Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pasar and the Princes Episode 1 (You are the Ransom)

 While Tetsukichi stayed with his clansfolk, Beatriss, Naron, and Erlo joined Bangqiu, Kafka on their journey to Pasar. Along the way they met their friends Sir Crowler and Prince Slash who knew a shortcut to Pasar- the Gua-Sar caverns. Sir Crowler and Prince Slash were lively companions—with their affinity for animals, noble lineage, and large supply of fruit, there was never a dull moment, even though neither was much good at reading a map. They did find the Gua-Sar caverns, a series of twisting tunnels, flooded with viscous green water. There were strange voices in the air and strange hands in the water. Despite these challenges, the heroes emerged from cavern whole and found their way on to Pasar without incident. Gwinch was indeed happy and proud to meet his student who had disappeared so suddenly. He awarded Kafka the title of Master and asked him to assist a selection of novices in reaching the next milestone in their training—the wisdom that comes from experience.

During an earlier journey to Pasar, Prince Slash had attracted the attention of a beautiful woman named Jasmine and her sullen brother Lum. To his surprise, Prince Slash found that Jasmine and Lum had remained in Pasar and at least every day, he encountered at least one of them. Although Prince Slash protested to others that he hated Jasmine, he seemed to have trouble ignoring her and always smiled when he saw her. For his part, Lum showed consistent dislike for Prince Slash and his friends, barely acknowledging them; any polite words were accompanied by a heavy glare.

One day, however, Lum approached Prince Slash and his friends for help. Jasmine had been kidnapped! Although Prince Slash claimed that he was happy about this, Beatriss convinced him that regardless of his feelings about her, he had some duty to assist with her rescue if possible. And, according to Lum, little assistance was required. The bandits were demanding ransom, Lum had agreed to pay it. He requested the protection of an escort in going to meet the bandits. The friends—Prince Slash, Sir Crolower, Beatriss, and Bangqiu agreed to help. They would meet Lum the next morning.

Bangqiu wanted to help, but he was wary. He suggested that he and Beatriss should accompany the young princes in invisible form. This would give them an advantage if either Lum or the bandits had planned a deception.
Prince Slash did not fully understand the plan. When he and Sir Crowler met Lum the next morning, the first thing he did of note was explain that Beatriss was there too but invisibly. Sir Crowler contradicted him violently. Lum was uncomfortable, maybe less uncomfortable when Beatriss asked, still invisible, how far they had to travel to the bandits’ camp. He wanted to reassurance that Bangqiu was there, too.

That was strange. Strange enough that Beatriss and Bangqiu both became visible and demanded to know more. When pressed, Lum admitted that he couldn’t show them any ransom payment because he wasn’t carrying it. When pressed further, he admitted that they were the ransom payment. He was leading them into an ambush.

After some debate, the heroes decided to believe Lum’s claim that despite his deception, Jasmine really was in danger. Hearing that a man in blue robes was associated with this group, Bangqiu and Beatriss decided that they would ambush the ambusher. After making sure Lum understood that they considered him a traitor and that his life depended on helping them rescue Jasmine, they became invisible again.

When they arrived in the Black Flowers’ camp, the villains challenged Lum, demanding to know why he didn’t bring "the meddlers." The man in blue robes was there, but so was Jasmine, with a blade at her throat. Beatriss and Bangqiu surprised and overpowered the men threatening Jasmine, but before they could turn their attention to the man in blue robes, he disappeared in a flash of fire. The rest of the Black Flowers, having lost both their prisoner and their leader, were quickly routed.

Jasmine put the pieces together quickly and reveled a new one that explained Lum’s jealousy and betrayal. Lum and Jasmine were not brother and sister and neither was the child of a merchant. He was the son of a nobleman and she was a household servant. She understood his jealousy but he had taken it much too far. She wanted nothing more to do with him. Lum agreed this was fitting punishment.

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