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Trial by Fire - IC Thread

Dice System
Exalted 3e
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jaydude

Three Thousand Club
The large man scratches at his thick beard, obviously thinking. "Ah, lets see here. It does seem to be a hard thing to remember, but I am thinkin it was . . . Belinda. No, that's not it. Melinda. Yes, that was it. She is a hard one to keep in mind, if ye know what I mean. What of you? You say a woman sent you here. Was it the same wee lass?" He starts to tromp his way over towards you, his peg leg making for some unusual tracks in the snow, coming to a stop a few feet away as he looks you over.

Planting his hands on his hips, he says, "I see you also be carrying weapons of the Exalted. Are you one of the Dragon Blooded? Or something else?"
"Indeed. That sounds like the woman who directed me here." Kuaidao replied calmly. "As for what I am..."

He lifted up his helmet and channeled a mote of Essence into his Caste Mark, revealing the shining circle and ring to Rory.

"What about you? What manner of Exalt are you?" he asked.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
"Indeed. That sounds like the woman who directed me here." Kuaidao replied calmly. "As for what I am..."

He lifted up his helmet and channeled a mote of Essence into his Caste Mark, revealing the shining circle and ring to Rory.

"What about you? What manner of Exalt are you?" he asked.
The large man gives you a toothy grin and a laugh. "Ah! A fellow Ascending Sun!" He also focuses his Essence into showing off a golden disk on his forehead. "I was starting to wonder if you were one of the hunters that keep on trying to kill me off, but it seems that you are in the same sled as I am!"
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Something in Maja fractures with the rock. She stands transfixed, grim satisfaction mixed with horror, elation with despair, until the screams bring it all crashing down on her and she jerks her head away as if struck, unable to watch. Her feelings are pulling her in every direction at once and she can't process it she just needs to be not here right now and suddenly she realizes there's wind rushing under her wings and she's high above the pass. She focuses on each steady slow beat of her wings as she gains altitude and nothing else until a sort of numbness sets in. Feeling nothing is better than feeling anything right now. Once she's high enough she settles into an effortless glide back to the fortress, coasting and riding the occasional thermal to maintain altitude. She buries herself deep under the owl's mind in a place that couldn't care less about those people, that can't even conceive of the Realm, and stays there until she arrives.
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
The large man gives you a toothy grin and a laugh. "Ah! A fellow Ascending Sun!" He also focuses his Essence into showing off a golden disk on his forehead. "I was starting to wonder if you were one of the hunters that keep on trying to kill me off, but it seems that you are in the same sled as I am!"
"Indeed it does." replied Kuaidao, giving Rory a grin and laugh of his own. "And thus it seems I have no further reason to deny you entry."

With that, he pushed open the door to the Invisible Fortress, allowing both men to step inside. Once they were out of the cold, the Dawn turned to look at the Zenith.

"You gave your name as Red Rory of the Steppes earlier, and you spoke in a tongue reminiscent of those in the North." he said. "If I may ask, where precisely are you from, and how did you come to be chosen by the Unconquered Sun?"
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Kuaidao

The large man scratches at his thick beard, obviously thinking. "Ah, lets see here. It does seem to be a hard thing to remember, but I am thinkin it was . . . Belinda. No, that's not it. Melinda. Yes, that was it. She is a hard one to keep in mind, if ye know what I mean. What of you? You say a woman sent you here. Was it the same wee lass?" He starts to tromp his way over towards you, his peg leg making for some unusual tracks in the snow, coming to a stop a few feet away as he looks you over.

Planting his hands on his hips, he says, "I see you also be carrying weapons of the Exalted. Are you one of the Dragon Blooded? Or something else?"


Maja

Waiting in the cold, you watch as the camp begins to break up and pack its tents to begin the march forward once more. By the time that the column reaches the pass, you are ready to do your damage, with many large rocks already prepped to go with a good push. Reaching deep into yourself, the Lunar warrior sends the first of the boulders crashing down, causing the cascade of snow, broken trees and other rocks to go plummeting down onto the marching soldiers.

The roar of the avalanche drowns out the sound of the screams of the doomed men below as many tons of rock and snow hammer down into them, cutting the column of men in half, with a hefty amount of men crushed by the 'natural' disaster. Then, a second rockslide from the other side of the pass comes crashing down, burying the trapped men under even more snow. Your keen eyes spot the now familiar shape of the giant mountain spirit Rhabwar slipping back out of sight after lending a claw.

From your vantage point, you cannot see exactly how many men have been killed, or if any of the Dragon Blooded with the men have fallen victim to the avalanche. It will take a while for the dust to settle for you to be able to get a good look at the damage done. Do you stick around to look, or do you move out?


Spider and Bard

With morning, everyone is slow in climbing out of the warmth of the various bedrolls positioned around the campfire, but duty is a hard master and doesn't care about how chilly it is outside. Milo exits his tent, stretches, and then begins to perform some basic training katas to get the blood flowing once more, working out the kinks of the night. He doesn't say as much, but he does leave enough room next to him for Spider to join him in some light bladework.

Mahina steps out of the tent, looking about the camp and warming her hands in front of the fire, glancing over towards Bard and giving him a smile.

After a hot meal, you are on the move once more. At this pace, and the distance you have to go, you expect to be at the fortress by mid day, giving Bard even more time to work his charm on everyone.

Waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed, Bard exudes the energy of the morning sun. It was going to be a good day. Even better as Mahina seemed to give him a smile first thing. What a dear she was. He really hoped what was to come today did not break the two dynasts. He felt like they really would make good allies to creation. And he felt he could put them on a path that was much more fulfilling to their nature and their spirit. And having such allies could be invaluable to threat ahead. But could it be possible in such a short amount of time?

Well, Bard would just have to try all the harder.

Waiting for breakfast, Bard unslung his sanxian, playing an upbeat melody. A tune reminiscent of a warm early morning sun on a cold day. As much as he wanted to pour himself into his music, he did his best to keep from distracting the soldiers from their early toils, instead giving them a nice ambient vibe to wake them up and reinvigorate their minds. Just like how the petals of flowers turn to the sun as it peaks over the horizon.

As breakfast did roll around, Bard struck up conversation. Simply friendly chit chat it would seem. Starting as simple questions to get people at ease. Getting to know the soldiers and talking about things as mundane as the state of the realm and threshold such as weather and good fortune.

But what he really wanted to do was get to know Milo and Mahina. And it started with him getting philosophical about life and the kind of things one wants from it to set the mood. Amd opening up about itself to help get them to want to do the same.

"I still haven't really found what I want to do with life. Like that magnum opus that I want to define me. All I really know is that I want bring good to the people of creation. During my travels I have seen a lot of bad things. A lot of evils out there. Monsters with insidious hunger. Men tempted by corruption and greed and malice. Demons and death and everything in between. I am no so stupid as to believe I can stop it. It is too easy to be lured by evil. Too many who succumb to its offers and temptations. That is always what is spoken of in tales, isn't it. Countless stories exist throughout history of the good becoming evil. Yes, there are stories out there of redemption. And are some of the best. But why aren't there more? Why can't there be more? I want to see more of those stories. I want to help make those stories happen. I want the evil to feel the temptation towards the good. To feel the pull of the light. Haha! A but sappy, I know, darkness has such a lovely voice that too many fall to. I think it is only right to turn our voice back on them. Bodies can be shackled or killed, but it is the changing of hearts that truly make a difference."

[Revealing Defining Principal "Darkness sings and must be responded with in kind"]

Of course there more reason than just getting them softened up. He wanted them to know what kind of person he was. To accept it. That when the time came that learned what he was. They would least already have an idea of what he was about.

After that little talk, Bard talked a bit about how it ties to his adventuring.

He continued.

"So what about you two?" He asked Milo and Mahina. "What strives you ever onward? Hunting a manor like this is no small project. Why then? And what are you going to do with it? You don't seem the type to be in it only for the fortune and glory. Duty then? To help the people of the realm? Securing this site could do a lot of good... uncovering mysteries to lead to great advancements or even just to keep it out of the wrong hands. Don't worry, I can't say my motives for getting into this was the best, after all I did come to you just looking to take on a job, but I ended up find a tale I believe worth telling in the tavern. And of course, you, Mahina." He grinned, concluding with wink at the mentioned dynast.

[Read intentions: how do they feel about their cause?]


Moments later as the topics turn. Bard once again steers the conversation to another point of curiosity. "I can't imagine it being easy out here for all. This far from the realm, have you all had any issues? There are still a lot of people in the Threshold that don't put a lot of weight or faith into the Immaculate Philosophy. But you two seem to resonate well with the people, so you seem do be doing pretty fine."

[Read Intentions: How devout are they to Immaculate Philosophy?"

"Oh! That does remind me. We are getting into the imp controlled region. Like I told yall, I made peace with them. So we can get right on by them. They won't be any trouble to us, so let us try not to bother them. Now, I know it might rub some a bit of the wrong way, but part of the way I made peace was by offering them a deal. They were summoned to protect the place but they were pretty unhappy about it. So I offered a solution. To find a way to get them what they want or need to help them prosper here, and in turn they could share their properties and possibly protection to Wranglers Knob. Goodness knows a few less rock wolves could do the town good. And a trading partner would help too. As well as the stipulation they can return to Malfeas. I figured we could turn that desire to stay in creation as a force for good. They get to stay in return for doing some good in their tethered region. I, however, am not a sorcerer. Nor know really much about it. I saw you throw some magic at the wolves," he said gesturing to Mahina. "Maybe you can help me here? You are a sorceress aren't you?" He asked.


[Would this be rolling to convince someone to do a task?]



[I figure ill stop here for now to keep from overloading Sherwood with rolls and stuff to reply to.]
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
"Indeed it does." replied Kuaidao, giving Rory a grin and laugh of his own. "And thus it seems I have no further reason to deny you entry."

With that, he pushed open the door to the Invisible Fortress, allowing both men to step inside. Once they were out of the cold, the Dawn turned to look at the Zenith.

"You gave your name as Red Rory of the Steppes earlier, and you spoke in a tongue reminiscent of those in the North." he said. "If I may ask, where precisely are you from, and how did you come to be chosen by the Unconquered Sun?"
When Kuaidao pushes the door open, Rory stands there for a moment, as if he is trying to decide if he should be upset at how easy it was for you to open the door. Then, the large man bursts into laughter. "That's it? That is all I had to do to get in? Ha! And here I was, standing out here, freezing my nuts, and it was just that simple to open the door! Ha ha ha!" With a shake of his head, he follows you in.

As Rory looks about, he lets out a few surprised words in the strange dialect that you don't understand. "Aye, I am Red Rory. The red part," he tosses his long hair, "is from these glorious locks of mine. Rory is just the rest of my name. I come from a town some distance from here, far to the north, up close to the Wylds where the Fair Folk live. We have a treaty with the Fae, one that keeps the Fae from taking the people of our town so long as we don't stray across the edge of our negotiated borders. As a young lad, I was feeling somewhat invulnerable, and I decided to try my luck at nabbing some furs on the other side of the of the border with several of my friends."

"That was not the smartest thing that we've ever done, because it was not long into our foray that we ran into several of the Fair Folk, looking to nab us and do whatever it is that they do to their prisoners. We ran, hoping to get away and get back to our lands. But with every trick we would try to hide our trail, the blasted Fae were right on our tails. They were just toying with us, and there was nothing we could do to get away. So, I turned to fight, hoping to let my friends get away while I bought time with my own life. But instead of dying, I Exalted as one of the Sun's Chosen! With my new power, I was able to destroy my pursuers, and I returned home a hero! It was glorious! Up until my mother got ahold of me and tanned my Exalted hide for being so foolish for going into the Fae lands in the first place."

He chuckles at the memory of a little old woman spanking the rear end of one of the mighty Solar Exalted, and Rory being too cowed by his mother to do anything to stop her. "I have since become the protector of my home town, using my powers to keep my family and friends safe. I'd still be there if it were not for Melinda's message, asking me for my help."


At this point, the two of you are met by the Curator of the Fortress. It says, "Ah, Master Kuaidao. Welcome back."


Maja

In your bird form, it does not take you long to return to the Fortress, and just as you are approaching, you catch a glimpse off in the distance of Kuaidao entering the front doors of the place, but he is not alone. There is a rather large man with him, with the shine of a distinct golden metal on his back in the form of a large sword and a shield on his back, marking him as some sort of Exalt. From here, it is not possible to tell just what kind of Exalt this large man is, be it Dragon Blood, Lunar or Solar. The good news is, it does not appear that Kuaidao is in any sort of distress as the two go inside the building.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Bard and Spider

"So what about you two?" He asked Milo and Mahina. "What strives you ever onward? Hunting a manor like this is no small project. Why then? And what are you going to do with it? You don't seem the type to be in it only for the fortune and glory. Duty then? To help the people of the realm? Securing this site could do a lot of good... uncovering mysteries to lead to great advancements or even just to keep it out of the wrong hands. Don't worry, I can't say my motives for getting into this was the best, after all I did come to you just looking to take on a job, but I ended up find a tale I believe worth telling in the tavern. And of course, you, Mahina." He grinned, concluding with wink at the mentioned dynast.

[Read intentions: how do they feel about their cause?]
Mahina shares with you her sparking smile and laughter, and Milo just gives off a lout snort. The older sister answers for the two of them. "Family. That is the most powerful thing in the life of any member of the Realm worth mentioning. I set out on a journey, hunting down a trail of breadcrumbs that seemed to suggest that there was a large cache of First Age artifacts that was hidden away out here, somewhere in the wilderness. I was able to find enough documentation to show Mother and Father and was able to convince them to let me travel across Creation with Milo as my bodyguard. Soon enough, the trail of documents led me to Wangler's Knob where I had the good fortune to meet the two of you."

Milo snorts out a laugh. "Mahina fails to mention the fact that it took her years of wheedling and begging before our parents would give her the go-ahead to make this trip, be it with me at her side or not. She also doesn't mention the headaches she's induced in me as she goes on and on about how the find out here is likely to be one of the largest discovered in decades, running out into danger despite my best efforts to keep her from trying to kill herself in the name of research!"

Mahina lets out an embarrassed laugh of her own. "That fight with Chodo's people was not my fault! Well, not entirely my fault. Besides, they had it coming to them, for trying to rob us!"

It is clear that this is an important quest for them to help their House with the current strife in the Blessed Isle, and the wealth that they hope to find would go a long way to advance House V'neef.
Moments later as the topics turn. Bard once again steers the conversation to another point of curiosity. "I can't imagine it being easy out here for all. This far from the realm, have you all had any issues? There are still a lot of people in the Threshold that don't put a lot of weight or faith into the Immaculate Philosophy. But you two seem to resonate well with the people, so you seem do be doing pretty fine."

[Read Intentions: How devout are they to Immaculate Philosophy?"
Of the two, it quickly becomes clear that Milo is the more jaded and pragmatic sibling, being able to parrot the words of the Philosophy without being a devout follower of the Order. On the other hand, Mahina has taken the teachings to heart (or at least acts like it) much more than her brother.
"Oh! That does remind me. We are getting into the imp controlled region. Like I told yall, I made peace with them. So we can get right on by them. They won't be any trouble to us, so let us try not to bother them. Now, I know it might rub some a bit of the wrong way, but part of the way I made peace was by offering them a deal. They were summoned to protect the place but they were pretty unhappy about it. So I offered a solution. To find a way to get them what they want or need to help them prosper here, and in turn they could share their properties and possibly protection to Wranglers Knob. Goodness knows a few less rock wolves could do the town good. And a trading partner would help too. As well as the stipulation they can return to Malfeas. I figured we could turn that desire to stay in creation as a force for good. They get to stay in return for doing some good in their tethered region. I, however, am not a sorcerer. Nor know really much about it. I saw you throw some magic at the wolves," he said gesturing to Mahina. "Maybe you can help me here? You are a sorceress aren't you?" He asked.
With a shake of her head, Mahina says, "Oh, no. That was not sorcery that I used, but it was instead a power of my Aspect as one of the Air Dragons to be able to hurl lightning." She raises up her hands and you can see sparks fly about her fingers. "A handy ability to have, allowing me to defend myself even if I don't have a weapon in hand. But I am now quite curious about these imps, and how the old Solars were able to bind them here for so long. From what I've read of demons, summoning so many is no small feat to accomplish."

It is not until mid day that our intrepid heroes find themselves approaching the Fortress. You'll be there within the hour at your current pace.
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
"Thank you." Kuaidao said to the curator with a polite nod of his head. "This is Rory. He's a fellow Solar, a Zenith if I'm not mistaken."

The other Solar's comment and laugh about being disciplined by his mother following his Exaltation made Kuaidao chuckle, as well as instinctively think of his own parents. By now, he thought, news of what had happened to him would surely have made it back to them on the Blessed Isle. How would they have reacted to learning that one of their children was a supposed Anathema? Probably disowning him, he figured.

He then looked at Rory. "You say that you were the protector of your town before you came here. Do you think they'll be okay without you around?" he asked with a look of friendly concern.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Bard and Spider


Mahina shares with you her sparking smile and laughter, and Milo just gives off a lout snort. The older sister answers for the two of them. "Family. That is the most powerful thing in the life of any member of the Realm worth mentioning. I set out on a journey, hunting down a trail of breadcrumbs that seemed to suggest that there was a large cache of First Age artifacts that was hidden away out here, somewhere in the wilderness. I was able to find enough documentation to show Mother and Father and was able to convince them to let me travel across Creation with Milo as my bodyguard. Soon enough, the trail of documents led me to Wangler's Knob where I had the good fortune to meet the two of you."

Milo snorts out a laugh. "Mahina fails to mention the fact that it took her years of wheedling and begging before our parents would give her the go-ahead to make this trip, be it with me at her side or not. She also doesn't mention the headaches she's induced in me as she goes on and on about how the find out here is likely to be one of the largest discovered in decades, running out into danger despite my best efforts to keep her from trying to kill herself in the name of research!"

Mahina lets out an embarrassed laugh of her own. "That fight with Chodo's people was not my fault! Well, not entirely my fault. Besides, they had it coming to them, for trying to rob us!"

It is clear that this is an important quest for them to help their House with the current strife in the Blessed Isle, and the wealth that they hope to find would go a long way to advance House V'neef.

Of the two, it quickly becomes clear that Milo is the more jaded and pragmatic sibling, being able to parrot the words of the Philosophy without being a devout follower of the Order. On the other hand, Mahina has taken the teachings to heart (or at least acts like it) much more than her brother.

With a shake of her head, Mahina says, "Oh, no. That was not sorcery that I used, but it was instead a power of my Aspect as one of the Air Dragons to be able to hurl lightning." She raises up her hands and you can see sparks fly about her fingers. "A handy ability to have, allowing me to defend myself even if I don't have a weapon in hand. But I am now quite curious about these imps, and how the old Solars were able to bind them here for so long. From what I've read of demons, summoning so many is no small feat to accomplish."

It is not until mid day that our intrepid heroes find themselves approaching the Fortress. You'll be there within the hour at your current pace.
As there journey neared the keep, now was as good a time to prepare them as any. He told them of what he knew about the place. About how it was built by solars and was home to a circle of solars and lunars, like the sorcerer Kal Bax and the assuredly devilishly handsome I-something the Weaver. He explained how it was Kal Bax that summoned the imps to protect the place. And that there was a friendly ghost thing of the exalt within its walls.

"And there are artifacts there. I seen inside the vault myself. A veritable trove. I dont count the riches, but even a small portion of what is there could do wonders in helping your family. And plenty to research there. The tomb underneath holds some of the bodies of ancient anathema. And there is even Kal Bax's library there as well. The amount of things you can learn from this place are beyond words! It is safe inside there too. Aside from the traps in the crypt. There was nothing to worry about, and we already triggered those." He said, hoping to build an enticement in them for what awaited. To get them another reason to want to stay and not be scared off.


"But there is more to it than that..." he said as they got ever closer. "I did come to you for a job. But it was a job to find this manor that I was looking for. There was something I mentioned in passing, that I do not believe you took seriously. That it was a sidereal who asked me to come here. She has something important to reveal to me and my friends. Something of which the wellbeing of creation hinges upon. I do not know what it is, but I know when Heaven has something it wishes to say, it is wise to at least cook your ear and listen."

"When I arrive. She too will be there. So don't be surprised. They work in mysterious ways. So who knows, you may already know her. She may have guided your path here just as she has guided ours." He says as he smiled to himself.


Ever closer still, when they reached the doors through the veil of Invisibility. There was one last thing to impart on them.

"Listen." He said, stopping at the doors. "Listen please. Inside this fortress is knowledge that will change your life. Inside you will meet my friends. Friends of the Relam. Friends of Heaven. And friends of Creation. You will learn of a coming disaster that we may be able to prevent. Be prepared for this. Once you walk through these doors, things will not be the same." He said seriously.

"But, I can promise you this. Regardless of whether or not you enter, you are under a greater protection than you know. No harm will come to any of you. I promise you that what you came here for, whether or not you enter, you will receive it."

"However, should you enter, I ask this of you. That you listen with an open mind. And that you bring none of your men save only for those you trust beyond anything, for there is no knowing what nature secrets will be revealed."


"I know this all sounds very odd and sudden. It suspicious, even. But me personally, I wish for you two to be part of this. As Princes of the Earth, you now look over Creation, and you should have a say and a hand in anything that endangers it. I have come to know, and like you both very much. Just as Family is important to you, it is to me, and inside these halls are my family. A family I hope for you to be part of."

"Enter, and you will be awakened to a new world and a new adventure. Where you will have the chance to do great good for V'neef and the people of Creation. Remain outside for a while, and things will continue as you have planned, and be none the wiser."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
"Thank you." Kuaidao said to the curator with a polite nod of his head. "This is Rory. He's a fellow Solar, a Zenith if I'm not mistaken."

The other Solar's comment and laugh about being disciplined by his mother following his Exaltation made Kuaidao chuckle, as well as instinctively think of his own parents. By now, he thought, news of what had happened to him would surely have made it back to them on the Blessed Isle. How would they have reacted to learning that one of their children was a supposed Anathema? Probably disowning him, he figured.

He then looked at Rory. "You say that you were the protector of your town before you came here. Do you think they'll be okay without you around?" he asked with a look of friendly concern.
Rory looks at the Curator with curiosity, seeing how Kuaidao does not seem threatened by its presence at all. The large man leans forward to look closer at the spirit, and asks, "What manner of being are you? Some kind of ghost, perhaps?"

The Curator shakes its head. "No, Noble Exalt. I am a Construct, built to serve the masters of the manse. It is my duty, and one that I am thankful to be able to resume doing once more."

At this, Rory lets out a satisfied grunt. "Amazing. I've never seen the like of you before. So tell me, is our mutual friend Melinda here?"

Once more, the Curator shakes its head. "No, Noble Exalt. She has not returned from Yu-Shan. The two of you are the only ones here, but I sense another that has just arrived outside."


Speaking of the other, Maja has now reached the front door of the Fortress and as you enter, you get your first good look at the tall man with Kuaidao. He is a giant of a man, standing about seven feet tall, wearing a kilt, and one leg ends with a wooden peg from the knee down. He is wearing heavy furs over his shoulders to keep warm, and on his back there is a orichalcum Daiklave and shield.

As Maja comes in, the Curator offers up a bow. "Welcome back, Noble Maja."
Random Word Random Word

Rory looks over at the newly arrived Lunar and offers up a bow of his own. "Greetings, lass. I am Red Rory, and I must say that your beauty lights up the room like the glow of the Moon in a clear sky. It is my pleasure to meet you."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Maja smashes through the doors of the Manse like a hurricane of turbulent essence, impaling the unfortunate Rory with a glare that puts the edge of his Daiklave to shame as she careens passed. Rory has badly misjudged her approachability. He can hardly be blamed. Between having not slept all night, flying nonstop for hours, and crying until she'd run out of tears she should by all rights look like an absolute disaster, and yet there isn't a single hair out of place, her tear-reddened eyes might as well be artfully applied eyeliner, the cold has brought out the colour in her cheeks, the ice still lingering in her hair sparkles like the stars in the night sky as it trails dramatically behind her, and rather than a sweaty mess she smells as if she's just stepped out of a bath scented with a bouquet of Northern herbs like heather and thyme. It's so easy to overlook the jagged rocks just below the surface of the water, blinded by her unnatural perfection. A perfection that lashes from alluring to terrifying as for one brief instant Rory find himself the incidental object of the hurricane's ire.

She grips the edge of the table hard enough to fracture anything that weren't a magical material as she regards Kuaidao with a pleading, desperate intensity. "What was it," she chokes up briefly, "What was it like? In the Realm. Please. I... I have to know."

Sorry about missing so many prompts to post.

Also, apropos of Rory's flattery, given Maja regenerates the cost of Perfect Symmetry in 20 minutes, I'm just going to put in a standing note that Maja activates it at the start of every scene to rest at Appearance 6. So long as every scene is at least 20 minutes apart I can just treat it like a 5 mote Indefinite Charm, making Glance Oration Technique almost always free.

Edit: I totally know how makeup works. You don't put rouge on your eyes.
 
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jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Kuaidao would have found himself bowled over by Maja's display of beauty, were it not for her clearly troubled state, and the fact that she'd asked a question he couldn't entirely comprehend the reasoning behind. Just what in Malfeas had happened to make her like this?

"Why do you ask?" he blurted out with a look of concern, unable to help himself.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
"As soon as I saw all those Dynasts all these horrible, awful... memories?" she shakes her head, stepping around the banquet table towards him, "started surfacing, and it just made me so angry, like I can't even..." She can feel her hands balling into fists and her expression darkening just thinking about it so she stares into his eyes to distract herself, keep herself focused on the present, and what must it have been like for him? Her expression softens as the nascent storm of rage is undone in an instant and compassion sweeps in to take its place. "Was it really that bad?" she asks as she embraces him and presses her cheek against the plates of shining orichalcum on his breast. Somehow, despite the cold, they feel pleasantly warm to the touch, like they've been sitting out in the sun all day. "Did they... did they make you do anything awful?" she asks, voice thick with concern.
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Kuaidao grimaced. "It wasn't horrible for me personally." he assured her. "I was from the patrician class, so my family and I were able to avoid the worst of it. What awful things I did experience came from my choosing to become a soldier, rather than my being born a mortal...but that didn't mean I was ignorant about how bad things could be for us within the Realm. Especially after the Empress disappeared, and the Great Houses started preparing themselves to fight for her throne..."

He sighed, looking a little guilty. "Still, the worst thing I remember about those days was how I'd blindly gone along with all that yeddimshit. I genuinely believed that Dragon-blooded were spiritually better than mortals, and thus entitled to take and do as they pleased. I perpetuated the problem...and that's by far the worst thing the Dynasts did to me."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Maja pulls back, relief plain on her face. "I'm glad. Well, not glad - okay, I'm glad nothing really bad happened to you. I don't think you have to be guilty about things Dragonblooded made you do as a mortal. They don't count. What were you supposed to do?" A vicious, mirthless grin and her eyes flash dangerously as the dry kindling of her anger catches at the merest spark, "But now, now they're scared of you, aren't they? That's why they won't stop. You're going to do to them what that Icewalker Kaneko did, right?" She falters, clearly conflicted. "We don't have to like Icewalkers, do we?" she asks with obvious distaste.

[Kuaidao has tacitly validated her rage, so Maja will take a Minor Tie of Dynasts (Hatred). D. Rex D. Rex , should you succeed in persuading Milo and Maheena to enter the house of the rising sun, would you prefer: Maja still be in the entrance hall, which will immediately complicate your plans as she greets them with a terrifying death glare and either storms off or has to be dragged out by Kuaidao or have her already asleep to simplify your life?]
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Rory looks between Kuaidao and Maja and sees that there is some bit of history between the two of you, looking a bit disappointed that his chances with the lovely woman are not that good.

After a bit, the Curator says, "My pardon, Noble Exalts, but we have another group approaching, including Spider and Bard. They will be here in the next few minutes."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Maja nods absently at the Curator before she spots Red Rory out of the corner of her eye and she actually looks at him for the first time. She turns back to Kuaidao, "Is he, um, a friend of yours?"

She looks back to Rory, blushing slightly. "Sorry. Today isn't... it hasn't been... good," she finishes awkwardly, looking away quickly. Her eyes settle on Kuaidao's and she smiles warmly with fond remembrance, "Yesterday was better. I liked yesterday. Mostly."
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Kuaidao returned Maja's warm smile. "I liked it too." he assured her.

"Rory here's another Solar. He was sent here by Melinda. I only met him for the first time just now." He then replied.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
When they finally get to the fortress doors, Spider takes the lead and heads up to them. "Here we go. Lets get inside and get a fire going to burn away the chill of the snow up here."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
As the doors to the fortress open, Bard and Spider are once more faced with the Curator of the place standing there, waiting for you. It offers up a polite bow, saying, "Welcome back, Noble Exalts. We have been waiting for you." It then turns and walks into the grand hall where you can see Kuaidao and Maja standing with a towering mountain of a man, standing over seven feet tall, armed with a golden daiklave and a shield that can be seen over the thick furs that keep him warm. You also note that he has a peg leg, but it doesn't seem to slow the large fellow down at all.

Milo and Mahina both look about with interest as they enter the fortress, and Milo has much of his attention focused on the large fellow. In a quiet voice, he says, "Be on your guard, sister. I have a feeling that we are in the presence of Solar Exalted." With that, the guards with the two Dragon Blooded ratchet up their awareness of the bunch of you.

At this point, Rory, the tall man looks askance to Kuaidao and Maja. "What is the plan here? Do we play nice with these newcomers? Or are they a threat?"
 

jaydude

Three Thousand Club
Kuaidao grinned when he recognized Bard and Spider, but became a little apprehensive when he saw Mahina, Milo and their guards.

"I don't think they're a threat. Not yet, anyway." he said in answer to Rory's question. "The white-haired man is Bard, while the black-haired woman is Spider. The two of them have been travelling with me, Maja and Melinda for a while now." he then added, opting not to mention their Exalted natures, not knowing if they'd revealed that information to the others.

"The others I'm not familiar with, but I hardly think Bard and Spider would bring them here if they didn't trust them somewhat." he finished, giving the other two Celestials a significant look, clearly asking nonverbally who these people were.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Maja barely hears the wary inquiries at the new arrivals, such is the volume of the blood pounding in her ears as rage courses through her veins. Her eyes narrow in fury as they meet Mahina's - she doesn't recognize the man beside her, but his arms and manner suggest another Dynast. She growls, fangs bared, a deep rumbling sound that speaks to the primal memory each of us shares buried deep in our psyche that instinctually recognizes the presence of our natural predators and stands our hairs on end. Maja radiates a killing intent that falls like an oppressive suffocating weight over the room, snuffing out all discussion. Into the silence that follows she grasps one of the ornate gold plated metal goblets on the table and crushes it like so much paper while her gaze holds Mahina pinned in place.

She says nothing, but her intent is deafening: Take one step closer and I end you. I only grant you this mercy out of respect for those who accompany you.

Instilling a Tie of Fear.
Going all out for fun. Sadly can't do Appearance 12 levels of terror yet.
3m Feral Smile Tactic, 10m Appearance Excellency (App + Str)
0m Glance Oration Technique
Assuming Resolve 3 (can't remember what Mahina's Resolve is. Knock dice off the end as appropriate)

Appearance 6 + Presence 3 + Excellency 10 + Stunt 2 + Appearance Bonus 3 = 24 dice, doubling 9s; 15 hits
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
With the death glare from Maja, Mahina takes a step back as her eyes widen in surprise. Milo, on the other hand, stands his ground and reaches for his blade, obviously ready for a fight.

Rory steps forward and puts himself between the two groups, saying, "Hey now. Lets not be too hasty. I'm sure that we can all play nice with one another. I am known as Red Rory, and I am here at the request of a friend to try and help out from a bit of a problem that is raising its ugly head."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Spider looks at Maja in surprise. She has not seen such venom from her before, and it is a bit of a shock. She says, "Hey. Maja, you remember Mahina, don't you? She hired us to help find this place." As she talks she looks over at this Rory fellow with curiosity. "I'm known as Spider."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Bard raised his hand. Summoning his inner ki, it traveled from his core, up his arms and concentrating into his middle finger and thumb. And as he snapped his fingers, the sound came out like a tree trunk splitting im half. A sound that commanded silence and peace.


Bard held himself tall, and as the essence began to flow through him, the mark of the Zenith blazed clearly on his brow. He had always considered himself a man with a gentle hand. But there were times that it was called to stand as firm as stone. Now was one of those times. He had promised these Dynasts protection and he had meant it.

He could could feel their uncertainly wafting from them like a thick miasma. Such a state could breed foul and end what peace he was hoping to achieve. Bard needed to let them know they were safe. That there was reason here. And Maja needed to see the like that should not be crossed. For her sake more than his. He considered her as a dear friend, and he did not want her gentle heart to be spoiled by lashing out in anger.

"That is enough, Maja." He said with the calmness of a meadow and the firmness of ancient oak. "There is no need for such a display. Reel in your fangs and remember why we are here. Creation is under threat, and we may need all hands to help protect. As is our duty. As is why we have returned. Be at peace, my friend of the moon, they will not bother you. I shall see to that."


As Bard spoke, he laced his words with warmth and comfort, the firm tone melting into one of understanding and softness.

Bard turned to Milo and Mahina. The solar emblem on his brow showing them the truth of who he is, if they had not already guessed. "My friends, please do not take this personally. Many of our kind bare wounds from Princes of the Earth or harbor memories of those of the realm who scarred our lives before we were exalted. You, as individuals, are not to blame. Creation a harsh place. Perhaps it always was. But animosity gained through life experience is hard to let go of. Isn't it, Milo..."

"Yet even a small showing of kindness can set a seed in place, the growth of a new experience with which we gain a new perspective of the world. When the Admiral shot me after I saved my island... she did so knowing I would survive." He said. Recalling to the story he told of the anathema before, and letting them know it was him. "It was the only mercy she could offer me. A kindness I never expect a dragon-blooded to show to one such as me. And her act cemented in me the notion that we do not have to be enemies. It was by both me and the wyld hunt that we saved the island. And it is by just such cooperation that I am hoping we can help all of Creation."

"Before you entered these doors, I promised you that no harm would come to you. That you are under my protection.. I stand by that oath. Let me be your rock in this manor." He said, with a smile as he held out his hand to them. "So long as you are here with me, you are here as friends."

Inspiring comfort in Milo and Mahina

5cha+5pre
Stunt 2
Full Excellency 10 (10mts)

Successes: 5
 

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