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Midaki – City in Trouble

Posted in: Play,Rokugan by Te Ka Mok on January 17, 2011

After much of the feasting, tea drinking, talk talk talk! we finally leaving Shiro for south way. Kaiu daddy give many speech — he take after Grandpa this way. Like sound of voice. Te’Ka can hope that daughter-granddaughter no follow in steps, yes? Otherwise, long trip be seeming longer. Human why talk so much-much? What to say?

Nezumi talk, yes-yes. So? We having to use talk for to be the books for our people. What excuse for human? I unusual Nezumi with the reading. Human have book for the history. And still they talk-talk. Maybe want to hold back Tomorrow with hot air! Ha.

Princess in fancy wagon

So we head south to next town — Midaki village. Called High-Tree Village by some, so old Mir’Itus tells me. Road hug the Twilight Mountains. Some human worry, being close to Taint. I smell. I know. They maybe no talk aloud about it, but whew! the smell says it all. I am thinking Gami-Gami smell it too. Crab people – Hengeyokai – having good noses, too. Princess, she in wagon nice-nice. Number 1 maid, Shasuki drive horses and Kaiu De, she sit under silk. Hmmph. Boring, that’s what Te’Ka’Mok think. Boring to sit all day.

We ride along and think our thoughts. Grandpa have much advice for poor Te’Ka. My ears hurt — on the inside, they hurt from the listening. Cannot put bone away and shut up he talking. Spirit with me always. Sometimes quiet. Most times not. “Kaiu De, she have bad-bad Way of Tea! Her Ma-ma no teach right. You, Te’Ka’Mok, must help her. I teach her proper through you! She must not shame me in the Lion’s court. What will groom Matsu think? He see her wave tea whisk — chasen — around like she swatting flies and he think what? He do what? Run screaming if he smart man.” Grandpa was working up like kettle boiling over. “She got looks. Sure. Now she be beauty. Looks? They no last, honored Ratling! Tell her, tell her that her beauty will fade and then she must rely only on her abilities to entertain.”
I shake my head, but what Grandpa care. I whisper, so no one hear me, “Grandpa, I not knowing the Way of Tea. Nezumi not do this thing. I not teach Princess.” He no listen. “All right. Te’Ka’Mok get chance with Princess Kaiu De, she talk about Way of Tea ceremony. Princess agree then we teach her together, OK Grandpa?”

Tatsuoh and small boy

We barely finish discussion when Grandpa and I see small human running. I no see good, but Grandpa have eyes like hawk. Mir’Itus see human. Danger to us? Maybe small human carrying a bomb? I raise up on pony. “Tat-swoll — you see small human? Yes?” I call out to Lion ’cause he not moving to block human from Princess.

He charge his horse and meet human on road. Jump down and hold child. Princess wagon stops distance away. Smart Nya thinking could be ambush. I no smell blood on child but fear, yes. Strong. I ride up closer with Gami-Gami. Small human gasp for air. Try to speak and give note finally. Note say: Cave in. Please help. Midaki.

“‘Cave in’? What that mean, Mir’Itus? Like earth fall? Not knowing these human words very well.” He nodded as we trotted towards the village. “There are many mines in the area. I assume that the earth fall happened inside a mine. We can lend help, such as it is.”

Villagers work on digging

Soon we see High Tree Village. See big tower and trench around it. People digging in trench. I smell much here. Fear, strength, blood — faint blood. Smell iron and burnt smell, like burned bad food. Um, spoiled meat cooked, maybe. I turn to Mir’Itus — he smell too. “What is wrong with this place?” he say to me. “I not knowing but smell terrible. Even for human.”
“Yes, and even the fields look dried and dead. It is spring. They should be ore green and moist.” He got off horse and bent to pick up dirt. Little taste. “Here, Te’Ka, it tastes like iron.”

Then fat man come waddling up. Bow low to Tatsuoh. “We thank you for the help, honored warrior. And if you have magic users in your company, we ask that they not use magic!” I hear this and get off pony. “What you say, man? I healer shaman. Help-help the injured.” The Princess and Neiki joined us. Tatsuoh say to fat man, “Bow before your Princess. The celestial Kaiu De graces this place with her foot fall.” The fat man falls to ground. “No magic, you say?” Kaiu De has lovely, lovely voice. For human, of course. “Yes, yes your Grace. The builder,

Seaonus grovels before the Princess

Seaonus, is worried that the rest of the tower will fall if your magics interfere with his magic.”
The Princess frowned. “Bring him here at once.”

Seaonus was an old man. He fall on face at Princess feet. He smell bad. He smell like Taint all over. Blood and iron and rotten. He make Te’Ka’s eyes water. And the Princess is calmly talking to him. Goodly Neiki look sideways at him. She no like him. That good.

I wait for break in blah-blah human talk. “Te’Ka’Mok, of Third Whisker tribe, would speak!” Everyone stopped. “Humans hurt. I heal with magic. Save lives.” I paused and looked hard at old man. “I have spoken.”

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Meeting the Princess

Posted in: Play,Rokugan by Te Ka Mok on January 15, 2011

We were close to Shiro city when the Bakemono attack happened. So close to human city and attack for by beasts? Bad sign of bad times, yes? I healing who can be healed and Lion and Scorpion pile Bakemono carcass to burn. Ugh, what smell! But clear Te’Ka’s nose of the blood stench. Sad for lost humans. Sad for Te’Ka’Mok, but yes, Tomorrow comes and we no escape the doom. I live today, maybe die tomorrow. Eh. Until then I read and learn and complete Grandpa quest — protect Kaiu De. With life, if necessary.

Princess Kaiu De between maid Shasuki and Papa

Very nice when we enter city. People line and bow. Princess Kaiu De, father and number 1 maid, Shasuki, all greet us at door to big house. All are welcome. Even Nezumi. We given big room to ourselves. Rest, wash, eat. Then to be talking private with Princess and decide route to take for to go Lion country. Lions live north, long way. I never go there. Old Mir’Itus — he go all over — he never go there. “Gami-Gami, you go to north?” She no say much and I thinking to ask her this question. Yes? Who knows — she has secrets maybe.

Gami-Gami bowed head. “Mistress Rat. I have not to the great Lion gone. I hear, of course, the talk from monks at Temple of the Claw.” She paused, frowned. “Crab claw temple. Not Lion claw….. Crab claws, very different they are from lion. You see: cat family and the crustacean family.” She held up her hands, one and then the other.  “They are two families.” She folded her hands in her lap.
“Thank you, Gami-Gami. I enlightened now. For sure.” She stood and bow to me. “At your service, Mistress.”

Map of Southern Rokugan, Crab lands

Later we meet again in chamber with large hang-ey lights. Candle-ears, I think they called in human speech. Not all Nezumi uncivilized. I read many-many books in English, just no practice for the speaking. Except Mir’Itus and he always correct pronouncing. Very annoying so I no do anymore.

We need go from Crab to Lion. Crane and Scorpion in between. Maybe more, too before we get there. How we go and not die in clan fight, that the question. Nya, she Scorpion but not dress like Scorpion. We travel safe with her there. But Crane to pass and other land, wild with humans.
Princess rise from seat. “My friends and companions. Thank you for taking me on this journey. How shall we travel? By what roads will I safely reach my betrothed?”
Tatsuoh quickly stood. “My lady. We traveled swiftly through the Shinomen Forest, just north of here. For safety’s sake, we should retrace our steps.” Mir’Itus and me, we exchange looks. Quick-quick travel for human, maybe. Ha! Shinomen Forest home of Naga. Only travel for Nezumi from Naga throat to Naga belly. I stand up. Bow to Princess and Lion Tatsuoh.

Possible routes

“Te’Ka’Mok would speak. No travel in Forest lands. Naga eat of the Nezumi.” I sat down. The Princess nodded at me. “Is this true? Is there danger for our non-human companions?” Nya rose. “My lady, if I may…? We would be three days and nights in the Forest. The Naga but barely rouse from slumber. These of our company (she wave at me and Mir’Itus) would be safe.”

The Princess turned to me. “How would you suggest we go?” I made a show of looking at the map. “Hmm, Grandpa want you go swiftly to marriage bed, yes? No misfortunes this time, hmmm? We go by river. Or sea.” They talked long about river or sea travel. Neiki, being of the Sea Spirit folk was excited for this idea. I not follow all that is said. People put stones on map to show place to go. Talk talk talk talk talk. Then: silent as Princess pick up stone.

“I would go here.” And she place stone in middle of Crab mountain pass. Lion clear his throat. “My lady –” She met his eyes and he stopped. “It is an ancient temple of fertility. I would make the sacrifices necessary for healthy children.”
Me, I could hear Granpa yelling at me in my mind. He no want to go that way. Long way round. Better down-down to sea and sail up to Lion land. Sail like Yasuki Fumoki, pirate Crab of old.  No choice does Grandpa give me. I hold tight-tight to fingerbone. “Princess” I say loudly. “Princess, no worry for the children getting. Grandpa bids you go swift like seagull. No stop for fertility. Grandpa promise many-many babies and healthy from the big hips. Like you Ma-ma, yes? The big hips, easy way for babies…..” My voice trail off.

The Princess turned red and opened her mouth. But Nya turn to me first. “Ratling! How dare you speak!” She raised her hand to me. “How dare you speak of the Princess’ body! No one cares about your grandfather or your stupid Nezumi bone!” My turn to open mouth big.

Neiki bows

Mir’Itus begin to try to explain. But Neiki stand and bow to Princess. “I believe that I can explain the outburst of our blessed shaman.” She turned and bowed to me. “The prowess of all Third Whisker shamen and Te’Ka’Mok, herself, is not lost on my folk. She carries a great burden and a great treasure, your Grace. That is the, um how to explain it? — the bone is the physical part of your revered Grandfather Kaiu Umasa. He is here with us, thanks to the gifts of this shaman. Heed her words, for they are the words of your ancestor.”

There was silence and then the Princess turn to me and bow low. “Thank you, Te’Ka’Mok for your wisdom. And thank you, Grandpa Kaiu Umasa for your love.” She stand straight. “But I will go to the temple and make the sacrifices. I will not go to my marriage bed without the blessings of the temple!” She folded her arms in triumph.
Hmmph. Stubborn like Grandpa, no doubt on that. I hear he chuckle with delight at granddaughter. He no anger-ey at her.

So it settle. We go south and turn east to mountain temple then to great river for to turn northward. For me, for Te’Ka, she glad to be far away from Naga forests. All else, is detail.

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