Session 11 (8/22) Recaps

Nexus has an Exalted infestation, and no one--not even the Exalted themselves--know who, how many, or why.
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Fulminata
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Session 11 (8/22) Recaps

Postby Fulminata » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:29 pm

Liric

8/22/2015 – Session 11 – 8, Descending Water – Gate 17

Liric woke up in unfamiliar surroundings. He was laying on, and covered with, rough, heavy bags that he soon realized were full of grain. There were voices, too. He lay very still and tried to hear what they were saying. But they sounded like dock or warehouse workers going about their normal business. Liric tried to shift one of the bags to the side a little to try to see out. He created a small hole, but in the opening appeared what could only have been a god – a very small, wrinkled, and gnarled god. The god put a finger to its lips, Shhhhhhshed, and in doing so sprayed Liric with half-chewed raw rice. Then it shifted another bag back over Liric's face.

Lovely. I've been absconded by grain gods.

He lay still for a few minutes and listened to the activity outside continue.

No, grain gods are not getting past Fandris and half of Fandris' gang and dragging me out of a Nexus bolt hole without me even waking up. No, I've been absconded by someone or something the grain gods are working for and am now being delivered by grain gods to... someone or something that can't be bothered to abscond me itself.

Liric thought about that for a while. He might be able to take a grain god like the one he had just seen in a straight up fight. Whoever or whatever wanted him here was at least two steps of power above that. He hoped there hadn't been trouble back in Nexus. He was sure he wasn't in Nexus but couldn't say exactly why. Something about the light and sounds, maybe. However, he seemed to be perfectly fine. Liric was just beginning to worry about what the Emissary might think of that when the bags began to be shifted again. He was quickly uncovered, pulled up, and led away to a waiting rickshaw... an aerial rickshaw which took off into the skies of Yu-Shan. It took a moment for the sight to sink in.

Well... at least the Wyld Hunt probably isn't here. However, all the secrecy implies I'm not supposed to be here either, chosen of the Unconquered Sun or not.

Liric was not alone. Inside the rickshaw was Oro. He appeared to have moved up a bit in the spiritual pecking order. "Welcome to heaven!" Oro exclaimed as they rose higher into the sky. Liric just scowled. He had definitely not been absconded by forces loyal to Oro. Sure, Oro may have helped, he could see that, but someone at least a level above Oro was pulling strings.

Liric took some time looking at the streets far below pass by as they continued on. It really was incredible, he had to admit. Oro acted as impromptu tour guide, though the various buildings and departments and residences didn't mean that much to Liric, beyond confirming what he already knew about heaven being home to the gods and the massive celestial bureaucracy that was supposed to be keeping things running smoothly back in creation.

"So, I've decided I'd kind of like to know what's going on," Liric said after what must have been many more miles. He soon realized that Oro had only so much information he would share. Or could share. Possibly due to his nature as a god, possibly something else. Oro told Liric that they were going to be meeting some gods who wanted to help him out, and who he could also help out in return. When pressed for details about who was organizing all this or responsible, Oro became evasive or slightly panicky and nauseated looking. Liric remembered the maggots Oro coughed up when he was trying to tell him and Dorian about the hidden bolt hole back in Nexus. That did not seem natural, and Liric didn't want a repeat in the close quarters of the rickshaw, so he backed off.

When the rickshaw set down in a neighborhood plaza, a group of gods was there to great them. They were having a reception of sorts to welcome Liric. Liric stepped out, did his best to smile, and said something he couldn't remember later that was probably very foolish at the time, but the gods there all seemed very excited to see him anyway. Liric was struck by two things as their time together passed. The first was how genuinely pathetic and desperate many of the gods were. Most had been without any real meaningful work since the Great Contagion when their domains had been destroyed by disease or had been destroyed by the fair folk's invasion. Liric suspected more than a few had become addled and gone slightly mad during that time. Many had brought him descriptions, drawings, and plans or blueprints of their previous domains along with suggestions for how best to recreate them and improvements upon them. Doing so was quite beyond Liric's present abilities, but he did his best to listen and follow along, unsure sometimes if he lacked the specialized knowledge to follow or if the god he was speaking too was simply too out of touch with reality to make sense. The ones with drawings in what must have been the celestial equivalent of crayon fell especially into this latter group.

The second thing Liric noted was the general state of Yu-Shan. From the sky, the celestial city was greater than anything he had ever imagined. On the ground, he could tell they were actually meeting in a seedier neighborhood. Though its appearance was still grand and opulent, it had a look remarkably similar to some neighborhoods in cities in creation that had at one time been showplaces, but the old money that built them had long left or dried up, and the remaining residents were unable to maintain the upkeep, so everything uniformly slid into a faded, dusty state of neglect. What Liric was able to learn from the gods about the state of Yu-Shan was just as interesting, possibly even moreso, than the dozens of extinct animals or lost cities or technologies they wanted him to rebuild. Though everyone was careful to speak in positive terms, it was obvious to Liric that the Incarna who were supposed to be in charge were not. They were busy playing something called the Games of Divinity, and the skies of Yu-Shan changed to indicate who was leading. For most of the time it seemed to be a bright sky associated with the Unconquered Sun, but at other times it would change to a darker color that might be seen in near dusk or dawn that was associated with one of the Maidens of Fate or Luna. So the Incarna were there, they just weren't doing any sort of real governing. So... who was in charge? Every reply said the Incarna, but every reply also indicated someone else, or not really anyone at all, or some other division of power. Possibly some of these gods were so far out of the loop of the normal bureaucracy they didn't really understand it themselves.

Eventually the time came to depart. Actually, it seemed more like their activity was about to attract some attention they didn't want it to. And then Liric learned the real catch behind his visit. Oro told him that "we" needed him to help them kill Alya. "Who is we?" Oro was under a lot of pressure to not give a lot of detail. Again, his divine nature, or something else? Oro went over a litany of things that Alya was supposed to have done, all of them very bad and destructive. Liric noted that a lot of them were during the time Alya said she had no memory (which she was lying about, supposedly). What most got Liric's attention was that Alya was the cause of him memory loss at the time of his exaltation, though Oro couldn't really explain just how that was supposed to work. It was strongly implied that Liric was in fact, a target of assassination, or in the way of a target. Either way, lack of detail and the simple fact that he was still alive made Liric highly skeptical.

It was also becoming clear to Liric he was in no position to say 'No.' He was somewhere in Yu-Shan, had no way of knowing where the exit was (there were probably multiple ways in and out... at least for gods... but if he found a way would it take him back to Nexus? Or some place halfway across creation? He could just turn himself over to authorities and request to be put back in Nexus, but he wasn't sure on his legal status at all. Then there was still the unanswered question of who was really organizing and in charge of his abduction and the meetings today. Someone prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to eliminate Alya, but who wouldn't or couldn't do it themselves, apparently.

At least Liric agreed to help find Alya. He was also supposed to help kill her. He said flatly that was beyond his abilities, but he would help track her down and locate her. And it was true enough. He didn't think he could kill Alya even if he absolutely tried his hardest. And if he didn't find Alya right away, she would probably show up again some time as she tended to do and find him.

The trip back to the gate to Nexus was uneventful, but Yu-Shan did not seem quite so shiny. Sure, it was still grand beyond anything existing in creation, but Liric could spot other neglected areas now that he realized what to look for, and he suspected he hadn't seen the worst of it at all. It's a lot like creation in a way, with gods going about their business pretending it isn't as bad as it really is.

Liric told Oro that if he were going to be staying in Nexus with the Wyld Hunt showing up, he would need a disguise of some sort. Oro said they could get something on their way out. Apparently a lot of gods with business in Nexus or nearby made use of some shops near the gate.

"Here, take these," said Oro as they got near the gate. He handed Liric a stack of bound papers.

"Just don't read them, and if you ever need to contact me, just burn those or something, 'cause I'd really like to get them back and find out what's in them," he smiled a very board and ratty smile.

Right, they're secrets. Valuable secrets. Valuable enough to make a good sacrifice, and possibly ones he shouldn't even have. So he gets a great prayer, the secrets, and some impunity from having or learning the secrets because I get to be the one that technically gives them to him. Note to self: Someone else might be pulling strings, but Oro is possibly a master at gaming any system.

Liric wrote out a short prayer to Oro and put it with the papers, so if he had to, everything could go up in flame at once with Oro receiving the prayer as it metaphysically went up in smoke and drifted to heaven.

The disguise was an impressive "full package." "Kiritgad" (aka "not-Liric," the proprietors of the disguise shop insisted it was an 'auspicious' name) had an apartment in Sentinel Hill, a letter of introduction to the School of Philosophy for a minor temporary position, even a library card. The "full package" also came with Unipug, one of the gods who had been at the meeting earlier, whose job it was to keep track of Liric and help him track down Alya. Unipug was the god of Unipugs, an extinct animal companion that went extinct during the contagion. The last grave of the last unipug had somehow survived all the intervening years in Nexus, and served as the entrance to Unipug's sanctum, such as it probably was. Unipug seemed to be very excited and happy that he had been chosen for such an important job. Liric would soon come to suspect it was also just to get Unipug out of heaven.


[OOC: 8 success on investigation roll to during social interaction to understand the actual state of things in Yu-Shan based on conversations with these gods.]
[OOC: 3 success on written prayer to Oro]
[OOC: Disguise equivalent of 6 successes – enough to fool anyone without supernatural senses.]
[OOC: There was rather more interaction with Oro's chauffeur, but Liric forgot about that shortly after returning to creation and attributed most of the information given by the chauffeur to Oro instead.]

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Fulminata
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Re: Session 11 (8/22) Recaps

Postby Fulminata » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:32 pm

Jampa

Session 11: Complications

So far, so good. Mathis, the head chef, seemed to understand what all he needed to do while Jampa and Norbu were away. He was already running most of the show anyway, with Jampa simply approving his decisions and troubleshooting any major problems that came up. Jampa leaves the kitchen with one less worry on her mind, but soon spots another.

Across the main room of the tea house is a face she recognizes from Hayle’s offices. An investigator with the council, obviously trying to be incognito, and questioning one of her servers. Jampa lets the man finish his questioning then corners the server back in the kitchen.

“What did that gentleman at table six want to know?”

“Oh, he was just asking about the grand opening, and the incident with Uncle.”

“And what did you tell him?”

“Just what happened here, and how well everything went!”

“Good, good, thank you.”

“When I get off work, would you like to do something Jampa? I don’t have any plans.”

The mix of adoration and lust on the server’s face is one that was becoming depressingly familiar. Jampa was regretting her choice to manipulate these good people, but it was too late to change things.

“Um, I think table five needs service now…”

“Oh, of course, I will see to it!”

The server leaves and Jampa returns to the main room and sees that the man is still there, but at a different table, wearing a different hat and a new mustache. This time he is talking to Haidar, the young man who had been the object of Uncle’s lust.

Again, Jampa waits for Haidar to return to the kitchen, and then questions him.

“He is asking about what happened to Uncle.”

“Did you tell him what happened?”

“Not yet, I was getting him some more tea first.”

“OK, don’t tell him about any involvement by the staff, just let him know what happened in the tea house, understand?”

Haidar looks a bit crestfallen, but also happy to follow Jampa’s wishes. “Yes, Jampa, I will only tell him about what happened here.”


A bit later, Jampa looks around and realizes that she's one staff member short. A quick survey of the main room reveals that the investigator is also missing. She quickly tells Norbu what's up, and asks her to look into it, then returns to overseeing the tea house.

After a while, Norbu returns.

"We have an informant, but he didn't tell our investigator friend anything of substance."

"Are they both OK?"

Norbu snorts, "yes, but they are supposed to meet after this shift at a nearby cafe. I suggest we may want to prevent that from happening."

"I agree, I think we should meet with this investigator instead. Find out just exactly why he's here and what he wants."

Norbu shrugs, "if that's what you want."


Jampa finds the waiter and tells him that he'll need to pull some extra work today. The man looks relieved at the news. She then finds Jampa and prepares to leave when yet another face she recognizes enters the tea house. Dragonlord Jahoda, leader of the Hooded Executioners, the closest thing Nexus has to a police force. The initial concern that somehow the affair with Uncle has gotten completely out of hand is allayed by the presence of a smiling and waving Berj Margizian behind the imposing figure of Jahoda.

“You are Jampa?”

“Um, yes, what can I do for you?”

“We must talk privately, perhaps a booth?”

Jampa turns to Margizian, “and will you be joining us?”

“Yes, yes, of course. I have arranged this, yes?”

Jampa relaxes, “Then lets go to my office upstairs.”

Once in the office, Margizian is the one that begins.

“This notable has come to me with a business proposition, yes? He needs a job done but it is not one I would choose to do for reasons. I think to myself, ‘Berj, who can do this job well? Jampa! Jampa can do this job and well, yes?’ So, you will do this job?”

“Um, what job, exactly?”

“Oh, it’s easy job, I let Johoda explain, yes?”

The Dragonlord turns to Jampa.”We need you to outfit a caravan to make it look real, but its true cargo will be mercenaries. It is bait for a gang of cutthroat raiders. We just need you to put it together and spread the word so this group of bandits hears about it.”

Jampa has a sinking feeling that she knows which group of “cutthroats” Johoda is referring to.

“What gang is it that you are hoping to attract?”

“It’s a gang of thugs that call themselves the Scarlet Serpent Syndicate. We understand that they may have split up and gone to ground, so we want to get the word out so that they still hear about it. We’re hoping that the caravan will seem a juicy enough target to tempt them out of hiding.”

As she suspected, it’s Fandris’ gang that they are laying a trap for, but she doesn’t see how she can refuse the request. She owes Margizian, and turning this down could look bad in other ways as well.

“Well, we had been planning a trip out of Nexus, but I suppose we can do this first. Will we need to accompany the caravan?”

“No, we’ll handle that, just put it together for us.”

Jampa turns to look at Norbu, who has an approving look on her face, then looks at Margizian. She owes Margizian. A lot. Certainly more than what she owes to the gang members. If this is how Margizian chooses to call in his debt, then she can hardly deny him. If she did she’d have to give reasons, and the real reasons were ones that she couldn’t afford to reveal, especially with the Wyld Hunt around. That was doubly true seeing that they were probably involved in this somehow. The timing was far too convenient to be coincidental.

She turns to Johoda. “OK, we will put together your caravan, I assume the funds necessary to do so will be made available?”

“Of course, and I will leave a runner with you in case you should need something we haven’t yet thought of. Now, we should be going.”

Jampa suddenly remembers another of her problems. “First, if you would do one more thing for me? Please, just stay for another half hour. I will have someone bring more refreshments. I have other business to attend to attend to, and for reasons I don’t want to bore you with, it would help me if you were to enjoy my hospitality while I attend to it.”

Margizian shrugs, “You know that I will not turn down an offer for fine food and drink! Yes? Johoda?”

The big man chuckles, “I suppose I can relax for half an hour before returning to my duties. I hear that there’s a new tea here that is worth trying.”


Jampa and Norbu leave the two, then find the waiter who is just about to go off his extended shift. Jampa apologizes and again asks him to wait just a half hour more and take care of the guests in her office. He once again looks relieved and agrees.


Soon after that, Jampa and Norbu find themselves at the cafe where they spot the investigator. Jampa walks straight to him and sits down at his table.

“We need to talk.”

The investigator looks curious, but not completely surprised. He waits for Jampa to continue.

“What, exactly, would you like to know?”

“There have been accusations that you have violated the precepts of the Incunabulum. I am investigating them.”

“What violations?”

“That ‘none shall obstruct trade,’ and that ‘no one shall commit wanton violence.’ In the matter of the first it is alleged that you cheated one Tynam Vadim out of the Resplendent House of the Golden Blossom. In the matter of the second it is alleged that you had him beaten.”

Jampa laughs. “I have all the proper documents filed, and witnesses to the fact that he was under no duress, and was indeed happy to sign over the deeds when he did so.”

The investigator smiles. “Yes, I have already concluded that there is little evidence of that first alleged violation, but there is still the matter of the second. Vadim was last seen in your business prior to being found in a nearby alley, and he alleges that your employees were those who beat him.”

“He was not a popular man among many of my employees, but they were not the ones who escorted him from the premises. I believe you will find that the men of Dorian Duskholme were the ones who did that. I suggest if you want to find out what really happened after he left my place, that you should talk to them.”

Jampa smiles at the investigator, knowing full well that he will not bring a case against Duskholme on the behalf of someone like Vadim. “Also, next time you want to know something, just ask me.”

“I don’t think so, but I think this matter is at an end as far as you are concerned.” The investigator gets up to leave. “If you would be so good as to pick up the tab.” He then walks away.

Jampa is happy to let him have the final word here. She doesn’t need the man as an enemy.


The next day is a busy one. Most of it is spent trying to secure a caravan that is already in the process of outfitting, but the only ones suitable are not willing to sell out, so instead Jampa must begin assembling one from scratch. Jampa begrudges the time lost, but it can’t be helped.

Wearily, she returns to Resplendent House of the Golden Blossom to find Hayle waiting for her. Their last meeting was not as pleasant as it could have been, and she warily tries to judge his mood. He is first to speak.

“I thought you were headed to Twin Forks?”

“I was, and I will be, as soon as I take care of this job that landed in my lap.”

“Oh?”

At this point one of the staff comes up, obviously wanting to say something.

“Hold on, and I’ll tell you all about it after I deal with this.” She then turns to her staff. “Yes?”

“There’s a woman here who wants to see you,” the staff nods towards someone who is obviously a lower class prostitute waiting at a table.

Jampa sighs, and turns to Hayle. “Please, have a seat while I deal with this.” Hayle does so, seeming somewhat amused.

Jampa goes over to the woman. “How can I help you?”

“I have a message from a Mister Duskholme that I was asked to give you in private.”

“Very well, let’s go up to my office for a moment.”

They go upstairs and once alone Jampa asks her, “What is the message?”

The woman fishes into her cleavage and pulls out a message that proves nonsensical until Jampa focuses her essence to examine the intent of the message, which proves to be that it’s possible that they have been compromised by the Wyld Hunt, and that he is leaving town.

Jampa thanks the woman, and gives her a tip before escorting her back downstairs and returning to Hayle.


“I’m sorry about that, but the tea house used to rent out rooms for that kind of business, and I didn’t want to risk her making a scene out here when I explained the new policies to her.”

“That’s quite alright, now what about this new job?”

Jampa explains the work she’s been hired to do.

“Ah, you are the one they got to do that! I am pleased.”

“Really? You know about it?”

“Yes, all of us in the Council are in agreement on this. It seems a worthwhile project, and it means that we can spend some time together before you have to travel!”

Jampa smiles, “there is that. Do you have some time now?”

Hayle smiles and they head up to Jampa’s rooms.


Later, after Hayle has taken his leave, Jampa and Norbu discuss what to do about the other half of their new job: spreading the word of the caravan.

“The fewer bandits in this world the better, but I would not see Fandris harmed.” Norbu sums up her feeling on the goals of their new job.

“I’m concerned what he will do if we tell him. The best move would be to sacrifice some of his men, but I don’t think he will do that. Next best is for him to hit the caravan in force and turn the tables on them, but I don’t even know if that’s possible.”

“That would be risky. This is likely a trap set by the Wyld Hunt, so they will be ready for him.”

Jampa sighs, “the third option is that he avoids the caravan all together, and that will look bad for us. It might even cause the Wyld Hunt to suspect us if they are in fact the ones behind this.”

“It would be best if we simply failed to find him, instead make sure one or two of his more isolated cells know of the caravan and allow them to attack it.”

“That would probably be best. He will lose some men, but the Wyld Hunt won’t get him, and won’t have reason to suspect us. I still don’t like it.”

Norbu shrugs, “if they choose to attack a caravan it is on their heads.”

Jampa frowns, but doesn’t know what else to say. She has difficulty getting to sleep.


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