#9 - Jhala's Retreat
Reply #11 on: August 27, 2005, 01:13:48 PM
All but hidden from sight in the mouth of the winding Taskan River, Jhala's Retreat is a secluded spot perfect for philosophers, lovers and artists to find solitude. The haunting cries of the herons that stand stonelike in the still shallow waters of the river's mouth have inspired many a musical flute composition from inspired composers, and a great deal of the famous painter Jilang Mae's spectral watery dreamscapes are inspired in part by its misted view of the river's winding reaches.
Jhala's Retreat derives its name from an ancient myth regarding the peaceful Jhala Teng, Goddess of the Winds. It is said that, under a spell cast upon her by the ambitious enchanter Hulan Sei, she fell deeply in love with the spirit of the Taskan River, a lowly water sprite, who was so flattered by the attentions she bestowed on him that he caused the villagers living nearby to build a great pagoda for her at the mouth of his river, that they might always be close.
Sadly, the Other Gods grew aware of this gross breach of etiquette, that a Goddess should love a mere sprite. As the conniving Hulan Sei had hoped, they sent an emissary to her retreat, entreating the Goddess to forsake her love and show Jutan's children that one must always be true to one's status. Fueled by her obsessive love for the Taskan River's spirit, Jhala Teng committed the unthinkable and slew the emissary where he stood for his insolence. Thus was Jhala's reputation as the most peaceful of the Others crushed, and she was punished accordingly. According to the binding magic of the Great Laws, that state that no mortal may influence a God's status, Hulan Sei was torn apart by the very energies he hoped to gain power over.
To this day, Jhala's feet are forbidden to touch land or sea, and thus she dwells forever out of sight behind the clouds above the Eternal Peaks of Talong-se. Sometimes she is driven to rage by this ban, and thus the winds are whipped to a fury and become the sailor and the farmer's greatest nemesis. At other times, Jhala is so crushed by her breach of the Great Laws that she weeps, sometimes for months on end, and the land is inundated with her fresh tears. The people of Jutan name this depression the Mon-Soon, or Futile Weeping. Go to Comment
Lai-Xeng and the Ambitious Tradesman
One day, a tradesman driving a cart to town came upon a river, and this tradesman spied Lai-Xeng upon the bank of this river, deep in thought. The tradesman had heard of Lai-Xeng's wisdom and fame, and decided he would put a question to the young sage, for this tradesman wished above all to be famous himself. And thus the tradesman approached Lai-Xeng, and asked him plainly:
"O Lai-Xeng, O motionless Sage, how is it that you are so famous without accomplishing anything? Is it not true that a man's actions alone will win him all the renown he desires?"
And Lai-Xeng rose, and plucked a small stone from the riverbank, and cast it into the lazily flowing river. And both men marked the ripples it caused, and Lai-Xeng said:
"I, Lai-Xeng, have cast the stone that caused these ripples. And this alone is all the renown I desire."
And the tradesman bowed his head, and gathered up his reins, and left Lai-Xeng feeling wiser than before. Go to Comment
Lai-Xeng and the Jhen-tse's Conceited Daughter
One night, Lai-Xeng was sitting in the garden of a jhen-tse* with whom he was staying the night, and he was observing the white lilies by the light of the moon. And the jhen-tse's daughter, who had espied the handsome sage and grown enamoured of him, visited him in her father's garden. And when she saw that Lai-Xeng observed the lilies and gave little thought to her, she cast aside her garment and stood before him, and asked him angrily:
"O Lai-Xeng, O cold Sage, how is it that you perceive the lily's smallest petal, yet give no heed to me? Is not the beauty of a lovely woman greater than the beauty of a mere plant?"
And Lai-Xeng rose, and looked upon the flower and the woman, and not once did his eyes falter. And the woman marked the impartiality of his gaze, and Lai-Xeng said:
"The beauty of each is great, yet the lily gives no heed to its own beauty. And for this I esteem the plant more than the woman."
And the jhen-tse's daughter bowed her head, and clothed herself, and left Lai-Xeng feeling wiser than before.
*Jhen-tse: In the Jutan Kingdoms, every village in a city-state is overseen by a local magistrate, called a jhen-tse in Jutanese. Go to Comment
Lai-Xeng and the Prosperous Pilgrims
One day, Lai-Xeng was walking in the mountains, and he was met with a lavish caravan of pilgrims, on their way to the holy city to pray. And the pilgrims perceived Lai-Xeng to be in their way, and perceiving who he was, they called to him rudely and ridiculed him and rode their mules towards him so that he fell into the mud by the side of the path. And the pilgrims' guide approached Lai-Xeng, and asked him in scorn:
"O Lai-Xeng, O foolish Sage, how is it that you are content to spend your days in the harsh wilds, while we have brought all manner of splendid traveling gear? Is it not true that sleeping mats stuffed with goose down are softer than mud to sleep on?"
And Lai-Xeng sat down in the mud, and lay back with his eyes closed, and was silent for a while. And the pilgrims marked how tranquil he seemed, and Lai-Xeng said:
"My cushion is the soil, my roof the sky, and my lullaby the trills of nightingales. And this is why I find the mud to be soft as any dead bird's feathers."
And the pilgrims bowed their heads, and helped the sage out of the mud, and left Lai-Xeng feeling wiser than before. Go to Comment
One morning, Lai-Xeng was washing his face in a stream when he noticed an old widow by the side of the water, weeping in such a way that her tears fell upon the surface of the water and scattered her reflection. And the woman spied Lai-Xeng, and knew him for the sage he was. And the unhappy widow told Lai-Xeng of how she was struck with a sudden fear of dying, and asked him in sorrow:
"O Lai-Xeng, O passive Sage, how is it that you give so little thought to death? Is it not true that we are cursed with but one short life to spend in this world?"
And Lai-Xeng drew forth water from the stream with his hands, and let it pour back slowly. And the woman marked the flow of the water, and Lai-Xeng said:
"Every drop of this life can be spent in sadness or happiness, but it cannot be retrieved. And this is why I look not towards my death, but towards my life."
And the widow bowed her head, and dried her tears, and left Lai-Xeng feeling wiser than before. Go to Comment
Not to be all "look at me" or anything, but I did some research regarding Tarot for Mister Smeed's little card tricks, and sort of came up with my own suits... They correspond to the elements, but they also have a sort of basic idea or concept that they stand for.
Sabres - Air - Freedom and nobility Towers - Earth - Vigilance and solidity Masks - Water - Deception and confuson Torches - Fire - Violence and destruction Stars - Light - Wisdom and knowledge Vaults - Darkness - Seclusion and imprisonment
Not exactly new and original elements, but a world based on suits instead of elements could be interesting... Go to Comment
Mm. Good questions. I'll admit, I hadn't thought of any of 'em.
If one was passing through and heard the user maybe once or twice... Yes, the lies would seem true until the subject died - or until he stopped taking it, which ties into your second question.
Yes, in fact the lies themselves would seem completely stupid when the effect wore off. For instance, when Malthis got off scot-free in the trial, he had obviously been taking Infiduserum. However, if he had stopped after that point, then suddenly people would find their memories of the event much clearer - and his arguments wouldn't be able to stand up at all. They would look back on what he said and think "Dear God, the man completely lied to us - off with his head!" So when the effects wear off, the person's lies are clearly remembered and seen as what they are - even ones he said beforehand.
The tears can ruin a batch, but also, if drank with the potion, they will stay in the drinker's system for a good while and effectively neutralize any more potion he would send down into his stomach while they remain there. If they were simply splashed on skin, they would have a small chance of getting absorbed by pores in a large enough quantity, but it would be touch and go, so to speak. And injecting them straight into the blood stream - or pouring over an open wound - would heighten the effect. Maiden's tears are potent stuff, and don't get digested easily. ;) Go to Comment
Haha. Lovecraft would hate you. How on earth can we tell if a Blasphemous Entity From Beyond The Void has been eating children in the vicinity if we can't sense its revolting, eldritch fumes?
I could see some idiot drinking gallons of this and then setting up a carnival-type business. "Come one, come all, and see the Amazing Senseless Man! Six crowns and you can smear horse dung in his face!" Go to Comment
Anyway, nicely done. It's brief - well compared to some, anyway - yet it's got everything there. I admire you for that - all my posts turn out to be hundreds of words long, yet they could really be summed up in half that. Good works. Go to Comment
Maybe no one DID pick it up... Maybe it's still festering on the Halfling's decomposing finger? What if a bunch of PCs comes across an entire slaughtered party lying in the middle of an abandoned campsite? I know a couple of folks who wouldn't be above pillaging their corpses for shinies - which just might include a certain ring...
I really like the idea of it being used as a tool to rehabilitate crazy serial killers. I could see a whole lot of these being made in secret by a king or government that wanted to impress its people with its prison system...
"Criminal #4346, you are required to wear an identity ring at all times while within this facility. Removal of said ring will be punished with death. Should your conduct merit a pardon, you will be required to wear the said ring for life, as a testament to your previous criminal acts and as a warning to honest citizens." Go to Comment
Could you flesh it out, fix a couple of spelling and general punctuation, and actually do the thinking instead of excusing it with "all kinds of stuff I cannot even think of"? If you could take some time and pull that off, I could give it a fair vote. Go to Comment
First off, please, please capitalize your sentences. Please. It makes it so much easier for people to tell where they begin or end, which in turn makes for an easier read. A teeny little spell-check wouldn't hurt either.
Second, the premise is acceptable, but at the moment it's rather short. A background would help. Who made it? When? Why? Who wielded it? When? Why? Who cursed it? etc., etc. A good backstory makes any item worthwhile.
I'm not gonna vote yet, that wouldn't be fair to you. If you flesh it out and put capitals in your sentences, I'll give you a vote. Go to Comment
Hehe... I like it. It's like an amulet of instant stardom. With a good side and a bloody annoying side. I could see a party that's not too concerned with its reputation using their gaggles of fanboys and girls as cannon fodder or trap bait... *wicked plottings*
But then you've got the trouble of never being able to conduct things in private. And of course the annoying small talk. "OMG! That is teh best sword EVAR!!11!! Where did u get it?!? Tell me tell me tell me! Plz?"
Overall, a nice item. Blingin', yo. xD
PS. The "Looda Chriss" pun is clever indeed. I had to look twice to see it... *sheepish grinnings* Go to Comment
The PCs have been traveling for a long time down the same stretch or round with no sign of anything suspicious. As they cross over to the next hill they see a gigantic splater of blood with a bleached dragons scull in the center of it. It the dragon skull's mouth is a tattered backpack with something wiggling inside of it.