Serial Setting 2 ~ Week 3
The Casting Shadows blog’s second Serial Setting is set to run once a week over a six-month period, and provide details for heroic pulp adventures set across the Korean peninsula, present a fictionalized community oppressed by faceless enemies and their own countrymen, and suggest routes, leads, and hooks for GMs to entice groups based elsewhere in the world to get involved.
2. The North Beach- Smugglers, Fishermen, and Widows
Standing on any of the beaches near Samhang and staring seaward nothing a viewer could see has changed in literal thousands of years. Sadly for some, and naturally for others, gazing inward up the steeply rising foothills on which the village clings and hides in pockets of amenable land intercut with cruel thrusts of blindly proud rock the same thing could be said…. except for the North Beach by which a vaguely European brick administrative building has been built by the occupiers. Sitting at the junction of the two main roads of the town, within a short walk from the simple piers that have served for countless generations, the new building brings promises of closer government inspection, a rail link, new roads, and a large new concrete pier for the navy. The 20th Century has been delivered to the people of Samhang.
For the most part, when not reminded at gunpoint, they pretend it is not there.
The North Beach has the most difficult approach through the Coils of the Dragon and the most convoluted shoreline of the three harbours. It also allows landfall with the closest uninhabited access to the mountains. Beloved by fishermen of all types for centuries for its quiet, deep waters, abundant marine life, and narrow stretch of gravelly beach, the recent political realities have made it the new favorite of smugglers. That has brought the occupiers. The old men and women of the village nod to themselves sadly in recognition of the cycles and circles of life. The young men and women rail inwardly against the unfairness. No one shows a thing on their faces.
Each day, the Earth turns, the tides move, and the stars and planets move in their courses.
Each month one careless man or another is made into an example and sent to the jail. People pretend not to hear the screams that come from within, but just the same ensure that the family is fed as long as the screams last. Sadly, charity ends if the screams fall silent before the prisoner is released. A corpse cannot return the loan of rice, and widows and orphans have to make their own way in the world. The occupiers can always seem to find things for people to do.
Smuggled goods range from propaganda from sundry resistance movements which often splinter into irrelevance and impotence before the ink on their leaflets has dried, to literature in the language of the nation, to rarely… weapons. Outbound goods are less known, and it is one of the mysteries the occupiers have sent investigators in to ascertain over the years. Of what use are dried fish to gun runners? In their eyes, Samhang doesn’t produce anything else, and the tombs and heirlooms of its people have already been stripped clean to repay the costs of the country’s much-needed modernization.
Fathers and Mothers looking out over the waves after the opening of the administration building, thinking of their children, assumed an end to smuggling and other rebellious talk and action was at end. The Old Men and Old Women knew better. The Young Men took it as a challenge of course, and the wager of their lives seemed a pittance. Such is the way of things.
The ocean cares not at all.
Pak Yong-Chul – Fearless
Yong-Chul has lost most of his family to disease, privation, and the ongoing investigations of the occupiers. Rather than see this as a deterrent he sees it as having less to lose and more to prove. Blind in one eye from a beating with a rifle butt, and labouring despite a crushed hand and badly set ribs, the young member of a very unlucky branch of the Pak clan, has no illusions about being a fighter or winning any glory. He is more a case of a dog too stubborn and frustrated to give in – no matter what cruelties the universe directs at him. He cannot be broken, only killed.
Missing most of his teeth and badly scarred it is his place to hide himself from the scrutiny of others so as to spare them any discomfort or awkwardness. This he does without question, but his presence is felt in the community nonetheless as fish make it to hungry bellies in the night, and the soft sounds of his still-pure voice soothe the frayed nerves of the oppressed as he sings familiar songs under cover of darkness.
When he was young, he was the first to laugh and his laugh was so infectious it could fill the village with joy on the back of one weak joke. Those days are gone, and it is things such as this that the Old Men and Women discuss quietly to themselves as being among the most hurtful losses to the occupiers.
Yong-Chul, Pak is a suspected smuggler and rebel, but has never been linked to any wrong-doing, nor been made to confess – even in the face of torture. It is not known how he gets his goods in an out of the area, who his contacts and associates are, or how he can be made to reveal them. Of particular vexation to his watchers is that it is not known what he offers in trade for the goods he brings in.
A major reward has been posted.
Yong-Chul has a narrow face, and when he could stand straight was just over 5ft tall. He had a large, smiling mouth which is now a twisted wreck of word mashing scar tissue, and quick hands. His left hand is still quick, and his mind is as sharp as the sword the Overseer clutches like compensation for the flacidity of middle age.
Nothing to lose. No fear of death. No room for failure.