Exalted: A Tale in the Time of Tumult

The West

0 INK

a part of Exalted: A Tale in the Time of Tumult, by Wake.

A vast expanse of Ocean that stretches into infinity, broken only by scattered islands that grow fewer the farther one goes. Many myths tell of what lies beyond it, but few that venture that far return.

Wake holds sovereignty over The West, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
2,529 readers have been here.
8,381 readers have visited Exalted: A Tale in the Time of Tumult since Wake created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/exalted

Setting

https://youtu.be/RsihdhI_VjY

The Western ocean is the largest body of water in all of the known world, stretching for thousands of miles in all directions. The Great Island Chain in the furthest west is the last bastion of civilization before it all gives way to nothing but open seas.

The Wavecrest Archipelago is probably what about half the people in Creation think of when they think of living in the West. It’s tropical, its people are generally peaceful, and it is a wealthy tourist nation on a verdant volcanic isle. However, the leader, the Feathered One, keeps his position by feeding criminals to the volcano god when he grows angry, and of course the archipelago’s riches are not unenvied by others. While it appears idyllic, like all other directions, Wavecrest has its own problems.

The Neck is more provincial, a chain of islands loyal to the Realm where tribal inhabitants survive by fishingg and kelp gathering. They are relatively unspectacular, but they live on a treasure trove of ancient lore. Once, their islands were part of a larger continent called Okeanos. Though they do not realize it, they are living amidst the ruins of First Age glory.

The Coral Archipelago is what the other half of Creation imagines when they consider the West. They are a pirate nation, thinly disguised as merchants. While they bear nominal loyalty to the Realm, theirs is an economy based on thievery and nautical bullying. They believe in excellence winning out over weakness, and to them, the weak cannot protect their belongings.

The Denzik Merchants are actually merchants, a single floating city built by lashing the hulls of ships together, over and over, until it was large enough to support a culture. They sail around the West, taking on and budding off ships to spread their sails (and sales) to all the cultures of Creation. If you need some commodity in the West, the Denzik can find it.

The Skullstone Archipelago is a shadowland in the northwest, ruled by the Silver Prince. It is a necrocracy, where the dead rule and the living are second-class citizens. Unbeknownst to the people of Skullstone, their ruler is actually the Deathlord known as the Bodhissatva Anointed by Dark Water, and his “idyllic” necropolis is actually covering up a darker secret.

The Lintha are less a nation and more a rapacious culture based in the southwest. Accurately decribed as “demon-worshipping, cannibalistic, castration-happy slaver pirates,” they are the descendents of Kimbery, the Sea that Marched against the Flame, one of the Yozis. They raid and pillage in the southwest, led by the chosen of their demonic mother, seeking to regain the purity of their past.

Finally, Luthe was once a magnificent First Age city that floated atop the ocean, until the Usurpation came. The Solar in charge of Luthe chose to sink it, destroying herself, her subjects, and the assassins who came for her, dropping Luthe to the ocean’s floor. However, some of her people survived, and in time bred with beastmen to make a city of wondrous splendor. However, it is still guarded by Admiral Leviathan, the First Age Lunar who loved the queen of Luthe, and woe betide trespassers to his watery domain.

The region has been plagued for centuries by disorder. Pirates frequently patrol these waters, sometime even sponsored by powerful nations that vie for what scarce resources the islands can produce and making privatering a respected position among many in the west. Some, particularly the dredded Lintha Family Syndicate, even going so far as to defy the realm.

Local spirit courts are horribly mismanaged and fraught with infighting and corruption, likely the worst case in all of the five terrestrial regions. Special note must be made of the Storm Mothers in this case who dominate many the waterways. Known for their vanity and short tempers, they grow wrathful whenever they witness a woman more beautiful than they sailing their waters and unleash their fury on any boat carrying such pretties on their decks, which may well be all women for the Storm Mothers are universally hideously ugly. Subjected to this for so many centuries, many cultures here have adapted rigged gender roles to allay the Storm Mother' wrath.

The West

A vast expanse of Ocean that stretches into infinity, broken only by scattered islands that grow fewer the farther one goes. Many myths tell of what lies beyond it, but few that venture that far return.

Minimap

The West is a part of Creation.

9 Characters Here

Astrid Grünewald [85] "Only a fool defies the Nightfangs, only the wicked deserve their wrath."
Lux Fiala [80] Life can change in an instant, whether for better or worse; don't let it break you!
Ashen Sky [78] "Clever is the predator that stalks it's prey. More clever is the hunter that bait's his predator."
Calliope Lordes [78] Know thy self, know thy enemy. #FE6979
The Artisan That Which Souls Cling [56] "Your flesh is weak, but malleable... After the operation it shall be neither."
Ioa [41] The runner who keeps on running.
The Storyteller [5] Me, the GM. I will be taking a more hands on route in directing the role play and the npc inhabitants of this world.
Bolt [0] Gender: Male, Age: Dragonling(What I call for ‘Young’ or ‘Baby Dragon) Species: Dragon, Element: Lightning
cutiekittyYui [0] nice,fun,cute,helpful, but she is shy and she can be mean.

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

Nāgasāni removed her hand from atop Lux’s head, but set it upon the girl’s shoulder, keeping her somewhat close at hand, in case she suddenly became overly emotional again. Indeed, it seemed like quite a possibility.... The Terrestrial’s emotion were terribly fragile at the moment, and it seemed that even the smallest thing could cause her mood to shift with near no warning. Certainly, she was quite emotive earlier in the day, when she first arrived on Fakharu’s Island, but she at least seemed to be in relative control. Unless...that was something of a façade, which was entirely possible. Perhaps Lux merely acted in control of herself because she felt like she had to, and her current state was closer to her true self.... Or, maybe it was her true self.

Alcohol did indeed sometimes make folks reveal the truest forms of themselves....

When Ashen commented, in jest, about how much Lux had been allowed to drink, Nāgasāni turned her gaze upon the Lunar. Her face revealing none of her thoughts or speculations regarding the Dragon-Blooded next to her. She spoke, her voice calm and even, “I can assure you, Sir Ashen, that we did not force Lady Lux to ingest anymore drink then she was comfortable with.... She seemed quite ready and willing to join myself and Lady Astrid in partaking.”

As if rehearsed, a small hiccup slipped up from Lux’s diaphragm, “Mhm, yep...was m’choice....” she gave a small smile before...well, her squirrelly attention span once more ran its course. She didn’t even hear what Ashen said to her, as he came to be eye-to-eye with her...no, the only thoughts that were on Lux’s mind concerned the Lunar’s...ears. They’d distracted her before—she had a love for animals, after all. And normally, Lux would have the decency and self-restraint to not do what she was about to.... However, impulse and curiosity overtook the young girl and with no thought given, she reach out and gently grabbed one of his upright ears, before she giddily giggled to herself and started to rub it in much the same way as she would do with a dog or a cat....

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 Wake
Ashen had certainly not been expecting Lux to grab his ears. The second she did Ashen felt a slight jolt run down his spine and the lunar's body tense very suddenly, inadvertently letting out a small and rather unmanly squeak. Ashen didn't normally let people touch his ears for a very particular reason and his usual recourse would be to swat away anyone who tried. But with the princess still in his arms the matter was complicated.

"Ah, Lux," He started, already his voice starting to warble a bit. " Me ears be a we bit sensitive. So could.. ye please... staaaaaaa... " His voice trailed off and a second later he fell to one knee, and the rational side of his mind noted that it might be to late as a pleasant warmth started to build in the base of his skull and wash down his neck. Ashen's ears were infact sensitive to touch, so much so that they tended to cause an extensive Endorphin rush, leaving the changing moon on a particularly strong high. And the drunken terrestrial's tender ministrations was triggering that rush in a rather powerful way. A second later his eyes diluted, and he in inadvertently dropped Calliope when he loss strength in his arms.

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 Sepokku
Patience had never been Astrid’s strong suit, she had always been a lady of action, and biding her time was always a last resort. However, what came next was something she needed to do, in order to establish how this temporary pack was going to work. Perhaps she’d forgotten herself slightly earlier, admist the stress and drink. That was to be remedied now, however.

Flicking her tongue with anticipation as her fellow Lunar approached, now was the time to act. With a shimmer of essence, flooding her form and veins, Astrid darted forward, uncoiling from Nagasani’s hand to lunge at her fellow Lunar’s leg. All the while, resuming Beastwoman form once more, with a sweep of her hand, Ashen Sky’s leg was yanked out from under him.

Continuing the momentum, and with a twitch of her tail, she threw the Lunar over the balcony, into the awaiting fountain of water. Dusting off her hands, as if having finished a very difficult job, she admonished him with a motherly tone. ”A pup in heat, should take a bath to cool off.”

With a slightly pleased look Astrid turned to the Solar, resuming human form with a glitter of anima and pressing her right fist across her heart. ”I’m very sorry for earlier Princess.” With a gesture towards Nagasani and the warmest smile she could muster, her words continued ”Miss Nagasani here will take you somewhere to change where you’re comfortable?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
The sun had nearly dipped below the horizon and the time was nigh to begin. The Artisan That Which Souls Cling began by spreading about a circle of bone dust, about five feet in diameter and seating himself in its center. With a measure of effort, pure essence sliced open a rift to the Underworld drawing forth a familiar spirit, one that sometimes crossed the Necromancer's path in the Underworld. The summoning lasted for all of a few seconds. The spirit cast its gaze upon Artisan, and swiftly vanished back to whence it came.


Left with express instructions to ensure no one interrupted the master, Artisan's servants hung idly around the hallway that led to the meditation chamber. It was almost sundown, and he had been told to return an hour after the sun went down. It was now that time, and the servant began ambling down to bring retrieve the young Master.


As the servant came into the room, he found his Master on the ground in a state of perturbed silence. With a vague gesture, Artisan told the servant to lead him back to the surface so he may rejoin the... undesirables.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
The water of the fountain swashed and spilled over the side as the pirate flailed about inside of it. Muscle control, lossed in due to the lingering euphoric sensation of having his ears rubbed, eluded him for a brief if slightly terrifying series of seconds as he swallowed crystal clear water and tried to right himself before he drowned. Finally Ashen surfaced, sputtering liquid and curses both with equal virulence as he wheezed for air.

"Tha bleedin' 'ell Astrid!"The changing moon coughed. "Tha 'ell was tha for?!" He sat up in the fountain, now thoroughly drenched from head to toe. The waterlogged clothes clung to his body, and if he had presence of mind he would have been reminded of Lux's own plunge into a similar water decoration that ultimately set this whole fiasco into motion. He began wringing out the white shirt that now hung tightly to his chest and muttered curses at Astrid, handmaidens, Astrid, Dragons, stupid quest, and Astrid.

This series of venomous mutterings ceased when he heard someone directly above him clear their throat. Ashen paused mid squeeze to look up at the emerald green form of the earth elemental, Burnished Mantis. The insectiod chamberlain, despite not having any tongue or lips, made a small clicking sound with his mouth in dull surprise. "Well, I see your group seems to have developed a fondness for our water works, but I must request from now on that our guest stay out of the fountains for the duration of your visit."

While Ashen's face flushed red with embarrassment, the chamberlain tilted his head upwards to look at the balcony above where the other three exalts and an increasingly mortified by the second looking quintet of handmaidens stared back down at him. "Now if all of you gentlewomen are done disrupting the peace of the lords halls, streaking about the palace in drunken stupors and generally making complete fools of yourselves in the Censors name!" The sharp raising of his voice caused the quintet to flinch. "I have the item that Lady Astird requested, and a message from Lord Fakharu. An additional number of exalts will be joining you for this errand. The lord shall introduce you at the docks. If you ladies would kind clean yourselves up and make your way there, it would be most appreciated."




At that same time, another boat pulled into port at the same dock as the first ship landed. This one crewed by actual humans. At it's bow the captain, a man with god-blooded linage by the name of Steel-Sun, frowned as the vessel came into mooring. He was already unhappy that he had been sidelined for the rescue of Lady Amarel he had even further frustrated with being given the task of ferrying a few of the late additions to the actual expedition for her retrieval. He had kept his comments to himself though, even if he struggled to keep his distaste from his expression, and turned back to the passengers aboard the deck. "As promised, we have arrived. His lordship and the rest of your party should meet you here soon."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Though it was immensely satisfying to toss Ashen over the balcony after the frustration of losing Calliope, the sudden appearance of Burnished Mantis reminded Astrid why she was here. With a deft leap the lunar chieftain threw herself over the balcony, catching herself on the railing with her feet, so that she swung to the lower level, landing beside the Mantis spirit on all four. "Of course Emerald One, we're headed there, now that we're not waiting on you."


After retrieving the item from the Mantis Spirit, Astrid resumed her human form once more and swiftly made her way to the docks, testing the mechanism on her newly-equipped grieves and gauntlets as she ran. It felt strange to rely on more traditional weaponry, rather than what Luna had gifted her or Lem had trained her with. However the equipment was well-made and responded to her needs as well as could be hoped.

Exactly what kinds of people the new Exalts would be tolled heavily on Astrid's mind. It would be odd for it to be more Lunars, it was rare for more than two of them to appear in one place without prior notice, and that had already happened. Though the Censor's summon wasn't really normal. As long as it wasn't more Abyssals, she couldn't really complain though. Members of the Wyld Hunt might be problematic also, but she doubted they'd be plucky enough to make trouble on the Censor's home turf.

The docks came into sight, a busy ferry seemed to have arrived not long before, and was bustling with port activity. Finding a spot a ways above the ship, with ample view of the port, the Lunar watched and waited. If the newly arrived Exalts were treated at all like her group had been, they wouldn't be difficult to make out from this vantage point. If they were particularly observant, it wouldn't be hard to see the unusually lithe woman perched on a nearby building.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

The last of the salty sea air drew up over the docks as Nimin looked down across the pier, a new load of the ships in sight pulling in. With a small sigh of relief being breathed as he took another puff from his pipe as the winds pulled it up and away.
The last few days of waiting had been tedious to say the least for the particular solar. He'd spent only a few days in the last port on his way in from being summoned. Having done nothing but ply his skills up the coast before the summons arrived. The request still fresh in his mind, just as the last pang of tobacco swats at the tip of his tongue and he withdraws the pipe, the lone table which he sat at was about done with him.

He dropped a few coins on the table to pay for his meal. Something that had long since gone from the world, though using the table was well enough a reason to keep his place and as he knocked the last of his pipes ash loose. He stood and approached the pier. This was a new day for him. After traveling alone for so long, he'd already been wondering what kind of new faces he'd get to meet and new kinds of people he'd get to treat. Other exalted always offered new challenges and this day he'd get his chance to see all the new faces he could handle.

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
Ashen’s grasp on her loosened, and Calliope flopped to the ground. She sat there stunned at first, looking up at the pair. The terrestrial was... caressing Ashen? And as a result, Ashen was incapacitated. She began crawling, in a military style, out from under Lux and her new Lunar friend. Once she was clear, Calliope rolled over and propped herself on her elbows. The princess picked a piece of long, white hair out of her mouth, staring up at the display in annoyance. She sighed and rose to her feet, but before she could even turn to walk away, Astrid snatched Ashen by the leg and threw him over the edge.

Calliope gasped. Splash. She lunged to the edge of the balcony and peered down at the fountain. Ashen bobbed to the surface. He was fine. Calliope turned around, nonchalantly, her gaze cast downward as not to draw any attention to herself. How much attention could a naked, pink Gladan attract? She began to walk forward, but came to halt when she realized she was face to face with Astrid. Calliope took a step back, but as Astrid was no longer in her beast shape, Calliope was able to relax. She was still alert, but relaxed.

”I’m very sorry for earlier Princess.” Astrid smiled creepily. “Miss Nāgasāni here will take you somewhere to change where you’re comfortable?”

Calliope corrected her posture, her chin upturned in a prideful manner.

“Yes,” she said confidently. “That will suffice.” Calliope carried on, walking past Astrid, unaffected. She joined Nāgasāni, and the two of them left the corridor together silently.m

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

Throughout the bulk of the shenanigans, Lux was quiet, but giggled to herself, unable to stop. She hadn’t been expecting any of what occurred...Burnished Mantis’ comment was funny. They were making fools of themselves, weren’t they? Oh, well if they were.... They were! Things would be okay; they were all going to go on this mission together and were going to come back successful. Amarel would be saved, one way or another. Whilst Calliope wandered off with Nāgasāni to get into proper dress again, Lux watched, not having moved from where she’d been standing. Right...Burnished Mantis wanted “all the ladies” to get cleaned up before departure...and there were more Exalted to greet.... Huh, “all the ladies?”

....odd wording. But, that was neither here nor there!

Oh, more people to meet...more people for their journey. She did need to get cleaned up, didn’t she…? She didn’t have shoes on anymore since she’d kicked them off earlier when she was trying to give chase to Calliope.... Lux’s giggle fit had since ceased as she mindlessly started to nibble upon the knuckle of her thumb, avoiding her nails since they were still polished. Her expression was vacant and she was unmoving, seemingly lost in some kind of daze as her mind blanked to the goings-on around her. Certainly, her mind had cleared a bit from its utterly drunken stupor, but she was still rather impaired....

It wasn’t til Lux heard someone clear their throat, more than once, that she returned to awareness. Lux blinked a few times, removing her knuckle from her lips, seeing one of the handmaidens approaching her. Miss Vengalu, specifically. “Lady Lux...perhaps we should take a page from Calliope’s book, and get you back into your adventuring clothes…?”

Her adventuring...oh, right! She was still in that pretty dress of hers.... Lux very well couldn’t go save Amarel in such a pretty dress, lest she ruin it. The little, tipsy Fire Aspect let out a goofy laugh, and nodded in agreement. “ S’probably a good idea! Let’s...do that!” she half-bellowed in response.

Lux’s apparent eagerness at getting changed caused the rather serious Vengalu to crack a small smile...before she silently held out a hand to the girl, that Lux took without hesitation, following the handmaid.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

Running was all Mirror seemed to accomplish since the fall of her kingdom. No matter where she seemed to go, the immaculate order was never far behind. Perhaps crossing the vast water between continents was the only option. However, finding a ship that would be willing to carry not only an extra passenger but two(one of which being massive and heavy) proved to be immensely challenging. Eventually her luck panned out and she boarded The Dawns Edge with Clove. 


The Dawn's Edge lead to a very interesting ride across the ocean. The trip over the seas wasn't exactly easy for Mirror as she had never been on a boat before. The solar didn't feel sea sick but definitely wasn't steady on her feet either. Ocean travel was something she could get accustomed to. Could and probably would have to. The ride to the dock may have been slightly rough, but the view was breath taking. Glittering water surrounded every side of the ship. Until they had reached the harbor. 


Mirror and Clove tenderly walked of the boat side by side. Right in the harbor was a peculiar sight. A group of people surrounding a person soaking wet. They seemed familiar with each other and one even seemed to be amused by the situation. Within the group was a woman who carried herself differently than the rest. She seemed a bit  distant almost. Like she came from a higher place. Mirror recognized this stance from many different meetings her family would have for diplomatic reasons. Could this other person also be royalty? 


Above the group, on the edge of a rooftop, was a woman with stunningly long onyx hair. Perhaps this stranger was watching the buzzing world below her. 


The Captain, watching his 'guest' take their first steps off deck, noticed the apparent hesitancy in the young eclipse. It may have been his own bias against exalts in general but he personally felt that the young girl and her oversized friend had been more trouble than they were worth. His lord had ordered him to pick her up in a rather speedy extraction from a her pursuit by the wyld hunt. Trying to smuggle a solar out of a city being swarmed by immaculate monks had been a hassle in and of it self. Doing it with her big hulking Goliath of a golem had been nearly a nightmare. They had to knock out a few rooms below deck to even fit the damn thing on board. And for what? Some dainty princess who seemed like she'd never held a blade in anger in her life? But orders had been orders, and Steel Sun's loyalty to the censor was unquestionable. And as it was he needed her off the deck and mingling with the rest of her future 'crew'.


His arm's crossed the cosair deftly stepped beside her, opposite of her massive 'friend', and looked down the docks at the group that was slowly trickling towards them. "This your first time seeing other celestial exalts?" He coolly asked her. "There might even be other solars down there. As I understand it they are going to be your companions for the next month."


Though he kept his tone even and calm, Mirror could sense the captain's frustrations with her. It was best to get a move on to prevent hassling the man further. After all, she and Clove had more than put him out. Dealing with someone not only on the run, but also fairly well known is a struggle enough... But to add a gigantic creature to the mix? Well... There weren't even words to cover that. "It is." She replied smoothly. "Thank you for helping my friend and I." 


Trying not to appear too stiff, Mirror approached the group with Clove. She waited for everyone to finish their conversations before introducing herself. "Excuse me." She was very nervous as she spoke but her voice was unwavering and her posture was perfect. "I was asked to meetup with a group of people. I was wondering if, perhaps, you were that group?" She asked before realizing she never stated who she was. "My name is Mirror Leigh Regium Vertarria." 

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
After the botched summoning, Artisan began making his way back to the pier, eager to set out and get this ordeal over with already, being met with his slave along the way, one of the many nameless chattel the Abyssal kept around as spare blood. The slave could sense the agitation his lord was carrying, and with a yelp of anxiety, he informed Artisan, "Th-there are more Exalted meeting you at the pier!"

Artisan's pace increased slightly, flustered as he was, and the walls of the Spire twisted up before him as he headed down to where the Censor's dubious representatives in this matter would be meeting. "Why would there be more of us!? Is Fakharu plotting against me and the Bodhisattva? That doesn't add up, we're already amounting to a small army; this would just be overkill." The Abyssal could think of no satisfying answer other than Fakharu wasn't telling them something.

He had already known there was more to this than the Censor was saying, but this only doubled his suspicions. "What exactly had Amarel been abducted for, and what kind of place was this Archipelago of Exiles, that it should be hidden from the Heavens?" More and more Artisan was wishing he'd woken more of his creations for this journey, especially if the Immaculate missionaries had seen success on their on the Archipelago.

The pier came into sight, sea-breeze blowing his snow-colored hair back, right as his eyes locked onto an enormous Golem, not unlike the ones common in the underworld. "Right, so that's one of the other Exalted found." Artisan began making his way to the Golem.


The Abyssal's appearance and sudden direction brought Astrid's attention to the Golem. Charting out a quick course, she jumped from her perch, catching the eve of a house as she fell, and using the moment to swing herself onto a nearby passing cart. From there she disappeared into the crowd, doing her best to blend in and hide from any would-be eyes, quietly shifting into a small black housecat.

Newly disguised, Astrid leaped up onto Artisan's shoulder and with a lazy yawn, she laid herself around his neck, claws well within reach of his throat.


With an annoyed sigh Artisan composed himself, the Golem appeared to be following a confident girl with dual-colored eyes, one that introduced herself as 'Mirror.' Her construct was interesting enough, and that alone made her less annoying then a majority of the other Exalted he'd met.

"Hello Mirror, I am The Artisan That Which Souls Cling, and yes I daresay I am part of the group you were to meet here. This is Astrid," with an idle gesture he indicates the cat on his shoulder. Turning towards the Golem, he continues "And, who pray tell, is this?"

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

Nimin began to move down the pier as he could see the group that was now gathering midway up it's landing. It would be hard to hide such an event as anything other then an exalted gathering at this point.

He was sure that his message spoke of others like himself gathering, but at this point it was beginning to reach such proportions. That at least one Order bureaucrat somewhere in world, must have a ringing in his ears equal to a hornet being stuck in the damn thing. A thought that gives him both a slight amount of pause, and humor in equal measure. Resigning himself to simply worry about it later, and just finish stuffing his pipe away into his satchel.

The salty air of the sea blew across the pier once more as he closed within range of the group, taking notice of the more easily discernible members as he moved. Keep a calm look about him, even as the weight of the large construct ahead of him was starting to test the strength of the pier they all currently stood upon. Though he was confident that such construction would hold. Despite the groaning that could be heard from the wood underneath.

He scanned the group ahead of him, even as another came to join in. Stepping with a quicker pace than his own and addressing a rather familiar figure. One that Nimin had to be certain of who he was looking at before speaking. Then he heard the name spoken ahead of him as well. Mirror; such memories came to mind about long distant fields.

A group of exalted, with solars even. Three by the look of it, and more to boot.

It serves right that they'd even be graced by a princess as well.

The other introducing himself was enough to easily point out that he was an abyssal. Knowledge that already did not sit well with Nimin. Though that was only because of their opposing nature, it was just a feeling that was have for one like himself to kick after all these years. He honestly had nothing against the man on face value. Old emotions are hard to be rid of, and having to defend entire settlements from cults, ran by such entities. Was not something that one could deem, as helpful in that matter.

Nimin stopped short of passing his pale companion, and looked between the two of them.
"I see that our mutual acquaintance is more adamant about this proposal than even I thought possible."

He lightly nods towards the two of them as he finishes speaking. "Though it's good to see that I won't be alone as much as I thought this time around... I am Nimin" He adds as he extends a hand towards The Artisan That Which Souls Cling. Being the closer of the two.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bailey Orion Character Portrait: TESTING GROUNDS Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: The Artisan That Which Souls Cling Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
One by one the Girls all left, leaving the soggy Lunar to crawl out of the fountain on his own. He was actually somewhat thankful for that as it spared him a bit of further embarrassment and gave him a moment of privacy away from the others, even if he was still slightly miffed at Astrid dropping him in the water in the first place. As he stood up he could feel the cloth wrappings under his shirt slip. The sensation made him grimace and he lifted his shirt . Sure enough they had soaked up water and and come loose and underneath, mixed in among the moonsilver tattoos, a small set of black lines burned into his skin peaked out from underneath. He cursed softly and made an attempt at re-tightening the wrappings. But in their soggy state they refused to remain in place, instead sliding loose at the first sign of movement. Ashen sighed in defeat and started to reconsider his options.

"Shall I bring you a fresh change?" Ashen nearly jumped out of his skin, and whirled around to see Burnished Mantis was still standing behind him. Ashen stammered in his response for a second. "I uh... yes. I ya could brin' it ta me cabin on tha ship tha'd be a help." The Spirit nodded and turned to leave.

"I'll have one of the servants prepare it for you before you depart Ma'am." Ashen smiled and thanked him before what he said sunk in. "I ain't ah lady!" He bit out. The spirit stopped, and looked Ashen up and down. "... of course sir." The tone sound unconvinced and Ashen very quickly adopted an annoyed frown as the giant but walked off.

He scratched his head and groaned, but thought nothing more of it. He was probably holding up the others by this point, but didn't want to meet them in this state. Figuring he'd just make the best of it for now, he pooled his essence and shrunk, down, down into the form of a small white ash colored form of a weasel. Satisfied that he could keep himself decent and his chest marking covered under the fur, the Ashen Weasel scurried down the halls and out to the docks until some time later he arrived outside where the others had gathered. Along with two new additions. Well, three actually. Where the hell did that massive wall of rock and limbs come from? That said Ashen could tell with a glance that the two humans were fellow exalted, and he had to wonder where they came from and what skills this was going to bring to the team? His mussing were a bit distracted when he spotted Astrid sitting on Artsians shoulders, very clearly pressing her claws against his neck in an implied threat. Already irritated from the unwanted bath from earlier, he felt further vex that she was once again threatening the teams Abyssal with no stated cause for it. Just what was her beef with the poor guy? He then noticed that her tail was wagging and a wicked thought passed through his head at that point and he gained an idea for some mirth to play in revenge.

Quietly he scuttled up to the side of Artisan's ankle, and began to climb up his pant leg. Once he reached the Abyssal's back he paused and watched his target swing back and forth above him. Clinging to the back of the cloak, he dug his back paws in for leveraged, then launched himself upward to nip at the tip of Astrid's tail. Letting out a yowl of fright and jumping into the air Astrid, fell to the ground with a start. With a meow of indignation, she started after the weasel, not terribly intent to catch Ashen Sky, but rather seeming to enjoy the game of cat and mouse. For his part Ashen gave a small squeking noise that could of been a laugh and darted away leading the two of them to dash between the legs of their fellow exalts.

Seeming to appreciate being freed of the black cat, Artisan continues to introduce himself, "Thank you Nimin, it is a pleasure to meet you both. I hope we can all become fast friends in our time together."Though the Deathknight didn't move, his shadow seemed animate of its own accord, shaping itself as if its host were in a deep regal bow.



The setting light of the sun saw Fakharu finish his affairs in court and finally 'excuse' himself to go 'bid farewell' to his guest. He had resumed his majestic serpentine form and descended the hills to the beach where the exalts had all being to gather. He was delighted to see that they were making acquaintance With the last of the arrivals, and he slowly approached while they were finishing introductions. "Ah Nimin, it is good to see you again. I give my thanks for your swift arrival on this favor. And You I presume must be Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria, I am pleased to make your acquaintance though I apologize if this all seems so sudden considering your recent circumstances."

Raising his head till he towered once more over the assembled exalts. "I once again reiterate what we spoke off in the tower. Please rescue my dear Ameral from the clutches of the sirens and bring her safely back home to me. If you can do this, I promise my gratitude and aid and whatever reward you could desire. I bid you to go now with all haste, for the deadline is the 28th of Resplendent Water, and the sirens have threatened harm to Amarel if I do not acquiesce to their demands by then."

"Of course, Fakharu. It is our imminent pleasure to save Lady Amarel, posthaste." Not wanting to prolong things further in the presence of several Solars, Artisan started away to their vessel. Less than 28 days now to rescue the mortal lover of an upstart God that continually shirked his duties, what a wonderfully droll notion for Artisan to occupy his time with. Hopefully the workshop would fare well enough without him, and of course there was always the rare chance he'd encounter some devious new materials to bring back with him. Still in feline form, Astrid followed suit after the Deathknight; though she shared her own grand delusion about the trip, that wasn't on her mind, just eagerness to depart.

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
Up until this point, Calliope had bathed herself, assumed a new set of clothes, and retrieved her armors, weapons, and her prized river-valley stone for the road ahead. The dawn caste habitually turned the stone over and over in the pocket of her new outfit. It seemed the spirits had no trouble fashioning an outfit fit for a Gladan soldier. It was black like the robes she wore before: a kimono-like military garb, with a thick, reinforced, leather corset that bowed with the shape of her waist, and tied neatly on the front of her shape. Stemming in all directions from her core were silvery designs, so thin, they had to catch the light in order to be noticed. Her shoulders were padded with black horned saddle-pads, traditional to the Gladan military culture. Calliope was pleased with the look. She thought Nāgasāni and her team, for what it’s worth, had at least some taste for fashion.

On top of it all, Calliope had just about every weapon she owned strapped to her: her sword case, slung across her chest, and two odachi blades sheathed on either side of her hip, her forearms plated with discreet leather gauntlets which feathered up into scale-like patterns.

She strode down to the beach with a few of her new companions, Astrid included. Her stature was prideful, marching down to the boat dock where the new arrivals lay waiting for the rest of the party. Calliope wondered if these new companions would be anything like the ...”fascinating” characters she already met. Calliope sighed, and ceased turning the smooth stone in her pocket. Instead, one pink hand rested on the hilt of one of her blades at all times.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala

0.00 INK

The little Terrestrial allowed herself to be guided along by Vengalu, who’d kept a gentle hold on her hand as they walked along. Still tipsy, Lux had indeed required some measure of assistance in undressing herself. Especially because the girl couldn’t help but almost crying about possibly ruining her pretty dress because she wasn’t even sure where to begin in removing it...the very thought of sullying the garment nearly turned the Fire Exalted into a blubbering mess. The sight itself was enough to even make even the otherwise rather serious handmaid assisting her amused. Eventually, she was able to allay Lux’s fears and helped her out of the dress, promising to stow it away in a place most safe til she returned safely with Amarel.

And, as she was, Lux also had required some help in redressing herself in her now mended and laundered travel clothes...Vengalu had turned away for but a second, only to look back and find that Lux had somehow managed to put her leggings backward, overtop her skirt.... Though amusing, Vengalu did hope that Lux’s senses returned to her before she and the rest of the Exalted departed on their journey—it was worrying to think about how sailing upon the open sea might affect her.... After Lux was properly back in her everyday clothing, Vengalu guided her to the docks, wherein the rest of Lord Fakharu’s chosen party was waiting. While away, Lux had missed the arrival of two more Exalted who were to join them on the trip.

Still, with her mind still in a haze, Lux didn’t even seem to notice that her travel party had increased by two—as she was only busy tittering to herself about random, miscellaneous matters. A pretty seashell here, a gull flying there....

Though....

That is, til a streak of lucidity ran through her through like the sharpest of swords. As if a spell upon her had been broken, Lux’s senses were suddenly again sharp, her rationale suddenly clear. Midway through her mindless mutterings, Lux suddenly just...froze up, locked in place as if she’d been petrified as her mind began to process. Began to sort through the chaos of the last hours. From the moment she took to impulse, and drained far too much of that cursed bottle of alcohol to now....

Her expression shifted from one of senseless giddy to one of confusion, to one of realization, then to one of pure and utter mortification.

She couldn’t even begin to form words to describe it, how she felt. There were no words, insofar as she was concerned.... So, without a peep, Lux’s jaw tightened and locked, her face felt as if it began to burn as hot as the flame within her Lantern...and she assumed a rather stiff stance, gaze cast downward as she decided to pass the time til departure by counting the grains of sand upon the beach. That, at least, would keep her mind occupied and keep her from thinking about all the absolutely foolish things she’d gotten up to.... Creation, though, when she finally did start to think upon those things....

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
Once Ashen had disengaged with Astrid, he too followed the others on board. Remaining in his ferret form for the time being, he scampered up the gang plank and down into the ship's underbelly where he sniffed out which cabin was to be his. Finding one with a change of clothes already prepared for him he quietly slipped in and shifted back. A minute later he had disrobed and changed into a new set of clothes with a thick leather Jerkin over top for armor. He couldn't find a replacement for his wrapping and so grumbled and left them up to dry for the time being while he did a quick pre-launch prep check of the ship. A quick perusal of the ship's layout was first. Above, obviously, was the surface deck which sat largely uncovered save for a small section in it's aft where there was a room for navigational equipment. Below was the second deck where the crew cabins were, where the were enough rooms to fit twelve people or twenty four if they decided to double up. He saw not much else here save a small kitchen/dinning area in the back with a set of stairs leading down to the third level, and what curiously looked like a small weapons cabinet containing some bows, a small stockpile of arrows, some short spears and a few short swords.

Down below that was the third level where things got interesting. On one side he found what he would have normally expected from what looked like the storage deck. A large larder full of smoked and salted meat, dried fruits and vegetables among other preserved foods. From what he evaluated there was enough rations stored down here for the crew to stay well fed for six weeks. It was what was on the other side that made him raise an eyebrow. The storage deck had an entire wall full of treasures. Gold and silver, precious gems and pearls, even a few coins of jade in the five colors. Admittedly spending the day in Fakharu's extravagant palace had numbed him a bit to the sight of so much wealth, but it was still surprising to see first hand. He picked through the shelves a bit and found a set of nine scrolls. Curiosity took him and he crack one open. There was an odd series of letters in a script that he couldn't read. He squinted at them, before blinking in surprise as the letters morphed and rearranged themselves into symbols of low realm and read out 'The holder of this message is here by absolved of all crimes committed before the date of the first of resplendent water in the year of 768 as by the calendar of the Scarlet Empire, also known as The Realm, by order of Lord Fakharu, Dragon of water and Celestial censor of the west in light of services rendered.'

Ashen thought for a moment and remembered that Calliope had advocated for a diplomatic approach to the rescue of Ameral. Fakharu then must have loaded the ship with means to bribe or barter with the local spirits and tribesmen of the archipelago. Humming to himself he placed the scroll back where he found it and climbed back to the top deck of the ship where the rest were filling on. Taking his place at the helm he looked down to the others and cleared his throat. "Right, 'ell we'd best get ah move on than folks, we have a princess to save." He paused. "Not ta be confused with the two already on deck. If we all be aboard now than someone raise tha anchor and lets shove off!"

In a few moment, the ship slipped it mornings and with some effort it's anchor was raised and it's sails loosened. Departing dock in the dark was an unusual task but Ashen had been raised on ship handling practically his whole life, and the vessel smoothly pulled out of the harbor inspire of the lack of visibility. From where they stood on the dock, Fakharu and the five handmaidens waved their goodbyes and gave short calls of good fortune on their journey. Navigating by star light the ship made it's heading for it's first, and likely most dangerous, stop. The Court of the Storm Mother Sikunare.

"Get some resy now me lads and lasses while ye can. By mornin well be in the lair of tha storm goddess, and I've a feelin' she'll be na be as hospitable as tha dragon be." Quietly the ship drifted off into the night under the sliver of moon light by the recreant form of luna above. By the next morning, it's journey would have officially, begun.

Fakahru's spire complete.

All players add 2xp to character sheet.

28 days left to rescue Ameral.

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

Nimin looked on as the last of his cadre walked onto the deck of the ship and disappeared below in short order. Before pulling the last of his possessions together and looking towards Fakharu one last time, he nodded. Doing his best to reassure the dragon of their mission. "We'll do what is necessary to return what was taken. Though I pray that she is still of sound health, given what we know of the sirens." He gave the dragon one last assured nod before walking ahead and going up the ramp before the deckhands began to work as freeing the ship in preparation for their journey.

After several steps on the deck he looked around. Hands moving back and forth to get their duties done. Nimin made his way below to find his own quarters. Such ships were not new to him and the location of the sleeping quarters were very simple to locate, though he was interested to see that the ship was well made and the quality of the accommodations was better than most other vessels he'd laid foot on.

Actual beds to sleep upon, not just wracks, or cots. He sat his bag down on the foot of his own bed only to look up and see a small water basin for bathing. An amenity that he'd not expect to see in someone's personal quarters. He would've been more surprised at this. Were it not for the fact that we he looked up from the basin to see a mirror staring him in the face. That he reached up and unhooked the item, placing it face down in the basin. "such a pity" He uttered, with a sigh in his breath.

He left his new quarters to look around the compartments on the deck. Taking this time to look in on his companions, taking count of them as he saw them. Making sure that all things were in their place before heading off.

It was then that he saw the woman from before. She'd made her way onto the ship before him and it was her arrival that made more than a simple impression. Unlike most of the others that arrived, who showed up with what they could bare to travel with. This one had arrived carrying what amounted to a small arsenal. He'd barely missed the small tagalong that she had with her, until it flittered off to some other part of the ship. A conversation for another time perhaps, though he did wish to address her.

He stepped forward ending much too short for arms length. "There is something to say about coming loaded for such eventualities as an all out war." He says with a wry smile. "Are you completely sure that all of that is necessary?" He ask, motioning to most of all that she is still currently wearing.

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Astrid quietly padded her way down to the room she had occupied on the way here, many of her belongings had been left here when she ascended to the Spire. She had, since boarding, resumed human form and taken the time to suppress her Moonsilver tattoos. Three steel axes with the hilt worn smooth, two sets of spear (steel and cold iron,) a shield, but most prized of all was her oil painting of Lem and her. It was a remnant from simpler times, before she was called to work as an embodiment of The Lunar Goddess.

The bed was comfortable enough, much of the fine silk sheets and bedding having been stripped off when Astrid first boarded. They currently lay in a pile in the corner, in favor of several furs from her most thrilling hunts. They were comfortable and smelled like home, a place the chieftain was already beginning to miss, despite having left less than a week ago. Gathering up the furs into her arms, she inhaled the scent of her family. "I hope you're all doing well without me. I'll be home soon."

The Lunar girl began her ascent to the deck, eager to start the journey, perhaps even row with oars if that were to expedite their trip. "Hark! Let us do our best to grab Amarel quickly." Her words were addressed to no one in particular, but once her eyes settled on Calliope and Nimin, she started over to them.


The boat would suffice, though it was nothing compared to certain vessels aboard the Stygian, Creation often palled like that. His room was likewise sufficient for now, a coffin having been dragged in to sleep in. Fine purple velvet lined the inside, filled with downy from what some would consider sacred foul; not quite the crypt he was used to but it would suffice for now. It was at least enough to keep the Resonance from weighing down on his soul.

In the corner stood his suit of artifact armor. A Loathsome Osseous Shell, originally created by the Mask of Winter, adapted by Artisan for his own purposes. It was a beautiful creation, one almost entirely of bone and Soulsteel, and the fearsome seven-foot tall armor smiled back at the Abyssal. Attached to its shoulder was a device of his own creation, one that fired of its own accord at the wearer's enemies.

Artisan stared into the mirror above the water basin, his reflection showing the souls of the damned like a thick mist, cloying to him as they drifted around in a lazy roil. The image dissipated the moment he cupped a handful of water in his palms and splashed the cool liquid against his face. The boat rocked lazily beneath his feet, the voyage underway in earnest, soon they'd cross Sikunare's domain and head into untold waters. "Simple enough, we amount to a large army anyways. Some exiled spirits shouldn't be an issue to deal with. Regardless of who they have captive..."

The next morning, Ashen would find The Artisan That Which Souls Cling leaning on the wall outside his door. The figure was in his regular breastplate, saber strapped to his side. "Shouldn't we discuss passage into the Storm Mother's domain?" He moved off the wall, "Shall we rouse the rest?"

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

0.00 INK

With a face as red as a beet, Lux followed behind the rest of the group as they all took to boarding the ship...she slipped through the motions, not uttering one single word as she attempted to make seem as small as absolutely possible. She absolutely wanted to vanish into dust right then and there—the whole day.... That whole day she’d done nothing but made a complete fool of herself! She’d come here at the behest of Fakharu, and asked to offer aid in rescuing his Amarel. And...that whole day she’d gotten up to nothing but shenanigans.

How embarrassing!

Lux could not bring herself to process any other thought in her head than that. Embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing. She’d made such an idiot of herself all day. Such an idiot.... She was NEVER drinking any kind of alcohol again, no matter how much others urged her to do so. Evidently, she and alcohol did not mix....

Here she was, supposed to spend the next…four weeks with these other Exalted, and what impression had she left on them, she could only wonder and fret over. Of course, she was never the best when it came to dealing with others given her past and how she rarely stayed in one place long...actually, four weeks? Four weeks might end up being the longest time she spent in the company of the same folk at any point in her life. Being in the company of the same people that long would be strange, and rather a different experience.... How it would feel to wake up and see the same faces that many mornings in a row, and seeing them before she would sleep as well...that was a thought Lux could not entirely bring herself to fathom as it surface within her mind amidst the chaos.

It was enough to rouse the Terrestrial’s awareness back to her surroundings as her feet hit the wooden deck of the boat again. Something about that...stepping foot again on the ship was enough to just push back all her anxiety for a moment as reality settled upon her—what exactly she was about to do, what she was doing. The gravity of the overall situation had been apparent to her, yet still. She’d humiliated herself today, got up to foolish antics—she’d slid down the banister in the dwelling of a Lesser God for Creation’s sake! And yet, she was still doing this, she was still going to do this, wasn’t she. Embarrassed or not, she was DOING this. It didn’t matter if she made an ass of herself today, she was still...doing this. After all was said and done, chances were high that she wouldn’t see any of these Exalted again, anyway...right? Her antics and shenanigans would fade into a distant, foggy memory for them and she’d be nothing than a temporary companion they’d shared a short adventure with. And that’s what they’d end up being to her as well.

This would happen, and then it’d be over. They would do what needed to be done—they’d rescue Amarel as agreed and part ways. Such was life.

A shaky breath exited Lux’s lips, as she turned around, and leaned upon the railing of the ship...coming to terms with her thoughts and doing her best to shove aside her mortification. Though she would be in the company of this group for a time longer than she was used to, it was temporary and fleeting as was everything in her life. This was how she lived her life. Going along with her whims and traveling to wherever life seemed to take her. Temporary, temporary, temporary...this was all temporary....

Today was just a mess, a mess that didn’t matter and that would just be an embarrassing, distant memory soon enough...it meant nothing. Settling upon that thought, the Fire Exalted let out a long, deep breath as she did her best to soothe herself. Today meant nothing in the grand scheme….

As the boat jutted forward, leaving the dock behind, Lux let out a startled noise, being rattled from her thoughts and nearly knocked to her rear for the umpteenth time that day. She reflexively grabbed onto the boat’s railing to steady herself, groaning and grumbling, rather fatigued of her suddenly common episodes of absentmindedness and clumsiness. She had to remind herself, all this was as temporary and as fleeing as the rest of her life.... It’d be over in four weeks and she’d be on her way somewhere else, never to see anyone involved again.... They’d be as okay with that as she was.

At least, that was what Lux was telling herself and rather believed, til she looked up and back at the shrinking shoreline. Fakharu himself was waving, as well as...the handmaids. All five of them were rather energetically and enthusiastically waving their goodbyes, and Lux knew, she knew they were waving with such vigor in part at her. She had wanted to tell herself that today was just a random occurrence, that it meant nothing and that this was as temporary as everything else she’d even known. That she’d never see these people again...that it meant nothing more. But....

She heard Nāgasāni call out, her voice barely distinguishable overtop the sound of waves and wind. “Take care, Lady Lux! Return to us safe, please!”

....today wasn’t just something that would mean nothing in the long run, was it. It wasn’t. It was the start of...something. A something Lux wasn’t quite sure of. Though she’d embarrassed herself like no other, the handmaids...they.... And she.... They specifically wanted her to return safe. Yes, they were counting on her and the others to rescue Amarel safely, but...Nāgasāni’s last words to her were asking that she’d come back to them safely instead of reminding her of her mission. That...realization made something flutter within Lux’s heart, and she swallowed back a pitiful noise that wanted to slip from her throat. She said nothing, and bit back the nearly overwhelming emotions she felt as she raised her own hand, and slowly waved back specifically to the five handmaidens before she turned on her heel, inhaled sharply and walked by the rest of the group, not even registering anything anyone had said as she made her way toward her cabin for the night.

This was...quite a day, and she...was rather just done for the time being. She’d gather her scruples and whatnot come the morning....

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

0.00 INK

Nimin looked towards Astrid as they came up stairwell, looking through the scant few faces before her before her sight rested on himself and Calliope, waving her over as she began to approach.

Though he had met her before as the meeting on the docks convened, very few words had been shared between them. He gave the younger lunar a slight nod as he welcomed her in. "It's good to see that we're all more, or less settling in for the better of the trip... Though there are bound to be some words among the crew when things get worse." He said with a slight scanning of the few more mortal members of the crew that were direct line of site.
His fingers idly thumped along the spine of his book, ever present as it was latched to his side.

"Either way, I can see that our friend has spared very little in this endeavor. He never was one to go lite when committing to anything, at least for as long as I've known him." Nimin popped a sly smile as he spoke, the lapping of the waves on the hull of the ship adding punctuation to his words. The few members of the crew in attendance going about their duties as though nothing were wrong. The thought of them not being completely aware of what this voyage was meant to foster did cross his mind.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Astrid's curious eyes scanned over Nimin's face, then Calliope's, before being drawn down to the book that Nimin was idly drumming his fingers on. She cocked her head at Nimin, before turning to Calliope and quietly speaking the oddly accented language of her tribe, "I would never blame someone for wanting the safe and swift return of a loved one. For a great Spirit Dragon, I'm sure this is nothing to be reunited with Amarel."

Cracking a cocksure smile, she continues, "And between the seven of us, he should have nothing to worry about." Her approach had been friendly, but her elders had warned her of Solars, like these two. "Try not to stay up too late, we'll be moving without stop by morning."

*Edited for clarity

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Storyteller

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
[Note, we'll be swtiching to the next morning soon so please try to wrap up the scene on deck soon.]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

0.00 INK

Nimin waves his hand off at the thought of assumptions "It's not the matter of there being a problem with getting back his love. That is not the source of my concern here." He produces his pipe and begins to thumb the inside of the bowl to remove any excess tobacco. "I've been mixed up in these problems more times than I care to count at this point, and nothing is more troubling than the politics that surround such things."

He ends by knocking the pipe, face down, on a nearby stool, and begins to place a small bib of fresh tobacco produced from a dry pouch in his pocket. "The first time I ever got involved with these things, was from a servant of another dragon from the southern reaches. Which had me chasing a simple ring for nearly six years, only for myself to be arrested upon arrival with the object in hand. Little did I know that the ring was meant to be a binding item to punish one of her northern counterparts, and I was to be held in trial for sedition." He points between the three of them "I suggest we make sure to cover our own ends before all of this comes to a close... just in case.

Cupping the pipe in his hand he remembers that was one of the first times that he'd broken as well. Something that he'd really not want to happen this time around as well.

Nimin finds his thoughts cut short by the call of the watch's bell somewhere on the upper deck. It was now apparent that they were well and truly underway and that not much else could be done, no matter the amount of second thoughts that either of them had.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

0.00 INK

#, as written by Sepokku
Astrid nods along while Nimin talks, not entirely following the finer points of what he was saying but making a show of pretending to; nodding up and down while putting a hand to her chin. Whether or not she was doing a good job would be up to the casual observer, the general consensus would be no. Feeling the boat set off, deck rocking beneath her feet, she looked Nimin up and down before whispering. "I think you'll find if it comes down to it, Spirit Dragons bleed as easily as any God does. Far be it from me to let any posh dignitary outshine me. There are enough of us to storm Fakharu's palace and walk out with half his treasury."

Shrugging her shoulders, she turned to leave, "If you're worried about covering your own ass, I suggest you look for spies amongst us. No telling which one of us is Fakharu's planted spy. My money is on the Abyssal..." Starting down the stairs, to the quarters, the Chieftain thought to herself about the Solar male. Apparently, this wasn't his first quest for a Spirit Dragon, something she would have to keep in mind.

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 Character Portrait: Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox Character Portrait: Mirror Leih Regium Vertarria

0.00 INK

#, as written by Wake
The Next Morning. 28 days til the deadline


It was the first light of the next morning when Ashen decended down to the crew quarters. He yawned, haven been up most of the night guiding the boat though the dark and was only vaguely aware of anyone else already up and about. He was hungry, not having eaten a thing since the impromptu banquet at breakfast in Fakharu's spire. But while food was first on his mind, a close second was a minor worry niggling at the back of his mind as he started going through the kitchen was what they were going to do when they reached their destination at noon. Their first stop, the court of Sikunare the storm mother. Ashen knew from the tales his parents and fellow sailors told of the short and viscous temper of the storm mothers, and it was every sailors dread to catch their attentions. Vain and spiteful creatures, with a anger match only by their hideousness. Their fastest course would have to take them right through her territory, and they'd be doing so with a ship full of the one thing that storm mothers hated above all else and would gladly sink whole fleets just to destroy.

Women.

Artisan watched with mild interest as Ashen blearily went through his morning, following quietly after the Lunar who seemed absorbed in thoughts. The Abyssal was not wearing his armor for once, and was surprisingly light on his feet as he trailed the half-awake pirate. As Ashen Sky was the only other one to prove themselves reasonable so far, the deathknight thought it would be prudent to discuss their next course of action proceeding forward.

Ashen sighed as he pulled out a frying pan and a wooden spoon. Whelp, they'd have cross that bridge when they got to it, and maybe hope their status as exalted would nudge her towards restraint. Deciding that the plan of attack regarding that would probably best be made by the committee. He took the frying pan and began to beat the spoon against it in an attempt to marshal the troops while he shouted out in seatongue. "Oi! Waky waky eggs 'n baccy. If any o' ya lot want ah hot breakfast git yer lazy bums outta bed in tha next fifteen. Were havin' ah war council over mornin' meal!" After a few more minutes of making a racket with the kitchen utensils, the Changing moon made his way back to the stove, and set about kindling the coals inside. As he worked, he looked over his shoulder behind him and, still speaking in sea tongue, asked. "Soooo... how much do ye know about storm mothers?"

Artisan stared on at Ashen Sky with slight confusion, his words seemingly meaningless drivel. Of course, it would not have been out of Fakharu's realm of power to provide some sort of translating magic, it was certainly unexpected that the Exalted here weren't fluent in High Realm. This could be quite the boon, or an insurmountable issue. He took a seat, waiting for the rest to arrive or Ashen to finish cooking, quietly musing to himself. "Hopefully someone here is from the Realm, and can speak properly."

It wasn't terribly long after that Astrid same striding down the hall into the messroom, immediately giving Artisan an annoyed glare. "Astrid! Would you by any chance, spe-"

The Lunar quickly cut him off, "High Realm, yes... She raises an eyebrow while crossing both arms, turning to the preoccupied chef, "Ashen do you speak the language of the Realm?" Artisan gave a warm smile to Astrid, before gesturing to Ashen, "Indeed, he does not."

Astrid lets out a quiet sigh, "Just saying no," Astrid paused, making air quotes with her fingers before continuing, "Would be so much quicker..."[/color] With a bored yawn, her eyes turn back to Ashen, asking him in Riverspeak, "We have a small problem when it comes to talking with each other..?"

Ashen blinked and responded. "Wha? Ye was speaking seatongue just ah-" Then the changing moon stopped as the realisation clicked in his head. "Fakahru right." He slapped a palm to his forehead. The fact that the group had more or less been assembled from differnet parts of creation apeared to have left his mind up until this moment. Ashen spoke again. This time in a butchered version of highrealm. "Aye ey knuw oh bit oo rivspee and 'igh realm. Tha ay thin' me rivespee 's bitter as ey 'ad mur practas wiv it." He rolled his tongue around, feeling very out of place trying to speak the language of the realms noblity. He only barely managed to pick up a second hand version of it as a sailor, and was just enough to pass during his brief stint in the realm itself, little good that it did to him then. He switched to riverspeak from then on. "Ay hope tha rest ah tha crew's gat some way of speakin' tha same tongue. 'Cause this trip just got a little more awkward."

The Deathknight simply stared on in mild confusion, looking to Astrid, who was beginning to smirk at him, then to Ashen, giving them both a pleading look. "W-what?" He shifted uncomfortably in his armor before seeming to regain his composure, "We have hardly have time for this anyways, we are only a few hours way from the Storm Mother's and we haven't decided our course of action to navigate through it."

"Ashen just informed you, that he, 'Knuw oh bit oo rivspee and 'igh realm." Astrid's mocking of his accent proved enough to lift her own mood, and she let out a chuckle which quickly turned into a laughing fit. "Yer bee' reel roo', Artsin! Ansa th' pour man." Artisan quickly replied by burying his face in his hands, and letting out a tired sigh. Ashen's ears drooped slightly. "Dun muck. Ar trin'" He groused. Switching back to riverspeak he spoke again. "But 'e's right. We're goin' be in tha court o' a storm mother by noon. Tha question o' how we goin' pass through. She might know more 'bout tha sirens, but tha have a repu-rep." He stumbled for a few seconds. "Thay got nasty tempers aright. An oftan wan't bribes fer safe passage."

Astrid, having finally managed to compose herself and stop laughing, beamed a wide smile at Ashen. "I don't suppose I could just punch her in the nose and we'll be on our way while she's reforming?" She said it jokingly, but, secretly still hoped someone would assent. Ashen fit her with a blank stare and muttered to himself in seatongue. "This is why women should stay on dry land." He turned around and put the frying pan on the stove and started rummaging through the cuboards for something to start cooking with. Returning to Riverspeak he responded. "Well we could try that. But we'd ave to go out inta tha middle of the ocean ta do it. On 'er 'ome turf. Than face 'er wrath on tha return trip back. An' like ay said, they 'ave a temper. She'd nah forget tha insult. 'Specially if it were a woman tha did it."

As Ashen spoke, his Full Moon counterpart's smile slowly faded. His tone had been mildly insulting, even if she hadn't fully understood what he'd said, Lem taught her more than enough to learn when someone was picking a fight. The last thing he said was the nail in the coffin. With a withering scowl, she queried him, "Pray tell... What's wrong with women?" She crossed her arms, stance promising discipline if his response wasn't to her liking. Ashen could feel the hairs on the back of his neck prick up, and his tail very slightly puffed up. The heat of her voice and the implied challenge triggering an insticutal responese. Slowly and calmly he put down the bag of rice and the butter he'd pulled out and said over his sholder. "Tha problem ain't wit women persay, but wit 'ow spirits out 'ere see em. Thar's a reason why ya don't see many girls on ships out in tha west. 'Cause ships tha carry 'em tend to go missin' at sea or 'ave all manner of misshap on board."

Feeling placated, the other Lunar dropped her threatening pose, "Fakharu picked us personally. She wouldn't start a war with us over something so trivial... Right?" Feeling a tap on her should, she turned back to Artisan. Before he could even ask, Astrid summarized Ashen and her's exchange in the language of the Realm. The Deathknight perked back up telling Astrid, "Tell Ashen that the easiest way through would be a simple explanation and bribe. She gave him an annoyed look, "Artisan said he's hungry; Ashen can understand you. It's just a bad accent, you dolt." With a frown, and slight blush of embarrassment Artisan looked to Ashen "Ah, well no matter. Are you agreed?"

Having heard Ashen’s shouts from the galley below, Lux managed to wrest herself free from her bed...the night had been long and sleep had been sparse for the Terrestrial as she couldn’t help but bring herself to ruminate over the previous day’s happenings and what exactly it all meant, as well as suffering from her usual bouts of nightmares. This trip was...definitely going to be different and it was the start of perhaps an entirely new chapter of her short life. It seemed like every several years, her life underwent some kind of drastic change.... And this whole adventure was the start of her life’s newest chapter. And, quite honestly, Lux wasn’t sure how to feel about that. She’d never had the luxury before of knowing when her life was about to change, it’d always been so sudden, happened so...violently.

The best thing she could do was deal with things as they came, as always. And try not to make herself look like more of a fool, as she did yesterday.

Dressed in her usual travelling clothes, sans her green-hooded cape and with her Lantern attached to one of her belt loops, Lux trundled through the swaying ship, her hair still mussed from sleep, til she eventually found the gathering place of the other currently awake Exalted...who seemed in the midst of some kind of discussion as Ashen was...cooking breakfast, apparently.

Still half-asleep, and not entirely cognizant, the little Fire Aspect quietly shuffled into the room in and mumbled a quiet, “Mornin’ all....” to the lot in her native tounge, Riverspeak, as she took a seat at the nearby table, barely capable of acknowledging the two Lunars and the Deathknight.

"Morin'" Ashen responed. "we're havin' fried rice fer mornin meal." He began melting the butter in the pan and added the rice a few minutes later. Then he switched to High realm. "cin ye spee 'igh realm. Cus 'e mught b avin' a spea prublem."

Lux stared at Ashen blearily and wearily, a visible grimace overcoming her face as her brain registered him speaking in what might’ve been the most butchered High Realm she’d ever heard audibly spoken.... Was he doing that on purpose to mess with her or something...? She might’ve been tired but, for the love of Creation! So, communication might be a problem then if she couldn’t speak High Realm? It’d seemed like yesterday before that everyone had no issue communicating, the matter of language never came up. Lux came to the most logical conclusion she could; mmmmmagic.

Specifically, some weird hocus pocus that came from Fakharu himself...made sense.

Consciously, Lux switched her speech, it’d been a while so she might be a touch rusty but.... “Yes, I can speak High Realm, my caretaker was fluent in it and taught me to speak it. I also know Seatongue, Riverspeak and Forest-Tongue. I hope that’s sufficient for communication purposes?” Lux gave Ashen a tired look, still speaking High Realm for the sake of Artisan and Astrid. She wasn’t sure which of the two wouldn’t be able to understand her if she spoke in another tongue, “And I hope you were just faking that horrid accent, because you’re committing linguistic murder, otherwise.”

"Surry, naw Surry, 'igh realm ain't 'ave much prac- pra... naw used ta." He swapped to seatongue as he set a pot of water next to the stove. "But I'm surprised you can speak my hometongue. It's not that common outside of the west and south west. I guess that makes you our translator. That said we should update you on what we were discussing" Switching again to riverspeak he started to fill her in on the issue of Sikurane and how they might approach her.

Waiting for Ashen to finish what he presumed was a summary of the meeting, Artisan leaned forward in his seat, smiling warmly and with a look of mild excitement. "Ah, Lady Lux, your caretaker has taught you well. Your High Realm is impeccable, far better than Sir Ashen's, er... honest attempts. I'm glad to know I will have you along for conversation. Lunars and Abyssals don't really get along." Seeming to remember himself, the Deathknight cleared his throat and settled back in his chair. "So what say you on the matter, Lady Lux? A simple bribe and lip service would be enough to deal with Sikunare, surely?" At that moment he suddenly became aware of a near murderous gaze coming from the Full Moon barbarian standing only slightly behind him. She was looming over him while tapping out an irritated rhythm on her thigh with an index finger. Far from a fool, the Abyssal immediately shut up.

Lux glanced between Artisan and Astrid—frankly surprised since this was the most the Abyssal had spoken to her thus far...and also equally surprised by the slightly homicidal aura emanating off the Lunar. It took her a second to even process what she’d been told by Ashen, everything about Sikunare and Artisan’s excited rambling over her High Realm and him urging her to agree with his approach toward dealing with the Storm Mother.... When it came to it, she really had no room to give an opinion on the matter. In the past, she’d had brief dealings with spirits here and there, just strange minute interactions that she could never rationalize or understand. Those senselessly odd, confusing moments added nothing of value to her knowledge.

“Ah, I’m not....” she started, speaking High Realm again, looking down at her lap whilst she started uncertainly wringing her hands, “I-I’m not sure that I am qualified to voice an opinion on this matter? It’s probably better if I defer to everyone else’s judgment...until meeting with Lord Fakharu yesterday....” Lux wasn’t quite sure how to word it, “Quite honestly, the only knowledge I have regarding spirits and anything in that realm comes from the quite frankly bizarre interactions and nonsensical dealings I’ve had with them in the past. I hardly think I’m qualified to have a say in this matter. I understand the barest basics, as my caretaker made sure to educate me on those at least, but that's it.”

Artisan began to talk, but Astrid simply put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed, rendering the Abyssal mute and very tense. The chieftain took a few steps forward, until she was standing at the corner of the table nearest the young fire aspect. "Hey," Slowly and gently, she put a hand on Lux's chin, raising it so that their eyes met. "You are the only Terrestrial chosen by Fakharu for this very important mission. He believes in you, and more importantly, I believe in you." Her eyes lingered for a moment, inhuman intensity burning in them, before releasing Lux's chin and looking away. With a shrug she quietly added "Creation is a bizarre and nonsensical place, your interactions and dealings are as worth at least as much as mine..."

A flush ran across Lux’s face, the memory of her dealings with Astrid the day before coming to surface in conjunction of what she’d just said made the tiny Terrestrial’s heart feel as if it’d leapt into her throat. For several seconds, the girl was utterly silent, as she just stared at the Lunar a little dumbstruck. She was the only Terrestrial chosen for this journey...or, perhaps she was the only Terrestrial who’d decided to join in on this journey. It certainly meant something that Fakharu would’ve summoned her in the first place, and it meant quite a bit to her that she had Astrid’s vote of confidence so readily. However....

The tiniest little nervous laugh slipped from Lux’s throat as her expression morphed, and she smiled most nervously. She didn’t want to seem dismissive of Astrid’s sureness in her—she really did appreciate it! But...but there was still what she thought about her own self and what her role would be in all this...insanity. She’d agreed to help save Amarel because she felt it was the “right thing to do,” she didn’t agree to do it because she thought she was capable of doing it. Lux felt compelled to the cause.

“I...thank you, Miss Astrid. I very much appreciate your confidence in me; it really does mean a lot.” she responded, side-stepping the root of the impromptu pep talk. Lux adjusted herself in her seat, setting her elbows upon the tabletop, and twining her fingers together before her, looking as if she were going to pray. “Regardless, I agreed to undertake this journey only because I felt compelled to do so, because it felt like it was the right thing to do. My usefulness or worth...well, I just want to do whatever I can do to help. If that means only being a extra set of hands, then that’s fine with me. How to handle Sikunare, I choose to withhold my opinion, for now....”

With a dismissive shrug of her shoulders, Astrid simply sighed; in her experience, the small ones were always the most hesitant to act. "Suit yourself. You are far from the first youngster afraid to step forward." Turning around, she raised a spread palm to her mouth, poorly hiding a cat-like yawn. Prowling around Artisan, Astrid's left foot kicked out one of the free chairs by the deathknight, before taking a seat, perhaps a bit more forcefully than necessary. The chair slid across the recently polished floor, making only the slightest bit of noise. With a bemused smile, she kicked a metal greave up onto the edge of the table, pushing against it so that her chair was balanced on only its back two legs. "I guess it's up to the rest of you to decide. I care little as long as we are quick and not wasteful."

The chieftain's posture suddenly relaxed, her head lolling back so that her eyes seemed to stare up at the ceiling, or perhaps off into the distance. Seemingly more to herself, and without concern for being overheard, she whispered in a confident tone, "Someday... You will be forced to step forward, little Dragon. Creation isn't for the hesitant." The Abyssal seemed pleased with the situation, something Astrid could sense without even having to look at him, which annoyed her even more. However, the trip was going to be a long one, which she reasoned would give her plenty of time to teach the fool his lesson.

Artisan loudly clapped his hands together once, before giving a mischievous smile towards Ashen Sky. "Well, it seems it is up to us, Sir Nimin and Lady Calliope. My vote is already cast, how goes the cooking Sir Ashen?"

"Yap, shuld b rady in..." Ashen's response trailed off as he actually looked at the pan he'd left unattended for the last few minutes and noticed the small smoke trail billowing upwards from the edges. Giving a shout of "AW SHADS!" he scrambled to salvage breakfast. Minutes later, one by one the rest of the crew arrived to a filling meal of dried fruits, jerky, and slightly burnt rice.