A Little Piece of Home

I don't have much Morles
But, boy if I did...

We have some downtime again. Traveling across creation does that, we all agreed that we should stop in towns as infrequently as we can while maintaining our supplies. Between Taki and myself Saffron’s leg is doing much better. I might have broken it again, but it was Taki that set it straight. I have picked up quite a bit of ire from my masters due to my actions with my family. Some of whom can not seem to stop calling me by my former name, instead of my title. I have a gift idea for Joyous Dawn, something to help soothe her and her sister, Florin. Hearth and I were able to catch up for a little bit before I had to take to my studies and meditations. It is nice being able to commune with someone who I know so well.

I feel a little guilty. It seems that my pushing a metaphor has shoved the relationship between Sorel and Taki to develop much faster then the snails pace they were happy with treading. Good for them though. I still say they are adorable together. Basu and I were off attempting to maintain supplies for our cover of being wandering traders. A quick search of the caravan revealed some basic tools I can use for the gift and maybe some finished goods we can sell.

A few of us had a sit down and told our histories. Taki’s was poignant, a tale of familial abuse and betrayal. I am a little glad that he exalted—partly to get out of there, though I am sure the being exiled is a horrid thing for him to deal with, and partly because he can now fight back. Even if he chooses not to. Sorel told us his tale as well. Equally sad and still.

[Travel and Entering the Site.]

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I'm Not One Of Those
Who Can't Easily Hide...

After much deliberation I convinced Taki, Basu-Maru, and Sorrel to travel to the west. My Lord’s only instruction was to avoid Thorns. I know there is a powerful Death Lord there. I will not tread into there unless I need to.

I am constantly surprised by them. Every time I expect them to act like Solars I have known before they do the opposite. Instead they have continued to be my friends. They hardly flinched when they discovered I was a Deathknight. The premise I gave them to travel to the west was to find my murderer. This is true. I also want to seek the vengeance and justice is due to me. I will find him, and kill him.

We have heard some startling news. There is a creature near the town that attacks every full moon. After a little more gathering of intelligence I relayed the information to Basu and Taki. I know that Basu has been looking for something like this. To protect the people and those that that need to be inspired. Taki, I am sure, just gets caught in his wake and wants to be sure that he is safe.
Also, by this time we witnessed Basu’s master, and I confronted Sorrel. He is running out of time and doesn’t know it. I warned him not to waste his chances—like me.

We arrived at the town. It has grown, but it isn’t supposed to be like this. This is a town locked in its past. It isn’t supposed to be like this at all. It is supposed to be happy, idealistic, frolicking. Not this dark depressing and troubled town. We barter our wood for information. The more I hear the more I begin to be troubled. The timing all lines up. This could be Song of the Hearth. Even though I think it is possible there is no proof. I need more information. Some of what we know now gives us an in: we are a band of Dragon Blooded. This will be risky in that we could attract attention to ourselves. However, should this come back to kill us then I can escape…with out too much problem. Though thinking of going through that plan is a little…painful.

It figures that I needed to see Story’s Heart. It is almost like this is supposed to be painful. It figures that Taki would put 2 and 2 together as well…he called it, for once. Someone as oblivious as him could see it. I guess it is a little harder when you are looking from the inside out. Now though, we have to deal with the beast.

It was harder then I had imagined. Some large man was there in the center of town. Turns out he is a Lunar, called Sambar. We brought down the large Raccoon Beast-Man in a fairly lasting battle. Our new companion was able to prove his worth a few folds over. I don’t lose any time with tracking him to his lair. The last thing we need is some monstrous mate following us. I follow the scent.

It isn’t too far away from the town. Sambar and I go ahead, being the only ones that can infiltrate with any real skill. I see a familiar sight, Iva, a childhood friend, walk past me as I scout the tunnel ahead. More voices are ahead. I send Sambar to warn the others. Three people, two young children have the appearance of being the progeny to our new captive, one looks wounded—leg injury, she can’t run. Prisoner, perhaps a mother to one of the spawn. It can’t be Song. He isn’t allowed to have a family, or two. After my approach it becomes clear to me that she is not here against her will. Where is the evil that this beast-man is guilty of? It must be here somewhere. I’ll confront Iva.

It was unsettling for her, but my suspicions were confirmed. That thing is Song of the Hearth, the four other women are there by their own volition, and I was wrong. Both of the children are Iva’s. I want to want to kill Hearth…but I can’t Not until I hear what he has to say. We have some time to think until he rises… More meditation.

He has explained it to me. How he felt, how he fled, how he became what he is now… It saddens me. He was supposed to get off with out a scratch and now it is clear to me that he suffered as much as I because of our mid-night rendezvous. I can’t find it in me to hate him, or to kill him. In fact I can feel the bond we had before strengthen, he is a childhood friend, brother really, who is now in the same boat I am, in a way. I find myself forgiving him, and enjoying my new family.

I feel empty. I can feel that the place where I stored all this hate is not gone. Like someone pouring out the steaming water from a hot bath, or emptying the embers of the forge and leaving nothing behind for kindling. I feel…lost. Either way, we now need to deliver my brother to receive some training…or something like that.

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It's a little bit funny...
The Feeling Of Insides...

I was caught the other day; bandits. Eldritch strength and numbers, green suns for caste marks. I was able to simply be taken by mantaining my vissage. No doubt I would not have been able to make it alive had I revieled I am an Abyssal for My Lord.

I escaped. Stole back my things, luckly Carrion’s Decay was useless to them. They didn’t even know what it was. I have the feeling that My Lord is guiding my toward his will.

After finding a spear I have run into a small circle of people. People around this area are more hesitent to trust the Anathama. Shortly I found that they have also exalted, however more caution is needed: they are the champions of the unconqured sun. It seems that the spear belongs to that of the Mortal they travel with. A brief time with them has shown that the largest one is also the largest tool: Basu-Maru. He is like a great storm in that he will wreck anything he is pointed at, however, his over inflated sence of justice might also come in handy.

As it turns out they are also looking for the group of people that held me prisoner. I was able to lead them to the camp under the cover of darkness. I was glad for the first chance in a while to actually say my prayers. We quickly dispatched them camp and made chase to the temple where they were, I assume, sacraficing some of the prisoners.

A quick jaunt to follow led us to the temple that, we assumed, the two of them had to cleanse. All I know is that My Lord wants me to be with them for now, I will do his will. At the least the three of them have proven to be an interesting distraction and new breath to my normal mundane routine of death and destruction.

Upon our entry into the temple, I could smell those above us and below us. Basu and I quickly took care of the Infernalists above and made our way to the Spider Queen below. (While we rescued the prisoners as well. I must admit it was fun talking to the ignorant and stupid spider demons here. They simply believed almost anything I had to say…Though, the Artifact with their symbol on it did help.) Having killed anything of note in here there was something that Taki had been talking to…a Mantis Headed program that kept this place running. I left before it could identify my essence. Paranoia, as my charm prevents anything from perceiving my true nature…still. We rested again, I played the Neverborn’s Advocate in that the people here are malnurished and exhausted. A good nights rest will do them good. In truth, I simply needed to say my prayers before I feel the touch of creation in everything I do. I also needed to refresh my essence, as I can not here… Either way, my motives were pure, I can not defend myself if I am out of essence, I can not do My Lord’s will should he ask me to. Speaking of which, I was required to do two things for him today. The first, was to find the cause of the flooding. Easy enough. While we made camp, there was a little girl who seemed to have suffered at the hands of the Demonists. She was obviously raped. It struck a chord with me. To see the touch it had done to her…I needed to help, not make it better, but to see if she would at least be all right: I saw myself in her for a moment. Alive, and yet dead. Qorin, her name was. Taki tried to get me to leave, thinking a Male presence here would make things worse. Indeed it would, but I am also no man. I told her of her two options, the same that were presented to me by The 14th Lord so many years ago…She chose to fight back. I felt…pride in her, oddly. That she would rise up and use this anger and hate and pain to make her better. To strike back at those that had hurt her.

She had her first chance to prove her dedication to her new path, to cement it in her soul. She was to scout ahead, and get the guard to guide the refugees back to the town. While Taki, Basu, the Priestess and I made our way to the house of their Water God. At our arrival we heard the sounds of crying. Fearing an ambush with the lure of that sound I was forced to remain outside his domicile as I was not invited. While true nothing barred my entry and I could have entered as easily as I wished; I couldn’t bring myself to enter his home without permission from a priest or the god himself—being a priest myself I still respect the gods of others.

A Long road short, we were able to save the god, while I simply tried to fix the house up a little. It was Taki who was the one to help him, Basu and I simply where there. The God knew what I was…he warned me of what path I walk. I responded that I have no interest in harming them…yet.

Once more on the road it seemed that Sorrel had disappeared. I noted that this seemed to upset Taki. He/She seemed almost…longing for his return. (As it turns out, Taki is a man, as shown by Basu’s attempted groping). Having followed the trail it turned out that he was captured by a woman and was having rituals done to him that I was unable to recognize. Something about preparing the body. I was mistaken at first into thinking that this was the preparation for his Last Breath. Something in green ink…my mind flickered back to the worshipers of the Green Sun that were housed in the temple. Basu made quick work of her and noticed something shoot out of her mouth. Nothing is easy. Basu and I were to make our way to the town again and see what had happened. Taki was to see to Sorrel. I didn’t like it. Leaving the two of them alone, in a undefendable position. It smelled like an ambush.I was wrong, but still. My fighting companion seemed to be at odds with himself for letting an innocent die. Having no time to deal with it now, I warned him that no matter what he see, or what I do: I am still the Ash he has been traveling with. A weak premise of no-combat should the truth be revealed for sure.

As luck would have it there was a play going on in the center of town, a performance troupe that Taki and Basu-moru were traveling with. The eerie song that this demon was singing had entranced the entire crowd. Obviously we would need to make this look like it was a part of the performance or risk revealing that we Basu is an Exalted. We didn’t need panic making it easy for the thing to escape. So, Basu and I were to act as Road Bandits here to tempt the young innocent. Of course Basu, who came up with the plan, immediately broke from it. Instead playing the role of the wandering hero. It was almost too funny.

Once backstage we were quickly surrounded, I knew he was trying to pull his punches and having difficulty with it. Warriors are trained to kill, not subdue. City guards are trained for that, not champions. Unable to hide it anymore, I simply bit into one—the elder—and tasted his essence, restoring my own motes as well. It was foul, inhuman, and acrid. Once I told Basu that they were no longer human, he let go with all his furry—destroying them all quickly. Once the bloodshed was over we needed to finish the play—to break the enchantment. I needed to drop my visage, revealing the woman I am. He was unabashedly distracted as I did so.

Between Him, Taki and Sorrel: it was Basu that took it the best. Taki feels that I have lied to him: though I may have stretched the truth, I have not lied to them once. Sorrel was out of it completely, so maybe it was the concussion that allowed him to deal with it. Basu…he simply didn’t care. I am still Ash, or Ashly, in his eyes. He has this innocence he just never lost. Maybe it is because he is an idiot, but he just sees things differently and has faith in it. Like me, I guess. I find it hard to imagine someone so…pure.

It is obvious to me now that Taki has feelings for Sorrel, and I am guessing that he feels the same. Though Taki seems to be unable to process this. It is strange. As far as I can tell, Sorrel is like an indentured servant to them, yet he seems to have feelings for…well, the scariest of the bunch. Sorrel is a human—I can dispatch with him as though he were a gnat. Basu is a force, but he is also a bit blind, so long as I prove—by his measure—that I am “good” (that is a broad term for him though) then I am OK. As well, a raging bull can be sidestepped. Taki though. I know he does something with a scarf, and can mend wounds. However, I know he is no coward—he willingly goes with us into battle—yet I have not seen him so much as lift a weapon. It is hard to judge the danger of someone without information. He also seems quick to judge. Calling me evil, and asking why I haven’t exploded. Either he bought into all the stories, or he simply doesn’t understand. All I know is that he is from the realm and a Solar. From this I can guess several things—That he is being hunted: An Anathama of the realm would surely be bad press. He has had some run ins with some Abyssals who did not get along. My guess is that we all have our share of enemies hunting us down.

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