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Thread: Exalted: Fall of Creation - IC

  1. #1
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    Default Exalted: Fall of Creation - IC


    "...they're coming."

    T'was on a barrier island barely thirty kilometers off of the coast of the Blessed Isle. Warm summer air and a pleasantly salty breeze belied the terror the inhabitants were going through. Lintha pirates, horrible rogues with a penchant for demon worship and wanton slaughter, were laying siege to the small community. Despite it all, one young woman walked toward the sea shore. Her eyes transfixed to the horizon, she muttered only two words. Though her words were nearly silent to all but the most keen of ears, one of the nearby Lintha was able to read her lips. The pirate grumbled, then briskly walked over and cuffed her upside the head with the haft of his broad-axe.

    "Oi, you daft cunt! We's already 'ere!" growled the pirate as he ran his knife up the back of the woman's dress. However, something stopped the man dead in his tracks as he leaned in to grope her and run his tongue along her cheek. What came next was not what the pirate expected. "Mmm, yeah... come on, you mutated Lintha bastard. Come on! Take me like the whore you want me to be!" As she finished, the woman grabbed hold of her top and tore it off, only to throw it in the pirate's face. Surprised, the pirate stepped back momentarily... only to be run through with a large sword.

    The girl before him tilted her head, smiled, and waved goodbye to her would-be rapist before bursting into tiny ribbons of crimson and black. As the Lintha turned his head to see who had stabbed him from behind, he saw a woman clad in dark armor for the briefest of moments before she tore her sword out sideways through his ribcage and followed it up with a decapitation.

    Flicking the blood from her blade, the woman was clearly irritated. "I sent the signal to those blighters in Thorns nearly six weeks ago. You'd think crossing the inland sea on th..."





    Nearly two hundred kilometers from that Island, David was wrapping up his midday shift in the northern market of the Imperial Ruins. It was a fairly routine patrol, with only two instances of attempted theft. Even those were minor thefts. A few pieces of fruit from one vendor, with the culprit caught... and a shank of meat that was hanging for display, in which the culprit escaped. Being the responsible guard he is, David payed for thr meat as he had failed to catch the thief. He did not want the shopkeep to lose anything due to the faulires of the city guard. Besides, three yen was an acceptable loss.

    Now it was time to have a drink. The closest place was a pub with the rather "unique" name of "The Bloated Roach". It was named such because owner always joked and said "No one leaves this place hungry. Not even the roaches." Of course, the pub was generally kept clean and so had no real pest problem... but the name definitely made some folks question that. Still, David knew it was just a name and didn't reflect the quality of the food and drink.

    Taking his helmet off and leaning his spear against his seat, it was time to relax. A bottle of sarsaparilla (as he was told by his superiors to not drink alcohol while in uniform) and an order of "wyvern wings". They were just chicken, of course... but seasoned to be very spicy and "make you breath fire just like a wyvern". He'd had them plenty of times, and never breathed fire... but they were definitely tasty. While a stiff drink would have made him happier, David would be silly to complain about what he had at this very moment. Decent food, a good job, and a safe place to live. A far cry from his life fifteen years ago.
    Last edited by Salroka; 04-10-2019 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Fixed "woman clad in dark armor" link
    Spoiler: Neat Stuff Within 

  2. #2
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    Mr Taylor always wondered why people would not get along. As he walked he saw a few children running through the streets smiling and laughing. They were young, probably only knew of this land as their home. Taylor knew better, he and the older folk all knew this was more a prison than anything else. A last ditch effort to keep what little they could. He had lost everything so long ago and he still had not moved on. Though this city might be the final resting place for his mission. If he could not find his lost family or family he served, it would do him well to finally pick a career and settle down. He looked to his hands, hard a covered in calluses, from the many professions he had taken.

    The smell of fresh cooked meat and fruit is what finally caught his attention. He was hungry from the long days of walking he had done. His feet were tired and his body exhausted. He kept a strong stoic face for nothing deterred criminals like strength. Opportunists rarely went after the strong unless they were confident. The warm summer air moved across him reinvigorating his efforts and proceeded to a nearby merchant. “Where can a man sit down and get decent food?” The merchant looked at him and pointed his finger down the street. “You be watin’ the bloated Roach traveler…belev’ me it’s betr than it sounds…" Taylor looked to the man and nodded, “I see…thank you…”

    It certainly did not sound all that great but locals knew better than to send new coin to bad places…unless they aimed to rob him. As he thought about how unlikely that was Taylor made his way in the direction the man pointed. Giving himself a small gut punch to remind him to stay strong despite hunger. He undid his water skin feeling the slightly warm water go down his throat. As he looked at it he grunted…”How I do so miss chilled wine…”

    The time it took was not long before making his way into the establishment.

    As he made his way into the establishment he took a look around. Most people seemed fairly comfortable…his eyes immediately looked to the windows. He did not notice…well much grim…and the serves seemed to at least be wiping the tables. Satisfactory…

    He moved quickly trying to not look to much like a traveler. After all his bag did not give away too much of his goods. He noticed there were seats near a gentleman with a spear…he looked respectable and if he had to guess, mostly empty from any ruffians. As he placed his bag down he gave the man a nod and said, “Good sir…” He then set down his bags on the seat farthest from the door and waited to be served. When the lady came up he said, “Whatever that upstanding gentleman is drinking and soup if you have it.” She gave him a nod and he leaned back into his chair letting out a small gruntle…his body ached more than he thought. He needed a warm bath, not just some river water…a trim would not hurt either.

    He kept his eyes around the room, wandering but never staying anywhere. Alert yet aloof. As he waited for his food the man with spear seemed to be enjoying his meal but he must at least attempt to engage. “Sir…if I may bother your meal for a brief moment, I was wondering what the news was for today. Provided it is no trouble for me to interject in your meal?” it was bold but necessary. If anything bad happened he could avoid it, if anything needed help that could be where he worked, and if something good happened, he could use it as conversation. He sat straight up in his seat…attempting to look as hospitable as possible.
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  3. #3
    Member Dawscombine's Avatar
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    Yonah hated haggling. Everyone in town knew this. They all know how much she wanted for her kills when they were of quality, they knew how much she wanted when they were sloppy. She had been negotiating this all her life. So the proprietor of the Bloated Roach trying to short her nearly a quarter her usual asking price didn't make her happy. His smug confidence was solely due to the face that he KNEW she wouldnt punch him in the mouth for clearly ripping her off. Part of that was him standing nearly double her height. The other was likely the guardsmen sitting in his tavern. She wasnt willing to be incarcerated for one little sale, even if he was being a dick about it...

    She came in through the back, leaving the tanned bastard to bring the deer carcas into his own damn Tavern. She didn't care to do any more heavy lifting than she was paid for. He'd struggle with it, fume at her for a few days, then pay her in full next time. If there was anything he hated more than spending money it was manual labor, that was for sure...

    She sat next to the Guardsman and a glass of water was placed in front of her. She groaned and took a sip, side eying the older man. "You're kind don' come 'round here often. What brings you?"

  4. #4
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    Cassie loved the Bloated Roach. It had good food for a low price and anything that cost that little was good in her book. As she made her way there for her lunch, she made sure to hide her shortsword in the depths of her cloak. She didn't need the attention that got her right now, so she put it away. She walked up alleys, down side roads, and through the less traveled ways to the tavern. She almost never used the main road. Too much going on there, too much trouble. She passed a greasy main with a shock of hair and a scraggly beard.
    "Howdy Hank."
    "Howdy Miss Cassie."
    "Hang in there buddy. It's always darkest before dawn. Good things are coming your way, I can feel it."
    "Sure thing Miss Cassie."
    "Buh-bye now."
    "Bye." Her brief exchanges with Hank, her favorite bohemian, were just that. Small talk with someone else. She only ever saw him when she went over to this side of town, so about once a week. She never asked anything personal of him, and him her. She liked it that way. She supposed he did too, but she couldn't tell. She didn't now him all that well.

    She came out of an alley, and walked across the road to the Roach. She pushed the doors open, and looked at the strange congregation. They appeared to be conversing, though they looked somewhat uncomfortable. Prolly strangers. That's weird. No one talks to strangers of their own voltion in the Roach. Better find out what's happening. she thought, and made her way to a nearby table. She ordered a meal, and sat back in her chair. She could her their conversation just fine. She chuckled silently. It was always fun to eavesdrop.

  5. #5
    Little ball of fire
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    Rusty sighed as he looked at the town from a hill, coming in from the nearby digging site. It had been a good few days since he returned to....what remained of a glorious city of the past, presently a center for anyone and anything who wanted to survive. Much like himself, he smirked before hoisting his rather light bag higher up his shoulder and starting down the beaten trail. It hadn't been a good hunt this time, he barley picked up anything in the ruins, digging with his hands and chipping away at solid clay to discover just copper trinkets and some broken fragments of - what he assumed - was once a lovely crystal vase. The most he'd get from his usual trader would be a silver and that was if Zane was in a good mood. Knowing how much the trade has been reduced to mayhem on the sea routes, the chances of that were slim.

    The trail carried him towards the merchant area of the city, past a few shady corners filled with the poor and those who were less loyal to the good kingdom. Having gotten robbed once already, Rusty picked up his pace, keeping his eyes on the dark corners and trying to remain in the center of the street. Clenching and unclenching his fists, the youth made it to the small stall on the market square belonging to trinket dealer and antiquarian Zane Blackbeard. Leaning against the wooden counter, the young man knocked on the rotten plank.

    "Wha'?!" Came the angry bark of the trader and a rather annoyed Zane with messy hair and streaks of lipstick on his cheeks (in two different shades no less), peaked out of the back room, his dark eyes scanning the place in front of him before focusing on Rusty. The kid raised his bandaged hand in greeting. "You!"

    "Aye, I want my payment," Rusty responded, opening his bag. "Take the lot or I'll go and find another."

    "One yen for the lot boy," the merchant offered, about to leave.

    "Four," Rusty countered. "I ain't selling my blood and sweat that cheap old man."

    "Son, that rubbish ain't worth shit. It'd be a miracle if I can sell it to some rich simpleton in the capital without him being the wiser."

    "Four yen Zane," Rusty remained firm. "It's old relics and you know any other hotshot here will pay me double. We're partners so I am giving you a deal. Four yen and you can have the lot." The man chewed his lip in thought, mulling the offer over in his head. The giggles and gasps coming from his hidden room at the back of the stall made him sigh and nod.

    "Four yen," he agreed, reaching into his coin purse and pulling out the smallest of coins. "Leave yar wears behind the stand. I'll pack 'em up in the morning. Now scoot." Tossing Rusty the coins which the kid caught easily, he disappeared, smacking the door shut with force. Three second later, there was a muffled phrase in a rough voice - something along the lines of 'Here I am, your Hercules, come to me' and a few gasps before laughter erupted. Shaking his head, Rusty quickly emptied his contents and backed out of the stall just as banging was heard within the hidden room.

    "Typical old fart," Rusty muttered to himself, tucking the coins into his inner pocket and looking around. In all honesty, he should go and mail the money to his family, giving a yen to the postman for his honesty and quick service but having to deal with another old man who only wanted alcohol, money and women was too much. The young man himself was tired and wouldn't mind a drink or a shower. Weighing his options, he smirked. A shower could wait - drink and a hot meal of something hot and actually resembling food was in order.

    Whistling under his breathe, Rusty started down the street, tucking his hands into his belt. With nothing visibly left to steal, there was no harm in walking down the dimming streets of the city. Once, it had been a jewel of a civilization, a growing metropolitan - or so Rusty guessed. He only heard bits and pieces about the city's history. If he had time, he would have pushed to know more about the current place he called...no, not home. How could he ever call a place home without the smell of the ocean, the calming melody of the waves, the wild ospreys in the sky or the smell of salt in the air? He was here because he had to, no more. Digging up pretty trinkets brought along more money than risking his life on the waves and he had to help his family, being the eldest and all.

    Usually, he was too busy to start thinking about his lot in life. Rusty always just kept going, constantly just digging and scavenging, diving into the mud and clay and dirt as though he was diving into the gentle waves, reflecting sunlight. Only when he paused, when he stopped to think about what he was missing and where he was, that is when he started craving the open emptiness of the water.

    "Stop it," he scolded himself, turning into the first brewery that he could find. Stupid thoughts and loose lips sunk ships. Grimacing, he leaned against the wooden boards, ignoring everyone around him. With the bartender shooting him a glance full of boredom and lack of care, the young man lifted two fingers. Nodding in understanding, the man behind the bar quickly got him 'Special No. 2', a common drink that was popular among the weather worn travelers who stopped in these outskirts. Bitter to the taste and burning on its way down, the mixture was exactly matching Rusty's current mood.

  6. #6
    I Forgot My Title....
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    Axley hated her job sometimes. By 'sometimes', she meant 'most of the time'. Spending ten to twelve hours a day peddling music and song for what basically amounted to the generosity of the passersby...was that really where she had seen her life headed? Well, no. By now, she had figured she'd have been married off to some rich Dynast on the Blessed Isle and lived her life in peace as a trophy wife, continuing on the Crawford name through him and her children. That's what her mother had always prepared her for...life as a bachelorette, and then life as a housewife. And here she was, dressed from head to toe in a gaudy outfit and performing for the masses. She was essentially one step above the beggars that dotted the streets every ten yards or so. And yet, every day she went outside once again from her tiny home and put on a show. Maybe somewhere deep down she truly did love the performer's life...and then a drunk bastard would throw a moldy potato in her outstretched hat.

    Yep, this was paradise.

    A day filled with tunes to match the upbeat mood of the market district had turned up perhaps a yen in total. Lovely. Still a better turnout than her average day...and on some days she'd get nothing at all. She probably should have been happy with what she earned, yet the only thing that burned in her stomach was naught but frustration. Perhaps not all of it was directed at her profession, no...yet it still lingered, and it had to go somewhere.

    The sun was beginning to sink lower in the sky. That usually meant the end of the work day for most of the lower class in the Imperial Ruins...which also meant the longest and more profitable half of Axley's shift was about to begin. The market district was beginning to close its shops in preparation for the end of day, so Axley slung her lute over her shoulder and departed, walking down the streets of town with a sullen look in her eye. Which watering hole did she feel like mooching some booze off tonight...? The Silk Spider had good food, but the drink was below average...at best. She steered clear of the Wolf's Claw as well-she knew the clientele there to be less than charitable...unless their hands were involved.

    No, tonight she felt like a decent meal AND to get shitfaced at the end of the day. And for that, the Bloated Roach was a serviceable choice. She pushed open the doors of the tavern with her game face on, a bright smile that hid the disappointment she felt on a daily basis, and waved to the bartender. "Evening, Garras." This wasn't her first visit here, and luckily for her, no other bards had taken the place for themselves for the night. Excellent. Garras, recognizing her on sight, nodded politely and extended his arm to her usual place, a small little stage set up in back for whenever wandering entertainment decided to pass through. She graciously curtsied her thanks, then slowly made her way to the back, taking a seat on the edge of the stage. Tonight, she felt like a slower, more melancholy tune might do the trick...both for her, and to help the men drinking away their sorrows have a sorrow or two more to drink away. Win-win for everyone, right?

    Her song began, a haunting slow piece about a young woman destined for greatness, seeing her life disappear in the blink of an eye, a terrible happening sending her spiraling down to the bottom once again, her lament at life itself for dealing the cards it had...her voice resounded in perfect harmony with the music, slowly spreading the song and its emotions of sadness, loneliness, and hurt throughout the entire pub. Her eyes had shut with emotion; she had stopped caring whether people had gathered or not. This was her moment, her one chance to let her story leak out without suspicion...though nobody had ever put two and two together.
    Karma is the best.

  7. #7
    Antivan Crow
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    Within five minutes of ordering his meal, David was reminded of why he so rarely stopped to relax BEFORE stopping home and changing out of his uniform. Everyone wanted something from the guards, even when they were off-duty. Some wanted their help, some wanted to fight them, some wanted to poke at them to see how far they could get without being arrested, and some were just nosy. Both of these folks seemed to be in that final category. Thankfully, nosy folks were usually very easy to handle.

    After a quick sigh, David first addressed the person asking about the news. "Last reports I heard from my fellow guards were that crime is down from last month, and that we finally caught that murderer in the southeastern part of the city. Amusingly, we caught him quite literally with his pants down. That's all I know off hand, though." While it wasn't likely the sort of news the person was asking about, David didn't like discussing the rumors that had been circulating. They were just rumors, after all.

    Next up was the young lady who looked like she had a chip on her shoulder. Why was he here, she asked? A strange question. Why did most people stop at the Bloated Roach? "I'm here for the food, of course. Why? Should I be here for something else? Is there a crime happening here that I should be aware of?" He likely sounded dismissive of the question, but that was not his intention. No, it was just that he was tired after his patrol and wanted to relax.

    Taking a sip from the bottle he had purchased, David followed it up with a burp that he kept as quiet as he could. Yeah, it wasn't whiskey... but at least it was refreshing. After nearly ten hours on your feet, a refreshing drink could mean the difference between a pleasant night and a frustrating one. Still, the night could definitely be worse.

    In his conversing with the two strangers, David failed to notice tonight's entertainment making its way into the Roach. Her singing changed that fairly quickly. He'd seen her before at other bars and inns, as such garish and flamboyant clothing was not common even among the bards of the Ruins. Frankly, he always figured she looked like she belonged in Lord's Crossing... singing and performing for some rich noble or something. She wasn't the most talented or the most eye-catching, but the clothes and how she carried herself told David that she'd lost a lot during the years since the war. Maybe her family made weapons or something? Not as high of a demand for those outside of war, after all.

    Lesser on his radar but still enough to be noted, were the other two fresh faces. One was a scruffy looking fellow who David immediately recognized as one of the Ruins' dozens of "salvagers" they did good work, honestly. There was a lot of history that would be lost if not for them. While they could occasionally cause problems for the guard, David did respect their work. The second was a girl whose hair seemed to be dyed a pinkish purple. Why, he had no idea. But what David WAS sure of is that she was watching him. Again, he had no idea why... but when you have been a guard for many years, you tend to notice when someone is watching you.

    Honestly, it was a pretty typical night at the Bloated Roach. Hungry people, thirsty people, lonely people... folks from all walks of life in the ruins. Scavvers, guards, urchins, bards, hunters, and more. Some folks might say it was boring, but David (and likely many others living in the Ruins) knew the truth. It was comforting in its simplicity and familiarity. No news was good news, after all. Sure, there were still rumors about the Fair Folk, Deathlords, and even a few crazies saying the Scarlet Empress was going to come back AGAIN... but they'd been saying that since the war ended.

    David was just glad to have what he had.

    Meanwhile…

    The woman who had singlehandedly routed a Lintha raid on the coast was standing on a hillside overlooking the Imperial Ruins. In her hand, a vicious blade crafted from blackened and bloodthirsty Soulsteel. Behind her, a force of nearly ten thousand undead warriors and hungry ghosts... all bent on destroying whatever they were ordered to attack. In their sights: The Imperial Ruins. It would not be long before they would burst forth from the forests that surrounded the makeshift city and reduced it to a smoldering graveyard. All at the behest of their overlord, the Mask of Winters.

    Soon, the Blessed Isle would fall before his mighty army and righteous cause. No fey would take Winters’ prize from him. He had schemed for too long to let the rest of the world fall to the forces of chaos. In destroying it, he would not only preserve it and rule over it for himself… but also save it, in a twisted sense. The Wyld could not consume shadowlands, as they were directly connected to the Underworld. Creation had a simple choice to make. Either it would live on under his rule… or perish altogether. It mattered not if the people understood that or if they fought against him. His goal was as noble as it was selfish. The Imperial Ruins would be the staging area for his grand assault and creation of the largest shadowland in history... and no one would stop him now.
    Last edited by Salroka; 04-10-2019 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Fixed links
    Spoiler: Neat Stuff Within 

  8. #8
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    Yonah giggled, shaking her head. "Nothing but the crime of bad business... meat might get scarce at this place, soon. Insider tip." She drank the entire glass of water and took the bow off of her shoulder, taking a deep breath as she leaned it against the bar. She was only getting angrier when she saw the flamboyant rags. She didn't enjoy bards. The huntress had nothing against them, they were just... annoying. Their songs always reminded her of something but she couldn't tell what...

    She smacked some scrip onto the counter with a sigh. "Meat, hot, fresh as you can find. And more water, please..." She frowned. She didn't like buying food, but she was still angry about being shorted. It hadn't run through her head that she was giving more money to the bastard than he had already cheated her. She wasn't much for insights like that. There was a reason she lived closer to the forest than the rest of the city.

    Once it arrived, she made a point of picking it up with her hands and eating like she was feral. In some eyes she was. Always out in the woods, only coming into the city to sell before disappearing again... to some she was a crazy hermit. But she wasn't that at all, to those who knew her. Which was a small number in today's world, but still... have to count every allowance. Gods know you don't get many, in these times...

  9. #9
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    Taylor nodded to himself as the guardsman spoke. He did not mention that it bothered him to be asked questions despite the sigh. He mentioned that crime rates this last month were down. This caused Taylor to smile slightly and rub the small hairs growing on his chin. He was always happy to see the law being enforced. He frowned a bit and sipped the drink finding it be nice and even non-alcoholic. He nodded and sipped again thinking that it was scary to think someone would become a murderer in town. He would need to be extra careful it seemed in this large town. Other than that there seemed to be nothing else to speak of. “Thank you kindly…”

    A young…lady entered and sat near them next. He had aimed to cancel their conversation feeling he had annoyed the guardsman enough. The girl looked only young enough to maybe start a family. Yet, she looked hardened. Clearly she has had to struggle in her life…much as the rest of us. He sighed feeling bad for the generation who were knew nothing of the world before the conflict. They truly were at a massive disadvantage. Another person entered the establishment, another younger lady which was starting to surprise him. She sat somewhat close but not enough that it did not give them space.

    The guardsman sounded a little aggressive when the lady spoke asking why they were here. Honestly, Taylor had thought she was speaking to him. He wondered if either he had a bad day or guardsmen were not liked. Taylor decided to keep to himself though, best not to get involved if there was some bad blood there. He had his own purpose to attend to.

    Taylor began to eat his soup…not the most amazing but better than the little he hunted or forged off the road. It really was nice to get something formally cooked. As he looked into the bowl he wished he could cook again…taking care of the young master and the kids he would surely have had at this point. Maybe Taylor would have been wed to someone to produce more servants…as he looked he made a decree to himself. If he did not find them here…he would put the sword on the shelf as it were and finally settle down. He still had time…he would try and find someone get work and start a family.

    As he sipped his drink and looked around at the growing crowd he nodded. This will be the end to my long journey…

    As another older than the previous lass came in she immediately seemed to head towards the back of the room. He had neglected seeing the small stage. The girl was pretty and she even seemed to have manners. Something he really appreciated. As her music began to play though the entire room felt suddenly darker. He hadn’t heard real music in quite a long time, the difference being people who played songs…and those who felt songs. He used to know how to play stringed instruments…but he admitted over the years…he had forgotten the craft. Despite the feelings…he truly felt it was a lovely piece. He ate at a slowly rate, trying to really taste the soup.

    After he finished eating and drinking he would need to begin his search for a place to sleep and tomorrow would begin both the job hunt and the search for his masters or family members. Really he expected nothing but he owned it…as was his family’s duty…to seek them out and serve them. Only until he was with great certainty would his quest end.
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  10. #10
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    Rusty slowly sipped his drink, leaning against the bar's rough wood and listening to the woman's song. His mind wandered back to his home town, how the men and women would gather around nightly in the summer months to sing and dance around a huge fire. A few old ballads - some sounding as though they weren't even in the native tongue - echoed almost nightly but most echoed of hope, not despair as this one.

    "You can come closer, she won't bite," the bartender grinned, seeing Rusty watching the bard. Rolling his eyes and finishing his cup in one swing, immediately handed another, the young man slowly walked to lean against the wall to the side of the stage. He noticed a few others around but they were all doing their own things, most just getting through another day. Getting comfortable, the youth let himself enjoy the melancholic music, knowing why it pulled at his heart strings just now - home. He missed home. Mostly, he missed the open waters and the roar of the find, the playful orcas and the wild ospreys.

    It sucked being the oldest child, Rusty mused, sipping the bitter tasting alcohol. His own father had been the youngest child and even now, was constantly protected by his aunt. Rusty himself never had that luxury, being the eldest son of his generation. He was the protector, the future, the one to get extra money when his family fell on hard times. He was expected to make sacrifices. It wasn't fair...Slowly, the youth unclenched his fist that he hadn't realized he formed, forcing his body to relax. No, it wasn't fair but life wasn't fair. He just had to accept that.

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