EX3 West

Beginnings

Chapter 1

Anathema. An Anathema has been found in the “great city” of Wu Jian. Most would never admit the appeal the city has on individuals that find themselves here. Anything can be found in these flooded streets if you know where to look. Any good or service can be found and now one of the Anathema has arrived and is being hunted by the glorious, noble Wyld Hunt. At least thats what the the criers are decreeing at this late hour.

You know better though. Deep in your soul you know that you would be branded “Anathema” if they knew what you are. You don’t feel like you are possessed. Even though you haven’t met anyone else like yourself on your journeys, you can’t help but hold onto the hope that maybe there is another just like you. You saw the end of the battle. The two women rushed each other as the waters flooded around them in the slum streets. The golden woman impaled through the stomach by a sword while slumped over the body of the unconscious woman. The latter lays in the middle of a broken wood cart that was unceremoniously slammed into her by the young woman that is now bleeding on top of her. The rumors are that two other dragons went to pull their companion from the rubble but the sun child was gone, not even leaving a trail of blood. None seem to remember seeing her leave but the consensus is the same: There is a wounded golden demon hiding somewhere in the city.

You have been in Wu Jian to know that there is only one place people go when they need urgent help. A tea house and brothel on top of a tower of slum buildings. One of the few places where the paint isn’t peeling off and it doesn’t reek of bodily fluids. No this is an establishment that makes its coin as a respectable place of business. Were diplomats can meet in anonymous luxury. Where sailors can spend their wages after months at sea. And for those of Wu Jian that are desperate and hurt, the place that you can be healed with no questions asked. Where the only accepted payment is information and favors. The Sapphire Lotus Tea House is where the sick and injured come when they have no other options. If you want to find the girl like you, then you need to go see the Apothecary.

Comments

It’s strange to taste hope after so many weeks of promising leads tapering off into the mist of rumor and hearsay. It blooms bright behind Veron’s teeth and lights some small spark deep in his chest.

He’s heard of the Sapphire Lotus, of course, though he hasn’t had much reason to visit. There was never much time or inclination for tea aboard any of the vessels where Veron spent most of his youth and so he never acquired a taste for it. He’s a coffee man, through and through – regular bilge-water sludge with grounds still in it – but there’s something inherently soothing in the bouquet of heady scents that blanket the interior of the room when he ducks through the doorway.

It’s dark inside – but then so is all of Wu-Jian to Veron, who is used to spending the majority of his time under the broad, open sky – and startlingly cozy considering the space. Veron stalls on the threshold, letting his eyes adjust for a moment and scanning the room for anyone who might be amenable to answering a few friendly questions.

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Wren Sighs deeply before entering The Saphire Lotus, it feels as if it had been an age since he entered its opium filled halls, giggling dutifully at his friend for the night. Clients from hell, Old and young, rich beyond measure who were full of sweaty touches and false promises. He doesnt regret that part of his life, not exactly, but now things are so much more important, and he will fight to the death to keep that power. HE lifts the hem of his deep blue green robe as he enters fully into the establishement. Heads turn as he enters some he recognizes from years of work, others are new. he moves to sit as his usual table, taking off his shoes as he does to rest on the plush pillows that sit before a gilded hooka and he surveys the expanse. “The more things change…..” e muses to himself in a neatly elegant seatongue.

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For Wren:

The lobby area you are in looks completely out of place for most of Wu Jian. The walls are painted in a turquoise that evokes images of the ocean near the shoreline. Silk curtains drape from the ceiling providing some measure of privacy for the guests here in the open. You know from experience most of the actual business takes place in the rooms deeper inside the Lotus. The slight haze of intoxicants hangs in the air and adds to the illusion that you have wandered off the streets into an entirely new realm of existence.

Its not long before a lithe serving girl comes to your table. She carries with her a small tray of various vices: Needles filled with exotic opiates, small pipes full of hashish, and even narcotic clams found off the coast of Wu Jian. Its said you can find everything you want in the Sapphire Lotus. Information is no exception.

The girl is new and can’t be older than her early teens. Probably too young for most customer’s tastes so she waits on tables in the front room. You don’t remember her from your days here and its obvious she doesn’t have a clue who you are. “What brings you to the Lotus tonight?” she says in a practiced innocent tone.

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For Veron:

As your eyes adjust and your body suppresses a bit of claustrophobia, you see into the Lotus for the first time. The entry room is deceptively large with high ceilings dripping silk and satin all over. It looks like a hundred people could easily lounge in the sunken floor without ever disturbing each other. The entire atmosphere is build around a soothing ocean theme. Modestly dressed boys and girls server their patrons dutifully and some lead customers into the hallways near the back.

You find a comfortable spot near the door and for the first time in a long time actually relax a bit. You are scanning the room when a young serving boy comes to your area with a tray of exotic powders and drinks. “Can I interest you in anything tonight sir?” (roll perception and awareness)

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“Ah little one” Wren smiles, “The usual, good company and fine atmosphere. Should a little information pass my way i would not be opposed either. You are new?”
he waves away the intoxicants and scans the room. “For now though i will have a simple tea, I trust your judgement in the selection.” he places a few bits onto her tray for good measure, more than is entierly necessery to make a point. (( rollins perception awareness with my speciualty in Changes to notice anything different in the atmosphere of the Lotus, 7 successes))

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An Anathema? Here? Xiandao had come expecting one of these god-chosen and now he finds a wyld hunt in the making? It seems Plentimon had not approved of this gamble after all. Or perhaps the rascal was only letting the stakes go up for a later roll. That was always the problem with relying on him.

He had “lost” his guards in their resplendent armor a while ago. The only ones who remained nearby were those with common clothing and uncommon skill. They kept near him like a group of young men with a friend with whom age is forgotten. Each charged more than he would have ever admitted and he did not regret a koku of it now that Wu Jian proved more dangerous than he had feared.

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Veron settles on a comfortable cushion a short few feet from the exit – it pays to be cautious, especially in a city capable of erupting to such volatile temperament as Wu Jian – and surveys the scene around him. Often secrets are most easily found in those who are unaware that they’re sharing them – in the broad sweep of their arm, the feigned coolness of their posture, the shifty backward glance they cast over their shoulder in a moment of self doubt. Veron speaks many languages, and this particular dialect of the body is one with which he is intimately familiar.

A fresh-faced serving boy approaches him with a platter of no doubt exorbitant delights, and Veron offers the most amiable smile he can muster.

“I’m afraid I’ve never been much for tea, lad, but perhaps you can make a recommendation? Nothing too fancy, for I’m a man of simple taste,” he drawls in his husky-edged Northern brogue. He leans forward, as if sharing a secret, and adds lightly, “I’m also a man who appreciates a good story. Is there anyone about with a tale worth hearing?”

(Perception and awareness pool was 5 dice with 2 successes total {{5,3,7,8,4}} – also I have an ‘energetic presence’ skill that might help with the information wheedling? Is that something I ought to apply here?")

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Starfall enters, head bowed slightly forward to keep her features largely hidden as she makes her graceful way to an empty table. She whispers an order for tea to the girl that approaches, and then awaits her order.

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(For all. Individual posts will follow in a bit)

You all are hit with an overwhelming sense of familiarity. It feels like the most intense form of deja vu you have ever experienced. You glance around the room and see four other individuals in the room looking as confused as you are. When your gaze falls on them you see a multitude of superimposed on them. A vision of battles takes over your mind and you see yourself with these people fighting mountainous foes, another memory of you and a different version of these people stand around a great orichalcum and soulsteel sigil, inlaid with white jade. You are chanting and pouring your blood onto the runes. The next memory you have is of fire and blood. You can’t make out all of the faces but you get an overwhelming sense of betrayal. Flashes of violence explode in your mind. In less than a heartbeat the visions are over.

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With clear eyes, a mark of his own, new building legend a slight sad smile emerges on Wrens face and he motions to his low corner table for the others to join him. Smoothing a wrinkle in his robe as his tea arrives two men approch him briefly and whisper before leaving the establishment on some unknown errand.

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(At this point in the story all solar characters are now aware of each other’s presence as a familiar deja vu. It is clear that Wren is motioning each of you to his table.)

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Starfall picks up her tea, then glides across the floor to join Wren at his table.

“You saw it too,” she says, her voice poised on the razor’s edge between question and declaration.

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Scythe is one of the first ones off the boat he arrives on. Wearing articulated plate and moving towards the Apothecary. He has unkempt black hair rains down. Clearly a sailor that hasn’t cleaned up in some time, whether by choice or need is a good question. Increasing his pace when the he hears the rumors of anathema, keeping the huge object wrapped in a sheet. The object is curved and most likely bladed the main portion is 6 feet tall and the head of the object nearly 5 foot. Even held at an angle the object is taller than he is.

Entering the Apothecary, he moves to a seat and sets the object next to him the cloth sliding off revealing black metal. It’s some strange weapon as soon as he notices the problem he returns the covering. A waiter comes over to him, “May I help you sir?”

Scythe looks the man over, “I would like a drink and to discuss an odd object. If that can be arranged.” He leans back in the chair looking around at the different people in the room. He knows he is no good at reading people so more than anything he is just looking for how many other sailors are here.

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Wren inclines his head to Starfall, "Indeed i did. They call me the Wren, though I suppose wren will suffice. It seems we are connected. And that interests me. " he sips his tea and offers a courteous smile. “There is more than just you though, three others are with us. Ominious or fortuitous? Is there really a difference?” he muses, almost to himself.

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“Actually,” Veron says slowly to the serving boy, blinking against the deluge of images flittering across his field of vision, “hold that thought. I think I just spotted my friends.”

He offers the boy an absent, dismissive pat on the shoulder and makes his way confidently across the room with the swaggering stride of a sailor. An elegant young man with a long spill of dark hair beckons him forward to the table where he’s seated with a young woman carrying hatchets at her belt.

“I’ve always been of a mind that your circumstances are as terrible or wonderful as you make them,” he supplies with a cheery smirk, dropping easily into a seat beside the woman. He casts a roguish wink across the table at the man.

“Veron Twelve-Tongues,” he says, offering a calloused hand to whoever will take it. “My friends call me Licks.”

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“Licks….There are many in this city who would value such a name, though i am sure that joke is tiresome.” he softly smiles. They call me Wren, please join us, it seems we are destined to meet." he motions another empy seat and looks to Starfall. “And your name might be? If we are doing introductions that is.”

((Also note for what its worth Wren has influence 2, he is known through Wu Jian as a protector of the lower classes, a sort of new folk hero that all rungs of society are “looking” at)

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Scythe noticed the same thing as the other 3 did. He looks over and watches as they gather. He gets up and moves to the table stopping before it, “I am Scythe may i join you as well please.” He looks around at each of them. Attempting to maintaining the dumb brute look. He smiles at the others and sets his scythe against the wall still wrapped in a sheet.

(OOC:He is actually not near as simple as he is pretending to be. If you want to use mechanics to see through it his guile is 2.)

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“Please, sit with us Scythe and partake of humble refreshment. Wu Jian is many things, hospitable is but one of them, let it not be said my homeland is not without its certain charms.” again he motions for the man to take a seat. “And now there are four, But there will be one or two more before these introductions are concluded. I see all….” he jests and sips his tea again.

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The cloaked woman inclines her head in response to Wren’s answer. She begins to say something in reply, but chooses instead to sip her tea as the others join them. Once all have settled into place and made their introductions, she makes her own.

“I am Falling Star of the Thousandth Evening, but as we seem to share a certain familiarity feel free to call me Starfall for short.”

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Scythe sits next to Wren, “Thank you.” He looks at the others at the table. Turning his attention to Starfall when she speak and he responds to her introduction bowing his head softly, “Are any of you the one they are speaking of?”

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Wren shakes his hed slowly. “You speak of the dreams? I dont think so, whoever she is, I truly believe she has yet to reveal herself….”

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“I suspect,” Starfall says, “that if we are meant to find her the Maidens will arrange a way.”

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Please give yourselves 5 XP for this week. This next post is for everyone once you are done making introductions.

As if on queue, a young serving girl approaches your table. “The Apothecary requests your presence”. She gracefully leads you through the crowds of pillows, parting the silk curtains without disturbing anyone, and leads you to a backroom that looks like a library. Soft lighting and quiet music drifts in from somewhere in the room. She closes a door behind you and walks to the bookshelf. She pulls a copy of the Immaculate Text Condensed Volume 1 halfway from the shelf. A barely audible click can be heard and the entire bookshelf swings back on hidden hinges to reveal a well lit passageway made of blue stone with golden fish decorating it.

The passageway is no more than 20 feet long and comes to a solid wooden door at the end. Before you can reach for the knob you hear an elderly voice say “Come in and join me please. I have been expecting you friends”

At this point anyone is free to make a wits + lore roll for knowledge on the Apothecary.

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(( 2 suxx on lore roll, focus Local History – though im not sure it applies with lore 1?))

Wren enters the room first. Gliding elegantly with a practiced ease. his robes flow behind him before he bows to the person before them and sits. “So good of you to welcome us. Please call me Wren, though something tells me you know exactly who each of us are.”

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At 2 Success you know that the Apothecary is a well known secret in Wu Jian. He frequently employs the lower class citizens as spies and informants by providing health care to them. This has garnered him a great deal of loyalty among the populace and it is considered a great honor to have an audience with him.

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Scythe enters behind wren bows slightly, “It is nice to meet you, elder. I am the Scythe the Hunts the Dead. You may call me Scythe if you desire.” He looks at the elderly person meeting the persons gaze for a moment before looking down once me. He moves a hand to allow the sheet to fall away from part of the sheet to fall away revealing a black metal that seems to be alive with something moving just under the surface. It radiates a coldness and hopelessness on those who look upon it.

(Im gonna just take a shot in the dark and shoot for an intimacy of polite greeting or respect as an attempt to create a positive intimacy towards me. I rolled amazingly 10 success on 13 dice. Included a 1 die stunt. If there should have been a dice penalty or something ill just use Excellency to make up the difference.)

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Xiandao did not get up and join the group as soon as the vision struck. Some things were too convenient and, call it prudence or cowardice, a measure of restraint could preclude more problems than main force could finish.

So he kept on with his guards until the serving girl came to bring them drinks and he received the invitation. He excused himself to use the facilities and followed after the others. As he did so he started assembling all he knew about this Apothecary, as he would assemble a dossier on any perspective client. Often the little things, innocent statements that added up to something greater, were the source of real insight.

(Wits + Lore: 3 successes)

He came down the passageway last and saw through the door as the armored figure with the massive weapon allowed some of it to show through.

That one will be dangerous. To wear such armor; hot, heavy, and expensive makes one recognizable and memorable anywhere. In poverty stricken Wu Jian doubly so. Moreover, such a burden as that could be nothing but one of the great weapons such as Exalted and the children of the gods wield. To bear it so lightly marks one as one or the other at the least, and that is even more memorable, especially with the crude attempt to hide it.

Yet it is the make of it that troubles me most of all. Where have I seen such material? The sacrificial obsidian of Abalone? The black jade of the Lintha? Some trinket in a Skullstone bazaar?

(Int + Lore for information on Scythe’s weapon: 5 successes)

He kept his silence and his counsel for the moment. Perhaps he had in mind to offer a test and see if the Apothecary knew him and further if his identity was a secret to be kept or a weapon to be loosed into this crowd.

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For JJ:

Entering the room you see not only the Apothecary but a young woman with him. Both have dark skin and eyes. The Apothecary looks well past his prime. His black beard speckled with gray looks to hang down below the small desk he is sitting at. He is dressed in silk robes of black and gold and is nearly skeletal in appearance. His head is shaved in the manner of monks but as far as you can tell he doesn’t seem to be one of the Dragon-Blooded.

His assistant has long sunflower hair pulled back into a ponytail. She is wearing robes of light green and the smell of fresh grass seems to follow her around. Upon closer inspection you notice her eyes are a deep dark green like a leaf in shadow. She seems to give off a radiance that suggest youthfulness and vitality.

“Thank you for your show of honesty young Sun Prince. Manners are such a hard thing to find in these troubled times.” He seems to be impressed.

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For Exthalion:

At 3 successes you know everything Wren knows as well as the rumors that his assistant is a Wood Aspect. No one remembers how long he has been here at the Lotus. Just that he always has been.

At five successes you know that Scythe’s weapon is made from a metal called Soulsteel. It is known to have uses in the underworld and ties to death. It is even rumored to be made from the forged souls of the dead that exist in eternal torment because of it.

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((Total botch on the Wits + Lore roll about the Alchemist, dammit. Got 4 on Int + Lore to try to recognise the metal Scythe’s weapon is made from though.))

Starfall follows the others in, then allows the hood of her cloak to fall back.

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” she says when the Alchemist introduces himself, eyeing the weapon that Scythe revealed curiously..

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He considers the words spoken and bows lightly to the old mans associate. After a moment, "What do you mean by Sun Prince? I have never been referred to in that manner. It sounds right but i do not fully understand why. "

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Sunday XP bonus again. Take 5 XP and 1 Solar each for the posts. For everyone:

“A Chosen of the Sun. You and your companions are all Exalted. I’m assuming you came here for your sister. Another Solar Exalt of the Night Caste, I believe.” His words come out very matter of fact like. “Your kind ruled all of Creation in the Lost Age. Mistakes were made and the Solars vanished from this world. Now you appear to be returning. En mass might I add.”

His assistant offers you seats on overstuffed pillows near the front of the desk. It dawns on you that positioning his visitors on the ground where they are forced to look up to him may be a slight power play. The assistant offers you tea she is pouring into small cups that look like they are made out of coral.

“Your friend is safe and sound under my protection and will continue to be so protected as long as needed. However, before I can introduce you, I must confess that I too am in need of a favor. You see my business is built on information. Tending to the needs of the sick and desperate provides me a large network of eyes and ears that owe me favors. We all no that information is power in this fallen age and I assure you in that regard I am the most powerful person in Wu Jian. From time to time however I require the services of someone that has a more direct skillset. One of my agents has gone missing and I am afraid she may have been captured. I need the information she has. Her loyalty is without question but there are limits to the amount of suffering one can endure before they begin to spill secrets about their master. So here is my offer to you, Lords of Creation: bring back my agent alive and I will bring you to your circle member and be in your debt.”

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“While i am more than willing to help a fellow citizan of my fair city i am curious, why us? Why not have this missing member of our group find your agent. I am genuinly curious.” he sips his tea with a small not to the agent. “You seem to know the stakes of such a gambit so I truly wish to know..” he offers a polite smile at the tea and sets his glass down to listen.

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“To be honest with you, most of my agents are not warriors. They are simple people trying to live simple lives. I do not have the capabilities to pursue such an agenda nor do I have the inclination to build an army. I prefer the quiet life I have established. That being said, Rain, my agent is a very talented and capable fighter. She was blessed by the water dragon and has been my…….. “direct” agent for some time. She was gathering information for me on the activities of the Disciples of the Black Flame and has not reported back for two days. I’ve been told of rumors that the Disciples have been interrogating someone quite thoroughly in their temple in Butcher Alley. Rain is a loyal companion and has information that I desperately need in order to avoid a calamity that I am certain is approaching."

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When offered a seat scythe shook his head speaking, “Thank you for the offer but it sounds like we need some haste armor is restriective id rather stand then have to sit down and get back up so quickly.” He is polite but its fairly easy to tell the armor has no effect on his mobility its a polite excuse to not sit lower or he just doesn’t desire to sit. Scythe listened to the exchange, “In this current environment it seems dangerous for us to do this. The Wyld hunt is already out and what happens if we save your agent only to be forced into a larger pitched battle with them. We need an exit strategy for that case. I can walk in and get attention fairly easy allowing others to get around and save the agent but if we happen to meet multiple realm dragon blooded I will eventually be overwhelmed.”

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The Apothecary gives you a wolfish grin. “Luckily I do have some bit of influence outside of Wu Jian. The Wyld Hunt has 24 hours to locate the girl or they must call off their mission. If you can stay out of their grasps until then, you have nothing to fear. The Disciples are heretical to say the least. They are a cult that appears to be dedicated to the destruction of all things. Rain has information on their motives and their leadership. I do have a substantial amount of favors owed to me. What do you suggest?”

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Wren sratches his chin. “These disciples arem, known to me… at least from What The Black Hounds have told me. (Rolling Intelligence + Lore to gain some information on this sect 3 dice 1 suxx). It could be doable, the Wyld hunt wouldnt have much to do with these people, and if their attentions are focused on this girl we will meet with success then we have the distraction we need. Tactically it seems sound.”

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At 1 success you know that they are a rather secretive ancestor cult. They rarely preach openly in public and they have only recently grown to noticeable numbers in the last year.

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Xiandao considered carefully as he listened only to come to a single conclusion. He was being used. Oh to be sure, there was the obvious trade of a useful agent in exchange for a hard to use piece of information. But that was the obvious.

Sun Prince

There it was. The Apothecary was making a point of that. He didn’t want the powerful or the useful, he wanted Exalted. He wanted the Solar Anathema. He was cultivating it in Xiandao, in all of them.

Sun Prince

The task he assigned was not the true goal here. He could have leaked information to the Wyld Hunt and let them clear out this cult. One did not deal with Anathema for something this trivial. Not with the stories, true and otherwise, told about them. So the first real question was…

Why?

Then he stopped, and the whole fleet of his thought scattered. Something his father had told him came suddenly to mind.

“If you want the truth to stand clearly before you, never be for or against.”

Then it was clear what he had to do.

“I do not know you Apothecary. I do not have a reservoir of truth on which to draw. All I have here, now, is a willingness to treat you as a decent person able to give and earn respect and a hope that you possess the same. So, let us be done with bargaining.”

He extended his hand forward to be clasped.

“Treat us as if you truly respect us and we will do the same to you.”

OOC: If he accepts, going to sanctify an oath on behalf of the circle.

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The grin momentarily returns to his face and then he drops into a mask of seriousness. He extends his hand to you. “I know what you are Sun Prince. I swear to you that I wish you no harm. The Black Flame seeks to end all of creation though through what means I do not know. That is why I sent Rain. She was retrieving information on what their goals are. The truth is I recruited Rain after she tried to kill me when she was a member of another Wyld Hunt. With the realm here, I stand to lose just as much if not more than you do. As for your second question, I am all that you see before you. I don’t know you any better than you know me. I have to take my safety into account as well. The Hunt will be called off because people owe me favors. I can promise you that as long as you are under this roof you cannot be detected by any scrying short of the Lord of the Heavens Himself. My promise to you will be this: I will give you any information you need to return Rain to me alive. I will tell you all that I know about the Disciples. IF you don’t betray me, as you are worried about with myself, then I will trust you enough to tell you more of my own story. Fair enough?”

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The young zenith considers the elder mans words carefully and then speaks one more, “You assume she is alive still. That is an assumption, we could arrive on location and find her already dead.” He speaks not in anger just as stating a fact, “Since it seems we need to do this not just for Rain but also to stop whatever this cult is planning I will do this however I understand not bringing her back alive is not as useful but whether she is alive or dead I think we should still get to meet the other solar. If i can prevent Rains death I will do so but I cant promise that when battle is joined there will not be casualties.”

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He waves his offered hand dismissively, “I’m not worried about any of the Flames being put down. Truth be told they probably deserve it. And yes Rain may also be dead. I truly hope this isn’t the case but I will not place the blame of her possible demise on you.” He extends his hand again towards Exthalion. “Do we have an agreement?”

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Not sure if we are waiting on anyone. If there are no posts by tonight, I will just start moving the story forward.

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“Im unsure of everyones skills but I can walk into a room and get the attention and fight a mob with relative ease. If one of you has some skill at sneaking i can provide a distraction to allow that person to get to Rain and secure her. The hard part of this will be getting her out not dealing with the cultists. I;m not very good at being sneaking or trickey.” Scythe puts forth the most basic plan he can think of simple and hopefully effiecnt. “I would prefer to try to talk my way out first but either way I can get there attention at least at first.”

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“I have people that could help with the extraction. If we play it right it could simply look like a gang war. It all depends on how we play it. My team however is, above reproach.” he offers quietly as he looks to each of the others.

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“I have some skill at sorcery, as well as at unarmed combat,” Starfall murmurs.

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“I dont really fear the fighting portion. I can hold my own against fairly large force on my own. How good are your people at using a diversion to get into position. Simple feint and strike. One person walks in and starts talking the rest make a move on places she might be held in the building. When it turns bloody, id prefer it to be after we have someone near enough to bring down any threats against Rain. I can go in alone without my weapon or armor and fight decently well. I can summon far more efficient set of armor when talking breaks down or when i need a bit more power behind my words in the parley. I can also act as a bodygaurd for a person with more skill and diplomacy. Either works form me. I fear going in and straight to violence the hostage may be killed before we can get to her.” He looks to the gathered exalts in turn and finally to the Apothecary wanting to here all thoughts.

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“Very good then. Leave whenever you are ready. Return here with Rain and I will reward you all handsomely.” With a wave of his hand he shows you back out the door and down the hallway.

For those of you that know the local area, Butcher Alley is known for being a sunless stretch of alley in the center of Wu Jian. Most of the meat from the outskirts of the city make their way here. Cheap shops ply their wares and are rumored to sell more than just animal meat. The gang known as the Dark Tides run a protection racket on the long dark alley even though the smell itself is enough to keep most people away. At the end of the alley is a long abandoned temple to the various little gods of the area. Debris and trash has been heaped on its roof from the grates above that provide walkways for the upper levels of the city. It is there that the Disciples of the Black Flame seem to have taken up residency.

You are all currently still in the lounge of the Sapphire Lotus. Please take an additional 5XP for this week. Once everyone hits Essence 2 we will spread the XP out a bit more to prevent massive powerups in the short in game time. Any questions or concerns let me know.

Beginnings
 

[Prior to leaving the Apothecary]
“We are agreed.”

Xiandao clasped the other man’s hand and a chain of flickering golden symbols appeared, weaving under and over their hands, tightening as it did so, until vanishing.

(10 motes, 1wp to sanctify the oath)

[In the lounge]

“My training is primarily in surviving long enough for others to settle any violence, but that was as much for the protection of my charges as myself.

As for the distraction we have all discussed, please allow me to provide it. There is, currently in the city, the Brotherhood of Sea-Faring Heroes, a fighting-society dedicated to protecting ships against the depredations of pirates and irate locals. I will arrange for a certain wealthy visitor to the city to be visiting the area with a contingent of the Brotherhood’s best and possibly some local guards."

He broke off speaking for a moment to order a round of drinks.

“If you will all forgive my impertinence, I also have two other suggestions. The first is that I do the talking. While I may not have quite the charisma of the rest of you, it has been noted that I give very little of my thoughts away. That trait would seam to serve us well in this.

The second, though limited by time, is that we get in touch with the so-called Architect, supposedly the chosen of the city itself. For what the rumors say it is doubtful she will care for this mission of ours. Even so, this cult seems the sort of thing she would be interested in removing. "

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I’ve created a new post for Butcher Alley when you all are ready. If anyone wants to get in touch with the Architect, post your plan here and I will make it happen. Thanks guys.

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Scythe nods accepting the eclipses desire to lead the discussions, “I will act as Beauregard then, shall i be armored or unarmored for our entry. If i go unarmored and things become violent i will leave you vulnerable while i summon my anima as armor or I can leave the armor on and be obvious. In addition i can harden my skin to provide some protection it will be obvious tho those that know occult. As for the weapon I can fight without it but id prefer to have it unless it goes against the face you want to put forth.”

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“Why use the Sea Faring heroes when I have a loyal gang at my command, a land based one?” Wren asks casually. “The Black Hound gang (Command 2) have been broung under my umberalla when i showed them the error of their larcenous ways.” he smiles.

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The elder man nodded to Scyth then answered. “I leave those decisions to you as the one better suited to combat. However, I believe the presence of an armed escort will make your own armor stand out less if that is what you judge wiser.”

To Wren he replied, “Why not both? Would a gang war of some sort be a reasonable premise in Wu Jian for large group of armed combatants to approach the area? Perhaps the Seafarers gave offense to the Black Hounds and they come to settle the score. If done correctly it could allow us to surround the Black Flame and crush them utterly. The confusion might also mask our own involvement.”

It was Xiandao’s plan later to stop in the temple of the city god of Wu Jian and request privacy, nominally to offer thanks for his safe arrival and request favorable trade and safety. In truth it would be an opportunity for the possibly skittish Chosen of the city to approach him in what should seem like a center of her own power. With luck they would have time to communicate the plan and coordinate such as needed. Or to learn any of those inconvenient truths it would have been nice to know sooner.

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“Inciting a gang war between two gangs could prove to be problematic, it might give others with grievances ideas to stir the pot as well. The last thing we need is to start an actual war in the city, it has enough problems. I assure you my men and women are loyal, talented, and good at what they do. They were elite before I even brought them to the cause of the Sun. They will suffice.”

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“I am ready as soon as everyone is.” Scythe prepared his mind for battle wondering how large of a force these cultists had and if he could bring it down fast enough to prevent mass casualties on his allies side.

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“A fine point. I am somewhat accustom to considerations of pretense and am usually the one managing consequences. My only concern is that your group lacks the numbers to contain all the approaches and routes of escape. I trust you would not recommend them if they did not have the numbers to match the cult itself. In your opinion, would having the Seafarers arrive later to set up a perimeter be advisable?”

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“While we are on an island I dont know how the sea farers will get their boats inland. From what I understand this cult isnt, huge, and my gang is of adequate size and training. They along with us should be adequate.”

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“Besides we dont need to wipe out our foes in fact backing them into a corner will make them desprete. Such men fight harder and are more likely to kill the hostage. Let the rats flee if they can. Its better to wipe them out when it isnt a rescue mission.” Scythe did not like the idea of foring the enemy into a corner. It can to easily backfire.

OOC:should we roll a stradegy roll for the fight like Int + War to try and get am edge?

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rgwhite85 rgwhite85

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