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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • I agree with quick. He is a mercenary, not a murderer. She did make us remember all the hate and pain and shame though, so it could end up a little worse than normal. But just a little.

    About Nou
    Nou has walked through our own dreams/nightmares with us and she has not run away. She stood up to the Sorcerer really well and (even though under a lot of stress) litterally said that she does not Care that we are a solar.

    She is probably the one we have met so far who have had the best chance of understanding us, so we should definitely not push her away (more than our general attitude already does).


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

    Comment


    • Kill Joy now. Put the knife in her heart. Mercy doesn't enter into it, every moment she lives is another chance for her to pull some kind of trick and escape.

      Try to help Nuo not die. She's been helpful, and we surely must have learned to bind wounds at some point?

      Comment


      • Almost before you know what you are doing you have closed the gap between yourself and Joy again. You stab the knife into her throat, jerk it sideways, and pull it free. Black ichor spurts from her neck. You shift your grip on the knife slightly, then make a hard swing with your entire body. The knifepoint punches through the thin bone around her temple as you push in with all your strength. The hilt and your fist hit her skull at the same time, knocking her down as you follow through.

        When she starts to topple, you let go of the knife and watch her fall. Joy hits the floor with a heavy thump. Her mouth hangs open, and her uncanny eyes stare at nothing. You let out a breath you did not know you were holding.

        “It hurts,” comes a noise from the corpse. Joy’s lips move and form clear words, despite everything. She sounds perplexed. “Why does it hurt? What does-“

        Joy’s voice abruptly stops as your boot comes down on her jaw. Then you get down on your knees and use the Stone in both hands to bash against her head until there is nothing left but pulp and broken pieces.

        “Damned *xian,” says Nuo, directly behind you. She sounds very tired.

        Blood and gore slide off the Stone as you stand up, leaving it pristine in comparison to you. You turn to face Nuo and check over her again with better light. If anything, she looks worse than before. She sways a little where she stands, although the fact that she can stand at all is a good sign.

        “We should go,” you grumble. “Best not to be here when anyone comes to look.”

        “Through… that?” Nuo, nodding towards the magic wall.

        You frown, considering the problem. You could simply go around the barrier, but Nuo does not look like she is up to climbing through windows. Right now, you are not keen on looking for other routes yourself. You hold out the stone towards the wall the close your eyes, thinking. If the stone could summon forth this energy, then perhaps…

        You open your eyes and watch as the whirling colors are drawn through the air and into the stone, like water being sucked down a drain. The Stone sparkles as the shapeless matter sinks into it. In a few moments, the wall is gone with nothing to show it was there except for the ruin of the room.

        “Well… Isn’t that something?” says Nuo. Definitely tired.

        “I know a healer in the Copper district,” you say, striding towards the door. Then you stop. “…Can you walk that far?”

        “...I think so… ughhhh…” a long sigh escapes Nuo as fog fills the air around her. When it clears, the scales and fins have faded away. Blood contrasts against her skin much more clearly now. She looks pale, pained, and just as damp as before. “I… might need some help.”

        Wordlessly, you step to her right, letting her lean into your uninjured side. Then you grit your teeth and scrunch up your eyebrows, concentrating until the golden ring on your forehead flickers and goes dark. The two of you walk carefully down the front steps and into the night, holding the Stone of Making between you.


        Without calling on your blessing to let you ignore wounds, you find that you need some help yourself after a few blocks. It is hard to say whether you lean more on Nuo or she on you during the long walk to Doctor Jian’s place of business – probably the latter, given how she sags under you.

        Jian’s House of Healing is a mid-sized establishment with a charm shop on one side and a butchery on the other. The sign on the door says they close at sundown, but you know that if you bang on the door long enough and loud enough, Jian will answer.

        “What!? Godsblood, do you know what time it is oh shit it’s you,” says Jian, opening a window in response to your knocking. Jian is a portly middle-aged man who always wears his salt-and-pepper hair in one dense braid. His face has a sallow color which he claims comes from a misspent youth practicing alchemy.

        “Jian, we need patching. The woman first – she’s cut up worse than me,” you answer, getting straight to business.
        “Ooooh, damn you both! Fine!” Jian slams the window shut. Lights come on inside the House. A moment later, the door rattles open and Jian hustles out in a sleeping robe and slippers. “Wait… This is Nuo!”

        “Hello… doctor…” says Nuo, forcing some friendliness through her discomfort.

        “Godsblood, Nergüi, what have you been doing!? No, don’t bother. You mercenary types, always slashing each other to bits, and whenever anyone asks ‘why?’ it’s always ‘You don’t want to know,’ or ‘None of your business.’ But it is my business to sew the bits back together and with no concern for my business hours...”

        Jian’s rant continues with barely a pause for breath as he ushers you inside. Some lamps on the ceiling shed bright yellow light all over the shop. Jian clears a countertop of bottles and jars, helps Nuo climb up onto it, and lays her out. You slump down to the floor next to the counter and start eyeing the jars Jian set down, idly perusing their contents. Nuo’s hat and shredded clothes drop into your lap. Above you, you can hear Jian going to work - the soft tinkle of metal tools, the clatter of little wooden boxes, and the sucking sound of wounds being probed.

        “Godsblood, Nuo. You never come in here like this. Ooh, that will need sutures… and this one, and this one… Godsblood, did you forget how to dodge!? What even is this… Oooh, my. That one is stuck in deep… Nuo, drink this. It’ll knock you right out… that’s it…”

        “Any of that for me, doctor?” you say, half grousing, half hopeful.

        “We’ll see,” says Jian in that tone which means ‘There had better not be.’ “Don’t touch those bottles. I don’t care if you can pay for it, if you drink down all my distilled alcohol again, I’ll just let you bleed out, see if I don’t. You don’t just buy that, it takes weeks to make enough, and with all the cleaning I do…”

        Seeing no need to keep fighting your fatigue, you let Jian’s rambling fade into the background and drift off to sleep.


        You awake, briefly, when Jian starts poking into your injured chest. Barely conscious, you stand up and take Nuo’s place on the counter. Nuo is resting under a blanket on a cot on the floor – Jian must have pulled it out here. Or was it always there?

        With Jian’s help, you pull off all of your weapons and your brigandine. The damage from the magus’ spell was worse than you thought – it’d be easier to replace the armor than to repair it. But that is a problem for another time. As it turns out, Jian still has some poppy tonic to knock you out. The smell turns your stomach – bad memories - but you chug it down anyway.

        When you wake up again, it is morning. You are lying under a thin sheet on top of a straw mat. Your head and chest have been bandaged up. You sit up quickly, looking around, and relax when you find your things – including the Stone – piled in a heap a few feet away. A few feet beyond that, Nuo is where you last saw her, still asleep. She is lying on her back, facing away from you, breathing steadily. Her color seems to have improved.

        “Good morning, you rats,” calls Jian, stepping into the room. His eyes are sunken from lack of sleep. “Looks like you both made it. Well done.” He carries a small tray with a teapot and some cups over to you, setting it down between your ‘bed’ and Nuo’s. “Have some tea. Let it never be said that I do not offer hospitable service. Now drink up and get out of here so my real customers don’t have to see you. Nergüi, I want you to pay up by this afternoon. Or Nuo. I don’t care who covers it. Silver, no scrip.”1

        Nuo sits up, shaking her head. She looks between the tea tray and Jian, pursing her lips. “Thank you, doctor… Where are my clothes?”

        “In the trash heap,” says Jian, cheerfully. “You don’t want to wear dirty, bloody rags over clean bandages – where’s the sense in that? Healthier to go out naked.”

        Both you and Nuo glare at Jian in silence. You break off eye to the teapot, wondering if the contents are hot enough to scald.

        “Fine, take the sheets,” says Jian, sighing theatrically. “They’re only my own bedding, why not? I’ll put it on your tabs.”

        With that, Jian turns and walks behind a curtain into the back of his store, muttering as he goes. Nuo pinches the bridge of her nose, sighs, then throws up her hands and pours some tea. She takes her cup and stares at the wall in front of her with a thoughtful expression, occasionally taking a sip.

        You take your cup, take a quick sip to see how hot it really is, then drink it all in one long gulp. It tastes like mint. Refreshed, you haul yourself up, wrapping the sheet around yourself like a crude sarong. When you are satisfied that the improvised garment will not come untied or slip off, you bend down and lift the heap of your possessions off the floor. It takes a bit of finagling to hold onto it all.

        While you work out how to secure your weapons, Nuo too gets ‘dressed’ and finishes her tea. Eventually, you work out a satisfactory arrangement – everything you could belt on has been belted on, and you leave your wrecked armor on the floor to be Jian’s problem. The Stone stays in your hands – you can fold it into part of the sheet to hide it. Nuo watches in silence, waiting to speak until you are just about ready to leave.

        “So,” she says, conversationally. “What now?”
        • Go home. You can reorganize your things, get more silver to pay off Jian… maybe start packing to leave Eight Roads…
        • Get breakfast. There were some bits in one of your pouches, more than enough for food. Bread would be wonderful right now.
        • Get real clothes. Walking around wearing a sheet is degrading. With what little you have, at least you can afford not to look like you stole Jian’s laundry.
        • Talk to Nuo. Go over the events of last night. Some things are bothering you...
        • Something else?
        1
        You first met Jian after a job went unusually bad and your employer carted you to his store. Much as you’d like to pound him for being insolent, you have to admit that he’s been very helpful over the years. Ignoring everything he says is a small price to pay for not having to do your own stitches.



        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


        • >Get real clothes, then breakfast.


          "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


          • Go Home and start packing. Sneak in though and try not to be seen. Who knows what is waiting for you when you get there.

            Afterwards leave town.

            ((This is Nergui's plan, but I doubt Nuo is going to want to be left behind. ))


            I write things.

            Comment


              • Go home. You can reorganize your things, get more silver to pay off Jian… maybe start packing to leave Eight Roads…
              • Get real clothes. Walking around wearing a sheet is degrading. With what little you have, at least you can afford not to look like you stole Jian’s laundry.
              • Get breakfast. There were some bits in one of your pouches, more than enough for food. Bread would be wonderful right now.
              • Talk to Nuo. Go over the events of last night. Some things are bothering you...
              Pretty much in that order. There are more clothes at home, possibly some food. May have to wash the hair again. Luckily Nameless left some money at a bankers' instead of splurging it all.
              • Something Else. Perhaps the Stone can put the blob around poor ol' Ayumu's place right. Ayumu is remembered fondly because he offered us a drink right before dying; if he had lived we might not have liked him.


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

              Comment


              • Go home. Breaking fast would be pleasant and also amusing, but mostly for others.

                Comment


                • 1. Go home fast and don't be seen.
                  2. Get clothes at home.
                  3. Maybe wash hair
                  4. Eat.
                  5. Pay Jian.
                  6. Unmake blob around Ayumu's house.
                  7. Pack up and leave this foolish barbarian town, once and for all. (Packing up includes retrieving money from the bank, replacing armor, and getting some food and alcohol and soap for the road.)


                  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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                  • We have no obligation to rebuild the house of a dead man.

                    Comment


                    • ((Not rebuild, but getting rid of the blob.))

                      Just because we don't respect the ways of these gods-hating heathens*, just because we love nobody, doesn't mean we have no sense of propriety at all. That blob is unclean.

                      They hated our gods, and they hate us and our people for being blessed by our gods.


                      ((Nuo is the very first southern person who knows what Nergui is and doesn't immediately hate him. He loves nobody (alive) and is used to thinking everyone hates him, so he's hardened his heart against sentiment, and probably also despises southerners. But deep down he must be terribly lonely. I don't really think Nuo can crack his emotional defenses, get him to not want to walk away from her, so quickly. Buuuut she may start to if she tries to talk to him about last night without ever bringing up his past.))
                      Last edited by Erinys; 10-02-2015, 04:16 PM.


                      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

                      Comment


                      • “Now I’m going home to pack. Time for me to leave Eight Roads,” you answer, turning away. There is a pregnant pause while you walk over to the door and slide it open. The does not seem to be set into the frame properly and you have to fight it a little. Maybe you hit it too hard last night…

                        “That’s it? After everything that happened, you just forget about it and walk away?” Nuo’s voice follows you out the door, incredulous and angry.

                        Outside, the town is already getting to work. Storekeepers are opening up, early risers are going about their business, and the sounds and smells of industry are intensifying. In particular you notice the smell of food – bakers are getting the day’s loaves ready, and the aroma is making your mouth water. You keep your head down and walk a little faster – hunger notwithstanding, you have no desire to be seen or talk with anyone now.

                        Nuo comes jogging up behind you, clutching her sheet as she goes. “Wait… the… situation with the other houses isn’t stable,” she says, struggling to keep pace with you. “The... hole… where the Ryuunosuke house was is still there. Someone is sure to notice soon that Himitsu is dead-“

                        “None of that is my problem,” you snap. “My problem is that Himitsu found me out. I don’t know how, and I don’t know who else he told. So now it’s either leave, or…” you trail off, remembering who you’re talking to.

                        “…kill everyone who knows?” says Nuo, finishing your thought.

                        You come to an abrupt stop, then start walking again at a slower pace. “…Yeah.”

                        Nuo is silent for the next few blocks. When she speaks again, her tone is somber. “If I had to guess… I would assume that he learned the truth the same way I did.” She looks straight ahead, not facing you when she speaks. “One of the scrolls I found… was an overview of the war with the steppe clans, decades ago.”

                        A lump forms in the bottom of your stomach. “…What did it say?”

                        “That the hitherto disorganized clans had started gathering in large numbers and were making bigger and more daring raids. A few villages were sacked. It seemed that someone had risen to become king of all the clans, and had designs on our lands. At first, our defenses weren’t strong enough to stop them, but…” Nuo pauses, as if in thought. “…a group of five priests, foreigners, came. They preached that the enemy horde was led by an abomination – a monster in the shape of a man whose evil magic made him even more dangerous than the horde itself. People listened. They organized the nobles and rallied a real army to push back…”

                        “[May they be reborn as worms],” you mutter.

                        Nuo pauses, confused, but then keeps going as if you had said nothing. “…The priest-led army boxed the clans in on the Plain of Cold Springs, and defeated them all. The abomination might have been killed there, or not – the priests seemed to think they had succeeded, but accounts from witnesses say that the signs they were told to look for did not appear.”

                        The lump in your stomach grows.

                        “No one has seen a steppe barbarian for generations. It’s not surprising that most people don’t know who you are. But, given your incredible skills and your… unique appearance… well. I made an educated guess. Maybe Himitsu did too, or Joy did.”

                        “Nuo… you’d better not-“

                        “I’m not stupid, Nergüi. I’m not thinking of blackmail. And I don’t think you’re a monster.” She shakes her head. “At least, not especially. I was never much for religion – my upbringing saw to that.”

                        “Well… good. Still, I should go. It… might be dangerous for me to stay.”

                        Nuo sighs. “I understand. I just wish…” she trails off and looks away. “…Just, please, answer me this… Were you there… at Cold Springs?”

                        You close your eyes and take a deep breath. “…No. I wasn’t.”

                        “What… why?”

                        “I was sent away. My father thought… I don’t know what he thought, but I was far away when the fighting started. By the time I could get back, it was already over.”1

                        Conversation ceases between you until you are back in the Iron district, standing in front of your house. You slide the door open and step inside, relieved to be off the street. At a glance, things are as you left them. You turn to look and find that Nuo has stopped following.

                        “I have a stash nearby,” she says, adjusting her sheet. “I’ll get new clothes there, but first… I have to know. What will you do with the Stone of Making?”

                        You unwrap the Stone and gaze into it, thinking. It seems you are back at a familiar crossroads. What now?
                        • Keep the Stone. You need it. Clearly, you have a lot to learn about how to use it, but if you could master its power…
                        • Destroy the Stone. This rock has been nothing but trouble. Best make sure it can never threaten you – or anyone else - again.
                        • Leave the Stone. You got what you wanted – the pair who thought they could fuck with you are dead. As for what happens to the stone, you don’t care. It’s not your problem anymore, and you’ve got tracks to make.
                        • Something else?

                        The night before had been a somber one. Your momentum, previously driven by one easy victory after another, had stalled. The southerners’ tactics had improved dramatically, their skirmishers were destroying your supply lines, and you couldn’t be everywhere at once to overpower their resistance. Ganzorig said he had a plan to defeat them, but he would not tell you what it was.

                        You were feeling restless, so you got a little wine to help you sleep. It tasted odd. You woke up two days later, being dragged along in a cart by two of your cousins. Outraged, you thrashed them both and stole their scarred carthorse to ride back. You rode that horse to death in vain.
                        Last edited by semicasual; 10-12-2015, 10:59 AM.


                        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


                        • Keep the Stone.


                          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

                          Comment


                          • Keep the stone.


                            "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


                            • Keep the stone. It's.... the most beautiful thing we have ever possessed. We could use more beauty considering the life of death and violence we lead.


                              I write things.

                              Comment


                              • Keep it, though possibly ask Nuo's opinion on it.

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