Exalted Quest

Exalted Quest I: Journey of Heroes Part Two
Heart of Darkness

It’s still rainy, it’s still windy, Dynasts are shoving about 20 people in the scouting party ahead in different directions, because they MUST know where the ancient ruins the Anathema would go to are. People barely leave the village, but they will have to ‘know’ or everyone dies. Sesus Rechar will wait until the ruins are found and then use a giant horse of flame to catch up.

Kip (no longer with the surname Tastic) starts rattling off a list of different monsters who they might find in the woods, things his father’s seen, and his grandfather. The group start a tally for the amount of their villagers who are accompanying them and will be dead by the end of the adventure. Also, when discussing giant rats, the size relative to Kip is used. Then it happens again in relation to other things, shortly, Kip has a “Kip to Thing Scale” where most things are measured in the height of the tiny ten year old.

Despite this derision, Kip is the best hope of leading them in the right direction and they hear the petty moaning of Mnemon Harpum, who is a lowly Dynast with little experience under his belt and not enough sense to leave the dirt to their job, Harpum points out that it’s raining and dust wouldn’t fit in this weather.

Harpum reveals a few facts, that Sesus Rechar is the last of his group of Terrestrial Exalted and they’ve been hunting this Anathema for a year. The other Exalts in the hunting party have died, leading up to this final hunt. Harpum also says that he’s not used to the weather as the Blessed Isle has people who can regulate it, changing the elements as they please. This shocks and excites the circle, as they’ve never heard of such things. Also, they hear that Harpum’s afraid of everything living in these woods and everything is living in them.

Using Harpum’s fear and the “Kip to Thing Scale”, Raphael and his monkey, Zidane, both demonstrate the size of some spiders in the woods and suggest that maybe, just maybe, they should build a shelter. Kip builds enough of a shelter for just one person. Toki, being bigger and stronger, makes a shelter which can fit everyone in it. Harpum heads to his superior’s fancy tent instead.

The next morning, the circle get up and witness something disturbing happening. A servant of the Fair Folk is leading a procession of empty people right past the camp. They gesture to the Dynasts to get out of the way and spot Phelen, one of the 15 villagers accompanying them, amongst the soulless servants. Trying to talk to him, the group are stared at by the entire crowd, breathing at the same time, blinking at the same time. They hide and let them go past, then continue their search.

Further out of the woods and nearing the river by a day or so, Kip makes another check to see if he remembers anything. Apparently there was some riverside temple which was beholden to some heathen sun god many years ago. Kip’s grandfather went there once, returned with the news of it and when he went to find it again, he never came back.
The temple apparently is built to greet the sun in the morning. This, and the fact the forest is coming to a (temporary) close, heartens the group.

Running/falling down a valley with long grass, it feels great to not be amongst the trees and the rain, the group catch their breath, and spy an old man. Dressed in old blue and yellow rags, the old man’s fishing in a pool made by yesterday’s rain. They point out that there will be no fish, but he doesn’t seem to mind, golden eyes twinkling as he talks to them. Kip urinates in the pool to try and put the old man off his fishing. The group tell the old man, Sparrow, apparently, about a temple to a heathen sun god nearby and the expedition. He takes the advice, pulls up a huge golden fish and gives it to the group. When they look in astonishment at it, Sparrow vanishes.

Up the other side of the hill the group find more woods. Ugh. Still, they must be near, as midnight tonight should find them at the temple. Travelling through the woods they see arrows hit the trees next to their scouts (Kip, and Akuna trying to keep up with Kip and seem like he’s helping more than he is). Six bandits appear, saying to murder the two eldest (Jax and Toki), then they can sell and/or rape the others. The bandits are dressed in torn buff jackets with badly-painted gold circles on them.

Combat ensues. Again, we’re rusty, but we’re improving.

The bandits bee-line for Akuna and Kip, ripping them apart with sword and bow. Raphael and Zidane act together, high-fiving an arrow out of the air. Akuna is trapped by two people cornering him around a tree and kick-flips away from it, shooting arrows as he goes. Kip tries (and fails) flipping his boomerang into a tree, knocking it down. Jax kicks up mud (and there’s a lot of mud) into a bandit’s eyes and hacks away. Toki is a slow, but relentless, killing machine, smooshing people apart a hammer blow at a time.

At the end of the battle, the enemy are defeated, Kip and Akuna are near death, and now the Dynasts turn up. They’re going to make camp further back as it’s nearly night. With the damaged duo, something/someone needs to heal them and they’re allowed to stay in the camp. The others will have to carry on (draws sword) they have to carry on. They can scout the temple and give information to the camp for a dawn strike. The heathen sun god will watch while Sesus Rechar and his forces destroy the temple and the Anathema who’s probably hidden inside.

PING! Achievements for using the terrain for Akuna and Kip’s creative use of an arrow and trees, respectively. PING! Achievements for surviving session two!

Exalted Quest I: Journey of Heroes Part One

Rain pours down, yet a hut is on fire. A giant jade mechanism in a vaguely human form stands at the entrance to the village. Red-armoured men are dividing people out, forcing them into buildings. A fat man with armour made specifically for him, has a long beard with dangling red stone dragon-heads swaying in the wind. He’s Sesus Altaf, and demands the group announce their caste: Warrior, Priest, Savant, Criminal, or Broker. The village bully, Ugly Luong, is knocked to the ground by a guard in the distance.
The group don’t quibble and divvy out a caste each.

It’s a beautiful day in the village, the sun is in the sky, people are working dutifully, making the most of their short lives.

Raphael is a pikie who helps, probably about as much as he hinders. He’s a roguish kid with a family still alive and in the village.

Toki Uoki is a miner, the oldest of our cast at 15 and one of the strongest people in the village.

Kip Tastic is a 10 year old fisherman’s son, ugly, but good with the wild and the occult. He’s a high-functioning… something.

Jax is a handyman around a church to the elemental spirits. He’s a little shifty, possibly elusive, but he lives in the church and fixes things, even though he’s not religious.

Alex (broker) is Akuna, the son of a merchant, a wealthy kid with little need for work. He’s got the best life out of the group, not having to work himself to an early grave, and probably travelled a little further than the others.

It’s raining still, and dark. The men in red start testing people. “You! Dust!” One of them shouts at Akuna, “Get to the map room.”
“Map room?”
“Mayor’s house. We’ve taken it over. Did we kill him?” His sidekick shrugs, “Never mind. In there, now.”
Jax is sent that way, too.
Toki is told to test his fighting prowess and sent away.

The giant, rake-thin man with long hair and an aura of fire around him is a Dragon-Blooded. He disintigrates a man who attacks him, then demands the man’s family slaughtered, his home burnt to the ground and the earth salted to avenge the insult of the assassination attempt. The Dragon-Blooded, Sesus Rechar, points out that he’s the hero, the good guy, and he won’t take misbehaviour.

Toki beats up a man only known as “Mr Punching Bag” who made the error of walking too close to Sesus Rechar yesterday. This impresses Rechar’s soldiers.

Sesus Altaf explains to Akuna that Rechar wants to stay here the night and is confused by all these dirt around the place, he’s not used to mortals without a Dynastic heritage. He’s taken a man one and a woman one, he intends on fucking one and killing the other but doesn’t care which for now. Why should he not kill everyone here?

Explaining that the village is the literal cornerstone for marble, Akuna promises marble to the Blessed Isle. Jax then says that there are samples hoarded in the church basements and offers it to Sesus Altaf.

When everyone’s in the town square, Swery, a minstrel of minimal-repute, runs to them saying that Feeley, a young boy of 8, has run away. Swery would go, but he’s a coward, only armed with an allegedly-beautiful lute.

The group walk through the woods, aware that mere yards away from the village, EVERYTHING is lethal, EVERYTHING hates them, and the Fair Folk will take them away. So, strength in numbers, and in weaponry. They gather their gear and work out the kind of funds they have to help on their quest. Oh, and Raphael has a monkey who is smarter than Toki. Most people are smarter than Toki.

They find Feeley, dragging a stick behind him, saying he’s tired of being a miner and wants to join a Wyld Hunt. They argue with him, saying their duty is to live their lives as their fathers did and die as their fathers did. It’s grim, and Toki starts dragging Feeley back when—- Suddenly, from the grass, monsters appear!

The monsters, a trio of ichneumon hunters attack the circle. Raphael’s monkey grabs the underside of one as Raph himself leaps up, around a tree and kicks it into the ground.
PING! Achievement! “Prop Master” for his first two-dice stunt. Nice.

Most of the circle draw their weapons and the beasts attack, punching through cloth and injuring both Akuna (barely) and Raphael. Akuna channels his Valour to roll back on the floor and shoot an arrow through one of the beasts, then it’s sliced in two by Jax.

As a streak of blood from the last monster covers Feeley, Toki uses the moment to tell the frightened child this is why he shouldn’t run away, this is why he’s miner material, not warrior material.

PING! An achievement for surviving their first combat and PING! Another for aiding a villager.

The group are ‘enlisted’ into the search party for an Anathema. The evil Exalted, monsters who can kill not just one, but many Dragon-Blooded, and a Dragon-Blooded on their own could kill the village. Not a person, not the villagers, but the entire village.

A dissenter’s body hangs from his home which is burning, again, despite the rain.
Sesus Altaf explains that his holiness, Sesus Rechar, is looking for ruins near here, and being locals, they must know where the ruins are (draws sword) they MUST know where the ruins are. They’re sent out in the dark and the rain, Raphael says a tearful goodbye to his father. No one’s come back from the woods at night.

To be continued…
Oh, and PING! XP Achievement for surviving the session and Raphael wins MVP!


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