145 – Night at the Manse

You consider going to visit Chiyoko, yet you know Elder Kejak wants a report at breakfast tomorrow morning.   You doubt you could bullshit your way through breakfast and you did not have any farm animals to distract him with this time.   Not that the goat worked the first time.

You wrestle between your responsibilities and desires.   You decide to investigate the Manse first.  Elder Kejak’s new assignment is not busy work unlike his last assignment.  You give the Five Moons of Denial a disgusted look.   The fate of Creation depends on your success of this assignment.

You yawn.  Maybe after you find something useful to report to Elder Kejak, you can visit Chiyoko.  Maybe sneak in a nap before breakfast.

You give Mei Mei a scratch behind her ears and leave Elder Kejak’s room.  You shut the door quietly.  The hall is empty.  The manse is quiet at this late hour.  You step outside of fate.

You follow the first servant you see around for a few minutes until you realize this was dumb.  There is not enough time to follow every servant around.  Anyways Sunan proves that a Lunar could become Dragonblooded as easily as a mortal.  You will have to think like a Lunar and to learn how Lunars think….  Maiden’s Titties1, you are going to have to read the Five Moons!

Bah.  You decide to spend tonight memorizing the layout of the Manse.   You explore the top floor of the manse.  A hallway lined with guards ends with a red door with a fierce dragon carving.  Spirit Speech script lines the doorway.  Wards.  Powerful Wards.   This must be the Shogun’s residence.   You head downstairs, not wanting to brave the wards.

You come across the kitchens, spacious with large copper pans hanging above the cold stoves.   Two women in white uniforms stand in a storage room of Winter’s Breath Jars.   They discuss firing a long time employee for tardiness and poor performance.

“She’s burnt all the bread yesterday and today didn’t even show up.  Said she was sick.”  The dark haired woman crosses her arms.   “I don’t know what has gotten into that girl.”

“She’s been hanging around that strange trader who came by.”  The other blonde woman counts the jars and mark on a clipboard.

“Bah.  He hasn’t been around for weeks.  What does that have to do with burnt bread?”  The two woman leave the kitchen and do not discuss the topic further.

The double doors at the back of the kitchen open out a garden filled with fresh herbs, fruit trees and vegetables.   The moon washes out the plants in silver light.   A tall well-dressed man berates two groundskeepers about dead rats.

“Rats don’t vanish, boys.”   The man slaps a pair of white silk gloves in his hands as he lectures the two men.   “Two weeks ago, we had a serious rat problem.  So bad the rats got into the Shogun’s medicines.   I promised her doctor I’d take care of it.  You have to have something to show to prove the rats are gone.”

“The rats are gone.  All the traps are empty.”  The older groundskeeper explains.  The old man’s face tanned by the sun and creased with soil.

“Are they now?  Or maybe you are so incompetent you can’t bait a rat trap correctly.”    The man grabs his glove in the last slap and shakes the glove at the men.  “Get out there and find me those rats.”

The younger man stares after the well-dressed man with a worried, yet thoughtful expression on his face.   The older man scratches his hair under his hat.  “I told you he wouldn’t listen.  What do we do now?”

The younger man shrugs.  “I don’t got time to find rats that don’t exist.  You want a brew?”

The old man snorts.  “What the fuck?  Nothing we do makes that bastard happy anyways.”  The two men head back to the shed.

The sound of whining dogs brings you to the clean and well-kept kennels next to the garden.  A voice hushes the puppies.  You look though the bars for a closer look.  The moonlight shines off the shaved head of an Immaculate Monk.

“All gone!”  She says in a high pitches whisper.   She shakes an empty burlap sack.   The puppies wag their tails and she sits down and plays with them.  Rubbing their tummies and throwing toys to play fetch.   She hears the sound of the gardeners slamming the shed door.  She creeps over and sees if anyone is around.  The Monk stands up and brushes off his robes.  “Until next time, puppies.”  She sneaks out of the kennels and back into the manse.  You follow the monk into the area of the manse set aside for the Immaculate temple.  Hard wood pews face a jade lecture.   The walls are washed white and essence lights flicker above.  The young monk, you see now she is a wood aspect, goes to back to bed.

 

You walk through a hallway of offices, similar to the offices in the Bureau of Destiny in Yu-Shan.   One office doorway illuminates the hallway.

“It shouldn’t matter to the minister who is Shogun next.  Her people need food and our legions need Jade.  Tell them to get off their ass and sign the agreement before her people starve.”   A fire aspect with short clipped fire orange hair paces the office.  He pauses, looks out the window overlooking the garden.  “Perhaps we should word that better before putting it into the letter.”  The man gives his reflection a self-deprecating smile that reminds you of Chiyoko.  This is Chiyoko’s father, you realize.

Lung Guanyu spins around and looks in your direction.  You retreat behind the doorway in the hall.

“Is something wrong, Guanyu?”  His scribe asks.

“No,”  He turns back to the window.  “I just felt a chill.”

“With your mother’s illness, you’ve been working too many hours. Perhaps you should turn in for the night.”  The scribe suggests.

“No.  Let’s finish this letter and sign off on those Seventh Legion requisitions first. Then we will be done for the night.“

“Yes, Sir.”    The scribe sighs.  In a more energetic tone, he begins to read the letter as written thus far.

You feel a chill brush past you.  Someone else was in the hallway.  Elder Kejak turns a corner as if he is on an evening stroll.  His eyes search the hallway.  You step back into fate out of sight of the doorway.  Elder Kejak puts a finger to his lips.  Then he makes a shooing motion with his hand.  You nod and step back out of fate.   You hear the Secretary enter the room and greet Chiyoko’s father.

You walk past a dining hall holding a wild party.   A Nemoah plays a harp while a rainbow of Dragonblooded drink and lounge on long couches.   A naked water aspect man runs by the doorway, chased by a group of scantily clad mortal woman.   You consider investigating, but the night does not last forever.   After what you have seen in Yu-Shan, you doubt the Dragonblooded could do anything to shock you.

You head upstairs to Chiyoko’s Room and find her two guards outside.  One by Chiyoko’s door, another by Aiko’s.  You sigh.   Why could anything be easy?

What do you do?

  • Find a corner to hide and summon an Infallible messenger to have Chiyoko open the door
  • Go outside to the garden and climb up to Chiyoko’s room
  • Go to bed. You are tire.  You can sneak into Chiyoko’s room tomorrow night.
  • Other

 

1 Maiden’s Titties is the worse and most disrespectful curse you know.  If Akachi caught you saying it, you’d be in big trouble.  It’s also Haythem’s favorite curse.

 

((Yes, I am stealing SemiCasual’s footnotes.  At least for this post))

 

((Still not completely happy with this post.  I feel like I packed too much in it.  ))

Advertisements