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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • You decide you’ve had enough of Wan’s lip. He needs to shut his mouth, and those who follow him need to be cowed.

    Your eyes narrow, and the world slows to a crawl around you. You let go of Wei with a hard shove, tossing him aside to give you space. Your right hand goes to Vortex, expanding the staff with string of snapping and popping while you give it a quick twirl from the midsection. Wan’s eyes widen and his jaw drops slightly. His sword-hand sluggishly starts to pull his sword into a guard – too slow. Much too slow. He is several arm-lengths away from you, but that doesn’t matter.

    You thrust your arm out, pointing with the third section, focusing your energy into the staff. The metal rod suddenly becomes two, then four, then eight, and finally sixteen sections as it repeatedly doubles in length with a loud, rapid series of clacks and clinks. The endmost rod flies out, smashing into Wan’s lower lip. Blood and broken teeth fall to the ground.

    You jerk back your arm while Wan is reeling and crying out in pain. Vortex snaps back into its normal three-sectioned shape, and then you charge. Running to Wan’s left, you make a two-handed sweep at his leg. Steel hits bone – Wan cries out again, stumbles, then falls to one knee. Vortex spins around and you swing from the same angle again, aiming for the head. The staff cracks against his skull, knocking him face-first into the road.

    He lies there, groaning and gurgling, as you pause to take in the crowd. Nobody has moved. Everyone is looking at you with worry, fear, or complete terror. Whispers, gasps, and gulps are their only sounds. None of them meet your gaze, but you watch them anyway as you take a step back from Wan and start drawing Vortex along the ground, tracing a line in the street. “Anyone who crosses this line,” you yell, “will walk away on broken legs. Who wants to try me?”

    Most of them don’t move. A few take steps back.

    “Then go home. It’s safer there. Leave fighting to people who know how.” Wan, gathering his arms underneath him, gradually starts to push himself up while blood drips down from his face. You crack him across the ribs with an underhanded swing and he rolls onto his side, hacking and spluttering.

    “You! The mouthy one!” you call, brandishing Vortex at the other swordsman. “There’s already a group outside the magus’ place. You run down there and tell them to clear out. I will come by to check later, and if anyone is still in the street… things’ll get bloody.” He flinches when you point, then freezes up. When he doesn’t leave right away you shout again. “Are you deaf!? GET MOVING!”

    The man bolts to one side of the street and then past you, evidently determined to follow your order and stay out of your reach. The rest of the crowd is dispersing, quickly walking away in any available direction. One especially courageous fellow hesitantly approaches while you glare at them. He pulls Wan to his feet and puts his arm around his shoulder, supporting Wan’s left side as the pair of them unsteadily walk away.

    Satisfied that nobody is going to try something foolish or clever1, you turn your attention to the street behind you. Wei is where you dropped him, Nuo is standing over him. Both of them are watching you carefully.

    “I don’t know if you planned all of that but… thank you, Nergüi,” says Nuo, her voice low.

    You nod. “Let’s get on with it.”

    1
    The difference between them is slim, sometimes. Trying to stab you in the back or attacking all at once with four or more people would be a good strategy in this situation, but probably suicidal just the same.


    A short time later, you are all back in the Shen house parlor. Nuo has lit a lamp and spread the stolen scrolls over a low table. Wei has been securely tied to a chair that you’re confident will hold up to any amount of rocking or knocking. You’re standing in the doorway, looking out into the back, contemplating your next step.

    The night is getting on, and you’re not getting any fresher.2 What angle should you look at first?
    • “Nuo, show me the scrolls.” The magus’ records might have a clue.
    • “Wei, don’t make this hard on yourself.” The lackey knows what’s up.
    • “Nuo, outside. Now.” What she said is needling at you… You should find out what she really knows about you, and how she knows it.
    • Something else?
    2
    You haven’t slept in… too long. Counting the time lost in the unraveled world, you’ve spent half the week awake, mostly on your feet, rarely eating. It’s starting to sink in.
    Last edited by semicasual; 08-31-2015, 11:42 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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    • "Wei, don't make this hard on yourself" seems like the fastest way of getting intel, and if he doesn't know anything, we can check the scrolls after confirming that.

      Personal issues with Nuo can wait.

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      • “Wei, don’t make this hard on yourself.”

        Find out what Wei knows.


        I write things.

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        • “Wei, don’t make this hard on yourself. Because you've seen what I do to people who piss me off."


          "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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          • tempting as it is to choose the Wei option,
            Something Else: a cat nap while Nuo is working.


            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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            • Nuo outside now.

              She works the scrolls. While you and Wei have a nice man to man talk.


              Duly Elected Guild Hierarch of the Onyx Path Forums

              http://northernfoxgames.com/

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              • “Wei,” you say, turning away from the outside to focus on the seneschal, “don’t make this hard on yourself.” You give him a baleful glare and advance towards him menacingly, flexing your hands, rolling your shoulders. “You’ve seen what I do to people who piss me off, and you’ve given me enough trouble as it is.”

                Wei shrinks back into the chair you tied him to. “What do you want from me?” he half-whispers, half-squeals.

                You loom over him in silence for a moment, then put your hands on his shoulders. “First, answer me this – did Himitsu destroy the Ryuunosuke house?” Your fingers clench into an uncomfortable squeeze.

                Wei’s eyes are wide with fear, his composure entirely broken. “Y-yes. I believe so.”

                “You ‘believe?’ I don’t care what you believe.”

                “I do not know – please, I really do not know!” says Wei, his voice pitching higher. You had already let go of his right shoulder to pull back a fist, but you stay your hand for the moment. “Mistress Joy came back from a day on the town, met with my employer in his office, and after they left at once. Neither one said where they were going. And when they returned, well…”

                “What about me?” you interrupt. “Was I supposed to die?”

                Wei shrinks even further. “…Mistress Joy said… that you had forced their hand. That you needed to be dealt with at once.”

                The room is silent while that sinks in. “What happened after they came back?” you ask, fighting to keep your voice level.

                “…We… I had made arrangements for… certain measures to be taken in preparation for Grand Magister Ayumu’s death. My employer told me that it was time for these to be activated when he returned.”

                “What are these ‘measures’?”

                “…removal of persons loyal to Ayumu from our organization.”

                From across the room, Nuo speaks up. Her voice is dark. “I found a few of my contacts dead, or missing. I couldn’t tell for sure if it was coincidence – they lived dangerous lives, and in the chaos after the explosion…” she trails off. Her tone suggests that she has decided against coincidence.

                You take step back from Wei and absently tug on your beard. “What about the Stone of Making? What did he plan to use it for?”

                Wei shakes his head. “I was not made privy to that information.”

                “Grah!” you growl in frustration. “Then guess!”

                “I do not believe my employer knew himself!” exclaims Wei, flinching. “It was unclear… what capacities the stone would have, or if his magical skills were sufficient to unlock them. Mistress Joy promised assistance, that much I know, but…”

                “Don’t test me, lackey. But what?”

                “...After you delivered the Stone, Mistress Joy and my employer spent the whole day in study of it. If they discovered any use for it, they did not tell me. Li and I took care of day-to-day administration while they were occupied.”

                “What’s he doing now, courting the high-borns?”

                “The Grand Magister’s death leaves a position that needs to be filled. He promises no further catastrophic accidents in exchange for support. ”

                “So, he’s threatening them all with magical death if they don’t bow to him?”

                Wei says nothing, but his expression sours. Yours is already as grim as it is going to get.

                What next?
                • “I’ve heard enough. What about those scrolls?” Himitsu’s own records might give you more details.
                • “We’re done. Nuo, we need to talk.” You’ll leave Wei for now, and see what Nuo has figured out. She could be dangerous…
                • “That’s all I need to hear.” You think you’ve learned all you need to. Clearly, Himitsu and Joy together tried to kill you. You only need to decide what to do about them.
                • Something else? (If you have more questions for Wei, feel free to suggest them along with another option.)


                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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                • That's all I need to hear. Devise methods of death. Oh and this guy Wei helped, too.


                  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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                  • hera what Nou has figured out amd them look at the scrolls, no reason not to investigate the clues we have gathered allready before we head off.


                    Also, look at the exalted fan collection that we are making.

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                    • >What about those scrolls?
                      >Did they say how or why you forced their hand?
                      >Ask what the deal is with Joy because it sounds like she's pulling Himitsu's strings...


                      "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


                        • “I’ve heard enough. What about those scrolls?” Himitsu’s own records might give you more details.
                        We're going to go kill Himetsu, might as well get the information possible before setting out.


                        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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                        • Something else?

                          "Why do you work for such a dangerously stupid man? What do you get out of it?"


                          I write things.

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                          • “We’re done. Nuo, we need to talk.” Priorities!

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                            • The vote is pretty close, so I'm going to leave it open a little longer. The next update will come on September 8th.


                              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

                              Comment


                              • I'll change my vote to That's all I need to hear. No way, we are leaving Wei alone again.


                                I write things.

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