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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • Originally posted by Erinys View Post
    ((The Sunblessed with spears will be fighting in formation. The GM said we can't join them with anything except a spear.))
    Cleaver makes wide swings. So does Vortex and Reaching Fist. Also, you never quite got around to replacing Lefty and Righty after your fight with Joy. With no one around to stab, it didn't seem important. Still, even if you had them now, you'd have had to jump in front of all your spear-wielding children to use them.

    Originally posted by Erinys View Post
    Either way, I'll speak to the Sunblessed about death. (If I didn't warn them about it before when I was training, them, I'm a fool. But even if I did, they surely don't understand it yet.)
    They've all killed animals before, and some of them know what it's like to lose a loved one. They understand death as well as anyone who hasn't died does.
    Last edited by semicasual; 12-10-2015, 11:07 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.

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    • ((Otgonbayar, on the other hand, really seems to have a problem coping with death of loved ones. Which is not surprising.))


      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 push your doubts aside. “Go. I will send Jewel Flower with you… for protection.” Silver Sky nods in assent.

        A horse is fetched, a travois is constructed, and Jewel Flower is implicitly told to kill the shaman if anything happens to Stone Will. Together you carefully set your son onto the transport and gently tie him into place. The Sunblessed rise to bid their siblings goodbye, and the trio departs. Then you all get back to the business of killing every buck-ogre you can find.

        Many more battles follow, but that first herd is the largest you encounter. Most times you are able to find the ogres before they find you – six to eight of them at a time, easily trapped and slaughtered. Twice, they find you first – raiding parties come at you once in the night, and once while you are traveling and spread out. Fortunately, your children are trained well and they learn fast – both ambushes are quickly reversed as the Sunblessed become alerted and retaliate with everything they have. The buck-ogres that are not killed then are driven off to be chased down later.

        There are more injuries, but none as severe as Stone Will’s. Sunblessed take broken arms, legs, fingers, or sometimes gashes that can be roughly sutured up. Injured children go home with one hale partner for support, and a while later fresh fighters come from your village to replace them. Most bloodied children are reluctant to leave, while newcomers are eager to join the fight.

        You spend just over a month wandering up and down the plains, looking for fights. Your comparatively small numbers let you cover ground quickly. The weather stays fair and clear. Picking the buck-ogre’s bodies and encampments clean keeps the party well-stocked with supplies. Morale is high. All in all, the hunt is about as close to perfect as you could hope for. When you finally declare it over, the Sunblessed are disappointed to go home.

        Several days later, you return to the Sunblessed plain with a train of trophies behind you. The Sunblessed hunters have taken to wearing a hornless ogre-skull on each shoulder, etched with markers detailing the kill. The horns you bade them break off and collect – ogre-horn is a great material for bows. Looted jewelry and ornaments hang from their necks, wrists, and fingers. It feels good to see the others coming from their homes and fields to meet you, and it takes you a while to realize that it is not just the joy of homecoming you feel – it is the joy of coming home at the head of a victorious war band.

        The process of unpacking and returning to normal life begins with the Sunblessed greeting each other and exchanging stories. Possessions change hands, bags are unpacked, horses are led away to rest. Everyone’s spirits are high, and more so when you promise them all a feast tonight to celebrate their success. Stone Will, looking much more like his old self, is among the greeters. When you ask after his health, he only shrugs and says “The shaman said not to lift heavy things for a while.”

        Almost as soon as you are off your horse, First finds you. “[Father, I am glad you have returned. We – the council – need to speak with you.]”

        You grimace. You were expecting this, but it still grates on your nerves. “[I received your message. This is about the traders, I assume?]”

        Sunblessed who cycled into the hunting party brought word with them that the southerners returned a few weeks after you left. Kun and Ling brought back many more people and carts and offered to trade again. As per your instructions, the Sunblessed refused them entry and escorted them off the Sunblessed plain. They were persistent, however – they made camp, and according to the reports you heard refused to leave for anything except “goods or cut throats.”

        First nods. “[They are encamped for the south and have shown no signs of movement. Someone from the camp comes almost every day to ask if you have returned.]”

        “[What did you tell them?]”

        “[Only the truth – that you were not here and might not return for weeks. The man I spoke to seemed... resigned.]”

        “[I see. Is there any other news?]”

        “[Some men from the Wanderers’ clan came by – I think they were kin to the mothers. Young Grass1 kept an eye on them, and he said one of the men – Grim Hammer – got into an argument with Wisdom Ornament about his wife? Young Grass had to pull him away before he started a fight.]”

        “Ugh. [What about Silver Sky? What has he been doing?]”

        “[The shaman has not caused any trouble. He visits Stone Will every day, but spends the rest of his time walking the fields. He eats with the rest of us – we sat him with the mothers – but when I ask him why he does not go back to his clan he says that he is waiting for you and will not say why.]”

        She leads you away while you walk and talk, making your way to a stone hut you built for worship and occasional meetings with the Sunblessed. Gold Spirit and Steel Warrior are already inside, standing and talking.

        “[All they want is money,]” says Steel Warrior, irritably. “[You let them think we were fools and now they will not go until they take everything we have.]”

        “[We only need to wait them out,]” snaps Gold Spirit. “[They will run low on food and become impatient. If no one will deal with them, they have to leave.]”

        “[Do we want them to leave?]” butts in First. As you watch them, you get the sense that they have all had this discussion before. “[Father is back to deal with them – they could have useful goods in those carts, and we would be fools to drive them off or starve them for no cause.]”

        Steel Warrior looks up at you. “[Father, do not listen to her. The traders bring weapons – they expect to fight. If they are not satisfied, and they will never be satisfied, I am sure they mean to raid us.]”

        Gold Spirit makes an exasperated growl. “[Brother, you are mad. They have not the numbers to threaten us.]”

        “[Enough]” you say, firmly. “[I have already made my decision.]” You have had a lot of time to think this over during the ride back.
        • Go and speak with the traders. Before you do anything else, you should see what these people want. Make a formal visit to their camp and see what you’re dealing with.
        • Let the traders come to you. You’ve been blowing these people off for nearly two months now. Going to them could make you lose face. Instead, you should insist that only a few of them be allowed to enter the village to meet you.
        • Ignore the traders. Gold Spirit is right – the best way to handle solicitors is to forget them. You have other things to deal with.
        • Attack the traders. Steel Warrior is right – these southerners’ intentions can’t be good. You should make a show of force now before they get used to living on your doorstep.
        • Something else?
        1
        Your 99th.
        Last edited by semicasual; 12-15-2015, 12:55 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

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        • Go and speak with the traders. They have also had weeks to consider how they wish to approach their bargaining. Deny them the formality they assume is their due. Arrive unannounced at their camp and make them speak plainly of their intentions, and what they have to offer, and what they wish in return. If they have nothing of sufficient value to suffer their continued presence, send them away.


          Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

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          • The traders are persistent. They will be back to the village. You've been gone a long time, so stay and make sure everyone is settled and healing properly.

            Also sit down and talk with the shaman, Silver Sky. Thank him for saving your child's life.


            I write things.

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            • Yes, let the traders come to us. When they do, keep them waiting for at least half a day.

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              • If the traders come from Eight Roads, they may know that Nergui was one of... whatever the godless southern priests called me. The thing they hate. If they think I am that, they will not be satisfied until they slaughter all of the Sunblessed, just like they slaughtered all of the old clans. They certainly seem to want to find me, specifically, personally. Himitsu and Wei probably told everyone they knew. I should have killed Wei when I had the chance.

                I will go spy on the traders without letting them know I'm there. Find out what they say to each other when they think they're alone.


                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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                • Let the traders come to you.

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                  • Go and see the traders. The chance is small, but they may actually have something you want...for the Sunblessed. When you see something, if you do, examine it carefully and then don't buy. Send the traders away and make what you need with the Stone.

                    That's right, steal from them without them knowing it!


                    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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                    • I would also say go spy on them. Knowledge means a lot and we are after all really good at both sneaking and listening. And since we are a mystical being. We can make what we find out by spying seem more mystical.

                      Also, as someone mentioned: it is really important to find out if they suspect we are anathema.

                      Speaking of. We have a clan of sunlessed who have all seen us shine. Do they tell stories about that to strangers,?


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

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                      • “[I will go to their camp this evening, alone.]” You stare down each of your children as you say this, giving a particularly long look to First. “[When I return, you will know how we will deal with the traders going forward. That is all.]”

                        With that, you leave the meeting hut behind and go to look for Silver Sky. The old shaman is nowhere to be found amidst the hustle and bustle of the returned hunters. Asking the Sunblessed about him only gets you shrugs, admissions of ignorance, or directions to places where Silver Sky was seen hours ago. It soon becomes apparent that he is not in the village at all, nor in the surrounding farms.

                        You finally locate the shaman in the last place you thought to search – your training grounds. You find him there, sitting and meditating1 amongst the piles of broken rocks. He is facing away southwards with his staff across his lap. As you approach, he plants his stick in the ground and slowly stands up. Silver Sky does not say anything or turn to face you, but you sense that he knows you are there and is waiting for you to speak.

                        “[…I thank you again for watching over Stone Will,]” you say after a long pause.

                        Silver Sky leans into his staff. “[I did only what needed to be done. I need no praise for that.]”

                        Another long pause stretches between you. “[The hunt was successful,]” you try. “[All together we killed more than fifty ogres. It should be many years before we see so many again.]”

                        “[That is good,]” answers the shaman, still not turning around.

                        Annoyed, you walk around in front of him and lean down to look him in the eye. “[You said we would speak of debts, shaman. I care not for leaving debts unpaid.]”

                        Silver Sky nods. “[Fear not, great chief – you are already paying.]” He turns his head and looks off into the distance past your shoulder. “[A terrible crime was committed against the steppe peoples, for which there can be no justice. But with time, there may be healing. That is your debt – to make good what was ruined by your absence.]”

                        “[I do not understand. Of what do you speak?]”

                        “[Those you call the Wanderers suffered for the sake of their champion, and then suffered more for their champion’s absence. It falls upon you to make this right.]”

                        Some part of you takes umbrage with that. “[Have I not helped them already? I have my own clan to watch over.]”

                        Silver Sky sniffs. “[The Sunblessed. A people made, not born, to be your new family. I have not forgotten them, nor should you. But they are not your only concern. Yours is the power to change many lives – if you will not use it justly, Heaven shall punish you.]”

                        More umbrage. “[What right have you to judge me!?]”

                        Silver Sky remains impassive. “[I do not judge, Youngest Joy who was No Name who is Youngest Joy again. I am here only to warn you that your actions do not go unwatched. And it is not only your treatment of other men that I speak of – the way you have changed the land tells of magic that is godlike in scope.]”

                        You feel the Stone of Making’s weight in the bag on your hip. “[So I have changed the land. What of it?]”

                        “[You have taken the power of creation and destruction, and used it carelessly. The energy of the land is out of balance.]” He gestures at the greenery around him. “[In one hundred years, all of this will be gone. What will come in its place, I know not, but the forces that shaped it clash with the natural vitality of the steppes.]” Silver Sky lets out a sigh. “[Perhaps the spirits will adjust. But if they do not…]” he trails off and resumes silently staring into the distance.

                        Defensive anger surges in you, and you fight to keep it down. “[What do you want me to do?]”

                        “[Do?]” repeats Silver Sky. “[Do only what you believe is just. Do right by all the steppe peoples. Do not abuse the magic of the gods.]” The old man squares his shoulders and starts to walk past you, poking his stick ahead of him.

                        “[Where are you going?]” you ask. South leads away from the Sunblessed lands and out of the steppes entirely.

                        “[I have matters of the spirit to attend to. Fear not, I will return in time. Until then, think on what I have said.]”

                        You watch Silver Sky until he passes over a hill and out of sight. Your hand goes to your hip-bag, and you wonder how much the Stone of Making has really changed things. You used it almost every day for nearly two years, and not all of what it did was according to your wishes. Of course, some of that was surely due to inexperience, but still… maybe you have relied on it overmuch. Maybe it has a cost that you do not know you are paying. Maybe there are other effects it has that you do not yet see.

                        Maybe you have trespassed on the domain of the gods.

                        • Leave the Stone. Bury it here, in this field that none of your children will ever turn up. You can still find it if you need it, but you won’t be tempted to use it for every problem.
                        • Destroy the Stone. You still remember what happened in Eight Roads. Could that happen here?... You can’t take that chance. There ‘s too much to lose now.
                        • Keep the Stone. That old goat likes to make pretty speeches, but what does he know? Forget him and get on with things.
                        • Something else?

                        1
                        Or maybe lightly sleeping. Tough to say.


                        (The conversation with Silver Sky was planned to be much shorter, but since it ran on so long and touched on so much I thought it warranted its own decision point. We’ll get back to clan politics next post, following the votes you cast earlier.)
                        Last edited by semicasual; 12-19-2015, 11:08 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

                        Comment


                        • Leave the Stone.
                          Maybe the old goat is right, but then, the old tower it was in was still standing with spirits and the like for centuries.


                          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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                          • Destroy the stone.

                            We have been using the stone as a crutch. We have been blessed by the sun. We don't need the stone to solve all of our problems.

                            But we don't want a repeat of Eight Hills. Destroy the stone so that can never happen again.


                            I write things.

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                            • Leave the Stone, or else keep it but stop using it. He may have a point, and what's the use of having a shaman around if we don't listen to him?

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                              • Get Angry and Keep the Stone.

                                Silver Sky has no right at all to judge me. I am under no debt to the Wanderers (who deny their ancestors and all kinship to the original clans, and abandoned the traditions). I owe no debt for what Ganzorig did to the clans, which was not my choice.

                                I need the Stone until the Sunblessed know how to make everything for themselves, which will take much time to learn. I will not abandon my children to starve and freeze, which is what Silver Sky tells me to do. Though I have no desire to anger the spirits, if that is the price for my children to survive, so be it. Silver Sky has offered no alternatives, no other way for the Sunblessed to live. He hasn't explained why this Stone is causing this problem. If he wants to explain, I would certainly listen... if he stops being judgemental and accusatory.

                                When my children are grown and no longer need the help, then I can consider destroying the Stone.
                                Last edited by Erinys; 12-20-2015, 11:48 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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