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Kara-Tur Adventures

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*

Wolfe

  • 0
  • Death. Honor. Hangovers.
Kara-Tur Adventures
« on: October 13, 2018, 06:39:09 PM »

It took three months for Wolfe, Sera, and Doctor Wicker to make the voyage across the sea to the distant continent of Kara Tur. Wolfe explained to Cat as they traveled that his home was actually an island off the shore of the main continent and the vast empire that ruled the mainland. Their home, the island kingdom of Bertan had remained independent in no small part thanks to the strength and wisdom of his shogun (and Sera's grandfather), Shiro no Ishimoto. Shiro was an Elf who had lived for hundreds of years and maintained peace and order in their land. Wolfe had come to the island in his youth, still a teenager, a stowaway on a merchant ship that he had jumped upon to escape his life in Waterdeep. An unruly, angry youth, it was Shogun Ishimoto who took him in and taught him the values of honor, respect, and hard work. In time he proved himself in battle and earned the love of one of Shiro's daughters.

It had been several years since he'd returned, and as they made landfall he felt wetness sting his eyes as he looked out upon the land he had come to love.
"The air is so much fresher here, Cat. The trees so much greener. Everything just feels like.. more." He guided his friend and his daughter along the old road he had traversed many times, until several hours later they came to a large palace, ancient wood maintained by spells and ceaseless efforts to maintain its beauty. The gardens and springs that surrounded it were lush and verdant, the water crystal clear and refreshing smelling. If ever there was a paradise, this might well be it.

The banners that surrounded the palace bore the wolf's head that Wolfe once wore around his neck. He wore it no longer, having imbibed the potion that was crafted to cure his daughter, and instead she wore the pendant that held the curse at bay. Shokan, the ancient daikatana that had been gifted to him, lay secured upon his back, as did the wakazashi at his lower back, strapped and secured. The guards recognized both Wolfe and Sera, though they were obviously surprised.


"I've come to see to my duty." Wolfe said solemnly to the men before him who parted their glaives and let them through, albeit two armored warriors clad in oriental splint mail - similar to Wolfe's - followed behind them as their escort.

They entered a long hall illuminated by candlelight that smelled of lotus petals. The walls and pillars held banners, weapons, sculptures and metalwork that indicated the collective trophies and tributes of lifetimes. In the grand hall of the shogun, the Elf sat upon his throne, clad in armor, his bald pate shining in bright illumination of the room just as the sun was setting outside.


"Hideto." The Shogun's voice came out with a note of pride mingled with surprise. While he spoke common, there was a strange accentation to it, the dialect here different from the mainland of Faerun. "I did not expect to see you, nor Serafina, ever again. A pleasant and welcome surprise."

Wolfe bowed his head deeply, the name spoken aloud seeming to be his. He stepped forward, slowly unclasping the straps to the hilt of Shokan. There was a moment where the Shogun's guards, all elves, tensed and reached for their weapons, but the Shogun lifted a hand and they stayed their hands. "Shogun, I apologize for my delay. It took some... time... to bring your granddaughter home." Wolfe kept his head bowed in supplication, the hard-edged and grumpy manner of the man fading to deep respect for the Elf he went to kneel before and present his weapon to with both arms, raised and outstretched in surrender. "If I have erred in my service, I surrender the weapon that you gave to me, and humbly submit myself to your judgement."

The Shogun did not reach for the weapon, though he did slowly stand. He looked toward Sera first, then Catriona. Focusing his gaze to the Half-Elf specifically, the Shogun's gaze carried the weight of centuries. He did not acknowledge Wolfe's offering just yet, nor Sera. "I do not know your name. I am Shiro no Ishimoto, the Lord Protector of these lands. You have come with my family - and whatever grievances I have with them can wait until we are introduced and you are made welcome in my home.

Come."
He gestured to a small table that sat to the right of the throne that sat low to the ground. Several cushions sat for obvious chairs. "Please, sit. Make yourself comfortable. Would you like some tea? I would see that your physical needs are met before I see to those who brought you here."

Wolfe didn't move from his supplicating position, his head not lifting to give Cat indication of what she should do. He trusted her to figure it out just fine, given that he had a great deal of faith in her common sense.

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
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  • For Lantan.
Re: Kara-Tur Adventures
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 12:26:15 PM »
As her tenure with The Watch apparently came to an end, Doctor Catriona Valaensariel Wicker had become somewhat adrift in purpose.  She’d gone from studying the Spellplague alone, spelunking and researching in moderately dangerous hotspots to jumping right into the mouth of peril with her new comrades.  When Mister Wolfe invited her along to the Far East lands, she resolved that there could be much to discover there on not only her own affliction (as she called it) but for science.

The Doctor entrusted the REX, her in-progress battle carriage, to Father Euron Sand.  She also stationed her mechanical gnomeish construct, LEROY, with the priest at SunderwoodEuron would need all the help he can get, rebuilding that town and a tireless automaton with some useful functions could only be a boon. 

Before departure, Catriona procured several texts and librams on the culture she would be encountering, to fill in the gaps in her knowledge.  It would be good to seperate rumor from fact, understand nuance and customs, and, if she could, learn the regional language.  Aboard the long voyage, this was what usually occupied her time.  There were moments when she provided scientific insights on solving problems or increasing efficiency aboard the ship, but as she is timid, those usually came about when she had a few drinks.

The Doctor mused at some point how it was strange that both she and Mister Wolfe came from "Island Kingdoms", a fact she did not learn until the topic became central.  When they made landfall, she took his comment about the environment quite literally, indicating to him that she did not need to wear her glasses here.  The incoming sensory information wasn’t headache inducing as it was in the West, for whatever reason.

She would find interest in the small shops and merchants found along the land journey, the exotic jewelry and colorful garments standing out.  It was probably the first time she and Sera had decent moments of amicability; one could only watch the awkward Doctor Wicker try to work a kimono or tie an obi waist belt before feeling sorry enough to help a girl out.  It was likely endearing in a sense that she wanted so much to respect the culture and fit in.

The affair of the return of the prodigal ‘son’ and granddaughter had Catriona very quiet and not seeking to interrupt the affair years in the making.  There was also the matter of taking in the incredible architecture and environment, which she could do all day if she was not summoned to speak herself.  Unexpected.

Being singled out in such a fashion has the kimono clad doctor, tense slightly, but her bow is deep and respectful (tons of practice!).  She did her best to cover her natural uneven tenor. “An honor, Lord Protector. Your home is ..um.. remarkable.”

When offered further conversation with the leader, thoughts raced through her mind as she was not prepared for anything like this.  Particularly without Mister Wolfe/Hideto or even at least Sera to accompany her. 

“Doctor Catriona Wicker of Lantan, Lord Protector.” she adds, introducing herself. “Certainly.” she says on the tea and will take the seat offered. “I appreciate your hospitality, Lord Protector.. I have no current um... needs, I can think of.”

After that, she tried to not look awkward; succeeding about 75%.

*

Wolfe

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  • Death. Honor. Hangovers.
Re: Kara-Tur Adventures
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 02:15:06 PM »
"You honor me with the adoption of our customs, Doctor Wicker." The Shogun Shiro offered a small smile toward the Half-Elf, his own long-life on clear display through the pointed tips of his ears. But the Shogun was unlike any of the Elves that Catriona had known, not that she'd had a wide array of experience. Maybe it was just the facial hair. "It has been many years since I visited Lantan; I understand it suffered greatly during the tragedy that beset most of Faerun. I hope that you can illuminate me of the changes of your home in the last century.

I beg your pardon, my honored guest, in that I must see to business of my family and my sworn retainer, first."


Shiro then turned his attention to Sera, his gaze hardening as he looked past Wolfe, still supplicating and offering his weapon to the Lord Protector of the land. "Serafina. You have much to explain."

Sera was obviously nervous, the moment a difficult one given what she'd gone through and left. Nonetheless she stepped forward and spoke quickly in the native tongue of the land. "私が説明したい祖父"

"Speak in the Faerunian tongue, so that our guest may understand." Shiro said in a cold, abrupt rebuke to Sera's opening statement. Though Cat had learned enough from the books and Wolfe's teachings to get the gist of what was said, Sera's repeating of the sentence helped place some grammatical shifts that allowed the translation to come through more clear. "Grandfather.." Sera said slowly, bowing her head again. "I want to explain and submit myself to your judgment."

Leaning back in his seat, Shiro steepled his fingers. "Proceed."

Taking a slow breath, the woman who's mixed heritage made her appear starkly different than everyone else in the room, seemed to find her mettle. Cat would notice there were mostly Elves and Humans in this room, Wolfe and Sera the only ones bearing the green skin of Wolfe's forebearer. It was clear there was some sentiment of animosity toward them both from Shiro's guards and attendants, though whether that was from their heritage or their deeds was not clear.

"I did not know what was in my veins - when the Curse took me, I killed my own mother. I turned away from the face of my father, who sought to help me. I ran away in shame and in grief. In Faerun, near the city of Neverwinter, I tried to find a cure for my curse. I did... questionable things in my desperation." Her words faltered for a moment, and her shame shined clearer as she held back tears, her voice choked with emotion. "And I brought more shame to my parents and their sacrifices. My father reminded me of my family, of my duty, of what I owe this land. So I've come to submit myself to your judgment."

Shiro seemed to consider the matter for a moment. "It has been five years, Serafina, since your claws took the life of my daughter."

"Yes.." Sera acknowledged that act, tears sliding down her cheeks, but she held her head bowed as she knelt before Shiro then, falling to Wolfe's side.

Shiro's white eyebrows rose slowly, as he noticed something for the first time. "You wear your father's pendant -- the one I gave to him. Hideto.." He turned his gaze to Wolfe then for the first time. "It would have taken months to reach there. You are unbound, now?"

Wolfe answered without lifting his head, his arms still held up in supplication. "The one that Sera was putting her faith in - the one I mentioned in my letters - found a cure, My Shogun."

"You took the cure over giving it to your daughter, my son?"

Wolfe grimaced but did not raise his head. "It wasn't tested yet. There was a mention it might kill whoever drank it, or just not work."

At that, Shiro smiled. Rising from his seat, he stepped over before Wolfe and Sera. "Ever reckless, my son." The Shogun reached down and took up Wolfe's daikatana, looking over Shokan slowly, the Elf's white eyebrows once more raised as he inspected it. "The blade is different from when I gave it to you, Hideto. I sense great magic within it now."

"That was Cat -- er - Doctor Wicker's work. She helped me infuse the blade with the magic of another, reforging it. She helped me find my purpose again, and was one of the reasons I went after Sera after giving up for a time." Wolfe spoke plainly about his own deficiencies, not shying away from the fact he'd wandered away from his path for a time.

Shiro slowly turned to regard Cat for a moment, a slow smile crossing his face that drew sharp wrinkles around his mouth and crow's feet at the corners of his eyes. "Indeed?"

Turning his attention fully to Sera and Wolfe, Shiro lowered the weapon. "Serafina, you suffered from a curse beyond your knowledge - I will not punish you for that which you had no control over. The death of your mother is regrettable; for I loved her very much, as much as I love you. Your cowardice and your fleeing from the consequences of your responsibilities and your families I am less inclined to forgive."

Wolfe spoke up then, lifting his head to look up at his Shogun in the eye. "I'll suffer whatever her punishment is, Shogun. It was my--"

Shiro bapped Wolfe on the nose with the hilt of Shokan then, drawing an 'OW!' that made Wolfe lift his hands to cover his face. "Be silent. Your time away has made you forget yourself." The Elf Shogun sighed and turned his full attention to Sera. "As punishment, you will work without pay for the next two years, indentured to this house and the needs of your cousins, aunts, and uncles. You will serve as their steward, their babysitter, their wetnurse, and their laborer. You will work hard until I have gained the sense that you have remembered yourself and your duty, and if I hear a single complaint come from your lips I will treat you as I would any other abandoning servant." Quick as a snake - faster than Cat might have sensed without her own special perception, Shiro had drawn Shokan from its scabbard and placed the tip of it beneath Sera's blade, lifting her chin up to look him in the eye. A yelp came from her, a small smell of blood, and Wolfe growled and held still.

"Do I make myself clear, granddaughter?"

Sera gulped slowly. "Y-yes, grandfather."

"Go. Ishami shall take you to the rest of the family. You will find them and apologize to each of them. Tell them you are their servant for the next two years. When it reaches dusk return here, and we will speak more."

Sera nodded and rose, leaving as commanded. She shot Cat and Wolfe one more look over her shoulder before departing, wiping at her chin where blood had been drawn. Shiro waved a hand over the blade, and Shokan's edge was cleansed of Sera's blood. He sheathed the sword and then turned to regard Wolfe. "I gave you this sword when you were younger than she. Ever have I known that the hand the wielded it would enforce my will and do honor to me and my family." Slowly Shiro turned the weapon, offering the hilt back to Wolfe. "You have repaid my faith with service, Hideto. If I have ever lost that faith, you have shown me I was unwise to do so. Take up this weapon again, and know that you are my son."

Tears marred Wolfe's eyes for a moment, and he slowly accepted the offered sword. He tried to speak but could not find the words at first. Rising to his feet, he started to, but was interrupted as Shiro reached forward and embraced the Half-Orc in a powerful hug. "Welcome home, young Wolfe."

Wolfe returned the hug, the two men standing there for a moment, seeming to work through whatever emotions of a loved one lost between the two - the years apart having not seemed to diminish the love between the two. Shiro leaned back and placed his hands on Wolfe's shoulders, the Half-Orc a bit taller than him, but the raised platform gave the illusion of equal height. The Elf smiled and gestured to the table Cat sat at. "Come, let us eat. I would very much like to hear from both of you of your adventures - your letters gave too little information of how you both met and how you came to this... Sunderwood."

Leading them both back to the table, attendants soon brought tea, sake, and food. Small plates of sashimi, bowls of rice, garlic spiced-edamame, and some soup. From there, Shiro settled cross-legged, and Wolfe did the same, settling next to Cat. The Half-Orc let out a soft groan of rising hunger. "Gods I've been dreaming about this food since we got on the boat here." Shiro seemed amused at that, especially as Wolfe started to dig in and get some of the sake into his belly right away.

"Doctor Wicker, please, tell me about yourself. What is your field of study?"

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
  • 0
  • For Lantan.
Re: Kara-Tur Adventures
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 03:44:23 PM »
It was surprising to hear that he himself had visited Lantan, though when she was young, she was too ignorant of the culture to properly identify who these “trade partners from the east” were in any specificity.  She just recalled all their beautiful armors and weapons, their fireworks and incredible discipline.  For years, the adage was that the only true rivals of science in the world to the Lantanese were those of the Kara-Turan people.  She was looking forward to finding the thought leaders in the region and sharing information. 

Catriona did not being up the actual cataclysmic end of Lantan just yet, if only not to spoil the Shogun’s mood in some way that Wolfe or Sera might end up paying for.  So she merely nodded slowly.

Mute was the doctor during the familial saga playing out in front of her.  Discomfort restd on her shoulders like an old coat; seeing someone being disciplined was always problematic, though when she herself was invoked, it made it all the more so.  She wasn’t special at all, in her mind. She held no station or royal class or even the status of some kind of ambassador or diplomat.

Still, she sat in reserved silence, listening the the lyrics of a song with which she was familiar, even if it was sung in a slightly different tune.  As old as this elf looked, he came across as sage, but firm.  Not some feckless warlord or fattened oligarch doing the least asked of him.  It was a window into Mister Wolfe’s upbringing, which, at the very least, was fascinating.

Mister Wolfe’s giving her credit for infusing his dai-katana had her wonder if there would be some kind of censure for desecrating an ancestral weapon, but that never came. The smile sent her way was met with just a kind of stillness on her part, then a slight bow of her head as if to affirm the facts.

The corners of her mouth perked up some finally when it looked as if the whole scene concluded without maiming or death, but in an embrace.  For someone such as her whose father saw her as nothing more than a nuisance, the moment made her wistful.

As the meal began, the Doctor watched for a moment on how the others handled things before mimicking the half orc. She finally was startled, as she tends to be… when the Shogun again singled her out.

“I uh.. Myself?  I.. study elementology and energy-based physics as primary disciplines.  I also engineer my own tools for the field, as it is not a...umm there are not many elementologists around to share notes and devices.  The practical application of my engineering actually doubles as an income generator to fund my theoretical pursuits…”

Realizing she might have been rambling, she lightly gains  a bashful color and awkwardly smiles.  With her hair up, her slightly pointed, earring adorned ears are very visible, unlike the norm.  The expanse of her neck is far more exposed than usual as well, and adds to to this somewhat more mature look she exudes in this attire.  Her eyes look a hint tired, if not naturally bedroom-y, but such a thing wasn't uncommon for someone who had spectacles set on her face most of the day.

“It was only by happenstance that I..um.. encountered Mister Wolfe.