I don’t remember where I got these cards, but they’re kinda nifty. I have exactly 4 of them. I have looked for more cuz they’re just so darn neat, but apparently the series or game or whatever went off in other directions and I’m not certain these cards still exact. Anyway, here they are: (click to see them bigger)
For this improv we had just three people, so it worked out well. We each took a card and ran with it. But then we were thrown a curveball – Michelle (who runs the group) offered a change-up and asked us to continue the story using the other people’s stories to feed their own! It was brilliant and hard and I loved every moment of it.
Here’s what I produced. The line indicates where I shifted to add elements from other people’s stories. I got the first card originally.
Roaj was considered a bastard daughter. If that weren’t bad enough, her mother had mixed the family blood with the Tiger clan, giving Roaj an outward appearance everyone balked at. Her fur was a mix of orange, white and black. Forbidden to wear the family crest or colors by her maternal grandmother, her armor was a hodgepodge of plate and mail covered in a gold and white cloak and tabard.
From the moment she was born, Roaj had been taught the fighting styles, Leopard, Lion, Cheetah and Tiger. But she could not become a master in any. Her dishonor extended that far and further. No pick of the males. No rank in the army beyond Battress; a Ronin, distrusted by the royal officers and lowborn soldiers equally. A mercenary.
The army bought her services for a fat bag of gold coins, all pressed with the visage of the Empress of the Divine Light. They were making war on the humans, those ape-descendants who bred like cockroaches and spread twice as fast. Their settlements encroached upon the edges of the Sapphire Realm, marked by the shadow of the tallest mountain in the world, Karji, whose white-tipped crest often blew harsh winds and snow down upon the lands.
In their stone facades the humans dwelled. Some, like the one before her, were pretty. She counted seven levels to the tower. Statues flanked the gate, bright flames burning in the braziers high above. A human woman say on a stone just outside, eyes wide with surprise at the arrival of Roaj and her Ronin sisters. One of those sisters drew her katana and moved forward, the intent to kill gleaming in her eye.
“Wait,” commanded Roaj, and her sister pause midstep and turned gold-green eyes in her direction.
“What reason is there not to kill this one?”
Roaj considered the question and the place beyond. The energy was different here. She could not place why, exactly, only that her tongue tingled with anticipation.
“Because I gave you an order,” Roaj answered. Behind her, the ranks of twenty Batress Warriors shifted in the saddles of their battle rhinos.
An object flew through the air, wobbling as it did so, to land with a squishy thud where it rolled over and over and came to rest in a divot in the ground. The human head held a face frozen in horror. How the strange tall hat stayed on its head as it was swept from its shoulders was beyond her.
“You let us kill this one,” someone growled.
“This one did not feel holy,” she answered. “Taste the air. Tell me what you sense.” She waited while they did so. The murmuring behind her told her everything she needed to know. They would not disobey.