[Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 05 Jun 2014, 17:25

He squinted his eyes against the glare of sunlight, questioning once more the audacity that brought him back to this place. Despite the pleasant breeze that teased his chiselled cheekbones, Lai's mood was dark and haunted.

Reigning in his horse, he sought the place his friend had described. He could almost feel the dried blood on his knuckles in memory of the events that had occurred. Things had not changed much since his departure but surely the people had.

Dismounting with grace, he checked the hilt of his sword was clear against the uneasy feeling he had. Too many ambushes and plots had assailed him in the past, his ever careful gaze on every shadow.

Leading his horse to the stream, Lai finally relaxed enough to sit on a fallen log, taking in a deep breath, basking in the familiarity of being home. So he waited, his hand resting easily on his weapon.

OOC: Closed RP for LDW
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 06 Jun 2014, 08:47

It was the same as always with his old friend Fei Lai and his courier-loving ways. It made his hooded counterpart wonder as to the value of human labour nowadays. "Dirt cheap, filthy rats, scrounging for the most minute crumbs," he would always say. To him, sheltered and pampered tycoon that he is, cheap labour is always good.

Businessmen nowadays have to be astute and, most importantly, ruthless. He has made so much coin out of the backs of slaves, who deserved far more than the chew bones he threw their way. But Xun Jiang didn't care; wealth is power, and if their plans are to come to fruition, they're going to have to make several mountains worth of corpses more.

Reaching the prescribed destination, Jiang dismounted and approached his lonesome friend. "I have come. Where is Dieu?"
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 06 Jun 2014, 11:27

LDW wrote:It was the same as always with his old friend Fei Lai and his courier-loving ways. It made his hooded counterpart wonder as to the value of human labour nowadays. "Dirt cheap, filthy rats, scrounging for the most minute crumbs," he would always say. To him, sheltered and pampered tycoon that he is, cheap labour is always good.

Businessmen nowadays have to be astute and, most importantly, ruthless. He has made so much coin out of the backs of slaves, who deserved far more than the chew bones he threw their way. But Xun Jiang didn't care; wealth is power, and if their plans are to come to fruition, they're going to have to make several mountains worth of corpses more.

Reaching the prescribed destination, Jiang dismounted and approached his lonesome friend. "I have come. Where is Dieu?"


The foreign name of the missing part to the trio was something Lai could never get used to. It was not something Dieu spoke much about but it was easy to guess it had to do with a speech impediment that afflicted him since before they all met. The man adopted the name as some kind of badge of honor now, a twisted version of Xiu he proudly wore. It made his enemies believe he was simple when in truth, he was a ruthless genius in the art of war and strategy.

"How is it that you always have a way of making any action or words sound like something is owed to you?"

There was no boyish boisterous reunion, no hugs or 'teary' eyed regrets. There was however a scary familiarity as if they had just left each other's presence the night before.

"I have not spoken to him since... I am sure he sends his sympathies for your loss."

There were no venom in the words but nor was there much sympathy. It said a lot as well that Lai did not offer his own, an omission that could not be missed. Lai could only guess that was the reason for having been lured here.

"I trust my presence here does not... impede your plans? I am getting old Jiang, closer to forty than youth and cannot spare much time for mystery and games, why have you called me home?"
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 07 Jun 2014, 10:06

Xun Jian's pallid, neutral face contorted into a deep frown at the recollection his old friend had initiated, the loss being that of his assets in Luoyang. The damned eunuchs and their lackeys had stripped him of almost everything of value he had in the capital, and it had miffed him to no end ever since. Thankfully, his real riches came not from coin, but from connections.

This particular contact, Fei Lai, is the highest priority among them all. Not that he'd ever admit that to the man, who operated with room for sentimentality himself.

The younger man paid no attention to Lai's quip about his manner of speaking. "Your age hardly matters, Lai. Unless you're really growing soft along with it," he replied evenly, though most people might regard it more like an accusation. "My motives need no introduction to you, sir. You know that my business ventures are starting to fail. I need more slaves for my... projects. I'm trying to dig that gold for your... prospective army's funds and all."

The long-haired Xun Jiang sighed. He hated being the one to do the dirty work, but it was certainly what he was good at. He smoothed his twitching eyebrow to calm his nerves. "Just... have your men round up more bandits and starving mongrels to send to the mines. I need that blood and manpower, Fei."
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 07 Jun 2014, 12:17

Lai grabbed a fallen leaf in distractioaon, stripping it of its skin as if he was a scavenger of dead soldiers on the battlefield. By the time his friend was done speaking., all that was left where the bones...

"There is no lack of desperation to be found in this forsaken place. As I told you countless times the issue is protecting your assets, not acquiring them. Placing your trust in the right folks is even more important..."

Lai stopped himself, it had taken mere moments to return to the same debate. Between both their hard heads, no one ever won it. When they were three, it was even worse.

"So if this recent event has not slowed your ambitions, I assume you have even greater plans? What I don't understand is how far can you take this from the shadows? I doubt you wish to reveal yourself, doesn't seem to be your style."

Lai had a sudden moment of realization but pushed it aside as absurd though he wondered if his stoic mask had been revealed to his old friend for a moment.
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 07 Jun 2014, 13:04

To continue from the shadows, he says. For someone so apathetic and machine-like in demeanor, Fei Lai is astoundingly good at deciphering people. The man knew that, despite Xun Jiang's habit of sulking in the corners of darkness, he harbors far more than the simple, base desire to make a fortune.

"...yes, I do have other plans. In time, when we sit in positions of absolute power, I shall reveal them, and you will allow them to happen." Cryptic, brash, and more than a little prophetic. Fei has always known him to be a straight-talker; perhaps this would lend a different layer to their partnetship. "And as far as the shadows go, this is far better than going out into the fields chasing no-named excreta-smelling peasants to come and work for me. Time will come when I shall stain my sword with blood. But fot now, its business as usual."

He used to be more than a little good with the sword, but the years have kept him busy with making a living out of machinations instead of fighting. "And I trust no one else. Only you and Dieu are worth the trouble of actually dealing with. These... peasants would sooner slit your throat than work honestly, which is why..." He trailed off as he revealed an unsettlingly wolfish grin. "...they shouldn't be leaving those mines alive."
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 07 Jun 2014, 16:57

Lai nodded silently.

It was how these two stubborn friends conceded points.

He paused for a moment like a little boy, uncomfortable before a girl.

"How is she? How did you convince her of my return?"

There was no shame in his words but there was pain.
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 07 Jun 2014, 17:13

The course of the conversation suddenly took a turn that Xun Jiang never wanted to touch. His body stiffened suddenly and noticeably, as if a bucket of ice water had suddenly been poured over him. His voice showed a great deal of hesitation, perhaps even anger. "...she thought you were dead after you ran off to organize that damned rebellion. What did you expect? That she'd just wait there like a puppy for you to come around?"

He turned around and directed his gaze towards the local village down the hill, perhaps to hide his frustration, but the hands he joined contemplatingly behind him showed tension. "You know... what a lose woman she is. Oh yes she knows you've returned, but it seems she doesn't want to see you."

Xun Jiang picked up a stone and threw it as far as he could. He watched it sail away into the distance, demonstrating a strength they both knew characterized him best. "Don't... bother with that... woman. I've disowned her as well. Nobody wants to be known as a harlot's brother."
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 07 Jun 2014, 17:29

Lai's eye twitched, his calm melting away, his breathing betraying his hidden anger. He looked down at his white knuckles, the strain of his grip draining the blood from his hand entirely. He could feel tingling numbness install itself.

"All of you think I did that for ME? Argh! This is why I wished to stay away, how dare you lure me back here!"

In his mind's eye, he was walking away but he was surprised to see his feet still planted in the soil, his hand slowly releasing the hilt of his sword.

"I nearly did die for my audacity", contradicting his previous statement. "I thought myself invincible, youth as my shield, confidence as my weapon, I forged my way through those dark months with thoughts of glory and fame. Do you know how many times my skills were referred to as divine? Ha! Such foolishness..."

Contorting his face in a semblance of a smile, Lai took a step forward almost in pleading gesture.

"How can I be at peace with this place while you two are still estranged?"
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 07 Jun 2014, 18:21

The stoic younger man made no immediate reaction to Fei's animated response, simply smothering his own brewing emotions with every layer of denial he could muster. She was wrong, as he was wrong; he was the only one in the right in this situation. He was the one who held the rickety thing together; he was the one who arranged for the whole relationship to happen. Then, Lai simply screwed things over with his damned ideals, almost gotten killed, and stayed away for a decade before mustering the cajones to drop by and say hi.

Xun Jiang said nothing as he allowed Fei Lai to run the gauntlet of his own emotions, which he knew ran deep, but never surfaced for longer than those rare sudden bursts. Once he was finished, the taller, raven haired merchant turned around, his face red with indignation. "Oh, so now it hinges on me making peace with her? Do you have any idea why I disowned her in the first place?"

His voice was cold and strong, but he displayed little on his face still. "Firstly, I could have married her off to some rich magnate, or maybe a high-ranking general, or even had her join the Imperial harem for a little leverage. Oh yes my friend, there were a lot of offers on the table for her, that damned sister of mine. But what did I do? I had her wait and grow past marrying age so she can be wed to a certain dirt-poor soldier of fortune who had only his potential to his name!"

He paced back and forth, almost lost in all those buried emotions from so long ago. "So said dirt-poor soldier almost gets killed, never writes home, stays away for a bloody damned DECADE, then storms back into her life like a ghost in the night. But by then, he was too late! Some country bumpkin had come riding on a donkey some time prior, wooed her, IMPREGNATED her, and whisked her away to some small-ass farm in the middle of bloody nowhere! What the HELL am I supposed do now?"

A funny thought crossed his mind, which made him grin in that unsettling way again. "I know Fei, I should write a damned book about it! Would make for a dramatic background for when we're in power wouldn't it? Yes? Yes? NO! I believe in your damned potential, and I'll be damned if I let a pigsty farmer draw a black spot on that future!"

Xun Jiang's grin remained fixed on his face as his eyes gleamed with malicious intent. "And one day, I swear, I'll have him butchered while I feast. You can have his head on your wall then, as a token of my esteem, and an apology for not being able to stop you from the foolish escapades of your youth."
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 07 Jun 2014, 23:45

Lai passed his right hand through his hair as if it would buy him enough time to digest all that was thrown at him.
The anger had spilled away from him as quickly as it had filled him.
"A kid?"
It felt like the last nail in the coffin of his former life. Somehow nor war, nor death could take her away, but a child brought reality swirling in.
"You shouldn't speak of her as your possession Jiang."

It was a futile attempt to defend her, devoid of passion.
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby LDW » 10 Jun 2014, 00:24

"Hmph." Xun Jiang merely snorted in response, feeling quite a bit miffed at the last bit. He never once did consider his sister 'property'; she was Fei's bethroed, and thus, his property, even if his stoic facade denies it. And he had tried so hard to build Fei up in her eyes; he had showered her with promises of future glory and riches, and peppered her with other lies on his behalf. Perhaps she simply grew tired of the whole thing, and so settled for less.

Far, far less.

After a few moments of silence he spoke up, rather icily. "You can't blame me for this dishonor to my name. A farmer with a damned pitchfork is unsuitable for her, and she chose to throw the potential away. And oh," He paused as he rummaged inside his robes, revealing a little bundle that he tossed towards Fei Lai's direction. "You can have that bag of gold, for taking the trouble to come here. Now, don't forget the slaves we need."

The younger man allowed the wind to play with his long, untied hair, not even bothering to explain the sudden shift of topic back to business. Some things simply shouldn't be discussed without hard liquor nowadays.
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Phailak » 10 Jun 2014, 01:41

Lai took the bag, distracted as he placed it within his robes.

"I still need a contact to gather some good men, I can't protect or even enforce such a large group alone."

His eyes were focusing again, back to the task at hand.
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Patricoo » 10 Jun 2014, 18:12

A spring breeze pushed it's way off the coast in to the hub of this small southern commandery. Though the weather welcome, the wind would only bring a humid mess after a short reprieve. In the center of the small administrative hall sat Sui Fen, bored and listing to one side. One arm propped himself up while the other casually held a large feather fan. What a waste it was to be down here. Heroes beat each other with clubs up in the north but here in the deep south nameless individuals argued over issues involving livestock. Fen daydreamed instead of listening to court. He wondered how many steps it would take for him to be considered a real talent.

Not as a metaphor, but real steps. As it was, it took merely three steps to get to his building. Basically an ornate hut surrounded by a brick wall that most could look over if they had little more than a box. Great leaders had dozens of steps! Emperors, hundreds! Walls so high to protect them that only the Heavens could see the top! Subjects would wear themselves tired just to beg their lord to ask a question. Oh to imagine to watch a worn old man be distraught as he was turned down flat! Instead, Fen's entrance was caked with the dirt of those who trampled through it. To him, a clear symbol of the respect he had earned in his career.

Standing before him, a farmer thanked his administrator profusely. The request for expansion was granted, apparently, and Fen reciprocated a welcome with a weak wave of his fan. Xiu placed a set of records and numbers in front of his lord. An assistant to Fen, he was a former farmer of the lands nearby who was granted status due to his supernatural ability to read or some other mundane talent. His voice was shaken, as usual, still meek around his lord. "A message from the administrators of Luo Yang. We've been asked to produce records and our previous revenues, sir. The emperor wants a measure of his kingdom." Sui scoffed, and tossed the report aside.

"M...My lord? Will we not oblige?" Fen rolled his eyes, saddened that Xiu couldn't discern the intent himself. "The forces guarding the court in the north are weakening. They clearly need to figure their resources for the future and they're not doing well. Giving them a report now will only make them more demanding and dependent on us." With that, he tossed a set of messages in a box. "We're very far south. Messages get lost all the time, you see. I doubt anyone would take the time to follow up. Heavens know even the people barely care about this place." He slumped down again, fanning himself against the warmth. "Who is next? We've worked through a meal already. I'd like to get this over with."
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Re: [Pre-game] General Roleplay Thread

Postby Patricoo » 13 Jun 2014, 23:58

The official cleared his throat and turned to the front. "Rui of the Xiangyang district. He has come bearing a message and asking information for our central courts." The man, covered in dark brown robes and thatching around his shoulders, had the signs of someone who had traveled far and fast. His eyes were sharp, but worn ragged by a lack of sleep or some other type of stress. "Good sir Fen, I thank you for receiving me." His voice was raspy and deep, but polite. Fen adjusted slightly, allowing himself to appear curious, if only for a second. "So I've finally had a chance to meet you, traveler. The officials said you've come representing the emperor's will, yet you say you're from Xiangyang. That is an odd type of dispatch, don't you agree?"

Rui adjusted himself up and met the administrator's bored gaze. Though he had been allowed to stay in the guest quarters for a day he wore the same clothes that were brought. Caked in mud and dust he disregarded his appearance and instead acted comfortable and calm. "The emperor is off fighting defeating rebels at this time. He is relying on servants elsewhere to bring his word and complete more mundane tasks. He asks for a survey of his people and a count of your grains." The question was answered before Fen spoke by giving a raised eyebrow. "Why ask such a thing? It is the height of Spring and rains. We have no gain to be counted."

"No gain to count?" Rui's voice became stern. "Are your people starving?" "No people are starving. They live well and happy under my eye." Fen replied back in a harsh tone, insulted by such an insinuation.

"If there is none to count, then your people are starving. You had best not be lying to an emissary of the Han." Rui wagged no fingers, instead offering only harsh reason. "I have none to count and even less to donate to someone who calls themselves an an emissary of the Han." Fen mocked the title, adjusting forward in his seat. The officials around the two stood tense, moving nothing but their eyes back and forth.

"How dare you! Disrespecting me disrespects the Han court! Are you aware of the consequences?" Reaching to the pile of reports and letters, Fen grabbed one and waved it at the traveler. "No, I don't know! Tell me, why would the court send me a message, right here, the follow with envoys direct from the Son of Heaven? Do they not talk? Is there no organization?" He shook the letter, making it his pointer and continuing on. "Tell me, Rui, do you really represent as you say or are you some stranger coming to baffle me. I have no time for liars and swindlers. Show me a seal or I will make my next reply with guards!"

Poorly trained as they were, the young men clutched their spears waiting for a command. The mood hung for a moment before Rui finally eased his tone with a gentle smile. "I have a seal, but it is not from where I said. You're right and wise, sir Fen. I've lied and instead come with a letter from some other person. I was told this could only be given to a free thinking man, and not a puppet who would do awful things with it."

His face clearly turning from anger to confusion, Fen held his pose and held out his hand. Praise went far with him and to be recognized was enough to peak his curiosity. The traveler pulled open his robes and produced a letter. Sealed and bound, he delivered it as promised. "Sir Fen, I was told to ask you to not read it in front of us all. Please, take it to your study and consider it. I will wait for your answer." Fixated on the note and no longer the traveler, Fen gave a short nod and waved his hand. Rui, pleased that his goal was achieved, turned away dismissed.

"Xiu, follow me." His adviser obeyed, and the two of them briskly walked to the back of the complex to the study. Fen held his prize like a precious gem as he went, tearing it open the moment they were alone. His eyes rapidly flew up and down, first showing genuine shock then a smile. Though nothing but ink and words, Fen's eyes gleamed as if he saw a chunk of pure jade. Turning to Xiu, he echoed his joy. "Look. Look here, Xiu. We're about to become very famous."
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