Thursday, June 27, 2013

Diary of a bounty hunter, pt. 2

Credit: Richard Pace
Something I ate shortly before leaving Kawa'ho violently disagreed with me and I spent the next while below deck, fevered and barely conscious. As a result I missed some interesting events: a sighting of a mysterious ship at sea, and the destruction of a barge full of the living dead. At our next landfall, on a larger island, my comrades reported the zombie plague to the authorities and for their pains we were attacked in our rooms at the inn. (Apparently I slept right through it, exhausted as my body was from fighting back to health.) Our attackers were not zombies, but a pair of mysterious ninjas whose faces were tattooed entirely black.
     We were told later that these "dark ones" or "shadowed ones" are creatures of legend and nightmare, feared and despised among the Togapa. Still weak but mostly recovered, I was able to conduct some research in local records and learned that the dark ones seem most associated with high seas piracy on the fringes of Togapa territory. The local magistrate, a thirty-something woman named To'kau, reported that some of the shadowed ones may, contrary to popular belief, actually have "normal" tattooed faces and thus be capable of blending in. This, of course, only makes this organization more dangerous. We could only assume that they attacked us because of our role in trying to prevent the spread of the zombie plague, but we have no proof.
Credit: Skokloster Castle
      Recognizing our efforts, the magistrate allowed us to take useful gear from the armoury. All of us found something to our taste: a new helm, or shield, or weapon.
      We then set out to recruit local followers—ideally clever street urchins who could run messages to the authorities and blend into the crowds, perhaps even detecting any who attempted to follow us. On a tip from our innkeeper, we set out to find one such prospect, but en route Dolly noticed we were being tailed. She confronted the man, but he made excuses and vamoosed. It was perhaps not surprising that we were soon ambushed by five hooded men. Although we were caught off guard, Sarkona's tail swipe almost ended the fight before it began and Archimedes proved might handy with his cane. Our attackers turned out to be from various Togapa clans—evidence of some kind of organization that crossed factional lines. Could they be somehow related to the dark ones?
      In the end we did locate and hire a young man: Koa Malaui. He recognized one of our attackers as a local tough and led us to the street our attacker frequented. We saw several of them loitering in doorways. Taking the initiative, Sarkona and I walked boldly into their midst. As they closed in about us, trying to intimidate us, I slashed out with my claws which I'd coated in a powerful drug. My victim fell unconscious immediately and his companions, facing an angry lizard and an unpredictable cat, fled. Perhaps if we enter their hideout, we will find some explanation for the motives behind their involvement with the hooded attackers....