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[Dancers in Emerald Twilight] Inspired Blasphemies (Unique Content)

NoisyCricket

Elder Member
This is the place to put any interesting additions to the world you wish to contribute.


This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Stories not relating to you or your character
  • New Charms/Sorcery
  • Items/Artifacts/Helltech/etc.
  • NPCs (new demons, Yozi, etc.)


Anything here is canon once approved by me.
 

Feantari

Water Sprite
Old Stuff


Tattoos in this post have been approved for use.


Since I find these tattoo things interesting I'm trying to work on tattoos for the various first circle demons, but many of them are somewhat flexible so I'm trying to make template like instructions for each one. For each dot purchased in the background allocate 3 dots in the appropriate level. Purchasing red dots costs 2 dots. Some tattoos have dots already allocated. Pre-allocated dots (blue) cost against your total of 3, but are not movable. Blue dots must be purchased before other dots if you are choosing something other than a single 2 dot bonus.


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Aalu--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Taste (Awareness)


[ ][ ] Calligraphy (Craft)


[ ][ ] Paper-making (Craft)


[ ] Records (Bureaucracy)


[ ] Archives (Investigation)


[ ] Regulations (Bureaucracy)


[ ] Aalu (Linguistics) (understanding only.. unless you have insect mouth..)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Awareness


[ ] Bureaucracy


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Lore


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Perception


[ ] Intelligence


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Agatae--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Carry Load (Ath)


[ ][ ] Airborne (Dodge)


[ ] Hand Needle (MA)


[ ] Inhuman Beauty (Pres)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Athletics


[ ] Resistance


[ ] Survival


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ][ ] Appearance


[ ][ ] Strength


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Intelligence


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Angyalkae--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Harp (Perf)


[ ][ ] Playing Forever (Res)


[ ] Identify Language (Ling)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Performance


[ ] Linguistics


[ ] Presence


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Charisma


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Perception


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Demjen--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Mining (Craft)


[ ][ ] Singing (Performance)


[ ] Minions (War)


[ ] Golems (Craft)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Performance


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Resistance


[ ] Craft (earth, if the game specifies)


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Charisma


[ ] Manipulation


[ ] Perception


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Firmin--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Poison (Craft (water))


[ ][ ] Armor (Craft (fire))


[ ][ ] Tools (Craft (fire) or Craft (air))


[ ][ ] Weapons (Craft (fire))


[ ] Needles (Thrown)


[ ] Needle Swords (Melee) (needle diaklaves and rapiers)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Craft


[ ] Melee


[ ] Stealth


[ ] Survival


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Strength


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Wits


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Gilmyne--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Dance (Perf)


[ ][ ] Perform Kata (MA)


[ ] Saigoth Gates (Lore)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Athletics


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Resistance


[ ] Stealth


[ ] Performance


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Charisma


[ ] Appearance


[ ] Dexterity


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Heranhal--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Secret Crafts (Craft)


[ ][ ] Heat and Flames (Resistance)


[ ] Seduction (Presence)


[ ] Carousing (Socialize)


[ ] Forge Chanteys (Performance)


[ ] Arts of Enchantment (Occult) (note: this is specifically not a degree in enchantment but a bonus when using the skill, alternately the bonus may be forfiet for a single art, limited by the characters attributes and abilities as normal)


[X][X] Abilities


[X] Craft


[X] Resistance


[ ] Occult


[ ] Lore


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Stamina


[ ] Strength


[ ] Wits


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Naneke--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Library Research (Investigation)


[ ][ ] <Specific Rare Knowledge> (Lore)


[ ] Malfeas (Occult)


[ ] Bookbinding (Craft)


[ ] Demons (Occult)


[X][X] Abilities


[X][ ] Lore


[ ] Occult


[ ] Linguistics


[ ] Investigation


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ][ ] Intelligence


[ ][ ] Perception


[ ] Manipulation


[ ] Wits


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Teodozjia--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Any (Resistance)


[ ][ ] Tiger Claws (MA)


[ ][ ] Against Priests (pick resistance, performance, integrity, or MA)


[ ] Any (Linguistics)


[ ] Religion (Occult)


[ ] Resist Persuasion (Int)


[ ] Religious Conversion (Pres)


[X][X] Abilities


[X][ ] Resistance


[ ] Martial Arts


[ ] Linguistics


[ ] Occult


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Stamina


[ ] Strength


[ ] Manipulation


[ ] Charisma


[ ] Intelligence
 

Feantari

Water Sprite
New Stuff


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Eristrufa--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Attack from Fog/Smoke (Stealth)


[ ][ ] Tentacles (Martial Arts)


[ ] Creepy Noises (Performance)


[ ] Physical Intimidation (Presence)


[ ] Tracking Ships (Sail)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Awareness


[ ] Martial Arts


[ ] Presence


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Strength


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Manipulation


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Erymanthus--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ] Feats of Strength (Athletics)


[ ] Brachiation (Athletics)


[ ] Tiger Claws (Martial Arts)


[ ] Clubs (Melee)


[ ] Intimidation (Presence)


[X][X] Abilities


[X] Athletics


[X] Martial Arts


[ ] Awareness


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Resistance


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Strength


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Dexterity


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Gallmau--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Underground (Investigation)


[ ][ ] Underground (Survival)


[ ] Bargaining (Bureaucracy)


[X][X] Abilities


[X][ ] Stealth


[ ] Resistance


[ ] Investigation


[ ] Larceny


[ ] Survival


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Strength


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Wits


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Gethin--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Dance (Performance)


[ ] Disguise (Larceny)


[ ] Enchanting Stares (Presence)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Awareness


[ ] Investigation


[ ] Larceny


[ ] Stealth


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X] Manipulation


[X] Wits


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Perception


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Luminata--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Cracks in Malfeas (Investigation)


[ ] Intimidation (Presence)


[ ] Luring from a Distance (Presence)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Stealth


[ ] Survival


[ ] Awareness


[ ] Martial Arts


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Marottes--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Feats of Strength (Athletics)


[ ] Hiding in Small Places (Stealth)


[ ] <any craft earth specialty> (Craft)


[ ] <any craft wood specialty> (Craft)


[X][X] Abilities


[X][ ] Craft


[ ] Resistance


[ ] Athletics


[ ] Thrown


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Strength


[ ] Perception


[ ] Wits


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Neomah--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Seduction (Presence) (or socialize? infernals book has that listed, but the specialty from main is presence)


[ ] Childbirth (Medicine)


[ ] Body Language (Linguistics)


[ ] Contortion (Athletics)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Linguistics


[ ][ ] Craft (Water)


[ ] Integrity


[ ] Presence


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Appearance


[ ] Manipulation


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Radeken--------*


[X] Specialties


[ ][ ] Demanding Sacrifices (Performance)


[ ][ ] In Storms (Stealth)


[ ] Intimidation (Presence)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Dodge


[ ][ ] Resistance


[ ] Athletics


[ ] Martial Arts


[ ] Presence


[X][X][X] Attributes


[X][ ] Stamina


[ ] Wits


[ ] Strength


[ ] Dexterity


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Tinsiana--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Deserts (Survival)


[ ] Poisons (Medicine)


[ ] Moving Silently (Stealth)


[ ] Interrogation (Presence)


[ ] Intimidation (Presence)


[X][X] Abilities


[X] Athletics


[X] Martial Arts


[ ] Awareness


[ ] Dodge


[ ] Presence


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ][ ] Wits


[ ] Strength


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Stamina


[ ] Charisma


*Demon Ink Tattoo: Tomescu--------*


[X] Specialties


[X][ ] Solo Versus Mass Combat Unit (War)


[ ] Bows (Archery), Sword (Melee), Axe (Melee), Sledge (Melee), Hook Sword (MA), or Seven Section Staff (MA)


[ ] some sort of random destiny thing.. (occult)


[ ] Time (Awareness)


[ ] Natural Weapons? (melee/archery/MA)


[X][X] Abilities


[ ][ ] Melee


[ ] Archery


[ ] Martial Arts


[X][X][X] Attributes


[ ] Dexterity


[ ] Wits


[ ] Strength


[ ] Stamina
 

NoisyCricket

Elder Member
For the Gilmyne tattoo, you might throw performance in as an option.


For the Teodozjia tattoo, you might add 'Against Zenith Caste Solars' or 'Against Solars' or 'Against gods' to any of their performance, presence, integrity, martial arts specialties. I'd be tempted to drop the presence specialty since that doesn't seem to be their biggest thing (only 1 dot in the ability), but for a specific tattoo, that's fine. You might add Religion (Occult) to the list too.


But other than those, I like them, as well as the format. Maybe do a bit of rewording/formatting to make things clearer, but I can't think of a good way to do that off the top of my head.
 

Tikor

One Thousand Club
I got inspired last night to write some fiction, and while I think I have the beginnings of a fun story, I'm at a complete loss for names. I'd like word-names with surrounding titles, but nothing it hitting that middle ground of just-pretentious-enough-for-the-first-age and everything is landing in 'just silly'. Like 'Eye of Heaven' for a Sidereal. Here's what I have so far:


First Age


Twilight – (Male) a confident young (300 years) Solar interested in learning everything – including the fate of his shard's last owner that no one is forthcoming about. Heterosexual (despite the times) and considered prudish for it, he is in a relationship with the sidereal a millennium his senior. He constantly tries to figure her out but she stubbornly remains a mystery.


Full Moon – (Male) (700 years), best friend and confidant of the Twilight, Full Moon leads the martial aspects of Twilight's holdings while he's off in the stars inventing new wyld-conversion machines. Thinks the orichalcum weaponry Twilight has given to his Dragon-Blood leutenants is lavish, and can't understand the world without limits like conservation – limits that a wyld-shaping Twilight has transcended. Nevertheless, Full Moon takes care of the details and supports Twilight's decisions without understanding. Full Moon harbors a soul-deep love of Twilight and none of Twilight's reservations about sexual behavior. His affections go unnoticed by Twilight as he becomes wrapped up in one project or another – or Serenity's arms.


Chosen of Serenity – (Female) (1300 years) Scandelously close to Twilight's Exaltation and her assignment as his tutor (i.e. after 50 years.) Serenity became Twilight's lover. While not uncommon for a Solar to become intimate with a Sidereal, even so young, for who can deny the Sun's Children anything?, the scandal comes from her being a millennium his senior. Gosip abounded (and abounds) that she is only with him for some scheme which becomes ever more convoluted with each retelling. His boundless enthusiasm for learning kept her attending his tutoring into many long nights in heavenly libraries and the constant exposure rubbed off on her. Twilight, though his often erratic use of essence and creativity for making artifacts that fundamentally change the way people live, brings a rare gift to Serenity – surprise. She knows that Twilight loves nothing better than a mystery and for the time being, when it doesn't interfere with her work at the Bureau of Fate, she strives to be the most captivating mystery in his world.


As Full Moon and Twilight walked the halls of the fortress that was the creation of Twilight's last incarnation, Full Moon couldn't help but glare at the Orichalcum in the hands of the Dragon-Blooded guarding the door to the command center. Once the doors were closed and the Automaton in charge of relaying commands greeted them with "You are secure." so that he knew there were – likely – no eavesdroppers did Full Moon speak up "You spoil those Dragon-Children, Twilight."


"What? Because I gave him an artifact of my own making? It was a practice weapon to stay sharp, nothing more." The Dragon-Blood in question who now owned the level 5 artifact in question with his name indestructibly inscribed in Old Realm on the blade no doubt saw the artifact as worthy of starting a dynasty with. He is probably working out how to resolve succession disputes in his guard-duty daydreams.


"But surely the Orichalcum could find a better use..."


"The material is the work of an afternoon and a night's Essence to replace. Well, at least today it is! Tommorow, it could be had with a press of a button!"


Full Moon did his best to repress a sigh, but without the calming effect of battle such self control simply wasn't available to him "Don't tell me you've kept on with the Wyld-shaping..." but there the Full Moon's memory failed him "transcendent... thingamabober..."


"The Transcendent Automaton of Materials Engenderer? Of course I haven't! How could I give up on such a good acronym?"


"Others, even as gifted as yourself by the Unconquered Sun have tried and failed. Land is all we can automate. To make goods without your presence is impossible, the Four Magical Materials doubly so."


"That sounds like a challenge. Care to place a wager?" Twilight began to sift through the file system displayed by a holographic essence discharge by thinking at the automaton he was attuned to that ran the fortress.


Full Moon thought back to the last time he lost a wager. As the upper crust of Creation's hierarchy money had little to no meaning to either of them, so dares and agreements were the spoils to win. Every once in a while a dream crystal in an amusement store portrayed him with poorly designed strix wings literally glued to his fur, falling - definitely not flying – to an decidedly unglorious heap at the bottom of a cliff. If only he had won and recoreded Twilight failing miserably at martial arts instead of Full Moon failing so terribly at artificial flight those dream crystals wouldn't haunt him. No. No wagers today.


"No bets, but I still think you should learn at least the basics to unarmed combat."


"Aha!" Twilight wasn't listening to Full Moon, and had just found the schematics he was searching for and expanded them for himself and his Lunar Mate to see. "These are the components I need to test, so the next time we go for a shaping..."


"But how?!" Twilight followed Serenity through the halls of his home away from home, a modest (by Yu-Shan standards) Celestial Manse townhouse in an out of the way district. Serenity had just won another bet, the poor Solar hadn't learned not to wager against her yet. He'd be treating her to a full week of spoiling at Venus' palace-spa, something even her grand allowance couldn't afford but was a minor inconvienence to someone of Twilight's wealth and influence.


"By the gifts of the Maidens, my love." Serenity gave Twilight her best enigmatic smile.


"By the gifts of the Maidens my tush. You had someone on the inside didn't you?" enigmatic smile "My calculations were correct to the information I had! How was I supposed to know that the confluence of Essence winds from the Elemental Pole of Air to Wood had changed recently? I can't spend all day reading spirit reports, and I suspect you didn't either." Twilight narrowed his eyes at Serenity, but his mouth betrayed him at the edges as her smile won him over.


"I'm temped to just font Essence randomly to throw you and your ilk off kilter"


Serenity kept her shock expertly hidden. And when did he learn that secret? Then she bluffed "As you wish, if that keeps your free will illusions alive." She smiled open-mouthed at him, daring him to take offense.


Predictably, Twilight rose to the occasion "Hey!" and immediately assaulted her with pillows spun from Quintessence to be light as air which made them deflect lazily off of Serenity once they connected in total disregard of gravity. "I've half a mind to put all my projects on hold just to pierce the veil of Sidereal secrecy." Serenity, undaunted by the pillow volley, moved in on Twilight slowly and purposefully. Twilight's voice rose slightly, but he stood his ground "I'll be sitting in on Destiny planning committees making all my wagers come true." Serenity stood directly in front of Twilight and put her hands in the back pockets of his stylish, tailored, eye catching pants "I'll discover Oversight once and for all! I'll be weaving destiny in no time!" Serenity kissed him to shut him up.


Several hours later, Twilight got up to shower. While not lacking in ideas at his least imaginative Twilight was particularly prone to dreaming up new projects in the shower and this shower was not an exception. "You know, Serenity, I bet I could make a shower take no time at all. I mean, most of the dirt on me is Wood-mote based so if I simply arranged the proper battery of scanners I could likely pin down what needs removed then utilize..." But Serenity stopped listening. Only after several "Oh wait, but what if"'s and various magical components were considered and discarded did Serenity interrupt with "What happened to the Sidereal secrets project you were so keen on?"


"Oh, that? Sounds like work. And I've got a TAME experiment in ..." Twilight expended a mote to note the time "four hours?! I'll be late!" Twilight ran out of the shower naked and sudsy only to breeze past Serenity and into his dressing room.


Full Moon stood on the threshold of Creation in his Celestial Battle Armor wielding a Moonsilver sword that to most appearances looked like it fit a warstrider better than the Exalt. Behind him rolled normal looking plain-land, ready for settlers to come in and set up an RPC. To his sides in the distance lumbered what looked to be mobile buildings that sucked in the slippery Essence of the Wyld so full of potential and collapsed that potential into the very plains he stood on. Their advance was slow but exonerable, ever increasing the border territory he and Twilight looked over. His advance Dragon-Blooded forces had secured a perimeter in the Wyld and could magically alert him at the first sign of trouble. More Dragon-Blooded in gleaming Jade armor were greatly outnumbered by Arigashu-equipped enlightened mortals formed up in formation on the plain behind him. To his side stood Twilight, seemingly bored to tears.


"I nearly broke my personal transport rushing here to be on time simply to wait on scouting reports?"


For all Twilight's brilliance, Full Moon had never really impressed a sense of war on the Solar. All of his life Creation had known peace and as each of those centuries of peace passed it became harder to impress the necessities of conflict mastery to the less martially inclined of the newly Chosen. Full Moon often wished for some minor mishap in someone else's defenses to happen and remind everyone how fast the world of prosperity ruled by the Solars could come crashing down without martial vigilance towards the Wyld. But Full Moon would be damned if it was on his watch, so he chose to suffer Twilight's impatience and do what he knew was right.


"The concentration of Unshaped near the border was unacceptably high this season. I can't in good conscience allow a shaping to go forth as scheduled when a Wyld storm just happened to invalidate the maps we generated. I've got our best Wood Aspected tracker on the journeys and waypoints of interest, he'll be done in no time. Are all of your preparations done?"


Twilight was here to conduct one of the hundreds of experiments required to feed into his current masterwork, TAME. While he would be the first to admit a fair amount of personal fame will accompany the success of the project and no few wagers won, really Twilight was here, was really building TAME, because of the mortals. So much of their suffering was due to the lack of this or that even in the semi-utopian societies the Solar's constructed. There was simply a lack of resources keeping mortals from living lives free from want. With TAME, however, automatic generation of any material – even the Four Magical Materials – could be a simple command to an automaton. If mortals still experienced misery, it would be of their own making, not from lack of clothing or diversion or subsistence. Farming could become a hobby, and billions of minds would be free to contribute in a more lasting fashion to Creation. Twilight hadn't mentioned any of this to Full Moon, for he had read extensively on Lunars and feared that his friend wouldn't understand due to some deep-seated need to struggle for survival his kind tended to have. Instead, since for this experiment he needed nothing more than the Wyld, his mind and his Essence, he told his friend and general "All my preparations are complete. I'll try to restrain myself from shaping your attention to detail out of you while I meditate over there."


Full Moon eyed Twilight suspiciously, wondering if that threat had any basis in fact, as Twilight lackadaisically walked up to the at-attention legion and sat down in front of them to begin to meditate. While many eyes strained in their sockets to watch Twilight do this, no so much as one helmet turned.
 

Tikor

One Thousand Club
NoisyCricket said:
Wasn't expecting that, but glad to have it. I see the LoL addiction is slightly shaking off... :)
550 games in I'm still pretty hooked. But I did read a couple of Exalted novels this week and the writing bug itched.


Any name suggestions?
 

Feantari

Water Sprite
Added more tattoos, let me know which are approved and I'll move them to the old section to keep things clear.
 

Feantari

Water Sprite
Slayer Stone (Malfean Hearthstone Level ···)


A clear hemispherical gem with flecked with green glass of Malfeas, this hearthstone is highly prized by the Slayer Infernal Exalted. If set in a hearthstone setting it grants the bearer +1 die to any Archery, Martial Arts, Melee, Thrown, or War rolls. There is another, more exclusive power to this hearthstone, however. When a Slayer Caste Infernal places this stone over where his caste mark would appear the stone adheres perfectly to his flesh as if set in a hearthstone socket and, when his caste mark does appear, it magnifies it to three times its size and as a solid essence projection in front of the Slayer for all to see. When set like this upon the brow of a Slayer caste they gain unique benefits in place of the usual ones: when spending 10 motes to appear huge and terrifying the Slayer gains the effects of 2 the 3 following Pox: Claws, Fangs, and Large (Core pg. 288). The Large Pox may be taken twice in lieu of taking Claws or Fangs


borrowed inspiration from this thread
 

NoisyCricket

Elder Member
Slayer Stone is rejected, reasons follow:


Hearthstones giving flat and broad bonuses seem like bad design space to me, especially for hearthstones (since they already give you essence back).


The fact that you can use it without an artifact to slot it into (as a Slayer), makes it seem even further into overpowered.


The mutation bonus is actually not bad.


For suggestions on hearthstones and ways to design them, please see this thread: Kal Bax's Necklace by Astra Kiseki
 

Feantari

Water Sprite
Edited tattoos to reflect incorrect interpretation of rules. You get 3 dots in specialties and the 2nd dot doesn't cost more like the abilities and attributes dots do.
 

Tikor

One Thousand Club
I was inspired to some Dragon-Blooded fiction. Also, I'm still looking for names on the previous Celestial bunch of characters. This batch of names came out well enough.

In a sandy ring surrounded by merely 1 row of seats beneath the shade of cherry trees spar two of Gaia's grandchildren. No spectators are visible, but that did not lessen the spectacle of supernatural martial arts on display. On one side of the sand stands a man on fire, clad in no more than blue hakama and wielding two wicked looking red jade hook swords. Instead of being consumed by the flames he seems invigorated by them. His brow is furrowed and his gaze wary, aimed directly across the ring. There a figure encircled by winds of no origin nearly floats. Sporting a repeatedly slashed and singed white robe buoyed by the gusts surrounding the wearer the Air Aspect holds his blue chakram high in the stance of Mela Expectant. Curiously, his eyes are closed, his face calm.


As the swordsman takes a cautious first step forward, both chakram fly directly at him. Abandoning caution he runs directly at the projectiles batting them away with one sword each. Impossibly, as soon as the deflected chakram hit the sand they reappear at their source - in the hands of the Air Aspect. He too begins to run towards the middle of the arena but jumps into a lazy flip long before he makes it to the approaching swordsman.


The Fire Aspect abandons the ground as well and leaps toward the Air Aspect. At the height of his jump he slashes out only to be parried by the chakram extended below his upside-down opponent. The deflected blows add to the Air Aspect's already impressive height. He sails through the air the entire radius of the ring, headed for the circular spectator bench. Slowing his summersault by extending his legs, the Air Aspect remains upside down. He throws one chakram in the Fire Aspect's general direction, missing by a wide margin, but freeing a hand with which he uses to catch the waist-high wall of the ring. Straining to keep from being thrown from the ring by his own momentum, he manages to lower himself to the ground with a spray of sand.


"Careful, Lightfoot, don't want to lose on a technicality." The Fire aspect taunts as he charges then slashes. Lightfoot bends backwards with his legs up against the wall to avoid the blunt side of the hooksword blazing where his head used to be. Spinning to the side along the wall he misses the downward swipe of the first sword's twin, which rings off of the small stone wall. Twisted and overextended the Fire Aspect still manages to use both missed swings to lift him up and continue his twist into a spin kick that Lightfoot only avoids by backflipping around the blow.


Lightfoot lands near the middle of the ring, chakram at the ready. The back of his white robe is on fire, but quickly going out in the fierce winds surrounding him.


"Enough, Stribe`. I submit."


"What, I've only scorched you once!"


"We're not alone."


"What are you talking about. I see no on-"


A fang of mortal archers step up in an arc along the ring's spectator bench, bow's drawn. A female voice belonging to none of them calls from out out sight "Surrender. The two of you have committed crimes against House Sesus. Out of respect I have given you a chance to come peacefully. You are surrounded, outnumbered and at the end of your Essence. I suggest you take my offer."


Lightfoot raises an eyebrow over his shoulder at his sparring partner. Stribe` is in remarkable control of his emotions, but the way he holds his hook swords - at edge instead of blunt - tells me all I need to know of his attitude on this interruption


"You have no right of arrest over the Immaculate Order, Sesus. Your lack of magisterial status has caused you to mislead these poor mortals just as your elders have mislead their prefectures."


"The magistrates hold power at the missing Queen's sufferance. The Houses are the power of the Realm now, and they will arrest who they please."


"Lightfoot, less rhetoric, please." Stribe` turns his back on Lightfoot and the archers to face a fang of pikemen with their pikes at the ready over the waist-high stone wall.


"So long as you flout the righteousness of the Immaculate Order, you will fail, Sesus."


Seconds later two archers have gaping wounds in their chests from vanishing chakrams and all the pikeman bear sticks with no pikes at the end, some of them on fire. That still left many archers to fire, but none of the arrows made it past the protection of Lightfoot's Anima.


Lightfoot takes a running jump beyond the archers as they nocked their next arrows and calls to Stribe` "She's retreating!" but Stribe` is too engaged in his melee to follow.


The winds told of the Sesus' passage through the dense cherry trees of the Sesus estate and Lightfoot followed their telltale signs until the air went silent. Lightfoot commanded the earth to tell him more, but all it reported were the trees and small animals native to these parts. The Sesus was out of range, and unlikely to be tracked down. Any more chase risked the chance of an ambush, and Lightfoot chose not to risk that so near the end of his mystic strength.


When Lightfoot returns to the ring he finds his friend surrounded by the mortals, but not martially. Their weapons are on the ground. Lightfoot notices that all of the bowstrings are snapped, and that the pikes have stopped burning. Stribe` only has two arrows sprouting from his arms. That's a testament to all of the chakrams he'd been dodging and parrying


"You did well with the knowledge you had, children. You followed the orders of a Dragon-Blooded, and had I chosen not to take mercy on you you would have gone on to a better life in your next reincarnation."


Several of the mortals look grateful at this. They just witnessed Stribe` disarm their entire force with his Jade hook swords - blows that could have just as easily landed in flesh instead of wood and string. The fighting men and women even well into their 40s do not take offense at being called a child by Stribe`.


"Know that Sesus Yosham Kineel was indeed wrong in her attempt to arrest us, but that following her orders is the right thing for those of your station to do. Had you not shown such discipline, I would not have spared you. And death would have been only the beginning of your punishment."


Lightfoot knows the catechisms well, but always strains against the cognitive dissonance asked of the mortals. It is but one of the things holding them back from emulation of Mela, but still one too many. Instead of interrupt Stribe`'s sermon, Lightfoot goes to attend to the two archers who had been crudely bandaged up by their fellows. Both are unconscious under the effect of standard-issue Realm field drugs. Lightfoot has just enough spiritual strength to sooth their gashes to deep bruises, which he does with a prayer to Sextes Jylus. He then eavesdrops Stribe` from a distance.


"Now go, and take your wounded fellows back to your barracks and await further orders from your superiors. You have done good work this day."


The soldiers come to Lightfoot, and thank him for tending their brethren, hoist them and are off.


"Lightfoot, could you take a look at these?" Stribe` pulls an arrow from his forearm where a parry was too soon.


"No, I used the last of my Essence on tending the mortals. You'll live."


"Do you know how hard it was to keep a straight face with these things in me?" Stribe` pulls a the second one with an audible wince. "They sting like Malfeas!"


"I assure you that if they had Yozi venom on them they'd sting a fair bit more."


"Ach, Lightfoot, you know what I mean. Go eat some air or something."


"That technique is for more desperate needs than this, it is not without cost."


"Fine, I'll suffer then. It is after all a staple of Creation, as I just informed the Sesus' troops." Stribe` looks after where they marched off to. "One day I'll find myself as an Abbot, Lightfoot. Once my thirst for adventure is done."


"Not in this life, then, Stribe`. You're insatiable."


Stribe` laughs at this somewhat embarrassed. Travelling a duel circuit with a fellow Dragon-Blooded exposes many secrets. Both strengths and weaknesses are revealed. In Stribe`'s case, not all of the vows of asceticism are strictly abided by, especially in the case of insistent and pretty young women. But that hasn't ruined the friendship of the two monks, for Lightfoot does not emulate the perfection of Mela so strictly to forbid exceptions. Even the Dragon-Blooded are not at the end of the path to enlightenment, after all.


"Our time in Sesus lands is up, Lightfoot. We had best move to Tepet lands ahead of schedule."


Lightfoot only nods, gathers his pack from behind the waist-high stone wall, and follows his brother in spirit down the path to the next town.
 

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