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[IC] [Exalted 2.5] The Scarlet Sky Conspiracy – An Epistolary Game

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  • #46

    How dare you slander my reputation? I am not short. 5 foot 6 inches is well within the average height of an adult male. This height is still within the qualifications needed to join the legions.

    The letter goes on and on about the various legion height qualifications. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following:

    You should be thanking me. You should be worshiping the fucking ground I walk on, instead of making jabs at my height. Because I saved our asses.

    I have not made much of my grandfather’s new found interest me in. Instead of offering me any assistance, he instead imparts me knowledge he thinks I will need when I exalt. I have sat though Legion Briefings on misuse of horse manure more interesting than this topic. Usually, I would ask my mentor for help in such situations, but I rather not get him involved. Not with Mnemon’s spymaster’s threat looming over us.

    Yet, I have made the most of the situation. I am attempting to make friends among the Bronze Faction. Dangerous, if my relationship with Ryo is discovered, but we need information. Right now, I trust them more than I trust the Gold Faction at this point. Also, if my mentor does decide to reveal the Spymaster’s games, they may protect me. I considered exposing the Spymaster’s plan myself. Only the question on how I came upon the information stopped me. I don’t want to you in danger, Breadroll girl.

    I do not know the Bronze Faction’s plans, as they will not let me into their inner circle for a few millennia. But this brings me to the good part of the story. I overheard a few members discussing Mnemon’s naval operations. I knew I needed to get more information, so I took a page out of Ryo’s book and asked one of the Bronze Faction members to tea. I said I had some questions about the Immaculate Texts and heard she was an expert on the subject.

    I won’t bore you with the details about our little tea party but I got the information I needed and then some. I raced to Ryo’s office in the Imperial City. I told him what I found out. That Mnemon planned on using Aisa’s reputation to destroy the Roseblack and take the throne. The problem was getting the information to Aisa before she sealed the deal. She was nowhere near a Heaven’s gate and neither Ryo and I could speak on the Wind. We split our efforts. I went to get a hold of Carmela and Ryo hurried to find Akashan.

    Now, we need a fleet. Mnemon will not give up and sail home easily. I have no ties to House Peleps and I doubt I will be able to get my grandfather to move against Mnemon. Not without reason.

    I’ll keep my ears open for more information.


    I write things.


    • #47
      To whom it may concern among House Ferem,

      I am writing to you with some concern for the property I recently acquired in the north. With all the fighting going on, it has been hard to learn any accurate details as to the true state of affairs. Is it true that House Tepet has promised to end the system of drugs and chains engulfing the coast? If so, I can only laude their efforts to improve conditions for...

      (Aisa goes on at some length in this vein, mixing commercial and humanitarian concerns with over the situation up north. No one will be fooled by the cover latter - anyone who can intercept the mail knows she's wore involved in these events than she lets on - but a letter to to the north could be aimed at almost any agent. Nothing points a finger at Quelaana specifically. Members of the conspiracy will see the following.)

      It has come to my attention, based on some of the questions in your letters, that I may have been too wrapped up in my own dealings to give you all a clear view of the bigger picture. This is, to the best of my knowledge, where we currently stand.

      The Slave Coasts are now officially owned by House Tepet. They will shortly announce the end of the drug regimen, if they have not done so already. Quelaana, I promised them that this would bring an end to the rebellion - I hope you find yourself in a position to make good on this for me?

      The Cynis forces will remain in the area, and their legion will be arriving soon. They do not plan active assistance against Mnemon, though the mere threat of their presence may be enough. If their active intervention is required, let me know and I will attempt to arrange their activation. I have little direct influence over the affair in the North - it is out of my hands. Let me know if there is anything you require and I will arrange it.


      With that said, the time is ripe for a review of the Realm as a whole.
      • House Cathak will follow Cathak Cainan. I will be meeting with him in the coming month, and believe they will fall in line behind us. I will know more next month.
      • House Cynis has tentatively thrown their support behind me. There is reason to believe this will firm up when I reveal myself publicly.
      • House Ledaal's move with Kes is a surprise, but I share their concerns about the state of Creation and its adjoining realms and believe we can work together. I will be inviting him to my birthday celebration next month. Akashan, can you please ensure that he attends?
      • House Mnemon is our enemy, no doubt about that. I will speak with my parents to see if they or any of the branch houses may be pried away from Mnemon, but I am not hopeful. Grandmother rules her house with a firm hand.
      • House Nellens is another possible ally. Having now befriended two of the weaker houses (Tepet and V'Neef), I hope to use that reputation of supporting the weak as an inroad. If you could please recommend a pair of movers and shakers in your house, Ryu, I will approach them in the coming month.
      • House Peleps may be one of our enemies, given that I do not intend to concede any of V'Neef's maritime privileges and have no other inroads or contacts with them.
      • House Ragara is likely to ally with Mnemon, all the more so because I harbor more than a little dislike for them and their connections with the Guild. Ryu or Carmela, feel free to make overtures of your own, but I will not spend my time here. Let them be shut out.
      • House Sesus is an interesting case. The common wisdom is that they are little more than a brutal extension of House Mnemon, but I believe there is more going on here. My intention is to speak with the branches individually, rather than the house as a whole. Not in the coming month (I have quite enough on my plate already), but soon. The lines of Alon and Denerid in particular seem promising, for their morality and connections with Cynis respectively.
      • House Tepet will be our ally, because they have no other choice and because we are helping them already. Qualaana, it would be helpful if you could learn of the Roseblack what persuasions will be helpful to convince her to abandon her imperial aspirations.
      • House V'Neef does not know I intend to be Empress, but they will follow when I ask them. They know Mnemon will not be kind.
      • The All-Seeing-Eye has, as far as I know, not made their intentions clear. Carmela, your father has contacts there - can you follow up with on those and at least learn where they stand?
      • The Immaculate Order will, I hope, follow Cathak Cainan's lead rather than Mnemon's. They are vitally important, but I have no attention to spare for them yet.
      • The Thousand Scales is not a unified body, and unless my impressions are much mistaken, will shatter along party lines when the strain grows great. It will be well worth our time to speak with some of the more important figures soon. The master of the Imperial Purse, for example.
      • The unaffiliated legions are a wild card. I have no leverage and no information. If anyone has spare time (hah!) this is an area to look into.
      • Non-humans are another area I have neither knowledge on nor opinion of. Akashan, let it be left to your judgment for now - I am certainly open to changing policies if you can recommend some that might bring them into the fold.


      The Realm is large, and it is impossible to keep track of everything from my current position without staff or official position. Please let me know if there are power-centers I have forgotten, or if there is additional information regarding the houses I should be aware of.

      Yours in forward thinking and in forethought,

      -- Mnemon Aisa


      • #48
        The First Day of Ascending Wood, RY 767
        Imperial City, Blessed Isle

        Dear Friends,

        The events of the past month have put the Thousand Scales into an uproar. The trade of Satrapies between Houses Tepet and Cynis is a bureaucratic nightmare.

        The rest of the letter goes on to describe the various convoluted procedures need to enact such a transfer. The Conspiracy will see the following:

        I am not lying about the amount of work now sitting on my desk. I have been tempted to cheat and complete the work in an unnaturally timely manner, but I cannot afford the attention as my office is under an audit! An Audit! This is pay back for the hundreds of Audits I have subjected the rest of the Realm to. It is unfortunate timing that Zara has become your handmaiden, Aisa. I believe that is what lead Cynis to my office. Also, I may have cleaned up my paper trail a bit too cleanly. Normally, a lack of evidence would be a good thing. Yet for the bulldog House Cynis sicced on me, it simply proved to him my qualifications. They endeavored to recruit me to spy on you, Aisa. They offered me lots of jade to betray you, Aisa.

        Instead I recruited him to our cause. Instead of money, I offered him a position your Thousand Scales, Aisa. I watched him examine my records with meticulous care. While my employees are very competent, it’s the time of expertise I could never afford to hire in my office. My office’s budget is not large enough. He will report back I will not betray you. When you take the throne, I will keep an eye on him as I believe he agreed to this position to embezzle money from the Imperial Treasury.

        The Cynis trade agreement Mnemon sent is very disturbing. It gives free reign to House Cynis the intoxicant and slave trade. It includes tariffs on Guild trade to push them out of the Realm. And it loosens the regulations protecting Slaves from their masters. It strips the prohibition of sending Realm born slaves to the Fae. If we agree to this, Aisa, every slave in the Realm will have their souls devoured by the Fae. We cannot do this to our own residents nor to those poor souls who were born in the Threshold. The Injustice of this agreement proves to me that Mnemon is not meant to sit on the Scarlet Throne. Even the Scarlet Empress understood the dangers of the Fae and forbid the Houses to send our people to them. We cannot agree to these terms, Aisa.
        As for your territory in Amber River, Aisa, I have sent you a list of trustworthy candidates who could managed your property without supervision. Though I am less than eager to send them north with the threat of Mnemon’s Fleet.

        Akashan, Peleps Hiro’s financial holdings are depressingly boring. The man has no debts. He doesn’t seem to have a gambling problem nor spends his money on any mistresses (a fact my wife has seconded). He has not visited the manse you wish to acquire in years. He lives in an apartment in Eagle’s Launch. However, I heard a rumor his boat may be in a need for some repair. Perhaps you can offer some assistance in the manor in effort to start a dialogue.

        Your news of Leedal Kes depresses me. One hopes the dead would remain dead and not bother the land of the living. Titus has enlightened me on what a Solar is capable of. The Immaculate Texts are sparse on what good a Solar can do. Apparently, I can call the power of the Sun down to smite ghosts and the like. I am not a fighting man, but considering your news, Akashan, I will endeavor to learn the ways of the fighter. Shu is very enthusiastic of this plan.

        I have not made much progress with gaining a voice in the Deliberate this month, but I will endeavor to find a way to join the lower house soon.

        May your opportunities grow with the season.

        Nellens Ryo

        I write things.


        • #49
          Quelaana gives a very small coded letter to you guys saying.

          Mnemon has chosen to blockade me instead of a direct siege. My uncle Helkar has been taken hostage and my land trade routes won't hold food forever. Is there any way you guys could help break this fleet. I believe Mnemon had to break some agreements to do this in the first place?


          • #50
            Ragara Saveria and Nellens Ryu,

            Blessed by Daan'd and possessed of the most refined potential, we write to inform you that Ragara Zara has passed her trials and is hereby admitted to the Heptagram for instruction in whatever arts she chooses to study.

            ((This is official Heptagram correspondence, the type patrician parents dream their whole lives of receiving. The letter goes on in formal style, and will Ryu and Saveria please send them a truly staggering sum of money for the first year's tuition. Hope they've been saving up! No mention is made of the circumstances surrounding her exaltation, nor any personal details. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following.))

            Quelaana, I am sorry I cannot be of any help here. If you can hold out for a few months, perhaps I could arrange something, but none of my allies are willing move openly against Mnemon yet. Maybe one of the other members can assist.

            Titus, thank you indeed! I had the news directly from Akashan when last I wrote, so assumed he was the source. Also, if you ever need to shut someone up about your height, feel free to remind them that you are 4 inches taller than one of the claimants to the throne (me).

            This month I have had two successes, two terrible blunders, and one near miss. Let us take them in that order.


            Cathak Cainan is willing to listen to us. I revealed my plans to him, and after the usual objections - "You are too young. Mnemon will crush you. This is just wishful thinking" - the truth came out: we are well aligned in our goals and desires for the Realm. He is not convinced yet (a poor elder he would be if it were that easy!), but the door is open. I believe he will come over fully to our side in the coming months, especially if we can prove our power by dealing with the crisis up north.

            He has recommended an immaculate monk to take the post at the Heptagram, an older fellow to "temper my youth and offer some wisdom." Elderly by the standards of mortals, that is. I would be surprised if he were not a spy, but as I have impressed upon you all repeatedly, my faith is not a sham. I do not foresee any problems from the new monk / advisor.

            The other success comes in the form of Mnemon Duhalva's recent ascension to Domine of the Heptagram, which some of you may already have heard news of. I bear no ill will for Ragara Bhagwei, but he was simply not sympathetic to my agenda, and for the coming conflict I simply must have a secure base of operations. It was a simple enough matter to manufacture a scandal and force him to resign. I tell you in confidence that the crimes he is accused of are mine, from more carefree days as a student. Rumors of his involvement are completely unfounded.


            The first blunder came from my dealings with V'Neef Iphen. I shared with him my secrets (nothing about Ryu, nor any conspirator's names, but everything else), and apologized for treating him badly with Mnemon and again at the party last month. "There is too much at stake in this for my choices to be anything other than calculated. I'm open to a tumble or two, but I cannot give you anything more than friendship, now or ever." He did not take it well, and I can not blame blame him. He cursed me for a heartless witch, accused me of being as power hungry and vicious as the rest of my family. I fled to hide the tears in my eyes. He chased me back to my room shouted (thank goodness for privacy veils) at me. I cried. He cried, and we both tried to...

            Well, you do not need all the sordid details. Long story short, I broke his heart and lost a friend. It hurt. He was more important to me than I thought he was. At least he still intends to keep my secrets.


            The second blunder is far worse, affecting the conspiracy as a whole rather than just causing personal pain. Mnemon knows I am her enemy. She knows House Cynis has betrayed her. She is going to try to kill me, unless I am much mistaken. This came about because I tried to gain the support of my parents, thinking they would be open to allying with me rather than side with Grandmother. Please do not berate me over this - I have already admitted it was a blunder.

            My mother is Mnemon's daughter, unreadable and imperturbable as a mountain. I began to suspect she intended to betray me halfway through the conversation, despite her cautious agreement. She is my mother, and despite my wariness, she drew more out of me than I had intended to share. My father is from house Sesus, and remained silent, also a bad sign. After mother left, he attempted to dissuade me from this foolhardy path. I responded with every wile at my disposal.
            "Tell me, father, do you think Mnemon would hesitate even a moment before ordering your death, if you planned to betray her secrets? Mother may be firmly in her shadow, born and raised in the family, but have some pride in the fact that I have learned more from you than from her.

            I will neither abandon my plans - as if I could, with so many lives hanging in the balance - nor will I harm the two of you, though it is within my power. I ask only that you delay for one month. For my sake, and for the sake on the Realm - wait, and convince mother to do the same."
            He agreed to try and convince mother. Two weeks later, I received news that he has fallen ill (almost certainly poison), and Mnemon sent her first assassination attempt. Let this serve as a reminder to all of us of the stakes in the coming conflict. I will not harm my parents under necessity, while Mnemon will poison her son-in-law without a second thought.


            The near miss was the assassination attempt - aimed not at me but at Zara. One of the students invited her to witness a demon summoning, and fearing I would not let her do something dangerous, she did not tell me (I would have allowed it, but I also would have sent an invisible bodyguard). The plan was for him to "lose control" of the demon and for Zara to die. It would have succeeded had not the glory of Daan'd come upon her. She killed the demon and thrashed the student, dragging him before me. You should have seen the fire in her eyes as she explained the situation! I have never been more proud of her than I was at that moment. Congratulations, Nellens Ryu. Zara is a true Dynast, worthy of the title Prince of the Earth.

            The student is expelled, publicly disgraced. I understand that this incident may be something of a shock to you, Ryu, but please do not do anything rash. I apologize for not guarding her better, but this is my place of power, and at the moment there is no safer place in all of Creation for one who has drawn Mnemon's ire. It will not happen again.

            Zara loves the Heptagram, and I am sure she will like it even more once she begins attending classes properly. I shall have to find a new handmaiden.

            Yours in pain and in pride,

            -- Mnemon Aisa
            Last edited by BlueWinds; 04-11-2017, 09:05 PM.


            • #51
              Ascending Wood the Seventh, RY 767
              Amber River, North

              Dearest Zatanna,
              I hope this letter reaches you as things have been chaotic for me. Know that I’m ok and so is my brother…

              (The following letter is from a low ranking Cynis member talking about his trials from being kicked out of Amber River and how he aches to be with his love interest again. Conspirators see the following).

              Things have been interesting to say the least. As mention in my previous letter Mnemon’s fleet lacks the numbers to directly engage the city but she can Blockade naval trade quite effectively. Helkar was taken hostage and his fleet has been conscripted to Mnemon’s fleet. I managed to talk to our favorite Frenzied, used as a term of endearment I assure you, and convince him to find and hopefully rescue my uncle. Unfortunately Darkest Dawn didn’t succeed in Rescuing Helkar but we did get numbers of the fleet and why it got to the North so damn fast. The ships number about (command 3) and is carrying a foot troop of around (command 2). Turns out Mnemon has bound a powerful demon that goes by the name of Florivet, the whim of the wind to guard Helkar and speed the ships through devil magic or something. OOC: I’m occult one so I didn’t know he existed till I was told he was here.

              On the Brightside, creating legislation and getting an Amber River representative haven’t been too difficult. Turns out thousands of years of colonialism makes uprooting and replacing authority almost trivial. Why do I feel guilty about that statement?

              I have more opium than I have any idea what to do with. The Bloody hand wants it all burned and the Cynis want us to give it back, greedy bastards, quickly they forget how easily I could’ve killed them all a month or two ago. Roseblack and I have decided to keep the opium and eventually wean the population off the vile drug. No Maiden activity this month, maybe I’ve disappointed them?

              Lastly, I have begun to try to open relations with Inara. Turns out the Bull of the North had similar ideas. I spent most of my time there performing to help ease their weariness of my presence. This stunt brought the attention of Rorick, the Bull’s emissary, to try to talk with me. The talk didn’t have anything really interesting; he mainly wanted us not to war with each other while in Inara. Rorick likes to blather though and in his rhetoric he mentioned something very interesting. He mentioned where the Wyld hunt War striders fell through the ice and unlike the Bull, we have water aspects.

              Sleep with an eye open,
              Ferem Quelaana


              • #52
                Fifteenth Day of Ascending Wood, RY 767
                Imperial City, Blessed Isle

                Dear Madam,

                Per your request on the best quality leather for ceremonial armour let me take a moment to extol the virtues of boiling...
                The letter continues into a fantastically tedious discussion about the process of making water hardened leather Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following.:

                No update from Ryo I’m afraid, he’s buried so far under bureaucracy right now I’m going to have to dig him out with a shovel once the audit is over so I’m going to do my best to explain politics for him. We truly live in dark times.

                Affairs in the North have everyone in the Imperial City running around like headless chickens. Angry, Jade Studded headless chickens. The one good thing about it is everyone wants a place to vent their angers so finding out what’s going on isn’t heard, shutting them up is the trick. The best I can make of it from rather heated conversations is that the Realm is not officially at war right now. Depending who you ask Mnemon is either blockading and starving out Tepet, or keeping the Realm secure from the spreading madness of the North until things can be peacefully resolved. One Cynis official has actually had to be taken away by their family for trying to stab Ryo when he stonewalled them on the idea that they could keep some holdings on the Slave Coast, it seems even Ryo’s charm has limits. He’s fine, I’m sure if they had connected the knife would have come the worse off for it.

                Tepet have been courting Cathak of late trying to secure a contract for guarding their supplies across the sea, which makes sense to me. Mnemon might be happy to let everyone play pirate but if it meant war with two great houses even she might blink at that. Cathak hasn’t bitten yet though, I think they’re taking your offer to sort things up there to heart. Good luck with that.

                Bar one stab happy official as far as I can tell House Cynis is doing pretty much fuck all to stop anyone doing anything. I’ve got the horrible feeling they’ve struck a deal with Mnemon to get back the lands they just gave away for a chunk of some of the last Tepet holdings except they’ll be even less tied down by Realm laws than before. You’ve got to admire their craven brazenness if nothing else.

                House Mnemon has Sesus backing them of course and Tepet is currently standing alone. If you can’t get some other factions involved or a ruling from the Deliberative the new order up North might not last very long. If you want an idea of how desperate the whole thing is Tepet have been trying to get Fokuf to do something about it and any day House Tepet recognizes he exists is a strange one.

                The Deliberative are meeting every day to discuss this but they’ve barely worked out what's going on up North let alone come close to a ruling. The rebellion has everyone spooked that they might be next and there’s a whole lot of protectionism going on now instead of solutions. I don’t envy Aisa if she ever does become Empress, if I got to deal with them it’d be by burying the lot of them up to their necks in sand as the tide came in.

                Hang in there Queleena.



                • #53
                  Sixteenth Day of Ascending Wood, RY 767
                  Pahua Basin, Blessed Isle

                  So this is the latest word in ice wine... yes! I feel you cocking your head in curiosity. Carmela, is that wine made from ice? No, I say! It's wine where they've let the grapes freeze on the vine! Only the Realm would invent something so ridiculous, and yet so tasty. Here's the latest word...

                  What follows is an enthusiastic but amateurish dissertation on the merits and flaws of some varieties of the aforementioned beverage. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following:

                  SO. We have a problem. I mean, we have an awful lot of them right now, but another one.

                  I've had the opportunity to call upon Tachi-kun, the God of Central War. Apparently he had been hanging out on the Isle and the Immaculate Order had been unable to get him to return to Heaven, so one of my associates in the Order taught me the rites to take a crack at it.

                  He knows. Not everything, but a LOT. He knows about Ryo. He knows that I've been corresponding with Ryo (if not the details), and may know about the rest of us as well. Fortunately, he doesn't particularly care, but he's thinking about revealing Ryo to the Gold Faction (remember them? the ones that always get Solars killed?) in exchange for something good. He had some pretty... small ideas on what favor to ask for, I may have convinced him that the favor should be the Gold Faction convincing the Bull of the North to invade the Realm. Something I'm pretty sure they won't go for on account of how BIG it is.

                  He wants a glorious war on the Isle, he wants a Solar to be part of it, and he's not particularly concerned with how much shit gets burned in the process. Now, that bit is actually sort of good news for me because, well, I've been pretty straightforward in how I think war is inevitable right? So we hit it off pretty well and might run into each other again. But for Ryo and Aisa and assorted peace-loving folk, I think you've got yet another problem on your hands.

                  Good luck!

                  I have captured my sorcerer-bandit-nemesis in a glorious battle with demons and traps and ambuscades oh my! A clash of army against army! I, uh, was present for most of it, but not all. Need to stop getting poisoned by this individual because it's making me miss the good stuff. I expect the Magistrate's going to want to have them paraded through the streets of the Imperial City before a swift execution and I expect that it's his ass on the line if not, so there's not much chance of making a deal to get ourselves another ally, even a covert one. Shame, that. I don't think my unfortunate nemesis is anyone from the Heptagram, seeing it up close they seem self-taught. I mean, the Isle is a big place, they do keep track of the Dragon-Bloods but apparently it's not hard for one with the right skills to just sort of... fall through the cracks if they don't want to be found. That's something that might come in handy someday.

                  Anyway we're holding an impromptu triumph and they're breaking open some casks, so I'll let you go.

                  Keep safe or keep glorious,
                  Carmela Contarini

                  PS. Oh, Titus, it's sort of hilarious to see you seethe about playful jokes about your height and turn around and call our future Empress Breadroll Girl in the same breath. Of course your intelligence saved our asses, it went without saying! You're going to need a sense of humor when you become one of the secret masters of the world. That, or you're going to need to take up drinking.
                  Last edited by Guancyto; 03-26-2017, 05:39 PM.


                  • #54
                    Resplendent Wood, 19, RY 767
                    Heptagram, Blessed Isle

                    Dear mother,

                    I am sorry we parted on such poor terms last time we spoke, but perhaps the day has come to put such matters behind us? I certainly intend to - but not too close behind, for fear you will be holding another dagger. If Mnemon has not spoken with you already, then let me be the first to congratulate you on your new position.

                    ((The message goes on to detail Mnemon Jesra's new assignment as the Mnemon liaison to the Kejak branch of House Sesus. It's not a terrible job... but it's a paying job, which is rather a step down for Mnemon's daughter, the Empress' grandaughter. It's also the post formerly held by Aisa's father, recently deceased. Members of the conspiracy will read the following.))

                    This month has been... interesting. I cannot report as much success as I had hoped, but nothing has gone obviously wrong either. The primary event of interest to the conspiracy was my birthday party. I am now 22. In attendance, houses V'Neef, Tepet, Mnemon, Cathak, Cynis, Leedal and Nellens. Quite the showing! I will summarize two days of back-room conversations and subtle innuendo.

                    V'Neef is on my side. I am on hers. This is no surprise to anyone. My new handmaiden is V'Neef Senna, who, while I am not yet as fond of as Zara, is also somewhat younger and less likely to leave my service immediately.

                    Tepet was reluctant to attend, given that Mnemon would be there, but bowed to my pressure and came anyway. The house as a whole is ready to support me, but they feel Tepet Ejava will not listen if the ask her to revoke her claim. Ferem Qualana, I must ask you to begin work on her, as you have indicated close association. I hope in the coming months to make a public announcement of my intention to be Empress, but only if the Roseblack will, at the same time, acknowledge me. What do I need to offer her to make this happen? What will convince her that House Tepet's cause is hopeless, and she must back me? I believe I could negotiate the withdrawal of Mnemon's fleet, if she is willing to revoke her claim.

                    Cathak Cainan remains more reluctant than I had hoped. House Cynis remains divided in its loyalties, attempting to play both sides. I will continue to work with them. Leedal Kes refused to be pinned to a position, or indeed, to discuss matters seriously at all. Discussions with them did not go as planned.

                    I have attracted the attention of Nellens Sorissa, one of the leaders of the house. No promises, no alliance, but I believe they are willing to work with us. Camilla, I believe you will be receiving several bids from them to help in the construction of your new polity. You may trust their intentions at least a little bit, especially if they come with the name of Nellens Sorissa on their lips. It would be a favor to me if you could cultivate that relationship. They will not work for free, but if you are in need of organized, capable mortals, please call on House Nellens.

                    Mnemon is as dangerous as you have all heard. I know this, I know exactly what is going on in the North, and she she still had me almost convinced I should throw in with her and we could all avoid a civil war. I shall not bore you with details of our meeting, but she has cut my stipend and several of my flakier allies are running for the hills after the way she glared at me the second day of the party. I will be summoning more guards soon.

                    That is what I sought, however - an open break, witnessed by many powers. Too many of those attending still seemed to believe me her supporter still, though I cannot blame them too much given how carefully I cultivated that image. While some doubtless consider the disagreement staged, I hope that more of the Dynasty will be willing to deal with me as an independent actor rather than as part of House Mnemon.

                    Yours in ambiguity and in ambition,

                    -- Mnemon Aisa

                    P.S. Quelaana, I have arranged for Helkar's release. He should be free by the time you receive this letter. Please give him my best wishes, and consider the attached addendum on Florivet. You should find it helpful in dealing with the demon. Consider these my apology for being unable to raise the blockade.


                    Florivet is a Soul of the End of All Wisdom, concerned with military matters and dirty fighting. It will hate anything high-minded or fancy, and prefers 'good old fights'. Its weakness is that it loves to fight, and is easily drawn into combat - perhaps a plan involving drawing it into combat and slowly retreating to pull it away from Mnemon's fleet, where you can bring more force to bear? At the very least, it should be easily distracted from controlling the winds and into fighting personally in the midst of a larger conflict.

                    (The addendum goes on at some length, mostly dry academic information and historical anecdotes about other Dragon Blooded that have dealt with Florivet. One might suspect Aisa of having read several volumes on the subject, and having trouble containing her enthusiasm for sharing. The essential information is all contained in first paragraph above, however.)
                    Last edited by BlueWinds; 04-11-2017, 09:04 PM.


                    • #55
                      Fourth Day of Resplendent Wood, RY 767
                      Chanos, Blessed Isle


                      I have IDEAS. GLORIOUS ideas. Here, read this, and tell me what you think. It's possible the third paragraph is maybe a bit too lurid but I consider it my masterwork!

                      'Dear Jurgen Kaneko, called the Bull of the North,

                      I, Carmela Contarini, do hereby challenge you to honorable single combat! I look forward to roasting your guts over a merry campfire while my men sing jaunty tunes, and...'

                      The letter is clearly a first draft, a particularly amateurish but emphatic letter of challenge to one of the most dangerous Anathema currently known. In particular, it goes on and on and on about how Carmela's going to kick his ass. Those in the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following:


                      So. I've captured the sorcerer bandit and interrogated them several times. I have nicknamed them 'Bibi' because their actual name is garbage and I'm throwing it away. They're a Dragon-Blooded sorcerer all right, but not Heptagram or Lookshyan or Nexan school or any of my other guesses. They were, in fact, trained by demons. And they can't remember who set them up to this plot, or even what the exact details of it were.

                      Aisa! This sounds like exactly your arena. What do you know about a demon that's a library that only contains terrible memories, with a librarian that's also a key? Do you know anything of a plot to destroy the Pahua Basin's vineyards (or at least stop them for a while), or who would benefit from such a thing? Also, what sort of magic can destroy or alter the memories of someone as strong as the person I've got locked up right now? Is there anything you know of that could recover them?

                      I suspect that without the ability to recover their memories, Bibi is headed for a swift trial and execution. I don't particularly mind on the whole - they've caused me a great deal of pain, injury, dead soldiers and struggle... but something about their pleading makes me ponder the uses of a pet rogue sorcerer to our conspiracy or our plans. So some measure of advice on keeping a sorcerer captive might also help! The whole secrecy and indirect shenanigans of all this still makes me think of Titus' friends in the dark, and I still want to punch them in the snout, so if you've any means of making that happen I would also be grateful.

                      Fortunately I don't come empty-handed. I've traveled to Chanos to recruit and resupply for my legion, and came into the possession of a number of ships. They're not warships, but they should service us well. I've also discovered that a large number of Tepet are going North to try and break Mnemon's blockade - the feeling is that the Pink Princess has backed them into a corner, and all they can do is fight. Unfortunately I discovered this only recently. I had engaged an uncle of mine to smuggle food and other humanitarian supplies to help Quelaana and the Roseblack - if I had known that the Tepet were going to fight right now I could've had him bring something with a little more tooth to it.

                      I'm not certain I can convince Magistrate Husumori to take the Legion to fight Mnemon alongside the Tepet fleet without some sort of official sanction - but I can certainly try.

                      This will be settled by iron and blood,
                      Carmela Contarini
                      Last edited by Guancyto; 04-05-2017, 11:03 PM.


                      • #56
                        Resplendent Wood, 28, RY 767
                        North, Amber River

                        Merry Rosemoon,
                        Today marks the first full moon of the summer and is a day of celebration for the north. Fae are more amiable, dead can be easily buried, and I don’t need to wear a fucking heavy coat to go anywhere.

                        The following is a letter giving someone plenty of reason to praise the summer and the things they can do while condemning how cold it is in the North.

                        Nobody ever tells stories about how hard it is to keep a captured city running, lest the soldiers figure out the lack of glory afterwards. This month has been rather exciting and I met a number of Fair Folk in my adventures.

                        I’ll start with the boring and frustrating efforts to keep Amber River from imploding. I’ve managed to keep the Bloody hand from being so blood thirsty by keeping their attention on food control, namely thieves; Surprisingly no incidents with them. The City has been downtrodden so the coming of the summer moon has been an excuse to get a real celebration going and make everything not so grim. It was nice seeing everyone alive and laughing again. It looks like I won’t have to worry about reserves for too long with you guys helping out with the blockade. We did manage to get food without owing the guild which is even better, might’ve pissed off some of the wealthy members in the process.

                        Now, as you know I’ve been trying to build relations with Inara; a slow process but there is steady progress. When I was getting a selectman under my influence I discovered an interesting secret from him. Wind Bitten Bone was a duchys of mirrors and not mortal at all! Turns out he’s extremely good at being an agitator, while not needed at this moment he has given me a list of people I could use to get some real leverage in Inara. Because I forgot to mention this; Wind Bitten Bone doesn’t know he’s fair folk so if you’re ever in the area don’t drop the bomb on him.

                        Finally, I actually managed to find and retrieve the War striders that sunk into the frozen waters from the first Wyld Hunt on The Bull. They were far too heavy and entrenched to pull out with my expedition force, but I knew someone whom could, the Winter Queen. So I strode out to her territory and began singing for a whole week. On that Seventh night, twinned Raksha who spoke interchangeably and in rhymes told me I could earn a boon if the Winter Queen liked my performance. Raksha have different etiquette, The Winter Queen herself took the role of the antagonist. Things almost went really bad but my anima representing spring and a lucky shot allowed the play to end. The boon was an enormous Behemoth that pulled the War striders out of the water with little effort. I had control of him for a little while longer and played the most amazing game of gateway until it disappeared, presumably back to his queen.

                        Yours truly, Ferem Quelaana

                        P.S. Thanks for all the help gals, with Helkar and the rest of Tepet we might just be able to push Mnemon off. I'll admit I haven't probed Ejava yet, I'll tell you the info on the Wind when I find out.
                        Last edited by Eura; 04-06-2017, 04:26 AM.


                        • #57
                          The First Day of Descending Wood, RY 767
                          Imperial City, Blessed Isle

                          Dear Friends,

                          It's good to finally get a moment to myself, rather than business I'd like to exercise futility in a different way and continue our game of gateway and so...
                          The rest of the letter is just a sketch of their move in a gateway game that they appear to be losing quite badly. The Conspiracy will see the following:

                          I emerge from an Audit so tedious that even the word itself is making me sleepy, but it's good to finally write to you all again. Everyone now seems very aware that there's something unusual happening at the Heart of the Realm and the grilling to find out what has hit everybody hard. Clearly someone knows what I'm doing even if they don't know who I am and so I will have to be even more careful than usual going forward.

                          It's not an ideal time to draw my attention away from the Realm's finances either, with a war coming everything seems to be grinding to a halt as the Great Houses skip on taxes or defer payments so they can secure themselves a place in the future. There's going to be some hard times as repairs and stockpiling that should not be ignored are once again left to a later date, the Realm's one major disaster away from disappearing entirely at this rate, whoever takes the Throne has a difficult job ahead of them.

                          Speaking of which, I hear Mnemon's Granddaughter has finally caught some of Mnemon's particular disfavor I do hope you are watching your back Aisa because Mnemon's never been very kind to her rivals, not even familial ones. I like Nellen's as an ally and it suits you well, but you'll almost certainly need Tepet's backing if you're to see this through and the war up north provides a real thorny problem for all of you to unpick. If Tepet wins the battle up North they'll keep their claim to the Throne instead of backing you, but if they lose then only Pelep really remains as Mnemon's challenger and I feel securing their favor is going to be even harder. Trade in the West is down and it's hitting Pelep's hard and everyone is being incredibly tight lipped as to why, I've tried my charms and still got no answer, it's possible no one knows what's going on. If you have the time to find out for me I would appreciate it.

                          Somewhat more worrying, Regent Fokuf actually put forward a Petition to the Deliberative that trade should be unhindered in the realm and anyone who seeks to delay it should remunerate the person affected. It got voted down pretty hard, though you won't be surprised to hear that all of House Tepet backed it. It's the first time Fokuf has ever been in the Deliberative and with how angry people are about it I don't think he'll get the chance at a second try. He's not dead yet, but whatever spurred him to do that suicidal maneuver had to be pretty powerful indeed.

                          Be careful with the Fair Folk Queelena, they're rarely happy with simply a small taste of what you have to offer.

                          Good health in the end of Wood and enjoy some of the fruits of your labour,

                          Nellens Ryo


                          • #58
                            Descending Wood, 23, RY 767
                            Amber River, North

                            Greetings Friends,
                            I’m writing to tell you my visit to the North has been rather exciting. The Locals like to doom say about the dragon-blooded, but I’m not intimidated by rapscallions. In my days we didn’t cave in just because of a little rationing.

                            The letter goes on about an eccentric old man’s ravings about his adventures in the North. The threat of a siege seems to only excite him and even goes on to wonder why nobody will tell him where an ice walker tribe is. Members of the Conspiracy will read the following.

                            This month has been mostly calm, mostly finding minor ways to prep for the Battle of Amber River. I won’t sugar coat it. This battle is going to be a bloody one. That said, the repairs for the war striders have actually been going rather well, barring one problem. The essence cannons refuse to operate with terrestrial essence. We spent a good long time trying to figure out how to get around this without ruining the targeting systems and ended up deciding there was no good way to circumvent it. Luckily I know a certain Anathema whom could operate a war strider and as far as anybody knows we did get around this subsystem. Turns out Roseblack isn’t as opposed to anathema as we thought.

                            Inara has been a surprisingly expedient task of getting rights to mining soulsteel. It took a lot of glad handling and little bit of blackmail, but I finally have some to test what it can do against the undead. Unfortunately the test subjects will be hungry ghosts from the battle. Macabre, but at least the dead can still help the living. On the subject of soulsteel, at first glance it seems to look like a terrible material for anything; it’s brittle, crumbles at the edges, and makes me want to wash my hands whenever I touch it. I’m assured in its refined form the metal is something to behold, we’ll see.

                            The last bit is something I believe I’ve wind carried words the bare essentials of. Someone tried to sabotage my food storage, if only it were that simple. The Saboteur could’ve easily slipped me if she knew someone would try to follow her. I managed to catch up to her, a Night Thief. Things would’ve ended differently if she knew wood aspects weren’t affected by plant toxins. Her surprise gave me enough of an opening to mortally wound a lesser opponent. That’s when she did something I didn’t expect. The Lunar started telling me this was a ploy to get the Tepet be more active. Apparently the Bull has been trying to enslave them long enough to jab the Realm into frenzy.

                            A very fancy signature of Ferem Quelaana is here.

                            P.s. It will be odd having a conspirator near me for a change. Carmela, would we want to do anything before our possible last battle?


                            • #59
                              Descending Wood, 25, RY 767
                              Heptagram, Blessed Isle

                              Dear Ferem Quelaana,

                              I apologize for your difficulties, and a clutch of warstriders is certainly a worthy endeavor, but I will not recommend that the Heptagram send a fang of engineers to help you get them working again. I'm sorry, but the request simply isn't reasonable. Amber River is not a safe place right now, and is unlikely to be in the near future. Perhaps when things calm down in six months or so, if your house is willing to foot the bill? Even then I doubt the Realm's finest are willing to stick their noses into...

                              ((The letter goes on in an annoyed tone, as if responding to a request that Qualaana never actually made. Members of the conspiracy will see the following.))

                              Quelaana, please ignore the cover letter - It's merely stage dressing and excuse for future action. While there's one the one Huraka delivering this letter right now, I wanted to give some warning before flooding your location with cloud bears. There are more than a dozen additional elementals arriving tomorrow in addition to the one that delivered this message, a mix of Huraka and Thunderbirds. I hope they will prove useful, despite their small numbers. They are carrying some provisions, but not on a scale to make a difference. I'm sorry that blockade running is beyond my reach at the moment.

                              Ryu, I am well aware of grandmother's disfavor. My ears are still blistering. Overall though, I think it's done more harm than good. A few flaky hangers-on were scarred away, but others are far more confident in the fact that I'm an independent agent. Believe me, I did not poke that dragon without considering the consequences. My back is watched.

                              Carmela, I hope the evidence provided to your magistrate was satisfactory. About the question you asked earlier, Bibi's affliction seems similar to that caused by Thari, the Word Serpent. One of the lesser known Yozi, it's associated with knowledge as a weapon or secrets closely guarded. Libraries and locks on Bibi's memory may very well be its demons. I could examine him if he were delivered to the Heptagram, but instead suggest that a swift trial and execution is the best course. Wash your hands of him and do not get involved with demons. If you need a pet sorcerer, let me know and I will find you someone more trustworthy.

                              Dragons be with you both. Good luck in the north.


                              Which leads me to my own adventures for the month. Seeking to solidify my hold over the Ventus Perfecture, I approached Holly, the defacto governor, though she doesn't hold the title yet. She had an interesting suggestion, which I agreed - Versino needs to be explored for several reasons, not the least of which is its close association with Grandmother.

                              I set Cathak Nadrian on the job, with promises of an immediate betrothal if he succeeded. He hasn't yet, but not for lack of trying. First there were undead (which I helped him pass), then there were illusions (which one of my acquaintances helped him pass), and then there was a giant centipede fifty feet tall and hundreds long, which was too much for his circle. I'm helping them plan the next expedition now, but it won't be able to depart until we find a way to deal with a rather large behemoth. Quelaana, if they survive the upcoming battle, would it be possible to borrow a warstrider or three? I have other ideas, but sometimes the straightforward approach is best.

                              It has mostly been a quiet month here - the calm before the storm. My other business endeavors are going smoothly. Red Handed Jian, a recent recruit to my cause, is rapidly teaching the merchants of the Isle of Whispers that partnership is better than competition when I'm involved.

                              Yours in striving and in satisfaction,

                              -- Mnemon Aisa

                              P.S. If any rumors spring up around my love life, please feel free to set the record straight. Yes, I am bedding a mortal. Just one. Yes, I like her. We have not eloped, we do not have a child, and we met at a party two months ago. Silly that I have to say any of that, but you know how rumors can get.

                              P.P.S V'Neef Iphen is an ass, and I haven't the time to beat sense into him. That is all.
                              Last edited by BlueWinds; 05-02-2017, 02:49 AM.


                              • #60
                                Descending Wood, 28, RY 767
                                Northern Inner Sea

                                I'm on a boat motherfuckers! Why did nobody tell me about- you know what, that whole 'why did nobody tell me about X' routine is getting sort of tired. Instead I'll just say that Realm yachts are fucking awesome and everyone (and I do mean everyone) should own one or at least get to ride on one at least once. One of my more water-inclined associates had an aggressive spat with a whale and the result of that is that I'm seriously going to have to watch my weight when I get back - this stuff is possibly the most filling thing I have ever tasted.

                                And then we raced a school of porpoises...

                                The letter continues detailing Carmela's exotic maritime adventures for some time. There is a small mention of the unrest in the North, where she mentions that their yacht was signaled away from a battlegroup and even though Carmela totally wanted to fight them or at least get at some of their wine, her captain decided against it and sailed away.

                                Aisa! The evidence you provided was enough to convince Magistrate Husumori to dispatch the entire Legion Magisterial northward to help relieve the Tepet, and not just after consultation with his Archons but immediately. I had assumed you had some dirt on your grandmother, but this must have been a doozy (I didn't get to look at it myself). Like, eating babies and fornicating with Lunars doozy. So, long story short, here I come to save the day! Or maybe get killed alongside everyone else. The odds aren't actually in our favor but when your back's against the wall you fight your heart out and you go down swinging if you have to!

                                I mean, Bibi has poisoned me twice now and they're busy supporting my boarding actions with these spindly ball-of-spines-type demons (the offer of a sorcerer from the Heptagram is generous - any way you could get such a person to appear on my fleet right now?) so it's not like I'm sort of scraping the bottom of the barrel already. I will be clearing things they summon with you - anything that could help them escape gets punched in the face until it goes back to Hell. They can't swim, though, so I sort of have their balls in a vise while we're on the ocean.

                                Oh! Boarding actions. Yes. There was a Sesus scout fleet that was almost certainly looking for reinforcements against Mnemon's greater force. There is no longer a Sesus scout fleet that was almost certainly looking for reinforcements against Mnemon's greater force. Instead my own fleet of... pretty good ships has now acquired some prizes - some Realm cutters that are approximately ten billion times faster than anything I've got. That's just a rough estimate.

                                I ran into a Storm Mother! She was... friendly. Very friendly. I politely declined being romantically drowned, and instead proposed that she could tag along and if I happened to toss any redheads from Mnemon's fleet overboard, she could perhaps take care of them and their ships too. I'm sure this won't end terribly for everyone we happen to care about!

                                Quelaana, in the Sesus' ships holds I discovered a bottle of wine dating from the late Shogunate. I have no idea if it's any good or not but I figure if it's older than the Empress it'll at least be an experience. We should share it before battle, to drink to victory or death!

                                I'm also open to no-strings-attached we're-all-going-to-die-tomorrow-so-let's-live-for-today wild sex.

                                Just putting it out there,
                                Carmela Contarini