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Krul

Exalted: Dreams of Exaltation - To Defend Loran

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About an hour after Vanguard of Many Footsteps arrived, and two hours after Strategic Initiative Director took command of the cities defenses, the two of them found themselves outside the vats building, with Resplendent Emerald Dream and Aggressive Steel Heart arriving.

Emerald approached her sister Vanguard and reached out to her. "I'm pleased to see you here, it's a pleasure to meet you at last, I hear you rescued a number of Oil Divers in the last few days.. I believe we are about to be joined by our fifth member now." Even as she looked toward the building, the door opened and a man made of orichalcum, with a young human woman walking just behind him, who each of you would recognize as the project lead on the Orichalcum part of Lorans Alchemical project and the daughter of Dr Fane, who was approaching a slower pace behind the other two.

The young woman approached Vanguard, and gave her a smile. "Thank you, without those oils you brought, he would not be ready yet." Her attention then turned to the five gathered champions.

Meanwhile, the Orichalcum Alchemical approached all four of you. "Greetings, brother, sisters, I am Shimmering Light of Inspiration, it is a pleasure to meet you all, but I understand the city is about to be attacked?"

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"I only recently returned, and I have been incommunicado during the rescue mission. I'm unsure of the details. Attacked by whom? Is the Inverted Shard Song I told you about among their number?"

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"Well, my siblings," Director began, hands clasped behind his back, "let me explain the situation as efficiently as I can to all of you. As you may know, Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps, Aggressive Steel Heart and I were the first of us to awaken. Ash and I were dispatched to eliminate a local horde of gremlins several days from the metropolis, and as she referenced, Vana was engaged in an oil diver rescue mission. It transpired that an Apostate commanded the gremlins, as this Inverted Shard Song was an Apostate too who endangered the crew."

"Vana drove off her foe and rescued the lost crew, while Ash and I eliminated the gremlins and the agent of the Void leading them with minimal casualties. However, in the mop-up phase, a message from the Apostate to a second, more powerful Apostate was uncovered. Possibly Inverted Shard Song, but I don't think so. Regardless, the writer of the message had reported success, in whatever mission it was engaged in, and was requesting reinforcements to support an attack on Loran itself. It would appear that foul superior has come now to threaten Loran."

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"A pleasure to meet you, Resplendent Emerald Dream. You as well, Shimmering Light of Inspiration." Vanguard nodded her pleasantries.

"Strategic Initiative Director, do we know where these reinforcements will attack from? I stand ready for reconnaissance, stationed battle or sortie combat, but if what you say is all we know then we are ill-prepared indeed."

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"Please, call me Emerald, in the interest of efficiency sister." Resplendent Emerald Dream responded to Vana's words.

"If we are shortening names." Shimmering Light of Inspiration sighed. "though not prefered, Shimmer will do."

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"For me, you all may use Director when needing brevity. As for Vana's question..." Director looked to Ash. "Having scouted, what do you have to say Ash?"

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"Their numbers appear to be about a thousand, about 500 of them appear to be wander nomads, who have been corrupted by the influence of the Apostates among them, they have a number of mechanical parts installed. 500 appear to be corrupted custodians and elementals, they are likely to be the greater threat. However, the greatest threat is likely the 4 Apostates, one of whom is a colossus, who appears to be the leader."

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"Formidable foes. We may be quite highly taxed to deal with them. Director - do you have any plans for how to deal with them?"

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"Perhaps," said Vanguard after some musing. "I could activate the stealth and recon array, and scout their forces out - determining where they can be corralled, where they are strongest, and perhaps acts of sabotage in their midst. Would there be enough time, I wonder."

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"That would be effective, provided you limited yourself to scouting the enemy's dispositions and their direction of attack. Also, we have 750 trained soldiers, I am calling up 500 militia, and we have the aid of 50 enlightened mortals who are skilled in the supernatural martial arts. Numerical superiority is ours, added in the city's defenses, we are in a strong position. I will also request the city deploy a colossus to engage the Apostate leader."

Director cleared his throat as a sign they were getting into the plan. "There are only 8 city entrances where military forces can get through. Vana, you and some scouts should depart soon to investigate the enemy's position and determine which entrances will likely be threatened. Emerald, I will provide two hundred militia to you for the reserves. Shimmering Light, Ash, outfit yourselves for combat, we all should as appropriate, but I will likely need you two to help engage the lesser Apostates. We will divide our remaining forces to cover the 8 entrances, and relocate them when Vana reports in. Any questions?"

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"None yet. I shall report to the Vats as soon as possible, and install a more stealth-oriented array."

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Shimmering Light of Inspiration nodded a moment. "I am configured for combat already, though I have other charms in the vats, I simply need to collect my weapons and get ready for battle."

Aggressive Steel Heart spoke up as well. "I am configured for scouting and direct attacks at the moment, I need to change out a few charms and I will be prepared."

Resplendent Emerald Dream indicated her own present configuration as well. "I am presently configured for influence and healing, I will alter to a more combat configuration for this purpose."

All three of them looked at Director a moment, then at Vana, then Shimmer spoke up again. "It seems, Director, you have things well in hand then, may the Maker's blessing be upon us all."

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Vanguard nodded. "Contact me at the Vats if I am required before installation is complete. I shall prepare the First Dexterity Augmentation, the Fourth Stamina Augmentation, the Subcutaneous Armor Plating, the Integrated Artifact Transmogriphier - " She rubbed her arms as she said this, her hands running across the impellers that jutted out. "The Husk-Sculpting Apparatus, the Optical Shroud and the Aura-Dampening Component."

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"Come with me then, I believe we can install anything you need within the day, Champions, if you need to alter any of your charm configurations." Dr. Fane gestured to Vana, then to each of you in turn, then turned and headed to the vats.

As Vana left, Ash turned to Director and asked a question of her own. "Once Vana has returned with what data she's collected, perhaps a preemptive strike would be in order?"

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"I believe expansion of capabilities will be more easily accomplished in the time that we have, and is the best option." Vana approached the vats. "Please prepare an expanded configuration system."

She stepped in, slightly apprehensive. If the Director had miscalculated time frames, then she could be in here when the armies showed up... an unsettling proposition. But the Director was programmed to be the best, and she trusted in his analysis.

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Though Director was listening to Ash's question, he seemed to almost be distracted, staring into the distance. For all his abilities, and the initial success, the commanding Apostate had centuries of wisdom behind him at that stage of unholy development. What tactics would he use? What did he have that Director needed to compensate for? Ill thought were behind that impassive mask.

"It's a serious risk, Ash. Sometimes risks are worth taking. In this case though, to attack into the teeth of an almost as strong enemy without the defenses this city affords would be too dangerous to be acceptable- unless the Apostate dispositions are such that it is worth trying."

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"So be it, I'm no general, your in command, give me a goal, and I'll hit them where you want me too." Ash responded, as she considered her own configuration. "Of course, some idea of the tasks you'd wish use to perform might be good to know, in order to select the proper charm installation." The other two alchemicals voiced their own agreement with that thought.

**********************

Meanwhile, the Dr. Fane took Vana back to the vats, calling out the technician's assigned to her as he did, leading her to the proper frame. "We will expand your charm configuration, adding a general charm slot, and have you ready for combat within a day." With that, they set to work, putting in the charms she chose, and working to expand her ability to have charms installed.

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Vanguard emerged the next day (barring any complications) and dutifully dressed in her armor and gear, heading out to meet the Director. It felt strange, having the new charm installed - she could feel everything that had been shifted around, a sensation she found disquieting.

But duty called, and today Loran needed defending - a task far more important than how she felt deep inside.

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Director nodded. "I will primarily focus on coordinating our defenses, but yes... there are charms that should be installed."

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Director spent a bit of time with the other Alchemicals to explain his plans, and they departed, to change out their charms to suit the positions he planned for each of them. Then the various leaders and generals came to, to speak with the Champion and hear what guidance he had to offer.

Meanwhile, the next day, Vana had been upgraded, and installed with the charms she asked for, prepared for her mission.

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Vanguard approached the group, fully upgraded, with charms bustling out of her arms, legs, and torso.

"I am eager to serve. What plan have we come up with?"

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As she joined them, one Loran's human generals spoke up. "Champion, if you are properly configured, then the stealth and scouting mission is prepared to begin, getting a good idea where they are going to concentrate their forces would be the best information to obtain, but even just an a general indication of which side of the city they are going to attack would help."

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"I understand. Tell me where they are and I shall conduct immediate reconnaissance."

Originally Posted By: OOC

List of Installed Charms:

- General: Perfected Lotus Matrix

- General: Fourth Stamina Augmentation

- General: Aura Dampening Component

- General: Personal Gravity Manipulation Appratus

- General: Parabolic Leap Overcharger Device

- Dedicated: First Dexterity Augmentation

- Dedicated: Integrated Artifact Transmogrifier

- Dedicated: Husk Sculpting Apparatus

- Dedicated: Optical Shroud

Essentially: she can run and she can hide, but getting in a fight without her armor reinforcements is a bad idea.

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Dr. Fane was standing nearby, and spoke up. "Ash will show you where their forces were last detected, it is believed that several feints will be made.. I have been instructed to give you this, for the duration of this mission." He put a Slickspirit Cylinder set into an amulet into her hands. "It will allow you freedom to move quickly when you need to, Loran is attuned to the amulet as well, you will be recognized and allowed though the gates when you return."

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"I understand, and thank you." Vanguard clasped the amulet after looping it around her neck - a rather human gesture for an Alchemical. "Ash, let us consult the map of the area and determine a reconnaissance path."

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The combined actions of the alchemical's, together with the capabilities of the city herself, brought the attack to a stop.. in fact, due to the guidance of Strategic Initiative Director, and the information gathered by Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps, the battle was a total victory, the leader was slain, as were two of the other apostates, one at the hands of Vana, and the other at the hands of the Director...

Loran was at peace, for a time, allowing the Alchemicals to spend the next six months improving themselves and further preparing for opening the seal between creation and authochithonia... six months of time to prepare.

Around this point, scouts reported back to the city of something strange in the reaches beyond.. a pair of humans who glowed like exalts.. claiming to be Lawgivers, exalted by the power of some divinity called the 'Unconquered Sun'? One of whom appeared to be hunting his missing daughter, they were accompanied by another alchemical, calling himself 'Fair-Spoken Rishi' a name that had been heard even in the fair reaches of Loran.

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Once the enemies of Loran are routed, Vanguard settles down. She goes exploring into the oil seas, looking for deposits and minerals in the depths. Her exploration charms allow her to reach places a larger diver could not reach, and the resource stores of Loran are bolstered as a result.

Asides from exploration, the Vanguard of Many Honoured Footsteps finds herself taking more to martial arts than to dedicated, disruptive combat modifications. The one exception she makes is for a jet pack that allows her to fly, because, in her own words, it is a jet pack that allows her to fly.

Upon learning of the notion that there are mortal Exalted - gifted with the power of Essence but without their artificial bodies - it takes no small amount of restraint not to simply fly out there immediately to meet them. Instead, she merely hints, loudly, that perhaps it would be a good idea for her to head into the reaches to meet them.

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Director continued hunting gremlins, and had his essence reservoir increased and mechanical body made more agile. Like Vana he wanted to meet the 'Solar Exalted', but the presence of Fair-Spoken Rishi made him wonder if they were from Creation, and hence Loran had been beaten in the race to break the seal.

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