21 – Golden Streamers

Golden festival streamers flutters in the bright sunny sky, as Akachi drags you by the hand through the crowded streets of Downtown Yu-Shan. Your hair is still damp from your shower after your Martial Arts lesson this morning. The two of you almost knock over a goddess carrying a large silk banner. Akachi says as he passes her by, not saying a word. You are surprised at this. He must be madder about you making him late than you thought.

Eventually you traverse the crowds to the Bureau of Destiny. Akachi adjusts his robes, trying to seem less like a man late for a meeting but an Elder Sidereal. His caste mark appears on his forehead, as he checks the time. “Why do you head up to Sasha and Wanahton’s office? I’ll come by after the meeting.” You nod, but Akachi is already at the stairs, taking two steps at a time.

You decide to take the long way to Sasha’s office. It is not often that Akachi leaves you alone in the Bureau of Destiny. Yet something about his manner this morning warns you that today may not be a good day to get into trouble. As you pass one of the windows, you see a couple of gods unfurl another festival banner. It depicts the five Solar Caste signs. Confused, you walk down the hallway, nodding to a few of the gods who bow as you pass.

In front of Sasha and Wahanton’s office, there sits an old fat bull frog sleeping. Unsure what exactly this fat frog is the god of, you have never seen him awake the many times you have been to this office over the past two months. Mischievously, you pick up a book from the frog’s desk and drop it by his chair. “Hummph!” The frog is startled awake. You try to not to laugh as you watch him get his bearings. No wonder the Owl does this to you so often.

His eyes slowly focus on you and the fat frog says “Well, what do you want?”

You having really gotten what you wanted, you say “I’m here to see Sasha.” You watch as the fat frog awkwardly gets out of his chair and waddles though half open door. He returns after a moment and with great effort he resettles himself back into the chair.

“So…. is she here?”

The fat frog’s long tongue shoots out. You duck as a large jar flies past your head. Removing his tongue from the jar, the frog opens the jar. The smell of salt and grease is overpowering as the fat frog pulls out a soggy insect. He pops it into his mouth and swallows the greasy thing whole.

“You still here?” the frog asks, pulling another insect out of the jar. You rolls your eyes and head back.

Sasha and Wanahton’s office is not really an office, but two desks tucked away in a file room. As you walk by the scrolls of reports on banal subjects as the inches of grass growth for the year and the hours that paint stays well, you wonder why anyone even bothers filing these unread reports.

Finally, the moldy pong of forgotten scrolls makes way for the sharp tang of tobacco. A few of the tall and wide drawers of maps have been pushed aside create the illusion of privacy. You can hear Haytham, Wanahton’s sifu, talking.

“Hey, Kiddo. How’s tricks?” Haytham asks, as he dangerously leaning back in a chair. Sasha is by Wanahton’s desk, trying to help him make sense of some paperwork.

“You are going to fall out of your chair if you keep leaning it back like that.” Akachi has repeating that same phrase to you often enough. You sit down in your favorite spiny chair.

Haytham scoffs at this. “Svante, I am a master of three Celestial Martial Arts. A student of secret Martial Arts that you are centuries away from even learning the name of. “ He leans further back in his chair. “I am not going to fall out of my chair.”

Wanahton takes a puff off of his pipe, “Sifu, I wouldn’t tempt fate if I were you.”

“Do you hear this, Svante? My student is a fourth my age and here he is lecturing me like my father.”

“Sasha,” you say, as you spin in your chair. “What festival is it outside?”

“It’s the first annual Memoriam of the Sun.” Sasha says, not looking up from the paperwork on Wanahton’s desk. “It took them almost eight hundred years to do it, but the Golden Gods managed to get the Calendar Gods to add a holiday to memorialize the Usurpation.”

“But…” You are confused. “Weren’t the Solars crazy? Who misses them? “ Well, besides Lunars, you think.

“A great deal of gods miss the Solars. Svante, there are lot of Gods that were doing well during the good old days when Solars were slowly destroying creation for fun and games,” Haytham explains. “When the Solars went away, a lot of things changed. Some god’s domains shrank. Lytec, lost over a third of his domain when the Solar Shards were locked away. Those gods are the Gold Faction Gods.”

“Though, it wasn’t all bad,” Sasha interjects. “Some god’s domains grew. With everything that has to be locked away from the Dragon blooded, Keeper’s domain dramatically grew. You forgot to stamp here.“ She points at the middle of one of the pages.

“Why did they put the stamp in the middle of the page like that when all the others stamps are at the bottom?” Wanahton complains.

You spin around in your chair and consider Haytham’s words. “But the Solars killed a lot of people. Don’t the god’s care?”

“Most Celestial gods don’t care about creation unless the Ambrosia stops flowing. There were even a few Sidereals who supported the Solar’s during the Usurpation. Most of them were killed or went ronin. I think Ayesha the only one who still works for the Bureau.”

You have seen Ayesha quietly knitting in the meetings you have shadowed Akachi and Sasha on. She doesn’t say much, but she doesn’t miss any either.

Sasha neatly piles the papers on Wahanton’s desk. “Ayesha… She cornered me at lunch the other day. She has some wild ideas. I don’t know what she hopes to accomplish.”

“I wouldn’t discount Ayesha Ura if I were you, Sasha. She was Elder Kejak’s student….” Haytham lowers his voice dramatically, “ …and lover.”

“No way!” Sasha says, shocked.

Wanahton puffs on his pipe thoughtfully. “Ayesha is a fine looking woman.”

“And crazy,” Sasha retorts. “What was Elder Kejak thinking?”

“Hey! Every man has at least one crazy ex. Anyways, the crazy ones are the best lays!” Haytham says, leaning back in his chair again.

“Haytham! Svante is sitting right here.”

“The boy’s going to be a teenager in a couple months. These are important life skills.” Haytham motions you over. “Roll your chair over, Svante. Let me tell you the secret to dealing with crazy woman like Ayesha Ura. “

“Don’t go near him, Svante. “ Sasha cautions. “Just ignore him.”

“Bah. Don’t listen to her. This is just between you and me. Oracle to Oracle” Haytham continues in a staged whisper. While you don’t move any closer to Haytham, you do stop spinning your chair. You are intrigued despite Sahsa’s warning.

“The secret to crazy woman is this. Number one- and this is where Arcane Fate gives us the advantage- is make sure they can’t find you afterwards. Elder Kejak screwed up by choosing Ayesha.” In the makeshift doorway to the office, you see a tall shadow approach and then stop just outside the door. “Best to avoid other Sidereals and Gods in the Bureau. “ Haytham explains helpfully.

“Number two. Make sure they are hot. Now this is where Elder Kejak got it right. As Wanahton said…“

“Don’t bring me into this,” Wanahton interrupts.

“…Ayesha Ura is a fine looking woman. “

“Haytham!” Sasha hisses. You see Elder Kejak standing in the doorway quietly listening.

“Luscious curly hair. Cute button nose. Nice big knockers. You know the term knockers, Svante, right?” Haytham leans back in his chair.

You cover your mouth to try to hide your giggles. Haytham think you are laughing about knockers, but then notices that you are looking behind him rather than at him.

“Ayesha is right behind me, isn’t she?”

“No. I am.” Elder Kejak, arms crossed, frowns at the Chosen of Secerts.

Haytham falls out of his chair.

You, Sasha, and Wanahton burst out laughing.

“Sir,” Haytham quickly picks himself off of the floor. “I am… I was just…”

Akachi appears in the doorway, with the first smile you seen him with all day. “I think you have had enough corrupting young Sidereals for today, Haytham. It’s best you find yourself elsewhere. “ Haytham quickly clears out of the room.

Akachi walks into the office, two red envelopes in hand. He offers the first one to Sasha.

“Sasha, you will be sent to the palace to assist the Shogun.”

Sasha is surprised. “There are more qualified Sidereals in the Violet Brier.”

“The Shogun specifically requested you,” Elder Kejak says. Sasha nods and solemnly takes the red envelope. Without opening the envelope, she rises from her chair and leaves with Elder Kejak.

“Is that other one for me?” Wanahton asks.

“Yes. Your first mission.” Akachi hands over the envelope. “There is a potential disturbance of Fate in a Dragon blooded Military Academy. It is a youth academy, so Yeva suggested that you bring Svante along. He has enough breeding to pass as a Dragonblooded if he doesn’t flare his anima. “

You jump up to your knees in the chair. “You want me to go on a mission!?”

“Careful!” Akachi cautions. “Don’t fall. Yes, you are going on a mission.” The rest of the conversation fades focus. You are going on a mission!

In your mind’s eye, you and Wanahton, dressed in black ninja outfits, sneak into a walled fortress. Together two of take out the guards standing in front of a large ornate door. Wanahton pushed open the door and you confidently stroll into the room. You past the bound and gagged dragonblooded students, who stare with a hopeful look in their eyes. A demon lord stands in the back, surrounded by his demonic minions.

“Demon!” You call out. “Let these students go!” you draw your sword. “Or else….”

“Or else what? What are two men going to do to stop me?” the demon replies. He starts to glow….

“Svante!” Your day dream is shattered by Akachi’s voice. “Are you coming?”

Akachi guides both you and Wanahton to the Bureau’s armory. He leads you past shelves of weapons racks and artifact cases. Double checking his number, he pulls out a thin black case. Akachi walks to a nearby table and flicks the latches on the case. Inside are a set of three star metal throwing knives. Akachi offers one to Wanahton.

Wanahton tests the weight of the knife. He nods impressed. “May I?’

Akachi nods and scoots you away from Wanahton and back towards the shelves. Wanahton throws the knife, embedding the blade deep into the wall. “Nice workmanship.” Akachi smiles, as Wanahton replaces the knife and closes the case.

“Do I get a starmetal sword?” you ask. You have admired Sifu Yeva’s sword for the past few months. Anyways, if you are going to kill demons, you need a sword.

“There hasn’t been a need for starmetal blades sized for twelve year olds. I’d make you one, but you will grow out of it in a few months. Yeva will be bringing by your equipment.” You are disappointed.

Akachi smiles. “Don’t worry. We aren’t going to leave here without you getting a toy too.” Searches though the various bins and cases, picking out a selections of artifacts. He lays them out on the table.

Picking up a clear amulet hanging off a long chain, Akachi says, “This is the Recorder of Everlasting Glories. It records every sight and sound around you for play back later. “

“The Dragonfly’s Ranging Eye,” Akachi,put the Recorder down and shows you a small lens attached to a node of star metal. “allows you to see though walls and other areas out of your line of sight.”

“This is my favorite one. “ Akachi puts on a blue jade ring. A small house cat appears and jumps on the table. You reach for it and the cat disappears as soon as you touch it. “The Ring of Images allows you to create visual and auditory illusions of anything you can imagine. “

“Which one would you like?” Akachi asks as he pulls off the ring.

Which artifact do you pick?

  • The Recorder of Everlasting Glories (Wonder of Lost Age pg. 61)
  • Dragonfly’s Ranging Eye (two point version) (Wonder of Lost Age pg. 59)
  • Ring of Images (Scroll of Fallen Races – Dragonkings pg. 24)
  • Hey! What’s that’s over there? (the other small non-combat one or two dot artifact option)

((OCC: It isn’t really a Sidereal game unless we go raiding Heaven’s toy box. Considering his track records with kids around his own age, they aren’t going to give Svante any combat artifacts. ))

((And now you see why Haytham isn’t Svante’s Sifu, even though he is in the same caste. ))

((In case you are wondering, Haythan and Yeva are about a couple centuries old. They are intermediate students who have been assigned teach beginner students like Svante and Wanahton.))