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Bastards & Broadswords Origen's D&D 5E campaign.

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Old 11-11-2013, 12:06 AM
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Origen Origen is offline
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Default Prologue: Xiong Fan

The man known as Xiong Fan was born in a peacable mountain village. There, his father served the local administrator as a minor clerk, a man of some influence but only a little. Fan was the third of four children, and the second son. By the time he was ten, it had become apparent to those with clear eyes to see that the boy would need reproof and correction. Rumours that swirled around the death of a neighbour's daughter plagued Fan's father, and in time became an embarassment. His father sought for him a placement in one of the monasteries, or perhaps in one of the schools for promising minds. All rejected young Fan but for one, a place of less than wholesome repute, a monastery in the high mountains. There Fan went, and there he learned discipline of the mind and spirit. He studied history, philosophy, and the arts of caligrophy. There too, he studied the arcane arts, the secret and higher mysteries -- mastery of the elements, the summoning of spirits, the subtle ways of power. Whispers tell of dark things done in the cellars beneath the monastery, of practices that never see light in the Celestial Palace, of deeds that would curdle the hardened heart of a warlord. Perhaps had Fan been accepted to a proper school, he would never have trod the path he finds himself upon. Or then again, perhaps he would have found his way to those arts in any case.

For such was always to his taste.

There are many tales surrounding his midnight departure from the monastery. Some say he fell in love with the daughter of a prominent sage, and when she spurned his offers of love and sent back his poems unopened, he banished her spirit to a nether realm and left her body breathing and staring blankly off into space. Others say his Master, Chen Hsi, was jealous of his quick progress in the dark arts and he was forced to flee before his Master summoned a monkey demon who carried a small bottle to collect his soul. A sailor on the Silver Lotus said he saw this demon hopping up and down by the water as their ship pulled away from the shore, chittering mad and screaming. Still more said that Xiong Fan left of his own free will, continuing his search for blasphemous knowledge and forbidden texts in distant lands away from the rigid structures and slow paths of ascension offered him at the monastery.

Of the truth of these rumors, none can say.
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"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer

“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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Old 11-11-2013, 12:27 AM
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Origen Origen is offline
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Due credit: Most of the writing for this piece was Arch's.
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"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer

“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"Be orderly in your life, and ordinary like a bourgeois, in order to be violent and original in your works." - Gustave Flaubert
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:52 PM
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Origen Origen is offline
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Xiong Fan liked to contemplate the color of blood in the moonlight. Poets, and those who had never seen battle, talked about the blackness of blood. And, yes, when fresh, blood might appear black under a full moon. But blood, like all living substances, changed color with circumstance. That same black fluid, spurting from an artery in the neck or inner thigh, might appear bright red under the noon sun. This particular sailor's blood appeared a dark, rich lavender, between the faint light of the rising sun and the rich colors of the ocean that lapped at the boat's sides. Color, like all truths, was a matter of perspective.

The sailor choked as a little bit of the blood leaked down his throat. Fan brought him to a sitting position, and dabbed at his lips with a rag. He murmured comforting sounds to the sailor as he died, and wiped the obsidian scalpel on the sailor's shirt. After so many years of practice, he knew exactly where to cut to achieve maximum effect with his strokes. He had studied the ancient texts on anatomy, and the pain points used by monastic warriors when they struck with knuckles, or sharp blows with elbows or stiffened fingertips.

The jade bowl lay on the deck. Swirling at its bottom, the sailor's pain gathered like the last mouthful of a rich glass of wine. It flowed like liquid, but its colors shifted like distilled smoke.

It was time. The sailor was breathing his last breaths. Fan leaned close to him, and said quietly, "What do you see?"

"I hurt so bad," said the sailor. "Why did you cut me?"

"To see what you see," said Fan. "Pain brings insight. Think of the pain you felt during the most clear and honest moments of your life. I most humbly regret ending your life this way. But your pain will add to my insight. I have written your name on a scroll with all the names of those who have helped me see. Some day, you will be honored when I ascend, and I will call your spirit from the Outer Dark to serve me. Your pain is meaningful. Your life, unfortunately, was not. It was a small and petty thing. Rest now. Your pain is almost done."

He folded the packet of herbs he used to sweeten the sailor's grog, and make him sleep. He only had a few more doses of the precious substance, and so far away from his homeland, he would have to study the plants and fauna to find replacements. In this new land, he could make his living as a surgeon, or a scribe. Dr. Wu Peng would eventually come looking for his bowl, but that was of no importance. By then, Xiong Fan would be powerful enough to defeat the spirit servants of Wu Peng.
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"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer

“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"Be orderly in your life, and ordinary like a bourgeois, in order to be violent and original in your works." - Gustave Flaubert

Last edited by Origen; 11-22-2013 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:30 AM
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Fan stood, and came face to face with the ship's mate. The mate was a broad-shouldered man with a flat face. After a moment of pure horror, the man reached for the club at his waist and turned to shout and raise the alarm.

"Wait," said Fan. "Let me explain."

Fan stared deep in the man's eyes.

"I am a doctor and a scholar. This man is very sick. I tried to save him, but I could not. We need to get him over the side of the boat, or his disease might infect us all."

The mate struggled and his resolve seemed to waver. Then he stood unblinking. Fan put away his scalpel, and held his empty hands palms up to show he posed no threat.

The mate finally nodded, and said gruffly, "Don't want no plague on my boat!"

Fan nodded. "We should be all right, sir."

He handed the man a rag, and covered his own hands with a piece of rough cloth. Together, they pushed the body over the side and disposed of the clothes covering their hands by pitching them into the water.

"Make sure to wash your hands with soap," said Fan. "Just to be sure."

As the mate walked away quickly to find a scrub bucket, Fan picked up the jade bowl and put it to his lips. He drank the rich liquid slowly, savoring it.
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"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer

“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"Be orderly in your life, and ordinary like a bourgeois, in order to be violent and original in your works." - Gustave Flaubert
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:54 PM
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Archaelos Archaelos is offline
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"Orchids float up the waterfall
nightengales serenade the noonday sun
blue cord in raven black
and red footfalls on driven snow
down the mountain to ascend
into darkness better to see
choking grasp better to breathe
in thunder better to hear
orchids floating up the waterfall."

-Found written on pale vellum, by a cabin boy in the quarter's of Xiong Fan, after his departure from the ship.
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