Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Windy Wednesday

So, it is Wednesday morning in Cape Town and it is even more windy than usual. I didn't blow away, however, which I always feel is a good thing. Even better, it's stopped raining. Having said that, I wouldn't particularly object to it starting again seeing as I am now inside and not likely to be going outside for a while yet.

Many among you will have noticed that I have twice mentioned that today is Wednesday [three times now], which means that yesterday was Tuesday. Which can mean only one thing. The 5th Annual PAST Keynote Lecture! PAST used to be the PalaeoAnthropological Scientific Trust, but has decided that it's not only human origins that are important, so it's changed its name [but not its acronym] to the Palaeontological Scientific Trust. And last night was the first time that these annual lectures came to Cape Town [previously they've all happened in Joburg] and the speaker was Paul Sereno. He was speaking about African Dinosaurs, from Sarcosuchus [technically a crocodile, not a dinosaur] to Nigersaurus [only just announced, and we saw a cast] and so on. Unfortunately I had to leave early [a mere hour and a half after the talk started], so that I could make the game.

I wasn't even the last to arrive. As is usual we spent a fair amount of time sitting around chatting about completely unrelated matters [I sometimes feel very sorry for Confluence - it must be like herding cats] and I didn't feel remotely awkward, uncomfortable or self-conscious at any point. The game started with Kamenosuke hunting down Ishie, who seemed to have recovered from the ill-effects of a powerful air spell that she could only manage with the assistance of Yashamaru's void spell. Well, she could have done it without the assistance, but it was important that she manage it first time, every time and it's a tricky spell. They meditated for a while before being summoned by Doji Yumiko, the recent widow. She informed us of her decision regarding Doji Seitaro [Kazushi's youngest adopted son, who he reportedly duelled to the death, but actually banished such that he was actually a ronin (Ichiro), who had been impersonating Doji Tsurumatsu the famous war-hero at winter court]. And she invited us to Masazumi's wake. We decided to continue our investigations by having a brief chat with a servant, Bayushi Yutaka, some more servants, Masazumi's second son [I can never remember his name but he's the one that's particularly close to Daichi] and Yutaka again, before heading into town. It became clear that someone attempted to poison Masazumi with a poison that easily mimics natural causes [and therefore is unlikely to have been the person behind the assassin], the old woman had died because the other servants gave her Masazumi's leftovers and that tempers had been running high prior to the evening meeting.

We started our town-based investigation at the Running Fox, the Inn where Keiko had spent some hours pointlessly waiting for no-one and happened to see a Daidoji guard go past. So we questioned the Innkeeper and were reintroduced to the ronin Hiroji. Who was executed. Who is now a hungry ghost [also known as Gaki. Essentially they are undead who may be horribly mutated and are doomed to wander the world searching for something and never finding it]. He gave us some useful information and followed the smell of the blood that walked past. This lead us down to an abandoned warehouse near the river. Yashamaru and Hideo attacked Hiroji when they believed he was about to attack Kamenosuke - perfectly sensible and most apreciated. Of course, since Kamenosuke seems to like Gaki-Hiroji, Ishie's not particularly bothered by him. The rest of us [Kamenosuke included] were distracted by some tracks, which seemed to lead into the warehouse. Hideo, Nagataka and Ishie headed into the warehouse while Yashamaru did his water-spell-to-see-what-happened and Kamenosuke kept an eye on Hiroji. At least, until his Ishie-senses started tingling.

In the warehouse, Hideo examined the front door [we came in through a hole in the back of the warehouse, following the tracks], Ishie went upstairs, accompanied by Nagataka. There we found a decapitated body. Yashamaru could have told us this as he saw it through his water spell. It was while looking for the missing head [in order to identify the person] that Kamenosuke's Ishie-senses began to tingle and he swiftly abandoned Hiroji to the unappreciated care of Yashamaru and went into the warehouse. Just in time to see Ishie very nearly fall from the second floor to the ground. Unfortunately the damage to the side of the warehouse had extended to the inner supports. Ishie managed to keep her balance and not fall. Nagataka, however, who rushed to her aid, fell over the edge and hurt his ankle rather nastily. Rather him than her, however, as he can regenerate himself.

All gathering in the warehouse now, we decided that the dead man was most likely the assassin who killed Doji Masazumi. So who killed him? Hiroji mentioned that one of the other people he could smell, smelt really bad. Does this suggest 'tainted person' to anyone? We secured the warehouse, arranged for people to guard it and so on. We then followed Hiroji back through town on the scent of the really-awful-smelling-person. Who did not spend much time on the ground. Enough for Hiroji to track him to the walls of the estate. It was then time to go to the wake, so we left Hiroji on the side of the road [a rarely used road, pretty much only used by peasants and people travelling to and from the secret passageway]. And there we left it.

There's not much other news, except that it is in fact raining again, there's another lecture this afternoon and for the non-squeamish females among you: menstrual cups are so, so much better than traditional items.

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