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Shadows of the Setting Sun (Main)

Dice System
Exalted 3e
OOC
Here
Characters
Here

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

Continuing her uncomfortable violation of the dragon bloods personal space, draping her arms around his shoulders, while he and Haze likely were doing their best to make a simple breakfast in the presence of arguing forces of Nature.

Either one of them could snap the mortals in an instant if the mood took them. The stress must have been incredible.

Aeliana tilts her head this way and that, following the spat back and forth, smile alternating between uncomfortable and detached. These social one on one interactions were not the sort of one on one she was used to. Seeing the pair spar verbally, Aeliana wished now more than ever for an Arena to be around to settle this sort of thing. To the blood of course, no need for the death of a companion.

“If I may butt in, I’d prefer not to lose either of you and your largesse, but if the worst thing Zoya has done is find a way to help the living at the expense of the spirits, I’d say the spirits are doing their jobs no?”

She quickly nods to herself and then to Aaki, resting her chin on his head.

“Though if we want to fight it out and spill some celestial blood, I’ll be happy to referee? No need to go back to Whitewall for all that, we could do it here”
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya's head flies up at Aeliana's suggestion, "I have no interest in your blood sports," she says with finality.
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

Aeliana responds by sticking her tongue out at Zoya, if they wanted to squabble petty like children on the streets, she’d play her equal part
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Makuro's eyebrows rose when he heard Sigrdrífa's wild accusation about soul stealing, and they rose further when he saw her become increasingly agitated. When Zoya suggested that she return to Whitewall, the Changing Moon let out an exasperated breath at this sudden and unwelcome division within the group. He opened his mouth to make a contribution of his own, but then Aeliana came in and offered her own thoughts on the matter, thoughts that Zoya evidently disapproved of.

At this rate, people were going to start strangling each other, Makuro feared.

"Enough, all of you. At this rate, we'll be doing the work of our foes for them. And if this is how we fall apart, I promise you that no-one will have as much contempt about it as me." he said, putting a hard edge in his voice in order to get everyone's attention, making sure to glare at Aeliana for her childish tongueplay. Once he had that, he turned to Sigrdrífa, the original spark for this particular heated moment.

"I don't know the first thing about performing sorcery, and I don't know why you feel the way you do about it. In fact, for all I know you could be more knowledgeable about it than me. Right now though, I hardly think Zoya would deliberately steal that woman's soul." he said to her, speaking as calmly as he could, given the current circumstances. "I like to think I know how to read people, regardless of how well they can hide their true natures. And for any other faults she might possess, our sorceress here does not appear to have any inclination to engage in soul stealing."

Essence: 1
Personal Essence: 16/16
Peripheral Essence: 33/38

Committed Essence: 5 (Hundred Rings)

Willpower: 6
Join Battle: 7
Health Levels:
-0: [_]
-1: [_], [_]
-2: [_], [_], [_], [_], [_], [_]
-4: [_], [_], [_]
Resolve 4, Guile 4

Attacks
Hundred Rings (13 Withering, 10 Decisive, 14 Damage, Overwhelming 4)
Unarmed (14 Withering, 10 Decisive, 9 Damage, Overwhelming 1)

Actions
Rush: 7 dice
Disengage: 10 dice

Evasion 5, Parry 6
Soak/Hardness: 6/0 (Buff Jacket, +3 Soak)
 
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Random Word

Two Thousand Club
When Zoya declares her intention to return home, Sigrdrífa feels a confusing mixture of relief and... grief? Is that what this is? It can't be.

"No!" Sigrdrífa declines Aeliana's offer in unison with Zoya, though perhaps with more horror and less disdain. Her face is a picture of dismay and frustration as Makuro chastises her. "But she..." she realizes who she's speaking back to and her strident protest dies half-formed. "Yes, Moon-Chosen," she replies grudgingly. "But I don't understand! That... thing drew out that woman's soul and then she died horribly. How can you say-" she grits her teeth, turning away to conceal tears of frustration welling up in her eyes as she grabs her travel bag and storms out, declaring, "Oh, do as you please!"
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
"I don't think your contempt is as much of a deterrent as you seem to," Zoya says softly after Sigrdrifa has left. Then after a moment as passed, she adds, "I think I should try speaking to her alone" and follows the departing Night Caste.

Once outside, she looks for Sigrdrifa and approaches slowly if the other makes no move to stop her.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa sits by the river carving mammoth bone into little prayer statues, offering thanks to Mammoth, Snow Leopard, and Arctic Fox for the hunt last night and the bounty it provided. It's calming, and important to do before they leave. She hears Zoya approaching and sighs. She speaks without turning away from her work, "Fine. Makuro says the Moon says you didn't mean to steal that woman's soul. I can't argue with the Moon. Wasn't there another way? People die of plague, but White Elk would have taken them in. But someone's soul? That's forever." Her knife stills as she sits for a moment in horrified silence, at a loss for words. Finally she speaks again, "That woman didn't deserve that. Better to die of plague than have a demon do... that to her soul. Where did she go? Is she still even..." Sigrdrífa shudders, unable to complete the thought.
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya sits down a short distance away within Sigrdrifa's peripheral vision. "This wasn't an ordinary plague," she begins softly, "had it been, the spirit would have healed her of it. As it was, her soul was already lost and curing the disease killed her, but stopped her from passing it on to others."
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
"I don't think your contempt is as much of a deterrent as you seem to," Zoya says softly after Sigrdrifa has left. Then after a moment as passed, she adds, "I think I should try speaking to her alone" and follows the departing Night Caste.
"Fair enough. I think I'm more suited to creating discord rather than ensuring unity, anyway." replied Makuro. "Unless anyone else here has need of me, I'm going to scout ahead."

He gave the others in the camp a few seconds to approach him. Assuming no-one did, he would shift into his owl form and begin flying around, checking their route for any signs of danger. As he did, he considered that an owl probably wasn't the best of forms for morning; since were nocturnal, the sight of such a bird at this time of day would look suspicious to anyone reasonably versed in wildlife. A daytime bird of this region would be far more appropriate.

WlfSamurai WlfSamurai
Assuming it won't delay the story - i.e. you're fine with skipping it over, I'd like to undertake a sacred hunt for a non-nocturnal bird of the North. Thinking a snow partridge, a ptarmigan, or anything else you feel would be appropriate.

Essence: 1
Personal Essence: 16/16
Peripheral Essence: 33/38

Committed Essence: 5 (Hundred Rings)

Willpower: 6
Join Battle: 7
Health Levels:
-0: [_]
-1: [_], [_]
-2: [_], [_], [_], [_], [_], [_]
-4: [_], [_], [_]
Resolve 4, Guile 4

Attacks
Hundred Rings (13 Withering, 10 Decisive, 14 Damage, Overwhelming 4)
Unarmed (14 Withering, 10 Decisive, 9 Damage, Overwhelming 1)

Actions
Rush: 7 dice
Disengage: 10 dice

Evasion 5, Parry 6
Soak/Hardness: 6/0 (Buff Jacket, +3 Soak)
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa's head snaps around to look at Zoya in shock and horror, "The plague destroys souls?"

She hasn't seen those who died of plague during the migration. Perhaps they all die as horribly as that woman with no shaman to tend them? Zoya's words ring of merciless truth, searching her face Sigrdrífa can find no hint of deception in the depths of her sorrow, and Makuro said she wouldn't lie about this. The calculus abruptly shifts in Sigrdrífa's mind, and with it the horror on her face to one more personal and shameful: if Zoya's demon didn't save nine lives and lose a soul, but instead saved nine souls and lost one already doomed, then - "Oh, Spirits. I didn't - I thought -" She grits her teeth, loathe to admit her mistake but unable to deny justice to the souls saved and the memory of the one lost, "I have dishonoured you. And her. You deserve satisfaction. Name a penance and I will do it."
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Although they've journeyed together for some time now, Zoya is far from used to the speed with which Sigrdrifa's mood and outlook can change, and so she is more than a little taken aback at her words. She blinks once and is about to protest that no penance is necessary, but stops herself. Is she offering to do a penance for Zoya's sake or her own? So, she takes a moment to study Sigrdrifa's expression and think back to what she knows of Icewalker customs.
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

And so passed from her presence yet another internal conflict between the inheritors of Creation. It was not the first but definitely not the last of these little spats, but that was just all too natural. Strong beings brought strong personalities to bare, Aeliana momentarily shifting her eyes to glance around, looking for Tyree while chuckling to herself. What was unfortunate however, was the continued denial of the true nature of things. Harmony was aberration and conflict the Rule of Life. It was going to happen no matter what but what could be done as beings, especially celestial beings, was to deal with conflict in the most efficient way possible.

Ordered rule of physical law, or as Zoya put it, Bloodsports. That was part of the reason for her moniker. She wasn’t perfect, nearly though, her fight record before exaltation was shoddy and even after there had been masters to put her in her place but she’d never lost in the end. Speak all the words and make all the plans you want, physical force. The show of violence, was the only action that mattered.

Strike me down, have me choking on blood at your feet, make me accept your ways by force and even though you’ve won, you’ve lost. You won’t win without physical action, why not make it ordered, entertaining and usually not fatal?

Aeliana watched the arguing parties vanish one by one, leaving her with the mortals and whoever was still inside the shelter. They’d realize eventually. The Cult did and their numbers were growing by the day, growing with her as the exemplar and figurehead of truth. She was blessed.

Aeliana looked at her mortal companions, blinking out of her internal monologue. “So, have you two ever considered joining the cult? It might help with this sort of, freewheeling lack of purpose in life I know mortals are so fond of espousing. If that’s an issue, that is.”
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
"You are faster than the rest of us," Zoya says once she has gathered her thoughts. "So you can move ahead and behind us without losing track. Make sure that once these people are ready to move that they will catch up with us."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
At this point, Tyree rolls over from her nap and rubs the sleep from her eyes, looking around in the confused daze of someone just waking up. "Ungh. I needed that sleep. Had no idea how tired I was until my head hit the firs and I totally passed out." She rises and stretches, feeling her spine creak and crack as she does, then says, "So, what did I miss?"
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

“Unfortunately, not much. Some issues being talked out regarding the usage of spirits not actually present to have their say in the matter. It’ll come up again, just keep your eyes open for it”

Aeliana gestures over the top of the Dragonblood.

“There is a very slow breakfast underway, if you are hungry. I’m obviously helping”
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa nods gravely, "I swear before Snow Leopard I will see them safely to you." She pauses, the force of Zoya's presence wearing away at her reticence, the outcome a foregone conclusion. "You don't... have to go." Part of her wants to look away - it's easier that way - but a bigger part of her doesn't. "If you don't want to." It's unclear even to Sigrdrífa if she means here and now or returning to Whitewall.
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya smiles at Sigrdrifa in response to her words. Though she has heard far more flattering things said of her, this small admission is the closest the icewalker has come to offering her friendship, and every step along that path is important. "I won't," she answers. "I mean to see this through, but I'm glad to know you wouldn't rather be rid of me." Still smiling, she extends her hand in an offer of friendship, even though she's quite sure that shaking hands isn't exactly Sigrdrifa's preferred method of showing affection or acceptance.
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Before breakfast is served, Ranna continues the conversation.

"Yes," she says with a solemn look. "We know where you're all headed. Truth is, we have no where else to go. And very few warriors." She looks back at the camp and the few that "guard" it. Then, she turns back with a sigh. "I actually think the safest place for us now would be in danger close to you all. Besides, we hope to find the rest of the tribe we were separated from. So, unless you're going to stop us, we're going to come with you.

[OOC: You all receive another 5 regular XP + 2 bonus regular XP for RP = 7 regular XP total for the end this "session"]


* * *

Eventually, before the morning wears away, you strike camp and hit the trail again. Ranna and her little rag-tag tribe—still receiving aid from the Elemental—stay, but mention again that they intend to catch up and stick with you.

The rain has subsided from yesterday. The ground is still wet and smells of saturated earth, but by midday, it has warmed and you move on solid ground. As the afternoon passes, the clouds part and the Sun breaks through.

You make good time, despite the fact that the road has devolved into a worm trail. But nightfall, Haze informs you that you’re one more day’s worth of walking before you make it to the edge of the Fell. Better than the planned day-and-a-half. The night proceeds without issue.

At some point, either during the day or that night, if you give the last days’ events reflection, you realize a few things concretely:
  • Whatever that plague is, it has the ability to permanently destroy the soul of the host
  • The plague effected the River God quicker and with greater effect than the mortals
  • None of you seem to contract the plague—perhaps it is passed a different way than being airborne?

By next morning, you set out again. You pass into brown plains dotted with snow. As you keep going, the snow becomes more prominent until the plains become completely white with fresh snow.

Late afternoon, down the hill from where you travel, you can see the dark trees that make Marama’s Fell’s border. But, as you proceed, you’re greeted with a grisly sight.

On either side of the trail, you see men and women who have been stripped, impaled, and staked into the ground. Their contorted bodies are forever trapped in their last moments of agony. Several are missing limbs. A few are missing more and are disfigured beyond recognition. As you enter this gruesome aisle of death, a murder of raitons explode off the corpses and blacken the sky as they flee.

Aaki pukes immediately and can’t look directly at the bodies.


[OOC: Stamina + Resistance, Difficulty 4 to not have the bodies or their smell bother you. Otherwise, you get sick and are at -2 to any dice pool.]

Esbilon Esbilon Epiphany Epiphany Rykon Rykon Sherwood Sherwood D. Rex D. Rex Random Word Random Word Teh Frixz Teh Frixz jaydude jaydude
 
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D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Snow was beginning to accumulate on the wool of her coat by the time they stopped to survey the scene. Afureru knew what it was even before the smell hit her.

From her height atop her beast, she looked down at the display. Immediately she wished that she hadn't. In her minds eye she could see it all. She could see how it would have gone down. To have been left alone to die, naked and impaled, would have been the greatest mercy at that point. Taken by cold, or blood loss, or the raitons. The luckiest would have died by the less experience torturers who did not know how to impale a man and keep them alive. No. There was no luckiest... who was she kidding. These people had gone through unspeakable horrors before the stakes. Unspeakable horrors, but she knew all of them.

The snow below striped and pooled with blood frozen fresh and frozen rotten. A mixture of grey and red and brown and white. That bled through every fresh layer of snow that fell. How horrible it would be to see what had been covered.

But she could see it. Her mind flashed back to similar atrocities commited by her own hand. Painting the snow plains with blood as far as she could and leaving behind a message of pain and fear. Mangled bodies who told an obvious story of what they went through. But it was always more than a message... it was sheer bliss of doing something so depraved and of the reaction it would draw.

It was all too familiar. The stench and the corpses. That wasn't what made her sick. No. She had been around that too often. It was the memories of her doing those very things. That made her sick. It was that she could almost feel in the back of her mind a habitual hunger at what she was missing out on. It was horrible to even think about now. Everything together twisting into a great mass of nausea and regret.

She fought it though. Steeled herself against the thoughts and memories. Against the smell and the scene. She was not that anymore. She knew that. She was beyond it. This was what she was meant to withstand. If her knees buckled whenever she was confronted with her past, she could never move forward. She kept telling herself that. Cast away all of that and summon fury. But that was easier said than done.




OOC
Sta+Res 5
Excellency 3 for 3mts
Stunt 2
10 die


5 successes
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

Once or maybe twice, as a child, Aeliana had made the mistake of wandering into what could have best been described as the ‘sanitation’ corridors at the Arena of her birth. While most of the causal horrors of the Arena were etched into her essence, the slaughter of the games and the deviant hunger of the crowds. The aftermath of the games though, there was no valor here, no victory, no truths found in the piles of rotting corpses.

The child Aeliana had to run away, bare feet slipping in the offal mess, tears forming from the noxious air and the imagery before her. Like most of the horrors in her life, she was forced to box it up and push it away.

That box sure was rattling right now, Aeliana feeling abject horror rumble inside her. It wasn’t even the sight before her but more so the memory that haunted her. The past was gone and her life before exaltation and purpose was gone

The memory surged forward, bile rising in her throat. She was going to vomit.

No no no no, not in front of the fans, the crowd, the games. She wasn’t that person and she wasn’t part of that past any longer.

Through force of will, details of her memory begin to fade, pushed aside and replaced with the blinding, brilliant warmth of the Sun. These bodies, they were unfortunate failures in the pursuit of truth but they weren’t her, they weren’t her people. They were as real and as important as the rocks and trees around them, no more no less. Banners. It was just banners of a false proclamation. She didn’t see the bodies as they were, the world warping a bit to something more comfortable for her mind.

The pain on her face falls to the wayside, replaced by the banal expression of someone looking at a sign above a milestone.

“We must be on the right path then. Activity afoot. I hope where we draw the dead to battle is a better locale for our mortal escorts.”

She takes a deep breath and flits over toward Aaki, patting his back gently and wishing him well in earnest.



((Rolling))

OOC
StamRes 6
Stunt 2
5 successes
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Tyree frowns, her hands grasping the haft of her spear tightly. "This. Is. Barbaric. And I will not stand here and let this happen." She takes a step forward, fully intent on cutting the bodies down from the hideous display.

6 successes
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
It takes significant effort for Ranna to persuade Sigrdrífa she doesn't need to remain behind to watch over them while their warriors make preparations to follow. She takes the oath to see them safely to Zoya extremely seriously, and communicates in no uncertain terms her displeasure should any of them allow themselves to be harmed before she can return to escort them, and how while her oath demanded she see them safely to Zoya, 'safely' could be such a loosely defined term.

She is unmoved by the impaled bodies. She has seen worse. Done worse. Death smells the same everywhere. This is an empty display of strength to cow or ward off the weak. Mutilating the defeated does not take strength, but the weak do not know strength to see it, and so it serves its purpose.

Speaking of the weak. She laughs at Aaki, clapping him on the shoulder as she passes, "Have you considered that perhaps a shadowland is not where you belong if you cannot stomach your namesake, Whirling Death?"

Still, if any of them are visibly of a tribe she recognizes, she will assist Tyree in cutting the bodies down to burn.

[Resistance 5 + Stamina 4 + Stunt 2 + 2m Resistance Excellency Cause Failing Would Be Embarrassing AF. Thanks, dice.]
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya is not a stranger to horror. Even before her Exaltation, she has lived near the Fell all her life and journeyed into it often, and though most of those journey were rather more peaceful and hopeful than this sight, it is hardly the first time she has seen things no one should.

OOC: Sta 2 + Res 1 + Exc 3 + Stunt 2. 6 sux. Who'd have thought Zoya was the toughest around.
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Makuro had ended up postponing his scouting in order to acquire a more suitable form for daytime exploration. He eventually set eyes upon a snow partridge, and after some time succeeded in catching it unawares, wringing its neck and drinking its heart's blood. After that, he went back to flying around and observing for anything of interest, this time using his new form, but returned to the others in the afternoon, lest they start getting worried about his absence.

He was with the rest of the group when they came across the group of impaled corpses, and did his best to push down the rising wave of nausea he felt at the sight. He didn't succeed.

---

"Not a single word." he growled to the others once he was done hunching over and regurgitating his lunch. Aaki might have had a similar reaction to him, but that didn't make things any less embarrassing for the Changing Moon.

Stamina + Resistance pool is 5 dice, and claiming 2 more from a one-point stunt. Gonna use 3m Personal Essence for my Stamina Excellency to give me three more dice. Only two successes.
Essence: 1
Personal Essence: 13/16
Peripheral Essence: 33/38

Committed Essence: 5 (Hundred Rings)

Willpower: 6
Join Battle: 7
Health Levels:
-0: [_]
-1: [_], [_]
-2: [_], [_], [_], [_], [_], [_]
-4: [_], [_], [_]
Resolve 4, Guile 4

Attacks
Hundred Rings (13 Withering, 10 Decisive, 14 Damage, Overwhelming 4)
Unarmed (14 Withering, 10 Decisive, 9 Damage, Overwhelming 1)

Actions
Rush: 7 dice
Disengage: 10 dice

Evasion 5, Parry 6
Soak/Hardness: 6/0 (Buff Jacket, +3 Soak)
 
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D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Afureru looked down at her hands. She had been half expecting to feel the phantom sensation of playing with flesh like a child plays with clay. It wasnt there. She half expected the rancid smell to stir up more memories. But it didn't. It was just disgusting.

We are a different person than we used to be. She thought to herself. There was never a need to worry. The world we left behind has no power over us. We will wade through anything to do our long forgotten duty to Creation.

Still. Even as her stomach settled, she could not help but feel a sense of hesitation at returning to the deadlines. No. That wasn't right. She had never been there before but visions of worse sights cropped into her head as if it were deja vu. However that didn't matter. Creation belonged to the Sun. She would walk through a thousand deadlands to purge creation of their taint.


Afureru held up her hand to signal to the soldiers behind her, getting the attention of her officers. With many in the front who had seen the welcoming still reaching while others tried to cover their noses and avert their gaze. She didn't blame them for that reaction. Many had yet to be fully tested against the true horrors out there.

"I need volunteers. As many as will help. Gather the bodies, and start a bonfire. We shall see these bodies can at least the cleansed of their pain and taint."

Without waiting she heeled her beast forward. The tyrant lizard huffed its protests. The meat was too spoiled for it to even want to go near, but it would do as its master commanded. Though it did snap at a passing cloud of raitons that its stomps had scared into flight.


Pulling her halberd from its harness, she let it slide down until she had it gripped at the bottom of the shaft, stopping at its pommel.


As she neared the bodies. She would lean down and give a wide swing, to chop the base of the stakes down as if they were small trees. Cleaving through them with ease. Her men and the other mortals did not need to bear witness to these gruesome totems any longer.

Surely with Tyree's help this would not take long.
 

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