View Full Version : Exalted: Old Wounds

2008-01-14, 09:55 AM
A pleasant spring midafternoon finds each of you in the village of Narshe for your own reasons. The unseasonable warth is tempered by a soft breeze. Only moments ago the ferry docked letting off a few passengers, including perhaps a few of you. The rest may have stayed on cots at the public house, all the rooms in the inn being taken up by either men from the Guild caravan stopping over in the village or retainers of the notorious scavenger lord Raiton Deverry II.

In the market square the Guild traders have set out their trade beneath a makeshift sunshade. Mostly adult males from some of the local barbarian tribes, with only a few women and children amongst them. Some few of the villagers are looking them over disinterestedly, scoffing at the prices spoken by the Guild seller. The village children run laughing through another part of the square, seemingly in pursuit of a stray cat.

Across the square a slight figure, features obscured by a far heavier cloak than the weather warrants, slips into the general store followed closely by a very nervous looking old man leaning on a cane. On the other side of the square a blue haired youth stumbles, bleary eyed and shirtless, from the inn. He gives a wide yawn and wider stretch, showing off his well muscled chest and a large scar over his left pectoral muscle to good effect, before strolling to the public house.

2008-01-14, 10:12 AM

Hound waits till she's stepped off the ferry and dons the appearance ( face, via artifact mask ) of a plain faced young girl with skin tanned from long, hot days in the field. After spiriting herself away from the departing crowd she quietly exerts her inner reserves to completely mask her presence from the unassuming peasantry.

Taking note of the blue-haired rogue she migrates towards him and attempts to fleece him of any valuables as she walks by.

( Mental Invisibility Technique, 5 motes of personal and 1 willpower; [roll0] + 3 auto suxx ) on the stealth

( [roll1] to steal! )

edit: Btw if anyone is going to try and notice Hound make sure to list any WP ( ST will probably want this ) expended to do it if my successes didn't beat your MDV.

2008-01-14, 12:24 PM
Though the fact that she was clad in her sandy overcoat made Rana's rather obviously extravagant dress harder to see, there was almost no doubt that she looked very, very out of place in a small village. A woman of her looks and bearing could not be assumed to be either native or even normal, and had they seen her means of entrance... well, things would have gone even further downhill from there. Of course, Rana mused, there were some cases where having a giant demon wasp for a mount is totally understandable and accepted. Of course, she only mused this in a vague attempt to feel less obvious and blatantly indiscreet. Ah well. Lesia took care of it, it's not a problem!

A vague glance down at the thin red-jade plate on her gauntlets reminded her of the general idea. Pose as Dragon-Bloods to avoid suspicion, don't piss away Essence - and DEFINITELY don't make any flashy displays - and try to get any further leads. Well. Help Lesia get the leads. Hopefully Rana wouldn't get into a fight, for as long as the claws remained retracted, she wouldn't be flashing that Anathema me-... Orichalcum! all over the place where people would find it rather problematic. Note to self: Remember that they're not quite as Anathema when you're one of them. Got to get used to that.

Rana redirected her glance to look back and see how well Lesia was following her out of the public house, before gazing forwards, out into what passed for streets in this laughably tiny village. Attention shunted from one thing to the next, jumping from salesman to salesman, to the general store, to the sight of the manor a ways down. She pursed her lips in indecision for a few seconds, before turning back to the hopefully-approaching Lesia, and posing a semi-cheery question.

"Soooooo... Who to ask first? I mean, those merchants over there might know something, but at the same time... hm. Do we have enough supplies? I don't remember how many meals we have on hand. Or... ah, there might be some suspicious people we could ask about, or maybe..."

Eventually, after stopping for a second to listen to herself talk, Rana just blinked, her eyes flashing in a swift flutter.

"...Gah! I'm rambling! You're the detective, you should have some idea!... Right?"

2008-01-14, 12:44 PM

Off in one of the corners of the square, a circle of villagers seem to be facing someone. Gale, scruffy-looking as ever, seems to be the center of their attention. There is a good deal of laughter amongst the crowd.

"So the pearl diver said," he projects over the laughter, "Well, you shouldn't have brought coconuts, then!" The circle erupts in howls and cheers. "And that, my friends, is why you always, ALWAYS watch what you say in the West." The crowd gets up and leaves, some of them throwing a dinar bit at Gale's feet. Gale quickly gathers the small bits of money.

"Better save this for later. I think I can wait to eat until I'm outside town."

He takes a look at the cloaked stranger. He doesn't show it, but he's suspicious. Something is happening in the town, and this might be it. He follows the odd pair into the store.

2008-01-14, 12:51 PM
A handsome young man, in his mid-20th maybe, is sitting under a tree at the river near the ferry dock, sunbathing. He is of average height, slender build and completely bald. His tanned skin, the large backpack that is resting beside him and his sturdy traveling garb clearly mark him as an outside to this town. He is just talking a sip from a clay waterflask, then puts it back in his bag and resumes enjoying the sunlight.

Tesciam has been in the village for two days now, securing a cot in the public house for himself in exchange for pulling some infected tooths. As there is little else for him to do right now, he is relaxing in the shade at the river, watching the newcomers and the villagers.

As Hound walks past him, his deepblue eyes seem to trail her for a moment, but when she checks, he is already looking in a different direction. It was probably just her imagination anyway.

2008-01-14, 04:41 PM
Lightning enters the square looking weary, though one could argue that he always appeared so: a long, stretched kind of man with the kind of face that looked like it should have been smiling. He was, in most respects, a normal figure if a bit insubstantial, like someone who'd spent a year on the rack and had nothing to show of it but an increase in height. He was lean and dark eyed with a short, frizzled bit of brownish-red hair, and he was dressed rather boringly: grey leather trousers that ended just below his knees under several layers of linen shirts and vests. Indeed, the only thing remarkable about Lightning in the Water, his name aside, was his nose: a strange little button of a thing, flanked on either side by unnatural silvery whiskers.

Not that anyone seemed to notice.

It was still a bit strange to him, the whole lot of it: they couldn't see what was plain, or they could see and yet couldn't understand it. He wasn't quite sure how the Tell worked. Kalesh had been too ethereal on that point. None the less, one couldn't argue with results: no one had pitchforks ready or torches lit. That was all he could ask for.

Lightning surveyed the village square as best he could for a moment, sighing. He hated dealing with people. Other people, at least. People who weren't his people, though he wasn't quite sure who his people even were anymore. The trail was getting cold. Kalesh's mate obviously hadn't been here, the buildings were still standing.

It was then that Lightning realized how very suspicious an abnormally tall, bewhiskered man standing perfectly still whilst surveying the town square would appear, and so he proceeded to browse through the market, careful to examine any craftsman's wares he came across.

2008-01-15, 12:55 AM
The blue-haired youth glances over at the storytelling across the square and, distracted, fails to notice his money being removed from his pocket before walking past. The rest of the square continues in it's small doings without seeming to notice anything out of the ordinary. What few of the local crafters brought out goods clearly have more interest in enjoying the pleasant day than selling anything.

Cheerfully raised voices can be heard from the public house, presumably greeting the blue-haired youth. The storyteller's audience begins to drift to the public house or the Guild traders alternately.

In the general store for those who have entered: The cloaked figure scurries furtively over to the counter, managing to knock a length of rope and a half dozen candles onto the floor in the process. The elderly follower hurries to reorder the retail chaos left in the figure's wake. Old Widow Keisha, proprietor of the general store, scowls at the figure from behind the counter. "And what can I be doing for you then, deary," says Keisha in her scratchy nasal wine. From the folds of the cloak a small gloved hand produces a slip of paper, which Widow Keisha takes and examines briefly. "You're that order then," she says, shooting a rather nasty glance at the old following man who is trying desperately not to make eye contact. She then starts rummaging around in the back of the store, gathering some scattered goods into a pack.
"Perhaps this is not such a good idea, young miss," whispers the old man "we really ought to go back to the estate I think..."
"Ssh, quiet Coal. I know what I'm doing," the cloaked figure replies.

2008-01-15, 01:08 AM

Gale does not interfere with the ongoing scene until the shopkeeper has disappeared momentarily.

"You know, it seems there are far too many pretty young ladies wearing cloaks this fine harvest day. I think Midnight Stallion would be displeased. He's the god of enticing clothing, you know. And let me tell you, he acts quite strangely if he's not satisfied." He flashes a winning, scruffy smile, which has "I'm just fooling around" written all over it in every aspect short of inked lettering. He also makes sure that he's still positioned between the two and the door, making sure this possibly important business will get concluded, whether they want it to or not.

2008-01-15, 01:28 AM
In the general store "Sir, please to not be speaking to the young miss in such a manner. It is most unseemly." exclaims the old man, placing himself firmly between Gale and the cloaked figure.

"Oh, calm down Coal, I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it," says the young lady, keeping her hood pulled down to obscure her face. "Perhaps another time you can tell me of it, traveler. Today I have business to attend to. Good day."

She turns, still cloaked, back to the counter. The old man, Coal, continues to glare somewhat comically at Heavenly Gale.

2008-01-15, 01:52 AM

In store:
Gale just laughs at the old man, and, well, the young woman too.

"A good day it is. I'm sorry if my presence offends you, but I do have business here. Can't go on the road without supplies, eh? Say, if you're going somewhere, anywhere really, perhaps I could tag along for a bit? Even trail bread tastes good around a campfire with some friends and a good song."

He's talking right over the old man. It's quite clear who makes the decisions between the two of them.

2008-01-15, 02:04 AM
more in the store: "Of course to not be doing such things! What sort are you to thinking the young miss is?" says Coal, with indignant rage flaring behind his eyes, gripping tightly to his cane.

"Actually," says the cloaked figure, "that sounds quite lovely. I would appreciate some entertainment on my journey, good traveler. And what might I call you, friend?"

2008-01-15, 02:13 AM

More store:
Gale laughs again.

"I am Heavenly Gale," he says, taking a hugely dramatic bow, "And shall I have a name to call you, Naysayer of the Elderly, and Endurer of Thick Cloaks?" His voice is at the peak of its dramatic tone at this point.

2008-01-15, 02:43 AM
Hound channels another small bit of her reserves and bounds into the air landing on the sloped roof of a near by building, on the side away from Gale and his little exchange. She then peers over it's edge and concentrates, trying to spy on them and gather the gist of their conversation.

to sneak
Stealth + Dexterity; [roll0]

2 successes

to spy
Awareness + Perception; [roll1] , spending 1 Willpower to convert one to an automatic success

7 successes

keep in mind I've still got Mental Invisibility Technique up!

Surveying the crowd she catches a flash of whiskers and raises a solitary eyebrow. Little Gods? Who knows. However she does shift her attention onto the whiskered man, saying anyone noticed her at all.

2008-01-15, 09:35 AM
Tesciam stretches his arms, stands up and picks up his backpack. Humming softly to himself, he strolls over the square towards the public house. As he passes the general store, he slows down to glimpse inside and hear some pieces of conversation, then looks around and continues on to the public house. As he arrives there, he leans agains the wall next to the door, listening to what is going on inside while keeping an eye on the general store and the surrounding buildings.

2008-01-15, 10:02 AM
sounds from inside the public house:
"Ahh, now that feels better! Here's your bit back, Yorn," says pleasantly light, almost lyrical, baritone.
"Ach, ya kin keep it, kid. Pay me back another time, with another bit, 'f ya don't mind. Dunno how ya kin drink anythin' that vile. 'f I didn' know better, I'd say ya were crazy," replies a deep gravely voice that speaks with an accent common to the mercenaries that operate up and down the Rock Rivers.
"Letting some raw eggs and a little bog oil scare you? Must be that you really are getting old, eh Yorn?" says the first voice, to a firm round of laughter. Followed by some good natured cursing and more laughter.

2008-01-15, 01:54 PM
I need to learn to control those things better. It's so embarrassing.. She was still a little chagrined that it was Rana who held the reins of their steed while she clung onto her, holding on for dear life. She needed to learn how to ride these things, if she was going to use one... But at least there was no harm done.

"No, you're correct, Rana. " [i]Lesia said reassuringly, folding her arms across her stomach as she mused.. Given these guys.. they're the best ones to talk to. Usually, it's not wise.. the merchants everyone talks to.. are the merchants everyone talks to, so it's not a good way to find people. But.. this bunch is pretty distinctive, so they should be fresh in memory..

She shifted a bit, watching the town for a few long moments, before shrugging. It had all the trappings of a normal town. Why they'd run through here was anyone's gu- Why hello there. Now /that/ is unusual.. she took a good sidelong glance at the whiskerred man, before casually turning away. She'd have to ask about him later. And.. wait a minute... ...Someone here doesn't want to be seen. Why? She became as the hawk, essence gathering behind her eyes and guiding her sight.. but even then, she didn't notice anything else that should be out of the ordinary. Well, besides the whiskerred guy.. I don't think he's it, but my gut says that perhaps he's related just the same.

She nudged Rana in the side, motioning to follow. Either way, her curiosity was now sufficiently piqued to find out, and investigate they shall!

2008-01-15, 11:46 PM
The sound of hooves slowly overtakes the gentle murmur of the village market. Riders, a dozen at least, coming in fast. Everyone in the square grows quiet. The Guild traders start to edge toward their weapons, and a couple of their guards hop warily out of their wagons. Around the square the villagers lean their heads together and begin whispering furtively, with occasional sidelong glances toward the general store.

Sound from the public house: "Quiet, quiet... You hear hoofbeats Yorn?"
"Reckon I do. On ya feet, boys! Might could b' trouble. Ha ha!"
"I'm out and around. Signal three for trouble."
The clatter of tankards being hastily set down and swords loosened in their sheaths follows, along with the quiet opening of the back door.

Inside the general store:
"Well good traveler Heavenly Gale, I suppose you may call me- do you hear that? Horses. By Ruvia, I thought it would take longer," she says, smacking the counter with a silk-gloved hand in frustration.
"Young miss, to be coming now. We've been caught up. Just please to be going back quietly?" pleads Coal, having sagged with relief at the sound of hooves.
"No Coal, I'll not give up that easily. It seems I must take my leave now, Heavenly Gale. Another time perhaps, if the Loom permits," says the cloaked figure, laying a hand on the counter and vaulting over. Or attempting to, for she catches her foot on the back edge and sends herself sprawling to the floor. As she falls her hood lifts back revealing a face younger looking than her voice would suggest. Hair the color of straw, and disheveled much as such description would suggest, frames a tiny and delicate face covered in a light sprinkling of oddly thick and rough (almost rock-like) freckles. With a crash and a curse she reaches the floor.
A crashing thud sounds out from inside the general store.

2008-01-16, 12:24 AM

Huh. If she's as Dragon-Blooded as she looks, I have a feeling I may want to avoid anyone who is pursuing her. Nonetheless, I don't want to leave her to be captured, which will definitely happen, clumsy as she is.

Gale wordlessly leaps over Coal's head and behind the counter from standing, and a good deal more gracefully than the young lady. He bends over and, without waiting for consent, picks her up in his arms.

"I'm afraid if that's the fastest you can go, you'll need my help. Let's hide so we can have time to plan your escape, shall we?" Again, without consent, he rushes her to the back of the store (probably leaving Coal fuming and screeching).

2008-01-16, 12:56 AM
quick reaction inside general store:
"Not to be going nowhere without proper escort, young miss!" yells Coal, clambering awkwardly over the counter, attempting to follow Gale. "Won't to be having it, I just will not."

2008-01-16, 02:24 AM
While Lesia was preparing to lead Rana out to the merchants, Rana couldn't help but notice her traveling partner was... straining to see something. At first curious, Rana peered over to see what it was... seeing nothing. Annoying. They must obviously be hiding from her, whoever they are. Cowardly fools!

...But the riders. The riders got her attention. With a flip of her head and the accompanying whip of red hair, Rana turned to where the riders were coming from, and, with a strange grin, strolled over. Ah, this was just like when she was surveying her fang of elite commandos, back in...

...Okay, Rana never lead any amount of commandos. She just remembered attending some military parades, and all the fancy strutting and big impressive grandstanding made her think that, well, if the commanders can make troops stand up and listen, surely she can make these Strange Ominous Riders from Nowhere at least vaguely pay attention! Maybe!

And so, she strutted forth, focusing on her own inner strength to bolster her swaggering, straighten her posture, and make that dramatic flip of her hair fall oh so right. With a glorious posture, Rana stood before the incoming riders, and making like a proud Realm general, addressed them directly, with silky elocutions and a radiant tone, eyeing what would pass for their leader when he or she came near.

"Oh, a glorious leader indeed, who marches forth! Into such a humble town, I must say, it is an impressive sight! One of such stature, such resplendent power, surely... surely such a person would be an honor to aid, no? Come now, I can most assuredly ease your travails through this village of Narshe, if but only you would deign to allow my cooperation. There can be an accord, can there not?"

She took this time to subtly tilt her hand out of her sleeve, showing the red jade top plate of her gauntlets. It can't hurt to show one's authority when one is excercising it! Now, if this doesn't work... Well. With a slight wink to Lesia, if only to assure her that Rana hadn't gone totally nuts, the young Dynast stood steadfast before the riders, hoping that they'd at least not try to run her through. It was really annoying when people tried that!

2008-01-16, 03:33 AM
A dozen lightly armed and armored riders gallop into the square, only to be brought up short by Rana's glorious speech. A broad man wearing armor of finer make than the others and a tabard identifying him as a member of Varil Wezun's household comes to the front. Dismounting and bowing deeply he speaks to Rana.

"It would be greatly appreciated if you could lend a hand, ma'am. I come seeking young miss Rowan, she done run off from the Estate again. 'Bout so tall, probably wearing a big ol' cloak, and drug her poor old tutor 'long with her if I don't miss my guess. If you happened to she her and could just point me in the right direction," explains the man quickly and nervously, keeping his head bowed in deference.

2008-01-16, 10:26 AM
From his vantage point in the stalls nearest to the riders, Lightning listens carefully, weighing what he sees: a well-spoken lady who was, almost assuredly, Dragon-Blooded offering her help to find a runaway Terrestrial. Wanting a closer look at the situation, Lightning quickly slipped behind the nearest building, searching for a bit of seclusion. After a moment's concentration and a short prayer unto Luna, he emerged in the shape of a scruffy orange tabby cat and, tail curling and uncurling like a restless snake, proceeded through the square to get a closer look at the young girl in the red jade gauntlets.

2008-01-16, 10:35 AM
Hmm, just two dinars. Tesciam was just checking his almost empty coinpouch when the riders arrive. He is flipping the two coins in his palm, wondering if they are enough for a decent meal, when Rana's speech catches his attention. His eyes focus on her and narrow for a moment, then he whistles appreciatingly. "This looks to be interesting". he says to himself, then waits for a moment to see if he can find the blue haired youth sneaking around from the back, and makes his way towards Rana, Lesia and the riders.



2008-01-16, 10:52 AM
Hound hears something and turns, taking a glance back around at the rear exit of the public house. It was that blue haired man. Where do you think you're going? she wonders. As a precaution she snaps her tiger claws in place.

2008-01-16, 11:36 AM
for those watching the blue haired youth: He slips quietly (though not exceptionally so) out the back door and darts around behind a neighboring house. Getting himself a decent view of the encounter happening out in the open, he whistles a very convincing bird call, and settles down to watch the proceedings.

inside the general store:
"Oh my!" exclaims the girl. "I-um, really you needn't get yourself into trouble. I would be quite distraught if you were to catch trouble for my sake," she says with a shy grin as Heavenly Gale whisks her to hiding.
"Never to be thinking I'd see such a day..." mutters Coal as he follows after.
Old Widow Keisha just sort of stares flabbergasted over the pack she was filling gear, eyes darting from Gale to Coal to the door to her store, clearly expecting someone to burst in at any moment.

2008-01-16, 11:54 AM
Rana stood briefly, making an overt gesture of holding her chin in her hand, as if deep in thought. Cloaked figure, was it? Wasn't someone in a cloak heading off into the general store? ...Wait. If she was a runaway... Suddenly, a brief and ultimately futile battle of loyalties raged in Rana's head. To satisfy the commander's intention, or aid Rowan?

...Runaways' honor! Rana made her decision, then, to at least figure out why Rowan left, and to do so, she'd have to sweet-talk these men a little bit more. Striding up to the commander again, she smiled, smiled like a gracious mother whose child just showed off their talent. More memory of military tactics was about to come into play.

"Oh, wearing a cloak, you say? Hmmm. Hmm... Well, I do believe I saw someone of that description, I did."

But at that point, she slunk in a bit closer, as if to share a more personal feeling, something like declaring the conversation to be an officer's club meeting, best only understood by those who had once commanded soldiers.... Regardless of the fact that the only thing Rana ever commanded was a decent game of Gateway.

"However!... Between two commanding presences of your and my likes, I'd believe that bringing to bear the full finery of your position might well make it difficult to induce Rowan to follow you. After all, she no doubt would recognize you in a heartbeat! And if she were to be fleeing the estate, then the presence of a ranking agent of the estate would... be tantamount to scaring her off, no?"

Then, a cunning grin drew on her face. Rana enjoyed this, perhaps a bit too much, though the grin itself was just part of her satisfaction with the plan, arguably. Just the right gestures - such as the slight leaning back to suggest a leading posture - could come together with artful words to create a real power. And tone, a coy, confident tone that belied a distinct sense of tactical awareness, pulled into the whole effect.

"But I might make notice of the fact that Rowan also, no doubt, does not recognize me in the slightest. So what I propose to you, good sir, is that I go on to where I last saw her - and I do believe that the cloaked figure I saw intended to go shopping - and convince her of the distinct need for her return to the estate. If played to perfection, she will come with you with no struggle or chase, and your efforts will be spared for when you are truly needed, for when vile beasts and viler Fair Folk assail your wards. What say you of this proposal?"

2008-01-16, 12:23 PM
Sighing with relief the man gratefully accepts Rana's aid, "Surely that would be a great help ma'am. She can be quite the handful, our miss Rowan. Not that she's a bad sorta girl or anything, wouldn't want you to think that, ma'am. And she ain't in no big sorta trouble either, we just gotta make sure she gets back safe and sound, ya know. Be honest, I'm like to be in more trouble'n she is over this one. I ain't supposed to have let her sneak off in the first place," says the big man, eyes turned to the ground and shifting uncomfortably on his feet.

2008-01-16, 12:41 PM

Gale sets Rowan down gently.

"Young miss, I've had far worse troubles than the ire of guileless horsemen, and they have yet to catch me. It seems you have far too many keepers, though. Wait here while madam Keisha finishes packing your belongings. I will make sure nobody tries to get you." With that, he goes back out to the front part of the store, vaulting over the counter so fluidly that it's hard to notice he really vaulted at all. He leans back and waits for anyone to come inside.

2008-01-16, 12:53 PM
Tesciam will wait till Rana has finished her conversation with the soldier, then step next to her and bow till she acknowledges his presence to address her.

2008-01-16, 02:02 PM
Hound scuttles herself across the roof tops and leaps gracefully onto the house the youth is hiding behind with silenced footfall. She watches him with a hidden and almost predatory stare.

2008-01-16, 05:54 PM
Lightning, in the shape of an orange tabby, approaches closer to the apparently Dragon-Blooded young lady, mewing softly. People tended to talk freely around cats, after all, and if anyone had news of the Daughter of Unending Tumult, it would likely find its way to a charismatic dynast...one was as good as another.

Follow the Dragon-Blooded, and the news will ride with you, Lightning thought to himself, smiling as best he could with a feline mouth, the Abyssal has to be around here somewhere, and if past discretion is any indicator, she'll be raising a fuss soon enough. If these civilized are good for anything, at least they gossip freely.

2008-01-16, 06:17 PM
She's enjoying this. Lesia allowed herself a smirk while Rana hob and nobbed with the commander. Not entirely sure what she's up to, but I won't interfere just yet. Hm, that girl left the roof?[/i] She turned away for a moment, searching, but shrugged. It could be checked out later, if need be. She strode towards the conversation; Not so much to hear it.. she could already do that, but rather, to help lend an air of authority to Rana; After all, it would heighten Rana's stature to have another Dynast under her direct command.

She moved to stand patiently beside Rana, looking every part the faithful subordinate. Faithful /Dynast/ subordinate; She held herself in such a way that the viridian breastplate she wore was visible, if with some difficulty. As this new stranger made himself obvious, however..[/i]

"Good day, citizen. What is your business with my mistress, pray tell?" She asked courteously, with a light smile on her face. It's such fun to watch her become someone much more responsible.. even if it is an act.[/i]

2008-01-16, 08:12 PM
As Tesciam notices Lesia addressing him, he turns towards her and bows deeply again. "Greetings my ladies, and welcome to the serene village of Narshe. My name is Tesciam, a humble traveling merchant. My father was the great Rivergod Batosh of the Four Springs, I'm sure you have heard of him, and in his great kindness he taught me some of the secrets of Creation. So now I'm earning a living a talented traveling healer, skilled potionmaker and gifted fortuneteller, but sadly, at least for me, while it most certainly is a blessing for these fine citizens around here, these villagers are bestowed with a miraculous health and stamina, and so I'm stuck in this village for two weeks now without the means to continue my journey. I would like to offer myself as a guide to you esteemed ladies, and, while it certainly is not my specialty, and with your permission," he bows to the leader of the riders, "I would like to assistance in finding that young miss that has gone missing. And of course, if any of you kind masters would like to learn more about his destiny as it is written in the stars, I'll be at your service after we finish this quest." He bows again deeply.

As he bows, Tesciam notices the orange tabby approaching. "Oh, what an cute kitten. My cousin's wife had one just like that, isn't it adorable?!? A cat in the house keeps the evil spirits out, she used to say. And the vermin too, of course. Aren't you a lovely one?" he says. He kneels down, gets a piece of dried meat from his back and offers it to the cat, while whispering a few soothing words to it and, if possibly, will also tenderly stroke it's head. Then he stands up, blushes and apologizes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be disrespectfull, it's just that silly me is a cat-lover, and I seem to have lost my manners. But, what do you think about my offer?"

2008-01-16, 08:21 PM
A slight bow to the comander of Wezun's troops, and a parting word, were what Rana felt necessary to conclude the exchange.

"Indeed, I shall attend to that, then."

As she walked purposefully, possibly even in a stately manner, towards the general store, Rana noticed the man that seemed to be waiting to speak to her (Tesciam), and paused for a second. Then, with a smile and a bit of an intentionally imperious undertone, she nodded to Lesia, and spoke to Tesciam.

"...I see! Very well, assuming you are no significant burden to our travels, I would see it prudent to accept local guidance... If the lady accompanying me does not mind your presence as well, I could certainly see it happening! We have many things to find, I assure you. Now, if you would please either accompany or excuse me - by your choice - first on that list at present is Lady Rowan..."

With barely a beat skipped from the pause, Rana strode pridefully and purposefully towards the general store. As she approached the door, she held her hand back, whispering to Lesia and, by extension, Tesciam to...

"Back off a little bit, what I'm about to do won't work if we all come in one big gang."

Either way the two reacted, Rana then moved over to the door, readying her coinpurse as if to make a purchase very quickly, and entered. Without even a single delay, she immediately entered the room wearing the curious look of a new shopper, hoping they didn't think her ruse was the truth...

2008-01-16, 09:45 PM
Lightning purrs lightly and involuntarily as the merchant pets his head, then shakes his tiny head nervously: he wasn't as proud as some Lunars, but there were limits. He was wearing this shape, but that didn't make him a house cat, not really.

But that does feel sooooo good, he thought.

After the merchant stopped, the tabby followed closely behind him. Lightning reflected back on his sacred hunt: he'd felt so silly hunting a tabby with ritual pomp, but it had proven itself to be a useful tool. When Rana stopped Tesciam, the tabby turned his eyes up to meet the supposed god-blood's and nods lightly, then follows Rana into the shop.

2008-01-16, 10:16 PM

Inside the store, there is nobody but the scruffy-looking storyteller, leaning against the counter.

"I hope you weren't in the mood for shopping. Everyone's out." His voice is a perfect mixture of boredom and dissappointment. "I have no idea how long they'll be, but it's been a good while already. You should probably try somewhere else." He breaks off eye contact to look up at the ceiling with an exasperated sigh.

2008-01-16, 10:54 PM
Outside in the market square: The lead rider watches Rana go to the general store gratefully, then begins organizing his riders with quiet efficiency. About half the men busy themselves taking the horses, which had been worked into a lather galloping into the village, off to the stables. The rest settle themselves into the square, keeping an eye on the general store.

Following the blue haired youth: He watches the interaction between Rana and the lead rider with obvious amusement. When Rana and company head for the general store, he does a quick look around to see if anyone is watching and, not noticing any observers, takes a few long steps back from the building he was hiding behind before making a leap for the house's roof. The blue haired youth gets himself high enough to grab onto the edge and clamber up. Looking over the square from his higher vantage point, he waits for an opportune moment and then proceeds to leap over to the general store roof.

Inside the general store: No one aside from Heavenly Gale is visible in the store. The place seems quiet and curiously empty.

2008-01-16, 11:00 PM
Intrigued Hound follows a few paces behind the youth and leaps across to the General Store moments after he does. She swiftly falls into the posture of a stalking great cat bristling with anticipation and smirks.

2008-01-17, 01:20 AM
Rana twitched noticeably, putting away her coinpurse, and not even bothering to smile pretty for the man. In fact, the slight twitchiness of her face betrayed only a noticable sense of annoyance. It was like every little veneer of charm just died a painful death when she fully understood how her hasty plan went awry.

"Dragons damn it all! All that effort to get the cavalry parade to calm down, and I can't even actually meet this supposed runaway? I could SWEAR I saw her walk right into this store, so..."

Her eyebrow twitched. It was just like what happened when her classmates found out that she was so horribly behind for being unexalted that her parents were bribing her through the Academy - like she had done all this work, just to be the butt of some kind of joke. Like she had been had! She never had the sharpest of eyes, but this was ridiculous. This was something she couldn't stand for. Out of a lack of other courses of action, she unceremoniously scooped up the cat-Lightning, petting him like she was a sulking child that was unable to decide whether they were still sulking or trying to calm down.

"Tell me you have some vague consolation for my good deed of the day blowing up in my face. like... ahhh. Ever see a guy with this gnarly-big steel boot on one foot? Violent sort, crazy martial artist? Dumb name of Steel Boot? I was GOING to ask those Guildies if they knew about it, but nooo. Captain Interruption has to barge in and mess up the peace. If I can get out of this quaint little village with at LEAST a new lead, it'll be worth this... this... debacle!"

Lesson of the day: You can trust a Dynast to, on occasion, fume like a spoiled child.

2008-01-17, 01:41 AM

Gale smirked in amusement at the fuming, fire-haired woman.

"See, I could tell you weren't the patient type. I think there was an apothecary selling headache remedies. I have some massage techniques that'll do you the trick, though, if you're willing to be patient for something else." He doesn't add a wink. Obviously, he's not being at all serious. "You might want to be careful about that guy, though. If what I've heard is true, he fights dirty, like all practicioners of his style."

2008-01-17, 02:45 AM
Still in a bit of a sulky mood, Rana 'pfft'ed at Gale's commentary, leaning back on a wall as, no doubt, Lesia and Tesciam filtered into the room.

"You might say that, but, good sir, that's not the same thing as living it! No matter what you've heard, I know it firsthand."

She shook her head. Now was not the time to bore some stranger with her life's story. That was... it just... it felt cheesy. Like a bad heroic novel. But... but... he was somewhat right. She WOULD have to wait. And... hm. Hm.

"It doesn't matter anyway. He won't survive the next time. And there'll be a next time. I'll make sure of that! Lesia, for my sake, will make sure of that."

A few seconds passed, a bit more sulky cat-petting occurred.

"...So... Yeah. Who the heck are you, anyway? I'm-"

Rana started to make the vague hiss of the needed syllable to start her House name, but paused. The last thing she needed was to be portrayed as not just impertinent and impatient, but a harlot on top of it! So she just glossed over it.

"-Rana. I'd mention where I had to come from to get out here, but... Chances are I've been so damnably obvious about it that you already know."

She made a sidelong glance at Lesia and Tesciam, portraying an idle curiosity at their doings.

2008-01-17, 06:31 AM
Seeing who is and who is not actually in the store, Tesciam decides not to go in. Instead he stays at the door, watching and listening, and once in while throwing a worried glance over to Rana about how she is mishandling the poor cat.

2008-01-17, 11:26 AM

"Well, S-Rana," he says, maintaining his disinterested tone, "I'm Heavenly Gale, and I'm afraid that the attributes that I pay attention to wouldn't give away anything important about you, even as unimportant as where you are from may be." Whether or not she's as Dynastic as she looks, Gale is doing a good job of being impolite and impertinent. He does his best to keep his smirk down to a minimum.

2008-01-17, 10:56 PM
While Rana spoke to the stranger, the copper spider took a few quick moments to survey the scenery, her mind picking apart the scene. Recently shifted valuables, scuffing on the floor, even the position of the door; The works. Everything was a clue. Including the stranger himself. She planted a hopefully reassuring, if perhaps a tad late, hand on Rana's shoulder.

"I suppose you also missed where the shopkeep went, did you?" She had a somewhat jesting tone, but was unlikely to take him at his word regardless. He seemed to be enjoying tweaking Rana too much to be willing to give a straight, accurate answer. "And what, pray tell, have you actually heard about our adversary and his style?"

2008-01-17, 11:50 PM

Gale seems to not notice the subtle accusation that he might be hiding anything.

"It's a pretty popular style called First Pulse. Supposed to give you the advantage in surprises and ambushes, whoever's starting them. It's pretty effective."

2008-01-18, 02:00 AM
Rana shook her head, still furiously - but not harmfully! - stroking cat-Lightning as she tried to vent off her remaining anger.

"...What are you even trying to gain here, anyway, Gale? At first I thought you were a total jerk, but after that last comment, it's clear you're just TRYING to be one! The heck good does it do you?!"

She shuffled her hands vaguely, trying to make a dramatic gesture, before realizing that she still had a cat in her hands. With an exasperated sigh, she put down the random tabby cat, and looked straight at Gale, putting on her best 'you hurt my feelings and offend my sense of justice' pout... and now making the dramatic hand gestures she had freed herself to do.

"I... Look, damnit! I was trying to avoid having to regale you with some trite tale of woe, but! I ran away from my home, ran away for rather good reasons, one of them involving our little friend with the horrible taste in footwear! I left behind anything that'd make something of my life, and if I were to try to come back, I'd probably be shunned or far worse! If I have to go through all of that, who are you to go around playing your little games with my feelings, then?! If it's for your sick idea of fun, then Hesiesh willing, I will cut you."

Another sigh, and a pause for effect, as Rana tried to... not look as immediately threatening as her last comment made her out to be. Of course, not that she necessarily knew how, seeing as she was still breathing heavily and measuredly, trying hard to keep her anger under control.

"...But... Well, if you're just trying to protect the girl, then I suppose I at least understand why you're doing it. Though that doesn't mean I like it! I mean, I just finished duping shiny Mr. Commander out there to do just that, and you decide to reward me for my efforts with this crap? Have you no decency?..."

Rana shook her head again, looking back at Lesia. She had a soft smile, if a bit sheepish of one.

"...Thanks. I... I feel a little better now. I don't want to mess everything up. I might not live long enough to do what I need to if I can't even stay calm..."

2008-01-18, 02:46 AM

Gale somehow manages to resist doing the "hand-mimick" thing while Rana is talking, but still stares off into space half the time. When Rana finshes, he folds his arms and divulges a brief glimpse into his perspective of the situation.

"Well, S-Rana, I don't know you, and I doubt your tale of woe and intrigue will really help me to do so, but here's the thing. After you told everyone in the area, including me, that you were about to extract this supposed 'girl' to be taken away to some place she obviously wants to avoid, you decided to come in here and insist on interrogating an obviously bored and impatient man. And then, to top it all off, you have now just told the entire village that you, in fact, planned to betray the commander. Yes, he could hear you yelling as well as I could, since he's something like 50 feet away. So, before you worry about running me through just for staring at your boobs, you might want to be concerned with the scale of horsemen who are probably a little angry with you at this point." Gale then peers around Rana with an amused smirk to look out the door of the general store. Things might heat up soon.

2008-01-18, 04:51 AM
Lesia looked back at her companion, nodding understandingly. "I wouldn't worry about him just yet. We can ask him his motives after we've found your kindred spirit. Also, can you please pick up your friend? There's a rat or something there that might ruin what is sure to be an interesting moment." Her confidence was palpable, and she turned back to the protective meddler, dispassionately surveying him. "First off, she hasn't really been all that loud. It's hardly out of the question for them to have heard, but there's always karma. Second, you have no mind for politics, if you genuinely believe they can act with quite so much impunity, though your protective instincts and caution,"Her eyes drifted upward briefly "are admirable." At this,she raised a finger admonishingly

"However! First off, your ruse is ineffective. Anyone given but the briefest moment to examine could tell that, firstly, you have left an unconscious man, presumably the owner or manager of this establishment nearby. I haven't gotten to look back there quite yet, but judging by the reflection on the window pane, it looks like you shoved him behind the counter and hoped nobody would look. Second, she's not that well hidden back there. You can come out now, by the way; As my friend has rather dramatically informed the three of you, she has no intention to hurt you or bring you back to your family. And we certainly won't tell them you were being carried around by your gallant rescuer." Oh yes, one would have to try to peel that smirk off her face. "Or if you'd rather, you can talk to us from back there. But I would rather see the cause of all this hubbub, if you'd be so kind."

She leaned back casually, glancing towards Rana. I wonder if that woman on the roof has anything to do with this. I hate unknown unknowns. We need to be less impulsive about these things, but I suppose Fate has its own plans. Supposedly. "I don't suppose you can tell me your plan, if any, Rana? The only thing lover boy here seems to have gotten right is planning for those soldiers. Can't totally dismiss them, now can we?" She glanced sidelong at Gale. "Out of vague curiosity, what was your plan? Just punch the army until they stop botherring us?"

2008-01-18, 09:47 AM
In the general store

As Lesia finishes speaking, a dull thud and a squeaking squealing hiss sound out from the shelf by her feet. A sack of hard tack has fallen off the shelf, revealing an enormous hairless rat, its body easily two feet long. The beast scurries out from its hiding place one of its two hideous faces hissing and squealing at the "cat" sitting in the store.
Just as the beast is climbing up toward an open window (causing many sacks and jars of dried goods and preserves to fall loudly to the floor) another loud crash, like breaking boards, sounds from the back of the store. A ray of sunlight is coming into the back of the store where a moment ago there was none, as if someone had opened a door on the side of the building. None of you seem to recall seeing a side door on the building though...

On the roof: From atop the roof you can see when the girl gathers herself up and then, as soon as the rat begins making noise, launch herself bodily through the wall in a shower of wooden splinters. Grinning, the blue haired youth whistles and leans down over the edge, extending a hand to the girl.

In the market square: A few of the riders have remained near the general store and seem to be chuckling and shaking their heads. The lead rider is speaking quietly to one of the villagers, until the loud noises begin, at which point he begins to rush over with his shortspear at the ready. The other men are slower to react, but also begin moving in that direction. A whistle pierces the din from somewhere and it is followed by a horse bursting, riderless, from the stables.

2008-01-18, 01:20 PM

With the events going on at the back of the store, combined with the unexpected whinny and galloping clip-clop of hooves outside, Gale draws a conclusion of his own. He mimics Lesia's cocky smirk, though with wider, more mocking eyes.

"Well, actually, my plan was to keep you distracted while she made her escape, but it looks like you did that yourself with your overblown, ego stroking rants. If you can catch up with her on her new escape route, you can have fun with that. Meanwhile, I think there is something else to worry about here."


After that last sentence, Gale twirls from his nonchalant pose, ducking under the falling sacks and jars. He seizes the tale of the freakish two-faced rat, and just as quickly twirls out of the debris. His head is now covered with some white powder. He briefly licks some of it from the corner of his mouth. "EUGH. Salt. Thought it was sugar." After his tangential outburst, he displays his helpless catch with pride.

"Now, I don't know about you, but in all my travels I've never seen a rat QUITE like this one. And while we're trying to piece it out, perhaps you could tell us about the unconcious man behind the counter, since I'm in the dark here. Unless he's old, then I think I have a sad, sad idea as to who it might be. Anyway, freaky two-faced thing or runaway teenager. Your choice."

((Alternate scene description after line, in case of roll failure, which seems likely))
After that last sentence, Gale twirls from his nonchalant pose, ducking under the falling sacks and jars. He attempts to grab the freaky two-faced rat, but doesn't seem to have been quick enough. It must have seen him before he could surprise it. He stands there grasping as substance upon substance falls on his head. After the powder clears a little, he takes stock of the situation a bit.

"Well that didn't work out. Huh. Anyway, I'm not sure about the unconcious guy, but I think you've got a choice between catching a fairly clever runaway teenager or catching this weird thing. I think I've really done all I can here."

He struts out proudly displaying his powdered head and shoulders.

2008-01-19, 06:29 AM
With an astonished look on his face, Tesciam stares at the unfolding chaos inside the shop. Then he grins widely, points at the rat and yells "Go get it, Tiger!" Leaving the cat(s) and the rat to fight it out, he sprints around the shop to the hole in the wall, trying to intercept the fugitive.

2008-01-19, 07:07 PM

Lightning's whiskers twitch swiftly, and the small cat turns toward the source of the disturbance with the kind of grace and speed that only a tabby can muster when stirred from its ceaseless repose.

I'm not sure I like being a cat anymore, Lightning thought to himself as he sized up the strange rat-thing, any shape that compels me to hunt something like that... Personal distaste aside, those big people--I'm not a cat, Lightning reminded himself--all seem to expect me to fight it.

With heckles raised and teeth bared, Lightning pounces towards the two-faced rat, expecting little resistance but uncertain of his own abilities in the cat's shape.

2008-01-19, 11:46 PM
Rana wasn't even listening to Gale anymore. She didn't care. Didn't want to hear that... that total jerk anymore! With a furious humming, a forced tune that seemed only like a line cast out into her mind to focus on, Rana set to work. Rowan be damned. If she was willing to put up such a waste of air to the job of covering her back, then Rana didn't need to waste time tracking her down! But... seeing as she had to do SOMETHING, Rana decided that the rat was deserving of her swift, unmitigated attention. And, hell. Kitty couldn't handle that freak of nature on its (his? Her?) own anyway! So, with a witty comment, she set to work.

"Whatever. Busy. Rat needs ending!"

Thus, her first act was to stare down the freaky rat, and grin, while keeping up her subtle, forceful humming. Then, with a flash of her right hand, she pulled her... comparatively small warhammer out from behind a flap of her long coat, flashing a glimpse of the shimmering red silk of her dress around her waistline as the thicker coat on top of it was pushed aside by the weapon. But the hammer, simple and cylindrical as it was, flashed like lightning, as Rana immediately made a lunge at the damnable rat, hammerhead raised near her own head.
Rana's powerful motion caused the bottom of her overcoat to flow backwards, billowing in the rush of her actions as, likewise, the fine golden sash fluttered in the air like a dancer's ribbons. The first strike slammed squarely towards the rat's head as it scampered through the shelving of the store, resounding with a loud thud regardless of whether she met her target or not. Without missing a beat, Rana swept the hammer to her right and instantly twirled it in her hand, her entire form dancing like candlelight as her clothing slid rightward to match the sudden pivot she made in tune with the retreating hammer. Then, with another dramatic twirl of her hands, Rana brought the hammer into a fluid striking motion, moving forward with succinct, unimaginable speed as the twirl seamlessly became her second strike.
The final steps of Rana's dance of death saw her hammer streaking to her left as it moved in preparation for a wide strike, her own body bending to match. A sudden dart to her right as she caught the next part of the rat's motion, and Rana unleashed her weapon. The hammer flew swift as a thunderclap and fiercely as a wildfire, moving in opposition to the flip of her fiery hair, concluding the third and final strike in this flurry of blows. And she continued to hum.

2008-01-20, 08:45 AM
In the general store

The strange two-faced Giant Rat scampers quickly up the shelves, nimbly avoiding Gale's (remarkably quick) attempts at grabbing it. As it climbs Rana springs forward striking with three impossibly quick blows of her hammer. Though it deftly avoids the first blow, the second and third batter it to the ground and into unconsciousness.
However, as the blows hit the Rat a high girlish scream comes from outside the new hole in the wall of the store, "Wainwright, no!"
A young girl, perhaps thirteen years old, steps into the shop, her face contorted with rage. "Get the hell away from him, %&#$! she cries, rushing right past Tesciam to get at Rana.

On the roof: Seeing the girl scream and rush back into the shop, the blue haired youth furrows his brow and leans further over the side of the building, looking into the store through an open window.

In the market square: Riders continue to rush toward the store, with weapons in hand.

2008-01-20, 11:41 AM
Tesciam was reaching out to grab the girl as she rushes past him, but freezes when he hears her scream. His face displays stunned surprise, comprehension, shock and worry in quick succession. A surprised "It's a PET!?!" escapes his lips, then he takes two quick steps to the rat, and kneels over it, shielding it with his body. With quick and skilled movements he gauges the injuries of the creature. "Four broken rips...a ruptured spleen...severe internal bleeing. This is bad." He sights, opens his backpack and, while taking various medical items out of it, looks around to see how the situation has unfolded while he was focussing on his "patient".

2008-01-20, 01:34 PM
Curiosity perked, Hound leans over the side of the roof along side the blue-hair and peeks in.

2008-01-20, 10:38 PM

Gale shakes the powders off his head the best he can. He grits his teeth as he prepares to wade into a very confused verbal melee. He inhales deeply and stands in the middle of the room. He holds up his hands and speaks to everyone.

"Everybody, quiet!" He leaves a dramatic pause, hoping people will listen. "I think there's been a few misunderstandings. And maybe some not-so misunderstandings that are problematic nonetheless. It seems like none of us trust each other, maybe with one or two exceptions. Let us have a truce, and speak peacefully. Whosoever raises a hand in hostility will declare themselves an enemy of all. We can declare intentions first. I intend for as many people to leave here satisfied. Miss Rowan, I believe, would like her pet to be returned and less wounded. If one person could speak at a time, perhaps we can resolve this before further unforseen events force a deadline upon negotiations."

2008-01-21, 02:15 AM

The kitty-Lightning stops mid-pounce as he reaches the rat, then turns, head tilted to the side in morbid curiosity.

Dynastic children keep the ugliest pets, he decides. Seeing Gale's ineffective words, Lightning puts himself between Rana and Rowan, mewing sadly with all the meager skill he can muster.

2008-01-21, 04:24 PM
"Your idea of a good strategy is to seperate your charge from people who will help her. Clearly, I should be learning how to do my job from you." she spat at Gale as she moved closer to Rana. She was going to grab her and pull her away from the resulting melee, but was a mite too slow; Curse that lack of Athletics now! This, however, was not the time for cursing, nor the time for rat killing. Rana's friend was going to get away, and those soldiers were going to get to them.

And then Rana's 'little friend' ran in for them, after Rana whacked that enormous rat. What an unusual name for a freaking rat. I wonder what's going on here..[/i] Her sword leapt from its scabbard, pointed straight for.. the door. Her right hand was held cautiously out between Rana and Rowan.[/i] "However bad he is at strategy, however, he is correct that we had better come to an agreement quickly." She stole a quick glance at the wounded rat, then looked back towards rest of the eclectic Exalted of various stripes. I think.. yes, it would be better for Tesciam to care for the rat. I'd like to hold onto my face cards as long as possible.

"In short, you're trying to run, and my mistress there," [i]A wave of her hand towards Rana, "Is trying to /help/ you; I'm trying to help her, and therefore, you. Where's the older man who was with you and knocked out the shopkeep, for that matter? It would probably be best if nothing was left for the local troops." There had better be a damn good reason for this. I didn't get my good name by impeding legitimate authorities. She lowerred her hand, praying for reduced hostilities, between both of the two pleading with their charges to not try to tear each other's throats out. "And Rana.. put your hammer down. I know you want the sweet, sweet release of catharsis, but if things go badly, you're going to have much better, presumably unExalted targets to unleash it on."

2008-01-21, 08:00 PM
In the store

Rowan charges past the people, and cats, in her way to get at Rana, throwing her arms around her in a crushing bear hug. From outside the sounds of heavily booted feet rushing toward the store can be clearly heard. The old man is nowhere to be seen.

On the roof: More watching the inside of the store.

In the market square: The men are just about to burst into the general store.

2008-01-21, 11:59 PM
All Rana could do at this point was struggle and flimsily flail at Rowan as the 13-year old caught her very firmly against the wall. All the elaborate curses she could think of filled her head, but she made no attempt to speak them - at this point, she was convinced that she was doing everything hopelessly wrong.

She tried to stop a Wyld beast (and feel much better in the process!) but instead caused this... crazy girl to start trying to kill her! She staved off the troops... only to ruin everything and possibly incite them to come in anyway, or at least fail to keep them away. She couldn't even follow Lesia's advice, because she was so hasty that she dropped her guard long enough to let this nut grab onto her!

Even as tears started to well up from the distinct sense of failure she felt, Rana flailed at Rowan, no longer even using coherent words. Kicking and screaming furiously, Rana's only want now was to get the hell out of Rowan's grip. And out of Narshe. And back on track. Before all of this crap. Before she was humiliated by fate. Before she failed!

2008-01-22, 02:30 AM

"Okay, nobody likes the peace idea." Gale rolls his eyes and strides over to the struggling ladies. "I love a good catfight as much as the next man, and this is a REALLY good one, it is, but right now, why don't we take a look over...there!" He grabs both their heads and gives them encouraging twists towards the door. "The funtime starts now."

2008-01-22, 07:42 AM
Lesia seethed, the knuckles on her left hand draining of color as they tightened their grip on the hilt. How DARE that wretch! Is she chronically stupid? "If you don't want your pet to get hurt, DON'T LET IT ATTACK PEOPLE." What is WITH these idiots? Do they not understand that their lack of calm is screwing up their own plans!? Nowhere in her mind did she bother to clarify who she meant. Her sword drifted from the door to Tesciam's patient, and her expression became something much stonier, much more detached. Words have clearly failed, even if Mr. Gallant Hero was going to try once again. "Release her and calm down or the rat dies, and all your rage will have been for naught. We have much bigger things to worry about then the dysfunctionality of our current group, like the soldiers outside. If you wish to help yourself, your manservant, and your pet, mystery girl, you will worry about them, not us."

She watched the Dynast child expectedly; Hopefully, she would calm down and focus on the soldiers. Or at least, release Rana, at which point she could knock her out and drag her off much more easily.

2008-01-22, 09:09 AM
In the store

As Gale and Lesia finish speaking the door bursts open, the Lead Rider from the square rushing through. "Miss Rowan, what's going on?" he says, brandishing his very well made shortspear in a somewhat uncertain manner and staring at the grappling and brandishing of weapons uncertainly, his men following closely behind him.

"She hit Wainwright, Endo! And the one with the sword is threatening to kill him!" cries Rowan, casting a vicious glance at Lesia and continuing to squeeze Rana, though perhaps somewhat less bonecrushingly.

"Please, Miss Rowan, everyone! I'm sure this here is some kinda misunderstanding," says Endo (the Lead Rider), going over to Rowan and attempting, unsuccessfully, to pry her off of Rana. "Just ease down, Miss. It'll all be okay if we just sit down and talk this out..."

On the roof: The horse that ran into the square earlier, gets around the side of the building, and the blue haired youth whistles at it again, causing it to turn and head back to the stables.

2008-01-22, 10:11 AM
Tesciam stands up and positions himself between Lesia's blade and the rat. His eyes fixed on her, he says "I'll not allow anyone who is under my care to come to harm."

He turns his head towards Rowan and says sternly. "As for you, Rowan, I am trying to save your friend here, and what you are doing is not helping. So stop it!"

Then he addresses the riders: "The same is true for you. If I understand it right, this young woman will be your liege in a few years, and I doubt she will appreciate it if your barging in here interrupts Wainwright's treatment."

Now he addresses everyone: "This would be a difficult procedure under normal circumstances, and I'm surely no expert on giant rats. Still, I'll do my best to heal him, but that will need my utmost concentration. I'll need some supplies from this shop that will need to get pay for, a large bowl of warm water and then I need everyone expect myself, Rowan and the tabby to get out of here." He speaks to Endo directly: "You'll need to make sure that I do not get disturbed in the next two hours, or the healing process could be ruined. And that includes whoever is currently sneaking around on the roof."

2008-01-22, 10:47 AM

"Oh by the Dragons," she exclaims, dropping her hold on Rana and rushing over to Wainwright and Tesciam, "He will be all right won't he?"

2008-01-22, 11:08 AM
Tesciam gives Rowan a reassuring smile. "Dont worry to much. I know what I'm doing, and you can assist me. We'll safe him together."

He continues to give Rowan instuctions to collect various items from the store, including bandages, some needles, herbs and to get the warm water, then he kneels down besides the rat again. Before he resumes the treatment, he looks over to the rest of the people and raises an eyebrow to check if they are actually leaving.

2008-01-22, 10:52 PM
Just like that, it was - somewhat - over. As the breath returned to her (whether from screaming like a banshee or the hold was debatable), Rana simply slumped against the closest wall, panting heavily, and still crying, in spite of some effort to hide that detail.

"...So sorry... I'm... I thought it... er... Wainwright was a Wyld monster that was going to get out into the village and start hurting people. I... I tried to make everything right, and I..."

Rana sniffled slightly, holding her chest in pain as she tried to get up, haltingly.

"...I just ruined everything! Rowan, I... I wouldn't have meant to..."

Another sniffle, and Rana made an unsubtle attempt to wipe her eyes. She... really did look upset.

"Please, at least as one noble daughter to another, try to forgive me?..."

With that, she noticed Tesciam's gaze levelling on her, and sighed, limping away out the door, muttering only one phrase as she left.

"...Right... I should go..."

2008-01-23, 05:39 AM
In the store

Rowan busies herself helping Tesciam, pointedly not acknowledging Rana's apology. The rest of the soldiers are quickly ushered out by Endo, who repeatedly apologizes to everyone in the shop about the 'misunderstanding', and offers to let you all come and stay the night at Varil Wezun's Estate.

"I'm sure Master Wezun won't want no hard feelings 'bout all this mix up. We can give y'all a good meal and a place to sleep, seeing as how the Inn is all full up anyways," says Endo just outside the door, having gently guided everyone (aside from Tesciam, Rowan, and the Cat) out of the store, but leaving men guarding the doors and windows (and the new hole in the side of the building).

On the roof: As soon as someone being on the roof is mentioned, the blue haired youth gets up and takes a running leap over to the Inn. Ducking into an open window on the second floor just as the first of the soldiers comes out of the store.

2008-01-23, 10:47 AM
When they are alone, Tesciam gives Rowan a worried look and asks: "The guards said you ran away from home. What happend? If there is a problem, maybe I can help.

He listens quietly to what she has to say, while continuing to treat the giant rat.

2008-01-23, 11:02 AM
"I'm glad we agree on something." Lesia calmly quipped, sword unmoving. If she had to skewer the poor man to get Rana released, well, those were the breaks; She was quite finished treating this dynastic brat with kid gloves. As soon as she heard the less-then-satisfying thump of Rana hitting the floor, she quickly sheathed her sword. Dysfunctional.. besides, a rat is never going to be as important as a person. Ah well, Rana's fine, her little pet will be fine, everything should turn out fine.

Wait, what's this? "No, Rana, you haven't ruined anything. You actually saved the itinerant Gallant," she swept an uncaring hand in Gale's general direction, "from being arrested for obstruction, or worse; Imagine if he'd tried that on the authorities, if you will. And I daresay that even as an Exalted, she wouldn't have escaped from those men on horseback. Without help, anyway; Help we could have rendered, had she bothered to listen to us instead of insisting that this all be handled alone." Though she had to admit, at least to herself, that the only feasible way she could see of doing that was less then favorable, as it'd leave somebody here.

"At any rate.." her tone shifted a bit after Endo left, becoming more quiet. "We're not leaving without an explanation, to say the least."

2008-01-23, 12:18 PM
Rana continued to wipe her eyes as she moved alongside Lesia, seeming to look a little better. Acknowledging her companion's words, Rana could only nod, sigh, and produce a weakened reply.

"I... suppose. I just felt so frustrated. I don't know, this feels like so much for little to nothing, though I guess the offer for some nice lodging isn't that bad. We can find out more later, I guess. And having a, uh, whatever that Tesciam fellow is supposed to be in relation to us is handy. A local surely would help smooth over some of this foul business. Maybe the cat, too! I'm sure having a mascot that's not, uh, well, ah, nasty and from realms unspeakable would be a nice change in pace!... Or something. We'll see, right?"

2008-01-23, 12:26 PM

Gale sneezes a few times, presumably because of the various powders still lingering on him. He shakes his head, creating an aura of dust around him.

"Hey, now, I don't mind nicknames, but if you could stop calling me Gallant? I shacked up with a hot girl named Gallant Ivory when I was up in the north, and it's kinda awkward to be called the same name as her. But she had a great butt. I think I could stand the awkwardness if I had a butt like that. Anyway, the pet-slayer's bodyguard here is right, we should probably get this whole skipping town deal thing sorted out. Anyway, the offer I made earlier still stands. It's always more fun to travel with someone."

2008-01-23, 03:35 PM
Hound follows her quarry, sailing across to the Inn's roof and coming to a low crouch keeping her body flush with the roof's surface.

2008-01-23, 08:19 PM
Rana quirked an eyebrow at Gale, still somewhat sore at him for being so evasive, even if she knew he had a decent reason. But... she, if only for familiarity's sake, felt a duty to butt in... Pun not intended. Her tone was, at least on surface, vaguely amused, though it had a slight air of imperious distaste.

"Interesting. I once remember someone saying something about that. I didn't figure you the type for that, though. You honestly seemed more the type for..."

She actually cradled her chin in thought, this time not for rhetorical reasons.

"...Hmmm. I'm thinking, you looked more like the kind to go for... the hips, or maybe the curves? Though I suppose the whole monastic look you've got going there is a fair cover for your true preference. Maybe it's because I didn't spend the time to gauge your personality?"

Rana glanced back over at the troops, then to Lesia. She had a somewhat grudging look on her face as she switched gears to comment on Gale's other words.

"...But enough about that. The... well, I'm not sure if I'm ready to trust you right off, but you DID know something about Steel Boot, or at least his style, so I suppose that you're at least of some help. And... I do have to admit, Wezun's is a welcome I don't feel like overstaying. I've had enough random crap for one week. Lesia, what do you think?"

2008-01-23, 09:48 PM
Tesciam & Rowan: "Doesn't really matter, I'll just have to go back now anyway," Rowan sighs and continues, "Wezun doesn't want anyone going, but I don't understand how he can believe they aren't going go in, whether he has forbidden it or not. I don't care what Great Forks or the Council of Entities think, they are not trustworthy... Sorry, I'm babbling on, and there you are with no idea what I'm talking about I'm sure. No need to concern yourself with me, I'll be fine. Just make sure Wainwright is going to be alright, please."
Silent Hound: As the blue haired youth ducks into the room an older man hunched over an aged tome at the desk in the room calls out, "Malfeas boy, what is wrong with you?"

"What? The guards never spotted me, father, I do know what I'm doing," says the blue haired youth.

"Cecelyne's teats! You have to start paying more attention Raiton, you've had a woman following you this whole bloody time," rumbles the older man.

"What?" exclaims the blue haired youth, Raiton, spinning around to look behind himself.

"She's on the roof, Raiton. Close the window, and seal the sounds so we can have a proper conversation."
Outside the general store:
Endo has a few quiet words with some of his men, and a couple of the village youths, before coming back over to the group. "I'm arranging for a cart for Rowan and the healer, and I'll see about getting the loan of a few horses if y'all care to ride with us to the Estate. We'll be getting back just as soon the man says Wainwright is safe to move," he says, somewhat diffidently. "Tonight's a bit of a fancy occasion, actually. Got some uhh, visiting diplomats or somewhat, so there's a dinner planned. You ladies'll be plenty welcome as guests, and you sir, boys over yonder say you're quite the storyteller. Don't suppose we could prevail upon you to give us a tale tonight? We don't get a lot of entertainers 'round here..."
Though there are still occasional sidelong glances and hurried whispers, the market square seems to be returning to it's previous sedate state.

2008-01-23, 10:37 PM

Gale barely rolls his eyes for an instant.

"S-Rana, you're an adult, your innuendo should be much better than that, though you have the hostility down. You should start attending my classes, trust me, they'll help. Now, before we all go ahead and have a merry feast, maybe we should consult the opinion of our raging preteen Exalted friend, since I have a feeling she's not going to be okay with that. Or do you want to get your ribs crushed again? Yes, we could all hear the cracking over the scream-fest you two were having. Though, really, if you do want to go ahead and start another catfight, please let us know so we can get some snacks and all have a nice show. It'll be way better than any of my stories, that's for sure." He gives her a thumbs-up and an insencere smile a mile wide.

2008-01-23, 10:48 PM
Tesciam ponders her words for a moment, a puzzled look on his face. "It is true, I have no idea what you are talking about. I have a feeling I should, but right now, lets focus on your friend."

He hesitates, and looks directly into Rowan's eyes. "I didn't think I would risk my life for the well-beeing of a rat one day. Just as much as you will need to trust me about healing your friend, I'll need to trust you about keeping what you'll see now a secret, for if the wrong people find out about it, I will be in alot of trouble," he says with a mixture of a amusement and melancholy in his voice.

He looks around to check that noone is watching, then closes his eyes for a moment, and his face gains the expression of complete tranquility. His hands begin to glow in golden light, that quickly envelops the rat's body, and the bright caste mark of the twillight solar exalted apprears on his forehead. With small and precise movements, he carefully applies pressure to the dark bruises on the rat's skin, which begin to slowly recede under his touch.

2008-01-23, 11:42 PM
Hound plants her hands on the edge of the roof and hand-stands off of it, rolling as she comes around into a flip that sends her into the room and landing in a low crouch on both feet.

Still in her crouch she raises her right hand and quietly closes the window for them; as she does she looks up at the two other occupants and raises a single solitary finger to her lips motioning for them to be quiet, her face a serene and unblinking emotionless mask.

"Quiet. No swift moments. I am not your enemy ....." The words sounded cold but unfamiliar on her tongue and slowed her speech. "... unless you want me to be." She frowned and seemed suddenly unsure of herself. "You do not seem to be Yurgen's men. What side of the fence do you play on?"

2008-01-24, 12:18 AM
Tesciam & Rowan: "Anathema," she breathes, wide eyed, unconsciously taking a step backward. "You get away from-" she starts to speak, but is interrupted by the quiet words of her elderly companion (whom you had not noticed when you looked around before) "Quiet, young miss. He is not being what it is you are thinking he is. He is just to be doing a healing now, I can tell," says the old man, staring intently at Tesciam. "I am to be knowing much about the Unclean, sir. So mind yourself to not trying anything untoward, and perhaps we'll not to be setting no armies on you. Say you so?"
Silent Hound: "Ma'am, I am trying to have a conversation with my son, if you don't mind," he says, not turning around or looking up from his book. "Furthermore, last I checked I was not associated with any 'Yurgen', nor do I have a whole lot to do with 'fences'. In point of fact I am quite busy, and expect to stay that way for the next couple of days. Good day, ma'am."
Raiton looks between Hound and the older man somewhat confusedly. Finally sidling over to the door, and opening it with a bow and flashing a wry grin at Hound.
"Oh by the Hundred Gods! Smile at anything with tits, won't you boy..." sighs the older man, at which Raiton grins wider and winks.
Endo looks somewhat nervously between Gale and Rana. "Quite the kidder this one, ain't he," Endo says to Rana, somewhat awkwardly trying to head off an argument. "Say there mister storyteller, you know any of the stories 'bout Pebble the Dragon? Bit of a local favorite those stories, and Pebble is good friend of Master Wezun, ya know. 'Spose I already know all uh them anyway, though," he says with a nervous laugh, eyes still flicking back and forth, like he is expecting someone to start a fight.

2008-01-24, 01:01 AM
Tesciam slightly flinches when the old man suddenly addresses him, but quickly regains his composure. He replies "My name is Tesciam, and I'm a Child of the Unconquered Sun. I would appreciate it if you addressed me by name, whoever you are, and refrain from insulting my caste, or threaten me, at least while I'm trying to help your protege."

He turns to Rowan, and silently sights at the horrified expression on her face. "I wish I could have spared you that shock, but there was no other way to do this. I'm sorry that I startled you."

Then he lowers his eyes back on his patient and gives the healing process his full attention again.

2008-01-24, 12:25 PM
Hound inwardly grimaces disdainfully at the exchange but puts on a bashful smile, her cheeks immediately flushing at the young rogue's attention. She removes her straw traveling hat and pulls back the silk coif to her neck causing a tight bundle of red hair spilling out past her shoulder. She instinctively brushes some stray hair over her shoulder in a dismissive but let's her long bangs frame around her face and dance obscuring over her almond eyes. After fully getting Raiton's attention she saunters out the door, making a small gesture with her hand and an inviting, coy smile for him to follow after she's stepped outside of the room. She leans in close to his neck and whispers in one ear, "Come find me later; I'll wait for you behind the Inn after dark."

2008-01-24, 09:39 PM
Tesciam & Rowan: "Not to be threatening. Just with the telling you. I am knowing of the your kind. Not to be with the offending," says the old man, very carefully and evenly.

"Th-thank you, Tesciam. For helping Wainwright," Rowan says softly.

Silent Hound: Raiton gives a small wave and another wink as he closes the door to the room. Some odd tapping and shuffling noises come from inside, then no sound at all. Moments later one of the riders from outside comes quickly up the stairs and, having not really noticed her, bumps into Silent Hound.
"Oh, excuse me miss, very sorry," he says, bowing and scraping a little as he moves past. The man was one of a couple riders dressed slightly differently from the rest, up close you see that he wears a heavy cloak covering some sort of odd contraption strapped to his back. The cloak is clasped with a strange piece of metalwork, in the shape of a snowflake.

2008-01-24, 10:03 PM
Lightning's feline eyes fall on Tesciam, appraising the man with a sudden intensity. Chosen of the Unconquered Sun. I've wondered what it would be like to meet one. That would explain why he could pierce my Tell, why he suspected me for more than I was. Leave it to a Lawgiver to ruin my fun.

Satisfied with a short mew towards the healer, the tabby cat turns and approaches Rowan, meowing as if speaking. Lightning imagined the syllables of each word, enjoying the irony.

Hey you, spoiled Dynast, he imagined himself to be saying Have you seen a horrifying Abyssal woman anywhere nearby? Skinny, pale, dark hair, clad in destruction as others wear clothing...you can't miss her.

2008-01-24, 11:48 PM
Rana stuck out her tongue spitefully at Gale's remark.

"Shows you where you're wrong! That's not innuendo, that's straight-up! My second cousin and I used to make a game of talk like that, actually. Really fun at parties, I tell you! Well, during the boring parts of..."

She trailed off. Again with the blatancy! Rana kept on hesitating, knowing that people outside of the Realm - hell, people INSIDE the Realm - weren't so keen on Houce Cynis's... views on life. He probably already guessed, but it was sooo awkward out here! She couldn't help it!

"...Yeah. Well, either way... You're not doing a very good job of making me care to let you come with me anyway! You're like some kind of mad ancient death machine with no off switch. But, like, for sarcastic jerkery."

She had to leave it at this. She couldn't resist taking jabs at him! But... she had to. Lest she take more physical jabs. Either way, Rana contented herself with this as she walked along with Lesia and Endo.

2008-01-25, 12:40 AM

Gale laughs heartily.

"You got me there, S-Rana. But, hey, I'll remember to look for you if I ever need some child's favorite pet killed. I mean, sure, it might take you two shots, but there's always enough time for a second when you're doing something you love, eh? But I'm sure martial art master Wezun won't care about the emotional trauma you've done to one of his charges, even if there's nothing else to keep him entertained at dinner, right?"

Gale walks up to her and claps a hand on her shoulder. He lowers his tone to a bit more of a secretive, though no less emphatic and jovial one.

"I gotta grab my meals somehow. You ruined the one I was gonna have with a nice young girl, so you're gonna pay me back, whether or not you're dining with the big guy. Oh, and if you want your stories to go longer, you should probably try not cutting them off. It makes it sound like you're hiding embarassing secrets. See you at supper, even if you have to whack some more rodents to make it."

He releases his conference hold and turns back to Endo. "I'd love to come. What dragon doesn't have a few good stories these days, eh? But I bet you've got ones even I haven't heard. Let's take a seat so you can tell me your favorite. I think it'll be a while before we leave. And don't worry about Rana there, we just like to joke around with each other. It's nothing, really."

2008-01-25, 09:43 PM
Yes indeed, she would not leave without that explanation that this dynastic brat.. the /other/ dynastic brat, rather, owed them. No sirree bob, not for hell or high water.. Wait, what was she doing out here? It was almost as if the Loom had broken and rewoven itself in the most convenient fashion.. the taller of the two faux-Dragonblooded ponderred their situation a bit, inwardly reminding herself that if she was going to keep this gig up, she needed to learn much more about the Realm; Preferably, be nigh-encyclopedic about it..

"Children.." She warned teasingly. She already knew she didn't want Gale travelling with them; An obstruction might be interesting, but it wasn't useful. Certainly, not one as tiresome as this one. "Endo, I'd be interested in hearing these stories at well." She politely indicated. Even if she hadn't wanted to, it'd be better then giving Gale the opportunity to continue being antagonistic, she reasoned. The idea that it takes two to tango, as it were, was in this case, lost on her..

2008-01-26, 02:13 AM
Endo tells a long and surprisingly entaining story of Pebble the Dragon tricking the local Gemlord into giving him his court. As he finishes up, Rowan and Tesciam and a little old man who is introduced as Coal come out of the general store. Rowan is very diligently attending to her giant rat and roundly rebuffs any attempts at conversation.

Additional horses, and a cart for Rowan and Wainwright, having already been gathered the odd assortment of travelers takes to the road. The afternoon is pleasant and the journey seems to go very quickly.

Just as the sun begins to touch to horizon the Estate comes into view. Beautifully crafted wrought iron fences, twice the height of a man at least, surround what must be ten or more acres of well tended and carefully sculpted grounds. The grounds look like a fanciful artists conception of an idyllic woodland scene, trees forming lovely arched passageways, convenient stone paths to and for, and flowering vines draped over most everything. Through the trees a large whitewashed barn and lovely pasture full of wildflowers can be seen.

For a time moving through the grounds it seems as though there could not possibly be a residence of any size hidden in the sparse tree cover. Then turning a corner the Manor is revealed all at once. Three stories of grey and blue marble with gleaming steel accents, the building's curves and points give the impression of a dozen fencers in mid-salute. Elegance, dignity and respect it seems to say.

"Welcome to the Estate, folks. I'll just have the servants get y'all situated 'fore dinner comes along, and let Master Wezun and Tarana the Grey know you're all here," says Endo, bowing and sending a couple of pages off running to get more servants.

2008-01-26, 07:47 PM
All the while, Rana stayed silent... After Lesia piped up to silence them, she didn't really have the heart to continue. While she tried to listen to Endo's story, her mind was consumed with other thoughts. Among them, getting on with her journey, what the deal with Rowan was, who the hell Coal was, why she kept a giant rat for a pet...

But chiefly, more than anything, Rana brooded on her intense dislike of her new acquiantance, Heavenly Gale. The energetic, if a bit aggressive, girl actually looked a little strange darkly brooding in a pool of selfmade angst, but there she was. Even presented with the 'wonders' of Wezun's manor, which she considered so much poppycock to such things as the capital of the Realm, she stood there, imagining all sorts of dimensions of cutting and slashing and shaming and humiliating that sad, strange little man.

2008-01-26, 08:14 PM
Tesciam climbs down from the cart and carefully places the tabby on the ground next to him. He spent the trip in quiet meditation on the cart, only breaking it once in a while to check the giant rat, to pet the tabby he insisted on bringing alone as a token of good fortune, or to throw a quick glance to Rowan or Coal. Now he looks visibly well rested, and takes his time to admire the view on the mansion.

"Thank you, Endo. This is a beautifull park you have here, and a magnificent mansion. Even after all the places I've been to, I have seen few places that can rival it. I'm very much looking forward to strolling through the grounds, and seeing the mansion from the inside. But please tell, while I have of course heard of the famous Varil "One Arm" Wezun, I'm unfamilar with the name of Tarana the Grey. Who would that be?" he asks Endo.

2008-01-27, 10:53 PM
Leading you all into the elegant building Endo answers Tesciam's query, "Tarana the Grey is Master Wezun's wife. She was kinda a mercenary captain, but these days her company just works for Wezun, mostly." Approaching a large set of double doors Endo excuses himself, and takes Rowan and Coal with him, leaving the guests in the hands of a few domestic servants. The intricately carved doors open of their own accord as you near them, leading into a large central chamber with vaulted ceilings, many elaborate arches and columns, and at least a dozen doorways and passages leading off in various directions.

The servants explain that they are bringing you to the guest suites in the east wing, to allow you each a chance to freshen up before dinner. As you walk down the hallways small red candles set in wall sconces ignite to light the way. Lovely abstract carvings grace all the walls and ceilings you pass through, seemingly designed around the natural veins of blue and green in the marble. Each of you is brought to a small but well appointed room, and asked if you have need of anything.

Back in Narshe: The day is largely uneventful after the riders from the Estate leave with Rowan and the odd collection of Travelers. By late afternoon what few locals had been displaying their goods in the market square have packed up and gone either home or to the public house. The general store is closed, and Old Widow Keisha presides over repairs to her wall with very short temper.
As evening comes on the public house seems to have grown rather crowded, between the Guild traders and the mercenaries staying next door at the Inn. Nothing of particular interest happens during the daytime, but the sun is dropping below the horizon...

2008-01-28, 12:09 AM

Lightning follows constantly at Tesciam's side, trying his best not to draw attention to how very out of place an orange tabby was in a dynastic mansion. At the same time, the part of him that had tasted the cat's blood almost swooned with each passing luxury, eager for the kind of kingly repose that all cats seemed to feel entitled to themselves.

Well now, he pretended to say, meowing softly to the Twilight as they entered the room, do you really know me, or do you just suspect?

2008-01-28, 12:58 PM
"A few towels and a bowl of fresh water would be nice, I would like to clean myself before the dinner", Tesciam says to the servant.

After the servant has left, Tesciam begins to inspect the suit, obviously checking if anyone is spying on him. While he is doing that with a mixture of focused concentration and worried nervousness, he seems to chat with himself in the same light and playfull tone he uses around Endo. "This is quite a cozy place, but I still prefer the countryside over any mansion, its more secluded. I guess I'll take a stroll in the park after the dinner to gather my thoughts, you never know when someone is barging in on you in a place like this." With his last sentence, his eyes come to rest on the tabby.

2008-01-28, 02:46 PM
As Rana entered the inner finery of the mansion, she released some of her jaded sense about the place. Maybe some places outside of the Realm ARE fine? She didn't much pay attention beyond that, though, because she was still imagining interesting ways to hurt Gale... up until the servants began to lead them to their rooms. Rana shifted around to block them from leading her and Lesia away, and levelled her gaze on them.

"I'd like to be roomed with my traveling companion rather than separately."

As she said this, she gestured towards Lesia, to ensure the servant knew who she meant.

2008-01-28, 04:54 PM

Gale doesn't seem particularly impressed by the place, for whatever reason. He keeps up his usual grin. As everyone is led to the chambers, he overhears Rana's request.

"Oh, so THAT'S how it is. You can probably spare asking for a bigger bed, S-Rana. I'm sure the ones here are large enough for any but the most acrobatic activities you two may decide to take part in." With that parting shot, he ducks into the room he's been led to and closes the door. He does his best to restrain himself from laughing.

While waiting for the feast, Gale, for lack of better wording, monkeys around. He hops on top of things, swings from things, and otherwise fools around in the most acrobatic (and fairly non-destructive) way he can. It's the best thing to do to avoid boredom here (without a companion like that "bodyguard", he muses to himself with a mild snicker).

2008-01-28, 11:45 PM
The icy inspector's eyes rolled over to Gale and followed him out, blazing with a new level of hatred for that little comment. Even if it were the case, that kind of.. utterly improper comment was simply unacceptable in public. It was their business, whatever did or did not happen. The nerve of some people. Just because every last relationship he knows was based on sex doesn't make it the only...And other such similar thoughts traveled like wildfire through her mind.

"...Lout" was all she uttered, after a long moment. All the anger in the world wouldn't make him less of a fool. Mercifully, he wasn't aware of her House, or things would probably be worse. She steeled herself, looking back at servant, hoping she wouldn't frighten him. She was less then apt at containing her rage"Despite the reckless Gallant-imitator's... immaturity, I would find it more comfortable to room with Rana. Could that be arranged?"

2008-01-29, 12:37 AM

You know something's afoot, don't you, Lawgiver? the tabby thinks to himself, smiling as best he could with the mouth of a cat. When Tesciam turns to him, he winks quickly and then proceeds to--much to his own shock and horror--lick his fur.

This is going to give me such a furball...

2008-01-29, 05:20 AM
The servants get everyone settled into their rooms, and bring what has been asked for. After a reasonable interval for rest and readying each of you is summoned to dinner. You are led back through the intricately carved hallways, past the strange self-lighting scarlet candles, into a good sized dining hall.
A stone table of sufficient size to seat a dozen or so guests comfortably dominates the room. A variety of delectable dishes are already arrayed upon the table, and there are four individuals arrayed around it as well.
Sitting in at the head of the table is the man who must be Varil Wezun. His face looks a carving of a strong and handsome man pitted and worn away by decades of exposure to the elements, now leaving only hints of what was once a proud jawline and elegant nose. The cracks around his eyes and mouth hint at a man of good humor and easy smiles, but the clear gaze of his pale blue eyes pierces through as though he can see through to your very soul and is prepared to cast judgment upon what he sees. He wears a simple off white high-collared tunic that matches closely to his skin color. In place of his right hand an obvious artificial construction is visible, complex mechanical works showing through gaps in the white jade plates shaped in facsimile of a fleshy appendage.
"Greetings travelers, and welcome to my home and table. I am Kazei Varil Wezun," he says rising gracefully to his feet, with a gesture to the far end of the table he continues, "this is my wife, Tarana the Grey." The woman he indicates looks as cold and lovely as a delicately carved marble statue. Palest white skin and every feature in perfect proportion, if not for the disapproving turn of her lips or her subtly disdainful gaze she might have been the loveliest woman in the room. She wears a sleek and form-fitting dark gray high-collared dress with subtle embroidery implying mountains and strong geometric patterns. At the introduction she nods somewhat perfunctorily. "I believe you have already met the head of my household guard, Endo Stoh'Hollard." Endo grins and nods slightly awkwardly at his introduction. "And here we have Shozei Yushoto Michiko," Wezun gestures to dark-skinned woman sitting at his left. Her short-cropped hair and deeply tanned and somewhat weathered skin mark her as a military woman. She makes a magnanimous gesture toward the new guests and stares into her wine glass as if in deep contemplation. "I'm afraid my ward, Rowan, is feeling rather unwell after all of today's excitement and will not be joining us this evening. The rest of the guests should be along shortly though. Please, sit and make yourselves comfortable."

2008-01-29, 12:04 PM
"Thank you for your kind invitation", says Tesciam and bows deeply. "My name is Tesciam, and I'm a traveling healer and fortune teller, at your service. It is an honor to be here."He sits down and exhales silently. Clearly, he is not in his element here.

2008-01-29, 11:54 PM
As Rana entered the room, it was clear that this time, she was not dressed for travel as she was when the group met her. In fact... now, her red dress - freshly cleaned just for the occasion - was what she was wearing, covered in flowing dragon motifs and abstract elemental designs signifying her deep affiliation with the element of fire. And, she sat down either right next to Lesia, or at least where she knew Lesia would be. Once seated, the Dynast bowed her head slightly, and smiled at Wezun.

"It is quite the splendid dinner, I must agree. I am but a traveler from lands a bit west of here, who goes by the name of Rana. I must admit that I'm surprised a seemingly unrelated person like me would be invited, though! Aware as I am that I was involved in matters pertaining to Lady Rowan, I'm still a bit impressed."

2008-01-30, 09:06 AM
Sitting back down Wezun replies "I try to offer hospitality to travelers as often as I am able. If you'll forgive my being blunt, we just don't get enough 'respectable' types through here to be picky about what sort of company gets brought home to dinner." Servants come and offer drinks once you have seated yourselves. "Besides which, Rana was it? Besides which, if I don't miss my guess you more accustomed to things sorts affairs than I am," says Wezun, laughing. "At heart I am still a military man, retired or not. And I certainly don't mean to pry, your reasons for traveling are your own and no business of ours," he says, glancing briefly at Tarana. "And the villagers will no doubt thank me if I manage to incline traveling healers and storytellers to frequent our quaint little backwater more often anyway," he finishes with nod and wink at Tesciam and Gale.

Back in Narshe: Just as the sun finishes setting a dark figure strides into the village. Dressed in heavy black leathers with a liberal smattering of spikes and studs, those who see him instinctively avoid eye contact and hurry away. His skin an ebony as deep as the sea on a moonlight night, with flecks of scar tissue here and there standing testament to many hard fought battles, most notably a scar hooking from the right corned of his mouth halfway up his cheek. There is an unevenness to the staccato of his heavy footfalls from what appear to be steel plates bolted onto his right boot.
The man pauses before the door of the public house briefly, before kicking it open (the door is designed to be pushed open inward so it is not damaged). All heads in the small crowded room immediately turn to the newcomer. Ignoring the attention he walks through the crowd with what might be a wry half-grin or might just be an unfortunate side effect of his nasty facial scar. The patrons of the public house part before him, even clearing a space at the bar as it becomes clear that is where the man is headed. Settling himself heavily at the bar he lets out a deep sigh. "Whatever ya got," the man says, with a rapping his knuckle on the bar once as he speaks. The patrons let out their collective breath and go back to their conversations as the bartender scrambles to get a drink for the man.

2008-01-30, 12:40 PM
"That seems to be a bit harsh on the town of Narshe", Tesciam says with a smile and takes a sip from his wine. "When I was there the town seemed to be, well, not really bursting with activity, but with all the traders and mercenaries around, it was sure vivid and I had a hard time trying to rent a place to sleep, which is another reason why your invitation is appreciated so much." He takes another sip. "Speaking of which, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to extend my stay here for a few more days. Back at my village, I was an avid student of the martial arts, but sadly without a skilled teacher I learned little more then the basics. I was hoping for a chance to refresh my knowledge and maybe learn a few new things.

2008-01-30, 01:36 PM

Gale takes a seat near the other guests. He appears to have cleaned up somewhat, though not much more than anyone could expect him to. Despite looking out of place at the table arrayed with finery, he seems quite at home. He barely partakes in any feasting yet, much less the amount one would expect a starving poor man to. With all his table manners, in any other choice of clothing he would be indistinguishable from a visiting dynast.

"I suppose I don't need much introduction, but I'm Heavenly Gale. Tesciam has only just reminded me of this place's true nature, though. It seems so much like a palace that I forgot it was a training ground. You wouldn't mind if I also stayed to gather some tales, would you?" He's acting nothing like the strange mannerless man from the village.

2008-01-30, 11:37 PM
Afterwards Hound merely slipped outside and hid in plain sight till the sun began to set. She stopped dead in her tracks when the stranger appeared and made such an .. odd .. entrance to the Inn. Curiosity got the better of her and blowing off her prior engagement she followed in after the room settled from the man's passing, finding a spare place to sit in any corner available.

2008-01-30, 11:52 PM
Giving a slight sigh Tarana the Grey speaks up, "We actually have something of a full schedule right now, I'm sureyou understand." She gives a small insincere smile.

"Nonsense dear, we can manage one more in the morning training sessions without any trouble. And Heavenly Gale, I've no doubt Endo will be willing to find some time to share a few tales with you, he makes a bit of a hobby of collecting local legends. If you're willing to help him with the children you might be able to get a story or two out of Coal, too. Old fellow studies some strange lore, no doubt he knows one or two you wouldn't have heard," says Wezun, causing Tarana's expression to freeze into immobility but for a deep steady intake of breath. "Of course you're right dear. How silly of me," murmurs Tarana the Grey.

"Hah! Sure why not," slurs the previously silent Yushoto Michiko, "might as well just invite ever'body in at this point." She laughs grimly into her wineglass as she speaks. "Michiko," says Wezun, his expression darkening momentarily, "perhaps you have overindulged. Maybe you want to go lie down before you make yourself sick?"

Lurching up from her seat, Yushoto Michiko drains her glass in one glup and says, "Yes, of course. Can't 'barass you front of all our honored guests, now can I..." Walking unevenly out of the room she waves off a servant who comes to assist her, continuing to chuckle grimly the whole time.

"I apologize for Michiko's behavior. It is in no way directed at any of you, she has something of a personal problem with the other guests we are entertaining," explains Wezun.

Back in Narshe: The dark man receives his drink and in one smooth motion downs the entire thing. "Another," he says. Looking over at the man sitting next to him at the bar he says, "You're one of them Guild traders, right?" The other man nods nervously. "How much you charging a head?" asks the dark man. The Guild trader indicates a price of about eight dinars. "Many you got?" In response the traders tells him he has twenty strong healthy males and eight not suitable for heavy labor. "Take jade weight?" the dark man asks, pulling a jade shekel out of his shirt. Speechless for a moment, the Guild trader finally stammers his assent. "Have 'em ready in the morning then," says the dark man pushing the slab of jade across the bar to the Guild trader.

2008-01-31, 12:21 AM
"Umm, yes..." Tesciam mumbles, slightly confused by Michiko's outburst. He looks after her with a puzzled look till she has left the room, then turns back to Wezun. "I hope we did not...hmm." He ponders what he has just heard for a moment, then continues: "Shozei, isn't that a fairly high military rank in the seventh legion of Lookshy? I've never been part of any military force myself, but it does not hurt to know who is in charge of a situation, especially not if you make a living as a traveling healer and deal with the military." He smiles lightly, more to himself then to anyone else though. "But you must have some peculiar guests if they upset her so much. Who are they?"

2008-01-31, 12:22 AM
Lesia politely listened to the Dragonblooded, feeling somewhat like a fish out of water. Even after being raised in it, ceremony was less then her strong point. Though as always.. there were questions to be had. But.. not now, at what was obviously a ceremonious occasion. And yet, the mood was already ruined.. so many questions. Perhaps the most germane one first.

Or someone else can handle it slightly more bluntly. Hm, well then. "I must admit to have wonderred same thing of our honorred hosts, though I do hope you'll forgive us our.. curiosity. I know I can speak for myself and my companion that we've been left with some questions after the events of the day... It's been.. interesting." And unsatisfying, she added quietly to herself.

2008-01-31, 11:47 AM
A brief and awkward silence descends over the table. Endo just looks back and forth between everyone uneasily, and Tarana the Grey looks expectantly at Wezun with a small cruel smile. "Ahh, well, yes. The matter with Rowan was of no great import. She is simply reaching an age where she feels the need for independence, but has not yet come to realize the kind of dangers inherent in traveling without a proper escort. Perhaps it is my fault for having taught her too well how to take care of herself. It is easy to be confident in one's abilities when you have never faced an enemy who truly wished you harm, after all," explains Wezun, without making nearly as much eye contact as he did during previous conversation. "Just wantin' to have herself an adventure, I reckon," pipes up Endo, "without a bunch of guards like me clamoring to keep her out of harms way that is."

"Ahh, and here are our other guests," announces Wezun, standing again to indicate three figures coming in from the south hallway.

The first a tall man, wearing a conical straw hat and simple somber brown peasant's tunic and trews over extensive white bandaging that covers what little flesh would otherwise be exposed. He plods in without any apparent grace, halting unevenly shortly through archway into the room as if he is not sure whether he should simply be seated or wait for the introductions to finish. You can tell by the movement of his hat that he looks back at his other companions in an attempt to divine what the socially appropriate action might be.
"Here we have Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow, I believe it was. Whom I am informed is something of an expert craftsman and a physicker of sorts, perhaps you could discuss some sort of professional matters with him, Tesciam?"

Next comes a slight pale woman, with dark shoulder length hair and a soft kind sort of face that puts you in mind of a favorite aunt or friendly neighbor woman who would look after you as a child. She wears a simple gown of black silk, with a distinctly funerary look to it, and a wispy hint of a veil over her face. Entering the room she smiles brightly and bows slightly to everyone.
"And this would be The Smith of Stolen Tongues, whom has been an exceedingly gracious and well mannered guest here the last couple of days," says Wezun.
"You are too kind, good Master Varil. It is you who have been the very soul of patience and goodwill, Pasiap himself would laud your efforts," she replies, grinning good-naturedly at Wezun.

Finally comes a stunning, but decidedly unhealthy looking, woman striding into the room almost violently. Her skin is pale past the point of translucency, with the blue-green tinge of a body left long in the sea, but with nary a blemish, pore or imperfection to be seen. Hair that might have been a dark blonde before being color shifted like her skin pours down her back in luxurious cascades and curls. Small yet full lips that appear to have made it to almost a shade of purple without any hint of artificial pigment adorn her face, along with large subtly curved eyes the color of good emeralds, and an odd trio of tattoos on her left cheek; three diamond shapes, two of pure black and another a pristine white that is almost lost on her pale skin. She is clothed is some sort of strange dark metallic bustier, long bracers of the same dark (almost light drinking) material grace her arms, and a long tattered black skirt held up by a much worse-for-wear length of rope secured around an odd dark metal chevron. Upon entering she plants one hand on her rather shapely hip, and turns her head slowly surveying the room before seating herself next to Heavenly Gale with an explosive, and exasperated sounding, sigh.
"And finally Daughter of Unending Tumult. She is, ahh... not much for these sorts of social events, but has graciously agreed to join us tonight regardless," says Wezun, prompting Daughter of Unending Tumult to roll her eyes theatrically and slump in her seat.

Gracefully seating herself between Rana and Tarana the Grey, The Smith of Stolen Tongues says, "I regret to say Vitreous Flow of the Labyrinthine River may not be able to make it. He has not yet come back from Narshe. His errands may have taken long enough that he will not return until the morrow." While she speaks Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow finally manages to gather himself enough to take a seat next to Endo.

"Well, now that we are all here," says Wezun, "let us get started on the meal in ernest, shall we?"

2008-01-31, 04:19 PM

Gale pretends to be not at all perturbed by the half-dead-looking guests. While he doesn't seem to mind that the most shapely of them has seated herself next to him, the theme runs a little too strongly.

"So, uh, Tumult," he says, searching for the most appropriate part of her name to use, "do you all come from the same place, or same family, or something?"

2008-01-31, 04:33 PM
As the parade of exceedingly darkly-styled people with painfully flowery-but-gothic names (Hm. Sort of like Lesia's teacher with the long name... name... that Rana totally forgot at this point.), Rana looked down at the glass of wine at her spot on the table. After a second or two of solemn meditation, Rana grabbed the glass and slugged down the wine in one stroke... and immediately wished Wezun had something with a little more punch. Buuut. Best not to expect Cynis hospitality in a house of Lookshy.

But as Rana gazed over the spread, she just... just no. She didn't even dignify it with an emotion. But... she did look at Lesia, and nudge her slightly, flashing a really worried look (that she tired to conceal from the rest of the table), before turning back to her meal... and her empty, lonely wineglass.

2008-01-31, 07:30 PM

Lightning had skulked in at Tesciam's side, and had since made himself comfortable at his feet, finally beginning to understand why cats were so often wont to curl up into balls. Even still, his ears wiggled and his whiskers flashed as the guests entered, the curious feeling of borrowed senses that Lightning couldn't quite understand yet.

Then he said that name. Her name.

With the most quiet and dignified shock he could muster, Lightning jumped into Tesciam's lap, terrified and uncertain.

She's here. Oh dear sweet Luna, she's here. And...I can't do anything. Not with so many here, Dragonblooded...and those friends of hers must be...oh dear. She's never seen me before, and she's certainly not seeking an Exalt of Luna here. She won't notice me. What would she even notice?

Just then, Lightning realized that quite how strange Tesciam would look with a cat in his lap staring intently at the Daughter, and so, naturally, Lightning put on a show of jumping for whatever the Lawgiver had on his plate, if anything, as if that had been his goal all along.

2008-01-31, 10:49 PM
Daughter of Unending Tumult

"Ugh, not even! We just, like, work together. No relation," says Daughter of Unending Tumult with a shudder. As a servant comes to fill her wine glass she reaches up and grabs the bottle. Looking around the table again she sighes a little, before looking back at Heavenly Gale. "Guess you'll have to do, not like there's anybody else decent looking around here..."

The Smith of Stolen Tongues

Smiling gently at Rana she asks, "What brings you through this area, if it's nothing too private? We are here to investigate some historical sites, provided we are able to secure permission from Lookshy and Narshe that it is."
A slightly flustered servant comes a moment later and fills both Rana's glass and The Smith of Stolen Tongues'.

Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow

He just sort of sits stiffly, with his arms crossed over her chest. Gives a brief nod to Tesciam, and waves away the servant who comes to fill his glass.

Back in Narshe: The Guild trader takes the dark man's money, and hurries nervously out of the public house to the Inn next door. The dark man sips his second drink slowly.

2008-01-31, 11:34 PM

Gale chuckles a little.

"Well, normally I'd say try for her," he gestures his head in Rana's direction, ", but she's taken, and her 'bodyguard' is pretty damn irritable. I'm flattered, though."

2008-01-31, 11:39 PM
When the guests enter, Tesciam rises to greet them, but the warm smile on his face freezes into stunned disbelieve when he sees and hears the names of the newcomers. When the third person enters though, something like a flash of recognition passes over his face, then smiling a smile that doesn't quite reach the eyes, he sits back down, takes a sip from his wine and tenderly strokes the tabby that is sitting on his plate eating his food.

2008-02-02, 12:36 AM
Slowly swirling the wine in his glass, Tesciam raises an eyebrow when he overhears The Smith of Stolen Tongues' comment and turns to her "Historical sites? So you here on some sort of "sight seeing" enterprise? I'm not aware of any cultural sites in the nearer vicinity of Nashe, but then I'm not a local. It sounds interesting though, what are you looking for? Maybe I can be of assistance somehow."

2008-02-02, 05:31 AM
Like clockwork, Rana took her wine again... a bit slower. A bit saner. Then, she glanced over at... at... damnable names, what could she?... Smith? No, that's a boy's name! Tongue? Oh for the love of Hesiesh that SUCKS for a name. By the dragons WHY did she have to address someone with such an unfortunate name? But, gathering her thoughts together a bit more closely, she replied with an even, slightly spunky tone. Even if it killed her.

"Well! Me and my companion here were trying to track down this notorious criminal from the west, and stopped by here for supplies, is all."

She blinked, the thought entering her head that she might have been a bit too truthful, even with such vague information. But... hm. She didn't know scads about it, but the really dark names and all that "Hay I'm a corpse lolz." look these 'guests' had going reminded her about something a Ledaal she met at a party once had been talking about. Something about death... deathlords? Deathknights? Deathjesters?... No. That last one was dumb. But they were a kind of Anathema or something. Maybe Lesia knew more about it, being a big Sorceress and all and knowing about this kinda thing?

Nudge nudge. She couldn't SAY anything to her, but Rana could definitely remind Lesia that this was a Not Good Thing. And speaking of NotGoodThings? That overbearing harlot of a deathchick was, if a bit resignedly (Rana supposed even deathheads had some taste), flirting with Gale! Hee, maybe she'll eat his brains or rot his... Yeah. Either way, she giggled slightly in her own perverse loathing, using it as a handle to weaken some of the disquiet she felt at the gathering.

2008-02-02, 06:38 AM
The Smith of Stolen Tongues

"Yes Tesciam, there actually are a number of interesting areas in the vicinity. The original Ashebenford Castle has been empty since the Contagion, supposedly some of the old guardian demons still lurk there, and the rumors have kept the locals away. I understand Lookshy has given some cursory examinations and found little of interest, but we hope a more thorough investigation might turn something up. If the General Staff can be persuaded to allow it, we would also like to try our hand at getting into Gunzota, we do have access to some tools and techniques that the Seventh Legion may not have tried," she speaks to Tesciam with a smile and a polite level of eye contact. When Rana speaks she turns to her, still smiling.

"From the West? Or do you just mean west of where we are now?" The Smith of Stolen Tongues asks. "Daughter of Unending Tumult is from the far West originally. So perhaps she might have heard of the one you seek," she says by way of explanation.

Daughter of Unending Tumult

At Gale's comment she glances at Rana, "Ugh, so not my type. Looks like she's from the Realm, and those are always so stuck up, like they think they're better you or something. Whatever." Hearing The Smith of Stolen Tongues mention she is from the West Daughter of Unending Tumult rolls her eyes and sighs audibly.

Back in Narshe: The dark man finishes his second drink, and gets up from the bar and walks out of the public house. A few of the mercenary guards from the Guild caravan whisper amongst themselves while he is leaving, and all exit the building together shortly after he does.

2008-02-02, 01:57 PM
Lesia ate in silence for some time, quietly observing the other guests. There was something very.. familiar about them, but she hoped it was mere coincidence. The mention of the Realm brought a cautious look.. hopefully that wasn't taken seriously. PErhaps Michiko would like to tell me about them? If she can be found.. someone that drunk will not go to sleep, I suspect. They'll go drink more until they have to be dragged back.

"If you could excuse me a moment, honored host, I need to take care of personal matters.." Hopefully that gives me 10 minutes or so. Maybe longer, depends on how attentive Weizun and his wife are. Probably very..

2008-02-02, 02:47 PM
Rana made it a point to, interrupting her giggle-fest at Gale's likely horrendous fate, glance at Lesia with a bit of a 'And leave me to slog through this?' look, but then shrugged. She couldn't really... She was better suited for this, after all! So, gazing back at... Ms. Unfortunate Name, Rana shook her head.

"West of here, not THE West. My apologies! But... No, I don't think she would have. But still! It is good to have hospitality at this juncture at any rate, wouldn't you agree? Hm. What is it that you plan to find in those places, though? Treasure, or...?"

Rana intentionally left her words hanging, wondering what the reaction would be.

2008-02-02, 05:28 PM

"Hm. Normally I'd caution about stereotyping, but in her case, you're spot-on. She's also rather violent. And the Imperials think we're the distasteful ones. How do they live with themselves, I wonder." By this point, Gale has subtly polished off two full plates and is working on his third. One wonders when exactly he managed to do that...

2008-02-03, 12:43 PM
Daughter of Unending Tumult

"I know, totally," says Daughter of Unending Tumult, finishing off the bottle she grabbed earlier. So far she has only barely picked at any food. "It's so stupid."

The Smith of Stolen Tongues

"Actually we are mostly hoping to recover some late-shogunate documentation from Ashebenford Castle. There is no real historical record of what happened to the survivors of the Contagion is this area. If they fled or were taken by the Fair Folk, for example," explains The Smith of Stolen Tongues.

Lesia: After a few minutes searching you find Yushoto Michiko outside leaning heavily against an oak tree. She is softly singing a lament in forest-tongue. A sheathed daiklave rests against the tree next to her.

2008-02-03, 02:35 PM
On hearing... ah hell. Smith. On hearing Smith talk about Shogunate records, Rana's eyes brightened slightly in spite of her suspicions. Whether it was fascination about the Shogunate or interest in what these death-heads might want with those records was hard to say...

"Oh! Shogunate information from the time of the Contagion? Hmm... interesting. I hear those were rather trying times, then. And a record of that era could provide a few uses to the deft historian - learning of people who might be carrying shogunate remnants well outside the Realm or Lookshy, tracing genealogical lines, especially heretofore unknown Dragonblooded lines... Or maybe even learning about the carriage, conduct, and tactics both in fighting disease and Fair Folk from that era. Just as, if I were not adverse to it, you asked my purpose in Narshe, may I politely ask what you might want this information for? I've... met some researchers before, and it's always easier to work with them once you know their angle, y'know?"

Rana WAS eating during all of this, but it was in some ways hard to tell, like she snuck in bites whenever her conversational partners weren't looking. Spooky. But not as spooky as the guest's possible spooky death ears. Mmm, spooky death ears. Rana would have to remember that - it had just the right echo of cheesiness, yet still expressed her fear they might have some strange death-Anathema Powers of listening.

2008-02-03, 05:45 PM
Hope she feels like talking.. she doesn't seem to like us much... [i]She cautiously approached; She wasn't trying to evade Michiko's notice so much as not interrupt her singing. When she finishes, she politely claps her hands. "So beautiful.. but such a sad song! Have we fouled our august hosts' mood this much, to sing a song so woeful?"

2008-02-03, 07:51 PM
Tesciam leans back in his chair and stays quite for some time. For the moment, he is content to remain silent, to listen to the conversations and to watch the other guests.

After some time and a few more sips from his wine, he turns to Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow. "Ahem, so. Wezun said you are a physician, of some kind. What is your speciality? But please excuse my rudeness, my name is Tesciam, son of Batosh of the Four Springs. I've been practicing medicine for quite a few years now, but sadly my work most encompasses pulling tooth, removing warts and mending broken bones. But on the bright side I do come around alot. Where are you from anyway? The last time I have heard of such colorful names such as yours it was related to...Thorns?"

2008-02-04, 05:30 AM
Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow

At first he seems surprised to have been spoken to, but after a brief awkward pause Putrefacted Architectin Flesh and Marrow speaks, "Oh, I wasn't actually in Thorns, I just did some interior work on Juggernaut. Mostly that is my uhh medical area. Surgeries and re-contructions, I mean. Adding or replacing umm... body... parts, I guess. Wish that I had such easy tasks. Not, uhh, not to demean what you do or anything. I mean, I just would like it if I had more call for... that sort of thing." He uncrosses his arms while speaking, but then can't seem to quite figure out what to do with them. Sometimes beginning a gesture only stop and pull back. He has not touched food or wine that you've seen.

The Smith of Stolen Tongues

"Personally, my hope is to find some documents that can provide insight into the daily activities and character of the old Kingdom of Ashebenford. It is little spoken of in any histories I know, and so far it seems even the locals can little illuminate what it was like. It is the daily runnings and the idiosyncrasies of life in these lost nations that I find fascinating," The Smith of Stolen Tongues explains to Rana, between polite sips of wine and bites of food. "Though it is the finding of artifacts and filling gaps in genealogies that typically uncovers local cooperation and funding for such expeditions, I will admit. What sort of researchers have you been involved with in the past?"

Varil Wezun

"So Heavenly Gale, as a traveling storyteller you must encounter dangers on the road from time to time. Have you ever studied the martial arts? I ask because your manner puts me very much in mind of a Master I once knew," Wezun speaks with a smile and a bit of obvious amusement. As he talks he takes a small bit of fish in his fingers and attempts to beckon the cat with Tesciam over to him.

Lesia: "None of your leading questions, Investigator," says Michiko without turning around, "Out with it if you've something to ask me."

2008-02-04, 10:35 AM

"I suppose I've had to make my way out of the occasional scrape, but I'm not much of a martial artist. You'd be surprised how much the look keeps me out of trouble. People either assume I'm too destitute to provide them anything to rob, which is true, or that I'm some sort of monk or priest. The rest of the trouble is animals and the occasional rowdy spirit, and, well, I prefer to rely on my luck and fast feet in those cases." Gale smiles and takes another sip of his drink. Truth be told, a good deal of his fighting advantage, and that of other Blissful Sages, was that people greatly underestimated them. He didn't like lying at all, except in the context of creative storytelling, but admitting that one knew the secrets of a 'heretical' style was an invitation for trouble, and he was in a very dangerous place to be a heretic.

2008-02-05, 06:49 AM
With a slight frown on his face, Tesciam ponders the answer Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow has given him. "Juggernaut, you say. So you've been working for the new "Ruler" of Thorns. I have to admit I'm a bit surprised though. I'm not really involved in politics, but I thought that the relations between Lookshy and Thorns were rather stained, to put it mildly, since the city got sacked. And still you are here looking for cultural artifacts from before the Contagion as guests of our estemed host Varil Wezun, a Lookshy Kazei. How come?"

2008-02-05, 08:28 AM
Varil Wezun

"Of course, how silly of me. You are only human after all. Perhaps you could grace us with a story?" Wezun says to Gale, with a small smile and a faraway look in his eyes.

Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow

"Just contract work," says Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow in response to Tesciam's question. "I'm not the Mask of Winter's man. My work was all before that. Never really liked him anyway."

2008-02-05, 08:33 PM
Rana felt a little 'ding!' go off in her head when she heard what Smith wanted the information for. Death-heads want things about dead people. Duh. But... where to lead this?... Immature or not, Rana knew enough to wrap her intentions around a conversation and thus rule it. ...Or try. So with a cheshire smile, Rana leaned over a little and replied.

"Interesting, a true historian? Rare! Hm, hm. Myself, I've dealt mostly with those concerned with the more pragmatic of those concerns - House genealogists, errant Ledaal sorcerors, that sort. Though! I once met this very outspoken Cathak who wanted to uncover the art history of the South... So I have to say, I'm actually rather impressed by your untarnished sense of academic integrity."

2008-02-06, 07:10 AM
After another sip, a bite of food and a small smile, Tesciam comments:"Contract work, yes I know how that is. I've been doing alot of work for different people as well. I guess we have alot in common in that regard, but while I mostly remove elements from bodies that make people sick, if I understand you right, you add elements to bodies, for your own reasons I guess. I wonder, is there alot of demand for that kind of work? And are you still working as a "freelancer" like myself, or are you someone's "man" now?"

2008-02-06, 08:15 AM
The Smith of Stolen Tongues

"You are too kind, I am not so noble as all that. I seek out lost treasures readily enough, it just isn't makes me passionate about what I do," says The Smith of Stolen Tongues with a small blush at the praise.

Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow

"Just replacing parts that have been lost usually. Not much call for straight out additions. More often then not I'm just making something that someone lost for them," says Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow, somewhat flatly. Almost as though he were depressed about it. "I'm out here repaying a debt, and to help The Smith of Stolen Tongues."

2008-02-06, 12:13 PM
Rana let a grin creep up her face - but not the catlike one she was wearing earlier, something... that at least looked a bit more earnest and witty.

"Ah, but you see... I'd argue that the reasons in your heart are more important than the whole sum of your actions, no? You gather treasures for profit or use, but at the same time? Your soul is still stirred by knowledge rather than profit, hm? That is, really, good enough!"

Though... Rana figured this was about the right extent for this topic. Like fire dancing from one thing to another, Rana would not stop and be content with one knowledge!

"Hmm... I wonder, how do your companions feel about this? They seem like an interesting bunch, the story of how you got together must be a bit more interesting than, say, a dramatic declaration of intent over a calm brunch at the family Manse or what else the researchers I know usually say is why they set out..."

2008-02-06, 08:31 PM
Lesia's smile grew wider for a moment at the Dragonblooded's bluntness. THis will be so much easier then I thought.. She settled back a bit, leaning on a wall of the garden. The smile slipped off her face, her head manner becoming sharper, all her attention focussed on the host.

"I thank you for your openness, madam; What exactly is wrong with your other guests? You seem to hold a great deal of.. anger towards us, and I can't help but think they're part of that.. " They're too much like.. that one guy. The one from Sijan..

2008-02-06, 09:55 PM
Lesia: "Perhaps I am just upset at our other guests. I don't think association with Anathema is appropriate, even if there are political ramifications to slaying them. But Wezun always has cared more for politics than for souls..." she drawls, still leaning heavily on the tree. "If you want my advice, you and your little friend from the Realm should not linger here too long. One of the vile creatures left this afternoon, and you probably don't want to be here when he returns." Michiko shudders a little as she says the last.

2008-02-08, 05:54 AM
While listening to Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow, Tesciam visibly pales and drops his fork on his plate. After a short moment of consternation, he inspects the food on his plate and states: "Is this carp? How careless of me, I forgot to mention that I'm allergic to carp." He turns to Gale and says, "I'm sorry Gale but it looks like I'll be me missing your tale. I need to get some fresh air, or this could turn...ugly." He stands up, grabs the tabby and quickly bows to Varil and Tarana. "My aplogies, I'll be back in a few minutes", he says and hurries for the exit.

When he reaches the plaza before the mansion, he gives Lesia and Michiko a puzzled look and a small nod, before heading off in the other direction. When he reaches a quite glade in the park, he puts the tabby on the ground and leans against a tree. He closes his eyes and takes deep breaths for around a minute, while the color slowly returns to his face, then looks around to make sure they are alone.

"Ok, lets talk."

2008-02-08, 10:29 AM

The tabby sprints behind a tree when Tesciam sets him down and, without ceremony or celebration, assumes his natural form.

"I'm impressed, Lawgiver. The first Solar I met was also the first person to notice that I might not have been what I seemed. I'd ask you how, but we have something more pressing," Lightning says, emerging from behind the tree, a lanky man where the orange cat used to be.

"I need your help."

2008-02-08, 10:53 AM
Tesciam smiles and nods when he recognizes the young man he saw at the village earlier. "Ah that's you and yes, I believe we are on the same side here. The stars have foretold great events in this region, but I'm still trying to put together what is going on. I asume that you are here for the deathknights, and maybe you can shed some light on what is happening and why exactly they are here. And also tell me how I can help you.""

2008-02-08, 04:23 PM
"I don't know why they are here. I came in pursuit of only the last one, that witch of the Unending Tumult. What she wants is...I honestly don't know. I can't speak to her intentions, or to those of her companions. I've been hunting her on behalf of my patron. I have a debt to repay," Lightning says, rolling up the sleeves of his long, linen shirt to reveal the trademark whorls of silver that brand a Lunar.

"I've heard that the Lawgivers used to specialize in this whole practice, the hunting of dark things. And from what my mentor tells me, the daughter--and her friends--are most assuredly that. Dark, dangerous things."

2008-02-08, 10:04 PM
Oh great. More malcontents mucking with our reputation. What's with these ultra-violent anathema? It can't just be me and Rana as the sane ones, I'm sure.. She ran a hand through her scarlet hair, let it fall down from the buns she had it in. Things were much more serious then she'd thought.. Is that Steel Boot one of these guys? Or are these unrelated mobile disasters.. "...The last of them? I appreciate the concern you show towards my charge, but.. was the last one an even more dangerous anathema? You'll forgive my questions, but.. I worry for the girl. She's still innocent." Sort of..

2008-02-09, 12:37 AM
Tesciam rubs his chin thoughtfully and answers "Other Lawgivers might, but I'm first and foremost a healer, not a hunter. The deathknights are powerful, well armed and at least the fleshcrafter is also a skilled martial artist. As long as they are in the vicinity of Varil Wezun they are untouchable anyway, at least for the two of us. The best course of action right now is to find out what they are up to, and see if we can thwart their plans somehow. And we need to find out who our allies could be in this, there are a few people around that I'm not sure about yet." He looks back to the lights of the mansion shining through the trees.

"Right now, I need you to do something for me though. I need you to sneak into the mansion and find Rowan, and arrange a secret meeting tonight, wherever and whenever she is comfortable with. She'll know a good spot, as she is familiar with the estate, if she is willing to come. I believe she knows more about the deathknights and their agenda, and we might get some honest answers that way. Can you do that?"

2008-02-09, 03:22 PM
The Smith of Stolen Tongues

"Oh, I'm afraid our story is rather dull. I've worked with Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow before so I asked him to assist me, and Daughter of Unending Tumult was recommended by an old patron. And Vitreous Flow of the Labyrinthine River, whom is not here this evening, works for hire. Singular as we may appear our story is rather dull," she says to Rana, chuckling slightly.

Lesia: "Something about him... He has colder eyes than that shambling corpse of theirs," Michiko says quietly, almost like she is talking to herself. "If you're as smart as they say you are, come sun up you'll be gone from this place. Hah, I should get myself to bed before I manage to make any bigger a fool of myself. Good night, dear investigator."

2008-02-09, 04:05 PM
Hound waits till the room has filed out properly then slips out the back and scales up the side of the Inn with a graceful leap. Landing on the roof she crawls into a low position and lets the arched roof conceal her presence as she spies on the happenings down below, looking for the man that caused such a stir.

2008-02-10, 03:40 PM
"If you can tell me where she would be," Lightning says, "I can find her. Though I don't know how receptive she'll be. One Anathema is as bad as the other."

A low whorl of silvery essence washes over Lightning as the man that stood there is replaced by a healthily plump, snow-white strix.

2008-02-10, 05:40 PM
Rana leaned back, and sighed.

"...Oh. How disappointing. Ah... Well... was there anything else you felt like speaking of? I fear with the lack of things we have in common on the surface, it's now hard to think of subject matter!"

And the games continued. For now. Rana had to keep some semblance of talkiness going, if only to get the needed information.... And maybe survive the night. Surviving the night is good.

2008-02-11, 03:53 PM
A good night to you as well, madam Michiko, and I do thank you for the advice." Inwardly, she was unsure. " If they're all like Steel Boot is, we certainly can't beat them all ourselves.. but dammit, he needs to be taken to justice. Though, they all might.. or might not. They really all need looking into.. perhaps the best thing to do for now /would/ be to leave. She stalked back to the dinner table, seating herself with a minimum of ceremony, quietly eating and listening. Perhaps Rana had them communicating on something of import, and if so, that might guide a small, polite question and answer session with Weizun.

2008-02-11, 06:00 PM
"She'll be somewhere in the mansion, probably on the other side of it. My guess is that both Wezun and Rowan will try to keep a maximum distance between her and the deathknights. But that is just an educated guess, you'll need to find her the hard way, by checking all the rooms expect those areas we know already. And if you come across any notes from Wezun or the deathknights, that could come in handy as well. But dont take any risks, talking to Rowan is what will really help us right now." Tesciam ponders the situation for a moment.

"I need to get back to the dinner. I'll make something up about where the tabby went, and see you in my room later tonight." He takes a step closer to the strix, kneels down and places his hand on it's head.

"This may help you if you get in trouble, with guards or Rowan, or otherwise," he says. Then golden light shimmers from his palm and seeps into the strix, illuminating it's feathers, veins and muscles for a moment, before slowly fading. The intense feeling of strength and invigouration that accompanied the transformation stays though.

"Good luck, and I see you later." With a last smile, Tesciam turns around and walks back to the mansion.

2008-02-11, 06:33 PM
Lightning coos as softly as a stix can in thanks for the blessing, then thrusts himself into the air with a great flap of his new, terrifying wings. Not for the first time, he wonders why he takes any shapes that can't fly--the joy of it all overwhelms every sense. Still, there is work to be done and a bargain to be fulfilled.

Even as Tesciam rejoins the dinner, Lightning takes his time flying through the trees, sizing up the mansion as best he can while in the shape of a large, snowy bird of prey.

I hope they haven't given her one without a window.

2008-02-12, 12:19 AM
Lightning: Only a few windows seem to be open, but around the south side of the building light shines brightly from one particular window. A pair of distinctive voices drift out across the otherwise quiet night. One loud and the other soft, they seem to be arguing in Old Realm. Looking in through the window you can see Rowan angrily working with some martial arts training equipment, while Coal sits nearby speaking softly in what you suspect is intended to be a calming manner.

Back at Dinner:

As the guests who had excused themselves return to the table, Varil Wezun has turned the talk to recent weather and travel conditions.
"The Court of Seasons and the Wind Masters having been in a bit of turmoil recently, which I expect will start causing some problematic weather before too much longer. The Censors can only keep a lid on things for so long, you know," says Wezun.
Tarana the Grey responds, saying "I for one think someone needs to step in and do something. The state of some of the terrestrial courts has gotten quite dismal over the last few decades."

2008-02-13, 02:49 AM
I sense I am being misdirected.. She thought to herself as the most august hosts re-engaged their guests. Or shanghaied.. "I see.. Lookshy usually handles such matters here, does it not? Why have they been so lax? Surely, they must know that the Spirits will, like spoiled children, begin ignoring their parents if not given occasional discipline.." She scanned the table, watching for everyone else's reactions. She still didn't want to be the one who /did/ have to 'smack them back into obedience'.. I know that they're not /actually/ supposed to be in charge..

2008-02-13, 08:11 PM
At Dinner

"Lookshy can only do so much, though. Even here we have a somewhat limited influence on the Courts. There are only a few of us out here after all," says Wezun.

"The problem is that the Immaculate Order and the Realm are no longer minding things as they once did, and the mounting chaos in other corners of creation is eventually going to spread even to the areas we can manage," explains Tarana the Grey. "It seems clear to me that local governments in more areas need to be empowered to negotiate meaningfully with the spirit courts. The Immaculate Order can bluster about the proper place of mortals and spirits all they want, but if they can't step up and enforce some their Order something else will simply have to be done."

With a chuckle Wezun says, "Tarana is of proponent of teaching the Root of the Lotus to the unExalted. And while I have trained my share of unExalted, I think she is overly optimistic about their capabilities."

"It seems to me," comments The Smith of Stolen Tongues, "that the possibility of another attack by the Fair Folk would be a greater concern than a bit turmoil amongst the terrestrial gods and elementals."

"The Fair Folk we can deal with. If we start losing crops, or the roads aren't passable for caravans..." Wezun says with a dire note in his voice.

Daughter of Unending Tumult rolls her eyes at the conversation and gives a huge deliberate yawn which, perhaps not unintentionally, shows off her chest to good advantage. Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow just sits quiety.

Back in Narshe: As you leave the public house you hear gasps and shocked exclamations from a few of the other curious patrons of the public house who also followed to see what was about to happen between the Guild guards and the dark stranger. Reaching the roof and looking down you see the men who followed the dark stranger out; one is embedded deeply into the soil in the middle of the market square with one arm twisted up and away from his body at an angle that should not be possible, another appears to have had his mouth bisected by the edge of the Inn's horse trough and moans slightly amid a spray of his own blood and teeth, and the last is lying in the alley between the public house and Inn bleeding profusely from his empty eye sockets and a small hole in his neck. Those bystanders who have come out seem almost frozen by the scene before them, not immediately even comprehending was they see. The door to the Inn is just beginning to swing shut.

2008-02-13, 08:50 PM
Hound watches with eyes widened and begins to whispers softly to herself, "Is he man, god or beast? A demon perhaps? Fight, you fools ... fight! You're all going to die anyway but make him show his soul, bare it to me so I can make judgement.. so I can purify him." She slips her fingers around the handle of her flame pieces and draws them, waiting patiently for the moment to strike. Only one shot...

2008-02-14, 12:23 AM

Lightning considers his options for a moment, then decides to risk directness over caution and saddles up to the window, cooing softly toward Rowan.

Come, little Dragon-Blood, he pretends to say, half-mocking in a bird's borrowed voice, put away your tools and your instructor and dote on me. I don't want to have to do this the hard way...here's to hoping she's an animal lover.

2008-02-14, 04:52 AM
Rana tilted her head. Were they trying to imply she, or Lesia, or one of those... other guys should do this? What nerve! What gall! What...

Eh. If nothing else, Rana's moods could be rather transient, and she decided to just, ah, deflect this. As Lesia was thankfully already doing! It is the sole prerogative of a Princess of the Earth to deny work being bummed off onto her!... maybe. It sounded nice in her head, if a bit irresponsible. That, and... she was reminded of her own duty to the Realm.

"All due respect to our host, but Tarana has a point. The Realm is in such great disorder that the Empress's strategems of control just... don't work! I think... if UnExalted can handle some stripe of power, why not bestow it? I know they could never achieve the control of essence that we, or worse the Anathema (And Rana blinked slightly as she said that. It was still weird saying that word with a feeling of identification rather than enmity...) have... but... If you truly don't have that much to use, why not improve what you already have? Awakened mortals would be a useful force to have in a lot of cases!"

Still, she shook her head. She was not dealing with this crap. She was going to kill Steel Boot and then find out who hired him, trace it back to the forces responsible, trace THAT back to whatever evil conspiracy is obviously behind this - after all, someone who had it in for her and her brother HAD to be evil! - and end them all. Oh, and usher in a new age of peace in the Realm. By force if need be. Hmmm... she wondered if being a superiorly powerful Solar meant she could possibly have a hope of piercing the Imperial Manse and taking command of... Oooh. She even had the right hair color!

Then the heaving gears of Rana's strategic training and mastery of the court chimed in with a loud, emphatic 'Bad Rana!'. Such thoughts! Ludicrous! Suicidal!... But still really tem- No! Not now! In the midst of this idle musing, she had left an uncomfortable pause in the discussion. Will not do.

"It's unfortunate."

2008-02-15, 08:08 AM
At Dinner

Putting a hand up as if to forestall the arguments, Wezun says "Now now, I'm not saying I oppose training anyone to their fullest potential. My training hall has always been open to any who are genuinely determined to learn. But you can't really teach the unExalted, no offense intended to those present, enough to for them to be able to muscle around in a spirit court. It is dangerous enough for an Exalt to do, I should know."

Jumping in, as if on cue, Tarana the Grey says, "If you just equip them properly-"

"Yes Tarana, if we could all buy artifacts from the Mountain Folk we'd be fine, but I don't think anyone else here is a half-blood like you that isn't really relevant," says Wezun somewhat testily, as though it is an argument they have had many before. Tarana the Grey just glares icily at him in response.

Lightning: First Coal and the Rowan pause in their conversation to stare somewhat incredulously at the Strix now filling the window and softly cooing. They whisper back and forth a little, and Rowan begins to edge over toward a large white jade hammer sitting in the corner of the room. Coal steps forward slightly, clutching tightly to his battered wooden cane. "What are you wanting, nightwitch?" he says.

Back in Narshe: The bystanders finally begin to react, rushing to the wounded men or back into the public house for help. The door to the Inn finishes swinging shut. As help comes it becomes clear that none of the men are in immediate danger of dying. Those amongst the bystanders who noticed the Inn door and continue casting nervous glances that way seem little comforted.

You hear a soft footfall across the roof. "Sure looks like a nasty business, don't it."

2008-02-15, 10:00 AM
After Tesciam returned to the table, he remained very silent and was not touching any of the food or drinks anymore, although he had visibly recovered from his earlier allergic attack. For a while he was listening with growing interest, till he voices his opinion: „I think that this is an interesting idea. Right now, if you compare the situation in the spirit courts, and the situation in the Realm, I’m not sure what is in worse shape. So while I’m not so thrilled about the phrase of „musceling around“ of spirit courts, I agree that the situation is bleak. The spirit courts are argueably not the best to in gouverning themselves, and the great houses seems solely focused on the race for the throne. And as much as I support and applaude anyone that devoted his life to teaching and enlightment, I doubt that you can rely on unExalted to sort things out, even with the best training I dont think they can shoulder that burden. But I don’t really have an idea who else to turn to for guidance, do you?“

2008-02-15, 04:03 PM
Such a dilemma. The Spirits can't always be left to their own devices, of course, but the Immaculates have such a tendency to beat them into utter submission to themselves, and they often haven't the proper understanding of how things ought to be themselves.. Hm. Spirits can also do a very good job of organizing themselves, of course..

"What sort of turmoil have they been in?" She finally found herself asking. "Is it simply the sort of lawlessness to which Spirits are wont, or has it been more serious?" She deliberately ducked from the point of contention between the lady and lord, hoping a minor deflection of her own would help to defuse it, at least temporarily.

2008-02-17, 12:44 AM
Rana sighed, and leaned back in her seat. Was it this bad that we were willing to... Wait. Was it more just to protect the Realm from the conspiracy centering Steel Boot and itself and all that all over again, or...

...Or was it more just to aid others around you as they come? Rana pondered this as Lesia spoke,and said nothing herself.

2008-02-18, 08:07 PM

Lightning considers the pair of them closely, reveling in his new strix-eyes.

Come now, little Dragon-Blood, there's no need for that, he pretends to say, pointing his beak towards Rowan. Yes, I can see what you're doing there. Honestly.

Awareness + Perception to read into their reactions and intentions...also, should I be familiar with the connotations of the word "nightwitch"?


2008-02-18, 09:37 PM
Hound spun in surprise and quickly leveled her flamepiece at whoever was behind her, internally groaning at her own stupidity for letting someone sneak up on herself.

2008-02-20, 07:36 AM
At Dinner

"The problems," says Wezun, "are essentially the normal fractiousness and conflicts, but as more and more Realm forces are pulled back to the Blessed Isle there is a new lack of oversight and consequence outside areas of Lookshy control. So far the River Province has remained largely unaffected, but eventually the external conflicts will begin to bleed over into our territory. Unless a strong successor to the throne emerges, which honestly isn't an option I find terribly appealing, or we see major strengthening of various local regimes. In time the terrestrial courts will no doubt stabilize as they adjust to policing themselves again, but in the interim there is likely to be much loss of life."

The Smith of Stolen Tongues speaks up, "Could not Lookshy use this as an opportunity to expand? Given the precariousness of many nearby regimes, they might be willing to make some significant concessions to have an outside force deal with these sorts of problems."

"Well, I don't really keep up with what the general staff is plotting these days so I can't say anything definitively, but in my opinion we don't really have the resources to adequately protect significant additional territory. Our forces would end up spread dangerously thin, and we would be forced to field too many inadequately trained and equipped troops in the event of any real emergencies. Unfortunately it really isn't feasible," explains Wezun.

Lightning: Rowan pauses at the pointed look from the massive predatory bird, and also at the words of her tutor. Going from concern over the sudden appearance of such a large and dangerous animal to confusion at the beast's strange behavior. And Coal calling it a nightwitch? Which would mean... anathema, a shape-shifting sorcerer from the wyld. Could it really be?
"If trouble is to be in the making the whole house will soon to be raised. And I am thinking even one such as yourself should take pause at some of those herein. So be with the moving along and no trouble in the making," says Coal.

Back In Narshe: Turning you see the blue haired youth from earlier. He seems to have managed to find a shirt at some point, but otherwise looks much the same. He glances down at the flamepiece and raises an eyebrow, "That really necessary? And here I thought we were gonna turn out to be friends."

2008-02-20, 05:53 PM

"Clever," the man sitting on the windowsill says. Just a half-blink ago, he was a strix, but now he was just a long, lanky fellow with dark skin, reddish hair, and whiskers.

"A few minutes of your time. That's all I need," he says, falling down onto one knee as he slides of the sill and into the room proper. "You can raise the house, but you know I'd only be gone before anyone could touch me. There are worse things inhabiting your home, dynasts. Three Abyssals are sitting at your master's table, one of whom I know to be a mass-murderer. The Sunchild who helped you earlier and I wish to deal with them, but he asked me to find her," Lightning says, pointing as gently and unthreateningly as he can to Rowan.

"What will it take to vouchsafe my intentions toward you and your master?"

2008-02-20, 07:19 PM

Gale glances over at Tumult. She looks as bored as he is with this conversation. He stands up slowly.

"You'll excuse my rudeness, but I find talk of politics to be very unsettling to the stomach after a good meal. A good tale would do better for most, I think."

2008-02-21, 07:20 PM

Tesciam was following to the talks about politics, but when they became more theoretical, he quickly lost interest. So he turned his attention to the various dishes on the table, to see if something looked appealing now after he had lost his appetite a bit earlier. With he disgrunteled sigh, he decided that that was not the case, and was just going to address Rana, who had also been silent for a while, when just at that moment Gale stood up and announced his intentions. So Tesciam leans back in his chair and listens expectantly.

2008-02-22, 07:18 AM
At Dinner

"Of course, of course," says Wezun, "forgive me for prattling on about such matters, hardly suitable dinner conversation."

Lightning: Solidly and with unexpected composure, Rowan speaks, "It is okay Coal, you may stand down." Coal eases somewhat but continues to cast a suspicious glare, and remains conspicuously between you and Rowan. "Say your piece then, Anathema. I've things yet to do this evening."

2008-02-22, 06:09 PM

"I thought I saw in you the eyes of a reasonable young lady," Lightning says, letting his formality slide slightly. As he stands slowly and unthreateningly, sure to keep his arms slack but ready.

"The woman staying here--the Daughter of Unending Tumult? I know her as Anathema. And I do not use that word lightly, but she is Anathema to you, to me, to the Dragons, the Celestial Incarnae, and to Creation. She is an Abyssal, and a murderer. She is dangerous, unstable, and most importantly she does not care. As I said, the Sunchild who helped your pet earlier today asked me to find you. He wishes to speak with you, to learn your concerns in this matter. Together, we can be sure that these three are not allowed to harm anyone here, or anyone ever. If you agree, he would like to meet with you in a place and at a time of your choosing. You know this estate."

2008-02-22, 06:20 PM
Silent Hound

Hound slowly lowers the flame piece away from the youth and eyes him suspiciously. "That depends. What do you make of him?" She motions her head down towards the stranger causing all the ruckus.

2008-02-23, 07:50 AM
Lighting: "There is a willow tree outside the south entrance. Midnight," says Rowan, somehow making that into a clear dismissal.

Back In Narshe: "One who just went into the Inn you mean? Judging from the state of those Guildsmen, I'd say he is someone to stay away from," he replies, with a lop-sided grin and slight shrug. "Not that it is any business of mine, or anything. I do have places to be tonight."

2008-02-23, 02:34 PM
Rana once more remained quiet, now realizing that the conversation was, in whole or in part, out of her hands. She DID glance slightly at Tesciam, wondering why he made whatever vague passing gesture or eye contact passed for 'that thing he would do right before talking to someone'. What did he want, hm?

...It didn't matter. IT was obvious now that Gale was going to take over with his little storytime. In a way, she supposed that that was okay, if only because that would prevent the spooky death anathema from saying anything else, So, with a sigh, and a shrug, she just muttered two words.

"Meh. Whatever."

2008-02-23, 08:36 PM

"Thank you," Lightning says, making a motion. Not quite a bow, mind you, but a show of respect none the less. With that, the young Lunar flips out of the window. A second later, an orange tabby lands on its feet with a light thump. The cat shakes itself softly, then parades back into the estate itself, looking for Tesciam.

2008-02-26, 11:34 PM
Silent Hound

"Besides the inside of my pants, you mean?" Hound frowns and casts a glance back over her shoulder at the man in the village center. "Those guildies are your lot, aren't they? And what's he going to do with all those bodies anyway.."

2008-02-27, 08:18 AM
At Dinner

The table begins to quiet as Heavenly Gale prepares to begin his story. Wezun's craggy weathered face shows polite interest, Tarana the Grey has an extremely insincere and utterly immobile smile as she waits, and Endo appears genuinely eager. An orange tabby pads back into the room, largely unnoticed, and heads for Tesciam. The Smith of Stolen Tongues is all smiles and genial nods, Putrefacted Architect in Flesh and Marrow remains as unmoving and inscrutable, and Daughter of Unending Tumult pushes her otherwise untouched food around on her plate with a long-suffering sigh and theatrical roll of her eyes.

In Narshe: "Guildies? Nah, me and my pop, we're sort of free agents you could say. Couldn't really speak to any of those folks intentions either," he says with a lop-sided grin and a shrug, turning and beginning to walk away as he speaks. "Sadly ma'am, your pants may just have to wait. I've business tonight. Just thought I'd stop to say goodbye before I went on my way." Finishing his sentence the blue haired youth steps off the roof, dropping out of sight immediately. Leaning over the side of the building you see that he has landed on a waiting horse and is already starting to ride out of the village. Without turning around he raises a hand to casually give something between a wave and a salute as a goodbye.

2008-03-01, 01:58 PM
Gale rises, and finds a place that allows people to look at him best. He takes a deep breath as he begins his tale.

“This is a tale of five travelers, each with amazing skill and ability. The first was Bronze Tiger, a warrior by trade, skilled in all the weapons of man. Next there was Golden Bull, a priest, who had an indomitable spirit and an inspirational will. There was also Copper Spider, who was a savant, schooled in the lore of the world and the ages, and also a thaumaturge of skill. There was Iron Wolf, a stealthy trickster with keen senses. Last there was Quicksilver Falcon, a diplomat with a tongue that was noble, but also devious. They traveled Creation together, doing good deeds, and helping those in need.

“They happened one day upon a village called Meru. Meru was a simple farming village. Its people had little need for warriors or scholars. Their existence was one of growing crops and surviving the cold seasons of Air and Water. The five hoped to stop by and stay a night, get some food for the road and leave. Fate would not leave such a simple task for them.

“As they shared some drinks with the locals, darkness descended upon the village. It was not the dark of night, for the stars that tell of our fates were obscured. It was not pitch black, though, and Iron Wolf with his sharp eyes spotted a figure on the blackened horizon. It was huge, and covered in armor that no craftsman born of Creation could comprehend. Iron Wolf shouted a warning, and his mates rallied around him. This thing had left them no option, except to fight. Bronze Tiger drew his bow, and let fly a warning shot that brushed right past the figure’s head. It paid no heed, and advanced forward. His next shot found its mark, but bounced harmlessly off the armor. The being strode forward still, until it had reached the village. When it stood at the edge, it stopped, and called forth in a booming voice.”

At this moment, Gale’s voice increased unbelievably in volume, and filled the hall so that it was rebounding off the walls. It no longer sounded like the conversational voice of a friendly storyteller, but that of some lumbering demon, who spoke not through air, but through hellfire itself.

“ ‘Warriors! You see that your toys have no effect on me. Come, and parlay with me, that your lives not be wasted attempting to resist the inevitable.’ “ Gale’s voice returned to its normal state in an instant. ”Bronze Tiger drew his sword, but his fellows stayed his hand. Golden Bull led them as they strode forth, his pride as bright as the sunlight that had been taken from the village.

‘Beast,’ he called out,” in Gale’s own voice, “ ‘You have already taken our light from us. I suggest you return it, or give an equal gift, else we shall not take any of your words in good faith.’ The beast laughed.” Gale’s voice returned once again to a booming roar, and he let out a horrible laugh that made it seem like the room shook. Candles flickered as gusts of air flew forth.

” ‘You are in no position to make demands, holy man. You have one more chance to be tactful before I decide to slay you.’ The beast unsheathed a sword, and it was forged of pure evil. It drank up the dim light, and was like a hole in the air. Golden Bull did not flinch, but he nodded and gestured with his hand. Quicksilver Falcon stepped forth and bowed courteously to the demon.” This time Gale’s voice increased in pitch, and became the soft, almost seductive voice of a young woman.

” ‘I apologize for my companions. We would be glad to negotiate with you.’

“ ‘Excellent,’ said the creature, ‘here is my proposal. I tire of wasting my vast power upon my throne outside Creation. But it is no challenge to take a useless village like this for my own. I will be brief. I want to see what Creation has to offer in skill. We shall have contests, and if you are able to show me that Creation can indeed provide a challenge for me, I will cease my conquest. Fail to challenge me in every arena, though, and the land will be mine.’ The companions looked at each other wordlessly. They did not have another choice, at least not until they had time to figure something clever out. They nodded. ‘Very well then,’ said the beast, ‘I shall start with the young lady who can hold her pride in check. Simply, whoever can prove that they have won the contest through logic and wit, shall win.’ Thus they engaged in their verbal sparring. I cannot repeat the dialogue, for the words within twist the minds of most men, and drive those who hear them into a pit of despair that they shall never succeed at anything again, so convoluted and impenetrable were their arguments. I hate to make the contest so anticlimactic, but it is sufficient to say that Quicksilver Falcon managed to outwit the beast.
Upon its defeat, it made some sort of sound between a snarl and a laugh,” and so did Gale. ” ‘Well, at least the competition is not over on the first round. Next is you, thief.’ Iron Wolf gave a mocking bow. ‘You and I shall both be given an orb which contains victory, so that we both have equal amounts of potential for victory to begin with.’ He held his hand aloft to indicate the size of the objects. ‘The first to possess both shall be the victor. I shall not reveal where I keep mind, but I will retrieve yours.’ As the beast reached inside his armor somewhere, though, he let out a cry. Iron Wolf was already holding aloft the two orbs. He smiled, but said nothing.

The beast was becoming impatient at this point. He turned away and faced Copper Spider. ‘You!’ he shouted, losing all pretense of politeness, ‘you are the scholar, yes? It would be unsporting of me to engage you in a competition of mystic powers, but you are also skilled in the crafts, if I recall. Thus the engagement shall be simple. We shall create pieces of art representing victory. We shall do what we can in an hour, with the materials here. Begin.’ So the hour passed, with both vigorously working about the town, gathering tools. At the end of the hour, the creature presented his first. It was a statue of himself, made from the wood of the houses. It was an expertly crafted likeness, and in the dark, they were nearly indistinguishable. The creature glowered down upon Copper Spider. She wordlessly walked up a hill and pulled a rope. Rocks tumbled down the hillside, burying the wooden statue of the beast. In its place, there was now a towering monument of the five heroes made of the piled rocks.

The beast could hardly contain his fury at this point. He turned to Golden Bull. ‘You are a very proud one. You’re a good sanxian player, yes? Well, this sanxian of pure gold shall go to the victor of this round. Simply, the best song wins.’ The beast went first, and he played the golden sanxian. He slid his fingers down the strings and made an evil hiss. He summoned a band of demons to back him up, and the sound they created was powerful in its blasphemy. Many wanted to cower, but they got a glimpse of the proud, unflinching countenance of Golden Bull, and they were no longer afraid. When the beast finished, Golden Bull spoke again.

‘You have some skill indeed. But why don’t you sit down, and let a true player show you how it should go.’ He grabbed his own, simple sanxian and began playing. He sang a song of how the beast would be defeated, and the village began joining in with chorus and dance. By the end, the whole place had erupted in song. The devil bowed his head, because in his heart, he knew that he’d been beat. And he laid the golden sanxian down on the ground at Golden Bull’s feet. He was too taken aback by this point to express his fury.

‘Warrior, you will face me again. I will give you time to prepare, weak as you are.’ He stormed off, and waited. The group conferred together. They knew his armor was impenetrable by weapons of Creation. Copper Spider began signing out something, for though she was intelligent, she was also mute. Quicksilver Falcon, though, expert linguist that she was, interpreted her movements. The weapons of creation were useless, but the heavens were the answer. That was why the creature had made a shroud of darkness. They made a plan.

Golden Bull knelt for several hours in prayer. He prayed that he and his companions could be guided to the light of heaven. He sacrificed a pig, and burned the incense he kept with him. Though no sign reached from above, he knew in his heart that they would get what they needed in the end.

Bronze Tiger went to the battlefield unarmed. The battle began without a word, and the two wrestled. Bronze Tiger could not hurt the beast, but he could keep it in hold. They went at it for a long time, until finally, Golden Bull cried out with a signal. At that moment, Iron Wolf drew a small knife from within the confines of his jacket. His keen eyes sought the perfect spot, and he threw the knife into the veil. It made a hole at the weakest point, where the sun beat on the veil the strongest. When it did, a shaft of sunlight came through, barely a couple inches in diameter. But it was enough. Golden Bull seized the purest sunlight as it shined through, for it was so concentrated that it was solid to a warrior of pure heart. He hurled it at the creature, and it pierced through its dark heart. The beast did not even scream, as it vanished. The veil gave way to light, and all the villagers cheered. They crowned the five companions as leaders of Meru. They built a palace from the monument in the center of the village, and kept the land safe for the rest of their days.

And their lives teach us all a lesson, that whatever may face us, no matter how horrible it seems, there is always a ray of hope to help you defeat your obstacle once and for all.”

2008-03-01, 06:42 PM
With the conclusion of the story, to much praise for its masterful telling, Varil Wezun brings the evening to a close with protestations of great weariness. As your hosts depart servants come to guide the guests back to their rooms for the night.

After polite inquiries if you require anything, you are left alone in your rooms. It is an hour or so before midnight.

2008-03-02, 05:40 AM
After thanking Wezun for the meal and Gale for the tale, Tesciam retires to his room, bringing the tabby along with him. After the servant has left, he puts his companion on the floor and says "How did it go? Did you find Rowan and what did she say? And by the way, we have been through quite a bit today, but I still dont know your name. What should I call you?"

2008-03-02, 08:30 AM
Lesia was quite fortunate that Gale was such a good storyteller, for her horror at the story was easily masked by her interest in the tale. Still, he just went up a notch on her priority list, with the story. Not trusting herself to maintain a disinterested look, she happily excused herself at the first opportunity. I still need to talk to Weizun and Tarana before we leave.. so many questions need asking now... Weizun and Tarana for the information they've got on the Spirit Courts.. it'd be good to learn about the situation, so I can help settle it later. Of course, that doesn't help with this Steel Boot.. If this is his supposed companions, we will likely need aid. I could have sworn there were fewer of them, but.. unless he typically wanders around with people weaker then himself, I don't see us overcoming them on our own. Then there's that lout.. ugh, I don't even know /what/ to think about that.

Once back at her room,she let out a long sigh, taking a seat on one of the graciously provided chairs. Retaining that certain level of poise and detachment that she had grown accustomed to keeping up was tiring, espcially in extremely off-putting situations like now. It was good to cut loose, however slightly. Especially with someone to vent on. Speaking of which, she turned to Rana, her expression much more worried. "What do you make of it all? It seems like these could be Steel Boot's friends, what with the weird names and the tomb raiding and whatnot. It may be a few too many people to.. handle ourselves, after all. There's also Gale. He's set off a few alarms, and he's probably the second most worrisome" She spoke more quietly then normal, knowing that in a nice house such as this, there would be servants that could possibly be listening to too much. It's nice to have someone around. I do need to get used to that though, which would require less monologuing. "I apologize, that was rambling. What were your thoughts?"

2008-03-02, 07:05 PM

The tabby nods at Tesciam's first question--yes, friend, it went as well as could be expected. When asked his name, he smiles and unfurls a borrowed claw and scratches a quick lightning bolt on the leg of the bed. The tabby then turns around and slowly meanders out of the room. He turns only once at the door to ensure that Tesciam is following, and then makes his way quietly towards the south entrance and the willow tree.

2008-03-03, 09:20 AM

Tesciam studies the scratch on the bedpost for a moment, then follows the tabby outside. When they reach the clearing with the willow, he deeply inhales the cool nightair and looks up to the stars. "Too bad I lost my star charts in Chiaroscuro. Otherwise I could take a glimpse at what the future has in store for the both for us." He looks over to Lightning to see if he is supposed to do anything right now, and finding that that is not the case, sits down at the willow, resting his back against it. "I guess we'll find soon enough anyway." he says, and begins to meditate.

2008-03-04, 08:57 AM
Under The WillowThe waxing moon shines brightly from behind sparse clouds, washing the landscape in crisp gray tones. A cool gentle breeze sets the branches of the willow tree under which you sit to rustling. For a long hour the night is disturbed only by the gentle sounds of the small creatures of Creation.

As midnight approaches you hear footsteps from inside, and the opening of the south doors. Rowan approaches, resplendent in gleaming white jade lamellar and silks, and carrying an enormous hammer of the same white jade with carvings of a great dragon curling all around its head. At her side scuttles the massive hairless rat Wainwright, both sets of eyes gleaming and alert. The old tutor Coal follows nervously behind, hobbling on his cane.

"Well healer," says Rowan, "you wished to speak with me?"

Heavenly Gale: Not long after retiring to your room you are joined, forcefully, by Daughter of Unending Tumult. She wastes no time, not even bothering to remove her armor, and clearly knows precisely what she wants with no real concern for your preferences.

An energetic and painful hour or so later she unceremoniously loses interest in the proceedings and gets up to leave. "Well, I'm done, and I've still gotta do some stupid errands tonight so you're on your own. Steel Boot is totally gonna be pissed I'm late anyway," she says with a disgusted eye roll, as she walks over and throws open the window. "You get bored here, I'll probably be at Ashebenford Castle for the next couple nights. Or, ya know, whatever."

2008-03-04, 10:06 AM

Gale gets up quickly. He doesn't have to get dressed since, apparently (and quite conveniently), undressing was never really involved. Definitely not good to have any more holes in his clothes than before, though. And they're showing wounds that have already begun to clot, definitely not good for looking mortal. He'll have to make up an excuse later.

For now, though, he runs/hobbles/whatever it is injured people do to move quickly over to Rana/Lesia's room. He doesn't even try the door, as expedient as it might be to simply open it. He knocks once and whispers hoarsely.

"If you want to find Steel Boot, get dressed and come with me quickly."

2008-03-04, 12:27 PM

Tesciam peers at Rowan for a moment, then says with amusement sparkling in his eyes and voice. „And here I wondered if my message had been distorted to: I challenge you to a duel!“ He stands up and shows his empty palms, as well as an apologetic smile. „I wont hold it against you though, with the situation as it is. And that is what I want to talk about.“

He pauses for a moment, then continues: „When we first met, I was wondering why you ran away from home. Now that I know that four deathknights are living under your father’s roof, I understand. The question was whether you ran away out of fear, or you were looking for help. And as I see you now standing in full battle gear facing an „Anathema“, I can dismiss the first option, so it has to be the second one. You might not consider me trustworthy, but we are here and we are willing to help. Nothing good will come from dealing with deathknights, unless you want to turn your home into a second Thorns. But to help, I need to better understand what is going on. Why is your father housing deathknights, and what do they want here?“

2008-03-04, 09:27 PM
Though Rana HAD liked Gale's tale... she was still too busy trying to hate him to pieces, and the juxtaposition was sort of hurting her brain. She'd... have to... deal with that later. Either way, when they arrived in the room, Rana slid over to where her chair was, and... didn't sit in it. Instead, she opted to perch in the chair with her hands and legs bent and tucked up like some kind of monkey (...If you've played Final Fantasy 6, one of Gau's crouching poses, with the hands between his legs, is a good idea of what she's doing now.), with a sort of annoyed look on her face, though on tempered by her more 'okay' look in regards to Lesia.

"Gale is stupid anyway. Well. Stupid in the sense that I'd rather bad things happen to him. As to the others we're worrying about? They're creepy death people. If they're with Steel Boot?... We'd need to get every single damn Exalt in the area to join up with us against them. Even -I- don't want to take those odds! But... huh. I dunno. We need a lot more time, really. And I also hope to the Dragons that I don't have to do anything cooperative with Gale to make it through this crap. I mean, if I have to..."

Rana frowned. She didn't like the idea of having to help him or get help FROM him. Then again, she didn't like the idea of facing the death people alone (or at least with only Lesia backing her up) MORESO.

"...I just wish it won't come to that. I mean, if you're right, we need to stop them before, uh, they find anything especially shiny they might use for their spooky death tricks!"

She continued to recline in that position, seeming... at peace. As impossible as that seems. But then a knock and...

Gale's voice? About... Steel Boot? She jolted up, muttering an old adage as she got up and looked at Lesia almost like she wanted input. Okay. She did.

"...Speak of Mnemon, and Mnemon appears... Well. Okay. So Steel Boot isn't at the door, but... Uh. Damn. Would we even have a chance with just us and Gale if we took this chance, Lesia?"

And Rana shot a yell out the door, leaping out of her weird position with a bit of a thump.

"Just a second!"

...And wished she hadn't left it that simple, fearing she just gave him all sorts of 'special' mental images. Damnit!

2008-03-05, 09:01 AM
Under The Willow Rowan's eyes narrow and her expression hardens as you speak. "Varil Wezun is not my father, and you've no idea what you're speaking of! Do not presume to tell me the reasons for my own actions, Anathema, or lecture me as to the dangers of consorting with your kind. And, for your information, we've accepted them to avoid a political incident, they have letters of introduction from the gods of Great Forks and several members of the Council of Entities in Nexus," she says bitterly, a flare of something like hatred in her eyes. She pauses for a moment to take a deep breath before continuing somewhat more calmly, "They want what they say they want, to get into the old Gunzota Redoubt, though I little trust them to honor any agreements once they've gained access. At this point I rather doubt they will continue waiting on proper permission. If you truly want to help, if you wish to gain my trust, delay them at Ashebenford Castle. If they can be stopped for just a couple of nights I think I can find a way to beat them to the Redoubt. They must not be allowed access."

2008-03-06, 11:26 AM

Tesciam lets the outburst wash over him before he answers: "I am not "kin" to the deathknights. Just because the Dragonblooded call all Exalted but themselves Anathema these days, does not mean we are all the same. But now is not the time to explain those differences." He lets a moment pass before he continues: "It's bad enough that they have gained "official permission" to be here. Tell me about the Gunzota Redoubt. What is there for them to find, and what do you intent to do if you get there before they do? And what do they want at Ashebenford Castle?"

2008-03-08, 06:33 PM
Under The Willow"Whatever you may be, I am not prepared to give you any more information than is necessary. There is something in the Redoubt they must not be permitted to acquire, I intend to get it before they do, and if not delayed at Ashebenford Castle they will be able to enter the Redoubt, and will almost certainly manage it before I can," Rowan replies, with a harsh unblinking stare that seems incongruous on her delicate face. "Either assist me, or stop wasting my time."

2008-03-09, 03:03 AM

Tesciam seems unimpressed by Rowan's stare, but his answer has a distinct thoughtful undertone."As I said, we offer our help. But I'm not sure that going to Ashebenford Castle is the best way for us to help you. If we fail to delay them, you would face four angry deathlords at the Redoubt alone, something I'm not at all comfortable with. And as a fortune teller, I know when fate is calling, and the Redoubt feels like the place to be. But it's not my decision alone, if my companion thinks that it's better to follow the deathknights then accompany you, then that is what we'll do. If you want convince him to go there, feel free to do so, he can hear you. As for me, I look forward to the morning training, and which point I'll tell you where we'll go." He says, and smiles a gentle smile as he sits back down at the willow, signaling that he considers his part in the conversation as over.

2008-03-10, 01:55 PM
She shook her head, a bit quieter, hoping only Rana heard."Against Steel Boot? You held him off with just your brother, right? I think the three of us can manage easily, if my hunch is correct. It's the rest of them that worry me." She looked over to the door. Her confident smirk resumed its place quite confidently on her face, and she said louder, to make sure he heard. "You interrupt all the fun stuff. We'll be right out."[i] And it was true. Their conversation had been far better then this was going to be, although if it was true that he could lead them to Steel Boot..

She didn't need much, as she was still quite dressed, just the belt her sword's scabbard hung from. "Looks like it's time, right? Time to put him away. Preferably in.. I don't know, Elsewhere." [i]Her brow furrowed. She was never good at pithy one-liners. She opened the door for their 'guest', hoping that Steel Boot was alone. She didn't want to consider fighting like, 5 of them..

2008-03-10, 09:14 PM
Under The Willow:"Who do you thi-" Rowan pauses mid-word and takes and deep breath. "This was a mistake. I should not have come here," she whispers, turning and walking back toward the doors. Wainwright and Coal scramble to follow her sudden departure. Just as she reaches the doors she stops and looks back over her shoulder, "If you do anything to interfere with me, I will kill you."

2008-03-10, 09:57 PM

Tesciam waits till Rowan is gone, then turns to the Tabby and says "I was speaking the truth when I said that the decision is up to you. What do you say we should do?"

2008-03-10, 10:07 PM

A moment ago, there was a great orange tabby resting on its back, basking in moonlight as most animals would in sun. Now, there is only that same stretched-out looking fellow, with his arms folded behind his head and his silvery whiskers moving lightly in the midnight air.

"I must admit, I am uncertain. This isn't new to you, is it? This whole business of being an Exalted. D'you know how many I've met? Before you, before the Princess--" he says flippantly, thumbing back to the mansion. "Three. Saw maybe a couple more at a gathering once, but for the most part? I have no idea. She wants to send a healer and an artisan to delay four deathknights? That's not going to work out well. I came here, and all I wanted to do was kill one Abyssal. Just one, and here she is, and everything is...so much more complicated. So I don't know, Tesciam. Do we have options that aren't quite so foul?"

2008-03-11, 01:08 AM

Lesia opens the door to see a wounded Gale. He and his shirt have both been given a good bit of tearing, though he's obviously stopped bleeding.

"Glad to hear I didn't wake you. Gather your things," he says, without any comment towards any activities the two might have been taking part in, "He'll be at Ashebenford Castle, along with the other deathknights, I believe. We can either meet him there, or try to follow Daughter of Unending Tumult, if either of you can track people. Either way, the sooner we head out, the less chance we have of missing them."

2008-03-11, 04:16 AM

Tesciam gives a small chuckle and answers "If I give the impression that I know exactly what I'm doing, then that's just that, an impression." He pauses for a moment, then continous more seriously "I know a bit about spiritual affairs, and about ancient history and have a friend who explained some things to me. This is the first time I'm dealing deathknights though, although I have heard stories about them. If we want to delay them, then we should avoid an open confrontation, and improvise when we get to the castle. My impression is that there is something very important at the Redoubt though, that's why they are going there, and that is why Rowan doesn't want them, or us, to be there as well. It's the one place we can be sure that everyone will end up sooner or later, the problem is that I have no clue how to deal with them once they get there either. Right now, something else is on my mind though. We dont even know where that Redoubt is, or that Castle, and how to get there. Unless you can turn into a horse, I'm rather stuck here, and I can't afford to buy one, I dont even have enough money for my next meal. If we go to the Castle, we could ask Rowan to provide us with steeds, and if we go to the Redoubt, we can wait till Rowan has run off again and offer our help with finding her to her father. But right now, we can't go anywhere, even if we steal horses the risk of hurting them by riding at night is much to great, and I am not comfortable with stealing things anyway." He pauses again for a moment, watching Lightning's reaction. "One way or another, we still have some time. We dont really need to make a decision right now, I can even tell Rowan that we are undecided yet, although that won't make her happy. I doubt there is much I could say to make a pubertying teenager at ease with the world anyway though." He sighs lightly and offers a pained smile. "We can check out if any of the other guest would be willing to help us, and I wouldn't mind staying here for another day. The food is great and I'm really looking forward to training with Master Wezun, that is a chance you don't get every day."

2008-03-11, 12:28 PM

"I've never had the heart's blood of a horse, but I'd imagine--" Lightning says, casually sliding behind a tree. Something great and golden-brown emerges an instant later, as large as a horse but with features of a lion, a simhata. An instant later and the simhata was a man again.

"I'm not much of a fighter," Lightning admits with a proud little smile, "but Luna sees to the travel of her Chosen with generous blessings." He pauses for a moment and considers what Tesciam has said.

"Finding out where these places are is not a huge problem. Sending...something...to slow the deathknights down can be done as well. I've studied a little Sorcery from my master but I'm sure you know more. Kalim told me of the Twilight Savants. As you said, though, we can decide our actions tomorrow night. If I didn't think the Lord of the House would notice, I'd play the human guest. As things stand, I may go into the wilds for the day and the night. I'm tired of being a cat."

2008-03-12, 11:07 AM
"I understand that you want to spend some time in the wilderness. It would be good if you could meet with me once in a while tomorrow though, in case something happens." Tesciam stands up and brushes some fallen leafs from his pants. "I'll head back to the Mansion now, do you want come along or do you want to sleep outside?" he asks over his shoulder as he begins to walk back to the entrance.

2008-03-12, 12:53 PM
"The princess has seen my strix form. I think I need to find a better disguise," Lightning says, his eyes already peering through the darkness of the forest. "With respects, friend, I will have to meet you tomorrow," he says, and he smiles. If Tesciam looks back, it's not the man he'll see dashing into the wild: now, what's there is something huge and terrifying, seven feet tall and thickly muscled.

"Until then, dear friend," Lightning says, and briefly turns his eyes upward towards the moon.

It has been too long. All this skulking about and the intrigue and the dragonblooded. Didn't I used to hate this, the whole idea of the hunt? and the craftsman smiles to himself, eyes gleaming with wicked moonlight as he spots the hawk who's heart he'll take. Now, I'm just glad to have something direct. Something easy. Something that's just between me-- the muscles in his inhuman calves ripple as he jumps, clutching at branches to steady himself, --my prey-- he swipes with his claws, pulling skin and feathers from the hawk's wing as it falls to the ground, --and dear Luna.

Lightning stands over the bird and cracks its neck with a single, clean motion.

2008-03-13, 12:23 AM
Lesia steeled herself. His being wounded did not bode well already. "I see. Heal him." She said with no break in the wording. She held her right arm out towards Gale, palm open. "We've got very little time then. If they're all.. death knights.. we're going to be outgunned a bit too. But, that's what duty is.." As she monologued, her palm began to split, the mandibles of an insect poking out first, followed by the rest of the beetle, which happily leaped towards Gale. "Don't mind it. It'll help you. Do we know anything besides their being death knights, aside from what we learned at dinner, and where they're heading? Particularly weaknesses. If you've heard any tales related to our foes, that'd be excellent." She continued without skipping a beat, her eyes narrowed as she 'talked shop', as it were.

2008-03-13, 09:50 AM
In The Hallway

Just as the strange little bug wriggles from Lesia's palm, Tesciam rounds the corner on his way back to his room. The hideous and alien thing makes its leap, unconcerned by the potentially awkward situation.

Lightning:Having successfully Hunted, you begin to make your way back to the Estate. As you travel you begin to hear sounds of movement in the forest. Someone, apparently not much of a woodsman, stumbling about through the brush. A moment passes and you begin to hear quiet mutterings as well.

"Don't use any essence until your out of the manse's area of influence, great advice Smith, and just how exactly am I supposed to know where that even is? Ugh, why do I even have to go off with super-corpse anyway, not like he isn't always saying how he can handle himself. Am I even going in the right direction? Ow! Leggo, stupid tree! Huh, some great and powerful Exalt I am, can't even walk through a bloody forest... Ugh, what is wrong with me!"

2008-03-13, 12:12 PM

Gale seems a bit weirded out at first, but he lets the bug go about its business.

"This reminds me of when I was in Nexus. I just hope it isn't too much like it. Anyway, I've told you everything I know. Well, that, and Daughter of Unending Tumult is really bendy in a lot of places. But I'm not sure how much that benefits you."

2008-03-13, 01:03 PM

Not the time to be skulking about in my beastman form, Lightning thinks to himself as he hears the voices. Shedding the towering form with the same kind of motion that most would use to remove a cloak, Lightning took on his newest form as a healthy, rust-colored hawk.

Taking to his new wings with a practiced sort of grace, Lightning speeds into the air, his new eyes searching for the deathknight. Even in the dark, Lightning can feel new nerves and see new depths that he'd never been able to notice before.

They obviously want to be alone. I should probably see to that.

2008-03-13, 04:17 PM
Rana had remained silent for most of this, though she did twitch at the appearance of the small demon - she never had hung around sorcerors that much before she met Lesia, and the whole demon retinue thing... wasn't exactly the most comfortable of notions. That and her mind immediately began wondering just how - in oh-so-obvious ways - Gale went about learning that little gem about Tumult there.

But Rana shook her head hard. Now was not the time for this. Business first! For now. A slight glance out the hall towards Tesciam, and a slight nudge and point were all she gave to Lesia before... trying to talk to Gale. She talked with a slightly imperious and aloof tone, trying not to pay attention to or look at him overly directly, but through peripheral vision.

"Hummmm... It might be better to just go to the castle, I never was one for wilderness hunts. And we need whatever help we can get, Gale. Though I'm not sure Rowan will get that dire lance out of her arse long enough to give us the time of day, so I guess... Maybe that other guest? I mean, he DID ask to travel with me and Lesia."

She made it a point to bat her eyes towards where Tesciam was coming towards them from. Subtly. She didn't want to outright beat him upside the head with her desire for him to come along, so - this was the way she'd do it.

2008-03-13, 06:14 PM
"Of course she is. Hello Doctor." she said evenly, her gaze on Gale for another long moment before she looked towards Rana, then Tesciam. "You'll forgive my bluntness, but we have to move quickly, so if you're coming with us, that would be excellent." I suppose. She restrained a grimace "I pray there are no objections to leaving now." she said, before quickly turning on her heel and strode out, the trail of her long coat billowing behind her.

2008-03-14, 04:34 AM

Tesciam stops when he seems Gale, Rana, Lesia and the demon in the hallway, and blinks surprised. The he frowns and comes over to them. "I consider this rather insulting. You have an excellent physician available, and yet you prefer to employ that filthy bug? What is going on here anyway? Are those stabwounds you have there, Gale? And where do you want to go in the middle of the night now?" he asks in a mixture of anger and confusion.

2008-03-14, 02:59 PM
Gale lets Tesciam protest the situation before giving his perspective.

"Oh, come now. Don't call it filthy. It has feelings." He looks affectionately at the thing crawling over him. "Besides, if I'm right, this creature can actually speed my healing supernaturally, whereas even the best physician could do nothing but prevent infection unless he was Exalted. As for where we're going, our young lady friends here seem to have a vendetta against a fellow named Steel Boot, and the idea is to intercept him. The sooner we arrive at the destination, the better. As for the hurry, that's an option presented to us. The other option is to wait until morning and risk getting our host involved. We don't know how bound he is by politics; he may be a help, hindrance, or anything in between. That's a risk I'm giving the ladies an option to take." He flashes a goofy grin. "Do I seem like the type to get into situations like this without some forethought?"

2008-03-14, 08:38 PM
She stopped before getting 3 paces from the others. There was little reason to even attempt to leave the others behind. Rana would catch up to her anyway, and the others would.. hopefully help. "He may in fact be, if he's going to get offended about it. And no, our host is not going to help. He has too much to risk in angering Thorns. Or at least, he probably won't. Perhaps Michiko would be interested in stopping them though.. I can hardly begrudge him for abiding by diplomatic necessity, in any case." Crap, I'm monologuing. She looked back to Segial, a cool gaze on her face.

"Was there any particular problem you had with my insect friend? Like maybe that it was stepping on your toes? Because we're targeting Anathema in the truest sense of the word, and I don't think you want to come face such dangerous opponents if it isn't.." a light smile. "At any rate, they're at Ashebenford Castle. I'm not sure what they want, but.. Steel Boot's going down, at least."

2008-03-14, 11:26 PM
Rana shook her head at Tesciam, and sighed. In all of this, he had the nerve to be insulted? While she did have her notions about him, she was annoyed herself at his umbrage. People get showed up, it happens! But... no. Not to his face. Let him stew.

"Alright, look. It's not like we have armies of those things, so don't think you're being made useless, Doctor."

Naturally, Rana conveniently forgot his name. At the time, he was a mere provincial doctor desperate to stalk them or whatever. Why would she be bothered to learn what she'd know over the journey!... Rambling mentally. Justifications aren't needed to oneself! Focus. On. The. Situation. At. Hand!

"Anyways, I honestly wouldn't trust any of their lot - barring Tarana and Michiko - as far as I'd throw them. And I would throw them, don't get me wrong here! Rowan's too busy doing her impression of a House leader's favorite daughter, and Wezun seems to be the archetype of all simpering politicos. So I'd say we go, and we go now, and we go quietly. I'd love to have some actual help, Dragons willing, but they're being too damnably stubborn to let that happen!"

Then, Rana shifted her glance to one side, then the other.

"Though Michiko might be of at least some help. Especially if the powers that be in this damnable manor think we're muscling in on ther wonderful happy deathfreak buddies."

Then, with a bit of an imperious sniff of her nose, Rana eyed the others.

"Is this clear now to you, Doctor?"

2008-03-16, 08:56 AM

Now Tesciam looks really pissed. "I am a Godblooded. I can! do more then just prevent infection." He waits till the beetle has completely burried into Gale's body, trying to calm himself in the meantime. "Have it your way then. I'll just look forward to you pissing of the ladies again with their Sesselja sitting in your organs. And I mean all! your precious organs." He smirks and turns to Lesia. "So that "Steel Boot" person is the fouth deathknight? Interesting. And since you seem to know exactly where that castle is, how to get there and that the three of you can take on four deathknights, I'll sure come along. Just dont expect me to attack them, I'll just be there to make sure noone gets killed."

2008-03-17, 01:29 AM

Having seemingly reached some form of consensus, the nascent group heads off into the clear spring night. The starlight seems exceptionally bright in the beautifully landscaped terrain of the Estate, and gradually fades to a more normal luminescence as you exit the geomantically sculpted area. Even as you reach the natural forest outside the Estate nothing hinders any of you, the roots and branches of the trees stand out clearly to your sight and the path is clear even to those unskilled in traveling the wilderness.

During your travels Heavenly Gale's wounds are rapidly closed and smoothed over, soon turning the shiny pink of recent healing, the only hint of the source of the healing being an occasional protruding chitinous leg or antenna. The injuries having all been sealed Gale gets an odd look on his face before coughing a couple times and having the large beetle-like creature crawl up his throat and out his mouth, to leap back into Lesia.

Lightning:Quickly you spot Daughter of Unending Tumult angrily tearing her ragged skirt loose from the grasping branch of small evergreen. She looks around, clearly exasperated, before sighing and saying, "Malfeas with this, I'm flying the rest of the way. IF the stupid manse can tell, Smith'll just have to deal." With that she pulls off the dark metal chevron that served as something of a buckle for her rope belt and tosses it gently out in front of her. It floats gently ahead with a soft black glow and low scraping sound, like a blade being slowly drawn from a metal scabbard. When the glow fades a narrow wedge, perhaps a yard across, made of the same dark metal but sculpted to look like a construction of bones with gleaming razor edges floats in front of Daughter of Unending Tumult. She walks gracefully onto it without pausing or missing a step.

Her strange conveyance takes off quickly, and with remarkable grace and maneuverability begins weaving in out and around the tops of the trees. Your new hawk form struggles to keep up, and you can tell Daughter of Unending Tumult could easily outdistance you if she took to the open air rather than moving covertly through the treetops. She continues muttering softly to herself while flying, "Why did I even bother. Not like he's gonna come just to see me, he obviously wasn't into it all. Didn't even leave a mark on me. Ugh, why am I so stupid!" With the last word she veers into a tall fir tree, the blade-like edge of her conveyance slicing a good yard off the treetop.

2008-03-23, 03:03 AM

Enjoying the tranquility of the moonlight walk, Tesciam's earlier agitation is gone. Walking in the same steady pace as the others, he remains silent and spends his time watching his companions and the surroundings, and pondering the things to come.

2008-03-23, 07:18 AM
Ashebenford Castle:

After a long night and even longer day of grueling travel you emerge from the forest. The crumbling remains of the Castle stand before you in the dimness of dusk. Two of the half dozen or so towers still stand, and most of the walls are upright if not fully intact. Moss and ivy cover almost all of the stonework, but in places you can still faintly make out carvings of glory to Pasiap and Sextes Jylis.

There are no obvious indications of anyone else being present. No signs that anyone has been here for years in fact. Perhaps you beat them here?

Lightning:You feel like you've been chasing her all night, even though you know it has not been much more than an hour, but Daughter of Unending Tumult finally seems to have reached her destination. She slows and glides gently out over the village of Narshe...

The Village of Narshe:The night has grown late and the village is quiet, the streets deserted. A strange woman glides out from the trees and hovers over the market square atop a dark metallic wedge styled to look constructed from bone. She looks around for a moment, then sighs heavily and shakes her head, clearly exasperated. Long seconds pass and there is a rustling from the trees on the other side of the village from the direction the woman came.

A large bird with dark feathers and a wing span that must top three yards rises and flaps clumsily toward the woman. The bird's eyes shine like dim green candles, and its thick heavy beak bobs up and down as it flies. Reaching the woman it seems to rear up, raising its long thin neck and flapping madly to hover in place for a moment. Its great beak opens widely, revealing a twisted human face that spits a few quiet obscenities at the woman. The bird then turns and flies down to the inn. The woman follows.

Reaching the window the bird raps its heavy beak against the shutters three times. There is a pause and the shutters openly slightly, letting first the bird than the woman carefully enter. The woman closes the shutters again after entering.

2008-03-23, 02:25 PM
Gale looks over the castle.

"Huh. This probably dates almost back to the Great Contagion. Don't think it's Shogunate, though. I'm gonna see if there's any safe rooms for us to stay in while we wait for our friends. And hopefully there aren't too many traps here."

And maybe I can find the hearthroom while I'm at it. This might not be attuned...and if it's not, well, I'm not sure I want to give the Abyssals a chance at taking it.

He makes his way into the castle, doing his best to be careful of any traps that might still be active. Or worse, guardians.

2008-03-24, 02:00 AM
After a trip spent mostly silent, still annoyed at having to travel with HIM, Rana finally regarded it, and thought. Ancient ruins, crazy deathfreaks after them... All so much crazy occult lore to consider! She really should've studied that some more... A glance to Lesia.

"We... probably shouldn't split up too much. I know how it always goes. We go to different parts of the ruins, and then the spooky bogeymen come to rip us into tiny little pieces while we're alone and weak. But... Hm. I'm fine around you, right Lesia? You probably know more about any of this... stuff, than I do!"

Obviously, Rana intended to not leave Lesia's side for the entire journey, barring something momentous happening that would change her mind.

2008-03-25, 09:06 AM

Tesciam follows Gale towards the entrance to the castle. While they walk, he looks over his shoulder towards Rana and Lesia and says "Now that we are here, how do you plan this venture to turn out? From the way you are acting, it is obvious that for you this is not just bringing a criminal to justice, but something very personal. I wonder why. Do you want to kill, or capture him, and how?"