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Tuesday, 18 January 2022 10:48

We finished a short rest just inside the crypt.  There were stairs down into a large room.  On the two sides were 3 coffins each plus a larger one dead ahead.  However, the most...

Monday, 13 December 2021 11:50

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Tuesday, 23 November 2021 20:22

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Monday, 08 November 2021 13:25

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Sunday, 24 October 2021 11:28

The party woke up find the chickens gone.  The house owners had made breakfast and left for the day.  So in between the time we woke up and the people in the house cooked breakfast they...

Monday, 18 October 2021 14:17

We emerged in the middle of Yester Hill.  Evidently, we had taken a short rest so eventually we just got going.  Vasili was nowhere to be found but our wagon was still there waiting for...

Friday, 08 October 2021 10:42

After trying to remember what we were trying to do, we headed to the next survivor.  A seamstress with a shop nearby.  It was still early morning so she was not open for business. ...

Saturday, 02 October 2021 22:35

In general, I enjoy fiddling around with Joomla and the website.  There are times, however, when it is maddening.  Last week the site went down.  At first, I blamed the domain server...

Saturday, 24 October 2020 16:40

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Saturday, 24 October 2020 16:18

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:49

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Monday, 25 May 2020 13:13

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Monday, 25 May 2020 10:19

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Tuesday, 05 May 2020 16:31

 Palladium Megaverse Characters: Brian Wade started wanting a Legolas archer.  Dan convinced him he could be a wizard and still be an effective archer on the side.  Wade...

Monday, 04 May 2020 09:55

Ranma ½ is the property and invention of Rumiko Takahashi. The following story is not produced for any monetary or personal gain.   Tracking the clues Thoth has given him to find the madmen...

Monday, 04 May 2020 09:07

Ranma ½ is the property and invention of Rumiko Takahashi. The following story is not produced for any monetary or personal gain. Keep in mind the journey is almost always more interesting than...

Sunday, 03 May 2020 22:13

Ranma ½ is the property and invention of Rumiko Takahashi. The following story is not produced for any monetary or personal gain. Keep in mind the journey is almost always more interesting than...

Sunday, 03 May 2020 18:29

The Lost Characters from games that have no other records.  Games that may have run for years... yet not that much is known.  Here lie the remnants of campaigns that were once great and...

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 18:47

The Temple of Elemental Evil Caveats:  Unlike Dan, I’m not a published author.  I’m just an engineer trying to make his way through life.  So I apologize for all...

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 17:35

The Archives I am the Watcher... er, a player.  Throughout the years many campaigns have been played.  I would like to say the memories they create are eternal... but they aren't. ...

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Chapter 16: Primogenitor Lost

He looked out at the woods that spread out under the hill where he stood. Admiring the scenery he almost could forget his problems. Self-pity wasn't really a strong facet of his personality. He was as he was meant to be. Part of who he was determined that he would have difficulty finding home.

It wasn't a bad existence. A being of his power had very little to worry about when it came to physical danger. The whole multiverse spread out before him in a vast array of sensory banquets. Still, it would be nice to be able to stay home for more than a few months before he accidentally wandered off. The humans he had known of in the past had said that winter arrived upon his departure. It was a nice sentiment but mostly coincidental. It just happened that in the cold of the approaching winter he would wander off the search for firewood. By the time he returned it was usually superfluous.

He sighed. Some of his most treasured moments had come and gone while he searched for the way home. Centuries ago he had met a mortal woman on a quaint little island. He would have stayed if he could have, but again his very nature forced him into exile once more. It was the one of the few times he had cried and cursed what he was. Since then, he had found his way home and then wandered lost again dozens of times. She had been merely mortal and he supposed that it was far too late to count what might have been, but sometimes while far from home, standing among the wilderness of a strange world his thoughts would travel back to enjoy his happier moments.

So lost in thought was he that failed to notice a large ebony statue adorned with odd jewelry appear behind him. However, though his interdimensional senses may not have been very sharp, his sense of hearing proved more than adequate to shake him from his reverie. Twirling around he saw his assailant.

"A rune statue? How odd..." was as far as his muttering got before he was struck across the face by the massive arm of the construct. Far from showing any real sign of hurt, he was merely forced backward a step.

"I'm being attacked by a renegade domestic servant from the time of the Old Ones? This is really embarrassing. Only a mortal would have that sheer bad taste..."

His statement was cut off when a jewel that adorned the aggressive statue flashed and a glowing net flew towards the bemused deity. It settled around his form and started to constrict.

"It's had cheap mortal magic tacked on to it? This can't possibly be targeted at me. No one would think so little of me, would they," the god said forlornly as he waved his hand at the enchantment surrounding him, causing it to dissipate into a blue fog. Another gesture had the ground around him transforming into a watery quicksand. While he used his own power to stand on the liquid surface the black figure quickly sank out of sight.

"Hmm... now, what group of mortals would be misguided enough to attack a god of nature and agriculture in the middle of the forest?"

As he pondered the possibilities a hand reached up from the silt to grasp the ankle of the god. "Eh? They gave you flight too. Truly the all-terrain construct. Fine. I'll fight mortal magic with mortal magic," groused the displeased deity as he rose into the air.

With the statue clinging to his leg with one hand and pounding the deity with a clenched fist, he hurriedly dug a hand into a pocket and came up with a scroll. "Damn busybody mortals, only ever met one worth anything," he muttered as he started to read the scroll. The statue could pound on him all day and be unlikely to leave more than a bruise. These types of servants were mostly harmless to greater entities except under special circumstances. Well... they could wield weapons and magic as well as many fighters, but this one seemed to be only armed with tacky mortal magic which made it annoying but mostly harmless.

As he finished reading the scroll a mist billowed up around the floating pair, obscuring them from prying eyes. It also incidentally negated all other magic except the caster's. Noting with satisfaction the increase in weight as the rune creature's flying enchantment was suppressed.

Although the deity knew itself to be far stronger than the creature he also knew it was useless to attempt to escape the statue's grasp through sheer force. The thing's power was limited but it was indestructible. Which meant that once the statue had grasped something all it had to do was return it's handhold to its basic inert form and let its impervious body do the rest. However, gods aren't limited to mere force or to one physical shape. After a quick moment of rearranging his mass he slipped free from the hold. With a thought he commanded his form to grow to a monstrous height of thirty feet and held the body of the construct in his hands.

Despite the large size of the statue, it lay like a toy in the hands of the god. "I have defanged you, my little domestic. Without your magics all that remains to you is physical force. You will find this insufficient when dealing with a god of my nature." A paused to allow a response. Failing to receive one he continued. "Lets be a little more forthcoming little fellow. I want to know who sent you and why. I know you have enough initiative to tell me these things, unless your master has specifically ordered otherwise."

After a moment's pause a grinding voice answered, "I was sent to find the Lost One. He was not supposed to be a god, merely a demigod. Release me."

"Not quite yet. They sent you out to find the Lost One and you found me instead? I admit I find myself often wandering but it takes more than being lost to have stumbled upon me. What is the relationship between this 'Lost One' and me?"

"I don't..."

"That was a hypothetical question. If you knew the answer you wouldn't be here. Does the 'Lost One' have another name? Surely you know more." After waiting a few moments the god prompted, "You can answer now."

"My master has found through magic that the target's name is Ryouga Hibiki," the statue reluctantly stated.

"Hibiki? Could it be? That was Mariko's family name," the god said thoughtfully. It was true he might have lost the only mortal he ever cared for, but it was possible that something of their union yet remained. This was something he could not ignore.

"You will take me to your 'Lost One'," the deity commanded, lightly shaking the indestructible form he held in his hands.

"I cannot. I believe you will attempt to keep me from my command."

"Hmm. You could be right. On the other hand if you don't bow to my wishes I will lock you in a dark vault and you can while away the millennia staring at a wall. If you do as I ask you at least have a chance to accomplish your master's wish. Isn't that better than to be trapped in a small dark room for the next few eons?" This was a calculated offer. Few things were as unpleasant to the poor entities trapped in an indestructible rune construct than being isolated in a place where they have nothing to do or sense.

"As you wish. When I am released I will attempt to find the Lost One. You may follow."

The god smirked at the autocratic phrasing. "Thank you. Most kind."

 

 

Ranma leaped from tree to tree, pausing occasionally to look up into the sky and get his bearings. The path he had followed had seemingly disappeared. He wasn't worried about getting lost; he had been on the road since he was a child and finding his way had become second nature. What concerned him was that he had just started on his mission and already the information he had received from the irritating old hag had turned out to be inaccurate. This boded ill for the rest of what he had learned from the priestess.

He estimated he was about to enter the territory claimed by the Shogunate. He may even have entered it several hours ago. The map and sun wasn't the best way to navigate but it suited his purposes for the moment. As a precaution he had commanded the enchanted robe he wore to take the form of a loose bodysuit tailored in the manner of the traditional ninja. Instead of the traditional black it was a deep blue. It couldn't really be helped, the robe was an incredibly useful piece of magic, but its one limitation was that it could only form variation of the red and blue hues. In true nightstalking, crimson actually worked better, but his main purpose was get used the unfamiliar constrictions caused by the garment. He expected to be fighting in the odd garb and was determined to be prepared.

It was early evening when he slowed his path enough for some elementary caution to be used. Ranma estimated that he would come across the meeting place soon. He was even early. Not that he minded, it would give him a chance to practice some of the trickier techniques he had come across.

He was thinking of such thoughts when he froze in place. His senses on full battle alert he spread his battle aura to it maximum range. Nothing overt was causing him alarm, but something was tickling his senses. With a moment's concentration, he identified it as something he had encountered under the Sacred Tree. Knowing what to look for, he was able to pinpoint a large concentration of chi off to his left.

"You may as well show yourself! Your tricks aren't working and if you don't want to talk, you may as well leave now," commanded Ranma in as strong a voice as he could manage. Many creatures used invisibility, including humans, however many powerful creatures were included within those ranks as well.

"Certainly, little human! For I wish to talk to you about certain arrangements. Perhaps an exchange of services," a deep, sibilant voice boomed out. Above the forest floor, a huge serpent rapidly became visible. Ranma's amazement came more from the fact that this huge beast had managed to almost take him unawares, rather than the sheer size of the dragon.

"Your aura is the same as what I sensed under the Tree. You didn't wait to talk to me then, why now?" Ranma asked suspiciously.

"You were surrounded by the Emperor's troops and somewhat occupied by that little demon problem. What I have to discuss is for no ears but your own."

"Heh. What?"

"You are a martial artist of significant skill. It is unusual to see this kind of dedication in a mortal. Let alone a human woman."

"What? I ain't no..." Ranma cut himself off. This creature obviously knew he was the same person as before, yet had no clue that it was talking to a man at present. As much as it offended his pride it would not do to alert the creature to certain facts. That very statement told him that the overgrown lizard before him had used senses other than sight to track him. Probably not smell since that probably changed slightly as well. The old lady said that he had the same aura as his female form, which may mean that was the manner he had been found. It also pointed to the lizard not being able to tell one human from another to save its hide.

"Yep. Miss dedication. That's me," he stated switching to a falsetto voice, which would not have fooled anything remotely humanoid.

"I hold the secrets of many martial arts techniques. In trade for your services, I would be willing to share these with you."

"Well... I don't know. I mean I know dragons are supposed to be wise 'an all, but you don't really look like you use anything I'd recognize as martial arts. Not unless you change into something a little shorter and start walking on two legs."

"Bah. Form means nothing. My kind has watched humans since before the beginnings of civilization. We know everything there is to know about your skills and even the tricks you can accomplish using your chi."

"I guess that's possible. But do you know any techniques I don't? I kinda doubt that..." Ranma trailed off, his voice filled with doubt. On the one hand, he wanted to delay the creature as much as possible in the hopes that a plan would occur to him that didn't involve a full-fledged battle. Not that he thought he couldn't take the beast, despite its size it didn't radiate the sheer power that Ammit had. Never the less, a pitched battle near to his rendezvous would be incredibly bad at the moment. On the other hand, what could this large snake monster really know about the Art.

"I know of a technique that allows the user's hand to move faster than the speed of sound, it is known as the Chestnuts Roasting..."

"Already know it."

"There is the dreaded Silent Fist maneuver that allows..."

"Know it."

"The Withering Touch..."

"Got it."

"The Breaking Point...

"Mastered it and all known variations."

"Splitting Cat Hairs..."

"Improved upon it."

"Dragon Ascending..."

"Reinvented it. Several times."

"The Vibrating Palm..."

"That's the one where you hit something and it shatters? Right?"

"Well...yes. But that describes most of the martial arts strikes in existence. This one centers around inducing a harmonic vibration within a structure. By feeding and increasing this vibration any solid object can be shattered given time," the dragon proudly stated, happy that he knew something the human didn't.

Ranma was confident that he could duplicate this strike on his own without further help from the serpent. He was also beginning to be impressed by the creature's knowledge. "Well I don't know that one, but since I already know the Breaking Point I really don't see the point."

"Hmph. Fine. What about the Lion's Roar."

"Don't use it, but I know it and its variations."

"What about the Shadow Touch?"

"Not sure. Could you describe it to me?" Ranma asked innocently.

It was in this way that Ranma passed the next few hours. Ranma happily weaseling new techniques from the dragon and the serpent totally oblivious to the fact that it was talking to a human who could reinvent most of the maneuvers it described just by knowing the name and effects.

The dragon itself was slowly becoming enraged. It had offered many of its best bribes and the annoying human either already knew it or didn't want it after hearing various details about it. If she truly knew as many techniques as she said she did, then it was the most formidable mortal she had ever encountered. Still, the sheer frustration was going to drive it to a killing frenzy if the human kept being difficult.

Ranma was indeed having a wonderful time, but was under no illusions as to what he was doing to the dragon's temper. By keeping careful track of the dragon's chi signature he was fairly confident he could act before the creature's patience snapped.

So it came about that just as the Serpent's temper was about to be pushed to its breaking point Ranma pointed behind it and shouted in a panicked voice.

"Oh my gosh! Its Gojiro... I mean a Hydra!" he shrieked in a pathetic high-pitched girl's voice.

"Hydra? I don't sense any other dragons in the area. Wait! I sense a dimensional anomaly! Hey! Where are you? Come back here! You can't waste hours of my time and dimensionally teleport away," the Serpent roared. "Damn you! I'll feed on your intestines! The moment you step back into this dimension my spells will sense your aura and I'll crush you! While the dragon had been railing at the martial artist it had been writhing in the air gradually getting larger and larger while simultaneously ascending into the sky. Upon the last declaration, it flew south, rapidly fading into the distance.

Ranma, meanwhile stepped out from behind the boulder he had ducked behind. It had been close, he hadn't realized that dragons could sense dimensional anomalies or he wouldn't have attempted to use Happossai's Dimensional Cloak. As it was he had just managed to drop the Cloak and apply the Way of the Silent Thief to mask his presence and aura. It was fortunate that the dragon had thought he had teleported away and not looked further. Not that he wouldn't normally have welcomed a battle, but he had other priorities at the moment. From what the thing had shouted out, he was sure they would meet in the future anyway. It seemed he would be using a variation of the Silent Thief to mask his aura until he got into less critical surroundings.

Sighing at the bother, he scouted the area until he found a clearing that met the description of his rendezvous point. There he lit a small fire and sat down to wait. Knowing his senses would be dulled as long as he applied the Silent Thief technique he drew out the Sacred Tree's gift and tossed the staff to the ground. It immediately grew in stature and length until a huge snake lay on the ground.

"Quite a coincidence that the Tree gave me a Staff of the Serpent at a time I would be meeting dragons," Ranma chuckled to himself. "Then again I somehow doubt it was a coincidence." Turning towards his companion he good-naturedly said, "Tell me if any of your cousins stop by Scaly."

Making himself comfortable, he sat down to think of all the techniques that he had learned of from his erstwhile mentor. Ranma had no illusions that he could master them immediately, however now that he knew of their existence and effects, he had no doubt he would eventually reinvent them. In the meanwhile it would at least make coming up with counters much simpler if he ever had them used against him.

If someone had asked him if the knowledge was worth getting a dragon with a vendetta after him, he would have merely given them a puzzled look. After all, it was all a part of martial arts. What else could he have done?

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