Thursday, January 5, 2012

frustrations in Pasar

A small but bustling market-city and with a constant influx of travelers, including many from hundreds of miles away, Pasar seemed a cosmopolitan places—and yet Gwinch received an inordinate number of long stares. He was not the only foreigner-- was he really the most foreign-looking foreigner? Well yes-- under his monks robes, battered armor and travel-grime-- he probably was the most foreign-looking, but still the way that people looked at him-- not hostile, but not welcoming, and several shades deeper than mere curiosity-- was a little disconcerting. ("I've got a big red sunburned nose, get over it!")

There was a monasterey of the Two-Fold Path in Pasar. Gwinch and his associates were welcomed there and the abbot gave him some useful information. Indeed, the Governor Kawabi had been there, only some few months earlier, and with a small band of weary, and world-weary, desperate men. The Governor wanted information about Tempat Larang. Everyone in Pasar had heard of Tempat Larang, an important, now-ruined city in a great, now-vanished empire. But they didn't know where it was. South. West. Southwest. Somewhere in the mountains.

And the Governor had also wanted to know the legends about the foreigner from beyond the Celestial Sea. Everyone knew that story-- or at least that they should do when they met him or what would happen if they did. Kill him? Welcome him? Buy him a new set of clothes? Would he revive the the old empire or would he destroy the last remnants? Would he aid one faction in subduing or converting its factions? Peaceful reconciliation? Or obliterating all-out war? Good luck in business? The abbot himself rejected such fantasies.

The Governor didn't like the answers he heard, and he visited the wrath of his frustration on several nearby villages. But he at least accepted that no one could give him a definitive answer and moved on.

The General also passed through, asking the same questions. He was satisfied to at least get news of the Governor.

And now Gwinch was chasing both men? The abbot assigned 8 novices to his command, giving them the opportunity to see first-hand the traps laid by ambition.

The party spent several weeks in Pasar, staying at the local Monastery of the Two-Fold Path. Gwinch trained his men. Kishi just disappeared for a while and then came back. During their time in Pasar, Gwinch met Genzo, a warrior, an aristocrat, and a liege of the Emperor Khan Kobra. Genzo was interested in Gwinch’s background and his quest and offered to come with him on one condition. Like Gwinch, Genzo did not have a horse. And he was used to traveling with at least two horses, one for himself, and one for his armor and equipment. He had heard that there was a treasure buried in a village near Pasar—if they discovered the treasure, they might each buy horses and continue Gwinch’s mission in style.

They found the boulder that marked the place where the treasure was buried, according to stories, the tomb of a rich and evil man. Gwinch asked Saisho to do some research, and they discovered that in the days when Tempat Larang was a great city in a great empire, that empire’s greatest threat was a pirate named Chan Chiong. The governor of Tempat Larang hatched a plan to create strife among the pirates, and Chan Chiong was captured by his own men. As punishment, he was sealed inside a vault near a village on the Northern villages of that empire. Although less than certain that they would actually find a treasure, Gwinch and his associates worked with Kenzo to move the boulder that sealed the vault and ventured inside.

The party overcome several traps and magical guardians, but were stymied by a pair of stone lions that stood on either side of a secret door.
IMG_0487 by Brayo
IMG_0487, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.
They could hear Chan Chiong on the other side of the wall, first engaged in counting something, and then begging them to free him so that he might avenge himself on the rulers of Tempat Larang. But he could offer no advice. Gwinch tried waving food in front of the lions and singing the songs that had helped them open other doors within the vault, but the only way to get the statues to do anything was to attack them. When hit with weapons, the statues briefly came to life, but then returned to the wall. Gwinch devised a plan for killing the lions before they could resume their stone form, but this left him only with two dead lions, a blank wall, and the voice of Chan Chiong, promising riches if only they would move the wall. Sorry!

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