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Exalted 3E - Tale of a Falling Empire IC

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Exalted 3e
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jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Fel...
"Eager for more, are you?" Satori says in a teasing tone. "Still, if the trackers at the camp were unable to spot signs of a nearby tyrant lizard before we got here, I doubt they will be able to do so before I have to return to the city. But we can stay at the camp while we have them look again."

---

Once back at the camp, Satori gives instructions for the hellboar to be taken back to the city, and then discretely transported to the palace so it can be prepared for the gala dinner. She then has the trackers have another look for any other beasts of note. Once her orders are given, she looks at Fel.

"How long do you think it would take you to become capable of piloting a completely new warstrider?" she asks. "And how long do you plan on staying within Kandara for?"

Her tone sounds friendly as she asks these questions, and she also indicates for Fel to follow her towards her pavilion, suggesting that any further conversation will be of a more private nature.

With Asuna and Manato...
"Farewell, Asuna." Harun replies with a bow of her own. Once the Water Aspect is gone, the Wood Aspect turns to the Fire Aspect.

"So then, Manato. Any particular requests on how you wish to spend your next few hours?" she asks politely and innocently, though she'll no doubt understand if he requests something decidedly less innocent.

Within the plaza...
Sengon and the speaker continue glaring at each other, when the latter suddenly whips around. The next instant, his right hand shoots up to grab an arrow that had been flying straight towards his neck, stopping it inches from his neck. Those who look to see where the arrow came from will spot a member of the town guard on the roof of a nearby building, a bow in his left hand.

Everyone goes deathly silent. From the look of shock on Sengon's face, he was not at all in on this, and he knows what's likely to happen now.

The archer too looks shocked at his arrow being stopped, before he desperately nocks and looses another one at the speaker, who again snatches it out of the air. At their close distance, Larissa and Xandra see a triumphant expression briefly appear on the man's face, before it turns to outrage.

"You see, everyone?" he shouts. "The false dragons know that they are in the wrong! So they seek to silence all who would work to expose their mistakes and bring them to justice!"

"KILL THE IMMACULATES! KILL ALL WHO SUPPORT THE FALSE DRAGONS!" a voice from the crowd screams out, others roaring in agreement.

Then as one, the mob charges towards Sengon and his monks, the most obvious symbol of the Realm's oppression besides the archer.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Xandra snarls out to Larissa, "We cannot stand idly by and do nothing." She takes a deep breath and calls out, "STOP! You will not do this! If the Dynasts in this city fall, who will stand up for you? When was the last time you had to worry about the ravages of the Fae, lurking out in the Wyld, waiting for a chance to suck the life from you? When was the last time your children were called forth to defend the city against marauding pirates and bandits? When was the last time you had to face a demon that stood ready to rip the very flesh from your bones as you lie there screaming? This is the safety and security that the Dragon Blooded bring! Instead of calling for their deaths, you should kneel down in thanks to the Immaculates for protecting you!"

She pushes her way through the gathered crowd to the front where the speaker still stands with his entourage. Turning her back on the speaker, Xandra holds out her arms wide and once more shouts, "You want blood that badly? Then I freely offer up mine to you! Step forth and kill me if you must, but remember the cost of such bloodletting on your own soul. Are you truly ready to descend down that dark path and become killers for no other reason than the word of this Anathema's mouthpiece? If so, I truly do not wish to breathe the same air as you, and will gladly die. Come forth and do it now, or else disperse and go home! Either way, stop wasting my time with this idle prattle!"

spending 10m Personal Essence on Glowing Coal Radiance for 5 successes on my Presence + Charisma roll. I'm guessing that this counts as a level 2 stunt? This gives me a total of 12 successes on my Pre + Cha roll.

Edit: I get an additional non-Charm dice for every 10, so it boosts me to a total of 12 successes
Health Levels
-0 [ ]
-1 [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
-2 [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ] - [ ][ ][ ]
-4 [ ]
I [ ]

Essence: 2
Personal: 13 / 3
Peripheral: 31 / 18
Committed: 13
Willpower: 5

Parry DV: 6
Dodge DV: 3
Resolve: 2
Guile: 2

Join Battle: 9 +3i

Soak
Natural: 5
Armored: +8
Total: 13
Hardness: 7

Weapons and Armor
Pyre of Legions - Grand Daiklave
Attunement: 5m; Type: Heavy (+1 ACC, +14 DMG, +0 DEF, OVW 6)
Tags: Lethal, Melee, Reaching, Two-Handed
Hearthstone slot(s): 2

Elemental Bolt
Accuracy: +5 Close; +4 Short; +3 Medium; −0 Long; −2 Extreme;
Damage: 10 + Essence (doesn’t add Strength); Overwhelming: (Essence + 1)

Dauntless - Lamellar Armor
Medium, Soak +8, Hardness 7, Mobility -1, Attunement 5
 
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D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
With Fel...
"Eager for more, are you?" Satori says in a teasing tone. "Still, if the trackers at the camp were unable to spot signs of a nearby tyrant lizard before we got here, I doubt they will be able to do so before I have to return to the city. But we can stay at the camp while we have them look again."

---

Once back at the camp, Satori gives instructions for the hellboar to be taken back to the city, and then discretely transported to the palace so it can be prepared for the gala dinner. She then has the trackers have another look for any other beasts of note. Once her orders are given, she looks at Fel.

"How long do you think it would take you to become capable of piloting a completely new warstrider?" she asks. "And how long do you plan on staying within Kandara for?"

Her tone sounds friendly as she asks these questions, and she also indicates for Fel to follow her towards her pavilion, suggesting that any further conversation will be of a more private nature.

As he made his way to the pavilion, Fel explained, "The amount of magic material does not make it that easy to attune to them quickly. If given the chance, a good half a day would be optimal. Nobody listens to that though. We are trained to be able to attune to it within an hour or two."

"The thing with warstriders is, they are more complex than weapons like daiklaves. Not only do we have to invest a lot of our essence into it, but they require potent hearthstones to even be able to try."

Fel thought for a moment. "However, there are ways to do it faster. One of my teachers, pilot of the Warlock, she was able to force it to her will in a matter of minutes. But it is the sort of process that one doesn't use unless its a dire emergency. Because what you are doing is forgoing the natural way of letting your essence and the materials essence align naturally. Instead, you are grabbing the charging hellboar by the tusks and changing its course by force of will and body. You are forcing a change of your own essence flows, as well as convincing the warstider to change its own. At the same time you have to force a resonance at the time the essence of the warstrider and your own touch. She described the event as painful and draining. It creates a... I suppose you would call it a backlash, as everything is forcibly snapped into place."

"It is not something those untrained should even attempt. And not something even the trained should try unless it was a matter of life or death."


( jaydude jaydude , if I don't have enough success on the introduce lore fact, just let me know and I'll make the changes. Just trying to get a post out while I had the chance.)
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Larissa stares at Xandra with open eyed amazement, offering herself up to the crowd like that. Very crafty, but very dangerous. The crowd may be swayed to disperse, but this speaker up in front of them is either an Anathema himself, or is in league with them, and is very persuasive. He could push the people into an angry mob which even a skilled Dynast will have trouble dealing with.

As it is, Larissa prepares to leap into action to try and save Sengon if things do go badly.
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Xandra and Larissa...
Heads turn at Xandra's outburst, and follow her as she makes her way between Sengon and the speaker. She's succeeded in bringing a halt to any imminent violence for the time being, but judging from the reactions of those listening - disgust from the citizenry, horror from Sengon and the monks, and smugness from the Cult of the Illuminated speaker - she has catastrophically misjudged the situation here.

The speaker raises a hand, a silent order to the crowd to not try and rip Xandra apart. Then he narrows his eyes at her, putting on a show of disapproval.

"I take it you're new to this city?" he asks with a hint of contempt. "Whatever protection the Dragon-blooded once provided is long gone, now that the Realm withdraws its forces to the Blessed Isle. Bandits and Fair Folk raid and pillage the countryside freely, in the absence of soldiers willing to protect the people. At the same time, the Realm brutally extorts the people of Kandara to support those who squabble over the Scarlet Throne. And when anyone takes the slightest issue with this, the satrap drags them into the city arena and cuts out their heart. Do not act like the people of Kandara are ungrateful, when the Dragon-blooded have done nothing to deserve their gratitude over the last five years!"

The crowd cheers ever louder in support of these words, and only when they quieten again does the speaker continue talking.

"Who are you anyway, that you are willing to die rather than hear my words?"

With an average Resolve of 2, the mob are willing to halt their attack on the Immaculates. They do however have a negative Major Tie towards the Realm, meaning that without finding and exploiting another Intimacy, Xandra cannot weaken it.
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
Manato bid Asuna farewell with a polite nod and a wave. Truly, it was a shame she was so hesitant to discuss the juicier gossip of the day. Then again, Manato was exactly the type to publicly give a scathing critique to one's face when it was earned. Such audacity, while entertaining, was generally considered both unwise and threatening to one's well-being. Yet he'd no plans to change to protect the excesses of the undeserving. "Good luck with the preparations. We'll see you at the Gala."

Now that Asuna was off to tend to tend to more mysterious matters, Manato turned back to address Harun one on one. She was still a bit of a mystery herself. An Exalt not much older than he given the extended lifespan, no sign of a husband or lover yet, with such an agreeable temperament and enticing figure... If she was married, he wasn't around. It was either to a traveling sort, a soldier, or more likely someone wholly undeserving of her attention from what he could tell. In the brief moment he took to assess this woman, Manato made no effort to disguise that he enjoyed her company. She seems interested, so why not give her what she wants?

"Oh, taking even more requests? You prove there is still such grace among our number. If only more of our peers were worthy of calling you such." He reached for her hand with an affectionate smile. Desire dripped from his voice as he spoke. "I'd feel awful to impose too much on you. Especially, with the Satrap's party coming up in a few short hours. So I'll save my requests for the moment. What is it that I could I do for you now that you have me to yourself?"

Manato is activating Warm Faced Seduction Style and Glowing Coal Radiance for 7m, adding 1wp for additional botch insurance. Assuming 2 Appearance dice are converted to successes (otherwise feel free to subtract from my count as necessary). Rolling the 10 die pool... 10 successes. If she doesn't resist she would gain a minor tie of lust from the charm.
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Fel...
Satori sits down on the edge of a comfortable looking bed within the pavilion tent, smiling sweetly at Fel. "And once attuned to the warstrider, how long do you imagine it would take you to become...competent in its use? As in, as proficient in piloting it as a skilled swordsman is proficient in wielding a blade?"

With Manato...
"Oh, my dear cousin. All I ask is that you enjoy yourself within my presence." Harun purrs softly, before she leans in to whisper into his ear. "Perhaps we should take this conversation to my room? I have a pair of beautiful handmaidens who would almost certainly love to partake in it..."

[On top of her preexisting Minor Tie, Harun gains another Minor Tie of lust for Manato.]
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
"As if you needed to sweeten the offer. I know who I came here for." Manato teased with a gentle kiss on Harun's neck. "Nevertheless, I shall not disappoint you or them. I'm sure we won't be missed too much when we are fashionably late. Lead the way."
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
Roughly an hour later at least, Manato, Harun and the latter's two handmaidens - a pair of attractive southeastern mortal women named Farasha and Zibiya - lie together on a large and comfortable bed within an expensively decorated bedroom, Harun reclining like a professional queen, Manato's head resting on her chest, and Farasha and Zibiya cuddling up with the two Dynasts. No-one on the bed is wearing a single article of clothing, though at some point a black domino mask relocated from Harun's face to one of the bed's pillows.

Manato recalls Harun going about the whole business with a highly formal and dominating air, disappearing behind a screen and changing into a sleeveless black dress and the domino mask, and then insisting that he spend time with the two handmaidens first before offering so much as a striptease. She watched what happened as though evaluating some kind of performance, and only when the other two women began to tire did she decide to get in on the action, at which point she proved herself no less depraved than the average member of House Cynis.

"Heh...it seems I've found another reason to be grateful for your continued presence here." Harun says to Manato in the same polite and friendly tone she used downstairs. "I hope you don't have a bride waiting for you on the Blessed Isle..."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
With Fel...
Satori sits down on the edge of a comfortable looking bed within the pavilion tent, smiling sweetly at Fel. "And once attuned to the warstrider, how long do you imagine it would take you to become...competent in its use? As in, as proficient in piloting it as a skilled swordsman is proficient in wielding a blade?"

With Manato...
"Oh, my dear cousin. All I ask is that you enjoy yourself within my presence." Harun purrs softly, before she leans in to whisper into his ear. "Perhaps we should take this conversation to my room? I have a pair of beautiful handmaidens who would almost certainly love to partake in it..."

[On top of her preexisting Minor Tie, Harun gains another Minor Tie of lust for Manato.]
Fel fingers the hilt of his sword, "You know your daiklave inside and out, yet should you take hold of my sword you would be aware of the difference in balance and weight. The grip would feel unfamiliar in your palm, and your preferred style may need to be adjusted to take full advantage of the difference in its shape. Yet the competence at which you wield it would be no less masterful. The underlying principles of swordsmanship remain, and that foundation is the greatest importance of wielding the sword. Your body will instinctively compensate for the nuances and you will quickly get a more intimate feel for the blade."

"The same is true for warstriders. Pilots are put through rigorous training to prepare themselves for operating one. Given how few there are, it would be foolish of us to train for one particular model, as we take what we are given."

"You see, when you enter a warstrider. It is much more than driving some first age airship. There are no buttons or levers. You're very body is strapped into it. Thousands of pounds of magical materials are bound to you, and the slightest of errors in form could rip you limb from limb. You become its very brain and heart and muscle, and if you haven't the strength to take a step forward, it will take control and destroy you. This same principle is universal throughout warstriders. How you move determines how it moves. Between every warstrider there are many differences, bu nice you learn the foundation, your body understands. I could pilot the Warlock as easily as I could the Raptor. I would be just as lethal starting out in one as the other. But the more familiar I become with one, the more deadly I will be."

"Part of our training is to handle these differences. To fight with varying degrees of size and different sorts of weapons. We are put through our paces in training pods, to get use to the physical stresses of operating them under many different conditions and preset tensions to simulate the various pushes and pulls of different classes, sizes, and shapes of warstriders. With the most notable thing to adjust to is movement and balance uneven terrain."

Fel gave a savvy smile, "To answer your question more bluntly. I am already profienct in their use. I can operate one immediately, once attuned. Thougj a grace period of a few hours would not be unappreciated, like giving a new sword a few test swings." He chuckled, "But to truly witness how wielding a warstrider is like wielding a sword, you would have to be in the pod with the pilot during operation. As it is a bit more nuanced than than it sounds."
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
"Oh? Well you're in luck. You've caught me unattached. However, I've no idea what might be going on back home while I'm not looking. You do have a sorcerer on retainer if you wish to change that though. Evidently, competition is getting pretty fierce."

Manato spoke but was reluctant to move and surrender what comfort he'd won. His own tone shifted from the previous formalities and to one more familiar in nature.

"Might I ask about you, Harun? You have a lucky man in your life? I can't quite see how someone would be daft enough to pass up a catch like you, but if not, I can stay as long as you'd like. Perhaps we could even attend the Gala together as well. That is, if you don't mind potential extra company."
 
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jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Fel...
Satori exhales, as if mentally steeling herself to either swallow her pride, or reveal a big secret. She then beckons Fel closer so she can speak more quietly to him.

"The reason I'm asking these questions is because we have a warstrider of our own in Kandara." she says, becoming serious. "But with things as they are right now, it could be ages before House Ragara sends over someone who can pilot it, and they'll most likely want to take it to the Blessed Isle when that time comes. And as I'm sure you've noticed, my control over Kandara is tenuous at best. Every week there are riots in the streets and revolts in the countryside. The Cult of the Illuminated claim that an Anathema will one day come to 'liberate' it from Realm rule, but even if that doesn't happen, there are other enemies in the surrounding area who could seriously threaten us."

"Do you get what I'm hoping of you?" she asks. "Without a pilot, that warstrider is useless. But with a skilled pilot, it could become a formidable military asset."

With Manato...
"Married, but he's always been understanding about what kind of woman I am." replies Harun, her tone suggesting that she sees him as more of a lifelong friend with benefits than as a lover. "He's a general from House Cathak. A man around my age, a Fire Aspect like you, and no less good in bed. He was recalled to the Blessed Isle for the sake of his House's interests soon after the Empress disappeared, and he's stayed there ever since."

With Xandra and Larissa...
Before Xandra can answer the question asked of her, Sengon speaks up, he and his monks still looking ready to defend themselves. As he does, his anima manifests in a thin layer of smoke swirling around him, signifying the use of Peripheral Essence.

"People of Kandara! I understand you are frustrated! I myself am no less aggrieved about the current situation than you!" he calls out, showing no signs of lying. "All I ask is that you continue to hold faith! The Realm will return in time, and when it does, it will restore the peace, order and prosperity you enjoyed under the Scarlet Empress! There is no need for any of you to resort to violence, or sell your souls to an Anathema!"

The crowd continues to stare balefully at him, the other monks, and Xandra.

"I don't think they're convinced." the speaker replies with an apologetic shrug of his shoulders.
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
"Ah, I see. That does make sense, though it sounds rather sad. I hope things work themselves out soon, for both of your sakes." Manato seemed unsurprised at her response. She was still young, but far too advanced in her years to go without being matched by the matriarchs of the house and her household.

"Nevertheless, life goes on. Perhaps we can start by improving your lot here. What can you tell me of the other dynasts here and their interests? Having some perspective would be nice before heading to this party."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
With Fel...
Satori exhales, as if mentally steeling herself to either swallow her pride, or reveal a big secret. She then beckons Fel closer so she can speak more quietly to him.

"The reason I'm asking these questions is because we have a warstrider of our own in Kandara." she says, becoming serious. "But with things as they are right now, it could be ages before House Ragara sends over someone who can pilot it, and they'll most likely want to take it to the Blessed Isle when that time comes. And as I'm sure you've noticed, my control over Kandara is tenuous at best. Every week there are riots in the streets and revolts in the countryside. The Cult of the Illuminated claim that an Anathema will one day come to 'liberate' it from Realm rule, but even if that doesn't happen, there are other enemies in the surrounding area who could seriously threaten us."

"Do you get what I'm hoping of you?" she asks. "Without a pilot, that warstrider is useless. But with a skilled pilot, it could become a formidable military asset."

With Manato...
"Married, but he's always been understanding about what kind of woman I am." replies Harun, her tone suggesting that she sees him as more of a lifelong friend with benefits than as a lover. "He's a general from House Cathak. A man around my age, a Fire Aspect like you, and no less good in bed. He was recalled to the Blessed Isle for the sake of his House's interests soon after the Empress disappeared, and he's stayed there ever since."

With Xandra and Larissa...
Before Xandra can answer the question asked of her, Sengon speaks up, he and his monks still looking ready to defend themselves. As he does, his anima manifests in a thin layer of smoke swirling around him, signifying the use of Peripheral Essence.

"People of Kandara! I understand you are frustrated! I myself am no less aggrieved about the current situation than you!" he calls out, showing no signs of lying. "All I ask is that you continue to hold faith! The Realm will return in time, and when it does, it will restore the peace, order and prosperity you enjoyed under the Scarlet Empress! There is no need for any of you to resort to violence, or sell your souls to an Anathema!"

The crowd continues to stare balefully at him, the other monks, and Xandra.

"I don't think they're convinced." the speaker replies with an apologetic shrug of his shoulders.
At the beckoning, Fel moved closer, sitting on the bed besides her.

Listening... he stayed silent for a few moments after she spoke her piece. She had a Warstrider. That would certainly explain her interest in him. So much for wistful hope of just being devilishly handsome (he was not that naive). He knew there was some reason behind it, but he didn't expect it was desperation. Satori could frame it any way she wanted... but it was desperation. He believed her too. House Ragara would be the types to hide away an invaluable military asset and see it as money and influence than something to save lives and territory, other pilots of other houses were in desperate need of warstriders. And that she was willing to even offer up its use was such a sign of how dire her situation.


"Ragara Satori," Fel began, his voice taking on a serious tone, but quiet enough so as so none of his words would leave the pavilion", I understand what it is that you are hoping of me. But do YOU understand the gravity of what you are asking?"

"This sort of request goes beyond a simple favor, and would stir the political winds. I am a scion of House Ledaal, and Amacer of the Shadow Crusades. My loyalty to my family extends to that of every house, and every satrap. Even you, daughter of House Ragara, I regard as a sister. I want nothing more than to see you succeed, and I would not hesitate to fulfill my duty to give my life for that of you and your people here. Not just for the good of the Realm, but for your own personal good as well."

"However, not everyone sees things as the Ledaal. House rivalries interfere with our efforts of guardianship, and many houses are not shy about trying to play us like pawns. Even when our service is freely given in goodwill, there are those who see schemes where there are none. And when such an asset as a warstrider is thrown into the mix, it only serves to complicate matters."

"To make matters worse, it is no secret that my family has suspicions and misgivings about the way your family operates. House Ragara has made it hard to trust them in the past. A tie of this magnitude may not go over well with either of our families. Ragara will no doubt want to claim the warstrider as their own, and even should it be operated by a pilot of any family, it would want a say in how it is deployed and directed. That would undoubtedly rub my family the wrong way, and they would no doubt turn it down for we will have one under our control and in our possession piloted by one of our own. They would see taking such an offer as a folly. For the only thing to gain would be restrictions and political headache. On top of that, your own family would greatly disapprove of you offering an asset so freely."


Fel was not turning her down, but rather he wanted her to fully understand the position she was putting him in. As well as the position she was putting herself in.

The Ledaal dynast rubbed his face with both hands as he thought. "But my family is not without a heart. Nor am I. For our duty is to the good of every soul in the realm. I will help you to the best of my ability, Satori. Even if it is only during my brief sabbatical here."

Fel turned to look at her, "I need to ask you this in all seriousness, and you will need to answer without beating around the bush. How much are you willing to sacrifice to repair your satrap and turn it into a bastion against threats anathema or otherwise, and to make it a model of what a satrap in the Threshold should be?"

"I have ideas, but they will require work to make fruitful. As well as courage to wade through the political quagmire such an alliance would cause. I have seen firsthand what anathema do, in and out of battle. And how things seem now, you will not win unless you give it your all."

Fel knew all to well what the anathema could do. How their brainwashing and cult could destroy people and crumble the realm. And his heart bled for the souls of the satrap who were being subjected to corrupted ways. They needed help, and he wanted to help them, and Satori. But it was much more complex than getting inside a warstrider and beating people down. It was much more complex than a handshake and formal agreement.

jaydude jaydude
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Manato...
Harun scratches her chin, while stroking Farasha's shoulder. "I understand you've already met Satori and Sengon." she says to Manato. From the way she says this, she thinks you know all you need to about them, but she wouldn't mind providing further elaboration should you ask for it. Otherwise, she'll tell you about all the other prominent Dynasts within the area.

"Tepet Kirito, or Cold Waters as he's known, is the military commander here, in charge of both the city watch and what's left of the Realm garrison. He's as devoted to the safeguarding of Realm Kandara as you've shown yourself to be, so I've little doubt the two of you can find common ground there. That said, he's currently out of the city dealing with a peasant revolt; he might not be able to attend the first night of the gala."

"In terms of other Dynast officials, Ragara Voruna is our spymaster, Ragara Javald is our head of finance, and Ragara Zadari is our court sorcerer. All three of them are relatively new to Kandara, being appointed following the disappearance of the Empress, and they largely see eye-to-eye with Satori." she says, the unspoken commentary being that their predecessors were among those purged by Satori and House Ragara during that time, and that in terms of attitudes, they're much the same as the Satrap. "Voruna helps keep Satori's enemies from causing trouble, though I'd wager his spy network is more loyal to House Sesus, given how a member of that house was the previous spymaster. Javald owns the vast majority of Kandara's jade and silver mines, and he's always looking to squeeze as much as he can out of them. As for Zadari, she largely keeps to herself in her own wing of the satrap's palace, no doubt running sorcerous experiments..."

"V'neef Merina is probably the most important Dynast with mercantile interests in Kandara besides me." she continues. "She's young, but a daughter of V'neef herself, and she owns most of the vineyards and plantations in the countryside. She's as ambitious and eager to expand as a young sapling though, and she'd likely have tried to take over my interests in the city if she thought she could pull off such a thing."

"Besides those, they'll be a number of Dynasts from neighbouring satrapies, the most important of those being Peleps Basuni, satrap of Albahr, and Mnemon Sokuma, satrap of Thueban. In addition, there'll also be some particularly important outcastes." she adds. Evidently she guesses that the last of those groups will come as a surprise to Manato, for she immediately starts explaining it. "There aren't nearly as many Dynasts here as there would be in a similarly-sized region of the Blessed Isle. Having outcastes helps make up the attendance numbers at parties, and it gives lost eggs a taste of life in the Realm. One that hopefully tempts them into joining it."

As a result of Harun's insights, I'll allow you one opportunity to introduce a fact with Lore 3 regarding another local Dynast at any future point in the story, should you wish to do so.
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Fel...
Satori gives Fel a shake of her head once he's done speaking. "I'm not requesting a marriage, or any kind of formal alliance." she replies, sounding a bit annoyed at having apparently not gotten her point across properly. "I can't be certain our respective matriarchs would agree to such a thing anyway. I'm asking if you would be willing to informally pilot this warstrider on my behalf, at least for a brief spell of time. You'd be using it against those who don't care for the squabbles of the Great Houses, but oppose the Realm as a whole from outside. As far as I understand, House Ledaal has been urging the other Great Houses to turn their attention away from the Scarlet Throne and to those kinds of threats for a long time."
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
Manato listened intently to Harun's description of each individual taking mental note of what alliances or obstacles he may need to address in the upcoming days. Yet the mention of one name in-particular sent a shiver up his back as if a ghost had just tried to suddenly skip rope with his spine. He did his best to conceal his natural defensive reflex. Yet the streaks of silent panic raced through his mind.

No, she couldn't be... How did we make plans to come here if she... No. No, they didn't even know to look, did they... Must the heavens really conspire so thoroughly to craft such a meticulous fresh hell for me? If she finds out what I'm trying to do here then... No, I can't afford to back down to avoid her. I'm still a fighter dammit, even if I have some dragons forsaken family reputation facade to maintain. What kind of son would I be if I walked away from the people here. Seven shits in a sandwich...

Manato spoke if only to silence the mounting anxiety and profanity in his mind. "You weren't kidding about the stack of Ragaras in her court... Well if I'm to persuade her I'll need to persuade much of her advisors as well. Otherwise, the poison in her heart will linger. Besides, if my buddy Fel is to make a sincere play on her, I should at least encourage her to be worthy of his effort."

Speaking of my friends... I smell potential blackmail material a certain lady might want. "Actually on the note of her court, you say Javald is putting a squeeze on the mines... How much of his labor does he get from you?" Manato asks, knowing full well their house holds a legal monopoly on slaves. I wonder if he's pulling in bodies outside the law... Given the aggressive Ragara 'usurpation' taking place here, I'd guestimate an eighty percent chance there's some extra illegally solicited labor in those mines.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
With Fel...
Satori gives Fel a shake of her head once he's done speaking. "I'm not requesting a marriage, or any kind of formal alliance." she replies, sounding a bit annoyed at having apparently not gotten her point across properly. "I can't be certain our respective matriarchs would agree to such a thing anyway. I'm asking if you would be willing to informally pilot this warstrider on my behalf, at least for a brief spell of time. You'd be using it against those who don't care for the squabbles of the Great Houses, but oppose the Realm as a whole from outside. As far as I understand, House Ledaal has been urging the other Great Houses to turn their attention away from the Scarlet Throne and to those kinds of threats for a long time."
Fel gave her an empathetic smile. "I know what you are asking. And you may already consider that hope granted. As I had said. Il shall help you however I can, while on this sabbatical." He emphasized.


"Though what you reject very well may be what you need." Fel chuckled, leaning forward as he rested his elbows on his knees. "I can not say such formal ties would be personally appealing or approved of by our mothers. Though you need to understand, Satori, even with me in a warstrider, there is only so much I will be able to do. Even should my friends also decide to help. And you may be forgetting that it will not be easy to hide my involvement. Rumors of my helping you alone would spark contreversy, but I have an idea around that though."


"I have been mulling this over for a while now. The circumstances around your satrap have become the perfect tinder for fire. I do not have any doubt that there is an anathema behind this. And I can only hope there is only one... I have seen first hand how destructive they can be. With some of the strongest able collapse a palace in a single blow. Yet the worst effects from anathema I have always seen, has always come from their ability to bewitch hearts and infect minds. Turning Brothers against sisters and parents against children. Their honeyed words carry like disease. Corrupting those who hear and spreading it even further. Should there be no cure, there must be culling, for it only gets worse. And there is never immunity... even the staunchest supporters can be swayed."

Fel shook his head, as if remembering prior campaigns. "If this was but a few years ago, I would be confident in my aid being all you need. But lately... lately things have been getting bad across the realm. Never before have I seen so many reports of anathema. Never before have I seen so obvious signs of their presence across creation. They are testing the waters. Waiting for a weakness that bickering houses are serving to them on a silver platter. And these are threats that will last longer than several months."

"A formal tie would give you everything you need. Backing and support. And a more permanent solution and protection of your satrap. Our mothers may not like it at face value, but it can be negotiated to benefit both parties. Not only would it signify stability and longevity of your land to your people. Think, what better way to secure defense than tying oneself to Ledaal? And given the current affairs, my family would love nothing more than bringing other houses to awareness of this plight. Even if Ragara did nothing but watch, it would be an official recognition that anathema need to be taken more seriously. There is gain for both parties, and the blood of dragons in our veins to make it more likely."

"I am not saying that I am looking for marriage. It is not a path I would prefer. My family would be loath to lose a warstrider pilot, not without some guarantee that my duty to the Shadow Crusades is will not be hindered. Not without some guarantee that I won't be used as a pawn of war in house rivalries. If Kendara were to declare itself as a bastion for the shadow crusades, even if it is under Ragara control, they would find much about that to be enticing."


Fel leaned back, "But that is just the most potent solution that comes to mind. Heh, my apologies if I seem forthright about it. It has become habit that there are anathema to be dealt with, my mind goes to overkill."


"But it is simply food for thought." He said standing, smiling down at her,"I'll lend you my aid while I am here. Unofficially of course. And do not worry, I won't ask for anything in return." He could have though, in her situation it would not have been that hard to convince her for something in return. Even if just a favor. But no, he wasn't in the Wyld Hunt for fortune or glory. It was the right thing to do.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Xandra continues to try and ease tensions. "The Realm may have its issues, but the Dragon Blooded have not abandoned you. Look at Sengon! He still stands here, and even if the Satrap is a harsh mistress, her rule, so long as it is not questioned by dissenters, is generally a good one. It may be that it is time for a new Satrap to come here, but this is not the way to make that happen! All you do by rising up like this is give her the excuse to send out her soldiers to oppress you even more."

"But if you still want blood, I stand here, unarmed and unarmored, waiting to face your 'justice'. Do what you will. But one way or another, this uprising needs to stop!"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Larissa nods in agreement. "She's right. All this will do is cause the soldiers to come, and you all know what will happen then! We should all go back to our homes, and let calmer heads prevail."
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Xandra and Larissa...
The guardsman who fired the arrow from earlier is now long gone, presumably in order to escape a lynch mob formed from the ranks of the larger crowd. His would-be victim continues speaking to the two disguised Dynasts. From the look he's giving the two of you, he seems to have figured out what you are.

"I would hardly say her rule is 'generally good'. Even without her self-righteous entitlement - a trait common to Dynasts and enabled by the Immaculate Philosophy - the Scarlet Empire still impoverishes us, works us mercilessly and leaves us unprotected against threats to our safety." he says reproachfully. The crowd grumbles threateningly, and the speaker subtly tenses himself as if preparing to suddenly lunge forward...

...only to suddenly relax and grin. "But I digress. I did not come here today to start a fight or a riot. I came here only to bring true enlightenment and wisdom to the bereaved people of Kandara."

He looks at Sengon, ignoring Xandra and Larissa. "I'll forgive the attempt your man made on my life. And I'll even walk away peacefully here, assuming that you let me. But don't think that you've scared me off. Our people will continue to operate within Kandara. It's our solemn duty to reveal the truth about the so-called Anathema." he says affably.

Having said that, he turns around and starts making his way through the crowd, who continue to stare daggers at Xandra, Larissa and the Immaculates. For the moment Sengon is quiet, no doubt trying to decide on a suitable response.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Before letting the speaker go off his merry way, Larissa steps up in front of him and looks him dead in the eye. "You are opening up a whole barrel of trouble. I strongly advise you to leave while you can and not come back." With her message delivered, she stands aside and lets the man go.

OOC spending 4m and 1wp on the Charm Bloodhound's Nose Technique to be able to identify and track the man down at a later time. The duration of the Charm is (Essence) days, so we have plenty time to track him.

The Dragon-Blood smells the sin on a criminal’s back, pursuing him through city and wilderness alike by the scent of his iniquity. She makes a case scene roll with double 9s to investigate a piece of evidence. The base difficulty of this roll is 3, although the Storyteller may increase the difficulty based on the length of time since the object was left, any exposure to the elements, or supernatural concealment. On a success, the Dragon-Blood is able to pick up the scent of the character who left the evidence. If she’s already familiar with that individual, she identifies him immediately.
The Dragon-Blood doubles 9s on rolls to track that character by smell, and can recognize his scent without needing an Awareness roll upon coming within medium range of him. In addition, the Storyteller may inform her player, through the Exalt’s keen sense of smell, whenever a case scene or profile character roll would turn up information relevant to that character.
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Manato...
Harun either doesn't notice Manato's discomfort at the mention of Merina, or decides not to bring it up for the time being.

"The mines close to the city are worked by paid citizens, but those further away use labour - that is to say, slaves - provided by me. I'd say I'm responsible for at least half his workforce." she answers, taking hold of Manato's chin and gently tilting his head up so she can give him a knowing look and smile. "Why do you ask?"
 

Rykon

Three Thousand Club
"The old saying 'desperate times call for desperate measures' comes to mind. Given the council's upheaval, I can't help but suspect foul play in one way or another. For instance..." Manato thinks back to when he was mapping out his own business plans on the isle. Piecing together what bits of geographical and cultural information he had sorted through not long before his sabbatical began. "The great lake area here, while riddled with its own challenges, provides a navigable lane to reach important trade routes. Who's to say they couldn't be cutting deals with other slavers. Ones not authorized by our house's legal monopoly. I doubt they're in a position to worry about much oversight now are they?"

"Hmm... Now that I think of it though... Who's to say the Anathema isn't up to similarly shady transactions? They've already swayed the hearts of the people, I don't suppose there's much stopping him from skimming Jade from the mine and selling it to traders or pirates sailing up from the lakes..." Manato trails off as a menagerie of potential conspiracies rolls across the surface of his thoughts before he dismissed them. "Before I go down the inevitable rabbit trail of anticipating a trade war and all the knee-jerk reactions therein... I need more data..."

Manato groaned as his focus began to help him catch up with the situation in the Satrapy. "It's still midday for the first day and the headache already begins... I'd wager you already have informants among those slaves you sold. Why don't you be the one to catch me up to speed on what's really happening in those mines? I'd expect the Ragara circle thinks they have a tight lid on what the truth is, but then, we in house Cynis aren't really ones for letting secrets stay secrets are we?"
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
With Fel...
Satori takes a few moments to consider what the warstrider pilot has said to her, before finally replying.

"You have my thanks for your offer of help, Fel." she says, before making to stand up.

"I think I will return to the city. I have spent enough of my day on the hunt."

With Larissa and Xandra...
The speaker looks decidedly unimpressed with Larissa's threat. "The barrel was broken to pieces long ago. I advise you to open your mind to the possibility that you have been lied to about the supposed Anathema for many years."

Once the magistrate has moved out of his way, the speaker resumes his exit of the scene, soon being lost within the ranks of the unfriendly crowd.

"Dragon lovers!" shouts a member of the mob. From their tone, it's meant to be seen as a slur. As if sensing the still hostile atmosphere, Sengon approaches both of the disguised Dynasts.

"You two should come with us. It's not safe for supporters of the Realm to be so open about their beliefs." he urges, looking between both of them. His eyes narrow a little as he looks at Xandra, but he's not stupid enough to draw attention to what she really is here.

As if to reinforce the monk's warning, one of the men stood next to Xandra makes a gargling sound, and then hits her on the cheek with a glob of spat saliva.

With Manato...
Harun shrugs. "Can't say there's much happening at the mines that I know of, besides the occasional protest about poor pay and working conditions. And the only undisputed sign of Anathema involvement within Kandara - that I'm aware of anyway - is the Cult of Illuminated's presence within this city. Sorry to disappoint you." she says, not sounding proud at being unable to offer much help here.
 

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