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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • >Go to the bank, then find a full-service bath.
    >Be contemplative.

    "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

    "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo


    • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
      (Can I just say that I'm surprised by the number of people interested in hair care?)
      That is because Dreadlocks are cool!

      (I was a bit disappointed that the Hero players went with the Northern name, Svante, instead of the Southern one. So, I used that name (and the dreadlocks) with Svante's Sidereal Guardian, which worked out better as dreadlocks were a distinct feature I could used to create dramatic irony.)

      I write things.


      • Just started reading this. Love it.
        My vote:
        1. Get Drunk.
        2. Wash and customize hair. While Drunk.
        3. Shop for new goods and outfits. While Drunk.
        Then finally
        4. Go to the temple and be loudly contemplative. While Drunk.


        • In order:
          1. Get drunk.
          2. Bank some of income. While drunk.
          3. Wash and customize hair. While drunk.
          4. Go to the temple and lie around being quietly contemplative. While drunk.
          5. Remember that the whole point of drink is peace. Go to a bar and become loudly more drunk.

          I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
          Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors


          • 1. Bank some money while you're still sober. You know that you make poor judgments regarding money when you aren't sober.
            2. Being sober sucks. Fix that.

            Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop


            • After days (weeks?) on the road, what you want most now is to feel clean again. To that end, you head to the market at the juncture of Riverside and Southeast to pick up a little fermented rice water and a lot of more heavily fermented sorghum spirits. On the way, you find a bank factor to drop off most of your silver and trade the rest for smaller change. Then it’s back to the place in the Iron district which (for lack of a better word) you call home.

              You’re renting a small house in a cluster of other tiny residences surrounding a well. It’s a squat, single-room building with wooden walls, a thatched roof, and paper windows. A bed, a cooking pot, and what few other possessions you own that you don’t carry with you live in here. Occasionally, you pay someone to clean up the place. You also built a small extension – a ten-foot square, fenced in area outdoors where you can wash in private.

              You lay down your weapons and armor inside and grab a few buckets. One trip to the well later, you’re ready to begin.

              First, you take off your headband and scratch at the scars underneath. You get a fire going, heat up one bucket in the pot for a little while, have a drink, and pull the pot off the fire when it starts to simmer. While the water in the pot cools, you carefully untie your braids, straighten your hair a little, and have another drink. The rice water mixes into the pot. You have one more drink before you grab the pot and your other bucket to take outside. In your enclosure, you sit with your head over the pot and use an old clay bottle to scoop out the warm, diluted rice water and pour it over your hair. It drips back into the pot as you massage your scalp and slide your hair through your fingers, working the mixture through every strand.

              Once all of your hair is slick to the touch, you take the full bucket and rinse your hair off until it feels clean again. Satisfied, you gently squeeze out your mane, then take all of your things back inside.

              The fire is getting low, so you add some more wood. Then, with nothing better to do while your hair dries, you drink until you feel ready to sleep. You lie down on the floor by the fire and drift away…

              “[I am a man. I can braid my own hair.]”

              “[You always braid it wrong, Youngest. Do you want everything loose and lopsided?]”

              You are sitting in a tent, arms and legs crossed, fuming to yourself. Altantsetseg1, your oldest sister, is meticulously tying your hair in too-tight knots while you try to remain still. You wish she wouldn’t act like your mother when mother isn’t around.

              “[Why do I even need to be at this meeting? No one is there to listen to me.]”

              “[We must all be there to show that we are united behind father. Do you think the other clans will respect him if his own family does not?]”

              “[The other clans only respect force. They will not bow unless they have no choice. This whole meeting is a waste of time. Ow! Stop pulling!]”

              “[Stop squirming. Even if there is no hope, heaven and earth must be shown that we tried.]”

              “[The clan leaders care almost as little for the gods as they do for father’s dreams.]”

              “[That is not your concern. Father decides, and we support.]”

              This is a conversation you have had within your family many times. For years your father, Ganzorig2, has spoken of gathering the clans together to form a great army and invading the rich lands of the city peoples to the south. He had some kind of vision, and ever since he has pushed for more power and influence, believing it was his gods-given destiny to conquer a kingdom for your people.

              It was a compelling dream, and when you first heard it you believed in it with all your heart. Now, after all this time, you are beginning to think your father might be mad. Your clan has enough trouble trying to survive from year to year on the steppes, and the others are no better off. Generations of little wars between you have eroded almost all trust. No clan wants to give up their autonomy and risk what little they have on some insane ambition.

              “[Father does not need our support],” you say, giving voice to a thought that you have been mulling over for some time. “[He needs an advantage. Something he can use to compel the others to listen.]”

              Altantsetseg pauses. “[Brother, what are you talking about?]”

              “[We have been too conservative. We cannot do any more by talking, dealing, and skirmishing. Before we can fight the southerners, we need to conquer the steppes].”

              Your sister clucks her tongue and resumes braiding. “[With what army? Brother, be serious.]”

              “[I am serious! We take what we have and defeat one tribe, then take what they have to fight the next one, and keep going until we rule them all.]”

              “[That is amazing strategic thinking, and you should tell it to father, not me.]” says Altantsetseg.

              You sigh and give up. Wincing when she pulls your hair again, you decide to take her advice and approach your father after the meeting.

              ”Golden Flower.” You used to think her name was actually “Poppy” (Kysynyg) because everyone called her that. She hates that nickname since she came of age, sort of like how you hate being called “Youngest.”

              ”Steel Courage.” Sometimes you wish you could be more like him, other times you can’t stand how out of touch he seems to be with the world.

              A loud rapping on your door jolts you awake. There is still daylight coming through the windows. You are feeling woozy, and you reach for a bottle to steady yourself while pushing yourself to your feet. This does not work like you hoped – you wind up flipping yourself onto your side and knocking the bottle over.

              “Is someone in there? Hello!” shouts someone outside. More banging on your door follows. You groan and try to get yourself up again, this time focusing on rising first and grabbing the bottle second. You take a quick swig – luckily, you didn’t spill too much – and start lurching in the direction the door. Your kit is on the floor by the fire pit, so you stoop to grab Righty as you go. The banging on your door continues while you stagger towards it.

              You lean against the doorframe so that Righty is out of sight and slide open the door with your bottle-hand. Outside, you see a woman in a courier’s outfit – loose pants and shirt, tied up hair under a straw hat, and a serious expression. She does a double take when she sees you – at first, you think it’s because you look like a giant bedraggled cat with your hair down, but then you notice she’s looking above your eyes. After a brief surge of panic you realize that your mark isn’t showing, but the great mass of scar tissue on your forehead is3. You silently curse yourself for forgetting to put on your headband before answering the door.

              “What?” you say, letting all your anger out with the question.

              The woman takes a step back, then sets her jaw and steps forward again. Her serious expression is back. “Are you the warrior, Nergüi?”

              “Who wants to know?”
              “My name is Nuo. I work for the Grand Magister. I’m here to ask you some questions.”

              “Errrgh…” you say. You’re really in no mood for this. You take another pull from the bottle.

              “Have you recently worked for Magus Himitsu?”

              You just stare at her in silence.

              “The Magus has had people occupying an old castle not too far from here for several weeks now. You were seen traveling to and from there with one of the Magus’ attendants, and I believe you made a delivery to him earlier today. The Grand Magister would like to know what you brought to Himitsu, and why.”

              What do you do?
              • Tell the truth. She’ll go away faster if you’re straight with her - you gave the guy a magic rock with some kind of conjuring powers. You don’t know what he wants it for.
              • Lie. Deny everything – you’ve never met anyone named Himitsu, you don’t know what she’s talking about.
              • Tell her to go away. Just say “Fuck off,” and shut the door.
              • Something else?
              It was decades ago, around the time you started freelancing. You were in that state of drunkenness where you were just sober enough to act on really stupid ideas, and you were angry with yourself. You thought you could flay the mark off your head.

              You took a knife, a bowl, and a mirror you found (or stole?), and just started scraping. Looking into the mirror to see what you were doing didn’t last when the blood started running into your eyes, so you tried to work by feel. You cut all the way to the bone, but not neatly enough to take off a lot of skin. Instead you just scraped back and forth, over and over, biting into some leather to fight the pain, unable to see, unable to think of anything except getting the mark off, somehow.

              Eventually you got tired of fighting, and drank more until you passed out. You came to covered with and lying in a pool of your blood, which had gotten almost everywhere outside the bowl. You cleaned off the mirror, and cursed yourself for being so stupid and sloppy and all around worthless before you got back to trying to drink the pain away. It didn’t work, anyway.

              You’ve taken a lot of wounds since then, some much worse than the one you gave yourself. They always healed over in a few days, never leaving a sign, except for these scars on your head. They won’t go away and you don’t know why.
              Last edited by semicasual; 08-18-2015, 02:26 PM.

              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz


              • Lie. One doesn't get more work if you mouth off about your previous employers.

                I write things.


                • >Remember: did Himitsu pay you of your silence?
                  >>If not, consider: what could this magistrate really do to you? Well, in the long term - you could always kill her and leave town, but that just creates a new problem.
                  >>>You're probably not that great at lying, so why not ask her how it's any of her business?

                  "Chicanery-No: If a player uses this Charm in an abusive or exploitative manner, the ST may punch him right in the goddamn face." --TheDementedOne

                  "Happiness is very brittle and short-lived in the Exalted community, because ressentiment is our cultural touchstone." --Gayo


                  • Rebut: Why does he want to know?
                    I don't have a reason to tell you anything. Yet. (wave empty wine bottle).


                    • Something else. Say, "Himitsu paid me to go to an old fort and kill some bandits that used to work for him, check for yourself if there are any left." then shut the door.

                      It's true, as far as it goes....

                      Like my Avatar? Courtesy of Jen! : Anybody want their characters to be experimented on ? post 98
                      An Exalt is never unarmed.


                      • Himitsu didn't pay us for silence.
                        This magistrate, or whoever, isn't paying us to talk.
                        Tell her we killed some bandits and that she should go away now.

                        I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                        Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors


                        • I vote for shutting the door in her face. We're in a pissy mood, and what's this magistrate ever done for us?


                          • Mutter "Fuck off" and shut the door. A polite drunk, Nergui is not.

                            Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop


                            • I support the partial truth option.


                              • “Himitsu told me to go out there and kill some bandits,” you say, figuring a half-truth is the best option. “So I did. And then I went to see him today to get paid.”

                                Nuo raises an eyebrow. “Bandits. You don’t say.”

                                “I said it. You don’t believe me, woman? Go and have a look yourself. I’ll see you next week.” And with that, you fumble at the door until you have a grip and jerk it shut. You wait by the door for a while longer, half expecting her to start banging on it again, but nothing else happens. Satisfied that she is gone for now, you walk back to the fire and sit down, tossing Righty back into the pile of armaments.

                                You run your fingers through your hair – it seems dry enough to work with now. You find your comb and take your time straightening it, untangling knots and pulling out debris. Then you part it into sections and begin braiding. Your fingers merge and cross long lines of hair, working your way down from your scalp to your shoulders until you can make a little loop-knot at each end. Finally you finish, content with the many ropes cascading off of your head, and have a celebratory drink. You love having long hair. This style takes a lot of work, but the way you look and feel makes it all worthwhile. You wish you had a mirror right now1.

                                You hear a rumbling from your stomach and realize you haven’t eaten anything for several hours. There is no food around the house.

                                What do you do?
                                • Buy food to cook at home. Rice would be good. Maybe a chicken to go with it. None of the fruit you like is in season, but there should be plenty of burdock and cabbage to go around.
                                • Go out somewhere cheap. You know a good noodle place a few streets over. You can get more spirits there, too.
                                • Go out somewhere expensive. There was that one restaurant… what was the name? The place that had the pond-raised fish and the good wine. Probably should change into clean clothes if you go there.
                                • Something else? (If you really have your heart set on doing something less mundane than dinner, the option exists.)
                                You can’t seem to hold on to mirrors. You keep smashing them - sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes in those kinds of accidents that you think you probably could have prevented but chose not to.

                                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz