Exalted Of the East

Arrival at the Coalescence of the Sun's Glory (2011.02.07)

When last we saw our brave adventurers they had just arrived at the Coalescence of the Sun’s Glory to find that the mountain top was covered with a Skyrunner Village. The scene begins with them contemplating their next action when the Sun Ray comes under attack by some large, unknown force. Jaoquim’s preternatural senses allowed them to take evasive maneuvers in time, though the ship still received damage. Ren opened a side ramp to get a better view on the action while The Pilgrim swung the ship around. The Veil and Toshiro joined him on the ramp to see what had happened. On the ground far below, over the river further south from the village, stood two large catapults, serviced by a constructed creature bearing ammo, loaded and fired by a pair of BoneStriders, one substantially more ornate than the other. After long tense moments of flight from the mountain top to the clearing below, combat erupted with Ren, the Veil, and Toshiro taking the field among the horde of goblins. Jaoquim leaped from the ship to surprise the Deathknight and The Pilgrim same shortly after, leaving the ship to be protected by inherent failsafe measures. After a long hard fought struggle, seeing Jaoquim again heavily wounded, the heroes were able to find success on the battlefield by destroying the bonestriders and driving the Deathknight to use his magic to escape. They now had evidence he was strong but could be defeated if they used their powers as one.

Toshiro sat in his hammock above the mess of goblins crawling about the floor. In his hand and and held to the bulkhead by a “glue” handed to him by a green skin, calling itself a “Mek A Nik” and wearing worn leathers, were a series of scrolls covered in tables and drawings. He checked his calculations and charts and there was no doubt in his mind: Ren’s action to call them to coordinate their attacks had turned the tide in their fight. With Joaquim injured and The Pilgrim hampered by his need to turn his resources towards fueling and piloting the ship this one act of leadership, in the haste of combat, had made a difference for them. Had all 5 of them been able to bring their forces to muster on the Deathknight from the beginning, consistently, the outcome could have been much different.

He shifted to a long small scroll covered in small precise brush strokes. “This is our plan.” he muttered to himself. Standing up he pulled down the hammock and wound it into the robes around him. Picking his way through the horde of goblins he found The Veil and Joaquim in turn telling them “Meet me on the bridge of the ship with Ren and The Pilgrim.”

Once they had arrived there, Toshiro closed the door, sealing out the green skins and giving them a few moments of privacy amid the miasma of their current charges.

“Gentlemen and Lady, I have spent the last few hours using my knowledge of organizations, governments, and efficiencies, along with the gifts granted from this new life as the chosen of the Sol Invictus, to look at our last engagement with the Deathknight. From that I have a plan to see us to victory. With each of your insights and abilities granted by this enlightened state, I would like you to help me realize it.”

With that he rolled out a large scroll across the console and they began to talk.

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Exalted Of The East Recap: January 24th Session

[Hello, everyone! Unfortunately, my original idea for this review is taking a bit longer than I thought it would. I’m still going to work on it, but because it won’t be done in time, I’ll do a more traditional recap!]

Exalted of the East (January 24th, 2011)

The wind, even during the scorching Southern summer, carried with it a cool relief. A father and his golden haired son sailed across the desert sands, feeling the air flow across their tanned, rugged faces as the currents propelled their Sand-Surfer toward home. The Son watched his Father as he danced across the rigging, leaning back and forth to guide the machine back to their family. A brief prick of icy coolness touched The Son’s leg. He looked down and saw water from the many clay jugs tightly packed into the Sand-Surfer sloshing about because of the movement.

“Dad, why can’t we live somewhere where water is plentiful?” asked The Son.

“Because water is great, but not as necessary as what we have here!” The Father responded, rather cryptically. “What do we have here that’s as good as water?”

“You’ll find out someday, son! You just have to keep looking!” laughed his Father as he launched the Sand-Surfer up over a dune and through the burning desert air…

OOOOO

“Hey! Are you alright?” asked Ren after a particularly hard blow to the head of his circle-mate. “Ow. I think you shook something loose there, buddy…” winced The Pilgrim. The two beings, Exalted of the Unconquered Sun, had begun to spar as they waited for their friend Toshiro to finally come to his senses. The Pilgrim could not fault him for his sudden bout of strange actions as he had just suffered from it himself. Even with great power, authority, and the ability to create or crush entire nations, it is still possible for those with greatness to be pushed passed their limit. “That’s strange, I didn’t realize you had anything up there to shake loose!” mocked a voice from up in the trees, one belonging to Joquim, The Silver Khan, an Exalted of Luna and travelling companion of The Pilgrim. For many moons, the two of them have travelled across the East together, causing and solving havoc as it occurred to them. With the addition of Toshiro, Ren, and The Veil, the Circle had grown into something more than a cadre of random strangers. To the Pilgrim, they had become something more, something that he hasn’t had in a long time… a family. “Well, why don’t you come on down here and give me a hand?” asked The Pilgrim before pointing and laughing. Subconsciously, Joquim gazed at his (currently) missing arm, a result of their recent troubles with the Deathknight lording over the Shadowland that had become of Farhold, their temporary home. With a growl, Joquim leapt gracefully from the tree and, with a bound that seemed to defy gravity, he appeared next to Ren and the Pilgrim, his stance one of combat. Joquim smirked lightly, the hint of a fang gleaming in the light, before roaring in challenge and running toward his friends. Seeing this, the Pilgrim also let out a shout, a deep bellow of power, as he tossed his sparring weapon, a simple stick, into the air, his body springing into the air just in time to avoid a blow from Ren’s wooden sword.

“Damn it!” cursed Ren when a small itch at the back of his head warned him of an incoming blow. With preternatural deftness, the Eclipse Caste Solar barely dodged a blow from The Pilgrim, his smiling eyes glowing in the sunlight. The Pilgrim nodded his head and Ren’s face blanched with horror when he realized that he was wide open, an insight gained too late. As soon as he turned his head enough to see him, Joquim’s feet were already smashing into his gut. Joquim kicked Ren with enough force to flip him around, his wooden sparring weapon flying into the air. The Lunar Exalt chortled in triumph. For The Pilgrim, this would hopefully be the distraction he needed, and with hope in his heart, the Zenith leapt at his Lunar Companion, planning on a quick but vicious series of blows to the legs and back to render him unable to continue. This, however, was not to be. The Pilgrim slammed against the ground with a hard thud, his target nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, Joquim dove out of the branches above, violence burning in his eyes. His body was pure blinding, mercurial movement, a chimera of kicks and punches, all of it ending with a spinning roundhouse kick strong enough to launch The Pilgrim into, and through, one of the tribal huts littering the area. Silence filled the forest as the one armed Tiger-Man did a backflip in victory and rose his arm and stub into the sky.

“And that, gentlemen, is how it is done!” shouted Joquim, his ego inflating almost at an audible level. Hearing the commotion, Toshiro stepped over to Ren and The Pilgrim, his hands doddering from sheer, never ending work.

“Oh my! Is there anything I can get for your two? Is anyone hurt?” he asked, maniacal caring blazing in his grandfatherly eyes.

“I could use a backrub and a drink…” groaned The Pilgrim, his hand slowly rising from the rubble.

OOOOO

It took Toshiro a few more days to come back around, but as soon as it happened, the Circle was once again on the move. Using powerful sorceries, Toshiro had created a massive whirlwind powerful enough to whisk the cadre of Exalted to the resting place of a weapon, an airship capable of assisting them in their battle to retake Farhold. The location of the airship, however, came at a great price, a trade of a young child to the monster Baba Yaga. The thought about what this cost weighed heavily on The Pilgrim’s mind.

“So you still have a problem with this?” asked Toshiro, his calm voice managing to be heard over the destructive winds catapulting them ever forward.

“Yeah, I guess you can say that. I can’t help but think that the best thing to have done in that situation was to beat the ever living hell out of Baba Yaga and forced the info from her anyway,” pondered the Zenith.

“Or she could have simply escaped and we could have never received this information in the first place. True, we did trade in an innocent child to be eaten by a monster, but his sacrifice will avenge the deaths of thousands and rescue thousands more. We traded one child for an entire city. There’s got to be some good you can see in that,” argued the doctor.

“I don’t know… maybe.”

“Oh, you’re just upset that I beat you the other day!” spoke Joquim as he popped up behind The Pilgrim and danced mockingly in the vicious winds.

“Please! I let you win!” The Pilgrim exclaimed. “What?” questioned the Lunar incredulously. “I felt sorry for you, having lost your best wife!” joked The Pilgrim as he pointed toward Joquim’s missing arm. A dark scowl crossed Joquim’s face and Toshiro rolled his eyes as the two began to scuffle.

OOOOO

“What?” shouted The Pilgrim, clutching his bleeding chest and his clothing stained green with the blood of a strange encounter the circle had barely survived. “Flesh-tearing lizard/plant creatures. Welcome to the Pole of Wood,” muttered Ren. “At least they weren’t more bats… wouldn’t want Pilgrim to scream like a girl again,” spoke Joquim as he cleaned his shiny, metal claws. “I never screamed like a little girl!” growled The Pilgrim. “Could have fooled me, and I’m a doctor,” said Toshiro, from out of nowhere. Laughter rang out louder than the shrieking monsters the circle had just eliminated. “Man, I don’t want to hear it! I just killed two of those plant things myself, myself! You bunch of slackers’d be plant food without me, so I would appreciate a little more… BYTHEGODSTHEYAREGOINGTOKILLUSALL!” screamed The Pilgrim as a bat suddenly flew into his face. It was only the sound of his friends laughing to the point of breathlessness when he realized the bat had flown away and he was now flailing at nothing. “Okay. Shut up. You, get to healing,” mumbled The Pilgrim as he pointed at Toshiro. Even the doctor, the Circle’s even tempered Twilight, was wiping away tears of laughter from his eyes. The laughter continued into the night as the Circle set up a fire and commenced to set up camp for the night. And for The Pilgrim, sleep did come, but not easily. The Pilgrim, a young wisp of a man, hit against the ground hard, blood seeping from his face and body. His ragged breath blew the sand from the stone beneath him and it swirled in the air. It came down, softly, against a black, monstrous foot, its dark talons scraping against the floor. The world was hazy and bright as the monster before him mocked The Pilgrim and his futile efforts. “That was adorable. A little boy pretending to be a hero. As to what Sol Invictus saw in you, I would never know,” mocked the creature as it flexed its massive wings.

“Yeah, sometimes I ask myself the same question,” laughed The Pilgrim as he spit blood. A green light and massive waves of pain suddenly washed over The Pilgrim, his body freed from gravity and floating in the air high enough to meet the creature face to face. Although it was a creature of many forms, it preferred the iconography of a bat. It was missing one eye, the socket filled with nothing but darkness. The other eye was a rolling ball of green fire. It consumed the souls of entire villages.

“I always thought you all travelled in packs… where is yours?” it asked. “Not that lucky, I guess.” “Ha! I guess not,” laughed the creature as it sent even greater waves of pain through The Pilgrim’s body. The young Solar’s eyes danced around as the vile creature continued to pump burning, cutting energy into his flesh. Whatever it was, the Old Man said it was escaping outside of Fate itself. The Pilgrim had managed to follow it to its floating platform, a Manse of Combat, itself outside of Fate and acting as its throne to rule over the sea of Dunes he and his father once travelled every season. The Pilgrim also noticed that, while it was not exactly dark at the Manse, it being outside of Fate made the fading sunlight just that much more lifeless. At that point, he got an idea. “I may not be lucky, but damn am I bright,” punned The Pilgrim as he erupted into a bright, shining light. The creature recoiled as the pure light of the Sun washed over him, his mystical grip loosening enough for The Pilgrim to wriggle free. The Pilgrim watched gleefully as the creature struggled against the light. The Solar, his mirth shifting to rage, ran so fast toward the monster that he felt his muscles nearly snap. The light emanating from his form flowed around him like a river as he leapt into the air and began to punish the creature with all the power in his body. Essence flowed out of him as the light grew intolerable. Focusing all his anger into one massive punch, the soul eating monstrosity felt his entire body shake as it flew through the air. It made a sickening, tearing sound as the monster landed upon an Orichalcum rod positioned next to the throne, the rod tearing through the creature’s body and spraying its blood all across the Manse. The creature grimaced and growled, cursing in a language The Pilgrim had never heard. The vile language polluted The Pilgrim’s ears as the creature exploded into the largest colony of bats the young man had ever seen, enough to blot out the sun. The bats swarmed around him, scraping him with talons and fangs, nearly pushing him off the edge of the floating Manse. Silence soon filled the area, leaving The Pilgrim alone with a floating Manse and a mysterious golden rod that would soon become his signature weapon. The Pilgrim awoke with a start, unconsciously feeling his hair to ensure no bat had become tangled within it. He returned to his supine position once more and let the sounds of the morning wash over him, the calls of strange beasts that make their home in the constantly shifting Wyld.

OOOOO

“Oh man… I’m not comfortable with this…” moaned The Pilgrim as he attempted to ignore the three goblins currently staring at him with nigh reptilian, unblinking eyes. The Circle had worked very hard to convince this small army of Goblins, as well as their blue-hued leaders, to join them in their war against the Deathknight. Even now they laugh and reenact the absolutely epic storytelling techniques used to convince them (they’ve been laughing for hours about Toshiro’s Stab This Man method… perhaps there was a powerful Charm concept in there somewhere). The Pilgrim had taken his seat in the co-pilot’s chair, being one of the most literate individuals in the group, and one of the few capable of reading Old Realm, but the thought of once again dealing with the Fair Folk troubled him. Even his mercurial, child-like sense of amazement and wonder was not piqued by the immense daiklave resting in the back of the Resplendent Manta Class Troop Transportation Arsenal they have recently acquired (dubbed “Sunray” by some obsequious little green, toothy beast that has since faded into the mass). “You’ve been saying that quite a bit,” muttered Joquim through a clenched jaw as he fought a goblin over possession of his own artifact. “You know, under normal circumstances, I’d be overjoyed to be flying in a giant mechanical fish, absolutely packed with an army absolutely itching to follow my orders, followed by a friggin’ flying whale. But it is my opinion, as someone now wholly given over to greed and selfishness as of yet, that we’ve been going about this the wrong way. I just have this feeling that we should be hitting things more, you know? Asserting out dominance as Lawgivers and whatnot. Instead, we seem to be making deals with creatures of darkness with some regularity,” explained the Zenith. “Well, what could we do? We couldn’t fight Baba Yaga, ‘cause she’d probably beat us up and then escape in her stupid little chicken hut. We’d probably be temporary residents of a horde of goblin colons if we attempted to fight the Goblins. So here we are… sure we’ve had to compromise, to give in a little bit, but we’re still alive and only slightly off course, really,” answered the Lunar. “Yeah, but that’s the problem. You call it compromise, I call it death by inches. Maybe not a physical death, but certainly a spiritual and moral one. As Lawgivers of the Unconquered Sun, and you I guess, I think we should be, you know, giving out more law. I mean, here we are in a ship filled with beings that we should have annihilated without mercy or hesitation. I mean, these things want to unravel the whole of Creation and have almost succeeded at least once if history is correct. But now we have to be buddy-buddy with them. This situation just does not wash with me.” “Well, we’re in this situation here and now. Might as well see where it leads,” finished Joquim as the two Exalted grew silent. The Pilgrim gazed out the window, watching for their destination to appear from beyond the horizon, but his attention was interrupted by an itch behind his eyes, a trigger for him to be more alert. He gazed about, at first believing that the sensation came from the Goblins still staring at him (‘What, are they hungry? Are they bored? What the hell do they want?’ wondered The Pilgrim). It was then that he saw it, finally reaching from beyond the dense cloud cover… their destination.

Coalescence of the Sun’s Glory, the great southern Manse of what is said to be a great weapon utilizing several linked Manses. But something was off. There were huts dotting the peak and surrounding the Manse, structures with familiar markings.

“Skyrunners,” muttered The Pilgrim to himself as he gripped his Orichalcum weapon, Aphelion, in a knuckle whitening grip. During his own particular mental breakdown, the Skyrunners had attacked his Circle and tried to kill them all. Even though it was only a mere shadow of the former emotion, The Pilgrim still felt a hatred lingering in his heart for this Tribe. He did not know what chaos was to soon befall his Circlemates, but he knew that whoever attacks them will definitely have hell to pay.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Session on 1/17/2011: As seen through the eyes of Ren Kachina, Solar Diplomat

(( I decided to have some fun with the recap and made a little story with it. If you want to skip to the recap, read the parts in italics. ))

Deep below Nexus, far in the future, a labyrinthine protecting an ancient tomb was outwitted. A lone truth seeker braved everything to uncover the secrets of the past contained within. Scaling down a rope with a torch in hand, the brave soul descended into main chamber of the crypt. As he touched down on the floor a small cloud of dust rose up from the floor. He thought to himself, “No one had been here for hundreds, maybe thousands of years” and he was correct. The room was incredibly dark, the torch’s solitary light reviled only vague outlines of what was ahead. As he walked forward, an object came into view.

In the middle of the room stood a pedestal on top of which rested a large tome covered in age. The man carefully approached, removed the scarf covering his mouth, took a deep breath, and blew the dust off of the cover of the old book. As the wind from his lungs removed the dust from the cover, the room came to life. Suddenly a gale of air assaulted the room, causing the dust to swirl around like a sandstorm. The man shielded his eyes and ducked to the ground, bracing himself against the torrent of wind and dust. As suddenly as the wind had come, it left. The man stood up slowly, his eyes darting around the room with caution, which slowly gave way to wonder.

Torches along the sides of the wall had become lit, the room was bright as day. All of the dust was gone, taken away by the mysterious wind. Lining the sides of the walls were all manner of strange trinkets and wonders the explorer had only ever dreamed of, each with its own story. Sword engraved with gold, bracelets, jewels, portraits of people long forgotten and much more. The room was rectangular, with the entrance back behind the man, and at the far end, laid a large stone sarcophagus with a curved top, with inlaid yellow gemstones that gleamed in the torchlight. On each side of the long walls, behind the trinkets in cut out sections of the wall, stood two tall stone statues of men in armor with rice hats and all manner of weapons. On the Far side, above the sarcophagus a fifth statue stood, with marvelous blue and gold painted rice hat and royal red robes covering armor underneath. After taking in the the view of the chamber, the man snapped back to his senses. Although this tomb contained great material wonder, he turned back to the tome upon the pedestal for what he really was seeking; the truth.

The book had a hard cover of brown with Kachina family crest on the front, a mountain obscured by the clouds in a circular seal. Underneath the crest was neatly printed;

Ledger

Record of transactions for the Noble house Kachina,
For Ren Kachina, cherished son.

With barley suppressed excitement, the man flipped open the cover and began delving the pages for the truth he needed, even as he disregarded the caution at the back of his mind that told him to beware. After scrolling through several pages of normal transaction records of goods traded, prices and other notes, the seeker found the beginning of what he was looking for;

Its been some time since I have written in this book. my life as a merchant’s son is over, everything has changed. I have been given new responsibilities and great gifts, and I intend to change this world into what it should be, what it can be. The tyranny of the Realm must end, I will seek out allies, forge bonds and see creation brought to order, no matter the cost. This ledger was a gift from my father, so that I could be an orderly, honest merchant. But I intend to bring law to more than just business practice. This ledger will serve new purposes, a record of transactions, not just of the small material goods I posses now, but also transactions of diplomacy, records of events so that the past may remain clear, and the road forward less mysterious.

I arrived in a town called Farhold, inhabited by a devastated logging community. Some calamity has befallen this town, it may not be safe here. I met a strange woman who can’t remember her name, I decided to help her out, and to take a look at what misfortune has happened to Farhold. Traded cargo of furs for bushels of acorns at a good rate.

I’ve had numerous near death experiences, fought undead creatures that redefined evil in my mind, and have been caught up in the politics of a volatile region that are equally dangerous. Some time has passed since I last wrote. I’ll go into more detail later, time is limited and I wish to detail recent events while they are fresh in my mind.

After escaping Farhold with Toshiro’s family and my entourage, the Circle sat down with the leader of the local tribes, Joquim’s brother, Darkeyes. We discussed what could be done to stop the Death Knight’s occupation of Farhold, and Darkeye’s slavery to Queen Raxi.

Back in the tomb, the man let out a gasp, this was it, what he had been searching for all these long years, a record of the heroes who stood against the Demon Queen Raxi. He re focused on the book and dove back into his reading. He read so voraciously that he missed the forlorn sound of scraping, echoing from far back in the labyrinthine every so slowly growing louder and louder.

Darkeyes is forced by magic compulsion to report to a demon that serves Raxi and discuss his operation of the tribes on her behalf. In reality, Darkeyes resents his servitude to Raxi and works against her as he can, which makes him our ally, as Raxi is our enemy. After discussing options of how to keep Raxi from directly intervening, Darkeyes decided it would be best to tell Raxi’s demon he could handle the Death Knight and return Farhold to her rule. He told the demon as much, but it seemed that Raxi wasn’t confident in Darkeyes ability to get the job done. Darkeyes suspects that Raxi has sent powerful demon servants to oust the Death Knight on her behalf. At first I wanted swift revenge on the Death Knight, and advocated for the circle to ride to Farhold and face him again in combat. Darkeyes and the rest of the Circle thought that instead, we should seek power before confronting him again, after some small convincing, I agreed and made their path my own.

Raxi’s demon interference fit perfectly into our plans, as we need to gather strength before attempting to confront the Death Knight, and the demons may hamper the Death Knight’s efforts to gather his own power and extend the shadowlands. Considering how to gain power to thwart the Death Knight, Darkeyes told us that Toshio’s manse was part of a network of hidden manses, that when all attuned to, would unlock a mysterious power that would aid us in defeating the Death Knight. This seemed like the best opportunity, so we decided to set off for to manse, but not before a strange visitor arrived. A richly dressed man named Duran Long arrived and began talk of fate, heaven and other things quite casually, I wonder who he really is? He explained that fate has no hold in the shadowlands, and that our victory, and future is uncertain. Duran Long also used a power of his to transfer my skill at playing the lyre to the pilgrim; fascinating. More mysteries from Duran Long, but we have to stay focused on what we can do, not how bleak things look.

After resting for the night, I bid farewell to the Wretched Hand and Kaida and met the Circle, Toshiro used his wind sorcery to take us to the first manse at blazing speed. We arrived in an empty open field where the manse sat, invisible. Toshiro found the entrance and we went inside. A snake guardian greeted us hesitantly, and told us we were welcome if we could brave the spike traps. The temptation to misrepresent myself in this situation is considerable, but the truth is, that I was thankful that day for deciding to don armor… the spike traps tasted my blood on the way in. The rest of the Circle avoided the sting of the traps easily, and The Veil took some satisfaction in ‘showing me how it was done’, good for her, but I doubt she could manage to translate the combined works of Zao The Green Sage into High Tongue in less than an hour, like I can, Hrmph. The main chamber inside the manse was beautiful symmetry, this would be a perfect place to find solace. The Circle meditated as we attuned ourselves to the essence flows of the manse.

We questioned the Serpent guardian and he reviled that he know stories about a powerful hag called Baba Yaga who would trade boons in exchange for magical blue roses… and children. We discussed the morality of sacrificing a child for power. Toshiro offered the option of trading one of his own grandchildren to the hag for power. The notion disgusted me, trading away ones family for riches is beyond reprehensible, I don’t understand his disregard for his family, it is unsettling. We decided at that point that in order to lure the hag out, we would acquire a child from the friendly tribe called the Ivory Branches- just to lure the hag, not as a bargain. Since the child was from a friendly tribe, we would not resort to sacrificing the child for power. On the way out, I decided to not hold back, infusing my blade with essence to block the traps. The crafty old man Toshiro thought to hitch a ride with me through the gauntlet, and it worked out just fine for him… lucky.

We arrived to a warm welcome with the Ivory Branches. An audience with the chief showed that they were willing to lend us a child, but they also requested our aid in fighting off a rival tribe called the Red Axes, who had started murdering Ivory Branches indiscriminately. At that point we decided to change our plan; we would acquire a child from the Red Axes and trade with the hag, instead of risking a child of the Ivory Branches. Summoning his traveling tornado had left Toshiro exhausted, so we decided to camp with the Ivory Branches for the night. They threw a feast in our honor, to everyone’s delight and we had an afternoon of quiet before heading out the next day. At the feast, I asked the Ivory branches to let me fight on their behalf, to outfit me in their tribe’s way. They seemed happy to do so, painted my face and body in white with tribal designs, and bestowed a bone bracelet, bow and bandoleer that they thought would offer special protection.

Out of the corner of his eye the truth seeker spotted the bone armaments, laying next to each other on a mat of gleaming fabric at the feet of one of the statues on the left side. He eyed them over, then returned to the reading. Again his focus betrayed him, and he missed the fact that one of the statues on the right side of the room was now gone. The torches flickered briefly and began to extinguish, slowly growing dimmer and dimmer. He didn’t notice, his attention was firmly on the book before him, still readable in the fading light.

I woke up early and meditated upon the upcoming battle with the Red Axes. Toshiro summoned his whirlwind and spend us off in the location of their camp. On the way, we drew arms and prepared for battle. To my surprise, as we neared the camp, Toshiro asked me to talk to the Red Axes as we landed, to see if they would surrender peacefully. I agreed, and moments later we landed in the camp of the surprised Red Axes. I channeled essence into my voice and commanded the Rex Axes in the name of the Unconquered Sun to lay down their arms and surrender, lest we eradicate them. As I looked around I could see the glint of fear in their eyes, like caged animals they warily eyed us, unsure what to do.

The Red Axe Chieftain then broke the tense quiet and talked to us. He explained that his tribe was visited by the evil Death Knight, and the Red Axes were being forced to murder other tribes at his behest. This changed things considerably, the Red Axes weren’t just murdering to slate their blood-lusts, but under the direction of a great evil. As we talked, one of the Red Axes lost control and almost lashed out at us while we were talking terms. Luckily Joquim spotted it in time, and moved with blinding speed to thwart the attack. We decided to offer terms to the Red Axes- They would minimize their activities and give us a child to take to the hag. In return, we would not slaughter them then and there. For the first time that year, I sanctified the oath under heaven, and brought a peaceful conclusion to what I initially expected to be a slaughter. I am glad that the Red Axes decided to surrender, but I can’t help but feel I’ve let down the Ivory Branches by letting them continue their murders, even if the Red Axes are minimizing them as much as possible. I will make it up to them.

Oath
The Red Axe Chieftain agreed to minimize his murders the Death Knight is forcing his tribe to do. Additionally, he will surrender a child to the Circle.

The Circle Agreed not to destroy the Red Axes then and there.

We departed as we came, on the wind, heading north with the Red Axe child in search of Baba Yaga, the hag. A bright flare lit up the sky, we followed and found the crone flying around on a giant alchemy mortar. She seemed intent of the child until Joquim displayed his blue rose and began talking about a deal. Baba Yaga is a shrewd one, she offered to regrow Joquim’s lost arm, power, treasure and more, but only once choice seemed practical. Joqium decided to trade his blue rose to help us gain information on the location and secrets behind the hidden manses connected to Toshiro’s, which in turn would lead us to the greater power Darkeyes had mentioned.

The hag next made her move to acquire the Red Axe child. She offered Joquim’s arm and other advantages in return for the life of the boy. The Veil and The Pilgrim would not hear it, and the Circle discussed the morality of bargaining away the child’s life. For me it was a simple choice. The Red Axe child had his father’s blood in him, blood that has committed murder and other evils and is a menace to others, their tribe was infamous. Being of noble birth, I understand the importance of good lineage, and knew that the child would grow up to be a menace, bandit or worse. Of course sometimes people can rise above their station, but that hardly ever happens, and I was not willing to spare an enemies child when the thousands of lives in Farhold and the surrounding civilizations were being devastated. It was a grim decision, but the Death Knight’s demise needed to be farther from chance, and closer to an eventuality. There is a sick feeling as a noble human and merchant, weighing a human life like a sack of grain… but the ends justify the means. After some convincing, the Circle accepted the hag’s offer, though reluctantly, the child in exchange for the location of a weapon to fight the Death Knight with. Joquim stepped forward as our representative, and I sealed the Oaths under heaven as my anima flared.

Oath
Baba Yaga will reveal the location of each of the hidden manses, and provide what information she can about each.

Joquim offers a blue rose in exchange for the information.

Oath
Baba Yaga will reveal the location of a weapon and what information she knows the weapon.

The Circle offers the Red Axe child in return for the information.

With the deals sealed, there has been a brief lull in the action, enough time to catch up since writing in Farhold. We are discussing what to do next, the Circle seems to want to go for the weapon first. Toshiro has a strange look in his eye.

He’d been greedy. The truth seeker could have skipped ahead, to get to the crux of the conflict and find out what had really happened. But he refused to settle for part of the truth, he wanted everything, start to finish of the entire event, the conflict that had changed creation. But the torches in the tomb had other ideas. Thick blackness blanketed the room again as the seeker replaced the book on the pedestal and fumbled with his flint to relight his torch. In tiny moments of vision afforded by the sparks from the flint, the seeker finally realized the statue was gone. His body froze with terror, and he made a turn for the escape rope. But it was gone, and it was far too late for escape now. Out of the darkness two bright red orbs glowed out of something’s skull as it approached closer and closer. The seeker stood transfixed on the red light, unable to move, to breath, to think, until all he could see was red from every corner of his vision. Shortly after, he saw nothing, truth or falsehoods, ever again.

((Wiki Entries used:
Joquim
The Pilgrim
Ren Kachina
Farhold
Darkeyes
Raxi
Ivory Branches
Red Axes
Baba Yaga
Duran Long
Death Knight
Impenetrable Brook
Domain of Root
Coalescence of the Sun’s Glory

P.S.; Freaky picture.
))

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Session on 1/10/2011: As seen through the eyes of Joquim, The Silver Khan

After a short bloody fight with some Skyrunners, we made our way to the land of the Red Scars. Pilgrim’s explosive rage is of some concern to me, I have never seen anyone that angry, and unfortunately now is a time for thought not action. Upon our return we got my brother, Dark Eyes, up to speed on recent events. He is concerned about the death knight and my lack of an arm, I assured him the latter would be fine, the death knight is another matter entirely. We do not have the power (or strength of arms) to face something like that. Afterwards I had the chance to speak to my brother in private, he has some fears about the current situation, I tried my best to allay them… even if I do not believe it will be that easy to over come myself.

The Doc wants to head back into the blasted town to get his family! I suppose I cant blame him but this is against my better judgement. We zip off on one of his crazy tornadoes covering the distance in no time at all making straight for his house. There are 2 groups of creatures on the way as well. Toshiro nods for me and Pilgrim to do what we do best to the groups below. With a bellow of a war cry Pilgrim leaps to the fray and takes down most of the first group. I follow suit adding my limited might to the contest. Sadly in the battle Pilgrim drops, and I am forced to take care of this rabble on my own for the most part…. they are no match for even a less than 100% child of Luna. I make short work of whats left….

Toshiro takes Pilgrim, his wife, and grandchildren back to the tribe lands leave me, Valiant Bark, Ren, and his cohorts to make our way back on foot. Going seems okay until we are attacked by som skeletal horseman with riders, they are not very tough though and Valiant Bark delights in tearing them asunder. We hit the tree line and make for the Red Scar lands.

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Chapter 1 Summary
Chapter 1

The Pilgrim and Joquim meander into the town of Farhold where they are quick to meet up with a mortal doctor known as Toshiro. They find that the town is in need of help as it is being attacked by the tribesmen outside the town.

Upon investigating this disturbance they are attacked by the tribesmen and the doctor Toshiro exalts and becomes, like the Pilgrim, one of the Sun’s chosen.

… They later meet up with Oster, a mercenary in the town, who agrees to help them mend relations between the town and the tribesmen.

…Soon they find that the attacking tribe are led by a Lunar Exalted, a powerful warrior, by the name of Dark Eyes.

…They travel to the attacking tribe’s camp to find a band of Dragon Blooded mercenaries that were hired to deal with the dangerous tribesmen. There they meet Dark Eyes face to face, and challenge him to the tribe’s duals of honor. After winning against Dark Eyes, Joquim makes fast friends in his defeated brother. It is then that Dark Eyes reveals he is a servant of Raksi, the Queen of Fangs, and that his mission from here is to destroy Farhold and deliver the people of the Ten Tribes (of which the Red Scars is only one) to Muhalaka – Raksi’s city far to the south. They find out that he is visited, every full moon, by a powerful demon summoned by Raksi, who both spies on him and attempts to sway his thoughts.

…It is then the party learns that the Red Scars close allies, the Devil Braids, are being assaulted by an small, but powerful band of elementals. The party sets off to the Devil Braids to help defeat the attackers. While there they fend off an assault by vicious wood spiders.

…They meet Valiant Bark, a powerful Ironwood Guardian. He befriends the group when he realizes how powerful and straight to the point that they are and that they will become.

…They meet Wen Chou, a celestial jade guardian of a secret manse. Toshiro investigates the manse to find some items of his former life’s possession, and emerges much more powerful than before.

…An assault of the elementals and causing their leader, a King of the Wood called Verdant Overseer to flee only results in more retribution. It is then that Toshiro learns the secrets of sorcery from the captured Dragon-Blooded mercenary Aphotic Whisper. He then summons Joyous Youth Juritsu, a lesser elemental dragon and explains that the elementals have been acting out of turn. Juritsu agrees to remedy the situation, for the price of engaging with the tribe’s celebrations. A fun night is had by all.

…They go back to Farhold to help the situation on the other side, but Faldo Honsir, the leader of the Golden Axe Brotherhood, and de facto mayor of Farhold will have no part of it. He attempts to kill Toshiro and destroys his shop in the process. While plotting what to do, Valiant Bark decides the best course of action is to kill Faldo. He attempts to do so, but is stopped by the sheriff of Farhold, Queen Sledge. She decides the group is correct, and tosses Faldo out a window – ending his mayor-hood.

…In Farhold they come across Duran Long, the Pilgrims old mentor, who tests the Pilgrim and Joachim in a hand to hand sparring match. The master remains the more powerful fighter… for now. Duran Long’s accomplice, Loyally Barred Fangs presents the group with some magi-tech weaponry so that their fighting doesn’t seem so primitive to heaven.

…With the mayor dead, Elder Oak, the god of the town is pressed into representing the circle as the town’s guardians.

…Joquim and Oster leave to train with Valiant Bark, but end up being attacked by some large creatures of the wyld – large flying vine birds. They end up far to the north, where they meet up with the Bone Faces tribe, and work with them to defeat the Fair Folk controllers of the Endless Branches. Both tribes combine into the Ivory Branches, and agree to work with the Exalted. Oster finds some items of great power here, and takes them up on his journey forward.

…The group returns tot he north and engages in battle with the Wolf Eyes, a tribe lost to cannibalism. They find the tribe is under the control of a dark god, and with the help of a nearby god destroy the dark controller. They then spent time with the Wolf Eyes helping them get away from their cannibalistic ways and become one of the most civilized of all tribes.

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