Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Kris Knife, Whose Wavy Blade Has A Pearlescent Sheen

Fortune Card: Overlooking the Diamond - Failing to See Opportunity

The kris knife's blade is short, with three waves only. The blade is called Almost Still. It was shaped from a bone splinter of a dragon's skull. A fine exemplar of the Dragon Trade.

The dragon terrorized the entire sphere of Wingspan. In the far North, the dragon was called Troll King, and with is troll allies led a dire army against the White Bear Folk.The White Bears forged dragon-proofing charms into their iron armor and went to battle with the dragon's army. They slaughtered many Trolls. Many feasts were held. But while White Bears' armor shielded their fur, muscle, and bones from Trollish weapons and dragon's flames, nothing could spare their wondrous, thick-walled Ice Burghs, and the enormous ice rafts upon which they were built.

The surviving White Bears stripped off their armor and abandoned that sinking civilization now called the Melting Realm. They swam south for the rivers of the Great Forest Land. Some still swim up river to their old far North homelands to fish, and hunt seals and walrus, but the White Bears' great walled cities are yet to be rebuilt.

In the far South, the women of the Trade Cities called the dragon Sea Hag - they assumed she was a great sea captain like themselves.The Sea Hag rewarded their familiarity by devastating their trading fleets. She burned their empty bellied slave ships, for which the folk of the Middle Continent call her Liberator, and torched their fully-loaded spice ships, for which the people of the Middle Continent call her Perfumer as well.  Sea Hag even burned their fishing fleets, for which she was simply cursed.

The great sea trade came to a halt. This caused great suffering in the Eastern Seas, from which the spices came. But it was ultimately there, among the equatorial trader-pirates that someone decided to do something about the dragon.

The dragon had no name among thousand villages of the Sitting Dog Archipelago. The trader-pirates assembled a great fleet of war-catamarans and went to sea to provoke the dragon. Their shamans blew great conch horns to call the dragon. They also chummed the waters with bloody raw meat. This drew the sharks, which in turn drew the attention of the Thirsty Ones. The great, pulpy tentacled terrors from the depths congregated in the waters under the trader-pirates' fleet. Their first feast was the sharks, but the Thirsty Ones are insatiable.

Sea Hag's curiosity was piqued by the sound of all the conchs. When she drew closer, she charmed with the tiny things below:  a hundred pretty war-boats with bright silken swallowtail banners. A school of rainbow fish for a snack, she thought. When she got even closer, Sea Hag liked even more what she saw and now smelled: thousands of pesky, tiny humans - their brown skin glistening with salt and sweat, and their bodies smelling of sun. Tasty finger food, thought the great dragon.

Thus was the dragon's weakness revealed, for the gods have punished each generation of dragons with a lacking. Sea Hag's lacking was insight. She could not see below the surface of the sea; she could not see the deeper patterns. When she swept low, a thousand tentacles rose to greet her.

It was a hard fought battle, and the seas grew red. The blood of men mixed with that of the horrors of the deep. It was a good day for the sharks, after all!

Thousands of arrows and spears pierced the wings and body of Sea Hag, and she could not escape by flying or diving because tentacles bound her arms and legs. Finally, one brave chief drove his kris-spear into the eye and then the skull of Sea Hag. Her skull shattered, killing even more brave warriors, and then she was no more. Some said it was a very lucky shot. But none were brave or foolish enough to say it too loud.

The chieftain was celebrated  in the Sitting Dog Archipelago, and soon far beyond there! A statue was raised to honor him.

To reward the chieftain, a shaman-armorer fashioned a splinter from the dragon's skull into a kris knife.The kris blade shines like a pearl; it is called Almost Still, to commemorate the victory at sea won at such a great price. The White Bears fashioned a hilt for Almost Still out of walrus tusk. Once the sea trade resumed, the trader-pirates found a suitable scabbard in the surrendered hold of a Trade Cities ship. The chieftain wore the blade with pride.

But although he was young, the chieftain lived only a few years after the great battle. His luck turned bad after the great victory. Trade deals broke down. Political alliances ended in betrayal. He married the wrong woman.  His young children were weak and they whined too much. He was finally betrayed by friends. And when the chieftain died, the kris knife could not be found.

Mechanics: This dragon relic has a subtle mystic power. Drawing the Fortune Card Overlooking the Diamond - Failing to See Opportunity means that the negative power of the kris knife manifests in a scene. The negative side of the power makes it difficult for the user to get the whole picture of the battle or to understand a social or physical conflict's real stakes. The card, reversed - Opportunity - represents the positive manifestation of the knife: the user is able to find an opening and prevail in a conflict.

What are your answers?
  1. Who took the kris knife from the chieftain? Who has it now?
  2. How has the knife affected the life of the person who carries it now?
  3. Is the bearer of the knife even aware of its curse? Is s/he putting others in danger around him or her?

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