< Trouble At Home | Sol Invictus Logs | A Close Shave >

<Zahara> "So, what did it feel like?"

<Kai> "Feel like? Uhm... Honestly, my memory of those few minutes is a little blurry, but I think it was something like... You know that warm, a little unpleasant feeling you get when you're really embarassed (okay, maybe YOU don't)? It was kinda like that, but a thousand times more intense."

<Zahara> "Hmmm it made you feel... really really embarrased? You sure it wasn't more like a flood of power that filled you and made you feel whole?"

<Kai> "Not embarrassed, but it was a similar sensation, of heat and intensity. That's the easiest thing to equate it to. A flood, yes, but power wasn't really what I was feeling at the moment, all things considered."

<Zahara> "You were scared, I imagine. How long did it take you to realize that being an 'Anathema' didn't make you a demon?"

  • Kai puzzles over that question for a moment. "I... I didn't really think too much on it. I would imagine one knows when one is a demon, right?"

<Zahara> "All the demons I've summoned seem to know what they are. But the Cult of the Illuminated differs on what they think we are, and what we actually are."

<Zahara> "It helps that anyone who sees your anima screams and runs away."

<Zahara> "Well, at least before we became powerful enough to carve out our own empire."

<Zahara> "Speaking of our empire, we really need to figure out how to deal with the ten million exalts about to wage war on it.

<Zahara> "Not to mention the Fair Folk, the Dynasts, and the Deathlord's army."

<Markuran> "Obviously, we must remove the highest of the gods, disband the rest and convert their Exalted to our cause. The Realm likewise."

<Markuran> "Once we accomplish those tasks, the Fair Folk and Deathlords will not pose a serious problem...unless something unforeseen happens."

  • Birds rolls her eyes. "Maybe we should arrange for the sky to rain molten iron and jasmine flower water while we're at it, eh?"

<Zahara> "Mmhmm. Yes, both sound equally likely. There seem to be an awful LOT of lesser Gods involved in the heresy. And the Realm is quite well-equipped."

<Markuran> "I'm sure we could do that too, Birds."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Then we won't have to worry about those pesky pixies, and the battlefield stench will be pleasantly masked."

<Zahara> ::Reaver squawks, flies up and starts pissing something that looks like molten iron. Smart boy.::

<Zahara> "Well, there's half your plan."

<Markuran> "There are a number of important nations ruled by lesser gods. It might be worth our time to investigate them and deal with the problem if their gods have turned against us,"

  • Birds raises an eyebrow.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Well, Reaver, you have made yourself a new friend."

<Zahara> "What time is that exactly? Even with all the precautions I took, and the wards and deathtraps I set up, we leave for a few days, and the Manse is invaded, the Leafwalkers nearly destroyed."

  • Markuran glowers at the little metal bat. "And what if it only pisses once every hundred years? I would not rely on that little thing to win any battles."

<Zahara> ::Reaver lands on Marku's head and grabs tufts of his hair with each of his little claws::

  • Markuran removes the small metal bat.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Creation is being run over by a herd of angry bulls, Marku. Reaver just reminded us that we don't need to do anything but point them at each other. They are not without horns."

  • Birds , cheered by the prospect of leisure days ahead, leans back in her chair.

<Zahara> ::Reaver takes some hair with him, chirping and wriggling in Marku's hands::

<Zahara> "I suggested the pointing of the armies at eachother, however that works better if the two armies are trying to destroy eachother in addition to us.

<Markuran> "Currently that is not the case."

  • Markuran tucks the bat under one arm to keep it out of the way.

Reaver squaks metalically!

  • Zahara plucks the Aalori from Marku's arm. "You'll stink him up, Give him back."
  • Markuran sniffs at his underarm. "I smell fine."

<Zahara> "To a tree, maybe." she pets Reaver consolingly.

  • Birds squints. "How convincing are those rumours you're so fond of? Could you make them...*more so*?"

<Zahara> "I don't believe they get any more convincing than they already are. However they are already incredibly convincing, and with the proper impetus they spread like wildfire."

  • Birds nods.

<Zahara> "Why, have you one in particular you'd like to live?"

<Markuran> "I will visit the Realm soon to begin turning them against the Godbound and see about turning some to our side."

  • Birds makes a note to get a pet that is not made out of glass spikes. "I am only considering ways to manipulate our opponents."

<Zahara> "Your words will be your sword and shield, I assume."

<Markuran> "Do we know who has empowered the majority of the Godbound in the army? Or the strongest?"

<Zahara> "Meanwhile, we really need to collect more of these ingredients, since we are lacking godbound of our own."

<Zahara> "Well the most annoying are those purple ones with the knives."

  • Markuran nods..

<Markuran> "I will speak with Selonis about the peach and see if he can tell me of the purple-knife deity."

<Zahara> "I imagine that to get to him, we'd have to go through his servants... which could be good. I'd rather have them all gone, they were actually quite good at fighting, for Godbound."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We also need to retrieve some gold from the heart of...Auto...something."

Reaver fiddles with a knife on the table.

  • Kai takes if from him. "Don't eat that!"

<Zahara> "I bet Berengiere could weave the cry of ten thousand for us."

<Zahara> "This list is long, and the time grows short. Lets pick something, and DO it."

<Markuran> "I am off to see Selonis then.

  • Markuran starts toward the Gate

Marku and the others meet Selonis in the Isles of Glass, as they have done before. Today they return to the isle of cascading waterfalls. The Celestial Lion stands above a particularly large pool of water, gazing deeply into it; he turns to occasionaly stir it gently with one paw.

  • Zahara allows Marku to do the majority of the talking since, after all, he and Selonis are ..unusually close.
  • Kai stares around, once again impressed by new surroundings.
  • Markuran bows to Selonis. "It is good to see you again my brother. The Invasion has begun and I desperatley need your help."

<Selonis?> "I know this, Markuran. Come here."

  • Markuran joins Selonis peering into the pond.
  • Zahara seats herself alongside one of the pools and continues her work on her latest and greatest artifact that fits in the palm of your hand!
  • Birds looks for flowers and sets to making everyone crowns.

As Marku looks into the water, he sees what Selonis has been looking at -- images of the invaders striking against their first targets in their surprise assault.

  • Markuran puts a hand on the heavy shoulder of the great metallic lion, opening his mouth for a comforting remark. He stops when he sees the images in the water.

He sees Godtouched soldiers burning and wilting trees as they attack a treetop settlement deep within the Haltan forest.

Then, Selonis taps the water with one gigantic paw, and it shifts -- to a city in the distant north, besieged by warriors; to boats of brilliant blue metal and strange wood with sorcerers raining down spells upon a small island; to a clash between Godtouched and a vast barbarian horde in the deep south.

  • Markuran sighs deeply. "We must have help, Selonis. My Circle and our armies can not hold this back."

<Selonis?> "I know." He looks deeply sad. "I may be able to assist."

<Markuran> "How? And at what cost to yourself?"

  • Zahara perks up at the mention of help, but does not cease her careful artistry.

<Selonis?> "I cannot acquire a peach myself. My presence in the divine orchards would be instantly detected, and my punishment death. I suspect he could acquire one, however." The Lion gestures towards Cerin. "I have a thought as to how I could bring him close enough to do so."

  • Birds nods.

<Cerin?> presumably says something like "What are you thinking?" here.

  • Selonis stretches a little. "I could... hide you. Ahem." He pauses for a moment, then opens his mouth extremely wide, helpfully.
  • Zahara raises a brow. "You're going to eat my boyfriend?"
  • Kai whispers to Birds: "I saw this at a circus once."
  • Birds giggles at Kai.

<Selonis?> "Only to allow him to reach the orchard."

  • Zahara smiles slightly. "That should be interesting. What if someone asks you a question?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I like this plan," she comments, grinning. "Here, take your flowers before you climb in."

<Selonis?> Cerin presumably takes them, places them upon his head, and, shrugging, climbs within the lion's gullet.

  • Selonis closes his mouth and intensifies his moderately embarassed look.

<Zahara> "He's quite tasty isn't he?"

<Markuran> "You'll have to fix that expression, my brother or it will be a dead giveaway."

  • Birds observes quietly, "Did the circus man get out at the end?"
  • Selonis swallows hard and screws his face up for a few moments until it once again resembles a more normal expression.

<Kai> "I don't know, the clowns came on in the other ring..."

  • Markuran hunkers down and thumps hard on Selonis's shiney golden belly. "CERIN? ARE YOU ALRIGHT IN THERE?"

An irritated and muffled response sounds from deep within Selonis.

<Markuran> "Selonis, open your mouth again, I can't hear him."

  • Zahara sighs.
  • Selonis demurely shakes his head.
  • Markuran shrugs. "Alright. You two go steal some peaches. Be careful."
  • Selonis nods.
  • Birds waves!

A little later, the Solars emerge into the city of Juche.

When Cerin journeyed here recently, it was a rugged but pleasant city.

Now, that pleasantness is much less evident, as guerilla warfare appears to have broken out in the streets.

  • Markuran frowns slightly as a group of mortals flees past the newly arrived Exalted, a trio of uniformed Dragon-Blood chasing after them. "Hmmmm"

<Markuran> "Are you going off on your own to spread vicious rumors, Zahara?

The gate opens up into a room in a small, empty building that looks out into an decaying balcony. Merely poking their heads out is enough to reveal that groups of Dragon-Bloods are sniping at one another in the streets.

  • Zahara steps out of the room near the gate, looking around the room cautiously for traps or other such annoyances. "Vicious? And here I was going to say nice things about you."

<Zahara> "But Marku, whatever you do, don't let them know THIS is where we came from.

<Zahara> "The less people that know about this gate, the better."

<Markuran> "I know that, Zahara."

  • Kai draws.

<Zahara> "Well you do have a habit of going to the nearest balcony to shout out your good word."

<Markuran> "I'll pick somewhere further away. Besides, there's no one here to listen."

<Zahara> "Give me thirty minutes. I'll set the stage for you."

  • Markuran nods and settles down to wait. Slowly Marku wraps himself in Charms, allowing his anima to die back down as he does so.
  • Zahara has, it should be noted, dressed in one of her servants' clothes, and bound her hair back beneath a hood. She strides down and out of the building, changing her demeanor to the whipped sort, which she's seen so often.
  • Kai mutters quietly: "That's almost creepier than normal Zahara..."
  • Zahara had Cerin's help in creating the disguise, of course. He's much better at that sort of thing than she. Regardless, it's not like they have 'WANTED' posters up; most people don't know what she looks like in the first place...although...once she's a movie star, that will all change.

There's still some significant fighting going on within the streets; small groups of Dragon-Bloods launch elemental bolts and arrows at each other from convenient buildings.

  • Zahara shuffles along with a walking staff, doing her best to blend in with the others. She stops at a stall, selling crude weapons of war. "Excuse me, do you have more of those?" she points at a sword lying on the table. "From what I hear," she says knowingly, "These riots and such are nothing.. I can't believe we're all fighting eachother." she ducks as a bolt whizzes by, giving a girlish shriek.
  • Birds mutters, "I wish I could hear what's going on down there. If only I were sneakier."

<Vendor?> "There's not much bigger than us, lady."

  • Markuran spends his time productivly while awaiting Zahara. With carefuly and quick hands, the big barbarian strips off his armor and applies a thick layer of jade-laced varnish that will make a cursory inspection think him nothing but another Terrestrial in Jade Plate. Similar powders are produced for his skin, giving him a ruddy complexion over his Sunlander tan. He offers the powders to Kai and Birds.

<Vendor?> "I can't imagine the fighting'll end until someone sits upon the throne"

  • Birds powders her face lightly, and then mixes some wine into the powder to make a brilliant maroon face paint. "I've always wanted to dress up like one of those southern tribesmen!"

<Zahara> "That's not what I heard." she says, pulling her cloak around herself more tightly, in fear. She looks over her shoulder nervously, and whispers, "I heard there are evil Gods about, here to steal the throne from even the most powerful Dynast, if we don't work together. And it's not even the Anathema.." she casts a guilty look over her shoulder at the Dynasts, and whispers. "I heard.. the Anathema are trying to STOP it."

  • Kai looks at the powder askance, then cautiously applies some to her face and hands.
  • Vendor looks at Zahara as if she's said perhaps the most shocking thing he's ever heard. "Lady, that's about the craziest thing I've ever heard. The anathema, trying to stop a coup in the Realm? That's insanity."
  • Zahara shakes her head, "I know! I know, but.. but what if it's TRUE?"
  • Birds cheerfully paints gigantic hibiscus flowers on her face and arms.

<Zahara> "I heard they're trying to take over all of Creation, not just the Realm... the Realm can only stop the evil if they stop fighting eachother."

<Vendor?> "That's crazy. Get out of here." He gestures Zahara away from the table, but she can tell that something about her rumor is sitting uncomfortably with him.

<Zahara> "Don't tell anyone.." she says, and hurries off to another stall, losing herself in the crowd.

  • Zahara repeats this exercise several times in order to speed the dissemination of the rumor

<Vendor?> She receives similar reactions wherever she goes.

  • Zahara finally completes her circuit, and slips back inside the gatehouse. Once safely inside, she throws back her hood and straightens her shoulders, once again assuming her 'queen of the world' mantle.
  • Markuran offers Zahara the skin-powder.

<Markuran> "Disguise? How did the rumor-mongering go?"

<Zahara> "Ah, what is this?"

  • Markuran guestures at his "fire touched" features for explination.

<Zahara> "Oh, I think it went quite well. Some of the people I was telling, had already heard it. I even impressed myself." she notes the application of the powder, and begins to cover her skin carefully.

  • Markuran waits for Zahara to finish, then stands. "Did you see any large gathering spaces where people can congregate?"

<Zahara> "The market was quite busy."

<Markuran> "That will do for my speech, then. Let's go."

<Zahara> "One at a time, so we don't attract attention," she reminds, then allows Marku to go first.

  • Markuran starts toward the Market in a proper Dynastic walk, attracting as little attention as possible given his size and role.
  • Zahara waits for several minutes before following behind, going to the market by a different route.
  • Birds finds a third path.
  • Kai , having an affinity for markets, has no trouble finding a thouroughfare to take her there.

The market is busy in the fashion of a war-torn city -- people come in and purchase quickly, then rush back to their homes....

  • Markuran waits until all the Exalted are gathered in the market place before finding himself a vantage point from which to give his speech. With a mighty leap that sends him flying up to the shoulders of a now-shattered statue of the Empress, Markuran raises his voice to a thunderous bull cry. "PEOPLE OF THE REALM!"

<Markuran> As Marku speaks his anima slowly rises around him, gaining power as his words gain intensity. The red jade powder and paint start to puff to crimson smoke, revealing the golden glory of the Solar Warlord under his disguise.

The people of the market have various reactions -- mute incomprehension, fear, anger. P

<Markuran> "Long has the Empress brought you prosperity and power. But now she is gone and your rulers fight eachother and waste your land. Your lords the Dragon-Blooded destroy homes and kill eachother, wasting the vital resources of the Realm. All those in the Realm, mortal and Exalted alike must put aside this struggle for a more deadly issue has arisen."

Those present begin to move about rapidly.

<Markuran> "Not but a few days ago did the visions of the Red Lily appear in the sky. I know many of you may have been tempted by their offers of power, of elevation to Exalted. But know that to accept is not to be Exalted. It is to be a slave. A godbound wretch lower then anything you already may be."

<Markuran> "I offer a return to the true order. An order that has slept for centuries. The Second Age is ending and the Third rises soon. Mortal and Terrestrial alike may enter the Third Age under our hospitality. We rule the Sunlands, the great empire in the East of Creation. Though long since we could have turned our might on the Realm and done grevious harm, we have not."

<Markuran> "While corrupt leaders have traded with the enemy of all Creation, we recognize that the majority of the Realm would rather serve the good of Creation and the Realm itself. Join with us and do so. Make the Realm great again and bring the Third Age into being with yourselves at the front lines of the battle against the slaves who would chain you beside themselves."

No later does Marku finish his final word than something massive and fiery crashes from the sky into the statue he bestrides, shattering it into thousands of pieces. Within seconds, others crash into the market around them, shattering stalls and killing mortals dead as they do.

  • Kai dives for cover! "Shit!"
  • Birds swears and turns hazily immaterial. "That is not a good way for a speech to end. If this is Marku's idea, I am going to ask Zee why she doesn't kill her prisoners, and do that."

As everyone in the square reacts to the sudden chaos, the flaming rocks that fell to earth begin to unfold. Each is actually a creature of fire and earth, lanky but sharp, with claws as long as a man's head, and serrated wings; as they rise up, the flames around them begin to coalesce into solid shapes, suits of infernal armor and vicious, multi-bladed weapons.

Atop the stump of the twice-destroyed statue alights another beast:

a fifteen-foot tall woman, with backwards legs and arms, and the teeth of a predator; her skin is deep blue, her aquamarine hair flows up into the air of its own volition and curls into elaborate geometrical shapes. Her hands end in red talons and a wind buffers a cloud of dead, decayed leaves around her body.

Zahara stares for a moment and recognizes the woman for who she is -- Reshina, The Conclusion of Wisdom, Soul of Cecelyne.

  • Kai pauses for a moment ot take in the new shapes. Her left hand moves up, her solar saber suddenly blazing in it. A moment later, she is dahing toward the towering demon-woman, eyes fixed on her. As she reaches the statue, she leaps up, pushing off its fallen head, and swings both blades at the creature.

<Zahara> "Reshina..."

As Kai begins to charge the demon, she spits out black ichor and shouts in a shrill voice "I have come for Daybreaker. Give it to me, human!"

<Kai> "Oh, I'll give it to you!"

  • Reshina waves a single arm and a gout of wind shoots up from the earth below, crystallizing and becoming solid as Kai's blades crash into it.
  • Zahara reaches up to touch the rim of the bell, willing it to respond to her commands. Three times, the Bell tolls, the third peal shattering in its intensity, and oddly seductive to the souls of the Yozi. "Reshina, know that I know you, and from whence you sprang! I command you to leave this place! It is not your right to dwell on this plane anymore!" Her swords orbit around her in a swirl of glittering edges, ready to defend their

As Kai's blows fail to pierce her windy shield, the demon swiftly shoots out a taloned hand and slashes repeatedly across Kai's chest.

The crystal wind swirls around Kai as Reshina's talons fly towards her soft underbelly, and form a massive wall of wind that neatly deflects the sound of Zahara's bell.

  • Birds runs along the wall of a nearby tower to find a good sniping position, loosening Ecstatic Plume in its sheath.

The daiklave almost hums to itself, so ready is it to fight.

Crawling up from the shattered ground, the beasts of fire raise up their fiery weapons and bear down upon the Solars, hollering and whooping in a scratchy, gutteral tongue. Markuran and Zahara each find themselves confronted with two, while another two begin to climb up the side of the tower to Birds' position, searing the stone as they go.

  • Zahara turns as the two fiery beasts approach her and idly wonders what Reaver would have thought of his brethren, as her sword snaps out automatically on wings of essence, to stop the blows as they come within range, deflecting them with a ringing noise that is strangely reminiscent of the bell
  • Zahara , in the same motion, strikes out at the fiery beasts that have dared approach her, the Blue Daiklave thirsting to cleave one in twain, as her remaining Ice Sword drives into it from behind

The creature raises a blade of fire and swings it violenty; it reshapes itself and whips around its back, entangling Zahara's ice sword; the beast then steps behind it and allows Zahara's daiklave blow to crash harmlessly into her own weapon.

Marku pummels the beasts attacking him furiously, though their rapid movements evade most of his blows.

<Zahara> "You creatures are really quite annoying." she scowls.

  • Markuran lands a pair of heavy blows on the smaller of the two monsters. With a bellow the light-armored barbarian hauls the beast down from the sky and allows it to struggle for a few moments. As its ally comes to free it from Marku's grasp the two beasts find themselves gripped in hands harder then adamant and crushed against a gold-armored chest. Stunned, they are stompped on thoroughly.

One of the beasts shatters thoroughly under Marku's blows, pieces of flaming earth scattering about.

Tags: (:tags Exaltation, Selonis, Exaltation Checklist, Peaches of Immortality, Juche, Realm, Civil War, Hundredfold, Marax-do, Reshina, Daybreaker :)

< Trouble At Home | Sol Invictus Logs | A Close Shave >