tall man grabs his multi-colored cloak and follows Edita.

That entire conversation seemed like total nonsense until it hits you. SEX! They were talking about sex! No wonder it made no sense. You shake your head at the stupidity of adults and their inability to talk unambiguously about sex.

You see Gina heading over to the horse. As you head her direction, you can see that she is talking to one of the horses.

“What do you think, Peachy? Yeah, I think Orange and Purple clash, too. My sister has the worst taste in…” Gina sees you walking up. “Hey, Kid! Want to help me give treats to the horses?” She hands you a carrot and shows you how to give a horse a treat without losing a finger. Peachy is very gentle as she takes the carrot from you, but she quickly turns the carrot into mush. You are glad she didn’t decide your fingers were tasty too.

“Have you ever ridden a horse before kid?” Gina asks, as pats one of the horse’s neck.

“Not a real one,” you reply. You have ridden many conjured horses in Yu-Shan. No one uses real horses in Yu-Shan because of the droppings and the smell.

Gina gives you confused look at this comment. “I’ve day dreamed about riding a horse thousands of time,” you lamely add. “Can I ride a horse now?” you ask, trying to cover your flub.

“Nah. It’s too dark to ride now. Maybe if you get up early enough, there will be time in the morning. “ Gina gives her last carrot away. “Look, all gone,” she declares, showing the horses her empty hands. “There will be more carrots tomorrow, you greedy animals. You eat almost as much as Wakoto here.“ She winks at you to take the sting out of her comment.

“Well, I am off to bed!” She pauses and then rolls her eyes. “Or would be if I didn’t have some damned peacock in my tent. Oh well, don’t stay up too late, Wakoto. Not if you want to ride horses tomorrow!” She heads back to the other adults at the fire.

“I won’t!” you promise. You sit down on a rock, near the horses and day dream about riding down Anathema on horseback. Gina is riding by your side, wearing full plate armor, like in the Shogun’s armies. She smiles at you and together you cut all the Anathema down and return their stolen powers to the Sun and Moon.

An icy wind blows though the orchard by the campsite. You shiver, wishing you hadn’t forgotten your new cloak in Vanchow. Looking up, you realize that you are far enough away from the city to see all the stars in the sky. You try to go back to your day dream, but a strange tingling sensation comes over you.

You know that you will never ride horses with Gina.

You know that won’t be with this caravan for much longer.

Everyone in this caravan is in danger.

You stand up from your rock and look franticly around. There are still a few people around the fire. Three of the guards are standing around the perimeter of the caravan. You see the tall man, now shirtless, stroll purposely towards the fire. “Wake everyone up. We are being attacked.” He pulls one of the drunken caravan drivers to his feet. “Get the weapons out and make sure everyone is armed.”

“I’ll get them, “ Edita is carrying two leather breastplates. She sees Gina and tosses her one of them.

The tall man looks around. “Where’s the boy?”

You heart starts pounding in your chest. You were right. You were right about the tall man. You turn to run away from camp.

And run right smack into a blood ape.


What happens next?

  • As forbidden Secrets of sorcery burn your mind, you banish the blood ape attacking you.
  • You reach a state of Serenity. You realize that running away from camp was a poor choice and you can go back and make a different choice.
  • Perhaps it would be best for you and your companions to continue on their Journey.
  • To survive this Battle, you need to push yourself beyond your limits.
  • Your martial arts training kicks in and you have a sudden insight on how to bring about this blood ape’s Ending.

OOC: I’m really anxious to see what you guys choose.

((While Exaltation is a life changing event, it isn’t going to change Svante’s basic personality. Though, Svante is not a static character, he will change as he grows up (based on your decisions) )).
((No Sidereal had anything to do with Svante exalted at this early age. It is all the Maiden’s doing. ))

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