0
followers
follow

Lux Fiala

Life can change in an instant, whether for better or worse; don't let it break you!

0 · 584 views · located in The West

a character in “Exalted: A Tale in the Time of Tumult”, as played by Jakuri-chan

Description

Image


BANNER
CASTE
Terrestrial
NATURE
Defender
ASPECT
Fire Aspect




Image

ATTRIBUTES



PHYSICAL
STRENGTH //2// DEXTERITY //3// STAMINA //2//


SOCIAL
CHARISMA //3// MANIPULATION //2// APPEARANCE //4//


MENTAL
PERCEPTION //4// INTELLIGENCE //4// WITS //3//



ABILITIES



WARFARE
ARCHERY – 0
ATHLETICS – 0
AWARENESS – 0
DODGE – 3
INTEGRITY – 3
MARTIAL ARTS – 2
MELEE – 4
RESISTANCE – 2
THROWN – 0
WAR – 0
LIFE
CRAFT – 0
LARCENY – 0
LINGUISTICS – 3
PERFORMANCE – 0
PRESENCE – 2
RIDE – 0
SAIL – 1
SOCIALIZE – 2
STEALTH – 0
SURVIVAL – 2
WISDOM
BUREAUCRACY – 0
INVESTIGATION – 0
LORE – 3
MEDICINE – 2
OCCULT – 1





SPECIALTIES
Rudimentary Medical Knowledge
Knife Wielder
Twinkle Toes
Artifact Utilization
Subtleties of Connotation



HER LIFE



Image

PERSONALITY
There are many folks who do not believe it is possible for a person to change. Lux, however would beg to differ. She considers her younger self to have been an unfeeling, amoral fiend, having been raised among murderers, crooks, and brutes who possessed little in the way of conscious, she herself was no better than they. She was a relentless criminal just like them. Blood, death, crime; these were everyday normalcy to her, and as far as she knew, it was normal for everyone. Perhaps if fate had dictated that she remain with those outlaws, she never would have been capable of change. Depending on how you see it, it may’ve been luck that allowed Lux the opportunity to be taken into the care of the only person who’d help her discover her heart. Under their influence, Lux developed a strong conscious, felt guilt, regret, and remorse for the things she did in her younger years. Contrasting her childish self, the Lux of the present day is a young woman who has utterly rejected the notion of amorality, and has developed a strong sense of empathy and a sense of right and wrong. She follows her heart and adheres herself to the strongest aspects of her heart, those of compassion and her principles. When she sets herself to something, she’s the sort who’ll see it through against most odds, if she believes she’s doing the right thing.

She has a strong sense of humility as well, originating from lessons learnt through tears. Lux wouldn’t call herself wise; she doesn’t consider herself to be heroic, special, or anything more then just an everyday anybody. Despite having taken her Second Breath and becoming a Dragon-Blooded, Lux lives simply, she experiences new things for the sake of it, helps when help is needed. She wouldn’t call herself a hero, but if she knows she can help, she just does, merely because it’s the right thing to do.

Beyond that, the Lux of the present day is a young woman of cheer, rather awkward tendencies, occasional awful jokes, and a desire to live. Though she doesn't hold anything quite akin to deep friendships, Lux still enjoys establishing camaraderie with others nevertheless, even if she can sometimes be a bit peculiar, she generally means well and thoroughly likes the company of other people. While Lux lacks a formal education, she's still a rather decent conversationalist who is socially competent, for the most part. However, she does have something of an unfortunate quirk that can leave others viewing her as uncouth.... Perhaps a tendency leftover from her earlier life, she has something of a fascination with things she perceives as gorgeous, which leads her to staring at them rather intensely. Whether this be a bit of jewelry, artwork, architecture, etc., Lux cannot help herself, and becomes engrossed in what she's viewing. Naturally, this inconveniently extends to her sometimes gawking at people who somewhat overwhelm her sense of aesthetics. Aware of this issue, Lux has made efforts to cease at least staring at people, and has made strides, but she is still prone to lapses...which has led to more than one embarrassing incident, or her feeling mortified in the aftermath.

In general, Lux tends to be something of a rather even-tempered young woman, all things considered. That isn't to say Lux doesn't get irked, though. She is capable of snapping at people if they get on her nerves, or if they push one of her buttons.

Though, she always does her best to see the good in people, and rarely really believes others to be totally evil, and thinks pretty much anyone is capable of changing themselves for the better due to her own circumstances. Of course, this isn't to say that she isn't willing to draw a blade and fight against others if she feels it a necessity. Lux is not a pacifist, but she prefers to avoid conflict as much as possible. She will fight to protect those who need immediate protection, and she will defend her own life.


MOTIVATIONS
Experience new things for the sake of it
Help those in need of help
Leave others with a smile
Never falter


VIRTUES
COMPASSION – 3
TEMPERANCE – 2
CONVICTION – 2
VALOR – 2


LIMIT BREAK
“Whatever I must do...to protect another....”
Like all Exalted, Lux’s strongest Virtue can prove to be her downfall when under the effects of the Great Curse. Her compassion drives her to live with her heart on her sleeve, show immense amounts of empathy, and perhaps to care too deeply for others.... When the Great Curse overcomes her, Lux utterly changes for the duration of its effects. That strong and righteous compassion that drives her forward becomes mutilated and twisted. Aspects of Lux’s old persona bleed through to the surface, and while she is still technically acting on her compassion, it’s a rather morphed version of it. Her morality greys, and she’s suddenly not so opposed to darker deeds if the ends seemingly justify the means. If it means she can help or protect someone she cares about, she’ll be willing to steal, and even do something like suddenly plunge a knife in the back of an unsuspecting individual. She acts on her instincts, doing whatever feels like it’ll get the job done as quickly as possible, even if it horrifies others, or could lead to her own demise. Anyone who bears witness to Lux like this will get to see who she used to be in years gone by....



MERITS
Jack-of-all-Trades
Characters with this Merit have a broad basis of knowledge and skill to draw upon and an almost preternatural ability to adapt their understanding to new purposes and situations.
Pain Tolerance
Characters with this Merit can shrug off injuries that would leave most individuals unconscious or writhing in agony.
???


FLAWS
Nightmares
A character with this Flaw experiences horrific dreams whenever she sleeps. She may have experienced a mind-shattering personal trauma or received the attention of malefic spirits or sorcerers, or perhaps she harbors guilt over past misdeeds.
Secrets
The character harbors a secret that could prove embarrassing or even dangerous if others were to learn of it.
Strangeness
Life is just a little stranger for this character. Fae seek them out for conversations, Elementals manifest often to dance in their path, but only on their watch. Sometimes it rains toads in their path, etc. Odd things just happen, these events tend to complicate the situation, rather than help.




PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

Image


HEIGHT – 5’1” | WEIGHT – 91 lbs.
Lux is a young woman of around 18 who is of a somewhat smaller frame, possesses a well-proportioned figure, and a youthful face that makes most believe her to be younger than she truly is. Her complexion is rather light, her skin fair, while her hair is vibrant shade of blonde, kept rather short due to an incident with a horse in the near past, it is anything but neat though, typically it rather unkempt in appearance, seemingly defying gravity and basic laws of physics from time-to-time, yet it seems to work for her, oddly. Upon her person, perhaps her most striking physical feature is her rather vivid green eyes. Typically, Lux is a modest dresser, keeping the majority of her body covered by some type of durable clothing that can withstand travel.


BACKGROUND
Lux was barely old enough to toddle when her parents were murdered and her idyllic village was razed to the ground. The perfectly ordinary life she had led and was apparently destined to lead went up that night in blood and flames.... A locally notorious band of marauders were the culprits. And, for whatever the reason, Lux was spared the same fate that ‘d befallen most others from her village. Perhaps one of the bandits had some semblance of consciousness, maybe they felt pity for the poor mewling girl—whatever the reason, Lux was taken into their “care” and reared as one of them. Her youth was found to be advantageous once she was old enough to follow orders, after all who expects a child to plunge a knife into their back?

The earliest years of her life, Lux grew to emulate her “caretakers,” she lacked a sense of humanity and knew only how to follow her instincts to survive in a world that was harsh and cruel.

Until the age of eight, Lux led a life that was bathed in crime and blood, she lived on scraps, and she knew few days where she was truly content. Hunger and thirst plagued her a majority of those years—and truly she thought this was just how life was for everyone in the world. She thought that every person lived like she and her “family” did. And, as far as she knew this was how she’d live her whole life til the day she died, whether it be from starvation, old age or having a “family member” slit her throat in her sleep, Lux fully accepted this horrid existence.

That is, til this chapter of her life came to an abrupt end in the late hours of the night. Someone, a woman revered as a local vigilante do-gooder, wandered her way through the winding paths that led to the hideaway that Lux and her “family” lived in. She’d come to put an end to their reign of crime, but was not a woman without a sense of empathy or mercy. Though it seemed idiotic, she shouted that if anyone wanted to surrender themselves, and scatter to the corners of Creation while promising to lead a life free of crime, she’d spare their lives. Naturally, she was mocked and laughed at—that she truly thought herself capable of victory? She was one woman facing down dozens. And yet.... She did prove victorious against their lot, when they raised their weapons at her, she knew that no one would take her up on her offer of mercy, so she no longer hesitated and cut a bloody swath through the criminals, not stopping til each one was felled by her spear...until she came across Lux.

Believing Lux to be an orphan recently kidnapped by the bandits, the woman who introduced herself as Vered Saphir took Lux into her care, promising to find the girl a safe and warm place to call home. Lux put on a rather commendable charade, playing upon the woman’s soft heart; she acted the part of a traumatized and terrified girl.... Though Vered had told Lux she would find her a new home, Vered inadvertently always found one reason or another to keep Lux with her, making excuse after excuse as to why each location they visited was ill-suited for a child to live. And while it was that Lux initially started only acting, Vered’s actions, her compassion, her everything had a strong affect upon Lux after some months as her ward. Initially, Lux couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening to her—that Vered had ignited a spark within her that had burned through her heart and mind, awakening her sleeping humanity. She learned compassion, empathy, found her conscious during that time at Vered’s side.... These things almost broke her.

Alongside the development of a conscious, so too did come the guilt, remorse and regret for all she’d done before. The lives she’d taken; the lives she’d destroyed when she knew no better. This ate away at her nerves and mind til one night she couldn’t take it anymore. She broke down into hysterics before Vered, confessing to her caretaker all of her sins and of the immense guilt she was experiencing. A part of Lux honestly believed that Vered would kill her then and there, as she revealed the dark deeds she committed.

Vered though, merely consoled the girl, embracing her as she soothed her anxieties. Lux sobbed into the arms of her caretaker all night.

In the years following all this, Lux fully dedicated herself to emulating Vered—admiring her entirely. She learned everything she could from her—worldly as Vered was, suffice to say that Lux learned a lot; from combat techniques to several different languages.... Those were the happiest times of Lux’s life, truly. ....and during the middle of another night, Lux’s life would once more change. Vered’s reputation as a vigilante do-gooder preceded her. Some revered her as a bit of a folk hero, while others most certainly did not view her so fondly. During the earliest hours of the AM, she and Lux were ambushed by a group seeking revenge on Vered for her actions against them several months before, and while Vered fought with all her might, she did possess one weakness.

Several of the criminals took Lux hostage, a knife pressed so close to her throat that she bled. They told Vered that they would kill Lux, unless she surrendered her weapon and received their “justice.” Livid, Vered tossed aside her spear while Lux screamed at her to fight...but Vered cared too much for Lux to do such a thing and risk her life. And before Lux’s eyes, Vered was stabbed through the stomach. What happened next once more served to shift Lux’s seemingly obvious destiny.

It felt like time stilled, Lux’s breath caught in her diaphragm, and her heart faltered, her whole body felt like it numbed. All Lux really remembers is screaming as loud as she could scream, sensation returning to her body tenfold. Everything became a blur of tears and her screams, and when she returned to awareness, she found herself standing amidst a dozen or more corpses who’d been otherwise torn to shreds and burned nearly unrecognizable, while she was covered in their sticky, drying blood.

She’d taken her Second Breath that night, and awoke as a Prince of the Earth.

It’s been nearly three-and-a-half years since Vered’s death, and Lux has done her best to go on with her life, trying to live in a way that’d made Vered proud. She’s wandered across the Scavenger Lands, met many people and experienced much, learning miscellaneous things.... Lux has learned about herself, about whom and what she is, putting the pieces together as she’s gone onward in her journeys. From time-to-time she’s been known to help those who needed help, righted wrongs she bore witness to and generally has done her best to live life like Vered used to. Some people might think of her as heroic, but Lux would deny such praises—she feels that she’s just an everyday anybody, and is no one more special than the next person. All she’s doing is what she would hope anyone would do. If that makes people view her as a hero, then, maybe it's better for them to view her as such, if it gives them hope.



MAGIC/GEAR/TALENTS


Image


STATS
ESSENCE SCORE //2// HEALTH POINTS //7|7// WILLPOWER POOL //5|5//


ESSENCE MOTES
PERSONAL POOL //4// PERIPHERAL POOL //11//


CHARMS

  • SPARK KINDLING RESCUE TECHNIQUE
    Medicine – 2
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 2m
    Duration – Varies

    By sending a potent surge of Essence through the target’s body, the Fire Aspect sparks an incapacitated target into furious action for three turns for every success on a Strength + Medicine roll. The target does not regain consciousness and cannot take actions of his own, so the Exalt using this Charm must guide the target’s somewhat uncoordinated running, but the target can move at his maximum speed for the duration of this Charm, provided the Exalt guides him around obstacles. Targets affected by this Charm are, albeit only briefly, stabilized and will not lose blood again until three turns after the Charm concludes. If the target takes damage beyond the maximum dictated by his Stamina while this Charm is in effect, he dies the moment the Charm concludes.

  • THRESHOLD WARDING STANCE
    Dodge – 2
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 1m
    Duration – Instant

    It stands to reason that, if one wishes to dodge, one must have room to do so. The Dragon-Blooded defy this obvious logic. For the duration of a single tick, a Dragon-Blood using this Charm can ignore all environmental penalties to his Dodge DV, even in places where dodging would seemingly be impossible, such as on tree limbs or up to his knees in quicksand.

  • BLINDING SPARK DISTRACTION
    Melee – 3
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 1m
    Duration – Instant

    When swords clash, they inevitably give off sparks. Ordinarily, these sparks are an annoyance at most, but few Dragon-Bloods are ordinary. With this Charm, a Dragon-Blood can manipulate such sparks, augmenting them into fiery luminescence with his Essence and then sending them cascading into his opponents eyes. The Exalt can activate this Charm reflexively whenever he successfully avoids an attack from a metal weapon with his Parry DV or simply when he strikes any metal or stone object with his sword, including successful parries. The Essence spent multiplies what would normally be a few flying sparks into a crackling blue and gold spray that flies into his opponent’s eyes. The opponent is blinded for the following action, causing her to lose two successes from all attack rolls made for her. If the player of the opponent succeeds on a reflexive (Wits + Dodge) roll to have the character look away, however, he suffers only a two-die penalty instead of losing two successes.

    The character may activate this Charm either against an opponent whose attack he has successfully parried, or against an opponent who has successfully parried one of the character's attacks. This Charm is invoked in Step 9 of attack resolution and is treated as a counterattack, save that it does not reduce the character’s DV. The opponent must make a (Wits + [Awareness or Dodge]) check with a difficulty of 1. If she fails, she is blinded until her next action, suffering a -4 internal penalty (Exalted, p. 135). If the check is successful, she can see imperfectly and suffers a -2 internal penalty instead. If her successes match or exceed (the Dragon-Blooded's Essence), the opponent completely negates the effects of this Charm.

  • DRAGON-GRACED WEAPON
    Melee – 2
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 1m
    Duration – Instant

    The Dragon-Blood has achieved a unity with his weapon that allows him to impart some of his elemental nature to it. On a successful melee attack, the Dragon-Blood may also inflict an elemental effect appropriate to his aspect on the target. Air buffets the target, subtracting two dice from her next action. Fire sets the target ablaze for a single action, giving a +4L bonus to the Dragon-Blood’s damage dice pool.

  • ELEMENTAL BOLT ATTACK
    Lore – 2
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 1m per 2L
    Duration – Instant

    Sometimes referred to as “the Dragon’s Claw,” this Charm permits a Dragon-Blood to fire a bolt of elemental energy appropriate to his aspect from his hand toward a target. The bolt is targeted with (Dexterity + Athletics) or (Dexterity + Archery), whichever is preferred, with an Accuracy bonus equal to the Dragon-Blood’s Essence and a range of (Essence x 20) yards. The bolt inflicts 2L per mote spent up to a maximum number of motes equal to the Dragon-Blood’s Stamina. The bolt also has an elemental aspect and triggers the following elemental effects: Air buffets the target, subtracting two dice from her next action. Earth triggers a tremor beneath the target’s feet, forcing her player to roll (Dexterity + Athletics), difficulty 4, to keep the character from falling. Fire sets the target ablaze for a single action (+4L to the attacker’s damage pool). Water fills the target’s lungs with seawater, adding three ticks before her next action due to violent coughing. Woodexposes the target to a plant toxin, requiring a reflexive (Stamina + Resistance) roll, with a difficulty equal to (the Dragon-Blood’s Essence), to avoid suffering a -1 penalty on all actions for the remainder of the scene.

  • LANGUAGE LEARNING RITUAL
    Lore – 2
    Essence – 2
    Cost – 2m/1wp
    Duration – One week

    The Children of Mela often serve as the diplomatic corps of the Dragon-Blooded Host, and while fluency in foreign tongues often requires years of study, this Charm can reduce the necessary time to just an afternoon. The Dragon-Blood must spend at least one hour meditating and listening to a foreign language being spoken. He can then “absorb” that language into himself, becoming completely fluent in both conversation and literacy. The Charm lasts for one week, at which time the knowledge gained fades completely.

    Each commitment sustains fluency in a different language (written fluency requires Lore 1).

  • GHOST-FIRE BLADE
    Melee – 3
    Essence – 2
    Prerequisite Charms - Dragon-Graced Weapon
    Cost – 1m or 2m
    Duration – One action

    Since the Great Uprising, the Dragon-Blooded have accepted the burden of defending the masses of humanity against the depredations of angry ghosts and truculent spirits. Chief among their arsenal in this ongoing battle is this Charm, which permits a Dragon-Blood to charge his melee weapon with Essence so that it can damage ghosts and spirits even while they are dematerialized. Additionally, if the Exalt spends four motes instead of just two, the weapon is considered Holy for the Charm’s duration and inflicts aggravated damage against creatures of darkness. The charge lasts for only a single action, although its effects do apply to each attack in a flurry. Essence for the Charm must be spent before the attack is initiated.

    The Leader use of this Charm can inflict aggravated damage but does not extend the capability to strike dematerialized beings.


COMBOS

  • N/A


SORCERY

  • N/A


PREFERRED COMBAT STYLE
Distract and Strike
Lux is aware that she is rather on the smaller side, and knows that she is not capable of taking down most opponents with sheer strength or brute force thanks to this, so she prefers to try to distract enemy combatants and fell them in haste.
End it Quickly
Generally in line with her nature, Lux prefers to kill as mercifully as possible. If she has to kill, she doesn't want to needlessly draw the act out and cause anyone prolonged suffering. She prefers to strike fast and true
Knife Wielding
Stemming from her early years as being the ward of bandits, Lux has something of a talent for knife wielding overall. She's tried her hand with other weapons, but seems to just have knack for knives. Overall, she's actually rather skilled with them, and quite deadly when need be. Typically, she wields any knife of hers in a reverse grip and can actually double-wield if she feels it necessary, though she's less skilled with her left hand.
Hand-to-Hand Combat
Though not her strongest area, Lux does possess some level of skill in hand-to-hand combat, enough that she at least defend herself and land a few blows. While she'll default to knife wielding most of the time, if caught without her knives or in an area not suitable for knife fighting, Lux has with her a rather standard pair of knuckle-dusters that she'll slip on to give her an extra edge.


LANGUAGES KNOWN
Riverspeak
Seatongue
Forest-tongue
High Realm

ARTIFACTS
Image
A lantern that burns everlasting no matter the circumstance—the history of the Amaranthine Flame has otherwise been lost to time with only rumors and hearsay remaining. Lux came across the Lantern during her aimless wanderings across The Scavenger Lands. Venturing in an old ruin that she felt drawn to, she found it buried in some rubble, with its flame still flickering. Looking untarnished and otherwise new, Lux felt compelled to take it with her, only to discover down the line that it was an Artifact that was made specifically for Fire-Aspect Terrestrials like herself; who made it, how or why, Lux doesn't know. What Lux knows of the Lantern, she's discovered herself, and she's aware that it may yet hold abilities and secrets she's completely unaware of.... Lux also named it herself.

Otherwise appearing rather ordinary, the Amaranthine Flame has an outer shell composed of copper that has never once oxidized or rusted throughout its life, appearing still to be new. Within the lantern, however, is Red Jade from which its eternal flame burns. Only in the hands of a Fire Aspect Terrestrial Exalted does the lantern’s true potential show. The lantern is capable of manipulating fire on varying levels, depending on the intent of its wielder at the time, though Lux typically uses it to light campfires or to see in dark areas. When utilized in combat, the lantern sends out a flame in the form of a large bird at the behest of its wielder that is rather akin to the Flight of the Brilliant Raptor spell. A bird birthed of ruby flames seeks out the target the lantern’s wielder desires to strike and streaks across the field before smashing into it, violently exploding and spewing forth flames that incinerate a rather wide area around the target.

Damage done by this attack is dependent upon the lantern wielder’s (Lore + Occult). The lantern’s power is capable of being called upon on an as needed basis, but is limited by its wielder’s essence motes. Each time the Amaranthine Flame is used in battle, it costs its wielder 4m.


IMPEDIMENTA



Image

So begins...

Lux Fiala's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

She still wasn’t entirely sure what to make of all...this. Though strange and unusual phenomena were something she wasn’t entirely inexperienced with, this ordeal was on a different level entirely. Certainly did she live for new experiences, but a small part of herself did still doubt that she’d made the right choice in answering the summons she received. Dragon-Blooded though she was, her exploits and journeys paled in comparison to those who were perhaps considered her kin—why she’d been selected against others of her kind eluded her. She was nothing truly special, really. However uncertain she was, Lux wasn’t one to deny what seemed to be a legitimate plea for help, if someone believed that she could really truly help them absolve an apparently dire matter, she would oblige to the best of her limited capabilities. It was the right thing to do.

....regardless, Lux was still somewhat awed and uncertain as she’d boarded the ethereal ship before. It was truly a marvel—gorgeous and a thing of true luxury, undoubtedly, but it still felt somewhat off-putting. Lux felt so very out of place on it for varying reasons, but she’d committed herself in spite of her doubts, and she wasn’t about to recant. A commitment was a commitment.

So, as the ship and its enigma of a helmsman made its rounds, collecting the other Exalted who’d responded to the summons like her, Lux decided that she would seat herself down upon its deck, back resting against the railings, and merely observe those who’d apparently form her traveling party. Including herself, they definitely seemed the mismatched lot. Sans herself, she was rather certain that a bulk of the summoned was what some called Anathema, and one in particular seemed to be what was referred to as a Deathknight. Most definitely, they were an odd bunch. Lux made no motion to greet or speak to the others as they boarded, and instead fetched a small piece of chocolate out of one of her many pockets, and nibbled on it contently.

Yet, when it was that the beginnings of a quarrel formed between the Deathknight and the Exalted with the long inky hair, Lux ceased eating her sweets, and put the remainder of it away for the time being—if in-fighting was already an issue.... Oh dear, was this to be a journey, indeed.

When another intervened in the squabble, and managed to quell it with little incident before it escalated, Lux relaxed herself with a sigh, what did she ever get herself involved in this time? Whilst those involved dispersed—the woman with the long inky hair shifting her body into that of a cat and the Deathknight retreating below deck with...was that a slave...? Lux stared, trying to process that for a moment before she lightly shook her head, deciding to dwell upon that matter at a later time, when less was going on and she had more time to comprehend that.

Later, later.... she thought, coming to the realization that it seemed that the last of the ship’s pickups were made.

Perhaps now she’d find it in herself to mingle amidst the others, attempt to begin something of a rapport. Reaching her arm up and back, she gripped the handrail above her head, and used it to pull herself up with a needless noise, brushing her bottom off as she felt the sea breeze tousle her short hair now that she was standing again. She looked out at the ocean for a moment—it’d been some time since she had been on the ocean before this; rarely did she venture out into open waters. Lux wondered about the others, if they were more at home upon the waves. Maybe she could utilize that to begin some kind of conversation with someone?

Thus, she turned around, walking toward the one whom had mediated between the Deathknight and the other Exalted—and found herself smiling upon realizing that he had...a set of some sort of animalistic ears perched atop his head, and did he have a tail too?

“Ah, ahem,” she cleared her throat to catch his attention, “so, that was...a wondrous way for us all to start off, we’ve not even heard the specifics of our summons and already there is conflict.” Lux let out a nervous laugh, “If no one else will say it; thanks for intervening between those two,” she held a hand up in something of a mock wave before smiling, “my name is Lux, by the by! It’s nice to meet you.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
Ashen Sky looked over his shoulder at the short girl behind him and gave a toothy grin. "Eh, I'm used ta living on ships wit' tight quarters and tha tempers tha flair in em. Ya learn fast how ta cool heads if yer wantin' to live within the same 15 meters o' each other for weeks on end." He turned to her fully and in response to her mock wave gave her a mock salute. "be glad to makin' yer acquaintance miss Lux. You might o' over heard it from the cat lady but me name is Ashen Sky. Former privateer and chosen child of tha goddess Luna." He put both hands on his hips and regarded her for a moment. "Gotta say miss'm, yer oddly caviler about being on a boat full of anathema." He didn't know what manner of exalt she was just yet but he guessed dragon blooded by the smell of her. He looked up and took another glance about the boat at it's other occupants.

"So this'll be our crew than ey. Let's see. So we got Lux here, guy I'm calling Artisan because I'm not saying tha rest of his name because it's to dang long behind me. I think the little chatter box next ta our cap'n said 'is name was Ioa. Big lady cat lady Astrid over thar and..." He took a look at the strange woman that Astrid in cat form had just jumped into the lap of. She hadn't said a word since she got on board, but Ashen Sky knew the touch of the wyld on someone when he saw it and her manner of dress looked vaguely northern. Figuring he might as well try to learn something about her before they all went into the dragons den together he coned his hands around his mouth and shouted at her "HEY! Pretty lady with tha pink pigmentation! Ya got a name for us ta call ya or does tha cat got yer tongue?" He made the universal 'come here' waving motion at her as he yelled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes

0.00 INK

#, as written by Castle
Many conversations passed, and Calliope had finally slipped into a light sleep. It was a strange kind of sleep. She sat up straight, her posture was impeccable, and though she had drowned out the murmurs of her cabin-mates, she was still partly aware. Calliope was stirred from her meditation by the presence of a small animal in her lap. When she opened her eyes, she discovered a cat that looked up at her with familiar eyes. Almost instinctively, she began to pet the cat. As cold and reserved as Calliope was, she couldn't help but feel drawn to animals, and beauty altogether. It made her feel something that was not discussed in her village. Beauty was considered superficial, but she could not deny to herself the odd lightness a beautiful day made her feel. Calliope did not smile or relax her furrowed brow, still, she was contented by the presence of the small creature of which she continued to pet.

The pink woman looked up at the call of someone clearly addressing her. "Hey! Pretty lady with tha pink pigmentation!" The man said. "Ya got a name for us ta call ya or does tha cat got yer tongue?" It was the bog-dweller she had tuned out not long ago.

It was clear that Ashen's choice of words neither repulsed nor compelled her. Instead, they seemed to fall off of her like water off a duck's back. She ceased petting the animal, and regained a more regal composure. "I am Calliope Lordes, Daughter of Titania, Soul Air to the Noble Seat of Gladom, of the the Gladomain Empire," and with the smallest, and most genuine smile she could muster she added, "But you may have the privilege of calling me Calliope." Each word she spoke was expertly articulated, but certain 't' sounds came out sounding more rounded, (such a Daughter, pronounced by Calliope like: 'Daaduer'), and often she held onto her 'm' and 'n' consonants slightly too long. She spoke softly, due to her native sky-tongue, but her accent was certainly acclimated to speaking a commoner's tongue. Something about her accent resembled more of a Romanian dialect.

"In addition, nno. This feline has nod yed addempted to cut out my tongue, as you say. Mannny gratitudes for the forewarning." She resumed petting the cat readily. After further examination, Calliope discovered that the cat was none other than the irritable Lunar she had observed earlier. The only reason she could tell now was because of the creature's small, distinct Caste mark. However, this did not give Calliope cause to stop petting just yet.

She looked back at Ashen with sudden intentness. "Annd whad is it that you are called, dear stranger?" Calliope asked in return.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
Though he did raised an eyebrow at her rather literal interpenetration of his quip, for his part Ashen Sky let out a small whistle as 'Calliope' introduced herself. "Princess of Gladom eh.... never heard o' it." He gave a slight shrug and a smirk at that. "But none tha less it be interenstin' ta have a member o' royalty on this voyage." He started taking a few steps toward her, figuring that if she wasn't going to get up and come join them he'd at least try to meet her half way and subtly hoped that Lux and Artisan would follow so he could make this a group discussion. Quietly Ashen Sky was trying to gather the various passengers of the ship together into the same discussion. The idea being to form some level of group solidarity by getting everyone antiquated with one another before they arrived at Fakharu's palace.

"Ta give ye me name, it's Ashen Sky. I was born out 'ere in tha west in tha nation of Wave Crest, so this be a bit o' a return trip 'ome fer me." He scratched his chin a bit in a show of appearing thoughtful. "So Galdom... where be tha about? From yer accent and dress ye look northerner." He paused, seeming to realize something, and turned his head to look over his shoulder at the others. "In fact ay could ask tha of the rest o' ye. Where be all o' ye from in this 'ere wide world?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Astrid began to purr contentedly, lazily looking about her surroundings as Calliope pet her. Ashen started to make his way over, speaking with his weirdly accented words. The way he spoke left Astrid to ponder how he hadn't been killed yet, and make her start to regret accepting these summons. She had children to get back to and a tribe to lead. Trusting Ashen to introduce herself, Astrid continued to purr contentedly, that is until the Deathknight began to approach. Her hackles raised slightly and she started to hiss, but ultimately went back to purring in a heap on Calliope's lap.

Artisan joined the small group that had begun forming, eager to ingratiate himself with as many of them as possible, even if only so that they may be more inclined to keep the Lunar off him. He knelt down on one knee to acknowledge Calliope's rank. "Your grace. With a slight tip of the hat, he stood back up to introduce himself. "I am The Artisan That Which Souls Cling, a name given to me by my Lord. You may call me Artisan if it pleases you, your grace. I'm from a small town in the Blessed Isle, but I abandoned that place long ago."

Taking a seat next to Ashen, he smiled gently, then as if it were an afterthought he told everyone within earshot, "Oh, and as my name might suggest, I'm quite the craftsmen. If any of you need anything made, feel free to come to me and I'll cut you a great deal. Despite my nature, I'm sure we'll become fast friends! Indeed we should have to, as Fakharu isn't to be trifled with."

Content with his introduction, Artisan flopped quite unceremoniously onto his back, laying spread out and looking at the sky. "To what end do you think he called us all out here? We're quite a motley bunch."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Castle
Calliope was pleased with Ashen's interest in her birth village. She noticed that his boyish features were deceptive. He seemed far older than he looked, though she could not pin an age on him. His blue hair was a shade that Calliope had never seen. Most citizens of Gladom had a mixture of white and a very light blue hair color, she couldn't help but stare at his a little. Not to mention his tail! A tail! Why, she'd never seen such a thing. For the first time since he had boarded the boat, Calliope was really looking at him. She had met a couple Exalted individuals in the past, mostly Solars, and others of the Dawn Caste -- being a warrior, it isn't infrequent one meets another Dawn. But never had she met a Lunar. The concept of transfiguration was foreign to her. She felt her curiosity peak, and she wanted to ask more, but the conversation moved forward.

Suddenly, the gaunt fellow approached her, and knelt before her. He was a weak minded man, Calliope gathered, but his humility was otherwise appealing. She obliged his use of honorifics, and nodded acceptingly, a formal greeting in her culture. She was thoroughly flattered by him, and his features were certainly not unappealing. She continued stroking the cat.

"Gladom is a prosperous village south of the Whide Sea, high in the Crag Mmountains. Mmy people flourish on warfare, and the ancient relics of our ahncesdors. In my culdure we fighd along side our people." In response to his question, she added, "I imagine it mmust be to a great battle."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

Following her introduction with Ashen, Lux followed him at his behest as everyone began to exchange proper introductions between themselves, giving some rudimentary information regarding their backgrounds. So far, it seemed that amongst their little group, they had Ashen, Astrid, Artisan, Ioa and Calliope, then herself. Indeed it seemed that she was the only Dragon-Blooded aboard the ship. From what she could silently gather, she had two Solars, two Lunars and a Deathknight in her midst. Never before had she been near so many other Exalted at once—once in a time, she’d run into one or two wayward, but that was it. This experience was definitely new to for her.... Given their first impressions, everyone definitely seemed rather...interesting. They were definitely a rounded group, to say the least.

For the moment, Lux kept herself quiet, looming at the edge of the group as she listened to the lot of them chat, til Artisan brought up Fakharu and the reasoning behind their collective summons. Calliope seemed rather certain it was for a great battle....

Certainly, they were needed for something, and while Lux was not the most educated of folks, knowing what she knew from hearsay and by piecing together bits of miscellaneous information she’d gathered over the years, she was knowledgeable enough to realize that the reasoning behind everyone’s collective summons was beyond the scope of a “great battle.” She didn’t know everything about Fakharu, but she knew enough to realize his power was immense, and whatever help he required from the gathered Exalted, it was something he could not do alone.

Lux lightly set her arms across her diaphragm, a thoughtful expression emerging upon her face. Indeed, as Artisan had said following his rather...peculiar introduction, Fakharu was not someone to trifle with. She tilted her head and pursed her lips as she let out a contemplative noise. “Hmm, I’ve a notion to believe that why ever we lot were summoned, it’s not for the sake of a battle, Lady Calliope.” she paused in her musing, “If it were merely a ‘great battle,’ then I don’t believe that Fakharu would require our aid.”

She adjusted her footing a bit, a thought occurring to her, “Ah, since you were all doing introductions prior...my name is Lux, Lux Fiala. I hail from The Scavenger Lands; I’m from no one place in particular, I’ve been a wanderer for longer than I can remember, if I’m to be honest. Good to meet you all.” she gave a small smile to the lot of them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

Ioa listened and watches as he got some responses from various people, including the captain who said they would bathe when they got there apparently and could make themselves look presentable then. At the very least, he was thinking of that, given the fact he actually had no nice clothes to wear. Technically, he just had one set, because he had been adventuring alone and would wash them when he bathed in some river or stream or pond.

His boots, which were actually a magic item made for him to increase his combat ability, were also the only footwear he had at the moment, not that he actually needed to wear any. And they were safely fastened to him it seemed, since he wasn't wearing anything on his feet at the moment.

"Oh, right? Are we supposed to say where we are from? Well, my name is Ioa, and I grew up in a village surrounded by forests...if that helps. I don't really recognize any landmarks anymore, I kinda just came to a port town and got on because this seemed fun and interesting".

Actually, Ioa had no real clue where he would point to on a map, though if someone worked out some details with him, he could probably designate some location...but that could always be saved for another time. After that, he darted over, moving so fast he seemed to just teleport for that moment, and...disappeared?

No, for some reason he was now hanging upsidedown on a rope, in front of the group. He was holding onto the rope using his legs and held it inbetween his big and index toes, for a reason no one might be able to discern. SImply put, he thought it would be fun. And then, he looked at Calliope.

"Oh, you are another solar like me! Nice to meet you! I am of the Night Caste! And you...Dawn Caste right?"

Ioa made a guess at his fellow Solar, half thinking back to remember if she specified that. Well, she kinda gave him the whole ultimate warrior vibe also. Meanwhile, Ioa probably seemed like the most lax one of all.

"Well, if he all contacted us....maybe he wants to make us a team, or give us a party for becoming Exalted? Or maybe, he...he has some sort of super secret quest that requires both strength and the upmost of secrecy and sneakiness! Or or...just something really cool!"

And then, Ioa added something.

"By the way, who is Fakharu anyways? I am kinda curious since he sent me a letter, so clearly he knows me, but I dont remember meeting him at all...maybe that one sailor that I made friends with when she passed through town, Lulella, knew him and mentioned me? I wonder if she is still out drinking and brawling guys twice as big as her..."

As Ioa sort of mentioned various things, he started to have his mind wander off in totally irrelevent directions.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
(Please keep in mind that exalts can't preform supernatural feats without burning essence. I know Ioa is supposed to be fast but he can't be super humanly fast without activating charms.)

It seemed his smooth talking skills had proven themselves again. Slowly the dispersed exalts started to gather around him and began discussing their origins and speculating about the reason for Fakharu's summons. Ashen Sky listened as they spoke their turn and noted what he could of each speaker in kind. Astrid seemed only lightly concerned with the conversation at large, with the only things he could gleam from her being her intense dislike for Artisan and people like him and her apperent willingness to cuddle up with strangers. Artisan, the amicable and shaping up to be a good conversationalist, seemed like someone easily startled and Ashen Sky suspected he was a little desperate to gain everyone's favor after his 'greeting' by Astrid. He was slightly surprised to hear that he was from the blessed Isle and could only hazard a guess as to what caused his departure.

He did notice out the corner of his eye that the pink princess Calliope staring at him rather intently. For some strange reason though, he didn't feel any sense of discomfort with being the object of her scrutiny. Even more, as her eyes trailed up and down his form he unconsciously started to give her a bit of a 'show'; flicking his upper ears and wagging his tail back too and fro when her gaze passed over them. He had a few of his own questions about her such as what was the origin of her skin's color and what this Gladom was like. After a while he realized that he too was starting to stare and returned focus to the rest of the group and the on going discussion.

Lux was the next to speak, sitting at the edge of the group in thought. By her garb he suspected she was well traveled and was quickly validated of that when she admitted such. Interestingly she carried a rather large lantern with her and had to wonder why she'd need on that big. Between her, Astrid and especially Calliope he had to admit that there were some rather striking women on this ship and thought wistfully of his adolescent years as a privateer.

Last was the rather hyper active youngest member of the crew. Ashen did have to admit being impressed at how quickly he zipped about the ship, not sure if the boy was showing off or just reveling in his own powers as any boy his age would. He was similarly impressed with how his mouth nearly moved as fast as his feet and would bounce from topic to topic as much as he did from place to place on the ship.

Deciding to keep things on topic he loudly cleared his throat. "Well, ye all make good points on tha matter..." As he spoke he walked over took a place next to Caliope and Astrid by the ships edge and rested his hands on the rails, facing the whole of the group. He made a pause and looked at the sky as if in thought. "Thinkin' about it, I think tha kid be on ta somethin'. And nay not tha party bit." He rolled his shoulders and looked the party over, taking one last glance at them all for appraisal. "If I was ta make ah comparison ta somethin', out here in the west there be a practice called privateering. The basic idea is tha wars are costly out 'ere in the west, not many have the resources ta keep standin' armies, but we still got rival power's to contend with. So ta get around tha problem nations employ privateer, private citizen's tha are given permission to attack other islands ships and towns an sell there loot back to the ships home nation. Tha idea being tha home country can send out raiders against their enemies without dippin into their own coffer tha much." As he spoke he slipped one of his hands into his coat and pulled out a flask. Taking a quick swig of the liquid to wet his throat he continued with his head slightly lower and his voice softer. "Now this is all well an standard in times o' war. It's expected then. But sometimes a even when a nation isn't at war it might still employ a few privateers to raid a specific target. In these cases, when the nation does this it's 'cause they want something specific done without there name attached ta it. Since Privateers are 'private' citizen's their home country can claim deniability in tha attacks so long as tha privateer don't link things back home. Some even go and hire outside there own country to further throw off suspision of there backing in tha raids."

Slowly bit by bit Ashen Sky's accent started to fade as he neared the end of his monologue. He raised his head now giving them each his full attention and making sure had their's in turn. "Now, I don't want to be throwing any accusations or bad words on our potential employers name, but I'm thinkin' if he's gatherin' so many exalts from different parts of creation, it's because there is something he wants done that he doesn't want his name attached to. Something he can't risk sending his own people out to do for fear of drawin' attention to himself." He shrugged, put his flask back in his pocket and wiped his hands. "'Course, that's all just speculation on my part. I don't know much about Fakharu despite livin' here a while ago." With that he smirked and shot a look at Artisan. "I suspect the only one of us that might is our pale friend here. Ya did say 'e wasn't one be trifled with did ye?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
The helmsman of the ship snorted. It was impressed with the young lunar's insight, but found it distasteful the manner in which he shared it for he made it sound as though lord Fakharu was intending to enact some petty criminal enterprise. The matter was much more delicate and important than simple piracy. But it was at least pleased to see the group of exalts forming together so soon rather than keeping each other at arms length. Hopefully it would be enough to form a coherent circle for the trial ahead.

A cawing noise and the distant flapping of wings drew it's attention as another crystal bird descended from the night sky carrying a message. Holding out a tendril for it to land upon, the spirit took the scroll from the birds beak as soon as it landed and read it silently. Nodding quietly it took hold of the wheel again and started turning it as a new fog bank materialized ahead of them. This time it took far longer to breach the fog than the scant few moments the ship had taken between it's 'shifts' from port to port. After a particularly long and silent period of drifting the boat finally broke free of the last fog bank, revealing orange and red tinged horizon ahead of it that heralded the coming of the dawn. The spirit nodded called to it's passengers in a loud but plain tone. "Lord Fakharu's palace lies ahead, we will be arriving within the hour." And as he said this, far in the distance ahead and just barely visible in the distance a small island came into view. On it what seemed that could be a large tower jutted up from it's center and glimmered slightly as it caught the pre-morning sun.

If one had a spy glass they would see it better for it's splendor, but for any other it would become apparent eventually as the spire gradually grew larger as it closed that it's exterior was wrought with an layer of solid gold. Flying about above it more lights twinkled, and as they came into focus they became whole flocks of the same crystal birds that had delivered the letters to the exalted passengers. Some roosting on the great white marble and gold edifice of the spire, some flying about it in lazy patterns, and others coming and going with scrolls clutched in their talons.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

Lux listened as further speculation was made regarding Fakharu and the purpose for their summoning. She’d still yet to sort her first impressions of the others. The lot of them had gathered together into a group, at Ashen’s bidding. Her eyes fell across each individual for the first time proper, as she took the time to better take their appearances in—they all definitely had their own unique looks, didn’t they...? Everyone seemed to hail from all across the corners of Creation; no one was at all from the same place. Though they could all currently understand each other beyond some definite accentual quirks and such, Lux felt herself suspecting that each of them had a differing native tongue. She herself was really only fluent in Riverspeak, having rarely traversed beyond the bounds of the Scavenger Lands.

Ashen somewhat intrigued her, what with the ears and tail. She was curious what sort of animal they were connected to, and while Lux knew herself to not be among the most well-read of folks, she’d still did know enough about Lunars to know about their “Totem Animals.” Naturally, she could come to the assumption as anyone else that Ashen’s ears and tail were a reflection of his respective Totem Animal—though she wasn’t able to recognize which animal.

Calliope, who she’d address before, was quite a sight, indeed. You’d have to be struck blind not to realize that she was lovely—unusual skin pigmentation only adding to her splendidness. She’d spoken before of her home, Gladom, her people were warriors; Lux definitely believed that Calliope herself was a force to be reckoned with. There was an atmosphere about her....

Astrid—the other Lunar who’d almost gotten into conflict with the Deathknight, Artisan.... Ever since Ashen managed to mediate between them, Astrid had kept her form reduced to that of a black housecat, and remained curled upon Calliope’s lap. She didn’t seem much concerned about the exchange happening between the others.

Ioa was...he seemed to be the youngest amidst their group, and his youth was reflected in his rather energetic actions and his winded sentences. He had said he was a Solar, like Calliope was, and ended up spouting aimless rambles regarding Fakharu and his thoughts about him. Overall, Lux felt reminded of a squirrel when she looked at him? Odd, perhaps, but she couldn’t help it.

Lastly was Artisan, the Deathknight who Astrid seemed to have a strong loathing for. She’d never met a Deathknight before and knew very little of them, yet from what she could garner about him; he seemed as if he were cordial enough, definitely intelligent.... Lux would reserve her judgments about him, though first impressions led her to see him as decent, there was still the matter of him apparently having with him what appeared to be a slave and that...was not something Lux felt entirely comfortable with. Certainly, in many parts slavery was commonplace and entirely accepted, but her personal views rather conflicted with such notions, it reminded her of.... Time would only tell how she’d come to view him.

Her hand was held to her chin in thought, as she ruminated over her the opinions she’d had of her companions, however, she was rend from her musings as Ashen began to speak again. As he spoke, Lux noticed that the inflection in his speech began to dwindle away, til nothing of it was left. He made a point that Artisan seemed to have an idea of who Fakharu was, since the Deathknight had made a point to say, “he wasn’t one to be trifled with.” Given her background, Lux was certain that most people would know more than she about a being like Fakharu, especially Artisan, considering he’d said he was originally from the Blessed Isle. Whatever she knew were tidbits of miscellaneous information that she’d pieced together during her travels, she was probably lucky she knew of Fakharu at all before she received his summons....

Before Lux could even open her mouth to articulate anymore thoughts she had regarding the matter, the ethereal helmsman of their elegant ship spoke, informing them that they would arrive at Fakharu’s palace soon. No sooner had he spoken then did the eerie fog that’d enveloped them this whole journey dissipate. The sea around them was dark, though hues of pink and orange began to bath the oceans with light from the still absent sun. Lux moved, walking to the starboard side of the ship’s deck. She set her hands upon the railing, and leaned over it, squinting as she looked to what she assumed to be the ship’s destination. Her oversized, enchanted lantern squeaked as she stood on her tiptoes, leaning further out. Vaguely, she could make out the glimmer of something golden on the island....

The seabreeze tousled Lux’s a bit, as she lowered herself down to her feet, she tucked a stray bit behind an ear before she turned back to everyone. “It would seem that Fakharu has a rather ostentatious set of aesthetics, if my eyes are to be trusted. It looks like his palace is as golden as the sun itself.... If nothing else, this all will certainly be a sight to see—I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit excited at the thought!” Lux’s voice teetered a bit. Certainly, she had ever reason to be ambivalent about all this, but she couldn’t help herself. If nothing else, she lived for new experiences, and this would definitely be an experience unlike any other she’d had thus far.

A huge grin broke out over her face as she tittered a touch, excited anticipation spread across her face. The others might think her sudden shift in demeanor a bit odd, but Lux couldn’t help herself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Castle
Calliope was lulled back into her fifty-yard-stare by Ashen's conjectures. She had to admit that among the crew were several formidable warriors, some with better intentions than others. She agreed with Ashen. There must have been some important reason for her presence, but aside from this? Calliope didn't picture the horrors that awaited them. She didn't imagine this 'Fakharu,' nor his intentions. She didn't even analyze the depth of the situation she had gotten herself into. The only thought that occupied her mind was the honor she would bring to her people when she was, at last, faced with great battle.

She was uninspired by the spectacular sight that beheld them. While the light was a pleasant change, the colors did not move her, and the glistening of the castle itself was only nuisance, since the glare of the sun stung her eyes. She was glad to better know her new allies. Calliope found them all peculiar, but then, the most important part was their functionality.

Instead of ogling the sight, she unsheathed her ōdachi, willing Astrid off her lap. The sword was one of the three she currently had equipped. Back in her room, she had a large weapons bag that contained the rest of her artillery (bows, daggers, arrows, and approximately four other swords). She began restlessly sharpening it with a piece of yellow stone she always had with her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
The Deathknight nodded, armor rasping against itself as he stood to answer Ashen, and take in the sight of the approaching marvel. "Lord Fakharu is one of the Lesser Elemental Dragons, sometimes referred to as one of the 'Little Gods.' He also serves as one of the seven Censors, and not much goes on in the West without making its way back to his court." Heavy, armored footfalls made their way over to Lux, staring at the opulent palace that was fast approaching. "Lord Fakharu is well known in the Spirit Courts out here. Garnering his favor would indeed be ideal. Not to mention I doubt we want to bring his ire upon us."

Artisan took another long look at the assembled, 'privateers' as the Lunar boy had called them. Two Lunars, a Solar and two that had yet to show their true nature. No other Deathknights though, or if they were they must be fresh out of the Labyrinth, though he doubted it. Two Deathknights coincidentally in one place was rare, as there were only a a hundred or so in Creation or otherwise.

The Solar boy seemed impressionable enough, definitely a valuable asset to surviving this long journey. Perhaps even a corruptible Solar to be brought back to the The Bodhisattva Anointed By Dark Waters. Gaining Clout with the Spirit Court AND recruiting a new Abyssal would definitely make this hassle worthwhile.

There wasn't much to be said for this 'Astrid' creature, she seemed hellbent on ensuring he died one way or another. Though she'd definitely be useful if he could get her to dance to his tune, doing so would be an entirely different matter. Ashen had probably saved his life, and as such Artisan viewed him with high regards. Sticking around him would probably be the best chance to not end up on the wrong end of Astrid's claws. However, he probably shouldn't stick TOO close. The boy was clever, more clever than he let on.

As for the last two, there wasn't much to be said. Neither of them had revealed their Caste, nor too much about them. They were both gorgeous, though he doubted that's why Fakharu sent for them. They were probably also Exalted, as everyone gathered here seemed to be. Calliope began to sharpen a blade, definitely a warrior aspect then. The question was which? Heir to the throne screamed some type of Solar, which might make her a Dawn Caste. Though she might also be a Sidereal or Dragon-blood.


The tiny black cat that was Astrid, however, seemed entirely unimpressed with the knowledge of who Fakharu was. He could be a valuable ally to her tribe, and that was all he was to her. The Abyssal's long-winded speech made her regret not beheading him earlier. So far Calliope was proving to be her favorite, her accent even heavily suggested that she was also from the North. Perhaps once this whole thing was over, they could join Gladom and Astrid's tribe and lead a great Horde, uniting the people.

The rest, Astrid would reserve final judgement for. The other Lunar was clever, she gave him that, but his prowess in battle had yet to be measured. The other boy was a bit too energetic for her liking, but perhaps that would translate well into fervor for combat. She couldn't be sure about Lux, but she seemed sweet enough, perhaps even willing to join the Tribe.

Standing up and stretching out, still in Calliope's lap, a lazy mewl was let out and she jumped onto the railing of the boat. On the horizon, a monument to overindulgence could be seen. Flattening her ears with distaste, tiny cat paws began padding their way back to Astrid's room, so that she may retrieve her meager belongings.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
Ashen Sky let out let out a low whistle at the sight of the spire and nodded along to Artisan's explanation on. "Ay an by tha looks of o' it 'is assets be vast indeed." Almost immediately Ashen slipped back into his native accent again. "'Ave to wonder what sorta power bein' one o' tha censors gives 'im to amass all tha' an display it with outta care." And sightlently, he pondered what advantages it would be to have that power on his side. He'd had some misgivings about returning to the west as when he had left it had been made clear that he wasn't.... welcome in the great archipelago anymore and the simple act of showing his face here again would likely put him in danger. But if this Fakharu person was as influential as it was claimed, then getting himself in his good graces would likely be another step towards being beyond his pursuers reach.

As the minutes passed the spire loomed larger and larger as it came into focus and eventually the sun broke free of the horizon behind it just as the ship came to moor at the long pier jutting out from the shore. Just as with the ship itself and the spire before it, the wharf they descended upon was of splendorous craftsmanship with perfectly shaped wood untouched by the elements and nailed in place with precious metals. And from where it met the shore a long twisting path that was bordered on both sides by a beach of perfectly arranged raked sand and up through a field of well cultivated and colorful trees and bushes.

Ashen was the first out of the boat, figuring he'd be slightly courteous and offer a hand to those without sea legs in getting off the boat and over the gap between it and the pier. And as the passengers disembarked from the boat five beautiful young women began walking down the path from the pier. Each was bareheaded, garbed in clothing of white linen and each wearing jewelry exclusively of one of the five magical metals in the form of bracelets, necklaces and girdles. The one at the head of the group, adorned on decorations of orchicalcum, stepped forward and bowed. "Welcome honored exalted. We have been eagerly awaiting your arrival and we hope your journey was pleasant. I am Nāgasāni, behind me are Vengalu, Periya, Hotton and Lakshmī." At their introduction each of the other four women gave a slight curtsy in turn. "We humbly ask that you allow us to escort you to the lords spire."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

She took a breath and calmed her excitedly racing heart—yes she was terribly eager by the glimpse she’d gotten of what was upon the horizon, but she needed to keep a certain level of sang-froid. If her eyes were not deceiving her against the glare of the morning twilight, then it seemed that Fakharu’s palace was gold? Indeed, she might question the architectural tastes of whoever designed the place, nevertheless though, the prospect of seeing a place that was not just decorated with gold, but actually constructed in its entirety.... How fascinating, even if it was garish and rather a waste. Still, she needed to quell her anticipation; she wasn’t here merely for the sights and general experience of it all. Lux was here because Fakharu needed her and the assistance of the others, for some unknown reason. Though the group all had their own notions and had mused over it, they were really no closer to knowing for certain the magnitude of the situation they were asked to assist with.

One of her hands found their way overtop her heart, as she took in a rather deep and measured breath as she forced her heartrate to slow, but the smile never left her face. Lux’s attention was caught, though, when she heard the sound of a sword drawn from its sheathe, which caused her to cast her gaze toward Calliope who’d taken it upon herself to now sharpen one of her swords...the shape of the blade piqued Lux’s curiosities, momentarily distracting her. She recalled seeing sword like those in her travels from time-to-time, but could not recollect the proper term.... It wasn’t til she heard the heavy, metallic footfalls that ceased at her side that she returned to reality, Artisan standing rather near her. Her eyes trailed over to him, as he began to speak. He spoke of Fakharu, and the knowledge he possessed of him. Some of the information he revealed, she’d know, other parts of it, she had not. Until now, Lux couldn’t remember ever having heard the term “Seven Censors,” but it was as she’d speculated before. Fakharu was someone who was due respect.

Mimicking her in a manner, Artisan seemed to look upon those who’d responded to Fakharu’s letters, likely gathering his thoughts on herself and the rest. She still was unsure of what to make of this man, but, she would give him as much of a chance as anyone else. Sans Calliope, she herself was the only one of the group who hadn’t either willing revealed or had someone else reveal their Caste. Given the impression Lux got off Calliope, she wasn’t a Dragon-Blooded like herself, which meant she might be alone in that regard. Ashen seemed to have suspected her status, he’d made a comment before about how she seemed awful casual about traveling with a lot of “Anathema.” She was far from an idiot; she knew that Dragon-Blooded and other Exalted had bad blood between them, and a majority carried that ancient ill-will through to the present day, and those prejudices were still fresh for many.... Lux, in a manner of speaking, considered herself fortunate to not have been raised within the Realm or alongside any other prevalent group of Dragon-Blooded. She never had those archaic views ingrained into her from before she was capable of independent thought. Though her life hadn’t been idyllic in anyway, at least it’d allowed her the gift of free thought, she was allowed to form her own opinions without having her view skewed by some outdated, preconceived notion.

Her Caste and her status as a Terrestrial amongst Celestials could become problematic, though she held none of the views so common amid her Exalted kin...the others didn’t yet know that, and it was quite possible they’d judge her upon those merits. For now, even if Ashen had his suspicions, Lux figured it’d be best to keep quiet about her Caste for as long as conceivably possible. Til, at least, she’d hopefully established a strong enough rapport with everyone that it wouldn’t impede their budding camaraderie.

Ashen let out a low whistle, himself taking in the sight of Fakharu’s opulent abode whilst Astrid, still donning the form of a cat, trotted off, heading below deck—Lux had noticed her little ears flattening against her skull.... Perhaps in revulsion? While she herself was somewhat excited by what was before them, Lux could understand why one might gaze upon Fakharu’s grandiose palace and feel a bit queasy.

The minutes passed by in silence, as the ship drew ever closer to where it would dock, right as soon as the dawn was upon them proper. Unsurprisingly, to Lux at least, the wharf to which their ship was guided was just as elaborate as the ship and Fakharu’s spire. Off in the near distance, she could make out a sort of rather well-maintained garden.... Almost as soon as the ship had come to a standstill, and a board was set out for them to disembark, Ashen was already out onto the pier. Lux had nothing to gather from below deck, and thus was able to follow suit with little hesitation. As she stepped off the ship and onto the pier, she wobbled a bit and took up Ashen’s unspoken offer of assistance in keeping herself upright. She had been on boats and ships few times in the past, but since she rarely ventured beyond the bounds of The Scavenger Lands, she didn’t exactly cope well going between land and sea at a moment’s notice.

Whilst Lux rectified her posture, and got back her balance, a quintet of well-adorned women approached their group, one of them—Nagasani bowed, greeting them, introducing herself, and the other four. They were meant to be their escorts. Lux was dumbfounded for a moment; they were all very...lovely. Not surprising, considering the surroundings, regardless, she couldn’t help her brief stupor.

....oh, Creation, she was staring.

She was staring at these five lovely women like a fool. Realizing her faux pas, Lux’s posture went a little rigid, as she felt her face flush red in embarrassment. Why did she stare? She thought she was over doing that...!

Upon the realization that she was staring, a moment of absolute panic overcame Lux, and reflexively made an attempt to give the five women a wider berth than the few feet between them by taking a couple of steps backward...only to forget in her fretfulness that she was still rather near Ashen, who’d helped her. Gracelessly, she ended up fully backing into him with some measure of force, enough that she nearly knocked him backward off his feet. As Lux regained some few of her scruples, she comprehended what she’d just done, and hastily turned on her heel, grabbing onto Ashen without any thought to where her hands were gripping, simply concerned with righting her mistake, and kept him from tipping over the edge of the pier into the shallow water below. Something of a yelp came out of her, as she almost went crashing with him, only to regain her footing and balance at the last moment, keeping herself and he from tumbling over.

He’d helped keep her from falling onto her backside and here she had nearly knocked him over, and was still touching him while violating his personal space. A tiny squeak came from Lux’s throat as she righted herself, giving Ashen space and sidestepping a few feet to the right. She stood there, her arms stiff and straight at her sides, as she felt the entirety of her face redden further.

Figures, she sees several attractive individuals and she makes an utter dolt of herself. Why did this happen to her after managing to go so long without incident...? It'd been a while since she had a mental shutdown of this magnitude. Even beforehand, before she and everyone one else had introduced themselves proper, she'd not had a lapse in thought, though several members of her traveling party were definitely rather striking themselves. Perhaps it was because she had time to process each, one by one, whereas, this time, the appearance of the five maidens was...sudden? Or, maybe it was their overwhelming aesthetics?

Lux took in a sharp breath, and bowed at the waist very harshly, arms still straight while her lantern creaked in protest to the sudden action. “A-Ah, it’s a pleasure to meet you all! Our journey was perfectly enjoyable!” she greeted the five women, her voice too loud, and shaky. She stood back to her full height, “My name is Lux, and I-I think we’d be more than happy to have you ladies as our escorts!” Still too loud.

The women stared at Lux, their expressions unaffected by her awkward introduction and demeanor, they were quiet a moment before one of them spoke, Periya, the one adorned in Moonsilver responded, her voice calming and sweet, “Thank you, Honored Exalted, Lux. We will guide you to Lord Fakharu the moment the rest of your companions are prepared.” Perhaps they were used to this sort of reaction, then?

Lux swallowed, face still red. “Th-thank you! That sounds best....”

Heavens, it would be fantastic if she could compose herself...alas, what an impression she must be making, not to mention what Ashen was probably thinking of her now, and what the rest of the group would think of her as well. A nearly inaudible, miserable noise came from Lux’s throat again, as she brought a hand up over her face in embarrassment.

She peeked out from behind her hand, expression dismayed as she looked over in shame at Ashen, Gods did she owe him an apology.... "Ashen, I-I am SO sorry for nearly knocking you over, I-I, oh, goodness...."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Lux Fiala

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
For his part, Ashen Sky was used to the transition's from a rocking boat to a stable platform. And he was used to the unsteady swaying of fellow crew on rough seas. So the idea of bracing for the impact of another body colliding with his own was not new to him, but in this case there were a few factors that even he hadn't been prepared for.

Firstly was that he simply had been caught off guard in this case. He'd just helped Lux off the boat, and then held his hand out for the second passenger off when the quintet of bejeweled women came to meet them on the pier. He did give the group an appraising glance and hummed to himself as he hoisted another member of their party onto the pier, silently pleased with Fakharu's taste in staff so far. He could guess a bit at the ethnicity of the women in front of him as he saw tell tale signs of two or three island groups he was familiar with by their complexion. Figuring that he'd let Lux be the one to handle first greeting since she had been so excited to be on the island itself, he turned his attention behind him for the next passenger to help off the boat. That had been his mistake.

Lux, as it turned out, was also rather stunned by the five girls appearance. But rather than take it in appreciation she seemed to go instead for bashfulness and promptly retreated backwards straight into Ashen Sky himself. Distracted he too the full brunt of her back peddling and nearly took a fall into the drink. He was saved that fate and the accompanying embarrassment by a trio of factors. First the simple fact that Lux wasn't that heavy in comparison to himself and second was, again, Ashen Sky's instinctual surefootedness and experience with being tussled about. It was the third factor that he was not ready for that truly threw him of his mental balance.

Almost as quickly as Lux and bumped into him she wheeled about and made a grab at his shirt in an attempt to spare him a saltwater bath. There was a breath moment of panic for both of them as her momentum carried her into him and they both nearly tipped, but a combination of both their efforts kept them taking the spill. To the on looker it might have been somewhat comical, but to the both of them it was slightly distressing. On any other day, Ashen Sky would have thoroughly enjoyed having a pretty young woman clinging to him in such a way. But right here, and right now was most certainly not that day and he felt a ting of mortification burn on his face as the younger girl had her hands on the part of his upper body that gave the most leverage. Lux was now effectively and firmly groping his soft chest, electing from the lunar a sound of indeterminable origin as she squeezed. In that same instant she seemed to realize what she had done, let out a small squeaking noise of her own and separated from him at a quick step. Ashen Sky sharply followed suit by promptly turning around so that he could get the flush red embarrassment out of his face and readjust his shirt and jacket, clearly rattled by the experience. All the while in his head he muttered a mantra of:

'thatdidn'tjusthappenthatdidn'tjusthappenthatdidn'tjusthappen'

For their part the women seemed rather non-pulsed with the debacle as Lux made a flustered attempt at salvaging introductions. Ashen shuttered a bit to get the goose bumps out and fixed his jackets straps before he he let out a small cough, having finally regained his composure. This was NOT how he was going to start his service to a member of the celestial court. Most certainly not like a bashful maiden afraid of making a scene. Straightening himself he turned about just as Lux started making her apology. "Ashen, I-I am SO sorry for nearly knocking you over, I-I, oh, goodness...."

He let out a slightly nervous, perhaps slightly forced, chuckle and made a show of waving it off like it was nothing. "Oh don't be worryin' about it miss'm, ya just surprised me ah bit is all." He smoothed back his hair a bit and made himself appear relaxed about the whole ordeal. It was nothing. It was DEFINITELY NOTHING. He was NOT going to loose his cool because a girl he just met felt up his pectorals. "Accident's 'appen, no body got hurt. It's all fine. I'm more flattered that ye'd be jumpin' me so soon than anythin'. It's rather bold o' ye." He let out another slightly nervous laugh, playing the whole incident off as a joke that they could quip about later. Nothing weird or off putting happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Castle
Not long before the group disembarked, Calliope retrieved the rest of her belongings. Her sword seemed sharpened to her taste, but before she returned the stone to her pocket, she gazed upon it. It was once smooth from the mountain stream that flowed past her home. She had grown since she first found it. It appeared smaller in her palm than ever before. In the places where Calliope's small fingers once struggled to enclose around it, she now held it comfortably. It reminded her of the days she spent antagonized by her brothers, sharpening twigs in the snow, trying desperately to get the upper hand in their next quarrel. She allowed the thought to pass, and hid the stone away.

Calliope returned from her room with her black, leather weapons bag. The bag was sizable, about as tall as she was, but she slung it around her shoulder like it was the size of a coin purse. It hung suspended from her back with a single thick strap. Along the strap were intricate designs and ancient ruins embossed and painted in gold. They originated from her ancestors, the Dragon Kings: the Pterok. One rune requested protection from the Gods of war and life, while the others allegedly enhanced attack and awareness. In fact, Calliope's whole weapons bag seemed adorned in a myriad of blessings and runes. The Empire was very superstitious, but she at least found the symbols comforting.

Aside from the hulking bag, Calliope travelled light, like most of the others. She had one extra pair of robes in a smaller compartment on her weapons bag, a tightly wound bedroll she managed to fit somewhere in the bag, a hair brush she prized greatly, and enough rations divided in small amounts to last maybe three weeks. The robes she wore now were less for combat and more for presentation. On each shoulder was a white lotus like design. A coveted flower by her village that somehow grows in a sacred water not far away. Her robes had a high, upturned collar, and they were held together by a large pink bow under which she tucked excess material.

Calliope returned to the deck. The light of the sun made her complexion less jarring. The sun was something that was dear to her, it felt good on her skin, and she took a moment to enjoy it, inhaling and exhaling, but it wasn't long before all of them were off the ship and onto the next hurdle.

The Noble was unperturbed by Lux's sudden tizzy, but still intrigued. If one didn't know any better Calliope's posture and manner would have seemed to fit right in with one of the five women that greeted them. Well, one thing that did set her apart was the vexed expression she had on her face at all times, a compliment of her furrowed brow. Calliope did, however, let out a short, guttural and masculine laugh, and stated, "I find this variety of courting mmost entertaining," totally misinterpreting the whole turn of events.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Lux Fiala

0.00 INK

As for Ioa, as they arrived, he remembered to put on his boots and stepped off of the ship with a sort of simplicity and energy. He seemed entirely unphased by fear and concern, but he was smiling as he admitted the castle and the surrounding area. In the process, he saw the events unfold in front of him between Lux and Aschen, however...he failed to detect any lewd thoughts or such that others might get.

"You two okay?" he asked as he walked down, seemingly unaffected by the swaying waves and continued to admire the area. And then, he noticed the five women as well. "Oh! Hello! My name is Ioa! You all look really nice by the way! This castle looks nice too, did you help it look so nice and beautiful from expertise?"

Ioa, who unknowingly said way too many things with pure sincerity and interest and zero underlying motives, just gave a smile as he continued to walk down and made it to the docks safely. He wondered though if they were going to eat, rest, and bathe first before meeting the man who invited them, or maybe just bathe and rest and they would meet over a feast like in fairytales, or maybe they would just go and meet him directly.

He looked back at the women, thsi time with a curious look. "By the way, are we meeting him directly? What is the plan?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
The vessel had reached its destination, docking at a nearby wharf that was as lavishly decorated as the palace that Fakharu resided in. Artisan had never seen a better constructed jetty, and he couldn't help but admire its opulence. It wasn't long after docking that his slave came above deck carrying his belonging and.... another bag? He demanded while raising a querulous eye brow, "What, um... Why do you have that?"

The slave shrugged and mumbled out, "This cat below deck wouldn't let me leave without it. It was... kind of intimidating..." It was then that noticed Artisan a small black cat, Astrid, who somehow looked smug even though she was a simple housecat, following the slave with a very pleased strut. "Uh...Huh... Well nothing for it I suppose." Refusing to explain that even he was afraid of the cat, he allowed the slave who was visibly straining under the weight, to carry her belongings.

The slave began to disembark with his master, and though the slave was too remiss to really understand what was happening, his master began to grow a shade of red as he noticed the activity going on between Ashen Sky and Lux. Though one might mistake it for embarrassment, it was sheer rage that colored him as such. Ever since his own loved ones had been violently torn from Creation, the Deathknight harbored a grudge against anyone else experiencing such bliss. Artisan made a mental note of the situation and cataloged it for later, in case they actually were lovers. Such love certainly wouldn't survive the Underworld... He could feel the desire to end them boiling in his heart, and fighting it back was bringing the Great Curse upon him. Just in time to make introductions too, oh joy.


Astrid trotted up from below deck, finding that most of the party had already began to depart the boat. Following the slave that she had yowled into submission, and refusing to leave her feline form, she hopped onto the railing and evaluated her options. Lux and Ashen had clumsily fell into each other, each one seeming to grow more awkward than the other with each action. She hated the Deathknight, so he was out of the question and Ioa seemed too bubbly to be a comfortable ride. Disregarding them, Astrid took note of the pink lady carrying herself with grace and dignity. Deciding upon a perch, the housecat leaped onto Calliope and draped herself around her shoulders, stomach touching the nape of the Northerner's neck. With a lazy yawn, she let out a mewl of appreciation.

Ashen and Lux seemed to be getting rather intimate with each other, which made her idly think whether or not Lux would bear strong Beastmen. Which led her to pondering whether Ashen had any such children in Creation. Certainly as a male he must have many, though she envied not his gender. It was obvious who the superior gender was, just look at Calliope and herself.


Ever so carefully, Artisan hoisted himself onto the ship's railing and hopped onto the pier. Fakharu's entourage began to approach, five women that were each beautiful in their own way, and struggling not to laugh at the comedy act playing out before them. Tucking a stray lock of ghostly white hair behind his ear, he approached them with a greeting and began formerly introducing them all, albeit a bit strained. "Greetings Nāgasāni, I am The Artisan That Which Death Clings, the two lovebirds behind me are Lux Fiala and Ashen Sky, respectively," gesturing to each of them in turn. "The exotic beauty there is Calliope Lordes, cat around her shoulders being Astrid Grunewald. And finally the rambunctious youth here is Ioa.

With a smile, the pale man finished, "We're all pleased to be of assistance to Lord Fakharu. You may lead the way, and we'll render what service we can." After all, SOMEONE had to be the diplomat in this situation, otherwise they'd upset one of the seven censors. Somehow that course of action didn't quite appeal to Artisan. Though his resonance was getting in the way, he felt as if he did an adequate job.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

Ashen laughed at her apology, though she could tell it was forced, and tense. She buried her burning face into her hands, groaning to herself. He was just as embarrassed as she was, which, he didn’t have a reason to be. After all, she was the one who’d blundered up so terribly, “Accident’s ‘appen, no body got hurt. It’s all fine. I’m more flattered ye’d be jumpin’ me so soon than anythin’. It’s rather bold o’ ye.”

....what? What had he just…WHAT?!

Although Lux did hear the nervous chuckle that came from Ashen, following that comment, it didn’t exactly process well. Even if it was just meant to be a lighthearted response to her apology, and assurance that all was otherwise fine as far as he was concerned.... Lux hunched over, mortified while a muffled choking noise came from her throat, it took all she had not to scream into her hands. Why couldn’t he have just said everything was fine, why did he have to...flirt? Even if it was in jest, why? She never knew how to react to those sorts of comments! It just...it made all this so much worse! Though, she honestly might deserve this, karmic retribution for managing to not only make a fool of herself, but Ashen as well. Very nearly she managed to knock him over the edge of the pier, and basically groped him too...! She’d grabbed without thinking, acting purely in the moment, and when she’d done so he’d made as much of an awkward noise as she did; which, something felt a little…more malleable than it should’ve but she couldn’t place why with how muddled her brain was?

Gods…this was a disaster. And just when Lux thought and hoped that it couldn’t get any worse, she heard a single, throaty laugh, “I find this variety of courting mmost entertaining.”

Why did it have to get worse? Naturally, it would get worse. Such was her luck, it seemed. Whenever she went and made herself seem a nimrod, events played out that exacerbated those traits of hers. Ashen had to teasingly flirt with her at her expense while Calliope seemed to absolutely mean what she had said. She took that whole bit of torment as...courtship? Did she truly now think that they were courting?!

“You two okay?” Ioa asked, before going onto speak with the quintet of handmaidens, and Lux wasn’t able to even form a coherent word to respond. No, no she was most certainly not okay right now. For the umpteenth time in a matter of minutes, all Lux could bring herself to do was to groan, though this time it was a rather loud one. She was beyond saving face, any sense of honor or integrity she had left was in shreds. There was no way to salvage this, so there was no sense in holding it in, really. ....it did make her feel a little better, at least.

The sounds of heavy metallic footsteps approached from behind, from the boat, and Lux knew it was Artisan’s turn to speak and likely comment about this pathetic display, he introduced himself in a more formal and dignified manner than the rest, but.... “...the two lovebirds behind me...”

Lux’s body began to quake a little bit—this was too much and it was too ridiculous! Ashen had to poke fun, Calliope honestly thought that they were courting and even Artisan, who had quite a bit of venom in his voice when he’d said it, had called them lovebirds. She knew she had made an ass of herself; did he have to speak with such distaste? Wasn’t making a fool of herself enough? Why did she have to stare at the quintet of handmaidens? That was something she’d worked so hard to stop doing, and she hadn’t had the problem of staring at aesthetically pleasing folk for at least two months now! She should have known that Fakharu would employ only the loveliest of mortals, being what he was.

After Artisan concluded his introduction, Lux’s embarrassment and frustration hit its limit. The ‘lovebird’ comment was too much for her to handle, as overwhelmingly humiliated as she already was, and...something snapped. Perhaps it was her patience, perhaps it was her temper, either way; there wasn’t a way for Lux to continue quietly wallowing in her shame. Uncaring of impressions or how she might now be perceived, her head snapped up, an exasperated expression adorning her still reddened face. Her usually gentle features showed a fierceness few would think Lux capable ever of, before she shouted at Artisan, fuming, “We are NOT lovebirds! I’m fully aware that I’ve made an ass of myself and all of us by proxy; you needn’t rub it in and be so bitter!” she huffed through her nose, before she turned on her heel, her composure returning, irritation causing her mind to clear and return to clarity. Sighing and setting a hand overtop her heart; she breathed in deep and did her best to soothe her nerves.

Although Fakharu’s quintet of lovely handmaidens had left her in a daze prior, this time, she wouldn’t allow it, and while Lux was aware she couldn’t mend the impression she’d made prior, she could still at least put forth effort. Moving the hand she had overtop her heart, Lux move it higher til the whole of her forearm was diagonally across her chest, while she straightened her other arm at her side, and offered the handmaidens a more formal and proper bow. “I know first impressions cannot be done away with, nevertheless, I wish to apologize for staring at you ladies, and will not attempt to save face with a lie, I was caught off-guard by your collective beauty. However, you’ve my word that I have regained myself and will not be so uncouth again.” Lux stood back upright, “Though I offered my name before, I did so poorly—my name is Lux Fiala, I’m here at the beck and call of Lord Fakharu, and am prepared to listen to his request in full.”

Though her nerves were still a bit shot, and she was still quivering a bit from the remnants of frustration, Lux did her best to maintain a calm exterior.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
The former pirate winced a bit as Lux exploded. He'd made that bit of faux flirting just as a means of try to down play the whole debacle as just innocently humorous accident. However everyone else seemed to take it as actual intimacy. Ashen Sky could brush off the insinuations rather easily but the younger girl, who seemed to take the comments a bit more personally and was slightly over whelmed by the attention her mistake had brought upon her. Artisan's quip at them seemed to be the final kicker that caused her outburst, and Ashen figured h'd probably owe her an apology later for indirectly making things worse.




Nāgasāni had managed to keep a straight face through the bulk of their exalted quest antics, but only barely managed to suppress her urge to start giggling when the young woman Lux had her outburst as a result of the other's teasing. Her 'sisters' weren't as in control however, and some had to cover their mouths to hide the smiles that threatened to break. "My my, well I am most certainly flattered by your complements lady Lux, as sir Ashen said, it is quite bold of you. And worry not we take no offense. "

Turning slightly she gave another short bow to the Abyssal of the group. "Thank you sir Artisan That Which Death Clings for the introductions." Then she returned her attention to the group at large. "And thank you all for answering our lords summons. He has been most eager for your arrival and will be pleased to know that you are here. To answer the question sir Ioa asked, Lord Fakharu has hoped you would be willing to meet with him over morning meal to discuss the matter he has called you for." She paused a moment and put a curled finger to her lower lip. "Ordinarily his lordship would be serving court now and administering his judgments for his petitioners, but he has made it quite clear that he wishes to see you immediately upon your arrival. If you wouldn't mind, please follow us, we will guide you towards his throne room." With a final curtsy the quintet of women turned and beckoned the assembled party to follow them up the path and to the spire itself.

A dozen or so minutes of walking through impeccably well kept gardens brought them towards the great door of the outer court yard, made of a massive single piece of amber and ornately carved in a stylized image of a serpentine dragon. Through this portal and inside of the spire itself were brightly painted halls colored aquamarine. Just as with the outside here was great grandeur and splendor to the architecture and decoration but with a severe, restrained sense of art. Beautiful but never vulgar. There were handsome statues made of gold and silver and studded with precious gemstones carved in such a way that they looked almost life like and lascivious Thanjavur style paintings, all evenly spaced and placed according to a grand aesthetic design made to neatly draw the eye from one piece to the next in a flowing and orderly pattern.

Ashen Sky whistled as he passed by one. He stopped to run his hand a long the out stretched arm of one depicting a pair of women in an embrace. "I gotta say, the master of tha house seems ta 'ave a peculiar taste in art work." One of the handmaidens who wore star metal, Hotton if he remembered right, motioned for him to continue following as she responded. "The lord prefers to keep a hegemony to his decorations. For that reason he has personally crafted each of these works himself." He privateer looked surprised to hear that, and gave the statue another more scrutinizing glance before catching up with the others.

When they reached the set of double doors leading to the throne room, Nāgasāni bade the group to halt a moment. "Beyond this door is where the lord holds his court. Since it is already in session we ask that you wait here a moment whilst I announce your arrival." She gave another short bow and slipped inside.

Ashen Sky nodded a bit as she retreated through the door and rested against the far wall. "So," He started as he gave the assorted gaggle a once over. He his throat, and once again his western accent became more restrained as he switched to full realm speak. "Do any of you have much experience with courtly manners? I can fake it in a pinch if needed." Idly he noted to himself that he'd to rehearse his H's, T's and A's a bit while they'd have a minute for his normal speech tended to exclude or accent them in certain words.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Castle
Calliope was pleased with her latest remark, though she obviously could not tell that it only upset Lux further. While Artisan made introductions, Calliope redirected her attention to the five women, offering a similar bow when her name was stated. Calliope observed the women, noting their expertly conducted composure.

While the niceties of the palace were lost on her, she wasn't unobservant of the ostentatious tastes of Lord Fakharu. There was something curious about this business. A man with palpable amounts of money and influence can hire the assistance of any legion he wants. Why did he so adamantly request a group of powerful misfits? The thought was disrupted by Lux's shout.

“We are NOT lovebirds! I’m fully aware that I’ve made an ass of myself and all of us by proxy; you needn’t rub it in and be so bitter!” Lux cried.

Self-assured, Calliope cared not for Lux's sudden outburst, though it was amusing. Instead, she maintained a look of neutrality, while noting that she would have to reassess her previous notion of common wedlock traditions. Romance was easy for her to miss, since is was essentially nonexistent in Gladomain.

The people of Gladom looked at romantic relationships as a primitive ideal. She far better favored the relationship that of her parents. It is a partnership, a union. Built on physical mechanisms, such as protection, survival, combat, as well as sex. Romance, in her village, was not a concept. She had heard the word, yes, but it had an unfathomable meaning to it Calliope could never quite grasp. While some appeals from a Gladomeen's partner were pleasing -- such as a victorious battle -- other affections like dead flowers, precious stones, and endearing phrases, these items of affection meant nothing to her. Poetry, was Calliope's only personal exception, but this was beside the point (and a bit of information she often refused to disclose). But, as are the duties of the princess, she tried to understand these new terms anyway.

The party moved forward.

Calliope looked like a shark at the center of the party. Not a single flower or piece of art drew her attention-- not until Ashen commented on one. The Noble observed it carefully, the word 'romance' still lingering in the back of her mind. She thought about asking the party for a more accurate example of courtship traditions, but before she could concoct a decent question, they had arrived at the door of Fakharu.

"So, do any of you have much experience with courtly manners?" Ashen asked.

Calliope was quick to reply. "While mmy counntry may have many reasonns for starding wars, we also have cause for ennding themm. I have acted as ammbassador in the past for my mmother and father." Her eyes were fixed on the door, waiting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.25 INK

While Lux had otherwise managed to regain her poise, after she’d snipped back at Artisan for his embittered comment, this was fleeting. Quickly enough, she noticed that the prior shenanigans had been silly enough to force three of Fakharu’s handmaidens into suppressing fits of laughter. Their hands were overtop their mouths, while their shoulders shook...she’s also fairly sure she heard one of them fail to subdue a quiet snort.... Lux sighed, and shifted between her feet uncomfortably, she’d done her best to make amends for her uncouth mannerisms, and that was all that could be done, now. She blamed no one for laughing at her expense, it was deserved.

“My, my, well, I am most certainly flattered by your compliments, Lady Lux, as Sir Ashen said, it is quite bold of you. And worry not, we take no offense.” Nāgasāni spoke, her voice possessing the slightest edge of amusement.

At Nāgasāni’s comment, Lux lightly cleared her throat, and felt her cheeks flush a touch once more. Mortified as she felt, having all this occur, at least the handmaidens were not irked with her inappropriate staring, or by her complimenting them. Their beauty had blindsided her—while she’d expected grand and splendid sights, the quintet of handmaidens had just struck her, in all honesty, the same thing oft occurred whenever she happened upon some wondrous work of art or architecture. And, while it was perfectly acceptable to look over inanimate objects, it was not to do the same with people. It was rude, uncouth, and inappropriate...Lux knew this, and while she had been attempting to cease gawking at people, it was an issue that always seemed to reemerge, regardless of her efforts.

Whilst Lux had been lost in her musings, Nāgasāni had started to guide the group along, beckoning them to follow her and the other handmaidens into the palace. Upon realizing that everyone else was on the move, Lux snapped from her thoughts and caught up with the lot of them, taking up the rear. For a majority of the trek, the air was quiet, save for the sounds of nature. As they approached the spire, Lux craned her neck in every which direction, trying to take everything in while she could. As she had stated upon the boat, Fakharu, or his designers, had a grandiose sense of aesthetics. Lux would not deny that everything was beautiful, in its own way, though. Sculptures, carvings, murals and reliefs—everything was dazzling in one manner or another.

Everything had a certain...atmosphere to it. Though the gold, the silver, and the gemstones were all unnecessary, there was still something about all of it that just...worked, overall. Lux was lost in everything, having gone from looking in every conceivable direction to actually turning on her heels as she walked, going in circles as she became even more enthralled by the sights around her. The flush that had come to her face earlier from Nāgasāni’s comment had all but faded, while her green eyes glimmered in fascination and excitement, a large smile having come across her face once more.

Along the way, Ashen stopped, and spoke about how apparently peculiar Fakharu’s aesthetics were, with one of the maidens factually responding to him. They continued walking, and Lux kept gazing at her surroundings, taking it all in while she had the chance. Certainly, she likely looked like a fool again, but at least this time she wasn’t doing anything rude. Eventually, they reach an extremely large set of double-doors, which were adorned with elaborate décor as everything else had. Thankfully, while Lux was still mystified and utterly enthralled by her surroundings, she was still aware enough to avoid another faux pas, such as walking into someone. She did still turn herself about, eyes wandering while it was Nāgasāni spoke, “Beyond this door is where the Lord holds his court. Since it is already in sessions, we ask that you wait here a moment whilst I announce your arrival.” Lux heard the sounds of a door opening before it shut again, rather quietly.

Then, they had a moment before they were to be introduced to Fakharu proper. “So,” she heard Ashen start, “Do any of you have much experience with courtly manners? I can fake it in a pinch, if needed.”

Lux didn’t bother to yet respond to this inquiry, still too engrossed by her surrounded, as she continued to wander about in a seemingly aimless manner. “While mmy country may have many reasons for starding wars, we also have cause for ending them. I have acted as ambassador in the past for my mother and father.” While Calliope was rather quick to respond, her words passed overtop Lux’s head as she finally allowed herself to look directly above, her mouth agape as she took in the intricate mural that was both painted and carved into the domed ceiling.

....it was magnificent, but the domed ceiling made it somewhat awkward to look at. Lux began to gingerly take a few steps backward, not minding her surroundings as she was thoroughly only interested in seeing every complexity of the mural—she gave absolutely no thought to anything otherwise, til it was that her foot suddenly met air where she thought there’d be floor, and she lost her balance with a yelp, snapping fully back into reality. Lux hadn’t noticed that around the edges of the halls, and the large, circular waiting area before the double-doors, the middle of the floor was higher, while it was indented near the walls, as water flowed through them, and around the bases of poles and the statues adorning the palace.

Though Lux gave it her best effort, she wasn’t able to keep herself upright this time around and ended up stumbling into a statue...which, thankfully did not topple over. But, when it was that Lux noticed the...theme of the statue, a couple engaged in, well.... The young woman’s face was set ablaze, yet again, and she jumped away from it as quickly as she could, only to not have proper footing to achieve such a feat, which only resulted in Lux falling backwards into the thin stream of water that ran between the elevated floors and wall, effectively soaking her backside.... This was just not her day, was it?

“....no one say a word, please. I swear that I am merely experiencing a rather off day.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
The pirate nodded semi-approvingly at Calliope's assertions, figuring a princess probably would know how to herself themselves in the middle of a formal meeting with a high ranking spirit. It'd probably be a good idea to stick by her for the most part. Making a guess he assumed that Artisan probably new his etiquette as well based on his background on the blessed isle and the way he held himself so far. Astrid and Ioa however worried him slightly. He didn't know Astrid well enough yet to get a real read on her as she had mostly stayed in cat form since they last spoke and hadn't joined in any conversations. He doubted it'd be a good idea for her to stay that way once they met the Censor either. Ioa on the other hand was... well... he was a kid. A very active kid. And thus far he hadn't shown much understanding of social cues, which might be dangerous when walking into a court of spirits what with the know reputations of gods and their tempers.

Ashen Sky's ears flickered a bit as he heard a yelp behind him and turned just in time to see Lux backing into a wall with a sheet of water running down it's side. He hadn't even noticed the fountain until her hindquarters collided with it, drenching her. There was a moment of silence as she disengaged from the wall fountain. “....no one say a word, please. I swear that I am merely experiencing a rather off day.” The pirate put his hand to his face and sighed. This was off to a awkward start already.

And it was then at that moment that the doors chose to open wide and put the circle of exalted right smack dab in the center attention of about a hundred minor gods.




The throne room was ovaloid in shape, immersed in the same jeweled artwork that had been on display in the rest of the palace and currently thronged with a small horde of lesser gods and elementals who all silently waited their turn. Arrayed in a neat line they would each come forward one by one to kneel before a great throne of moonsilver sized to fit a dragon, whose ornamentation rippled and reshaped itself with every movement of the air. Sitting upon the throne that throne was Fakharu himself with a shining gold-green scales an wide patient eyes fixed upon eternity. It was his 'dawn attendance'. A daily ritual where in he held open court to hear the petitions, claims and concerns of those who sought his council or favorable judgement in their disputes.

Two earth elementals, with hair and eyes made of emerald and flesh of onyx, both petition for singular ownership of a perfectly shaped ruby they had found together. A bent and elderly woman who's body was made of rust colored water request permission to read the dragon's copy of the 'Histories of the Tenth Kingdom Under The Seventh Wave' so that she may learn the name of the third king who ruled there and fulfill the commands of a sorcerer who bound her to the task. The spirit of a river came forward to apologize for the conduct of a local village in failing to provide the proper sacrifices at the proper seasons, and promised to flood the village three times as punishment. These and many others all came forward to kneel at Fakharu's throne, but all did so in an orderly fashion and none who were not in front spoke in more than hushed whispers for all knew better than to show misconduct before the great western censor.

It was during this series of appeals that one of the side doors opened and in slipped a young woman adorned in orchalcum hurried at a dignified pace to the dragon's side. Fakharu was glad for Nāgasāni's arrival and the news she whispered in his ear, for he had started to tire of the petty arguments and entreaties that his petitioners brought. With a simple hushed order of "Bring them in" she shuffled back to the side door and flung it open to reveal the exalted standing the opposite side of it. The other handmaidens lightly nudged them to move forward as Nāgasāni loudly spoke to the assembled audience chamber in a carrying voice.

"My lord, and attending members of the court, we hereby proclaim the arrival of our esteemed guest. Sir Ioa, dagger of Heaven, Solar exalted of the Night caste. Sir Ashen Sky, Night Thief, Lunar Exalted of the Changing Moon Caste. Cheiftain Lady Astrid Grünewald, Night Fang, Lunar exalted of the Full Moon caste. Inheritrix lady Lux Fiala, Burning Sword, Terrestrial exalted of Fire. Princess lady Calliope Lordes, Ascending Sun, Solar exalted of the Dawn caste. And The Artisan That Which Souls Cling, Child of Bone, Abyssal Exalted of the Daybreak Caste." She bowed deeply as she listed their names and caste off one by one, gesturing to each as she did so. As was to be expected, the attention of the entire chamber now rested on the six exalts as they were herded into the room. If any of the assembled immortal spirits were displeased at this interruption (And there were. Several infact) none had a chance to voice it as Fakharu roused from his contemplation and rose to full towering height from his shimmering throne.

"Ah, I bid you welcome to my home young princes of the earth. I have eagerly been awaiting your arrival." He spared a polite but crisp glance back at the line of little gods that filled the room. "I will have to declare this dawn attendance over for today, as I must see to my guest. I thank you all for coming, and wish you safe travels in your departure." The serpentine dragon's tone did not hold room for argument. A fair number of the petitioners murmured amongst themselves in clear frustration and annoyance but not a single one dared to raise their complaints with the dragon. Quietly they excused themselves from the chamber but gave the gathered firm and scrutinizing glances as they filed out. Some were likely not to forget their appearance for a long while.

Rolling down from his chair in a great slithering motion, Fakharu stooped low to just above eye level with his guest. Even at this height, he still seemed to loom large over them. "Now then, with my morning schedule cleared, I do hope you will indulge me and join me in a private chamber for refreshments. There is a lovely balcony above where we may watch the waves as the sun rises." The dragon's voice was Jovial, but something about the look in his eyes implied that this was not a mere suggestion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ioa Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

Ioa listened as the others spoke, observing with excitement and interest. The conversations, this place, he was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement and interest and desiring to see it all. As the son of a crafter, he had an eye for detail and could understand and appreciate these sorts of things. Indeed, he could understand that this was all very impressive.

And so as they were being guided, Ioa asked their guides all about everything they saw and were made of, often guessing correctly the materials used despite being new to this area. Ioa understood that this place truly had effort and greatness put into it...it was truly amazing and fantastic about just how much love and care was put into the place.

"Ashen, this is incredible! This, and this...its perfectly symetrical, even with the shading of colors! Not many craftsmen can do that! And this, I dont even need to touch it to clearly tell the texture is above first class, and this...this is high class material, perfectly used! Truly, this is all great masterworks!"

At this point, Ioa's eyes began to sparkle as he seemed absolutely filled with joy.

"This entire building...it in itself is a masterpiece of art!"

He responded like that, until they made it to the actual door, and had to wait. That said, his cheerful attitude did not waver in the slightest, and his general demeanor suggested he was quite carefree and not at all worried about the meeting with this great dragon.

And then finally, they entered. Ioa stayed silent for the few moments however, not from his sense of timing, but simple because he was admiring the various artwork that was this place. The entire building itself was art, a masterpiece of craftmanship that he truly knew how to admire and praise. This admiration lasted well and long until Fahkaru started to talk to him, and even a bit during that.

And once he made his invitation, it was Ioa that ended up speaking first. "Amazing...incredible! I really, really like this place, it seems really incredible and a masterpiece! I bet the balcony was perfectly built to be a masterpiece too right? This whole place is brilliant! I bet they even took into account to make the view itself a part of the masterpiece!"

Ioa honestly spoke his mind, without any ulterior motives or underlying desires. It was just pure, honest praise for everything he had seen, a rather refreshing concept if one thought about it.

"You must be really proud of this place! Its incredible! I would love to see more! Let's go!"