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Baek Kwan

The Realm has long rotted away under the corruption and decadence of the Dynasts. It's time for a change.

0 · 102 views · located in The East

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

Description

NAME: Baek KwanTYPE/CASTE: Solar Exalted, Dawn Caste
NATURE: -- Rebel
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ANIMA BANNER: White Guardian Lion-xx
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Image



ATTRIBUTES



PHYSICAL

STRENGTH --- 3 || DEXTERITY ----.. 3 || STAMINA ---..- 5

SOCIAL

CHARISMA --- 3 || MANIPULATION -. 1 || APPEARANCE - 3

MENTAL

PERCEPTION - 4 || INTELLIGENCE -. 2 || WITS --------... 3



ABILITIES



WARFARE
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ARCHERY ---------xx- 0
ATHLETICS ----------- 2
AWARENESS ---------- 2
DODGE -------------x. 2
INTEGRITY ----------- 0
MARTIAL ARTS ----xx 5
MELEE ------------xxx 0
RESISTANCE -------xx 3
THROWN ------------- 0
WAR ----------------xx 3
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LIFE
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CRAFT xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx------x 0
LARCENY xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx--- 0
LINGUISTICS xxxxxxxx------xxxxxx 1
PERFORMANCE xxxxxxxx---xxxxxx 0
PRESENCE xxxxxxxxxxxxx---xx---x 2
RIDE xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx---xxxxxx 1
SAIL xxxxxxxxxxxx-----xx--xxxxx-- 0
SOCIALIZE xxxxxxxxxxxxx--xx----x 0
STEALTH xxxxxxxxxxxx-----xxxx--- 2
SURVIVAL xxxxxxxxxx------xxxxxxx 1
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WISDOM
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BUREAUCRACY ------ 0
INVESTIGATION xxxx 0
LORE ------------xxxx 0
MEDICINE -------xxxx 1
OCCULT ---------xxxx 0
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SPECIALTIES
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White Reaper Style --x Martial Arts
Tactician xxxxx---xx-xxxxxxx-- War
Command xxxxx----------x Presence
Endure Pain x-----xxx--x Resistance
Sense Danger x-xxxxxxx Awareness
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LIFE



PERSONALITY

Baek Kwan presents himself as an mischievous playboy who loves to indulge himself on all the finer things of life. This characterization of his is easy for him to perform as he was surrounded by people like this while growing up as a child in a great house. This persona of his is mainly used to masquerade in the presence of others to hide his true nature and thoughts. He has hidden behind the mask so long that it has become second nature to him. He created it in order to hide his true identity and character.

His true character was formed after many years of strife and military service Baek Kwan was molded into the man he is today. This soldier mentality drives him to be straightforward and efficient. He understands the importance of tact when dealing with others in social interactions but will forgo courtesy for the sake of efficiency, often getting on the nerves of others especially those who think highly of themselves.

A downside of that mindset was following orders from superiors without question, a trait of his that changed after he and his friends were betrayed. After suffering that betrayal Kwan began to question authority and the agendas of others. This has led to him being unlikely to trust others until he has spent enough time and forming a judgement of their character. This practice of his is done on virtually everyone he has extended contact with, staring and observing them while hiding his intentions behind his facade.

Although it is difficult to befriend him and learn his true character, as he lives daily behind his persona, once you’ve gained his trust he would do everything within his power to protect you. He is fiercely loyal and would ultimately sacrifice himself for those closest to him, as he regrets he wasn’t capable of doing so before. A true friend who will listen to your worries and help if he can and also celebrate your successes when appropriate.
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MOTIVATIONS
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Overthrow corrupt Realm ---s
Assist the Gold Faction xxx--s
Protect allies xxxxxxxxxxx---s
Obtain greater strength x----s
Live without anymore regrets

VIRTUES
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Compassion --x 1
Temperance xx 1
Conviction x--x 4
Valor xxxxxx--x 4

LIMIT BREAK

Heart of Flint: Baek Kwan’s heart is hardened against all emotion, becoming distant and utterly lacking in empathy or feeling. While in Limit Break, his lack of compassion and emotions is extended to everyone, including his allies. This makes all his decisions and actions based purely on what is most efficient, disregarding ethics and his moral code. Heart of Flint can be ended prematurely only if Kwan’s apathy allows someone close to him to come into life-threatening danger.
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MERITS
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Martial Artist xxx Eidetic Memory
Danger Sense xxx Pain Tolerance
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FLAWS

Addiction, Opium: After the death of his first love Baek Kwan tried to suppress his grief and loss through various means. One of the few vices that brought him extended comfort was the increasingly popular and destructive drug produced from poppies, opium. Years of abuse had begun to muddle his mind and sap his strength. Following his years of mentorship his addiction isn't as strong but still persists. He will occasionally indulge when he begins to feel the pains of withdrawal.
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PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
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Before Exaltation || After Exaltation
Image
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BACKGROUND

On the twenty-eighth day of Ascending Fire inside the manor of a patrician household the first cries of a newborn baby were heard. The successful birth of a child is usually a joyous occasion, filled with praises to the Gods and tears of joys, but there was no celebration that day. It was instead unusually quiet because of the implications of the birth and the troubles their family would soon face. The reason for their troubles was because the baby was the child of a Dragonblood noble, a nobleman who had forced themselves on the new mother earlier that year.

This was a chance for the patrician house to obtain political influence and wealth through a union with a great house but it was not without its downsides. If the child between the two families did not awaken their Terrestrial abilities it would be a stain against them and the mother. Despite the difficulties their family may face, and the struggles their daughter would face, a political marriage was established between the patrician and the great house. This union was finalized during the time of Resplendent Air and was the same day the child received their name, Ragara Kwan.

Kwan’s childhood in the great house of Regara was the envy of many, he had all the luxuries money could buy and more. Surrounded in decadence and the pleasures of life brought some joy to him some joy but something kept bothering him, his absent father and mother’s gaze. He could count the amount of times he had met his father on a single hand and even though he saw his mother every day he never felt any warmth or love from her. No matter how excellent he performed in his studies and martial practices he would never receive praise or affection from either parent, his father would acknowledge him but his mother’s eyes only grew more distant.

Having shown promise as a warrior and strategist from a young age Kwan had been selected to join house Ragara’s military force. The military force of the Ragara house wasn’t viewed favorably among the family members because the majority of Regara’s might was in economics and diplomacy, the military arm existed mainly to enforce law and defend against outside threats since there were little to no feuds with other great houses. Another reason the position wasn’t viewed favorably was because people outside of the main household could serve within the military force. Despite the opinions of others Kwan dedicated himself to his position, to protect his household and obtain greater personal strength in the ten years of mandatory service.

While training and serving within the military branch Kwan had begun to develop a couple of friendships among others serving. Genuine friendships were hard to come by in the great houses due to the nature of intrigue existing in the houses. Among the friends he made there was one which caught his eyes, her name was Lee Yeona. She wasn’t stereotypically beautiful, her skin had a number of scars, her figure wasn’t as developed as others but she was still feminine, her hair wasn’t long and flowing because it lacked practicality while fighting, but she was beautiful to Kwan because she radiated warmth and comfort, feelings he rarely felt from others and something he desperately sought.

After years of being in his position, proving his ability and constantly improving his military mind and skills, Kwan didn’t experience their second breath awakening their Exalted abilities. Therefore despite his performance Kwan was viewed as a failure by house Ragara, straining the already shallow relationship between his parent’s families. Countless members of the great houses mocked and ridiculed Kwan behind their fake smiles. Disappointed in himself Kwan sought forgiveness and comfort from his mother, causing her cold eyes to be filled with utter contempt towards him. A loud resounding slap echoed in their home that day, a slap filled with all her past resentment towards her husband, her family, and her son. That was the last day Kwan visited his mother.

The only people who treated Kwan with respect were his fellow warriors serving house Ragara. Determined to prove his worth and protect his friends Kwan continued to develop his skills in the military, waiting for his release. Not long afterwards his relationship with Yeona had grown, they had even begun to spend the night intimately together. The two of them loved each other and wanted to solidify their relationship through marriage. Not caring for what their families thought the two were secretly engaged and prepared to leave the Blessed Isle as soon as they finished the service remaining time.

One day a portion of Ragara’s military was instructed to eliminate a militant group assembling outside the Blessed Isle. Intelligence reports stated that the group was preparing to steal a valuable shipment of house Ragara. Kwan thought the intelligence seemed dubious but his commanding officer was unable to change the order as it was given by house Ragara’s current head. Following orders Kwan and his officers left to execute the command and eradicate all militant forces in the designated area.

The militant group exceeded what was stated in the intelligence report and the combatants were also much more skilled and organized than what they were led to believe. After hours of struggling, Ragara's military force was finally able to eliminate all opposing forces. Although they had lost many warriors to the enemy Kwan was able to protect his close friends and fiancé. Concerned about the false information given in the intelligence Kwan searched for any information about the forces they just eliminated. His expression was filled with shock once he found evidence connecting this group to another great house, house Nellens, and they were just returning home after an expedition and had no intentions towards house Ragara.

Not long afterwards a much larger force from house Ragara had appeared. Believing them to be reinforcements Kwan’s group felt relieved and believed they would soon return to their homes in the Blessed Isle. They however were surprised that they were given new orders to pursue another group several miles away that had connections to the eliminated forces. Kwan questioned the orders given, declaring that the intelligence was falsified and that the forces had belonged to house Nellens.

The commanding officer of house Ragara’s reinforcements wasn’t shocked by the revelation, rather than being surprised he sighed as he ordered his men to unsheathe their weapons and begin the slaughter. While the officer didn’t want to kill the other Ragara military members, he had to follow orders or be killed himself. The order was given because house Ragara couldn’t leave any evidence behind that they had instigated a battle to reduce one of house Nellen’s military forces.

Unprepared and tired from their earlier bout, Kwan's forces began to dwindle as more and more warriors were slain. Knowing they were unlikely to survive, Kwan ordered his close friends to retreat and escape the enemies' encirclement. They fought hard but were ultimately overwhelmed by the numbers of their opponents and despite Kwan’s efforts he couldn’t protect all his friends.

With wounds and blood covering his body Kwan fought past exhaustion as more and more of his friends died. Distracted Kwan was about to receive a deathblow from a thrown spear but was saved by his lover Yeona. Unable to believe what just happened and overcome by exhaustion, Kwan fell to his knees as he cradled Yeona in his arms. As if the world of Creation was attuned with his feelings rain began to fall becoming a heavy downpour. With tears and blood streaming from his body, overwhelmed by pain from the loss of his lover and the betrayal of his family, he began to transform as a shard resonated within him and turned him into a demon of the battlefield, an Exalted.

Kwan’s once black hair and eyes began to transform, becoming brighter and lighter till it became golden in color. Wounds covering his body began to lessen in severity, his exhaustion was slightly alleviated and strength returned to his body. Memories of his past life began to flood his mind, revealing combat skills and abilities he once used. Unlike the majority of members of the great houses which awaken Terrestrial powers, Kwan had awakened the Celestial powers of the Solar Exalted.

Fearful of his transformation and with thoughts of the Wyld Hunt, Kwan’s enemies tried to kill him before he could familiarize himself with his new found power. Sensing the danger and killing intent aimed towards him, Kwan broke free from the memories that flooded his mind. Successfully defending himself and slaughtering any enemy who dared enter his killing range. While he may have alleviated some of the pressure on him he couldn’t defeat everyone surrounding him.

Knowing he would die if he didn’t escape, Kwan let out one final frenzied outburst before fleeing the battlefield. He was pursued but whenever they thought they had cornered him he would breakout from their encirclement, time and time again. Without the aid of an Exalted they could only bother Kwan until he escaped. Believing their pursuit to be meaningless the commanding officer ended the chase, returning to the battlefield to remove all evidence of their house’s involvement.

Badly bruised and beaten Kwan finally escaped his pursuers but kept running east, trying to gain as much distance from the Blessed Isle, in case his family attempted to hunt him down. The only thing which gave him comfort was that the only people who knew of his Exalted status were from house Ragara and they wouldn’t reveal that information unless they wanted to be investigated by the other great houses, something they most certainly wouldn’t want especially after this incident.

Once he finally thought he was somewhat safe, Kwan began to rest to regain his strength. When he woke up the next morning he found that the majority of his wounds had healed, only minor pains and cuts remained. It was at this moment that he had time to truly process what had just happened to him, his friends, and his fiancé. Overcome with grief for his loss and anger towards the great houses, Kwan’s emotions were in turmoil until they were suddenly calmed as if his heart had turned to flint. While in this state Kwan’s mind was no longer troubled by emotions, ethics, or morality he only acted with self-interest in mind and deadly efficiency.

While travelling the eastern region of Creation, Kwan would continue to have inner conflict between his emotions and his heart of flint. Sometimes while under that state he would act out of character and hurt people against his will. Not wanting to be consumed by that mindset Kwan tried multiple things to control his temperament and emotions. He found when he was in states of euphoria he would have an easier time suppressing his darker emotions and therefore keep his heart in check. The one vice which was the most effective was opium, a drug which could induce euphoric sensations and addled his mind.

Years pass until one night while indulging himself in all manner of pleasures, surrounded by women, alcohol and his opium pipe in hand, Kwan was startled from his reverie by an unknown assailant. Confused and surprisingly hurt, Kwan attempted to counteract but because of his physical state was unable to properly defend himself and was knocked unconscious.

After an unknown amount of time, Kwan is rudely awakened by being thrown into a bathtub full of water. The shock of the cold water sobered Kwan’s mind and he questioned the person in front of him about why they had dragged him there. Without answering his question the person attacked him again, eventually overpowering Kwan and stated matter-of-factly that he was too weak and if he was found by hunters instead of her, he would be dead.

She then dragged the uncooperative Kwan into a small house, where she tended to his wounds and dried his clothes. The woman introduced herself as Baek Moon, she was an Sidereal Exalted who had heard rumors of a group of Terrestrials searching for a Solar Exalted. While Kwan had tried to stay hidden his hedonistic lifestyle required a fair amount of resources and to fund his lifestyle he began to work as a blade for hire. His actions had drawn the attention of hunters and had narrowly escaped imprisonment and death because of Moon’s intervention.

Knowing how close he was to death didn’t faze Kwan, he thought that it might’ve happened but at that moment he didn’t really care if he died. Moon warned and then convinced him that his death would be meaningless and would hurt those who cared about him and sacrificed their lives for him. Directionless and indecisive of what he should do, Moon suggests that he stay with her and be mentored by her until he is strong enough to protect himself and find and pursue his own path.

The days spent being mentored by Baek Moon was some of the most peaceful days of his life. He didn’t have the luxuries of life he had when he was with the great houses but he found something he didn’t have since Yeona died, the warm comforting embrace of something who cared about him. Unlike his relationship with Yeona however Moon was less of a romantic interest and was more of a motherly figure, something he desperately wanted and never had.

Baek Moon later revealed that she was a Sidereal Exalted in association with the Gold Faction, a group of Sidereals who support and protect the Solar Exalted and wish to end the dynastic rule of the corrupted Realm. Understanding the corruption of the great houses well Kwan agreed with her that the Realm would be better under someone else's control but he wasn’t convinced that the Solar Exalted should be the ones in power. Moon’s position was not as fanatical as others, while she believed the Solar Exalted would lead to the most positive change she believed if left unchecked the faults of the first age could happen again.

Years pass under Baek Moon’s guidance and Kwan is finally able to fight equally and sometimes overpower her. It was at this time that Moon gifted him with an artifact, a powerful and beautifully crafted Wrackstaff created from exquisitely carved blocks of magical material alloys. His emotional turmoil had lessened during those peaceful days, which reduced his need for vices but like any addict he would sometimes indulge himself despite Moon’s disapproval. During this time Kwan had decided that he would aid the Gold Faction with their goals, turning his attention towards the great houses to end their corrupt rule.

In order to work towards his goals he left his mentor and began his journey around Creation, looking for other Solar Exalted to help, amass resources, gain influence and find like-minded allies. It was during this time, while smoking from his pipe, that a mysterious scroll was delivered to him by a crystal winged Osprey bird. Curiosity piqued and with the possibility of furthering his own goals he journeyed as instructed in the message. While travelling he looked down at the scroll and admired the name he was now known by due to his exploits after leaving his mentor, Baek Kwan.

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MAGIC, GEAR AND TALENTS
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Essence score: --11/ 3
Health: xxxxxxx 11/11
Willpower pool: 1/8/8
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Essence motes
Personal Essence Pool: xx 9
Peripheral Essence Pool: 23
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CHARMS

Falling Scythe Flash (Cost: 5m, Type: Supplemental, Keywords: Dual, Duration: Instant) - After taking a moment to icily judge the optimal point to apply force to an opponent, the White Reaper strikes without restraint. When used with a withering attack, Falling Scythe Slash doubles the martial artist’s Strength rating for calculating its raw damage. Alternatively, on a decisive attack against an enemy with lower Initiative, it adds the martial artist’s (Strength/2, round up) to raw damage.

Resolving Crescent Defense (Cost: 4m 1i, Type: Reflexive, Keywords: Mastery, Uniform, Duration: Instant) - The White Reaper is most at ease when surrounded by enemies, turning their strength of numbers to his own advantage. The Revolving Crescent Defense cancels all onslaught penalties to the martial artist’s Parry against a single attack, instead converting each point of penalty into a +1 bonus to his Parry. Mastery: This Charm’s duration is extended until the martial artist’s next turn.

White Reaper Form (Cost: 8m, Type: Simple, Keywords: Form, Duration: One scene) - The martial artist rears up into a grim and terrifying battle posture, regarding his opponents as little more than grass to be scythed down before him. He receives double 10s on all decisive damage rolls and can easily fight large groups single-handedly, treating the Drill of any battle group he attacks as one step lower for calculating their Defense bonus. Groups that already have poor Drill instead take an additional -1 Defense against her attacks. He may also move through the space filled by a battle group without needing to spend initiative. More spectacularly, whenever the White Reaper incapacitates or crashes a non-trivial enemy, a halo of sizzling, silver-white Essence surges around him like a second skin. Damaging a battle group also grants him a halo. The martial artist may have up to (higher of 2 or his Essence rating) in halos, up to a maximum of five, with each one adding +1 to his Resolve.

Bleeding Crescent Strike (Cost: 5m, Type: Supplemental, Keywords: Mastery, Terrestrial, Uniform, Duration: Instant) - Condensing the swirling corona around him into a single, blindingly bright line, the White Reaper suddenly strikes with preternatural accuracy. Bleeding Crescent Strike doubles up to (Strength) 9s on an attack roll. When attacking a battle group, he adds its Size to the number of dice that can be doubled, and may double 8s as well as 9s. While White Reaper Form is active, Bleeding Crescent Strike adds one die to the attack roll for each halo the martial artist has. However, at the end of the turn, all halos the martial artist has burn away into wisps of silver Essence, consumed by the ferocity of the attack (except for any halos received as a result of making the attack). Mastery: Any dice added to the martial artist’s attack roll from halos do not count as dice added by a Charm.

Flickering Corona Barrier (Cost: 2m, Type: Reflexive, Keywords: Mastery, Uniform, Duration: Instant) - Executing a lightning-fast kata, the White Reaper bends the arcing nimbus of power around himself into a flickering shield. Flickering Corona Barrier adds +1 to the martial artist’s Parry against an attack. If the martial artist is defending against a battle group, that group does not add its Size to the attack roll. While White Reaper Form is active, the martial artist may expend all his halos to add (halos expended) to his Parry as well. Mastery: The Solar may activate this Charm after his opponent has rolled their attack.

Ox-Body Technique (Cost: N/A, Type: Permanent, Keywords: Stackable 1/5, Duration: Permanent) - The bodies of the Exalted are much more durable than those of mere mortals. To help simulate this, an Exalt may buy extra health levels with this Charm. The purchasing choices are based on the character’s Stamina rating: At Stamina 1 and 2: One -1 and one -2 health level, 2 total. 3 and 4: One -1 and two -2 health levels, 3 total. 5: One -0, one -1, and one -2 health level, 3 total. The Solar may purchase Ox-Body Technique (Resistance) times. If he increases his Stamina after purchasing Ox-Body Technique, his health levels automatically change to reflect the new rating.

Frontline Warrior's Stamina (Cost: 4m, Type: Simple, Keywords: Perilous, Duration: Instant) - Once per day, the Exalt can draw from the deep well of his vitality to restore his momentum. Roll half the Solar’s total health levels, rounded up, and add successes to his Initiative score. Do not include temporary health levels created by Iron Skin Concentration, Living Bonds Unburdened, or similar Charms. This Charm is reset when the Solar awakens from a full night’s rest.

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BONUS POINTS
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Essence Rank ------------ 6 points
Artifact, Wrackstaff xxx 3 points
Virtue, Conviction ------s 1 point
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PREFERRED FIGHTING STYLE
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White Reaper Style: Unarmed
White Reaper Style: xx-- Staff
White Reaper Style: xx- Spear
White Reaper Style: xx Scythe

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EQUIPMENT AND POSSESSIONS
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Large travelling bag xx-xxx Wrackstaff
Gourd of alcohol xxxxxxxx Opium pipe
Opium xxxxxxxxx-- Two sets of clothes
Small knife xxx--x Rations, dried meat
Bandages xxxxxx--x Needle and thread
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So begins...

Baek Kwan'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.”