Aside : Before you ask, adjourned to April 2017. Don’t ask.
Back to it!
As I emerge from the cave to see the aftermath of the snowstorm, I am strongly reminded of the final line of Calvino’s Marcovaldo :
“Only the expanse of snow could be seen, as white as this page.”
The benefits of an Arts degree.
As I forge my way through the snow, I see what at first appears to be a horned figure crouching in the snow. Before I start to panic about meeting a miniature Balrog, I draw closer and see that a young woman with a horned helmet is kneeling in the snow, bleeding from her feet and hands.
Ooh! 8 years of Catholic school pays off! Stigmata!
While pondering the theological implications of this scene, I see that two ‘lion-like temple guardian statues’ (!!) are approaching the woman with apparent hostile intent. I can shout a warning or stay silent.
While being self-motivated, I am keen to see if this woman can assist me, which she can’t do if she’s, you know, dead. I shout out to see if I can get a better idea of what the heck is going on here.
She manages to grab her sword and wound one of the guardians, which have the given name of Komainu. Irish, I assume.
The creature then charges me and my big mouth. Since this isn’t a classroom, I can’t point at the child next to me and identify them as the culprit.
Rather, I try to dodge the charge and grab the sword which seems to have proven effective.
The good news is that the sword does two dice of damage. The further good news is that, after the wound from this horned-helmet-wearing woman, this monster only has 2 Endurance left.
The slightly less good news is that I need a 9 to hit.
I roll a 3 and a…….6!!
I now turn to the woman who, in line with the standard trope, is dying of her wounds but will presumably give me some useful information before expiring heroically in my arms.
Except for the dying part.
She says that :
- Her name is Sarissa, and she was commissioned to steal the sword (known as Shukketsu) from the shrine of ‘Ilexkeneion’ (!!)
- Apparently that anyone who stole the sword would be cursed to bleed until the sword was returned.
- Even when she no longer holds the sword, she will continue to bleed to death. (Ouch!)
I fashion a bandage for her and continue along. I can visit the shrine (and, presumably, return the sword), continue west with the sword or just journey on.
I’ve got no truck with this rivalry, so to avoid taking a side (and being subject to any curse) I elect to dash off to the shrine, stolen sword in hand.
I carefully enter the shrine and place the sword back into the obvious indentation from which it was taken. The god restores 10 (!!) points of lost Endurance in gratitude, and I push my luck by also asking one of the priests to heal Sarissa.
A priest agrees to seal her wounds, saving her life, but states that he will not heal her, so that she will serve as a warning to other potential thieves.
I think that’s an example of :
Sarissa thanks me and states that if I need a ‘friend’ I can ask after her in the Broken Cup sake den in Nasaka.
A hot chick thanks me, breathes heavily, and wants to meet me in a bar, in case I need a ‘friend’.
Oh yeah, I can read between the lines.
When I mention that I am heading west, she mentions her ally Rin of the Three Blades. He apparently entered the Forest of Ashigaru with a patrol of samurai and was never heard from again.
Doesn’t she know how many horror movies start that way?
In any event, she gives me a small pair of Ivory Dice as a token of our friendship.
I continue west, with the results of this travel to be kept for another time.
Stats : All modifiers : 0 Endurance : 20, Inner Force 2, Shuriken 3