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[OOC] Exalted: 100 Kingdoms, 100 Woes (battle in the underworld ooo wee ooo)

Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
edited March 2010 in Critical Failures
I'm using this post to chronicle flavorstuffs/snippets since the first post is full.

A Spirit from the Spear God's past, and the conquering of
The Serpent filled with Boundless Rage

Folk commonly attribute the spirits of a forest to be benevolent and nurturing, giving sustenance and shelter to those who offer the right kinds of supplication, commonly a newly planted sapling. As with all rules, there are certain exceptions, and the guardian of that deep, dark forest was cruel and filled with hatred. The animals who inhabited it were lean and tough, built of bone and sinew and unfit to eat after years of cultivated hatred by the Serpent.

It seldom manifested itself, since the villagers nearby never ventured into the woods. There was no water in the forest, and the river provided ample fish due to the villagers offerings to the river's spirit. Indeed, the river spirit's bounties knew no limit, and soon the spirit had taken to bestowing other miracles on the village, including fertility and good fortune. The birth rate grew and grew and the village expanded, and it soon turned into a township.

Any expanding settlement needs lumber, and the villagers came closer and closer to the Serpent's territory, felling trees for houses.

The Serpent awoke. Someone was cutting down its trees.

The trees whispered, and the local soothsayers refuse to repeat what they heard.

Uncoiling itself from the roots of the forest, the spirit manifested itself. A massive snake with bark-scale skin, pine-needle quills reared up. Its thorny fangs dripped sickly-sweet sap-venom.

It dove into the ground, its destination all too apparent. It broke out of the soil, and its hiss sounded like the rustling of leaves.

You've felled my trees. You will repay me with the blood of your children.

The serpent began its rampage, tearing through homes, tearing crying babies from their weeping mothers; it swallowed them whole.
Shit yes.

The serpent passes easily through the earth, it's body lingering in semicircles as it dives in and out. The young man runs atop the serpent's trunk, striking it again and again with his spear.

The serpent, angry, its wounds spitting boiling pitch, raises its head from the ground. It intends to engulf this annoying mortal insect that deems itself a warrior.

And then the rising sun emerges, illuminating the young man. He vaults into the air...

...his strike...

...is perfect.

The foul forest god convulses, its body thrashing and uprooting trees and earth all about it as he jumps into the air to avoid its throes of agony, descending to land a final blow between the serpent's eyes.

The pitch does not burn him. Its claws do not rend him. Its teeth do not pierce him. Its body does not crush him. His spear cleaves its skull, and the spirit of the beast dissipates in a screaming vapor of black wind.

As his defeated, primordial foe fades into detritus and petrified bone, the young man throws the spear over his shoulder. His students look on in awe as an image of the sun shines brightly at his forehead, his body swathed in a golden nimbus as if lit by a bonfire.

Once he was known as Li, renowned in the combative arts. He tested his might against the fiercest of men. Those days are over, and in the years to come those battles will seem as the games of children. He has been reborn.

The Spear God.

The reuniting of Black Soil and Eight Stones
The river could have been many rivers... too fast to swim easily, too deep to wade, too wide to jump. The bridge could have been many bridges, its wide stone arch weathered and draped in moss and lichen.

The men who approached from either side, however, were unique in the world. They reached the bridge at the same time, stopping just short of its middle, glaring for a moment, sizing each other up. Each could easily see what the other was by his clothes and weapons. They both appeared to be traveling warriors... and there was always the matter of deference.

One of the men, a large figure carrying what was obviously a large spear with a sack covering its blade, was the first to put his hands together and speak.

"My name is Spear God Li," he said, using his 'professional' name, "I'm traveling across this bridge... and I'm afraid you are in my way."

"My name is Deep Torrent Ajoris," replied the other, who carried a fighting staff, "and I must disagree... it is you who are in the way."

"It appears we have a disagreement. Perhaps we shall see which one of us should show humility."

"Perhaps."

The two men cast off their jackets, placing their weapons on the ground. They squared off... Spear God adopting a wide low stance, Deep Torrent fluidly relaxing into a high defensive position. They leapt at one another simultaneously.

Spear God Li's attacks were incredibly strong... his stomping kicks cracked the stones of the bridge and his iron fists demolished the railings as Deep Torrent effortlessly evaded his blows again and again. Finally, he found his opening, and unleased a flurry of strikes that first broke Li's balance... then leapt into the air and brought his heel in an axe-lick kick on top of his the Spear God's head, not only felling him... but bouncing him off the ground. Li somersaulted in mid flight and landed on his feet. He looked behind to see that he was only a foot from the edge of the wide bridge. He smiled at the stranger.

"What was the name of that technique?"

"I call it Water Pounds Eight Stones."

"Your kung fu is strong, Deep Torrent," Li said, striding up and grabbing his spear, "perhaps we shall see how strong."

"Perhaps."

Spear God Li had left the bag over his weapon, and Deep Torrent felt its rough fabric brush his face three times before he even had a chance to attack... the man was a different opponent entirely with a weapon in his hand. Li's attacks were sharp, precise, and created a whirling defense that deflected Torrent's barrage of counterattacks... he was a difficult opponent, so far it was nothing that Torrent hadn't seen before. But soon he was struck by something unprecedented... Li dove toward him like a whirlwind, the butt of his staff sweeping Torrents feat, its head returning to shovel him into the air, and the Spear God's body spinning to deliver a vicious kick that sent Torrent tumbling. He rolled to his feet, skidding backwards in a crouching position... and he could feel his heel at the edge of the bridge behind him.

"What was the name of that technique?"

"I call it Naga King's Tail Slap."

"Your kung fu is strong, Spear God Li."

Before the two men could intensify their conflict, a great laughing noise could be heard, as if all around them. Glancing around, they could see three fierce looking heads on long necks peering up at them on either side of the bridge. The six heads spoke to them all at once.

"Such great warriors... eating your hearts will make me strong."

The two adversaries grabbed their weapons and stood on the bridge, back to back.

"I've been looking for you, Wuzhiqi," smiled Spear God Li.

"You have?" asked a surprised Deep Torrent.

"So..." hissed the six heads, "it was you who killed the snake of Zhan Lu forest... I'm pleased to meet you, so-called 'Spear God' of peasant farmers."

"Laugh your last, worm," snarled Li, "For today you taste the fury of Black Soil!"

With a hard whip, the warrior shook the bag from the end of his spear, revealing a dark unpolished blade. He and Torrent leapt into action as the heads roared and began striking about them. Li held his ground, the spear weaving in and out, blocking and parrying the strikes of the hydra while Torrent's nimble footwork sent him flying among their attacker's heads like water flowing around branches. Staff and spear severed and pummeled the hydra's heads until it sunk back into the water, wailing.

Deep Torrent turned, a celebratory word in his throat... which stuck when he saw the mark of Dawn burning on the Spear God's forehead and a faint nimbus of golden flames around him, slowly fading. He was speechless.

"Well done, Torrent," smiled Li, not seeming to notice Torrent's surprise, "I suppose I'll have to go find the rest of him, but he won't be getting far."

Knuckles tensing on his staff, Deep Torrent's instincts conflicted... and then a sudden thought crossed his head.

"Naga King's Tail... and did you say... Black Soil?"

"I did, this Spear has taught me much. I know it like a good friend," said Li, who then paused and also adopted a pensive countenance, "... Eight Stones?"

They looked at one another's weapons, and back to their own. Spear God Li grinned, cleaning the blade of the weapon, and rubbed his thumbs with the grain of its wood.

"It seems they have met again, yes?"

"Yes."

They paused for a moment, finding themselves in the same positions on the bridge as before they had said their introductions. The problem had not been solved.

"Well, I suppose I don't have time to stay on my path just yet," mused Li, "I have to find what's left of Wuzihqi. And just so you know... it's just miles and miles of nothing behind me. Big battle a few weeks ago, not a woman nor a glass of wine as far as the eye can see for days. It's tragic!"

"Thank you, Spear God Li. Now that I think of it, there's a few places to see yet behind me."

"Perhaps I will see you there one day, Deep Torrent Ajoris."

"Perhaps."

The two men gave each other respectful bows, and turned, walking in opposite directions. Two heroes met, pride was preserved, a great beast was slain...

...and Black Soil had met Eight Stones after many years apart.

Concerning the Maiden and a pivotal moment in her life
Tsai-Eshe was cleaning her blades, waiting for the announcement to move. It was raining, and they had run out of food a day and a half-ago. So she was keeping occupied, trying to distract herself from her rumbling stomach.

"Lieutenant, we're getting ready to move out. Are you ready?"

Tsai-Eshe stood up, sheathing her machete and the thrusting sword. "Yeah. Let's get this done, maybe the poor bastards will have some food."

The rest of the soldiers laughed as they put on the black masks they wore to conceal their faces. The rain slid off their kasa, and they proceeded forward with catlike, stealthy movements. Their objective was to slip in and well, massacre everyone. It was an effective tactic that she had personally suggested to the general, and she was surprised he had agreed to it. After all, it was 'dirty fighting', but he probably just wanted to win this war and use the spoils toward providing basic amenities for the people. It's for a good cause, she told herself, and it was working. They'd been doing this for months now.

As the soldiers crept into the township and began entering the houses in pairs, Tsai-Eshe's gut began to turn over, and it wasn't from hunger. Something was wrong. As she finished searching the house with her partner, she realized that it was empty. She left the small building, and the other soldiers were coming outside as well, their eyes scanning about in confusion. Oh fuck, it's a trap!

"GET DOWN!" she tried to warn them as the volley of arrows were let loose from atop the higher buildings in the town. She watched helplessly as most of her friends and fellow patriots were struck with arrows. Her fighter's instincts kicked in, and she hit the ground, with the rest of them. Please pass over, please pass over she thought.

It was a few moments before the enemy soldiers passed over her, and she could hear the blades being stuck into her companions one by one.

She saw the man above her raise his sword, prepared to end her life, and she jerked her legs, toppling him to the ground. She seized his blade, it wouldn't be hard, kill one or two of them and she'd be free, to warn them that they were onto their strategy -

She didn't see the other soldier behind her before he blackjacked her and everything went dark.

--

The time Tsai-Eshe spent in the chambers stretched into infinity. Countless times her head would be dunked under the water, held there, and then ripped out at the final moment, the interrogator yelling in her face in a foreign drawl before forcing her head under again.

It was horrifying, and somewhere along the way she lost the hope and will to live. Somewhere along the way she just gave up, and when her head was forced under the water, she summoned up her courage and just... breathed in. It was painful, oh god it was painful, her body tried to expel the water but there was no-where to go, and finally she felt the weightlessness, the oncoming oblivion...

And then she was on a blackened, scorched plane. This must be the underworld.

"Close," intoned a silky female voice behind her. She turned around, and there was a beautiful woman, more beautiful than anything she had ever imagined, poised and perfect, on a marble throne.

"What? Who are you? How did you...?"

The lady laughed. "Who, or how, it doesn't matter. You'll know me well soon enough. What matters right now is you... you've made an interesting choice, a choice that took some courage. Rather than give them what they wanted, you didn't break, taking your secrets with you to the grave."

She leaned back, a sigh escaping her ruby-red lips. "But, one choice only leads to another choice. Though I think for you, this one will be easier to make... much easier."

Tsai-Eshe crossed her arms, looking around nervously. "Get to the point."

"I'm a friend. A very powerful friend. A friend who can give you a way out."

"You're joking."

"I don't joke, Tsai-Eshe. And that is a very beautiful name, by the way. I appreciate beauty, and it saddens me to see such a... willful woman such as yourself shuffled off the mortal coil with barely a say in the matter. To see you die an inglorious, thankless death for all of the time and effort and service you've given toward your cause."

"You're lying."

The lady sighed. "Why would I lie? Why would I waste my time to spin tales for a mortal on the cusp of passing to the underworld? I've come because I see potential in you Tsai-Eshe, potential to be something greater. I've come to awaken that potential. I've come to give you power. All you need to do is agree."

"Wait... you're going to bring me back to life? There has to be a catch. Nothing this good is free."

"Well, you'd have to serve me, fight for me, kill for me... but I hardly think that's any different from what you had planned anyway," she said with a chuckle, closing her eyes.

Tsai-Eshe blinked. "So that's it. I just keep on doing what I'm doing."

"Yes, that's all."

"I accept."

The Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears smiled, her eyes opening. They had been blue before, but now they were a bottomless well of black, the blackness of the void -

Then breathe your Second Breath, bask in the Black Exaltation, and take your new name. You are the Maiden who Laments the Death of One-Thousand Innocents.

It was three days later when the bloodshed finally came to an end, and the entire city lay in ruin. The Maiden was covered from head to toe in the blood of those she killed. She hadn't even picked up a weapon, and she could feel the flesh she had carved under her nails. It was horrifying.

She ran, and she didn't look back.

The road of No Shadow
"My mother comes to visit,
I bring out a bowl of rice..."

Simple leather boots stirred the dust as a deep voice sang out of tune.

"...an old friend comes to visit
I bring out two cups of wine..."

The twilight begins to bathe the world in shadow as the traveler taps the beat of the song on the haft of the large spear at his shoulder.

"...a demon comes to visit
and I greet him spear in hand..."

With a smile, the man stops and rests the butt of his weapon on the ground. He turns to look at the black-clad figure that has been behind him for at least a mile, matching his steps.

"Are you always so hospitable, Spear God Li?"

"Oh, it's a true story, No Shadow. But today, I am on your road at the hour of twilight... it seems I am your guest."

The hooded figure threw off his robes to reveal a horrid sight... a fanged pig-faced humanoid with gray skin, covered in open sores. His response to Li's question became clear when he unfurled the black, blood-soaked whip around his waist.


...


"...a beggar comes to visit
I bring him two copper coins..."

The sun sinks below the horizon, and a pile of smouldering ash fades into the darkness as the traveler continues on his way, beating the rhythmn of his song on the haft of his spear. The next town was close, and his song would carry him there by the light of dawn.

Common Names
The guard rose from his slumber... it was near the end of his shift, and he kept nodding off. Not many coming during the night, what with all the recent rumors of a demon haunting the road... but dawn's light was hitting the land, and a few were bound to show up. He had been roused by the song of an approaching traveler. He rubbed his eyes and stood up straight.

"What's your business in Fort White?"

"I just need to get off the road for a bit, maybe clean up a little." smiled the dust-caked man. His dark hair and beard were in need of a wash. His simple cotton and leather clothes were well worn, sporting many stitches, and holes in need of mending. He could have been any wandering miscreant, but for the large spear he carried, its blade covered in a burlap sack.

"Really..." said the guard, looking up at the weapon.

"I am a traveling wushu performer," the traveler recited rhythmically.

"Well, I'll need to record your name, of course."

"Li."

"There's a hundred men named 'Li' inside these walls," said the guard. He pulled back the man's sleeve, exposing a studded leather bracer, one of the typical hallmarks of warriors and strong men, "what's the rest of your name?"

"In some parts, I am known as Iron Fist Li."

"Hmph. There's a lot of those, too."

"Can I help it if nobody can think of original names anymore? I mean, with such a common name, I have to work even harder to make just a bit of money! Some of those other Iron Fist Li's are really sloppy, so it's hard to build a reputation."

"Very well, 'Iron Fist Li'. You may enter. Don't cause any trouble."

"Oh, I'm not here to cause trouble. Just stopping in for a bit of rest and good conversation. Say, you wouldn't happen to know any experts on local demons and ghosts, would you?"

"What?"

"I collect stories... gives me something to fall back on when I'm too tired to perform."

"Well, I don't know any storytellers. Check the library... take a left through the gate then take another left when you see Wu's Flower Shop."

"Thank you sir," said the traveler, bowing to the guard as the gate opened. He walked through, singing his song, tapping the beat on the haft of his spear.

The death and birth of Viridian Phoenix
Tai Lee slept.

Viridian Phoenix dreamed.

She could feel the threads of the Loom quivering, almost ready to snap, as every step of the Fair Folk into the city of Chanta threw Fate into disarray. They had come quietly, to rape, to kill, to enslave, and this crusade wouldn’t stop. There was no one to see it coming. Nobody except her.

She quietly whispered a message to anyone who would listen into the mask that covered her mouth, the Essence-powered circuits of Starmetal carrying her words to Yu-Shan across the strings of Fate. She only hoped that one heard. Her young apprentice… her lover… her reason for surviving so many missions.

“I will save everything. I won’t return.”

As the leader of the Fair Folk, their so called ‘Ambassador,’ ran his blade through the throat of the city’s leader, the threads of Fate surrounding the city snapped, broken irrevocably. As the populace screamed in terror, she stepped forwards, facing the inhuman things.. Her fans flipped open, covering her face demurely as her robes began to dance with a life of their own, with no breeze, nothing to animate them except her own Essence.

“The Viridian Phoenix asks you once. Leave now. She shall not ask again.”

The Wyld-creatures laughed derisively. What could one woman do to them? Nothing so horrible as what they could do to her.

Tai Lee remembered her Sifu teaching her. “Some techniques draw on so much power, so much Essence, that to use them is to risk losing your mind and soul in them forever. We, the Guardians of the Loom of Fate, sometimes have no choice but to embrace it as our destiny to save Creation.”
She remembered the sadness in those words as he spoke them.

Viridian Phoenix dreamed.

Dozens of the Fair Folk lay dead around her, as the remainder looked on in awe. She hadn’t even moved, yet her robes had strangled, broken, and killed the warriors that had assaulted her. They waited for an offer of mercy.

The Viridian Phoenix did not ask again.

She slowly walked forwards, seeing the Fae flicker, their glamour changing to power their inhuman fighting skills. They weren’t the only inhuman ones. Essence surrounded her body, and it changed.

Head of a foal, horns of a gazelle, scales of a dragon, fins of a carp… power thrilled through her body as she let her fury loose upon the Fair Folk, obliterating them underneath her touch.

The wounds that she suffered did not stop her, the spears that pierced her skin, the swords that cut her flesh, the dark words of the Wyld did not touch her mind. And finally, it was done. The city lay a burning ruin, but not a single one of the Fae had survived.

And neither had the Viridian Phoenix. With the last bit of strength remaining in her soul, she let go. Her corpse fell to the ground, as her Shard fled to Lytek, and her soul to the Underworld.

Tai Lee awoke. She walked to the office of her Sifu, fifth floor in the Bureau of Serenity. She leaned against the entrance, and smiled at him.

“My name is Viridian Phoenix.”

The embrace was bliss. The kiss was perfect. Inside the Jade Pleasure Dome, the Maiden of Serenity smiled.

Images of dark, despondent heroism
An image: A small village, only a hundred or so inhabitants. They are peaceful, they are friendly, and they are all hard-working. They live days from the border of a Shadowland, which they've come to recognize with a sort of fearful respect. They are superstitious of the people who have travelled into the Shadowland and never returned.
An image: A woman, likely in her early twenties, but with skin and hair paled like a ghost, wrapped in funeral shrouds and wearing jewelry made of bones. She is out of place in the village, and they fear her because they know she is from the Shadowland that steals away those who dare to walk within. She is a refugee from that dark world, and she is in hiding.
An image: A woman, this one's face hidden behind thin, dark veils, seated upon a throne surrounded by undead concubines. She is just as pale and muted as the first woman, but this does nothing to impinge upon her inhuman beauty. She knows the first woman's every move, and has is quietly contemplating the night's events.
An image: In the shadowland, a blighted place where the living come to speak with the dead, where dead come to recall the lands of the living -- in this shadowland, not far from a small village of not more than a hundred happy people, a monster -- there is no other word -- of iron and bone emerges; again, there is no other word. Perhaps it burrows forth from the ground; possibly it simply materializes, stalking in from the Underworld. It stands stories tall and lumbers. It has no thoughts but thoughts of violence and thoughts of these women.
An image: The monster reaches the city. The people scream in fear. The woman wrapped in funeral shrouds climbs from her resting place in their morgue and meets it head-on. Her weapon is steel forged in the heat of burning souls. The monster fights with teeth and claws, sharpened and plated with iron. Their clashes send sparks into the air. The people who have not fled watch from cover.
An image: The monster lays defeated, and the woman wrapped in funeral shrouds and carrying a soulsteel sword stands over its body. Her expression shows not the enthusiasm of victory but horror and confusion. She scans the gathered crowd, who want to cheer but don't. They are as terrified now as they were before. A thousand ghostly faces have gathered around the woman, and she is bleeding from her forehead. The faces scream, but there is no sound.
An image: The woman wrapped in funeral shrouds leaves the small village that night, into the cold as the winter months come. She has left behind the corpse of a monster and a much more deadly curse.
An image: A village is empty but for corpses, most of them curled like children yet unborn. There is no food or drink in any of their homes, no signs of the harvest that should have kept them through winter.

Beginnings
And ye will know them by sigils upon the head, by extravagant displays of power, by their demonic actions and beguiling words. Destroy them where they lie and in doing so, protect the defenseless.
As he runs through the forest Ajoris is lost in his private thoughts.

Scouting is so boring, if I see anything I blow the signal whistle and run very far and very fast in the opposite direction. At least I'm helping cleanse the Realm of Anathema. It’s the right thing to do, I guess that’s worth a little boredom.

His reverie is interrupted by a call for help and a woman’s scream. He breaks his jog and quickly runs forward to find a small farm being menaced by about ten angry forest spirits in the guise of large wolves. The warrior-scout summons a fighting staff of water as his eyes take in the horror.

"What’s going on? Why are the spirits angry?"

The farmer's wife runs forward, falling at his feet, weeping.

"Please help us! The spirits, they've... they've gone mad! They were content with two chickens as a sacrifice every full moon but now, now they demand a full-grown cow. We don’t have a full grown cow and when we told them they were going to kill us and destroy our farm! Please help us!"

The Prince of the Earth nodded, his eyes scanning his opponents. Satisfied with the odds, Ajoris wades into battle with the spirits, utilizing a strange mix of staff strikes, punches, and kicks.

Despite his efforts, the Water-aspect was only one man, despite the blood of the dragons flowing within him. He was constantly herded by the spirit wolves, and he was knocked to his back. As the wolf prepared to chew through his tender neck, an arrow placed with perfect accuracy pierces the wolf's skull, and it dissipates with a terrifying howl into black mist.

Nine more arrows followed the first, each one placed with surgical precision, and the wolves had been all but vanquished. In the stunned silence that follows, a man jumps down from a nearby tree. "Looked like you could use some help."

Ajoris quickly finds his feet and bows. "Thanks for the help. I probably would have been dog-meat without those arrows."

The archer's laughter is hardy and full. "Always glad to help. I’m Ruia by the way."

"I am Ajoris Deep Torrent. You are an accomplished archer, Ruia."

"Practice makes perfect, Deep Torrent Ajoris," said the warrior, quickly returning Ajoris' bow and nodding to the farmers. "Now, I must be going."

"Safe travels friend. I have to keep moving southwest. The Hunt is nearby. You're an accomplished warrior, we could use a good bow like yours."

Ruia blanches and clears his throat. "No, no, I really must be going.” Ruia quickly turns, disappearing into the trees. Ajoris quirks an eyebrow.

--

Well, something’s got the rest of the Hunt riled up. I can hear them all the way out here.

Ajoris is standing at the edge of a forest glade, keeping his ears open.

The last thing he had expected was a man to sail over the tree line, and hit the ground like meteor. He left a great rend in the ground, like some sort of cut. As the man stands up Ajoris sees to his horror that he is aglow with a golden aura that blanches the sun itself. A golden mark of the dawn blazes on his forhead.

Anathema! Quickly maneuvering behind a tree, the terrestrial leans over to get a better look. His jaw drops and he can't suppress his gasp. The Solar leaps to his feet, his bow in hand and an arrow readied. Ajoris steps out from behind the tree.

"I knew there was something out of place."

Ruia sighs, lowering his bow.

"And now you know my secret. I won't fight you. Though I suppose you’ll blow that whistle and I will have to run again.”

Ajoris turns around, replacing the sword on his back. "Get out of here. I didn't see you."

"Thank you Deep Torrent."

When Ajoris turns around again, the Dawn-child is gone.

--

"But... I don't understand. Why are you leaving? And where?"

Tiran stood in the doorway, her arms folded. Ajoris was packing a small satchel.

"You wouldn’t understand."

"I wouldn't understand? I understand perfectly! You’re dropping everything for no good reason! You’ll be worse than disgraced."

Ajoris sighs, taking his sister in an embrace.

"Please, this is already difficult enough."

"Why would you leave now? You’ve got good standings as a scout for the Hunt, you don’t want for anything, a few Sifu think you'd be a good candidate for walking the path of the Dragons. Why would you throw it all away?"

Ajoris breaks the embrace and turns back to his satchel, giving it a final tie. "For truth." He grabs the tiny pack and his weapons.

The tears in his eyes mingle with the rain as he disappears into the night.

Waylaid
"A’righ, yer monies or yer life."

Ajoris just looked at the four bandits and the barricade in front of him. He smiles. "Now now, there's no need for hostilities here. I see this is a toll road, very well. I think half a dinar should more than suffice." Reaching into a modestly sized pouch, Ajoris produces a small half-circle of jade and tosses it on the ground. "Now, if you’ll excuse me I really must be going."

Ajoris attempts to step around the obstacle but stops as all the bandits draw rusty but serviceable swords. The biggest and dumbest looking one steps forward. "I’s don' tink so, lil man. Yer monies or yer life, an' that bundle as well."

Ajoris sighs, "I give you the chance to leave me in peace but if you want my money or my life, then try to take it. Better men than you have tried." He sets the bundle containing his weapon aside. With a roar all four fighters descend on Ajoris, who takes a step backward and readies a fighting stance. His movement flows like the river, and in an instant all four are laid out on the ground unconscious, their weapons strewn in all directions.

Ajoris bends to retrieve his coin and booming laughter sounds from the forest as a very large man steps into view. "So, you have bested my minions. I knew they were weak but I thought they could handle you." He reaches down to his side and hefts a club Ajoris had taken for a large sapling. "But I will kill you. For I am Yuan, Scion of Gods! No man is stronger than I! And now you die!" He charges.

In between blows, Ajoris finds time for calm words. "Well met, Yuan. I am Ajoris, Torrent of the Deeps." The two combatants trade blows with no clear result. Ajoris manages to knock Yuan off balance for a moment.

"'Tis true, you are one of the stronger fighters I have faced. If I had all day to waste I would enjoy fighting you." Ajoris flips backwards and retrieves his wrapped eight-section staff. He removes the cloth and settles into River Stays the Course.

"But sadly, I do not have all day, and so you get to see Eight Stones' strength.”

The combat lasts another two instants and then Yuan falls to the ground. His club thuds into the turf and Ajoris relaxes his stance.

"You have great strength, but that alone does not make you strong. Knowing when and how to use one’s strength is what makes a man strong. Good day." Ajoris re-wraps his weapon and turns around. Yuan staggers to his feet. His meaty hand settles on the haft of his club.

"I have never been defeated and I will never be defeated!" His charge is reckless.

Ajoris turns, "I have given your bandits a chance to walk away, I have given you that same chance, I was turned down by both. Waveshearer, end this."

He draws and throws a jade war-boomerang in one fluid movement, cleanly severing the bandit lord's head from the body. Ajoris calls to the recuperating bandits.

"Perhaps this will teach you to choose the man who leads you more carefully in the future."

Ajoris Deep Torrent resumed his journey, and he never once looked back.

Here is post 2 with more flavorstuffs.

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Posts

  • PlutoniumPlutonium Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Why don't you try to find time and join us in our IRC game? Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 EST.

    Plutonium on
  • PapillonPapillon Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I would like to play Exalted, but I can't make the IRC game because Friday is FNM day, so PbP would be great.

    Papillon on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    fuck you arcanis /sigh /sign

    INeedNoSalt on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    This is the second post for flavorstuffs.
    River Pirates, and Discovering Eight Stones
    “Any last requests afore we throw you to the fishes?” the river pirate crowed. Ajoris, standing with a large bolder tied to his ankles, stared at the leader across the deck. “Just one” he begged, “Please don’t send me to my doom awake. I’m terrified of the water and drowning would be my greatest fear. Have Mercy, I beg you!”

    The brigand appeared to consider the request, “… No.” He pushes the boulder into the water, forcing Ajoris to follow quickly or be dragged forcibly. One of the pirates rushes forward, “Hoo boy, Woulda look at ‘em sink! He wasn’t kidden bout bein scared of water, es’s shakin like a leaf down there.”

    Ajoris was indeed shaking, but from laughter. Trying to Drown a Child of Daana’d! Of all the… Oh, I can’t breathe! It hurts. His lungs spasm, expelling the air contained within. As he focuses on the water embracing him his lungs quickly cease cries for air and the cold water feels as a warm caress. Adopting a limp posture, he floats still in the current.

    He waits patiently for the pirates to move upstream before using a river rock to sever his bonds. Following in the pirates wake, he reflects on how things came to this. So there I was, minding my own business and looking for a boat to take me upriver. Stupid fool that I am, the ship I choose is crewed by bloody River Pirates. Of all the luck. Of course, they rob me as soon as we leave port. His berating thoughts are distracted by a flashing glimmer from the darkness of the riverbed, I had no idea the river was this deep here. And what is that flash? Swimming down to investigate, Ajoris sees a dark tunnel leading into the riverbank.

    The end of the tunnel leads to a cavern and Ajoris steps from the tunnel into the flickering light of a single torch. As he does so, other torches lining the walls flare to life, illuminating a strange sight. One wall of the cavern was covered by a single mural depicting a blue river dragon amidst a background of a village nestled between the roots of a mountain and the sparkling blue band of a mighty river. The dragon was surrounded by a strange rippling script Ajoris had never seen before. However, as he examined the writing he found that its meaning was clear as a mountain stream. The writing tells of the elemental dragons Black Soil and Eight Stones and of the village they protected. It tells of the Contagion, corrupting Black Soil and forcing Eight Stones into seclusion.

    It ends with the passage, Know this, ye who stand here. Deep below in the bedrock of the world, Eight Stones slumbers eternal. But be ye of good heart, strong of will and body. Then perhaps the Power of the Eight Stones will choose you as its bearer and protector. May you prove worthy of the honor.

    Ajoris was in awe, he stood in the presence of an elemental dragon. A lesser dragon, but still an Elemental Dragon! He approached the mural, “Dragon, I beseech you, please. I, a child of your greater cousins, have nowhere to turn. My path is unclear and what little I posses in this world was taken from me. I ask for nothing but to rest here until my path becomes clear.” Ajoris ends his short prayer and bows his head. Lost in thoughts, regrets, and might-have-been’s; Ajoris doesn’t see the dragon’s jade eyes flash.

    He is broken from his internal depression by a panel opening at his feet. He sees an eight-section staff made of flawless blue jade, with a single polished river stone set in the middle of each section, set into the floor underneath the panel. Turning to the painted dragon, he imagines a smile reflected in the eyes. Reaching into the hollow he gently removes the artifact, feeling the power contained within. “Thank you, Great dragon of Eight Stones. I swear that I will prove worthy of your gift!”

    “Greetings, Pirate. I believe you have something of mine, yes?” Ajoris stood on the ships deck, unconscious bodies strewn about. The terrified leader groveled at his feet, “Yes, yes. Please take whatever you want. Just don’t hurt me!” Ajoris thinks about it, “… No.”

    The pirates dealt with and his belongings reclaimed, Ajoris resumes his journey with a renewed purpose.

    Worship of the Spear God
    Xiao Hu and the Old Master entered the circular clearing, where a group of students and priests were already gathering in the cool twilight of the grove. They knelt down in unison.

    "Sifu," he whispered, "what--"

    "Ssh!"

    Moments later, a veiled woman clad in white raiments and carrying incense walked quietly and knelt in front of the towering stump and the statue before it. She placed the incense before the statue, and bowed, her forehead and hands touching the ground. The rest of the group followed suit. She lifted her veil, revealing the face of a middle-aged woman, her face beautiful and full of quiet sorrow. In a quavering voice, she began to speak... and the young boy could already see tears in her eyes.

    Great Spirits and Ancestors
    Of Earth and Stone
    Of Leaf and Tree
    Of Rain and River
    Of Flame and Ember
    Of Breeze and Gale
    Of Moon and Sun
    My name is Li Shen-Ma
    Here, in the Sacred Grove
    of the Naga King, Black Soil Mountain,
    I beg you to hear me.

    In unison, the congregation bowed, and the woman continued.

    He was born in our village by your design
    For a great purpose beyond our understanding
    We beseech you, Lords and Masters
    To protect he who has saved us from darkness, to guide his hand and his heart
    To give him strength when he is weak, and mercy when he is mighty,
    To give him wisdom when he is foolish, and humility when he is clever,
    To give him grace when he has fallen, and reason when he is righteous.
    For these things we will make sacrifices to you.


    Once again all bowed. The final words of the prayer were spoken haltingly as she held back her tears.

    We beseech you, Spirits and Ancestors...

    ...to protect my son...

    ...Lords, hear this prayer.


    Six times the congregation rose and bowed again, and each in turn placed rice, fruit, and other offerings atop the stump before leaving in silence. Nodding to the young boy, the Old Master led him from the grove as the woman stayed behind with the guards, her tears falling to the earth in front of the statue of the Spear God.

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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    so if I decide to run this, I might be using an Exalted lite rules conversion due to the nature of PbP.

    http://groups.google.com/group/exalted-lite?hl=en

    Not that I'm opposed to core, mind, but I think that in a PbP medium resolving combat would take forever and a day. what do you guys think?

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  • GraycoinGraycoin Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Interest expressed - I've wanted to play a game of Exalted ever since I read the information thread on it, but my schedule never seems to allow for IRC games. Keeping my eye on this thread. ;-)

    Also, is there a way to view that page without signing up for google groups?

    Graycoin on
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I would be interested.

    especially if it's PbP, which is really all that I have the capability of doing cause of work constraints

    stupid work.

    So yes, consider this interest.

    And HEY!!! There is nothing wrong with have strange hair color. My poor Chandra has a perfectly good reason for her hair being that color, dammit.

    lonelyahava on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    nay graycoin there isn't. I recommend you join up, there's no obligation really, the creator would be flattered I'm sure

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  • Last SonLast Son Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I have not played a PnP game in so very long, but the exalted setting looks pretty interesting.
    Consider interest as having been expressed.

    What would be needed to play though? The core rulebook is a no-brainer but looking at the wiki there seems to have been over a dozen additional sourcebooks released for 2nd edition.

    Last Son on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Core is a definite... I think everything else is pretty much optional (for example if you want to play a terrestrial you should get the Manual of Exalted Power: Dragon-blooded)

    but I don't know if I'd be using the core rules, so all the funky doo-hickeys might not be necessary

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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    so what do you guys think? do you want to take another stab at some Exalted? I've come to a decision and I really think that if I'm going to run I'll use the Exaltered Exalted Lite conversion, so there wouldn't be complex maths and grids and tactical decisions to make

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Only if I get to play the topless chick from the exaltered's first or second page

    INeedNoSalt on
  • Last SonLast Son Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I would be in. I'm reading through the Exaltered: Lite rules, its kind of odd reading them in a vacuum(since I don't have the core-book yet) but they sound similar to the old(2nd edition?) Shadowrun rules with successes and target numbers. Would that be an accurate statement?

    Last Son on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I haven't played Shadowrun before, but yeah Exalted uses a Storyteller system based on dice pools and successes

    in Exalted core the successes count on a 7 and up on a d10, in Exaltered: Lite they count on just any even number, which is an interesting change

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    The same as if they just lowered the difficulty to 6, so I don't get the reason for it. :o

    INeedNoSalt on
  • PapillonPapillon Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Looking over the Exalted: Lite system, it doesn't seem very interesting to me... I especially dislike how all charms seem to just add successes -- it's like the only charm is Second Excellency.

    Also, I'm all for simplified combat (I can't imagine re-rolls, counterattacks, etc in PbP), but I'm not really a fan of the combined attack/defense pool, the no flurries, etc.

    So I'm going to withdraw my interest on this one... I guess I'll see how it works for you guys.

    Papillon on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    well, nothing is set in stone. I like core too, but all of the decisionmaking between the player and the DM during one attack would bring the game to its knees in my opinion, and if you take away options you're just playing d20 in the storyteller system (not digging on DnD or d20, but dnd this ain't)

    if you have ideas, share 'em. This is just in the formative stages anyways :P

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    The storyteller system is really not at all made for play-by-post.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • Last SonLast Son Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Papillon wrote: »
    Looking over the Exalted: Lite system, it doesn't seem very interesting to me... I especially dislike how all charms seem to just add successes -- it's like the only charm is Second Excellency.

    Several of his example Charms have more effects than simply adding successes to a roll, and of course they are just examples. Nothing prevents from making a Charm that does exactly what you want(other than Arcanis disapproving it).

    Last Son on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    so I want to start discussing possible ideas for the game. you are all welcome to throw down some input, as I'm open to anything and everything

    do you guys want me to have a general plot in mind, do you like to make your own plots, what?

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Murdering every single Abyssal

    INeedNoSalt on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    i would be interested in exalted and ratkin and all that shit if reading about how many dice i was supposed to roll and why i would roll them didn't break my brain.

    Horseshoe on
    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • Last SonLast Son Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I'm not familiar with the setting at all(I only know what I've read in the Wiki article and in Rainfall's OOC thread) so I wouldn't mind at least a loose plot. I think if given the choice to do anything I would just get lost.

    Last Son on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    also, I don't know if I'll be using the Exaltered rules, I just realized there's no rules for generating any of the other exalt types D:

    I'll see if I can't find some kind of compromise, and if you're new I don't mind teaching the game (especially if I find some way to simplify the system down)

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Horseshoe, it's just taking two numbers from your sheet, adding them together, and rolling that many dice.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    i'm still having a hard time with all the different skills and which ones go where and which two do i put together for this and what if the other guy rolls that and then i do what and hahsdfhashdfhadfha

    it's possible i'm making this harder than it is, but it confuses me

    Horseshoe on
    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • PlutoniumPlutonium Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I don't know if this fits in with Exaltered, but Rainfall pointed me towards a nice app that helps you create and manage your character in the core game, and gives you PDF's of your sheet all filled out.

    http://anathema.sourceforge.net/

    Plutonium on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    well, in the storyteller system you have a very simple resolution mechanic. you have your attributes, 9 of them, divided into three categories: physical, social, mental.

    phys -

    strength, dex, stamina

    social -

    charisma, manipulation, appearance

    mental -

    perception, intelligence, wits.

    and then you have your abilites (there are a lot, they're basically like DnD skills.)

    anytime you roll make a roll, you just roll an attribute + an ability.

    and I think I've made my decision: I'm going to be using core, and combat... I don't know how I'm going to handle combat, I may just avoid pitting you guys up against dudes with perfects for awhile :P

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    well, in the storyteller system you have a very simple resolution mechanic. you have your attributes, 9 of them, divided into gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
    (some other bullshit)

    and then you have your abilites (there are a lot

    this is where i hit the wall on this system arcanis

    Horseshoe on
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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    What

    There's like fifty skills in DND and six attributes and bab and saving throws and all kinds of shit way more numbers to track

    INeedNoSalt on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    lol, trust me in practice it's not hard, it's pretty much like

    "roll perception plus awareness (attribute + ability)" which is fundamentally identical to 'roll spot and listen' to detect something

    you're never looking at numbers higher than 5 in each, generally. no calculating skill ranks or anything like that since the game operates on those pesky dots and there are no class levels.

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    can i play like a god-child

    who has no idea the fuck what he's doing

    so that way the dm can tell me what to roll

    Horseshoe on
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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    and trust me, being at all proficient with 3.5 means any storyteller game is a PIECE OF CAKE to grasp

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  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    exalted is exactly about being a god child

    and yes generally the GM does tell you what to roll

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  • PlutoniumPlutonium Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Exalted is a very rules-crunchy system, and it's not easy to pick up, though I don't know about exalted light.

    I very highly recommend downloading Anathema and using it to create your character instead of trying to do it yourself, the character creation process is kind of wonky.

    Plutonium on
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    man plutonium

    you're really not helping, shut up please

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    exalted is exactly about being a god child

    and yes generally the GM does tell you what to roll

    alright, i could give this a shot then

    Horseshoe on
    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    WAIT A MINUTE

    arc, is there really candy in your van?

    Horseshoe on
    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    pay no attention at all to plutonium. I'm going to take this one step at a time, so it's going to start incredibly basic

    i won't lie horseshoe, plutonium has it right in that the deeper you dig into exalted it can be very complicated (not unlike 3.5!) but i'm not going to frontload the game.

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  • PlutoniumPlutonium Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I'm just giving my personal experience from getting into Rain's game, I'm not raining on your parade. Lighten up. It's an incredibly awesome setting to play in, and it's truly not that complicted once you get past the character creation process - which was only tough for me because I was a first-time player, and I was going to be playing in a really deadly campaign, so all the veterans were getting real crunchy, and they told me to do so as well, or I was going to be a bloody stain on a wall.

    I'm sure Arcanis will go a bit easier on you guys, and wont throw millenia-old volcano god at you in the first session.

    Seven Shadow Evasion is your friend :D.

    Also, there's a mechanic in the game called stunting, where if you describe anything that's awesome enough, you can get bonuses to your dice rolls at the GM's discretion, which really lets you add your own personal flavor to the game.

    Plutonium on
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