3/28/2015 – Session 3 – 14, Ascending Water – Song of Blades
In the first age, the city now known as Nexus was called Hollow. There were rules, laws, and order. In Nexus, there are not exactly laws. There are the dogma and the civilities. And, in theory, only two punishments: death and exile. In practice, this means that certain actions are taken with great show while in public (to show that one respects and follows the dogma and civilities) and in private other actions are taken with great deliberation and cunning (so as not to attract the notice of those more powerful). For the Nexus newcomer, with few friends or connections, this practically means the usual best course of action is to keep ones head down and not attract unwanted attention.
This was Liric's plan.
The Vulgar Tiger was quickly gaining a reputation as the new spot for impromptu soirées in the Bastion district. Certain exalts with monkey companions and much charisma tended to feature prominently in these gatherings. Having excessive amounts of neither of these, Liric opted not to attend the evening's social affair but instead focus on some of his own interests. "Fall away ashes, fall away skin" was supposed to have appeared in random graffiti for about a century. So he began asking around. It also became clear that the ability to communicate with unmanifested gods and spirits could be extremely useful, so he also spent some time learning to focus his essence in a way that could accomplish this.
Liric's searching took him to various parts of the undercity and less fashionble areas of town. He also happened to run in to Fandris again. There had been a fire in the Firewander district involving some local gangs. However, this Liric's investigatino of it indicated that this fire seemed to have involved both humans and possibly hobgoblins from the wyld zone in Firewander. This did not make Fandris happy at all, but there wasn't much else Liric could do, so he left and continued on his way.
Liric also found that nobody had actually seen any of the graffiti appear or knew for sure of anyone who had ever written it. This seemed like a really curious detail, but Liric couldn't put any significance to it. He continued looking around, and eventually went into the undercity again. There he happened to find some extremely fresh graffiti, and around the corner a sick looking child with a small bucket of paint. Jackpot. Except that the kid was looking really sick. Really. Liric was not convinced that the kid's actions were entirely conscious, like he may have been under some kind of compulsion. He decided the best thing to do would be to follow and see if the kid might lead him to someone or something responsible. Liric also began to use his Spirit Detecting Glance at this time.
What he saw was alarming. The kid had growths much like those in the visions he had at the old hospital a few days before. Except these were of a spiritual nature since they couldn't be seen with normal vision. It was like their was another person inside the kid trying to get out, with a head and arm protruding from his back. Worse, the spiritual head (and presumably the arm was connected in some way) seemed aware of Liric's presence. Liric continued to follow up to the surface. They emerged in near the Bastion distruct, and the kid headed straight toward the Tomb of Singing Blades.
Liric did not realize just how straight until too late, though. Instead of continuing to walk down the sidewalk, the kid veered off directly into the blades. Liric ran, called for help, jumped, and tried to tackle him, but the kid was just a little too far ahead. The call for help served only to attract everyone's attention to the scene of Liric lying on the grass just outside the range of the blades, covered in blood spatter. Fail. Liric did notice at least one person taking off with an obvious look of going to report something to authorities. Epic Fail.
Shaken, Liric hurried away. Damage Control. And more information. He left a message through the Prayer Transceiver Module for Sund relating events and requesting any information on possible diseases of the spirit that might manifest with these symptoms, and also if there were records if the blades of the Tomb affected dematerialized spirits that entered them. Pretty sure that's a yes, but need to confirm in case there is some subtle difference going on here.
A little later that evening, there was a commotion in the firewander district. Apparently a significant fight broke out. Liric would later learn that there were hobgoblins from the wyld zone involved. But at the time it was obvious two exalts were involved. He recognized both Animas from the fight with the plague spirits a few days ago. One was Fandris, who took to the skies and flew away from the city in an animal form. The other was Zhang Lao, who remained iconic for quite some time before the light could no longer be seen. This was the last time Liric would see Fandris for a while, who was already a known anathema and seemed to know when it was best to lay low. It was also the last time he saw Zhang Lao or Shi-Hou. The zenith had apparently managed to attract even more unwanted attention that evening than Liric had, and needed to leave Nexus under cover. This possibly meant that people would be more concerned with the anathema presence now obviously in Nexus than a bizarre incidence at a tomb. This thought did not make Liric feel any better.
Nexus has an Exalted infestation, and no one--not even the Exalted themselves--know who, how many, or why.
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