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Silk Brocade [M-VLS]


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[CENTER][U][B]Prologue: Culled[/B][/U][/CENTER]

[SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]The soldiers were not expected that day. They came marching over the grassy knoll, trampling the budding shoots and dry meadow hay, a dark, ordered clump of dark green. Their helmets stood like brown horse manes, curved and sleek over grim faces. Spears glinted in the morning light, tinted pearly pink by the early dawn. It softened the color of the crimson plumes that looked so much like blood, already waving beside the spearheads.
The girl woke in the hut, hearing the approaching footsteps. A smile lit her tired face; she was expecting her mother who had been gone again, this time for almost two weeks. Her twin brother lay sleeping still under a heavy quilt, but he stirred as well. The two locked glances and smiled ? they both stood and made their way to the doorway of the hut, letting in the fresh morning air, biting their teeth at the way the cool mist chilled their feet. They were two figures in white, surrounded by swirling fog.
They saw the soldiers.
The girl woke and shook her head. The place was unfamiliar to her ? there were so many people ? there -
She began to scream, and her voice grew in volume and pitch until it reached an unimaginable shriek. She saw shining spears again, this time from inside the bars of the wooden cage that held her captive. Blood was so clear in her mind, that beautiful, hateful, crimson liquid that was spilled so easily. The guards paid no mind, only joking sometimes as they waited. The crowd gathered, attracted by the platform, the prisoner, the whispers, and the gossip. They were Pearls of Winter, or so it was said. The marketplace was packed in wait of the promised execution. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=DarkGreen]She sipped her tea, careful not to burn her tongue. The cup was bone-thin, with a delicate design gracing its ivory sides. She motioned for the servant to continue.

The servant refilled the teacup. ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]The other prisoners were brought out ? three women and one man. They came out silently, and were unflinching, even in the face of the guards. Not even the screams of the girl seemed to affect them. Well, except for one of the women. The woman with the scar on her face, she saw the girl, and she started to struggle then. She fought the guards, and the others helped her. They used their ropes to strangle one of the policemen as well.[/COLOR][/B]?

A perfect brow rose in expected surprise. ?[B]They managed to kill one of the police?[/B]?

A nod followed her question; the servant was feeling quite important at the attention: ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]Yes, until finally fifteen or so guards had to come and try to regain control of the prisoners. The man was killed in the fight ? he was impaled on a spear. The three other women were knocked out, and then noosed on the platforms. Water was splashed on their faces to wake them, and as soon as they knew where they were, they were hung.[/COLOR][/B]?

?[B]And the girl? What happened to the girl in the cart?[/B]?

The servant nodded, ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]Oh yes, the girl was screaming the entire time. She kept screaming ?Mother! Mother!?? The servant clucked her tongue. ?Yes, and then when the women were hung, the little thing just stopped. But you could hear her gasping for breath, and her eyes were so big, like big mirrors?big and clear...[/COLOR][/B]?

?[B]But what happened to her?[/B]?

?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]This one does not know,? the servant answered, shaking her wizened head. ?They took the cart away afterwards, with the girl still inside the cage.[/COLOR][/B]?

Lian nodded, and then turned to look out of the pagoda. The sky was clear, matching the lake in hue. The white lotus flowers paralleled the graceful clouds in the sky. The servant, seeing the mood of the mistress, quietly slipped away?[/COLOR]

[COLOR=DarkGreen]?A message, Lady Peony,? the messenger slipped her a small piece of paper.

Lian took the message and rewarded the boy, who left quickly, excited by the clink of silver in his hand. She read the note in the candlelight by her sleeping mat.

A trembling sigh escaped ? she was unable to stop its short life in the relative stillness of her room. She tucked the paper under her pillow, and then blew out the candle. She closed her eyes, trying to slip into sleep, as if to go unnoticed by nightmares and bad dreams.
But behind her closed lids, she could see a girl. A girl in a white dress?
[COLOR=DarkSlateBlue][I]Lady Peony,

May your life within the Emperor?s walls be blessed. I am esteemed that one so honored as you would still correspond with me.

I know of the executions, and of the girl you ask of.

It is to my knowledge that they were willing to spare the girl. However, there was no one willing to claim her - the risk was too great, as she was rumored to have been the child of one of the members of the Pearls of Winter. They tied the girl to a stake in the middle of a pen, and then released a pack of wild dogs into it. Those watching said that she never made a sound. Her white dress was torn to shreds.

May the gods be generous to you as you continue your glorious life under the Great Dragon.

of the Garden of Awakening Orchids[/I][/COLOR][/SIZE]


[SIZE=1]Silk Brocade has now officially begun. Only those members who have been accepted are allowed to participate.

The first chapter of this is actually the Prologue. Each member will post [B]one piece of writing[/B] which will establish the current place, age, and doings of the character. At this time you may only post once, and you [B]may not come into contact[/B] with another player. For this Prologue chapter, please give a fitting title to your post. The order of posts is not important. Please keep the level and skill in writing that I saw in the sign-ups; otherwise, I may ask you to leave.

You may begin - I hope you enjoy it.[/SIZE]
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[COLOR=RoyalBlue][U][CENTER]The Wind[/CENTER] [/U]

The wind carries noise, Na had learned that long ago, and now at 20 knew to listen closely. She walked slowly through the marketplace of Hangzhou, listening to all that went on around her. The shouts and laughter of children, the calls of the street vendors broadcasting their wares, the grumblings of people worried about soldiers. The wind did not pay attention to who they were, it carried their conversations without a care, from Lords returning from a hunt, to two urchins plotting how they were going to get their next meal.

Na found people's conversations to be fascinating and useful sources of knowledge, and as much as she would have liked to stop and listen to them all, she couldn't. She hurried up the street towards the harbor where she was to meet An-wen, a spy for the Pearls of Winter. She turned into the loading area for the chunk Lin and slowly approached a tall man who was giving orders to some workers and looked as if he were in charge.

[B]"Excuse me sir, I am here to visit my brother An-wen on behalf of my honored father who is sick and unable to visit." [/B] Na bowed, making sure to keep her tone respectful and timid. [B]"If you could tell me were I may find him, I will try not to cause any trouble." [/B] The man leered at her and called up to another man who was working on the sails.

[B]"An-wen! You did not tell us that you had a sister, and such a pretty one at that." [/B] The man up in the sails jumped down, and came over to Na, speaking exitedly.

[B]"Jun! How is father? Come I will take you to the inn where I am staying while we are in port, we have much to discuss. It has been such a long time since I have seen you." [/B] An-wen took Na's arm and began to lead her back out of the loading area, the tall man called after them.

[B]"An-wen! Try to convince your lovely sister to come back and visit me." [/B] Na bit her lip. It was not good for someone to notice her this much. Seeing the worried look on Na's face, An-wen hurried to reassure her.

[B]"Do not worry about Cheung, he notices pretty faces but is also quick to forget them." [/B] He led Na into an inn and signaled to a woman to bring him tea. [B]"So tell me, how is Father?"[/B] He took the tea-tray from the woman and handed it to Na who began to prepare the tea.

[B]"He is not well, he misses you and wishes you were back helping him with the business." [/B] She poured water into two cups.

[B]"Tell him if I could, I would send him a thousand men to take my place, six hundred of which would help him in the shipping by sea, four hundred that would help in the manufacturing of arms, especially the shields and bows, I know he has such a hard time finding people to do that."[/B] Na finished making the tea and handed the cup to An-wen.

[B]"I will. Oh! Father recently talked to Fa Yu. Fa Yu asked him to request that you tell his son that he is moving to Guangzhou, three days from now, due to the large amount of blossoms near the Baochu Tower where he lives."[/B] An-wan nodded.

[B]"I will do so. But let's talk of other things, I only get about half of a hour for myself each day, and that time is nearly up." [/B] Na smiled and they began discussing the poet who of late had become one of the Emperors favorites. When the woman came to clear away the tea-tray, An-wan paid her and they left the inn. Na bowed to him.
[B]"I will tell father all that you have said. He will be pleased to know that you still think of him."[/B] An-wan bowed in return.

[B]"Our conversation was very pleasing. Be careful on your way home Jun, they're have been more and more riots lately, it's getting dark."[/b] An-wan glanced over his shoulder. [b]"And remember when we would go to the market? There was that man who always seemed to be watching you? Well I've seen someone who looked like him recently. Just wanted to let you know." [/B] Na thanked him and slipped off towards the Qiantang River, opposite from where she had come in earlier that day. An-wan watched her go muttering to himself.

[B]"So I've met the Philosopher's Lily..."[/B][/COLOR]


[SIZE=1]OOC: For those who care, the majority of the conversation between Na and An-wan is code.

"The Business" = a chunk (a huge Chinese ship)

"I would send him a thousand men to take my place, six hundred of which would help him in the shipping by sea, four hundred that would help in the manufacturing of arms, especially the shields and bows" = one thousand men, 600 of which manage the boat, 400 of which are shieldsmen, archers and other soldiers.

Basically, Na is asking about how many soldiers there are on the chunk.

"Fa Yu asked him to request that you tell his son that he is moving to Guangzhou, three days from now, due to the large amount of blossoms near the Baochu Tower where he lives." = Telling An-wan about a load of explosives being shipped from Baochu Tower to Guangzhou in three days time; information that An-wan needs to relay to a different agent.

Yes, I am a geek.[/SIZE]
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Sorry about the delay, but Gonzaga, Duke, and an F1 Race were on my plate this week ^_^, in writing third person, I will be using Tzu as his name.

[FONT=Arial Narrow][COLOR=Indigo]
Tzu leaned against the teahouse's balcony, smiling at the moon. He was pleased with himself, as usual, but more so this time. Not only because the courtesan lay exhausted in the room, not because the 699 taels had spread, making him into some sort of rumour figure again; but because he knew she knew he was back. [i]It's all that matters now, anyway... I better get going.[/i]

He slipped over the balcony, leaving the green stone in the room at the woman's head. Getting out of the suite was no problem, but exiting the privacy walls could be tricky. The madame had aided his entrance, as he had known her in his previous life, but promised no help on the exit. Several imperial officials of a minor, but still very imperial, rank stood drunkenly conversing about their latest conquests at the gate fire.

[i]House of Twin Lilies[/i] (a name earned by the somewhat dubious practices of its founding... "partners") was situated at the very edge of Shanghai's pleasure district, directly adjacent to the main causeway- a 75 foot bridge suspended over a nameless waterpassage. It was lightly guarded, and always bore an inordinate amout of traffic, but still, Tzu did not want to show his face around too much.

He knew too many people, or perhaps it should be said he was known. Athough never a Pearl, Tzu Sun's misadventures under the banner of their cause had stirred up a beehive of furious manhunts and schemes to secure his capture. Fortuneately for Tzu, he always managed to put someone elses neck in the noose.

"Ah Tat always told me a drunk man is a man without spirit of reason or memory. [i]Dew Neh Loh Moh[/i]* on her if she is wrong." He muttered, affecting upon himself an aspect of drunkenness. He stumbled in odd directions toward the group of men, passing through them with a toothy grin and a few obscene gestures celebrating the quality of the Twin Lillies. The gestures were returned with enthusiasm, and he was invited to join them.

"I be honored, lords, but, my lovely wife is waiting for me just around the block, and I can' leave her waiting."

This earned him a racous applause of laughter, and he was sent on his way with various perverse advice and suggestions. "Bastards," Tzu cursed, meandering onward into the pit-black Shanghai night.


*An incredibly vile Cantonese (I think) expression, the definition I will not give here. I got it from James Clavell hahah
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[B][U]Waiting and Watching[/U][/B]

[Color=DarkBlue]Naoto sat at his table in his room, his items spread about. He began to point his finger at things, and make a note on a piece of paper next to him. He suddenly stopped, and sighed exasperated. ?How am I going to get this stuff counted if new things keep popping up?? he asked out loud, not expecting an answer.

?If you would stop adding things, then it wouldn?t be so difficult.? A voice answered from behind him, causing him to jump. ?Jia Li, I didn?t hear you come in.?

?Of course not, if you did, I wouldn?t be doing my job right then, would I?? she asked, laughing and sitting down next to him.

?No, none of us should make noise I suppose. I know my mother never did. She could be making a meal and still keep it quiet enough for me to sleep in the kitchen. I only did it when I got cold, because the fire?s heat kept me warm and helped me sleep. I never want to ever forgot her.? He said, turning away from Jia Li.

?You won?t, don?t worry so much.? Jia Li said, smiling. ?Oh, Yuchiko wanted to speak with you. She said it was in regard to your mission last week, and the information you recovered.?

Naoto nodded and stood up. ?I?d better go see her then. Would you like to accompany me?? he asked, looking nervous.

?Sure, and then I need to go speak with a friend of mine, so I?ll see you after you?re done.? She said, standing up as well.

The pair turned and strode through the door, and it seemed like a change surged through Naoto?s body. His smile disappeared, and was replaced by a set expression, and he didn?t stand as tall.

If people wondered about his sobriquet, their wonder was quickly filled when they saw him walk by. It seemed like he became another person, but he just faced the world head on, without emotion, for fear of losing another person he held dear.

When they reached the door, Jia Li waved and walked down the opposite hall, leaving Naoto alone. He knocked lightly on the screen, and came in after hearing a grunt. ?Yuchiko, you wanted to see me?? he asked, looking the woman down.

She sat at her table, a mess of paper work and ink stains seeming to flow off the table and into the room. Her black hair was tied up into a bun and her black eyes were almost covered in the red of tiredness. ?Are you sure you got everything right?? she asked, not offering a sitting place to him.

?Yes, the one Wintersweet agent in the peasant area of one of the major cities was found and killed.? He said, not showing any emotion.

?Fine, you may go.? She said, not glancing at him.

Naoto thought about saying something, but instead just moved on, it seemed like Yuchiko just kept getting busier every day. Naoto had at first thought he wanted her job, but as time went on, he preferred his job more. Even though she was the one who arranged and assigned the assignments, Naoto just couldn?t take all that paperwork.

Naoto left and walked down the hall he had seen Jia Li walk down. He stopped about halfway and turned around. He thought to himself, ?If she wants to see me, she?ll come find me.?

He instead walked back to his room, and his puzzling item problem.[/color]
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The midday sunshine reflected from the polished garnet plates that covered the front yard of the House of Hua. Only the faintest sound could be heard from the soft silk slippers passing the yard. But the two hired guards were alert, and took notice of the young woman as soon as she came in sight. She was wearing a light green silk suit, and had white lotus flowers attached to her gleaming black hair. The guards glanced at each other, and the other took the initiative.

[B]"Beautiful day today, young lady. What is your business to the Hua Residence?"[/B]

The young woman kept her eyes shyly on the bright pavement.

[B]"I am the assistant of Mr. Wong the Teamaker, and I have come to deliver some tea for the lady of the house"[/B], she said delicately, almost whispering. She showed the basket she was carrying, filled with little sacks and decorative blossoms.

[B]"Hmm, usually the son of Wong takes care of such business as this. Is he sick today, per chance?"[/B] the guard inquired casually.

[B]"Yes, he got a cold from being out so late, so I was hired to make the delivery today."[/B]

[B]"Very well, do enter, miss."[/B]

The guards stepped away from the front door, and the girl slipped in. A male servant greeted her much less politely than the guards.

[B]"What do you want? Lord Hua is not in the House currently."[/B]

[B]"I have come to deliver some tea for Mrs. Hua from the Teamaker Wong"[/B], the girl replied with a charming smile, that went obviously to waste with the sour-looking servant.

[B]"I can deliver it to her. Just hand me the basket and go."[/B]

The servant was reaching his hand to grab the basket when a voice interrupted him.

[B]"That is enough, Lui. Let the girl do her job and concentrate on yours."[/B]

The servant flinched and faced the speaker.

[B]"I apologize, Mrs. Hua"[/B], he muttered and left after a quick bow.

Mrs. Hua smiled at the girl. She was dressed like any noble wife, but her grey eyes reflected wisdom beyond that of most householding women. The weigth of numerous years had wrinkled her skin, but it was obvious that once she had mesmerized men with her grace.

[B]"This way, dear"[/B], Mrs. Hua said to the girl and led her to a private room. She sat down and pointed a pillow to the young woman, who shook her head.

[B]"I must apologize on behalf of Lui. He works for my husband and I think he is on to my private businesses. So, you're the infamous Jade Cat. I have heard of your talent, and I must say I would have been fooled if I hadn't known."[/B]

The girl took a parchment from the bosom of her costume and handed it to Mrs. Hua. [B]"Mistress Meing wishes well upon your household."[/B]

The lady of the house took the parchment and read it. [B]"Ah, tell my old friend that the times are bad now, and getting worse. She should visit some other time."[/B]

[B]"I will tell her that."[/B] Then she gave Mrs. Hua a piece of green silk with a black siamese cat embroidered in it. The elderly woman smiled at her, petting the smooth fabric.

[B]"Who could believe it? Such a sweet young girl... I hope to see you again, Jade Cat."[/B]

The girl called Jade Cat just bowed and left the room. She nearly bumped into the servant Lui at the corridor. The servant gave her a stern glare, but she just smiled delicately and headed out.

After gaining enough distance from the House of Hua, the Jade Cat took of the silk suit and tore the lotuses off. A quick face wash, and in a blink of an eye a pretty young woman had transformed into a slender youngster.

[B]"The things I do for my masters..."[/B] the young man sighed, not a trace of femininity left in his voice.

The man retrieved his backbag and two-headed spear from the bushes nearby, stuffing the disguise into the bag. Then he dashed into the woods, for his mission wasn't finished yet.

Delivering the message from Mistress Meing of the House of White Bamboo Forest of the Pearls of Winter to Mrs. Hua who was responsible of keeping contact with some of the Emperor's wives loyal to the Pearls had been only half of Jade Cat's task. His true name was Trang Ten, and he was the son of the Imperial Ceremony Master. He had worked hard to gain the trust of the women in the resistance group known as the Pearls of Winter, but it was his duty to betray them all. Now he was on his way to meet his contact in the Imperial Army, Captain Fu.

After half an hour's journey through thick woods and swaying treetops, Trang Ten met Captain Fu at a small shadowy waterfall.

[B]"Report"[/B], the captain said bluntly.

[B]"Mrs. Hua wasn't able to make an appointment with Empress Chi Chi. Her husband's servant is very suspicious towards her actions, so she feels its too risky."[/B]

[B]"Hmm, so poor little Chi Chi may live to see the next day. I'm not too sure if Mrs. Hua should be spared, though. Her existence threatens the Emperor, but on the other hand she seems to be a valuable source of information. There might be more Imperial Wives who support the rebel whores. Tell me, boy, what's your take on the situation."[/B]

Ten knew that Fu asked the question in purpose to annoy him. The captain seemed to be unable to completely trust Ten's loyalty. Ten couldn't blame him.

[B]"Do whatever you see best, captain. I am just a messenger."[/B]

[B]"You're a spy, no more, no less. Don't you forget that."[/B]

The captain mounted his steed and rode off. Trang Ten, the Jade Cat, gazed at the sparkling waterfall gushing down the side of a rocky hill. He would never be able to forget...[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[COLOR=Indigo][SIZE=1]To those members who have posted, I thank you for your quick replies. For the rest of the members who have been accepted into Silk Brocade, please post within three days from now. I will be going out of town for the weekend, and so will check the thread on Easter Sunday, March 27. If you have not posted by then, I will take that as your resignation from Silk Brocade.

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[size=1][color=#C82356][Center][B][U]Enter the Demon[/B][/U][/center]

A slight breeze swept across the Silk Road as Jun Yi traveled down the path. It was deserted and empty, almost desolate and perhaps too quiet; nonetheless, it was a road that Jun Yi had to take if she wished to enter the home of an infamous female poet by the name of Hun Yuen Tsung.

The home of Yuen Tsung was filled with flowers, orchids, lilies, and even cherry blossom trees. Bonsai trees were the pride of Yuen Tsung's home, it was a gorgeous place and everywhere you stepped, a small bird would appear.

"It has been long, Xiao Heng Ran." A smile overcame Jun Yi. "Come, I have prepared us tea."

Inside of Yuen Tsung's home were papers of calligraphy, pages of poetry, and beautiful artwork that no man has ever seen. She was pleased to know that Yuen Tsung still kept to her second love, it was a marvelous talent that Yuen Tsung possessed and Jun Yi was pleased. Yet, she knew that Yuen Tsung did not summon her to look over artwork, nor was she there for a polite visit; the only reason Jun Yi was at Yuen Tsung's home at that moment was because of a task that Yuen Tsung had for her.

The poet poured tea into a delicate teacup that was shaped like an orchid, its thin lining and intricate design told Jun Yi that the poet had created this masterpiece, just as she had designed many others. Yuen Tsung poured herself a cup before speaking to Jun Yi, who looked to her and could see concern and worry deep in her eyes.

"[i]Nai Nai[/i], is something the matter?" Silence only overtook Yuen Tsung and Jun Yi could see that it was hard for her to say anything. "Please, you must tell me what torments your mind. Perhaps I can help, [i]Nai Nai[/i]."

"My child, there is much agony that has been brought to the others of the art. They fear for their lives and no one can protect them." It became apparent to Jun Yi that this was a job more than a task. "They fear that the one they call "The Demon" will tear the art from them. He is also a threat to the Pearls of Winter. He says he has seen one of your people and has tried to demand them the names of the leaders of the Winter. Your life and many others' are in danger, but Ran, what I am asking is that..."

"Say no more, Yuen Tsung. I understand. This "Demon" must be vanquished one way or another. I will not allow such a man to destroy the Pearls of Winter and the artists, like you.? Sipping the last drop of her tea, Jun Yi set the cup down and stood. "Worry not, [i]Nai Nai[/i]. Soon, there shall be nothing that will upset you. I shall make certain of it."

Walking out of the house, Yuen Tsung saw Jun Yi to the gate and bid her farewell. Jun Yi did the same and went on her way to prepare herself for the meeting of "Demon." There was much to be done if her meeting was to go well, her talents were no worry for Yuen Tsung taught her well, the idea of her disguise would be found not as difficult as proving to the "Demon" that she is truly an artist of sorts.



The beauty of this man's home astounded Jun Yi. She had never laid eyes upon a home filled with much art than his, nor has she seen the amount of jade sculptures that stood at each corner and entrance. Her thoughts came back to the man before her as a servant presented her to him.

"Master Qin, I present to you Dragon Claw, an artist from the far east of the small province of Hang Zhou." Before Master Qin were two male figures. The one who was speaking was a lanky man whose eyes were small, as well as his lips, he wore a dark green suit with sea green lining. The one presented was Jun Yi, but her features were unlike the ones she possessed. She wore a navy suit lined with pale blue and embroidered with a black dragon on the back and a black dragon claw near her left breast.

The man who sat in front of the two acknowledged this. "You may go, Xin Tsu." The servant bowed respectfully to the man and left Jun Yi alone with him. She bowed with her eyes averted up so she may see his face. "You are the one they call Dragon Claw, correct?" Jun Yi merely nodded, her disguise was working perfectly. "Tell me, Mistress Dragon Claw, what art have you done? I run a business that requires delicate and extraordinary pieces that one has ever seen."

With a smirk on her face, Jun Yi walked to Qin with an abrupt walk and presented to him the pieces that "Dragon Claw" created. They were the most exquisite that Qin had seen in his years of business. He kept a straight face, allowing no content to surface, but Jun Yi saw past the still face of his, she saw past the lies and deception and right to his soul. Her smirk never left her face for if it had, her cover would be broken and all would be lost.

"These are most excellent, if I may say so. But I must ask, who taught you to create such an awe-filled portrait or a hungry poem?"

"I was only taught the words, I was only taught the strokes, and the rest is my natural ability, Master Qin. If you wish, I can present you a demonstration of my art, depending on which you choose."

Qin waved his hand and shook his head. "That won't be necessary. I can see you are an honest worker and that this is surely yours." He smiled and held his right arm out with his left arm perpendicular to it. "I welcome you to my business, Mistress Dragon Claw. I hope that we will become good friends in time."

Bowing her head, Jun Yi left the area in which Qin stayed in and saw the servant, who was a spy for the members of the Flight of Stars. He beckoned Jun Yi to follow him and she did, the two knew of Qin's plans, but he knew nothing of theirs. The servant known as Xin Tsu took Jun Yi to a room where she would stay and closed the door, not wanting others to find them together.

"I thank you for being here, Yu Huang. Qin does not know that I work for the Flight of Stars, more specifically the Sapphire Cranes. I have heard that he is going to seek out the Pearls of Winter and destroy each and every one of them, starting with the Wintersweet Pavilion, which is your part."

"I see. Tell me, Xin Tsu, how does Mr. Qin expect to find the Pearls of Winter when he does not know where they reside?"

"Qin has ways of finding people, yet I'm not sure how he would achieve searching for the Pearls of Winter. We must eliminate him as quick as possible or he will destroy the Flight of Stars and the Pearls of Winter. With that, I shall leave you to your sleep. Have a nice night, Yu Huang."

Watching Xin Tsu leave the room, Jun Yi removed the disguise and wore a black suit and wore a black mouth mask. She carefully opened the door and slid out furtively, watching every moment that she spotted. There were several servants that stepped in and out of a room down the hallway. She suspected it belonged to Qin and went that way.

"Master Qin wants fresh tea right now, go get it for him, Jien Lai." A servant walked away but was called again when the one that spoke to her returned. "Wait, Jien Lai! Master Qin wants lavender and jasmine tea. He also wishes for Mistress Dragon Claw to come to him." Jun Yi cursed under her breath and quickly went back to her room. "Go find Mistress Dragon Claw and present her to Master Qin as soon as possible."

A voice sounded outside of Jun Yi's room and she called out to it. A servant opened the door and bowed to her. Jun Yi smiled and listened to the servant who wished for Jun Yi to follow. Underneath the smile was a dark one that hid beneath the surface, knowing that Jun Yi would have a chance to destroy this "Demon." The servant came to Qin?s room and presented Jun Yi, just as Xin Tsu had before. She left with tea and walked out backwards, bowing to Qin as she left.

"Is there something you wished for, Master Qin?" Qin put down the paper and looked to Jun Yi. "I am terribly busy at the moment."

Jun Yi watched Qin's expression and it was disgusting for her to watch. He licked his lips and his eyes cried out a sexual hunger for Jun Yi. She kept her cool when he beckoned her to sit with him and drink tea. She did as she was told and sat in front of him, pouring a tea of cup just as soon as she did.

"Mistress Dragon Claw, I believe there is much more to you than meets the eye. Perhaps you would like to spend a night with me, then I can truly see who you really are."

"As you wish, Master Qin. But I have a favor to ask of you." Jun Yi stood and began to untie her robe. "If you could just close your eyes, I will do as you told me." Qin closed his eyes just for the sport of things. "You may open them now." Qin smiled and saw that Jun Yi had a robe on, but did not look anything like Mistress Dragon Claw. "Were you expecting someone else, Qin or should I say Demon?"

"So you know. I'm surprised that you had the audacity to show yourself to me." Qin took a dagger from within his sleeve and threw it at Jun Yi, who caught it before it hit her.

"I like this dagger, but I think it would look better on you." Jun Yi threw the dagger back at Qin. Blood began to flow from his chest as he fell to the floor, reaching for the dagger. "This shall teach you not to meddle with the Pearls of Winter."

Grabbing her things, Jun Yi left the area and dropped a ball the size of her fingernail and heard a large explosion as she left. She disappeared into the night and was never found near Qin's property. She returned to Hun Yuen Tsung?s home and left her a present.

"It's done, [i]Nai Nai[/i]. He's been eliminated from our vision. You and the Flight of Stars should be safe. I should go now, but before I leave, I have something for you. A gift, if you could call it that." Jun Yi handed Yuen Tsung a box that was wrapped with silk ribbon. Yuen Tsung?s eyes were filled with tears; these tears were not sorrow but of joy.

"Thank you, Heng Ran. Thank you. Of all the years that I brought you up, you have given me great happiness." Yuen Tsung hugged Jun Yi and sent her on her way. Jun Yi was content with her job, she knew what she must do and she knew what it required.

"There is nothing to thank, [i]Nai Nai[/i]. This is what I was trained for, nothing more."[/size][/color]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[SIZE=1]Apologies for the delay; I was delayed by my astounding abilities of laziness and writer's block...=_=;;

Hopefully no one's interest has been assuaged because of that... As of now, the only participating members of Silk Brocade (including myself) are as follows:


[U]First Meetings[/U][/CENTER][/B]

[SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkGreen]The expected knock came two hours too early. Lian?s eyes narrowed, but she quickly retained her look of perfect grace and welcoming appearance. The servants had all gone ? she had sent them away earlier ? so Lian slid open the door herself, her head bowed in respect and suppliance as the visitor entered.

She recognized the shoes: they were small, delicate slippers of heavy jade silk, richly embroidered with an imperial phoenix design. Lian closed her eyes and bowed even lower, her forehead brushing the smooth bamboo floor.

[RIGHT]?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]Rise,[/COLOR][/B]? came the quiet command. The voice was barely audible, but Lian obeyed immediately.
Standing to her full height, Lian met the eyes of her visitor, and stood unflinching.

It was the youngest of the imperial princesses, Zhen Juan. She was the youngest sister of the Emperor, and almost thirty years his junior. She was dressed in layers of a soft-green silk, heavily embroidered with the royal crest and other auspicious designs. Raven-black hair was bound up with intricate trinkets and pins of gold and jade, while jewels bedecked her slender fingers and neck. The face of the princess was a soft oval, with high cheek bones and flawless skin. There was a light dusting of powder to lighten the already pale skin, and her lips were like a small spring blossom.

In all, Lian would have dismissed the girl as another princess of the Forbidden City: royal and spoiled, ignored and forgotten, as sedate as if she had taken a potion of poppy. At least if she had not looked into Zhen Juan?s eyes. They were dark globes that smoldered with a determination that overcame her obvious worry. She was solemn and silent, but as she saw that Lian was inspecting her, the princess had an almost defiant look about her.

[RIGHT]?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]You are Lady Peony?[/COLOR][/B]? Her voice was clearer this time, strengthened by whatever goal was in mind. [/RIGHT]

Lian nodded imperceptibly, ?[B]Yes, your Highness.[/B]? She held out a slender hand, pointing the princess to the cushion beside the grand silk screen in her room. The princess sat, and Lian followed, kneeling down across from the royal persona.

[RIGHT]?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]I have heard?that you are a woman willing to risk things that others are not. And I have heard that you are willing to keep secrets for even those of our lowly estate. I have a secret, and must share it with someone. Would you be willing to be the messenger?[/COLOR][/B]?[/RIGHT]

Lian smiled ? she like the girl?s directness ? ?[B]That would depend on the nature of the secret.[/B]?

[RIGHT]Princess Zhen Juan drew a deep breath, and then looked directly into Lian?s eyes. ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]When you go today to the Garden of Awakening Orchids Teahouse, I want you to take me with you. It?s?of uttermost importance.[/COLOR][/B]? [/RIGHT]

The answer was swift in return, but brought surprise to the princess, ?[B]No, your Highness. That I cannot do.[/B]?

[RIGHT]?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]What do you mean? You dare to lie to me? I know that it is possible for you ? you have done it before! I am commanding you as your princess![/COLOR][/B]? Fire began to blossom on Zhen Juan?s cheeks.

Lian?s eyes were coolly calculating. ?[B]Your Highness is correct in saying that it is within my abilities to do such a thing. Let me rephrase my response, then: I refuse to do it.[/B]?

[RIGHT]?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]Do you know what you are saying, Lady Peony? You are defying a royal command![/COLOR][/B]? The princess?s chest was heaving with emotion. [/RIGHT]

Bowing her head to the smooth floor again, Lian kept her voice detached. ?[B]Your Highness has?a lover, perhaps?[/B]?

[RIGHT]The princess stopped. The dark orbs of her eyes looked frightened. ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]?You?you dare to imply ? [/COLOR][/B]?[/RIGHT]

?[B]- That you would be dishonorable in your duty to the Emperor? Yes, your Highness, I do imply.[/B]? Lian continued to lock eyes.

[RIGHT]The princess was the first to look away, and then closed her eyes. ?[B][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]This?this humble being is to be married within the month. She is betrothed, when her heart has already been possessed by another. Her hope was to?escape a fate dictated by obedience, for once in this dutiful life to the Emperor.[/COLOR][/B]? When the girl opened her eyes again, a writing brush and paper had been laid out onto the lacquered table. [/RIGHT]

?[B]Write this today. We shall speak again later, your Highness.[/B]?

A fresh, bright yellow chrysanthemum graced the dark coils of her hair, and sea-blue robes billowed around her, giving the image of an oceanic goddess, as beautiful as she was powerful. In her touch, there was the promise of a storm.

Lian slipped out of the divan, her escorts standing by in a resolute stillness. She went through the back entrance of the tea house, the serving girls bowing in respect and familiarity ? her visits usually came every couple of weeks.

The eerie notes of a Chinese violin came accompanied by samisen and a multitude of chimes and gongs ? they must be performing a dance. Lian made her way towards the largest hall, and joined into the multitude of women in their graceful steps. She swayed with the music, but her eyes were scanning the audience of men. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted Ebony, who smiled and gave a slight nod.

[I]So?the messenger is here?[/I] But Lian saw no one.[/COLOR][/SIZE]

[SIZE=1]This is the official first chapter of Silk Brocade, in which you will meet one other member of the RPG. I have already made the decision on who each player will be meeting, and it goes as follows:

Neuvoxetere - JJRiddler
Cyriel - Sage
Starrstruck - Raid3r

In this chapter, you will [B]make contact with your assigned partner[/B]. Each member is given [B]two posts each[/B], which can be used at any time. Postings do not have to follow an exact order, so post at will. :animesmil I tried to base the decision on the likelihood of meeting, such as house or occupation. Please have your first post up within the next week. Also, it might not be such a bad idea to talk to your partner outside of the RPG. [/SIZE]
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Starrstruck is faster than I had expected.
[FONT=Arial Narrow][COLOR=Indigo]
Tzu's halberd dripped with blood as he dashed through the alley's of the Shanghai slums. An urchin gang had jumped him with a knife, and all the patrolling officers' had seen was a grown man fighting with children. He successfully drove off the urchin's with minimum damage dealt, police officers, however, are slightly more viscious than a lack-a-daisical mugger.

An entire squad of angry policemen chased him hard, their athletic skill showing in the way they kept ground with him. He threw a melon seller's stall down behind him, ignoring the angry cry of the melon seller's wife. An arrow wizzed by his face, and Tzu knew he was in the frying pan.

He leapt over a small hovel and climbed the wall of a more impressive one. Waifs and beggars continued cackeling amongst themselves as he flew by, branding him instantly as another criminal not worthy of attention.

He sprang loose from the hovel and landed roughly on the ground below. The police had lost him for a few seconds, his acrobatics had thrown them off. He shot up and sprang onward, realizing that he was only a few hundred yards from the port. He ran to the smallest gate to the port, grimacing as he heard the angry shouts of the pursuing officers.

Tzu ran the customs guard through in one fell swoop and dashed onto the closest jetty. A junk had just left, and was approximately fifty feet out. The young man called upon his youthful vigor and cleared the smaller junk which had just docked, swimming furiously after the recently departed one.

The crew took stopped their work momentarily, jeering at the policemen who refused to tarnish their uniforms buy jumping into a filthy harbor. The sailors instantly began calling odds and taking bets as to whether the swimmer would reach them.

Their captain ordered them to work again, "Let this fool to his joss, if he makes it so it is, but if he doesn't, I will not be responsible for saving his life before the gods! Get back to work you lousy motherless whores!"

They jeered heartily at their captain, calling odds as they worked, debating the swimmer's energy reserves. Tzu caught the slow moving boat and climbed aboard, much to a few sailors dismay. He shook his hair dry as money changed hands, ignoring the captain as he approached.

The captain eyed him, seeing the expensive, fitted clothing, unique weapon and blood spattered frame. "I've seen you before, I would swear to it... who are you?"

"I am a shadow fleeing from darkness, eternally seeking a rose that I cast aside in ignorance and haste." Tzu spat, marvelling at his own composure.

The captain did not know his identity, however he knew his story. "This ship is headed to Hangzhou, we will beat all pursuers, but everyone works on my ship."

Tzu exploded with laughter, "Hangzhou! I'll be damned, the gods have shown favorably on my joss today! I've experience navigating and fighting, and I've a strong arm to lend around deck."

"Good lad. Back to work me hearties! Hangzhou tomorrow morning!"

Tzu put incredible enthusiasm into the tasks he was given, brimming with jubilation at his luck. He desperately needed to go to his contacts in Peking, but had no official entry papers. Not even he'd attempt to just bust into Peking alone. Four Fingers Wu, an old friend of his and master black marketeer, always had a fresh, official set of Peking entry papers on hand. For a price. [i]What price will he call upon me to pay?[/i]


Ok Starrstruck, you can pick Tzu up from where he exits the junk.
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[COLOR=DarkRed]OOC: Of course I'm fast Raid3r, I have to show that I'm better than everyone else. ;)[/COLOR]


[COLOR=RoyalBlue]Na was back at the harbour. She had just received new information from An-wen that they were constructing another chunk, this one would hold more soldiers and would be on the sea by mid January.

She continued walking out of the harbour, head down, colliding with a tall lithe man. Looking up, she was about to snap at him when two things stopped her. First of all, it would not do well to be recognized, and a woman who spoke her mind was something that most would remember. And secondly, she recognizes the man she had bumped into.

[B]"Tzu!"[/B] She hissed. [B]"Nobody told me that you were here."[/B] Tzu arched his eyebrow as he helped her up.

[B]"I don't think I told any of the Pearls..."[/B] He grinned [B]"You could say it was... spur of the moment!"[/B] Na lowered her head so no one would see, and rolled her eyes.

[B]"The Pearls will not be pleased if you are taken into custody by the soldiers." [/B] They began walking towards the river. [B]"Why are you gracing Hangzhou with your presence anyway?"[/B] They were now heading towards the road that lead towards the lake.

[B]"Because, Shanghai decided it no longer liked me."[/B] He looked over at Na. [B]"Do you know Four Fingers Wu? I need some papers to gain entry into Peking with, and he has them."[/B] Na nodded.

[B]"I met him two days ago when I met with the cartographer who is supplying me with maps. Most unsavory man, that Wu..."[/B] They turned down another road, this one leading away from the river. [B]"I was headed towards his storehouse when I bumped into you, and am still heading there now, he has... supplies... that the Pearls desire for a... reasonable price. Will you be joining me?"[/B] She looked over at Tzu, keeping her head down so no one could read her lips. [B]"Because I'm not so sure we're not being followed, and it is safer for two people to travel together, than one alone."[/B][/COLOR]

[COLOR=DarkRed]OOC: Tag. Hope that works.[/COLOR]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]The last tunes of the graceful dance faded, and the audience of men gasped at the dancers mesmerized.

Trang Ten was present as well, summoned by Lady Ebony. He was given a mission to send some highly secret letters from Lady Peony. Ten had seen the young woman from a distance, so he had recognized her when she had joined the dance. Now that the performance was over, he approached Lady Peony.

[B]"You were looking for me, milady?"[/B], he asked her, bowing deeply.

[B]"Oh, I apologize but you must have mistaken me for... Wait, are you Jade Cat? Isn't he...[I]he[/I]?" [/B] Lady Peony looked hesitant.

[B]"Indeed I am, milady. I had to dress this way to distract the guards at the entrance."[/B]

Ten touched the rose-red silk kimono he was wearing. He knew he could have found another way in, but he got strange satisfaction from deceiving drooling men.

[B]"Of course. I must say you could have fooled me completely."[/B]

[B]"That's my speciality, milady. So, you had a task for me?"[/B]

[B]"Follow me, please."[/B]

Lady Peony led Trang Ten to a distant alcove, where she gave him two letters.

[B]"The first one is from Princess Zhen Juan to Xian Xiang, the youngest daughter of counsellor Xiang. You know his house?"[/B]

Ten nodded. Of course he knew it, Xiang was a close friend of his father.

[B]"This second one is from myself to the elders of the Winter Pine Pagoda. This one must not go astray, it is highly confidential. That's why I asked for the best of messengers, and the nightingales sing that you are it."[/B]

[B]"I just do my best to serve the Pearls, milady."[/B] At times like this he despised even himself.

[B]"Let freedom haste your journey, Jade Cat."[/B]

Trang Ten bowed, took the two parchments and tip-toed his way out of the teahouse.

Fifteen minutes later he was far away from the Awakening Orchids and in his travelling suit. He opened the letters with a talent honed to perfection, so that there was no way to tell it had been already opened.

The princess' letter was written in an aristocratic style, and it was basically a confession of love to the young Miss Xiang. Ten saw no reason to report it to his contact, Captain Fu, for if the Emperor would find about his daughter's perversion, it would mean certain death for both girls, and Ten wasn't that sadistic.

The other letter, however, put even Ten off guard. It took a while to interpret Lady Peony's skillfull chit-chatting, but the point of the letter was her suspects on a traitor inside the Pearls of Winter. She asked for the elders to start an investigation.

Ten knew that his whole life was at stake now. He couldn't show this letter to Captain Fu either, for he would take it as though Ten would have been exposed as a traitor, and would probably just slay him to the spot. The only sensible thing was to take the letter to the elders, and direct the suspicion on somebody else.

So, instead of heading to the meeting with Captain Fu, Trang Ten went straight to the Winter Pine Pagoda. Fu would take it as he had nothing to report.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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