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White Elephant for Reighnhell - A Night's Rest [Fiction]

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  • White Elephant for Reighnhell - A Night's Rest [Fiction]

    Originally posted by Reighnhell View Post
    What I Like: I am only recently getting into Exalted, so I am something of a novice when it comes to the deeper lore of the setting, but I already have a number of character and npc ideas.
    Here's a story in which two of your characters meet for the first time!

    Red was the dust on the scion's boots and traveling-cloak, red was the jade of her sword. Each footfall a beat in a tireless cadence, she ate up the miles between her and the Firepeaks. Yet for all her speed, Tepet Morgan knew she would not make it through the mountains before Calibration; better, then, to seek hospitality in the homes clustered around the foothills and await the new year there.

    The Dynast traveled alone; in her head, the heated exchange with the messenger from the Isle played out over and over. Her muscles ached from sleeping in her armor, but it was more comfortable than the alternative.

    When the farmer answered Tepet Morgan's knock, she was surprised by his height - the man stood easily seven feet tall. His head was only a hair shorter than the rafters. He spoke a barbaric tongue entirely unlike those spoken in Gem or Prasad or the Realm, but when she pressed her ring into his palm and pointed inside, he nodded with understanding and gestured for her to enter freely.

    The man's home was rather spartan, consisting of a single large room; a fireplace and cookware, a table and benches, a few sundries, and a huge mattress stuffed with straw occupied it. Morgan wondered how he could even bear to live there. Other things felt off to her about these temporary lodgings, she noticed as she looked around. She sat wordlessly at one of the benches, while her host scraped at something that had burned in his cook-pot.

    Eventually he presented her with dinner; Tepet Morgan felt her stomach turn at the sight of the sizzling meat. She pushed her bowl away. "I'm grateful for the food," she said, in response to his confused expression, "but I don't eat meat."

    He shrugged his shoulders, not comprehending her words. Tepet Morgan shook her head, and then laid down by the fireside, using her bundled cloak as a pillow. She watched the embers dance, and focused on the kinship between the flames in the hearth and the fire inside her. After some time, the Dynast began to doze.

    As the last dregs of sunlight disappeared below the horizon, the color drained from the farmer's face. It was now the fanged face of a pallid corpse; a second later, his hand passed over, and it vanished behind a mask of soulsteel. With a motion like shaking dust from a garment, the man banished the color from his robes, revealing them to be a dead-white priestly raiment. He was a farmer no longer; he was the Pilgrim of Mercy.

    The Anathema crept closer to his sleeping guest, raised a hand as if to strike her. A massive black blade manifested in his grip, like a hungry ghost eager for slaughter. However, the next sound was not the bite of soulsteel into vulnerable flesh, but the harsh ring of metal on stone; his target had rolled out of the way. He cursed in Rivertongue.

    The Dragon-Blooded stood framed in the blaze, her own sword drawn now. Flames licked up and down her naked blade with killing intent, but these were not as fierce by half as the blazing anger in her eyes.

    "Why?" she asked in his language; her step closer made him draw back a step involuntarily. "Why did you kill the people who lived here?"

    "The family was suffering," he said, tightening his grip on the sword. "I relieved their pain. How did you know?"

    The heat was as if the blaze from the hearth was emerging with her. "Multiple benches at the table. Doll carved out of wood under the table. The loose soil outside. The smell of your cooking. I just had to put the pieces together."

    Enraged at the revelation of his mistakes, the Pilgrim of Mercy lunged; she parried his offense, sending sparks scattering over his black mask. "I'll end your suffering as well," he said.

    "Not today, you won't," she said; her sword, Grayson's Ember, gouged into the Pilgrim's side, cauterizing the wound even as it caused it.

    The Abyssal howled and twisted away, his body moving unnaturally to disengage from her, moving more like a spider than a human.

    "Preach your false mercy someplace else," she said to his back. "If I see you again, I'll kill you."

    Once she was sure he was gone, Tepet Morgan was quick to banish the fire of her anima; if she had intended for the house to go up in flames, she would have left the Anathema inside to burn with it. Before bedding down again, she went outside and laid a circle of salt around where the bodies were buried. She did not dig them up - she did not want to see what state he had left them in, only wanted to ensure they would not rise and trouble her in the night. She also salted the doorway, as a precaution.

    In the morning she would visit the other houses, and see if the people there knew what horror had sheltered in this one, see if they were even alive. But for now she would sleep.

  • TheCountAlucard
    Glad you enjoyed. I wonder who's making my present…

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  • BrilliantRain
    I liked the story too.

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  • Reighnhell
    RE: A Night's Rest

    Thank You!

    Just the sort of thing a like, it gives hints of a greater back story without leaning on exposition. Somewhere, these two will meet again!

    Leave a comment: