Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Gwinch’s exile gave him an opportunity to reflect on his activities over the when year. Saisho was there to be his mirror.
G: “When you first described the House of the Lucky Dragon, I condemned that kind of business.”
S: “And then later, you started one yourself.”
G: “That wasn’t what I intended.”
G: “But the women seemed like they liked it.”
S: “They did.”
After laying low in the forest for a couple weeks, Gwinch led his men to the ruined monastery a couple hours outside Khanbaliq.
Gwinch had learned that the ruined monastery was used as a base for local monks on their way back from trips to the hinterlands in search of “temple servants.” Following (or misinterpreting) the wu jen’s dying admonition that they should look “under the temple” to see what was really going on, Gwinch and his men thoroughly explored the rubble of the ruined monastery and did indeed find a buried set of stairs. Clearing a path, they found a door, and opened it, and lit some torched to explore a musty, but innocuous complex of about a dozen rooms, once used for storage or as emergency hiding places. They also found a barred door. They opened it, followed danker, rougher passage deeper underground until they reached a small stream arched by a stone bridge. Crossing the bridge proved hazardous and although no one was fatally injured, Gwinch himself received enough wounds that he led his men back to the safe part of the monastery and barred the door. He and Saisho went to Khanbaliq, hoping to find recruit fellow dungeon-delvers.
But first he decided to do a little reconnaissance at his old house. He and Saisho, relying on spells and magic items, silently and invisibly climbed the wall, and from the roof of one the outbuildings, watched the goings-on. The stake-out was somewhat tedious for both Gwinch and bubu Singe but a few interesting pieces of information emerged:
Sheevani and the women were still there. A good number of young samurai and Zipangese clerks were now living in the compound. At the end of the night, when the light went off in the banquet room, no one left the compound. Most people went to sleep, and one samurai guard stationed himself just outside each of the three entrances to the women’s sleeping quarters. Gwinch tried a couple ruses to get into the building, and when these failed, they went to explore other parts of the city.
He met a small gang of men running a game of chance and profit just inside the walls of the outer city. Their leader wasn’t interested in doing that kind of thing, but he knew people. And he remembered Gwinch from the martial arts tournament and seemed eager to ingratiate himself, suggesting that he could help Gwinch get into some prize fights. Gwinch declined, but they agreed that Gwinch would show up at an event that was being hosted at the House of Jourdain in a few days time, featuring some high stakes gambling and plenty of women to cheer on the winners. And for Gwinch, a chance to meet some useful contacts.