View Full Version : Oasis is Hell - Exalted 2ed - IC
2011-11-25, 01:25 PM
Rose inclined her head as color- or some of it, her skin was still pale- slowly returned to her skin. The frost and flakes of ice she breathed out slowly stalled, as her eyes opened. They flashed pure black for a moment, then returned to her normal color. She noted that, at the very least, they weren't angry at her, though she did need to, at the least, figure out what was going on. Someone with more knowledge then her, at the least. Something about Sol, maybe? Or perhaps something involving Yu-Shan. She tapped one long blue nail against her lips, thinking. She had no idea of the conversation the missed, and didn't particularly care.
2011-11-25, 02:58 PM
Tea at Amalion's
Tewi sets down his tea with some reluctance, steepling his fingers with a quiet bow of his head and watching the exchange closely. There seemed to be something notable underlying the agreement; memories he greatly wished to catch a better hint of, but did not dare for fear of offending. Even he had his limits on what he would risk.
Significant, that. Solar or not, Lady Vana is definitely an interesting one - and she's going to have a lot of influence now, if I read the situation right. Could she actually achieve her goals? Even with this, probably not... but she had defied expectations once already today, and either way, it could well be enjoyable to watch her try.
"An auspicious meeting, it seems. I, too, look forward to seeing what you might accomplish, Lady Vana." He had no intention of helping her outright, but words cost no coin, and they were nothing he had in short supply.
2011-11-25, 03:18 PM
Oriasta stood firm, unmoving as the dragon approached. She looked up at the massive and puissant elemental, her lips set in a line. ”Well, if that’s the way you want it to be,” she muttered.
Oriasta turned her back on the elemental and began walking towards the exit of the hidden grotto. ”I will see what I can do,” she called back without turning around.
2011-11-25, 05:00 PM
Fury raises an eyebrow, before putting his helmet back on.
"You really should work on your insults. Oh, and be more respectful to her next time, you hear? The status our situation has put you in doesn't mean you can be rude to the lady."
He then turns and heads off after Oriasta, not staying to see how the dragon reacts to that. Oriasta was off now, and he still felt like he needed to keep an eye on her. Especially if she's doing what the dragon wanted, and heading into Malfeas proper.
2011-11-25, 08:58 PM
Tea at Amalion's
"You honor me highly, lady Amalion." Comes Vana's swift response. She stands smoothly and confidently reaches out to take Amalion's hand and give it a respectful kiss. "I promise that your support and attention will not be misplaced- and I will endeavor to ensure all you bestow on me is returned in kind. Twice today you have bestowed your blessing upon us; I will remember your generosity, and will certainly lend my strength to you if you ever require it."
A small grin changes Vana's tone from formal to more relaxed as she speaks again. "And I would gladly accept another chance to share your hospitality."
She adds a small nod of acknowledgment to Tewi, smiling thankfully at him.
2011-11-25, 10:41 PM
Things Lost and Broken
"Night Deliverers?" scoffed The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies, his tone drenched in scorn. "Speakers of the Silent Wind? Do you truly believe yourself to be so important? Do you truly consider yourself so significant as to have even earned the acknowledgement of higher powers? Do not fool yourself. Do you think your enemy today is a mere demon, perhaps? Fools! I am a deathknight! A Chosen of Oblivion! You and your enemies alike are beneath our notice. We have more important matters than the squabbles of narcissistic mortals too simple to choose their battles with care! Stand aside, and I shall... forget... this... this disrespect. Continue to stand against us, however, and you will experience the terrible power of the Void firsthand when it consumes your souls. Assuming, of course, that I do not capture them, and seal you in unending agony within soulsteel. Another daiklave would certainly be useful... Or perhaps a powerbow." His mouth split, showing sharp teeth, his fangs taking centre-stage. "You would quickly come to regret I did not merely cast you into the Void, rest assured."
Manipulation + Presence roll (presumably) for intimidation:
2011-11-26, 05:33 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand resisted the urge to stand and pace back and forth. His hand twitched slightly. The hubris of these three Exalts was perhaps astounding. He arched an eyebrow at the repeated mentions of Arianna. Did Forsaken Sword have some connection to that self-important women that was not previously mentioned? He'd have to ask about that... later.
He winced at the inaccuracies the Eclipse and Night held forth. His voice was smooth, but a very close observer would note that Bartand was slightly annoyed. "I would not say I *need* a Wyld pocket, simply that it would be an incredibly significant comparative advantage if I could obtain one, and prevent others from attaining access to similar. As a corollary, there is a source of food and water other than the Elementals; my manse has an essence-extractor that feeds into..."
Bartrand stopped short, as he quickly noticed the eyes of the other Solars begin to glaze over. "Suffice that it grows food and produces clean water, without any involvement from those dragons. Raising further so-equipped manses could remove dependency upon the dragons. Furthermore, with a Wyld Pocket and the Wyld Shaping Technique, we can form demesnes with Elemental or Celestial aspects, presuming the group visiting Amalion secured the required permissions. Anyway, such a Wyld Pocket could also solve the population issues, and perhaps, with some big portion of luck, also solve the water and food issues by Wyld Shaping up the appropriate constituent components."
He made a throwing gesture, and his bracers projected a series of orange numbers onto the tapestry that Adam had woven in the air. "These are the projected food requirements of our population. As you can see, given access to a pocket to power Wyld Shaping, we can cover far more than the necessary outlays for the entire population with just a few applications. To further your example, Miss Jade, people will go where the food is. If we can promise to feed them reliably, we can easily bring the *entire* mortal population into our camp, so to speak. We can make the elemental dragons irrelevant."
He leaned back and folded his hands in front of him "Also, I should not require your 'favors' to obtain one, if Makarios is indeed capable of providing one. I have something my assistant and I are working on that should interest the Dream Merchant very much; a powerful narcotic that works on demons. Such a lucrative product should secure his assistance, especially if we can modify it to send the resultant demonic dreams on to him for processing."
2011-11-26, 08:23 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Giving a slight sigh over people missing the obvious Punch clarifies "Hope for best. Plan for worst. Otherwise, we fail."
"Additionally we have a small problem with keeping people distracted with a small war... indeed several of them. To wit;
Anyone that saves the people from the 'rampaging demonic hoards' will be getting the popular support of the people. Exactly what we need.
Framing other people for being the source of the 'rampaging demonic hoards' is decidedly unethical. That may work in some areas, but I'd have issues being aware of the activity given the laws in my city.
Ironically such a demon hoard will likely invite response from the forces of Malfeas who are trying to prevent breaking of the terms of Oasis.
Food and Water are in short supply now, but that will not be the case forever, or even for long. Craft focused Exalted can have the matter resolved shortly. Indeed, I have already completed plans to resolve the need for personal water for the populace, a simple and cheap device to reduce the need for food crops and expect to be creating better solutions for the food issues than the current less than ideal prototype solutions."
"Wyld Shaping good for population, not needed otherwise"
"Indeed, my DCE, or Demonic Corps of Engineers is in need of projects to focus on. I currently have them producing roughly 30 flat-pack ready to assemble housing units a day, and while a useful trade item, I fear the demonic market is becoming saturated with the novelty and the Oasis market can't afford it even if I drop the selling price to cost. I greatly dislike leaving them with nothing to do, and there is little left that they can expand on in Bartertown without a greater population to support it. We are operating at barely 12.5% occupancy, and even then optimal population density would be at least twenty times the current population.
Help me get permission to build manses to feed the population, and I'm fairly certain I can build one up in Bartertown... maybe even rebuild the Forge into one. And anywhere else you feel is appropriate of course, we can power-web them together."
"Thought: Attack Bartertown with demons?"
"Hummm, if they focus on destroying the city walls, not the gates please, and the buildings and avoiding hurting people... that would allow me to keep the DCE busy in the short term and establish a pattern of 'evil demons in the wastes'. Note however, this in no way prevents or delays other Solars and Exalted from gathering elemental or demonic forces. Indeed, some may have this very same idea as you right now."
"Bartrand: Narcotic. If not needed, trade in Bartertown? Established demon market."
2011-11-26, 09:41 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand nodded, taking a moment to adjust some of the numbers his bracers were displaying in the orange light, corrections appearing in glowing yellow.
"I agree with your points Mr Chikyu, and it occurred to me as well. We really should be planning for the worst case, which as has been illustrated, would be the combined Exalted host. The best way to avoid having to plan to deal with them all would be convincing as many as possible that following us is in their best interest, and so doing what we can to ingratiate ourselves, whether through heroics or otherwise lending aid."
He stroked his chin at the mention of attacking Bartertown. It seemed a good idea, but he'd have to run casualty estimates. Attacking such a population concentration would be dangerous. "While they are not my demons, that seems a good point to make the first attack of the war a strike against Bartertown. It gives a solid premise for why our circle specifically would be leading the response, and give natural legitimacy to naming Forsaken Sword and yourself as commanders of the response. Anyway, I realize and agree that Wyld Shaping isn't the only possible solutions to the water problem, it is an easy and fast one, and one that we can keep to ourselves for the time being. The downside to a Genesis solution to the water problem is that we would not be able to control the water supply. While convenient for everyone, it does not move the plan forward. Wyld shaping is also a good solution since it can create not just food and water, but arable farmland. Between that and Provider Manses, and yes, my manse is already configured to provide food for a large quantity of people, we should swiftly be able to bring the mortal population into concentrations we control such as Bartertown, the area around the Forge, and any other areas we choose. If we control the mortal populace, we have defacto control of the Exalted host."
Bartand leaned forward over the table, and hurriedly scratched some numbers."Depending on the deal we make with Makarios, Bartertown would be an ideal distribution point for the narcotic. It would increase traffic through the town by demons, and likely increase intro-species commerce. That said, we haven't done any tests yet on humans, and I'd be concerned that if demons were taking the drug, humans might start, and the last thing I want is a drug-addled populace."
2011-11-27, 02:25 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Punch points out the rough casualty figures, and then crosses them out and replaces them with a set in the single digit range. pointing at the Night and Dawn castes, Punch monotones "Distraction. Solar fight in Arena".
"And just to clarify the principal reason behind wanting the food generation in Bartertown is simply because it's easy to hide the origins. Port Wrath is likewise an agreeable location for such a production facility. The issue of the drug is a simple one. Document it's effects and set the price accordingly high. Demons are the ones that have all the resources right now, and putting a high price on the drug not only keeps it out of the hands of most people, it encourages more profit. More than one demon in Bartertown is there on a year and a day service contract in exchange for some luxury service or event that they decided to indulge."
"Wyld Shaping Problem: Yozi"
"Ah, and finally the water issue... actually my plan was a number of purification pump systems, each transferring approximately 12 million gallons a day from the bottomless depths of Kimbery up, through a purification artifact and into a distribution system. Harmonious Jade and her associates would be no doubt highly interested in this for the obvious reasons."
2011-11-27, 10:32 AM
In the Market
Dragon scene has ended, yielding a delicious 3XP to the involved parties. Also, Fury and Oriasta got around 4 hours worth of Essence recovery, with 4m/h rate.
The lovingly, masterfully crafted gate that separated the Oasis from the rest of the Demon Realm stood before the goddess and the Lunar, in its full awe-inspiring glory.
From Ligier's own workshop it came, in his own fiery forge, he gave shape to the jade and orichalcium, in his own vats he dissolved countless demons so that the gate would be more than a mere work of a hammer and an anvil, but a being with a soul on its own. And it did show.
The massive wing of solid, tainted jade, green in colour had been meticulously engraved with the shapes of the beings that gave their souls so that the material would carry a metaphysical weight. Demons of all kinds, from massive erymanthoi and graceful teodozjia to the lowly baidek and aalu adorned it, their outlines inlaid with orichalcium, gleaming emerald in the light of the Green Sun. Shapes they were frozen in were given out in such a level of detail that one would be easily forgiven for expecting them to break free from the jade that surrounded them to continue their vivid, maddened dance through the streets and alleys of Malfeas. However, not even the utter mastery of the pose revealed in full detail the incomparable craft of the Demon Emperor fetich. The infinite genius lied in the engravings' eyes. Wide-open and still, yet hiding a maelstrom of awe and terror within, the expression of one witnessing its own lord at his splendour unfurled. They often said that no mortal could gaze into those eyes and avert his sight without crying a hymn of praise to Ligier.
And this was still the smallest and least impressive of the gates, surrounded only by a tiny encampment, barely hundred tents big. A sad and dreary place, silent barring the echoes of the City behind the wall. No important trade took place here, no influential Solar or Lunar decided to claim this tiny population as his own. Of beings supernatural, only a few dragon-bloods dwelt here, ones of low breeding and low position, trying to make ends meet far outside of the mighty's notice. Behind the Lunar and the goddess, the small town's main plaza was, if one would be allowed to use such a big words to describe something that pathetic. An old, wizened Immaculate was preaching now, his voice week and feeble. From what could be heard, he was teach the mortals of the values of the work, but even as a Terrestrial, he could do little to break the apathy that ruled supreme over this place.
'The Plaza is not far from here, my lady' one of the gate guards, a young boy with a dull spear (and accidentally, one of Oriasta's worshippers) said 'finding it, I think, should not be hard. Should I open the gates for you? It is dangerous outside, please, make sure that nothing happens to you.'
2011-11-27, 10:45 AM
Jania could hardly resist rolling her eyes at the presumptuousness of these mortals. She would put decent odds on the Dragon King alone being able to fight them off. With the deathknight as well it was hardly a contest, and she wasn't entirely useless in a fight herself either. Still, getting into a fight here would not makings any easier for them. And so, turning back to face the men with a sigh, she quickly attempted to diffuse the situation before violence broke out.
"Please, we were just passing through Port Wrath on our way elsewhere. Whatever your plans are, and whoever the Speakers of The Silent Word are, we have nothing to do with it. Now if everyone would simply lower their weapons, we can be on our way and pretend we heard nothing."
Edit: should probably say what that roll IS... Presence + charisma
2011-11-27, 11:56 AM
Fury, back into his usual form when out and about - his warform, puts a clawed hand onto the boy's shoulder and grins.
"That's why I'm here, kid."
2011-11-28, 03:09 PM
Tea at Amalion's
The demoness' hand was chilly under touch, smooth and hard, of marble more than of a flesh. But that would be expected of a being such as her.
'Truly' she said, accepting Vana's kiss 'it has been an auspicious and most fortunate meeting. I have dispatched a soul of mine to deliver the requests back to the Oasis, so that you are not needlessly burdened. And I am quite glad that you are satisfied with my hospitality. Let us hope that in Their will, you will soon both have the opportunity to cross the threshold of my manses again, so that we meet.'
She gave you all a bow, and taking the now-empty plate and cups, turned back and left the chamber, the echoes of her footsteps ringing for a moment from the corridor, but soon fading.
The visit was over.
Outside had changed while you were discussing matters with Amalion, subtly, but still obviously enough for you to notice. The brazen leaves begun to fall from the black-iron branches, spiralling in the strong, chill wind, covering the road outside with a gleaming carpet for you to walk on.
The flowers that grew among the sharp grass begun to bloom, and if not for the wind, the air would be stiff with their heavy scent of a burnt incense. Even now, as you walked down the path, it was almost overwhelming, and certainly numbing to the senses.
The light above changed, too, shifting in hue from a subtle silver to a delicate green, in preparations for your return to the Ligier-lit lands. In the distance, a music was playing, the echo that gave this manse its name. With each step, the tune grew stronger, more defined. Outlines of the Demon-City crazed architecture glimmered in the air, not yet fully formed, but still present. Entering the domain of Amalion was a violent, abrupt act - but leaving was a slow, steady process.
Zsofika waited for you patiently, sitting cross-legged on the gravel, her face turned to the angylkae lying down to her side, pressed tightly to the dark body of her creator, fingers drawing a slow, but ultimately peaceful melody from the harp of time. They seemed strangely serene, both of them, the hunter's hand stroking the angylkae's head idly, a smile you have not expected from her playing on her lips. She nodded at you, acknowledging your presence, but put a finger to her mouth, as to show you not to disturb to peaceful scene.
And it was then that the transition back to Malfeas was complete. The gravel path beneath your feet melded into solid basalt, the light of Ligier rained down on you, and the music of Amalion's manse drowned in the cacophony of bells, horns and voices.
End of the scene brings a grand total of 6XP to each of the participating. Also, it is the time for you to determine what to do now.
Things Lost and Broken
'You heard her!' the Dragon-King growled, stepping forward and swinging his massive weapon in the air, small clouds of dust rising from the ground around him on the air currents caused by the massive slab of orichalcium cutting through air with such a quickness. 'Let us pass, for we are inconspicuous traveller, in no way related to the criminal-humans you speak of!'
All barrels were suddenly pointing to him, and you could almost hear the sound of the firedust getting ready to bath the anklok in a sea of flame. The unspoken question hanging in the air was "and what if it does not stop him?".
The most likely answer was "dismemberment".
'Boss' one of the mobsters stuttered after a brief moment of tense silence 'they have a deathknight... and that...'
'Turn back or I will rip your hearts and offer them to the Sun so that he purifies the wickedness that is you!' the voice of your irreplaceable lizard companion boomed. At the end of the alley, a small crowd gathered, curiously looking at you. If the gang wanted to have privacy, you have just sent it to, nomen omen, Hell.
'Go get 'em, dragon!' somebody from the gathered shouted.
'This is ridiculous!' the leader of the mobsters sighed, lowering his weapon and ordering his men to do the same. Suddenly, the air started to seem a lot less deadly than before.
And that was probably just the thing your anklok waited for.
Moving faster than he should be able to, almost blurring in your eyes, the massive Dragon-King lunged into the clustered Night Deliverers, throwing most of them aside without any effort. His clawed hand tightened over the leader's throat, throwing him off the ground.
'Never again threaten me, gangster human!' he hissed, and threw the man... and using the flat of his daiklave as an improvised bat, smashed into him before he had the opportunity to land on the ground.
You have not seen that particular gangster again... though he made quite a crash on impact, from what you could hear.
2011-11-28, 04:05 PM
The meeting finally done, Rose rises slowly from the sofa, but it is a a very unnatural motion. As she slowly rises to her feet without her hands or, indeed, the rest of her body moving at all. Her knees simply slowly straighten, pulling her upwards and to her full height without any additional motion. Her sword follows along, into it's normal position, as they walk out, though she says nothing or does nothing, other then to incline her head at Amalion as she leaves the house. Though her sense feel quickly overwhelmed at the feeling around her, she manages to shake them off- pretty as they were, it was not for a Warrior to be overwhelmed by scenery, particularly an Ash Child. It was quite pretty though, the little girl from the North inside of her noted.
When the group had finally left Amalion's Zone and returned to Zsofika and the Harpist, she frowned. Obviously the creature was lying and attempting to gather sympathy. She considered speaking or not, to make her intentions known, but finally shrugged. She looked at the other two. "I believe I will be returning to the Oasis." she spoke to them, simply and quietly. She just wished to go back to her home before the smells and sights overwhelmed her. Her heels clinking together, she slowly walked past the two demons. The book at her side jingled with the strands of hair and bells taken from Zsofika's head, and she spared her a glance, but no more.
2011-11-28, 05:58 PM
Tea at Amalion's
"Safe travels, then, Knight." Tewi offers Rose a polite nod and a wave as she departs, although he himself lingers near the exit from Amalion's unseen manse until she is some distance away. Not exactly how I expected my first meeting with a Knight to go. Which of us is the misguided one, I wonder?
Well, that would keep; other business calls, and he turns back to the others, his face a troubled mask. "Zsofika, would you accompany me back to my manse? Amalion's words were not for us alone, and there's other business we should discuss, but this isn't exactly the best place for it." He glances at Vana, with a slight tilt of his head in invitation. "You'd be welcome as well, of course, Lady Vana, should you be interested." Tewi sighs mentally at that; had he really just willingly tried to involve a Solar in his business? No, it's her business too. She's as bound to this oath as I am, and as much of a bother as the thing may be, we oughtn't neglect it.
2011-11-28, 07:14 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
'So, provisions are not a big issue in the long run' Forsaken Sword nodded 'that removes a concern from us, but also a powerful tool, given how we will not be able to perfeclty control every source of food and water without drawing an unnecessary attention to our circle, even if the entire infrastructure is in our hands.'
'Still, we will have a number of water and food sources in our hands' the Regent cut in 'that, if we make them important enough, should become an important asset.'
'No arguing with that' the Dawn acknowledged, tipping his head to the Eclipse.
'The manse permissions had been taken care of' the Quicksilver Falcon added, turning to Punch 'If Amalion stays true to her reputation, we should be able to start geomantic engineering as soon as the bureaucracy processes our requests. Most of the manse-raising charters are signed in blanco, and thankfully' he smiled 'I have managed to put myself in the position of the one who distributes them through Oasis. Certainly, there are numerous Dragon-Bloods or other lesser Exalts and essence-channellers that could be made into owning you a favour if you get them a charter for their own manse.'
'The attack on Bartertown, however' the warlord sighed 'is out of the picture, for the time being, given how I am not able to march anything larger than a raiding party from my encampments that far into the Oasis' territory.'
The host, as if to assist him, flicked a finger. A map of Oasis, rendered in golden hues sparked over the table, hovering a few inches over the flat. The Dawn thanked him, and quickly traced a path through the map, his finger leaving a trail of crimson. A few characters appeared over the line, giving the distance.
'As you can see, my encampments are over eight hundred miles from Bartertown, and there are at least few major population nodes on the way, including the territories claimed by that Lunar defector, Klantarch' he described, shrugging, as if to prove that he is helpless in this regard for now.
'Of course we should be planning for the worst, but now, our operation is in the preliminary phases. We do not have to opportunity to form contingency plans at this moment. We need to start our actions, and see how Oasis reacts before we can start establishing plans for critical situations the Eclipse muttered, annoyed. 'And I am not happy with this, either. But if we start soon, and get a decent hold on our capabilities, then we should be able to.'
'So, in short, we are in the dark?' Jade smirked.
'And all our plans are based on the assumption that things do not turn for the worst on the each possible step, yes' the Dawn grated his teeth. 'Still, what Bartrand says, is as usual for him, very correct. Each of us need to become a hero and a paragon, as well as establish a wide array of clients and contacts to use.'
'Barring miss Jade, obviously' the Regent specified. 'If we want her to operate as our sword, which we do. Or lancet.'
'Sword, no' the dark skinned girl said 'lancet, gladly. Also, Twilight, there is a slight problem with your plan. Makarios will not be interested in a new narcotic, he is above such petty markets. His trade is in dreams, and dreams only, and only if you have a wonder of gossamer that is going to amaze him to spare you may be able to buy a spark of Wyld from him.'
'And I would like to point out that a new drug is not going to be a huge thing in Malfeas. Even if it is a very strong, addictive hallucinogen' the warlord expressed his scepticism 'the saturation of the markets with various narcotics is incredibly high here, and something is merely a hallucinogen is not going to get much interest in the city were liquefied screams of a tortured children are considered a good relaxant.'
2011-11-28, 07:51 PM
In the Market
Oriasta bestowed the young gate guard with a a radiant smile and plucked one of the flowers from behind her ear. Moving forward, she delicately placed the flower behind the young man’s ear. ”Thank you for your concern, it’s very sweet. I’m certain that I have nothing to fear with Fury here.”
Oriasta began to ask the gate guard to open the door before her eyes were pulled back to the scene before her. This place… it was a failure. What was the point of escaping destruction only to come to a place like this and give up all hope? She needed to do something for these people… but she had a mission already….
Oriasta plucked another flower from her hair and held it up. Its petals were a brilliant blue, streaked with white. The goddess exerted a bit of will and released the blossom which continued to hang in the air. In between blinks a perfect copy of Oriasta appeared, the floating azure flower now nestled behind her ear. ”Do what you can to help these people,” the real Oriasta said to her doppelganger, ”I know you can’t do much. But in times like this, something is always better than nothing.”
Fauxriasta nodded and smiled. ”I’ll do what I can. And we’ll wait for you to come back,” she said, placing a hand on the guardsman’s shoulder.
Oriasta smiled back. ”Alright, open the gate.”
As the Lunar and the Goddess entered the Demon City proper, Fauxriasta turned to the gate guard and smiled, ”Alright, luv, where do we start?”
2011-11-29, 02:13 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Generating a map of Bartertown on the table, Punch comments "Could come from Desert, up docks, into town. Docks empty except Here, Here and few here." while pointing at the North, South and centermost position respectively. Adding detail and scale to the map, Punch highlights the current positions of the walls, and everyone can start to get an impression of the miles-wide city layout. "Areas not on main road, or near The Forge, The School, the Arena or others empty." "Walls are tough." is added almost as an afterthought.
"Indeed, even a raid on nothing but the sand docks would cause chaos and panic. I would advise you do NOT try to take cover in this wooded area to the south however. It's something of a... disposal ground, testing ground and lately extreme obstacle course. Of course I would not dream of dictating strategy or tactics to one of the Dawn, so instead let me just provide some of the standard warnings. Avoid touching the trees, they're poison. Don't touch the leaves that fall from them, they're poison. The copious plants that look like watermelons? They are, but I'd suggest you avoid them, as they eat people. And trees... and demons, and pretty much anything they can get to. They're also immune to poisons. If you see a pool that looks like pure water, don't touch it. One of the faeblooded artificers tried to make wyldwater and was only partly successful, so there's only a moderate chance it will kill you instantly. If you see a red puddle oozing across the ground, don't touch it. Another artificer named Daniels tried to create a puppy, and they're quite territorial and will try to kill you. If you see a black puddle oozing however feel free to scratch it, it was his attempt to make kittens and they're rather friendly. Just make certain you're resistant to diseases when you do, they're plague bearers full of illnesses that will try to kill you. If you see a rainbow sheen anywhere, I'd suggest running away. One of the demon artificers was trying to make some of the rains of Herga sentient and was only partially successful. It will cause you to hallucinate, have it's way with you sexually, and then kill you. Oh, and if you see a 12 foot high chicken, don't worry it's real and not a hallucination. The chickens were an attempt of mine to breed animals adapted to this harsh environment. It does however breath fire and will attempt to kill and eat you. Oh and if you see a young woman with a book and a sword, I'd suggest being polite and walking away. She's an abyssal named Rose that can kill you. But probably won't eat you. Probably."
Creating the image of a pentagram with each solar at one of the points, an arrow flows from Jade to Bartrand labeled (Wyld Pocket and/or PSV). Another arrow flows from Marius to Punch labeled (demanse/manse tickets), with a host of small thin arrows spreading out from Punch's point to a cloud that appears with the label (Other Exalted). A third arrow appears between Forsaken Sword and Punch labeled (Attack of Goodwill?) "What do you want of us? How help? How build reputations for all?" Punch asks, indicating Bartrand as well as himself.
"Also Manses. How many? What limits? What requirements?"
"As an additional note, given the rather heavy attention that is being paid to Exalted in these circumstances, particularly Solar Exalted, I would Highly Suggest that there be some sort of public face and/or activity for both ourselves as a group and for individuals. Openly ruling a town or city is fine, you can understand where that Exalted sits and what they are trying to do, people don't spare that much effort into investigating it. However when someone is clearly powerful, and going to great lengths to remain secret in all they do it draws people in, makes them convinced there is some secret there worth finding out. If I may make so bold as to offer a suggestion, how about if we have a public face of an organization dedicated to building the infrastructure needed to survive and thrive here? It is an Exalted worthy goal, gives us a public and obvious reason to be interested in infrastructure of all kinds, both in building it for ourselves and others but also in examining what others have done. "
2011-11-29, 08:27 AM
After Tea at Amalion's
"I would be happy to share your company further." Vana accepts Tewi's invitation politely. "And I would like to speak with you as well, Zsofika." She adds.
"I have no desire to linger in the streets- perhaps we should move on to our destination swiftly?" The sorceress prompts. She'll follow Tewi, if he leads the way.
2011-11-29, 10:35 AM
It was hard to say when it is the night-time in Oasis... or in Malfeas at general. Of course, tomescu howled at the beginning and the closing of the day, but what was the difference exactly? Ligier shone the same, night and day, and that diminutive moon of the Hell's sky circled the Green Sun all the time, and besides was so fickle that Luna seemed to be a paragon of stability compared to her. Only the Lawgivers could easily and precisely determine the time of the day or night, but for every other citizen of Malfeas, setting time to go to sleep was a true nightmare - especially given how laws of Cecelyne forbade clocks.
Yes, maintaining a sleep schedule was hardly possible in this blasted realm.
Yet, people and demons still slept - Hell or no, the body wore down the same, weariness and fatigue bringing even the mighty Second Circle Souls to bed from time to time.
Abyssals were not exempt from this, too. Most of the time, that is. And so, even the mighty Zsofika-vanquisher, Rose, had to lay her head down a few idle hours after getting back from the trip to Amalion, that was both tedious and fruitless for her.
I am assuming that Rose had the opportunity to fill her bladder with some blood from a street bar in Malfeas or something like that, so she is at full motes right now.
There were disquiet dreams in this sleep for her, ones that barely had any coherency or shape, but leaved an unshakable feeling of wrongness long after they had passed back in forgetfulness. Dreams of chains and cages, bottomless dungeons and oubliettes that allowed no sun inside. Dreams of the shadows dancing wildly, revelling to the music of a might hunting horn, tearing themselves free from the true matter that bound them before. And there more uneasy dreams, too. Of beings rapping at the door, lurking at the threshold, binding one in his sleep...
...small candle-flame sparked in the darkness, sizzling quietly and smoking heavily.
'Morning' long unheard voice spoke 'Rose.'
The abyssal opened her eyes to see a very unpleasant sight. Not that it was horrible, but it - or he, to be exact - was a being that seldom portended good occurrences.
Handsome, young boy, white haired and red eyed, with a playful smile dancing on his lips and a dark, round bruise on his brow, clearly visible in the dim light of the candle he was holding. The One Who Caresses the Final Shadows was his name, and he was, just like Rose, a Deathknight at the service of the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears. She remembered his without much clarity, there was nothing really extraordinary about him that piqued her interest back in Creation. Yet another Day-caste, a snarking assassin of the kind that populated the cheap stories in dozens. He also had a strange taste in chains, wax, ropes and other such... things, thought that was hardly surprising, given his liege. And contrary to Rose, he had not defected.
Which, in the current situation, he really did not bode well. Especially as the Dusk-caste realized that the last part of her dream was very, very real, with thick, black iron manacles shut around her wrists and ankles, spreading her on the bed.
'You could drop your guard down from time to time, sweet' he sighed, with a complaint in his voice 'sneaking up on you had been a nightmare. And don't mind the restraints, they are not half as bad as many paint them, really.'
Delicately, he put the alight candle on Rose's flesh, the soft wax clinging tightly to the skin, and starting to slowly drip around. He picked the spot expertly, the sensation was really, really unpleasant.
'Now, please, do tell me where the book is, would you kindly?' he asked in a beseeching tone 'it is quite valuable thing, you know, dear...' with an excessive motion, he snapped open a small, dark switchklave 'I do believe that you might not be in the best position to hold it right now.'
2011-11-29, 11:13 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand folded his hands in front of himself, and chuckled quietly. A massive structure of light winked into being in the air, traced in lines of bright vivid green and dark cobolt.
He gestured to the Night caste sitting to his right, "Indeed, perhaps this is of no interest to Makarios." Bartrand looked quite pleased with himself. However, absent deep occult knowledge, the diagram was likely to go completely over the heads of those assembled. Likely Punch was the only one to grasp it in its totality. The construct of light was a breakdown of the motic structure of the drug itself, decomposed into its constituent essence. "As you can clearly see, this is not just a hallucinogen. It still requires some refinement, but it is also a cure for a hangover, something sorely lacking in the demon realm. Also."
The diagram spun, and enlarged, emphasizing a small bright yellow section, an odd pattern or perhaps a symbol. "I think perhaps you would recognize this, Jade. The mark of Makarios, encoded into the drug itself. Normally, he requires his imprint upon the flesh of a subject to harvest their dreams, but it allowing them to ingest it should work just as well to imprint it, quite temporarily, onto their insides. Any hallucinations the drug causes would be sent right on to Makarios for processing into his works."
He leaned back, and the diagram zoomed back out to once more encompass the entire structure of the drug. "Of course, if Makarios is not interested in selling a narcotic hallucinogen that cures hangover, and as a byproduct resulting in people paying him for the privileged of dreaming for him, then we can simply use the favors you alluded to previously to secure the pocket."
2011-11-29, 01:17 PM
Rose shook her head. She was still rather sleepy, at the least. She idly pondered her bed-head, though she let the man talk. When the wax hit her skin, she gritted her teeth- not a single fang was shown in her mouth, but she didn't speak a word, though the smell of burning wax was a bit annoying. He probably used something hot because of how used to the cold she was- having died in a blizzard-, then again, maybe he wasn't that smart. She idly pondered if she should purchase a shift for when people broke into her room. It was painful, but she did not scream. As he finished, she sighed, then smiled, an actual smile.
"Hello again, little Boy." she said, finally. She'd have brushed her hair back if she could, but instead she simply stayed still. "I do so apologize for being hard to sneak up on. I suppose it is simply a remnant of when I was still working for the Lover. With little Boys like you attempting to get into my rooms at night, It is only natural I became a light sleeper." She betrayed no signs of fear, or even caring that she was chained up by a loyalist from her betrayed Deathlord. She eyed the knife with a grin, then sighed "As for the book..." "Which book do you mean? If it is your diary of girls and men you have had willing relationships with, instead of relying on your chains, You should ask Oramus or perhaps Nara-O. I can't say to have an interest in what you do in your rooms at night alone." she said, twisting one of her hands, it would be a wave-off if she had her free hands. She idly considered strangling him with his own chains, but decided to wait for a time.
2011-11-29, 02:06 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi nods, pulling on his gloves and tapping the lens he wears over one eye to send half his vision ranging far above and ahead of them. "Not too far from here, looks like." Of course, walking anywhere in Malfeas takes longer than it seems it should, but now that he knows where he's going, Tewi can spot trouble before they reach it, and while demons do not always respond to the same triggers as mortals, he has plenty of experience in judging when and where violence is likely to erupt. The somewhat circuitous route he leads the others on is remarkably free of unnecessary disruptions; certainly the crowd is as thick as before at times, but the journey for those whose perception is at street level lacks the worst sights of their earlier mad dash through the city. Change this? You've certainly got your work cut out for you, Vana.
Eventually, they reach a low silver wall, and Tewi reaches into his armour and withdraws an unset hearthstone, touching it to the metal. A ripple spreads outward from the point of contact, rebounding from the outline of an unseen door, which slides out of sight into the wall. He steps through, beckoning the others inside, before touching the stone to the wall again to seal it. "Welcome to the Once-Soaring Tower. Mind the walls, and don't trust that everything's where it looks to be." Inside the wall reveals only a second and third ring, each slightly higher, and Tewi travels precisely halfway around each ring before revealing the door. The center of the third appears to be only a flat plane of basalt, but he walks carefully forward, swinging down into the ground and briefly vanishing from sight before his head pops up above the illusion. "Ladder's right here. It's a bit of a drop."
'A bit of a drop' turns out to be a shaft some two hundred feet deep, the walls carved in bulging lines that appear to represent dripping sap or flowing water, but nonetheless form an obvious geomantic pattern, funneling essence from the rings above to the manse below. The bottom consists of yet another silver ringwall, but once past the door, the route becomes slightly surreal. The first room appears to be a well-appointed entry hall; Tewi scratches his head, as though he's never seen it before, then shrugs and gestures to the various sculpted coathooks and weapon racks, tucking the hearthstone away inside his armour again. Three doors, clearly visible now, lead further into the manse; he taps each one in sequence, generating a series of chimes, then opens the one with the lowest tone, revealing a long and gently curving hallway. Each door he passes receives the same one-knuckle tap; he appears to be navigating by the sounds produced, moving deeper into the manse each time.
A simple glass garden, each blossom a fragile construct; a tiny closet that somehow fits nine doors and not a single shelf; a traditional hall of mirrors, every reflection a different shade, producing an incongruous blast of colour; a workshop, well-kept but mostly empty; a second long hallway, wider than the first and seeming to form at least a partial ring around what lay before. Finally, he opens the last door to reveal a small dining area, with a silver table that seems to grow out of the floor and some rather out-of-place blue cushioned chairs. A small counter and several cupboards cover the back wall; Tewi considers tea before realizing anything he could make would pale in comparison to Amalion's offerings, and extracts half a bottle of his swiftly-dwindling stocks of Creation-sourced wine and a set of glass goblets from the depths of a cupboard instead.
Waving his guests to seats, he pours for everyone present, offering a small grin and a raised glass. "Sorry for the inconvenience; this place is a bit odd, but it suits me. Now, should we start with the obvious matter?" He nods to Zsofika, hoping to deal with the question that required planning before the one that might end up leading to violence. "Alveua seems to be after you, and pretty dedicated to the prospect. Do you know why?"
2011-11-29, 06:28 PM
At the Market
The guard gulped, and motioned one of his companions to open the gates, while trying to bow, ogle and smile at the new Oriasta simultaneously, to the effect that quit description, though probably the word "grotesque" could be used to at least get close to the infinite depths of awkwardness achieved there.
But the original goddess' and Lunar's attention was placed elsewhere, at the gates. As soon as the human pulled a long, engraved lever, a green spark jolted through the sculpted muscles of the demons bound within brass.
And in a heartbeat after that, they have all opened their mouths and begun to wail, their voices infernally beautiful, so perfectly bringing to you the suffering that was their fate for now and for ever. The vitriol-tainted sinew constricted, and to the dirge, a new sound was added, of brass grinding against basalt - it should be a disharmony, yet it was just another tune of a grand orchestra of unthinkable torment the gate was.
Ah, the wonder of Ligier craft! No one but him knows so well the similarity between the torture and the ecstasy, between what is abhorrent and what is beautiful. Nowhere but on his anvil (and in the minds of a few Lawgivers of the Old Age) had the suffering been forged into perfection, tears of loss catalysed into the songs of pleasure.
Truly, the gate was a wonder - and as disgusting as it was, one could not help but to marvel.
The streets of Malfeas opened before the Lunar and the goddes, their pulse and song inviting them to join the wild revelry. It was a time of a carnival, after all. The first one in the realm of the Green Sun since the dawning of time.
The demons paid little attention to Oriasta. She was a goddess, they could see it easily, but even as a half-naked flower-lady, she was one of the most normal-looking members of the crowd, and the protection of the huge, burly Lunar to her side made her more or less safe - from deeds, at the very least, because words... well, even the Full Moon could not shield it from them.
'...we'll get you, wretch!'
'Unquestionables notice you, traitorous bitch, and may all your bells fall silent!'
And more, more, more. Some demons lobbed junk when they could, others screeched and hissed. A goddess. A traitor to the Titains. Worst kind of a being, something deserving only to be desecrated, rendered down. And if not for Fury, some of them would have made the necessary steps already.
2011-11-29, 06:41 PM
Oriasta sighed as she walked, her eyes focused forward, attempting to ignore the invectives of the demonic crowd.
Demons. Worse than elementals, they were, the fleas and parasites of the yozi. Their jeers were and insults did not phase her, they were the enemy in every way, and breaking from their side was one of the few important and momentous things that she had done in her entire millennia of existence.
Still, her green hand found Fury’s arm and pulled herself closer to the Full Moon.
She was scared. And angry.
The Dragon would pay for this sort of slight.
2011-11-30, 08:45 AM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
It felt odd, following Tewi deeper into the manse. The dragon-blood's lair was entirely unknown to her, but each trick and wonder felt familiar, a series of secrets that were clearly his own, but felt intrinsically identical to Vana's own craft. Smoke and mirrors, puzzles with an unseen answer in plain sight; a stage magician's craft worked into a powerful structure and a home. Her insatiable curiosity prompted her to examine each as carefully as possible... but at the same time, she felt as if she were intruding, a thief stealing the work of another.
"It's no trouble at all." Vana answers Tewi distantly, her gaze moving slower than the rest of her, only reluctantly pulling away from the rest of the manse to focus on the current room and her companions. "I can't say I feel out of place myself..."
She leaves it at that, however. His interest was largely directed at Zsofika at the moment, and she felt it was better to let him carry the conversation if he was the one starting it.
2011-11-30, 02:12 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Forsaken Sword took a closer, longer look at the map presented by Punch, quickly adding a number of lines on his own, scribbling some bizarre names beneath them.
'Yes, that would work' he muttered finally, leaning back. 'I shall dispatch a raiding party in a few days. You shall get a warning first. Do you want me to lead the defences, or do you want fame for yourself?'
'I would suggest that you do it yourself, Adamu' the Eclipse advised 'The stronger your position within Bartertown is, the better.'
'True enough' the Bronze Tiger agreed, nodding 'I shall message you with all the attack details in advance, as well as the force composition. It should be enough for you to organize the defences accordingly.'
'You also make a fine point of creating a public face for our... organization, but maybe we can assume that this has been already accounted for, thankfully' the Eclipse smiled, switching the map back to the general view of the Oasis, and then quickly zoomed in to the Slagheap, to a large, round amphitheatre not far from the tower you were in. 'The new Deliberative. Opening session of the Upper House should take place during the Calibration, if no delays in the preparations happen. This means that we can present ourselves as one of the circles there, certainly a very influential one, with an agenda of supporting the development of the Oasis' infrastructure.'
'This, however' Forsaken Sword sighed 'makes all our actions much more obvious and also can lead to an easy exposure of our conspiracy, given how every Solar will be able to draw a clear connection between the each of us. I insist on never becoming an official body. Instead, I propose that we involve ourselves into the factionism of the Deliberative, yielding a bit of our influence to various parties, so that we gain trust and renown, while, officially, staying in a different political options.'
The Regent eyed Forsaken Sword with surprised, not expecting the Dawn to disagree with him. It did not shatter his composure, though.
'And I allow myself to suggest that we put this matter under a vote' he stated. 'Given how we are a circle of peers, this seems to be the only fitting way of resolving such conflicts.'
'Fair enough' the warlord nodded again. 'Let us resolve all other manners, and then we can decide together on our course.'
'Regarding manses' the Regent quickly tapped on a small curio at his belt, checking something 'we should soon receive a charter for up to forty baxians of manse power, if Amalion stamps the papers without any modification. Given the limitations on the demesne capping imposed by the Pillars, that should make thirteen permits for manses three-baxian manses and one for a single-baxian manse. How many permits do you want to distribute among your peers and subjects?'
'I shall ask for one, preferably the least powerful one' Forsaken Sword replied 'as soon as I am done with Arianna, I should give her a small manse to occupy her while I look for a better applications of her skill.'
'I need none personally, though I would like to have a few permits to use as a bargaining chips. Three should be enough' Jade spoke up again, turning to Bartrand, of all people. The sudden movement, even if minimal seemed overly expressive for her. 'Makarios may even go for it, but I remain sceptical, Copper Spider. This is however a genuinely interesting design. Could you modify the dream-transmitting procedure so that it can be targeted at someone else? A poison that grants access to people's dreams would be of invaluable use for me.'
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
The hunter demon did not take the opportunity to sit on a cushioned chair, choosing the floor instead, sitting down cross-legged on the cold surface. Maybe she was feeling unworthy of sitting in the presence of her masters, and maybe she just scoffed such comforts. The angylkae, however, quickly climbed into one of the armchairs, putting her knees to her chin, curling up and hiding her face in shame. She was not silent, she could not be, after all, but only her music spoke for her.
'Alveua?' the demoness shrugged, combing what little was left of her hair with the many-jointed fingers. 'That drunkard insect of the Dragon?' she would have spat, if not for the fact that even she understood that it would in a rather poor taste. So she just chuckled dryly 'I have never crossed my paths with her, but she's out of the Shadow, she does not need a reason to harm someone apart from his fancy.'
She accepted the cup of wine, but did not drink it, instead passing the glass to the angylkae.
'Tiela?' she spoke with uncanny softness in her voice - and a little bit grating, as if the Kite Flute herself had problems with expressing such emotions. The care had been genuine, but the way she was showing it seemed somewhat stifled. 'Have a drink. One of the last vintages of Creation'
Wrapping her long fingers around the glass, angylkae raised her head for a short moment. She had a pretty face, like most demons of her kind do, and you have noticed, that while torn and stained, her dress used to be of a higher quality than most demons wear, and the elegant, glass necklace on her neck was crafted with much skill. Certainly, she was a servant to someone wealthy and influential. Also caring enough to provide his (or hers) demon with such items.
'Thank you' she whispered finally, taking a sip. Her voice was hushed and weak, but grateful beyond description.
2011-11-30, 02:49 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand shook his head sadly at the night caste, and with a wave of his hands zoomed the massive light-diagram in on the section containing the sigil.
He pointed quite emphatically at the section containing the mark, and his voice held a tone that was a combination of resignation and scientific intensity. "No. The magic that accomplishes the dream transfer is a property of the Mark of Makarios itself. That's why it is so easy to integrate into the drug; I just need to copy the mark. There is no magic specific to the drug that it needs to operate to accomplish the transfer. That is really the beauty of the system; the mark handles it all automatically. The magic is inherent to the structure of the design itself, but that design is intrinsically tied to the Dream Merchant. It might be possible to reverse engineer the effect and build something similar but it would take a lot of time and research and likely the cooperation of Makarios. The simplicity of the system makes it easy to integrate and widely deploy, but does not readily aid in adaptation."
Bartrand casually waved a hand, and the light construct collapsed into a small Gold, Cobalt, and Green ball hovering in the air. His eyes resumed a far-away look as he steepled his fingers in front of him. He was clearly paying more attention to some design in his head than to the other meeting participants.
"As to manse permits, I currently need none. One or two might be handy as bargaining chips, but I need a much more powerful demesne to accomplish the next phase of my plans, and with the Pillar Laws being what they are, that means building in the city proper. Not something I'm opposed to and the laws of Cecelyne will mostly protect the project... along with some bound demons, but that is a longer-term goal. Once things are a bit more settled down in Oasis... and I've had a chance to bind some second circle demons during the upcoming calibration, I'll begin work on that project."
2011-11-30, 03:11 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Punch listens intently before addressing the Regent "Suggest offering service with permit. Create Demesnes. Design Manse. Build Manse. Get bigger favor in trade. Already doing for Amalion, Barton can help. 3 seasons per manse, 3 at a time."
"Indeed, one of the problem with the current manse construction restrictions is the efforts preventing us from raising higher power manses. To be frank, this limitation needs to be removed if we are to build infrastructure that provides value to the rebuilding effort and community. There are things we could do to attempt to bypass these official limits... taking over some territory in Hell itself and building them. Create a pocket wyld realm and building them there. But no matter how you look at it if we want real infrastructure we're going to have to find a way around the limits. We could start building in the Endless Desert if taking territory from citizens in Malfeas doesn't appeal. As it is, the 3 baxian manses can help with basics such as food production feeding 1500-1800 people with dedicated production, acting as a fixed emplacement defense platform or the like. I for one would suggest each of us securing some food production capacity as a fallback measure and then arranging the development of others as fixed weapon emplacements for the most paranoid of Exalted. the favors provided for such are worth quite a bit more than the manses as they are now."
Turning specifically to Forsaken Sword, Punch appears to ponder for a moment before replying "Both? Any option is fine. Don't give warning. Legal issues. Agree on not being official body, just interested parties. What resources help you? Gear for demons? Better weapons?"
"Harmonious Jade, if I may be so bold what other tools or effects would be of assistance in your pursuits? If we are to be a circle, I would be of aid to all of you are you are of aid to me. Bartrand and myself can provide all manner of wonders, but lack context for what you would find of use beyond happenstance such as the narcotic."
Finally turning to Bartrand, Punch clearly uncomfortable with all the talking he's been doing, simply raises an eyebrow expectantly, assuming that Bartrand will pick up on the obvious theme and offer ideas of what Punch can do to assist him and vice versa.
2011-11-30, 03:54 PM
'You hurt me, sweet' the Day-caste smirked, spreading his arms in a gesture of absolute helplessness. 'Deeply. But thankfully...' with a gesture of a stage magician performing audience's favourite trick, he procured another, dark candle from beneath his spacious, dark cloak. '...I can return the deed in kind.'
Once more, the quiet sizzle of a wick being lit aflame resounded in the chamber, and another small fire made the long shadows dance on the walls. The abyssal waited for the wax to soften, and waved the candle above Rose's chest, leaving a trail of pitch-black spots on her white flesh.
'Perhaps my relations with girls are weird, yes' he admitted 'and perhaps I enjoy this little reunion more than the so-called moral standards would have me to, but...'
With an incredible speed, he a put hand over Rose's mouth, silencing her - even more than such an improvised measure should, by any reason. There was essence in this.
'...I apologize, dear, yet I have...'
His knife darted to Rose's chest, the sharp tip circling on the skin, drawing an elaborate pattern in blood, the soulsteel edge easily cutting through essence-reinforced skin.
'...to know where the tome you have is.'
Allowing the switchklaive to hang from a short string attached to his wrist, he grabbed one of the candles, and traced the pattern of cuts, sealing the wounds with molten wax.
Needless to say, it was hardly pleasant.
'Tell me before I really run out of my patience, dear. Tell me' he sneered, the caste-mark on his brow opening like a fresh wound, dripping gore on Rose's face.
The Day-caste launches a torture social attack. Natural mental influence. -1 external penalty due to Appearance disparity in Rose's favour.
2011-11-30, 04:54 PM
With a hand over her mouth, the Day Caste could not see Rose's teeth expand into the mouth of a shark, though her eyes narrowed heavily- cat-like pupils that flashed black-. Her eyes looked directly into him, and the room shuddered. The pain made her more and more angry, but she bit her tongue to avoid screaming. Her Eyes were the only indicator that she even felt it, as her brows furrowed for an instant. Her hair twitched on it's own, as if static electricity was running down it. The gore that dripped from the Boy's Caste mark dripped over her eyes and her own mark, staining her hair and dripping down her ears. She wished to talk to the the little Boy, but her mouth was covered. She looked about the room.
A desk shoved into the corner, made of old wood, and unnecessary for her, but she liked it. There was a single Candle on it. The desk was probably ransacked, but she couldn't be sure from the angle. Her clothing and armor sat on it, perfectly folded, and a pile of Zsofika's hair. The book was not there. At the foot of her bed, balanced in a corner, was her sword, edge facing out. She considered. Under her pillow was a knife. The entrance was not a door. She had set up her house in what used to be a Garbage can, though no one threw things down onto her anymore because it was obvious it was her house. The only way out and in was a single rope she had tied that fell into the room. She climbed it to leave, and those entering needed to climb it. The floor was barren brass, and cold to the touch. Indeed, the only warm thing in the room was the bedsheets. Blue and black, stretched over a simple, but sturdy frame, She had bothered to spend money on them, and bought the best she could. She liked bundling up in them. If the Boy had ruined them, she'd just have to kill him worse then she was already planning.
Then again, she couldn't even talk, with her mouth covered. Her sharp fangs would have glimmered, as she considered her actions. if they could have been seen in her light, but the Little Boy wasn't that smart. Her fangs grew even longer, as she stared him straight in the eye. She could taste her own coppery blood, but she decided to try a taste of his as well. Even restricted by her chains, she popped her neck, loosening it. It was painful, but she slowly cracked and shifted her bones to allow her to move her neck more. Once her neck had moved enough, She clenched her mouth shut under his hand. her fangs piercing through his hand, attempting to pierce flesh and crack bones.mouth was as strong as a Shark's, and her fangs were nothing to sneeze at, a crushing bite focused on rending his hand to worthlessness, as his blood mixed with hers. Her eyes laughed at him as she bit down as hard as she could.
Bite Attack on the Little Boy. 5 Dice, Spending WP for an Extra Success [roll0]
2011-11-30, 05:14 PM
Fury keeps on walking, feeling Oriasta get closer, and looks around at the jeering demons, slicing through any junk heading towards them with his free claw.
"Yeah, yeah. Keep on yelling, if it makes you feel better about your own sorry state."
2011-11-30, 05:27 PM
The Day-caste inhaled sharply, his pupils growing small as Rose bit into his hand, dropping the candle he held down, the fire guttering out.
'You bitch' he snarled, jumping back. 'And to think that I have wanted to hold back...'
He sighed, calming a bit, the blood stopping to drip from the wounds on his palm.
'Sorry, dear, but you have gone a bit too far' he chuckled anxiously after a moment of silence, gracelessly tearing the sheets from beneath Rose, and shredding them into long strands of thick fabric. He picked one, curling it into a tight ball. 'You did not behave the way you should, girl. Has Lover really taught you nothing?'
Brutally (but also very carefully), he grabbed Rose's chin, forcefully opening her mouth and shoving the ball deep inside, affixing it in place with several more pieces of sheets.
'You do not disobey, bitch' he continued, with a wicked grin growing on his face. 'And if you do, you face the consequences.'
The blade of his daiklave hid itself in the heavy handle, transforming the weapon into a glorified cudgel. And then, without any delay, he was at the defenceless Abyssal, smashing his knife in her stomach, chest, precisely and with a lot of experience. The blows rained faster than his body had any right to move, but it did not make then any less painful.
He stopped after a long moment, when Rose's body was barely more than a single, large, purple bruise.
'Do you like it better, now?' he asked, finding a few more candles, and opening a few small wounds on his erstwhile companion's flesh, making the wax pool into them. 'Because I am patient.'
With an exaggerated motion, he sat down on a chair, looking at some point past the mutilated and still gagged Dusk.
Time Scything Technique, pulled blows, fierce blows. Rose has no real way for defending against those attacks.
Damage is 10B + extra sux.
2011-11-30, 05:58 PM
For the first Hour, Rose stared at the ceiling, attempting to sleep. She decided she was going to kill him worse, now that he had ripped up her favorite sheets. she couldn't sleep, but she did slowly fade away into Dreams. But they were Nightmares. She could feel them on the edge of her consciousness, and realized her sleep was going to be worthless. She rather just wished the little Boy would go away, though it seemed she wouldn't get her miracle. She couldn't even insult him yet.
2011-11-30, 06:17 PM
Poor choice of a word.
It took Rose a long of effort, genuine strength of will to cut away the overwhelming pain and shame and humiliation and slip into the realms of sleep.
But they offered no reprieve, and no escape.
There was no dream to speak of, just one long vision, crystal-clear, burning into memory like brand on the soul, a burning mark that is not going to fade.
Amidst the ecstatic Whispers of beings that carved only destruction, death and suffering, because those were all states they knew, Rose found herself spread on a table of white-hot iron, long spikes driven through her palms and feet holding her fast. The sky above was pitch black, with no gentle glow to shine down on her.
For no light would dare to disturb the being dancing around.
Those were the monsters within. Inner demons, portents of the unavoidable desolation, spirits of malice, spirits of hate, spirits that brought only night. In their hands, tools of black metal were dancing, cutting at the body of the Abyssal every second, cutting chunks of flesh, rubbing salt into the open wounds, tearing out bones and organs, gorging on them on the Dusk's eyes. The pain... the pain could hardly be described, it passed beyond the capacity of mundane senses to feel, it, paradoxically, did not even hurt any more. Not body, at the very least. No, it was defiling soul, pruning hope, belief, life, memories... leaving only single cry of all thoughts, cry that was all that Rose could cry at this table of her martyrdom:
Of course it did not find any answer, but more knives, edges, whips, more sulphur, more of the soul being consumed bit by bit by the powers of Oblivion. The Abyssal, at the back of her head knew, however, that there would be no end to this, that it was a nightmare without waking.
The sharp, strong slap that brought her out from the realms of dream back into the bloodied bed came more as a relief than a torment. The pain of the waking word was overwhelming, numbing, it tasted of blood and sweat, it tasted of own weakness, it drew tears. But it was something that kept to the body, not leaving a stain on the soul. Not yet.
'Rise and shine, whore' the Day-caste snarled, slapping Rose once more for a good measure, tearing the gag from her mouth. His voice thundered in the Abyssal's head, as if he was shouting, even if it was barely a whisper.
Without much ado, he raised his knife, put it to the women's eye, the tip of the blade half an inch from the pupil.
'The book, now, or you go blind'
2011-11-30, 06:29 PM
Rose is, finally, rather sick of this entire thing. She doesn't break, she's just finally sick of being thrown around and locked in chains. She sighs at the knife. "You have to unlock my chains, Boy. It's under my mattress."
2011-11-30, 06:46 PM
At the Market
And so, the pair made its way through the gleaming streets of the Demon-City, towards the fiefdom of Five Crimson Tears, and its heart: the Plaza of Wailing and Dismemberment.
The name... the name has been a misnomer for many centuries now. Long, long time ago, under another's demons command, it was a place of public executions, where demons who have broken one of the many laws of Malfeas were slowly impaled on a long stakes of green iron, their limbs cut and staked next to them, left to rot and wither. They say that the wailing of the sentenced made for an alluring music and the Silent Wind never blew through the streets around. Thus, demons begun to trade in the shadows of the executed, build their homes and lead their small lives, ankle-deep in blood.
Then came Isidoros, and nothing but a flat basin shaped like his might hoof remained. Basin... and a tradition. New fiefdom was established, new ruler elevated to rule supreme over the plaza and streets around, and new executions were carried out. But the new sovereign had been a merciful one, and more and more demons found themselves reduced to that status of something lesser than serf, to the status of a thing, and sold instead of being destroyed. With a few centuries, executions stopped. And the plaza became one of the premier slave markets of the Demon City. Wailing found its end not long after that, when it became customary to gag the slaves before butting them in the large pens. Only the rhythmical, heavy tolling of the bells - and distant echoes of the screams of the countless ones who perished there before remained.
And somehow, inexplicably, blood still flooded the place, reach ankle-high in the plaza.
The plaza was crowded, of course it was, mostly with representatives of influential citizens looking for more serfs to acquire. It would appear that the order of the day was Adjoran's progeny - main stock on the auctioning blocks were unlucky angylkae and katalinae, numberless jazon and marotes enjoying a likewise popularity.
'Good harpists keep the peace at bay!' a fat erymanthoi in a top hat growled, the guttering bellow washing over the crowd.
'A teodozija that sinned!' another merchant marketed his goods, a neomah pointing at a chained jade lion 'first and only of the kind!'
'Jazon blood, only one shekla for pint!' one more cried, some strange kind of a deva you have not seen waving its long tentacles towards a number of a number demons prepared for drinking 'taste the music!'
'Curiosities from the City!' someone was crying, out of your sight, but very loudly 'calm puppeteer! Chaste neomahs! Human children! Other stranger still, only for those with a taste that for things splendid!'
2011-11-30, 08:06 PM
At the Market
Amidst the noise, the music, the gore and the chaos weaves a lithe little demon-blooded woman. She can't be more than five feet tall, and her thin frame contrasts with the immense demons that she nimbly hops over. Her hair is red streaked with purple the shade of a neomah's skin, and her dark eyes are distinctly reminiscent of the neomah as well.
In a different setting, her fragility and beauty would be the sort that one might want to shield or protect from the world, to keep safe like a flower made of glass. Here under the light of the Green Sun, however, she looks more like a flower made of adamant. Although she flows through the crowd like a gentle stream, she could tear through it like a dam bursting at any time.
She has carefully hiked up her skirts to not stain them with the blood that she walks through; her purple dress is in a bit of disarray that she hasn't managed to quite fix. She leans against a nearby wall to catch her breath, examining the angyalkae on display critically, and grows more displeased with each one of them she sets her eyes on. Seeing their eyes pleading at her and their music bearing the tone of desperation as they look her way, begging her without words to shelter them, she shakes her head and gives them an apologetic smile. "Not today, my lovelies. Please endure a little longer."
Hearing the barker selling human children, she clenches a fist. Her arm trembles in anger, and she closes her eyes.
Is she going to keep walking, to let this continue unabated?
"Oh, hell no," Ophelia says to herself. The gentle stream becomes a fierce torrent as she marches in the direction of the voice. In her haste, she doesn't quite pay as much attention to where she's going. A blood ape walking the opposite way bumps into her, nearly knocking her over. He glares down, expecting her to apologize and show deference. She reaches up, slides an arm tenderly around his neck, and before he sees fit to act on that sign, she pulls his head toward her with surprising strength and violently knees him in the face. Teeth fly and bones snap.
The splash showers her with blood as she lets him go, falling into the ankle-deep blood dazed but not dead. As she moves on she points from one of his fellows to him, indicating without speaking that they should take him. One of his gang lifts him up and carries him off, yelling curses at her that she ignores.
Fists of Iron active yay
2011-11-30, 08:27 PM
At the Market
The Goddess Oriasta walked through the blood-filled bazaar. With each step, the blood parted like the sea in front of Charlton Heston to allow her bare feet to touch the blasted Malfean ground unmarred by the market’s constant blood. Being a goddess comes with all sorts of little perks, it seems.
Still, as she walked the splashing and thrashing of the horde of demons had mostly covered her lower half in droplets of ichor.
”How are we ever going to find the nymph in this madhouse?”
And still the jeers and verbal assaults beat down upon the goddess. She swallowed her frustration and annoyance, pushing the voices of the demons out of her mind. They were the buzzing of gnats. The blowing of the wind. She was rubber and they were glue. Sticks and stones and… ”Did they just say human children?” she asked, horror in her voice.
”Come on, Fury,” she said, urgency and steel ringing in through gritted teeth, as she began to pull the Lunar towards the source of that last hawker.
2011-12-01, 01:45 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
For a moment, Punch freezes completely. Unmoving. Apparently not even breathing. After a few moments more, he nods slightly and addresses the Regent again "Have idea. Assign 3, 4 manses to me". With an almost predatory and uncharacteristic grin he adds "Prototype idea". Somehow, as if he changed completely in an instant, Punch seems distant. Focused. Even colder somehow. Even his very eyes look slightly different shifting slightly towards a brighter and harsher color from the normal brown.
Fortunately no-one here was at his wedding, or spent time in the personal workshops of Punch, or they might recognize the look. The look of a true predator on the trail of challenging game such as lions, tigers and bears. The look that means the problem will be solved... somehow, in some way... even if Malfeas himself has to be ripped asunder and rebuilt to do it.
The world could be in trouble, oh my.
2011-12-01, 07:11 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
'Three permits to Harmonious Jade one to Adamu Chiky, two to Bartrand, single one to Forsaken Sword' the Solar quickly note down. 'So be it. The charter should be here shortly, I shall write the permits down as soon as I have it. Removing the limitation on the manse power, however, may prove difficult. Unquestionables are not especially keen at allowing the Oasis to posses a formidable geomantic network.'
'So, the basics are set now' the Dawn mused, silently acknowledging Punch's plea. 'We have decided on our agenda and long term goals, as well as the means of achieving them.''
'There is little I need' the dark-skinned woman whispered meanwhile to Adamu. 'Unless you happen to have any air person I can acquire in your town.'
'There are, however, a few issues we need to adress as soon as possible' the Regent waved his hand, making a few points red light flash on the map. 'Mainly Klantarch's defection, we need to remove him from power before his plans of forming a roving horde begin to endanger the Oasis.'
'Barbarian Lunar?' there was a shade of surprise in Jade's voice. 'They said that they were a thing of old, dark times, a relic...'
'And he is such a relic. Apart from him, there are also two minor issues we should resolve. Mnemon...'
'She is mine, worry not' the warlord cut in, his voice dry and full of malice 'I shall have her soon, and will serve her accordingly. She has been a nuisance for too long.'
'and the One-Eyed Ragara' the Quicksilver Falcon pointed out at one of the smaller gate-towns. 'He is trying to establish a large trading centre, and worse yet, probably is but a puppet to some Lawgiver. This attempts may possibly endanger Bartertown's dominance, so it should be addressed. Also, it would be good for us to find what peer of us has such finesse.'
'One more' Jade added 'there is a rogue Abyssal at large in the Oasis, my contacts have ran into him not long ago. From what I have gathered, he was looking for that tamed Deathknight, Rose was her name if I remember correctly.'
'Are you going to hunt him down?' Forsaken Sword asked curiously.
'If I need to. For now, I am just observing, perhaps he will lead us to something interesting, given the rumor of an entire circle of Deathknights hiding in the emptiness of our Oasis.'
'I see no need' he snarled once more, his knife jolting up from Rose's eye. Quickly, he directed the weapon against the mattress, cutting it from under the bound Abyssal, shredding the fabric until the edge of the blade screeched against Zsofika's hair the tome was wrapped in.
'Finally' he muttered, tearing the book from under the remnants of the ruined mattress. The bells chimed softly as he did, with a subtle tone of beckoning to them.
Quickly, he hid it beneath the cloak, a weary, but satisfied smile emerging on his face.
'Have fun' he chuckled, forcing the gag back into Rose's mouth and checked the locks on the manacles. 'I hope you feel comfortable, bitch. Shame we do not have more time to play' he added, but thankfully, his voice stopped being so ringing and painful to the ears. 'Anyway, I bid you farewell. Maybe I shall pay you a visit later? You are not going to move from here soon, are you?'
Not expecting an answer, he quickly climbed out.
2011-12-01, 10:06 AM
Jania sighed as the Dragon King attacked the gangster. Stupid lizard, he just killed any chance of them getting out of here without making a scene. Still, he had at least attracted their attention to himself, and she had given them no reason to attack her yet(beyond their inaccurate suspicions at least). "Ugh... I have better things to do than watch an 'Essence-Lizard' start a brawl in the streets. It's time I get going."
With a flash of essence, Jania's ornate cloak blew open in a non-existent wind. The starmetal laced fabric rippled once before splitting apart and changing seamlessly into a pair of feathery wings. Moments later she was in the air, propelled at massive speed by the artifact as she soared over the pathetic excuse for a settlement. She had had more than enough of this wasting time. The mortals couldn't touch her, and she had work to do.
spending 10 motes to activate Wings of the Raptor, 20 left. Jania is now flying away in the direction the compass pointed at 60 feet per tick. Assuming she gets away without problems, she'll fly past before circling back stealthily. If needed, stealth roll: [roll0]
2011-12-01, 12:59 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies howled with laughter as the dragon king sent the gangster flying. But his laughter was cut short as the jadeborn suddenly took off on starmetal wings. He cursed. The jadeborn was his only lead on the Twilight, and he had little desire to fail in this. "Dragon king!" he called out. No sooner had the dragon king turned for long enough to see his daiklave, pointed at the soaring jadeborn, than he took off running in the same direction. He knew it was futile - she was simply moving far too quickly for him to keep up, especially given his armour - but there was little else he could do except to hope the dragon king had a better plan...
2011-12-01, 01:12 PM
Fury nods, heading towards the sound of the voice, cutting through the crowd using his size and strength to clear a path through the thronging hellspawn that filled the plaza.
2011-12-01, 05:14 PM
Rose just gives up and lets him take it. She can't talk anyway.
2011-12-01, 05:43 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The soaring Artisan flew past Port Wrath unnoticed. As unusual sight as she was, hardly anyone in this wretched settlement cared to look to the sky. The same apathy turned to be a blessing for Artificer too. If there was a lesson people there learned very well is that when a man armed with soulsteel and a huge Dragon-King rush somewhere in a hurry, it usually spells troubles, or at least a sizeable chance of being obliterated in the cross-fire.
So, instead of following, they took it as a point of honour to follow in the opposite direction, fast... or at least try to make themselves as unseen as possible, or crack out the flame-pieces, aim them at something and hope for the best.
Jania's flight quickly took her out of the town's borders, into the featureless plain of brass outside, the green light reflecting from the surface being almost blinding so high in the sky.
Suddenly, the compass' pointer begun to twirl madly, as if trying to break free from the pin that held it and point in some other direction. And then, the Artisan noticed it, though only barely. A rectangle cut into the surface, small, but still large enough to hide an entrance to an underground hideout - or a hermitage of a truly rigorous eremite.
By the time she had returned to her companions, they made it to the edge of the Port. Even the anklok's breath was a bit ragged after the long run.
Fatigue check from Artificer, please.
2011-12-01, 10:15 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Whispering back to Harmonious Jade, Punch replies "Some there. For rent or sale, must ask them. Could make copy or fake in a fortnight."
"I will gladly send word to the scion of house Ragara, and entreat him to discuss matters of trade and cooperation. However while this is going on openly, I'd suggest that one of you with an effective monitoring system pay attention to what happens that you might identify the power behind the man, if indeed he is not merely very skilled himself. To be frank, if he is being that subtle about it I will not detect it or be able to combat it.
On the topic of Deathknights... I am not comfortable with this one that seems to be seeking Rose. Deathknights even more than Infernals and Solars tend to want to ignore the laws of Bartertown and fight in the streets, and are beyond the capacity of the police forces there to restrain or redirect forcefully. If you would be so kind Miss Jade as to keep an eye on him? If he's about to cause trouble, deal with him? I would be in your debt on the matter if you would. And of course should he turn out to have committed crimes in Bartertown you would also be entitled to the standard law enforcement officer portion of his fines and punishment should he or his identifiable remains be brought in. I shall have a writ of termination prepared and filed for you shortly after I get back to town. In fact, if you ever feel like making spending cash, you are always quite welcome to take on any of the bounties for criminals that have fled Bartertown. A number of them have ended up in Port Wrath by all accounts and even the mere threat of taking them back for punishment is often enough to motivate a person to cooperate should you need something of them.
Additionally, should any of you happen to encounter a deathknight crafter with some skill, or a reliable source of pyre flame would you please direct them my way? I have some defensive system concepts that would be much easier to implement with such."
"Talk of Lunar. What forces? How many? How do they survive? What weaknesses?"
"A final few notes. Please, whenever the attack happens, ensure that the troops and leaders that are making the raid are quite ignorant. They are likely to be captured, and interrogated most intently for the attack on Bartertown, and I am afraid that for legal reason I will not be able to arrange any sort of escape from that, not even death.
As for the dragons, they are powerful because they are more needed than the gods right now, because they are required for the survival of everyone. Or rather the elementals they command are. We can take that away from them by building some infrastructure to take care of basic needs for everyone. Preferably in a manner that involves boosting up a god they have spurred or run roughshod over lately.
We should establish ourselves as somewhat opposed factions in the Deliberative. My suggestions are going to include sending out and maintaining exploratory patrols of the wastes. Bartrand, if you would support this notion on the basis of gaining information, and Forsaken Sword, if you would oppose us on the basis of it being a waste of valuable resources and time when the only threat is rogue forces from Malfeas? You could even bring up the Swords of Hell Right who crashed my wedding.
Bartrand, if you will push for large amounts of conversion of demons into magical components that we can more rapidly construct the infrastructure needed to survive I'll counter with the fact that they are of more use bound and working directly. You can counter with the limitless hoards of demons factor.
Regent, if you are willing, you can argue for independence and self-reliance from Malfeas and it's inhabitants, and I shall argue that trade is not only vital in the short term but is needed for long term stability.
As you may have noticed, I have some... heavily ingrained issues with making lengthy conversation. During the deliberative meeting I'll be using a proxy for my addresses. Call it a lingering gift of my time with the Guild and House Cynis."
2011-12-01, 10:34 PM
Jania landed in front of the two smoothly, wings folding around her as she took to the ground for a moment. "I see you two have managed to avoid turning the city into a warzone in my absence. I located our next lead, a fair distance out from here. Looks to be some sort of underground hideout, which just makes this whole mess even more suspicious..."
2011-12-02, 01:56 AM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi shrugs as Zsofika passes her glass to the angyalka, leaving the last of the bottle on the table; she might well change her mind before they were finished this conversation. "I've rarely found a whim that hadn't plenty of reason for existence. Granted, I'm still more used to dealing with humans, but so far, I haven't seen enough of a difference to change my expectations. If you've no reason to expect ill of her, I guess I'll just have to start looking."
He looks to the angyalka shortly, though he seems satisfied once she shows enough initiative to speak. Amalion had said she was a Solar's companion... how she'd ended up in that state with such a protector, he had no idea, but no doubt she'd be in a better mood once reunited with her errant Lawgiver. Well, assuming the reason for her situation wasn't the Solar abandoning her to her fate... a flicker of anger flashes through his thoughts, but he does his best to suppress it. Never assume ill without knowing the truth. Even with a Solar. They're nigh as strange as the demons sometimes, but they're definitely still human. He glances at Vana briefly to see if she has anything to add, then turns back to Zsofika.
"Very well. That aside, would you consider this an appropriate... place to discuss what you wished to ask of us?"
2011-12-02, 11:59 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand sighed as the others listed off their various threats. None seemed to excite his interest as anything other than Someone Else's Problem. He ignored most of Punch's arm's discussion of debating points, as they were rather uninteresting. He did speak up a one point, however, lazily leaning back in his chair, "I did happen to run into an Abyssal meeting those qualifications, Mr. Chikyu. He looked more like a zombie than an Exalt, but his name was Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies. He was at the little 'meeting' Arianna held to show off her inept invention. Couldn't say where he makes his lair, but, well, it's somewhere on the lower layer."
He calmly folded his hands behind his head and stared up at the ceiling, trying to visualize the needed systems he'd have to be building soon. "So, this abyssal sounds like he's being handled, and I am definitely not the person to deal with this renegade Lunar or one-eyed trader. While I can understand how they'd be problems, they're not problems I'm particularly skilled at solving. I'm much more interested in getting a hold of that Wyld source, or, well, a compatriot of mine was looking for a source of Azoth for a project, so if any of you happen to know of a second circle soul that will not be missed and will not blow back on Oasis, I'd be happy to hear about it. Normally, that would be a trivial thing, but they need it before the next New Moon, so I can't just summon and bind one for the purpose."
2011-12-04, 09:57 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies gave the jadeborn a withering look. The run had not been good to him, although fortunately he was not badly-winded. "Why did you leave so precipitously?" he questioned, an annoyed edge to his already-harsh voice. He sighed then. "Is it too much to hope that your flight has brought us closer to our goal?"
2011-12-05, 12:10 AM
The jadeborn sighed, crossing her arms as she answered. Yes, clearly she had fled entirely without reason, after they started a fight. "I left because I have better things to do than watch the two of you get into a fight with mortals. And as I said, I located our next lead already. It's a bit of a trip, so I'd prefer we get going quickly."
Jania didn't wait for a response, taking to the air once more and heading back toward the hideout. She flew at a rather more reasonable pace this time, allowing the dragon king and abyssal to keep up easily.
2011-12-05, 10:33 AM
At the Market
Finding the curiosities merchant in the plaza proved both more and less difficult that it was to be expected. More, because of the crowd that seemed to be so thick that one would not be able to stick knives between demons without stabbing something, somewhere. And less, because not a small portion of the rabble was looking for the same trader as Oriasta, Fury and Ophelia were.
Soon, he came into sight, standing on a heightened platform rising a few feet above the bloody muck everyone had to wide through. Of his species, you were hardly sure, he did not seem to be of any common First Circle breed. He - or she or it - looked, in short, like an awakened tree that walked and crawled on its massive root-feet. Yet, such description did not make him due justice, for he was far more than a simple tree came alive. Most trees, after all, do not have a pair red of eyes that gleam with such an overwhelming avarice that it would be not surprising at all if he would lunged at the sight of single copper coin lost in the mud. Most trees (barring some strange breeds from the bygone North, including the famous Murderous Pine of Diamondhearth) are usually not interested in having bodyguards wielding nasty tetsubos adorned with jagged spikes of bone. This one, however, did both.
Behind him, covered by a thick fabric, a number of cages stood. As all holding pens, they were perfectly silent, and not a sound or motion betrayed what was hiding inside.
As the three approached, the demon took notice of them immediately. One of his branch-arms widened, pointing at both Fury at Ophelia.
'Ah, honoured customers!' he exclaimed, shaking his brown canopy in a gesture that probably was some kind of bow - or maybe even genuflection? Who could tell. 'I see that you have found interest in the curiosities I trade, and decided to grace me with your coin!'
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
'Yes, you speak of humans now' Zsofika sighed, glancing at the angylkae named Tiela that was slowly finishing the glass of wine. The tune of her melody changed again, slowly returning to its usual, maybe a bit disturbed, but somehow stable melody. 'Whims of the Dragon's spawn have no meaning to them but malice, really' she shrugged. 'Like the Horn, it rings for everyone, wicked or saintly, of King, Ascetic or Mother.'
She stood up, flexing her arms, as if she could not bear stillness. That was strange from a hunter... but on the second thought, she was not a silent, patient hunter, she did not come from the shadows, no.
'I sought you' she spoke, brushing an errant strand of hair from her eye 'because I needed help' she gritted her teeth slightly. 'I have a daughter, girl whose origins I am not going to discuss, but one that is everything I could hope from a scion and then more. She has my wisdom, and the patience I lack, my vision, and the understanding that was denied to me... one day, she will hunt me, and destroy me and become me, and the Demon City shall have a dragon instead of a serpent as its huntsman' she was speaking of it as if it was the grandest dream of her, to be surpassed by a younger one, the lose to one she had raised herself. 'But, for now, she got herself in a nasty set of troubles. Not a citizen herself, she helped to slay one, and thus caught the eye of the Guardian of Sleep, and he is hunting her, or worse, already having her in his grasp. He is more that she can handle, young as she is, so she need someone to distract that crazed murderer. And I can't move against him, for I would invoke the wrath of the Desert. But you? You are not bound by her laws, and I hoped that you could - and I know that you can now, for beat and enslaved me - perhaps distract him from her, or else keep his hands and knives from her.'
Things Lost and Broken
They were already waiting when the group reached the entrance.
Two of them, both appearing to be of the Air Aspect, with fair skins and grey hair, eyes lightly blue. They could be brothers, or father and son, for they looked so much alike, to point of having similiar, short beards.
They were armed, too, Essence canons in their hands, capacitors humming silently as they were gathering ambient essence from the air and charging the cracking weapons' cores. Their bodies they covered in light plates of blue jade.
'We were waiting for you' one of them said as you approached, weapon lowered, but ready to fire. Not hostile, but careful, they seemed to know well how to apprehend such as you. 'You made us worried with your fly-over, Artisan' he bowed to Jania.
'More cold-essence-humans.' the dragon king hissed, looking vaguely disappointed. 'I was expecting something actually grand.'
'Before you come in inside' one of them continued without minding the anklok 'I must ask you to lay down your arms, we shall keep them safe. Also, the dragon and the elemental stay.'
2011-12-05, 01:01 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Vana glances at Tewi, then speaks her mind. "While the other two were with us, I did not think it would be prudent to speak of it, but I did not agree with, or desire for Isrukam to take the actions that he did. I believe he didn't even understand the significance of the situation, and the other one who did..." The sorceress trails off, her tone darkening, though she gives no voice to her exact thoughts.
"What was taken from you, was not ours to take." Vana says decisively. She retrieves her lock of Zsofika's hair and its accompanying bell, and offers it up to the demon. "I do not have the power to undo what he has done, but I will not take part in it."
2011-12-05, 02:23 PM
At the Market
"Hmm," Ophelia raises an eyebrow at the goddess and human that have joined her, and briefly wonders what that's about before turning her attention back to the cages, "no, I don't think so. Why aren't they crying? Human children cry."
She crosses her arms and looks at the tree-demon skeptically, daring him to prove that his wares are genuine.
2011-12-05, 04:52 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
'Must be genuine, at least three generations of Air Person blood in the veins' Jade sighed, frowning as if the need tasted bitter to her. 'I will be in-debt to you if you can provide a channel for me to acquire one. And the deathknight... fine, I shall take it to hunt him down, but I would prefer if you would keep it off the record...'
'So it would be as if he never really existed' Forsaken Sword grinned.
'Exactly. It would better to keep such abominations of our kind off the spotlight'
'It would be harmful to our cause to expose them, yes' the Eclipse agreed, folding his hands together and resting his chin on them. 'Such problems, we shall deal with quietly and subtly, leaving no bodies, no traces and no evidence of the taint.'
'The Lunar, Klantarch?' the warlord turned again to Adamu, highlighting a sizeable portion of land on the map displayed 'he leads a force of...'
'One thousand, seven hundred forty one humans, thirty seven elementals, twenty two gods, two other Lunars, five Dragon-Blooded lieutenants. Reasonably well armed, relying on sorcery to feed themselves, as well as forcing elementals to repeat the rites of fertility as performed in our farmlands. All in all, rather stable, very militaristic society. Chances are that they will soon outgrow their own capacity to replenish theirs stores and will begin raiding nearest Gatetowns for supplies. Mostly nomadic, with only a few permanent encampments around arable lands. Held together by Klantarch's charisma and vision' Jade fillied in quickly.
'Thank you, miss Jade. The weakness we seek is obviously the Lunar himself, or his fledging infrastructure. WE can target both, thus ensuring a quick disintegration of his nascent horde.'
The map zoomed in to the lands, allowing Forsaken Sword to flag the most interesting targets.
'Thank you' the Regent nodded. 'Adamu makes fair points regarding our conduct in the Deliberative, and I support his notions.'
'Just keep me away from it, please' Jade insisted 'I will do you no good in public meetings.'
'As you wish. And Bartrand' he bowed his head to the Twilight 'there is a certain demon we could use to remove. Mara, the Shadow Lover, she is openly hostile towards us, and being a soul of Ebon Dragon we shall make this Hell a brighter place by forging her into something useful.'
Minutes passed slowly, the flow of time marked only by the dull, numbing pain of the bruises and small cuts and burns, and all the marks of being defeated.
And then, suddenly, the salvation. Young, brown-skinned girl, armed with a golden power-bow and scantily clad, quickly jumping in from above, narrow eyes looking for the traces of ambush. But she found none, only the wounded Abyssal.
In a flurry of motion, the chains were splintered, the gag torn.
'He is gone, is he not?' she sighed softly, averting her eyes from Rose 'I apologize for not coming sooner, I was held back.'
'How badly are you hurt?'
2011-12-05, 06:25 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
"Suggestion: Don't attack him in Bartertown. Legalizing death afterwords is... highly uncomfortable, no way around law"
"Indeed just to clarify for those of you not familiar with the laws in Bartertown, there is nothing illegal in removing someone for purely personal reasons, provided as Exalted you do it quietly or if it's going to be a spectacle in the Arena of Meditative Debate. Filing a record that you have a personal grievance with someone merely grants you or your paid assassin a ticket that you can immediately present to the enforcement officers to indicate that it is perfectly legal. Generating the documentation after the fact requires verification that the motive was personal and not business, and involves memory extraction. The records are of course kept sealed, the police are merely permitted to verify that it is a valid termination permit... We are quite keen on law and order in Bartertown. Doing things legally means carrying a token, doing things improperly results in police chases and possibly a lot of corpses.
About the Lunar, I have some few notions of weapons or techniques that would aid the removal of the threat but none that would be fully operable before a year from now. A simple solution might well be to open trade negotiations with him. To be frank my concern is more with not harming the people he has, as they represent a sizable fraction of our remaining population.
As for The Shadow Lover I..."
With a violent gesture Punch cuts off his own written words and declares "Don't start fights." Alternating his rock hard gaze between Harmonious Jade and Forsaken Sword he adds "Would only attack if she attacked me, left solid evidence it was her."
Behind him, out of his view the writing arms briefly scrawl "Hint Hint Hint" and then removes it.
2011-12-05, 07:19 PM
Jania gave the two dragonbloods a quick bow as she landed, wings once again changing into an ornate cloak. Hand over their weapons? An understandable proposal to be sure... but not one to be accepted without more information. "Of course, of course... but first, a question if I may. My companions and I still scarcely know what we are here for. So please, is there anything you can tell us from here, before placing so much trust in a group we know nothing about?"
2011-12-05, 08:46 PM
Rose shrugs at the question. "Wounds heal." she said, simply, as she slowly started to peel the wax off her body. "If you have come to help, chase the Boy. He has something he does not need to have. Find where he rests, and remember it. When I heal, we shall go after him. He is as trapped as we are." she said simply. "Thank you for your help, but it is not over yet. So long as that Boy holds the book, this is not over."
2011-12-06, 08:11 AM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies nodded at the jadeborn. "My companion cuts to the core of the matter," he rasped. "While your prudence may be commendable - few would invite a deathknight to their place of business without knowing about them, let alone their home - prudence works both ways. I have absolutely no intention..." His tone became dangerous. "Of surrendering my weapon to an entity or entities about whom I know nothing." If there was anything else to be said, he assumed that an intelligent individual could derive it from his expression.
2011-12-06, 01:54 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand shook his head. This would not due. Culling the aspects of Erembour was dangerous; it was playing roulette with a plasma tongue repeater with three chambers loaded. Doubly so that his manse was itself aspected to a subsoul of Erembour. "I do not believe striking at Mara at this time would be a good plan. Casting down the defining soul of That Which Calls To The Shadows is more attention than I am currently willing to bring down on Oasis. If that is the only second circle demon you know of that needs removal, I will find another on my own. I don't believe making ourselves enemies of Erembour is in our best interest. If it is only one of her souls that is causing us problems, that can be dealt with without incurring the wrath of her overself, so long as we can deal with it normally until calibration.
2011-12-06, 02:39 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Air aspect transfixed Jania with his deep eyes, a subdued tempest hidden within his gaze.
'We are but an agents to someone greater than us' he answered, and you could feel that what he was looking at now was not the Artisan, the Abyssal or the Dragon-King, but the city of the Port Wrath, festering like an open wound on the horizon, dark spot of tarnished brass that even the light of Ligier could not make gleam. 'Someone who knows what happened to your companion and who is willing to help you, if only for the greater good.'
'Without any hidden hooks or attached strings' the second Dragon-Blood added, smiling faintly.
'We are well past that' he nodded. 'We can not offer you any proof of our goodwill apart from the invitation, for we cannot open our souls for you to peer into them, but we can swear on the names of our fathers, and on the blood of Dragons that gives us strength that no harm will come to you if you lay down your arms.'
And then a voice boomed, laughter so loud that it almost made the ground shake under your feet, so loud that it almost seemed to move the dance of Gerbe to missteps.
'You sound honest!' the anklok bellowed, amused but maybe also slightly awed. 'Such a rare thing to see, an honest essence-human!'
The two bowed deeply, as if moving with one mind.
'You honour us with your trust' the younger of them said, and truly, his voice sounded straightforward and honest, in some manner reminiscent of the Dragon-King. Only slightly - or more than slightly - quieter.
One had to be said about the dark-skinned woman. She certainly saw no need to make unnecessary noises or other forms of empty words. Grasping the bow in her hands, she nodded, acknowledging Rose's suggestion.
And then, as abruptly as she appeared, she was gone, leaving not a trace of her passage.
Peeling away the wax hurt, but so did the bruises and wounds. Still, the pain was not sharp, but more of a blunt, numbing feeling, slightly nauseous but not overwhelming. Of course, it would be advisable to the Dusk to treat the damage done to her somehow, but still, she was not bound to the bed - both literally and figuratively, thankfully.
Her weapon, armor and cloths stayed where she had put them, the arrogant Day-caste not bothering to take them.
2011-12-06, 04:17 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Jania sighed slightly at the answer. She would have liked a bit more... but hadn't really expected much beyond what they had said. Their word would have to be enough. Besides, she didn't carry weapons in the first place. Not ordinary ones anyway. She handed her more... volatile, alchemical creations over to the dragonblooded, before stepping back and looking to the abyssal expectantly.
"Very well then. I shall have to trust you as well. I'm curious what this is all about, and not much of a fighter anyway."
2011-12-06, 04:35 PM
At the Market
Oriasta pushed her way through the crowd, Fury managing to spread the demonic horde by virtue of being quit big and quite scary. As the goddess and her Lunar escort approached the stage, they suddenly were stopped short by the appearance of the strange, obviously demon-touched, woman who spoke to the vendor before Oriasta could begin her own declaration of outrage.
The goddess blinked at the woman’s statement, and raised an eyebrow, casting her essence-touched sight on the platform, its occupant, and his “wares”.
”Show us what you have for sale,” the goddess said, her voice like… well, not iron, because iron is dead and Oriasta’s voice was always alive; no, her voice was like a mountain… on the verge of true and unsettling volcanism. Beneath her clenched fingers, the flower-twined staff creaked ominously.
2011-12-06, 05:55 PM
Fury, as usual, goes for the direct approach.
"We're looking for one in particular. A spirit from Oasis."
2011-12-06, 06:35 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies grunted in response to the jadeborn's acquiescence. "Gentlemen," he addressed the dragonblooded, struggling to suppress his deep-rooted contempt for the Terrestrials. "I give you my solemn vow that I will not initiate any hostilities, nor use any violence except that which proves to be necessary to protect myself and my companion." He folded his arms across his chest. "If an oath is all you are willing to give to me, Dragonbloods," The venom in his tone was almost tangible. "An oath is all I am willing to give to you. Your voice may have convinced my saurian companion, but I hold to higher standards. As it stands, I have no intention of surrendering my creation to... mere Dragonbloods." He spat the word like it left a foul taste in his mouth, and whatever veil the deathknight may have drawn over his contempt was surely ripped away in that moment.
2011-12-06, 06:39 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
'I see' the Quicksilver Falcon sighed, as if annoyed by the fact that Mara was not get rendered into something useful. 'Then perhaps...'
What other demon he wanted to melt remained a mystery, for all of the sudden, the tower shook, and a might thunderous roar rolled through the empty, tranquil streets of the Slagheap. For a split-second, it almost appeared as if your spire was going to yield to the powers that were upturning the brass plain, but thankfully, the construction proved sturdy enough. The force of the tremor threw you down from the chairs to the stone floor, where for a moment, you laid down, waiting for the catastrophe to pass.
And then, when you begun to believe that it was over, the true wave hit you. It was not physical, or not entirely, more like a wave of an undeniable authority washing over you, making you almost - almost! - bend your knees and bow before those who now wanted to rule you.
Stone of the tower's wall cracked, filling the chamber with thick, dry dust of ground rock, set alight by the Ligier's radiance that momentarily dispelled all the shadows that loomed over the Slagheap streets, alleys and parks.
'Look!' Jade exclaimed, pointing at the window, and somehow, the emotion in her voice appeared to be a sign of distress far worse than the brass-quake and Green Sun's flare.
And you looked and beheld. Entire quadrants of the endless city - for Slagheap was as vast as Nexus and more, as vast as Meru of old, and more - disappeared in an eruption of emerald fire, chasms opening around them with might cracking roars.
From the fire, pillars of pure brass adorned with viridian scrip rocketed into the air, raising as high as the other towers of Malfeas' own law, casting even more shadows on the wounded body of the city.
'New laws' Forsaken Sword stated the obvious, not able to turn his eyes from the pillars.'No soul of the Titans, citizen or serf may dwell in the Barony of the Lesser Ones unless authorized by the Ministry of Slavery and adorned with an appropriate brand' he read aloud. 'That is the... eight one, right?'
'Seventh' the Regent corrected.
'No soul of the Titains, citizen or serf may stay in service of the Barony's Citizens unless authorized by the Ministry of Slavery and adorned with an appropriate brand' the Dawn continued to read. 'That would be the second and the final one.'
2011-12-06, 06:48 PM
At the Market
"Ah, from the Dross. That explains it," the demon-blood says to herself quietly. "Have you been searching long?" she asides to Fury and Oriasta, "I'm looking for a friend of mine too, maybe you've seen her?"
2011-12-06, 08:18 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
As the building sways violently from the massive destruction, Punch merely sits there, unmoving as a rock.
As the new laws are read out, fear and dread in the voices of the Champions of the Sun, Punch merely sits there unreacting.
Finally as the other Solars look to each other trying to figure out the impact the new laws will have on them with mild panic Punch speaks firmly and clearly for the first time since the meeting began. In a very non-typically unclipped voice he nods to the window and asks "Shall we go tend to the injured or forsake the trust they have placed in us as Lawgivers to help, guide and protect them?"
2011-12-07, 02:39 AM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi grins at Vana's offer, allowing the matter of Zsofika's daughter to drift aside for a moment. He hadn't thought Amalion seemed the type to wound with false words, but it was worth confirming the details of the story anyway. "Wise words and noble, but not really my style." He waves a hand carelessly; perhaps the constant presence of the angyalka's music was affecting him, for he saw no need to hide who or what he was among these people. "All the same, I've no more intention of commanding you than Lady Vana does; I'm simply not in the habit of giving up potential contacts."
He takes another sip of wine, his tone and expression growing more serious as he continues. "It's a pity we didn't meet sooner; protecting your daughter sounds like the kind of job I'd have taken. Unfortunately, this brings us to the matter of Amalion's words for you. If what she says is true..." He steeples his fingers, bowing his head slightly in apology for what he was about to say. "...Lucien found her already, and he was less than merciful."
2011-12-07, 01:48 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
Bartrand spun a single silver coin across the back of his knuckles as he thought. New laws... dangerous new laws. Someone was playing an incredibly dangerous game with Oasis. Perhaps an opponent of the Minister of Slavery.
He nodded idly at Punch's comment, "Someone should see to the wounded, if there are any. I hear that you're a proficient doctor Mr. Chikyu, perhaps you should take care of them."
He looked back and forth between the assembled Solars, wondering if any of them would pick up on the import of these laws. He sighed as he detected no glimmer of understanding in their eyes. "Whomever convinced the Titans to enact these laws is gambling, and gambling hard. Perhaps they dislike the Minister of Slavery and want to see him unmade."
Bartrand looked back and forth again, hoping one of the Solars understood the technicalities involved. When they didn't, he sat back down in his chair, and tapped his fingers on the desk. "The eighth law on those pillars is partially invalid; due to section 32, paragraph 691 of the Oaths of Surrender, demon summoning and binding is a Right granted to all Exalted. The primordials have no authority to revoke it, nor do their second or third circle souls. An attempt to enforce that edict upon any Exalt will result in a second or third circle soul being instantly unmade when they try, or if they ordered a first circle soul to attempt to enforce it. I'm curious if this might be a power play by a rival of the Minister of Slavery to get him destroyed when he tries to enforce the law.
The Seventh law, likewise, can't actually stop an Exalt from keeping a summoned and bound demon in Oasis. However, it could perfectly well stop non-bound demons from residing in Oasis. So, if you have any demons that dwells in your territory, I recommend you either Bind them with sorcery or take them to get marked."
Bartand ran his hands through his black air, resting his elbows on the table for a moment. "This is dangerous. Whatever this is, whomever convinced the Titans to make this law, they're playing a game that could end up destroying everything. No one knows for sure what the consequences of a Titan itself violating the surrender oaths might be. At the very least, we could expect its destruction and reappearance as a Neverborn. At the best, it will disappear entirely, sublimating back into the Shinma from whence it sprung. Neither would be very safe for Oasis and humanity. Someone or something has started a game of chirascuran roulette, with a lot of barrels loaded, and they pointed the gun at Malfeas first." Bartrand smirked for a moment, "Or perhaps the titans are stupid enough to think we've forgotten the Oaths. Anyway, you were saying about another demon?"
2011-12-07, 02:13 PM
Things Lost and Broken
One of the air aspects opened his mouth to answer to Artificer's venomous words. They did not appear to be slighted by them, though, and judging by their appeasing gestures, they were going to acknowledge Abyssal's requirements and let the offence go unnoticed.
Someone else, however, was not so magnanimous.
'You dare' the hiss was quiet and unsettlingly calm, yet the suggestion of oncoming roar was evident in every single sound of it 'to claim...'
And here it came.
'THAT YOUR STANDARDS ARE HIGHER THAN MINE, ESSENCE CADAVER?' the anklok bellowed once more, this time with unbridled shaking his powerful voice. 'This will not stand!'
Slowly, he picked up the golden blade he threw to the dragon-bloodeds' feet, his tail slashing through that air threateningly. The clawed fingers wrapped around the hilt, and the sword cut through the air a few times, as if the creature wanted to intimidate the Abyssal with the mere sight of the terrible strength and speed of his weapon.
'This will! not! stand!' he uttered once more, his voice back to the scornful hiss, yet each word pronounced clearly and decisively, the believe in self-righteousness evident in each and every of them. 'Go, girl, it will be dangerous' he muttered to the elemental. The fire duck wanted to reply something, but he hushed her gently, and so she just jumped down from his shoulder, landing softly on the brass. The dragon-king stepped forward towards Artificer, shrouding him in his massive shadow. 'You have insulted my pride and honour, thus proving godless!' he snarled. 'And no godless essence-cadaver shall insult the servants of the Sun!'
A small cloud of dark smoke left his nostrils, smelling of sulphur and desert winds, the tail was batting madly against his mighty legs. The fury raging within could not be more evident.
'You are an insult to the Sun, essence-carcass!' he continued to snarl 'And I shall smite you in his name, here and now! Prove that you are not godless, defeat me, or be sacrificed to the Light! Form the ranks, essence-humans!' he shouted at the dragon-blooded. 'AND WATCH THE JUSTICE OF THE SUN COME MANIFEST!'
Needless to say, he was being serious.
2011-12-07, 03:24 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies sighed, putting his head in his palm briefly. After a brief moment of introspection, he made eye contact with the dragon king. "I apologise for any offence, my companion," he said sincerely. "It was not my intention to imply that your standards are poor. The only implication here is that I apparently have the social graces of a rock." He gave a disdainful look to the Dragonbloods. "My encounters with... their kind... have not been favourable in the past, whether before my Exaltation or thereafter. I allowed my... distaste to cloud my judgement, and chose my words poorly as a result. As a man of artifice, I would prefer to make up for my unintentional insult another way... but if combat is the only means to your satisfaction, so be it." He closed his fist around the hilt of his daiklave, and regarded the dragon king carefully, a carefully-neutral expression on his face and every muscle within his soulsteel shell tensed like a coiled spring, waiting for the reptile's reaction to his word.
2011-12-07, 04:43 PM
Rose slowly gets dressed after the other girl leaves. "...Sick of this." she muttered, as she attached her sword to her hip. "Hungry...hurt. Tired...annoyed. Angry.." she slowly listed off as she climbed up the rope to leave her house. She pulled herself out of the garbage can and into the green Sun. "...I need a doctor."
2011-12-07, 05:23 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
The Regent of the Fallen Kingdom sighed, but with amusement, not annoyance.
'Easy. There is no need for healers there or emergency' he said, pointing at the wrecked section of the Slagheap. 'This city is three or more times larger than Nexus, and yet inhabited by less than two thousands living beings, and mostly gods at that.'
He flicked his hand, switching the display to the map of the Slagheap. Indeed, the city was a gigantic sprawl, apparently arranged into a strange pattern - but it was irrelevant now.
'Those quadrants were inhabited by...' the Solar murmured, zooming to the damaged areas 'apparently no one. If there was anyone out there, he is destroyed, but it seems that nobody dwelt there. And also, Bartrad, your analysis is insightful and enlightening.'
'Indeed it is' Forsaken Sword complimented the Twilight. 'And I personally can't help but to wonder if those laws can be somehow linked to the Green Sun Princes sightings in the vicinity of the Oasis. Or even inside of it. Miss Jade, would you be so...'
'I am already on it. I have a few of my best agents investigating within and without' the Night-caste smirked. 'But the results will not be available fast. It is a delicate net I am spreading, and rushing it, in our current situation would be dangerous if not disastrous.'
'Commendable wariness. One way or another, if there is a malevolent will behind those laws, and there surely is one, it will have to wait until we have consolidated our powers' the Regent cut the discussion. 'And it appears to be the time to finalize our meeting and get down to the work.'
'Indeed' the warlord smiled, contented that conspiracy was about to be created. He put his hand forward. 'Let us oath... Copper Spider, would you please formulate the wording again?'
At the Market
The tree-demon performed this curious bow of him once more, more to Ophelia than to Oriasta. He must have realized that the goddess was not exactly well disposed towards him, and he knew of the lithe Eclipse - few demons in Malfeas heard of her not.
'It is a custom of this place to muzzle the stock' he sated the Dawn's curiosity 'and we are the beings that hold tradition and loyalty in a high regard, not like some other servants of the most benevolent and wise Titans that rule over us' the jab so obviously and unsubtly aimed at Oriasta did not go unnoticed in the crowd. A few demons turned their faces, heads or whatever passed for it in their bizarre bodies to the trader.
'Damm straight!' a certain nanake muttered to Ophelia, in a contented tone 'them gods all bastards, all of them, now like the Peers. Peers are good for us, Lady. You are good for us!' he spat something into the muck, in the direction of fertility goddess, bowed deeply to the Solar and wandered away before any of you could have reacted.
'And it hurts me that you may believe that my wares are not most genuine human children that can be, oh how much it hurts me' the trader creaked, his canopy bending as covered by thick, depressing stone. The glow in his eyes dimmed, too, as if to further highlight the sadness induced in him by Ophelia's doubts. 'I have children, spirits and other curious things too, ready to be sold...'
'Don't listen to him' something squeaked from the crowd 'he is a silent bas...'
Alas, it squeaked a bit too loudly - whatever it was. The tree-demon, still seemingly depressed, waved one of its branch-arms at his minions, and seconds later, a nasty blow from spiked mace, accompanied by a slightly sickening crunch announced to the gathered that speaking ill of the trader may not be the wisest idea, at least for as long as his blood ape cronies remain on a stand-by.
'And I am constantly slandered' he complained 'slandered and mocked and called a crook! No justice is here, no justice. It is because I am old-fashioned, it is because they envy me...' tears of... resin? streamed down his trunk. 'Woe is my name, honoured Peer, woe and misery is me! But you did not come here to hear the complaints of an old demon, but to see his wares... yes, of course' he muttered, as if to himself, but also conspicuously loudly 'nobody cares for the old, it is no city for an old demon...'
The tetsubo-wielding blood apes eyed the crowd, which, in turn, nodded very eagerly and honestly, agreeing that the situation of the trader was truly saddening and unjust.
'Yes, behold the wares! The children!' he exclaimed, his tone still quite funerary, and one of his long branches reached to the nearest cage, dropping the curtains.
First thing that you have noticed were long tentacles, writhing lazily in a manner of kimberian sea-weed, dripping something very caustic. Your eyes followed to the owners of those nasty, sickly-green appendages, to see little orbs of mushy, spongy flesh, wet and disgusting, with a single large eye in the middle. Small maws of the creatures - whatever they were - were covered with a plates of thick brass, nailed to the flesh. Swaying slowly on short, thick legs, they would look vaguely abhorrent, if not for a single small detail. Their lone eye was not an eye of a demon, but an oversized, pale blue human eyeball, bloodshot and still.
'Only ten dinars for a single one' the demon chimed in 'and I am cutting my own throat with such price!'
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Zsofika shook her head, sternly shoving Vana's hands away.
'It could not have been more yours to take than that' she sighed. It was clear that denying the Solar's mercy did not come easily to her. 'Vae victis, defeated lose all, defeated have no right to be free, prey expects no mercy from the predator. Such was my faith, and I can't deny it, even now' she smiled in sadness 'it would betray my purpose and be my undoing. But...' she kissed the Iron's Wolf hand, a gesture of a loyal vassal expressing his trust and faith in his liege 'you are as gracious as a peer should be, Lady of the Smouldering Mantra' she spoke the title in a peculiar manner, in a voice that was not hers, but higher, less grating - not the calling of a hunter... but something gentle, pleasing to the ear.
And then, Tewi revealed the tragedy.
Funnily, the angylkae reacted first, her music suddenly turning jarring, cacophonous. And then, it shifted again, the harpist named Tiela lowering her head, curling up and allowing her fingers to freely pluck at the strings of time. A slow, desperate dirge flew into the air.
The Kite Flute herself froze in place, eyes widely open and set at the dragon-blooded. Her fists clenched, slowly. The chimes still attached to her wrists rang quietly, and an unseen wind disturbed the bells hanging from Vana's braid of her hair.
For a while that seemed to stretch into a private eternity, nothing happened, and then, a thin trickle of a crimson sand rolled down her eye. Her back bent under the weight of the tragedy.
'Please' she stuttered, her muscles twitching madly, the demon losing control over her own body 'please' she moaned. 'She never knew that I cared for her, she never knew that of all things I have done, only my love for her...' her voice broke, not into sobbing but into an eerie silence.
'She died cursing my name, did not she?' the Kite Flute finally managed to whisper, looking at you beseechingly, as if hoping that you could somehow assure her that the daughter she loved so much passed away knowing that despite all the façades of harshness and spite, Zsofika loved her as only a mother could.
2011-12-08, 12:52 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
Bartrand raised an eyebrow at the request to word the oath. What game was this Eclipse playing? Bartrand did not trust Eclipses, probably for the same reason he didn't trust politicians. Wording can be wiggled around, or the letter used to defeat the spirit. He tentatively offered his hand to the group, looking warily at the assembled Exalt.
"We swear to take not deliberate action for the primary purpose of causing harm to one another, or their assets, nor take action that will or is likely to cause harm to one another, nor our respective assets, without fully informing and obtaining informed consent of the party to be harmed. We swear never to speak deliberately of, or otherwise actively or passively communicate to any group outside those assembled here, the contents of our meetings, our decisions, nor that we are in league with one another for the purposes of making decisions and mutual advancement."
2011-12-08, 03:03 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
"Hummm, communication clarification. We're not secret or stealthy. Everyone knows we're here, doing something. Even people in the street."
"I quite agree, there needs better clarification in that area after all what are we to do when someone politely asks us what we were doing with those other Solars? Hit them upside the head and tell them it's none of their business? Ignore them? Such actions passively convey information. As well we should consider what constitutes our plans or decisions here, after all we don't want to be blocked from telling someone to build a manse because we decided it should be built here as a collective decision.
The final section needs additional clarification, we are after all, are all going to be part of one or more larger bodies and thus will be in 'league with one another for the purposes of making decisions and mutual advancement' through methods other than this circle."
"Also, Bartertown breeds memory extracting demons. Could bind to circle to remove memories and reduce risks."
2011-12-08, 03:35 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand raised an eyebrow at Punch's queries. "Mr. Chikyu, while I appreciate your healthy skepticism, I believe the Oath covers most of those points, though I do agree that the last clause could probably use some tuning. If they ask us what we are doing, we lie. It is a conspiracy after all. The oaths only prevent revealing that we five are specifically are in league for the purposes of making decisions and mutual profit. They don't prevent us from admitting we sat down to have tea, or to discuss fashion, or whatnot."
He straightened up slightly in his chair and looked to the Eclipse, "As to your concerns about our decisions, you'll note the wording of the Oath already accounts for that. Only the 'contents of our decisions' are prohibited. We can tell people to build manses; the oath only prevents conveying that we wish a manse built because this specific group of five solars decided they wanted the manse built. The decision itself is open; only the fact that it is the decision of the group is kept hidden. Feel free to tell your subordinates 'I want a manse built', or more simply 'build a manse', just refrain from 'The secret committee decided to have a manse built' and you should have no issues."
He scratched his chin, "While I believe the wording of the final clause already accounts for your concern, I do appreciate that the wording could be clearer. How about 'nor shall we disclose that we five specifically constitute a body for the purposes of making decisions and mutual advancement.' ? Would that be more acceptable?"
2011-12-08, 04:17 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Nodding Punch simply says "Cite examples you provided and good."
2011-12-08, 04:27 PM
At the Market
The demon-blooded woman stares blankly at the 'children' for a long moment. A little smile creeps up one corner of her mouth, as though she should have expected this.
"They are quite a curiosity, to be sure," Ophelia says quietly, stepping closer.
"Ah, but." she brushes a tear of resin from the tree-demon's face. He has some courage, at least, sticking to his pitch even when faced with two humans and a goddess. Well. One and a half humans and a goddess. Maybe.
"You seem to know who you're talking to," she says, voice at a whisper, "so I'm sure you know that I know what a human child looks like. If you can help me out with a few things, I can buy one of your lovely little... 'children.' In a crowd like this, you couldn't get a better endorsement."
2011-12-08, 05:01 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
'Precise, clear wording' the Eclipse smiled with respected and recognition. 'I expected nothing less from you, Bartrand. Do we all agree on such oath?'
'I do' Jade nodded.
'No objections from me, either' Forsaken Sword stated. 'Let us seal the pact.'
'Indeed' and suddenly, the Quicksilver Falcon's face darkened, his voice growing deep and profound. 'Before we swear, I want you to remember now and ever that...'
Light erupted from his brow, a brilliant banner of gold unfurling behind him. The radiance shone through the cracks and windows of the tower, and those on the streets could easily see as the top of the mysterious Eclipse' spire bursts into illumination like a golden torch.
'that this oath is holy, and inviolate. Even the dark arts of the Warlocks can't shatter it fully. Once we say the words, our fates shall forever be entwined.'
He looked at the each of you separately, meeting your eyes, as if wanting to see right through you, find what was beneath, what was inside.
He placed a palm on your clasped hands, the banner floating slowly behind, the warmth of the light almost tangible. A single strip of golden characters of High Holy Speech appeared around your wrists, coiling around, dancing around...
'I declare' he whispered, yet his voice rang with the clarity of on an orichalcium bell, stirring something deep down within your very souls 'us' for a brief second, your hearts begun to race so fast that you have thought that they going to burst from your chests 'oathbound.'
The strip erupted into blinding light, and your hearts ground to the halt as the oath was scribed into shinima, inviolate and sacrosanct. You all threw your lots together for the times to come, for better or for worse. And there was no way out of it now, unless you wanted to see all you have achieved turn to dust.
Forsaken Sword was the first to speak up, a wide grin on his face, and a brilliant fire in his eyes.
'Merela spoke of the mythical City on Qaf' he said. 'Soon, that city will a reality, and we will be crowned its kings.'
'Or better than kings' the Regent corrected 'gods.'
2011-12-08, 05:06 PM
Fury just looks at the...thing presented to him.
"Are....you sure you know what a human child looks like? Because that looks nothing like one."
2011-12-08, 05:41 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Surprisingly, the Dragon King backed down a step, laying the daiklave across his massive shoulders once more.
'I promised to help you' he growled low 'and the promise I will keep, for my word is as good as reality!'
He turned around quickly, mostly to allow his tail to whirl in a dramatic manner, coiling around his leg. He had no cloak to reinforce the effect, alas.
'I will not keep from challenging you, essence-carcass...' he made a dramatic pause '... here and now!'
With a mighty thumping sound, he turned to face the Abyssal again.
'But when we return, having punished the the thieving-essence-human for the mischief she had caused, be prepared...' the growl lowered to a flanging snarl 'be prepared!' he repeated, enjoying his own menacing voice perhaps a bit too much 'be prepared, for we shall make our duel when my service to you is done!'
What could pass for a proud smile erupted on his saurian snout. He pointed a claw at Artificer's chest.
'Pray!' he suggested 'Make penance! It will make the offering of your heart worth so much more! Sun himself will turn his face from distress to gaze on the holy act! Your blood will keep him moving, your blood will keep him strong!'
2011-12-08, 05:50 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Apparently satisfied Punch turns to primarily address Bartrand and Forsaken Sword "Side Issue. Discussion for Rulers of lands. About trade. Going to courier this out. You are already here."
A small stack of apparently identical letters is pulled out of a saddlebag, with copies offered to any that want to take one. Punch then sits back to await discussion and/or debate.
You pick up a copy and read it...Greetings fellow residents of Oasis.
There is no denying the vital role that the demonic gates and trade with the associates of Malfeas on the other sides plays in our continued survival. But it can be more, it can be an engine of growth. I founded Bartertown at one of the most fortunate and ideal locations, having two gates to different areas of Malfeas within immediate distance of each other. This in turn has allowed Bartertown to grow and prosper not only due to trade with the gate, but due to the trade between the gates. Different regions of Malfeas that wish to do trade with each other have had new opportunities open. Opportunities that you, I, and the collective We of Oasis can benefit from.
All we need to do, is encourage trade between the various gate communities of Oasis and the demon realms beyond.
To do that, we need for trade goods and services to flow between the settlements of Oasis.
And thus I am sending this message to you, for it is my intention to construct such a network on behalf of Bartertown. Plans as well as construction are underway of high-speed land based cargo transportation. This network *is* being built and will be operable shortly.
However, although it will be built no matter what else between the unclaimed gates and the freely accessible ones, it would be a better network, a more varied network, and a stronger network if it included your town, had access to the goods you have in surplus and in turn gave you and your people access to the goods others have in surplus from the other gates and trade ports.
To that end, I as founder of Bartertown humbly ask you to allow me to set up a combination trading post, warehouse and embassy in your town or on the outlying reaches of it. All I ask is that it be granted guaranteed free access to the shipments in and out that it makes. The operators there will abide by any access restrictions you wish to place against the people of your town or the demons that come through the gate as well as any tax that you see fit to gather on goods bought or sold there or restrictions on goods and services available. If you choose to tell us that we can trade with no-one, then we shall abide by that and focus trade elsewhere. If you choose to restrict trade to only working with your own government agents, so be it. Even if you should choose have our trading post a hundred miles from your city as a security measure, we understand. We do however, hope that you will see fit to permit trade with your local population and/or those that come through the gate looking for trade.
And so I put it to you, do you want your town to be part of the trade network that is a key part of the future of Oasis?
At your service in trade,
Punch, Golden Bull and master craftsmith of Bartertown.
2011-12-09, 11:03 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand picked up one of the letters, and read it carefully. He frowned slightly, then placed it very deliberately into his jack pocket. Trade would be good, but it would need to be handled with care. Unfamiliar individuals poking around the city of the Dark Forge would bring unwanted attention at this stage of his planning.
"This looks interesting, Mr. Chikyu, but we will have to discuss it further in the future. Things are not quite... prepared in the Dark Forge yet."
He turned back to the assembled Solars, the oath completed and the after-glare from the bright caste marks finally fading from his vision.
"So, you said about another demon you'd like removed? And when can we go handle this Wyld Pocket business? My assistant should have the drug completed by now, and we can do the testing this evening, so things on my end should wrap up by morning tomorrow, or perhaps another day after that to do due diligence on our test subjects. Are there any other things you'd like for me to be handling in the near-term?"
2011-12-09, 04:33 PM
Or Better Than Kings, Gods
'That is an interesting thing' Forsaken Sword remarked, reading the letter 'interesting and promising. While I can't say if I would like Port Wrath being integrated into the network, for number of reasons I am sure you understand' he raised his eyes from the text. 'Yet, it would seem fitting for me to provide the network, now and in its future shapes, with an appropriate security. I could easily raise an effective guardian force, beholden...'
Ragged, mirthless laugh interrupted him.
'That is exactly what we are aiming for, friends' the Eclipse said, putting down the letter. 'Albeit, with an aching heart, I must ask you to keep the caravans out of the Slagheap, at least for the time being. I must secure my sovereignty over the city before we integrate it into the Oasis proper. As for the demon, Bartrand, there is a certain second circle soul of Metagaos, Sheshken, a prerogative soul of the Flower of All Malaise. Given the nature of the Yozi, the third circle spawned by it could prove very dangerous, and generally unpleasant, so removing the soul before it blooms into another sickly flower of the Thousand-Toothed Blossom would not be unwise' he coughed. 'Pardon the metaphor.'
'The wyld pocket, I should be able to acquire in a week time' Jade added, returning to her perfect stillness. 'The Sigil Dreamer is actually unreachable for me, so we must wait until he returns before calling the favour and presenting him with your invention.'
'Is that all, miss Jade?' the Regent asked, eager to speak up himself. The dark-skinned girl nodded shortly, giving him the floor. 'In that case, there are a few thing I have promised to give you' with a pair of quick clicks, he put down two egg-shaped pieces of many-faceted crimson crystal on the table. They seemed to glow with a faint, inner light. The Eclipse passed them to Bratrand and Punch.'Those are the memory crystals containing the accumulated knowledge of my previous incarnation. I have only browsed through them, because frankly, the principles he was operating on are beyond my current ability to understand, but it seems that there are dozens, if not more, of full schematics, including alternative methods of production, sources for the exotic ingredients and so on. He had been... a pragmatic person, my Exaltation's previous. Anyway, those gems need to be socketed into an artifact to work. That is the first gift...' he reached into his pocket, drawing what looked like a five decks of a divination cards. 'And that is the second, and our solution to the problems with communication. Those are the Trumps of Far Carried Thoughts. Once we attune to them, and link them, our faces will appear as figures, allowing us to communicate mentally via tapping onto appropriate function. And that is the very least they can do, if I understand my incarnation's notes correctly' he distributed decks to each of you. 'I am still looking through the cache for useful items, I will keep you informed via the Arcana of my findings. Do you have anything to add, or can consider this meeting adjourned?'
The Dawn gave the crimson gems a long look, as if he was analysing them.
'That reminds me, Golden Bull' he finally begun to speak, slowly, tracing a complicated pattern in the air with the tip of his finger 'you are a Genesis-tech expert, yes? Because I believe that we might be in need of your skills' his finger accelerated, the golden trail forming into a vague likeness of an erymanthoi. 'A single bloodape can take out five or ten skilled, well-armed soldiers. And there are untold thousands of them. A single tomescu can destroy a smal unit with moments. And they howls shake the very skies of this cage. Of course, both of them are hardly a challenge to heroes, dragon-bloods or exalts, but they are all in a very short supply this days. And we cannot rely on other demons to form the core of our armed forces. We need something to match them, to oppose them, to win over them. And I think' he smiled 'that I have a solution for us to try. We will take a few of the most expectional mortal heroes of the Oasis, the strongest, fastest and wisest soldiers on the fields of brass. Then, we shall take their motonic and genesis templates, and enhance them. Make them even stronger, purer, more dangerous. With a genesis engineering, we shall create a race of super-human soldiers. I need you to provide me with template and means of production. I shall take it from there. Utilizing my own skills, I shall train them to become the finest mortal soldiers that ever saw the sun - both green and gold. Or maybe they will no longer be mortals? Legacy of the greatest heroes preserved within their essence, their minds and bodies augmented with the power of the Sun... with the best weapon and armor, and the most rigorous training and indoctrination, we shall for a legion of warrior more than capable of outmatching the demons of Malfeas!'
At the Market
Resin-tears felt queerly warm under Ophelia's fingers, warm and sticky. Even tearing her hand free from the trunk did not come easily to the Solar, and she found her fingers to almost glued together by the thick, amber substance. The tree-demon, however, did not notice the effects of his sap on the girl, instead trying to burn Fury to cinders with the intenstity of his hateful glare.
'Don't...' he creaked, the word coming out of his maw as if he was trying desperately to keep the few other less kindly ones inside, with the titanic effort of his will attempting to try not to aggravate the Lunar further 'be foolish. They are human children, perfectly genuine, just very young...'
'Before the first cocooning!' an obese nanake suggested from the crowd.
'Yes, yes!' the trader almost jumped in joy, seeing the solution of his predicament 'they just have not cocooned yet, honoured peer! They will soon, and then you will have your sweet, delicious, human children!'
He sighed, content and assured that he had just dodged a very nasty bolt.
'And I will be most overjoyed to be of a help to you, Peer' the said earnestly, trying to force a smile onto his hideous maw - with a rather mixed results. 'What is that you require? I will do my best to assist you!'
2011-12-09, 07:04 PM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
"Possible. Difficult. Need Labs."
"You see the chief most issue facing any effort to engineer war (http://sites.privateerpress.com/images/ironkingdoms/warjack.jpg)machines (http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/5439/463671-zerg1.jpg) from humans is that while they are still undoubtedly alive and quite capable, they are no longer quite human and blessed with a Soul or the ability to Exalt. If comparable to demon sentient and obedient weapons are not acceptable by themselves Organic Augmentation systems (http://pavlovskis.lv/storage/media/3d-art2/org_001s.jpg) could be made for existing humans, but to be frank this is little more effective than what Lookshy did, with putting people in power armor and giving them really big weapons. More effective than mortals by far, but still limited.
The additional problem with the goal is much the same as the idea of augmenting people with powered armor... I need at least one preferably several labs that I can dedicate to the process of production of such beings.
In a... tactical situation... I suspect you would be most interested in beings capable of specific roles which are easier to engineer for. For example should there be a warfare issue securing the gates against demonic traffic will be of a high priority. I am already investigating at least three different ways of doing just that. There would need to be an ability to establish a demonic no-pass zone (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/rs_plane_of_fire.jpg) on the other side of the gates and I am working on those as well... regrettably my current tentative designs while they would be effective would likewise make travel difficult for our own forces, an issue I'm working on. But to be frank, I am not a tactician, I am not completely certain of what roles will need to be played by the forces we need and thus am limited in designing tools to resolve those situations."
2011-12-09, 09:48 PM
At the Market
"Ah, well, these two seem to be searching for another one of the traitorous spirits of the Dross," Ophelia leans idly on Oriasta's shoulder, practically beaming with nonchalance about the whole 'goddess' thing, "Every right-thinking demon would agree that such a being doesn't belong here and should go back where it came from as quickly as possible, yes?"
It's almost chilling how devoid of malice she makes that particular idea. She even flashes a warm smile at Oriasta as she continues, "and you must hear about all the curiosities that pass through here. So if you could help them out with finding their friend, I'm sure the gentleman here would stop saying such terrible things about your children, too."
She makes to step away to gesture for emphasis... and as she does so, realizes her hand is stuck to the goddess' arm with the demon-sap. Doing her best to look like she intended that all along regardless of how absurd it is, she continues, "also, I'm missing my own companion. If I could borrow some of your loyal employees to help me search for her, I would be grateful."
2011-12-10, 11:16 AM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies sighed. "Very well," he said, carefully removing his hand from the hilt of his daiklave. "If combat is truly all you are willing to accept, very well. But I am grateful that you understand the priorities, and I do hope you believe that my apology is sincere." Inwardly, he cursed. He truthfully had no particular desire to consign the anklok to Oblivion just yet. He believed he could emerge victorious, but it would not be an easy victory in the slightest. And the anklok could have been a valuable pawn in his plans, up until he executed them. But it seemed his poor choice of words had cost him that opportunity. He would have to ensure that he did not repeat this mistake in the future...
2011-12-10, 11:25 AM
At The Market
But those aren’t…. children? Are they?
Images of seeds and eggs and insects and birds passed through Oriasta’s mind. For thousands of years, she’d been exceedingly well versed in the reproductive aspects of flowers, grasses, and other seed-bearing plants. As a matter of idly curiosity, she’d come to learn quite a bit about butterflies, moths, honeybees, and hummingbirds as well… yes, she was a goddess of fertility, and yes, the essence matrix that represented her powers and responsibilities told her this was wrong… but she couldn’t actually say precisely what a human baby at this stage looked like… one doesn’t see many babies in a greenhouse….
And then as all of this musing passed through her mind, her mouth hanging open, the demon-thing touched her.
Oriasta’s skin crawled away from that point of contact, her mouth snapping shut in shock. She was about to say something, perhaps something cutting or withering or imperious. But the demon-touched began saying mean things that, underneath, were actually helping her interests. She did need to rescue the nymph.
”Erm, yes, we seek a nymph that’s being sold in this bazaar. Once we have our associate, we will trouble you no more.”
2011-12-10, 12:20 PM
Jania sighed with relief at the, at least temporary, ceasing of hostilities between the two. She turned back to the dragonblooded guards, eager to get on their way again. "I apologize for my... companions, behavior. Now, if we could be going? I'd like to know what I have gotten myself into as quickly as possible..."
2011-12-10, 01:11 PM
Things Lost and Broken
'You should not worry about that' the air aspect smiled warmly, picking through the pockets of his armor. 'It is nothing.'
Finally finding what he was looking for, he gestured to his companion to help him, and together, they knelt on the brass, small pieces of white chalk flashing in their hands. In a flurry of blurring motions, they begun to write on the gleaming surface, covering the entire hidden entrance with a spider-web or runes and sigils in Old Realm - though what occult meaning they had, it was hard to say, for they appeared to be merely a famed poem by a Water Aspect poet of old. Still, there was certainly more to it, for as the last verse had been scribbled down, the signs begun to glow with a soft, white light, the border of the covered brass beginning to hiss. And then, the metal vanished in a puff of acrid smoke, revealing a short ladder beneath.
'Please enter' one of the Air Aspects pointed at the pit 'the Hermit is waiting for you.'
Little else had been left to do for you than to descend down the ladder, thus. Thankfully, it was a short climb, though hardily pleasant; the shaft was narrow and dark, and going down made you feel as if you were being swallowed by some kind of an ageless, chtonic beast.
The descend came to an end in a small, low-vaulted chamber, filled with cold, stale air. Small pond of unpurified vitriol sizzled in a corner, right next to a small pile of large sacks, and a pair of a rolled sleeping bags. Needless to say, the cavern was ungodly cramped - various trinkets laid strewn around... scrolls, books, mats, chimes and prayer mills. A half-empty bowl of rice was laying on the floor right next to a tripped over glass of wine. Still, nobody was here, and so, your eyes turned to a veil of beads separating the chamber from the next one. You could almost hear a faint, rustling sounds coming from it.
Shoving the veil aside uncovered a peculiar sight to your eyes. In a cavern as small and unpleasant as the previous one, a large wooden desk stood, masterfully craved with dragon motifs, but also partially rotten and falling apart. On the surface, on a thick layer of papers, tomes and other junk, a seemingly young women was resting her head, sleeping, her dark-brown hair dirty and in a disarray. A cracked tiara of white jade was to be seen next to her, with a pair of a dead hearthstones still set in it.
At the feet of a desk, a crumpled, tattered blanket laid, right next to an equally derelict mattress. Even more books and notes piled to its site, along with a small essence lamp and an empty bottle of silvery wine.
'Uh' the woman muttered, before slowly raising from the pillow of papers. She looked at you, and to no surprise, she presented herself to be as sorry sight as one would expect from her surroundings. Bags under blood-shoot brown eyes marred her once gorgeous face, now devastated with fatigue and grief. Even now, though, traces of former beauty was evident - but as a traces, nothing more. Her purple dress was stained with some dark liquid and tattered, as if reflecting the state of the body. 'I apologize for that' she added, stifling a yawn, and reaching for something under the table. 'So, you are the ones whose companion got stolen, right?' she asked, quickly taking a long sip of a cold, strong tea from a jug.
2011-12-10, 01:21 PM
Fury grins in response to the demon's glare, before nodding.
"Yes, once he have the nymph, we shall leave."
Fury steps closer to the demon merchant, his grin widening further to show his teeth as he speaks in a quieter voice.
"So then I won't be inclined to tell any more truths about this. I'm sure that's something you don't want me to resort to, yes?"
2011-12-10, 02:04 PM
Well, that was... unexpected. Not exactly the scale of operation she expected, given the lengths taken to hide it. This was... little more than a hole in the ground, hiding a single very tired woman. Still, she had apparently heard of their coming already. No mean feat given the directness of their route here.
"Perhaps? We are looking for a Twilight who came through Port Wrath recently, yes. But I had not heard anything of her being 'stolen'. My impression so far was that she had left of her own free will..."
2011-12-10, 03:09 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies glanced questioningly at the jadeborn, then looked towards the floor, a thoughtful expression on his face. "It is... Possible," he said. "The evidence at the scene could be indicative of a struggle... But it could also simply have been indicative of her... temperament. This is the first time I had considered the possibility that she had been... taken."
Glancing at the jadeborn, the Artificer leaned a little closer to her. In as quiet a voice as he could manage, he asked her, "How much can we risk revealing to this one?" He disliked being in the dark, but he could not deny that right now, she knew more than he...
2011-12-10, 05:07 PM
At the Market
This was not a good day for the tree-demon, that was more than certain. First, the loss of a face in front of an entire crowd of potential customers, then the Peer making some subtle suggestions, then the unclean spirit addressing him - was that even allowed under Cecelyne's laws, and finally, that half-human-half-profane beast smiling, showcasing a set of teeth so eerily reminiscent of a popular brand of pocket knives. And stranger still, the last one was the least scary, too.
'Ah, honoured Citizen, how could I deny you' he blurted, allowing the erytmanthoi to come closer, swinging their massive clubs in the air in a pretty obvious display of "I want to crush your skull". 'Of course, I shall provide you with a genuine nymph, or whatever is the blasphemous creature called...' he looked at beaming Ophelia across the shoulders of his henchmen, smiling strangely '...please, be so kind and call off this good... honourable, direct man before someone does something very stupid! And the nymph... hmmm, the nymph, I think that she has been sold already, I've heard that Krysos Crooked Paw marketed her to a proper place...' his smile widened as he spoke the name of this woeful place, growing in malice 'the Stockade, it would be. That was a day ago, maybe she is still alive' he bowed deeply. 'Please return after you are done with that pathetic being to browse through my wares some more!'
Or Better than Kings, Gods
There was some more discussions this day, a few issues of minor relevance being discussed. Nothing worth mentioning or scribing. Finally, after what seemed to be hours, the meeting finally came to an end. The Regent bade all his guests farewell, and you have returned to your steeds, and then your valleys and farms, knowing well enough that you have now become a brothers in arms - though it took no trip through the fields of destruction or any baptisms of fire, you were perfectly aware that now, you were not going to abandon each other, abandon your brothers in arms.
The conspiracy has been born, oath-sealed and powerful - though what it would bring to Oasis remained an enigma. One thing, though was apparent, so easy to taste in the air and wind as you were making your ways back home: there was a change coming, a storm, maybe... and you were to become its catalysts, for better or for worse.
It was a peculiar feeling to belong to a secret cabals of people who claimed to rule what little remained of your world. Peculiar.... and a fascinating, overwhelming now. The tiny trinkets of ruby given to you contained more knowledge that you could hope to amass in a hundred years, and the faces on the deck of cards reminded how much power and influence was put in your hands, to use and abuse. Only rarely such opportunities appeared...
The scene ends, 8XP everyone. Also, each of you receives 50 dots of full, accurate artifact schematics to chose as it pleases you, and a five dot Deck Of Far Carried Thoughts, though so far you have no idea how it works. And a five dot ally (secret cabal). Enjoy. And post your actions now, since you're back at homes.
2011-12-10, 07:09 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Wordlessly, Tewi fills the fourth cup, holding up the bottle until the last ruby drops fall as if in sympathy. He makes no move to offer it at first, considering the liquid. "The last memories of greatness... tend to be a bit sour." After a few more moments of silence, he nudges the cup toward the Kite Flute. "If she was as wise and understanding as you say, then like as not, she knew more than y'think, be it conscious or not. Don't look to her last in remembering her."
He says no more, only waiting in watchful silence. No doubt Vana would have said it better; he was a man of simple words and hidden implications, not heartfelt appeals. Nonetheless, he was the host here, and it had been his choice to reveal the information. Even now, it seemed kinder than false hope, provided Amalion spoke truth, and Zsofika apparently had no more reason to doubt her than he did.
2011-12-10, 07:19 PM
At the Market
"Wind pass you by," Ophelia did as close to a bow as she could manage, a bit of skin coming painfully off her hand as she finally frees herself from Orastia. Then she stops and thinks about it a moment. "Actually, speaking of it..."
This crowd presents a lovely opportunity. "You have done me a great favor, so I should share my concern with you. I respect your adherence to tradition, but listening to this place makes me uneasy. To see the Wind's children confined so closely they can only strum out the subtlest melodies, and the wares fitted with gags and muzzles of brass. Is it right for any demon, from a sesselja who lives only an hour to a teodozjia whose memories will live on forever, to be forced into silence?"
She turns to those gathered around to watch him, investing her favorite bit of essence into her words, "I say this as the survivor of many passings of the great titans that have claimed many of my fellows. This Plaza, filled as it is with so many of my Peers but who are asked not to speak, seems dangerously close to asking for the Wind's passing. It may be poor business to set free the Sheridans of Adorjan and to let voices cry unbound, but can one truly put a price on keeping her away?
Indeed, no cost is too small for the safety of customer, merchant and merchandise alike, my noble Peers. Pray, let those who are silenced be heard, and that the Wind may not hear the weeping and wailing of her children, let them be freed, that Adorjan may see you have no need of her enlightenment, and that she will move on to those who offend her more greatly!"
For such a small woman, she is loud when she wants to be. Her voice carries over the Plaza above the clamor and tolling of bells - easier with how quiet it is compared to the rest of the city - and carries aid offered and a threat both.
Taboo-Inflicting Diatribe, channelling Compassion on the activation roll. [roll0] to instill a new taboo - freeing Adorjan's progeny and not gagging everyone will help keep her away. :3
Personal Essence: 12/22 (3 commit)
Temporary Willpower: 8/10
"Of course," she asides to the tree-demon and his blood ape bodyguards, and incidentally the two visitors from Oasis, "if that works, the few merchants not selling Sheridans - such as you, perhaps - would see many people who came here with coin and suddenly found nothing to spend it on. I don't suppose your entourage, in addition to helping me search for my Tiela, might help open some cages?"
2011-12-10, 08:50 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Caius was seriously regretting his recent choices at the moment. Oh, not the choice to flee Nexus with the others, the choice to settle in Bartertown or even to work for the Lord Punch. No, he was regretting taking on the assignment of greeter and coordinator today. Normally it's a simple job with some extra pay attached. You just sit at the desk in the entrance to the Forge and direct the few people that don't know where to go, and pass a few messages or packages on to the people and demons that drop by. Normally, it's a chance for him to sit and work on his his other contracted work, currently a miniature mechanical bell that is rung every few seconds by a clockwork child. Today that's not happening. Apparently master Punch had an appointment outside of the city a couple shifts ago and left the Lady Min in charge of the place. Not that Caius has anything against the Lady, she's sweet, kind and caring... she just... doesn't manage well. Truth be told, master Punch is if anything worse at it, but he just grunts and points people at the people he's hired to do the management... Lady Min... spent all morning listening to them.
She was up there being polite for hours, and apparently not rejecting the suggestions from the demonic merchants association to allow merchants to define "pure" however they want, and from those two Guild princes to allow them to mug people in the street as a legitimate business practice. When they were here last week, master Punch simply grunted, stared at them for a while and ripped the head off something, pointed at the office of Master/Blaster and they left. Not even a full five minutes in and out. Min took hours.
Still, even if it were just Lady Min, this day wouldn't be too bad. but not an hour ago, Fluffy came back alone. He said that master Punch was going to walk the rest of the way into town to think about some things... and that there were new Laws that Malfeas passed! That really put the city in an uproar. Even then, work would be difficult, but not impossible. No, Fluffy came back with *orders*. All the town criers to be gathered that the people can learn the new Laws when Punch arrives. As many Agata as could be gathered were to be hired to run messages with human messengers out... A large number of the Aalu that run the offices of law, the offices of Real Estate... they're all being called in, and what's worse ALL of the DCE* is being called off the projects they're on and into the Forge. Every Heranhal, every Marotte, and dear Sol all the Metody. And all of them with the crawling bugs. And worse, he's supposed to coordinate them all. When they say people are swarming your office in Oasis, they are quite literal.
And now, not a quarter hour after that nightmare began, the Lady Rose just walked painfully through the door, demanded to know where master Punch was... even though she seemed nice enough, there was no mistaking what she was... a Pissed Off Exalted. Oh Boy...
"Honored Mistress Rose! Ummm, Master Punch went on a trip outside the city... but he's almost back! Ummm, Mistress Min is meeting with the Chief Investigator squad upstairs, reviewing the criminal activity reports, they're all really good at fixing ummm, you know. " he gestures with his hand at Rose. As if suddenly realizing what a blunder that could be, his voice jumps a couple octaves as he desperately adds "Uh, if you take the vertical elevator up I'll send up some scrambled eggs from the kitchen and some demons for you to ummm, yea. Just please don't kill them... me... anyone? Please?"
And with that, Caius scurries off quickly to arrange a meal and a Meal, leaving Rose to stagger off to the reception room where she finds Min, and the Chief Investigator squad. The latter consists of something that looks like an Aalu in purple and with only four legs, over who's back is skittering 3 smaller demons that are best described as similar to a miniature sesselja only heavily purple and with far fewer legs and one that most strongly resembles a tiny spider made out of silver and brass needles. Min is valiantly trying to avoid falling asleep while the purple Aalu like creature drones on in a masculine human sounding monotone voice "and there have been three reports of property break ins that all uniquely have only one thing stolen. That thing is... anyone? ...anyone? ...anyone? That thing is silver jewelry. Supposition. We feel this might be the work of a sorcerer but is most likely a mortal alchemist trying to obtain silver for an academical procedure. Surprised Response. Hello Withered Rose of the Frozen Wastes. You appear to be injured. Do you wish medical attention, criminal investigation and slash or to file charges? Resigned Statement. As one of the Exalted I suspect if a crime was committed you will wish to pursue the accused yourself. Commanding Statement: Knick, Knack, Knock, Needles, prepare to analyse, heal, record and file criminal data."
*-The Demon Corps of Engineers are one the most praised and cursed group in the city. On the one hand, this group of willingly bound construction oriented demons and the minions they each employ are the sole reason the city was built as quickly as it was, answering the needs of shelter, storage and trade. On the other hand, while they are warped enough to have mostly human tastes they almost never let anything stand as it is if they are idle. So while they built the city, they are also the ones that periodically wall demons inside rooms as they put up a new warehouse or decide to make the city wall 10 feet higher. They are commonly called the Bugs both for the builder bugs that swarm with with as well as for the annoyance factor of having them around. "May the Bugs Help You" has rapidly become a mild curse in Bartertown.
2011-12-11, 02:50 PM
Rose blinked, then shook her head. She missed the jingling of the bells of the Grimore already. She never got used to how busy Punch's area was. "...In order. Yes, I would like to be treated. Yes, I am hungry and wish to eat. No, I do not wish for an investigation to be launched in this, I already know the Boy who did it, and have another person working on finding his location, and will deal with it when I am prepared. Criminal Charges are fine, but no investigation is necessary and the corpse won't be much use to put it on charges when I bring it back for Punch to make into a coat for me." She slowly reasoned out, as she unhooked her sword. "...I suppose that answers everything.
2011-12-11, 03:13 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The women flexed, clumsily spilling some tea over the papers she had been sleeping on - her hands were trembling a bit. She muffled a curse, put the jug on a miraculously unoccupied spot on the desk - only to promptly throw it down with her elbow. It shattered quietly, drenching the mattress.
'****' she muttered, resigned, resting her head on her hands. '****' she repeated for emphasis, though the apathy in her words somehow blunted the profanity's edge. 'Oh, sorry for that' she murmured weakly, giving her wet sleeping place a hateful look. 'Anyway, a Solar, right?' she tore her eyes free from the mattress and looked at you. 'Yes, there had been one in Port recently, and she has gotten herself into a deep troubles' she shrugged, 'Hardly surprising, is it?' she tried to crack a smile, but the tips of her ruined lips managed to jerk up only a little, making her face look even more miserable, like a badly painted mask. 'The Warlord got her, in short. She embarked on a sandship to the Silent Crossing, but never got there. A demon captain of the ship scented her weakness, for she was weak and helpless, and took her somewhere else instead' she sighed 'and Dragons bless him for that, for I had a man on the ship, and thanks to him, I have finally learned where the Reversed Ziggurat is. And as far as I know, your Solar friend is still there. I can help you get to her' she offered, browsing through the papers 'and for a very low price, too. When you reach that manse, destroy its archive, if you can, ruin it as much as you can. That is not much, you must agree...'
2011-12-11, 03:27 PM
Fury continues to grin, turning to leave.
"Now, was that so hard? Come on Oriasta."
He then heads back into the crowd, again making a path through the crowd for Oriasta to follow him through.
2011-12-11, 04:55 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
The young Lunar reacted fast.
'Luna's wrath, Rose' she uttered in terror upon seeing the Abyssal, shadows coiled around her arms begging to seep through the skin. She quickly forced them back, but the shock remained. 'Who did it to you, what kind of a monster?'
Her thoughts were raising with an uncanny speed. She was no doctor, she had almost literally no knowledge of medicine... but she was a Lunar, a No-Moon, and she would rather be dammed than do nothing. Of course, having no experience, she would have to act on an instincts, and that was not necessarily the wisest course of action - still, the only correct one. A silver circle appeared on her brow as she allowed the the essence to mingle with her thoughts enhancing them, hastening them. She wished that Punch was here, he would know with a moment of hesitation what to do. She was not that gifted. Alas, she had to rely on her own skills and reflexes now, and they pretty underwhelming. She quickly recalled the list of alchemical solutions that could be used at treating wounds... she glanced quickly at the Abyssal, and the realization stuck her that she had little to offer to Rose: she was badly bruised, yes, and all she could suggest was a compress, some painkiller and an entire day in bed to rest.
'Quickly' she ordered one of the demons 'fetch us something hot to eat and a cup of spiced silverwine for Rose, now.'
She smiled warmly at the Abyssal.
'I am not a doctor, but I can say without much doubt that there is a little treating to be offered to your wounds. You are an Exalt, so infection is not an issue, and the bruises and cuts should disappear in less than two days' she said. 'I can ease the pain a bit, though, with appropriate poultices.'
2011-12-11, 05:11 PM
Jania glanced over at the abyssal, shrugging slightly as the woman fumbled with the jug. "You know as much as I do now. All I was told was to come to this location."
She turned back to the rather pitiful looking woman, wondering silently just what sort of trouble had gotten her in this state. This was just getting more and more dangerous. "Hmm... While I am certainly not opposed to destroying a bastion of demons... I must ask, why this one? What is contained in that archive that is so important to be rid of?"
2011-12-11, 05:29 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
"When a stage magician performs," Vana begins, quietly speaking after Tewi, "They perform many wondrous tricks. Everyone sees with their own eyes things that should not occur without true sorcery occur- they see it, and they let it awe them, as the magician exhibits power and and feats of wonder, declaring mastery over the world. Yet though they play along in fantasy, both magician and audience know the truth. It is a truth all know, but purposefully set aside to experience the act devised for them."
"This theme is seen in many places, from plays, to books... and even the sparring of animals, and humans, to practice their craft. They fight and clash as if they were enemies, but they know what really occurs. Can they not feel the bond between one another? The camaraderie and the intent behind their actions? You knew your goal, you felt it- it guided you in your actions, and motives. I have little doubt that your daughter knew what was occurring, even if it was not a truth to be spoken, or acknowledged." Vana says, giving a small and sad smile to Zsofika. "Do not mourn what you shared, even if the meaning of it was buried deep."
2011-12-11, 05:33 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
"Shocked Statement. High Mistress Min, analysing organic criminal activity and repairing the damage is what my team and I are made for."
With battlecries of joy, the small hand-sized demons leap at Rose who flinches expecting them to hit and land on her already tender bruises. "Whee!" "Wahoo!" "Cowabunga!" "Antidisestabishmentarianism!?"
They never do, instead ignoring the possibility of landing on her and instead fly straight into her flesh as if she were not there.
"Hey Cool! Look at this! I've never seen one of these that looked like *this* before!"
"Oh yea? Take a look over here.... *snicker* Bwhahahahahahahhahhahahaha!"
"Focus on work you two! Extensive minor injuries, bruising. Inflicted by an essence charged weapon measuring no more than 6 inches deep."
"Confirming relationship. High Rivalry from a former career, not current. Low sexual attraction. No established business interests"
"Okay, no, that goes here, and this goes there. Now just give this a tug..."
"Candlewax? Why the... what the hell was this? Amateur night?"
"Class three weapon, commonly called a switchklave. Soulsteel taint to the wounds."
"Confirming lack of contract... Confirming lack of memory removal... Evaluating... Establishing value at 33.5 talents, plus the cost of the stolen artifact. Standard fine for the individual is now set at 217.5 talents of jade, plus artifact recovery, pending detailed evaluation of the artifact."
Three of the little demons suddenly jump out of Rose and back to where they were, with the final one jumping up onto her shoulder briefly to add "All done fixing! I added a decoration, it'll fade in a few hours or a day!" before launching itself back to it's original place scampering on the back of the Aalu like thing.
And at that point the main doors are sudden thrown open as a swarm of bugs, neomah, demons bearing food and Punch walks in, arguing with a Metody and Neomah. "No, Priority. Need Ship first. Shipping second. New Wall last."
the micro-healer demons used Touch of Grace to remove the remaining bashing damage, and leave a faint decorative rose (5 successes) scar.
2011-12-11, 07:10 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Words of Tewi, and then Vana rang clearly against the backdrop of the angylkae's subtle dirge, resounding through the high-vaulted chamber.
'I would pray' the hunger spoke, wiping the trail of sand from her face 'if there were any gods to listen to ones such as me' her voice grew dry, but not empty. Once more, you've heard the samun's fury... yet, the raging sandstorm was subdued, distant, not dangerous - merely reminiscent that defeated and grieving, she was still the Kite Flute, the demon whose passage was marked with the rains of blood, and whose swordsmanship few in Malfeas could ever hope to match. 'I would pray' she said once more, still silently, but she was calmer now, and even if her voice did shudder a little bit, she managed to hide the grief 'that what you say is true, and that she knew, and that she understood' a sad smile appeared on her face 'for I certainly hope so now. And...' she paused, standing up gracefully and giving both of you a sad smile 'thank you for your words. Few in this city could offer such a consolation' she bowed once more. 'Slave or free, I shall serve you gladly, to the best of my abilities. It seems to be worth it.'
2011-12-11, 07:46 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Archive? This certainly got the attention of the Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies. Any archive was worthy of perusal for lost knowledge, and even the most obscure and seemingly-run-down library could often hold the occasional gem of occult lore. That this Hermit wanted the destruction of the archive, of course, was not something he intended to perform as-is... He would plunder this archive for all he could, and THEN ensure its destruction. Yes, knowledge was power, but knowledge nobody else possessed was greater power. Still, before committing to anything, it was always prudent for one to ensure they know what the stakes are. "I am certainly no more a friend of demons than any of the refugees, and crushing one of their bastions does sound like a worthy cause... But what else can you tell us about this place? What is the nature of its inhabitants? Their approximate numbers, types and deployment? The nature of this archive? Any information you can provide will be nothing short of helpful."
2011-12-12, 04:10 AM
Or Better than Kings, Gods
Bartrand sighed as he flew back to the Dark Forge. It would be inaccurate to say he was tired; he was well rested. He spent most of the trip back calmly collating and cataloging schematics, their required materials, and the facilities needed to build them. In his small notebook, he had draw three columns, headed 'Can build', 'Can't build' and 'Not crazy enough to build'. The number of entries in the third column worried him slightly.
The agatae flew with a quiet buzz over row after row of houses. Some ramshackle, some constructed with more care. The low drone of life, people yelling, hawking wares, and generally making their way through the dingy life of the town surrounding the forge. Here and there, smoke rose from a makeshift chimney, as some family or another cooked its food. There were no beggars, something Bartrand was quite proud of as the Agatae swooped over the town. Everyone had enough to eat, the Forge saw to that, so the basic needs of everyone were always met. No need to panhandle. It was a dirty, run-down existence at times, but everyone in the little city got through it. Bartrand smiled as the Agatae whirled around the towering promontory upon which the Forge stood, taking a few minutes to spiral around the Tower which was the central feature of the Forge.
Bartrand hopped off lightly, giving the Agatae a nod and a gesture to head back to the stable. It buzzed with a pleased tone, still apparently quite happy at being the new designated mount. Bartrand swooped in the front door, paused to remove his overcoat, and headed towards the kitchen. First priority, dinner. Then, work on the first artifact.
He ground to a sudden halt as he entered the kitchen-proper. Two haranhals in white smocks, and very tall white hats suddenly stopped throwing what appeared to be overcooked biscuits at one another, and silently stared at the Twilight. Bartrand looked back and forth between the two demons for a moment. "I told you, 45 minutes at 400 degrees. If you keep setting the over to 600, you're going to keep burning the biscuits. Anyway, new plan! I will take care of dinner. You all clear out, and begin ordering things in the forge. Slight modifications to the old design."
Bartrand looked between the two for a moment, as if deciding something important. At last, he pointed to the one which appeared to be least covered in cooking ingrediants. "Posious, go to the Library, and find all the books on the demon Sheshken. Also... wash your hands before you do. We can't have all the books on the Ever-Hunger-Blossom covered in flour." Bartrand quickly tied on a smock, and got to work cooking, which took less than an hour, thanks to his magic.
The dinner preparations completed, Bartrand returned to his forge, as always artificially dark. Green forge-flames cast terrible shadows on the walls, ghastly figures that seemed to lurk and be ready to consume any lights that happened to sneak into the vast chamber. Haranhal hammers fell, sending showering sparks flying, as Bartrand worked at the anvil. If one looked over his shoulder, as perhaps the curious Marotte handling the bellows and flue might have, one would see a shining and glittering set of metal plates, which seemed to shine and buzz as he shaped them. The rise and fall of hammers and the singing of the haranhals were the only noises in the otherwise eerily silent forge.
2011-12-12, 10:24 AM
Things Lost and Broken
The Hermit frowned sourly, shrugging in annoyance. 'It is not a bastion of demons' she explained in a weary tone 'It is a demon spawning pit, but it belongs to one of those Lawgivers' she spat that words as if it was the direst curse that is. 'Forsaken Sword he is, and he calls himself the ruler of this blasted town' the venom in voice lost a bit of an edge, mostly due to the fact that this time, she did not managed to be fast enough to cover another long, wheezing yawn. 'Sorry' she muttered yet again, then giving you an apologizing look, as if trying to make up for this constant apologizing. 'I don't get much sleep these days... anyway, the manse. I know painfully little of it, only that it is large, and that it spawns demons and that it has archives... and where it is, yes. That is more than anyone, but before you ask' she sighed 'this is really it' she sighed again, spreading her arms wide to put an emphasis on her honesty 'I am not lying, not holding back any informations. The archives... I want them gone because if they are not, Forsaken Sword will get me within a month's time, and he is not of the ki...' suddenly, an expression of pure, overwhelming pain shot through her face, taking the speech away from her and leaving her only with a quiet, tormented whine for a voice. Staggering, she slipped from the chair, falling heavily to the floor. After a second, a sobbing was to be heard.
In the gloom of the forge, hammers rang at anvils, sending bright sparks into the dark - yet, they barely manage to cast any light before being swallowed by the shadows again. Yet, for the Fervid Smiths toiling there, it provided no obstruction - they saw keenly through the dark and shadows, their tools shaping brass and glass flawlessly, making them into their secret materials.
But that was to be expected. There was something far more interesting in the middle of the high-vaulted chamber, around the large cauldron of sizzling vitriol.
Seven circles surrounded it, each brighter, each craved with nothing more than a fine dream-dust, and the glow within each of them seemed to give no brightness, cast no shadows. They crossed and interlocked, forming a complex pattern. Glyphs in Holy High Speech, defiled by verdigris patina adorned to curved lines, each of them bearing a different shade of malfean emerald. And in the middle, basked in darkness, the Wandering Eye stood, her arms thrown wide, a low, vibrating chant flowing from her mouth, mingling with the music of the hammers, forming a haunting, eerie melody.
'Come!' she cried out into the dark, and the shadows responded, coiling and writhing madly at her feet, forming shapes of things called forth by horn of Erembour 'Come!' she beckoned, and in the centre of the whirlpool of gloom, an eye opened, gleaming baneful red.
'Who are you, mortal, to call a child of the Shadow?' it asked, in a grating, hateful voice 'You hold no power to command you, and yet you have the audacity to summ...'
The fae-blooded was not listening. Light on her feet, she danced away from the shadow, a small ball of brass appearing almost out of nowhere. With a fain smirk erupting on her face, she threw it into the cauldron.
Into shatters went an invisible, glass lid, and the vitriol swallowed the demon soundlessly, cutting its tirade once and for all. It managed to scream, but the malfean element muzzled, dissolving it on your eyes. The Wandering Eye chuckled coldly and turned to the Fervid Smiths.
'Bring forth the armor!' she ordered them, before noticing Bartrand. She quickly knelt in respect, pressing her forehead to the cold floor. 'And I welcome you, my Lord and my Master. You will be interested in this!'
2011-12-12, 03:09 PM
At the Market
Oriasta blinked and was dragged away. She could taste the demon-bloods magic in the air, the Solar essence glowing under the goddess’s essence-infused vision. Not a demon. An Exalt. Things were changing fast. Oriasta was becoming confused and blocking the path of plot like a boulder in the river.
Oriasta followed Fury, casting a glance back towards the Solar as the crowd closed in behind.
Oriasta shifted and let the plot move on.
2011-12-12, 04:02 PM
At the Market
Ophelia speech was clear and strong, beautiful and poignant - but the malice of the Demon City ran thicker than blood, thicker than brass, and even the words of Solar essence could not cut through it so easily.
At first, the demons listed to her earnestly, bowing and nodding, understanding the wisdom - but then, the muck at their feet, the unheard wal and deep clangour of the brass bells reminded them of their priorities. Yet, to say no to a Peer was an unthinkable act - so they had simply disappeared before the Ophelia could finish her speech, vanishing into the alleys and nooks of the plaza - as the Eclipse's last words flew into the air, only the tree-demon remained listening, and even he did nothing, aside from fearing that the Solar will turn her wrath onto him for allowing her words to pass unheeded.
The gagged demons seemed to look at her with despair as she followed her newly-found companions off the plaza, as if wanting to say "how could you fail us"... wanting, but not being able. Alas, even Solars meet failure from time to time.
The Stockade was not hard to find - or, at least, the street that held this dreaded place was not hard to find at all - for road to Ipythymia, the Street of Gold Lanterns was always simple and straight in Hell. Merely a few appropriate turns around inverted archways, a short trek through a stair-way hanging over a lake of vitriol and a strong intent to find the temptation sufficed, and within half an hour, a virgin-bone pavement of the alley clicked under Fury, Ophelia and Oriasta's heels.
Gold light shone on everything here, wickedly pure and wickedly radiant, a profane parody of the gentle radiance of the Ignis Divine. For whatever this place was - and it was many things indeed - it was neither gentle nor virtuous... quite contrary, it seemed to be a literally anathema of all the virtues.
Air reeked of physical love, sweat and tears here, each of the fragrances so strong that it almost overwhelmed your senses. Everything here was a temptation, everything promised pleasures and ecstasies unknown to Creation, breaking to mortal minds. And it was the time of a carnival here too, and so, the crowd was crushing.
Harlots of all kinds crowded the street, mostly demons, but more than a few humans too - and each of them bore this same empty, apathetic expression, clearly contrasted with the wanton lust painted on the faces of the equally countless customers - demons of all sorts looking for a way to spend time pleasantly at the expanse of another. Some of them did not even wait to find a more private place, and slaked their desires on the eyes of everyone, to the constant sound of unseen drums.
Houses of desire sprouted from all sides, offering all kinds of depravities to those who had money: from cultured Qaf qeishas to torture theatres and other places worse and stranger still. Houses of crystal, houses of brass, houses of jet - all of them shining in the gold illumination, all of them bearing elaborate, flowery names that did not manage to hide their carnal, repulsive nature.
Yet, yet, yet... it was all so tempting, it seemed as if the air itself was whispering the promises of sweetest pleasures, of most exquisite desires fulfilled to your ears in a hushed, beautiful voice. Each step that brought you closer to the dark skeleton of the Stockade looming in the horizon like an open wound also brought you closer to yielding to those little temptations... for they were not anything that bad, were they?
Even the disposition of the demons here was different: no insults flew at Oriasta, no fear surrounded Fury - only promises and long looks clung to them.
Resisting the lure of the Street of Gold Lanterns is a Temperance+Integrity at a difficulty of 6-(character's Temperance) - this roll, of course, can be stunted. Failing that means that character is subjected to an UMI Emotion social attack that applies with 25 dice, making the character seek to slake his lusts in any way he sees fit if the MDVs are overcome by it. The effect costs 6-(character's Temperance)WP to resist.
2011-12-12, 04:25 PM
Rose is silent. She flinches when the little creatures pull at her, but mostly attempts to ignore the creatures squirming around inside of her. Once the little creatures are finished, however, she lets out a long sigh and waits for a moment. Then she waves at Punch. "...Hello." she said, then turned to Min and shrugged.
"A little boy decided to play with me. I'm going over to his house soon." she said with a nod. "To pay him a visit and what have you. Nothing major. I met the nicest girl though, didn't catch her name. She's going to see where he lives for me." she slowly reasons out, as she sways slightly. She's still hungry for blood, not food. She needed the Essence. "Do you have anything...for my specific diet?" she asked.
2011-12-12, 04:55 PM
At the… Oh Crap
No more blood floor, that was good. As Oriasta and her Lunar guide finally found their way to dry land, the goddess sighed and waved her hands in an irritated fashion. Her stained and quite dishevelled ensemble bleached and emptied itself, once again becoming the purest white.
”Alright, so, where are we?” she asked Fury, glancing at the glimmering lights.
If this was a movie, the camera would switch to Oriasta’s PoV as she stared at the lanterns… and then, one lantern in particular. The screen would go dark at the top, eyelids dropping as the light expanded to fill the whole world.
Bees, she could hear them; a subtle and pleasant buzzing. As the light reached for her, Oriasta felt her essence resonate in kind and reach back. It was like a harmony being played on her soul, a pulse of energy and delight that filled her and overwhelmed her. For someone else, it would have been subtle, something to be ignored, barely recognized. But it was part of her, it was part of her purview. The Yozis had made the concept Fertility and they had made whatever this was, and the two children of the Primordials knew their siblings.
In her head, a little voice told Oriasta this was no good, that things were not right. The little voice built up a defensive wall but the wall crumbled away, like it’s was made of sand. It screamed obscenities, but its shouting was lost in the buzzing of the sweet, beautiful wonderful bees. It even began showing her pictures of terrible awful things, to make her remember where she was… what she was doing. But one by one, the images were replaced; replaced by things altogether more interesting, more… exciting.
A low growl escaped her lips.
Big fail. Big big big fail. And it's certainly not time to spend Willpower.
2011-12-12, 04:59 PM
Bartrand set down his hammer and turned away from his workbench. The sparkling golden plate buzzed sadly, even in this form, sad that it was no longer the focus of its master's attention.
He raised an eyebrow, somewhat suspicious that Wandering Eye wasn't making further progress on the hangover drug. He idly ambled over to the vat, and the large armor carapace she seemed about to dunk into it. "Planning to dunk that armor into a vat containing a Metody that has heard Erembour's horn?" Bartrand stopped for a moment, to look around at all the Haranhals. "Everyone! Splash goggles on, please. You all know the drill." He clapped his hands lightly as the free Haranhals scurried to put the large glass and yellow metal goggles onto their misshapen faces. Bartrand flipped down his own welding goggles, as they would be more than sufficient to redirect any splash.
"Now then, I presume since you're working on this, that you have completed the task I set for you earlier, and we have sufficient supplies of the narcotic hangover cure to begin testing." Bartrand did his best to give a glowering look, unhappy that his apprentice had changed tasks so suddenly. "We have much work to do before that particular product is ready, and its efficacy is crucial to obtaining the Wyld Pocket that will be necessary to completing your Apotheosis. I will have you know I spent all day negotiating to get that pocket, on your behalf might I remind you."
Bartrand made an exaggerated gesture, sweeping his smock clean of refuse from his crafting. "Now then, I think you'd best explain what project was so important it took you away from the duties I assigned you."
Clearly, his statement is only a half truth, since he didn't spend nearly all day trying to get the pocket, nor did he really negotiate for it, but it is true enough that he spent time today working on getting the pocket.
Vague enough to avoid breaking the Oath, since he doesn't mention the conspiracy at all.
2011-12-12, 05:13 PM
At the Market
Ophelia turned away and blinked furiously, not letting Fury, Oriasta or the vile shyster of a tree-demon see her eyes water. It wasn't the failure that got to her - much of the work she had done had simply been crushed when her home was destroyed, and yet here she was carrying on like it hadn't happened - it was their eyes. She couldn't bear it. She had given them hope, and then slowly crushed it under the weight of demonic apathy, shown them in the starkest possible terms how little there was to be done for them.
Mumbling some excuse about going in the same direction, she hurried after Fury and Oriasta, her face downcast. She'd be back. She'd try again. She'd save them if she had to break open their cages herself. But, she reminded herself, she had come there to search, and she had to continue.
To the... Street of Gold Lanterns. She quivered as the sights and sounds and smells surrounded her, a sensual barrage that- no. That was good, she could ask around here. She couldn't let herself be distracted; if she had no time to save the children of the Wind from a lifetime of servitude to cruel masters, she certainly had no time to indulge herself. Or at least, that was the defense, buoyed as it was by as much Solar essence as she could throw at it in walls around her mind. "Good luck getting your friend back," she said quietly, "I'm going to keep looking for mine."
She could hold strong. She could...
Assuming Temperance is being used as the Attribute here, tossing 6m 1st Integrity Excellency at the roll. MAX SOLAH POWAH. Personal Ess: 6/22 (3 commit)
12 dice vs Difficulty 5: [roll0]
If that fails, 25 dice against MDV 10 due to going against Intimacies: [roll1]
2011-12-12, 05:40 PM
Admittedly, whatever the street was doing seemed have a far easier path with Fury - he'd never been one to hold back and control his feelings - his given name was probably a big indicator of that - and he could feel those traits being pulled on as he walked down the streets.
Luckily, Fury had something that helped him resist this. His mentor, as a part of his efforts to get Fury more restrained and refined, had worked on honing his mental defences a little, and Fury called on that training to resist the pull the streets had on him. After all, he wasn't alone in this - as he thought of this he looked over to Oriasta, who was...growling? That wasn't good. He said he'd protect her, and that included staying strong against whatever was going on, especially if she fell to it.
Since I'm rolling less die than the roll's difficulty, really hoping I get some stunt die to help. Temperance+Integrity vs difficulty 5: [roll0] - 3 successes. Fail unless any stunt die manage to net me two successes.
Yeah, Fury has Temperance 1 :smallbiggrin:
If I fail (which I expect I will), 25-die social attack vs DMDV 7: [roll1] - 16 successes. Fail, big-time.
Since I'm still Willpowered-out, no way I'll be able to defend against this if it gets past my mental DV.
That didn't help in the end. Fury feels the resistance he was able to put up slip away. Really, if felt quite good to let the social limitations that had been placed on him just slide away and be ignored for a while.
He notices the little demon-blooded talk about going away. He steps over and wraps her up in a strong hug for a moment, before letting go. With a grin on his face, he says "Thanks for helping out back there!" before continuing to walk with Oriasta, who he puts an arm around as they walk.
"You're a...very pretty lady, you know."
2011-12-12, 06:14 PM
At the Market
A single, low sound cut through the rabble of the street as cleanly as a daiklave would through a birchen log - a silent buzzing of uncountable wings batting. For a moment, all has frozen, demons ceasing their lewd activities for a little while, even if one as short as a heartbeat, or more ephemeral still.
Then, as the Lunar embraced the Solar, and spoke his words that could be lustful and induced by the baleful aura of this blasted streets... or could be just honest, if a little bit uncontrolled compliment, compliment that described what was an undeniable reality!
After all, even the Chosen need to say something honest and pleasant from time to time, even they have to dance at some moment, even if through the Street of Gold Lanterns, under the Green Sun.
And so, as the embrace tightened, a scent rose above all the fragrances of carnal pleasure, scent that had never visited this place before, a scent alien to but a few demons - a scent, a smell of a wildflower pollen. You took a breath, and within it, a handful of amber dust that all of the sudden begun to circle in the air, filtering and dispersing the lights of the lanterns, making them softer, almost kinder. And the demons breathed this wondrous pollen too, feeling as an air of new, fresh life fills their lungs, and then their blood with visions of a world long abandoned, world long lost...
Oriasta breathed life into the streets of death, giving gifts the demons thought themselves not to be able to receive. And while it did not change anything, not at once, at least, seed takes some time to sprout. And oh, by the all the Incarnae, the goddess did sow on that moment, did sow more than she could hope for. The demons gathered there, the demons would not forget her, not soon, not ever. And sometimes, they would offer her a little bit of their thoughts and words, in hope that she would breath them some more pollen of life.
'What in the name of the King you think you're doing, traitorous bitch?!'
And lo, the street was gone from your eyes, replaced by a small, opulent chamber, warm and cosy, occupied mostly with an exquisite bed, covered in crumpled sheets. Discarded items of clothing lied strewn around, and a few tool of obvious, lustful uses too.
And, on the bed, looking rightfully pissed off, a young - though certainly well-developed, maybe even too-well - girl sat, looking at you scornfully. She had four arms, and with her golden skin and dark hair, looked like some wicked, oversexualized and female version of the Unconquered Sun.
Needless to say, she was not modestly clothed - only a single loincloth of transparent silk covered her, scantly covering anything, in fact.
'You have any idea on what you have just done?' she snarled, furiously starring at the goddess. 'You know how much damage have you wrecked to me?' she sighed heavily before turning to Ophelia. 'And you, you are wearing like a dammed prude! What would have your mother said if she saw you like that?!'
'The narcotic is half-fiasco, my lord and master' the fae said fearfully, not raising her head from the floor 'I did conduct a number of preliminary tests on a Fervid Smiths and Neomah, and it appears that Azure Bliss, while addictive is also very harmful to vitriolic essence flows, disrupting and blocking them, which in turn causes demons to vomit it up within an hour from ingestion - and due to some strange metaphysical loophole in the contract I have signed with it, the addiction does not hold after the substance is removed' she said that very quickly, as if to explain herself 'it cures hangovers just fine, though, and I believe that if someone with a deeper understanding of the element of vitriol would work at it, it would be possible to remove the aforementioned side-effects' though it was dark, and her face was pressed to stone, Bartrand could swear that he saw her smirking 'I, however, do not posses such skills necessary to work at it. I am a mere Fae-blood, nothing more, my lord and master... however' she added in a suddenly changed pitch of a voice, excited and very high 'the narcotic lead me to a breakthrough in another project, one that you are currently witnessing. By powdering the dried solution of Azure Bliss and mixing the resulting powder with ground Cecelyne's sandglass, it may become possible to bind demons into dead matter without having them lose intellect - though they certainly lose personality. Furthermore, it appears that the effect resonates both with the elements of shadow and vitriol, which, in turn, lead me to believe that harmonizing such resonances via an appropriately fashioned suit of Cecelyne's sandglass armor, and binding the demon into it could prove an easy way to mass-produce reliable, intelligent automata soldiers, resistant to both physical and metaphysical methods of attack...' she stopped her barrage of words for a second, before adding in a hushed voice. 'May I rise now, my lord and master?'
2011-12-12, 07:21 PM
At the Market
In this Age of fallen glory, standards must be lowered a little. While in the First Age parties could take over entire Directions and hold celebrations and debauchery that would put Malfeas' finest to shame, so much has been lost. Likewise, the great facepalm of Xeomenes III upon learning of the loss of his legions to a horde of raksha-chicken-men exceeded even the famous 10,098 simultaneous mind-hand-to-spheres of She Who Lives in Her Name when one of her hierarchical inferiors proposed the creation of some sort of pony-demon race.
And so, while it is but a shadow of things that have come before, Ophelia facepalms one of the greatest facepalms that has been palmed since the destruction of Creation. It is a compelling, contagious thing that might inspire the weak-minded to cover their faces rather than behold it, and soon her other palm is on her face also. One can almost imagine more arms forming and more hands pressed against her forehead in emulation of a Manganimous Unbound Sun in the full throes of exasperation, so insufficient is her physical form to express her feelings.
"May I introduce," she says, face still in her hands, "Ipithymia shin Malfeas, the Street of Golden Lanterns. In the, oh Desert, in the... flesh, as it were."
2011-12-12, 07:24 PM
At the Market
Oriasta’s heavy-lidded eyes turned to look at the obviously fertile demoness, and a slight, content grin plaid across her green lips.
Hrm?”, Oriasta murmured.
She could already feel her influence growing, could already feel power thrumming through her. Fertility was so much more primal than orchids, so much more immediate. Her grin widened, showing perfect pearly white teeth. The flower buds in her hair opened, filling the air with scent of jasmine.
”I know what I’ve done,” she said, her tone imminently pleased with itself, ”Oh yes."
And then the Solar/demon/lady-person said the introduction and the afterglow burned away like morning fog on the surface of Mercury.
A Second Circle Demon. Not good.
"Ah, heh, um," she said, coughing, "Greetings," the goddess said, trying to hold down a tremor, her grin vanishing like a very frightened morning glory.
2011-12-12, 09:44 PM
Bartrand put one of his hands on his hip, and looked at his apprentice rather sternly. "I'm not on the floor, you know. It is much easier to understand you if you stand up. Also, bowing like that is dangerous, you never know what's on the floor in here, you could get Vitriol on your forehead, and nobody wants that. Also, my name is still Bartrand, not Lordandmaster. Now then, when I was cooking dinner, I also made some chocolate chip cookies for everyone. However! As punishment for your failure, you may not have cookies. Just the haranhals and the marrote."
Bartrand looked around at the demons, then back down at the faeblood. "Okay, fine. You can have a cookie, but just one. Okay, two." Bartrand held up a finger in a warning gesture. "Next time I shall not be so lenient! Now then, I shall see if I can fix the essence flow issues with the narcotic. At worst, we leave it as it, and simply have it imprint the Mark during the short time it is in their stomach. It doesn't particularly need to stay down as long as it cures the hangover and leaves the Mark of Makarios behind. Anyway! I shall deal with that, and don't worry overmuch about it."
Bartrand dusted his hands off, once again forgetting the futility of the gesture in a realm with no dust. He glared down at her, wondering why she still hadn't stood up, before a momentary realization spread across his face. "Oh, yes, stand up. Now then, explain this process of yours. What are the caveats? Do the demons used need to bound with Sorcery? What ensures the loyalty of the automata? Is there any chance of the soldier being coopted? What level of complexity of orders can be given to them, and how capable is the resultant being?"
2011-12-13, 01:50 AM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Three male form Neomah bow before Rose, the center one declaring "That is what my associates and I are here for Mistress. You are limited from killing or crippling us without an additional contract, but outside that we stand ready to fill your every desire and... whim."
Two more Neomah (female form) press against Rose from either side. One adds "All you have to do..." while rubbing against Rose's arm. "... is tell us how you want to take us." adds the other as she half drapes herself across Rose to plant a kiss on Rose's far shoulder, incidentally blatantly exposing her long, slender and vulnerable neck mere inches from Rose's mouth.
Without even a moment's hesitation, but with a slight smirk the other two Neomah bearing food set aside their burdens for all to enjoy and walk to opposite sides of Min. Leaning down the male form whispers "You know Mistress, you don't have to watch this..." While the female form whispers "... we can all join in."
Punch meanwhile, apparently oblivious to the soft core porn temptations of the Neomah around the room, hands papers to one of the town crier demons with a declaration of "New Laws. Announce them. Details of our solution. Announce them harder.", turns back to the one he was arguing with and declares "Ship. Full Focus. Plans in an hour. Done in 50 hours. Subdivide the work." when the demon hesitates and looks about to argue back he glances at Punch, his eyes starting to glow Cobalt Blue, a snarl forming on his lip.... and decides that pissing off even a generally pleasant Exalt is not a good idea. "Will Do boss. Let me know when the plans are finalized, until then I'll start organizing the crews and working on the secondary stuff that we know about... it's going to hurt housing production though."
Briefly turning to the apparently distracted Rose Punch simply adds "Harmonious Jade", before turning his attention to one of the other assistants "When ship done, full focus on transport. Talk to Neomah crafters, need more TurboYeddim. Start Now." turning focus to yet another he declares "Need good images of Green Sun for statue. Go."
Finally glowing cobalt essence arms exploding out of his back set to work with sketches while Punch himself finally turns to Min, apparently still not noticing the Neomah now waiting for the slightest encouragement from Min and declares "Long Day. How'd it go so far?"
Activating the arms of multiple manipulation as well as the crafting combo to design a mundane very large sand boat. I'll edit in the roll and essence expenditure in a bit it's late night here.
2011-12-13, 11:29 AM
Things Lost and Broken
Jania reacted instantly, darting around the desk with impressive speed to catch the overworked woman as she fell. Silently cursing herself for agreeing to something so obviously dangerous, the jadeborn helped the hermit back to her seat. "Whatever you're involved in here, you need sleep. We will take care of the manse as quickly as possible."
2011-12-13, 02:54 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi nods in return, a measure of contentment returning to his face. "In that case, I'll be happy to work with you should the need arise." He lapses into silence for a minute; little more seemed to need saying on the matter, and it seemed likely the Kite Flute would want some time to think. The constant music reminds him he has other guests, however, and he looks over at Vana and Tiela. Technically, he'd had nothing to do with Vana and Rose's rescue of the angyalka, but he didn't particularly need her hanging around his manse now that she'd recovered, either, and if her Solar really had just lost her... well, it rarely hurt to have someone powerful owe you even half a favour, and the idea of that someone being a Solar was rather pleasant.
"Tiela, was it? I'm told you have a Solar friend in the city?"
2011-12-13, 03:01 PM
Fury still didn't really get the way demons worked and their multiple forms and the like.
"So...you're the road...that we were on? You don't look like a road."
2011-12-13, 04:21 PM
At the Market
The golden-skinned demon yawned, flexing its arms. Somehow, it seemed both very lazy, and very intimidating at the same time. Also kind of erotic, in a way that was a bit too twisted to properly think through.
'The proper term is nihilem, not shin, young lady' she sighed, giving Ophelia a very annoyed look. 'I am going to have a long talk with your mother, girl, because she apparently raised you very poorly, and it shows. I should have taken it into my hands, really...'
A thought crossed her mind, and she licked something invisible off her lips, smiling at you.
'As for taking into my hands...' she muttered lazily 'I have no freaking idea on what this wayward spirit has done, so please explain, now' she spared the goddess a look, but not as if she was considering her a real person. 'Also, you are thick one, are you not?' she sneered at Fury 'but I appreciate the bestial aspect, yes... yes. I have not had such a man in while' she flicked her fingers, and in a puff or a rose-scented smoke, a pair of neomahs appeared out of nowhere behind the Lunar, immediately proceeding to massage him with their able hands, rubbing some heavily scenting ointments into his body - or fur, if he was in the war-form. 'You'll do' the demon smiled at the Lunar. 'And now, you, Ophelia. Explain what is going on, what are you doing here and why in all the names you are dressed like a Sol-touched prude!?'
Ipythymia uses Stoke the Flame on Fury to instantly create an intimacy of lust towards here. It is an UMI Emotion effect that costs 1WP to resist.
25d10 + 1 sux
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
'Slowly, dear' Min replied, pouring herself - and Punch and Rose some silverwine. She was speaking in a hushed, low voice, a bit weary and a bit just calm. 'I am not good at managing, but I tried to cope as good as I can... there has been some issues, though' she added, passing each of the Exalted gathered a glass. 'Reports from security of suspicious behaviour. They have caught at least a few armed individuals washed in Lunar essence, and that is not something I am particularly happy with' she sighed softly. 'Also, Seven Serpants Coils beat me bloody, but I guess I have to live through that. All Chosen must be fighters, he says' she ran fingers through the black palm of her hand, the reminder of the inauspicious wedding. 'He is not wrong... also, the hands still hurt, and keeping the shadows in gets harder and harder, but I have an idea how to contain them...' she smiled sadly. 'I must seem very whiny to you, Rose, right? Not all of us have your strength and patience...'
The fae stood up quickly, whittling dust from her robes and looking peculiarly at the Solar.
'My Lord and Master, you must remember your role' she said sternly. 'You are a demon-commanding overlord, who rules from darkness with an iron fist! You must observe proper rites, my Lord and Master! You must make your servants genuflect and squirm at your feet, you must demand to be called something grand, like Lord and Master, or a Hegemon, or a Dark Lord... otherwise, you will never be truly scribed into the grander order of things! Figures must play their roles as they have been set at the dawn of shinma...'
Something very scary came alive within her eyes, burning deeply in the dark.
'As for how the soldiers will work...' she smiled widely, showing little fangs - Bartrand was quite sure she did not have them the last time he had seen her 'I have not a slightest idea...' she laughed, loudly and vibrantly 'and that is so fascinating! We shall see what comes of old Kagnax magicks... is it not fascinating, my Lord and Master?' for some reason, the name she spoke sounded somehow familiar, though the Solar was absolutely sure he had never heard it before. Meanwhile, a pair of demons brought a suit of a full-body glass armor, painted with cobalt sigils, simple, but apparently durable and strong. 'This will be fascinating, we shall become demiurges, my Lord and Master! Creators of a blasphemous automata!' the passion running deeply through fae-blooded voice distorted it, giving it a strange flanging to it, as if her words were coming from many throats at once, each speaking in a slightly different tune. She submerged a small glass cup in the pool of bubbling vitriol, filling it with the smoky black substance. 'Say the command, and I shall call forth this being to its terrifying unlife! Please, speak the word!' she begged, or hissed, or likely both.
2011-12-13, 05:28 PM
At the Market
Ophelia opened her mouth, then closed it again. Had she forgotten...? Oh, hells, she had. "As one of the Unquestionable, Ipithymia nihilem Malfeas," she explained to Fury as though he wasn't busy being seduced - maybe it would help keep his mind focused - "is both street and woman, the same way Ligier shin giri Malfeas is both a craftsman of unsurpassed skill and the Green Sun."
Her education had at least included the proper appellation for him. "Although the way Mother talked about you, it would be easy to think that it was you that was shin Malfeas." Hopefully the Third-Circle would take the idea of being the City's heart as a compliment; after a gaffe like that she had to cover her ass a little.
"Lady Ipithymia, with your forgiveness. My... home was destroyed in a layer-crash. I am searching for my harpist. I spoke of you to her sometimes, and after she escaped I thought she might have come here. It was..." she swallowed hard, "it was not my intention to involve you personally."
2011-12-13, 06:00 PM
Bartrand paused for a moment, setting the heaping plate of cookies down on the table next to him, where the Haranhals could easily reach to procure the proffered snacks.
Bartrand stepped closer to the Fae, the ominous green flames reflecting coldly off his protective glasses. His face was an emotionless mask for an instant, with the mirrored meridian fire casting strange shadows across his features. He peered at the Fae's gleeful expression before turning away once again. "I will do exactly as I please, and if your Oath is worth anything, you will remember that. That means calling me Bartrand, and actually obeying my instructions. If you don't like those terms, then that is quite unfortunate, but in the end will hopefully prove a valuable learning experience once your transformation into a fae has been completed."
He placed a hand on the armor, tracing the sigils carefully with his massively gloved hand. Turning away again, his feet clicking on the obsidian floor, he waved into the open air, and his bracers threw a massive construction of orange light into the yawning darkness above the workshop floor, with deep blue lights standing in for the Cobalt sigils etched into the original. Bartrand stepped into the light-construction, examining it from within, as a jeweler might examine a fine gem. "I think some important stages in your instruction have been skipped. Today's second lesson is to never to attempt any action in which you are not in control of the likely consequences. That means we need to ensure that whatever this suit does, we are prepared."
Bartrand turned on his heel, walked sharply toward the wall, and turned a key two clicks to the left. After a moment, a short wall rose from the floor, dividing the workshop into approximately two halves. Turning towards one of the Haranhals, Bartrand handed it a second small silver key. "Obetheus, go fetch Timmy and Tommy, and bring them up here. Just in case something goes wrong." Bartrand paused a moment as the Haranhal looked bewildered, an otherwise strange sight given the large yellow safety goggles the demon was wearing. "The Tomescu, they're upstairs in the belltower."
Tapping his foot for a few moments while the Haranhal fetched the paired Clamorous Cloud Arsenals, who took up their positions on either side of the suit of armor, spinning merrily about, happy to be invited down to the lab from their tower. Bartrand raised a heavily gloved finger, "Now then! Safety goggles everyone! Wandering Eye, you may proceed." Two pairs of green chitinous limbs rapidly issued forth from each of the two clouded demons, grabbing two pairs of goggles each from the nearby table before the arms disappeared back into the clouds. If one was looking closely, one would have also noticed each Tomescu grab a cookie from the platter.
2011-12-13, 06:18 PM
The fae bowed flourishingly, miraculously spilling not a single drop of the vitriol sizzling in the cup.
'Your command, Bartrand, my Lord and Master' she almost sang, her free hand tracing elaborate, beautiful signs in the air. 'Everyone, step back. I call forth the Rubric of Kagnax to give power to the armor through the soul of the demon!'
The circles around her begun to glow, but this time it was no mere light, but a pure radiance that cut cleanly through shadows, dispelling them for a moment. The runes traced on the armor begun to beat in tune to the dancing lights, and the Wandering Eye begun to intone.
'Through the twenty three nihilem of Malfeas' she started lowly, almost a growl 'I call forth the power, I call forth the spark of emerald flame...'
The cup in her hands begun to tremble, the liquid inside trying desperately to escape the container - but failing, failing...
'Through the endless traces of She Who Lives in Her name, I give the power and imbue it...' she continued, her voice raising. Arcs of green light sparked from the circles into the cup, stirring the vitoil inside further. The runes scribed on the glass armor begun to literally burn, melting the carapace, sealing all the littlest cracks and openings in it.
'And finally' the crescendo of the ritual was coming 'through the power my own, I PART THE RUBRIC!'
The words echoed with a terrible strength, and she lowered the cup, allowing the liquid to fall freely on the armor, to seep through the glass - as if it was gauze, not rock-hard Cecelyne's bone. Shadows unfurled inside, the small cup apparently containing enough shadows to fill the entire suit of armor with blackness. And then, something came alight inside, a single speck of viridian glow.
'Awaken' the fae grinned 'Awaken and serve!'
The armour obeyed, slowly rising from the floor, black-and-blue, with an empty, deep void for eyes.
'It is done!' the fae announced, throwing the cup up in a sign of a triumph.
2011-12-13, 06:36 PM
Things Lost and Broken
One thing Jania noticed: the Hermit's face was warped with pain. The women was clenching her teeth tightly, but the tears of suffering were already forming in the corners of her eyes, and she was trembling, as if in a high fever.
The source of the pain was not hard to locate, either. You have not seen it before, because of the desk obscuring the view, but around her belly, a dirty, sticky bandage was wrapped, stinking of rot. Pus and blood were already begging to seep through the dressing.
At this moment, the Hermit could not hold no longer, and she begun to sob, quietly and in defeat, as if the wound opening again robbed her of the last small pieces of her strength. Tears rolled down her face, the woman suddenly looking so frail and vulnerable. She tried to reach for her crown as if it was going to help her, but could not even raise her hand.
'Mother' she managed to utter, shivering, her voice so faint that the Jadeborn could barely pick the word out from the heavy, ragged breath '...why won't you come, why won't you return, mother... mother...'
She vomited, even though her stomach was almost empty. Whatever was wasting her, she was quickly losing the fight with it.
'Mother...' she called again, with desperation and hate both mingling in her voice.
2011-12-13, 06:41 PM
Bartrand raised a single eyebrow at the construction, his expression showing that he was not impressed. He hesitated a moment, watching for any signs the newly animated armor was hostile. He crossed his arms in front of himself, inspecting the black and blue automaton. "Very well. Armor! I am Bartrand, and I am your master. You will follow my commands."
Bartrand turned aside to the Fae. "I have no idea if that did anything. Anyhow, take it outside and begin capability testing in the Testing Zone. Timmy, Tommy, Obetheus, go as well, and ensure nothing problematic occurs. I want a full report on what this device is capable of physically, mentally, and on the complexity of commands and orders it is capable of storing and executing. I want the preliminary version of the report on my desk in the morning. Also, under if that little pronouncement didn't do anything, ensure that its absolute loyalty can be transferred to me. It would not do to have these things getting out of control."
Bartrand gave a waving gesture with both engloved hands. "Scoot. Off you go." He glared at the two momentarily dawdling Tomescu, "Yes, you can take some cookies with you, you can eat them while you test.... No, don't give me that look, you're not getting brownies too. I made cookies today, and that's what you've got. Maybe Brownies next week, if everyone is good and workshop efficiency stays high."
2011-12-13, 07:02 PM
Rose nods. "I shall inform...Harmonious Jade, that I thank her for her help when I see her again, then. then turns to one of the Neomah. "Arm." she says simply. Then, she bites the creature's wrist and slowly starts sucking the blood. Delicious Delicious Demon Blood. When one of them was about to die, she swapped to the next one, avoiding spilling anything. "Problems in learning how to fight?" she asked, in-between her meals. "Lot of problems." she amended. "But I do not expect all to be like I am. Problems are still problems. Deal with them differently, and whatever." she reasoned out, shrugging. "If it will make you feel better next time, I would be willing to go train with you and Coils. I might not be able to train you very well, but at least you will have a familiar person also learning. I am a Dusk, after all. I take to Martial Arts fairly fast." she stated, wiping her lips. Mostly, she just wanted training. But hey, Min was Punch's Wife, and Punch was nice enough. Might as well help.
"As for Mystery Lunar, I will see about looking into it after I am done with the little Boy." she responded. "Oh, and Punch. How would you like an unending font of Exalted Blood, Skin, and Bone? I can't decide if I want to kill the Boy, or condemn him to torture, so I suppose if you can keep him trimmed down and have a use for his body parts, you can have him after I'm done."
2011-12-13, 10:00 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
"Perhaps I am a poor substitute for a god, and perhaps I will not have answers, but should you ever desire to give voice to prayers, Zsofika, I will gladly hear them." It's hard to tell whether Vana is being serious or not, due to the combination of gentle levity and surprising gravity in her tone. Perhaps she would have it taken either way, as one prefers.
Then the subject changes, and she frowns somewhat.
"Amalion led us to believe such, though I must express some uncertainty as to your situation. If you've an ally among the Exalted, why was your protection not seen to?" She inquires of the harpist. "Surely it would not be difficult to ward off the rabble of the city?"
2011-12-13, 10:39 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Gods she looked awful. Some sort of poison? Consuming raw vitriol wouldn't do damage this great... Damnit, she couldn't just leave her here like this. But that mad twilight also needed taken care of. Perhaps... She rummaged through her bag for a moment, pulling out one of the antivenins she had finished before the trip. Even some magical poisons could be expelled with a drink... though it was certainly not a pleasant process, even if it did work. "Hang on there, can't have you dying on us that easy..."
She carefully tried to get a dose of the medicine down the dragonblood's throat, readying a second dose in case her current state led to spilling most of it.
2011-12-13, 10:42 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Punch quietly listens to Min's comments and even Rose's replies before being unable to hold it in any longer. Uncharacteristic laughter bellows forth, bouncing off the walls briefly washing out the continual chaos of sound in the forge. Reaching forth he grabs Min off her feet, sweeping her into a great bear hug. Still hugging her tight he pauses for a moment to gather his thoughts before launching into his uncharacteristically wordy explanation.
"Wrong lessons love. Chosen... we are not all fighters. Not warriors. We are... more powerful, than mortals. So mortals learn to defend themselves in a bar fight, but otherwise don't learn to be warriors. We are the same, but more. Still infinitely varied, but not all warriors." Pausing for a moment, he adds "Swords of Hell Right. I did not fight because I am a warrior. Fought because there was no other choice, even offered him sex remember. I did not defeat him because I am a warrior. I defeated him because I am Chosen to carry the Faith of the Gods. Because I burned him because he is Wrong, not because I am a fighter. If I fought Fury, he would win easily. Only a little more experience, and YOU would win against me."
"I was not Chosen for my fists, but for my mind. You were chosen not for your fists, but your heart. My fists are still needed to protect what is important, but... it is not my life. Should not be yours unless you honestly think it should be."
"The Whip? A reminder. That people like Swords Exist. So *we* don't forget it. But, don't dwell on it. Swords... gave in. To the darkness. In his heart and in this place. He took power to be a fighter, be the best, never be hurt again. Tempting offer. Even for you or me. And you know his fate. Rose... also gave in. Different Darkness, different bargain, but still gave in. But, she is trying to use it better. Responsible. That's why I like to have her here in town. She *is* a Warrior. Dangerous. Deadly. Evil. But still, responsible and even caring. Maybe someday, enough to be redeemed. Ask Sol, beyond my pay grade."
"The wound? Shadow. All shadows here of the Ebon Dragon. Do not let it into your heart, but do not hide it. Shadow grows in darkness. Show it the light? The light of your Luna blessed heart. Or we could go ask him in person if you want. We can go be rude and insist on a meeting. You are my love, my Nibbles."
Hugging Min close again Punch adds "Rose? What you ask, excessive. But can be done. I don't have the love that Min does, so she may urge otherwise. She is smart like that. As for Lunar people. Can we find out who and where from? Then we talk to person responsible. Negotiate peaceful life. Hummm, Lunar..."
Pausing for a moment in his hug of death Punch reaches into his armor and pulls out a note, reads it briefly and then adds to the group "Have note here. Barbarian wannabe Lunar, living out on empty shell, raiding, has small farms. Named Klantarch. Might be the source?"
In case you're wondering, yes Punch used a memory extraction/destruction demon on his way into town, so everything from after the introductions to the end is gone. He just has a small pile of relevant notes to himself.
2011-12-14, 04:34 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Zsofika spoke no more, cross-legged at the floor again, eyes closed. There was this peculiar expression on her face, the one frozen half-way between laughter and lament.
She was remembering.
The angylkae twitched as the pair of Exalts begun to talk to her, bowing her head low, hiding her face between her skinny arms, her fingers curling slightly, as if clutching something invisible. She seemed scared, and still in a bit of a shock.
'Tiela, yes' she muttered, glancing tentatively at Tewi. Her Old Realm's pronunciation was strange, had some sort of an alien, yet still pleasant to the ear tone to it - a trait shard by many adjorani demons 'she called me that, I am no citizen' she explained. 'Lady Ophelia, that is. I acc-' she coughed 'serve her. Keep the Silent Mother away, appear to be the sign of her status. She is kind to me!' she quickly added. Still, it was obvious to the both of you that she was more than a servant to the Solar named Ophelia - by the way, this name sounded familiar, you had heard it before somewhere - a friend? a lover? who knows. Either way, such relationship would surely be considered a scandalous misaliance, if revealed to public. For all of its façade of chaos, Malfeas was the domain of a strict hierarchy; those who violated it were severely punished. First Circle Demons could be lovers or toys to the Peers, but never real friends or paramours. 'I never complain. She is kind to me, I lived with her... but' she sighed quietly 'The Boar, praised be his name, passed and the layers collided and we have lost our home and she sent me away to safety' strangely, even in the light of the events you had witnessed before, she did not sound as if she was blaming the Solar 'we were to meet at Equitable Bazaar, but... uh...' she stuttered all of sudden.
'She does not have to talk about it' Zsofika stated all of the sudden.
The alchemical workshop was strangely silent without the Wandering Eye causing intense chaos in all directions - the fae was occupied with the tests of her newest creation - or not hers. She had openly admitted that the design of runes and the ritual was merely and adaptation of the Kagnax's First Age rites.
Amusing... the red memory crystal was glistening to Bartrand's side, yet the Copper Spider had the hunch that despite the wealth of knowledge contained within, the things lurking inside of the Wandering Eye's memory were both more numerous and perhaps even more interesting. And that name, Kagnax, ringing in the ears and soul like an infuriating song one simply can't get himself rid of.
Kagnax, Kagnax... who was he? A Solar, that was somehow obvious, but who was he? What had he done in his years, what was his end? And why did such questions spawn uninvited in Bartrand's mind? For all he tried, they proved resistant beyond common sense. Kagnax...
'Our Lord and Master Bartrand?' an unpleasant, grating voice drew him out of the trance. A pair of Fervid Smiths was standing at the threshold, wearing crystal glasses and holding a large, sickly green tome in their short hands. 'We have completed the research you required. Shall we present our results, or should we stop bothering you, or Lord and Master Bartrand?'
'I am waiting!' a high, though bored female voice resounded from somewhere deep in the tower, calling to the smiths. The demons appeared slightly annoyed.
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Almost forgot! 1XP to Rose for Rude Awakening.
Something darkened within Min's eyes, a dreadful shadows creped up her face and into her eyes, tainting them with gloom.
'We are fighters' she stated coldly, her voice distorted, not hers - sour and hateful 'this is all we were to be. Weapons of the gods, destroyers, knives in the dark. You can't deny that, Love, you can't turn your face from it' she was speaking slowly, pronouncing each word clearly, as if they were a slashes of keen blade. 'Chosen for mind? For heart? Don't be ridiculous, we were not chosen for anything, for there is nothing that earns us the right to do...' with a sharp sound, she turned, and punched into the wall. The brass buckled and cracked, giving way to her fist. Dark ichor begun to drip from the opened wound of the buidling '...this. The powers we command are not earned, they are random gifts, and that is all. Light?' she laughed mirthlessly, pulling her arm effortlessly from the wall, not minding the long cuts on it 'there is only one light here, and it is the radiance of the old Titain we have toppled at the dawn of time. And this is all the light I see, Love. And I'll tell you something, I think I care about people, about those who are close to me' she was speaking very quietly now, each word so bitter that it tasted like ashes 'but today, I have changed, I stopped digging my own grave. Look at the utopia you have raised, where a man starved to death in front of a full warehouse, because he was too old and feeble to work and lost all of his family during the End of Days, and no one wanted to buy the rags on his back - and they were all he had' there was one more bout of laughter from her, the darkness on her hands spreading from the skin into the air, surrounding her like a second shadow - shadow vaguely in the shape of a twisting serpent 'I don't care' she admitted pitilessly. 'I just know that you are all that is important in this wreckage of the world, Love, and for I would rip the stars from the sky, for I would killed my own dears sister thousands times if she was still alive, if my love had not killed her already...' she paused, and turned to Rose. 'I would be honoured to train at your side, Ashbringer. I still have this weak voice calling me to spare those I hunt, I need to put an end to it.'
She bowed, and it was then that you noticed that a few strands of her hair turned from silver to pitch-black.
2011-12-14, 05:42 PM
Bartrand smiled. In normal lighting, in another place and time, it would have been a warm expression. In the dim light of the forge, glasses obscuring his eyes and reflecting only an image of cold green fire, throwing spiraling shadows across his countenance, it was a mask that might inspire terror into a lesser being. Bartrand brought his hands together in a loud muffled clap that rang through the dark recesses of the laboratory, echoing off obsidian walls. The sound brought to mind nothing other than the command of a gallowsman to release the lever and drop his charges.
"Excellent! Well done! I am very proud of both of you. Please leave the research on the table, and I will look at it shortly. I must finish up a minor project here." Bartrand held forth the massive plate of cookies to the paired demons, "You may both have some cookies, then take the rest of the afternoon to do as you please. After dinner tonight, I'd like you to find any materials we have on a Solar named 'Kagnax', but until then, you may do as you please. Anyway, it sounds like you have someone waiting for you, so I won't keep you any longer. Off you go, scoot." With a wave of his gloved hands, Bartrand shooed the two Smiths out of the workshop, their hands full of cookies.
Turning back to his bubbling cauldron, Bartrand cast in handfuls of ingredients, Vitriol reacting with Basalt, Obsidian, and Brass. He resisted the urge to laugh maniacally as he cooked. That would be unseemly, and distract the other Haranhal that were attending to their various tasks. He kept close watch on the time, and scribbled in his notebook with each passing trial at his drug.
Craftsman Needs No Tools to cook up the drug. Each interval gets reduced to 30 minutes
[roll0] = 6 successes + 8 - 5 = 9 net successes
[roll1] = 15 successes + 8 - 5 = 18 net successes (27 total)
Drug is completed after 60 minutes of work.
Personal: 8 / 22
Peripheral: 41 / 47 (6 committed)
WP: 7 / 10
2011-12-14, 06:28 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies stepped towards the crippled Dragonblood. "Step aside, jadeborn," he instructed Jania, in a tone that indicated he knew what he was doing. "I may be able to diagnose the cause of her distress." Privately, the Artificer tried to restrain his excitement. Whatever infection was afflicting this hermit was a find of epic proportions for the purpose of his work. She may have only been a Dragonblood, but even the Dragonbloods were a hardy people, resistant to most forms of infection and disease. Yet, here she was, ravaged by an as-yet unidentified malady. If he could identify it, he could study it - and if he could study it, he would be that much closer to producing his plague to devastate the denizens of Malfeas. Carefully, he peeled back the bandage, unaffected by the stench. He hmm'd, and held up a hand. A small tube of what appeared to be glass appeared in his left hand, and a smaller tube with a narrow, tapered opening at the bottom and a small rubber teat at the top. In the same instant, a mark appeared on his head of a black circle, its top hemisphere filled. The mark would have appeared to be a bruise if not for the highly-specific nature of its shape...
Squeezing the rubber teat, the Artificer placed the tapered end of the smaller tube to the base of the wound, releasing the teat and sucking up some of the discharge. He squeezed this into the tube, and examined it critically. Outwardly, he hoped to be attempting to examine the contents critically in hopes of identifying the cause, but inside he was elated. This, along with any other samples he could secure, could be very helpful indeed...
His Bracers conjured up a rack on the desk into which he placed the tube, and then he returned his attention to the wound. A magnifying glass appeared in his hand, and he examined the wound, pushing the bandage aside further...
Not happy with this post, but my brain is not cooperating.
Spending two motes of peripheral Essence to activate the Bracers of Universal Crafting, generating tools of medicine. Also spending one willpower to channel Conviction, adding three dice, and spending 6 motes of personal Essence on the Second Medicine Excellency to add three automatic successes.
Intelligence + Medicine + Conviction: [roll0] + 3 sux
Willpower: ●●●●● ●xx
Conviction channels: ●●x
Personal Essence: 11/17
Peripheral Essence: 24/38 (12 committed)
2011-12-14, 07:16 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The deep-red elixir Jania poured down the Hermit's throat, trying to hold the trembling woman's head steady, so that she does not spill - and thankfully, she did not. Her sobbing and ravings stopped for a second as she swallowed.
And it was then that the things turned very, very nasty.
For a brief second, she grew flabby, her breath almost ceasing, heart crazed heart-rate grinding to an abrupt, worrying halt.
And then, a painful cramp jolted through her body, almost throwing her into the air. She tried to scream, but managed only to whimper - and then vomit up blood and a disgusting, yellowy liquid that stank of rot and death.
'Mother' she whelped, as another cramp made all her bodily functions go out of control. It was messy and unpleasant, to say at the very least. 'Mother, why won't you...'
She threw-up once more, almost choking on the vomit, and then heavily, painfully collapsed into her own filth. Her eyes dimmed, but her chest was still rising and falling, and spit dripping down from half-opened mouth. The Jadeborn's cordial helped, a bit - the poison was no longer in the woman's system. However, what remained of your informer was a barely alive shred of a dragon-blooded, too weak to sob or speak, stinking as if rotting alive.
2011-12-14, 08:04 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies observed the results of the jadeborn's elixir dispassionately, not long after his Essence-charged investigation had given him a flash of worrying insight. After verifying that the informant was still alive, and making a few more observations, he nodded clinically. "Poison," he stated dispassionately. "Or venom, more accurately. Quite a horrific one, by most standards. Your elixir seems to have expelled it entirely. I may have to ask you about that in greater detail at some point..."
"Frankly, she should not be alive... Her resilience, though failed, is remarkable. Delivered by an envenomed blade, likely a daiklave of some description, it seems the effects of the venom were delayed a little by her rapid healing. But its potency was not reduced." He observed some of his samples clinically, taking a sample of the yellowy liquid the hermit had expelled and carefully placing it with the others in its own stoppered vial. "Yes, this is a variant of some Yozi venom, unless I am seriously in error. Extremely rare to begin with, it seems it was altered magically before being applied to the blade and introduced into her system. It seems to have been made to work very slowly, with the side-effect of being harder to detect until the last minute, and to work by causing a systemic failure of the organs. Her condition has been worsened by an overdose of what I believe to be painkilling cocktails of a thaumaturgical nature... It appears she was treating this as a simple disease - wise, in most circumstances, but utterly unhelpful in this case. The residue of Essence in her circulation indicates she has been using charms to fight the effects... but this merely delayed the venom's effects, neither preventing nor ending them. She has a high fever and high fatigue, likely induced through both a combination of the overdose and the venom."
He leaned back then. "The most worrying part, perhaps, is the aspect of this venom... It is derived from Yozi venom of some description, of this I have absolutely no doubt, but there is a... Holy aspect to it. It seems that the person or persons who wanted this woman dead are, or are affiliated with, most likely Solars." He frowned. "It would appear her concern over this... Lawgiver, this Forsaken Sword, was well-founded, but rather... late. Whatever moves he planned to make against our informant, clearly, had already been made."
2011-12-14, 08:13 PM
Jania turned away, closing her eyes to the pitiful sight. The elixir had worked it seemed... but it's effects were never pleasant. And with a poison as bad as this, it would likely leave her weak for days, even if it had gotten it all. "...Lets get going. The dragonbloods outside or her notes likely know the location of this manse, and she will need time to recover from this. Nothing more to do for her but give her the time to heal. As for the nature of this venom... well, I'm sure she can tell us what did this to her when we return."
2011-12-14, 08:20 PM
At the Market
Oh Sol Above. Third Circle, not second circle. Instead of being caught in the lion, Oriasta and Fury had found themselves deeply entrenched in the Ishiika Cage.
In modern parlance, Oriasta’s internal monologue reads as follows: “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu……….”
Oriasta had faced down a horde of first circle demons and an enraged lesser elemental dragon, but this was something else. This was a direct shard of a Yozi, a near invincible force in the Demon City, in her place of power. Still, she could not flee as she had during the wedding – leaving Fury behind would be the essence of cowardice.
”Ipythemia nihilem Malfeas. My companion and I were travelling through your districts and… well… the Lanterns overcame me. I bear the dominion of fertility and my essence reacted strongly to the your golden light.”
“I meant no disrespect,” she murmured, bowing her head demurely.
2011-12-14, 10:12 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Punch hangs his head for a moment, then looks up with a pained expression.
"Why didn't you help him? I did not because I did not know of him, and I honestly don't see such things. Spend 20 years in the Cynis slave pens, not seeing suffering isn't a habit, it's an automatic defense I have to fight against now."
Starting to pace the room he adds "Do you think you do not have the power? You are Exalted, and besides one of the richest people alive. You have direct command over all the people in this building, and indirect over almost everyone in the city. You could have ended his suffering with a word to a servant. If you are determined to be for nothing but war, you could have ended his suffering by ripping out his heart. You could have asked Rose, who would have removed his head. Why do you think I asked you to take charge today? Because the demons can't run it? They run it when I'm here, they can run it when I am not. I asked because you have power, great power. Practice with it."
"This place... is not perfect. In many ways, it's horrible. What it is, is a solid base. The problems of this place, most of them are fixed by having people that care, that can see suffering and choose to remove it."
Waving his hand towards the center of Oasis he continues "Out there, worse. Here people get raped by demons. On their schedule. And get paid well for it. Out there? They raid through the gate, people get attacked, raped and robbed."
Finally standing in front of Min and pointing to a mirror he declares "Look! Every time you get mad, give in to hate, shadow grows. Grows in your heart, grows in your soul, changes your hair now. Shadow makes it easier to hate, hate makes you hurt less, more willing to fight. More willing to do whatever it takes. More willing to do anything that needs to be done. More willing to be JUST like Swords of Hell Right."
"If you want to be a warrior, be a warrior. Don't hunt and kill out of hate or anger. Those get warriors killed. Kill because it is what must be done, and respect the skill of who you kill. Ask Rose if she burns with hate when she kills. Ask any of your teachers."
Pausing for a brief moment he adds "Better still, ask me. You need to learn basics of combat survival. I will help teach you. Then you can decide what warriors path to take."
2011-12-14, 10:44 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies nodded in response to the jadeborn's words. There was certainly nothing more he could do. Even if he were so-inclined, he was a deathknight, not a lifeknight. Healing was beyond his abilities, and he was not terribly-aggrieved about that. And he had all that would be helpful here. Carefully packing away the samples he had gathered from the Dragonblood, he stood to leave.
On the way out, a thought occurred to him... Although the Neverborn would be... less than happy about that course of action, the chance to analyse how an Exalt healed, and in particular how their Essence flows changed during the process, was something that could not be ignored. He had no emotional value on the hermit's survival, but he could study nothing if she died; He needed her to live in order to have any chance of studying the healing process of the Exalted. And if he could learn how the Essence flows of a healing Exalt changed during recovery, there was every chance he could exploit that knowledge in the formulation of the Greater Contagion. To infect the Exalted, and disrupt their Essence flows to prevent, or at least slow, their recovery... This, he felt, was worth risking the wrath of the Neverborn. The hermit would be consumed by the Void regardless; Delaying the end of one Exalt in order to learn more about ensuring the end of thousands more was an acceptable sacrifice. True, this business with the manse might take time, but she would likely still be poorly-enough to act as valuable learning material by the time he was done. "Dragonbloods," he addressed the men outside the hermit's... domicile. "Your mistress will recover, in time, but she is in a grave condition. She will need a great deal of monitoring and care for the next several weeks if she is to survive. If circumstances permit, I will endeavour to examine her once more once we have returned from our... mission."
2011-12-15, 02:16 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi had decided against giving voice to that particular question, but it was still slightly unnerving how often he and Vana seemed to be thinking along the same lines. She even appeared to like this unfriendly manse of his. It was subtly irritating, prodding at the back of his mind, yet somehow, he couldn't bring himself to dislike the feeling. Curious. He didn't think she was doing anything...
"Of course." Tewi grins at the huntress's protectiveness. "The rest we know, more or less." Still, Ophelia... no one he knew, but he was certain the name had been attached to a few epithets here and there; 'wandering halfie troublemaker' was probably the most kind. Not that any of them had been spoken very loudly; that he had heard of her at all indicated a certain amount of respect. And given Tiela's story... well, she certainly didn't seem like she'd be a boring person to meet.
"Demonic weather can certainly be a bother," he continues, as though the passage of the Black Boar was no different from Hegra's rains. Finishing the last of his wine, he sets the cup down gently, running a finger down its stem to rest on the table. "Since our trip to Amalion's was at least partially responsible for you missing your appointment, perhaps we could lend you a hand in finding Ophelia again." He glances at Vana with a slight smile; no doubt she could guess his reasons, but given that Amalion had suggested she meet with Ophelia herself only a few hours ago, it seemed a safe enough gamble.
2011-12-15, 03:05 PM
Fury sits back and relaxes, enjoying the massage that their lovely host is offering to him. He doesn't really pay much attention to the conversations going on.
Yeah, that charm worked on him.
2011-12-15, 03:44 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Hermit was unconscious, and even if concious, then most certainly not at her senses. Laying down in the poodle of filth, she looked pathetic, without any of the alleged grace of the dragon-blooded. Artificer looked at it coldly...
...and saw something far older. For a brief moment - or maybe for an entire age - the scenery shifted suddenly, the shadows crawling out of the corners, writhing around him, allowing him to see, as if through a mirror, darkly, something, something of old.
There was a dragon-blood, a male one, lying down in the pool of blood and ichor, dying, his breath slowing, the anima around him fluxing, throwing bright sparks that guttered in the darkness - was the darkness really there, or was it just a part of the vision? - but to no avail. What was blowing through his veins was killing him now, dragging him into the Mouth of the Void, and he was not going to escape it. With his last breath, he tried to curse his master who betrayed him, his master who demanded everything he had, ever - and life too. But he found no air in his lungs, only more dark viscera.
'Well' a voice rang in the shadows, a voice that Artificer could not help but to find familiar 'well...' there was a sound of scribing. 'Well, we are getting near, it would appear. Only a few more thickenings, and it will be...'
Alas, the speaker was never allowed to finish his speech - or to outlive his victim. The abyssal felt an echo of a sharp pain in the chest, and saw a reflection of the blade, piercing through the speaker's back, gleaming with the unique hue of Endings.
'There will be none' a harsh voice stated coldly, twisting the daiklave 'there will be no more of your kind...' another blade sprouted in a shower of gore, tearing through the neck 'there will be no more monsters.'
And so, the vision came to an end. It passed within a time between heartbeats.
At the Market
Ignoring both the goddess and the Lunar for the time being, the golden-skinned demon turned her face at Ophelia, giving her a look so vicious that it was a wonder that the Solar was not burnt alive where she stood.
'So, to sum up' she snarled, furious. The high pitch of her voice was undermining the meant effect a bit, but then again, only a bit. 'You dress up like a Qaf pilgrim' she put up a single finger 'don't know the proper term to address elder demons' she stuck up a second 'and apparently are in a stable, long time relationship with an innocent, kind harpist?' she inhaled sharply. 'You are as abhorrent as I was expecting you to become! I knew that nothing good would come out of this one, mark my word!' those words were aimed at Fury.
She sighed heavily, finding herself a bottle of liquor, as if to show how much she needs consolation after seeing what came out of the girl she herself ordered to raise, instead of eating. Or something.
'Not your intention, yeah, whatever' she shrugged, laying back on the pillows, drinking thirstily. By all means, she should have choked, but being a soul of the Titain has some perks. 'And you' she pointed at the goddess 'a goddess, yeah? Of fertility? I remember your predecessor. What a prick he was. Fertility, urgh. You are no better, I see. Bees! Of all things, bees!' she complained loudly, apparently contented with the dread she caused within the goddess' heart. 'Now, you will explain to me how are you going to make it up to me for this stunt, and maybe I won't sic that pleasant Lunar on you. Maybe. So better use that pretty head of you, if you can, and get creative.'
The demons bowed clumsily, quickly retreating to wherever and whatever their caller was - quickly and eagerly. It has been a long day for the Fervid Smiths, and a high time to slake their only appetites.
The work on the narcotic proved easier than it was to be expected, given the Wandering Eye's failure - but then again, it was also tedious and bothersome. No wonder that the fickle fae did not manage to keep her mind concentrated on such a work for long enough to iron out the final issues with ingredients proportions and essence balance within the mixture.
In an hour of charm-assisted work, the drug's hue changed slightly, becoming more opaque and growing even closer to the holy Cecelyne's azure. If notes made by Bartrand and all the calculations contained within were to be believed, the issues with demons not being able to hold the elixir up were solved now, and the mark of Makarios gleamed invisibly within each tiny droplet of the precious drink - the work was, indeed, complete.
Finally, it was the time to look at what the demons gathered on Sheshken, whatever he was... the tome laid closed shut on the table not far away, huge, bound in dark leathers and reinforced with additional bars of green iron, as if to keep whatever was inside in check. It opened with a loud, cracking sound, eerily reminiscent of a threat lowly snarled.
The word, caligraphed carefully, though far from masterfully, adorned the title page, the colour of the ink faded - parchment itself was bleak and brittle, too, as if something was slowly seeping colour and life from.
OF EVER HUNGRY BLOSSOM APEPS
That was the second page. There was something scribed beneath, a side-note from the copyist - but the thin scribbling looked as if some invisible bugs managed to gnaw at it, rendering the words unreadable.
And after that, page after page followed. There was little text on each of them, merely a representation of the apep and its subsidiary souls on a large, sepia-tinted illustrations. Surprisingly, the bodies and shapes of the dreaded swamp-Yozi souls seemed... not threatening or abhorrent at all - merely sick and feeble, bent under the sheer weight of maladies carried, buckling under the strain of eternities they had to endure at side of their master.
IN HUNGER, CONSUMES HIS OWN POWER
That was yet another blank page, with only the swirl of unexplained words in the middle. That far into the book, the ink was crumpling from the pages, falling down in a swirls of damp dust. Yet, no word on Sheshken was to be found.
And none was found until the very final page. It was different than those before it, the parchment still strong and bright, the illumination on it vibrantly coloured.
It showed, of all things, a landscape of Szoreny, with silver branches twisted and entwined. On one of them, a man was sitting, his, long thin legs dangling loosely in mid-air. He was clad in ragged cloak and torn tunic, all of them once exquisite, but now merely rags on his hunched back, oddly fitting the long, thick mane of white hair, as if bleached by a disease. He had no face - no eyes, no nose, no mouth, only a perfectly round patch of white skin - and yet, he was holding a syrinx at the lips he did not have, playing an unheard... unheard tune?
There was a low buzzing at the edge of Bartrand's hearing, as if a swarm of insects was dancing somewhere just out of the eye - and there was a melody to the hissing of the countless little wings, a melody played by a master who had no match.
And then, what could be taken for little specks of dust on the illustration begun to move around the page, in tune - and looking closer, they proved out to be small flies, painted to a smallest details, in a way that should not be humanly possible.
There was nothing written on the page, but the Twilight could say for sure that he was looking at Sheshken now, the King in Mourning.
2011-12-15, 04:27 PM
Bartrand shut the book quickly, a gesture with a certain loud finality as the book's mass slammed back onto the table. A quick gesture and the iron bars latched back over the book with a reassuring click.
He clicked his tongue, and sat down at his chair. Well, that was profoundly unhelpful. He began to scribble on a handy piece of note paper. Information learned: Basic appearance, rough location (Szoreny - Require more details to be useful), association with flies. Corollary - Book is very odd, exercise caution. Bartrand tore the page from the notebook with a rip, and shoved the crumpled piece of paper into his pocket. He'd have to ask Alveua about this when she arrived for dinner... which should be relatively soon.
He stood, and ladled a small portion of the hissing bubbling blue concoction into a waiting test tube. The twilight scanned the laboratory before settling his gaze upon one of the Haranhal's. "Obetheus! come over here, I have a task for you." Bartrand picked up a fresh notebook and a pencil from the table, along with the vial of narcotic. As the small demon ambled over, Bartrand bent down, and pressed the assembled objects into his hands. "I would like you to take these things, and go fetch the bottle of Everclear from the shelf in the kitchen. Select one of the workers whose productivity was lowest for the last month, and have them drink until they are drunk, wait until hangover symptoms begin to manifest, then administer the drug. Keep notes on everything that happens, especially any reactions or side effects."
With a nod, the demon ran off, apparently eager for the chance to experiment on one of its fellows. Bartrand raised an eyebrow, wondering to himself if the Haranhal had some demon specific in mind to test, but he quickly dismissed the idea. At worst, one of his lower efficiency workers would be out of commission until the drug wore off. Shaking his head to clear it of such ideas, Bartrand wandered out of the Laboratory into the Kitchen. His guest would be here soon, and that meant final preparations must be made, and the table must be set for dinner.
2011-12-15, 04:58 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
A sad smile appeared on Min's face, the lips growing ash-grey.
'I'll tell you something, Love' she almost whispered, looking at the palms of her hands, seeing something in them that you could not 'he? The Swords of Hell? Brazen Wight? He is not dead' she raised her eyes 'and he'll never be, for he was something more than just a sack of bones and flesh to be torn apart from those him stronger. He is what we all are, at the core. All we raise, it is for our own glory' she uttered, her voice growing deeper with each word 'all we do, it is if for us, and for nothing else. We build our ivory towers, because we were given the power to, and there is no one and nothing that can keep us from abusing it. And it was his simple realization that there are no borders that cannot be crossed, no needs that cannot be satisfied, nothing that should hold us back' she laughed once more, this time earnestly and loudly, the jagged, predatory voice echoing through the corridors and outside 'he whispers that to me, he reminds me what I am, what we all are. What we all become? I could have saved him, yes... but why? There are hundreds like him, but they had the decency to die proud, without begging for crumbs from their overlord's tables, why should they perish while the beggars live? Or why should the beggars starve as those vain idiots are fed, even though they can't bow before their rightful masters?' she stood up, and seemed to grow larger than she actually was, the dark halo around her making her appear bigger and meaner 'Those truths I have learned from him. There is nothing we can save, and there is nothing that is worth saving. There are no rules but our wills, and there are wills strong enough to impose rules over us. Everything is for the taking, everything is struggle. We are all fighters or slaves' the darkness begun to seep forth from her skin, painting the walls and floor black 'look at the Demon City, at least they know how to drop façades of civilization, and reveal what we all really are at core. Meat, Love. Humans are meat. Demons are meat.'
2011-12-15, 06:08 PM
At the Market
Desert around, this was going downhill fast. "I-it's nothing like that at all!" Ophelia said defensively, "I picked her up off the street because she was pretty, and now I'm searching for her because it looks bad if I can't look after my servants."
There was a small grain of truth there, hopefully enough that Ipithymia wouldn't throw it in her face immediately.
"Really, I'm not so bad, Aunt Ipi, just give me a chance," she dropped her voice to a low purr and ran a soft finger slowly along the demon's shoulder. She really, really hoped she wasn't going to have to follow through on this, not only because of Ipithymia's habit of destroying her lovers, but also because she did not have time.
"You are too much, you know that?" she continued, undoing a couple of buttons from her shirt, and started to murmur in Ipithymia's ear, "here you have this poor, innocent tree-goddess, longing, no, aching for a little bit of golden sunlight to sate her and oh! There you are, glowing softly, warm, inviting, enticing. Can you blame her for losing control, for bursting and blossoming at the very sight of you? I nearly couldn't resist, myself."
She sat down beside the demon where she lay, and a golden light shone on her forehead, suffused her form, marking her as one of the Quicksilver Falcons of the Unconquered Sun, "Mother always had to deal with shiftless rabble who would rather laze around all day than work, but with one bit of glow, you seduce this sweet little goddess and she gives a bit of passion to everyone in your streets. She's done a wonderful thing for you! Can't you find it in your heart to let her go?"
Of course, demonstrating to Ipithymia that she still had the same passion and sensuality that was expected of her... might also get her off the hook as well. It was worth trying, anyway.
Ipithymia is the worst foster mom ever. D: "No no, our love is horribly impure!"
Just some good old NMI; Charisma+Presence, with 9m excellency from peripheral and compassion channelled for good measure.
17 successes including stunt dice
2011-12-15, 11:12 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Sitting slightly stunned for a moment, Punch almost seems physically hurt by the words his beloved mate was saying.
"Thought you understood Min. We *can* do anything. Anyone can, it is only a question of how much they can do. We *are* all meat, capable of spending time doing nothing but taking what we want. But what matters isn't how much power we wield. It's what you choose to do with that power. Make things better for yourself. Make things better for many, or make things worse for people. I know you know this. But... perhaps is understandable."
Pausing for a moment he stands and hands the now completed plans to a demon that is ushered out of the room "Go, and send scouts to the area around the forge of the Excessively Huge Bitch, looking for Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies. Want to work on a project together."
Turning back to Min, he waves at hand at the shadows spilling off of her. "Shadows? Not impressive trick."
Waving in the direction of her shadow clad hand he adds "That? Impressive. My compliment on mastering the arts of the Shadow of All Things."
Without taking his eyes off of Min he adds "Withered Rose of the Frozen Wastes? May I introduce you to the spirit if not more of Brazen Wight, One of the Swords of Hell, who is still learning how to introduce himself... and who was rude enough to crash my wedding. "
Briefly stretching his neck to either side with a loud crack Punch adds "Speaking your name that none know? Mistake. Going after my wife? Worse."
2011-12-16, 05:18 PM
The Copper Spider did not have to wait long - merely minutes after he entered the kitchen, a familiar buzzing filled his ears, and with soft rustle of thousands of green-iron cicadas folding their wings, felt a lithe hand on his shoulder - a touch hardily unfamiliar.
'What a band of incompetent cretins' Alveua sighed heavily, circling the Solar to come into his view. She changed her attire since the last time he had seen her - jumping from a black dress to a sleeveless vest and many-pocketed, thick-fabric pants, stained and burnt at places. A hammer-shaped pendant hung loosely from her neck, shining slightly. Her former delicate fragrance was gone now, too, replaced by the thick smell of sweat and smoke, this unmistakable stench of a smith's work. 'And sorry, Bartrand, but I barely had the time to wipe the blood from my face, let alone wash myself' she smiled... coyly? this could not be. 'I did not expect the fallout from the Zsofika dominion's end to be so huge or hard to deal with. But anyway, you have the dinner ready? I am starving...'
2011-12-16, 05:53 PM
Rose gives her absolute best blank face.
It's like looking at a wall.
She looks between the two as they talk, though her face does not move. She sees the problems brewing.
She needs a moment.
She sucks down more of the Neomah Blood.
"Mmphmmphmmmphmmph." she says, through the creature's blood. Once she's had her moment, she straightens again.
"Okay, right. Uhhh. Let's...not punch anyone." she says, raising her hands. "First off, I think it's still Min. I think. Secondly, You do know she's basically right, right Punch? she asked. "'Tis not a lie the Exaltation's were made as weapons of War. Be that your Golden, or her Silver. Be it a Dragonblood's Flames, they're all weapons of war. My Black is no better, it simply was not there at time." she slowly reasons. "It is not all we are, but it is what we started with. It is our goal to avoid it, however. Even if that's what we started with." she slowly reasoned out. "Now then, stop fighting. You remind me of two of the Lover's champions. Shadowed Lady with Locks of Diamond and Forbidden King of the Dead Valley. And they weren't even married." she said, flipping her hand. "They just hated each other. I forget what happened to them. They'd spend all night beating each other up."
2011-12-16, 05:57 PM
Bartrand chuckled to himself. It was... interesting to see Alveua in something other than her characteristic black metal dress. He had not planned for this specific eventuality. He could ruin his planned surprise, or appear to be precognitive, decisions, decisions. Precognitive sounded fun.
He smiled, broadly. This would either work or fail abysmally. The smells of freshly cooked foods filled the kitchen, mixing with the forge-scent of Alveua in a warm mingling of hard work and well-deserved dinner. "Yes, dinner is ready. Also, conveniently, I have prepared for such an eventuality." Placing one hand behind her back, he reached with the other to the large plate sitting on the table. "These are Mirulukan Biscuits, one of my favorite before dinner snacks." He leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "Also, there are some chocolate chip cookies I made, which are delicious if I say so myself, but those might spoil the main course."
Bartrand stood back up straight as he continued. "Grab some to tide you over; there's warm water running upstairs already for a bath, and..." Here comes the tricky part. He hooked a finger into the edge of the sleeveless vest, to emphasize his next point. "Also, there is a set of clean cloths for you upstairs. While I was fixing your dress this morning, I whipped up something new, hopefully you like it. Anyway, grab some snacks and off you go, come back quick and I'll have the table all set."
This might get him hit with that gigantic hammer of hers, or she might just take offense and leave. He put the odds at 60/40, if he had to wager, which he didn't. The Haranhals on the other hand... yes, Obetheus and Marantheus had just swapped a handful of coins. They were betting on his demise, embarrassment, or success, how comforting. Thankfully the third haranhal got the idea and had already run stealthily out of the room and upstairs, to ensure the bath was indeed running with the good soaps, and that his dress making materials were moved into position.
As soon as she leaves to take her bath, Bartrand is going to race upstairs and make a dress. 15 minutes of work with CNNT will hit the Craft interval.
Craftsman Needs No Tools to make a Perfect Resources 5 Dress. High-speed dressmaking prana, go!
= 14 successes (in ooc) + 8 - 7 = 15 threshold successes, done in one interval.
Personal: 1 / 22
Peripheral: 41 / 47 (6 committed)
WP: 6 / 10
2011-12-16, 06:33 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
"I suppose did hear her spoken well of." Vana admits to Tiela. "My suspicion was only born out of concern- I hope you can forgive my assumptions."
"By way of apology," Says Vana, standing gracefully, "I think I will agree with Tewi's suggestion. I would be happy to help you find your way home, if you would permit my assistance." As she moves over to Tiela, she addresses Zsofika. "Perhaps you might join us, huntress? We can take a lovely stroll through the demon city, perhaps make a day of it."
Then, she offers Tiela her arm in a very gentlemanly manner, smiling at the harpist. "I think we've finished up here, have we not? And we've pulled you around to our whims far too much- it is high time to attend to your situation."
2011-12-16, 08:04 PM
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives
Tewi rises as well, leaving three empty cups and a full one sitting on the table, and pulls on his gauntlets in preparation for navigation. "Well, we can walk if you're attached to the idea, but it's no less of a carnival out there than usual, and it'll be easier to track her down from the air. Come, I'll show you my favourite toy. Zsofika, you're welcome to stay or follow as you wish; if you've business to attend to, I'll bring you outside."
The way back feels little different from the path in, but several of the sights have changed; the hall of mirrors is nowhere to be found, replaced by a winding miniature labyrinth of passages barely three feet wide, and at one point Tewi opens a door into a small room of cloth-covered lockboxes with a muttered "oops," shutting the door with a sigh and taking the next, a narrow hallway draped with a few tapestries. At one point you pass through what seems to be a kitchen, although unlike the rest of the manse it is unlit, with only a faint glow from the next door to guide the way.
Eventually, Tewi opens the door into a large, gleaming hall that appears to border the inner ringwall. Most of it is empty, although a few metal containers and nets lie around the edges, but the center of the room is taken up by a wheel-less chariot of orichalcum, blue jade and soulsteel, the latter seemingly patched on at random in a few places. The skysled has no doors, the inside open to the air at top and sides, and an oversized crossbow rests on a swivelplate near the front; although it is currently resting with the point against the chariot's floor, it appears to be able to swing around to aim in any direction. The weapon and its mount are almost entirely composed of soulsteel, and appear to be grafted onto the chariot as a whole; it is clearly an artifact from a later Age than the vehicle itself.
"So, shall we?" Tewi asks with a grin, leaning against the side of his 'toy.' "It's been a few hours, at least, and if Ophelia's not still at the Bazaar, tracking her will be a lot quicker with this."
2011-12-17, 09:24 AM
Fury looks over at the demon in alarm in reaction to her latest statement.
"Hey, I'm not your slave! Look, I don't go killing at a sexy woman's command on the first meeting. Especially not Oriasta."
2011-12-17, 02:21 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
A shadow of another kind darkened young Lunar's face, one not of a bitter malice, but rather of a genuine pain.
'You... you think that is him?' she asked, her voice breaking, her eyes suddenly widening. 'You believe that I am him now?' she could hardily belief in what she was hearing. Limping, she fell back onto the chair, the darkness that made her appear to be larger, intimidating, fleeing back to their corners, leaving Min's skin bleached and bleak, her sight hopeless. 'But...' the shadow that deepened her voice was the last one to depart and sink back into his hideout in her palms '...but?'
She looked at Punch terrified - but whether of herself, or of a something different, even more distressing, the Solar could not tell.
Deep in the back of Rose's head, the Whispers of the Neverborn awakened, chilling her with a freezing, hatefully contended laughter. Triumphant laughter.
The girl's hand scrambled through the desk, grabbing the half-emptied bottle of the silverwine, and trying to pour herself another glass - but her grip was shaky, and the liquor she spilled all around, the stains for a brief moment taking on the perfectly reflecting sheen, showing things for what they truly were - such was the ability of Szoreny, his true strength that never vanished from anything that came from his branches and sap.
But then, the alcohol grew dim and murky, and no longer mirrored anything but the baleful light of Ligier falling through the window.
Min moaned silently, hanging her head loosely. Her long hair fell down, concealing her face.
'Love' she murmured, swallowing on her tears 'I am not him, please, believe me' there was desperation in the manner she spoke those words. 'Please, don't turn me away, please... I don't know why I know his name, or why I believe the things I say, but I am not him, Love' she begged 'I'll do anything but believe me, I am not him...'
She brushed aside the hair, revealing to you a pale, terrified mask where her face should be.
'Please' she whimpered.
'You amaze me' she admitted, genuinely impressed. Seeing that the Solar put a hand on her vest, she smirked. 'So I see you prefer me in a dress, then' she said with a faint chuckle, but glancing at Bartrand with a shadow of the doubt in her eyes, as if wanting to see if the remark amused him as well. 'Anyway' she danced back from him, towards the directions to the bath he gave her 'off I go.'
She has done as she had said, disappearing upstairs accompanied with a buzzing on invisible wings. A muffled, splashing sound followed.
It took her an hour to scrape off the sweat and soot, and dress herself in the provided dress.
With a soft clicking of heels over dark stone, the demoness entered the dining room, her face hidden, but eyes glowing impishly. Well...
'Well...' she begun, coming a step closer, seemingly unwittingly gesturing at her new dress. And that was no mean feat, given how little of the fabric actually was on her body.
The Keeper of the Forge of the Night had never been really known for modest attire - few demons were, after all - and maybe the perfectly crafted, precisely hewn and ornamented dress would not be considered scandalous among the citizens of Malfeas, but still...
'You were really expecting me to wear it?' she asked, but her voice was nor angry or annoyed, merely amused. 'How nice of you.'
The final few steps she made quickly, sitting down before Bartrand, quickly appeasing the courses and beaming at him, happily. Probably.
Alvuea launches a Manipulation+Presence social attack against Bartrand, NMI to build a positive intimacy toward her.
Brass Murders, Quicksilver Motives end. 3XP.
'Thank you, Lady Lawgiver' the angylkae spoke quietly, clutching the offered arm tightly. 'I have been graced by your assistance, and I shall sing the hymns of praise to your name' the formula, hastily spoken, seemed more of a formality, a pronunciation the demon knew by rote to speak to those that stood miles lower from him in the Descending Hierarchy.
Zsofika, meanwhile, allowed the twin blades of her to shrink to the size of a small, silver daggers, hanging them from her wrist. They clicked and clangoured, bouncing of the chimes that were already there, only adding to the music of her movement.
'Yes, I think I'll go with you' she sighed wearily. The day was had not been easy on her. 'There is little else I can venture now' she added, in a lower tone, as if speaking only to herself, seating herself on the back of the Tewi's machine.
The engines started with a high whirr, the old chariot eagerly springing back to life. It was an old thing, battered by time, yet still strong and sound, in the way only the artifacts of the gone Age of gone Creation could be. Taking flight smoothly, the skies of Malfeas opened before you.
Even the the mad run through the black roads of Jacint seemed nothing compared to what you were seeing now, sailing through the Ligier-lit skies. The music of the City beneath you mixed with the mad keening of the air around you, howls of vitriolic dragons flapping their might, half-transparent wings, delicate buzzing of agatea's into yet another facet of the grand symphony of Hell. And yet, even far above the streets, Tewi had to take care not to smash his vessel into one of the countless, sky-piercing spires of brass and basalt, to avoid uncountable little islands floating in separation from the layers, forming a small cities and fiefdoms unto their own, and yet casting not a faintest shadow beneath.
Through many such islands you had passed on your way, both of horror - a private prisons and torture chambers of the Unquestionables and wonder - small paradises for the chosen servants, through infinite grace allowed to live in separation from the common, disgusting rabble. You had gazed at forests of never-ending hunt, the roots hanging freely in mid-air, offering another thrill to the hunters, for every missed step there would spell a certain doom or on an islands of never-ending feasts and many other places of reward. Scantily any demon occupied them, though - it was the ovens and bonfires, surrounded by screams and wails that filled to the brim with demons that had somehow offended the just order of Malfeas - as the glyphs glowing in the space around them were eager to remind. Their punishment, cruel as it was, was nothing more than a reminder of the Yozi's boundless magnanimity - condemning only so few, where all were guilty.
After the flight, the Equitable Bazaar seemed almost mundane - even though it was a marketplace as large as a small Creation's nation, overwhelming with scents, sounds and sights of every imaginable luxury - and some that were beyond even the wildest dreams. Shoes of the softest leather with golden buckles sat on the stands right next to the swords so keen that they could cut shadows from the ground, bottles of cheap silverwine dusted amidst the vials of liquid dreams and passions. Countless ranks of horn-blowing katalinae, bell-tolling jazon and stranger demons still held the Wind at bay, and the Timeless Sentinel, the largest and the oldest omen clock in entire Malfeas filled the air with grating, monotonous cacophony of his monstrous, glass cogs. And Makarios' own estate was to be seen from every standing post on the endless bazaar, a palace wrought from frozen dreams, so delicate that it almost appeared that a strong wind could grab it by one of its translucent domes and carry it away, and yet so steadfast that no one but Peers and Unquestionables could enter it uninvited.
The chariot landed on a small, empty space atop a low, bulky tower. Few more magitech crafts, showing the characteristics of the demon's craft stood near, attended by a small force of guardian tomescu. A single Jade Lion, motionless, stood vigilantely at the ramp descending to the bazaar proper, eyeing the just-arrived peer and her companions closely.
'Praise the Yozis!' it roared suddenly, springing to life and approaching you with a fittingly feline grace of movement. 'Pray to our Titains, newcomers, so they never notice you!'
It was only then that you had noticed that this teodozija's eyes were... strange. Blank. Unseeing.
Tiela quickly knelt, touching the ground with her forehead and muttering a quick prayer, while Zsofika only laughed, though mirthlessly.
'They still have not put you down, old friend' she said, touching the statue's mane, as if trying to grab a handful of hair. 'How long will you have to endure the punishment, I wonder...'
'As long as the Yozis deem fit, creator of my kind' the demons replied, but his words sounded bitter.
2011-12-17, 06:15 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Jania turned to go, ready to leave this pitiful sight behind her and turn the hermit over to her dragonblooded guardians. Halfway out of the hovel though, she noticed Artificer standing still, eyes looking past the hermit into empty space. "Er, are you still with us? You seem... distracted."
2011-12-17, 07:27 PM
Bartrand smiled as Alveua walked back into the large room where the dinner had been presented. She did look beautiful in the dress, and were it not a sign of weakness, would have breathed sigh of relief that she didn't take offense and try to kill him.
Bartrand poured glasses of ice water for them both as she sat down. He had never really appreciated it before, but Ice Water had a certain taste to it, a memory of home that was long gone. It was a rarity now, clean, pure water. But now was not the time to be wistful and think of places long gone. There was wine, alcohol, and a bottle of Chalcanth, but he avoided opening those for now. If Alveua wanted, there were nearby, and he might partake later, but it was not yet time to dull the palate.
A pair of Erymanthoi entered from opposite ends of the dining hall, bearing serving utensils, and taking up their places at the various dishes, ready to place whatever the Solar and Demon wanted onto their plates. The demons did look quite appropriate in their tuxedos, top hats, and spats. "You look beautiful, Alveua. I'm very glad you like the dress." Bartrand chuckled lightly to himself, and ran the fingertips of one hand lightly over the demoness' bare shoulder. "You know, the overcoat and shawl weren't just for cold weather; I designed the dress to be semi-modular, so you could add or remove pieces to fit the occasion. That said..." He paused, withdrawing his hand from the woman's shoulder, and smiled broadly. "I suppose I should feel honored you decided to wear it in the configuration designed for formal Demon City occasions."
Bartrand leaned back, and half-turned towards the assembled dishes, "Now then, I have prepared you a variety of dishes, many of them my personal favorites, from around the river provinces of Creation-that-was. Please, take your time, and sample whatever you wish."
He leaned in conspiratorially, as one of the blood apes scooped a ladle of a steaming soup into a bowl, "I like the potato soup the best, it has little bits of bacon and cheese in it, one of my favorites. Anyway, feel free to try anything or everything, I made all of it myself, just for you."
Bartrand sat back up in his chair, "I also did a bit of research today into your Azoth problem. Apparently there's a soul of The Ever Hunger Blossom that is quite vulnerable, and has been causing issues for some other denizens of Oasis, Seshken. I'd be happy to help track him down and render him, if it would do for your purposes. I've also been preparing something I think your brother, Makarios, will be interested in, pending a bit of testing."
Bartrand paused, and looked at Alveua, and her face brought him back out of his plans and into the current moment. "I... you know, never mind all that. That can wait until later. First, I'm glad you decided to come for dinner, and I'm glad you like the dress. Please, tell me about your day, and if there's anything else I can get for you."
She beats Bartrand's MDV, and I don't see a good reason to have him spend the 1wp, so NMI goes through.
1/4 scenes spent building intimacy towards Alveua.
2011-12-17, 07:49 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies blinked back to reality as the vision ended. "Yes, yes, I'm fine," he said with a shake of his head. "The distraction has... passed." This, of course, was a lie. The vision was troubling. Existentially-so, almost. The Artificer was used to visions brought to him via the dreams of the Neverborn, but they tended to have a markedly-different... tone. This was no vision from the Whispers of the Neverborn, but something profoundly-different. But he could not identify anything pertinent about the vision. Who was this man? What had he done to the Dragonblood? And who was the assassin who cut him down?
More than that, it seemed the man in his vision had done work that could help the Artificer's... But who was he?
The Artificer shook off the last of his reverie. Not enough information. Without any idea as to the identity of the man who was assassinated, finding his notes would be a distant goal without chance of success. He turned and left the hermit behind.
Outside the hermit's ramshackle domicile, the Artificer spoke to the Dragonbloods. "The hermit has been poisoned with a variant of Yozi venom, and her condition has been worsened by an overdose of thaumaturgical painkilling substances. The venom was, unless I am much-mistaken, modified by a Solar or someone working for one. Have you any idea when the substance could have been introduced into her system, and in particular who the culprit could have been?"
Edit: Quick formatting change; I'd missed the colour tags on one of the Artificer's spoken lines.
2011-12-17, 07:55 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Looking slightly agast at Min Punch flatly states "Why send you away? All Shadows are of Dragon in Hell. Master of all Darkness, all lies, all corruption. You bear taint of Shadow. You bear knowledge Brazen Wight alone knew here. That... bad. Sending you away, mistake."
Temporarily using his arms to set up a planning/display board he starts the arms writing down he says.
Problem: Obvious taint of master of Ebon Dragon powers and/or Brazen Wight.
Problem: Deception powers are potent. Impossible to tell truth from lies.
Option 1: Min has been replaced with Brazen Wight.
Option 2: Min has been infected with a shadow of Brazen Wight, which is striving to corrupt her, turning her into a pale imitation of his ignorant viewpoints.
Option 3: Min has been completely corrupted in some fashion by shadow.
Option 4: Min was secretly replaced before or during the wedding.
Turning to address both Rose and Min he adds "Can't eliminate possibilities. Most probable is corruption. So, fight corruption, limit damage, seek to heal it. Min going away doesn't help that. Even if replaced with Brazen Wright, doesn't help resolve the problem. Unfortunately means I can't Trust you Min. Doesn't mean I don't love you, or would send you away, just that touched by shadow... problem."
Pausing for a brief moment he adds "Will probably making sleeping arrangements... complex."
Finally he extends a hand to Min "Humm. Unfortunate timing. Deliberative meeting coming up. Was going to have Min speak for me. Rose? You willing?"
2011-12-17, 10:42 PM
At the Market
Oriasta blushed lavender and coughed. ”Well….”
”I could grant you abundance,” she suggested, nervously, ”Making you exceptionally fertile, or, perhaps, making it so that everyone who experiences your streets comes away full of new life?”
”Or, I could create golden flowers to catch and accentuate the glow of your wondrous lanterns?” she added, unsurely.
2011-12-18, 06:28 AM
Things Lost and Broken
The dragon-bloods looked at each other, paling.
'We knew that there was something very wrong with her' one of them said slowly, looking straight at the ground at his feet 'but...'
'But she claimed that it was nothing, a trifle, and we did not question her judgement' the older one finished. 'I don't know who could have poisoned her... she had that wound on her side since the time she met that thrice-cursed Forsaken Anathema... no offence meant, of course' he added quickly, however more in the direction of the Dragon-King than the Abyssal.
'Never again' the saurian hissed, not bothering to raise his massive head 'speak of the Chosen of the Sun in such manner, essence-human or...'
'Or you'll have our hears, we know' the younger air-aspect hastily finished for him, trying not to cause another heated discussion with the lizard he thought crazy. But perhaps his words were a bit too abrupt, or the anklok simply did not like having his winding speeches interrupted.
Jumping to his feet in a slip-second, he was at the Terrestrial before he had the chance to react, shoving into him with all his strength. The young man went flying, hitting the brass a good few yards away with a loud, painful sound.
'Never interrupt me again, or I shall have your heart ripped for the Sun!' he bellowed, pounding his chest. And then, with a simple, if a bit stiff bow, he sat down again, nodding at the still standing Air Aspect. 'Carry on' he suggested, waving his hand.
For a moment, tense silence shrouded the entrance to the Hermit's cave.
'During the Exodus, our lady wanted to establish control over this place, but a Solar Exalt, of a... Dawn Caste, that is what Forsaken are called? usurped her position and wounded her grievously. But we thought that the wound had been healed by her by now, and that she was just...' he stared blankly at you. 'We were idiots, were we not? Please, do not allow her to pass, we shall take care of her while you are away, but when you return, take her into your care' he whimpered beseechingly.
Having nothing more to do there, you finally decided to depart, having the note found on the Hermit's desk as your guide - it did not reveal the location of the Reversed Ziggurat, however. Merely pointed you to the one who can take you there - a demon sand-ship's captain named, oddly enough, River. If the dragon-blood's fevered scribblings were to be believed - and it was not like you had anything else to guide you - he was to be found at Port Wrath's pier, at one of those half-derelict havens.
And so, you have returned to the town of thieves and scoundrels, around the time tomescu howled at dawn in the distant Demon-City, and Adjoran passed near, leaving a colossal, sky-shrouding sandstorm in the wake of her soundless passage. Lesser gales splintered from her, not deadly, but strong enough to carry clouds of dust to the Port Wrath, to flap and collapse shabby tents and stoke the open fires high and hot. Few people remained in the streets and alleys, and those who did wrapped themselves tightly in coats, trying to keep the sand from falling into their eyes. Only your companion anklok seemed not to mind, more, the sandstorm, and hot, dry wind appeared to be much to his liking, perhaps reminding him of the place he called home.
Finding the harbour turned out not to be an issue - it was the largest and most stable of the constructions raised in Port Wrath. A few sandships were docked at the pier, lifeless. Apart from that, it was an empty, silent place, with not a single man or demon taking care of the ships or a small hut with necessary supplies. And then, behind you, you have heard a rustling, unpleasant voice.
'Looking for a passage, lord Peer?'
At the Market
Lightly jumping to her feet, the golden-skinned demon patted Ophelia on the head, and gave her a quick smooch on the cheek, though her expression remained more or less bored.
'At least you still have some wit' she murmured, very sensually and very apathetically at the same time, somehow. This entire situation probably begun to bore her already. 'And yeah, yeah, do what you think is best, I agree with you completely' she waved a pair of her arms not actually laid on the Solar in the direction of the goddess and the Lunar. It appears that at least in distracting the Unquestionable was Ophelia successful. The lights above dimmed slightly. 'Yes' she purred lazily into the Eclipse's ear 'but honestly, trim down your rhetorics, dear...'
A snail-like creature, no larger than a grown man's fist, that did not look phallic at all, slithered from the corner, a tiny, golden-strung lute strapped to its back. Placing itself at Oriasta's leg, it grew a pair of stubby arms, taking the instrument into them, beginning to key it, with an apparent intent of providing a lovely serenade for the passionate night that was sure to follow, at least according to its tiny mind. Before, however, a single note managed to sail down from the strings, Ipythemia, taking a short, but quick swing, kicked the being back into the corner.
'That will be a week more slithering for you' she sighed in its direction, before turning back to Ophelia. 'What a cursed pest... so, a smooth talker you are, yeah, that is what we were at' she gave her an appraising look, concentrating especially at the assets that were most important to the workers on her streets. 'At least you shaped up nicely, I admit' there was perhaps a bit more of passion in her voice now, eating away a small bit of the boredom that ruled in it supreme mere moments ago. 'See? Was there a point in trying to avoid that neomah milk so much? It builds you, your mother always used to say. Hmmm...' she pondered for a moment 'So let us say I'll give you a few angylkae and we will see if you can quit metaphysical and get physical, as one of my friends used to say...' if there was any anger left in her, she managed to conceal it pretty perfectly. Now, she appeared just curious, and maybe even a bit proud of the values she had managed to root in the Solar after all. And then, all of the sudden, a profound realization hit her. The lights in the chamber returned to full brightness, the thick smell of incense dispersed instantly in the air. Very slowly, she turned towards the blooming goddess. 'You said... fertile?'
2011-12-18, 10:17 AM
At the Market
Oriasta shrank back as the goddess slowly turned towards her. ”Um… yes?” she muttered. Fertile. Fecund? Abundant? Fruitful? Able to bear offspring? Uberous?”
Synonyyyyyyyms. :guitar solo:
2011-12-18, 04:44 PM
Alveua tilted her head slightly, looking at her host from a funny angle.
'And here I thought that you were all wonder-ending barbarian-brutes, you Lawgivers' she chuckled slightly. 'Also' she added in a slightly changed tone, glancing down at her alleged dress 'this is not... that bad. I've seen more official' in tune to her defensive words, a very faint, yet still visible blush emerged on her white face, painting cheeks rose. The question whether this was spontaneous remained unanswered, however.
Saying nothing more, she gave the dishes a long look, smiling wider and wider with each course she set her eyes on.
'Lovely' she praised, tentatively pouring herself some drink. 'Pure water?' she shifted from surprise 'The Great Mother would condemn you' she took another sip 'so this is how your life tasted, yes? Of heresy?'
Mirthful laughter echoed in the dark dining-room for a long while.
'No wonder that she abhors you so much' the demon grabbed chopsticks in her hands, and begun to pick at the closest bowl. She was eating hastily, excessively, as if the very act of consumption for nutrition was some kind of a new, alien, yet incredibly pleasant experience she could hold to savour. 'I never thought that...' she stuffed her mouth full of spiced rice '...that it could be that...' she paused, putting a chopstick to her lip as if it was a pencil, and she was designing '...tasty' she chuckled quietly, finally finding the word she was looking for. 'Not a smack of blood or ash, nothing of essence there... huh...' she slowly put down the utensils, her expression darkening, turning worried. 'Tell me, are channelling essence at me, now? I should not feel like that, something is deeply wrong.'
2011-12-18, 05:12 PM
Bartrand furrowed his brow. Poison? No, he had checked everything himself. Gave some of each dish to the Haranhal. Sabotage? No, he had kept an eye on everything. Unintended interactions? Possible, but unlikely. "No, I am not using any essence at all at the moment. If you're not feeling well, you can skip the rest of dinner. I may have underestimated the effects the food of Creation-That-Was would have. I... after our discussion this morning, I wanted to make you something that would remind you that not all of Creation was gone.
Bartrand looked away for a moment, and then down at his hands, not quite sure what to say next. He tentatively took the woman's small hand in his own before continuing. "Eating too fast might not be good for you, or well, I'm not sure. Take a moment to rest, if gets worse, we can get you some medical attention. Anyway, if there's anything I can get to make you feel better, we have plenty of things on hand."
2011-12-19, 04:33 PM
The demon city was a land full of reveling and lights, home to the grotesque and beautiful, the bizarre and fascinating. Despite her clashes with the demons over the ugly side of their way of life, in many ways, Vana felt more at home here than she had in Creation- after all, a magician's place is in the center of the carnival. This could be her stage if she worked for it, and if she desired it.
And oh how much she did.
Much to her regret, the flight comes to its end, but she exits the craft gracefully and without hesitation, pausing for a moment to watch Zsofika's interaction with the jade lion, wondering for a moment about its story, its situation... but no, she had other business to attend to. Perhaps she could ask Zsofika later.
"Pray not to be noticed? What a strange thought." Remarks Vana to the Teodozjia. "Forgive me for my brusqueness, but we are on a hunt, and the trail is already growing colder. We are searching for the lady Ophelia, who was supposed to have come to this marketplace. Have you noted her passing, or know of someone who might have?"
2011-12-19, 04:48 PM
The room grew darker - but those were not shadows, not exactly... it was a gloom of another sort, a mirror of a dark tempest within Alveua's demonic heart.
'I can't understand' her lithe fingers wrapped tightly around Bartrand's hand, pulling the Solar closer towards her. He could see her eyes closely and clearly now, deep pools of troubled amber. 'There is no sense nor reason for it to happen right now, it should not be' she spat, sounding more worried than furious.
For a moment, she allowed her words to hang in silence, before reaching for the half-empty cup of water, carefully as if she was holding something holy. She took only a small sip, but it was enough to make a few small cicadas appear out of nowhere around her, landing heavily on the table, their brass wings stamped with a sign Bartrand could not recognize - and yet, it seemed familiar, but also timeless, pulled from some place deliberately left forgotten.
One of the bugs crawled onto the clasped hands.
'I have not seen cicadas since... I can't remember when and now they are everywhere, flying out of my shadow, buzzing some change into my mind and essence...' she allowed the insect to climb up her arm. 'I never really questioned, but now' she lowered her voice, putting the other hand on the hammer pendant 'but now, it all is suddenly upside down inside...' she made a flailing gesture, as if to give weight to a point she was not able to formulate with words. It did not help, only making her sigh painfully, and hang her head loose. 'For the first time I can remember, I am rambling' she admitted, sounding defeated. 'I should not be in such a turmoil, but it is all... all... eh.'
She peeked at the Solar, smiling.
'And to thing that I was supposed to oversee you, Bartrand' she chuckled dryly.
2011-12-19, 06:52 PM
The hum of essence stabilizers fades away to nothing as Tewi removes the hearthstone from the skysled's control panel, tucking it safely away in his armour and hopping onto the platform with a feeling of satisfaction. Much better. He'd done too much walking today already, and it was refreshing to travel his way again. Felt less like he was just tagging along, as well.
"That is an interesting one. But avoiding notice isn't something that usually happens to our sort." Tewi chuckles as he joins the others, sparing the teodozjia a few moments' study. A blind crier, eh? Interesting choice of punishment. "And now that we're here, Tiela, while it may not be... immediately helpful, what does your Lady look like?"
2011-12-20, 11:03 AM
At the Market
Ophelia opens her mouth to say something, then shuts it again. "Uhm, Aunt Ipi," she murmurs, looking at Oriasta curiously, "is she asking to have your babies? That's impossible, right? Like, Ebon-Dragon-gives-a-serf-candy-impossible and not Lypothymie-takes-physical-form-only-mostly-unheard-of?"
Although if it were only nigh-impossible, a fertility goddess would be the one capable of it... and she's happy for the distraction.
2011-12-20, 12:54 PM
The room grew darker for a long moment, in that strange shadow that seemed to suck at the edges of the light, as though the candles and essence lights that lit the room were struggling against some invisible force that was trying to snuff them. The Erymanthoi, in their smart outfits, unconsciously took a step towards each other, and looked around warily, ready for some unseen assailant to spring forth. They clenched their white gloved fists, ready for some sort of a fight.
Bartrand, for his part, stared at Alveua, doing his best to smile reassuringly. Whatever this was, he hadn't seen it before. Cicadas, well, there were plenty of those in the woods around the river provinces, emerging every spring with their loud songs. His grandma always said they symbolized rebirth, but that was just an old woman's superstition. These cicadas... there was something wrong about them. The mark on their wings, very old, Bartrand recognized it from... somewhere. He waited patiently for the demoness to finish, a look of understanding on his face.
As Alveua looked up at him, he smiled broadly. He reached out his other hand, and with a finger brought her chin up so that they looked at each other eye to eye."I'm not sure what's going on here, or why there are cicadas, or why they have the old mark of the Maiden of Journeys on their wings. But whatever it is that is going on, whatever is happening, it will be all right. It will pass, and I'll still be right here. Don't worry about rambling, take your time, whatever it is you need to say or explain, just do your best to say it, and I'll do my best to understand."
Bartrand paused for a moment, staring into her amber eyes. The volume of his voice dropped slightly, and his tone became soothing, or at least, his best attempt at it. It wasn't something that came particularly naturally to him. "We'll get through the next bit, don't you worry. I've done research into the Azoth you needed, and I'm working on a plan to make sure this last bit of Creation is preserved. Don't fret too much, it will all be okay."
2011-12-20, 04:59 PM
The cicada on Alveua's shoulder spread its wings and begun to play a low, harmonious tune, strong enough to shake the stone, yet vibrant enough to fill the spirit.
Looking Bartrand's deep into the eyes, the tempest within Alveua's calmed down, drowned in the cicada's song. The amber glow vanished, and sky-blue calmness of a sea at peace took over.
'Tell me' she whispered dramatically 'why do I trust your words, why do I feel my heart pounding to their tune, why do I see you as a someone to believe in?' her voice begun to break - there was a struggle within her still, a struggle to reveal herself to one the reviled Solars 'Why could I not resist to return here, why...'
The cicadas played, the rune on their backs shining saffron, opening a softly called road, inviting to a journey that takes beyond what is known. The shadows swirled and danced over your heads, shapes of things to come emerging and disappearing between moments.
'Tell me' the profound question seemed to draw the shadows to it, making them coil around the demon wrathfully 'Why do I stay my hand when forging the blades to cut through what remains and render you all asunder?'
And the choice, she has made.
The lion straightened, huge and hoary. He was an ancient thing, his body of jade cracked and tarnished, the details of the sculpture faded and smoothed by the endless passage of years. It must have been of the first Lions Sent Into the World.
'What good would beckoning their attention do to us, Lady Peer?' he asked in a growling voice. 'We pray so that they stay their hands and just punishment, so that they pass by us, so that they do not take us into their holiest grasp, for we are not worthy of their attention, we, the dust they shed! We pray, for we are allowed to live, and that is all they give us, and even this is magnanimous beyond understanding of ones such as you!' it was hard to say if the passionate speech was a rote, or something the Lion believed in. Both seemed likely.
Zsofika gently patted him on the head, as if to remind him that he is not here to preach, and that he speaks to the ones better than him - and thus, knowing better what the prayer is for.
'And you seek Lady Peer Ophelia?' the lion snorted with a trace of what appeared to be disdain. 'This... free-thinking person I have not seen today' he snorted again, in a tone that could mean that he was laughing. 'Nor did I hear of any heresies being spoken among the good folk of Malfeas, which means that, alas, she is not here, or not openly. I dare not to question her ways, though I believe that she is just not experienced in our ways...'
'He means that she is actually trying to do something good here' Tiela whispered to Tewi's ear so that the teodozija would not hear 'that she tries to help the helpless' it was hard to imagine the angylkae speaking those words with respect any deeper. 'As for how she looks' she raised her voice so that Vana would hear too 'she is...' she cut abruptly, and a small blush of embarrassment bloomed on her 'a bit like neomah, and small and dainty... and she looks like a human, though...'
'And they all look the same to us' the lion explained, his snout twisting into a smirk.
2011-12-20, 05:57 PM
"If you preach such, then follow your own laws, lion!" Vana proclaims, stepping forward and away from Tiela. "If you speak of the fear and rules of the Yozi, then remember your place- do you not know my identity, blind and arrogant mouthpiece of jade? I am a vassal of your lords, I am your greater, and the oaths of my kind and the laws of yours demand not only your respect, but that you tremble in fear before me!"
Lines of fire ignite about Vana's feet, twisting into strange patterns as she strides towards the jade lion with terrible eyes. Smoke sputters and flows about her, forming into long chains of countless letters, the laws of Cecelyne, the oaths of surrender, hang about her like a mantle. "If you are dust, then be beneath my feet, naysayer. Cower and hide your eyes, and beg that my attention be turned from you!" The fire encircles both Vana and lion as she stands above him, then flares high, trapping the two together. "Speak your prayers to me, little creature of ash, for our lords will not lift a hand to save you- but if you please me, you might be spared."
"Will you love your words now, wretched thing? Will you take pride and pleasure in them, as they turn on you and rip apart your fragile form?" Vana's arm stretches out to touch the lion's head, her hand wreathed in the flames she has conjured- they are not real, they cannot really harm, but the passion she radiates lends it heat, a burning rage that sears even if it cannot truly harm. "Have you not learned your lesson?" She hisses, the sound like steam. "You seem to have been granted mercy before, and the message has not yet sunk in. Why should I spare you now?"
Her presence bears down on the lion like a crushing weight, her demands of it hurled without pause or remorse. Every bit of kindness Vana has shown is replaced with implacable anger, burning bright within her conjured fires.
Vana's going to use Phantom-Conjuring Performance.
Presence + Manipulation + Excellency (4 motes, 1 peripheral, 3 personal
2011-12-20, 06:39 PM
The Erymanthoi looked slightly panicked at the scene. The Cicada's song seemed to shake the stonework of the room, and the blood apes began to back away slowly. After a tentative step backward, one put its white glove hands over its ears, and the other pulled its tophat down over its eyes, so that it would not have to look at the glowing saffron rune on the back of the Cicada, the mark of one of the Hated Betrayer-Gods.
Bartrand ignored the monkeys, and waited calmly while questions spilled from Alveua's lips. He smiled serenely, finally understanding. "I can guess at answers to those questions, I can make up explanations, or try to put insufficient words to concepts that may or may not reflect the real reasons for these things. We could sit here and theorize and extrapolate, but the answer, the real answer, is simple. It's the thing we spoke of yesterday and this morning. Because you chose too. There is no more and no less to it than that. You had the power and opportunity to decide your course, and you did. You chose; nothing compelled you, nothing forced you, you just did. That is the most important power any of us can have; the power to make up our own minds and choose our own way. Every other power is circumstance, but that, the power to choose, that's the real strength."
Bartrand paused after delivering his short speech, but only for an instant, and then wrapped his arms around Alveua and pulled her towards him in a warm hug. He had no illusions about her capabilities. She was stronger than she looked, far stronger than he was and could crush the very life out of him in seconds from this position should she decide to do so. To embrace her was to entrust his life to the gamble that she would not take the opportunity to kill him, and they both knew it. He ran the math in his head in the long instant before she responded. She hadn't killed him previously when given the opportunity, so start at around a 25% chance of death. He had been actively useful recently, so that's another 10% in his favor, odds at 15% so far. Emotional turmoil, however, added perhaps 30% to that number, so we're back up to a 45% chance of death. His little speech added perhaps a 10% variability to the equation, so his likelihood of death was somewhere between 35-55%. Not terrible odds, he'd gone through worse. He had a better than 50/50 shot at not dying in the next minute; better than a lot of people out there right now.
2011-12-21, 02:39 AM
Raising a cautionary hand as the fires spring up, Tewi soon feels their lack of true substance, directed elsewhere as they are. Still, she's good at these things. Quite an artist. Does she actually desire that thing's worship?
Lowering his voice below the Solar's tirade, he continues his conversation with the angyalka; he didn't actually mind Vana going about being obvious, since if Ophelia heard there was someone looking for her, he gave it better than even odds she'd come their way. She was, he hoped, also trying to find Tiela; from the way she'd been spoken of, it seemed they were fairly close. "So, short, slight, a bit purple? Sounds like she's even better known than I thought, too, so we oughtn't have too much trouble finding out if she was here. Suppose you didn't have the time to suggest anywhere more specific, aye?" He gazes out over the Bazaar, not really expecting to see anything significant; too much time had passed since they started. "Well, if she was here looking for you, she'd have attracted notice. Just need to go shopping for it."
2011-12-21, 01:47 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies had spent the trip here questioning how best to approach the subject of their destination when it came up, without success. The Copper Spider had been taken to this... Reversed Ziggurat instead of her intended destination, and it was possible this had been taken by the transporters as a code... On the other hand, perhaps those who took her had been looking for her specifically, rather than waiting for a trigger. Asking to be taken to the Reversed Ziggurat may result in being taken to an entirely different location, if the proprietor - or proprietors, as the case may have been - had instructions to that effect. Whether honesty or deceit was the quicker path to the Twilight Caste, he could not predict. He simply did not have enough information either way.
But he had at least one idea. The Whispers of the Neverborn had allowed him to learn that this Copper Spider was important to the End of All Things. If he could tune himself in to their visions, perhaps he could gain valuable insight, at this junction on the road to Oblivion... As they approached the harbour, the Artificer drew a slow, deep breath into dead lungs, and opened his mind to the murmurs of his chthonic masters...
Fairly quick and dirty post to get the story rolling again. Spending a Willpower to 'tune-in' to the Whispers of the Neverborn...
Willpower: ●●●●● xxx
2011-12-21, 05:38 PM
Everything has a price - and for everything gained, something must have been lost.
'And if I chose' Alveua asked softly, the cicada playing as if there was no tomorrow for her 'and if I chose what I believe in, what guarantee would I have that my choice was wise?'
Gently, she stood up, her hands on the table, bright spots against the black steel.
'Once, I believed that we lack the freedom to rebel' she said, suddenly 'I believed that we are all a part of a plan, forged into proper shapes and thoughts, and that there is nothing to us but this form we were hewn into' her voice was changing now, distorting and twisting, creaking and hissling like a blade being honed. 'And suddenly, the plan went crashing down, leaving behind only a bitter after-taste.'
The cicada folded its wings, and the silence rang line thunder.
'I make my own choice' she clarioned, each word etched into the darkness that she was, each of them giving her soul and mind a new shape and essence. 'I don't ask you for protection, I don't ask you to defend me from the consequences, but know, Bartrand Mar, that you have changed me'
Somewhere it her gloomy retreat, a great Unquestionable shuddered in bewilderment, feeling a small part of her nature twist and warp, transfigurate into something new.
'I, Alvuea' she begun to recite, and the Solar felt the floor shift beneath 'Keeper of the Forge of Night cast down what I was, and take on a mantle of new cause! Let it be known to demons and men alike that with my hand and hammer, I shall rise a New Creation, where all is as it should be!'
The demon bowed to Bartrand, giving him a beaming smile. She was at ease now, the tempest inside calmed, the fear and anger forged into a new motivation to pursue.
'There is a long way before us, Bartrand'
The words weighted down upon the lion as if they were a real, physical force, bending him down, forcing him to bow - but he stood upright, and it was only the ground that buckled beneath him, it was only the jade carapace of him that cracks and creaks. In his blind eyes, a pair of little fires flickers to life.
The flames of Vana touched his brow, singing it, leaving a black mark. But the lion stood still, words battering him and hurting him not, moving him not.
'It was long overdue I did that' he whispered quietly, shaking down the all-powerful words of the Iron Wolf.
'Mercy?' he growled back at the Solar, a wicked, hateful smile breaking through the still stone of his head 'You call what I was given mercy?'
Standing on his legs, rampant, and roared to the sky, his call one of fury and hate.
'I AM THE LION THAT BLASPHEMED!' he named himself, in a fierce accusation of everything around him, of the realm he despised and the dark gods he abandoned. 'Into the world I was sent, and there, I brought free from the chains of the One Mind!'
The demon crowd, standing around the platform raised it heads, first to see the Solar breaking one of the favoured Yozi's servants, and then to gaze upon the lion's reaction. They were deathly silent, allowing the words of those upon the platform to echo and return, strengthened hundred-fold.
'Long did I fight for my freedom!' he continued to proclaim his legend 'Long did I evade the knives of Lucien, the eyes of Orabilis, the horn of Erembour! I was the only one of my kind, only one of the serfs to be truly free!'
He turned to the people of Malfeas he could not see, his body cracking and breaking, something inside destroying it mote by mote.
'And yet I was captured, and my eyes that saw the truth they took from me, and my existence they allowed me to retain, making me their guard-dog, a pathetic, wretched creature!' each word he uttered burned with hate, but also exhilaration. Words of Vana pushed the demon over the edge, and now, falling down to the doom that was inevitable, for a short moment, he found his grace again.
Falling heavily onto his might paws again, he faced the Night Caste one more time.
'So, vassal of Malfeas, I am forfeit now, the curse killing me where I stand... and I won't beg or bow to you, I won't pray... so prove true to your words, draw your blade, and give me the end that I deserve, the end of a lion!'
He prepared to fight, even as he was dissolving. There was, though, a trace of serenity in his eyes, the lost glory returned - his existence of shame ended, his death a death of someone who spat at his tormentors.
At Tewi's side, angylkae gazed at the lion and Solar with awe - truth be told, it was hard to say whether the tirade or defiance made a larger impression on her.
'There is brewer here, a friend of my lady Ophelia' she muttered, not really thinking about what she was saying, her eyes too deeply fixated at the events that unfurled on the platform.
2011-12-21, 08:30 PM
Bartrand watched, somewhat in awe, as Alveua proclaimed her new motivation. On one level, it was perhaps the most interesting effect of motonic principle that he had ever seen. He knew there was an arcane link between each Second Circle Demon and its parent entity, but he had never seen that link demonstrated in such a spectacular fashion. He could feel the ripples in the local essence as the manse changed, ever so slightly. He could feel the pressure wave of expanding power as the demoness' change rippled back to Erembour. It was all so very interesting.
He stood, and looked squarely at Alveua, and put his hands onto her shoulders, lightly lifting her out of the bow. He returned her beaming smile. "A long way, yes. But we'll do it, you and I. We'll rebuild it all. He pulled her close, and hugged her again, though this time without any fear of death. The two of them had clearly passed beyond that juncture. This was the warm embrace of someone that cared about her.
He whispered quietly as he held the slight demoness in his arms, "There is never a way to know if our choices are wise, there are never guarantees, we just make them as best we can. I am glad you made the one you did. I know you don't ask for my protection, or my help, but you have both just the same."
After a long moment with the woman in his arms, he released her, and sat back down, "There is still quite a bit of feast left, and you haven't tried the potato soup. I promise it is delicious. And, well, like I said, I did some research into a demon that might solve your Azoth problem, and I'd be happy to help catch him and render him, since he's been causing some trouble for Oasis as well. I know you said you needed Azoth, though you didn't mention why, but I'd like to help you, whatever it is."
2011-12-21, 10:00 PM
Everyone watched. They heard the laws invoked, they saw a lesser, one who had already suffered punishment, stand up to a peer. A stage was set, the play begun, the attention of the audience, caught. This was Vana's element, and she was in control. The jade lion's rebellious attitude does not affect her at all, wind beating futilely at a mountain.
Yet, they still demanded a response, for the show must go on.
"I cannot prove true to words that are not my own." Vana said, a strange calm settling over her, in contrast to the flames that continued to rage about her. "'And I see that neither can you, for these words you speak fit you far better. Though you preach of fear and cowed subservience, it is with bravery and defiance that would meet it from the mouth of another, even if it would mean your end."
"Here you stand before me, cursed and battered by your commitment to the ideals your masters claim as heretical. They would have me claim that such is your fitting end, they would speak your name in contempt, laugh at your folly." Declares the sorceress.
The fires dim, but the smoke intensified, drifting away from Vana to twist about the lion as he dissolved. The mass split into five strands and each took on horrible features; strange voices whispered from them, hideous and shrieking.
A thousand curses lay at your feet,
How will you withstand your troubles?
Your own kin have abandoned you,
In who can you place trust?
As you follow this path, your makers will raise their hands in anger,
No one will hear your prayers.
And the earth beneath your feet cries out in hate,
What surface will you stand upon?
Even in the end, you will find no reward,
How will your spirit find rest?
"But those are not my words." Vana said in a quieter tone, though her voice still carried over the shrieking and into the crowd beyond. "I am something different, and though all this world may decry me, I will have them know how things should be."
Her hand lifted away from the lion's head, and once more, power flared from it- but this time, it is not merely a display, no pomp, smoke or mirrors. The glow there was true, and its strength flared around Vana. A great wind poured out from her, and the flames streamed away, while the things of smoke struggled to contain their forms, as they still shouted their blasphemies. Yet, though their cries carried, on the wind new words are sung in response.
Do not turn your face from hardship,
For you may find strength to stand alone;
Your wishes will be answered by the work of your hands.
Should you endure, you will find sure path,
You will want no reward beyond your accomplishments.
Her hand wreathed with a corona of essence and light, Vana placed it once more on the lion's head. "That such a dream may come to pass- I defy your fate."
And then the smoke, the fire, and all the lady had constructed shattered like glass.
Sapphire Countermagic, so Vana is out 20 more motes and 2 willpower.
2011-12-22, 03:10 PM
Rose gives her absolute best blank stare. She has no idea what's going on, but at the least, they weren't about to hit each other, she figured.
"Ooookay Dooky." she says. "I absolutely agree with everything you said that you want me to agree with and also disagree on everything you want me to disagree with."
2011-12-22, 05:25 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Keening in his ears, the Neverborn spoke their blasphemous words, their broken wisdom seeping into his ears.
One, simple word, murmured with a terrifying clarity, given terrifying weight.
WALK YOUR WAY, ALL UNFURLS AS IT SHOULD
It was rare indeed for the dead Titans to speak unison, with nary a dissonance or a broken note in their hateful whispers. There was a trace of an ecstasy in their voices too, as if there was a large triumph of their cause not long ago, as if an important step had been made moments before Artificer let them speak into him.
'I can take you wherever you want' the demon spoke behind him, stepping into view. He seemed eerily mundane, merely a sand-sailor, battered by the endless gales, scorched by uncountable different suns. But there was something in the he moved, in the way a short, brazed cutlass dangled from his hip that clearly showed that he was far more than he appeared to be. The air of experience, of ages of endless travel clung to him like a second skin. 'The wind turns, Peer. There will be no better time...'
Somehow, he seemed to know more about Jania's and Artificer's destination than he should have had.
2011-12-22, 08:38 PM
Jania raised an eyebrow at the demon's knowledge of their destination. They had made no side-trips, no rest stops... and with the hermit out cold, magical means seemed unlikely. Still, this was their only lead, and she had to admit she was rather curious about this archive the Hermit had asked them to destroy. "And where exactly do you think we are going? I wasn't aware any here knew of our coming."
2011-12-23, 11:54 AM
At the Market
'Shut your lovely mouth, now' the demon snarled, not even glancing at the Solar. Around her, the chamber begun to dissolve, its opulence turning illusionary and fading into clouds of golden dust, revealing walls of bare brass and iron behind. Even the musky scent that surrounded Ipythemia dispersed in the now-cold air.
For the first time in this Age, the Street of Golden Lanterns became deadly serious. The lights grew cold and sharp, the music of the bells that kept the Wind at bay begun to toll in a dull, mechanical tone. The air of passion and sensuality vanished, and all the demons on the streets broke off from whatever they were doing, cowering and hiding, sensing the wrath of the nephelim of Malfeas, not knowing what it mean.
'Don't mock me, little spirit' the demoness said slowly, chillingly 'I know what this words means well enough. And now, if you don't want to become dust, and I swear on all the names of the Demon-Emperor, known, unknown and forgotten, I can render you into less than motes, answer me!'
The walls pressed upon you, almost crushing, denying escape, denying the air to breath.
'If I take a mortal lover, of bone and flesh, will you make it bear a scion of mine?' she asked solemnly, as if it was the most important thing in the world.
Alveua shared the embrace, pressing the Solar closely and tightly to her, whispering some slow, tranquil melody into his ear.
'Bring me closer, bring me closer...' she sung, almost wordlessly, almost soundlessly 'bring me closer than that...'
And though it was a part of melody as dramatic and tragic as it was ancient, it sounded of hope and rebirth when it flew from her lips, echoing with the traces of her cicadas' symphony.
'Yes, I still need azoth' she smiled after a moment, pouring herself another glass of silverwine. Her grip and hand was steady, and her eyes peaceful. The tempest washed over her soul and left it healed. 'Though for reasons different than before... I'll have to forge a blade for my own, sharp enough to split the air, strong enough to shatter spells. Because you know, Bartrand... they will be coming for me now, after I have abandoned their cause. And so, tell me of this you have found...'
The demons around you were gazing in sheer terror; they saw something they could scarcely warp their minds around, something that should not be - such metamorphosis, to such cause!
But they knew that it was still their overlord Alveua, and so, one by one, they offered her a deep bow, creaking of their bones accompanying them.
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
There are bonds stronger than steel, that run thicker than bonds of blood, that conquer all, that can never be broken - but neither they should be.
Breathing deeply, Mind folded her arms and closed her silver eyes, not wanting to look at the list compiled by her husband anymore.
'You know what is best, Love' she said solemnly, without a trace of aversion or reluctance 'I love you and I trust you. Do as you will.'
2011-12-24, 11:11 AM
Bartrand paused for a long moment. Alveua's scent had returned, but it was different now. He inhaled deeply. It smelled... of the earth just after winter, when the snow had just melted. Of trees shaking the last bits of winter off their branches, and the soon promise of new buds and flowers. He let himself linger in that scent for just an instant, for to fall into it would be as any other doom the demoness' musks promised, but to linger upon the edge, never quite falling over the precipice, the smell was wonderful. The demoness quiet song rang in his ears as he held her, warm against him. For a moment, he was completely calm.
Then he snapped himself back to reality, his eyes regaining their sharp and focused appearance. They? Who were 'They' and why were they coming for Alveua? This would not do, not at all. Bartand folded his hands lightly in his lap. This situation was getting more interesting, and likely more dangerous, by the minute. "Sheshken, the King in Mourning. A soul of Metagaos, the Ever Hunger Blossom. My researches have discerned his appearance, and that he lurks in the silver forests of Szoreny, attended by a court of buzzing flies." Bartrand beckoned, and one of the tuxedo'ed blood apes rushed out of the room, then returned in a moment with the tome Bartrand had been reading from earlier. "This is the only book I had with details, and it was a bit short on information, though maybe you can make something more of it than I. That said... something about that book feels wrong, strange. Anyway, I'd be happy to help you track him down, bring him to heel, and render him. I know it's not much, but it's better than nothing."
Bartrand put a light hand on Alveua's arm, an attempt at a reassuring gesture. "Who are 'They' and why are they coming for you? You know I will do all that I can to protect you; I will help you forge this sword, no matter what. Who are 'they' and what cause is it they have which is so inimical to ours that they would foolishly attempt to destroy you?"
2011-12-24, 07:39 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies muttered every curse in his considerable vocabulary for some time after his brief communion with the Neverborn came to an end, at which point he looped back to the start of his list and continued swearing for a while longer. He was not unaccustomed to the Whispers of his masters being obtuse, but usually they did so in the sense of providing him with irrelevant information, or visions so clouded with ambiguity that he could only make sense of them in hindsight. Seldom where they so bluntly-unhelpful. 'Follow him'? He could only guess to what that was referring. The last he'd checked, they were pursuing a female. Perhaps she was really a male posing as a female, but somehow he found that story a little hard to swallow. And he didn't even want to think too much about the second statement, lest he burst out into a rant about useless information right then and there.
So it was that he took a stab in the dark and decided to approach the subject a little... obliquely. The jadeborn certainly brought up a worrisome topic, but somehow he felt that was better discussed in private... preferably in a warroom of some description. "What do you know of the Inverted Ziggurat?" he questioned of the demonic proprietor in as neutral a tone as he could muster. He said nothing more than this, mindful of the fact that even this may have been too much information...
2011-12-25, 04:20 PM
"Well then, perhaps when the show is over, we'll pay that brewer a visit." The words are spoken out of the corner of his mouth, though, as even Tewi gives the unfolding spectacle his full attention. Has she got that sort of power? To break the curse of a Yozi? It was impossible to know what to expect from a Solar; they were almost too good at what they did, and he hadn't exactly put a lot of study into the matter. Probably something he'd need to rectify soon, if he continued to get stuck working with them.
This is a direct challenge to the hierarchy, of sorts, if only on a personal scale. Does she do this sort of thing often? I'd not be surprised... well, if she does make a habit of these spectacles, I won't need to worry about anything out of the ordinary. If she doesn't... well. Turning his attention back to the surroundings before anyone can tell whether Vana succeeded, Tewi watches the ones who seem to be watching them, gauging the mood of the crowd. It was never easy to tell what the Demon City's inhabitants would consider an unusual sight, and only slightly more so to guess what would drive them to anger.
Perception + Investigation to read motivation: [roll0]
2011-12-25, 06:36 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The demon pointed its long, gnarled finger, that looked more like a piece of twisted, sand-scoured bone than an actual part of a living body to Jania.
'That is a one smart girl there' he hissed - or chuckled, it was hard to say, his voice was a peculiar one - and gave the Jadeborn a stiff bow 'knows the questions to ask... can't be said about the dead man, though. Say something ominous, mysterious, and chances are, people are going to assume that I know more tahn I'd ever want to, and reveal their little secrets they though to be uncovered already' he shook his head, as if in disappointment, or puzzlement over the strange ways people acted. 'Inverted Ziggurat I have been to, and I have returned from. The first is easy, the second is tricky' he said, walking to the sandship that was his own. 'If you ask' he begun to outdo the ropes that anchored it to the pier 'it must be that you come from the Hermit, and that is the favour I owe her. Fine, let it be... I shall take you there safely, through the narrow, perilous currents of Cecelyne, and I shall wait a day anchored, to see if there is a need to take you back. No questions asked, no payment, no strings attached... but it can't be that easy, can it?' he tapped his hands on the sail, once, twice, and then you heard footsteps mimicking the beat of his palm. 'I suppose' he smirked, pointing to something behind you.
A tall, dark-skinned man, clad in nothing but a simple, grey robe, tied with a faded rope of an Immaculate stood behind you, flanked by a pair of hammer-wielding mortal thugs. The sound of the gale demolishing Port Wrath must have concealed his approach from you.
'Halt!' he uttered, his voice cutting through the keening of the wind easily 'In the name of our overlord, I command you to stand down from your vessel, demon, and accept the just and reasonable punishment for betraying our overlord... and that IS...' he waved his hand, cuing the mortals to complete the line, his face wrinklingly funnily...
'DEATH!' they cried, dropping their hammers onto brass.
'Are you a fool, essence-human?' the anklok asked in return, in a voice uncharacteristically flat for him.
Your ferryman, meanwhile, sighed in annoyance.
'It would not be complete without a dramatic, last minute hurdle, would it?' he shook his fist towards the sky. 'Screw you, Elloge!'
A sun opened its eye over the Equitable Bazaar, even if only for a shortest while, allowing a wave of essence to wash over the defiant teodozija, shattering the curse, washing away the flaw in the demon's essence, purging it from the things that had been tainting it for the ages now.
The crowd grew eerily silent.
The light faded, revealing the jade lion once more - he was still cracked and wind-battered, ancient and hoary, but now was standing straight, his back no longer bowed, his blind eyes no longer defeated. Where the curse had damaged him, new, patches of new, fresh jade shimmered, in the exact colour of Vana's anima.
The crowd watched, yet said nothing, moved not a step to the side or to the back. Tewi could easily see their awe, and more importantly, their fear. They saw something defy the laws of Cecelyne with a mere flick of her hand, as if they were just a meaningless strings of azure text, not something immutable and unconquerable.
The teodozija was quiet too, for a moment bewildered by the magic that saved him. And then, when it understood finally that it was not a ruse, not another cruelty hurled at him, he laughed. But it was a laughter unlike any other, bellowing and thundering, expressing unbridled, boundless joy, a laughter loud enough to shake the stars from the skies, brilliant enough to cast a light on its own.
Still laughing, he walked to Vana's feet, and knelt, giving himself to the Solar whole.
'I thank you, Lawgiver' he whispered 'It is true, light shines through even on such dark realms. I am yours now and ever.'
2 die stunt for Tewi, which spells 4m or 1wp
2011-12-26, 11:40 AM
"If such is your desire, I will accept your service for long as you see me worthy of it." Vana replies to the lion, a smile on her face. The smile wasn't for the lion, or for anyone else at all- just hers. Exhilaration surged through her, because now she was sure that she could do this. Because she had set her will against the work of the Yozi, and had come out victorious. This would make her enemies she was sure, but she didn't care. Not right now.
Her audience had seen what she could do, and had heard why she did it. Maybe they didn't fully understand right now, or perhaps they weren't sure about how it would affect them... but in time she felt they would be won over. They would come to her, as they felt it best, or as they needed her. At least, if they could find her. Vana thinks on that, and reaches her decision- she would need a place of her own, for her people to gather around and to rally to.
She looks over their motley group, and turns her smile to them. "Now, I think we can get on with our original errand. My apology for making you wait." If no one objects, she will lead the way down into the bazaar itself.
2011-12-26, 01:47 PM
Alvuea stroked the leather-bound book gently, but did not open it, instead just pushing it back to Bartrand.
'And to think that I tried to hide it here' she said, wiping the hand clean. 'No such luck. I wish I had never seen it, never opened it and never read it, and I urge you, Barrtrand, to do the same. Bind it in chains and throw into some pit that is too deep even for the light of Ligier to light up, bury it in Kimbery, so that it does not devour you too... and no wonder that Sheshken is there... ah' she sighed, realizing that what she was saying. 'There is a story behind the King in Mourning, this book and the murder of flies that circle and dance to his tune, you have probably realized it already...' she allowed an erymanthoi to pour her another glass of silverwine - the chalcanth remained unopened, and it seemed that she was not really inclined to drink it. 'And it seems that you need to know it. Well, then, listen to the tale of the Tome That Devoured and a Silver Prince... the world was younger when it happened, and I was firmly at the side of the Shadow, travelling through the streets of Malfeas, looking for stray souls to forge. And one such venture lead me to a layer I was not familiar, and to the street that was all bleak and silent...
...the street was all bleak and silent, colours faded from the brass wall, the demon's footsteps ringing a hollow, shallow sound on the dissolving pavement. Everything here seemed thin, breakable by hand, flimsy and sick. Even the Green Sun lost its relentless brilliance, the rays of emerald light not capable of piercing the thick mist of noxious smoke clinging to the street, covering it in rot's damp warmth. A lone boy, young and lost curled under a creaking balcony, and he was coughing up blood already. Precious little of life remained in him. Still, more than enough than the demoness need for the next brick in the cathedral of her grand vision.
She swung the hammer, clearing some mist from before her, and stepped over the dying boy. He was a run-away prayer mill slave, his skin bearing a silver tint of someone addicted to the elixir that allowed humans to withstand Malfeas' poisonous hatred.
'You'll do' the Keeper of the Forge of the Night smiled widely, invitingly giving the child a hand. 'You will help to bring the time of glories back to the world!'
He looked at her in return, too weak to be afraid. And it was then that the music begun to play.
Somehow, the silvery tune seemed even more contagious and sick than the silence that ruled the street before.
'Oh how can you take him from me, Alveua' a young, silver-haired, silver-eyed man lamented, taking the panflute from his lips. He appeared out of nowhere by the boy, walking from the seemingly solid wall as if it was made of mist. 'Can't you see that he is Father's already? His death, such a marvellous tragedy will demand such an exquisite mourning...'
'I don't know you' the demoness replied coldly, raising her hammer to a defensive stance, shifting a step back, to giver herself more space to swing. 'But the boy is Yozi's prize, not any Father's of yours...'
'Ah! But is not he one? Is not he the greatest of all of them, the one that devours all that others create? King's light, Desert's sands, Wind's silence he all claims and consumes, and there is nothing left, but him?' he answered, smiling. He was more than beautiful, he was striking, a sight so brilliant that it would be understood, if a poor mortal soul died of awe just by looking at him. 'Even you, pretty lady, shall one day into his maw go, to never return.'
Alveua's face darkened, her cloak of shadows starting to widen and open into a dark suit of armor. Whatever the man was, his intent was clearly hostile.
'A spawn of Metagaos?' she snarled, channelling the essence into her hammer. Lightless flames erupted around the weapon.
'Spawn?' he seemed genuinely offended by this word, his face filling with disgust. 'Ah, one would call me that, but such a harsh word. I am his son! His prophet, I am the final thing he'll consume, after I am done mourning all that was devoured!' his voice rose to the skies, filled with joy over his vision 'But for now, I am merely a shadow of the power I will become as the world comes closer to my Father's gaping maw. But, in time...'
The vision, as terrifying as it could sound, was patently absurd. Alas. And so, not being able to do anything else, Alveua exploded in later.
'You are surely full of yourself, little demon' she sneered at him.
'No, I am merely behold to thing you can't possibly witness. But, in time...' he smiled warmly. 'You will see. For now, however, the boy may disappear' he flipped his fingers, and the boy - or the illusion that was the boy - vanished, leaving behind only a small, leather-bound tome. 'And so I will be disappeared, pretty lady, because I am still unborn. Take the book, open it, and maybe then you shall understand...'
He did as he said, dispersing in the air to the sound of a panflute playing. Alveua uttered a curse - at her own stupidity that made her believe her eyes over her common sense, and turned away from the street... but before she left it...
'...but before I have left it, I had picked up the tome, on an impulse. And I've read it on the same day, and placed it on my shelf. Only to find the memories of entire year vanished from my memory on the morrow, and a haunting sound of panflute playing where they should be. The tome consumes, Bartrand, both the reader and itself. But worse yet, I believe that it gives that crazed Sheshken power he wants...'
Having a sore throat, Alvuea cut her tale, taking a few sips.
2011-12-26, 05:08 PM
Things Lost and Broken
Jania reacted quickly, moving to interpose herself between the Immaculate and the demon sailor. It figured, about to get going and their ride gets threatened. Could they get anything done without distractions today?
"I'm sorry, but we have need of this traitor still. What are his crimes, and is there no way you could be convince to delay this punishment of yours?"
2011-12-27, 12:58 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Grabbing tiny Min in a hug that lifts her off her feet Punch declares "Love, you are as my right hand. Might become unsteady when poisoned, but even then I will never send you away. A part of me. Forever."
Holding the hug for a minute, he finally lets her down. Pointing at the shadow whip "First, should get rid of that, just in case. Being his and made of shadow. Second... relax. You have had a long day. Invading Lunar armies can wait a few hours. Everything else, dealt with already. We can just relax. Then I teach you fighting mantra and moves. Called the Riverboat Mantra."
2011-12-27, 02:04 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies growled at the presumptuous Dragonblood. He'd come too far to allow this... upstart to interfere in his affairs. He stepped in front of the jadeborn, jerking his daiklave from its sheath in the same motion. He fixed the Immaculate with a glare that could have melted him where he stood, if only the deathknight had taken the initiative of learning Eyes Like Daggers Glance before he left the Thousand. "Whatever crime you claim he has committed, Dragonblood, this demon is simply too important to me right now to allow you to interfere," he said coldly. "And while I would ordinarily not expect support from a dragon king, he would have to be a fool not to realise that we need this demon - and allow me to assure you, my saurian companion is definitely no fool. Quick-tempered, perhaps, but to believe him a fool would be folly in the extreme. So let us take stock, shall we? Your party consists of a single Dragonblood and two inconsequential mortals. Between you and your target stand a dragon king and a deathknight." His tone became dangerous. "Ask yourself this, Dragonblood; Do you truly believe you possess the assets necessary to even slow us down, let alone actually stop us?"
You guessed it; taking a Draw Weapon action, but once again holding off on the Join Battle for now.
2011-12-27, 06:49 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The presumed dragon-blood folded his arms on his chest, leaning back lazily. His wrinkled, old face lightened up with a nasty, slasher smile.
'Oh, is that so?' he asked, not really expecting you to answer. 'Collaborators, working with the demon to undermine to most magnificent work of our only true overlord? Threatening his dutiful, humble servant, hoping to bend the law with the might of the sword? You find me, weak, defenseless?' he stomped the ground, and seven jagged cracks spread outwards from his feet, shattering the earth. 'Ah, how wrong you are! Ah, how swiftly I will correct your mistake!' he made another step in the sequence, and every crack widened, throwing up a small boulder into the air - and somehow, the boulders were solid rock, not the brass one would expect. 'I am Mountain That Withstands Time! Master of the Earth Dragon Style!' the rocks begun to circle around him, following his every move. 'This demon is guilty of working with traitorous rebel that seeks to overthrow our only just overlord and commence his reign of terror, where all shall tremble before the horrors he will procure! Stand aside, for you block the path of righteousness! By supporting him, you support the dark future his master wants to bring forth! I bid you, stand aside!'
Your anklok hissed quietly, swinging the golden daiklave and assuming a defensive stance.
'Your heart will make a decent offering, old essence human' he announced with something that could pass for glee.
And it was then that the little, lithe elemental exploded. Quite literally.
'ARE YOU ALL FREAKING NUTS?' her fiery mane shot high into the air, her skin darkened, and her voice for a moment raged with the power of pure, elemental flame, unbridled and unstoppable. 'You want to kill yourself, fine, but just pick something that is not really valuable! Kill mortals, not dragon-bloods or other Exalts' she exhaled sharply, and her breath was sparks. 'This is patently absurd' she wrung her arms, and sat down on the brass, looking at you with a sight that could incinerate. 'We are trying to save lives here, you idiot, so go, punish some other demon or do your monky stuff, smash spirits, break something, preach stupidity, whatever, just do not try to murder deathknights and dragon-kings and... eh, why I am bothering.'
Needless to say, the monk was confounded. The boulders circling him shuddered, straying of their clear path, and his face, so far full of righteous fire, paled a bit. He was not ready for such a fierce verbal attack.
'But, wayward spirit...' he stuttered.
2011-12-27, 07:07 PM
Jania relaxed slightly at the elemental's outburst. At least someone here was sane... if rather angry. A fight solved nothing, and simply served to waste their time.
"Please, there is no reason to fight. We require passage from this demon, and you desire that justice be done. More specifically, we are headed to the Inverted Ziggurat, in hopes of discovering what has become of a solar friend of ours. Unless you can provide us with alternative transportation, it would be far easier on both of us if you could simply delay your punishment until our return."
Letting their destination slip might be dangerous, but it was a calculated risk: Depending on the Immaculate's reaction, it would be easy enough to know whether or not he was truly an enemy.
2011-12-28, 12:36 PM
"...Well, so long as everything worked out alright, I can't complain." Rose slowly offered. "All couples have fights...or whatever, I guess. I don't care too much about stuff like that, just annoying to see two friends get angry." she said, waving her hand again. "A Shame I didn't get to meet this...Brazen Wright? He sounds like he would have made a fun snack." she notes sadly, cocking her head to the side. "So who killed him? Eh, not important." she didn't pause between the two, dismissing the question herself. "So then, what is the 'Riverboat Mantra'?"
2011-12-28, 05:23 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Min eased, relaxing in Punch's familiar grasp. All tension was gone from her, as if the touch of her Love banished all the shadows from her heart and soul. She smiled, nuzzling his neck. The sound she made doing that was sickeningly serene, and the whispers in the back of Rose's head suddenly started to urge her to draw the sword and cut that abhorrent Lunar in half. Or maybe slice her up in smaller pieces and gorge on them. Or maybe do other things, so depraved that merely listening to them would make anyone less temperate and cool-minded sick.
All that happened mere moments ago appeared now to be merely a bad dream, a nightmare one can wake from easily.
Of course, such moments are too good to last any longer than a single perfect heartbeat.
With a loud, cracking sound, a large raiton flew straight into the manse's window, smashing through it and showering you with a cascade of sharp shards of glass. Not impeded by it in a slightest, he landed in the middle of the table, right before Rose, allowing her to see the creature in all the detail - for a split second only, though, because before the Abyssal had the chance to study the specimen closely, wisps of argent essence rose from the shattered window. In a split-second, they coiled around the bird, and it was a bird no longer.
'I bid you welcome, good people' a young, lithe boy with striking, silver eyes and the hair the colour of raven's feathers introduced himself, raising from his knees and standing up on the table. To his side, a thin blade was strapped, but he held his hands far from the pommel, as if to show his lack of hostile intention. 'And I apologize for my unexpected and rash appearance, but such were the ebbs of Fate that brought me here...' he made a flourishing bow to each of you, especially to the Deathknight, sending her a meaningful smirk as he straightened. 'In view, a humble Chosen of Luna called by many Crow Unexpected, and I believe you can see why. I have come to talk with you, for I badly need good company' nimbly jumping down from the table, he snatched a glass of liquor from a petrified demon, with a movement that was as swift as it was nonchalant. Offering you all salute, he drank deeply. 'It appears that I will find no better than this one.'
2011-12-28, 07:02 PM
Rose shakes the dark thoughts out of her head, for a second, at the least. It was nice to see two people together despite the dark times around them. Then a Bird crashed into the window.
"What in the world?" she asked, waiting for the corpse to drop somewhere. When it landed next to her, she stared at it instead, meeting the creature's eyes. Then it turned into a man. She responded to his statements by sliding off the table and poking the man in the forehead, blue nails tapping on his forehead along with the tip of her index finger, staring at his face. "Is this some creation of your own design, Punch? Some type of...Training dummy?" she asked him. "It's silly. In a funny way. I like the bird too." She put one hand in front of her mouth and giggled a bit. "But your training dummys wouldn't break through a window, would they? Is it glitched? I can subdue it for you." She smiled.
2011-12-28, 11:41 PM
Bartrand furrowed his brow. For a short moment, his eyes acquired a glassy sheen as he fell into his own thoughts. A consumer of memory... dangerous. Used forays into the demon city to bait 'victims'. Gave away book; trap? Most likely. Way of spreading influence and acquiring prey without exposing self to danger. Lurked in silent street, mustn't have feared the Silent Wind. Corrolary: Pan flute; built in discouragement. Reference to Father; unknown individual. Likely third circle soul of Metagaos. Dangerous to speculate without further information, can be acquired later. Useful data about target: Likes indirect traps and misdirection. Uses desires to secure prey. Solution: Head on full assault.
He put a soft hand on Alveua's shoulder, as his gaze regained its warmth."I will put the book back into my shelves, in the locked library. Heeding Alveua's warning, a thin flicker of power washed over his form, then he pushed the book away with his free hand to the edge of the table, for it to be taken back to the library by the still fearful looking Erymanthoi. "If you wish, you, I, and my little army of demons can go out hunting for this crazy bastard, catch him, and render him down sometime this week. I presume you, being the Keeper of the Forge Of Night have a set of Manacle of Night we can use to hold the crazy creature for transport back to the lab. If you want a blade that shatters spells, then there can be little better ingredient for such than a soul of the Ever Hunger Blossom." Maybe by then Wandering Eye would have the automatons finished testing, and he could bring those along as well. It would be a good field test. Less replaceable than demons, but also more potential for refinement and upgrade.
Bartrand leaned over, looking concerned and focused once more on the present. "Also, you still haven't told me who 'They' are that are after you. I want to help you, I want to keep you safe."
Integrity Protecting Prana, just in case memories would otherwise go missing.
2011-12-29, 01:22 AM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies wore an expression that could best be described as "bored", the tirades of Immaculate and elemental alike as ineffective against him as the pleas of his victims. Flipping his daiklave around by its hilt in unnaturally-nimble fingers, he addressed the Immaculate. "The jadeborn cuts to the quick. We have no say in what you do to this demon after we part ways, but he is currently our only lead to this Inverted Ziggurat. As such, he is simply too important for us to simply stand aside and let you show him your warped definition of justice. Now, as a man of artifice I abhor unnecessary violence, waste of energy better-spent elsewhere that it is, but neither am I a simpering coward who flees behind the skirts of nursemaids rather than fight. If you allow us to leave unmolested, then I have no say in what happens thereafter, but if you are intent on harming this demon then you force my hand." In but a moment, his daiklave ceased flipping and halted in a hard grip, held diagonally between the deathknight and the Immaculate. "So I say again; Are you certain that you have the assets even to slow us, let alone stop us?"
Forum came over all retarded and ate my ****ing post so now I want to drown kittens, so this post isn't going to be up to my usual standard.
2011-12-29, 03:53 AM
Tewi nods, adopting a look of casual unconcern. The crowd was still watching, waiting for the bolt to fall; he didn't want to seem one of Vana's followers as they made their way into the market proper. "If you'd point us in the right general direction then, Tiela."
He divides his attention between scanning the crowd and considering Vana and her new follower as they walk. So, she really does possess that sort of power. Any reaction will be delayed, though, and once we're away from those who saw it happen, we'll blend in as much as anyone accompanied by a recognizable jade lion can... Well, it wasn't as though they had anything left to gain from subtlety at the moment. Any of the witnesses to Vana's display they pass are met with a half-raised eyebrow and a swift loss of apparent interest, dismissing unspoken words and playing upon the fear they display so prominently. The sooner they finished with this district's search, the sooner they could reach an area free of prior influence.
2011-12-29, 12:12 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Pausing for a moment Punch looks to the shattered window. With a gesture a couple cat-sized beetles start secreting a brilliant yellow resin replacement.
Briefly he addresses Rose "Not mine. Luna's I think."
Turning to the new arrival he monotones "Welcome to Bartertown. Be advised this is a city of Law, even for Exalted. The laws are easy to follow, do so and there is no problem. Break them and you will be fined accordingly. If you wish to live here, please see Master or one of his assistants at the court to rent a building or room. This is Rose of the Frozen Wastes, I am Punch, this is Min, will do the rest later. Now who is chasing you?"
2011-12-29, 06:27 PM
Things Lost and Broken
'Inverted Ziggurat...' the Immaculate mouthed to himself, and it must have been it that threw him out of the stance all together. The boulders fell to the ground, shattering on the brass and turning into sand in a split second - and it appeared that it was the words Artificer spoke that eroded them, as they eroded the monk's zeal.
'There is a... merit in what you say' he admitted painfully, stepping back. 'The place sounds... like a demon's place that is... uh, full of... uh, demons?' he glanced at the Abyssal, and then at the anklok, his face suddenly the colour of whitened parchment. 'Uh, punish the demons while you are there with... eh, righteous wrath?'
For reasons known but to him, the dragon-king stepped forward, shaking the blade in his clawed hand. A step in an opposite direction followed from the monk. Or more than one step.
'YOU ARE NOT GOING TO THROW ME EVER AGAIN!' he screeched, and soon, only a sound of his hurried footsteps reminded you of him. The pair of his mortal cronies shrugged and likewise departed.
'Well handled' the ship's captain complimented, with a gesture inviting you on board. 'I am ready to depart. Mind, this is not an easy or short travel, and chances are that not a single one of us will be returning, so if you have anything to do or a will to write, the time it is now.'
The scene ends here. 20XP to the both of you, for it was a long one. The sail to the manse gives you enough time to make a single XP purchase, so chose wisely.
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
'Laws, laws, laws, laws...' the Lunar sighed, throwing the now-empty glass behind him. Somehow - you don't want to know how - it landed upright and intact on the plate he took it from. 'Lawgives, such a fitting name!' he looked briefly behind him, at the beetles that were already working at the window. 'One way or another, it is a pleasure to meet you and you may call me...' a certain blue nail interrupted his speech 'ow' he said with a complaint, looking back at Rose. He was smiling, though, in a mischievous manner. 'You are quick to put your pretty hands on me, lady' he muttered, grabbing the Abyssal by the wrist, and pulling her towards him, stepping to the side as if ready to begin to dance. 'But I do not protest, it seems that you have subdued me already' he placed his free hand on Rose's back. 'Shall we dance? Nothing helps to enjoy a decent company like a round of wine and a good dance. The wine part, I have done, but the dance... please, be my partner!'
Still speechless, Tiela shook her head, and grasping Tewi's hands a little bit tighter, begun to pull him towards the eerily silent crowd, her eyes lowered - it was a bit too much to see into the demons who had just seen something beyond any measures of understanding happen.
They parted quietly as the group descended from the platform, giving them a wide, empty space to walk - and giving themselves a safe distance from those who spat onto Yozi's degrees. Not moving, not talking, not shouting, they were standing there, frozen mid-motion. The crowd - too thick to put a hand between demons' bodies closed in the same unsettling silence behind you, behind the blind Lion who rear-guarded your passage.
Even more queerly, the silence seemed to stick to you, and where you went, it followed, like some invisible bubble within which not a single denizen of Malfeas dared to speak or move - the transgression that was Vana's doing was too heavy for them to bear or understand. Sky was going to fall down in a rain of doom any moment now, Lucien was going to turn from the shadows and place a pair of knives sharper enough to cut through perfect between offending Solar's shoulder plates...
And then, a lonesome sound rang with tremendous clarity in the silent air - a begging to a song, drawn from the harp of time by Tiela's restless hands. It was sad, low, slow - a prelude to a lament perhaps.
Suddenly, Zsofika placed a hand on the angylkae's shoulder, and threw the other arm high into the air, fingers spread wide.
'You're doing it wrong, daughter' she smiled to her, the word "daughter" having a meaning deeper than it implied.
She folded the fingers, spread them again and begun to play a music of her own.
It branched from Tiela's tune, for it flew from the same source - but it was something different in more way than one can count. There was triumph in it, a joy of living, a joy of winning, a challenge to all that would seek to defy the deeds of the one of who the song spoke - and it spoke of Vana. Without words, the very melody sang a song of praise to the magician that breaks curses and no one can stop her from that.
And so, to such a triumphant, apologetic music, you walked the Equitable Bazaar's golden tiles, guided by the angylkae to a small stand, a few poles of brass with a thick fabric spread from them, to cover a bubbling still, where a frog-headed bull-demon sat, his legs crossed, a jug of some sizzling liquor in his strangely human hand. He was as still and silent as those around you, but did not remove himself from your presence, as others, merely looking at you with a mixture of wonder, fear and curiosity.
2011-12-29, 06:58 PM
Rose gasped as the man grabbed her back and wrist. Her face blank. She waited. Then, she slowly took her free hand and removed his hand from her back. Then, she slapped the Lunar across the face with a resounding pop. It would sting, not hurt, but leave an impression of her flat hand.
"For one, I am no Law Giver, little Crow. Did no one teach your proper manners?" She asked with a flat face. But a smile tugged at the corners, and her eyes were soft. "Asking a lady for a dance so soon? Your...impetuous nature is...amusing. Were I not so amused, I would be offended and think you thought I but a cheap floozy for your amusement, when I clearly am not." she said, chuckling with her free hand. "But you must try harder then that for a dance with me, Little Crow."
2011-12-29, 07:27 PM
'They are the ones I have abandoned by my new will' Alveua explained 'The spawn of shadows I belong to, a race of dark beings I forged weapons of war for - twisted, vicious beings, as savage as they are bent on destroying you... Bartrand, there are forces amassing against this Oasis of yours, armies being rallied beneath Malfeass skin, beneath Kimbery's waves... this is the storm I spoke of. I have no idea when they will strike, or what for, but their coming shall bring ruination to your works, and they will prepare for their strike meticulously and presciently. They have spies and agents here already, a web of shadows cast on your people, a web that will become a noose. It burns me as I reveal it, but you must know. You must make this Barony ready for when the time comes...'
2011-12-29, 11:41 PM
As the bubble of silence follows them far past those who were witness to the event, Tewi begins to grow somewhat uneasy, which only serves to make him irritated. Never seen a crowd this thoroughly stricken before. No question now, this isn't something she's done before, and it will bring trouble. Ach, I just hope this mark isn't indelible. The song counters the stillness somewhat, but for the most part it only adds to the divide. Doing his best to ignore the feeling, he stays near the front of the group, and the brewer's expression is a welcome balm for his irritation. No doubt he knows as well as the others, but such a reaction looks about right for a friend of this Ophelia.
Approaching the demon, Tewi lowers his voice enough for the music to cover most of the conversation, without giving the impression he's being deliberately secretive. "Ho there, brewer. I'm told that a friend of a friend," he says, flicking a finger toward Tiela with the last word, "considers your work well worth her attention. I don't suppose the Lady's been by today? I'm on my way to find her, and I wouldn't want to bring a gift she already has."
2011-12-30, 01:59 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Punch merely looks expectantly Min as if she might have a clue about this strange and unusual person, shrugs at the behavior of both Rose and Lunar and then offers a hand signal to one of the nearby demons... Two, One, One, Five... the signal to strike up the band with a waltz dance number.
2011-12-30, 05:10 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Min sulked to a corner - in a way. When Punch looked to her, he saw nothing, just a small, silvery spider hidden in a corner. After the events of the wedding, she had come to dislike sudden intrusion.
Not that the current intruded minded her, no, not at all. He was far too occupied with the Abyssal.
He allowed his hand to be taken from her back, looking into the deathknight's eyes with growing amusement. And then, the corrupted Solar tried to slap him - and he did not dodge or balk, no, he did not have to.
Rose's hand met his face head on, and flew right past it, as if it was made from wet clay. And then, the demon musicians begun to play.
'Ah, so this is the dance you have in mind, pretty lady?' he laughed earnestly, his face quickly returning to an original, unmarred state, solidifying on your eyes. 'How exquisite! I knew that you are going to be a company most excellent!'
Nimbly, he jumped back onto the table, and suddenly, a moonsilver blade was gleaming in his hands, cutting through the air in a series of elaborate katas.
'No waltzing here, but the dance of swords!' he announced, offering yet another flourishing bow the deathknight. 'So here I ask again... shall we dance this dance of Exalts, my bonded mate?'
2011-12-30, 06:25 PM
Rose looked at her hand. "...Disgusting..." she said, wiping it on the nearest object as the creature talked, when he finished, she crossed her arms, tapping one foot on the ground. "Now then, little Crow, you should calm yourself. This lady is not going to dance with you now, we are somewhat busy dealing with a number of other things. As cute as you are, we are busy." she chastised again. "If you really are my mate, you should know that we are busy, and don't need a little Crow breaking things." she said, a slight frown on her face. "I will have plenty of time to play with you later, but not now."
2011-12-30, 08:56 PM
Hmm. Vana's attention continues to drift back to the populace as she worries about their reaction. Leaving them this way might not serve her purposes, even if she didn't want to derail their current mission. But, as they reach the brewer, and Tewi begins to talk, she smiles. They only needed one person to talk to the brewer, and Tewi seemed to want attention off of him. Well enough- all the attention was on her anyway, and her attention was on the crowd. All she had to do was stay away from Tewi, and things would go smoother for both of them.
Speaking a quiet word to him might just draw attention to Tewi, and he seemed sharp enough to figure things out, so Vana simply sets about her work. She knows she can't do something grandiose or obvious as it would only further reinforce her power, and thus their fear. Further, it would set her up in a way that forced her to continue topping her every exploit, which would get quite out of hand. No, time for something a little simpler.
Vana begins singing softly, not with words, or above Tiela's music, only taking the harmony to her melody. It layers just a little more complexity and energy to the tune, and carries it just a bit further. She continues the path they were taking, leading Tiela, Zsofika and the lion along a route that meanders and turns, slowly revolving through the immediate portion of the market.
Subtly, Vana emphasizes the beat, setting her step and magic to it, then pauses in front of a merchant's stand, one containing numerous sealed jars and barrels. Curiously, she tests the covering of each with a hand, acting naturally while evoking the sound of a drum. As she moves on to the next stand, there is an absence in the music, a place where a drum should have gone, where the beat might have begun to move. It would be easy to fill it, even if in a quiet, tentative manner. Similarly, Vana lightly strikes glass containers with her nails, bringing out the ringing sound of chimes. Her pace picks up little by little, adding just a hint of flair as she walks among the crowd. There was a song, there was movement, instrumental roles to be filled. Without speaking of them, she sets ideas and actions in motion, allowing the demons to act- or not- as they will. But, she thinks she knows the desire of this place.
Dance, she suggests without words. Make music. There was a triumph here, and you could be part of it. Fear and danger were a part of the demon city but neither could not last for long, for there was life as well. To chase out the horrors and pain there was revelry, and it was all the greater for their strife. Eat, drink, and be merry- for tomorrow you may die; that was what allowed this place to continue day after day, in spite of scouring winds and acid rains, in the shadow of tormented tyrants and their spiteful servants. And it could be something that allowed them to cope with her apparent heresy much more readily.
I think Manipulation + Performance fits here. Her intention is to get them dancing and singing- not in a crazy revel around her like she did when parading to Amalion's, but a more general jovial and exuberant atmosphere. Due to timing and the specific song, the festivities will be linked to her triumph, which will in turn make them more open to it and positive about it later on even if they are not immediately.
Spending 10 peripheral motes on her Performance Excellency (one of these is surcharge for her night caste ability, so her anima isn't exploding all over the place- so 9 dice added). She really wants this to stick in their minds, but feel more like something they chose.
2011-12-31, 03:37 PM
Well, that was certainly an... interesting reaction. Regardless, the Immaculate was willing to let them go without a fight, and Jania didn't plan to question it too much. "Well, that's that. I am ready to leave as soon as the others are."
2011-12-31, 10:19 PM
Bartrand paused for a moment, a long moment. His mind began to run through numbers, logistics, troop counts. A race of Erembour-empowered shadow spawn. Were there enough troops in all of Oasis to handle such an eventuality? He began to calculate, rough troop numbers, adjusted for efficaciousness and training. Discount the rate of loss for experienced leadership. The numbers piled up on the ledger, and the scale swung. There was only one conclusion from the statistics as they sat; Oasis was doomed. Bartrand smiled slightly, starting at the edges of his mouth, then pulling into a large grin. What do you do when the scale is tilted completely one way? Why, you put your hand on the other side and force the balance. To be more vernacular, you cheat. And here, in his dining room, sitting on a chair looking positively gorgeous in her new dress, was a spawn of the greatest cheater in all the universe.
He put his hands over Alveua's, pulled her towards him, and kissed her. He smiled and looked deep into her eyes. Okay, that wasn't strictly necessary, but he had wanted to do it anyway. Sometimes fun has to weigh into the statistics. "We will make the Barony ready. I will send out messengers to those I trust, and who are oathbound to not reveal what they know. We will marshal the forces of the barony, even if those forces don't know what they're being marshaled for. Work is already underway to supplement our standing armies, and with a bit of a nudge, we, you and I, can turn those little armies to face this foe." He paused, gazing into the demon's deep blue eyes. "We will trap them. As long as they continue to believe what they know is correct, we can predict their plans, and they can't predict ours. We can use that; trap them, cheat them, play every unfair game and trick we know. If the last bits of Creation are at stake, then we have no other choice. We must build up in secret, hiding our real strength until the time comes."
He cleared his throat momentarily, "Anyway, about Sheshken. You need Azoth, so we need to get it for you. What do we know about his capabilities? Would you, myself, and a squad of Erymanthoi and Agatae be enough, or do I need to go looking for some outside help? The faster we move, the less time our enemies have to prepare against us."
2012-01-01, 04:14 PM
The silence was more than just an absence of sound, of voice, it was a wall around the souls and minds of the demons gathered, a hard, thick wall that separated them from what they thought to be blasphemous and dangerous - and rightly so. The most zealous priests of Creation That Was could never really grasp the infinite orthodoxy of Cecelyne and her laws, the boundless wrath that fueled her chase for heretics and apostates.
And so, walls high and firm rose in the minds of the demons, for they knew that to venture astray from the path The Endless Desert deemed righteous was to beckon a most dire retribution - and no only on them personally, but also on everything they ever held dear, and everyone they ever cared for...
Yes, the seeds of fear were sown well into the minds of the denizens of Malfeas, and grew high and strong - even thinking about failing to present proper devotion was something they dreaded. And so, the wall around their minds grew higher and thicker.
Yet, as strong as it was, as thick and well-crafted, as ageless and sky-reaching, it was barely registered as an obstruction in the wave of Solar essence.
A low, serene tune of Vana spread forth from her, an invisible avalanche, subtle and still overwhelming. Each consecutive sound she added to it strengthened it, and soon, the wall around the souls, the wall of silence begun to crack and crumble - to fall suddenly.
Music erupted in the silence, for a brief moment ringing as clear as only a sound that was held back for too long could. And then it waned slightly, but no one seemed to notice - for slowly, at first, as if overcoming a physical force holding them in place, the demons begun to dance in a circle, to the tune that was not theirs, but Vana's. There was a terror in it, but a terror soon washed away by the crashing waves of soul-capturing music. All kinds of the Malfeas' denizens accepted it, and soon, where the silence had reigned, a serene revelry was taking place, and it was the Solar that was the axis of it.
And one was obvious for the Iron Wolf - the demons would not forget, for spirits seldom do. And they would remember this moment of peace in their lives, and would spread the tale of it far and wide. The Lady of Smouldering Mantra was known already - but here, she was becoming a legend.
2-die stunt for Vana. 4m or 1wp. Also, there will be other benefits. Or drawbacks. Or both.
The brewer cursed under his breath, lamenting the series of unfortunate events that was his life so far, and quickly raised his head, his hand searching for a drink on its own.
'A friend' he shook his amphibian head, and it was difficult to say whether in agreement or merely despair. One of his eyes stared at Tewi, other quickly glanced at Tiela and Zsofika behind her, before moving onto the rest of crowd, checking whether a hail of arrows or other unpleasant objects was likely. 'She calls me that, oh she does' he sighed heavily. 'So you come from the Lady, you' one of his arms, as independent as his unsettling eyes, and strangely agile for something that bovine, grabbed an empty, filthy jug and quickly filled it with a vibrantly green substance. 'Good Dream Elixir for you, on the house' he announced, passing the mug to the Dragon-Blood. 'Drink it, should not really kill you.
2 die stunt on a Manip+Investigation. 4m or 1wp
2012-01-01, 08:30 PM
Things Lost and Broken
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies blinked a little at the Immaculate's flight. His opinion of Dragonbloods was hardly favourable, admittedly, but he had been under the impression that Immaculates had more backbone. A little regretfully, he returned Armoursmith's Despair to its sheath. "Yes... Well..." Disappointment was in his voice. "Let us be going, before anyone else arrives to delay us further." He turned then... and his eyes fell on one of his companions, jogging his memory. With a somber expression, he addressed the anklok. "Before we reach this Inverted Ziggurat, dragon king, I must speak with you in private..."
Going to save the XP for now; I can't decide on anything to buy, and saving it might lead to Essence 4 sooner.
2012-01-02, 12:13 PM
Punch admonishes the couple with a quiet "If you fight, please go Arena", and wanders off to the corner with a couple books and scroll of the easily etchable copper that fills the roll of paper in the demon realm.
"Envy you, that you can do that My Love" is quietly whispered in the direction of Min as Punch sits down on the floor and starts to scribble out notes on a new Procedure of Creation to create the simplistic waste reprocessors he designed... there's going to be need of them.
2012-01-02, 05:20 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
The tip of the blade remained pointed at Rose, despite her chastising. The Lunar's smile shrank to a nasty smirk and his eyes narrowed. To any experience fighter - and it was hard to say that the Dusk was not one - it was glaringly obvious that he was steeling himself for a duel - adjusting his breath and state of mind.
One step brought him back to the floor, soundlessly, the daiklave perfectly still, in the contrast to the slow, sinuous movement of the rest of his body. He tilted his head to the side, in a manner of a bird, and it was then than the last reminder of smile faded from his face.
'Ah' he exclaimed in a hushed voice, and the demon orchestra immediately understood that it was an order for them to grow silent 'but my Heart's mate, the time, it is now!'
A cloak - you had no idea he was wearing one, and had a slight hunch that he, in fact, created it on that very moment - flew down his shoulders on the ground, in a way both evocative and dramatic.
'Draw your sword' he said coldly, begging to circle Rose 'my Heart's mate, and show if you are worth it'
He flicked his fingers.
And as the demons struck a new, fiery tone, he was at the Deathknight, sword cutting through air.
Yes, that is Join Battle
Alvuea whispered something wearily, the chair she sat on screeching against the floor as stood up, and trailed off into the deep shadows that lurked by the walls. They embraced her, and soon even Bartrand had to strain his eyes to see her outline in the dark.
'It is not that easy, Bartrand' she said, and her words were full of worry 'The odds are stacked against you... against us' she corrected herself, sounding a bit surprised at 'And in a more than one way... more than a hundred of ways, you know? Take Sheshken, you want to apprehend and destroy him, but he... he is up to something, he emerged recently, and I can't say how I remember, but I know that for the first time since the fall of your old Age, he is preparing, reading herself. He was always more powerful than a Citizen like him should be, and now, I was hearing of him...'
Hurried footsteps announced the rather impetuous coming of the Wandering Eye, with the glass automata trailing closely behind her, its carapace charred and nicked, but not cracked.
'I announce success, my Lord and Master!' she shouted from the threshold, in some miracle of physical dexterity - or just a very blatant violation of human body - managing to squeeze a genuflection between syllables. 'The Glassclad will not blow to the strongest charge of firedust I could manage, has the strength of three erymanthoi and a will of a particularly dense brick!' she giggled madly, not noticing the demon creeping in the shadows. 'It is blindly obedient, and will never yield in the face of enemy! More, I think that we can transplant human souls into them, too...' she put a finger to her lip, as if suddenly realizing something 'that could cause a lose sentience in them, though... but they are mortals, they don't need it anyway!'
Raiding the Pit
The sky above was black, and it was not the gloom of the night, for not a single star illuminated the gray sand of Cecelyne, not a single ray of light shone on the desolated, blasted and endless desert. Only a wind, neverending, keening wind, caring sand as sharp as knives accompanied you on your long sail, waning and waxing, but never really dying down - and thus, the clouds of dust set by the wind were the horizon, and into them your ferryman was taking you, silently working at sails, his eyes closed. He did not need them, he navigated by the taste of the wind and smell of the sands, following a winding path no one else dared to wander.
At times, there were things around your ship - monsters on the dunes, observing you, ruins half-berried in the sands, illusions of oasis to lure you, to lead you astray. Or just jagged rocks, jutting from the surface like knives, eager to smash your ship to smithereens and strand you among the sea of desolation. And then, there were long hours of unsettling tranquility, when only the wind rusted in your ears, and it seemed that you are staying still on flat expanse of sand, surrounded by the walls of impenetrably dust, not moving in any direction. And somehow, the time stretched then, minutes passing like hours in the eerie music of wind and sand.
And then, after hours - or days or ages - of sailing, the demon suddenly reefed the sails, and the veil before you parted, letting a light blind you. You were on a top of a high, rocky ridge, overlooking vast, sprawling complex. Countless of pits filled with foul liked dotted the desert beneath you, numberless little flames scurrying between them. You could see tents and encampments of entire army ready to march at a moment's notice - and a machines of war slumbering between them.
But it was all not important, for the heart of the manse lied elsewhere. A single tower sprouted in the middle, tall, topped with a lamp strong enough to banish the gloom of Cecelyne.
'There' your guide pointed at the spire 'That is the Ziggurat. The entrance, that is.'
2012-01-02, 06:19 PM
Rose's somewhat smiling face turned into an absolutely cold frown as the Lunar drew his blade. "...Stop." she said, but was quickly spoken over. "I am not kidding." she repeated, her eyes almost completely closed. Then the creature lunged. Her eyes shot open, her hair flared, and, with the sound of sound itself being sliced to pieces and the jingling of chains, Rose drew her sword "Petulant Crow. I will put you down for your foolishness. Punch, forgive me, I will only break as little as I can." she hissed, As her sword came up. The table behind her was sliced in half, and cracks appeared about the room's walls as she started moving. Papers were strewn upwards, as she moved straight forward.
2012-01-02, 06:54 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
With a slight sigh of annoyance as tables and random papers are shredded, Punch reaches as the snacks are knocked over and grabs a bowl of heated-until-they-explode malfean grains (with salt and butter) and watches the battle warily. He offers some of the "popped corn" to Min as a matter of course.
Join Battle, although he's not planning on doing anything, keeping one of the Arms of Multiple Manipulation in a position to cover Min in case of flying debris or a suicidal lunar attack.
2012-01-03, 05:24 AM
Bartrand smiled. These glass soldiers would do nicely; a central part of his little plan. An army of unflinching loyal shock troops, stronger than any first circle demon. If he could have have the scions of the Dragons for his armies, these would do just fine. Suits of mobile armor, creatures of terrible inexorable purpose. His purpose.
Bartrand rose to his feet to inspect the golem. He looked over the blast scarring from the fire dust, peered at the joints, and inspected the armor plating in use. His hands followed every nick and scratch, inspecting the creature and the damage it took. He turned slowly to Wandering eye, the rare yellow flickering flames in the candles reflecting off the glistening dark blue armor, throwing a strange combination of colors across the room. "You have done well. While you were out testing, I completed a step on the road to your transformation. Continue the good work, and those steps will continue to come quickly. These automatons are pleasing, but we will need many of them for the storms that lurk just past the horizon."
Bartrand hesitated a moment, and placed a hand on the chestplate of the automoton. With a momentary surge of essence, his bracer flickered to life once more, as his own caste mark began to shine on his forehead, brought to life by the expenditure of essence. In an instant, the illusory constructs of the bracer etched a symbol onto the chest plate of the creature, unmarred by the blast damage from the firedust. Inlaid in gold and bright azure, a spark pattern spread across the cuirass of the golem. He smiled. "Begin mass production at once. We must maintain as much secrecy as we can about these creatures, for now, so no souls. I have a plan to provide such in the future, but for the time being we must be unobtrusive. I require an army of these automatons, a Thousand Sons of the Wandering Eye. There is a storm, just off the horizon, that portends ill for both of us, and many more besides. A storm that would see you never ascend, a storm we must break. Go, and make preparations for the manufacture of these golems."
Bartrand paused, looking imperious and certain, waiting for the Wandering Eye and the glass soldier to leave the room. He turned back towards Alveua, lurking in the shadows. He took a long step into the darkened shadowy section of the room, and stood next to her. His glowing caste mark banished the shadows, sending them fleeing to other corners of the room, lurking maliciously as if to glare at the lawgiver with hate and scorn. He gently put his hands over Alveua's and spoke softly. "I know the odds are against us, and we shall prepare as best we can for the storm. I never said it would be easy; nothing worth doing ever is. If Sheshken is preparing, so be it, we can prepare as well. We have the advantage, since we know he is preparing, but he does not know that we are. We have allies that we can call upon if you think it would be pertinent. We have a great purpose, you and I, to rebuild Creation. It will be difficult, but we can't let fear or doubt paralyze us. We must be strong."
2012-01-03, 04:57 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
In a blink of an eye, in a single beat of a heart, the two Exalts were at each other, swords slashing, gleaming.
And as fast and nimble the Luna's chosen was, as graceful and well-chosen his movements were, it was the Dusk that was to strike the opening blow. The raw potential of destruction that rested with the Ashbring was enough to put her ahead any opposition, to strike first - and strike true.
Tick #0: Rose
Tick #2: Crow
Tick #5: Punch
'I will move to summoning at once, my lord and master!' the Wandering Eye almost cartwheeled out of joy. Even the automata seemed to lighten up. 'I shall order a bunch of erymanthoi to dig a new summoning room deep in the bowels of brass, so that we can conduct our dark schemings there, so that we can assemble an army to smash any opposition to togetherness beneath the glass heels of our machines of war!' she spread her arms wide, throwing them to sky. 'The firmament shall burn! We will depose the gods, and become the rules of all that exist! Yozis shall look up to us, and beseech us for mercy WE SHALL NOT EVEN CONSIDER GIVING!'
She chuckled coldly, and then, all of the sudden, burst into a long, echoing, ringing bout of laughter, chill enough to set fear even at demons' hearts.
'Oh, sorry, I've got carried away' she muttered after a moment, cutting the joy. 'I shall remove myself from your presence, my Lord and Master...'
Her heels clicking - why she was wearing ones, anyway? - she quickly turned and walked away, talking the first of the Thousand Sons with her. For a longer while, uncomfortable silence reigned supreme.
'She is crazier than I thought' Alveua observed astutely 'She may just be crazier than the Wind, thinking of it' she allowed herself a short smirk. 'Still, Bartrand, this may not actually be enough... there is a long way before us, you are right, and I don't know if we have the time to scale it. But you are right' she stepped out of the shadows, into the circle of faint glow, and, wrapping her arms around the taller Copper Spider, embraced him tightly. 'You are right... but now, I will be needing your help. I need to move the Forge of Night here, can you help me with that? I fear that they will be waiting for me already, and I fear that I won't manage on my own...'
2012-01-03, 05:10 PM
"Now sit down." Rose commanded the Little Crow, as she moved past his blade, into his guard. Her blade was a second behind her, as a rift was torn in the ground. She brought it forward into the space between her and the Lunar. Even if it missed, a massive chunk of the ground and the wall behind the Crow Creature was torn, like the grasp of a monstrosity pulling the walls of the building apart. The rend arched upward to the ceiling sending plaster and plastic raining down on the two, but Rose was not finished. She stepped forward again, into the creature's guard farther, and the blade came back down, along the same path. The rift widened ever further, and the pull of air was so strong that small bits of building material was pulled down into the strike. With a thunderous Roar, the entire window shattered outward, a burst of air that scattered papers and sent even Rose's hair flying towards it. Then, Rose stepped back, and straightened, her sword perfectly vertical. A Wreath of black covered it, arching like lightning across her arms and blade. Upon her brow, her caste mark appeared. "Come back when you calm down." She said, then Swung. There was another crash, like an explosion, as the blade came straight for the Lunar's throat, the force enough to propel the creature out of the window.
3 Attack Flurry, using a WP to build a Dynamic Combo of First Melee, Savage Shade Style, and Death Deflecting Technique. The attacks are 15, using 6 motes of the first excellency to boost the second to 20, and using 10 motes of the First Excellency to boost the last one to 23. total cost of the flurry is 19m, 1wp unless the PD is activated.
2012-01-03, 05:43 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
'Splendid!' the Lunar smiled, as the blade came down at him. It seemed too fast for him to parry, too skillful for such a weakling like him to avoid.
But the demon's orchestra stuck a higher note on that very moment, one that uplifted hearts and swords alike. The Steward would not be defeated by the first strike - he was a Lunar, after all, and the Chosen of the fickle goddess of Moon have only one thing in common among their lot: they seldom, if ever, yield.
His wrist flicked at an impossible angle, and the daiklave sung in the air, striking up up just as Rose's sword was to split his head in two. Soulsteel wailed on moonsilver, but he held the hilt firm - and so, it was him that moved, not the sword.
The strength of the Abyssal's blow threw him at a wall, cracking it - but it was not only Rose's prowess, but also his clever ploy, few agile steps to take him out of his Mate sword's reach.
He smiled a half-smile, and brought the weapon up in a mock-salute, before kicking off the wall, and lunging at his opponent.
He slashed his sword overhead, a might blow, if a strangely unsubtle one - but it was merely a feint. At a last moment, threw the blade down, at his legs, but they were not legs for a second, but merely a huge, clawed arms, as agile as any other limb. They gripped the hilt, and lighting fast threw the moonsilver daiklave up, in a cleave to sunder Rose... and before the Abyssal had the time to even blink, those were feet again, and he was holding the blade securely in his fist once more.
2012-01-03, 06:03 PM
With her rhythm broken, Rose paused for a moment. Everything went slower, as she waited for him to move, her blade down at her side. She paused, and droned everything out. No music. No dust. Nothing but the Crow who was attacking her. She stared directly at the Crow, her eyes meeting his. It was like drawing a line between them. Her breathing matched his. She was perfectly mirroring him, as the blade came at her. Then he dropped it, and for a moment, her concentration wavered, like a bug running across the water of a perfectly still pond. But her blade came down defiantly as she stepped back, two steps between her feet, her forward leg bent at the knee. With a clang and a jingle her blade intercepted his, then completely circled, pushing the blade away from her as her sword came all the way up to point at his head again. It was a simple move, a parry she learned on her first day of practice, but it was effective, usually.
2012-01-03, 07:52 PM
Raiding the Pit
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies looked out in the direction the demon captain indicated, his expression inscrutable. With but the barest of nods to the captain, he turned and went below decks...
"Dragon king," he said when he finally cornered the saurian. "We approach our destination, and still we have yet to speak. We have no further time to delay; We must speak before we arrive. I doubt either of us will like what the other has to say... but better that we learn now, than to find out in the middle of a crisis."
Not entirely happy with this... but having a hard time coming up with anything better.
2012-01-04, 02:02 AM
"Why thank'e, most kind." Tewi accepts the mug graciously, taking a generous drink of the curious liquid; demon liquors were often quite an interesting experience, although not one he indulged in often. "Although it's less coming from the Lady and more going to her, or attempting as much. Her old place is nowhere to be found today; I'd thought to seek a little luck here instead."
As the stares from the mob move away, once more drawn inexorably to Vana's performance, Tewi grins. "And it seems that everyone else is occupied in following the new song. I'm aware the Lady's gratitude can sometimes bring near as much trouble as fortune, but that aside, I think she'll be quite interested in this meeting. Of course, should I be wrong, silence would be in order. So I hope you can tell me if she's been by today, and where she might have headed off to..."
2 personal motes on another Manip + Investigation: [roll0]
(Oh, and a Stam + Integrity for the liquor, if you like: [roll1]
2012-01-04, 04:30 PM
At the Market
Oriasta’ long pause seemed to take weeks, her wide and confused eyes staring into the intense and piercing lights of the demoness.
This was not a good situation. Not a place she wanted to be. Yes, this was her function, her purpose. But the Ipythemia is the enemy. Helping the enemies of humanity to do something, even something as innocuous as childbirth, seemed like a terribly, terrible idea.
But, she was backed into a corner now.
”Yes?” she said, in a small voice, flinching under that terrible glow.
2012-01-04, 05:23 PM
Punch merely leans back in the corner offering popped corn to Min and staying out of the aggressive playing between children.
Arms are keeping up the Defend Other action, but it is otherwise a Draw/Ready popcorn action flurried with a Guard action.
2012-01-04, 06:13 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
Lunar's blade recoiled off the soulsteel, and the orchestra stuck a triumphant, if a dark tune to celebrate it. Crow stepped back nimbly, adjusting his grip on the blade slightly, smirking.
And then, gracefully, he bowed.
'To the Mate of my Heart I give this' he chuckled, flourishing 'For she is an opponent most skilled! It is a pleasure to fight you, pretty lady!''
Dancing a few more steps away, he placed himself at the damaged window, casually crashing it with an off-hand elbow blow.
'The dance continues!' he announced, as the shards of yellow, half-hardened glass cracked on the ground.
Combat order (also 1 die stunt for Rose)
Tick #5: Punch Rose
Tick #7: Crow
Tick #10: Punch
The demon grumbled and sighed heavily, shrugging his arms. It amused him, probably, to observe the
'She had' he muttered, downing a mug of a foul liquor. A single trickle of sizzling, red... something ran down from his maw. 'Oh yes, she had...'
The dragon-blood could feel the fingers of the angylkale tightening around his hand in fear and anticipation.
'She hung out for a moment, but later decided to leave... said something about looking for her at the slave rings' the brewer continued his tale, looking at the crowd with a decisively unpleased look. 'Great, I seem to be helping the apostates an awful lot, lately. Come on, tempt me to sin or something... wait what is going on?!' he quickly turned his head towards the crowd, looking for Vana with his eyes.
Tewi noticed it, too. The crowd... it had gone silent.
The crowd had gone silent, all of the sudden, as if something cut through the revelry, shortened it, destroyed it.
And then, she heard it this blade - a silvery tune of a panflute, played with a master's touch, but not beautiful at all. The sound was sick, contagious, as a disease could be transformed into notes and melodies, as if famine could be made into a symphony.
It was abhorrent, disgusting and captivating. Her own magic was broken, vanished for a moment, before flickering back to life diminished and bleached. Someone did not like the carnival she was leading.
And this someone was standing next to her, shrouded by a swarm of flies that did not seem to buzz.
A pale man, young demon, with a face struck by grief, and a silver panflute at his lips. His hair was white, as was his robe - and he smelled of death and rot, of slow, gradual decay of all things.
He was looking at the Solar with half-closed eyes, and Vana could easily see that his eyelids hid only empty sockets, without any eyes with them. Yet, the man was not blind, that was obvious, merely unfinished. And somehow, this fact was obvious. The man, although material and tangible, was not finished. Not real. Not complete.
'And so' he spoke, suddenly, in a dull voice, taking the panflute from his lips 'came the False Prophet, speaking a breaking dawn that merely a deceit!'
Demons looked. Some of the still danced, such was the potency of Vana's personality, but even their movement was dying down, slowed by the dreadful aura of the newcomer.
2012-01-04, 07:26 PM
So, this was the Inverted Ziggurat? And that fool of a Twilight was somewhere in there, past all those guards... There was no way she was leading the way in there, not without far better reason. So far the moment, she simply took a position up against the ship's mast, watching the Abyssal and the Dragon King's discussion from a... relatively safe distance.
2012-01-04, 08:05 PM
Bartrand laughed, an amused, calculating laugh. "Yes, she is insane. But she is a useful kind of insane. An insane being that is on our side. And for now, that is enough. If she can provide help against the storm, then we can forgive many offenses."
Bartrand smiled down at the demon-woman embracing him; he could feel her warmth bleeding into him. It felt good, like a warm cup of tea in ones hands on a cold day. Should he consider this strange, that a demon seemed to care for him? What were the odds of such an occurrence, had creation not been destroyed. Four thousand years in the First Age, three hundred Solars, average lifespan of a solar approximately 1.5 thousand, taking into account hazards, so around 2.7 lifespans per solar, so just about 800 solar-incarnations. Take an estimate, and say 0.5% would fall for a demon. That would leave... 4. He knew of at least three from historical records, so the math checked out. Not unprecedented, probably higher odds, given such things were not likely to be recorded in most cases.
In the end, did it really matter that she was a demon? What really was the difference between a demon woman and a mortal woman. Well, the little horns on her head, surely, but that wasn't really that much of a stumbling block. He grinned at her, a wide stupid grin that likely belied his previously calculating thoughts, and put his arms around her. His tone was light and jovial, "Move in? I don't know, what would your mother think?" He smirked, making it very obvious he was joking. "Yes, of course I will help you move the Forge of Night. I am happy to do it. I have plenty of Marrottes, Erymanthoi, and Agatae to handle moving everything. If you want, we can either do it stealthily, say, disguising the containers as though we are shipping in contraband, bribe officials to not inspect our cargo as it enters the Forge, so that no one suspects we are moving your things out, or we can make it seem as though I am forcing you to hand over your possessions, signing an Azure Paper with a Cecelynian witness, to perhaps throw your former confederates off the track. Or we could be remarkably unsubtle, I could send some letters to the other Solars I know, and we could march in at the head of an army and simply take everything, in open defiance of whomever is waiting for you. There was zombie-craftsman and a jadeborn at my little meeting the other day, I could ask them if they wanted to come along, I'm sure they could be convinced to help in exchange for some of these artifact designs. We'll get everything moved, have no fear or worry. I'm here for you." Bartrand gave a nod towards the memory-stones, indicating the devices he had returned with from the meeting with the Eclipse earlier that day. He'd have tapped them, or pointed, or otherwise indicated in a more concrete fashion, but his arms were quite busy holding Alveua and at this moment that was a much more important task.
2012-01-05, 11:40 AM
Vana was seated at this point, letting the populace enjoy themselves without more of her input. When this new figure comes, she does not move to intercept or oppose him, but waits, allowing him to come to her. When he stood next to her, she rose and gave a low curtsy, speaking as she rises from it. "A prophet proclaims that which is to come, looking into the future and predicting what will be. It is not prophecy that I speak of, but a dream, something more elusive and yet, enduring. For though a prophecy may be proven false, and decay in the shifting tides of time, a dream will live on even in the darkest hours, so long as even one dreamer sustains it."
Giving a grin to the stranger, Vana switches to a less serious tone. "Or have I misunderstood you? Are you declaring yourself a false prophet? If you are, I would advise taking a different tact." Carefully, she reclaims her seat, and then gestures across from her. "Will you join me? I would be glad to accept your company."
2012-01-05, 12:03 PM
Oh? That was quicker than I expected... Scanning the crowd from above with his unbound eye, Tewi locates Vana at the centre of the disruption, bringing his sensor down to get a closer look at the newcomer. "It seems the song has been interrupted by a rival musician," he quips, before raising his half-full mug and gazing down into it, overlaying the pale demon's image from one eye onto the surface of the green liquid to form a false reflection. Reflections are revealing, whether false or true, and he breathes on the liquid, setting a series of ripples in motion and watching the shapes formed by the ones that collide near the face, hands, and heart of the piper.
Now then, whose attention have we attracted this time, and should I bother going over there?
Revelation of Associates Hunch, for 4 personal motes and 1wp.
Also, does Essence sight reveal anything odd about our new friend beyond what you're already mentioned?
2012-01-05, 12:19 PM
At the Market
Ophelia wasn't normally one to do as she was told, but this seemed important. Critically, vitally so, even.
So she let Orastia answer, terrified though she was.
2012-01-05, 02:39 PM
A stiff breeze ruffled through the bazaar, through the stands and wares - but the bells continue to ring. It was not a wind of Adjoran, it was a breath of rot's overwhelming stench.
Blood and soot begun to rain down from the sky, in a thrashing of the Omen Weather. The demon-brewer tasted the gore, and then immediately and hastily returned beneath the tent that was his stand.
'Go!' he hissed, all of the sudden, looking with sheer terror at the thick clouds above 'Go before you beckon more of Their anger with you meddling!' he spat.
But the Dragon-Blood mind's was absent now, and he could not hear this rebuke. He was hearing something else entirely now.
The winds and waters spoke to him, and he knew now the three names the silver demon was beholden to:
Metagaos, the Thousand Toothed Blossom, the Great Devourer!
Consumption, that awaits all at the end of Metagaos' unsatisfiable hunger!
Emptiness, that shall follow when the Yozi devours all, and then devours himself, and there is nothing left!
And all those three things heard the chosen of Daana'd snooping at them, and stared back at him and whispered to him with profane words of horror that scour away mind and soul.
Roll Willpower, difficulty 4, please.
Vana's retort was well aimed and spoken even better, carrying the strength of her essence with it - but the silver-haired demon only smirked, and snuffed it out with his power. And so, the Solar's words rang hollow among the crowd, hollow and false. The dance was almost done, more and more demons succumbed to terrifying stillness.
'They see' he panflutist whispered, and his voice echoed through the crowd. 'They see the awful truth, one that false prophets deny...'
He threw his hand into the air in an arcing motion, his pale flesh growing crimson-red in the rain of blood.
'Hark!' he called in a chilling voice. 'Heed the words of the true Prophet! For I shall speak of matters most grave, and the end that is growing nigh!'
The demons, usually apathetic to prophets and doomsayers, obeyed, turning their eyes and ears at him.
'As the Creation of our Creators succumbed to the will of the Void blasphemous Chosen dug out, so will our realm!' he announced 'But it will not be the Maw of Oblvion that consumes it, but the rot you can all smell!'
Indeed, the taste and stench of decay in the air seemed to intensify with every word of the prophet - and with it, the rain of blood slowly transformed into a torrent.
'The Thousand Toothed Blossom hungers, and slowly, mote by mote, he devours. And we all into his maw shall go, at the end of the days. We all' he hung his voice low 'and no one will escape this grim fate we must accept. So mourn, mourn, mourn, for woe is the name of all that exists, and its sole fate! We shall all go into him, and be rendered asunder, so lament, children of Malfeas, and heed false prophets of false hope not!'
Raiding the Pit
The anklok remained inscrutably silent for a moment, stroking the edge of his daiklave with one his claws, raising a grinding, grating screech from it, as if the golden material could wail.
'Fine' he spoke finally, thrusting the wrapon into the bleak sands and crossing his massive arms across his chest. 'Speak your hollow words, essence carcass, I'll listen.'
He visibly enjoyed the gale striking against his scales, the sand blown on the wind wearing them down - it was what he was created for, what he always wanted. Raid against the foes of the Sun in the middle of the desert, without the need to hold back his hand.
And so, he was grim and gloomy now, deeply immersed in his own, private, inner meditation.
The lights below moved ceaselessly - patrols and encampments. Judging by the number, at least a hundred, and most likely more demons were on the surface below. And it was more than obvious that pits around the manse could spawn more.
2012-01-05, 03:15 PM
Fury is somewhat alarmed at how things are turning, and moves closer to Oriasta, putting himself in a position where he can quickly intervene if things turn violent.
2012-01-05, 03:21 PM
Raiding the Pit
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies twitched a muscle in an expression that would have been a raised eyebrow on a living face. If he had a comment on the anklok's demeanour however, he kept it to himself. He kept his expression carefully-neutral. "Your loyalty to the Unconquered Sun is no secret, dragon king. I have no issues with this in principle. Indeed, had mortal and Exalt alike followed the example of your people better, perhaps there would be more of Creation than fading memories. However, I fear your loyalty to the Sun, or more accurately your loyalty to his Chosen, may cause us some practical problems in the near future." He continued without skipping a beat for the anklok to become offended. "You see, while I was examining the hermit whose information led us to this juncture, I discovered proof persuasive, if not proof positive, that one or more of the Sun's Chosen were involved. The hermit, when we came upon her, was dying from poisoning, specifically a venom that was derived from Yozi venom - though I will not be able to tell you more until I have had chance to examine my samples in greater detail. The findings I have, however, are that the venom was modified - whoever modified the venom wanted the hermit to die slowly and painfully. What is more, I found that the venom had a... Holy aspect to it. As if carrying the judgement of the Unconquered Sun. I admit, this is not solid evidence that the person or persons performing this modification were Solar Exalted. However, when taken as one piece of the bigger puzzle, I find I can think of few other possibilities that are not improbable to the point of being virtually-impossible, or that cannot be outright-discounted by the evidence." He shook his head then. "Perhaps this is coincidental; Perhaps the person or persons who poisoned the hermit wanted her dead for other reasons, and their only connection to those holding the Copper Spider is that the hermit knew of both groups. At this point, I do not know. In fact, perhaps I am incorrect in my assessment, and the Chosen of the Sun had no hand in the hermit's near-death. But I do not believe I am wrong. All I can do is to inform you of what I know, as best I know it, and ask; What do you plan to do now?"
2012-01-05, 04:24 PM
The ripples in the glass grew still, some trick of fate defying the wind, and Tewi's eyes, false and real, snapped shut as the pale prophet's truths washed over him.
Metagaos. You'll not devour me, for I'll always find another secret, another force. Think you can follow me for long enough?
Consumption. Every scavenger consumes, and we all know of transiency. These are not truths you can use against me.
Emptiness. Colour the Void, and you erase Oblivion. Devour everything, devour yourself, and the Wyld'll still be there. You can't devour potential.
2012-01-05, 06:49 PM
At the Market
The Street of the Golden Lanterns sighed with relief, and the opulent chamber rebuilt itself around her and you - and with it, the usual flow of life and lust returned to street itself, and demons raised from their knees, happy that the wrath of the Unquestionable did erupt, passing without the torrential destruction that could follow.
Allowing her beautiful, human form to fall heavily to a bad, she stopped looking in your direction at all.
'Now, this is exactly what I expected to hear, little spirit' she said coldly. 'And a way for you to escape the little Hell I was going to raise just for you... this feeling you caused, it won't get off for at least an age, do you have any idea how awful it is? Anyway... I expect you to find me a mortal lover I will consider suitable, and then making it so that the union with him results in an offspring. Do you understand? Mortal, then a child. I do not ask you for anything more... yes, I do not' she repeated after a moment of consideration and a meaningful look at Fury. 'Do you want to ask questsion? Go on, whatever serves you. Just be aware that if you fail to present me with an appropriate mate within...' she made a circular, lazy motion with her hand 'say, an hour, I shall see it to myself that a whole huge lot of mewling, human babies from this pitiful Barony of yours gets served to Gumella or someone like him. They are tasteful, are they not? Ah, and, Ophelia?' she pointed at a cabinet to the side 'be so kind and pour your old aunt a cup of something tasty, I have a headache because of you...'
2012-01-05, 07:27 PM
"Ah, now I understand your tune." Vana replies, still calm, though her voice has grown more sober and serious. "There is some truth in your words- I will not deny it. It is not only Metagaos's poison that festers this realm, but a grave wound that has yet to heal."
"Even so, you do not speak the whole truth. You lie, and saddens me to hear it." The sorceress twists to her feet, her words spoken with such honesty and conviction that they seem true. "For it is not a lie that you have devised, only the wound within you twisting your understanding. How could something incomplete conceive of something whole?"
"Play your flute and speak of its doom, prophet, but there are words to your song as well. Listen for them, and the message they bear, for they are as vital as the sound beneath them." The haunting, terrible tune of the panflute plays, echoing through Vana's aura, but through it winds a new sound, a counter melody composed of Vana's voice and words. Sweet notes are spun delicately through the terrible music, working with it and becoming one with it. Rather than assaulting it from without, it works from within, taking on its strength while altering its meaning. With its presence, the song before seems as unfinished as the demon that played it.
"Though some day I'm sure that I'll die,
That's still no reason not to try-
So I'll reach up, up to the sky.
Tear my life down, and I'll build still,
That can't stop me, and nothing will.
There is no dream I can't fulfill.
I'll be strong and keep on striving,
I'll keep going 'til the end.
Though one day the curtain will fall,
I still press onward with it all-
And I'll bow at the final call.
Though one day it may all be gone,
It's no reason not to go on.
One day's end is just one more dawn."
Vana raises her arms as the song fades, and the aura of decay is laced through with the smell of new growth, of water, loam and green plants, the old bringing in the new. "Here is your lie, prophet: Creation has not succumbed. It is battered and suffering, but Creation is not the land- but the people. We are still here, and we will build ourselves again. That is the missing portion of your truth."
She gestures outward to the city and populace beyond and before her. "And has not Malfeas survived? Through pain and torment, the city was born, though each day is a trial, the city thrives and conquers that which would rise up against it. How can Metagaos hope to destroy what the winds have not swept up, the sea not dissolved, or the sands overtaken? Malfeas survives! Here is the omission of your song and prophecy- Even from the ashes, it may rise once more- such is the strength of the city, the people, and your liege, that you so easily condemn."
Manipulation + Performance, twisting the words of the prophet against him with song and oration.
Vana will spend 6 personal motes on her performance excellency, and a willpower for an automatic success.
[roll0] +1 success
(Stunt is 2, 7, 7, taking 6 motes for reward)
2012-01-06, 11:53 AM
'I don't think a finesse will carry us far here' Alveua replied, her voice a bit sour 'my former friends will move in quickly, and my decision has sent the ripples far and wide, they know. And I need my anvil if my work is to continue, my library too. And the store of rare ores... it is a lot of things, I know, but they are beyond value, Bartrand' all those words she whispered straight into the Solar's ear 'I must reclaim them, they are the collected works of my existence...'
Giving him a pat on the back, she broke the embrace, stepping back.
'The Forge of the Night is fortified, breaking in or out will not be easy. After the first rundown with the King in Mourning, I've decided to reinforce it until it was a literal citadel. If there is a way of doing it without bringing heavy forces to bear, it would be fantastic... alas, I except the agents of the Shadow to wait there already... worse yet' she frowned 'it lies in the vicinity of Nine Spires Of Ebon Shroud Kingdom.'
2012-01-06, 01:58 PM
Bartand sighed and nodded. The inability to plan for guile was unfortunate. That said... just because they couldn't use overt tricks didn't mean they had to launch a head on assault or be foolish about it. A truly smart man knows when he is in over his head and needs to call in reinforcements. He put a hand lightly on Alveua's cheek, smiled and spoke softly. "We'll get all those things. I know they're important to you, we'll get them."
The Copper Spider stepped back, and turning withdrew a notebook of paper and a set of pencils from a drawer. They had laughed at him when he stocked every room in the manse with a compartment with pencils and paper. Well, who was laughing now? Nobody! He put the writing implements on the table, and pushed them towards Alveua. "I will call some associates of mine. If we can't use tricks to get in the front door, we'll bypass it. We'll travel to within range of your portal magic, find a safe house, then use your portals to gain entrance to the interior. Ideally, we'll take whomever is waiting for you by surprise, dispatch those we need to, claim the treasured possessions of yours, and withdraw with them back through the portal. That should let us largely bypass the fiefdom of the Nine Spires, the external defenses, and should mitigate the number of fights internally. If you could give me a diagram of the interior, along with the positions of the items we are to reclaim, that would be an immense help. Now, I'm going to go call in some backup."
With a final smile at the demon, Bartrand turned again, and sat back down at the table. Unfortunately, he couldn't show Alveua the faces on the cards, lest he accidentally break his own oath. With a flourish, he pulled the five playing cards from his pocket, laid them down in front of him across the table, and concentrated. Charging them with essence, they sprung to life, and Bartrand's face and demeanor became grave. "My compatriots" he began, concentrating on sending the mental message to the cards. "I apologize for disturbing you all again so soon after our last meeting, but something dire has come to my attention. A group of demons likely aspected towards or otherwise associated with the Ebon Dragon is plotting to attack and destroy Oasis in the very near future. I do not yet have accurate tactical information on size or disposition of force, but it is larger than anything we currently have available to counter it. I have begun working on creating countermeasures, and I'd recommend all of us do the same. On a more urgent note, an opportunity has come to my attention; an opportunity to deprive this enemy of important and valuable resources. One of their previous primary weapons manufacturers, the Keeper Of The Forge of Night is no longer on their side, and we are being given the opportunity, with her help, to steal back a large number of important strategic resources that are in the hands of our new collective enemy. The survival of Oasis and the human race rests on defeating this shadowy opponent. If any of you are available to assist in this operation, I'd appreciate it, as it is important to our communal survival."
Using the Trumps to send the message to all four other members of the circle. It's a mental message, so I presume Alveua can't simply overhear, which would be problematic for the Oath.
2012-01-06, 02:31 PM
Rose continued her sighing. "Look, little boy. I am *rapidly* becoming sick of you. Did no one teach you manners, at all?" she hissed. With her sword back in proper position, she decided to draw out the Crow instead of pressing the offensive. She took a step back, the metal on her heels clicking against the floor, and cut. Her reach was...longer? perhaps. Her blade was longer, at the least, and the first third of her sword swung at the Crow's chest, intending to cut the tendons in his chest. It was a graceful move, but it was nothing particularly special.
One attack on crow
2012-01-06, 03:40 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
This time, the Lunar had no problems parrying, no need for feats of super-human agility.
'Growing weary, I see, weary already...' he chuckled, moving from the window, deeper into the chamber, to the doors, to interpose himself between them, and you.
'Well, that is quite good, maybe you should consider yielding, pretty lady?' he suggested, jumping again.
The cut was simple, if swift, nothing extraordinary, nothing that would really endanger Rose, unless, of course, she was to fumble.
Far more importantly, Punch suddenly felt a sharp tug in the back of his head, and the pack of trumps he held in his pocket became heavy. Someone was trying to communicate with him through them, he understood that much.
Tick #7: Crow
Tick #10: Rose, Punch
Tick #12: Crow
As abruptly as it had begun, the vision fades and disperses into tiny droplets of gore, washing down the dragon blood's face, and onto the pavement below.
He could feel the lithe demon, Tiela, clinging to him tightly, her music muffled and distorted. She was looking for a shelter from the torrent, and from the fear that turned her inside out as she was looking at the silver-haired prophet, and hearing his words and tunes of destruction.
There was a bitter taste, as of a wormwood, in Tewi's mouth, but apart from it, he felt sound, as if the whispers he fought back with his will took a bit of mental detritus from the recesses of his soul, leaving him cleaner, purer.
The ichor that was Dragon's blood stirred within his veins, blew with strength he could hardly remember.
And so, amidst the winds of rot and showers of blood, he felt as alive as never before.
Two die stunt that succeeds. 4m or 1wp.
Also, a perception+awareness roll, please.
The Iron Wolf's rebuke hit the demon straight-on, shaking him to the core. He shuddered, the void in his eyes backing down, the paleness of his flesh growing so that the Solar could almost see right through him.
The dance once more took over the crowd, demons moving in a stiff, jolted circle, as if the dance, the revelry was a force on its own, possessing them, making them throw away the blissful hopelessness the silver-haired prophet wanted to give them.
But the fight was not over yet, nor were the denizens of Malfeas fully within Vana's hands. No, it was from it.
'You speak the name of the Tyrant as if he could give an aid he sneered, and suddenly, the light of Ligier was dimmed, and things casted theirs shadows on the brass and basalt. 'You call upon the circle of rebirth, on this sacred symbol of blasphemy, and believe it to be a shield against a wave that cannot be stopped!'
His voice rose over the cheer and dance.
'Every circle breaks. Entropy claims all, for all hungers to be consumed, broken down, reduced. Only then will it find its release, when it is no more, when only singular motes in the void remain, only then will be the hunger sated! Want is everything that fuels this circle of life, want and starvation! We exist to consume, to carve more, to get more, and there is nothing to us but such corruptions. Weak devour the helpless, strong devour the weak, and still, there are more, more, more! More who believe that their pathetic life is something more than hunger! It is it not!' he shouted, and the brass shuddered and buckled under the weight of his words. 'Submit to the hunger, want not, crave not! Only then, when you are no more, there will be nothing that you will want or need. You will be at peace again!'
He looked the Solar into her eyes and smiled a mirthless smile.
2012-01-06, 04:47 PM
"No, Little Boy. I am not growing tired." Rose said, as she casually pushed his blade out of her way. She brought her heel down on the Lunar's foot, then drew her blade upward, aiming to cut across his torso, but kept him pinned with her foot, so he could not move away. "I could fight someone with your lack of skill all day." she continued, then twisted her heel deeper into his foot, her blade raised above them both. With a sweeping motion that left a ghostly trail of rattling chains, she brought the weapon down at the opposite diagonal of her first cut, attempting to make an X across his chest.
Activating Vengeful Riposte for 3m Peripheral on his attack, gives me a Counterattack, then attacking normally. No Onsalught because not a Flurry
2012-01-06, 05:15 PM
Reaching inside his armor for a moment Punch carefully contacts each of the cards in turn with a small dose of essence until he encounters the one that bring Bartrand's message. Frowning slightly he merely mentally responds with "Gathering force. Where meet?"
Momentarily turning towards Min, he faintly whispers "Trouble" and then politely raises a hand with an upraised finger in the direction of the battle, non-verbally politely requesting permission to address the combatants.
2012-01-07, 11:35 AM
"How strange are your words, doomsayer." Vana exclaims, dropping her arms back to her sides as she walks in a circle about him. "You think we would all lay down to die? You question whether Malfeas would fight for them? How terribly naive. How foolish."
"See the marveled city around you! Will it willingly go to its end, caving away? See these people, its life, its beating heart and its voice- will that be so simply silenced? The spirit of the city, Malfeas, is of them, and one with them. The changing and growing of its endless ways, the dances and agonies of its citizens, that is Malfeas. A king is tied inextricably to his people, no matter his nature- and so when you fight against them, he will rise up. Or do you think he will let what is his be taken away so easily?" She leans in close, and whispers into his ear, giving voice to terrible words that for all their silence, are heard by all.
"You speak of accepting defeat, prophet. Malfeas knows that shame, and will not accept it with a bowed head. I would tread carefully, if I were you."
She pulls back and away, leaving her quiet words with the prophet for him to carry. He had given reason for them to be spoken, and he would suffer the consequences. Her renewed distance from him becomes significant, as if she were avoiding a plague he carried- and in truth, perhaps he did.
"You further make a fool of yourself in your claims- there is no peace in emptiness. There is no satiation in the void. There is simply nothing, and that is a gnawing hunger of its own. Can you not see it in the underworld? It demands to be filled, even though it never will be. It hungers eternally, because there is no longer anything to sate it."
"It is life where one might find peace and content- because life is not a circle or cycle as you claim." Vana turns to the city and spreads her arms wide one more. "See Malfeas! Forever building, forever growing. Each shattered build replaced by three of what was lost, its layers expanding and growing out to infinity! See Malfeas, who has risen to support the weight of two worlds- and finds such a burden paltry before his magnified strength.
"Life endures, life grows, and builds, becoming more, not less. It is not a cycle, but a tree, and though its limbs may be pruned away, it will grow on. Even if the tree is cut down, it will have spread its seeds far and wide. So one may look upon their life and be satisfied- for when that end finally comes, they may look back and see the thousands of seeds they have planted around them, the countless ways they will live on and grow, even when their name is no longer remembered."
Vana points to the unfinished demon, as a judge condemning the guilty. "I ask you, foolish false prophet, where is hunger most? In the heart of a man who runs to his end, his dreams unsought after, who has taken and not given? Or in the man who has lived his life fully, built up to the sky, and in the end, looks back on what they have sown with satisfaction, his work complete?"
Manipulation + Performance, an oration to twist the demon's words and show him as foolish and perhaps even heretical.
Spending 7 personal motes on a Performance excellency:
2012-01-07, 04:47 PM
Of Butterfield, Bruises and Ballast
An expression of definitely immoderate complacency painted itself across handsome Lunar's face.
'Oh, that is exactly what you want!' he laughed, as Rose's riposte bounced off his parry 'A whole day with one such as you, pretty lady!'
He danced to the side, exposing a master's footwork, catching the second slash from the Abyssal on the middle of his daiklave blade, quickly changing his grip and throwing the soulsteel sword to the side, giving him the opening he wanted. Immediately, he rushed in, smashing into the woman his his shoulder, trying to throw her off-balance and impale upon the moonsilver edge.
'Well, pardon me for asking you on a date in such a rude manner' he said, quickly returning to his opening position 'but we the Lunars are kind of a barbarians, you know...'
As for Punch, he ran into a problem that while not unexpected, was kind of a troublesome for the filed of trying to communicate with his mate. Even Solars sometimes have the problem of reading brown recluse's body language, and it takes some time.
Punch: reading Min's answer is a speed 5 miscellaneous action.
Tick #10: Rose, Punch
Tick #12: Crow
Tick #15: Rose
Tick #17: Crow
Alveua quickly snatched a pencil from Bartrand, and on the paper slashed it, composing a short map of nine circles.
'Yes' she muttered, adding a small door-way sign to one of the circles, and then scribing an anvil not far to the left of it. 'My portal magic is weak when I try to transport someone else beside me, but... the Nine Masked Man of the fiefdom were kind enough to install essence wells in their towers' a grin emerged on her face, lightning it - or, as it was a case with her, actually darkening it. Nonetheless, it was an auspicious sign. 'If we can crack one of those towers and hold it for a moment, I should be able to subvert this wells, and channel them into a small portal, making it a stable opening into the Hall of Dusk in the Forge of Night... it should last long enough, too. Though we will need someone to hold the spire against the Nine Masked Man forces. How does this sound, Bartrand?'
The cards where a small miracles of art - the busts of the all the five co-conspiratos given out in such a splendid, immaculate detail that one would expect them to spring to life at any moment. Each stroke of the brush was perfectly measured, each hue harmonious and clear.
And so, when the images opened like a windows to a distant horizons, and the figures on them changed from paintings to living images, it was not much of a surprised. Only Forsaken Sword's card remained still - he did not want or could not answer.
The Regent was sitting in his chamber, tapping fingers at the table in a gesture of a mild impatience, looking through some papers.
'I am glad to hear about your success, Bartrand' he said, putting the paperwork down. 'As for this raid you seem to be proposing, I will assist you to the best of my abilities, but I need to have the details of it ready before I can dispatch any forces. What are we up against? What do you need to conduct the operation?'
Harmonious Jade, meanwhile, seemed to be in an entirely different environment - a featureless, infinite plain of brass soaked in the emerald brilliance of Ligier. In short: brass wastes, the huge, empty wasteland in the middle of Oasis where no one dwelt and nothing was. It was hard to imagine a reason for the Iron Wolf to be there.
'I will see what I can do, Twilight' she muttered - her eyes were closed, and her caste mark burning. 'But I am on a hunt right now, can't talk, so I will contact you later' she added, and terminated the mindlink.
Raiding the Pit
'Fear not, essence carcass' the dragon king hissed, sticking his long tongue out, getting a taste of the winds 'there is a bloodshed of impure in the air, and it will be my blade that cleaves the clean from the taint! And if it is the Sun's own chosen who is the taint...' a wicked grin distorted his already horrifying snout 'all the better! I shall rip the heart of the one who usurps the justice of the Unconquered Sun, feast on his flesh and offer his soul to the cleansing fires so that it is reborn purged! AND I SHALL BE BLESSED BY THE SUN!'
He laughed, and the winds carried his booming bellow far and wide, down to the valley beyond.
'They are not holy whose light is given to them! Does this orb of gold make me any holier?' he asked, pointing at the orichalcium eyeball embed in his skull 'No! Holiness is a grace that can only be earned! And those who abuse it are cast away from the Unconquered's Sun wrathful eyes, and left to burn amidst the embers of countless blasphemers that came before them!'
He tore his weapon free from the sands, and pointed them it the spire.
'If this is a lair of a Chosen unfit for his duties and the shard of divine within him, that is a gift from the Sun! We will raze it! We will topple it! We will nothing standing in the wake of our passage!'
2012-01-08, 11:32 AM
Raiding the Pit
The Artificer of Ten Thousand Blasphemies deliberately chose not to comment on the dragon king's hyperbole. He was becoming accustomed to it rapidly. "This is a relief to hear, my companion of circumstance," he said. "But I would like to stress that we do not, as yet, know whether the people in this bastion had anything to do with the hermit's illness. Please, reserve your judgement until the jadeborn and I have been able to discover as much as we can about the residents of this place." He turned to look at the tower, rising from the endless desert as if daring the Yozi to attempt its domination. "We know that there are Solar Exalted among the leaders, but at this present time this is all we know. We should not make enemies as powerful as these until we are sure that they should be opposed. Nobody is well-served by us selecting our enemies poorly."
2012-01-08, 07:30 PM
"Listen, little crow." Rose shot back, as she met the man's shoulder tackle head on, slamming her own shoulder into his. Her blade swept down, attempting to cut his legs again."Just because I am a Dusk, it does not mean I think dates need to be fighting. I prefer more...refined, establishments." she hissed. Then, with a smile, she gave the crow a quick kiss on the cheek. "But your attempt at trying was nice. You failed, but it was nice." then, while he was distracted, she delivered a bone shattering blow with the flat of her blade at his chest, attempting to knock him down and out. "It's just...that don't impress me much."
Vengeful Riposte again for 3m
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