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    God-Kings of Lotus

    Introduction

    In the farthest reaches of the East, there is a city...

    Ivory Eyes and Zephyr

    You’re not sure whether it was simple happenstance or bad luck that led you to the city of Lotus’s dim excuse for an Immaculate temple. The shrine is smaller than even the squalid row houses that line the streets of the slums, and its “courtyard” is little more than a patch of undeveloped earth between its poorly-worked granite steps and the cobblestone road passing by it. The torii proclaiming the entryway of the temple looks rotted, and the once-red paint that clings to it can barely maintain that grip. Since having stopped here, you’ve seen not the first monk or shrine attendant, let alone an Immaculate priest–although of course, Lotus has no Dragonblooded.

    However, standing in the center of the bare-soiled courtyard is a god, not a sight seen in most temples. He stands tall as a man, with skin white as rice paper clad in flowing green robes, with coiling spiral patterns embossed on them as if by black soy sauce. Before him, there is a wooden table arrayed with food–heaping bowls of rice of every color, urns of sauces, iceboxes full of various fish, cutting boards strewn with sliced vegetables, and more. A few locals sit on the ground at the courtyard’s edge, their mouths watering as they consider the god’s kitchen.

    Upon seeing his new arrivals–though they come separately–the god bellows out a boast succulent with hubris. “O poor, disfigured folk of Lotus! Come unto me and pray, and I shall show you the benevolence of my feast! I am O-Mochi, Terrestrial Minister of Wild Rice, and the greatest chef in the East! Come, I shall prepare for you all a sumptuous smorgasbord of rice, if you will but pray to me, as is the Immaculate ordinance for the day. But, if any of you would challenge my right as divinity, my unconquerable prowess as a chef, then let them come forward to my table, and we shall see whose cuisine shall reign supreme!

    Rising Echo

    There is little in Creation that can possibly be worse than dealing with bureaucrats. The Most Glorious Resplendent Secretary in Robes of Saffron, as he styles himself, has been bickering with you for the past ten minutes, citing precedents and regulations that you could swear he made up on the spot. “I can’t deliver a letter to the mayor,” he says, his shifty eyes betraying a hint of a grin, “The mayor consults with no one, except by appointment. And he makes appointments with no one, except by through me. And today is a city-wide bureaucratic day of rest, and while my extreme diligence finds me at the office, I would violate the regulations of my profession to even touch the letter.”

    Considering the argument finished, the secretary rises and picks up a length of bamboo, as if to drive you by force from his office. But the bamboo quivers in his hand–there is something to you that makes this bureaucrat almost afraid. He pauses, reconsidering, and drops the rod. Confounded by little more than your charisma, he demurs. “Perhaps...perhaps you should come by my office at twilight. I have much to do today, forms to sign and wheels to speed, but perhaps..”

    The squealing incompetent still refuses to take your letter now–the bastard! Yet, as incompetent as he is, he at least recognizes you as one not to be dealt with lightly. So far, you have been very, very polite, not even forcing the issue...but now your patience wears thin, and you begin to wax wroth. This sow of a man would be incompetent as a young Dynast’s babysitter, and here he is, telling you that he simply cannot take your letter. Something must be done.

    Invincible Maiden Yomiko and Watcher

    While you thought you could find something nice for yourself down in the markets of Lotus, your search has been wholly fruitless. The skimpy open-air market of Lotus, lined with merchant booths and pavilions, lacks anything of much worth, and the prices defy all reason. Could it be that burlap sacks of dried rice, lots of poorly-dyed wool, and crudely whittled wooden figurines command prices of dozens of koku? Preposterous, the whole market is preposterous.

    If there were some Guild haven, some wondrous warehouse, you might find something worth your jade, but there is not. The buildings that surround the market are squat and sloped, either the barely-crumbling houses of the moderately wealthy or minor bureaucratic offices. The mayor’s governance seems like a weed growing within the city, a preponderance of official residences and would-be stately ministries that spread out from the mayoral palace at the heart of Lotus, choking out all other buildings. Most people live in the row houses on the very edge of the city, close to the outlying fields they cultivate. The ones who reside in actual houses, pathetic as they may be, are the rich ones here, owners of the land that the poor cultivate. It is sad to think that Lotus’s wealthiest landowners keep homes that a pauper in the Realm would balk at if offered it.

    Angrily departing the market, you find your route blocked by a directionless crowd, a herd of men and women wearing uniformly rough, woolen garb. They seem as if they are trying to be a mob, but the milling about and general sense of confusion seems to ruin the effect. Now and then, one of them will shout out some protest or slogan–”Bread for the farmers!” “Our land, our crop!”–but they are quickly hushed by their meeker comrades. It is a riot without violence, a protest march without much protest. Pathetic, really. Completely directionless, completely purposeless. And in your way.
    Last edited by The Demented One; 2010-05-08 at 02:52 PM.
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    Zephyr

    Zephyr Scales-of-War stood back. His entire body was covered with a somewhat ragged cloak, save his head which remained unhooded. It would look more suspicious, he had decided, to go about with it up in broad daylight than the concealment would be worth.

    He looked at the battered excuse for an Immaculate temple with barely-concealed disdain. Bad enough was this sorry sham of a faith on its own, but these people could not even be bothered to venerate the hollow thing properly. Something would have to be done...

    But for now, all his attention was focused elsewhere. He felt something... a pulsing rythm deep in his soul, an electrum thread that bound him. She was near... He remembered her, or his soul did, flashes of memory, of blood and of pain, of a figure that lay dying at his feet as he tore apart enemy after enemy.

    Her. His fated, bonded companion. His previous incarnation had failed to save her once. He would not do so again.
    Last edited by WhiteKnight777; 2009-04-05 at 04:11 PM.
    Like dragons and/or allegory? A little writing project I'm working on. Check back for updates, and feedback is always appreciated!

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    "This evening? My dear man, if today is, as you say, a bureaucratic day of rest, then I can't see how my showing up this evening will be of any use." Rising Echo states, looking at the petty secretary. "Now, I can see working on this now, as if no one else is here, no one has to know that you worked on this day of rest."

    Rising Echo lifts the letter. "I'm not asking you to read it. Hells, I'm not even asking you to deliver it. I need ten minutes with the mayor, in which he may read my letter. He won't have to touch it. I'll open it up and set it in front of him."

    "Now, if the mayor isn't here, then I can leave it on his desk." Rising Echo motions towards where he thinks the mayor's office is. "But I know you'd absolutely abhor the breaking of your appointments. So, since there is a good deal of free time today, why don't we pencil in my ten minutes. If it goes badly, I'll even say someone else let me by while you were resting."

    Spoiler
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    Let's talk about wheel spinning, shall we oh petty one?

    Spending 8 motes personal for my own Speed the Wheels.
    Charisma+bureaucracy (8d10)[9][3][2][8][5][8][5][1](41)
    Difficulty 1, with an external penalty of the petty one's [Int+Bureau]/2

    Personal: 7/15
    Peripheral: 43/46
    -Committed: 3 (Armor, not currently worn)
    I hate this dice roller.
    Last edited by Lochar; 2009-04-05 at 03:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
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    Ivory Eyes is dressed well: not exceptionally, but rather in a utilitarian chef's coat of strange, quilted blue silk. Her black hair is pulled into a tight schoolgirl's plait tied with thin gold gauze. Strangest of all about this girl, though, is the horse-sized tiger she's chosen to ride into town on. It's paws seem to stop just above the ground with each step as it rushes through Lotus, Ivory Eyes with her arms clasped tightly around it's neck. She arrives at the temple and steps off, gingerly.

    "With respects, Minister," she says in a voice too old, too controlled, too mature to be a girl's, "I would have that title you've claimed for yourself. My name is Ivory Eyes, and I believe myself to be the greatest chef of the East."

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    Ivory Eyes

    The rice-god looks with derision at the mere slip of a girl before him, the bellows with laughter. "You? The greatest–" He pauses for another uncontrollable surge of laughter, all but crippled by such jest. "You would call yourself the greatest chef of the East? Girl, can you even reach the cutting board in your mother's kitchen? Can you hold a knife without maiming yourself?' He falls back into another bout of chortling, a nasty, phlegmatic laugh.

    In the god's mockery, he does not even notice the magnificent beast you ride upon; the crowd, however, does not. They scurry to move away from it, and whisper worriedly among themselves. Surely, a girl riding such a beast to a temple must be an Immaculate Priest, served by the very spirits themselves? Or else some master thaumaturgist who has bound herself a potent slave? Or perhaps (some whisper, though their fellows mock them for it) she is Anathema, as the few monks who serve this shrine half-heartedly warn them of. And she's so young! Gossip swarms about you like a hive of golden honeybees on a field of flowers, each one buzzing off in a wholly different direction.

    The god of wild rice notices this hubbub, and finally breaks out of his laughter. The foolish mortals are so bewitched by this young braggart that they fail to properly revere him! Surely there can be but one way to resolve this. He looks to you, condescendingly kneeling so as to level with your eyes. "Very well then, girl. Come unto my table, and see if your skills are worthy to best I, the Adamant Chef East! I shall give you an hour to put forth your best meal against my own; the worshipful mass before me shall be judge their merit. Now, upon your meal, I place no limits, save for this one sacred stricture: today's sacred ingredient is...rice!"

    No great surprise, given the god's domain, and certainly not fair. But for all his cheating ways, one simple truth remains: you are Chosen by the Sun, acclaimed by Sol Invictus himself as the most noble and virtuous chef throughout all Creation. Can this upstart deity hope to trump your majesty?

    Zephyr

    Cloaked as you are, mingling with what few people line the streets of Lotus proves childishly easy. Even as obviously foreign as you are, scarcely anyone even looks up from the ground to look at you as they pass, let alone question you. The city's populace is rife with fear and weakness, a society with no strengthening force to sustain it. Were your mentor here, she could cultivate this city into a metropolis like a gardener tending his topiary hedges–but he is not. It was her will that you come here alone, as one rivulet of the Thousand Streams River.

    But you have no time to reshape society now–the weight of your bond upon you is all but unbearable. Until coming to this city, it has been little more than a twinge of Fate pulling at you; but here, it is irresistible. As if you had smelled some gourmet feast that you had tasted of once as a child, the longing nostalgia keens in your soul, an ecstatic pain. As a young girl steps forward from the crowd, you feel a prickling recognition, though it defies your belief. Could this child be your mate?

    Rising Echo

    The indolent official scarcely knows what has come over him; your words seem to have inflamed a spirit of haste in him, and your very reasonable request quashing in will to work against you. "It...it would take hours to...well, I suppose your appointment is pressing. It scarcely matters if you must wait a minute or an hour, in these days. I shall go petition the mayor on your behalf; it will be but a few minutes for him to make up his mind." He all but leaps up from his desk, quickly scrambling to retrieve his three-pointed hat of office. Without wasting the time to ask if you would enjoy a cup of tea or some qat in the meanwhile, he scurries along the corridors of power to wherever the mayor's office may be.

    A few minutes pass, aided by the fascinating depictions of nubile women on the secretary's wall scrolls; assuredly an ornamentation his higher-ups know nothing of. But soon, you hear his footsteps tapping out a rapid tattoo, and his hefty bulk looms into view through the door. "The mayor has agreed to receive your letter from you personally. A high honor indeed. Follow me now!" he says, and briskly sets off back through the halls. Tracking his waddling steps, you soon come to an impressive oaken door, engraved with scenes of military valor; heroic battles that you suspect the mayor has never set foot in. The secretary timorously opens the door halfway, enough to reveal scarlet banners hanging from the ceiling and an expensive redwood floor. "Go in and bow before the mayor, pay him your best obeisances. Just heed every order you are given, and all shall be fine!" the secretary whispers conspiratorially, clearly not understanding that you are one of the Sun's Chosen.
    Last edited by The Demented One; 2009-04-05 at 03:35 PM.
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    Rising Echo raises an eyebrow at the differences between most of the city and the mayor's office. He'd expected it to be a bit better, the trappings of office and all, but this was a little extreme.

    However, he would withhold judgment on it. At least for the moment. Entering the office, Rising Echo takes note of the even more expensive flooring and banners. The cost of this could probably build another whole government building, or other work. Rising Echo thinks to himself, but does not let it show on his face.

    Making a half-bow, just enough to show respect but not obeisance, he then straightens up to look at the Mayor of this town.
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    Rising Echo

    As you make a perfunctory display of decorum, the mayor looks down on you from a plush crimson divan on a raised dias. He has no desk, but merely a heap of silken pillows on which he reclines. But for his sedentary office, he has no surfeit of weight–he is a thin, reedy man, his elegant robes so looses that his arms seem to disappear into them. He looks you over with reddened, bleary eyes, doubtlessly owing to the spliff of marijuana tenderly cradled between his lips. He seems entirely content with your half-hearted display, and claps his hands daintily to bid you rise from your bow.

    "My Most Glorious Resplendent Secretary in Robes of Saffron," he says, pronouncing the title with a nonchalant sarcasm, "Informs me that you have a letter for me to read. Some application for office, I am told? As you clearly see, only the most qualified of bureaucrats are allotted official positions, but let me examine your credentials." You cannot even tell if he intended the jibe against his secretary–his drug-addled speech is lilting and reveals nothing of his true thoughts.
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    Rising Echo almost scoffs, but doesn't. Instead, he allows for the man's lapses, for it would make it easier to gain a spot in the town structure. He won't stay Mayor for long though, not if the town must grow.

    Moving forward, Rising Echo nods. "Yes, Mayor. I am Rising Echo, and I was hoping to take the position of Minister of Trade. Lotus is in a very good spot to become much greater, and I think that I could be of inestimable value to said greatness."

    Holding his letter out for the Mayor, Rising Echo continues. "I have here a letter that spells out what I think I can do for the city, along with what my skills are. I took the time to write down my thoughts, instead of just having to blather on in your presence."

    Spoiler
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    Spending another personal mote for Mastery of Small Manners, so that Rising Echo doesn't just try to strangle this guy for being such a waste.

    Personal: 6/15
    Last edited by Lochar; 2009-04-05 at 04:02 PM.
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    Rising Echo

    The mayor attempts to retrieve the letter from your outstretched hand, his fingers clumsily drifting like a school of fish swimming in a cask of beer. Eventually, you gracefully place the envelope in his grasp, as if aiding a brain-addled child.

    Smiling at his success, the mayor begins ripping open the envelope with one long, fluid gesture. He extracts the letter and unfolds it, mulling over what is written. You imagine that, insensate as he is, he is more enthralled by the beauty of your calligraphy than what is written–he certainly doesn't seem to be reading it very carefully, if at all. But nevertheless, he nods his assent, and smiles down on you.

    "I've never considered having a Minister of Trade, but you certainly seem eminently qualified. I shall have your name entered into the proper records, and find offices for you somewhere. Congratulations on your appointment..." He pauses, and glances down at your letter. "Rising Echo."

    With a look of sudden realization, the mayor then springs up from his couch, stumbling awkwardly. "Oh! Now that there is a Minister of Trade, we can finally resolve one little nuisance." He strides over to a small table, where a pile of forms and petitions lie under a paperweight of green jade, with the phrase "Imperial Attendant of Matters to be Attended to Later" engraved on it, and. He pulls out a small note, with what looks like an urgently written message on it, and ponders it over. "It seems that a small...maw? Oh, no, mob. A small mob has gathered over at the markets. Something about food prices, or taxes, or whatever the people are wont to mob over. Perhaps, since they are right by the market, it should be you who goes to see that they are dealt with?"

    He smiles benevolently, and returns to his couch, thoroughly ignoring you as he resumes his opiate haze.
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    Zephyr

    Zephyr watched, nonplussed for a moment. A girl. His bonded mate was a slip of a girl. He grinned. Gods Above, but Luna had a sense of humor. Still, what was a difference of a few years to they, who were immortal? She would grow. And he would watch over her... as soon as he found a way to introduce himself to her. Still, he watched, amazed at her skill. Young she may be, but already she was steeped in potent sorcery - And with the bravery to challenge a god in his own domain. Granted, a god of a city as feeble as this could not be anything too impressive. He shouldered his way to the front of the crowd, no difficult task for a man of his stature, and watched, silently appraising.

    Cooking, eh? Seemed... odd. But still, who was he to judge? Luna had chosen him to guard this girl, and guard her he would, whatever her destiny might be. This close, the tug on his soul was irresistible, and it was only by effort of will that he kept himself from rushing to her side and pledging his loyalty then and there.
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    Ivory Eyes circles around the audience, keeping a calm demeanor as she ties a clean apron about her waist. As he mentions her mother, a clever gleam fills her expression.

    "My mother lives in golden Yu-Shan," she says simply as she approaches the divinity to accept his challenge. As if to make a point, she reaches into the folds of her coat and withdraws three knives throwing each in the air and catching them with equal ease. She plunges the three into her table by the knifepoint and bows to the Minister before setting to work.

    And such work! Her hands move, quick and dexterous, across the sea of wild rices set before her. Her skillet sizzles instantly and effortlessly as she throws in carefully considered measures of rice and fish and spice and sauce. In one last, great heave she pulls the mighty skillet back over her head like a woodsman's axe, sending bits of rice and fish everywhere. As soon as the skillet is dropped, however, the bowl are thrown and exacting portions--impossibly exact--fall into each as she tosses them, bowl and meal meeting in midair before settling in a neat row on the table.

    And more! She fetches handfuls of banal white rice in a large, wooden basin and begins to stir, adding only a single sprig of mint. The rice thickens under her ministrations, sweetens. It takes on a pale green sheen, like good jade, and she smiles as she measures it out into shallow ivory dishes, phantom memories of childhood treats guiding her hand.

    "I have finished, Minister," she says, setting her apron aside.

    Spoiler
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    First Course--Fish and Rice, Solar Anathema Style! Supplementing with 4 Automatic Successes from her Craft Excellency. 3 Dex + 4 Craft + 2 Cooking Specialty + 4 Auto Successes
    (9d10)[5][1][3][10][9][4][3][10][1](46)

    Second Course--Mint Rice Icecream, Solar Anathema Style! Reeds into Gold Meditation to soften, sweeten, and chill the rice. Channelling Compassion in memory of her mother's authentic recipe for this childhood treat! 3 Dex + 4 Craft + 2 Cooking + 3 Compassion
    (12d10)[1][2][10][3][3][2][7][10][1][10][1][8](58)

    Overall, she's spent 18 motes and 2 points of willpower, emptying her Personal Pool.
    Personal: 0/18
    Peripheral: 43/43
    Willpower 3/6

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    Well, appearance 8 Calligraphy will do that to him. I bet he holds onto the note later on to watch the pretty letters spin and swirl.

    And drat being so addle brained that his mind can't even comprehend the unnatural mental influence I was putting on him!


    Rising Echo takes the note, looking at the date on it. Realizing it is today's date, he sends a silent thank you to the heavens. Sketching a rough, quick bow to the mayor he turned and left.

    As he passed by the Resplendent Secretary, an idea formed that he would have to look into later.

    Continuing on out of the government offices, Rising Echo walked through the streets of Lotus, taking in once more the riches of the area, being so easily ignored or squandered away. Shaking his head, he continued to the markets to see exactly what this mob was about.

    After stopping back at his temporary lodging to pick up his armor once more. Mobs could be dangerous. And he didn't want to get hurt if he had to subdue a few of the more rowdy ones.
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    Ivory Eyes and Zephyr

    The Minister of Wild Rice is so absorbed in his own cooking that he scarcely notices Ivory Eyes' culinary miracles. He lights a fire in one of the temple's braziers, and holds a shallow pan of red jade outstretched over it. He extracts a lump of butter from one of the ice boxes and greases the pan, tracing the butter over it as if it were a calligraphy brush. Next comes a medley of meat and vegetables, each one hitting the pan with a sizzle. Then, with a smug grin, he flips the meat and vegetables, watching as they rise more than a yard into the air, then catching every one perfectly in his pan. Once his ingredients are done sauteing, he lovingly dumps them over a bowl of rice. He then slathers it with curry sauce from a small clay pot, mixing it with gusto.

    For his second course, he reaches into a bowl of rice with both hands, pulling out two sticky handfuls. He flings them up into the air, then reaches into a bowl of plums. As the flung handfuls of rice begin to fall, he throws the plums with perfect aim, each one piercing the mass of rice as it clumps around the fruit, creating a perfect sphere. He catches them both in hands wrapped with black seaweed, imported from the West, and swaddles his rice balls in it. As he continues making rice balls, his display of culinary legerdemain become more and more impressive–juggling heaps of rice and pickled plums, bouncing ingredients off the blade of a knife, even ricocheting plums off the foreheads of the huddled bystanders and catching them in a ball of rice.

    Finally, he finishes, just seconds after Ivory Eyes is assured of the perfection of her meal. He glowers at her, baffled as to how she was able to prepare an ice cream dish, but his unfailing divine senses assure him that her desert is laden with rice. Nonetheless, he remains confident that his cuisine shall reign supreme. He scans his audience, looking for someone who seems sufficiently sophisticate to judge the results of the contest. His eyes light on a Southern-looking man; perhaps a traveler whose palate is more refined than that of these local louts. He transfixes Zephyr with an outstretched finger, and calls out, "You there, mortal! You shall be the arbiter of our lofty struggle!" He beckons Zephyr over, and both the god and Ivory Eyes present him with their meals.

    Zephyr samples the divinity's rice curry first. It is a thing of sheer perfection, the spicy sauce tempered by the humble simplicity of the rice; the savory meats complimented perfectly by the sauteed vegetables. You feel almost ashamed to taste of such a luxury without having caught and killed the prey yourself, but the sheer savoriness assuages your guilt.

    But then comes the girl's course of fish and rice, a meal presenting a persuasive argument for Western seafood as a whole. The scales of the fish are resplendent with rainbow light, and its meat more succulent than the finest veal ever laid on the Regent Fokuf's table. You then proceed to sample the god's rice balls, munching on only one: it is competently made, but the sourness of the plum at its core goes unabated by the flavor of the rice, throwing the delicate essence of the meal into imbalance.

    Scowling at the god's poor choice of cuisine, you move on to Ivory Eyes' rice mint ice cream, and think for a moment that this must be what Luna feels like as she plays at the Games of Divinity. Each bite of chill ice cream is as a surge of essence through your soul, and as you gobble down the last few bites, you feel not brain freeze, but enlightenment. Such sweetness, such minty perfection–this settles it! Only those blessed by the Sun could ever create a meal so perfect in a world so imperfect!

    Both the minister and maiden look at you expectantly, awaiting your pronouncement on who has triumphed.

    Rising Echo

    Now both newly employed and armed, you go out to confront the mob at the market. Finding it proves no arduous task–the indecisive, feeble shouting of the crowd is the only talk that can be heard; the rest of the city's people speak in low, almost embarrassed whispers whenever you pass by. The bustling mob pays you no mind as you approach, more focused on its own internal strife–the hubbub is leaderless, and seems undirected. While most of the populace seems to be shying away from the market, a pair of foreign-looking folk glare, looking fiercely annoyed, at the mob blocking their way. One is a beautiful women, her skin glistening gold with elegance; accompanying her is a cipher of a man, his face hidden behind a reflective mask.
    Last edited by The Demented One; 2009-04-05 at 05:21 PM.
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    Rising Echo sizes up the mob quietly for but a moment, realizing how disorganized it is. Hopefully he could get it's attention on him, and either disburse it or move it out of the way of the foreigners.

    Stepping forward to the mob, Rising Echo spoke loudly, internally grinning at his own rising voice. "Excuse me, may I have your attention please. I have been empowered by the mayor to deal with the issues that you have." He calls to the mob, while keeping track of the two foreigners.

    "Now," he points at a man near the front of the mob, singling him out as the mob's spokesman. "You sir, explain what the issues you all are having. And can we please at least allow the town's guests to pass?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
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    Rising Echo

    The man you have singled out stands agape, astonished to have been deemed spokesperson for anything, let alone a riot. He is young and straw-haired, scarcely into his majority. "Uh...we're protesting...the...cost of..." he stutters, stalling for time. A protester standing by him whispers something into his ear, and his eyes light up. "Ah! We're protesting the price of food! Because it's...too high, or something?" Again, the clueless proletariat turns to his fellow workers for advice, eventually reaching a consensus. "Okay, got it. The price of food is too high for us to afford, and since we're the ones who harvest all the wheat and rice, it's our right to have as much as we need. The mayor tries to keep us down with his taxes, and...we don't like it very much. So yeah!" He throws his fist up in the air, defying you to disperse the crowd. Your request for them to let the foreigners pass falls on deaf airs; the mob seems to be actively trying to block the cobblestone roadways.
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    Zephyr

    Ascending the stage at the deity's command, Zephyr's eyes darted between the god and his own Solar companion. He met her eyes for just a moment, wondering if she could feel the connection as he could, before returning his gaze to the Minister of Wild Rice.

    The meals presented to him were truly divine. Zephyr was a man of large appetites and he had sampled many savory delights in his travels. During his days as a gladiator, he had won high fame, and at times he had been a guest-pet at banquets where the nobility of Gem had plied him with fine wine and scrumptious treats as they marveled at his tales of spilled blood and broken bones in the arena, a novelty to entertain their jaded senses. But even there, he had never tasted anything approaching the quality of the dishes set before him.

    Normally Zephyr would wolf down his food, a habit of the days when to eat slowly was to eat not at all. But here, he consumed each dish slowly and with relish, letting each flavor sit on his tongue and slowly exude its incredible flavor through his senses. His eyes were half-lidded, and he made little noises of pleasure with each bite.

    After a time, he had at last finished each dish. Once again, he looked at the two contestants, his face inscrutable as he examined each one in turn. Finally, he stood. First, he bowed to the Minister, and then to Ivory Eyes, and then he turned to the crowd. This, he thought, would require delicate handling, and he offered a silent prayer of thanks to Shadow and the training she had given him in speechcraft.

    Citizens of Lotus! I have traveled far and tasted much, but surely I have never met two cooks of such sublime skill. Truly, this city must be blessed to welcome at the same time the august presences of not only the magnificent Terrestrial Minister of Rice and his ineffable skill, but Ivory Eyes and her divine culinary practice!

    My only regret is that I must choose between one of them, for I doubt that even the palate of one as traveled as I is worthy to distinguish between such geniuses. Yet, by the command of his Honor the Minister, choose I must. And so, good citizens of Lotus, I give you your victor -


    He paused for a moment, and suddenly whirled, his cloak fluttering with the speed of his movement and his arm snapping out, his finger pointing towards the young girl-Solar.

    Ivory Eyes!

    Spoiler
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    Attempting a speech to both soothe the Minister's ego and excite the citizens of Lotus in favor of Ivory Eyes. Using second Charisma Excellency, spending 6 motes of Personal essence for 3 Extra Successes.

    (Charisma (4) + Presence (3) (7d10)[3][1][8][1][7][8][7](35) + 3 Extra Successes

    Essence
    Personal: 12/18
    Peripheral: 32/36 (4 Committed)
    Last edited by WhiteKnight777; 2009-04-05 at 05:55 PM.
    Like dragons and/or allegory? A little writing project I'm working on. Check back for updates, and feedback is always appreciated!

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    Ivory Eyes and Zephyr

    The Minister of Wild Rice is shocked at Zephyr's pronouncement–how could so pathetic and slight a girl have defeated him, the Lord of All Wild Grain, in single combat? And yet, the girl's skill was honest, and his judge pronounced victory fairly and with the due respect. He waves a hand, and the sundry ingredients still scattered across the tables clean themselves, those still fresh leaping back into bowls and ice boxes, with partially used remnants spontaneously bursting into divine flame. He walks, with measured steps, over to Ivory Eyes, and lays one arm over her shoulder paternally.

    "Maiden, it seems that I have wronged you." He reaches out with dainty fingers and plucks a morsel of fish, grains of wild rice still clinging to it, from a plate. He nibbles at it, letting the flavor of seafood and grain slowly mingle on his tongue. "Not undeserved is your acclamation; you have truly bested me. And such a feat with the ice cream; it reminds me of feasts I have not seen since ancient times." Nostalgia comes over the god's countenance, a longing for the culinary dreams of the First Age, feasts that brightened the heavens and uplifted the hearts of man and god alike. "I wonder..."

    But he has no time to finish whatever he is saying, for the crowd rushes up to Ivory Eyes, more excited by the girl's wonderworking than any miracles the god has performed. Zephyr's speech is as a savory barbecue sauce on the prime rib of their excitement; within rapid instants Ivory Eyes finds herself borne aloft on the shoulders of the crowd.
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    Ivory Eyes' veneer of control and composure explodes into a raucous, girlish laughter as the crowd bears her up--she feasts as a woman hungry for the attention and respect of others, a lonely hunger that evaporates like perspiration from her own ice cream. When they finally let her down, she approaches the minister and bows reverently before, if he ascents, drawing him into an innocent hug. On her tip-toes, she whispers to him:

    "If you would minister, I would love to speak with you. In private,
    " she adds, smiling to him as she leaves. Her tiger-beast offers her a bent paw like a step and she climbs atop it, carrying herself with that familiar constrained joy. Her eyes linger on Zephyr--he's been watching. Intently. The tiger turns in a tight curve and Ivory offers the minister her hand.

    "A lap around the city in honor of your benevolence?"

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    Zephyr

    Zephyr bowed once again to the god. He was surprised, and perhaps a little impressed - he had thought gods to be creatures more vain and less reasonable, but it appeared that this one, at least, was willing to cede the victory to a superior even if that superior was, or so the god thought, a mortal. Having acknowledged the deity, he spoke once more, though his words were intended for the Minister alone.

    Thank you for the honor, revered Minister of Wild Rice. It was my pleasure to judge so sublime a contest. May your prayers increase and your dominion be fruitful.

    So saying, he turned and leapt down to join the crowd, joining in the cheers of acclimation for Ivory Eyes.
    Like dragons and/or allegory? A little writing project I'm working on. Check back for updates, and feedback is always appreciated!

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    Ivory Eyes and Zephyr

    "The honor is mine, maiden." the minister graciously responds, taking her hand and leaping up to the heavenly beast's back. It seems exhilarated by the experience of riding atop the divine spirit, grinning like an old man recalling his youth. For the first few minutes, he is content to simply ride alongside Ivory Eyes, but eventually he leans over to her, with a conspiratorial grin. He whispers in her ear, so silent that no man could ever hope to hear it, "So it is true, what Lytek said. The Solar Exalted have returned. And you seem intent on restoring the art of the feast to the lofty rank it held before your kind were usurped." He lets loose a chuckle, hearty and sincere. "I do not know if I can assure you that me and my fellow Adamant Chefs could whole-heartedly support such a quest, but I will tell you that there are still those gods, both on heaven and on earth, who embrace your kind over this world's current masters."

    With an immaculate grin, he almost jokingly asks, "Now, what was it you had to tell me?"
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    Zephyr

    Zephyr moved quickly, moving through the crowd with a graceful ease that belied his size. He quickly gained on Ivory eyes and the minister, looking up at both of them with a slight smile on his face.

    Ivory Eyes... Congratulations on your victory.

    He said in a soft voice, his eyes flickering between her and the god. What did the Minister know? and what did he suspect?
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    A Perfect Circle

    Ivory Eyes and the Minister bound through Lotus atop her summoned beast, drawing awed or terrified stares from the city's populace as they dash past. Almost keeping pace with the divine hound is Zephyr, his passage unnoticed in the wake of the Hound of Five Winds. However, swift as the Hound is, it has its limits: for example, when confronted with a mob of generally confused and discontent citizens, it is loathe to trample them to death unless otherwise directed, being an essentially reasonable divine beast. As Ivory Eyes and the Minister come up to the market, the Hound skids to a halt, its movement ending just before it risk trampling any of the protesters.

    The hurly-burly rapidly devolve into an utterly incoherent panic at the sight of Ivory Eyes' beast. Already inflamed by passionate, if uninformed, anger, they now burst into a nigh-riot. By the time Zephyr catches up with his mate and her divine companion, they are prying loose cobblestones from the road and lighting fire-brands, desperately seeking someone to hurl them at. If the city had a decently maintained force of guardsmen, they would even now be rushing to contain the mob; but alas, what few score there are guard only the mayoral residence and offices, leaving the streets to fester in panic and crime. There are but five men and women in all Lotus who could hope to halt this riot; and by chance, all five are now assembled there.
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    Rising Echo scowls, not at the beast or it's riders, but the mob itself. He'd just gotten them to talking, and then they decide to break into a riot.

    "Segretezza!" He yells in the Old Realm tongue, before addressing the now rioting mob. "Calm DOWN! This is NOT the way to get your problems addressed!"

    Spoiler
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    Oh, how I realize this isn't going to work.

    Charisma + Performance: (8d10)[10][3][3][4][1][6][3][3](33)

    (Edit: And with only two successes, how right I am. I am so investing in an excellency next)

    Spending a mote of personal essence to activate Mastery of Small Manners to raise his Appearance to 3 for the action, and get a general gist of the mob's motivation. Not that I don't think it's 'less taxes.'

    By the way, Segretezza is the name of his familiar, he's shouting for him to come to him, in case the crowd gets too overwhelming.
    Last edited by Lochar; 2009-04-05 at 08:59 PM.
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    rerolling with Presence instead of Performance.

    I wish you could edit dice in.

    Charisma + Presence: (9d10)[8][8][7][5][10][7][3][3][2](53)
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    The mob drops its firebrands and cobblestones as Rising Echo shouts, the newly-appointed Minister of Trade actually managing to draw their attention away from the giant monster roaming Lotus. There is a general murmuring among the mob, and then the unfortunate man who had the bad luck to be appointed spokesman speaks up. "Well then, how do we get them addressed? The mayor hasn't met with any of us farmers since his inauguration, and the bureaucrats can't do anything but push papers and count rice-grains! Also, there's some kind of giant dog! We demand...um." There is a brief moment of conference within the crowd. "We still demand cheaper food. And that the girl with the giant hound promises not to kill us. That'd be nice."
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    "Completely understandable." Rising Echo nods.

    He looks over to the girl riding the hound, taking her in. He gives her a smile, giving her a please forgive me for what I'm about to say look.

    "You believe this little girl would want to attack and kill you all? Why in the world would she do that?" He scoffs.

    "As for the food, I am in complete agreement. Look at the market! Short of you all and us, has there been a single buyer in the market today? Not with these prices. As the newly instated Minister of Trade, I will be correcting the markets here. I do not know what the tax rates are here yet, as I have just started, but give me a few weeks. You will find the prices of the market brought down to a better level. Because if there is more trade, then there is more money that flows." Rising Echo states to them all, allowing the honesty in his voice to reach the hesitating mob.

    Spoiler
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    Activating Mastery of Small Manners again. Temp Appearance 3, social unit is reduced in magnitude by 1.
    Personal: 4/15
    Flurry Charisma+Presence
    (7d10)[8][1][7][8][5][2][6](37)
    Channeling Conviction that his words are the way to go, the only correct way.
    (9d10)[4][5][1][1][10][1][9][6][2](39)
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    The spokesman, along with the rest of the mob, is momentarily dumbfounded, impressed by both Rising Echo's rank and grasp of economic theory. He takes a moment, consults the protesters to his right and left, and replies: "Really? You promise? Oh...I don't think the taxes have ever changed, not even after the drought. And–let me check," There is a quick consultation, then: "And we've never even had a Minister of Trade before. If you really are who you say you are, then I trust you. For now." Happy to have held his own in the impromptu debate, the hapless spokesmen bows in respect before Rising Echo–only to receive a sharp thwack from an elderly women behind him.

    "The dog, you idiot, the dog!" she hisses. The young man stands up, rubbing his head, and coughs in embarrassment. "Right. The giant dog. It does look just a bit...giant. And look at those teeth!" The man has a point; Ivory Eyes's mount could most likely swallow up the mob like a child gobbling down cookies, despite the protesters' lack of delicious chocolate chips.
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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    Rising Echo nods, before turning to the girl riding the hound, along with the other man riding behind her. He nods to the other that had been following as well.

    "Could I request your hound to back up a bit, or at least your assurances that you mean the people no harm?"
    Most excellent Rising Echo avatar created by GryffonDurime.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardea View Post
    That is the scariest two lines I have read in a forum of any kind.
    Take two internets, a cookie and a vorpal sword, please.
    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkeness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

    Don't be stupid.

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    Ivory Lotus smiles at Echo and the mob in turn, bending over toward the hound's ear and whispering softly. The hound lowers itself to the ground, sets its paws over its eyes like a cowed child. Ivory slides down a haunch and wraps her arms around its trunk-thick neck.

    "Surely you'd not begrudge me my only friend,"
    Ivory says, drawing on all the innocence she can muster. "He's harmless. Don't you agree Minister?" she asks, hoping the divinity's assent will further calm the raving crowds.

    Spoiler
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    5 Charisma + 3 Presence
    (8d10)[7][9][7][10][7][7][5][1](53) She's got Appearance 3, too.

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    "Quite." the deity agrees. "This faithful Hound is but a working of elemental air; this elegant maiden has earned his service for her piety and devotion. He shall harm you not."

    Assuaged by Ivory Eyes' innocent charm and the Wild Rice Minister's assurances, the crowd simmers down, with the least committed of the mob wandering back to home, their grievances satisfied. The heart of the crowd still remains, but their demeanor is transformed, tempered with a greater contentment. It seems almost inconceivable that these same people but moments ago held firebrands and flung stones, but such is the power of the Sun's Children.

    As Ivory Eyes soothes her hound, the Minister leans over to whisper in her ear. "That man, who said he was Minister of Trade? He is as you are, exalted by the sun. There are two more in the crowd, a woman and a masked man–there they are." He indicates them by way of subtle gesture, and Ivory Eyes finds them out in the crowd–so far, they have remained silent. "There is one more, in fact, somewhere in the crowd–I see him not. His essence is of a different make entirely, different as the night from your bright day." The Minister seems exceptionally happy to have found five Exalted in the space of a day, and is practically exuberant as he suggests to Ivory Eyes, "You ought call them all together, join in arms. It is the way of the world for your kin to join in circles, thus you reigned in ages now long past. I have an offer I would make to you and your brethren, one demanding little effort on your part in exchange for a great boon."
    I no longer actively read the forums, and probably won't respond to any PMs. I'm fine with people using my homebrew in anything, including fan-compilations and wikis, as long as you credit me.

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