March 30, 2016 at 9:55 pm #1767
Taking a sip and saluting Gill I celebrate your wisdom Sir. Though I do not agree with your learned assessment of our people.
Placing his cup back down, em passion ed Grey gestures wide No one here is common from the lowest of the nozufoo to the most pious of holy men. To come to Yun shan, to live in Fan Lu is extraordinary. The interference of spirits not withstanding, the people here are unique, hardy, amazing. With or without the aid of other realms. The people built this place, the people survived and thrive. Sure, they had help, my family amongst others, against all the evil and madness this world hurls this way, they, we, have done this. This place is special beyond words and precious beyond wealth.
Calming himself, Grey continues As for titles, in general they are usually just that words, most often self given. I am Grey. I am Grey Threnody. Grey is the name i chose when I was old enough, a necessity to hide ones true name from all but the closest of people.
Threnody is my parents name, few have ever even asked what it actually means, to me I honor my parents by using it and upholding it. It is not the name of a noble house.
My father was a landless explorer from the south , my mother a….slave from here in Yun shan.
Together, with others, they became hero’s. They fought against the dark. For this and much more do I honor them.
Here he pauses to pour out a measure of saki to the floor in honor of his lost family.
Before looking Gill straight in the eyes,
as for the title given to me by the people of Threnody estate “Lord” I really care not, it is but a word and that word is unimportant to me.
It is the….. respect inherent in that word that I bow before, the unspoken bond between us that I will never betray, never let them down, to strive always to do right by them. With my dying breath I would seek to aid them, protect them, be there for them…and by extension the people of Fan Lu. They honor me and my family with their esteem, their reverence.
Thus do I pay then back in kind, with my esteem, reverence and yes even love.
Grey finishes his drink, absolutely calm and composed after his honest passionate speach.
With a wry grin, he slides his cup forward to be refilled,…was that the reaction you expected Sir. I have been told my honesty and straight forwardness can be a bit off putting.March 30, 2016 at 11:03 pm #1768
“Perhaps in some circles, but down here near the docks, we like honesty. Frankly, I find a forthright conversation to be invigorating. It’s only a sort with a bit of rebellion in their blood who will live this close to water. Everyone in laketown is at least a little..unconventional. Fanlu itself is unconventional, a novelty of a new age..a town sprung up in unclaimed land, free, and beholden to no particular clan or king. Perhaps Fanlu and other towns like it will be the new way of the world? But no, I do not find your manner off putting.”
He pauses to down his cup and then refills both, 2 pours…he is signaling there is no more need for formality, and that friendship is a possibility.
“Perhaps we are both saying the same thing in different ways. That is, we love our town. To Fanlu!” and he raises his glass in a toast and downs it.April 4, 2016 at 9:52 pm #1770
Grey leans back in his chair, by all appearances relaxed and comfortable.
I have told you about myself, though I am sure you know more of me than what I have just told.
Who are you Gill?
I came here in peace, I waited patiently to be seen. A pretty young woman comes to escort me to this spot, a woman who knows who I am. Then you appear… Is this usual for you? Or is this a special occasion.
Grey leans forward again.
I am a driven person, Friend Gill, Grey pauses at the word Friend Friend? Another form of title Grey smiles at this before continuing I came here this evening to see for myself, to gather with my own senses a feel for the intentions of the stalwart and esteemed Fisher Folk. Even going so far as to belive that somehow I may be granted an audience with the venerable White Carp,
The Lord of the Fishermen
Grey gives a small bemused smirk as he uses the title “Lord”, with a small nod of deference towards Gill on the subject of titles.April 5, 2016 at 6:53 pm #1772
When I was young, I grew up in a small village to the north and east of here, out on the northern edges of the Vine Towers, where the Sea of Ancients begins. I was just a boy then. My view of the world very narrow. As far as I knew, our village was safe. We were out of the way. Looking back to those times, it really was like we lived in our own little world, and as a boy, I felt safe. I never understood the stern looks of the older men, or the worried looks of the village wives. We paid our dues to the spirits as proper, no one ever bothered us in our little village. I was a carefree soul in my youth, always getting into trouble.
Then came the day everything changed. I remember the morning I lay in bed, just before light, a terrible shriek from our neighbors house. The boy there, named leebu, had gone missing, vanished right out of his bed sometime during the night. It was his mother’s scream I had heard when she realized she had no idea where her boy had gone.
Everyone in the village was besides themselves. The adults, the people we looked up too, looked as frightened as us children, which is why I think they kept us locked up in the houses…as much to hide their fear from us, as to keep us safe. They were a hardy folk. They tried, but we knew something was terribly wrong. A few nights later, another child disappeared. He was a boy I hated. He would always throw dirt clods at me when my father would send me across the village to draw water from the well and wash out the saki cups from the night before, but when I saw the sorrow of his parents, I felt it too. I wondered what happened. I imagined saving him some nights. Perhaps he had wondered out of the village and gotten lost in some bog, or fallen down an old hunters pit. Perhaps I could find him, and we could be friends.
My father owned the village saki house, and as such was a well liked man. After that 2nd boy had gone missing, the adults would come to the saki house and stay most of the night. The men, huddled around the tables by candle light talking in hushed whispers, while us kids were forced to stay down in the basement. We could hear them thumping around up there. It was like my father’s saki house was a place under siege, and the village kids were like refugees kept hidden in the basement.
No one would tell us what was going on. By day we were expected to do our chores and act normal, by night, we were crowded in that basement. Of course we imagined what kind of terrible monster was stalking our village…we did not feel safe.
Gill pours his glass full and splashes it on the floor. He regards the spilled saki for a long moment.
That is when my sister was taken. Chi lee.
He says her name with reverence, filling both cups again and raising a toast.
“To family who have gone before us!”April 23, 2016 at 1:06 pm #1777
I remember the next day, a man came to town. He wore a tattered broad brimmed hat and worn sandals, looked just like many of the men that lived in my village, but people hurried us into our houses when he arrived, like he was something dangerous. I spied through the slats of my neighbors fence and saw the man go into the saki house to speak with my father. Though he looked like one of us, he had a walk that was different, graceful and deadly, like a stalking tiger, but without caution.
He left the Saki house, and made for the gates of our village just before sunset. No one ever left at sunset. We children gossiped among ourselves while he was meeting with the adults. Was he a demon, come to demand a payment, perhaps one of us!? We hoped he had come to help, and some said he was a demon hunter the village had sent for.
Before he left, I worked up my courage and approached him. I was a stupid boy worried about my sister. I asked him if he was going to find her. I remember what he said to me
Gill trails off and his eyes go somewhere else as he recites the next words
Do not worry for your sister, and do not hope for her return. I will see to it she makes it safely to heaven, where she will watch over you and your father for all time, and I will avenge her.
He was telling me she was already dead. I collapsed in a fit of grief. I remember the man lifted me up and carried me back to the steps of the Saki house and returned me to my father. I could tell he had said the same thing to him. Then the man left our village. We mourned that night like at no other time. Chi Lee was….
Gill trails off again. There is an almost imperceptible twitch in his throat followed by a hard swallow, as he pours himself another cup of saki and downs it.
My father told me the man was a hunter who had come to kill the creature that had taken away my sister. That he would avenger her, and one day things would be ok because of it. I asked him what would happen if the monster killed the hunter, and he told me we would have to leave the village and live out on the road selling trinkets, so whenever I am not working, I must pray for the man as hard as I can, and pray for the soul of Chi Lee to be at peace.
Well days and days passed….more than a week. I prayed and prayed. It saved me from my grief. It gave me something to do. I imagined my prayers like arrows shooting off to help the mysterious hunter.
Finally the hunter returned with 3 bags slung over his shoulder. He had killed the monster in just one night, but it had taken him days to recover all the bones of Chi Lee, and Leebu, and the little boy who used to throw the dirt clods at me…He had taken all that time to find them, and he had brought them home to us, so their souls could rest, and so we could perform the rites and make peace with their passing.
We had believed him when he told us they were all dead. He was right to tell us not to hold out hope, and when I saw him return I felt peace that Chi Lee’s spirit would be running through heavens meadow, just as father had told me through his tears, and that she would be up there to shower blessings on us and await us. I saw my father give him a bag that contained his payment, and for a moment as I saw him walking away, I felt alright. But then, I felt anger. I wanted to fight against the evil that had taken my sister away so soon. I wanted to go with the stranger.
I ran after him and begged him to take me with him. I told him I could wash is cloths, carry his things and pour his saki each night. He bent down and looked me straight in the eye. It was like locking eyes with a cat of prey, but I tried not to look away. My father had always taught me to look a man in the eye when serious matters are being discussed. Are you sure you can serve me faithfully little one, he asked. I nodded. Then your service to me begins now. I nearly jumped up and down but wanted to look serious and adult like as he did. Then he told me:
Your duty to me is to stay here and look after your father. You must learn all you can from him and learn the ways of his trade faithfully. You must be kind to all in your village and always work hard. In this way you will have served me well, and one day perhaps I shall return to check up on you, and perhaps I will ask you to serve me again.
He had tricked me in the same way adults had always tricked me in the past. He had made me believe, for just a second, that he might take me away to become a hero like him, only to command me to live the life I was already living. I could not contain my disappointment but before I could protest he smacked me over the head. It didn’t hurt, just shocked me and shut me up where I stood. I said your service begins now he said, pointing back in the direction of my father’s saki house. With no argument I turned and left him, suddenly filled with a passion to make good on my new commitment, even if it was not what I had hoped. As I ran he called to me one last time and told me there was one more thing he wanted me to do. He tossed me the bag that contained the payment my father had given him. Hide it somewhere safe he said, and tell no one of it. One day your village will have a great need for it, and they will be glad to have it.
With that he left.
That was White Carp.
Gill Deftly fills both cups again and raises his in salute, a look of fierce nostalgia in his eyes
To White Carp!April 24, 2016 at 9:28 am #1779
One does not simply meet with White Carp. Should White Carp need to speak with you, he will arrange the meeting on his terms, but, if you wish to meet with him, I can make that known, and I can make known other messages you might wish to pass along.
In these parts, I am, how do the southern merchants put it…his point of contact
So now we have shared things of importance over Saki. You have bared your intentions to me, and I have shown you some of my past. It is a fine first meeting for you and I. We should not be greedy…and I have drunk quite a bit…even for me. I welcome you to stay and enjoy whatever comforts we have as our guest before you go into the night, or take your leave as you wish. I will not read into it of take offense at either choice.
But I have some matters I must attend to. Before I leave you, is there any particular matter you wish to discuss?May 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm #1784
And with that you go, and head out into Fanlu’s night, a lone figure, a ghost haunting familiar ground.
When you at last reach the manor house a small note has been left on a table outside your bedroom door, the place mail of import is normally left for you. It is folded once and sealed with a few beads of stiff red wax. It reads.
We should have tea together. Day after tomorrow at the Sacred Leaf…at tea time of course. I will be there.
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