Thursday, December 17, 2015

Journey ep04 : Ryuutama


Episode Four
"The Granile Road"


Joshua, Jordi, and the three others leave the quaint town of Ifa.  The group takes a trip to the town of Artienna, known for its Great Bridge of the Dawn and its Mineral Water which rejuvenates tired muscles.  There, they celebrate a Festival for Travelers from all over.   The group excitedly make their way to the town, anxious for an opportunity to sell the Nekonip they have earned. Once they arrive, they hope to meet with the head of the Traveler's Festival, a stout kind fellow named Matthew.  But that won't happen til a few more days pass, however, on the Granile Road.

During the first day of their journey, the group journeys to Aya's Tango in the Grass.  The heat bears down on them, making Tristan feel tired and all of them are getting pretty Smelly.  Aya wishes they could find the closest body of water.   Jordi tries to argue with Piter on how they're all carrying his bathtub for free when he should pay them.  The argument ends when they realize despite the desire to banter more, it is just too warm.  A sign soon shows them they are moving towards Artienna. Eventually, the group finds delicious berries to eat.  Joshua, the weather-reader, senses the coming of a thick fog.  The group travels quickly through the landscape and soon find a wonderfully large tree to set camp under.

The trees grow in number as they move through the shade and the growing fog.  The path winds between the massive trees, but the canopy of leaves protects them from the harsh sun.  By the end of the day, they find a nice clearing to set a campsite at.  The stones on the ground even mark a good fireplace area.  There's even a hallowed out three area with vines that serve as a curtain if one wishes to get changed.  Tristan casts an Alarm spell.  Jordi cooks a meal using the berries, creating three whole dishes to enjoy!

The next morning, they wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon, eggs, and rice.   But as they open their eyes, they discover the Heavy Fog surrounding them.  Jordi hands the others their sliced berries, and shares his own heavier breakfast with Aya.  Aya hums the Foggy Cha Cha to raise their spirits.  A shrill cry comes out in the distance!  The group hurries to follow behind Piter, wondering what it was.   They find a massive figure around 30 feet long, with emerald scales encrusting its form.  The thing is  majestic green dragon on the grasslands!  It seems to be munching away at the raspberries.  The group catches its attention, and the green dragon turns to face them.  It shrieks in surprise! The group slowly backs away as it breathes heavily, uncertain how to act upon seeing them.  The monstrosity strikes... but suddenly, its attack seems to have been deflected by something emitting sparks and fireflies.  Piter stares at the ground where he should have been hit, but there is no wound.  The fireflies scatter, fading into the night.    Aya picks Piter up and they all hurry back to the camp.  Neither realize the Reveil that the Ryuujin used to protect them had left their protector with a wound of its own.  They realize the rare sight of meeting a Dragon is one fraught with danger as well.

The morning that follows has them continue the journey.  Aya seems to be having an unlucky day as she keeps tripping, stubbing her toes on things and catching her elbows and shoulders on nearby plants.  They move through the milky fog.   Jordi gives Joshua a ride on his cart, but only long enough til Aya commends him for his kindness.  The cobbler intentionally only let Joshua hitch to look good in her eyes.   Trees flank their path.  They see a signpost but discover it is broken.  The road does not fork, however.   They find along the way a leather bound bag with metal stitches.  On its face, SOXI can be read embroidered on it.   Inside, it seems to contain gem stones, coins and other small effects.  Also, a small notebook can be found, and the first letter reads:

To my dearest, may your travels bring you joy.
And may your return bring us the wealth we need to pay for my medicine.  - D

Tristan groans aloud on why did he have to read the letter.  He was hoping the purse was money they could keep.  The notebook marks that the total contains are 450 coin worth, and that he needs 150 coins left to go for the medicine.  Piter asks Joshua if there's a Lost-and-Found place in Artienna, but Joshua admits he has not heard of one.  That does, however, sound like a good business.    As they camp down to eat, Joshua starts lamenting the loss of his favorite donkey, Amberdilexi, which makes the others squirm, knowing they had eaten it by accident.    Alarm is cast once more before bed.

With nightfall, however, they wake up upon realizing there's that feeling of having to keep their balance.  When Aya tries to sit up, she realizes the ground is slanted somehow that she rolls on top of  the others.  She yells at them to wake them that they're somehow moving despite being camped!  Aya opens the tent flap and they discover all around them is nothing but fog and cloud.  Jordi does not seem to be with them.  They tumble to the other side of the tent once more as the slope shifts!  Aya wonders as she rolls out of the tent if they're on the dragon!   She surveys the area and realizes the clouds are the fog.  The tent is upon what seems to be a giant leaf.  And around them are massive blades of grass!  Worse, the party donkey has gone missing.  Piter wakes Jordi, who then shares the grassland dragons can make things grow faster.  "Faster or bigger," Piter hisses, "There's a difference!"  When Piter's abacus begins to levitate out from his hands, the group begins to suspect foul play.  Not long after, even Aya's personal belongings, a pearl encrusted mirror, begin to float away.

They soon discover that capitalizing on the incident are a pair of Konekogoblins, both of whom are training to be thieves.   The two masked figures are seen with a telescoping fishing rod.  One tries to disable Tristan, who gets to them from behind, with some kind of powder but it fails to affect him.  He casts a shooting star to bring one down.  Piter snags the cord of the fishing rod, keeping the masked figure from running away with it. When captured, they identify themselves as Kotaro and Quika, and try to claim they're doing this to feed starving kids.   The Dragon's Blessing must have caused the plants around them to grow into gigantic proportions.  The two, it turns out, happened to encounter Jordi, the cart and the donkey, at the ground and only then began to fish what they could.  The Alarm never triggered since they were fishing from outside it's range.   Realizing the two are far too young, Tristan forces out of them the information that they were being trained by a man named Kotihi, and the group decides to bring them back to Artienna to get reprimanded by their adult counterparts.  They camp down the night.

The next morning, Aya wakes them with her song, "Shiny Shimmering Splendid" and the group awakens to a sunny day.  They approach the town and see bright colors about.  The festival is ongoing!  The gates open as they approach and the sound of cheering voices fill the air.  They see the many carts, the many stands, the wonderful collection of cultures and products available.  They meet a man selling portraits of the dragons, but they realize the artwork is not accurate. The man claims to have painted accurate ones, but it seems he's lying.  Piter insults the man, accusing him of making fake paintings.  He mentions a companion who was there with him when he witnessed the dragon.  The companion supposedly lost his purse while there.   Later, they present the two thieves to the local authorities and find a not too happy authority figure receiving them.  The guards are confused, however, on what exactly happened as per their tale.

Tristan sets up his spot to sell stuff.  Jordi admits he was denied a license since he has no wares with him.  He raises the hope to unload and sell the Nekonip at once so there's time to get a new permit to sell his own wares.  Jordi challenges Tristan to sell the Nekonip within the day, and if he does, he will even give Tristan half of his sale.    He starts selling the Nekonip in Piter's special boxes, and selling actually gains the attention of a Noblewoman who is also enjoying the sales the festival is offering.  They fiercely bargain on the purchase, with Jordi and Tristan pretending to be lovers to distract the customer long enough to recalculate their offer.  The sale is made and Jordi successfully maneuvers Tristan to agree to splitting the sale 50% down the line.

When the group argues with the painter about the cranberries in the path (while they remember seeing Grandberries instead), which seems to suggest that the painter saw the dragon  (or at least, a dragon) earlier than the ones the group had seen.  The painter's reputation is ruined by their accusation, and the nobleman who wanted to buy the paintings opted not to buy it instead - worried the painter might be just creating fantasy images and not accurate depictions.  

The group soon reunites near their temporary spot, and Jordi has a moment with the noblewoman's servant, and learns a few more things that explain why they would be searching for so much Nekonip.  Piter seems happy to get the painter's bag, despite Aya feeling guilty that they may have ruined his reputation.  Piter considers getting more materials for better boxes to create and stuff.   The group also starts shopping for travelling gear, in preparation for future trips.

Aya visits the bathhouse, hoping to clean up and feel cleaner.  Someone joins, and she notices the person who joins has a large scar across her back. It is a healed scar, but still clearly new.  Her hair is long and reddish blonde.  Aya strikes a conversation with her, talking about her scar, about being a minstrel, and later, about the festival itself.  When Aya helps her recover from slipping into the water, she is surprised how warm the woman is.   In the other side, Tristan dips into the water as well to clean up.  Like Aya, he has a guest in the tub as well and they talk about life in general, then shifting to the man confessing about how stupid he feels about losing his wallet while travelling with some painter.  His name, it turns out, is Soxi.  And as it turns out, he too was behind the reason the signs were broken up that warned travelers of the "large plants."

Back at the shop, Piter continues to work on the boxes he hopes to finish.  Jordi asks him if he's going to the bath houses like the others to clean up.  The two argue about the deals they had made and the two snarl at each other about going to the same bathhouse.

The red haired woman shares to Aya that her wound was from helping a friend, and that the wound was caused by a dragon.  She explains that dragons tend to swipe once then leave.  Aya is very impressed she would protect someone to that extent.  Oddly when Aya asks about the friend the red-haired woman protected, she admits they actually haven't met. "I don't think I am what he is looking for.  But don't worry too much, Aya.  Your friends and you are doing a great job."   Aya realizes she never shared her name with her.  The room fogs up completely, and then fades, revealing to Aya she's completely alone.  

Tristan and Soxi go through a long tirade of trying to get each other's names, but after Tristan thinks the bag is owned by the man, it turns out to be owned by someone else!  Tristan asks if the man at least recognizes it, and he admits its a money-pouch, but not a bag.  Tristan heads off, searching among the city guard for someone named Ixos.  He finally finds a perfect match, and the man weeps and thanks him when Tristan even adds the missing amount of money to help him get the medicine he needs.  Ixos actually asks if Tristan is one of the Ryuujin, but Tristan insist's he isn't one.  Tristan leaves so happily, he fails to notice the woman he walks into along the path.  He apologizes, and the woman gets back on her feet, telling him to never stop being himself.  She turns the corner and vanishes into fireflies as she walks on.

And finally, Piter dips into the bath only to find Party Monkey there too.  Piter steps over him.  The door opens and someone asks if he can share the bath.  Piter welcomes the strange, "As long as you don't make shoes."  The man comments about how one would think he'd hate the water by now given he's surrounded by it day in and day out.  The man turns out to be a seafarer and owns a ship.  He travels here once a year for the festival only.  The man turns out to be named Captain Calum and he talks about having bought four donkeys and how he'd love to get more.  After the long conversation on how well the donkeys do their job and the like, Calum mentions his desire to buy a few more.  Piter, however, wonders by the end of the conversation if Calum refers to something else when he says Donkeys.  He isn't to leave til a week from then, and Piter admits he'd love to see what the ship looks like.

That moment, a bearded man arrives and informs the Captain that the asses have arrived.  Calum bids Piter farewell and leaves.  
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