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    Default The Lotus Blossoms!

    The Lotus Blossoms!
    Episode 1: The Tournament of the Golden Lotus! Are These The World's Strongest?!


    Even invitations issued by Fate aren't a perfect guarantee that guests will arrive on time. Days have passed since the first fighter arrived at the Arena of the Sun for the Tournament of the Golden Lotus, while the last have only just arrived. But now, all are gathered.

    Now, the sun's first light touches the rim of the earth.

    The theme song kicks in.

    As the sun dawns, it reveals a covered pavilion which has never before stood atop the arena's stands. Four figures sit beneath it, surveying the gathered competitors. One is a bronze giant, massive beyond human limits. One is a proud dark-skinned man clad in golden robes, bearing an Orichalcum scepter. One is a being of palpable shadow, grasping an umbrella in one of his four arms despite the shade of the pavilion. And one, the one who rises to his feet to greet you... is the stranger. He is dark-haired, shirtless, justly proud of his physique. His face seems severe, but soon breaks into a genuine smile.

    "I am Lupo," he introduces himself.

    "I am sorry I could not share my name when last we met. I have felt each of your fists, and each of you has proved deserving of at least that much. It is my hope that some of you will prove worthy of far, far more. But I have not yet seen enough of your hearts. That is why I have called you all here, here to this place of battles ancient beyond imagining. You will fight, and, I will know your hearts.

    "The rules are simple. I will tell you each who you must fight, and the two of you will fight until one of you is either incapacitated or chooses to concede. You will not kill a defeated foe, nor should you prove graceless in defeat. Ill-conduct will result in your immediate and, if need be, forceful dismissal from these grounds. If any other restrictions are to be observed in any particular fight, I will announce them before it commences, but otherwise, those are the only rules which apply.

    Your wounds will be tended at close of day. Have you any more questions before we begin?"


    Aside from the five of you, there are three other fighters listening to Lupo's introduction: A man of painstakingly crafted beauty, powdered and rouged, his layered robes kept from trailing on the ground by a golden palanquin, its mute bearers standing nearby to await his next command; an armored woman with her black hair pulled up in a long tail, a slim curving sword sheathed at her waist; and a young flame-haired boy, a simple spear laid casually across his shoulders.

    Lupo's given his name; now might be a good time to make your own introductions?
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    The man in the woollen blue cloak is watching Lupo intently. He seems a touch out of place in this group: short and light of build, with pale skin and blond hair that while short seems to be tumbling every which way. As though he'd just run through a miraculously clean bush. While calm and at peace when listening to their host speak, there's a trace of nervousness behind those brown eyes as he glances around at the assembled competition. This is not the most confident combatant to take the field today, clearly. The one thing marking him as Chosen is the walking stick he leans upon: the black wood might be mundane, but a glimpse at the handle shows the glint of Orichalcum hiding beneath the traveller's hand.

    The silence doesn't help the gentleman's nerves. He looks around the arena. Someone should say something. Was he supposed to say something? Feeling called upon, the stranger takes a step forward, looking between the gathered Solars and trying desperately to smile. "Err... I'm Wirric. Wirric Stanton." He could have hardly sounded more awkward. Wirrick's face reddens slightly, though by some miracle his smile manages to hold. "Most people just call me Wic. A pleasure to meet you all"

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    The Linowan stands uncomfortably on the shale, dressed in clothing entirely too warm for the weather. A mask of white wood covers his face, unadorned save for dozens of small scratches, and the green highlighs in his hair have been bleached a deep gold by the uncompromising sun. He leans on a iron-banded hardwood staff, and the perceptive notice that he's missing the upper parts of several fingers on his right hand and walks with a slight limp. He had arrived on the island on a flat-bottomed skiff that shouldn’t have survived the journey there and wouldn’t survive the journey back.

    He listens to Lupo's speech with his head cocked in confusion - he remembers a boy too young for the skills he had and too full of the pretensions of youth to be ignored, and touches his ribs absentmindedly when he mentions their fists. He couldn't help but wonder if this shape, and the others around him, were just more disguises. As for the rules, they seemed simple enough.

    In the silence he looked at the others, rolling his eyes at the coiffured man on the palanquin before catching and reminding himself that they were all here because they had proven themselves, not by chance. "Yes, it is good to meet you all. I am Tuoni, and traveled from far north of here." Behind the muffling of the mask, it's clear he's slurring his words slightly.
    Last edited by pfm1995; 2017-12-05 at 12:30 PM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    A short, stocky woman with sun-tanned skin and a flowing dress of green and gold silk stands among the others, holding herself with perfect posture and poise. A pink burn scar, perhaps a few years old, covers much of her scalp and traces down one cheek, while a similar scar covers her right hand, accenting otherwise plain features. Only the occasional flick of her gaze to the faces around her, and a slight tension in her limbs, betray the fact that she's nervous.

    She'd arrived only this morning, not the very last but close to it. Somehow she'd managed to get a ride on a fishing boat, the owners of which looked exactly as terrified as you'd expect a mortal sailing deep into the Dreaming Sea for the first time to look. But they'd made it in one piece, and she embraced the elderly fisherman and his son like family, and they'd wished her luck and warned her to be careful in a halting dialect of Flametongue. Then they'd departed, no doubt praying to any gods who would listen to see them back home in one piece.

    Now she stood here among the others, unarmed but obviously some sort of fighter to have made it this far. And, from the expression on her face... she had no idea what the others were saying. Identifying it as Riverspeak and managing to sift out the names was about all that she could do; Wirric and Tuoni, it sounded like. She pointed to herself.

    "Ivory Knife."

    After a moment's contemplation, she continued in High Realm, her accent as carefully scrubbed and precise as any courtier. "I do not speak Rivertongue, I'm afraid."
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    "I believe most of you share knowledge of the common speech of the Realm," Lupo interjects into the confusion of languages, speaking confident but unpolished Low Realm. He then looks to Wic, frowns, and repeats, "Most of you."

    "He tells them that you don't speak the Realm's peasant tongue,"
    the armored woman supplies to Wic, speaking a strongly accented Riverspeak, the kind he's sometimes heard from merchants who only learned the language in order to deal with the Guild. She opens one eye, breaking her almost meditative poise to assess the slight Northerner. "Maybe this means you are not a peasant."

    She exhales something which might be a laugh, and her eye flicks over to the lavishly dressed man on the golden palanquin.

    "Maybe this means he is."


    Her eye slides closed again, and she shrugs through a clatter of pauldrons.

    "I am called Mourning Blade," she addresses the larger group, her Low Realm more fluent than her Riverspeak. You might notice that she's had her hand on the hilt of her sword ever since Lupo and the spectators first appeared.
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    Default In which Brown Leaf steps out.

    Brown Leaf took in her...compatriots? Fellow competitors? Peers? Peers. That sounded better.

    Brown Leaf had only arrived a short time ago, rowing across the dreaming sea in a boat that had seen better days. Her sweat had already dried on the bleached wood, and the oars, or what remained of them, were floating somewhere out on the tides, having been dropped in disgust after their purpose was fulfilled.

    Brown Leaf had never liked travel by water, though she had kept herself motivated by repeating over and over "This is training, this is training, this is training..." As such, her sand-colored robes clung to her shoulders and back and were bound at her knees, outlining her muscular frame and chain shirt. Her head was shaved, evident even under her wide-brimmed reed hat, and she tried to ignore the sweat beading on her brow that trickled down toward her quick eyes and beaded on her rather long nose. Those beads dripped down to her corded sandals , which were presently sinking slightly into the sandy earth. Her arms hung loose at her side, her dark skin bare aside from a series of intricate tiger-stripe tattoos that ran along her fore-arms and the back of her hands and fingers, stopping short of her calloused palms.

    She was unsure of how to stand, weather in some mock-military attention or other formal sign of readiness, so she settled on an intent, relaxed posture. Clearly there were powerful beings before her, but she had dealt with such creatures before...though never another Celestial Exalt, unless that is what the Stranger...Lupo...was...oh DRAGONS he's talking...looks like some of her fellow initiates...no, 'peers' still works better...don't speak Low Realm. Now's the time to stand out a bit.

    "Um" she raised her hand "If any-a ya'll know flamespeak, I can prob'ly work somethin' out." Thinking again, she repeated herself in the southern tongue, and again in Old Realm, just to coverall the bases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfm1995 View Post
    The Linowan stands uncomfortably on the shale, dressed in clothing entirely too warm for the weather. A mask of white wood covers his face, unadorned save for dozens of small scratches, and the green highlighs in his hair have been bleached a deep gold by the uncompromising sun. He leans on a iron-banded hardwood staff, and the perceptive notice that he's missing the upper parts of several fingers on his right hand and walks with a slight limp. He had arrived on the island on a flat-bottomed skiff that shouldn’t have survived the journey there and wouldn’t survive the journey back.

    He listens to Lupo's speech with his head cocked in confusion - he remembers a boy too young for the skills he had and too full of the pretensions of youth to be ignored, and touches his ribs absent-mindedly when he mentions their fists. He couldn't help but wonder if this shape, and the others around him, were just more disguises. As for the rules, they seemed simple enough.

    In the silence he looked at the others, rolling his eyes at the coiffured man on the palanquin before catching and reminding himself that they were all here because they had proven themselves, not by chance. "Yes, it is good to meet you all. I am Tuoni, and traveled from far north of here." Behind the muffling of the mask, it's clear he's slurring his words slightly.
    Tuoni's simple response, in a tongue he's comfortable using, wins a grin from Wirric. The traveller nods, echoing the gnarled warrior's description of the trip south, "Same, same. Long, long road." He flexes his shoulders as if to emphasise this point, before returning his gaze to Tunoi. Wic looked the warrior up and down with curiosity. Eventually the blue cloaked compatriot ventures to suppose his new friend's origin. "You're from the River Nation? The Linowan?"

    It's a guess, but an educated one. Tuoni looks experienced, bearing the mark of many battles and his skin suggests more of an easterly origin than one of the Icewalkers. His strange mask fit tales Wic had heard of the warlike river people. Mostly from Guild merchants frustrated that the proud nation refused to sell such things on the open market. Huming to himself, Wirric turns his mind briefly backward: he had passed through the township of Gentlebrook on his journey south. He'd lingered for a few days: the locals made good food, and appreciated his skills as a cook. They shared tales around the fire at night: Wic'd shared some history with them, old legends of the First Realm, Bar-Izahd and Mishiko. The Linowan told him of successful raids and legendary warriors, bold fights against Halta and their Fae allies. Had Tuoni been a part of those old stories? What had the folk of Gentlebrook to say of this old warrior?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    A short, stocky woman with sun-tanned skin and a flowing dress of green and gold silk stands among the others, holding herself with perfect posture and poise. A pink burn scar, perhaps a few years old, covers much of her scalp and traces down one cheek, while a similar scar covers her right hand, accenting otherwise plain features. Only the occasional flick of her gaze to the faces around her, and a slight tension in her limbs, betray the fact that she's nervous.

    She'd arrived only this morning, not the very last but close to it. Somehow she'd managed to get a ride on a fishing boat, the owners of which looked exactly as terrified as you'd expect a mortal sailing deep into the Dreaming Sea for the first time to look. But they'd made it in one piece, and she embraced the elderly fisherman and his son like family, and they'd wished her luck and warned her to be careful in a halting dialect of Flametongue. Then they'd departed, no doubt praying to any gods who would listen to see them back home in one piece.

    Now she stood here among the others, unarmed but obviously some sort of fighter to have made it this far. And, from the expression on her face... she had no idea what the others were saying. Identifying it as Riverspeak and managing to sift out the names was about all that she could do; Wirric and Tuoni, it sounded like. She pointed to herself.

    "Ivory Knife."

    After a moment's contemplation, she continued in High Realm, her accent as carefully scrubbed and precise as any courtier. "I do not speak Rivertongue, I'm afraid."
    "Ah!" Wic's eyes widen at the brief sentence: High Realm was never his strong tongue: not much call for it back home, but Ivory can see he at least recognizes the language. It's the tongue of Realm-born lords and ladies, Dynasts and the like. Proud people who take offence easily at such things as being forced to listen to a language they don't know. The northerner nods, agreeing with... whatever she said as he backs away a little to the edge of the group. Attention does not sit well with him.

    He does briefly ponder what the lady might be doing here however: her tongue and clothes mark her as of noble blood. Did noblewomen in other lands go around fighting in martial arts tournaments? Most of the rich merchant ladies and their wives he'd known preferred to talk amongst themselves. Then again, perhaps noblewomen did do things like that back home too. How would he know? And the one in the palanquin with chalk all over his face: he seems like a nobleman. You have to be rich to have servants like that. But why would a rich person, merchant or noble, put chalk all over their face? Wic ponders this, closing his eyes and loosing himself in reflection on the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    "I believe most of you share knowledge of the common speech of the Realm," Lupo interjects into the confusion of languages, speaking confident but unpolished Low Realm. He then looks to Wic, frowns, and repeats, "Most of you."

    "He tells them that you don't speak the Realm's peasant tongue,"
    the armored woman supplies to Wic, speaking a strongly accented Riverspeak, the kind he's sometimes heard from merchants who only learned the language in order to deal with the Guild. She opens one eye, breaking her almost meditative poise to assess the slight Northerner. "Maybe this means you are not a peasant."

    She exhales something which might be a laugh, and her eye flicks over to the lavishly dressed man on the golden palanquin.

    "Maybe this means he is."


    Her eye slides closed again, and she shrugs through a clatter of pauldrons.

    "I am called Mourning Blade," she addresses the larger group, her Low Realm more fluent than her Riverspeak. You might notice that she's had her hand on the hilt of her sword ever since Lupo and the spectators first appeared.
    Mourning Blade's assistance came as a surprise to Wic. He'd been trying his best to keep up with Lupo's words, and the warrior woman's assistance is something the traveller appreciates. He meets her gaze with grateful eyes, before half glancing at Lupo. Pointing out his lack of a common tongue the rest of the assembled shared was... a little unkind. Wirric mutters to no one in particular in Riverspeak, trying to justify himself. "I just... come from beyond the Realm's borders. That's all. Not too many Islanders go further north than Deshan. Highborn or low."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Brown Leaf took in her...compatriots? Fellow competitors? Peers? Peers. That sounded better.

    Brown Leaf had only arrived a short time ago, rowing across the dreaming sea in a boat that had seen better days. Her sweat had already dried on the bleached wood, and the oars, or what remained of them, were floating somewhere out on the tides, having been dropped in disgust after their purpose was fulfilled.

    Brown Leaf had never liked travel by water, though she had kept herself motivated by repeating over and over "This is training, this is training, this is training..." As such, her sand-colored robes clung to her shoulders and back and were bound at her knees, outlining her muscular frame and chain shirt. Her head was shaved, evident even under her wide-brimmed reed hat, and she tried to ignore the sweat beading on her brow that trickled down toward her quick eyes and beaded on her rather long nose. Those beads dripped down to her corded sandals , which were presently sinking slightly into the sandy earth. Her arms hung loose at her side, her dark skin bare aside from a series of intricate tiger-stripe tattoos that ran along her fore-arms and the back of her hands and fingers, stopping short of her calloused palms.

    She was unsure of how to stand, weather in some mock-military attention or other formal sign of readiness, so she settled on an intent, relaxed posture. Clearly there were powerful beings before her, but she had dealt with such creatures before...though never another Celestial Exalt, unless that is what the Stranger...Lupo...was...oh DRAGONS he's talking...looks like some of her fellow initiates...no, 'peers' still works better...don't speak Low Realm. Now's the time to stand out a bit.

    "Um" she raised her hand "If any-a ya'll know flamespeak, I can prob'ly work somethin' out." Thinking again, she repeated herself in the southern tongue, and again in Old Realm, just to coverall the bases.
    Most of Brown Leaf's attempts at communication elicit a blank, apologetic look from Wic. When her speech shifted to the Old Realm however, his eyes went wide. It seems today is full of surprises for the northern traveller.

    "I... wouldn't have expected that. Not at all." He looks at Brown Leaf appraisingly; seemingly not sure what to make of the muscular woman and her simple clothes. She looks...like a labourer frankly. And sounds like one. But she's smart enough to speak the tongue of gods and sorcerers: the mortal inside Wic can't help but respect that, even if it puzzles him. He hums, "Are you some kind of monk?" She doesn't seem like the few Immaculates Wic had run across in the past, but the Order did teach its initiates Old Realm. It was the best guess Wic could come up with on the spot.

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    Default In which Elocution Classes are Important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector Valin View Post
    Most of Brown Leaf's attempts at communication elicit a blank, apologetic look from Wic. When her speech shifted to the Old Realm however, his eyes went wide. It seems today is full of surprises for the northern traveller.

    "I... wouldn't have expected that. Not at all." He looks at Brown Leaf appraisingly; seemingly not sure what to make of the muscular woman and her simple clothes. She looks...like a labourer frankly. And sounds like one. But she's smart enough to speak the tongue of gods and sorcerers: the mortal inside Wic can't help but respect that, even if it puzzles him. He hums, "Are you some kind of monk?" She doesn't seem like the few Immaculates Wic had run across in the past, but the Order did teach its initiates Old Realm. It was the best guess Wic could come up with on the spot.
    "Oh, um, yea, thought the robe gave it away." Brown Leaf replied in Old Realm. This was a little odd. She'd figured if anyone Lupo would've been the first to respond, but here was someone else, someone who didn't look like a monk or a god conversing in a tongue she'd learned from a master and had practiced with a god.

    "I'm Brown Leaf, pleased to meet'chya." She started to hold out her hand, and, thinking better of it, instead offered a small bow, her fist held facing downward in her palm, as she had learned.

    "Didja say your name was 'Wic?' Sorry, I don't speak the eastern languages too good." She gives a wide smile.
    Last edited by Sticks; 2017-12-05 at 11:19 PM.

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    "I know Flametongue!" the boy with the spear enthusiastically volunteers in response to Brown Leaf asking if anyone is familiar with the language. The smile he turns on the monk is as bright as the sun overhead.

    "I'm Jai!" he says a few times, pointing a thumb at his face with each repetition to make sure everyone gets the message.

    Jai looks around the group, noticing everyone's... wariness? Nerves? Formality? and he shakes his head.

    In Low Realm he asks, "Aren't y'all excited to be here? I've never seen so many Exalted in one place before! Not even Dragons!"

    He turns his whole body to point his spear at the powdered nobleman.

    "Heck, I've never ever seen anybody like him before!"


    The nobleman icily harrumphs, but continues to hold his tongue. Jai's smile grows even broader, if such a thing can be imagined.

    "I can't wait for the chance to fight you all!"
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    "Indeed I am."

    Swapping to still slurred and still provincially-accented Low Realm, Tuoni looks to the others. "Yes, this will be very interesting indeed. My name is Tuoni and," he shift uncomfortably, "I only speak Low Realm and Riverspeak." Despite that, when Brown Leaf speaks in Old Realm he at least recognizes it even if he doesn't seem to quite track what she's saying.

    He chuckles wetly at Jai's enthusiasm. "I have, once, when the Tepet legions marched north. Here's hoping we come to a better end."

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    Lupo's explanation thankfully prompted most of the group to switch to a language that Ivory Knife actually understood, and she exhaled slightly with relief. Wirric's reaction to her greeting draws a smile from the woman, if a slightly crooked one; it's amusing, but also awkward. If they were in different circumstances... but here, surrounded by strangers of so many backgrounds, silk is as much of an armor as steel. Suppressing any outward expression of melancholy or self-consciousness, Ivory Knife let herself fade into the background of the exchanges for now, focusing on listening rather than talking.

    There was a lot to listen to, it seemed. Wirric was still speaking Rivertongue, meaningless to her, although only half of a conversation's content was carried in the actual words... he seemed to be getting along with Tuoni, at least. Then there was a murmur of... Old Realm? That much was obvious, although the words were just as incomprehensible to her as the eastern tongue. And it made her pay more attention to Brown Leaf. The woman dressed like a monk, to be sure, but that didn't necessarily mean she was one. Perhaps she simply found it a convenient guise.

    And then Jai. Young enough that his straightforwardness could still be thought of as endearing, rather than simply rude. Opposite him - in almost every sense - the yet-unnamed man with the impressive retinue. Ivory Knife smiled despite herself, noting the irritated huff he gave at Jai's comment. She had to wonder if the fellow would even bother to greet the rest of them, with as icy as his demeanor seemed.

    Well. Call this a warm-up, then.

    Ivory Knife turned to face the painted man and gave him a bow, one hand in front of her in the southern style, carefully calculated at the proper angle to confer a respectful greeting rather than subservience. She had no doubt that a show of submission might please the man, for a moment, but he'd likely not give her a second thought after that. Greeting him as an equal might be seen as a challenge, but at least people remembered challenges. So: one peer to another, the way she'd greet any foreign noble at a party.

    "I am Ivory Knife, of Harborhead. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir."

    The words (delivered in High Realm, naturally) were formal and formulaic, as such introductions tended to be, but she hoped that introducing herself personally to the man would go over well. Show, perhaps, that she took him seriously.

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    Let's try to win this guy over. Attempting to inspire a minor positive tie of respect or rivalry toward Ivory Knife in this fellow, whichever seems more appropriate.

    Committing five personal motes to Harmonious Presence Meditation, then spending one peripheral mote on Socialize Excellency for two dice (counting the -1 mote cost from HPM).

    Manipulation(5)+Socialize(5)+Harmonious Presence Meditation(3)+Excellency (2)+Stunt(2)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    "Oh, um, yea, thought the robe gave it away." Brown Leaf replied in Old Realm. This was a little odd. She'd figured if anyone Lupo would've been the first to respond, but here was someone else, someone who didn't look like a monk or a god conversing in a tongue she'd learned from a master and had practiced with a god.

    "I'm Brown Leaf, pleased to meet'chya." She started to hold out her hand, and, thinking better of it, instead offered a small bow, her fist held facing downward in her palm, as she had learned.

    "Didja say your name was 'Wic?' Sorry, I don't speak the eastern languages too good." She gives a wide smile.
    Wic is ready to meet Brown Leaf's hand with his own, and looks confused when she chooses to bow instead. Not wanting to be rude however, he echoes the gesture, though he doesn't catch Leaf's form with the fists and thus fails to replicate it. At her question, he nods. "Wirric. Named for my great granduncle Weirholm. But Wic is easier. 'swhat most people who knew me used. And I..."

    His mouth has started to run away from him. Wic stops, taking a long breath. Looking self conscious, the northerner glances between Lupo and his three guests. They likely were just as fluent in Old Realm as the two of them were: he should stay aware of that. Turning back to Brown Leaf, he looks apologetic, "Sssorry. For not recognizing you, I mean. We don't have many monks in Whitewall." He shifts the head of his walking stick from side to side, "There's a few Immaculates here and there. Not many. I don't know much about them beyond the stories. My sifu was... not very like that."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    "I know Flametongue!" the boy with the spear enthusiastically volunteers in response to Brown Leaf asking if anyone is familiar with the language. The smile he turns on the monk is as bright as the sun overhead.

    "I'm Jai!" he says a few times, pointing a thumb at his face with each repetition to make sure everyone gets the message.

    Jai looks around the group, noticing everyone's... wariness? Nerves? Formality? and he shakes his head.

    In Low Realm he asks, "Aren't y'all excited to be here? I've never seen so many Exalted in one place before! Not even Dragons!"

    He turns his whole body to point his spear at the powdered nobleman.

    "Heck, I've never ever seen anybody like him before!"


    The nobleman icily harrumphs, but continues to hold his tongue. Jai's smile grows even broader, if such a thing can be imagined.

    "I can't wait for the chance to fight you all!"
    Even without picking up on a word, Wic can grasp the basic intent of Jai's words. The northerner's mood however seemingly does not improve at the boy's enthusiasm. H mutters "So happy." in first Riverspeak, then Old Realm, a sif he were testing out the word for the first time. Whoever ended up facing the kid would be in for a ferociously eager opponent. The thought piques a sport of interest in Wic, he takes a closer look at the remaining members of the group, pondering how they might fare against such an exuberant enemy in the ring.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    The nobleman reappraises Ivory Knife as he hears her address him in High Realm. The way she openly carries her burn scars shows a frightful lack of concern for her personal appearance, and yet she does know how to dress herself properly. And how to talk... spirits, she does know how to talk.

    He favors her with a painted smile.

    "Let it be known that we are King Harnapuul of Ashertan,"
    he replies, in the same formal tongue.

    He tilts his head to one side, bats his lashes, and looks over her again.

    "Harbourhead... Where did the lady learn to carry herself so well in a nation of cattle and slaves? Has the Leopard Seat misplaced a princess?"


    He lets a glint of teeth through his smile, and it suddenly becomes uncomfortably clear that underneath all the trying-too-hard makeup and finery, the king truly is a beautiful man.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    One good turn deserves another, eh? He accepts your social influence, but responds in kind.

    I actually think it might be quicker to just give this guy regular social pools than to try to do it Quick Character style and give him a "Flattery" pool or something, so...

    Appearance + Presence with his own Harmonious Presence up, to Instill something like "Infatuation."
    (12d10)[4][10][2][8][7][9][9][5][7][10][3][6](80)
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    Default In which inspections occur

    "Dang, but they do talk fancy, don't they?" Brown Leaf whispered to nobody in particular.

    A movement caught her eye. Jai's spear, gesticulating enthusiastically, had caught her interest.

    Spoiler
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    To discern the craftsmanship and materials of the spear: Perception + Craft
    (8d10)[4][3][10][9][1][6][8][1](42)
    Last edited by Sticks; 2017-12-06 at 12:06 PM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Wic seems less impressed by Knife and His Highness now that neither are paying attention to him. Not being able to understand what they were saying made the whole conversation... oddly funny to the northerner. He leans on his crutch as he studies the pair, muttering in Old Realm to Leaf. "Guildsmen, princes, dynasts... it's all the same I guess."

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    To her surprise, the smile that sneaks onto Ivory Knife's face is more than just politeness - indeed, if she had a fan with her, she might have reflexively shaded her face with it for the sake of modesty. When he's not wearing an expression like someone's just waved a cow pie under his nose, the king is... a disarmingly pretty man. His comment about Harborhead is in poor taste, perhaps, but she doesn't have much respect for the place herself either these days, so she can't really resent it.

    "You flatter me, your majesty. No royal blood flows through these veins... but then, who knows? We are none of us fully mortal anymore; perhaps in a past life."

    Fortunately for her dignity, Ivory Knife is distracted enough that she doesn't realize that Brown Leaf and Wirric are whispering about her as she replies, or she'd probably lose her train of thought entirely. That doesn't mean she's gone empty-headed, though; it's just that her attention is focused on her conversation partner for now. She's no great scholar, to be sure, but geography and politics are one area in which she has a solid grounding, and she thinks back to recall if she's heard anything of Ashertan. At the same time, she focuses her attention more solidly on King Harnapuul, her curiosity piqued. What would bring a king all the way out here to a tournament like this?

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Harnapuul's instill action succeeds, Ivory Knife gains a minor tie of lust/infatuation toward him. Those eyelashes.

    Int(3)+Lore(2)+Stunt(2) to recall anything about Ashertan?
    (7d10)[6][6][4][2][1][4][8](31)

    And let's try Read Intentions to see if we can glean what King Harnapuul's current motivations are. 2m peripheral (with HPM discount) for Motive-Discerning Technique. If I succeed, I can speculate on an intimacy related to the revealed motivation.

    Perception(5)+Socialize(5)+Specialty: Reading Others(1)+Stunt(2), double 9s
    (13d10)[1][6][3][3][4][7][8][9][7][7][2][10][1](68)
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Jai's Spear:

    Brown Leaf is as certain as she possibly can be without handling the weapon herself that the young boy's spear is... completely mundane. The craftsmanship isn't bad, and it looks to be well taken care of - the red tassel near the head has been recently replaced - but it's no precious artifact. Any given spear from the armories of Prasad or Varangia would be its match.

    King Harnapuul:

    Ashertan is... on the coast of the Dreaming Sea? Ivory Knife thinks that sounds right.

    The king is currently trying to hold himself above the rabble which make up the rest of the tournament field, but Ivory Knife can tell that her poise has impressed him enough to genuinely capture his attention.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    I think you were aiming at higher motivations, looking for why he's here in the tournament at all, but the phrasing on Read Intentions when it's fishing for motivations says that it determines "what another character wants to achieve in a scene of interaction," and in the current scene looking aloof and untouchable is his basic goal. To find out more about him, you'll need to get him to talk a little more about himself. You are free to speculate on an Intimacy related to either his aloofness or his interest in Ivory Knife, however.
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    Default In which a past is alluded to.

    "Heh, I got some experience with Dynasts. They ain't the same as nobody. As fer' your merchants and kings, can't say as I know much about 'em, so's I ain't got much agin' 'em."

    Brown Leaf looked over Wirric's shoulder, caught Ivory Knife's look, glanced at King Whasisname, and began to wonder if something might be going on there. Shoot, but he's good-looking...Back to Knife though.

    "Hey hun!" she raised her voice in Low-Realm "Don't mean to gossip none, jes' wonderin' what your deal was. I'd shake your hand, but mine's a mite dirty at the moment, an' I figure you best keep your pretty dress from gettin' mussed up! Shoot, but if that ain't the prettiest bit of cloth I ever did see. Bet that gettup's got more'n twice the threads of the whole reception at the last wedding I had the pleasure to officiate."

    She offered a bow in the southern style, the kind she'd been taught to offer to nobles, not that any had cause to come to her patch of desert.

    Spoiler
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    Charisma + Socialize to make friends.
    [rollv]4d10[/rollv]
    Okay, can't get the rolling thing to work, so I'm just rolling 4d10 in meatspace and asking ya'll to trust me this time.

    (1,10,7,5) 3 successes
    Last edited by Sticks; 2017-12-06 at 10:02 PM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Ivory Knife started in surprise at Brown Leaf's sudden address, but then turned to the woman with a sheepish chuckle. She shifted back into Low Realm as well, and returned the bow politely. "I'm sorry if it seemed like I was snubbing you. Juggling introductions is always a handful."

    So Brown Leaf dressed like a monk - of the "wandering mendicant" type, not the gilded monastery type - but she knew at least a bit of courtly manners. And her accent sounded southern... oh yes, she'd used Flametongue earlier, hadn't she? That was comfortably familiar, at least. But she had to wonder what order the girl was part of.

    "Brown Leaf, was it? Ivory Knife, from Harborhead. It's nice to meet you, dear. You sound like you're the sort with some interesting stories to tell."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Ivory Knife sees no reason to resist friendship, so Friend: Get.

    She'd also very much like to use the intimacy-determining function of Read Intentions to figure out Brown Leaf's relationship with the Immaculate faith (if she is one, hates them, etc) before she brings it up in conversation and potentially puts her foot in her mouth. I'm not sure if that's feasible; other people have mentioned the Immaculates in conversation before this, so it might be possible to infer based on Brown Leaf's reaction or lack thereof to those comments? If that's not possible, just call it a read intentions action to see what Brown Leaf thinks of Ivory Knife so far.

    If practical:
    (13d10)[1][9][5][7][6][8][10][5][7][5][4][4][2](73)
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    Ivory Knife started in surprise at Brown Leaf's sudden address, but then turned to the woman with a sheepish chuckle. She shifted back into Low Realm as well, and returned the bow politely. "I'm sorry if it seemed like I was snubbing you. Juggling introductions is always a handful."

    So Brown Leaf dressed like a monk - of the "wandering mendicant" type, not the gilded monastery type - but she knew at least a bit of courtly manners. And her accent sounded southern... oh yes, she'd used Flametongue earlier, hadn't she? That was comfortably familiar, at least. But she had to wonder what order the girl was part of.

    "Brown Leaf, was it? Ivory Knife, from Harborhead. It's nice to meet you, dear. You sound like you're the sort with some interesting stories to tell."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Ivory Knife sees no reason to resist friendship, so Friend: Get.

    She'd also very much like to use the intimacy-determining function of Read Intentions to figure out Brown Leaf's relationship with the Immaculate faith (if she is one, hates them, etc) before she brings it up in conversation and potentially puts her foot in her mouth. I'm not sure if that's feasible; other people have mentioned the Immaculates in conversation before this, so it might be possible to infer based on Brown Leaf's reaction or lack thereof to those comments? If that's not possible, just call it a read intentions action to see what Brown Leaf thinks of Ivory Knife so far.

    If practical:
    [roll0]
    "Well shoot, I heard some 'bout Harborhead. That's where Ahlat calls home, right? My guide tells me she knew him. 'Course that were before he got so big an' important." At this point Brown Leaf had walked past Wirric, with a polite nod, and planted herself squarely in front of Ivory Knife. It was nice to look down at someone for once, kept the sun out of her eyes, and the noblewoman wasn't a chore to look at, but hardly. Under all those scars, she had nice eyes.

    She spoke quietly in Flametonge "Now hun, don't look so nervous. I didn't catch his name, but if King Mucketymuck gives you a hard time, you jes' call for me an' I'll do what I need to do." She gave King Harnapuul a VERY deep bow, before looking up and grinning.

    Spoiler
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    Those in the know can tell that from her robes, posture, and of course shaved head, Brown Leaf is an immaculate monk. Her robes are of a simple design, though under their travel-stains, they are new and of excellent quality cotton, and look tailored for her frame. When she talks about Dynasts or Immaculates, there's a wryness to her tone and expression. When she mentioned officiating weddings though, her eyes lit up with fond memories.
    Last edited by Sticks; 2017-12-06 at 11:03 PM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Wic looks confused as the scene between the southerners continues to play out. It's hardly the first time he's been around people talking in a language he doesn't know, but in such a closed environ, without a crowd for him to fall behind, it feels daunting. As Brown Leaf seems to be talking animatedly and cheerily to Ivory Knife about... something, the pallid Whitewaller takes the opportunity to extradite himself a little from the conversation. He patters slowly across the group, taking the time to look up at Lupo and his guests in the pavilion.

    It starts to dawn on him how strange the latter are. They might not be fighting in this contest, but that didn't assuage Wic's curiosity about the trio. They all look impressive... almost unearthly. Were they gods? Wic tried to cast his mind back to his days at temple as a child: himself and a bevy of youngsters walking through the Shrine of Celestial Alignment as Brother Hovid lectured them about the various gods and their places in the Divine Order. You have to know the correct god for whatever situations might befall you in life after all, and Creation holds so many. Wirric only ever learned a fraction of the history the old priest held, a handful of significant divinities and those relevant to his work. Still, to be standing here in the company of no less than eight of the Sun's Chosen and a man more powerful yet, these must be important figures in Yu Shan, surely. A shadowed figure with many arms...

    Wic's pondering has distracted him enough to the point of almost running into Tuoni. The bedraggled traveller jumps back in alarm once he realizes how close he came to bumping into the weathered warrior. He coughs. "Err..." He should probably say something to the Linowan. They're fellow combatants now after all. But what do you say in a situation like this? Wic stammers, pulling on a strand of hair with his off hand, trying desperately to think of something to talk about. A dour part of him suspects he's shared little life experience with the white masked warrior. He glances to Mourning Blade and then Jai, as if either might have some secret knowledge that could help him here.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    (12d10)[9][8][4][2][8][4][7][3][7][3][2][8](65)Int+Occult+Stunt to ID the trio. I'll note that Whitewallers worship many gods, including Celestials, but they know TUS is the city's patron so everyone prays to him as god of the city. That should make the roll to get who the shadow is a touch easier, right?

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Ivory Knife's easy, friendly words trail off when Brown Leaf finally steps in front of her. Suddenly looking up at the other woman is... unexpected, but Ivory Knife finds herself flashing an involuntary, almost bashful smile remarkably similar to the one she'd been struggling with only a few moments ago. The surprised expression lasts only an instant, before she marshals it back into a wry grin to mirror Brown Leaf's own.

    "I wouldn't be here if I couldn't take care of myself, you know. But that is sweet of you."
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    "King Muckitymuck," as Brown Leaf has dubbed him, is thoroughly nonplussed by the sweaty monk interrupting his conversation with the lady Ivory Knife, and has just drawn breath for an attempt to communicate his displeasure to both of them when he is interrupted again.

    This interruption, however, even he does not dare to complain about.

    "I believe that's enough time spent on introductions," Lupo says, his words carrying the weight of a decree. "The words you share now could not speak half as clearly as the battles which are to come."

    Those nearest her might hear Mourning Blade mutter, "Finally."

    Lupo looks out at the gathered competitors, his eyes finding each of yours in turn. He weighs you each again in his mind. And he reaches his conclusion.

    "Tuoni. Ivory Knife,"
    he says, with a curt nod to each of you. "You will be the first to fight. Everyone else, please withdraw to the stands. You will want to give them space."

    Beneath the gods' pavilion, the bronze giant rises to his feet. His lips roll back, revealing teeth of glittering glass.

    "Chosen matched in equal contest, an arena sanctified through ancient strife... this is how duels are meant to be fought,"
    he decrees in Old Realm, his basso voice rolling out in clouds of furnace steam. "Let all who have gathered here understand, Heaven's eyes are upon this tournament. No man may interrupt these contests, or violate the spirit of their rules, lest his name be cursed through three generations. So declares Kokage, rightful Master of Duels."

    "Well said," Lupo murmurs, and then, louder, in Low Realm, adds, "So let us commence!"

    Spoiler: Wic
    Show
    The identity of the shadow-being is easy enough for Wic to guess at. The God of Calibration has a place in most of the Sun's myth cycles, and often serves as a bogeyman of sorts to children. For adults, Five-Days Darkness takes on another dimension... Whitewallers' widespread belief that making love during Calibration helps to ward off the evils of those wild days has accidentally made him something of a fertility god within the city.

    The golden mantle worn by the most human-seeming of the three gods seems familiar, though his Southern features are wholly foreign to Wic's Northern eyes. Perhaps... this could be the Golden Lord? Only the oldest legends still speak of him... he is said to have left his post and traveled far away...

    The bronze giant would be an engima, had he not just announced himself to the crowd by name. Now you've got a strong hunch he might be Kokage, Master of Duels!
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Tuoni draws a quick breath, surprised that after such a long journey things were moving so quickly. He gives Ivory Knife a long, appraising look before re-focusing on the larger man- no, no man has teeth like that. Not unless he was a Wyld mutant...

    Since the moment Sol Invictus' power first flowed through him, Tuoni had been plagued by memories. Throughout the long journey south deja-vu had been his constant companion; he had seen the reflections of shining towers in alleyway puddles and recognition in the faces of gods he had never met before.

    As the god began to speak, Tuoni felt that sense of deja-vu well in him and surrendered to it. There was a moment like falling before the world righted itself and he understood.

    "I thank thee, for thine benediction, and do state that I understand. This bout, may it be spoken of for years to come." he responds in flawless Old Realm. He looks to Ivory Knife, "Shall we?"

    Spoiler: OOC
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    I'll commit five motes to use Ancient Tongue Understanding.

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    Default In which Suspiscions are raised (Edited 'cause I forgot what edition I'm playing)

    Brown Leaf look Tuoni up and down, as if for the first time. Hadn't he said only a moment ago that he only knew Low Realm and Riverspeak? And he'd mentioned the Tepet Legions...even a provincial as remote as she had heard of that disaster for the realm, but he'd spoken as though he'd been there...

    She hardened her gaze, and said, without looking at Ivory Knife "Don't take anything fer granted with that one, Hun." Before walking towards the stairway to the stands. She did pause, briefly, to allow King Harnapuul and his retinue to ascend before she did. She'd antagonized him enough, best to at least show him a little respect, at least until she knew what kind of man he was. After his litter cleared the stairs, she followed, making room for anyone who positioned themselves ahead of her. This would be an interesting fight, for sure.

    Spoiler
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    Perception +Socialize to ascertain what kind of man King Harnapuul is, how he treats his servants, how he regards the people here, and how he sees himself in the world, using herself as a grounding point to measure him against. Stunt 1

    [rollv]6d10 (meatspace roll because of editing hijinks) 4,2,7,9,3,1[/rollv]

    * post roll count doesn't match database
    Last edited by Sticks; 2017-12-08 at 12:33 AM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    On the one hand, it's fortunate that Lupo's interruption ends up saving Ivory Knife from social censure. On the other hand...

    She does a good job of calming herself, when her name is called, but a slight tension of her shoulders betrays her tension. To be called for the first match, she can't help but see as a stroke of misfortune. Expressing that sentiment would be entirely crass, though, so she swallows it behind a smile, and gives a bow to the assembled... judges... whoever they are, and then a nod to Tuoni, whose words have shifted to Old Realm for some reason. His tone seems straightforward enough, though; presumably some sort of greeting or acknowledgement.

    Almost despite herself, she finds herself glancing back at Brown Leaf for a moment. She half starts to say something, then decides better of it with a soft chuckle. With a deep bow - not the courtly one from before, but a warrior's bow, hands at her side - she faces her opponent again.

    "I am honored to face you, Sir Tuoni. Let's have a good match."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Committing +2 motes to make HPM indefinite for now, as discussed.
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Tuoni tilts his head in apparent confusion, listening to Ivory Knife speak. He recognizes all the sounds, but... he can't put them together. Like all the meaning had been washed from them. The bow seemed clear enough, though, and he returned it before stepping down to the arena.

    Before he steps fully down onto it, though, he spends a moment looking down at his staff in apparent indecision. With a glance up at the gods, he jogs over to the nearest tree and leaves it resting there. It's probably a bad time to be experimenting, anyway. There'll be time later...

    Barehanded, and limping a little more than he was, he takes a deep breath to calm his jitters and steps fully into the arena sun to stand opposite Ivory Knife.
    Last edited by pfm1995; 2017-12-08 at 01:21 AM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Wic takes a second before heading up to the gallery. The wild haired Whitewaller looks between the two combatants, frowning. He still seems unsettled, but whatever is bedevilling him lies beyond his power to treat. Instead he simply bows to the pair, pauses, and then speaks in Old Realm.

    "Fight well... son of the rivers and daughter of the sands. May the light of your lives burn long against the darkness of the age."

    The last words flow smoothly, with the regularity of one who has invoked them many times before. They don't seem to provide Wic with much enthusiasm however. His blessing given to the pair, the northern trudges upwards, taking a seat besides the pack he'd secured up here earlier. Wirric leans forward in his seat, resting both hands on his cane as he studies the combatants closely, ready for the fight to begin. A close observer might notice his hands clench as he sits there, fingers white against the gold

    Just like old times?

    Ss...shut up.
    Last edited by Inspector Valin; 2017-12-08 at 11:06 AM.

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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    Tuoni's reaction to Ivory Knife's salutation was... odd. He'd definitely understood Low Realm before, hadn't he? Although she hadn't spoken with the man personally... Either way, from the tilt of his head - a near-universal expression of confusion - it seemed like he wasn't understanding her now, unless it was some strange and convincing bluff. She gives Wirric a polite answering bow while she mulls it over, reflecting that she really should have brushed up on her Old Realm at some point.

    Regardless of the explanation... it didn't matter all that much. Fighting was the whole reason they were here; she wouldn't be able to talk her way out of it, despite instinctively wanting to resort to that tactic first. Better to steady her breath, remind herself why she'd come here in the first place, assure herself that it hadn't been foolishness.

    She displayed no weapons, as she moved to the center of the ring to face Tuoni. Just two slender hands, one scarred, and a gaze that carried more calm than she could honestly say she felt.
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    Default Re: The Lotus Blossoms!

    The other fighters have cleared the arena, leaving Tuoni and Ivory Knife facing each other, equally unarmed, waiting.

    It takes Lupo a moment to realize that they must be waiting on him.

    "Do you expect a starting gong?"
    he asks, once each in Old Realm and Low Realm, then he glances over to Kokage.

    The gargantuan Master of Duels rises once more, hands tracing out the Sign of Mars, and then he pronounces a single word from a language older than any of the tongues of men, yet known to all in the depths of their subconscious mind.

    "Fight!"
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