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Astrid

"Only a fool defies the nightfangs."

0 · 183 views · located in Creation

a character in “A Tale in the Time of Tumult”, as played by Sepokku

Description

Name: Astrid Cascading MoonlightType and Caste/Aspect: Lunar Exalted, of the Full Moon Caste
Nature: Fanatic
Anima Banner: Silver Tiger
Totem Animal: White Tiger (Formerly Diamondback Rattlesnake)

Image



Attributes




Physical

STRENGTH (2) DEXTERITY (5) STAMINA (4)

Social

CHARISMA (2) MANIPULATION (1) APPEARANCE (4)

Mental

PERCEPTION (4) INTELLIGENCE (2) WITS (3)



Abilities


WARFARE

ARCHERY--------- 0
ATHLETICS------- 4
AWARENESS------ 0
DODGE----------- 5
INTEGRITY------- 0
MARTIAL ARTS--- 5
MELEE------------ 0
RESISTANCE------ 3
THROWN--------- 0
WAR-------------- 0


LIFE
CRAFT------------- 0
LARCENY---------- 0
LINGUISTICS------ 3
PERFORMANCE--- 0
PRESENCE-------- 5
RIDE-------------- 0
SAIL--------------- 0
SOCIALIZE-------- 0
STEALTH---------- 0
SURVIVAL--------- 0



WISDOM
BUREAUCRACY--- 0
INVESTIGATION---- 0
LORE----------- 0
MEDICINE------ 0
OCCULT-------- 0

SPECIALTIES
Showing Off (Martial Arts)
Grapples (Martial Arts)
Threats (Presence)
Acrobatics (Athletics)
When Unarmed (Dodge)



YOUR LIFE



PERSONALITY
Terse, and slightly quiet, owing much to her long time spent in solitude. Due to a sense of duty, she finds it difficult to run from a fight, especially when others are at risk. After losing close friends, she's a bit of a loner and unwilling to get close to anyone. Since living alone most of her life, Astrid has become overtly strong-willed, unable to compromise, and sometimes entirely thoughtless.

Intimacy(s)
The Silver Spiral Stalkers

Motivation(s)
    Battle
    Good Food
    Worthy Enemies
    Defending the Weak
    Smiting Evil
    A good drink
    Her Tribe

VIRTUES
COMPASSION: 1
TEMPERANCE: 1
CONVICTION: 4
VALOR: 4

LIMIT BREAK
The Tiger's Mountain
Life on her own has had its impact, everyone she get's close to seems to die while she seems unable to be bested. Like a tiger ruling a mountain, Astrid works best alone, refusing to listen to others and following her own plans to completion regardless of the cost. Uncompromising is an understatement as she hurtles herself into matters that would be potentially deadly. Perhaps the young lady secretly harbors a death wish, or perhaps she is merely overly confident in her skills. Once she cracks, however, nothing can dissuade her from her task.Image

MERITS
Double-Jointed: Exalted with this merit are uncanny contortionists, able to maintain a perfect split indefinitely, bend each finger to the wrist, kick their legs straight up, or even dislocate and reset joints painlessly. This means escaping grapples and most restraints is child's play for these Exalted.
Omnidexterous: The Exalted can use either hand or feet as readily as one would their dominant hand. Theoretically, the Exalted could wield four weapons or tools in this way, though matters of balance and common sense still apply.
Acute Senses: This Exalted has hearing of preternatural acuity, able to navigate entirely by pitch and reflection of echoes.

FLAWS
Chimera: Lunars with this flaw have forsaken their original Totem animal, and as such that form is a hybrid of both creatures, giving it an oddly mutated appearance. This leads other Lunars to treat them with distrust or distaste, as they appear to be falling to the Chimera.
Barbarian: Characters with this flaw grew up outside the bounds of civilization and as such do not know the ways of soft city-dwellers. They are not assumed to be literate and they take penalties understanding or expressing civilized etiquette.
Dogma: Your kinship to the spirits is closer than other Exalted, and you are bound by the rituals of religion regarding them. A minor religion practiced in the thresholds and by Wyld barbarians has power over Astrid. Rituals may bar her entrance to locations, as well as summon her to locations like a spirit.



PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
Image

Long raven hair, having not been cut since her father passed, extends almost down to her feet; locks of worthy opponents are braided into her hair, trophies of battles well-fought. As a result of her time in the Wyld, her left arm is oddly the color of wet coal and ends in claws, a fact she takes pains to hide; usually via bandages and wrappings. Brilliant amber eyes seek out the world and scrutinize people with equal facility. Normally she dresses simply, forgoing the armored shell of a knight for the grace of a huntress, a black cloak covers her Sacrosanct red clothing. After the Exaltation, she began to carry herself like a predator, mimicking their posture and gait. Thanks to the Nightwitches, a cascade of runic silvery tattoos adorns her skin at times, marking her as a Lunar and denoting her various victories and losses.

As her Totem Animal, the Chimera has a noticeable hold. Soft white fur is patched throughout with scales, long feline tail ending in a snake's rattle. A mouth of feline teeth is punctuated by the fangs of a snake, making her look almost sabretooth in appearance. Slightly harder to notice is her eyes, feline in appearance, until they get entirely too still, pupils constricting past even what a tiger's eyes would, and an eerie stillness absent in great cats.

BACKGROUND


Astrid's father was killed by bandits before she was born, and her mother died in childbirth. For a time she was raised in an orphanage until a kind and burly man adopted her. That man happened to be a nomadic Barbarian named Lem, whose own wife and children were stolen by the Fair folk. He taught Astrid everything he knew about fighting. They traveled the lands, doing what they could to stem the tide of growing evil throughout the land.

While trying to hunt down a sect of the Cult of the Darkness's Unseeing Eye that had been stealing children, Astrid's adoptive father met his end. In a rage, Astrid attempted to get revenge for her father immediately, even though she was already wounded, surrounded, and heavily outnumbered. Screaming her throat raw, she threw herself at the cultists. For every blow they landed she landed six more, rage fueling her onslaught. It was then that she was chosen as one of Luna's Beloved. The next cultist to appear before her had long silvery-white hair, and try as she might, she was unable to land a single hit on him. The silvery-hair man kicked her to the ground, where she came to the sudden realization that he was the last cultist left alive. Slowly she found herself able to return to her feet and lock eyes with the last cultist, who had piercing silver eyes. "Lem and I are walking out of here." She slowly forced the words out between gasps for breath.

The silvery-eyed man glowed with the moon's light before disappearing with a whispered phrase, "I know, but what you do after is what I'm interested in."

Astrid continued to wander the lands, lost and without a cause, besides spreading her father's ashes slowly over the Earth he loved to travel. It wasn't long before rumors of a shape-changing woman spreading ashes around Creation caught the Silver Pact's ear. The Lunar Sorcerers found shortly after, putting her through the customary trials. With newfound purpose, she undertook these trials set before her by others like her. Upon graduation, they deemed her a Full-Moon, one of the warriors of the Luna. Miraculously, she managed to pass every trial without loss; unusual for a Full Moon. Astrid's skin remained unadorned with vicious scarring, simply because she never gave her opponents the chance. After her trials, the Lunars gave her a new name, Cascading Moonlight; at the time she was still a young teen, but she set out the moment her mentor deemed her ready, as she was determined to effect change.

Continuing to wander, but now searching for stronger and more powerful evils, Astrid continued her father's legacy; growing into a fine combatant along the way. Many nights were spent hunting animals in their own skin, others were spent practicing the Unfettering in the Wyld. In civilized societies, people tended to treat her with distaste, due much to her barbaric nature. She never made many friends, preferring a life of solitude to that of a socialite. Brushes with the Immaculate Order caused her to become an outlaw, though her crimes never warranted the Wyld Hunt to come calling. Finding herself a new enemy, Astrid began to make attacks against the Realm.

People die, especially when their line of work is hunting Terrestrials; with that in mind, Astrid found herself unwilling to befriend others, even though her good looks caused many to try. For a short time, she even hunted with a group of other Lunars, though this didn't last long as her brash and bull-headed attitude scared away most that tried. The only one that stayed was a No-Moon named Mila, which Astrid grew exceedingly close to. They hunted together, slept together, and traveled Creation as best friends and partners.

One day, the two managed to bite off more than they could chew. It was only supposed to be a single Immaculate, one that was abandoned for betraying his order. However what they DID find, was an ambush, almost a hundred staunch defenders of the Order ready to put down the Anathema They tried to run, using essence to flee, but Astrid was caught and certain to die. Mila turned back to save her, managing to free Astrid but at the cost of her life. Knowing death was certain and refusing to let Mila's sacrifice be in vain, Astrid fled, in tears. She has no clue how far she ran, but she found herself in an entirely new village.

In her new land, she finally made a home for herself, accidentally declaring herself de facto Goddess of a small tribe by accidentally seating herself at the head of the table. The tribe didn't mind, after all the seat had been left open for a Goddess such as her. Though never growing particularly close to anyone, she did learn to love the people living in her village. After repeated prompting from the Elder that initiated her, Astrid decided her skills were enough to start her own Thousand Streams River. The tribe was carefully culled, via selective exile. The remaining tribesmen were protected like a mother bear would her cubs. Tearing through anyone who dared threaten their peace, the tribe quickly grew in her image. Her heart still cried for her adoptive father and her now-dead partner, but the villagers would have been lost without her. Luna had ensured that she would live for this purpose, to finish the Great Experiment. Passing Exalted sometimes lauded over her prowess, but since Mila's death, she refused to join any of them.

Becoming chief of the village gave her life a new sense of purpose, and from there a fire sprang up in the girl. The tribe as a whole became her new family, one that could potentially outlive even her. Using her powers, she established a faith that worshiped Animal Gods, ancestor ghosts, and Luna; Astrid served as its figurehead. If these people needed a powerful Goddess-Queen, then Astrid would become it. After all... There were worse things to be.




MAGIC, GEAR AND TALENTS

Essence score: 3
Health: 7/7 (9/9 in Beastman form)
Willpower pool: 8/8




Essence motes
Essence Pool: Personal: 8 (half your willpower+your essence score+1) Peripheral: 20 (your full willpower + (essence score X 4))


CHARMS
7/7 Charms

1. First Dexterity Excellency: Essence Overwhelming (Dexterity 1 1M/Tick Duration: Instant) Some Lunar Exalted excel at using their natural talents. The Exalt’s player can invoke this Charm when making a roll based on the relevant Attribute. This Charm adds one die to that roll per mote spent. This Charm is the most common source of dice added to rolls; no combination of Charms can add more than (Attribute) dice to the roll. This Charm can also enhance unrolled uses of the relevant Attribute. Common examples of this are climbing the Feat of Strength chart with the Strength Excellency or increasing alcohol Tolerance with the Stamina Excellency. When enhancing a static value, each success rolled with dice from this Excellency increases the effective relevant Attribute by for an instant.
2. Armor-Forming Technique: (Stamina 3 1M ) - The character grows bony plates which adds three points of bashing and lethal soak and one point of aggravated soak for every mote spent; the Lunar may spend up to (Essence) motes. Soak from this Charm is Obvious and counts as armor for the purposes of Charms and piercing weapons. The bony armor renders other armor unwearable (the size and shape of the Lunar’s body has changed), except for Moon-Faced Mail (see p. 128) and moonsilver armor. When the Lunar shifts into war form, he may commit up to (Essence) motes in this Charm for as long as he keeps Deadly Beastman Transformation active. Other than the extended duration, it functions as normal.
3. Deadly Beastman Transformation: (Charisma 2 2M Duration: Indefinite) - Lightning Speed/Horrifying Might +2 Stamina, +1 Dexterity, +3 Strength The Lunar assumes a hybrid form of her Totem Animal and herself, a veritable 'Warform' which becomes one of her True Forms. She also gains two gifts and increased (+5) attributes. Lightning Speed doubles her running and jumping distance. The second gift adds +2 attribute points (+2 Strength, already taken into account above)
4. Twin-Faced Hero (Essence 3 Wits 3 Duration: Indefinite) - Not all Lunar Exalted are bound to their gender. This Knack enables a character to transcend gender, becoming either a male or female rendition of any form she dons. This includes her true forms. Both genders are fully functional in all ways—she may sire or bear children, for example. The character makes the choice to shift gender as she changes shape, or she may spend the full Essence cost to change into a shape she already wears, just to shift gender. Some Lunars prefer a perfectly neuter shape, which this Knack also makes possible.
5. Deadly Beastman Transformation 2: (Charisma 2 2M Duration: Indefinite Can only take once per Essence score) - Terrible Beast Claws +1 Dex +1 Strength. The Lunar gains horrible natural weapons, Claws (Spd +3, Acc +1, 3L, +1 to pry) and a Bite (Spd +0 Acc +2, 5L) These attacks are considered martial arts (Total stat adjustment: +2 Stamina, +2 Dexterity, +4 Strength)
6. Deadly Beastman Transformation 3: (Charisma 2 2M Duration: Indefinite Prerequisites: Can only take once per Essence score) - Savage Moonsilver Talons make the Lunars claws and teeth huge and made of Moonsilver; she is capable of carving through bone, flesh, and metal with equal ease. Claws have the following stats: Spd +6 Acc +4 Dmg +5L Pry +4. The bite has the following stats: Spd +3 Acc +2 Dmg +8L Pry +0. These moonsilver attacks can harm dematerialized spirits and count as Moonsilver for charms. (Total stat adjustment: +2 Stamina, +3 Dexterity, +5 Strength)
7. Relentless Lunar Fury (Stamina 3 1M/1Willpower Duration: 9 Actions) After activating this Charm, the character enters a devastating battle fury. She may slaughter her foes as dispassionately as the most cold-blooded assassin, show her rage with shouts and grimaces, or act any other way she desires. This short-lived Charm is the exemplar of Lunar—indeed, some say Exalted—combat. Shielded by their fury, the character becomes a truly frightening foe.
The Charm’s initial benefits are modest. The character adds one automatic success to all combat actions, from attacking and resisting knockdown to keeping balance during the fight, but her Defense Values remain unaffected. She does not suffer wound penalties until they are worse than -1 and completely ignores fatigue for the duration. Finally, the maximum benefit the character may obtain from her physical Attribute Excellencies increases to (Attribute + Essence).

Relentless Lunar Fury’s real power lies in other Charms. Certain Charms have the Fury-OK keyword. These Charms describe special (but related) effects that they have when activated simultaneously with the Relentless Lunar Fury. Any Fury Charm’s special benefit may be activated as a part of Relentless Lunar Fury without a Combo by adding two motes to the cost of Relentless Lunar Fury. These Charms’ fury effects always end with Relentless Lunar Fury. Characters may have the normal version of a Charm active at the same time the Fury-OK version of a Charm is active. A character may not activate more than (Essence) additional fury Charms at once.

A Lunar’s fury comes with one drawback: The Lunar becomes so very focused that she cannot perform non-combat actions. The Lunar must continue to hunt and kill enemies until the Charm ends. With a successful reflexive Willpower roll, the character can perform a non-combat action (at -2 dice) or come off the offensive for a single action. She can only stop the fury early by forcefully calming her anger and cooling her blood; to do so, her player rolls (Willpower) at a difficulty of the character’s Valor.

When a character activates more than three additional Charms in tandem with Relentless Lunar Fury (which requires Essence 4 or higher), the Charm becomes Obvious. Silver and white light flow around the character’s weapon and form contrails to emphasize her prowess.

COMBOS

!!!!!BONUS POINTS!!!!!
10/10 Used (6 on Essence Rank, 3 to an artifact, 1 on Valor)

PREFERRED FIGHTING STYLE

Beastman Rending
Spears thrown from the foot
Tri/Dual-wielding axes
Aiki-jūjutsu

LANGUAGES KNOWN

High Realm
SkyTongue
RiverSpeak
Northern Barbarian Dialect (Common enough to speak a few)

Heart's Blood
White Tiger
Black Cat
Reindeer
Polar Bear
Harpy Eagle
Dolphin
Rattlesnake


EQUIPMENT AND POSSESSIONS

Girdle of the Chthonic Baara (ARTIFACT •••)It is said that during the early days of the Primordial War the Argent Madonna personally handed down this unique wonder to the Lunar Exalt known as the Black Manticore. Although it is made of flowing, flexible moon-silver and set with cloud diamonds from the Elemental Pole of Air and fire opals from deep beneath Creation’s surface, the girdle still manages to project an innocuous appearance. Most mortals fail outright to notice it. Recognizing the artifact as anything other than a mundane belt requires a reflexive (Perception + Awareness) roll at difficulty 5. Supernatural obfuscation is not the girdle’s primary purpose or power, however. It was believed in the First Age that the belt had been somehow endowed with a measure of primal Wyld energy, stabilized by the touch of Luna. Those who know of it in the Second Age have their doubts. They suspect the power of the Chthonic Baara is that of Luna and Luna alone. They wonder if the shadow of the All-Beast is somehow reflected in their own Exaltations, allowing for the possibility of chimerism. Whenever a Lunar wearing the girdle of the Chthonic Baara assumes his war form through the Deadly Beastman Transformation Knack, he may reflexively re-assign that form’s mutations in any legal configuration he desires without being forced to take his spirit shape into account. For example, a Lunar with the spirit shape of a great cat could easily assume a war form sporting wings and tentacles. If he ceases to wear the girdle, his war form reverts to its normal state. This artifact costs three motes to attune.

Two sets of tattered clothes

Two sets of Metal Gauntlets and Greaves

Three Axes

Four Spears

Two Cold Iron Spears

Eight Pine Resin Bombs

Eight Lamp-oil Bombs

Various ribbons

Eight leather belts

A large rucksack

Portrait of Lem and Astrid

Three Waterskins

Two Whetstones

A large metal shield

Image

So begins...

Astrid's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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In all, she really wasn’t entirely sure what to make of all...this. Though her life was rather dictated by strange ordeals and unusual phenomena, she knew enough to understand that she’d committed herself to something that was on an entirely different level. Why she of all the Exalted in Creation had been chosen….

She, who wandered Creation aimless and without purpose. She, who was uncertain of her lot. She, who’d become a black sheep among those other loyal Solars, who wholeheartedly supported what she found herself doubting.

There were many others, many who were stronger, and many who had achieved feats that marked them as heroes in the eyes of some. Yet, it was she that had received a summons and a plea from none other than a member of the Celestial Bureaucracy—a Dragon. She had the option to refuse the request...however, she could not in good conscious do so. Even if it was far beyond her understanding as to why she was sought out, she wasn’t one to deny what seemed to be a legitimate appeal for aid. If there was something she could do to help absolve whatever sort of situation this was, she’d oblige to the best of her capabilities, that was the right thing to do, after all.

Though doubt and questions plagued her, Lux boarded the ethereal ship that’d awaited her—it had seemed she’d been amidst the first of its pickups. The deck was empty, there was no one aboard as the ship sailed itself to and fro.

The salty sea air was cool against her skin. Heavy and damp, it settled upon her in a manner that felt almost weighted. Though perhaps contradictory, it was both comforting and unsettling. Such was how it always was when she’d traveled upon the seas. It always felt as if the oceans and its spirits weren’t entirely sure how to feel about her. The waters could be as smooth as glass, the winds as gentle as a sigh, and the skies as clear as crystal, and never could she find herself feeling completely at ease upon the ocean. This instance was no different.

As the ghostly ship made what Lux assumed to be its rounds, gathering up other willing individuals, Lux herself had decided that she would seat herself upon its deck and...wait. She’d wait and observe those who were apparently to form her traveling party. It wasn’t often that she actually traveled with a group—since it was she’d decided to try to find her own way, she really had been finding her own way. It was a rare day that she was ever in the company of another for more than a short while. Agreeing to whatever task this was also meant to agreeing to be in the company of whomever else had decided to at least hear out their summoner. It was worth her taking a bit of time to merely watch. Most definitely, they were an odd bunch. Lux continued her vigil, making no motion to greet or speak to anyone as they boarded the ship, instead she opted to nibble upon a small piece of chocolate that she’d fished out of one of her many pockets.

….well, she kept silent, til another one of the few stray passengers decided to be the one who broke the ice. By the looks of him, he was a Lunar—an Exalt that was meant to be the shadow to the light of a Solar Exalt like herself. In her short life, she’d met a few Lunars...and it seemed she was to meet yet more. Lux kept her green eyes trained upon him, as he cleared his throat and spoke, “So...no that all of we be here, I think introductions be in order.” he bowed, placing a hand across his chest, “I be named Ashen Sky of Wavecrest. Might I have tha pleasure of knowing who might ye all be?”

Wavecrest…. So, this Lunar hailed from the West—though his accent would’ve made Lux suspect as much, even if he hadn’t openly announced it. She was familiar with the accent, after all, Vered had developed a mild one from her time there that bled into and dyed any of the other tongues she spoke.

Perhaps she might be better off still attempting to observe and muse over her apparent companions...Lux could not bring herself to ignore the Lunar’s—Ashen’s—attempt to instigate introductions. It’d be a while since she’d had to introduce herself to a group…. It’d been a while since she’d been in a group of people who would need to even know her name at all. It was an odd feeling, realizing that.

Well...no time like the present to get over that…! Is what some people might say. Lux was not one of those people, but she was one to make an honest attempt, at least. So, deciding to bite the arrow, she breathed in deep as she swallowed the bit of chocolate she’d been savoring. She hoisted herself upward with a needless sound escaping her throat as she habitually brushed off her bottom before she herself returned the gesture of a shallow bow to him, the sea breeze tousling her short hair as she so—she felt it brush against the scar upon her forehead. After a moment, Lux stood herself back upright, and clasped her hands together at her front, and smiled.

“Introductions are always awkward, aren’t they?” she awkwardly laughed before she half-snorted as she tried to clear her throat—realizing what sort of noise she’d made, her cheeks reddened a bit, “Ah...anyway, I’m Lux...Fiala, I suppose you could say I hail from The Scavenger Lands?” Lux stopped herself there, that was enough for an introduction, wasn’t it? “As it stands, it’s nice to make your acquaintance, Ashen. And it’s nice to make everyone else’s, as well.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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#, as written by Sepokku
“Chieftain, there was a messenger today.”

Astrid’s skin fluttered ever so slightly as she practiced the Unfettering, her skin shifting and adjusting ever so slightly as the protean nature of her very existence made itself known. The gift from Luna did not cease to change her form, nor did her eyes open, “And?”

“The Censor of the West requests your presence.”

Her left eye opened, a cat-eyed pupil staring back at the elk spirit that stood before her. Slowly the pupil returned to the shape of a human’s, “Very well.” The Chieftain rose to her feet and with a lazy stretch, immediately beginning preparing for departure.


The vessel that met her was by no means shabby. Deciding that the West was incredibly misogynistic, Astrid opted to take on a male form for her initial contact with the ship’s crew and the Censor himself. With a whim, her hair was shortened to a bob cut, her chest smoothed out, and her hips slimmed down to that of a man’s. Without bluster, she walked onto the ship and waited.

She hadn’t been the first person that the vessel had picked up. A small creature sat on the deck nearby, nibbling on cacao. Astrid’s nose twitched slightly, cacao didn’t grow well in the North. At least, not where she was from. The scent reminded her of delicate fruit that had been dipped in liquid cacao, it was quite a blissful memory. She’d only been lucky enough to try such a delicacy twice before. Sighing, she found herself a place on the deck and laid on her back to stare at the sky while she waited.

After some time, and picking up a few more “honored guests,” someone began to speak. “I be Ashen Sky of Wavecrest.” Astrid became suddenly aware that the person speaking was a Lunar. Her war-form blurred into existence as she towered at her full height of two hundred and fifty-five centimeters.

Covered in white and black fur, Astrid silently walked towards Ashen Sky until she was able to clearly look him up and down. As a human, she was a bit lean and fairly tall, but not incredibly imposing in stature. However, in this form, she was a paragon of sinewy muscle, the fusion of tiger and human. She bared her teeth in a grin, “Cascading Moonlight.” The runic tattoos that fixed her shape into something almost tangible flared into existence, telling a story of her time in the Silver Pact.


The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls poured the last of his watering can onto the final poppy flower. It certainly could have been left up to his servants, but it brought about a certain level of catharsis in Artisan to do it himself. Smiling, he began to make his way back to the workshop that lies at the center of his field of plants.

“Sir, a message.”

Stopping for a moment, Artisan picked a few flowering plants that were used to create Nepenthe. The flowers were beautiful this time of the year. “What does it say?”

One of the spirits bound to him answered, “We’re needed.”

“Always.” With a warm smile, the Deathknight’s delicate hands waved the spirit away. One of his employees was nearby watching over the indentured servants. “Gentry. I will be out on business for a bit. Care for the shop while I’m out?”


Artisan stood in front of a wagon as the boat pulled up before him. “Load her up.” His servants carefully removed the box from the back of the wagon and took their time putting it onto the ship. He smiled to himself as he boarded the ship, it was about time the powers that be recognized his talents.

“I be Ashen Sky of Wavecrest.” One of the guests previous to him had begun to speak as the boat had started to sail away, which seemed to upset someone else who had arrived before him. The man who had spoken was approached by another man who had shifted into a mixture between human and animal. ”Lunars…” Artisan would never know why Luna’s children always had to have a pissing contest with whoever they met. With a bored expression, the Abyssal watched the scene play out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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#, as written by Wake
Ashen Sky smiled bemusedly at the shorter girl that was first to follow up on introductions. Somewhere in the back of his head his western sensibilities were slightly piqued with her presence onboard the ship at sea, but considering that it's voyage was made at the command of a dragon he bite his tongue on the matter for now. He put a hand over his chest and gave her a theatrical bow. "Tis no more awkwardness than tha' of voyage at is norm to make. But it be my pleasure to be making yer acquaintance as well, Miss Fiala."

Then the shadow of the other Lunar fell upon Ashen Sky. He turned his head to him and found his neck craning upwards. The creature before him was a towering thing, striped white and black in its fur. Powerful muscles rippled along its form and a gleaming fangs greeted him as the larger creature grinned down at him. "Cascading Moonlight." It wasn't a name, but a greeting. Silently Ashen Sky Cursed his mentor for not fully fleshing him up on the proper etiquette of the pact. This was the first time the shorter Lunar had met another of his kind that wasn't his flighty oaf of a mentor, and now he was being sized up by his fellow child of the Moon. The former privateer did not posses the same charm assume his warform as the other did, and thus didn't have any physical means to respond to the clear but subtle challenge. If he was nervous about this disparity between them though, he did a masterful job of hiding it. After all, it wasn't as if he couldn't meet the display with a show of his own.

He grinned back up at the man infront of him. "Guide your hunt." He put a hand on his hip and looked the other Lunar up and down. "Well, well. An impressive shape ta' take. Ya wear it as fashion big boyo or did ya put it on jus fer me?" As he talked his grin seemed to widen slightly, unnaturally so, while his eye took on a vaguely manic and predatory gaze. A magic of his own suffused his face, darkening it save for his own shimmering silver tattoos, and giving his form a faint air of menace. "What," He said with a smile full of teeth that appeared to take a sharper edge "were ya worried I'd bite?" It was a simple trick, of devious magic. While the Full Moon had presented himself to Ashen Sky with a show of Mettle, he responded with a show of Cunning, and wove a minor illusion around himself as a thing to be wary of. Not as a threat, but as something that could prove far, far from an easy prey if provoked. For this was not meant as an escalation, but rather as a form of return to the tiger skinned lunar's own greeting in custom.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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Under the brilliance of a full moon the surface of a natural spring glistened, with silken robes hanging in a nearby tree. The peaceful beautiful of the scene was soon interrupted by the emergence of a golden haired man from the center of the spring. They pulled their long hair back and tied it, with a cord on their wrist, into a ponytail. Standing up the man exposed himself while walking to the silken robes, drying himself before adorning himself with the robes.

After dressing the man grabbed a small wine container and his intricately crafted staff hidden among the grass underneath the tree. Taking a long swig from the wine within they walked towards their lodging, a large inn room located near the spring. Inside their room a woman was laying down in their bed, their clothes discarded and their body shining from sweat from their earlier engagement. The man placed some sheets on her before taking another drink from their container.

The man was known as Baek Kwan and had operated in this coastal town for over a month. They are a wandering exalted, offering their services to those willing to pay. Their activities had gained them some renown among those with enough wealth to purchase their services while instilling fear on those who would act against them. This had gained Kwan an equal amount of allies and enemies as well as money and influence. The monetary gain however wasn't his main motivation, it was the influence and information he could gain through his activities.

This is because he was not just any exalted, he was a Solar exalted. Solar's are hunted down and executed by those currently in power and the fragile egos of the Dragon-blooded. Baek Kwan's goals aligned with the Gold Faction, a group of people who wanted to see the Solar exalted back in control, overthrowing the corrupt Realm. He didn't have any desire to rule, in fact he didn't even really believe that Solar's would rule any better, he just had a personal grudge against the Realm and the Great Houses that flourished within. He would align himself with them as long as he could use their influence and power to exact his revenge.

While drinking and watching the beautiful scene outside their room, Kwan saw a peculiar sight. A crystal winged Osprey was flying towards his room, landing about a foot away from him. Curious he approached the bird and obtained the scroll the bird was carrying. Unfurling and reading the message revealed that the sender was requesting their presence at the spire of Fakharu. Apparently their deeds had gained them enough renown or notoriety to rouse the interest of the Censor of the Celestial Bureaucracy and Dragon of Water for a matter of 'personal interest'. Intrigued by the proposal and the possible gains he could make by participating, Kwan drank a little more wine before a fox like smile adorned his face.

Baek Kwan awaited the arrival of the arrival of the ivory ship with a small number of bags carrying a few essentials needed while journeying. While waiting he looked among his supplies, among them hidden was a container housing opium, tobacco, and an assortment of herbs for smoking. Kwan had attempted to rid himself of his vices but his addiction to the sweet taste of opium was hard to overcome. He would attempt to stave it off with vices which held a smaller grasp on him but he would carry some with him just in case.

A mist had settled into the harbor before the ivory shipped arrived to welcome him aboard. After walking up the ramp Kwan noticed that there was already a number of occupants onboard. One was a man with that had a number of animalistic features visible and silver tattoos adorning their body, undoubtedly a Lunar exalt. A young looking woman was also nearby, she was eating chocolate, a delicacy but not entirely uncommon. He couldn't tell what exalted they were just from their appearance. The others onboard were also hard to distinguish just by appearance, although one was very pale a common trait of an Abyssal.

After some time the ship hadn't made any additional stops, meaning that those onboard were probably the entirety of the party asked to attend. It could be possible that there was another ship or that other members may be further a long but until such an event occur it was safe to assume that this was all of the passengers.

In an attempt to 'break the ice' the visible Lunar had chosen to address everyone and introduce themselves saying, “So… no that all of we be here, I think introductions be in order. I be named Ashen Sky of Wavecreast. Might I have tha pleasure of knowing who might ye all be?”

In response the young lady said, “Introductions are always awkward, aren’t they?” She awkwardly laughed before she half-snorted as she tried to clear her throat. She seemed embarrassed by the action which elicited Baek Kwan's familiar fox like smile. “Ah . . . anyway, I’m Lux . . . Fiala, I suppose you could say I hail from The Scavenger Lands? As it stands, it’s nice to make your acquaintance, Ashen. And it’s nice to make everyone else’s, as well.” Still smiling, Kwan gave her a slight nod.

A less friendlier exchange then occurred as a man of slight build approached the Lunar. The slight man then began to transform, revealing white and black fur as well as a more muscular build and tiger traits. The tiger Lunar then bared their teeth in a grin, responding with only two words, “Cascading Moonlight.” Their greeting seemed like some sort of challenge but Kwan was unfamiliar with the customs of Lunar exalted.

The pale skinned man said something but was too far for Baek Kwan to pick up exactly. They seemed to be disinterested in introducing themselves as well as the Lunar's exchange. They did continue to observe the exchange with a bored expression.

Ashen Sky then responded to the Lunar's greeting. Activating a charm before replying, "Guide your hunt." He then placed his hands on his hip and gazed at the other Lunar. "Well, well. An impressive shape ta' take. Ya wear it as fashion big boyo or did ya put it on jus fer me?" His appearance darkened, making his shimmering silver tattoos become more pronounced before continuing, "What, were ya worried I'd bite?"

Kwan wasn't all too interested in their exchange so he chose instead to approach Lux, sitting a few feet away from her. Removing some tobacco and cloves from within his bag and the hidden pipe in his robes, Kwan prepared his pipe and lit it with a match. Taking a few drags before exhaling the smoke away from Lux. Kwan offered his hand in greeting to her before saying, "Nice to meet you as well, Lady Fiala." He then interrupted the Lunar's exchange by introducing himself with a fox like grin. "Name is Baek Kwan . . . Anyone know anything about what we got ourselves into or are we all just as in the dark as each other?"


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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#, as written by Sepokku
Astrid’s eyes did not falter, her gaze locked firmly onto Ashen Sky, a critical look of assessment on her face. She barely paid attention to his words while examining the tattoos that adorned his body. Lunars from the West had the most dramatic Moonsilver Tattoos, a simple necessity of people who found themselves frequently in water. The story his tattoos told was one of Cunning and desperation, not that desperation was uncommon among the Lunars. She had experienced plenty of desperation herself...

“Were ya worried I’d bite?”

She continued to stare him down for a few long seconds before replying. “I’m sure your bark is worse than your bite.” So this was one of the men that were to be her packmate for the time being. “You’re from the West. I hope you don’t ascribe to that patriarchal bullshit.” With a roll of her shoulders, Astrid turned away from the other Lunar and started prowling away. She called over her shoulder, “You’re one of Luna’s children, gender, form, and reality are mutable to you. Reconcile that with Western ideals.”

Raising a hand to her face to hide a yawn, Astrid’s form shifted down into that of a small black cat. Her eyes scanned the remaining occupants of the boat before her padded feet carried her silently to the side of the only other woman on board, where she curled into a ball and promptly began to nap.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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….whatever attempts she would’ve made to further the initiated introductions, they were otherwise interrupted by something of a show of...force? Capability? Between the Lunar known as Ashen Sky and yet another Lunar who’d joined the fray—they’d called themselves “Cascading Moonlight,” and assumed a form between human and tiger—one that was large and was meant to be intimidating. Yet, Lux actually found it fascinating, and perhaps it was childish, but she actually thought that it was really neat.

Lux had crossed paths with Lunars prior to this but, never more than one at a time. She didn’t know if this interaction between Ashen and Moonlight was a completely expected occurrence. Did all Lunars attempt to assert themselves when they met another? Overall, she knew actually very little about Lunars and their ways. The only sources of information she had were ones she herself didn’t quite feel were reliable. Those who mentored her, who taught her before she set out on her own…. Though they would’ve probably liked for her to have accepted their words and “lessons” about Lunars at face value, but Lux had her doubts about the validity of their teachings. They’d always tried to make it seem like they were supposed to be lesser than herself because she was a Solar…that wasn’t something that had ever sat well with Lux, and it never would.

A nervous grin crept up over Lux’s face as the exchange between the two Lunars continued—Ashen activating some sort of Charm, mirroring the other Lunar’s form. She could make out a subtle silver glimmer from his form as it seemed to darken, a projected air of predation had overcome him. That was it, however. It was a sort of show. A way to confer that even if he might not win in fight, it’d take too much effort for it to be worthwhile. Even if Lux didn’t know squat about Lunars and their customs, it was still easy enough to read an interaction for what it was...insofar as she was concerned, at least.

The presence of others attracted by the scene broke Lux from her own musings about it...and she silent craned her own head about to observe. ….a Deathknight was evidently among their summoned party, how curious. She knew even less about they than she did about Lunars, though she knew one was under the service of the Gold Faction. ….his name eluded her, as she’d only had ever heard him spoken of in hushed tones. Lux knew of the wives’ tales and dark whispered rumors that surrounded Deathknights, their very existences, and their overall everything. What was truth and what was hearsay, she couldn’t say, nor did she she want to dye her expectations of them with falsities. Whoever and whatever sort of individual this Deathknight was, that was something to be judged based upon his actions, and Lux would come to her own conclusions in time.

Again, lost in her own thoughts, Lux found herself somewhat startled from them by the sound of a match being struck to life rather nearby her, and it took almost every bit of the little Eclipse’s composure to not squawk in a manner that would most certainly attract seagulls under normal sailing circumstances. Though, there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable reddening of her cheeks as she turned to look at the source of the sound—only to find that a hand was extended toward her. “Nice to meet you, Lady Fiala.”

The overly formal way in which she was addressed made Lux freeze. Never in her whole short life had she’d been called a “Lady.” She wasn’t of noble birth or high status. She really didn’t quite know how to react to that. It might seem rude to rebuff the attempt at politeness, but it felt really weird to her to be addressed as “Lady” anything. During Lux’s inner debate over how to handle this, the owner of the hand that was still extended toward her blundering self again spoke, this time making a point to address everyone else. “Name is Baek Kwan…. Anyone know anything about what we got ourselves into or are we all just in the dark as each other?”

Shaking off her doubt and uncertainties, Lux wanted to smack herself for taking so long to respond to the man—Kwan. She was never one who excelled in the realm of socializing, if she was to be traveling with these people for a somewhat significant timeframe, she needed to remedy that as much as possible, and the moments she spent getting lost in her own head needed to cease ASAP. Going forward with that line of thought, Lux made it a point to awkwardly shove her small hand into the man’s and try to shake it. Handshakes weren’t something she’d done a lot of either.

“Uh, Mister Kwan, I can’t say that I personally know much about what’s going on either.” Lux answered him, pulling her hand back to her side as she clasped both together at chest level, and twiddled her thumbs. “I received a request for my presence, to help resolve some evidently dire situation, and I obliged. What that situation is, I do not know though....” she mumbled the last bit, and turned her eyes down toward her hands. Lux mustered a small shrug, however. The lack thereof knowledge really did not do much to actually bother her. “In truth, I’m more curious why I was summoned. I mean, if it’s believed I can be of help, then I’ll gladly do what I can, though it may not be much....”

As Lux had spoken, it seemed that she had missed the conclusion of the encounter between the Lunars. It was only when Lux caught sight of Moonlight’s form shifting once more, shrinking down into the shape of a cat that she even realized. Her gaze was instantly back upon the Lunar, whose feline eyes were scanning between them all...til they settled upon her. Lux’s eyes followed the Lunar as she trotted on over to her side, plopped herself down and began to...sleep. This was regarded with silence from the Eclipse Caste, she wasn't wholly sure what to think. The hybrid form that Moonlight had assumed before had been fascinating to Lux, but this one was….

“Cute….” the thought slipped from Lux’s mouth before she could help herself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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#, as written by Sepokku
Artisan watched the display play out between the two Lunars with a bored expression, his mouth upturned slightly when the second Lunar changed appearance; it seemed the two had to establish some sort of pack hierarchy, just like the dogs he had grown up with. For a brief moment, he entertained the notion of training either Lunar using positive reinforcement, just as he had trained all his dogs, before dismissing it as entirely unnecessary.

The tall blonde-haired man who had boarded after Artisan meandered towards the blonde-haired girl who had introduced herself as Lux. For a split second, the moonlight framed the duo and the whispers of the Neverborn sounded senselessly in the Abyssal’s ears. Those two had to be Solars, probably. At the very least the Neverborn did not appreciate their being on the voyage. The man produced a pipe and tobacco which raised a question Artisan hadn’t considered before. Can Exalted still feel the effects of various drugs and poisons? As far as he knew, only very strong poisons worked on them; by extension would very strong drugs be the only way for an Exalted to use?

“Name is Baek Kwan . . . Anyone know anything about what we got ourselves into or are we all just as in the dark as each other?”

After a moment, the blonde girl answered the stranger’s query, though she seemed just as lost as he was. She seemed almost as eager to help as a puppy that was to one day be a sheepdog. Idly Artisan wondered if all Solars were this clueless, certainly the Bishop mentioned they were mostly without guidance these days.

The Lunars seemed to finish their exchange, as one of them shifted into a cat and joined the two Solars. It suddenly hit Artisan that this was the most Exalted, nay the only Exalted that Artisan had seen since joining their ranks. Putting on his most winning smile, the Deathknight slowly approached Baek and Lux, taking a seat on the side of the boat nearest to them. “I’m The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls, and I suppose one could say I’m from Ikh Bayan.”

Scrutinizing both of their faces, he couldn’t help but wonder, did no one else know why they were here? Clearing his throat he continued thoughtfully, ”Well let’s see if we can’t work backward to find a way out of the dark. There are six individuals here, who I presume are Exalted like myself.” He pointed to each person on deck while counting with his fingers. “We were summoned by the Western Censor, Lord Fakharu, who is also a Dragon of Water. Finally, the letter mentioned the matter at hand is most dire.”

He looked down at the black cat that had curled up by Lux, its breathing had evened out, apparently already napping. “Somehow I don’t think the Tiger Lunar was summoned for their tactfulness.” Artisan looked Baek up and down, “You’re no stranger to war either. If I had to hazard a guess?” He paused for dramatic effect while taking a quick look at everyone, “We’re a strike team. Fakharu could raise Gods of his own court for most issues, so he intends to send us somewhere his jurisdiction doesn’t reach." He grinned, "At least that's would be my bet, if I were a betting man.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Astrid Character Portrait: The Wandering Artisan Clad in Souls Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Nimin Hedrox Character Portrait: Baek Kwan
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She stood by quiet as the others spoke, her eyes still partly drawn to the Lunar who’d taken to the form of a feline. The Deathknight’s introduction passed overtop her head—she was only aware enough to really catch his name and little else. She heard him questioning why they were all gathered together...and making assumptions in regards to the matter. Again, why she of all Exalted had received a summons was beyond her. Why Fakharu had summoned them all, it didn’t matter to her. She’d gotten a plea for help, that was all that she needed to know. Whether or not the others ended up agreeing to assist Fakharu in whatever matters he asked of them, that didn’t matter either. There’d been more than one instance where Lux had ended up having to absolve things on her own when others deemed them not worth their time. She’d do it again...even if she wasn’t the best suited to most tasks.

Folks had called her naïve before, she’d been called a lot of things before. She was, in a manner of speaking. If she was that, then that was fine.

Wanting to help others...and doing it, that was something that defined her life. She had no purpose, no goal, nothing to aim for. Lux took to traveling the world in order to find...something for herself, to gain perspective and to refine the views she held on many matters—including those she had on the Cult of the Illuminated. In her travels, she still had yet to find many answers. The only answer she’d reach thus far was that she felt compelled to help others, if only in the most minor of ways. From little things to the large, anything that makes things better….

That was enough.

“To be truthful with the lot of you, I don’t much care why we were all summoned in this manner.” Lux responded in a quiet voice. “Whether we’re needed for reasons of discretion or otherwise, it doesn’t matter to me. I only want to help however I can...if I can.”