Session 6 (5/23) Recaps

Nexus has an Exalted infestation, and no one--not even the Exalted themselves--know who, how many, or why.
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Session 6 (5/23) Recaps

Postby Pikabuki » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:09 pm


5/23/2015 – Session 6 – 23, Ascending Water – "Don't Leave Town"

It would take Alya a full week to recover. Liric suspected she would leave after she could walk pretty well again, which she did. He wasn't exactly practicing on Alya, but he did have a new charm that would help in medical situtation by the time she left.

During that time he was in and out of Dorian's estate for "consulting purposes." Liric also kept up his own investigations, and part of that including combing through bookstores looking for anything out of the ordinary, especially old medical references or the history of Nexus or Hollow. In one bookstore, Liric realized the owner had some "special" merchandise for a "special" customer. He was trying to figure out if there were any way he might find out what the "special" merchandise was without getting arrested when Dorian – who happened to be the "special" customer – came into the store.

However, while they were there, the little god of the store (some sort of fish god) notified the owner (apparently some sort of god blood) that a couple of Hooded Executioners were headed straight for the store.

This was not good. The Hooded Executions worked for the council, and if this were a highly legal matter (it was) they may have been sent by the emissary itself. "Just how hot are these?" Dorian asked. It was a small box full of musty books and scrolls. They were resources 5 hot. But under the circumstances Dorian bargained them down to resources 4 hot and offered to help the owner get out of town. Deal. Liric just wanted to know if there was a back door. There was. Out back was Dorian's carriage, which Liric promptly took refuge in. Dorian stuffed the box in, got in himself, and started down the street. But then he stopped, got out, and went back to the store. Liric snatched the box and began reading.

There were several scrolls about the nature of sorcery, and Liric was pretty sure one could learn several spells if one knew something about sorcery to begin with. There was a guidebook to Meru, the old capital of the Solar Deliberative – worth a small fortune to a collector and highly heretical in the eyes of the immaculate faith. Then there was a strange scroll fragment about the nature of the souls of primordials that didn't quite make sense to Liric, but was probably hotter than the rest of the box combined, and quite possibly the most heretical thing in Nexus at that moment. He got out a journal and started copying.

Back at the store negotiations were going badly with the Hooded Executioners. A fight started, and Dorian's own guards joined in. It was over quickly, but the Executioners were dead and so were two of Dorian's guards. Liric poked his head out of the carriage and just stared in disbelief. Dorian was standing over the scene, chin in hand, formulating a plan.

The plan turned out to be stuffing the dead bodies into the carriage with Liric and heading back to his manor. They returned around dusk, shut the gates, and the remaining guards who were at the scene were given immediate vacation time. Dorian got a crowbar and began removing ornamentation and any identifying insignia from the carriage. He also removed the armor from the Executioners and formulated a noble story for the families of his own guards. That night Dorian took the carriage out, parked it at the top of a certain hill, and, after careful calculation and aiming, let it roll. Thirty seconds later the carriage and remains of the Executioners were just more finely chopped debris at the base of the Tomb of Singing Blades. Liric was still staring in disbelief. (Note to self: Dorian is good at expediency, and can afford it, too.) This left only the armor. Dorian made a prayer to Oro, offered the armor as a sacrifice, and waited. Oro showed up after a few minutes wearing something that might be described as a celestial track suit. Liric supposed it was a step up from the ratty robes he had previously seen Oro wearing. ("That shrine must have worked fast...") Oro was not amused. But he took the armor anyway. ("Still a rat though...")

Liric thought he probably really should have done something, though exactly what he wasn't sure. The really important part – the fight with the Executioners – was over really fast. And it wasn't like they were any more dead now.... By this time he had finished transcribing the Meru Guide and the scroll fragment. He gave the rest back to Dorian. It wasn't like he could go the the authorities and say anything that would both soothe his conscious and keep him out of trouble, so he slunk back to the Vulgar Tiger.

Another party was in full swing. He did not feel like a party. He went to his room and realized someone had been there – like Alya, who showed up moments later. Liric gave her the copies pages and told her they were hot, just stash them somewhere, please, and he'd pick them up later. He was not at all convinced he was going to get out of this. Alya looked at them and shrugged, said sure, and left. ("Can Alya actually read? They're in Old Realm. Doesn't matter. Can't know Old Realm. Can she?") Liric had no nightmares, but it was not a good night.

The next day he received word that one of the Councilors was requesting his presence. Not a functionary, an actual councilor. Hayle, the Midday Husband, to be precise. He was largely responsible for overseeing the health of the city, such as it was. There was one beneficial thing about this. Jampa had been staying at the Vulgar Tiger also, and she and Hayle had become something of an item. Exactly how much of an item Liric did not know. But enough that when she heard Liric had an appointment, she asked if she could tag along and nobody objected.

This turned out to be an amazingly good bit of luck. Liric's inquiries had caused some suspicion. Apparently the graffiti "fall away ashes; fall away skin" had been appearing much more often, just as Liric had entered the city and began asking around about it. Hayle was not convinced at all the Liric was not responsible. And there had been an above average number of incidents at the Tomb of Singing Blades in the past couple of weeks, one of which Liric was directly connected to.

Jampa used some charms. ("She had to have used some charms... nobody is that good...") and ended up asking Liric Hayles questions instead of Hayle himself. Liric was vaguely aware that she was somehow putting positive (or at least unintentional and coincidental) spins on his answers and followup questions, and generally moving the line of questions away from anything that might prove too damaging. Hayle was still not very happy after it was done. However, it was quite late by this time, so Liric was "invited" to stay as a guest of the Midday Husband for the evening and night, then they would take care of one more tiny detail involving a newly-discovered crypt in the morning. Jampa stayed, too. Liric didn't ask why.

* * *

Liric didn't really sleep. If he was asleep, the white-clad figure with a silver mask that appeared in his room, crouched over him, in the middle of the night, put an end to it.

"I KNOW WHO YOU ARE." said a whispery, raspy voice.

Oh crap.


Um, wait, Hayle is the emissary?!

No, that can't be right. Can it? Could it? Does Jampa know this?

It grasped the pillow next to Liric and slowly raised it above its head.

But it acts in public, right? I'd die horribly in public if it's the emissary, right?

You're an idiot! It's the emissary or someone crazy enough to pretend to be him. It. Whatever. Do you really want to take the chance that it's someone crazy AND snuck in the house of a councilor in the middle of the night without getting caught AND is actually worse at brawling than you?

"I ap-p-pologize for any inconvenience my presence may have caused." Liric finally began.

Don't admit to anything illegal! Don't admit to anything illegal!

The pillow began to descend.

"I came to Nexus seeking answers to some personal questions, including some memories that I seem to have lost. I did not anticipate them causing any trouble to ... you ... or the council. In fact, I think, based on what I know now, answers to these questions could be of use, or helpful, in some way."

The pillow was right above Liric's face, but it did not move down anymore.

"It seems these questions may have some impact on the health and well-being of people here."

Just tell it you'll use your abilities to assist the council however they want.

No! What if it's a crazy person and doesn't actually know I'm a solar?

Will you shut up?

Wait, what if it can read minds?

"I believe there may be... effects... of something that was active back in the first age, still here, but on a very, very low level."

Are you sure?

Shut up!

"This causes a spiritual sickness in some people. It's extremely rare. Probably not contagious in any way, like a normal disease. I believe with some time I may be able to understand its nature and perhaps remove the effects entirely from the city. The graffiti and sickness would go away then."

You are making half this up! You have no idea how to do that!

Shut up!

A silver mask appeared at the pillow's edge. It was impossible to gauge any emotion behind it.

"Are you aware of the details of the case that I left with some officials?"

Idiot! Like it's going to tell you it doesn't know something!

And like it will let if live if you know it doesn't know something! "

Actually, I would be willing to report regularly to... someone... and provide any further information regarding the removal of the effects, ... or if that might be too troublesome, I'd be willing to work out some other ... understanding. Again, I came here with the intention of not causing any inconvenience to the normal operations of the city, and I am profoundly sorry if my actions have inadvertently caused anyone ... inconvenience."

The pillow slowly moved to the side, and Liric stared up into the impassive mask.


The figure began to move away. Liric slowly let out his breath, and blinked, but when he looked again the figure was gone. He lay there for a while breathing deeply as his heartrate slowly decreased. He took stock of his surroundings. The linens were unsoiled, and damp only with perspiration. That was something. But room was still closed, with no visible way in or out.

* * *

Liric was a wreck the next morning, and he was not better when he found out Hayle intended to visit the same crypt that Sund has shown him a few days before. Had Dorian not been able to use his influence on the project? Or just not bothered? Didn't matter now.

Hayle was keeping a keen eye on Liric. Jampa was still tagging along keeping an eye on Hayle. When they got there, Liric looked around a bit, and there was obviously new graffiti, "Fall away ashes; fall away skin" inside the crypt. It had to have been written between the time Liric left the crypt and the diggers breaking in. And Liric had no idea how that could happen. Unfortunately, he let his feelings show a little too much, and Hayle realized that the crypt was not in the condition Liric expected it to be in, meaning Liric had been here before. Jampa was there, but there wasn't much she could do without obviously taking Liric's side. There really wasn't anything else for it. There was no way he could pull off a lie on Hayle in his current condition, so Liric had to tell the truth. Well, most of it.

Yes, he had been there. No, he had not written any graffiti. No, he had not disturbed anything. Yes, he did close it back up because he didn't think it would be the greatest thing for someone to stumble onto. No, he could not explain everything that was going on. Yes, he did agree things were out of the ordinary, but No, again, he was sure he was not the one spreading the graffiti. Liric privately wondered though if maybe, just maybe, he might in some way be responsible. He did not mention anything about visitations the night before. He wasn't sure if that would make things better or worse considering the emissary gone to the trouble of threatening his life, then let him go. Sort of. Hayle remained unhappy. Jampa said a few things that would have to give Liric the benefit of the doubt.

There was nothing in the civilities about finding old crypts and then leaving them alone exactly as you found them, and Hayle had no direct evidence that Liric had even so much as touched a bucket of paint at any time anywhere in the city. Hayle did eventually ask Liric where he could be found if he had more questions. Liric said he would remain at the Vulgar Tiger for the forseeable future.

When it was all finally over, Liric went back to the hotel, collapsed on the bed, and breathed a huge sign of relief. He also thought he really owned Jampa, but it would not be good at all for her to seek her out. No, she was in rather thick with things, and any interference from Liric would likely make them go very, very bad very, very fast. He also knew he had taken this line of inquiry as far as it could go, and he was at dead ends. He would need significantly more medical and occult knowledge, and possibly more stealth and some social skills, if he wanted to make progress. In short, he would need to put this aside for a while until he was more powerful.

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Re: Session 6 (5/23) Recaps

Postby Fulminata » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:50 pm


Session 6: Norbu gets Busy, Jampa Questions Liric

That went well. Three more keeps having heard my rant about the Guild leadership, I find a quiet place to remove my disguise and head back to the Vulgar Tiger for lunch.

Walking into the common room of the Vulgar Tiger, I see that Norbu has found a new friend. A wafish looking woman eating lunch with her.

“Who is this?”

Norbu pauses in her eating, “this is the woman I was telling you about who pointed me your way.”

I turn to the ‘stranger’: “Ah, we have met before, I think?”

She just smiles and nods, and I realize that this is indeed Alya, as I had suspected when Norbu first told me the story of the Night Caste she had rescued from the demon.

I join them for lunch and enjoy the light talk and atmosphere. As usual, our table attracts its share of attention, especially with Norbu making no effort to conceal her striking looks, but one woman in particular catches my eye. A woman just as striking as Norbu appears to be taking a more than passing interest in us.

A few minutes later, Norbu leans over and whispers to me. “You noticed the woman at the far table watching us?”

I nod.

“She just gave me a wink and a rather obvious ‘come hither’ look, do you mind if I leave you for a bit?”

I sigh, “just don’t ‘surprise’ her like you did to that poor girl in that village outside of Marita!”

Norbu chuckles, “OK, I’ll stay female the entire time.”

“Good! We don’t need to draw any more attention to ourselves than we already are!”

I turn back to my meal as Norbu goes to have her fun. I notice them leave with a bottle of fine sake and wish them joy.

Less than an hour later I notice the third bottle of that same sake go up the stairs. Norbu has a strong constitution, but even she has her limits when it comes to strong drink, and unless the other woman is drinking more than half of that, she’s past them.

I tell Alya that we need to check on Norbu, and head up to the room.

As I approach the door I can make out the woman questioning Norbu on who she is and what she’s doing here, and I hear Norbu making evasive replies in a slurred voice. I open the door to see the two sprawled in bed. I notice that the only thing she is wearing are a pair of jade bracelets and anklets very similar to the moonsilver bracelets and anklets that Norbu wears. Since Norbu had long ago explained the functioning of her Discreet Essence Armor to me, I know that the woman is at the very least a mortal able to use Essence, and quite possibly an Exalted.

I look at the woman “I don’t believe we’ve been introduced?”

“Ah, is this going to be a group thing now?”

“Possibly,” I lie. “but I still don’t know your name.”

“I’m Niriam,” she says.

“Niriam, what brings you here exactly?”

We banter back and forth, but I’m unable to pry any further information from her. At least I stopped her from prying more information out of a drunken Norbu. Then I hear Alya.

“There you are, I’ve been waiting for you!”

I turn to see Liric out in the hall looking somewhat harried. Niriam uses his appearance to quickly dress and excuse herself, and I let her go. I make sure that Norbu is OK while Alya chats to Liric.

After a minute of this, Niriam returns back up the stairs and addresses Liric.
“Are you Liric? There’s someone from the Council downstairs looking for you.”

Liric acknowledges who he is, and Niriam shouts down below her that he’s here. Soon the Council representative appears behind her and she makes her final disappearance of the evening.

I recognize the representative as an assistant to the Midday Husband. He requests Liric’s presence in regards to a request that Liric apparently made some time ago.

I ask the man to give us a minute, and he reluctantly agrees to do so. I take Liric aside and ask if he’d like me to accompany him, since I am rather well acquainted with the Midday Husband. He agrees to allow me to accompany him.

Hayle is surprised to see me, but not displeased. After showing us to a comfortable audience room he takes me to another room, leaving Liric to wait.

When we are alone, he turns to ask me “do you know this man well?”

“He has been staying across the hall from me at the Vulgar Tiger. He seems harmless enough. When I heard you had requested his presence I decided to tag along, I hope you don’t mind?”

“No, not at all, but since you’re here, I was wondering if you’d help me question him. He has been pestering the bureaucracy about some graffiti that has been appearing more and more frequently ever since he arrived: ‘fall away ashes, fall away skin.’ Now that graffiti has appeared in an old mass grave newly discovered, and we need to find out if this man is somehow connected.”

“Certainly! I’ll help you question him, although I find it hard to believe he’s actually a threat…”

We rejoin Liric, who seems a bit confused that I’m the one asking him questions. I convince Hayle to leave the room to get us something to drink and quickly fill Liric in on why he’s there and what the Midday Husband wants with him.

Hayle returns with the drinks and I attempt to feed Liric leading questions that he can answer in such a way that will hopefully allay Hayle’s suspicions. I’m not sure his suspicions are completely allayed, but he seems satisfied for the moment. Since it is late, and the Vulgar Tiger is some distance away, I agree to stay the night.

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