Sable Oak's eyes held anguish and resolve as he stepped through the brief whirling kata of Dreaming Pearl Courtesan form. He look to Sienna and beseeched her not to fight. The Solars would not be harmed, just contained. His eyes locked, and Sienna felt remorse at what she knew was necessity. She steeled her heart and dropped the guise of Kala, drawing the ribbon from her hair and pulling it to her bowstring. She spoke the Scripture of the Clay Maiden, and released. The ribbon streaked toward Sable Oak, cutting a line of blood across his cheek.
Senka landed and spoke to the massive wolf, promising to free here, and sprinted down one of the halls into which the binding chains disappeared. She reached the end of the hall, and found the chain linked to the wall. Realizing she did not have the strength or magic to break it, she turned back toward where Genjo had landed beside her.
Genjo took a few moment longer to regain his balance. From above, Sunipa pursued them, leaping from the balcony. As she arced through the air, she cast fire from Delicate Scarlet Blossom, her firelance. Genjo was force back by the heat of the flames, off balance and stumbling to avoid the flames.
From behind the goddess, and army of bronze soldiers, the Sun Guard, surged forward. A twist of dark green essence materialized before Zakiti, and her greenmaw surged forward to clash with the metal soldiers. Lashing vines bat aside spears but the soldiers' formation stops the greenmaw's charge.
Breathing hard and feeling singed, Genjo focused on the war god in front of him. He charged her, trying to grab her with a tackler, but catching her with his shoulder. She stumbled back at the force of their impact, but then stepped fluidly into a spin, casting about her with her flamelance an laying a garden of blooming fire around her that clung to the ground. With preternatural speed, she came out of the spin, raising her arms and leveling her weapon at Senka. Flame erupted, racing down the hall. Senka gracefully avoided the flames as the rushed past her, scorching the already dark stones of the wall.
Above, as the greenmaw continued to lash at the bronze and gold soldiers, Sienna fired another shot at Sable Oak. She mouthed an apology as the arrow flew, and took several long steps to sail gracefully off the edge of the balcony. The sign of Mercury, Maiden of Journies, appeared on her forehead in blazing yellow. The shot cut the long train from one of Sable Oak's sleeves as he dodged deftly.
Emerging from the passageway, Senka centered her essence, concentrating it into a single point. She gripped her sword hilt, drawing and re-sheathing it in a flash between breaths. She rushed the goddess, sword moving like it had a will of its own. Her caste mark appeared, an ring of deepest sunlight on her forehead. A single step brought her through the flames and her sword lashed out again, clanging from the jade-clad goddess's armor.
Still contending with the flames and smoke searing every breath, Genjo focused his essence into a thunderous iron-fisted strike. His fist connected with the goddess, sending her stumbling to recover and the flames around them finally dissipated.
Zakiti pulled her Agata from the essence of Creation and shot upward to avoid the Sun Guard, now pouring around the greenmaw. They hacked at the viny beast and held it at bay with stout spears and short blades.
Reveling in his succes, Genjo pressed the advantage, golden sundisk gleaming on his forehead. He seized Sunipa's cape, and struck several disorienting blows with his free hand before jerking the cape downard and sending her careening into the wall. The goddess struck, cracking the ancient stonework. A pulse of essence emanated like a shockwave, and she dissipated. The etched brass of her firelance clattered to the floor.
Sienna :: Methodology of Secrets – 3 lore specialties
Ancient Laws of Yushan and Creation
Runs her fingers down her bowstring, letting blood drip down onto the chains
“Mandate to aid the party of a war god, falsely imprisoned, should their usurper be destroyed”
Automata :: Continues attacking the Greenmaw – Crashes it!
Sable :: Looks at Sienna “SERIOUSLY?!?!”
Lashes out at the Sunguard, knocking them out of formation
Senka – leaps up to the balcony to lay into her Sunguard with her sword
Zakiti – summons the Ugalu in the midst of the Sunguard as the Greenmaw finally wraps tendrils around some automata, stuffing it into its maw
Sienna – leaps up to help Sable, defending him
FREEING THE WOLF
Solars go down to the chains to look closer
Sable “Sienna, i’m glad i didn’t have to fight you.”
I wasn’t trying to hurt you, for the record. I was trying to keep you distracted
Sienna checks lore for a way to undo the chains – goes down to examine the chains
Runes in old realm – much more intelligible than the runes before (forget where)
Each link is enchanted to strengthen itself and its adjoining links, to force Darunla to hold her form and bind her here
Locking mechanisms – looks like a puzzle, but could weaken the enchantments by ripping the chains from the walls
Drawing essence from the mountain
Genjo punches into the rock
Breaks two chains
Massive howl from the wolf and a flash of light
In place of the wolf is a woman in armor and white/red robes
Wrists – raw, red marks of manacles
Chains are no longer holding her – they lay on the ground
Genjo approaches – Daruja speaks in Old Realm understands
Sienna – Roughly 1500 years
Snarls at the symbol on her forehead
Sienna – “I am not of the bronze faction.”
Senka bows respectfully, caste mark blazing on her forehead
Genjo also bows, but maybe less respectful, in greeting
“Champion of the Sun, I thank you for my freedom. We shall ride again and harry the forces arrayed against us.”
“I was told in a vision that you would be a strong ally”
“I have always been an ally to the champions of the Sun. I did not fight against the creators to see the champions of the unconquered sun destroyed”
“Darunla, I apologize for not knowing the history that you’re speaking of, but I am honored that you are willing to support me regardless of my ignorance”
“With my freedom, i am free to harry the enemies of the sun again. I can draw together a great pack and bring the East against your enemies. Name who you would have me harry”
Eyes Sienna with golden wolf eyes
Genjo expresses thanks and explains that we should confer
Introduces everyone in turn
Zakiti flares her caste mark
Can you get all of us in? She will not come with me on her own.
You want me to help you march three solars into yushan?
No, i want you to walk a new war goddess in.
Can get her back
Might be best if your sunnier friends stay in creation
Again, she will not go with us on her own
No? She is quite amenable to the solar’s suggestions. Can you not persuade the solars to convince her?
Perhaps you could persuade them to reclaim the office…?
Should she not be amenable to that, would you help me get them in?
Hand on Sienna’s shoulder – For you, I will do it
Looks uncomfortable – thank you oak.
Kind of hugs him awkwardly
Sienna – you need to come back to heaven to reclaim your position – they are waiting for you
Darunla – eyes Sienna with suspicion – did you not turn against us?
Oak “so factional – i am not a hard liner and you know it”
Sienna Will you come with us to heaven, or will you need some sort of assurance
Reclaiming my office would bring us great resources in the east. The bureau of war will welcome me back
What will you do for the solars when you return? You would potentially have the power to make them save throughout all the East.
Hardly. My priesthood is likely dead scores of generations. I have not tasted worship for near 1500 years, as you said.
My right of office will give me prayer enough – i am not concerned. I mearly say i do not have the resources i once did.
Senka explains the Mask of Winters
Search for the Fortress Invisible
Larken Quen – secretive
Zakiti – know larken quen?
Sought her out of respect – fortress is in her territory
Wanted her blessing for it’s defenses
You smell of him – an echo of a being
Your power descends from the sun, but you are not its first bearer
You share a soul nonetheless
(Death lords are ghosts, not Exalted)
Influence over the mask via the souls we share?
Ghosts of solars in my time rarely appeared
That a solar of such power would turn is concerning indeed
Sable Oak – There’s no “we” for getting her reinstated.
Gestures to Sienna – “We” have a lot of paperwork to make this stick and not blow up in anyone’s face
Marching three Solars into Heaven will get them killed
Genjo – looks at the crack in the wall
Sable – there are those among the 5 score fellowship who have lived 2000 years since their second breath. Have spent their whole lives training. Training to hunt you as you return. We are stretched thin – we have many responsibilities
Genjo – Why does everyone have a problem with us?
The ancient sun kings turned to cruelty. Our kind scryed the future and saw that the world could be saved by overthrowing and imprisoning the souls of the solars.
And in doing so, we diminished the world, losing the chance to save the world completely.
Senka – tries to give Sunny to Darunla
“I do not think she understand what you are. This is a gift from the sun.” gives him back
Sunny says that mice do not favor cheese.
Sunflower seeds? What do you want? I’ll get you 3 times your weight in that.
Oak – we need to get back to heaven before Sunipa has a chance to reform, if you want this to stick.
Where should we meet you?
We’ll find you
It may be some time. Going to have to do a lot of work in heaven after we get Darunla reinstated, to keep things working in your favor.
Welcome to the gold faction, oak.
I’m not part of your faction, Sienna, i’m doing this for you.
Zakiti – memorizing as much as possible
Collecting as much of the chains as possible
Sienna understands getting Darunla back to heaven shifts politics to one in favor of gold faction.
Has to get back to the bureau
Hates paperwork, but working with the loom is important
Dawn hands Zakiti a map case with paperwork in – deed to the ship
Going to miss the three of you
Great granddaughter – Umber – leave her a message and Sienna will get it
BACK ON THE RIVER
Sienna and Sable Oak have gone back to Yushan with Darunla
Headed north downriver, towards Grey Falls
Fortress Invisible is in the forest north of Grey Falls
Senka – lots of danger and stuff – it went okay
Heading into a place at the heart of a wild hunt led by a man with no compunction against killing children
Also my hometown – raised by monks
Might be hard to get into town, but shouldn’t go straight there
If okay with jobs on the side – kill Kthak Ktano
Can’t just kill him – can’t leave a power vacuum
Need to know he’s still the man in my nightmares before i kill him
Along the Yanazee