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Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox

If your past is lost to you, then you should fight that much harder for the future.

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

Description

Name:Nimin HedroxSolar Caste, Twilight:
Nature: Explorer
Anima Banner:A teardrop wreathed in flame.
Totem Animal: N/A
Xp: 2


Attributes



Physical

STRENGTH (3) DEXTERITY (2) STAMINA (4)

Social

CHARISMA (2) MANIPULATION (2) APPEARANCE (3)

Mental

PERCEPTION (2) INTELLIGENCE (5) WITS (4)



Abilities

WARFARE

ARCHERY---------
ATHLETICS-------
AWARENESS-----(1)
DODGE-----------
INTEGRITY-------
MARTIAL ARTS---
MELEE-----------(2)
(F)RESISTANCE-----(2)
THROWN---------
WAR--------------


LIFE
*CRAFT------------(5)
LARCENY----------
(F)LINGUISTICS-----(2)
PERFORMANCE---
PRESENCE--------
RIDE--------------
SAIL---------------
(F)SOCIALIZE-------(2)
STEALTH----------
SURVIVAL--------(3)



WISDOM
BUREAUCRACY
*INVESTIGATION-(1)
*LORE----------(4)
*MEDICINE-----(5)
*OCCULT-------(3)

SPECIALTIES
(optional: A subgroup within a larger ability that you have a particular aptitude. Such as dancing specialty from performance, sword from melee etc )
Occult - Demonology
Craft - Blacksmith
Apothecary - Herbs
Diplomacy - Social
____________



YOUR LIFE



PERSONALITY
Even the collected member of a group, Nimin is not the kind of person to be front and center in all things. Instead choosing to watch from the side, taking in all that he could of the situation. This is not to say that he is a loner, or any sort of introvert. As there have been many nights were he's sang, and danced himself into a drunken stupor with the others, that he's found himself in the company with. Usually paying for such out of his own pocket as well.

Nimin's time among mortals and, living so closely with them for so long has bred within him a thirst for life. As is the same for most things when concerning mortals.
He is still an exalted however, and can be prone to the same outburst of passion and ferocity as any other, especially when the moment of a break occurs. He is upstanding, honest, and honorable to a fault. A set of qualities that have seen him bitten more times than thanked in the past. Yet he still does not change, choosing to endure continuing as such. As on subjects concerning his past, Nimin chases such information with a thirst that is hard to imagine for most. He has set homes to flame, and turned entire lives to dust for such information. Usually to his own detriment in the process.



Motivation(s)
  • -I must recover my past at all cost.-
    -Knowledge of my past is important, more important than many other things.-
    -My end is coming, but that fate is not my choice and I must fight it.-
    -I must never permit a needless death, no matter what. -

VIRTUES

COMPASSION :3
TEMPERANCE :3
CONVICTION :5
VALOR :3

LIMIT BREAK
(No, this not like final fantasy. The nature of the great curse the defeated primordial's placed upon their vanquishers periodically warps their virtue into twisted inversions in moments of great stress. When an exalt has been force to ignore his or her own principles one to many times they under go episode of madness in which the corruption of the primordial curse comes to the surface. When this 'snap' occurs the exalts primary virtue (the one that's ranked the highest or which ever one you prefer if they are of even rank) becomes compromised into either a twisted reflection of itself or inverted as a polar opposite of itself. The exalt is then forced to act in the terms of this new corrupted virtue until the effects of the curse finishes burning itself out. This effect can last anywhere from hours to DAYS. Though to avoid forcing too heavy a restriction on the player I'll put down a guide line that the character's break down should at least last until the end of the current scene, and after that it's up to the player to decide how long the episode will last.


MERITS
:Physical:
-Pain Tolerance-
-Ambidextrous-
:Mental:
-Eidetic Memory-
-Midnight Memories-
-Jack of all Trades-
:PropertyMerit:
-Heirloom-

FLAWS
:Physical:
-Dark Fate- No matter what. Nimin's fate is locked into a grim end and only the most powerful of entities possess even the possibility of correcting this measure.
-Sterile- After decades among mortals, it has become obvious that Nimin is incapable of fathering any children.
-Unusual Appearance- To say the least, Nimin has a strange appearance. One could say that there is no merit in looking just like a normal person, but there is a difference when you compare normal, to aggressively normal.
:Mental:
-Amnesia- Nimin has walked since the first day he awoke and has yet to actually recall any memory of his past life. Save for his training, he possesses none of his past self.
-Nightmares- Nimin's nights are usually wracked with horrible dreams. Vicious and callous acts dealt out with clawed hands and visceral blows, as well as glancing reflections of a face that he barely can recognize. Though as time has move on, he's seen more revealed too him through these nightmares and knows well that this is somehow linked to his fate.
:Social:
-Strange Happenings- Suffice to say, there is something always off about Nimin, but not just him. Strange images caught in reflective surfaces and wide grinning faces can be seen staring back from the edge of one's vision. With his own reflection directly doing other things while he is present and even persisting in that reflection for several minutes after he has left the room.
-Wanted- Nimin is well known by the order and has been directly attacked by them in the past, so a constant contract is held on him at all times.




PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
[center]Height: 6'3 , Weight:198'lb
Eye: Hazel , Hair: Black

Nimin possesses a tall and somewhat slender form, skin tone being of a lite olive, or even a reasonably pale texture. His eye color is a lightly speckled hazel, with some small form of reflective qualities. Much like those of an animal, staring out from beyond the dark. Though without direct enough lighting this quality is very hard to distinguish for one's self. After several years his body has been lightly tattooed around he forearm, and neck areas. With small, intricate tribal markings that he's collected throughout his travels. Well traveled individuals may actually be able to see certain aspects of where he's been, detailed in his skin.

Nimin's hair is usually kept up in large braids, as the full bulk of it all can be somewhat daunting to take care of. Mostly all of it is folded under itself and kept in a long braid that he lets drape down across his back. All of which is secured with a large silver binder, or a golden one for when he visits formal events. Left to have free, his hair would cover both shoulders and would practically conceal the entirety of his back.

His body is upon first inspection, covered in long since healed scars. The results of various other wounds taken over the years. The most notable of which would be a large scar that visibly enters from his lower chest, and exists directly out his back. Though to his own knowledge, this is one of the few scars that he actually possessed when he fist awoke.



BACKGROUND
Nimin has been walking the lands, from far south to the furthest reaches of the north, and the last six hundred years have been slow going for him. In the pursuit of information about his past has stopped more times than he'd normally be willing to admit. But when the need arises for anyone that should call him, he has answered.

After awaking in the middle of a war torn field all those years ago, he's been trying to discover where it was that he came from, and how it was that he came to be in that place. The only knowledge that he does know for sure is that he's an Exalted, and that was easy enough to discover on it's own. The next being is his name, which he isn't even sure is actually, as it was written in the first page of the book that he was holding when he first awoke. It was this curious item that he'd always carried afterwards, seeing as it was one of the few possession that he could even recall having in his first days of this strange, new life.

The book is easily something special. Because it reacts only to him and apparently he is the only one who can read it. Though he quickly discovered that it does allow those that he deems worthy, the right to read it as well. He learned of it's other properties when the book was stolen from him during an attack, then tossed into the ocean, only to merely be waiting for him in his cabin at the end of the day. When he requested to know what had happened, the pages of the book flew open to shed a thick, crimson light that painted the walls. Showing him the image of the Order agents that had tossed the book overboard, not long before they attacked him. This showed him that the book has some level of sentience and can even respond to direct questions if needed, however in attempts to ask it about his past. The book remains surprisingly inactive to such request.

The next realization about himself came about when Nimin had broken his limit for the second time. An event that robbed him of all self, strange though it may be. As he understood it, those who were Exalted, could wholly recall the times that they broke. He however could not completely recall any portion of those instance, as though a thick haze had been laid over his vision and the world had gone to fog. He also realized that after his second break, a teardrop. The size of a small fist had appeared on the upper center of his back, which originally set off an intense amount of worry when another had shown up after his fourth break. Several years later Nimin has four teardrops on his back, and the game has appeared to change at this point. The teardrops are set into what appears to be a diamond patter on his back. With the largest being twice the size of the other three, and being situated in the dead center of his back. But now they are doing something more, instead of appearing, the tears are filling in with a deep crimson coloration. Slowly filling with each separate break that he experiences.
If getting hunted by the order wasn't bad enough for Nimin. Now it was worrying about what exactly this sort of occurrence meant for him.

That was almost a hundred years ago now and, with returning to heed the call of a old acquaintance. Nimin is ready to begin the hunt for his past once more. Because he feels an ever growing anxiousness coming with this new quest and even the book in his hands, trembles with the urging of the new dawn. The last few centuries of helping to prepare the mortal world, for combat against both demon, and beast alike. Skills that he's harbored and tuned well over the years.

This oncoming storm, at least looks to promise him some new challenges to overcome. That, and he would never willingly pass up the chance to work alongside other exalted as well.




MAGIC, GEAR AND TALENTS
Essence score: 3
Health: 7/7
Willpower pool: 9/9



Essence motes
:Personal 9/9 , Peripheral 24/24:

The magic of the exalted in quantified as 'motes' which can be 'burnt' to power their charms. All exalted have two pools Personal and Peripheral. Personal essence can be burned without causing the exalt's anima banner to flair and is the first one to recharge when the exalt rest to regain their power.

Essence pools are calculated slightly differently between the exalted types.
Solar's and Abyssal's essence pools: Personal (half your willpower+your essence score+2) Peripheral (your full willpower + (essence score X 5)

CHARMS
All exalted start off with 7 charms, based of their abilities.

Flawless Diagnosis Technique 1m; Essence 1; Type: Reflexive
The eyes of the Solar Exalted see the hidden truths of others’ pains. This Charm lets the Solar automatically determine which of the target’s observable traits and described symptoms are medically related. If the Solar uses this Charm in the process of a formal diagnosis, normally a dramatic (Perception + Medicine) action with a Speed of 5 long ticks, this Charm protects him from any error in diagnosis. If he has enough information, he accurately identifies each condition, its source and its additional effect. If he does not have enough information—as when a target who caught an unknown disease from eating infected human brains successfully conceals his cannibalism—he recognizes that some key piece of the puzzle is missing.

Wound-Mending care Technique 10m; Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Solar physicians can speed a patient’s recovery from even the most terrible wounds. This Charm replaces the normal benefits of medical care, instead allowing the target to recover a number of lethal or bashing health levels equal to the number of successes at the end of the day. If the target spends the day resting, the target recovers a number of additional lethal and bashing health levels equal to the Solar’s permanent Essence. No patient can benefit from this Charm more than once per day.

Contagion-Curing Touch 2m; Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Tie a Solar physician and a man dying of the plague to an anchor and cast them into a stormy sea—still the Solar may have the ingenuity to heal the victim. This Charm supplements a Medicine-based action to treat a patient. It does not reduce the time required for medical treatment, but otherwise allows the Solar to treat patients in unfavorable conditions without medicines, penalties or a stunt.

Wholeness-Restoring Meditation -m; Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Essence can repair even severed limbs. Solar Exalted with this Charm can cure any Crippling effect. This Charm guarantees that any attempt they make to treat the effect is considered supernatural. It takes the patient several days of convalescence to repair otherwise permanent damage such as lost limbs or blindness.

Fire and Stones strike 1m per; Essence 1; Type: Supplemental
The Solar demonstrates his strength with a powerful Essence fueled blow. The Exalt spends up to (his Strength score) motes and makes a Melee-based attack. If the attack hits, this Charm adds one die to the post-soak damage for each mote spent.

Peony Blossom Attack 2m per; Essence 2; Type: Extra Action
The maneuver named Peony Blossom Attack burns significant Essence to unleash a powerful flurry of blows. The Lawgiver moves as smoothly and rapidly as ice on hot metal. This Charm is a magical flurry of two or more Melee- based attacks. Each attack costs two motes, including the first, and the Exalt can buy up to (her permanent Essence + 1) attacks. This Charm lets the Solar make these attacks regardless of the weapon’s Rate, without multiple action penalties, and with a DV penalty equal to only the highest penalty for any one attack.

Each 'charm' is a magical trick designed to enhance or augment the exalt's natural talents in super natural ways. The more powerful the charm the more essence it will cost to activate, with some requiring the exalt to also burn a point of willpower as well, or hit points. All charms also require a certain level of skill and spiritual enlightenment in order to learn, necessitating the exalt to raise their essence score and their abilities/attributes if they wish to acquire stronger charms.

COMBOS
A combo is a specialized form of charm use that allow rapied fire activation of multiple charms at once. Using a combo allows the exalt to overcome the '1 charm per post rule' but only if they have invested the xp to learn that combo first. You may not have a combo at the start.

SORCERY
You may choose to exchange one of you charms to unlock the first level of sorcery, the terrestrial circle which will mark you as a sorcerer at the start of play. You will start off with only one spell that you have mastered, but may exchange more charms for more spells. For all other cases, spells are treated the same as charms xp coast wise, and are treated as 'occult' charms this purpose.

Terrestrial Circle:

PREFERRED FIGHTING STYLE
Supportive/Melee

EQUIPMENT AND POSSESSIONS[/center]
Overnight satchel-
Bedding/camp kit-
Pipe, tobacco, smoking kit-
Knife, hatchet, whetstone-
Quill, inkwell, parchment-
2x traveling clothes, Green/black tunic, Red formal robes-
Silver bangles, hair braid bands-
Short sword-

Heirloom Book:
A thick, heavy, leather-bound book dyed almost in a deep maroon. A red tear-shaped gem ensconced with the image of a burning sun on its cover can be seen. While the back of the book is oddly vacant, it is apparent that something large and round did originally rest there. The book is obviously magical on closer inspection, however it can only be read by Nimin, or those that he grants such permission. The book communicates via deep crimson letters that flow and ebb along the lightly tanned pages. When not being read, or question. The pages of the book will always be blank and no amount of tearing can remove the pages in their entirety. As the pages simply dissolve to dust and blow away, while the book looses no mass to speak of.
The book cannot be discarded, or even destroyed by conventional methods. As it will always find it's way back to nimin before days end.

So begins...

Nimin "Zeri" Hedrox's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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


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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fakahru's spire complete.

All players add 2xp to character sheet.

28 days left to rescue Ameral.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

How embarrassing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

*Edited for clarity

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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


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

Women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Nimin sat through most of the morning with his pipe in hand, slowly taking one draw after the other. Watching as the whole conversation unfolded, while scanning through several pages of his book.

Off from the start he could tell that they'd have some issue with communication, despite how novel he found Ashen's vocal inflections to be. He was more than willing to deal with anyone who could catch his eye in the least. Though he did step in when Astrid spoke in regards to Lux. Keeping his tongue in the cleanest form of common that he could offer.
"It's not the point that someone might, or might no be afraid of stepping forward. It's simply the fact that more than a few of us gathered here are not going to be used to doing something like this. I can speak for myself whey I say that when it comes to subterfuge. I find myself not very motivated to do such things and as to our benefactor, I can only say that the possibility of such requirements being needed are still a possibility." He returns to pulling another breath through his pipe, giving his words a moment to soak in. "Now were this an epidemic of some disease, or some form of fever that was overtaking a small town on the frontier. Maybe even some sort of uprising that was costing the lives of hundreds. Then I'd be more inclined to put my foot forward. Even as it sits, I'm not unaccustomed to rescue missions, but we must not forget the scope of who it is we may be stepping between here."
Closing his book, Nimin stands and approaches. Making himself more center to the group before continuing.

"Now as I see it we have two choices."
"Either going to the target of all this directly. Seeing as this not only threatens Fakharu, but Sikunare as well. We should be able to ask that they either give us open pass in her territory, or direct help with retrieving the prisoner. Because if they're willing to blatantly kidnap someone so close to one dragon as to force their hand. Then they're most likely desperate enough to try something even more drastic. Which in Sikunare's case, she should be more than willing to avoid at this point.

"That, or we find allies among the people who have problems with the sirens as well, and if that should fail. We should be able to come up with a more conventional way of dealing with them, and retrieving Amarel in the best state possible."

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Wake
27 Days Until the Deadline



The group continued with breakfast and their discussion. One by one the others joined them and were brought up to speed on the issue. As the meal was winding down to a close, it was uninterrupted by a thunderclap in the distance. Ashen went rigged at the sound, his ears pointing straight and one of his chop sticks clattering against the plate. "Aw shads..." He muttered, before standing up and briskly walking to the port side window. He opened it and leaned out. Sure enough, on the horizon dark clouds had appeared where previously it had been a clear sky. Gingerly he leaned out and glanced down with trepidation. The sea had started to change color, to that a of a deep purplish green. It was the sign that the ship had passed into the storm mothers territory.

"Whelp." He muttered and turned back to the rest gathered at the table. "Tha point ma be muut...She knaws were 'ere." In that sea, Ashen could spot a trio of sharks circling the ship. It didn't take any great skill in observation to spot the telltale shimmer of stars on their scales and deduce that the three were no mere beast. "An looks like she sent us sum un ta greet us..."

An uncharacteristic nervousness befell the changing moon as he shut the window. His ears flattened themselves against his skull and he ground his teeth. He spoke again in river-speak. "I don' suppose any o' ye brought an offerin' with ye did ya?" He shook his head. "Nevermind... Let's go greet out guest."

He marched upstairs and trusted the others to follow him.

Up on the deck the sharks could still be seen circling in the water. They paused their patrol as the first of the exalts appeared on deck, and when a significant number of them had surfaced they leapt out of the water. Clearing the rail, the shark spirits change shape mid leap and land upon the deck in a new form, one that reminiscent of a humanoid shark. The leader of the trio stepped forward and gave a short bow. "Greetings honored exalts. We recognize your ship as of Fakharu's make. Lady Sikunare bids you welcome to her domain and has sent us to guide you to her court." The shark spirit raised it's head and smile with a row full of serrated teeth. Ashen noted that there had been no mention of their attendance in her court being optional.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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She remained rather quiet throughout breakfast, mostly getting her fill from the available stock of dried fruits. While she did very much appreciate the effort Ashen had put into cooking rice, the fact that it was even slightly burnt was enough to turn her stomach...perhaps there was a bit of irony in that, given her status as a Fire Aspect.... It was something that couldn’t be helped; it wasn’t a matter of her being fussy if it actually made her nauseated. The issue was something with which she’d always dealt. Vered used to say she was being childish or immature, even rude, whenever she would refuse to eat something that had even a little char. The bit about it outright refusal of food being rude had always stuck with her, enough so that she always did her best to be discreet about it.

Things were as peaceful as they could be upon the sea for a while, and Lux continued to nibble upon various and unidentifiable fruits, just content that they still at least carried their natural sweetness with them.... Lux’s mindless peace was interrupted, however, when a vicious rumble of thunder echoed out, causing her to violently flinch, dropping her half-eaten fruit.

....she didn’t need to know much of anything about Spirits to know that probably meant...something important, and it probably had something to do with the apparently appropriately titled “Storm Mother,” Sikunare.

Recovering herself, Lux took note of Ashen’s comments, which otherwise confirmed her suspicions—indeed the Storm Mother was making them aware that she was aware. And that she was not letting them enter her territory without first asserting herself. While Lux had not known Ashen but for a day, the fact that he was definitely nervous about this was something that struck her as atypical for him. That Sikunare had sent a welcoming party for them...it had the Lunar worried. Probably understandable. Though matters regarding Spirits were far beyond Lux’s understanding, she was still intelligent enough to know that this situation was one to treat gingerly. After the fiasco that was yesterday, Lux reminded herself that she needed to keep it together today—Fakharu was definitely tolerant of the various shenanigans that occurred within his spire only because he was asking the group she was a part of for help. She’d more than made a fool of herself yesterday in his presence...and out of it.

The little Dragon-Blooded knew that such informality before a being that bore the title of “Storm Mother” would indeed not be abided. Lux needed to keep it together as best she could and not lose herself in any sort of hullabaloo today.

Ashen made an off-handed comment in Riverspeak that she caught as he made his way out of the galley to head to the deck, something about if anyone’d brought an offering...what sort of offering would be appropriate to this situation anyway? Lux DEFINITELY had no idea, and without knowing, the best thing that could be done was to be as respectful to Sikunare’s people as possible and hope for the best.

Saying nothing, the Fire Aspect rose to her feet, the Lantern coming to rest against her hip. She followed behind Ashen, a pensive expression upon her face as she ran her fingers through her still rather mussed hair. However, the hallway between the interior of the ship and its exterior was a tad…dark. And Lux’s eyes had yet to adjust, so before she could make it to the stairs she...tripped. It’d felt like something had wrapped around her ankle and purposefully made her lose balance! Naturally, Lux yelped and did her best to catch herself before on...something before fell over entirely. Not that her efforts did anything to help. If anything, her trying to do something only made the situation worse as her hand came to rest on an unsteady something-or-other, and when she fell, the something-or-other came tumbling down with her, and on top of her.

It was something metallic, and from within it was something squawking and panicking...a bird? The noises coming from the creature were what brought Lux back to cognizance so quickly. “For the love of Creation, just when I’m trying to make an effort to not make an idiot of myself....” she grumbled, flustered and hurrying to stand as she untangled herself from the various things that’d fallen upon her during her tumble. “And why is there a live bird just sitting in a dark hallway on a ship anyway...?”

Continuing to quietly kvetch to herself, Lux mostly managed to free herself and get back to her feet...save for one thing. The bird cage. The damnable thing had gotten ensnared on her belt loop, the one opposite her Lantern’s. Inside the cage, the bird was still calling, angry and as irritated as she probably was. Try as she might, Lux was unable to get the thing off her belt loop without being able to see. She did NOT have time for this right now! After about ten more second of senseless fiddling, Lux just groaned and gave up on the matter for the time being. Even if she looked the part of a fool again, it was better she be present when greeting those sent by Sikunare than not.

Continuing to grumble silently within her own head, Lux made her way up the stairs and onto the deck to be greeted by the sight of...humanoid shark...spirits? She’d missed their emergence from the waters below, but she had not missed the “welcome” from the one who she assumed was the leader of the bunch. He(?) greeted all on deck with a graceful bow, “Greeting honored Exalts, we recognize your ship as of Fakharu’s make. Lady Sikunare bids you welcome to her domain and has sent you to guide you to her court.”

The shark spirit raised up his (and Lux was only assuming his gender due to the voice that emanated from him at this point) head, and smiled at the lot of them, his mouth full of knife-like teeth. The mere sight of them was enough to make Lux nearly cringe, but she kept her composure. Though, perhaps that was the intent. He revealed his predatory teeth to intimidate, make himself even more frightening than his large stature already did. Indeed, he was...imposing. Perhaps this introduction was something of a test; a way to see who was cowardly and weak-willed among them...? Spirits were fickle, and their ways so strange that they were unknowable in every sense. That Sikunare would decide to see who could be easily disheartened and daunted upon entering her territory would be sensical...by the logic of a being such as herself...probably.

Lux took in a breath, gathering herself as best she could—Ashen hadn’t responded to the spirit, and...someone had to, right? Ignoring the still twittering bird that was caged and stuck to her side, Lux returned the gesture, bowing to the trio of spirits. Creation, hopefully she didn’t do something stupid and anger them.... “It is most gracious of Lady Sikunare to extend to us a personal welcome and guides to her court.” she stood back to her full height, a calm and serious expression upon her face as she made eye contact with whom she assumed was the leader of the spiritual trio. “The gestures are very much appreciated.” Not wanting to speak for anyone but herself, she did her best to keep her words neutral and polite, considering she probably looked like enough of a fool as is since she had a bird cage at one of her hips with a very irritated big in it....

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Sepokku
A hush had fallen over the group, one that Astrid was treating with mild disdain; her children had sat in a similar uneasy silence upon experiencing their first thunderstorm and she hadn't signed up for this expedition to play at being Mother, she got more than enough of that at home. She idly picked at the burnt rice, taking bites from it more out of boredom than any real hunger, the burned parts had a smoky crunch to them, but it was nothing worse than some of the burnt offerings she was usually expected to eat. She shot a quick glare at the deathknight, who was politely playing with his food, pretending to eat more of it than he actually was.

A bored sneer almost left her lips, but the little hairs on the back of her neck stood up and Astrid's focus was completely on Ashen Sky as he seemingly noticed the same thing. His words barely registered as she abruptly stood up to her full height, sending the chair she had been seated in skittering across the floor. Her body language became eerily still for a couple of seconds, before she casually returned to motion, following closely behind Ashen.

The Artisan frowned to himself for a few moments, watching the two Lunars quickly make their egress from the room. He was one of the last to leave the room, but the noise and sight of Lady Lux fumbling about in the dark was more than enough to elicit a chuckle as he slowly stood up and made his way to the deck. Just before taking the stairs above-deck, Artisan could hear Lux finishing up a polite greeting. After letting out a small sigh of relief that Astrid hadn't been the one to speak first, he made his way upstairs to stand with the rest of the Exalts before quickly realizing he had sighed too soon.

The Lunar chieftain began prowling the moment the shark spirit had landed; her gait was slow and meticulous, circling around the shark spirit in a way very similar to a shark circling its prey. Thankfully she was still in human form, and Artisan quickly tried to interject before she could make an incident out of this, "We are here on behalf of Lord Fak-" His words were quickly lost under the bark of laughter coming from Astrid, who had stopped directly in front of the shark spirit, interposing herself between the spirit and other Exalted.

"Well..? Some of us are in a hurry. So. Let's. Go." She poked her index finger into the shark's chest at the end of each sentence, as if to punctuate her point. "Or would you prefer us to tell Fakharu how we were delayed by an overgrown. Upstart. Fish?"

Had it been physically possible, Artisan's face would have turned even paler as the Lunar made it clear she wasn't impressed with their escorts. "Apologies for Lady Astrid's lack of decorum, but she is correct that we are on an urgent matter for the Western Censor; a matter he would be undoubtedly grateful to have resolved sooner rather than later; if you would be so kind as to escort us to see Lady Sikunare?" With a gracious smile, he hoped that a sense of duty and a healthy fear of the not entirely sane barbarian would be enough to keep the shark spirit from starting a pointless fight.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Wake
Ashen Sky nearly swallowed his teeth when Astrid strode forward and started prodding the shark spirit in the chest. Artisan beat the changing moon to the punch though and intercede between the two to make a valiant effort at smoothing feathers. For his own part the shark spirit seemed to take the Full Moons brazen attitude in stride. Maintaining eye contact with her, It's lips curried back revealing rows upon rows of teeth in a grin that was [¡]just[/i] shy of menacing. "Of course, of course. We wouldn't want to delay Fakharu's servants while his protection wanes." Impossibly that grin seemed get even wider. It took a step back and gave a quick bow, eyes still locked on Astrid. "The lady of the court will surely love to hear of this 'dire' task he has sent you on and the favors she might be willing to grant in aiding it."

While the shark spirit turned to its fellows, An irate Ashen Sky shot both the abyssal and his fellow lunar a dirty look. 'Thanks guys, let's just broadcast to the world that Ameral is the dragon's weak point and the easiest way to get leverage over him. It's not like he asked us to be tactful about this for any reason.' The leader of the shark spirits came forward again and presented a box held by his comrade. In it were several necklaces made of cowery shells. "The ladies court lies beneath the waves. While some of you might have the means to traverse the depths it is my understanding that humans struggle to respite water as we do. As such our Lady has sought fit to loan you these trinkets for the duration of your stay. Wear them and they will allow you to breath the water as easily as you would the air."

The box carrying sharkman approached each exalt one by one and held out the case for them to claim their own necklace. It paused when it came to Lux, and raised a brow at the sight of the caged at her side. "Aw, a raven. One of the Lady's favorite offerings. It is good to see that some among your number know the proper etiquette in meeting a storm mother."

Once it had completed its circuit around the the ships deck, the leader of the trio spoke up again. "Once you all have you talisman affixed, please, follow us." With no other prompting the three spirits stepped to the edge of the ship and promptly dove back overboard, returning to their bestial forms when they hit the water and resumed circling the ship while they waited for the exists to follow after them.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Nimin watched as the scene unfolded. His history with spirits of all kinds were of a somewhat clouded variety, though he could tell that they were not outwardly hostile. Even with the earlier introduction being what it was, and Ashen's own response to what was transpiring.

An instance that had the Solar walk up behind Ashen slowly as they conversation continued, and placed a hand on his shoulder in an effort to consult him on the fact that this might not be the best of times. Though the look in his eyes did do enough to show Ashen that he too did share some of the same sentiment, at least in the slightest to be sure.
He looks down at the box of talismans as they make the pass in front of him and out of not wishing to cause disrespect, he plucks one from inside. Though he holds the small item in hand, running it's shape between his fingers as he did. Doing so to make sure that he was checking it's rounded shape for any indication as to what the item may be intended for. His fingers running along the narrow notches on the inside rim of the shell. As well as keeping in mind any variations that could be felt in the shells shape.

As the envoy leaps from the deck of the ship, he still keeps his eyes fixed on the edge of the deck for a few moments before bringing the talisman up to eye level. The curious little shell in his hand was still the dour brown, speckled coloration that he'd usually seen in such shells. Save for some small dim lines in the shells surface. Something that he was able to tell from touch alone.

It was a normally unused language from the isles surrounding most of the seaways, stretching from the north and all the way to the far south waterways. Though that was all for it's written inscription, his knowledge of such items however could easily tell that the talisman was lightly pulsing with some form of implicated enchantment.
"Well, it would be rude to just not accept."

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Sepokku
Artisan smiled coyly in Ashen Sky's direction without ever taking eyes off the lead Shark Spirit. "The friend of my friend is my friend... usually. Besides, Fakharu is surely well enough known that Sikunare has heard of it already. Regardless we weren't hired for our tact or... lack thereof." His dark red eyes shot a tired look at Astrid who seemed to be entirely ignoring the conversation Ashen and him were pointedly having. With a bored tone, he finished off, "Let's pay our respects and be on our way without saying something unnecessary."

The Spirit carrying the trinkets started to make his rounds and Artisan quickly undid his heavy armor with a swift practiced routine. He made a curious note of Lux thinking ahead to have a favored offering for the Storm Mother, but that was a line of questioning better saved for when they were alone.

When the spirit came to him, he graciously accepted one of the cowry shell necklaces. The necklace made a curious noise of shell against shell as he appraised the trinket, but before he came to a final conclusion, that feral Lunar Chieftain quietly put on her necklace and without a word dove into the water. Artisan feared he'd never find out if she was just crazy or sporting a death wish, but she seemed fine so the necklaces probably weren't trapped.

He turned to look at the remaining Exalts gathered about, before settling his gaze on Lux and Ashen Sky. Putting a finger to his temple in a thoughtful gesture, and growing quiet for a few seconds before suddenly exclaiming. "Lord Ashen, Lady Lux; you both make the necklaces seem… fitting, though I can’t quite say how... "

Taking a few moments to ensure everyone had put on their talismans, Artisan smiled, ”Well put Sir Nimin; and rude is not something we can afford right now. To that end, maybe we should all say a prayer or thanks that Lux saw fit to bring a gift?” The deathknight was going to say a bit more, but Astrid’s voice, which was very quickly becoming one that was very stressful to hear, interrupted his train of thought.

”If the lot of you don't shut up and get in the water, I WILL meet with the Storm Mother myself.” A mix of amusement and horror went through Artisan when he heard her declaration, ”As I would rather have a drunken Raksha represent us, I’m going to make sure she does not."

Setting

Characters Present

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

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After looking over the talisman. Nimin rolls it over in his hand and begins to bind it around his wrist, rather then around his neck. Upon finishing, he holds the newly donned item up into the sun, as it's shape is cast off by the view of the horizon behind.

"I think that it's best we don't push our luck with these talismans being the only think keeping us from possibly drowning. The link to their source of power could be cut at any moment it seems."

Taking the time to set his personal items straight. He hands his pack over to a deckhand, so that it may be returned to his quarters and approaches the edge of the deck overlooking the waves below.

Looking deeply upon the waves, the Solar found himself smirking lightly whispering quietly."...and he piled upon the whales great white hump a sum of all the rage, if his chest had been a canon he would have shot his heart upon it...."

He turned towards the others, with that same wry look upon his face. He begins to disrobe of his heavier clothing, tossing it to the side to rest on a set of netted barrels. Leaving only his lighter tunic and braccae on and stowing the small dagger he'd kept from is belongings. Rolling it in his waste band for proper holding.

"At least it's a beautiful day for swimming"
A heavy feeling of sarcasm, almost demanding a bolt of lightning to fire across the scenery behind. Such as to emphasis the current situation that the group was in ebbed out. Though it looked far from killing his mood.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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....she definitely didn’t have the foresight or the knowledge to have knowingly prepared a suitable offering for the Storm Mother she was about to meet. After she’d made her own peace, Lux saw fit to keep quiet as the others spoke. Offering up a few quiet, polite words of gratitude toward the shark spirit as he(?) handed her a necklace made of seashells she couldn’t identify, Lux kept her gaze averted from the spirits, doing her best to maintain a sense of sang-froid She would not allow herself to be cowed by anything she encountered today, it wasn’t something she could afford. Everyone else had their own way of handling the spirits—the best course of action for herself was likely to be conversationally selective. Extremely...selective. There was no controlling how the others acted, she could only control herself.

Astrid had already dove off into the waters below as Artisan said something about herself and Ashen making the necklaces seem fitting...? A strange compliment and one Lux wouldn’t have known how to respond to in ANY situation, anyway.

Lux stared at the evidently enchanted shell talisman in her hand, ignoring the squawking raven at her side. At least...having the thing stuck to her somehow turned out to be of benefit, either some deity of luck decided to smile upon her for once, or something was going to have one Hell of a laugh at her later over it. Assumedly, the talisman would also protect the raven from drowning as well as herself...Lux did not relish the thought of diving into the deep, dark ocean, whether offered protection from drowning or not. She never was fond of open water—maybe it had something to do with her Spark being that of Fire.

Sighing, Lux brought the enchanted necklace up and fastened it around her neck as she turned on her heel and headed back into the ship to her quarters to fetch her cloak. Perhaps it would be smarter to leave it, as it may end up heavy with seawater.... But she felt the need to have it with her, regardless. ….she also felt the need to discreetly tuck away her switch blade into one of her boots. Just…in case. Indeed, she had the Lantern with her already and was not about to leave it behind, but it was not a reliable means of defense if things went sideways.

Swallowing back the anxiety that came with the thought of diving freely into the open ocean, Lux took in a deep breath to calm herself as she headed back up to the deck. She heard the sarcastic comment made by Nimin about it being a beautiful day for swimming...at least he could joke about the situation.

“So beautiful indeed, that I could just throw up....” she quipped back at the Solar as she shut her eyes and gathered her composure, shoving down her anxiety and her rationale as it fought with her over what she was about to do. Even if she knew she was protected from drowning, her sense still argued with her over what she was about to do. Lux knew well enough that if let herself think about this anymore, it’d almost be too hard to...so, without letting another thought flit through her mind, the Fire Aspect took to a dead sprint, and leapt up over the handrail of the deck, preforming an uncharacteristically graceful dive into the dark waters below, joining Astrid.

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