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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • Originally posted by Erinys View Post
    "I am Nergui. What I want is to find a way out of this and kill the man or monster responsible. Which is probably Himitsu and Joy. If you want to follow me out, stop asking personal questions."
    I'll go along with this.


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

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    • The real question is: "do we want to seduce a scaled, spiny-armed fish woman, in the middle of some kind of Wyld storm?"
      I can't think of an answer that isn't "yes."

      (Beyond that, I'd go with Ferryman's answer.)

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      • You take a deep breath. Part of you wants to tell her to shut up, but she talked freely about the source of her power. You should return the favor.

        “Fine.” You consider the shape of your life, trying to work out what you can safely mention without opening old wounds or raising new questions. “My family lived on the steppes…” you pause, wince, and push through. “...when they died, I moved south. Was a bandit, for a while, before I moved to the city, looking for… a better living. Got started breaking heads for gangs, then moved up to making rich people feel safe, and then to attacking rich people to make other rich people more money. Built up a rep, started freelancing more…” you pause again, wondering what other pertinent information you have to share. “...I moved between towns a few times. Did some other scavenging and merc work.”

        “It sounds like you’ve had a long career,” says Nuo, sounding cautious. “How old are you?”

        “South of one hundred, north of you. The blessing keeps me young.”

        “What else does it do?”

        “It helps me fight better, heal quicker… sharpens my eyes and ears. I’m still finding new things I can do with it.”

        “How did you get this blessing?”

        You scowl - Nuo is pushing into unsafe territory. “It just came to me, when I was fighting.”

        “Was this during your mercenary career?”

        “Ugh! No. It was before…” you trail off, looking up into the sky.

        Somewhere at the edge of your consciousness, you hear Nuo say “before what?” - but you can’t stop looking at the sky. There was no sky before, but there is now. This sky is dull grey, not yet ready to rain. Your mind ties the threads of your situation together… you’re on a black scarred stallion, riding past grass and scrub under a steel sky, desperate to get somewhere. Without really knowing why, you kick your horse to get it going faster. You fly off the road despite Nuo’s unheard shouts, running into the hills.

        You gallop over the rises, following a familiar pattern. Your horse trips and breaks its leg as you pass over a ditch. You fall to the ground, roll, and get to your feet with the same curses as always, then run on, leaving the squealing animal behind.

        You get to the top of the next ridge and stop, dumbstruck. Below you is a vast plain, covered with thousands upon thousands of bodies. Your legs start to go weak, but you force yourself to walk down there. Vultures picking through the corpses fly away as you approach, but not too far.

        They are mostly adults, armed. Hairstyles, armor, and broken banners show that these are warriors from every clan on the steppes. Ganzorig brought all of his forces here to make a stand. You wander through clusters of men and women who fell to arrows, spears, and swords. The stench is overpowering.

        Near the middle, you start finding slaughtered Many Horse people - people you knew. Everyone you knew is on this field. You pass by the carcasses of cousins, uncles, aunts, and eventually your closest kin. Tömörbaatar, hacked apart. Bat-erdene1, drowned in mud and blood. Mönkhbat2, a spear pinning him to the ground. Father, slumped over the bodies of his own honor guard. Mother3 and your sisters4 fought and died in a group, clutching daggers around a portable totem that they would always carry to important battles.

        You want to cry, or throw up, or scream and pound the earth with your fists. Instead, you stare blankly at the carnage and pointlessly wonder why this happened.

        1
        ”Strong Jewel.” Your oldest brother, heir to the clan. Things were tense between you in the months since you were blessed – even though you told him that leadership didn’t interest you, he always seemed jealous of your growing power and fame.

        2
        ”Eternal Firmity.” Your second oldest brother, easily the most aggressive in your family. When you were little, he bullied you constantly. When you were older, he taught you how to fight.

        3
        Bolormaa, “Crystal Mother.” Spiritual leader of the clan. She taught you all you knew of the gods and the sacred art of writing. She loved father very much.

        4
        Besides Altansetseg, there was Khulan (“Onager”) and Gerel (“Light”). Khulan was a wild child, always getting into trouble with or without your help. She enjoyed falconry. Gerel was quieter, more studious, always practicing calligraphy. All three of them loved to dance.


        It feels like you stay there forever, walking in the same slow circles around the complete ruin of your life.

        You hear a voice, perhaps, but it sounds far away. Something moves in front of you – you’re not sure what, because you’re looking at the people on the ground. You move around it. The voice gets louder, but no more important. You’re about to make another circuit when something solid hits you right in the jaw.

        You stumble back, disoriented, and your hand goes to Cleaver. There is a fish-woman standing in front of you with her fists up, and you cannot imagine why she is there. Nuo isn’t part of the dream. She looks very angry.

        “I said, snap out of it!” she says. “I don’t know what all of this is or why it’s here, but in case you’ve forgotten, we’re still trapped in the place where the world unraveled.”

        You barely understand what she’s saying. You still can’t believe she’s here. “Nuo? Why are you here?” you ask, lowering your sword hand.

        “I followed you. You got this weird look in your eyes, and then you tore off and left me with no explanation. Godsblood, Nergüi… What is going on?”

        Your surprise fades, replaced with a deep shame and sense of humiliation. You’d rather that Nuo found you face down in the gutter, bleeding from every orifice, than here. “It’s… an old nightmare,” you say, fumbling for words. “It’s been on my mind since… well…”

        Nuo looks as if she’s about to ask a question, but then thinks the better of it. “Come on,” she says, starting to walk back in the direction you came. “We should get out of here.”

        You purse your lips and shake your head. “No, not that way…” Your gaze turns towards the far side of the field.

        “What do you mean? The road is this way.”

        “But that’s not the way out. I… This dream always ends the same way. I walk to the other side of the field, and then I wake up.”

        “…We’re not in your dreams, Nergüi. I certainly hope I’m not.”

        “Trust me.” Without waiting to see how she answers you begin the trek to the other side, carefully stepping over bodies. Knowing they aren’t real does little to put you at ease.

        “You’re not giving me a choice, are you? Godsblood…” she jogs to catch up and starts walking alongside you, keeping close. “I promise, if you run away again, I will-“

        “[Youngest Joy…]” groans one of the bodies by your feet. Nuo gives a start – you grab her upper arm and start walking faster.

        “[We needed you, Youngest Joy…]” says a dead woman, lips unmoving.

        “[Where were you!?]” cries another.

        “[You should have been here.]”

        “Nergüi, what are they saying?” says Nuo, pulling away. You can’t tell if she’s frightened or fascinated.

        “Nevermind. Just keep going.”

        “[We trusted you.]” “[Why were you not here?]” “[They killed us, Youngest Joy.]” The voices of the murdered start to come faster and louder as more and more of them join in chorus of accusations. Nothing you’ve done since you shed your name ever made you feel as guilty as this.

        “Nergüi, I -

        “Keep. Going.”

        “[Where is our champion?]” “[The gods have left us...]” “[Youngest Joy, how could you?]” “[You led us to ruin, Youngest Joy.]” “[We are betrayed.]” “[Do not leave us, Youngest Joy.]” “[We died for you.]” “[This is all your fault.]” “[Worthless fool!]” “[We believed in a lie...]”

        Eventually, their voices die down as you reach the other side of the field. The hillock on this side abruptly ends in a wall of shifting colors and shapes. Trusting to your instincts, you push straight into it. Your sight blurs, you have a chill like passing through a waterfall, and then you are on the other side.

        You stumble back into a familiar world. It is early morning, lightly drizzling. It seems you have exited somewhere along the banks of the Upper Green. Eight Roads is visible in the distance through the rain. A slight breeze blows the spray into your face. You smell wet dirt, woodsmoke, and water. After the chaotic jumble of feelings from the unshaped place, these familiar sensations are a welcome relief. You turn to look back and see a huge, irregular dome of shifting colors and shapes stretching up into the sky. The dome completely covers over the river and the land around it, like a blob of something thrown onto a tapestry.

        Nuo exits the dome while you’re surveying it, seeming to suddenly pop into existence before its rippling wall. She falls to her knees, gasping for breath. Trails of mist rise off of her body as the scales and spines fade away. When you offer her a hand up, she clasps your forearm and rises, adjusting her hat. Then she, too, turns around to look at the dome.

        “Godsblood… it must be miles across…” she says in disbelief. You can only nod in agreement. Both of you stand there for a while, lost in your own thoughts. Eventually, Nuo speaks again, her voice tired and flat. “Well… We’re alive, and we’ve escaped. Ayumu is probably dead…”

        “He is. I watched him die,” you interject.

        Nuo is quiet for some time. “…Five fates, what an ungodly business. Well, now what?”

        “Now I go find Himitsu and Joy, and tear them limb from limb.”

        “That simple, is it? Do you even know for sure that they did this? Or if they did, if it was deliberate?” Nuo shakes her head. “Even if it was them… Nergüi, they have a weapon that can destroy the land itself. You might survive, but what would happen to the rest of Eight Roads if you fought them head-on? We need more information, and a plan.”

        “’We?’”

        “Yes, ‘we.’ I want to avenge the Grand Magister, and I want to stop whoever did this from doing it again. I’ll cut them to ribbons.” She sounds like she means it, and she is right about one thing – you should come up with a plan.
        • What will you do? (Open player challenge! What is the next step? Suggest a goal and an approach, or something more specific you would like our heroes to do.)
        Last edited by semicasual; 08-13-2015, 08:32 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

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        • Ugh, working with Nuo? Her obnoxious interrogation is what brought the nightmare out. I should punch her.


          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

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          • Indeed. No fish woman is worth this!

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            • Ask her why she cares to avenge the Grand Magister. Who is he to her? If her answer satisfies us, then let her tag along. We understand vengeance rather well and will not deny someone's thirst for it.


              I write things.

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              • Well, back into the blob, since Himetsu and JoM are probably at the center.

                Nuo can come along. The god-blood is the only possible ally, however little help she turns out to be. Plus, she may have a long enough lifespan to dally with later, if she'll stop being so nosy.


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

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                • Sneak your way over to Himitsu's. Gather evidence. If he's gloating, you're sure this is his doing. If not, he might be an expert on this subject whom you can compel for information...


                  "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

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                  • Start being stealthy now. Nuo can come along if she can be suitably stealthy. Find Himitsu and find Joy and observe them for now. I find it unlikely that Himitsu, a mere mortal, could have mastered the power of the stone so swiftly. Either this was a horrible accident and we should steal the stone or more likely Joy was using Himitsu and it was her doing and she needs to die.

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                    • If Himitsu lets fae talk him into doing this kind of thing, he needs to die.


                      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

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                      • I was thinking more along the lines of she used him to get the stone in the first place, but now that she has it, Himitsu is either dead or enslaved. Whatever the situation, I vote for a stealthy approach, observation, and then an ambush against whoever needs to die, perhaps an assassination via numerous arrows to the back.

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                        • Originally posted by semicasual View Post

                          “Yes, ‘we.’ I want to avenge the Grand Magister, and I want to stop whoever did this from doing it again. I’ll cut them to ribbons.” She sounds like she means it, and she is right about one thing – you should come up with a plan.
                          • What will you do? (Open player challenge! What is the next step? Suggest a goal and an approach, or something more specific you would like our heroes to do.)
                          First, we go get some noodles. Never trust a stratagem formed while hungry. Never ends well.


                          Duly Elected Guild Hierarch of the Onyx Path Forums

                          http://northernfoxgames.com/

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                          • Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                            If Himitsu lets fae talk him into doing this kind of thing, he needs to die.
                            "Lets" a fae talk him into it. lol


                            "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

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by The Revenge of TV Head View Post
                              First, we go get some noodles. Never trust a stratagem formed while hungry. Never ends well.
                              Isn't the noodle shop inside Eight Roads, which is inside the blob? And so are all the local watering holes


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

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
                                Isn't the noodle shop inside Eight Roads, which is inside the blob? And so are all the local watering holes
                                No, this 'blob' doesn't touch the town itself. Although, since the river runs right through it, that could mean some problems for the town's drinking water. Hmmm...


                                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

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