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Trial by Fire Redux - IC Thread

Dice System
Exalted 3e
OOC
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Kuaidao

As the young Solar is traveling north, you are currently going overland with a small caravan, using your skills with a blade to pay your way along with the merchants and keep a warm meal in your belly and a soft bed to sleep in. One afternoon, a second small caravan can be spotted making its way on the same path as your group of wagons, one that the master of your caravan seems to recognize. As the shadows grow long, both caravan groups decide to come to a halt and share what news that they each have of the road.

While sitting around the fire enjoying your dinner, Kuaidao hears an interesting tale, one that breaks through your quiet night to make you want to listen.

The other group of travelers are a family of fur traders that had gone south with a full load of pelts that they had caught over the long winter, and had a stall set up to ply their goods in a small town. While they had good wares, business was going badly, with few buyers even looking at what they had to offer. On the market's final day, a young noblewoman from House V'neef of the Scarlet Empire paused at the stall. The merchants were excited; she could change their poor luck and fortunes with a simple wave of her hand. But the noblewoman turned her nose up at even the best pelts, and turned to leave.

Just then, the young daughter of the merchant came running out from behind the counter and bumps into the woman from House V'neef. The merchant was horrified. The child could be killed for such an offense. But the madame was not insulted, instead she gave the youngster a gentle pat on the head and turned to leave - until she saw the faded robe that the girl was wearing.

The Lady's breath caught in her throat, and she asked if she might be able to buy the garment. The merchant apologized for his child's behavior, and offered to give it to her for free, to repay her tolerance. As he was about to hand over the robe, another noble, this one from House Ragara, wanting to see what the commotion was all about. He takes one look at the robe and offers to pay double the price that the Lady from House V'neef was willing to pay.

This starts a bidding war between the two Dragon Blooded, until finally the nobleman from House Ragara offers a price ten times what the merchant was expecting to make for his entire haul of furs! The noblewoman was not willing to beat that price, and concedes the bidding war to her rival. As the man from House Ragara was making the arrangements to pay the merchant, the Lady turns to leave, but before she does so, she asks the merchant where he was from, and where he came to possess the robe in the first place. He told the woman that he was from a small town in the far north called Wangler's Knob, and he had found the robe in the wilderness even farther north from there.

With the story complete, you turn your attention back to your meal.

After you have had the chance to turn in for the night, you are awoken from your sleep by one of the younger servant girls traveling with you, a lass of about fourteen or so, named Melinda. She places her finger over your mouth to keep you from talking, and she whispers, "The story those merchants told was true, and word of what happened is already starting to spread. More Dynasts are riding up fast, planning on examining the wares of the merchant to see if he has any other items of interest to them. They won't cause harm to these people, but if they discover you here, they may be able to discover your true nature."

Stepping back from you, the young girl runs her hands through her hair, and as she does so, her hair changes color, and she even grows several inches taller and many years older! She pulls out a small bag from her belt, and you can hear the distinct sound of clinking coins. "Here, take this and one of the horses and ride to Vale. From there take the riverboat called the Seagull north, and you'll meet more of your old Circle on the ship. Use this sigil to recognize one another, and trust no one without it. I have to go, but I'll see you again at Wangler's Knob, and I'll be able to answer many of your questions there. Don't bother looking for me; I'll find you. Now hurry! Before its too late!"



Bard and Spider

You are in a tavern in a small town on the river, enjoying a nice stiff drink, watching the ships sail by. As you are deep into your cups, you notice a bit of excitement from a table on the other side of the room. Looking over in curiosity, you can see that there is a very strange game of Gateway going on, with the two players sitting across from one another, but instead of reaching out to touch the pieces on the board, the small, intricately carved figurines are moving on their own! The amazing sight has people from all over gathered around to watch.

As you watch, one player finally comes out on top and wins the game. His opponent asks, "Where did you get this amazing thing? I have never seen the like!"

The smug winner says, "I got it from a fur trader. He's from some out-of-the-way town called Wangler's Knob. A total rube. I got this as a total steal."

"Wangler's Knob? Never heard of it."

"Like I said, its a little tiny place, waaaay up north."

While you are watching, the barmaid sets down two more drinks in front of you, but what is interesting is the fact that there is a slip of paper sticking out from under your tray that was left behind by the server. Penned in neat Skytongue, the note reads:

My friends, I must warn you that you are both in grave danger. Soon, several Dynasts along with their escort troops will arrive at the tavern to 'discuss' matters about the amazing toy that everyone is talking about. If you do not leave in very short order, you'll be discovered and only the Gods know what may happen then.

Go to the docks, and book passage on the riverboat called the Seagull as it heads north. Travel to Wangler's Knob, and I will meet with you and the rest of the Circle there to answer your questions. Look for Kuaidao and Thallus Yargmedellian, fellow Exalts that will be on the ship. If you do not work together, the Wyld Hunt will surely find you before you can come into the true power of your Exaltations. Use the back door or else you'll run into the Hunters. Look for my sigil, it will identify the others that will be your allies in this venture. Trust no one without seeing this sigil first.

From a past confidant,
Melinda


Out front, you can hear the sounds of many horses coming down the street.



Thallus Yargmedellian

It has been several long months of research and hunting in the library in Nexus, but finally, you have come across a fragment of an ancient map that you are certain shows the location of a very old cache of artifacts from the high First Age, the kind of items that could make it safe for you to be a Solar Exalt, even in the face of the Wyld Hunt.

As you slip the fragment of the map into your notebook, a bright flash of light startles you, and when you look over, there is a woman standing there, appearing out of thin air. She says, "Thallus, thank the Maidens that I found you in time! Quickly, come with me if you wish to live!" She spins about and leads you through the dusty halls of the library, going into the heart of the old building. Going to a section of blank wall, the strange woman places her hand upon an unremarkable section of the wall, and a secret passage opens up.

She pulls you in behind her and slides the door shut once more, and she heads into the dark passage. As she goes along, a greenish glow can be seen coming from her, lighting the way. As you hurry along behind her, she says, "You won't remember me, but we have met many times in the past, and have been good friends over many years. It is because of that friendship that I am breaking a few rules, coming to help you." It is clear from the dust that there has not been anyone in this passage for a very long time.

Finally coming to a stop at another section of blank wall, she turns to look at you. "You can call me Melinda. Here, take this coin purse. Go to the harbor and find the riverboat called the Seagull. Book passage north, and go to the small town of Wangler's Knob. As the ship goes along, you'll meet others of your old Circle of Exalts. Look for this sigil. That is how you will know it is them. Together you'll be able to face the challenges between you and that cache of artifacts that this map will lead you to. Once you get to Wangler's Knob, I'll find you again, and I'll be able to answer some of your questions."

Melinda presses on the wall and it opens up to reveal a dirty alleyway. "Just remember, trust no one unless they have this sigil. I will not send anyone to meet you in my place, so if anyone says that I have, they are your enemy and will lead you to your death. Now hurry! That passage will delay the Hunters, but not forever." She gives you a sad smile. "I wish I had more time to stay here and talk, but every moment we take here is one that the Hunters will be closer to you. Now go! And be safe!"

With that, she vanishes in a flash of green light, leaving no trace.
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
Kuaidao had almost reached for his sword out of instinct when he heard the footsteps, but he stopped upon seeing that it was simply Melinda. He listened as she gave her warning, at first wondering how she could possibly know such things, until she suddenly changed her height, age and hair color.

Who is this woman? Another type of Exalt? Ulfric told me a little about the Sidereals and the Lunars, but even he didn't know much about them.

He was about to ask her some questions, but it was then that he heard them. Hoofbeats. Multiple steeds, either horses or simhata, in the distance, and getting ever closer. And some instinct told him that their riders didn't have the best of intentions. Not for him, anyway.

He gave "Melinda" one last curious look, before picking up his sword and putting on his helmet. It was a helm of bronze, with a design that vaguely resembled a wolf's head, and he had won it in a game of dice a couple of weeks ago. He had gone to sleep in his buff jacket, so getting dressed wasn't something that would take up his time. Moving through the camp quietly and keeping an eye out for anyone else who might be awake - if someone saw him and figured out he was leaving, they'd ask him questions, which would delay him and might even dissuade him from making his exit - he came up to the paddock where the horses were kept.

He didn't want to steal, especially from people who had hired his services, but he had a feeling that it was in his best interests to get as far away from here as soon as possible. Giving a silent apology to the head of the caravan, he picked out a horse, saddled up and rode off into the night. He'd learnt how to ride back on the Blessed Isle - a life that seemed like it had taken place an entire lifetime ago - and it was a skill that translated effectively to mounts in the rest of Creation, as he and his steed swiftly left the caravan behind and set off towards Vale.

This had better not be your idea of a joke, Melinda. Or whatever your real name is.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Spider is bored and somewhat drunk; never a good combination for most, but certainly not a good one for a Sword of Luna. She is currently looking across the bar at a couple of rough looking thugs, wondering just how hard it would be to get the two of them into a fight with her when the excitement of the magical game board calls out to her.

She was just about to meander over to take a closer look when the serving girl drops off another pair of drinks and leaves behind the letter. Spider takes a sip of her ale before taking the letter in hand and, with a curious look at Bard, she opens it and begins to read. Her sleepy mood is quickly shattered by the words of warning, and she can feel herself starting to sober up. Passing the note across the table to Bard, she simply says, "I think it is time for us to be on our way." As she does this, Spider cautiously scans the room, looking for any sign that they are being watched or a potential trap.

Dragon Blooded, and not just one or two, but several, if this letter is to be believed. I'm a nasty one in a fight, but against 'several'? Mmmm, not a good thing. As much fun as it would be to smash some Dynasts' heads open, we'd better leave. She pulls a few coins out of her belt pouch to cover their drinks, then leads the way towards the back door of the tavern.

Once outside, Spider continues to scan the area as she makes her way though the alley. "Well, Bard? You have any ideas on what is going on here?"
 

Syvvaris

Senior Member
Thallus's stomach whined for not having anything to eat in the last six or so hours, with the last thing he ate was the warm bland porridge his mother made early in the morning before she went off to cater to the Eizenics' needs. He forced himself to read on the book in his hand than think about the Eizenics, a practice he does frequently. He flipped the pages and focused on the words about the North and how it was during the First Age. An idea popped into his head when the pages turned to a piece of a map.

'This could be a way to get my mother from working as a house maid...' He thought before a bright flash made him jump and reach for the knife that's always on him. There stood a woman he had no idea who she was that started to talk like a mad woman. His words were mute before she dragged him towards the center of the library in which he had only read a quarter of the books in. She stopped at a blank wall and he stopped breathing heavily at the unexpected exercise.

A secret door opened up and she pulled him through, then spoke words which didn't make sense to him. He tried to mouth some words, but he never had a woman whisk him away from books before and couldn't recompose himself before she dragged him through another labyrinth of turns. They stopped for what he hoped was the final time and she finally told him about herself and her reasoning for dragging him.

Melinda. Seagull. North. Wangler's Knob. Circle of Exalts. Sigil. Cache of artifacts. Hunters? What? What is this woman talking about, is this some sort of joke? The moment he tried to ask questions she was gone in a green flash. Fuck... Thallus knew he wasn't prepared for a long trip, and what did she mean an old circle of exalts? His second breathe only happened recently in a very mundane way. This didn't make sense to him, but it made sense to someone else. He doubt this was some joke a woman was playing on him and it was an excuse for him to leave Nexus, to make something of himself. At least he had to go home to grab some items and on his way there, taking less traveled routs just in case someone was trying to follow him, he wrote a letter to his parents and an opportunity for an adventure. In the letter he mentioned going West and not North to find some treasure on the high seas, all the while he walked home.

When he reached his parents abode, he entered quickly and grabbed some clothes, his bow and arrows and left the note on the kitchen table, then left towards the harbor to find this boat called the Seagull.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
The man named Bard exited out the back as coolly as somesome who needed to go take a leak. No sense in making a scene if it was true there were people looking for them. Though he hoped the supposed hunters were here only looking for the board game guy. Poor chap.

Bard has his face covered in bandages from a prior wound. Didnt make him look the prettiest, but it was healing nicely. Didnt hurt anymore at least. Blessed be the sun for fast healing.

"I think, my dear, that whoever named a place Wangler's Knob did it to make folks laugh." He said with a slightly immature grin in his face. What a silly name.

"But in all seriousness... no. I know a Mel. I know a Melody. I know a Linda. But I dont know any Melinda's. Whoever she is... she knows us. Probably something like how we are. Past lives and all that."

Bard looked back at the tavern they were leaving behind. "But I am rather curious. Might as well go and see what this is about. Carefully of course, lest it be some sort of trap. But then again... would have been easier to not warn us."

"Though, with that man with the fancy relic... those dynasts are going to make him talk. He'll point them to Wanglers Knob. So we need to get there before they do."

"Let's get to that boat... oh... and there is one thing I do know. Let's pick up some furs. It's going to be a cold trip."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
For the past two months, Twin Rivers Entwined and Maja Visby have been on the run from the worst that the Wyld Hunt has to offer. A full dozen Dragon Blooded monks continue to race across Creation after you both, leaving the two of you scrambling to get away lest you be killed. Your race across the lands started out with Twin Rivers waking up to the sounds of a stranger's voice calling out to you by name, warning her that the Hunt is nearly upon you, and that you need to gather what you can in the next few minutes and flee. As you wake up, you see that the source of the voice is an Infallible Messenger spirit, meaning that there is a sorcerer out there, somewhere, that knows who you are and wants to keep you away from the Wyld Hunt and alive.

Maja Visby's story is not much different, but you are roused from the middle of a meal with a letter that is delivered to you from your waiter, warning you of impending doom if you do not flee right away. Something tells you to take the warning to heart, and as you are slipping out the back door, dozens of riders come thundering up the street towards the front of the inn.

Over the next few days, mysterious letters and messenger spirits from the same woman guide you to the river town of Vale where you both meet for the first time. As you are starting to share notes back and forth about what has brought the two of you together, you are approached by a unremarkable woman that slides up next to you.

In what is by now a very familiar voice from the various Infallible Messenger spirits that you've been sent, she says, "Forgive my rather clandestine methods of guiding you here. Call me Melinda, and I have known you both in past Exaltations and I call you both friends. I don't have much time, but I can help you if you are willing to listen to me one more time. There is a ship that is approaching the harbor called the Seagull. On that ship will be several other Exalts of the Sun and Moon, Exalts that you have known before. Go to them to the town of Wangler's Knob to the north. There is a hidden cache of ancient artifacts up there, weapons that will help you to survive the Wyld Hunt until you have regained some of your former strength. Look for those that carry this mark." Melinda points to a odd symbol that is on a broach on her tunic. "The others will have that symbol on them somewhere. They will help you."

She looks at a glowing crystal in her hand, then says, "I have little time, but I will meet you later at Wangler's Knob and I will be able to answer some of your many questions that I am sure you have." Melinda steps back and vanishes in a flash of green light, leaving you both alone once more.

HumanPlus HumanPlus and Random Word Random Word
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Sherwood Sherwood

Could a roll be made to examine the symbol Melinda has been mentioning. To see if my char may recognize it in some form?
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Bard would recognize this as a variation of the constellation symbol for Jupiter, the Maiden of Secrets.
 

HumanPlus

Sleeper Agent
After such a harrowing ordeal as the journey here with huntsmen at her heel had been, this moment of respite felt great. She could feel the knots of stress at the back of her shoulders unravel as she could finally breathe easy and take her time to assess the situation.

The first of the two women she now sat with was Maja, another of the Moon's Chosen but seemingly unaffiliated with the pact by her lack of silver on her skin. Rivers wondered how much she understood of the nature of her new existence, with no one to teach her their history and without the kinship she herself had found among her fellow Chosen of the Pact.

Even more fascinating, however, was the other woman. This Melinda whos uncanny foresight had aided her escape from the Hunt without herself even showing her face. While grateful for her aid, Rivers could not help but feel somewhat suspicious towards the mysterious woman. Yet just as she was about to inquire, Melinda had vanished with a flash and yet more cryptic instructions.

She had said that she knew the two of them from a previous life, but when Rivers herself took a moment to see if she could recognize something about the two, parsing through the millennia of fractured memories that she had inherited with her Second Breath brought as little result as it usually did. Too many faces, too many bonds. It all flowed together to the point where details were near impossible to make out.

She turns to Maja, leaning over the table with a mug in hand, and asks in Skytongue in her usual calm manner "Well, that was more than a little suspicious. She has helped us gather, and now she plans to arm us as well. What do you think of that story?". Whereafter she turnes her attention to the swirling foam floating in her mug in deep thought and says in a quiet voice "Seems we are being maneuvered to some end, by this Melinda and her organization. I wish I had more of an idea towards what"

She dips her finger into her drink and draws the symbol from Melinda's broach on the table with a wet finger before giving the slightest of smiles.
"interesting"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
"Let's get to that boat... oh... and there is one thing I do know. Let's pick up some furs. It's going to be a cold trip."
Spider nods in agreement. "Alright, but I think we can wait on the furs for now; we have many miles to go before we see snow. Best if we get to the Seagull and arrange passage as soon as possible. That's what I think, at least." She is still getting used to the idea of working with someone else to get things done. It has been so long that she's been on her own, it is a new experience for her. "Either way, we need to move before those Dynasts find us."
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Spider nods in agreement. "Alright, but I think we can wait on the furs for now; we have many miles to go before we see snow. Best if we get to the Seagull and arrange passage as soon as possible. That's what I think, at least." She is still getting used to the idea of working with someone else to get things done. It has been so long that she's been on her own, it is a new experience for her. "Either way, we need to move before those Dynasts find us."
"So long as we get them before they get scarce." He said, though he was pretty confident he could talk anyone out of extra furs should he need to.

"But yes. We should make haste."


Bard mused over the symbol."Jupiter, the Maiden of secrets." He said. "The symbol isnt the usual design, but its likely an offshoot. Might be a shady cult or something. We shall find out soon enough at least."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
What would he know about this particular Maiden of Secrets? And would he know anything about Sidereals?
You would know that Jupiter is one of the five Maidens, and along with the Unconquered Sun and Luna, is one of the seven main ruling gods of the Celestial Incarne. Her Domain is that of all secrets, and it is said that there is not a fact hidden from her, even those locked away in the hearts of the other gods. With your low Lore roll, you would have little to no information on the Sidereals.


Those that are not already on the riverboat make their way to the docks, where there are currently six ships of various sizes tied up at the piers, loading and unloading wares and passengers. After asking a few people about which vessel you were looking for, you have your target pointed out to you. While not the largest of the bunch, the Seagull is a decent sized boat that appears to be in fairly good shape. There are several members of the crew up on the deck and climbing about in the rigging doing some incomprehensible work to you, but they seem to be confident in what they are doing and are not showing signs of being in a rush. More men and a few women are rolling barrels up and down the gangway plank, obviously preparing the boat for travel.

The first to arrive at the boat is Bard and Spider. When you approach, you can see that at the top of the gangway plank is a hulking brute of a man, standing nearly seven feet tall and weighing easily over three hundred pounds of pure muscle, calmly giving orders to the crew as to where to stow various bits of gear in strangely accented Riverspeak. He glances your way as you walk up to the base of the plank and motions for you to go ahead and walk on up to the deck of the boat. Wiping his hands on a somewhat clean cloth, the giant man smiles down at the two of you. "I be Dromond, captain and owner of the Seagull. Ye two have the looks of someone seeking passage on the river, yes? Of course ye are. Why else would ye be here? Come and step to the side and we shall talk of the cost passage."

Please give me a Perception + Awareness roll.


Kuaidao and Thallus

The two of you are already on the Seagull, having boarded the ship at an earlier stop. You have already paid your passage up the river, and have discovered the fact that both of you have notes bearing the same symbol from Melinda, and you are aware of each others' Exalted nature. At the moment, the two of you are on the deck, trying to stay out of the way of the crew as they work and enjoying the fresh air out of the cramped rooms you have.

As you watch from your out-of-the-way point, you see that there are a couple of people, a woman and a man, that have come up the plank to talk to Capt. Dromond about passage.

Please give me an Awareness + Perception roll.


Next to arrive at the docks are Twin Rivers and Maja. You also get directions as to which boat is the Seagull, and as you approach, you see the giant man on the deck talking to a man and a woman, probably trying to negotiate a price for passage.

Can you also give me a Perception + Awareness roll.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
"So long as we get them before they get scarce." He said, though he was pretty confident he could talk anyone out of extra furs should he need to.

"But yes. We should make haste."


Bard mused over the symbol."Jupiter, the Maiden of secrets." He said. "The symbol isnt the usual design, but its likely an offshoot. Might be a shady cult or something. We shall find out soon enough at least."
Spider shrugs. "Some bizarre cult, huh? Well, even if she is some weirdo, she has saved us from a nasty fight with a bunch of Dynasts, so I'll give her some benefit of the doubt. At least, for now."

When they get to the boat, she keeps watch for trouble.

Only 1 success
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Are Bard and Spider or Kuidao and Thallus the first ti be on the boat?
Kuiadao and Thallus are already passengers on the boat, and Bard and Spider are the next to arrive. Twin Rivers and Maja have just come up to the dock.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
With lute slung behind his back, Bard greeted the Captain with a big smile. The man spoke in riverspeak, which Bard didnt understand.

He offered languages of Skytongue and low Realm. And Seatongue, as surely any reputable sailor worth their salt would know some of that.

"Ho there, Captain!" He would say if they found a shared language. "It is indeed passage we wish for. The vines have suggested it would be a fortunate day to venture north." Bard said. A subtle remark, to see if the implied connection of Ivy would spark any recognition in the Captain of possible tie to Jupiter. Or some reaction Bard may notice. And even if it didnt, Bard might just seem like an ordinary superstitious traveler.

Bard also heartily agreed to step to the side with the Captain. Taking this opportunity to get a good look around with a wide glance across the ship and port to see if anything catches his eyes.

4 successes
 

jaydude

Two Thousand Club
Kuaidao hadn't bothered to try and sell the horse he'd traveled to Vale on. Besides the question of ethics, there was also the fact that he didn't think he should waste time before boarding the Seagull.

Now, as the ship was docked, he stood at the side of the deck and looked out to the surrounding port, his wolf's head helm easily visible to those there. He'd gotten into the habit of keeping a closer eye on the surrounding people ever since he'd had to leave his post in the Haslanti League.

[5 successes.]
 

Random Word

One Thousand Club
At first tracking Kuaidao had been easy. Fun, even. Then the real hunters arrived. The first time they rode her down with baying hounds she dismissed it as bad luck; a few Dynasts out hunting for sport in the far North was unusual but not unheard of, and fox was good sport. The second time they came upon her in the night and she barely escaped. The third time she was left with two possibilities: The Scarlet Empress had returned and decreed all the fox pelts in the North were to be brought to her to make her new cape, or they were out here hunting for Maja. In the surreal moment when the waiter delivered a letter addressed to her with the seal of Jupiter she was forced to accept the cold reality that she was what the Immaculate missionaries had called an 'Anathema'. Kuaidao came from the Realm, and her mind recoiled from even considering that the last person she felt any connection to, however tenuous, might think she was a monster, too. Instead she reminded herself that leading these hunters to his doorstep was no way to repay a favour.

She resolved to lose them in the wilderness, and learned two invaluable lessons. Firstly: Being a fox was a lot harder than she'd expected. Not that she had given any considerable thought to the life of a wild predator growing up, but upon experiencing it she found nature profoundly unfair. Birds could fly, and would at the slightest provocation, which, as far as she was concerned, was cheating. It wasn't the season for eggs, and so she subsisted on the occasional mouse or squirrel. Her empty belly gave her an unprecedented motivation to learn the subtle art of being subtle. She was, however, cleverer than the average fox. Foxes don't use live mice as bait in traps, and few things in her life had felt so satisfying as the moment she tore the still beating heart from the breast of that snowy owl. She had several awkward moments during which she began to consider exactly why she had felt the sudden urge to tear the still beating heart from her enemy and devour it, and the possible implications thereof for her sanity, and then she grew wings. She came to the stunning realization that birds could fly, and flying was amazing, and all other thoughts were for a time swept aside.

Secondly: They would never stop hunting her. To husband her travelling coin and supplement her own sub-par hunting, she stopped at inns once a week. These stops were unfailingly interrupted by the arrival of unusually expressive tea leaves at the bottom of her cup, the delivery of mysterious letters, or in one particularly unsettling case bolting awake to the sight of a glowing golden baby with wings and the voice of a woman yelling at her to flee immediately. She still isn't entirely convinced that wasn't a prescient nightmare. She stopped staying in roadside inns, ignoring her rumbling belly when game was scarce, but to her horror they kept coming. It was like they knew where she would be before she did, and staying far from roads only served to slow them down. She began to lose hope - she couldn't keep this up for much longer, and saw no way out except to stand and fight. She was relieved when she received a meeting location with a promise of a path forward.

Sitting at the table opposite Twin Rivers Entwined, and, briefly, Melinda, she examines both desperately for any sign of deceit or ill intent. Finding none, she sighs deeply and relaxes slightly, but her eyes still dart frequently about the room. Maja looks exhausted and dishevelled with heavy bags under red and puffy eyes.

"I trust her," she replies to Twin Rivers' Entwined's inquiry, words tumbling out almost too fast to follow, like they've been pent up for weeks. "I shouldn't, but I do. She always knows where I am, where I will be. Just like them. I've heard stories about seers and soothsayers but I never thought they'd care about me."

She pauses for breath, and looks sheepish, "Are you, um, like me then?"

"I don't think I can take this much longer," she says, slumping forward, tears welling in her eyes. "I'm so tired. I'd rather go to wherever this place is and fight than run forever."

Spending 3m peripheral on Perception excellency. 3 Awareness + 5 Perception + 3 Excellency = 11

Alas, 3 hits
 
Last edited:

HumanPlus

Sleeper Agent
Rivers nods, after having listened patiently to Maja's tirade. She puts her hand on Maja's and gives her a slight smile as an attempt of soothing the obvious agitation of the other woman. "Trust is good, but one should always try to consider the motives of a helpful stranger. If they hold a knife, they want you to be close and vulnerable". She shakes her head in admonishment of her impromptu lecture "but enough about her, we will know more later".

She holds her hand out between the two, "I am indeed much like you, one chosen by the very moon in the sky to wield power beyond the ken of mortal man, and if smart enough to survive the perils of the world outlive even kingdoms". Releasing the small effort she tends to keep up when in populated areas, something like silver flows to the surface of the skin of her fingers in intricate runework before stretching up her arm, shoulder and even face. She did not care if mortals in the tavern may notice, she would soon be at sea. "Some of us are part of a sworn brothership. We choose an aspect of Mother Moon that we wish to embody, and while it takes a small amount of the freedom the Mother's Gift has granted us, it protects us from the warping effects at the Edge of Creation which allows us to protect it from anything the formless depths may conjure".

Downing the last of her drink, she gets up and grabs her small satchel of her belongings. "Maybe, if you choose by your own free will, you too could join. But for now, how about we get on that ship so we can rest our sore feet for at least a while?" Whereafter she starts walking out into the evening breeze, the gleam of silver still reflecting the sun's light on her skin.

---

Not a long while later, River and her new acquaintance reached the docks, following Melinda's instructions to the ship named the Seagull. Still carrying her small satchel, and now also strangely enough also a cage with a live chicken under her arm that she had purchased at a local market, they approached the ship's landing where sailors bustled around. A big man who looked like he was in charge was talking to two other strangers who didn't seem to be sailors, she decided to walk near enough to perhaps follow the conversation.
 

Random Word

One Thousand Club
Maja listens raptly to Rivers' words of wisdom, and her eyes go wide as Rivers' tattoos glow. "Beautiful," she whispers softly.

"The only formless depths I want to explore right now are my dreams, but belonging somewhere sounds nice," she says, smiling slightly, as she follows Rivers through town. Rivers' calm and collected demeanor in the face of imminent death does wonders to lift Maja's spirits. The only time Maja ever paid the missionaries much heed was on children's story days, so she doesn't know a great deal about Princes of the Earth but she does know they swing indestructible swords that weigh as much as a yeddim as if they were made of feathersteel. Their blows impact with the force of an avalanche, driving an eternally sharp edge that cleaves bone and steel like paper. They have wisdom that humbles mountains, grace like flowing water, the cunning of the wild, and strategic brilliance that strikes like lightning. Rivers' effortless confidence shows she clearly isn't worried in the slightest about any of that, and so maybe Maja shouldn't be either.

Rivers' seems to have wisdom that could humble mountains and the cunning of the wild, and maybe Maja could swing a yeddim like it was feathersteel. She's seen stranger things this year. She looks around excitedly for a yeddim-sized thing to swing, but upon finding nothing suitable decides that perhaps now is really not the time to swing a yeddim. Also, poor yeddim. Perhaps, channeling the wisdom to humble mountains that radiates off Rivers, and out of consideration for the yeddim, the correct time to swing a yeddim like feathersteel is never. She pats herself on the back for navigating this ethical quandary like an adult, and laughs for the first time in weeks.

Arriving at the docks her mood brightens still further as she examines the ships intently. They're no Haslanti airships, but she's always loved ships of all kinds. When the ice breaks they come from exotic faraway places with exotic faraway stories. As a little girl she always ran down to the docks for the Harbour Festival when the first ships sailed in, sat on her father's shoulders and dreamed of sailing off on one of them. She feels just a little bit giddy at the thought that she's finally going to do it for real, even if it's only just up the coast.

If only he were here to see it, she thinks, bittersweetly.

Noting Rivers' interest in the conversation up the ramp she refrains from interupting, instead weighing her coin purse thoughtfully and preparing to haggle.

+ Twin Rivers Entwined (Admiration) Minor
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
As Bard is talking to the boat's captain, you do spot two things of note. First, the two passengers that are on the boat already are eyeing Spider and you carefully. Second, and perhaps more important, you manage to spot a slip of paper sticking out of the pocket of one of the men with a familiar sigil on it; the same one that was in the letter given to you.


From his vantage point, Kuaidao also spots a similar symbol on a piece of paper being held by the woman of the pair that has just begun talking with. Perhaps they are some of the Exalts that Melinda mentioned in her note?


From her position at the base of the gangway plank, Rivers can also see that of the two people that are talking to the giant man on the boat, the woman has a piece of paper in her hand with the same symbol or sigil that Melinda told you to look for. She is obviously looking around while the man is talking with the crewman, but you don't think she's done more than glance at you and Maja.


While the captain warms up to the idea of negotiating a price with Bard, he glances down at the dock to see two more people interested in arranging passage on his ship. He motions for Maja and River to come up and join everyone on the deck and the giant man introduces himself as Dromond, the ships' owner and captain. "It do seem that my cabins will be filled for this trip up the river. That is a good thing." Over the next few minutes, the four of you are able to come up with a reasonable price for the passage, and the big man has one of his crew show you below to where the passenger berths are.

It is quite clear that the rooms are meant for just sleeping in, because they are quite small, being barely large enough for the bed that fills them. After you have put your few belongings down and return to the deck, you can see that the Seagull is making the final preparations to depart from the dock and head on her way.

You quickly learn that the six of you are the only passengers on the boat, with a crew of twelve making the journey up the river.
 

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