Friday, April 20, 2012

Play Report: Khanbaliq to Menkan

The caravan traveled for several weeks without major incident. Everyone had their reasons to be glad that the city was behind them and their reason to hope that something new and good— whether a commission from the Emperor, a title, or just good grazing lands, a more secure and peaceful life, unfettered freedom, and fresh air— lay before them. But after a few weeks, and as they reached Chu. Yuanprovince, not only did they begin to weary of travel—they also found the way more challenging. Bad government had taken a toll on the people’s spirit and on the land itself. Farmers did not welcome nomads with their herds of grazing animals and the townspeople did not welcome anyone associated with the same distant Emperor who had sent General Goyat and General Kawabi. As they moved south, they encountered more outright hostility. While the large group of warriors were not seriously threatened, Sansar Anca prefer to avoid being forced to spill the blood of hungry people into order to protect his cattle and goats. So, rather than continue through the most devastated parts of Chu Yuan, he divided the caravan. The main body—comprising most of the “civilians” (including Beatriss’s children and servants as well as Tetsukichi’s wife and daughter), his herds, and a good number of warriors— would head Northwest, taking the long way around the Lincang Mountains to reach the grazing grounds that were their final destination. Sansar himself, with a smaller number of experienced warrior, plus some goats and herders would escort the party to the border as originally planned, but would also take an alternate route from what he had first intended. They would limit their exposure to bandits and angry peasants in Chu Yuan by travelling over the mountains.
白馬雪山 by oeyvind
白馬雪山, a photo by oeyvind on Flickr.

The trip was arduous and at times dangerously cold. On the morning of the second day of travel, some of the herders reported finding unidentified footprints in the snow field near their camp. During the worst of several storms that delayed them near the top of the pass, the travelers found a stone structure, the long abandoned outpost of a former empire. As their rations dwindled, they decided to slaughter a few of the goats. Despite these challenges, after about 10 days, the travelers reached the other side of the mountains and arrived at Menkan, the last Imperial town in Chu yuan.

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