As Stars' Fall, Does the World of Man Burn? : A Tale of Ten Falling Stars

Between a Rock, a Horn, and a Hard Place

and other half remembered lessons from Pedantic Bear

During the Planting Festival three members of the Tribe of the Seppun are set to guard duty along the northern forests.

In the wee hours of the night a wounded, and ferociously large creature, is spotted moving slowly through the underbrush in the direction of the settled areas of the tribe.

It is startled and single-handedly knocks over the tree the lookout (and the protagonists) are in.

The beast is twice as tall as a man, 4 times wide, and massively muscled. It’s Black and Silver fur covers most of it’s body and it has the thick hands of a man. Upon it’s brow is a velvet covered horn, nearly 8 inches long.

With skill and a quick hand Taiki fells the wounded beast with a single piercing thrust through the roof of it’s roaring mouth and into it’s brain, it falls with great weight to the ground.

The beast, to the keen eyed fellows, seems to have been lashed and bound forcibly at sometime recent, and it’s chest is pierced with a gashing mark plunging into it’s chest. A stone of some sort lies within, and as it is cut away at and removed hastily it turns out to be a obsidian stone of unworked quality. It is coated in puss, blood, and a inky pitch like substance that glitters in the moonlight.

When the guards turn to meet oncoming tribesman the body mysteriously disappears, as if it melted into nothing.

The Seppun commands they take the stone to Goju so he may identify it’s nature and determine if it is dangerous.

Goju seems very disturbed by the intrusion into his privacy, and the rock itself. After much confusing conversation and immovable stances he demands to be given it, but is not, and is left to his own devices (though secretly exchanging a heavy pot for the rock as his guests leave).

Later the next day after morning rituals and daily routines, the three men are summoned to the Seppun’s residence.

As Taiki and Ishida arrive, they are forced to wait by a truant Mako who is involved in a very lengthy and exasperating conversation with Pedantic Bear (in which Mako’s spirit is yet again spirited away during a fairly important portion of the speech).

Later as everyone is finally gathered and laurels are giving to the brave guards Lady Seppun interrogates the group in the presence of Goju, Otomo, and Chief Akagi, and determines that this threat likely comes from the northern lands of Otomo’s people and that those suspicions should be investigated. She assigns the three men (and two others) to act as her Ward Otomo’s personal guards during his trip to his ancestral lands for his annual one month visit (as per the terms of the Seppun-Otomo Treaty).

It is also discussed the the Horn of the creature (which Taiki took as a trophy) may house the negative remains of the creatures spirit and could cause great harm to the tribe. It is commanded to be brought forth and given to Goju to ascertain (which Taiki intercepts and delivers himself).

Later that night the protagonists gather at Goju’s home, upon Mako’s insistance, for both Taiki and Ishida have some knowledge of their foreign ancestors written language, in which they can assist Mako read through old Sang Woo’s foreign scrolls to identify the beast and it’s dangers (as Goju is too busy investigating the Horn and other such things).

Goju also gives Taiki a quickly scrawled map of an area close to the lands of the Tribe of Otomo, in which he has secured a small cache of crystals (in regards to a previous bargain he made with Taiki). Taiki may take the weight of the creature-rock of crystal from the cache.

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