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Shadows of the Setting Sun (Main)

Dice System
Exalted 3e
OOC
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Characters
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Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
"It was you and Tuon who claimed your warriors' prowess were responsible for bringing down the the invading army. If the Realm had been an army of mortal men entire facing up against the tribes of the North without any divine backing, I would believe the Realm would win, but that is not the battle we saw, so who can say for certain?" Zoya answers Sigrdrifa. "If you wish to speak of people, simply look at how very many people Whitewall has and how many different things they do with their lives! It is the nature of our society that allows it to grow so much larger than the tribes could ever hope to be, and thus allow so very many people to live lives they themselves find joy in. You may say one of your warriors could defeat any citizen of Whitewall in combat on the open tundra, and you may be right, but I say: What does that matter? The worth of a life is not in its ability to rob that same gift from others!"

She nods in understanding as Sigrdrifa continues, sadness on her face. "You speak of Underton. It is no tomb, in fact it is where I myself grew up. For all the good a society like Whitewall does, and for all the boons it offers its citizens, it is not perfect. Indeed, there are many injustices I would fix. Will fix. And those you speak of are among them." She looks up and her eyes catch the Night Caste's, "it may be that in the tribes everyone cares for their fellows, watches over them when they are sick, and mourns them when they die. In the city, that is not the case. When we come back, I can show you the nice parts of Underton, the communities that blossom in the darkness, the children at play - freshly bathed and protected from the cold even in the depth of winter. And when we come into our power, no one there will die alone and unmourned, no one will die from such casual violence, and no one will stay there except by choice."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Makuro smiled and nodded. "The Silver Pact will always take an interest in those who wage war against the Shogunate successors." he assured her. "That said, they may be wary about immediately allying with a Solar. They know the Realm and how it operates, but with their sudden return, the same cannot be said for the Solars. And you know how cautious people can get around the unknown."

He exhaled grimly. "We have not survived as long as we have through blindly trusting others outside of our faction. You will certainly be able to find allies among us, but it may take a bit of work. For the time being though, you can certainly count on me."

He then smiled and looked up at her mount. "A most curious beast you have here. Could you perhaps tell me more?"
"And I will give them a war of such legend that their kin will mark on their bodies in the next age." She remarked.. "nor should they trust us so easily. It would mark them as naive. But so too should they realize we are not here to shine boots for sliver of jade. And that is where I worry that we will start butting heads. As solars it is up to us to hold ourselves to the standard as examplified by the Unconquered Sun, I can think of nothing more worthy than that. And it is more than reasonable that they demand that of us. And for you. I shall work to not let your trust down."


Afureru looked down at the white furred beast she rode. "Oh him?" She asked, patting the giant lizard, "This thing was a right horror. They down often come down this far south. He eithergot wise that there was easy prey down here, or the Bull of the North scared him down, either way he likely crossed the frozen sea last winter. Me and the band were chasing reports of a monster terrorizing villages. Had eaten up at least four homesteads before we had tracked it down. It was the first real test of our resolve, and as I layed my eyes on its frost covered fur I knew that it was a sign from the Sun himself. If I could tame him, then nothing would stand in my way."

She smiled and raised her voice as if telling a story,"I needed to prove to myself that I was the biggest monster of these wastes. I disrobed and bared myself to the rising sun, wading knee deep through the snow I approached him alone with nothing but my bare hands. He roared at me and I bared my teeth. And I grinned. I grinned a grin he will never forget." She exclaimed. And made a big a grim as she could, trying hard to show all her teeth as possible, "Like that, see? I grinned him down. And he cowed like a prey animal. But I wasn't done. I got even closer, yanked him down by his teeth and laid onto him the Law of the Sun."


Petting the polar bear lizard fondly, she continued,"That was the easy part. He still has some training to go. But he has been nothing but enthusiastic. As he should be, he knows who the Apex Predator of the North is. He wouldn't want to disappoint me."
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
The icewalker shrugged, content to let the clash of cultures stop where it did for now. He was content with his way of life, the others clearly were with theirs as well. The debate on the realm however troubled him.

Icewalkers went through immense conditioning and training to survive the cold. Surely soldiers weighed down in metal from more pampering climbs would turn colors and crumble beneath the weight of the raw, unforgiving cold. Few foreigners truly stood a chance on Icewalker lands. The commanders may be Exalted, but armies never are. Would they have the discipline to keep their courage in the face of frosty death? Toun still retained his doubts, but it was of little consequence. Today their enemy was the dead. Tomorrow their enemy was the dead. Foreigners could wait their turn.

Sigrdrífa laughs, retorting without taking her eyes off the amulet, "Luck has nothing to do with it, Moon-chosen. You think I roll dice to decide who I take into my bed? And you, Toun, think so little of yourself as to agree? It is skill. To see you is a thing of beauty, to see you fight is sublime. And that was before you were Chosen. If this were not holy ground..." she sighs reluctantly, "Perhaps tomorrow, if we find no suitable game."
Casting a playful, loving glance to Sigrdrifa, Toun replies with a smile. "Silly Sigi. I don't need to be cheered up like some traumatized pet. I'm merely grateful for the extra blessings. Still, I could get used to the praise. As for your rematch, we can make time tonight if you really want. What's in it for me when I win though?"

"I can spit the farthest..." mutterrs Sigrdrífa, but she certainly won't complain about saving the arguing for post-hunt drinking, and sets out happily.
jaydude jaydude
"I'll bet you next bars drinks on it." She challenged.
Toun nearly falls over laughing just as he began to stand. "Well this trip just keeps getting better. I hope you warn the tavern before we show up."

Now getting back on the trail, he remained as he was, giving his human legs a chance to stretch. There were benefits to building his muscle memory in beast forms. He never knew when he might need to strike down someone as a bear, wrestle sharks as an orca, or the thrill of tearing apart terrain as the great leviathan Karkinos to use as his weapons. Still, after all the friends and family he'd bid farewell, this group made for refreshing company. Staying silent for too long seemed a waste.
 
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D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
The icewalker shrugged, content to let the clash of cultures stop where it did for now. He was content with his way of life, the others clearly were with theirs as well.


Casting a playful, loving glance to Sigrdrifa, Toun replies with a smile. "Silly Sigi. I don't need to be cheered up like some traumatized pet. I'm merely grateful for the extra blessings. Still, I could get used to the praise. As for your rematch, we can make time tonight if you really want. What's in it for me when I win though?"



Toun nearly falls over laughing just as he began to stand. "Well this trip just keeps getting better."

Now getting back on the trail, he remained as he was, giving his human legs a chance to stretch.
"Don't hog all the fun to yourselves. Where is my chance to dominate you? How about I get dibs on the winner."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Tyree laughs out loud at the play by play of the group, all bragging as to who can spit the farthest, when in all actuality, it was probably her. Not that she has any need to bring this up.

Now that the group is preparing to move out, and the fact that Tyree doesn't have a horse to ride on (or even know how to ride, for that matter), she shrugs into a form that is well adapted to the climate and can move much faster than she can in her human form: Her Totem Snow Bear form. Now she is a large white-furred bear, with massive paws and a large muzzle filled with sharp teeth, and thanks to the large pads on her paws, she is able to keep from sinking into the snow up to her gut with every step. Just like wearing a pair of snowshoes.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
"Don't hog all the fun to yourselves. Where is my chance to dominate you? How about I get dibs on the winner."
"If I deny her the grudge match I won't hear the end of it even three lives from now. That said, I've been spoiling for a real challenge since I met Luna. Another sparring partner or two couldn't hurt. I hope you can keep up, Bloodlight Siren. I don't pull punches." He replied with a savage smile.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa shrugs as she walks, looking up to bask in the sunlight and admire the intense blue of the cloudless sky in this sacred grove, "I disagree. I believe that had Arada of the Tepet tribe met Yurgen Kaneko on the field of battle, neither having been Chosen by the Spirits, that Arada would have retreated all the same, but you are right. I cannot prove it to you."

The pain in Zoya's voice pulls Sigrdrífa's gaze to meet her own. Sigrdrífa stares transfixed, nearly tripping over a stray root as she walks. Spirits, this woman could talk to her about ice fishing for hours and it would be riveting. She hated ice fishing. Zoya really believed what she was saying, too. These people in the dark were her tribe, and she wanted to take care of them. That was right and proper. And just seeing her sad was heartbreaking. It was so hard not to just agree with everything she said, to do anything that might dispel that sadness and see her smile again. Sigrdrífa felt a brief upwelling of fear. This must be Sorcery. Her fist clenches reflexively. What should she do? Kill her? Ugh, just the idea of hurting Zoya made her feel sick. She had never felt bad about hurting someone outside her people before. This was clearly some kind of magic, and she just needed to get away, right now, and stay away.

"You're annoyingly difficult to dislike, Sorcerer. Fine, I will see these places you speak of, and judge for myself." That wasn't- Spirits damnit, that's not staying away from her. Toun's sudden interjection is like a lifeline cast to a Southerner fallen through the ice and flailing uselessly. The spell is shattered and with some effort Sigrdrífa pulls her eyes away to turn and look at Toun, smiling with relief.

[What's it like to talk to a Charisma 5 + Appearance 5 + Harmonious Presence Meditation Solar you have a strong prejudice against?]

She's a bit surprised and undeniably excited when Afureru wants to make it a tournament and Toun agrees. "What's this? Are you saying I'm not enough of a challenge for you?" she asks with mock indignation and a badly concealed smile. "It doesn't matter what you might get if you win, because you won't. Sure, you might have been better than me before we were Chosen, but even I can't believe half the things I can do now." She rounds on Afureru, "And as for you, much as I admire your cunning plan to have us exhaust each other before you pounce on the victor and claim the crown, you'll have to fight someone else first. Aeliana, or Tyree. Whistling Devil over there doesn't count. Besides, you haven't even lost your first challenge yet, don't be so quick to line up to lose another."

At that moment Tyree adopts her spirit form and Sigrdrífa's eyes go wide. She's heard all the stories, of course, and Toun just changed this morning, but he was so little and fluffy and - "What!? Oh, this is so not fair. I didn't get fangs and I can't transform into a snow bear?"
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

Before her Exaltation, Aeliana had always spurned the sun. Her selection of clothing had always been meager at best and her fair skin had issues being caught out under his gaze. Apart from lighting up arenas for the games, she’d spent the majority of her life before hiding under the stands, a realm of shadows broken by beams of light. As she aged, her world became pits of blood and offal, metal bars and fluid stained sand.

Now, she found lost herself in the light of her soul. Far too often.

While some of her kind took to mounts of fantastical stature or plodding across the ground, Aeliana found herself further back among some mortals. Be it how they behaved in their short lives, how they spoke or what consumed their time but it drew her far more than the constant grinding of Exalted against one another.

She didn’t know their past struggles, she didn’t know their enemies, she didn’t know who and what she should love and hate. All she knew was the Arena, the Crowd, and the taste of Victory. Her cult understood but Exalted rarely could. They’d call her joys fleeting, her gifts wasted, and her triumph shallow but honestly, fie on them. They could complain all they wished but her cult, the many that understood the struggle of life and the fleeting finality of it with only the chance of glory over another being before the unchained gestalt consciousness of the crowd, they would be the ones to wash over everything. Argue as they wished, she was and always would be the Evervictor.

Not that this mattered at the moment. Instead what mattered was the sun above her. As she continued to stare directly at the sun, eyes wide open, Aeliana finally sprung up from her cobbled together palanquin, blinked once and took several large leaps towards the head of the column, aiming to land beside Sigrdrifa.

“Snow bear? Sounds soft and cuddly...Have I missed anything of note? I was gazing. Seems as much a use of my time as anything else would be out here. Where did the Dragonblood go?” She added the last bit quickly, grinning as she desired both attention and to see ‘Whistling Death’ either blush or faint at least once a day.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa smiles at Aeliana's infectious enthusiasm. "We're having a tournament," she proclaims, "You're in Afureru's bracket. The prize is... um..." She hadn't thought this far ahead.
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, the Evervictor

“Are we speaking of a tournament of skill or an actual game here? I don’t wish to be rid of such excellent traveling companions so soon.”

Her normally easy going air soured instantly into something quite dark before brightening.

“But I assume this is some game where we show off, measuring our talents and inflicting the most superficial damage to one another but holding back any sort of really serious attempting at slaying our friends and allies? Sounds quite fun! I’ll certainly play along!”

She looks left, spinning in place until she rotated right to look that direction. “Where is Afluff-fu anyways? We need to decide on our bracket victor and possibly assemble some sort of arena to put on the show, if we really want to go for it..”

Seemingly having forgotten their whole point of heading east, she halts the mortals in line and starts directing them to help setting up a camp, causing the beginnings of a backup in their train.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa looks nonplussed for a moment, "Oh, yes, you aren't allowed to actually kill anyone. You didn't do this sort of thing as a kid, huh? No dismembering, either. Save that for - what are you... oh, no, not, like, now. We still have a long way to go today. Maybe tonight and - wait, what's an arena?"
 
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Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya's first instinct is to answer Sigrdrifa's claim with the fact that had neither Yurgen Kaneno nor Tepet Arada been Exalted, they would have been far too old to fight effectively, and more to the point she was talking about their armies, not their personal prowess. But as the other moves on, she lets it drop. Convincing tribesfolk of the virtues of a settled society is not something that will be achieved in a day, and their ability to kill each other is very much not the area she wants to found her argument on.

As the conversation around her shifts to organising a sparring tournament, she is at first left rather flat-footed, but quickly recovers and offers, "if you want, I can write a song celebrating the victor."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Sigrdrífa clicks her tongue happily, "Oh! Yes! That's an excellent prize! Your people are good at songs. I heard so many yesterday. And prizes suitable for Toun are probably not as, mm, motivating to everyone else, but everyone loves songs." She pauses, considering, then smiles mischievously and crosses her arms, "First you'll have to prove you're a worthy prize for a competition of this significance, of course. Show us what we're apparently," she points at Aeliana with her lips, "risking life and limb for."
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
A smile spreads across Zoya's face at Sigrdrifa's challenge. Her eyes sparkle and without preamble, her voice rings out clear and pure. At once it is as if the woods around them come alive with the tale spun by the Zenith's song. She sings of a young hero who travels across the world to avenge the death of his king, of the giants he slays, and the princess he woos. Though her only accompaniment is the wind through the trees and the trilling of the bids, the world aligns with the will of the Solar Exalted, and it is almost as if she were standing the Syndics' grand temple.

 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, The Evervictor

“I don’t have them do anything” Aeliana looks back over her shoulder while diverting and directing traffic around before Zoya and sigrdifa managed to distract her from organizing the mortals into an ill timed construction crew. As Aeliana stepped away, heading back over to the pair, her mortal crew began hurrying back into the train, figuring correctly that Aeliana had already lost interest.

She listened with rapt attention, eyes without focus. The everpresent smile on her face turns to a wide, extremely pleased grin. Each note drawing another overdone expression from the Evervictor who, at the culmination clapped with earnest joy.

“Wonderous! You’ve set my blood alight! Quick! Feel my skin, bumps not felt since my last good bought. That is a quite the prize! We need to sing together, perhaps at one of my upcoming fights, just wait till you see them. Wonderful! The mortals need to hear this...”
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
The whole caravan could have been beset by hungry ghosts and for the duration of Zoya's song Sigrdrífa might not have noticed, so enthralling was the story she wove. Sigrdrífa couldn't have told you if she even drew breath before Aeliana's applause broke the silence that followed the final note, startling Sigrdrífa back to reality.

She nods in agreement at Aeliana's assessment. "Spirits. I've heard the Champion of Nightingale sing, but it was nothing compared to you," she says as she stares with undisguised awe. She grins, "Well now the spear has been planted. We will have to commit our souls entire to have a bout worthy of one of your songs." Clearly some Settled people were better than her people at things that mattered. She looks at Aeliana, surprised as the words catch up to her, "Wait, you sing, too?"
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
"And I will give them a war of such legend that their kin will mark on their bodies in the next age." She remarked.. "nor should they trust us so easily. It would mark them as naive. But so too should they realize we are not here to shine boots for sliver of jade. And that is where I worry that we will start butting heads. As solars it is up to us to hold ourselves to the standard as examplified by the Unconquered Sun, I can think of nothing more worthy than that. And it is more than reasonable that they demand that of us. And for you. I shall work to not let your trust down."


Afureru looked down at the white furred beast she rode. "Oh him?" She asked, patting the giant lizard, "This thing was a right horror. They down often come down this far south. He eithergot wise that there was easy prey down here, or the Bull of the North scared him down, either way he likely crossed the frozen sea last winter. Me and the band were chasing reports of a monster terrorizing villages. Had eaten up at least four homesteads before we had tracked it down. It was the first real test of our resolve, and as I layed my eyes on its frost covered fur I knew that it was a sign from the Sun himself. If I could tame him, then nothing would stand in my way."

She smiled and raised her voice as if telling a story,"I needed to prove to myself that I was the biggest monster of these wastes. I disrobed and bared myself to the rising sun, wading knee deep through the snow I approached him alone with nothing but my bare hands. He roared at me and I bared my teeth. And I grinned. I grinned a grin he will never forget." She exclaimed. And made a big a grim as she could, trying hard to show all her teeth as possible, "Like that, see? I grinned him down. And he cowed like a prey animal. But I wasn't done. I got even closer, yanked him down by his teeth and laid onto him the Law of the Sun."


Petting the polar bear lizard fondly, she continued,"That was the easy part. He still has some training to go. But he has been nothing but enthusiastic. As he should be, he knows who the Apex Predator of the North is. He wouldn't want to disappoint me."
"Most impressive." replied the Changing Moon with a hint of amused nervousness, struggling as he was to comprehend the fact that this Solar had opted to strip naked and wrestle such a gigantic monster. If all her kind were all capable of such things after so little time as a Chosen, few would serve as sufficient enemies.

Esbilon Esbilon Random Word Random Word Teh Frixz Teh Frixz
Makuro chuckled. Much like Sigrdrífa, he'd been completely enthralled by Zoya's song.

"If you can sing as well as our priestess here, such a duet would truly be the wonder of the century." he said to Aeliana.
 

Teh Frixz

That lady robot
Aeliana, the Evervictor

She looks at Aeliana, surprised as the words catch up to her, "Wait, you sing, too?"
Aeliana shrugs, still mostly entranced by the performance. “Nothing quite so exquisite! If you must know, I often sing and perform before my shows in the arena something that gets the cult ready for the display. This...” she gestures toward Zoya. “This is song meant for true respect.”

Twirling on her heel, reinvigorated by the music, Aeliana approaches the indomitable Sigrdrífa and clasps her hands on the taller woman’s cheeks. “And don’t think I didn’t hear you.” Almost nose to nose with her, voice serious in tone and nearly a whisper, the Evervictor stares with her dull eyes. “An Arena is a place of truth, where life meets a beautiful death and all of our petty little issues are burnt away under the gaze of the Unconquered Sun. Rewarding those that remain victor and glorifying those that fall.”

Aeliana blinks, coming back to herself and backing away. “I’d love nothing more than a chance to prove myself to you Makuro, I’ll need to practice to attain such a standard as we’ve just witnessed.”
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Makuro gave Bear-Tyree a look of mild amusement, as if wondering what was up with her. When Aeliana spoke to him, he smiled at her and gave a polite shrug of his shoulders.

"As you wish." he said.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Toun found himself relaxing and focusing on little more than the sound of the song as they walked on the trail toward Marama's Fell. In his mind, he played out the tale of the hero's journey with a smile on his face. He hummed with satisfaction once she finished her ballad. "A prayer sung like this is a suitable reward. If only I could get you and the Evervictor here to teach a proper chorus to attend my altar regularly."

***

At Sigrdrifa's surprise, he raises an eyebrow. "You can't sing? Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever heard you actually try singing in the campfire parties at the conclave. I might not have been the best but even I sang at festivals." He gave her a heavy pat on the back with a big grin. "Ah well, I'm sure you'll find your voice one way or another."

***

"These arenas sound somewhat similar to the experience of a raid or ambush, Evervictor. Though I can't say I recall feeling the sun at my back in those times. For me. it was the radiant glow of the moon casting my prey in the last light of life. You stick around long enough with us and you'll feel the thrill of a grand battle soon enough Evervictor. Whether it's facing down a monstrous behemoth or leviathan, culling the tide of walking dead, or wading through wave after wave of shiftless Fae, I look forward to seeing how everyone handles the field." He paused, nearly forgetting the last note. "Ah, as well as the fruit of your singing practice."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Aeliana is a living, breathing spectacle in motion, and so swept up is Sigrdrífa in the performance Aeliana's hands are already in place by the time her mind catches up with the danger. She can't tell if the strange foreigner intends to challenge her, kill her, or kiss her, and the uncertainty leaves her off balance and her heart racing. Reflexes honed over many lifetimes cause her hands to snap up to clamp down on Aeliana's wrists and she becomes very still, body tensed and ready to strike, searching for any sign of hostile intent. There is hidden wisdom in minds touched by the Spirits, but also danger, and she does not have a good grasp on Aeliana's particular brand of madness. She did just have to explain that she hadn't casually suggested murdering Toun would be a fun way to pass an evening, suggesting this foreign land had an unsettlingly cavalier attitude toward life and death for friend as well as foe.

Sensing no killing intent she relaxes slightly, and then suddenly Aeliana rises on her toes and leans in, their faces almost touching, and Sigrdrífa blushes, lips slightly parted, still undecided as to whether to protest or encourage. She can hardly say she hadn't noticed. Afureru could have been chance, but at this point it was clear the Sun had a type - Kaneko must have been an exception - and she couldn't say she disagreed. This all seemed a bit sudden, though. Her train of thought is derailed as Aeliana stops as abruptly as she started, and finally Sigrdrífa understands what's going on - this must be some strange foreign rite of challenge. On firm footing once again she grins and meets Aeliana's gaze defiantly, "Toun speaks truly - this 'arena' sounds like every day on the ice, though the Spirit watching is rarely the life-giving Sun. What makes your 'arena' special?"

She releases her grip on Aeliana's wrists to make a rude gesture at Toun at the patronising comment about her singing without breaking her staring contest, "What are you, a priest now? I thought you left altars and ceremonies to Rua- Oh," she realizes her mistake, removing Aeliana's hands to turn to look at Toun, aghast, "Sorry, I didn't - I mean, that makes - I understand." To take up the mantle of a fallen sibling was fitting.
 
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Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Remorse was a poor compliment to a sun-blessed beauty like Sigrdrifa. The ascended fox god lifted a finger to his beloved's chin, directing her eyes at him. Sunlight filtered from above. Its rays highlighting the white of his hair, the fur that both lined and comprised his coat, and the chiseled features of a figure honed to embrace the apex of violence. The warrior made divine was now shining as true as Luna in her fullest resplendent glory. He drew her gaze to his in a paradox of warmth radiating from the cold blue of his eyes.

"Allow me to clarify, now that I can dispense with your distractions..." His voice rumbled in tone likened to a storm both distant yet imminently present as he drew closer to speak into her ear. "It is not the mantle of priest that I took. It was our god's. His destruction was an act of mercy. An honorable release from a curse afflicting him as an adhering toxin with no end. I consumed what remained of him. His authority, his domain, his power are mine to command. I am Whitefang now and should Ruac still draw breath, where ever he is, he is now my priest."

He leaned back to lock eyes with hers once more. "That is, unless you would rather sing to me, sweet Sigi. Reserve that voice of yours for me, and I will treasure your songs above all others." His smirk was both taunt and temptation bound as a promise. Even if his words did manage to sting before or even now, his posture and expression betrayed his sincerity. As if to press her into a corner, he doubled down to pull on her competitive streak, wringing from the depths of her heart the urge to rise to the occasion. "Do you have the courage to stand up to this challenge, Sigi?"

[Were he to throw dice, he'd activate a full Appearance Excellency to punctuate his taunt for an additional 8 up to 11. Also a reminder, I left Ruac's status as technically MIA, presumed KIA, in case our ST wants to use that at some point later.]
 

Esbilon

Seven Thousand Club
Zoya is not quite sure how to feel about these two exalts so casually talking about their own divinity. Her own view is very much that gods are gods, mortals are mortals, and exalts are exalts. The three groups each have distinct roles to play and for one to claim another's resonsibilities is likely to lead to more sorrow than joy. Still, it doesn't seem her place to protest and certainly not now.

"We do not have arenas like the ones Aeliana refers to in Whitewall, but I have heard tell of them. While I am happy for you that you thrive in them," she says to the Evervictor, "many who go into them do not do so of their own free will. It is a place where human and animal suffering are made a spectacle for the enjoyment of the crowds. Men and women forced there by threat of violence or by poverty, animals driven by the lash of the whip or the prod of a spear - starved to make them hungry for the blood of innocents," she explains with obvious disgust. "I do not object to building something like that for a series of friendly bouts, but you should know the legacy you invoke before doing so."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
This day was so full of difficult to process revelations and larger than life characters it had started to take on a surreal dreamlike quality. She half expected to wake up and realize she'd been on a wyld-fuelled spirit quest, beginning the long process of unpacking the significance of all of this with the shamans. There was hearing your lover was Chosen, and then there was seeing it in person after a chance meeting on the other side of the world, learning their entire band had been wiped out, and that they had ascended to become one with their Totem. What do you say to that? He certainly looked divine in this moment, limned in holy light that perfectly accentuated a physique she would have believed hewn from a mountain by the gods if she hadn't seen and appreciated how it was built over a decade of hard work. Most of it was covered, but her imagination enthusiastically filled in the rest. He was more than just handsome, though. He seemed suffused with more virility than a mortal form could contain. The light and his hand on her chin irresistibly guide her eyes to the fangs, the peerless killer's mien, the eyes you could get lost in. How could she argue with her own senses, when every little detail proclaimed she was in the presence of something more than mortal? Maybe it was possible? Some Spirits had been mortal once.

The dream veered sharply into nightmare when her Chosen-Spirit-lover (which was not a social role she was at all equipped to handle) asked her to worship him with song. Not the severed heads of his enemies, or heroic deeds, or trophies from great beasts, or precious treasures, but song. One of the things she felt least qualified to give him. It was like that dream where she'd shown up to Convocation weak as a babe and failed to even qualify in front of everyone. When she woke up from this dream she was certain Ylva would have so much to say about this moment. What did it say about her soul, to conjure such torment? Saying no was unthinkable; not to a Totem and not to a Moon-Chosen, and when he used that tone and intimated she might not be brave enough it made her blood boil and before she'd really thought about it -

"I've faced down the frost giant Inupasugjuk and more hungry ghosts than I can count, and you think I'm frightened to sing for you? Don't be ridiculous." The struggle to figure out how to get out of actually following through on this without admitting weakness is plain on her face. "First you'll have to prove you're Whitefang. Surely a war Spirit would have no difficulty defeating me, so I can't swear anything until you do." That'll buy me some time. "Annnnd if I'm reserving my voice for you, naturally no one else can be around to hear it." It'll still be humiliating, but at least no one else will hear. "And of course not just any song would be worthy of you, my love. I'll have to find one that does you justice." Perfect. You can drag that out for ages. Enough time to have Zoya teach you how to sing if nothing else. She bites her lip, presses herself against him, and puts her hands on his hips to pull them towards her, "In the meantime, I'm certain I can come up with other ways to worship you. If you prove you're really a god." Distract him and maybe he'll forget this entire mad idea.
 

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