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.”
“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!