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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • What the... We don't WANT your wife. Where did this come from? Let's grapple and question him.

    I'm starting to remember why we used to drink. People man....
    Last edited by wonderandawe; 11-24-2015, 04:12 PM.


    I write things.

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    • er, nursing women we have been calling Mothers, that we want to train the Sunblessed in how to deal with children?

      Beat him senseless, leave him for the chiefs. If you want trust instead of fear, you better not shed any blood.

      When he is down, tell the man that you don't personally want his wife, or any man's wife; the women are to show the inexperienced Sunblessed mothers what to do and will be returned in time, unharmed.
      Last edited by L'het'esh; 11-24-2015, 04:40 PM.


      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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      • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
        er, nursing women we have been calling Mothers, that we want to train the Sunblessed in how to deal with children?

        Beat him senseless, leave him for the chiefs. If you want trust instead of fear, you better not shed any blood.
        When he is down, tell the man that you don't want his wife, or any man's wife, personally; the women are to show the inexperienced Sunblessed mothers what to do and will be returned in time, unharmed.
        Ah. That makes sense. I didn't think about the mothers.

        Changing my vote to "Beat him senseless and leave him for the chiefs."


        I write things.

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        • Humiliate him. Take him down barehanded. Then explain that the mothers will be returning after they teach my people their skills, and he was an idiot for risking the safety of his people by attacking you.

          Then tell the chiefs. If they want to kill their guy for being an ass, that's their business.

          It's too bad you had to break your sobriety with that friendship gesture, because now you REALLY think you need a drink.


          "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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          • Humiliate him with all the Dodge Charms.

            (None of those footnotes lead anywhere, by the way.)

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            • Originally posted by The MG View Post
              (None of those footnotes lead anywhere, by the way.)
              (Whoops, I forgot to edit those in. Fixed!)


              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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              • Evade his attacks, but don't strike back. Show him how outclassed he is, without harming him, while questioning what he's talking about, and/or explaining why we want the mothers.

                Humiliating someone just for wanting to keep his wife by him doesn't seem like a very good way to build good relations...

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                • Your hand closes around Cleaver’s hilt, then immediately releases it. You grit your teeth and lower your hands to your sides.

                  Grim Hammer attacks again, making a fast jab at your abdomen. You take a step back with your left foot and turn your torso away, letting his knife strike air. Then you lash out with your right forearm, dealing him a glancing blow on the forehead. He flinches, backs away, and snarls angrily.

                  “[I do not want your wife-]” you begin, then have to pause to sidestep his next lunge. “[This is for my clan-]” You hit his wrist with an open-palmed strike, deflecting his thrust. “[My children need mothers-]” You duck and twist out of the way when he slashes at your neck. “Argh!” Frustrated, you bend both legs and leap backwards. You fly back about twenty feet and land in a grouch, sliding a little in the dirt.

                  Watchers are starting to gather, peeking heads out of tents or peering at you from the edges of the corridor. The air is still, and full of whispers. “[No harm will come to any woman who follows me!]” you yell, less for Grim Hammer’s benefit and more for other listeners. Then you put the audience out of your mind and focus on your opponent. Grim Hammer is practically frothing at the mouth.

                  He sprints across the space, raising the knife behind him as he comes close. You brace yourself, wait until he is a few feet away, and spring into the air just as he attacks. Your feet clear his head as the knife comes down, stabbing where you were, and a few seconds later you touch down where you started. You breathe out as you turn around.

                  “[You cannot hurt me, fool,]” you shout back, but Grim Hammer does not listen. Persistent in the way that only berserkers and idiots can be, he charges at you yet again. You decide to stop humoring him.

                  The next time he comes close, you do not move a muscle. His knife rises, falls towards your neck, but you never break eye contact with him. Then, at the last possible moment, your right hand rises with lightning speed. The point of the knife pierces through your glove and stops against the skin of your palm. Before he can pull away, you reach up with your left hand and grab the knife by the blade. The blade is sharp, but not sharp enough - it cuts cleanly through your glove and digs a little way into your thumb, drawing no blood.

                  You push the knife away from you a little, pushing back against Grim Hammer’s straining arms. Then, suddenly, you take your right hand off the knife and deliver a right hook to his jaw. He stumbles and his grip weakens long enough for you to wrench the knife from his hands. Without letting go of the blade, follow up with a left cross to the gut. Grim Hammer wheezes and steps back, and before he can recover you drop him with an overhand punch.

                  Grim Hammer falls on his stomach, gasping for breath. You step away and glare down at him. As he starts to get up, he looks up at you and freezes. You are holding his knife out in front of you, gripping it by blade and handle. Gritting your teeth, you bend the blade sideways almost by a quarter-circle, and let it drop from your hands. The bent knife bounces and flops onto the dirt. Grim Hammer looks away from you to stare at it.
                  “[If you value your life or this clan, never challenge me again.]” Once again, you project your voice for the benefit of the spectators. Then you turn around and walk away. You glance back at Grim Hammer when you have put some distance between you. Some of the braver spectators have come closer to see what kind of shape their clansman is in. A short woman pushes through them and rushes to Grim Hammer’s side. She helps him to his feet, saying something, and he pushes her away as he stands up. His fists are clenched, and he will not stop glaring after you.

                  When you reach the high tent again, your children are inside. One of the braziers is lit, and Stone Will seems to be experimentally warming up some of your rations. Fire Heart has several sheets of marked-up hide spread out in front of him, his eyes darting between them as he thinks. Jewel Flower is lying on her back in the corner, looking at the ceiling like she expects to find an answer there. First, by the door, proffers a bit of dried meat to you as you walk in. You take the food, nod at first, and take a seat in the middle of the tent.

                  “[I told you to go forth and learn what you could,]” you remind them. “[What have you discovered?]”

                  Fire Heart answers first, the words bursting out of him. “[There is so much! The southerners have been moving north, following the Green River. Their furthest trading post is here,]” he points at a spot on one of the maps. “[No one has been to the far east since the buck-ogres starting appearing in numbers, so no one knows for certain what is over there. But there used to be tribes of forest-people in that direction who would sometimes come this way to trade. Much further west and south are caravan routes between the southern cities and other cities on the edge of…]” he pauses, then carefully mispronounces a name in imperial cant. “<…the Inland Sea.> [Raiding can be good there, depending on the season. And north-]”

                  You hold up a hand for silence. “[That is well, Fire Heart. I will hear more of this later. What of the rest of you?]”

                  “[I found a woman, Red Songbird, working furs to make into clothes. I asked her to explain to me what she was doing,]” says First. “[She told me all the steps to prepare a skin, and showed me how to sew them together. With practice, I believe I can master these crafts.]” Her jaw is set the way yours is when you mean to have your way.

                  “[I looked for warriors. I found not all of them fight,]” rumbles Stone Will. “[Most women and some men do not train. Their war-leader is Of Iron. They say he was very strong, once.]” Stone Will pulls the warmed food from the brazier and cautiously takes a bite. You assume he is finished, but he starts talking again after he chews and swallows. “[I think they would run if pushed. But they have nowhere to run. They will fight like rats.]” He resumes eating and does not speak again.

                  Jewel Flower goes last. “[I went outside the camp for a while and followed its edge. There are perhaps one hundred families who live here, but many of them leave the camp during the day to hunt and scavenge.]”

                  You already knew that much. “[What else did you find?]”

                  “[Word spreads quickly through the camp. Several women came to me, asking me where they were to be taken, and for what.]"

                  “[What did you tell them?]”

                  She shrugs. “[I told them they would come to our village, and it was not for me to decide what they would be doing. They seemed fearful. One of them asked if they would be separated from their children.]” Jewel Flower purses her lips. “[I… was uncertain what to say.]”

                  You sigh and sit back on your haunches. This reluctance is not unexpected, but it is tiresome. Maybe you should do something about it.
                  • Wow the Wanderers with a display of creative power. With the Stone, you can miraculously produce a fountain of flowers and fruit or something.
                  • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. That should settle some complaints.
                  • Explain publicly why you need mothers. Part of you is embarrassed for the Sunblessed, but shame just gets in your way. Gather the Wanderers, tell them what’s happening, and then tell them to get in line or shut up.
                  • Do nothing. It’s been less than a day. They’ll come around if you wait – sooner or later, they’ll have no choice.
                  • Something else?


                  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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                  • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. Make a point of how the children will be treated well, and fed well, and stronger for it.

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                      • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. The little ones, 3 or less.
                      • Explain publicly why you need mothers. And that you may want some skilled crafters later.


                      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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                      • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
                        • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. The little ones, 3 or less.
                        • Explain publicly why you need mothers. And that you may want some skilled crafters later.
                        This makes sense to me.

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                        • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
                          • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. The little ones, 3 or less.
                          • Explain publicly why you need mothers. And that you may want some skilled crafters later.

                          I'll vote for this too!


                          I write things.

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                          • Originally posted by L'het'esh View Post
                            • Allow the mothers to bring their own children with them. The little ones, 3 or less.
                            • Explain publicly why you need mothers. And that you may want some skilled crafters later.
                            Works for me!


                            "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


                            • Allow mothers to bring their children. Small children, less than 9 years old.
                              Do not explain why we need mothers. Say publically that nobody will be harmed, we have no interest in "marrying" any Wanderers (the very thought! ugh), and this is temporary. If they bothered to ask their chiefs they would already know this. However the next person to attack me or any Sunblessed will end worse than Grim Hammer. (They should be capable of figuring that out themselves, but apparently they're idiots.)

                              Then make Grim Hammer's attack known to the chiefs and see if they have anything resembling an appropriate response. I expect not, but maybe they'll surprise me.


                              As for Silver Sky, I don't care to seek him. Eternal Peace told me what I wanted to know, and if I have more questions (such as their apparent mingling with foreign people) I can ask the fool Eternal Peace. Neither the shamans nor the chiefs deserve any explanation from me. I owe nothing to them. They abandoned their traditions and gods, and worst of all their ancestors... my ancestors. They're no kin of mine. And if they dare to ask that's the most I'll tell them.
                              Last edited by Erinys; 12-01-2015, 05:39 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

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                              • You mull over your options for a while and unhappily conclude that being demanding and intimidating has ill-served you. The Wanderers still do not know what to make of you, and you have asked much from them. They might never be happy with this agreement between you and their chiefs – you do not much care for it yourself – but at least you can make them understand.

                                You eat a little with your children and explain your plan. First seems unhappy about it, but they all agree that it is for the best. Afterwards, you go out into the camp to find Blue Jewel and ask her to arrange a meeting with as many potential nurses as she can find – you have an announcement to make.

                                Some hours later, about forty people gather in front of the high tent, standing in a loose group. Not all of them are candidates for child care – some are women who are too old or too young, while others are clearly husbands, brothers, fathers, or sons who only came to hear what you have to say. All three chiefs are present. Grim Hammer is there too, standing in the back and fuming. You stand in front of them with your children in a line behind you.

                                “[You may know me as Youngest Joy, the Stone Bearer]” you call out over the whispers and murmurs from the crowd. “[I am the master of the Sunblessed plains, father and creator of the Sunblessed clan. I am here because of a pact with your chiefs…]” you pause as the murmurs intensify, then hold up your hands for silence. “[…a pact with your chiefs to save your clan. In return, I will have twenty of you to help raise my grandchildren.]”

                                The crowd’s reaction could be described as a mixture of confusion, stunned silence, and incredulity. You grit your teeth and continue on with your prepared speech. You wave your hands at your children. “[Each of my sons and daughters was made, not born. They know not how to raise sons and daughters of their own.]”

                                Someone actually starts to laugh. You glare at them and they quickly choke into silence. “[This is my need!]” you bark at the Wanderers. “[If you do not fulfill the pact, then I will leave you to suffer alone.]” You pause, take a deep breath, and continue on in what you hope is a more reasonable tone. “[Those who come to serve the Sunblessed will be fed and housed. If you have young children of your own, you may bring them with you.]”

                                It occurs to you only now that this means the Wanderer’s get may be raised alongside your own. Still, if you have misgivings, you have come too far to stop.

                                “[You will not be slaves, or forced to marry. Anyone will be free to leave if they wish. When there is no more need for you, you may all rejoin your birth-clan.]” You pause again, having come to the end of what you prepared. “[…That is all. If you would volunteer, stay. Everyone else can go.]”

                                Most of them do go, talking quietly to each other as they depart. Grim Hammer starts to walk towards you, but Of Iron intercepts him and wordlessly pulls him away. What remains is a mixed group of adult women who cluster closer together as the other Wanderers leave. One of them separates off from the pack and comes within ten feet of you.

                                She is young – she looks younger even than your Sunblessed, although you know that is impossible1. Dense braids frame a rounded face that has not yet weathered away. A tiny, swaddled baby, probably less than ten pounds, sleeps in a basket hanging from her shoulders. “[When are we going?]” she asks, her voice tight.

                                You shrug. “[We leave when all twenty mothers are gathered. It will be a short journey, but it would be best to take it in one group.]”

                                The girl opens her mouth, raises a hand, and then apparently thinks the better of whatever she was about to say. Instead, she just nods and walks back to the clustered women, now joined by Blue Jewel. They begin to huddle in conference. Sensing a need to make your own exit, you turn away and enter the high tent with your children.

                                1
                                It’s strange how your children are all less than two years old. Most of the time you don’t think about it.


                                A few days later, you finally have all the volunteers you need. Many of them have infants, and privately you suspect they are coming with you mainly to ensure their own children’s well-being. Two of them coordinate with Blue Jewel to organize the rest. One is the girl you met before, Rose. The other is an older matron named Wisdom Ornament, who has a face that always frowns. She is heavy-set in the way that you usually see from someone who has already had several children, although she brings none with her.

                                You send Stone Will and Jewel Flower back ahead of you to inform the other Sunblessed of the situation and bring back as many horses as they can2. They return with exactly twenty mounts, and it gives you some satisfaction to see how the waiting Wanderers awe at your sleek and strong steeds. Everyone saddles up and moves out that same day.

                                The return trip is quicker without the need to stop and check tracks. Rose, Fire Heart, and First converse the whole way, mostly about Sunblessed clan life. Wisdom Ornament rides close to you, alternating looking ahead and watching you like a hawk. Stone Will and Jewel Flower go ahead again to finish preparations for your arrival. Everyone else talks amongst themselves, minds their children, and avoids you.

                                When you arrive, the entire clan is there to great you – all one hundred of them, minus First and Fire Heart. They form ranks around your line as you ride into the village, staring curiously at the brown-eyed, many-aged people in their midst. The women stare back, probably struck by the strange sameness of your children.

                                You lead them all a short way past the barracks, then single a halt. Everyone watches and whispers as you pull the Stone of Making from the bag on your hip and hold it against your chest, concentrating.

                                The air shimmers in front of you, then bends and warps as the stone pours many-colored light over a wide area. The grass there suddenly vanishes, ripped away by an unseen force. Blobs of unidentifiable matter form in the air and then begin to grow in size. There is a noise like a thunderclap as the blobs suddenly pop into clear shapes. Long and high walls of solid grey stone appear to form a giant rectangle, and a roof of the same material follows. The ground shakes as the stone settles into it.

                                Your horse starts to buck, and you stop to settle her down. Behind you, the Wanderers who are not also struggling with their mounts are gasping, whistling, or crying out in amazement. Numerous babies start to cry, alarmed by the noise and the quake. Your children step in to assist the Wanderers, or make appreciative noises. A few people clap.

                                When your horse is calm again, you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and resume the act of shaping. The interior of the building is clear in your mind even if you cannot see it from this angle. You can sense everything falling into place as you focus, working out the details. Doorways… interior dividers… a large common area… flooring… simple furnishings… heating and cooling… done. You breathe out and open your eyes.

                                The stone house before you is the biggest you have ever made. Large enough, you hope, that it will still be useful many generations from now. You smile and turn your horse around to face the crowd. “[Wanderers!]” you yell, looking Wisdom Ornament in the eye. “[I have made this house for you to dwell in and to raise my grandchildren in. Let it be a monument to our pact. Now, make yourselves at home; I wish for you to begin work at once.]” You look away from the Wanderers and address the rest of the crowd. “[Sunblessed, attend to me! These other people are our guests. They will look after your children and teach you things that I cannot. Help them to settle in.]”

                                Satisfied that your work is done for now, you dismount and hand off the reigns of your mare to the nearest Sunblessed, which turns out to be Gold Spirit3, and begin walking away. You feel a little tired in spirit, if not in body, and you feel an urge to find some privacy. Your training ground in the hills awaits…

                                Before you can get too far, you hear footsteps behind you. You turn and see Gold Spirit, sans horse, jogging to catch up. You pinch the bridge of your nose, then cross your arms and wait for him to reach you.

                                “[Father, wait,]” says Gold Spirit as he comes close. He has a concerned look in his eyes. “[There is something I must tell you. We…]”

                                “[Is this about my absence?]” you interrupt.

                                “[No, father.]”

                                “[Is it about the nurses I have brought to live with us?]”

                                “[No, father.]”

                                “[Is it something that demands my immediate attention?]”

                                “[I do not… no, father.]”

                                You sigh. “[Gold Spirit, if this is not an important matter, I would like time alone to rest. Soon I must leave again on a great hunt, and if you wish to come along…]” you draw the word out, giving Gold Spirit a meaningful look. “[…you will allow me some peace.]”

                                Gold Spirit sets his jaw. “[Father, while you were away, seven other people came to the village.]”

                                You stop at that and rumble in your throat. “[More Wanderers?]”

                                “[No, father. They came from the south. A woman and her husband, and five others I think were…]” he pauses, searching for words. “[…hired guards. They had two carts, one of which was full of goods – tools and some ornaments – that they wished to trade for food or silver.]”

                                You curse internally. You knew this would happen eventually, but the timing is terrible. “[What happened to them?]”

                                Gold Spirit tilts his head back. “[They found their way to the village without guidance. Several of us met them. The woman tried to talk to us and anyone else who passed by, offering this thing or that. Whenever anyone said they did not want or need a thing, she would insist otherwise. If we told her no again, she would find another thing to sell.]” Gold Spirit sighs. “[I finally bought a gold amulet from her to see if that would make her go away.]”

                                You blink, finally noticing the little chain hanging around his neck and down into his shirt. Gold Spirit tugs on the chain, fishing out a little yellow medallion with a sunburst engraved into it. “[…what did you pay with?]”

                                “[Ten bushels of wheat from the granary. They loaded it onto their other cart.]”

                                You take a deep breath and resolve to set aside some time to teach the Sunblessed about haggling. “[Did they then leave?]”

                                “[Not at once. The husband asked to see you, but I told him you were away.]”

                                “[Did he ask for me by name?]”

                                “[He asked to see the chief.]”

                                “[Ah, good. Then what happened?]”

                                “[They left, but the husband said they would be back soon. The other five stood watch the entire time.]”

                                “[Did you ask for their names?]”

                                Gold Spirit makes a ‘tch’ sound. “[Their names were strange. The woman was… Ling, I think, and her husband was called Kun. I did not ask the others.]” Gold Spirit shakes his head. “[I do not believe they meant harm, but I thought you should know as soon as you got back. I wanted to tell Stone Will or Jewel Flower, but they would not listen.]”

                                You uncross your arms and look away from him. “[Thank you, Gold Spirit. You chose rightly. Now, leave me. I need to rest and plan.]”

                                So, this is a new problem. The great hunt could take weeks. The Wanderers will get impatient if you spend too long idling, not holding up your end of the bargain. On the other hand, there’s no telling what wily southern merchants might learn or steal from the Sunblessed if you’re not there to watch over them. And then there’s your new guests to consider…

                                After you take a short respite from dealing with your clan, what will you do?
                                • Start the hunt at once. It can’t wait. The Wanderers are counting on you, and if the ogre problem is as bad as they say it’s only a matter of time before the beasts find your village.
                                • Wait for the traders to return. They’re a more urgent concern for your clan and maybe for you, personally. You also should make sure the new clan mothers get adjusted right.
                                • Go looking for the traders. Leave the Sunblessed to their own devices for a little while you track this down. What exactly you’ll do if you meet them alone, you don’t know yet.
                                • Something else?

                                2
                                There are several good reasons to do this. First, it means you don’t have to borrow any from the Wanderers. Second, you can impress everyone with your amazing (if small) herd. Third, it’s faster than walking and you’re sure someone would have to walk if you didn’t provide mounts.

                                3
                                Your eighty-seventh child.
                                Last edited by semicasual; 12-04-2015, 08:31 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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