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Jun 23, 2021 8:14 PM
a very tired werewolf falls on the Burial Mounds
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"--oh, wait, I just remembered that people in America probably don't know how etiquette works. I call them Wen Ning and Wen Qing. You call them Wen Qionglin and Wen-guniang. I'm just Wei Wuxian."

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He would blush if he weren't dead and therefore incapable of blushing.

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"Wen Qionglin, Wen Guniang, Wei Wuxian," Chris tries.  They've maybe heard of the concept of tones but can't reliably hear or reproduce them.  Or for that matter vowels. 

(If this is the first vampire- well, he can't be, if any of the stories are right, not when they've got steel and pottery and paper by now, and if none of the stories are right-  focus.  Whatever the weird ancient Chinese not-mages are up to has already happened and Chris can't do anything about it until they can move.)

"So then people were all like 'the dead should stay dead'-?  Or, we can talk about something less stressful..." They glance in the vague direction of the mixing sounds, although they can't quite get Wen Qing in their field of vision.  "Where'd you learn medicine?"

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"I should do a talisman that teaches you how to talk right." He grabs a piece of paper and starts to sketch out notes. 

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"Um, well, the Wen clan declared war on the other four major clans and lost. So they wanted to kill all of us and brought us to a forced-labor camp and-- I died-- and Wei-gongzi got angry and rescued all of us and took us to the Burial Mounds. Well, not me, because I was dead. Then he brought me back to life, which I'm very grateful for." 

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"Oh.  Fuck.

 

I'm so sorry."

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"Well, I'm alive now, sort of, so... I guess it worked out fine?"

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"That's-"  Chris just barely bites their tongue on 'that's not fine actually'- you do not argue with somebody that they should be more upset, not when they're closer to the thing than you (and anything any of them say could be misleading or an outright lie)...

"Well.  I'm- very glad you're not there anymore."

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"Me too. Uh. I guess by default I'm the person answering questions?"

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"Drink this, please, it will be calming. --Can you explain to me how healing works for barbarian cultivators?"

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what if they don't WANT to be calmer  "Is it going to make my head fuzzy?  And normally it just- happens without you directing it, I guess unless it's bad enough you die before you can start.  Anyway I've never had something heal this slow since- since I started, uh, cultivating, I don't know what's up with that."

 

(The last gash is in fact healing a bit faster than it would for a normal human, although slower than even a mediocre cultivator.)

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"You have a blockage in your heart meridian. Do you know what could be causing that? --You presently have an excess of yang energy and it should reduce the amount of yang energy. It shouldn't make you sleepy, it's not a painkiller." 

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That is probably an appropriate amount of objecting for a well-behaved patient; Chris will drink the potion.

 

"Oh- yeah, that sounds like- one of the guys who was chasing me.  I've, uh, seen it before."  Done it before, except it keeps not working, and it is seriously unfair of the universe for people who steal your powers to be better at them than you are.  "I think it usually wears off eventually?"

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"All right, I'll keep an eye on things but not worry too much."

She does not remove the needles.

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Reasonable of her.  Frustrating and frightening, but reasonable.

 

Chris does actually calm down a bit; not that the situation is any less concerning, but having the physical symptoms damped down almost makes it easier to think clearly, like the opposite of caffeine jitters.  (The yang excess subsides, although not by quite as much as it ought to.)  In theory it should be possible to work together- "Combat the Wyrm" is pretty clear as commandments go but if you can cooperate with vampires on a larger goal... well.  Except 'I, personally, don't die' is the exact opposite of a larger goal.  Whatever's going on with the not-a-siege might be, but they've only heard one side of the story so far and it's the necromancy side.  Which leads straight back to 'get out'.

If there aren't any shifters here, Chris has the advantage of surprise with any abilities they won't be expecting- any they can use while paralyzed, anyway.  If there are shifters and they're hiding- well, Chris will still have surprise on their side, and then they'll trade 'captured/rescued by inexplicably nice necromancers' for 'chased by angry kitsune.'  Or whatever kitsune are called when they're in China.  Is it racist to not know that if the two kitsune fox shifters you know best are Chinese but they go by 'kitsune' in America?

...what to call them is not the main problem here.  Focus.  If the not-mages know about shifters the fast healing would have been a dead giveaway, so either they don't know or they're very good at not reacting and doing some kind of long game, so either way the plan should probably be 'play nice and wait until nightfall'.  Which is definitely not just motivated by wanting a nap now the adrenaline has mostly worn off or had magic done to it.  (But it's probably a good idea anyway, except for the part about being asleep around strangers of unknown motives, whatever Wen-guniang did stopped Chris from passing out but they did still run... some number of marathons yesterday.  Or today.  Or a thousand years from now.)

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"I can still answer questions if you have any, Chris-guniang."

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"Um, sure- how do talismans work?  If it's not secret."

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"I was never really good at cultivation theory, that's Wei-gongzi's field. You write certain runes and they are charged with spiritual energy? But you have to do them very precisely or it doesn't work, which is why the clans study calligraphy."

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"Huh, okay."  That sounds... well, it sounds like fictional wizards, at least.  Chris is really starting to wish they'd learned all the old stories they could find as soon as they got over having fur.

"So- again, no pressure if it's, uh, the obvious reason, but.  Why are there so many ghosts here?"

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"It was once a battlefield that was full of resentful energy-- I think people also threw their old corpses here instead of burying them properly-- and the resentful energy attracted ghosts and fierce corpses, which made there be more resentful energy, so it attracted more ghosts and fierce corpses, and now no one can live here without Wei-gongzi's help."

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"So he's laying them to rest?  ...do you even help fierce corpses to rest, or do you just hit them in the head a lot, we don't have them where I'm from. Not real ones, anyway."

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"You don't have fierce corpses? What happens to dead people with unfinished business?"

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"Stick around as ghosts, mostly.  Or it just... doesn't get finished.  That's probably more of it, really, everybody's got something they're not done with."

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"Well, yes, Chris-guniang, that's why cultivators have jobs."

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"Oh, sure, but there's a lot more people dying than there are- of us, they can't all become ghosts or we'd be ten times as swamped as we already are."  They shift slightly, trying to scratch the back of their head against the mat.  "I think some people just... are ready to move on when the time comes, finished or no."

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