View Full Version : Exalted: Selene of the North
09-28-2012, 11:52 PM
In the frigid wind-swept lands of the Northern Direction, the first day of the full moon rises on the month of Ascending Water.
Shielded against the storm brewing outside, its howls promising that it will be just as vicious and unrelenting as has become common in these lands over the past few months, an auspicious group has gathered in the house of Hell's estranged daughter, Selene. However, the group is incomplete, as the Lady herself is nowhere to be found. The halls have not felt her presence in many months, and the first of the travelers has been waiting multiple weeks for her return.
One after another these strange visitors arrived, their timing all too convenient to be wholly coincidental. The servants of the Demon-Goddess have given them quarter in her absence with the condition that they behave themselves, and none have strayed from that provision. But tonight, with the moon shining ever-so-brightly, and the wicked winds battering at the walls, they are told She will finally arrive, and their messages finally delivered. How do the disciples of She, Pure As The First Snowfall, know of their mistress' arrival? Did she send word? No. They can feel her - now, stronger than ever - she returns. And the four strangers are assembled to greet her.
They are uneasy. And not just because of the powers with which they meddle tonight. Change is coming, and they know it - knew it sooner than most, more than likely. Change so wondrous and devastating as has had no peer for centuries, or possibly millennia, or perhaps that has had no peer in all the history of Creation. The Third Age is at the threshold, biding its time, knowing that it has so very few moments left before its birth. All that is left is to decide under what circumstances this new change, this new Age, is to be birthed under. Will the historians of the future know these final days of the Age of Sorrows as the Triumphant Rise, an entire world climbing outward from its darkest day into a gleaming dawn that brings new peace and prosperity, or as the Winter of Mortal Hopes, as a dying planet is finally broken under the strain of its heroes?
Or something else entirely?
The words exchanged in this meeting may very well hold great significance in such determinations.
09-29-2012, 10:41 AM
The palace is marble, clean white shot through with veins of frost blue. High, spired with a single tower of glass. Blizzars whirl around near-constantly, although it's uncertain if this is the manse itself, or simply the location. The architecture is flowing, blue and silver and glass, but the design is oddly comforting. The trappings of the Ice Queen are warmer than her name would imply.
And she returns. Not surrounded by her faithful, riding her flagship, or floating above the featureless snow, but merely walking upon it, alone and untouched.
Her hair is black, the only thing that distracts from her image of frost. Pale skin, and a crystalline armour underneath robes of white. Tall and lithe, she is beautiful beyond a normal understanding, redefining the word stunning with a cold, pale beauty, and a regal, slightly distant personality, that makes those who worship her filled with delight at the radiant smiles she seldom gives.
Today, she isn't so much smiling as smirking, a small, self-satisfied grin as she walks once more into her home. As she enters the high gate, she's a little surprised that her welcoming committee doesn't appear to be her own people, but she hides it well.
"Good day to you." she greets them, with a smile. "I do hope you haven't been waiting too long for me."
Cleared for takeoff? Sheet is here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/19NDecjMAOoZGHzhH1uCszm44RhmoDhvPxnbNVvpu-q4/edit)! If it's okay, I had a cool idea, and I'd like to swap out one of my spare att dots to take a frost elemental dragon as an ally. I can put four dots into him with that, which would be pretty epic. :)
09-29-2012, 02:47 PM
Three figures are standing in the hall before Selene. Her keen social senses detect that they are close enough to one another to denote that they have similar business, but certainly not close enough to express less than moderate animosity between them.
The first is an enormous, hulking creature. What passes for its pasty skin is stretched to the breaking point attempting to contain the musculature beneath - in fact, Selene can quite clearly see sections around the arm that have given way, torn like cheap cloth to reveal something altogether inhuman underneath. Its face is misshapen, but so obviously fake as to be almost comical - like a mask a child might wear during the Saturnalia holiday - stretched over a massively fanged bestial visage. Over the faux-skin are several mismatched layers of clothing, from simple peasant tunics one might see in the Threshold, to furred garments adorned with talismans that might have once belonged to an Icewalker chieftain, lashed together with heavy leather belts, and ending with a pair of boots that have been torn open in the front to reveal gleaming black claws.
It is obvious to Selene, and to everyone there, and probably even to her less discerning servants, that this thing is an Erymanthus. It just seems like no one has had the heart to tell him the disguise isn't working. Really, the only touch missing is a tag that says "Hi, My Name is Hugh Man". He is clutching what appears to be a large urn full of steaming tea, the smallest container one could find in the palace that would not be sundered by the ape's clumsy torso-palming talons.
The second is a literal bleached skeleton. Its frame is covered with a heavy leather cloak set with black feathers, too large to belong to any common bird, along its outward-facing side, and it wears a simple black funeral shroud around its head. It clutches the cloak tightly to its body, and shivers often, though conspicuously not quite in time with the drafts of cold air leaking in from outside. Two points of heatless blue light fill the sockets where its eyes might've been, and its stance has almost a feminine quality to it (along with its general height and build).
A broad, straight Soulsteel Daiklave is lashed to the creature's back, edged on one side, and adorned with wickedly ornate saw-like teeth on the other.
The third may, in fact, be a legitimate human being. Although Selene cannot be one-hundred percent certain, as they have left no inch of skin still visible on their person. The parts not covered by the long, thick, black coat (done in some style common in the Western portions of the South, with a high collar to ward away dust and sand from one's neck and face, although it seems to serve a similar purpose with the snow) are wrapped in long strips of some expensive silken black cloth - including the man's face - including the man's eyes. But where his eyes would've been, something is very definitely off. If one were to imagine a light shining through a cloth, that subtle tinge of something brighter, but then imagine the opposite - some font of darkness blacker than the item concealing it, aggressively devouring all light that touches it - that would give them some idea of this man's face. His head is both hooded, and hatted, a very wide-brimmed affair, a tad more dramatic than is entirely functional and, of course, black.
As Selene approaches, it is the Blood Ape who takes the first awkward lope forward. When it speaks, its voice is a heavily accented Old Realm, though not in an accent she has personally heard in Malfeas. Hell is a large place, of course, but Selene is more likely to place it as belonging to some dialect of Seatongue. It's oddly reminiscent of the meandering drawl she'd heard from Cearr at more than one meeting of the Conventicle Malfeasant.
"Not too long, no." The demon grins fiercely, displacing the fake human face with its much-too-large fangs, as it hunches a bit to bring itself to eye-level with Selene. "Name's Aod. We can slog through more formal words someplace warmer, I think? Your fourth suitor wouldn't even come this far. Afraid he might be swept off by an errant breeze, maybe? Hah. Or maybe he just likes the way the girls 'ave been pamperin' 'im." Something between a laugh and a bloodthirsty roar blasts from the beast's throat.
The dragon sounds fine, yeah.
09-29-2012, 03:14 PM
"Ah, the cold is strong around these parts." smiles Selene.
Selene is barefoot, and both her armour and robes are carefully crafted to leave the neck open-and the cleavage showing. She stopped feeling the cold several years ago.
"Please, lead on. Suitors, you say? I hope not literal, I'm not sure I'm ready to marry just yet." she jokes, giving an amused laugh.
09-29-2012, 11:45 PM
The group moves on into the inner workings of the palace, reaching an extravagantly furnished lounging room, complete with chaise longues, and piles of fluffy pillows large enough to be considered seating.
In the center of the room is a small, circular wooden table, on top of which is perched a single white cushion. Curled up on the cushion is a single, large, brilliantly golden-furred mouse. Clearly visible on its back, the unmistakable sunburst symbol of the Unconquered Sun stands out, naturally patterned into the creature's hair.
Seeing the company return, the mouse quickly raises itself into a sitting position, looking intently at Selene, ears perked up in curiosity.
Aod the Erymanthus gestures at the little animal. "Aye. Now here we all are. Tiny thing showed up a few days ago, half frozen, half dead. No telling how he made it all the way out here. But, oh, it seems you're quite the popular lady these days now doesn't it?" He grins again.
None of the guests, besides the mouse, takes a seat. Perhaps out of good manners, awaiting Selene to settle herself first. Or perhaps they simply preferred standing.
09-30-2012, 08:11 AM
Selene gives a curuious smile to the mouse, before replying to the demon's words.
"It does indeed." she says agreeably, sinking into a comfortable position amongst one of the larger pile of cushions. "And I must admit to quite some curiosity on that front. Perhaps explanations are in order?"
09-30-2012, 03:08 PM
Aod thinks for a moment, and then points one enormous claw at the robed skeleton. "Far as I know, bright-eyes here has been waiting the longest."
In a sudden shift from absolute stillness to absolute motion, the skeleton sweeps forward towards Selene, as if it had been patiently waiting for its cue. Over the course of a few rapid steps, it has grasped the handle of the daiklave on its back and brought it in a sweeping arc, bringing it to rest horizontally, resting on both upturned palms, before the mistress of the house. The spirit kneels so that it is lower than Selene in her sitting position, offering the sword.
Eyes cast downward, it speaks. The unnatural rasp of the grave, familiar to any who have trafficked with the restless dead before, fills what was once a smooth and elegant female voice. "Forgive my intrusion upon your home, unannounced and unexpected as it is, oh Great and Beloved Princess of Hell." Her skull raises up now, with a slight creak, to lock eyes with Selene. "I am Ura the Heartless. I speak for a Princess of the Underworld. You may know of her? The Princess Magnificent With Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers, Her Armies Who Conquered The Hidden Tabernacle, Her Steed That Rides At The Head of the Legion Sanguinary, Her Master..." Ura trails off for a long second, as if she means to say something, but cannot. Finally, she simply hisses the word: "...Unspeakable."
There is another moment of silence, broken only by low mumbling from Aod, seemingly spoken to the black-eyed man. "Did you know we were supposed to bring a gift?"
"The Princess offers this gift, Fury's Lash. A sword of surpassing craftsmanship, and a promise of future profit to be had, should you deign to form a working relationship with her. As it is also the key to the newest Warstrider in the Legion's stable: Broken Heart Fury." Ura extends her arms a little farther, suggesting that Selene take it. "All she asks in return is aid in recovering one of her champions, who seems to have lost himself in a place the Princess may not tread, but that she expects you might be uniquely suited to traversing. Take the sword, think about it, and give me your response when you are ready. That is my message."
09-30-2012, 05:00 PM
Selene, while a little startled, accepts the blade with reverential hands.
"Never could I deny such a wondrous gift." she says softly. "I shall surely return to you for information and my answer soon."
09-30-2012, 06:23 PM
Ura stands, bows a rigid, creaking bow, and departs for the quarters she has been staying in.
"Your turn, Chuckles." Aod lightly elbows the black-eyed man, who shoots an 'I-would-certainly-murder-you-under-alternate-circumstances' glance his way, before making to stand before Selene.
The man removes his hat and bows dramatically, and then proceeds to uncoil the cloth around his head before replacing the hat. Long, thin, oily strands of black hair unravel outward past his shoulders and around a deeply tanned face that relates an ethnicity not indigenous to this area, framed by a short, unkempt black beard. His eyes are, much as could be expected, alien, terrible things, like spherical blobs of ink, subtly churning in their sockets. When he opens his mouth to speak, he shows teeth that are a bright, glossy black. "S'pleasure, ma'am." The words are oddly short, honest, and simple.
"Reck'n we've never had cause to meet before. But the folks 'round my usual beat call me 'The Devil's Shadow', or 'Devil Dane'. Friends'd call me Dane, if I had 'em." He flicks a finger against the brim of his hat and laughs a wholly incongruous laugh to his words, cold and shrill. "'Fraid I'm more often than not a bearer a'bad news. Erembour's got me roundin' up all the errant little outta the way cults, sects, cabals, and s'on, gettin' the forces of Hell all ready for... somethin'. Somethin' bad a'course. Somethin' the big snake downstairs wants every last Yozi-loyalist in the North marshaled for. Somethin' I can't rightly talk about in front of... present company." He flicks an eyebrow towards the mouse, whom you could almost swear is giving Dane an angry, disgusted look.
"I know y'just got in 'n all, but the sooner we leave, the better. I doubt the Shadowcaller is all too happy with me takin' as long as I have. She wanted you specifically, though. Somethin' about... a question of loyalty?" He leans back and shakes a hand in the air. "None'a my business. Still, whenever y'ur ready, I can take you to the secret meetin' place we got set up."
09-30-2012, 06:27 PM
"Well, I'm sure you all understand that I would simply hate to show any hate to my beloved masters." the careful words flow easily from her lips, and she smiles. "But to do so immediately would be to disrespect the others who waited so long to speak to me."
09-30-2012, 07:15 PM
The smile on Dane's face lingers for a moment too long without him saying anything for it to look like anything but displeasure. "...Right. Of course. S'pose I can haunt the place for a while longer. Just say the word when y've got it all sorted out." He tips his hat as a brisk sign of farewell, and then departs the room.
The moment the last of his footsteps die away, Aod begins to chuckle. "Never liked that one. Sortta why I'm here in the first place, come to think of it. Y'see... The hulking frame leans in closely to Selene, until their faces are only a scant couple of feet away from one another. "I'm actually a Blood Ape." he whispers with a huge grin, as if revealing some kind of intricate master plan, before pulling away again. "Not a bad bit o' thaumaturgy idn't it? Did it myself, in fact. On my way to becomin' the best Erymanthus sorcerer there ever was!" He raises a fist triumphantly, all smiles. "First one, too, likely as not."
Clapping a hand to his chin, he takes a second to think. "Heh, I'd appreciate it if you didn't go spreadin' that around too much, though. Your pals in the ministry of Cecelyne don't quite like that sort of thing, now do they? But you're not like them, are ya? S'what I hear anyway. S'why I'm here. See, don't go thinking Chuckles speaks for all us folks working for the Reclamation. It's not just the sunny rat over there who's here to get you to snub the great big cosmic killjoy. Ebby has his plans, for sure, but the Green Sun doesn't trust him any more than he'd trust some kind of betrayal-incarnate. Which, in this case... well, you know. That's why he's got plans of his own. Problem is, most of the Demon Emperor's forces are getting ready for a tussle in the Scavenger Lands. Can't spare too many heavy hitters. They say there's a circle of Lawgivers in every pub and tavern from Lookshy to Great Forks. That's where you and I come in. Top secret mission. Big stuff. Reclamation-happening-right-now Big Stuff. The End Times are comin', no mistakin' it. But I'd rather have Creation sent to Hell in a handbasket on the Green Sun's terms, rather than seeing what the Ebon Dragon has in store. How about you?"
09-30-2012, 08:05 PM
She gives a suitably surprised gasp of shock at his revelation, and then nods in agreement. "The Ebon Dragon's form of manipulation always seemed... pointless. Having friends is more useful than enemies. Remaining in the Sun's graces would be a great boon."
09-30-2012, 09:37 PM
"Aye." Aod takes the last few gulps of tea out of his vessel, and shakes it absent-mindedly. "Something to think about, to be sure. Whatever you do, whatever friends you want to make, probably not a bad idea to do it soon. This is a nice place you have here. Very nice. Not a lot of the war and pestilence and death that the rest of Creation has been seeing more and more of these last few decades manages to make it out here, I imagine. But it won't last. Best to take the yeddim by the ears, rather than watch the world burn down around you. You want to be on the top of the pile once the winner shakes out." He turns, making to leave. "And that'll be Malfeas if I have anything to say about it."
As the Blood Ape lumbers off, his footfalls are replaced by the barely-audible scampering of the golden mouse, having leaped from his perch already, which comes to rest by Selene's feet. With a look over its shoulder and few gestures, one of Selene's attendants strides over, humbly bowing before them, and places a bottle of ink and a stack of small parchments sheets by the mouse, before leaving.
With remarkable speed and dexterity, the mouse springs to life, flicking its tail into the ink, and slashing tiny characters into the paper with supernaturally perfect strokes that leave elegantly pinned sentences in their wake.
The first scrap of parchment reads.
"Salutations to the Magnanimous and Beautiful Queen of Ice and Snow, Priestess of Hell, Lady of Etc Etc...
I am called 'Mali, Who Fights Snakes' or 'Mali Serpentslayer'. A Mouse of the Sun and Resident of the Glorious City of Whitewall.
I serve the Guarding Star, Ignis Divine, the Unconquered Sun, Etc Etc...
I do not think it would be presumptuous of me to speak for Him in saying that you would be a fool to trust these monsters and heretics."
10-01-2012, 08:39 AM
She gives a half nod that could mean just comprehension, or agreement, and smiles at the ape as he leaves.
"Trust is a weighted word, and one that I take great care with." Selene notes. "But I am honoured by the presence of a chosen servant of the great Sun himself."
10-02-2012, 12:05 AM
Mali takes a few seconds, just looking up at Selene, perhaps attempting to gauge her character, expression never changing. Again, he flies into motion, slicing a new message into another few sheets of paper.
"We are all too few these days, unfortunately.
Though I did not gaze upon Him, I have heard His voice only days ago. He told me of many things that have happened, and are happening, and will happen. He has looked upon you, and seen your works. He knows you are powerful. He wants you to know that he does not blame 'you', for the source of that power.
He said that these are dark times, and the darkest hour has yet to pass. The lights of Creation grow dimmer by the day, and the last brilliant flame against the blackness settling upon the North will be my home, Whitewall.
Though they have yet to make their full numbers known, He is no fool. A master of war for millennia untold, He sees the signs for that they are. The mounting demonic forces that threaten Creation. Here, they have spent months, or even years, carefully cutting at Whitewall's infrastructure, weakening it, swelling it with refugees, plaguing it with bandits, scouring it with disease, cutting off its provisions. Soon, it will be time.
Once Whitewall falls, it will not be a difficult prospect for the Chosen of Hell and their Unquestionable allies to establish themselves in a manner that will be difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge. And no doubt that is only the beginning of the defilement they will inflict once there are no walls for their opposition to rally to.
You are an established hero, in a position to help either side. He sees Virtue in you, both evident and as-yet-untapped, and would have you stand with Him. You need only prove your willingness to turn from the evils of the fallen titans and count them among your enemies."
10-02-2012, 01:53 PM
"I am... honoured, by his words." says Selene, blinking. She is genuinely surprised-genuinely pleased, too. "I would dearly desire to see his good works completed. But I fear the past... mistakes of the fallen titans have soured his eyes, even if just a little." she takes a deep breath. "Make no mistake, I do not desire to see them free as they are. They are monsters. They would ruin the world as surely as the raksha, or the underworld. But they are broken. There was a time when Malfeas was Theion and was a just ruler to those he recognised. Keeping him bound is not right. What I desire is to teach him how to be a hero too, how to understand that every man and every mouse under any sun is as important as his own servants. I cannot call them my enemies, although I cannot honestly call myself their servant. I call them lost, in need of help stronger than mine."
"...except the Dragon."
She sighs. "I fear my point is difficult to explain. Please, know I have no intention of seeing the Yozi free in anything like their current state. I shall do all I can to defend Creation from those who are dangerous to it."
10-02-2012, 02:54 PM
Mali tilts his head, blinking softly a few times, conveying a certain amount of confusion. With something that might be the mouse-anatomy equivalent of a shrug, he writes again.
"I'm afraid this is a line of debate that I am ill-equipped to participate in. I've delivered the message with which I was tasked.
In truth, my own primary concern is for my family, who also resides in Whitewall, selfish though that sentiment may be. Whatever standing you might have with the Sun or the Yozi, if you truly care for the defense of Creation's innocents, then I urge you to stand with the city.
At the least, 'I' would be in your debt."
10-02-2012, 03:00 PM
"I have no wish to see Whitewall fall." she nods. "I dearly hope I can do something to help. It's a beautiful city."
Incidentally, it took physical effort not to type '@#%£ that guy.' on the end of the dragon statement.
10-02-2012, 03:12 PM
Mali raises his brow in excitement and relief, scribbling quicker this time, such that a few of the words are not quite up to their normal superb craftsmanship. There's even a typo.
"Then, we must go quickly. The quicker the better.
I'm sure any supplies or additional combatants you could muster would also be helpful.
And, pray, send away the dark things that have invaded your home."
Y'know, I never really thought about it, but it makes sense. Your Shift+4 gives a £ sign instead of a $ sign. That's so obvious, but my mind is blown anyway.
Now I'm wondering how non-romantic-language keyboards work.
10-02-2012, 04:11 PM
"I can't come immediately." she warns. "I'm sorry, but whatever my wishes and my power, I am not strong enough to merely snub the entirety of Hell. And beyond that, this Princess is surely no-one I would desire to anger, especially if she can so carelessly hint at such a mighty weapon as a Warstrider. I shall do all I can to appease them, but I shall be at Whitewall." she vows... and a thought occurs.
"There is a charm I possess, that would allow me to send a... facsimile to travel with you now. That way, I could know when the city was under threat. I can travel quickly, when it is necessary."
So I'm defining a charm as a second purchase of Splintered Gale!
Why did I bank so many attribute dots and so few charms. Why did I buy a cool ship when I can run at omgwtf speed. X_x
10-02-2012, 10:58 PM
Mali's ears flatten back against his head and he looks up, disheartened, at Selene as if she had just waved a sunflower seed in front of his face and then snatched it away when he reached for it. When he writes again, it is slow and measured.
Your generosity is appreciated. I will take this facsimile and inform the defenders of Whitewall that it is a show of good faith.
We will be counting on you."
Well, maybe you expected to be carting around some followers and demons, and you needed a ship for that?
Maybe you wanted to not tell anyone that your ship is a Land Ship, and just be like "This is a normal boat. I'm snowbending it with MY MIND!" for style points.
10-10-2012, 01:57 PM
She takes a step back, taking a deep breath, and slowly breathes in, out, in again... and then out. With her breath comes a flurry of snowflakes, swirling like a miniature blizzard and forming in front of her, ever so slowly, a perfect copy of her own form. Finally, when the last flake lands, a spark of essence links the two for a moment, and the copy is suddenly in full colour, complete with flaming red hair.
"Marina." the original says, smiling. "The plan works for you, I trust?"
"You know it does." nods the other with a wider smile. "Hallo, there, little mouse. It's lovely to meet one of your noble kind, yknow." she smiles, leaning down in a curious, friendly way until she is nearly nose to nose with Mali.
Splintered Gale Shintai! I hope I didn't twist it too much with giving her very slight changes in personality and appearence and... apparently you're meant to play her rather than me. Whoops. Anyway, 1m, 1wp committed. Sorry it took so long.
10-11-2012, 11:31 PM
Mali tilts his head and blinks, as if to say 'Neat trick.' His next message reads:
"The pleasure is mutual.
I had heard that the spiritual complexity of the greatest demons was such that they could produce soul-children, but I was lead to believe that the process was far longer and more complicated. Truly, the Lady Selene is a prodigy among her kind.
I hope you don't mind the prospect of carrying me on the return trip to Whitewall, Lady Marina. It is a long trek - one I have not wholly recovered from yet. I promise that I do not weigh very much, and our speed will be improved."
No worries on the time, I understand.
I don't think the willpower is committed.
I don't mind her appearance and personality being a bit different. Her appearance would change at least a little bit anyway, just because she's capped at Appearance 5. She's been downgraded to world-renowned supermodel status.
You can play her all you want - I'm fine with that. I figured that you would be keeping in mental contact with her indefinitely (it's a costless misc action to put up the telepathy for a scene, so not much reason not to just keep it up if you only have one splintered gale), so I'd notify you of noteworthy things she sees on the journey/in Whitewall, but you're also free to fill in bits of that too, if you'd like.
10-12-2012, 01:22 PM
The clone smiles. "Yeah, she is rather good, although not as good as she'd prefer to say. And I think I can cope with a slight added weight." she giggles.
Selene looks ever so slightly put out by Marina's implication, but seems to be used to it.
Oh hey, so it isn't. I could just spam the charm and...
I could lead a mass combat of myself, were I so inclined. That's... interesting.
10-13-2012, 10:55 PM
Mali and Marina depart to set about their preparations for the journey, leaving Selene, ostensibly, alone with her thoughts.
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