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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • #91
    Try talking. Maybe use the mask, somehow?


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    • #92
      “I don’t know gods’ tongue,” you say, raising your hands to show that you’re not holding any weapons. “You know Riverspeak?”

      The water-spirit’s expression is hard to read, but you think she’s confused. “NEE YO, REEVER SPEEK? OO NA!”

      “<Got you cant of Empire?>” you say, trying something else.

      “HAY NA, HI JO JOO YO GE NEA!”

      You tug on your beard. There is one other thing you could try, but it’s not very likely.

      “[Do you speak the language of the Many Horse Clans?]”

      The water-spirit is silent for a time, as if deep in thought. When she speaks again, she does so slowly, haltingly. It sounds a bit like your language, but you can only make out a few words here and there - you don’t know if the spirit has an unintelligibly thick accent or if she’s speaking another language entirely and your ears are fooling you.

      “[YEA], NAROTA [HORSE] YUGO [RIGHTFUL TRESPASS RABBIT] ZEE ROAL [STRANGE] IINIS LOWANA [BLOOD] SENMIT YENTO HEY RAGI. ZISU [INTERROGATIVE]?”

      “[I am called No Name],” you answer while pointing at yourself, hoping she’ll get it. On an impulse, you focus your mind and let your Mark begin to shine.* That seems to get her attention - Her head bends towards you, and it looks like she’s squinting.

      “NAI [PONDSCUM WATCHER].” **

      Talking doesn’t seem to be working, so you try gesturing instead. First, you point at yourself again, then at the doorway across the lake, then back at yourself, drawing a line slowly through the air. The spirit watches in silence, then shakes her head, sending slight waves over the water.

      You sweep your arms out in front of you and then back, as if you were swimming. Again, the spirit shakes her head. That seems pretty clear, but just to make sure you take a few steps towards the pool. At once, a low standing wave rises out of the water and rushes out, striking you in the knees. You stumble and take a few steps back.

      “[NAY!]” says the spirit, forcefully. “[NAY] TENSES IZAY [HORSE RIGHTFUL TRESPASS]! [I AM] SENSOMAD!”

      This is starting to get annoying. You’re about ready to give up when the spirit speaks again, this time slightly more quietly. “[UNLESS… YE CAN] HENSEE TANO YUSOSO. NANASI?” The armlike appendage rises from the water again and waggles in your direction.

      How do you interpret that?
      • “Bring it!” The creature will let you pass if you can beat it in a fight. Well, maybe that’s not what it said, but you’re sure it’s true all the same.
      • “Make it worth my time.” This spirit is a guard, and guards can be bribed. Maybe if you can guess what kind of offering she would like, she’ll let you through. (Suggest a bribe!)
      • “Free me.” She’s asking you to break the bindings around the pool. Maybe if you mess up the copper band with Cleaver, the spirit will leave and you can pass without interference.
      • Something else?
      *
      Spirits almost always react to the sign of your Blessing. Their reaction isn’t always good – you were told it was because not all spirits love the gods.

      **
      …That can’t be right. Forget it, this angle is worse than useless.
      Last edited by semicasual; 08-13-2015, 09:02 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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      • #93
        “Make it worth my time.”

        Bribery always works, except when it doesn't.


        I write things.

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        • #94
          "Free me." It's a spirit, and it has either been bound here or lives here. I'm guessing bound, meaning that the only thing it wants more than to do as its bindings require is to be free of them. That might not be a great idea though.


          Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

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          • #95
            >Make it worth my time. Maybe she thought you were throwing bribes into the pool and she rejected them. A severed head is a pretty bad bribe after all. But what could you give her? Certainly not any of your weapons.

            At any rate you probably shouldn't free her. Spirits tend to be bound for a good reason.


            "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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            • #96
              “Free me.”
              This isn't a punishment for the spirit, it's stuck as a guardian for somebody long dead.


              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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              • #97
                ...Free Her.

                It'd be just our luck that she's loyal and asking for the password but if she isn't...


                Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                • #98
                  I tried to come up with an offering and only the pile of corpses came to mind, so let's go with freeing the spirit.

                  We can always default to violence if that doesn't work.

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                  • #99
                    What do we have to bribe her with? Money? Do water spirits even want money? We like money and don't want to give much away. What would a water spirit want as a bribe? Alcohol? We could offer some of that. But not the nice aged wines, that's for us.

                    If we can't come up with a bribe that is acceptable... maybe just go back and try the other direction. Freeing her could be a bad idea, especially if she's pissed or it pisses off whatshisname. We still want the rest of our pay. And
                    Last edited by Erinys; 07-06-2015, 11:12 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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                    • At first, you consider bribery, but you have no idea what a water spirit would want… except maybe freedom. You slowly unsheathe Cleaver without breaking eye contact with the spirit, and then look down at the copper band. Without walking any closer, you raise the enormous sword over your head and chop down through the band, leaving a sizeable gouge in the surrounding floor. Then you take a step sideways, and do it again, and again, and again.

                      “HEN WO MOT?” says the spirit, switching back to gods’ tongue. She sounds confused, although making out any feeling at all is hard with her watery, echoing voice. She watches you while you carefully chop out segments of copper. When you drop Cleaver and get on your knees, she makes a noise that sounds like gentle waves and laughter. “SHISHI DAO WAR TOMBA!”

                      You take this as a sign of approval and start pulling up the cut copper band with your fingers. Studs nail it into the floor in places, but by chopping around those you are able to lever large chunks of the binding out. You carelessly toss the pieces behind you as you go. After a short time working at this, you remove a few yards of the ring. In your inexpert opinion, that should be more than enough to ruin whatever spell the ring was meant to hold.

                      You stand up and bow your head at the spirit, pointing at her and then at the door you entered through. Some moments pass while the creature just looks at you, then around the room, then down into the water, and then back to you. Finally, she speaks again in the not-quite-Horse-Clan language, and you’re surprised to find that this time you recognize all the words.

                      “[YE BE FOOL]”, she says as her head sinks into the water. Then several things happen at once.

                      The softly glowing stones all change to a dull, angry red color. The fountain abruptly stops flowing. You hear stone grinding on stone and creaking metal echoing through the whole room. A large animal – hairless with speckled grey skin, big as a horse but with stubby legs and toed feet, a broad head as wide as its body, and big tusks that you can see when it opens its huge mouth – comes up out of the water, bellowing as it comes. It charges through the gap you carved in the ring and past you, trailing water behind it before it suddenly vanishes with a popping and splashing sound, leaving only a puddle behind.

                      As you watch the creature run by, you see the entrance to the pools close as a wall of stone slams down over the entryway. A loud crash at the other end of the room tells you that the other exit is also sealed. Then you hear a rushing noise from the pools, and when you turn back around to check you can see that the water is slowly rising.

                      Wasting no time, you pick up Cleaver and run to the entrance. You shove your sword into the stone point first at the height of your shoulder, then push down with all your strength and your body weight. The blade makes painful scraping noises as it gradually slides through the (mercifully not that thick) stone all the way to the floor. As you wiggle the blade free, you become aware that there is water lapping at your boots now.

                      With a snarl, you thrust Cleaver into the wall again from the same point and draw it down in another direction, making a crude triangle. You kick and shove and curse at the cut stone until you manage to push it over, leaving an opening you can duck through while the rising lake flows past your calves into the hall.

                      Splashing through the water and struggling to keep your balance, you rush back to the entry junction and the collapsed hallway. You tear off your satchel, sword, and other accessories, throw them through the gap, and then squeeze through after them like your life depends on it.

                      When you’re free on the other side, you pick your equipment up off the floor, run for the stairwell, vault up the rock pile, and hastily fasten everything back on. You expect that a great wave will come through at moment, washing the bodies away and snuffing out the torches… but it doesn’t. You wait for several minutes to make sure, but nothing else happens. Cautiously, you walk back down the hall and look in through the gap. From what you can tell, the sloshing water on the other side has stopped rising just below the height of your waist, which is a great relief for two reasons. First, you’re not in any danger of drowning. Second, you can continue to explore.


                      You take your time getting back to where you were, partly because the water slows you down and partly because you need to be watchful for signs of collapse or other changes caused by the flood. When you reach what were once the pools and are now one giant murky sump, you find that you are able to swim over to the other side without extraordinary difficulty. Cutting through the door on that side is more of a challenge with the water getting in your way, but it does help when you’re pushing to make an opening. You brace yourself against the wall and wait a few moments for the water to stop rushing through before you wade through your new exit.

                      The hall on the other side of the pools of serenity leads to a three-way junction. On your right, you see a wall of crumbling rock – more than likely, you’re looking at the same unexcavated wall you saw before from the other side, and this would have been the most direct route from the basement entrance to where you now stand. If that’s correct, then on your left would be the Resting Place. You head left.

                      The Resting Place, as it turns out, is a small temple made mostly of marble. It’s a simple design you’ve seen before* - a single, circular room about twenty-five feet across, decorated with icons of gods. Around the sides of the room are the gods of the earth carved into the walls, and etched into the ceiling are the gods of the heavens. You don’t recognize all of the icons, especially not the large statue just opposite the entrance, midway between the center and the opposite wall. The statue is a bronze man, about four feet tall, who stands on a plinth that brings his head level with yours. He is dressed in flowing robes that have no sleeves, and he is reaching towards the heavenly icons with both hands while they look down on him with expressions of pride. He has no face** that you can make out. A ceramic bowl rests at his feet on the plinth.

                      The holiness of the place is spoiled by two feet of dirty standing water that covers the entire floor. A woven mat of some kind floats on the far side of the room. While you’re looking at it, you realize there are no god-icons on the wall directly behind the statue. Subtle lines around that wall suggest that there’s some kind of door there, albeit a door with no handles or hinges. Maybe Himitsu’s artifact is through there?

                      What do you do?
                      • Hack the door. You’ve already chopped through two stone walls today and you’re getting impatient.
                      • Jog the statue. If there’s some kind of hidden tomb back there, maybe the bronze idol has a switch to open the door.
                      • Study the floor. The floating mat makes you think there might be a clue under all this water.
                      • Go somewhere else. This is a waste of time – you should be looking for the artifact in [insert area of choice here].
                      • Something else?
                      *
                      When your people needed to invoke the gods, they’d construct something just like this inside a tent. When you were very small, you used to help your mother put all the idols in their places, planting them in the ground or tying them to the tent frame with silk ropes.

                      **
                      As a matter of habit, you don’t pay a lot of attention to new faces. It takes work to remember what people look like, and most of the time you just don’t try. Consequently, a lot of people look blank to you, but this one really doesn’t have a face.
                      Last edited by semicasual; 08-03-2015, 10:35 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


                      • Well, so much for the Pools of Serenity. At least we got a bath first.

                        Jog the Statue. As satisfying as hacking though the door would be, after what happened in the pool, we are got to be more careful.


                        I write things.

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                        • Hopefully that water spirit starts causing trouble in the world and we get paid to kick its ass.

                          Jog the statue.

                          (On the other hand, now we know "pondscum watcher" was probably right.)
                          Last edited by Kazorh; 07-07-2015, 01:00 PM.

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                          • Poke the statue. Consider the possibility of stealing it later.


                            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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                            • Originally posted by Kazorh View Post
                              Hopefully that water spirit starts causing trouble in the world and we get paid to kick its ass.
                              See! Releasing the water spirits was forward thinking! We meant to do that!


                              I write things.

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                              • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                                See! Releasing the water spirits was forward thinking! We meant to do that!
                                I meant it more for revenge, but sure, that too.

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