Series 13 – Episode 1 – The shortest route is not a straight line – Part 2

When the group reached the more populated areas of the realm they found themselves pushing through crowds of people who were fascinated by the strangers arrival. One question could be heard on many of their lips, “Have the Solars returned?”

Time was passing so seeking a faster route to the gate that was their destination, Ragara Anja suggested using the canal network and asked if they should risk using the, much faster, gold channel.

Agreeing that it was for the best, the team took up their places aboard a barge requisitioned by the beautiful Sidereal. The boatman poled the vessel into the centre lane and it shot off across Yu-Shan at a fantastic rate.

It was not a great many minutes later that they arrived at their destination and departed from the barge. As the last of their number stepped onto the jetty they spotted an intimidating, mustachioed figure in robes rich enough to challenge the fashion sense of Lord Typhon approaching. He was accompanied by a tough looking assistant.

Ragara Anja had seemed uncertain about if they should be using the fast lane, and it seemed that her concerns were justified. The portly figure introduced himself as The Imperial Censor of Travel and demanded to know by what authority they dared use the gold lane.

Son of Stone and Oak gave silent prayer to The Unconquered Sun for granting him the foresight to take advantage of Heaven’s Gaze’s library while waiting for dinner to be served a few days previously, and channeled a little essence to aid his recall. He then fixed the official with a steely gaze and launched into a tirade of bureaucratic minutiae, quoting obscure travel regulations and invoking rarely seen clauses.

When he finally finished, the Censor broke eye contact, mumbled something that was probably an apology and backed away, shooing his assistant as he went.

The journey out of the city was much like the inward journey, and Ragara Anja explained how the purposeless gods came to be. The tale plucked at Son of Stone and Oak’s heart strings and he became more subdued then he usually was during a journey through places he didn’t truly understand – and there had been many of these journeys in the few months since he had left his homeland and found himself caught up in a battle for Creation itself.

The gate to the Blessed Isle was also guarded by a Celestial Lion, but the creature granted access once Lord Typhon and Ragara Anja explained the situation.

Before the group departed, the Lion warned that there was those in heaven who would welcome the return of the Solars, but also those who would work against them, and confessed to being one of the former.

Before stepping through the gateway, The Wanderer In White plucked a few blades of grass from the field and gave the sent of them to his animals, before tucking them away in a pouch. The gods of the grass would ensure it stayed fresh forever.

The head of The Lap may not have been the warmest place in Creation, but it was in the South, and the altitude was not so high as the point where this gate exited – very close to the centre of Creation, near the peak of The Imperial Mountain.

The ground was covered in snow, and a chill quickly settled in. Ragara Anja did not hesitate to teleport the group to the outskirts of the city, where it was decidedly warmer.

A group of Solars, Dragon Kings and Sidereal were not likely to be welcomed with open arms at the centre of power for the Dragon Blood Empire, so it was under cover of rain and darkness that the group headed to the palace of The Roseblack.

With a little expenditure of Essence, The Wanderer In White heightened his senses to incredible levels, such that he could make out the outline of the god of each rain drop that fell from the sky. With this level of awareness he stepped the group through the streets and alleyways, avoiding all others who felt the need to be out on a night when enough water fell from the sky to flood Nexus.

The final hurdle was the approach to The Roseblack’s estate, a relatively busy thoroughfare that one of Lotus of the Solar Light’s stature would be be hard pressed to cross unnoticed.

To sidestep the issue the group sequestered him within an outbuilding, accompanied by Ragara Anja, while the others made their approach to the abode of The Roseblack.

The Wanderer In White handed the doorkeeper a token, insisting the he take it to The Roseblack and that she would recognise it. Leaving the visitors standing in the torrential downpour, the functionary hurried off to perform this service.

Nearly quarter of an hour later he returned and bade the group enter, whence they were escorted into the presence of one of the most powerful Dragon Blooded in Creation.

The traditional round of small talk ensued, and The Roseblack made arrangements for the rest of the group to join the assembly.

They turned up shortly thereafter, although Lotus of the Solar Light was looking distinctly more human then he had a half hour previously. Gone were his scales and claws, replaced by rippling muscles covered with dark chocolate skin and a mighty battle axe. Some form of glamour? Or a deeper magical change? The group didn’t know, but there would be time to find out later. First, there was business to discuss with their host.

She knew, already, that the invasion was coming, but the might of the enemy was, it seemed, not enough to provoke unity from the Houses. Two of whom had already sent their armies off to face the Alchemicals on two fronts.

It was a foolish gesture that would lead to their certain destruction.

The Roseblack became hopeful at the prospect of the elemental allies that the Solar’s could bring to the battle, and less so at the thought of some of the more unsavory forces they could call upon.

She made it clear that any Solar presence on the battlefield with the Dragon Blooded would lead to a disastrous three-way melee – the hatred of the ‘Anathama’ was too deeply ingrained for most Terrestrial Exalts to work with the Solars.

Any involvement from her guests would have to be discrete or far from the fields of battle.

So it was that they were returning to The Wanderer In White’s suggestion of attacking the Alchemical supply lines when The Roseblack received another visitor.

Accompanied by two worryingly nondescript bodyguards, Lady Mnemon, daughter of The Scarlet Empresses and likely the strongest Dragon Blood active in Creation, entered the room.

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 September 2008 )

Series 13 – Episode 1 – The shortest route is not a straight line – Part 1

Previously:

The massed alchemical forces of Authocthon marched on Creation. They met our heroes at the gates of The Lap and battle was inevitable.

Mighty though a Solar Exalt is, they are few in number and could not hold the raging army swirling around the city.

Heaven’s Gaze entered the gates of Yu-Shan and convinced those with the power to use it to save The Lap. So it came that The Lap existed 20 miles to the south east, and had always existed there. The invading force marched on – toward their true objective, important enough for them to bypass The Lap entirely.

Now:

The sun rose over The Lap, a city still showing the scars of the battle that never happened. Some of those instrumental in saving it are still within the city, recovering, training, and helping with the rebuilding efforts.

On the road to the city, Lotus of the Solar Light, loyal worshiper of The Unconquered Sun and member of the rare race know as The Dragon Kings had travelled south from the Blessed Isle, a sense of unease growing within him at the sight of a massive convoy of mechanical vessels taking the opposite route.

His seven foot form, covered in scales and bulging with muscle was enough to freeze the blood in the veins of most mortal men, and the guards in the watchtowers of The Lap were no exception. He marched through the ruined gates while they fled to beg the presence of the Solars still within the city.

The Solars were greeting the dawn, and planning their next move, the Wanderer in White favouring an attack on the enemy supply lines, when the interruption came. They abandoned their discussions to face this new threat.

There was a sense of unease in the air when they challenged him, they were confident they could defeat the creature if there was need, but at a time like this, any new enemy was enough to make the heart sink and allow despair to strengthen its position.

It took the intervention of Ragara Anja to settle the matter. Lotus of the Solar Light had had dealings with Braxus before but that charismatic paladin had secluded himself in meditation within his airship hovering above the city, he had been unseen for days. However, Ragara Anja had been present at those events and could vouch for the scaled one.

The matter of allegiances settled, the Solars invited the Dragon King to join their council of war, now the wounds of the battle were healed it was time to return to the frey.

Shunning the Great Hall of the palace for a smaller room where they could be more comfortable, the fellowship breakfasted and heard the news their new companion brought with him.

The information came as a mixed blessing, if the Alchemicals took control of the Isle then Creation would be in even greater peril then it was already. However, as Son of Stone and Oak pointed out, this might finally give the Dragon Blooded the motivation they needed to involve themselves in the fight.

Getting to the Isle and warning the Dragon Blooded became the overriding priority, but getting there quickly enough would prove a challenge. Braxus’ airship might be fast enough, but would attract unwanted attention. The Empire was notoriously unfond of the Solar Exalted and would have to be approached through back channels. Fortunately, The Wanderer In White had had prior dealings with The Roseblack and believed himself able to get them an audience with her.

Reaching her would still be a problem. Flying to the city in a golden airship would not be subtle enough, the forces of the Empire would likely array against them if there were to try such a bold approach.

Ragara Anja suggested that a member of the Eclipse Caste might be able to persuade the Celestial Lions that their need was valid, and gain them permission to cross the paths of Yu-Shan.

So it came to pass that a band of some of the most powerful beings in Creation came to stand on the giant head carved out of the mountain into which The Lap is built. Ragara Anja concentrated for a moment, then passed her hand through the air, tracing the outline of a doorway.

The path taken by her hand blazed with golden light and she stepped through into heaven, accompanied by Lord Typhon.

The land beyond the gate was blanketed in grass of the brightest green and bathed in glorious sunlight. It was beautiful, and a sharp contrast to the mountain top from which they had stepped.

The gate was not unguarded – a golden lion, a full seventeen feet from paw to shoulder, stood before it and challenged those wishing to pass.

Channeling Essence from the air around him and focusing it through his anima, Lord Typhon invoked the ancient treaties between Yu-Shan and the Caste Eclipse, his caste mark blazing out from his forehead announcing to all that he was a Solar of that Caste, Exalted by the power of the Unconquered Sun, and willing to use the power of his rank to achieve his goals.

The Lion bowed, a remarkable sight in itself, and granted Typhon permission to enter heaven with those under his protection.

So it was that the others left the cool mountain top and stepped into Elysium fields, bathed in warm sunlight with air that was perfectly still.

The route to the Blessed Isle took them through the city, and they found their way impeded. First by the spirits of purposeless gods, who’s touch was disturbing, but ultimately insubstantial. They dissipated when Lord Typhon shouted out that their time was past.

When the group reached the more populated areas of the realm they found themselves pushing through crowds of people who were fascinated by the strangers arrival. One question could be heard on many of their lips, “Have the Solars returned?”

Series 09 – On the Dragon Isle

We arrive on the Dragon Isle, onboard Braxus’ first age skyship Prometheus.

As we arrived, we were suddenly ‘escorted’ by two ships from the Imperial Isle.  We shoot down one ship.

The other damaged ship we board. Braxus fires an essence cannon at it severely damaging the back.

We all board the ship and head to the Imperial city.  We landed near the Deliberative and were ushered in to the Deliberative building.  We stayed there in a suite set aside for us.  The Wyld Hunt had not appeared and some said Lady Mnemon was using all her political might to hold back any repercussions of our visit.  None knew why, but again, some believed she planned to use us to tip the balance of power in her favour.

We meet Braxus’ mother – the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears.

We were invited to watch the Grand Deliberative in session.  Sitting in the public gallery, we watched in horror as Lady Mnemon got up and brought an action to the attention of the speaker.  It was to arrest us!  Braxus could contain himself no longer.  He gets to his feet, the statesman in him coming to the fore.

Striding to the floor of the Deliberative, he begins to speak, his words having a great impact on the men and women around him.  He is quickly joined by the other Solars who feel they should offer some solidarity.  Heaven’s Gaze is surprised to note her manager, Kejak Chejop, among Mnemon’s ‘retinue’.  Still, Braxus continues his discourse, and it seems, suddenly, as if the hearts and minds of the Deliberative hang in the balance.

Then Shadrach is moved to speak.  No one remembers exactly what he says with any real clarity, but it can be summarised as “You are the sheep.  We are the wolves that guard the flock.”  Gasps of horror can be heard from all around the Deliberative and his companions look on Shadrach with shock and disdain.  In a few dismal minutes, all of Braxus’ good work is gone.  The cry of “Arrest them!” resounds about the hall.

A dinner party.

The Wyld Hunt turn up. They look tough and have warstriders.

Heaven’s Gaze teleports the group to the docks. We land and fight the Wyld Hunt. Shadrak does some bad stunting.

Ragara Anja and Heaven’s Gaze open fire on the Wild hunt, saving the day.

Exalted – Series 13 – In Brief

Episode 1: The shortest route is not a straight line

23/Sep/2008

After the Battle of the Lap, Braxus goes in to seclusion while our heroes travel through Yu-Shen to warn the Blessed Isle of the impending invasion of Alchemical army. They meet The Roseblack but are interrupted by Lady Mnemon.

Episode 2: …

30/Sep/2008

Episode 3: …

7/Oct/2008

Episode 4: …

14/Oct/2008

Note: Series 13 is a shorter than usual series, featuring only four episodes.

Series 12 – Wanderer in whites audience with Cathak Letal

After the meeting with the old man in the park, the wanderer had decided that time in the city was short and he needed troops. Walking to Cathak Letals home, he passed hundreds of people but none would look him in the eye. He had given up on being friendly with them, perhaps when a few generations have passed they may feel differently! HE had time and theirs was like a butterflies, a short and beautiful existence but nonetheless short.

Arriving at Cathak Letals house, he held back a laugh of derision at the crass opulence of his palace. Well at least he was sure that would be what Letal called it! The guards at the gate now had a backbone of pride, he smiled at that but knew that they would turn on them when they knew that troops would be coming. But he still had time, and knew that they feared them with good reason. 2000 Ragaran troops had borne witness to what he could do, Shadrach had defeated a giant autochthon in a duel, and the others had shown that on their own they would be capable of defeating Letal and his little band of loyal troops.

The guards turned to him; crossing their spears they asked his business!

“I am here to see Cathak Letal, with a matter of urgency.”

” The great Cathak Letal is busy and cannot be disturbed.”

” Then I shall wait for him within.”

” I am afraid that will not be possible, perhaps if you try tomorrow.”

” You will find that I have something important to put to Cathak Letal.”

” Again we must repeat that Cathak Letal is busy, perhaps if you come tomorrow he may well see you.”

The glint in the Wanderers eyes made the guards resolve wither, but the clank of the spears crossing each other again showed that they had a little back up. He turned to see Ragara Anja, damn was she quiet! “Ragara Anja, I did not expect to see you here. Are you here to see the great Cathak Letal as well?” Smiling she replies, “I came to see you ask for whatever it is you are after?” “How did you know that I was after something?” “Something in the stars, solar!” Holding back his shock, but not well enough to hide from Ragaran Ana, “does that mean that I can see Lethal now then?” Turning to the troops Ragaran Anja smiles, waves her pretty hands and they are allowed to enter.

“I thought the great Letal was busy?”

“He will see us now”

But the smile on her face, did not make the wanderer feel comfortable. A retainer came quickly, bowed to them both and requested that they follow him to the audience chamber. The audience chamber was not as crass as he expected. But one of the tapestries brought a rage in him to the fore. Anja placed a hand on his shoulder, stopping him tearing it down. Turning swiftly he glared at Anja, but her smile was somewhat disarming.

“Now is not the time for that Char!”

“He is dead, I am the Wanderer in White.”

“Yes I know that, but nonetheless, you cannot hide that forever. We are not quite sure of all that you have done, but you did go missing from us for a while.”

“As I said he is dead, a deserved death for his crimes.”

The sound of a door opening ended the conversation. Cathak Letal entered the room in a loose fitting toga like an emperor at the head of a conquering army. The stench of sex and drugs was about the man, the wanderer barely disguised his disdain.  Ragara Anja turned to him, ” How nice of you to greet us all conquering Letal!” The barely held venom in her voice shock Cathak Letal him from his proud lofty platform. “This man has spilt his blood to help give you a reputation, I hope you will at least show the hospitality that you are known for. Would you treat the others the same as the Wanderer here, when they come to give their respects?” The wanderer was surprised at how Letal held himself.

“Apologies to you both, how is it that I can help you?”

“I need troops.”

“To the point” Letal replied.

“I thought that there would be no point to playing games, I have never played them very well!”

“And would you have me give over my loyal men.” The tone of his voice denoted his lineage, and barely held anger at his outrageous request.

The wanderer looked from Letal to Anja, his face full of pompous pride, and hers almost smiling, almost.

“You must have criminals in your cells, bandits, murderers and thieves? I want them, not your loyal men, I would make them deserving of a second chance and of course they’d be doing a service to society.”

Laughter fills the audience chamber, Letal calls for some wine to be brought. A few moments later food and wine are brought into the chamber, Letal offers Anja and the wanderer a place on cushioned divans.

“You want me to hand over the lowliest scum in my prisons, and deny the populace a viewing of beheading’s. And give into your hands those that would slit a childs throat for a handful of jade.That is a great risk, that I am not sure that I am willing to take.”

“But of course you will give over some of them Cathak Letal, a showing of mercy would of course help your reputation amongst the populace. As one of victor and one of mercy, surely you could not turn down an opportunity such as this?”

“And what guarantees will I receive that they will not be used against us here.”

“My word.”

“Your word, Wanderer is that all? You would have me hand over hardened scum to you on your word that  you would not turn them against  me?”

“Yes” The tone of the wanderer’s voice, stopped Letal in his tracks. He also feared the wanderer, but had so far hidden it but now he had shown it.

“I have only asked, I would not demand. I may be many things but I am not treacherous Cathak Letal, that I am not.” The edge in his voice left Letal no reason to disbelieve him.

Ragara Anja smiled, “Then we have a deal Letal, you will release the prisoners into the kind hands of the Wanderer here?”

“Yes, you can have what you are after. They will not be easy to command you know, positively rebellious I am sure.” The self-satisfied smirk on his face told the wanderer all he needed to know.

“I thank you for your audience Cathak Letal, when can I pick up my little band of helpful fellows?”

“In the morning, and I wish you luck with them.”

Letal rises from his seat, “You may leave me now, I grow tired and need to rest.”

Ragara Anja smiling turns to the wanderer, “Now that was interesting, you really are one to watch. Remind me to keep an eye on you.”

Ragara’s comment did not make him feel any easier, rising from the Divan he offers his hand to the lady. Smiling a most beautiful smile she takes his hand and with his help rises.

“Would you like me to walk in front, Ragara. So that you can keep an eye on me?”

Laughing “And there was me thinking you had no sense of humour.” Turning she kisses him on the cheek, the wanderer blushes which makes Anja laugh even louder. The echoes of her mirth echoing down the halls as she takes his arm.