The Tengese Resistance

Part II: Jungle Fever

In which illness is defeated by aid of a ghostly apparition.

Liberty has stayed the night at Riku’s teahouse, talking to her through the night. When morning comes he is fast asleep and doesn’t make it to the meeting, so it is decided business will begin without him. Blood Moon Rising will keep an eye on the bodyguard of the Dragon-Blood, Yavin Selo, while Seth and Rena are taken for a baptism into the faith of the Golden Lord.

Blood Moon Rising uses the heavy rain as a cover while he sneaks around. Yavin, it turns out, has a lover in the Inshabiv family; Blood Moon Rising learns of her by listening at a barn door, but doesn’t learn her identity, only that the affair is kept secret both from her family and his master. Seth and Rena are baptized and confess their sins and crimes before the Golden Lord.

When they return to the chapterhouse, Liberty has returned. It is resolved that all three heroes, plus Rena, will accompany Kensaro and some farmhands into the jungle for combat training. The training is led by Seth, who demonstrates his techniques on Blood Moon Rising – this is greatly inspirational for the soldiers. Liberty gets the aid of everyone present to kill some spider monkeys, whose intestines could provide alchemical ingredients for some of their weapons.

As they return from training, Liberty takes Seth back to his house, where he administers potions to remedy the wounds he suffered as he was thrown in prison; Seth overdoses, but manages not to get poisoned. Liberty keeps him under supervision, just to be safe, while he makes some alchemical weapons for the peasants.

They go to sleep. In the morning, however, they discover that Rena, who is not used to the jungle climate, has contacted jungle fever from the insects there. She is deathly ill, and Liberty must use herbs and teas which he does not possess to cure her. He sends Seth with a letter for Riku detailing what he needs; on the letter, the words “Blood Moon Rising” appear in blood. Seth collects the teas and, after some confusion, makes his way to the home of the martial artist, finding that he, too, has succumbed to jungle fever. He takes him to the chapterhouse for treatment.

Three days of rain follow, during which Rena and Blood Moon Rising fight the sickness. Seth trains the soldiers while Liberty oversees his patients.

On the third night, abruptly, a strange specter appears: A tall, imposing ghost with a long beard and haunting eyes, who scolds Seth for not having been more carefully with Blood Moon Rising. The strange apparition is terrifying, but as Blood Moon Rising wakes up he is not afraid: He calls the specter “Father”. The ghost – who calls himself Wisdom of the Void – explains to Liberty that Blood Moon Rising is not fully alive, and to cure him, the alchemist must give him a special blend of healing herbs and ghost-flower tea.

Liberty does so, but before he can finish a knock comes on the door: Kensaro is there. He has found a traitor in his family, a girl named Milai. She has been sneaking about at night, going down to the manse. Seth interrogates her, but unsuccessfully; Liberty plans to give her a drug to make her more receptive to persuasion, but before he does so Blood Moon Rising is woken up. The ghost-blood explains that she is Yavin Selo’s lover. Seth and Liberty use this fact to their advantage, and persuade her to keep Yavin Selo away from the Dragon-Blood as they strike against him. Liberty gives her the drug that eases persuasion, telling her to feed it to Yavin Selo; she does not trust him, but is convinced after Seth eats some of it to show that it is not poisonous.

Seth then spends most of the night dealing with the effect of the drug, talking to Liberty and trying to get it out of his system by exercise. Come morning, both he and Liberty are weary from having slept poorly, but Blood Moon Rising has begun to recover and is only slightly ill and feverish.

They could all do with more rest, but unfortunately the rain has stopped. Navishim, their leader, explains that this will likely mean the Dragon-Blood will emerge from his manse to once more harass the locals, and worse, she has heard that he intends to collect overdue taxes. Some families will be stripped of everything they own, or even have their sons and daughters confiscated for slaves: Cynis Morgrim must be stopped before this can happen.

It is resolved that, despite Seth’s wounds and the jungle fever of Blood Moon Rising, the coup must happen tonight. So it is, that a final plan begins to take shape…

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Riklurt Nallenon

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