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Exalted: Dreams of Exaltation - A River Flows Togther

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It took weeks, months even, the far reaches of the realm of brass and shadow were dangerous and difficult to navigate. Meanwhile, the Solars and Alchemicals did their best to improve themselves, even as the solars went after Daiya and the Alchemicals continued to work for their city.. becoming more popular and well known to the populace as they did. What was more, the gateway to creation was almost ready to open.. less then a week remained and the Module would be fully installed, and Loran would be able to breach the way into Creation herself.

Hearing of the strange individuals moving closer to the city, and both Vana an Director's desire to seek out the source of this strange story. The rest of the Alchemicals being either upgraded or out on missions, the Assembly agreed, and sent the two of them out together..

Meanwhile, somewhere not too fair away, the three solars reunited, with a single golden skinned.. orichalcum actually.. Alchemical having shown them the way, it had been a hard and rough journey, but at last they were together again..

"Daddy.. we need to move, it's not safe here.. I've been helping some people, we've been running from something that keeps pushing us this way.. I can't fight it, but I have been able to help them." Behind her, coming out of the darkened were about a dozen hermits of the far reaches, humans who lived a rough and difficult life outside of the cities.

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"Alright Daiya." He looked to their guide and nodded. "Where can we go, somewhere that these people would be welcome as well?"

It was uncommmon for him show any care for those beyond Mei or his daughter, but with her around, Seiya seemd abit more friendly, more at ease.

Mei-ying's return, changed, had been another moment he smiled.

"What have you been fighting Daiya, perhaps it is something that together we can vanquish?"

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Upon hearing of human Exalted, Vana wasted no time, mapping out the area and using her advanced speed and maneuverability to look for them. She knocked on dozens of doors, asked hundreds of questions, and chased rumors to their bitter end.

The notion of a human Exalted was intriguing. There were limitations on the number of Exalted the cities could create - the Five Magical Materials were not in common supply. But if there was a means for people to serve Loran without the expense of creating a new body out of such valuable materials, then there could be more Exalted, and perhaps one day, there would be no line between citizen and Exalted. It was an appealing thought, enough to spur the quicksilver-like Exalted on what may be a fool's errand.

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Director spoke to Loran, studying all the archives, all the information in the data of the Maker, and he found a reasonable wealth of obscure but detailed data upon the Exalted... from where the Maker had come. The concept that the Maker had used the Alchemicals as prototypes for the others made him interested, as he learned about the Breakers and the Celestial Incarnae, to what small extent there was.

Director furthermore understood Vana's determination, but she certainly would be facing disappointment for some more fanciful hopes of her's. It would make finding these Lawgivers easier though.

Click to reveal..

Int+Lore (Boosted with special charm)+ Savant

http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2984341/

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Though Mei-Ying went to the ragged, pitiful humans who somehow scraped life out of a world where even the wild beasts were brass and clockwork, she kept her ear on Daiya's answers to her father's questions. Maybe vanquishing a large, dangerous foe would open doors for them.

She offered what food and water she had in her pouch and waterskin to the unfortunate natives and waited to hear more about what Daiya had encountered.

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"I havn't been fighting it, we've been running from it.. it's coming from some weird twisted and ruined place, that way.. " She pointed to a corridor that seemed to stretch deep into the darkness that was part of this vast realm.

It was interesting, to both solars, Rishi had explained this entire realm was part of the Maker, and even in the first age, Seiya knew that the solars of that time had no idea that the Maker was hiding such a vast domain within himself.. though perhaps they should have.. all of the Primordials were much more then they seemed to be, initially.

They were in the middle of what appeared to be a large clearing, if you could call an empty area surrounded by metal and pipes rightfully a clearing at all.. lightning flashed occasionally down of the corridors, adding a measure of light, but other then the lamps being carried, and the anima's of exalts, that was the only light available, but Daiya was glowing at the moment, bringing the light of the sun into this strange place, at least for the inhabitants of creation. A thin haze of smoke slide along the ceiling, about 12 feet above them, and there was a pool of bubbling oil nearby. In fact, this large clearing, which was the about the size of a city block, appeared to have about a dozen corridors in and out.. and there was a grinding and thumping noise in the background, like gears and pumps working.

It was to this clearing, with a single Orichalcum caste exalt, a man, woman and a child, and 12 hermits of the reaches, that the two exalts, Director and Vanguard entered..

Click to reveal..

If Director or Vana want to be stealthy, everyone needs to make rolls, otherwise, you all see other

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Originally Posted By: OOC
No stealth here.


As was her design and her wont, Vanguard was in first.

She emerged from one of the corridors into the clearing, lights glimmering off her silvery body. She was a humanoid woman made entirely of silver - with parts grafted onto her arms and legs and back, thick armor and turbines and stabilizing wings.

She bit down on her eagerness, not wishing to rush in - so she went to greet them at a light jog. As she approached, the parts retracted, collapsing in on themselves and fitting behind seamless fold-over panels in her body. By the time she reached the group, there was no sign of them.

The Exalts might recognize the substance the woman was made out of: moonsilver. She didn't seem to move like a person did, so much as flow into a new pose like water into a jug. She bowed her head for a moment.

"I am the Vanguard of Many Honoured Footsteps. Do you speak our language?"

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Seiya looked from Daiya and their companions towards the sound of someone approaching. The Craftsman in him admired the elegance with which Vanguard moved and he nodded, bowing his own head respectfully.

"Yes, I do."

"I am Seiya The Shooting Star, Chosen of the Unconquered Sun." Somewhere inside him he was told the second part was valid here, and wouldn't get him killed, quite like it would at home. Clad in his Orichalcum Battle armor, though his helmet was removed, Seiya was still an impressive sight.

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The woman standing beside Seiya stepped forward with a friendly smile and intense, curious eyes. She was dressed in a silk robe of rich, dark blue at her shoulders and fading to a shimmering sea-green at the bottom hem. She wore it open and unbelted at the moment, and as it gently swayed in the wind and with her movements, momentary glimpses of strange sigils could briefly be had. Under the robe she wore a simple tunic and trousers, their appearance at stark odds with the magnificence of the robe's fine weaving and amazing hues.

She bobbed her head in a polite bow and said, "I am Mei-Ying. Scholar and chosen of the Unconquered Sun. We're here, in Autocthonia, to further peace between your world and Creation. It's our hope we can help you with some of your problems...which in turn will make..." She glanced at the orichalcum Alchemical standing nearby, recalling the local distaste for the word 'raid.' "...resource harvesting from Creation obsolete."

"Most recently though we've been alerted that there are dangers stirring not far from here. Do you or your companion know anything about that?"

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The man standing with Vanguard was made of starmetal of all things, and moved with an exact and precise pace that seemed surprising. He did not possess the extreme augmentation of Vanguard, but something intimated he was not quite human either, besides the material making up his body.

"I am Strategic Initiative Director. We, Lawgiver Mei-Ling, have recently fended off a major incursion of Apostates and gremlins, but their forces though scattered remain active. Corrupted custodians and renegade Alchemicals," he added for their edification through context.

"And though I am sorry to hear that there have been difficulties between Authchithonians and Creation-born, but your information is somewhat inaccurate. We are from the remote independent metropolis of Loran... and our own Project to break the Seal of Divinities has not reached completion. The Eight Nations are far distant, and they are likely the ones you will wish to negotiate with on ending the resource harvesting. This will complicate your task, but I do not doubt our Assembly will hear you out on policies of the metropolis for when our own efforts reach fruition, should you so desire."

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"We were created to safeguard Loran. It is what we were built to do. Tell us what you know, of the dangers stirring nearby. We shall seek them out - together, if need be, for what more auspicious beginning could there be for our two peoples?"

Vanguard wanted to drown them in questions, but needless pestering was not how an Exalted was to act.

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"I see," Mei-Ying mused. This information complicated things. "I assumed all the cities of Autocthon were under a central authority. My apologies."

"As for the dangers...we were just asking about them ourselves." She put her hand on Daiya's shoulder. "One more time, for our new friends?" she asked the young Exalt.

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Daiya looked over both of the new arrivals, then to the folks she had been protecting out here. She turned to one of the passage ways, and pointed. "There's something down that way, something has been hunting these people, that looked like a twisted mix of flesh and metal.. " She looked at Vana and Director for a moment, then the people with her, one of whom stepped forward.

"Champions.." Addressing Vana and Director. "One of the Lords o the Void approaches, she seeks to harvest... she has taken some of our own, and harvested their flesh and bone for her own twisted purposes."

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Vanguard bristled slightly at the news. "An abomination. You were right to tell us. I can scout ahead, and learn more."

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"All right, I think we can all agree that these 'abominations' present a threat to us and need to be dealt with," Mei Ying says. "Seiya, Daiya and I will help you do that. To that end, if...while scouting...you have an opportunity to seize an object belonging to, or associated with, one of the abominations, pick it up if it's not too risky. Do that, and I can see to it we'll always be able to find them again."

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Seiya nodded. "Show me this enemy, and it will trouble you no more."

He looked to Mei-Ying. "I could always simply cut off some part of it."

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"If you are close enough to cut it, why not simply kill it?" Vanguard shrugs. "But well enough. I shall get as close as I dare and bring back any possessions I can find. I have not installed my armor systems, so I shall have to be cautious." Tiny lenses opened all over Vanguard's body, ready to bend the light and render her invisible.

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Daiya spoke up herself as the others began to gather together to oppose whatever apostate alchemical this was. "Wait.. what about these people, I've been helping them, they need to be somewhere safe first." She looked at each of the other exalts present, first Mei and Saiya, but also to Director and Vana..

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Seiya looked at Daiya, and then at the people she indicated. Were it any other person asking, he wouldn't be concerned enough to bother.

"Have them stay back, and mind their surroundings, I will do all I can to keep them safe. If something comes out, call it out, and I do what I can."

Defending a group of seemingly helpless people made this much more difficult, and yet because Daiya had asked, he'd do all he could.

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"Strategic Initiative Director, you are programmed to effectively coordinate large numbers of people. What would be your recommendation?"

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Mei-Ying looked around. She wasn't sure elementals here were the same as in Creation...but she knew a spell that would make a construct...a magical being. Yes, she thought. The Hound wasn't as strong as an exalted, but it would fight well against more munndane foes.

"I can create a servitor of wind," she says to Seiya. "Powerful enough to face small groups and win. It could also track anyone who got lost. I can leave it behind with orders to obey someone and to protect them all. We're going to need you, Seiya."

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Director glanced towards Mei-Ying. "When dealing with an Apostate, more force will be necessary. I suggest you bring forth your 'servitor of wind' as you phrased it. Though, as much as I hate the acknowledgement each Apostate was once a good Alchemical. Unless you incorporate your Charms into your bodies, even an uncorrupted Charm of ours would be no use to you."

As for the outside tribes Director felt that they were irrelevant, but suspected that refusal to assist them would alienate these potential allies and thus he was compelled to determine something.

"The only true source of security for these people would be the metropolis herself. I offer to lead the group back to Loran, as Vana and I would have to justify our decision to the Tripartite Council."

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Daiya looked at Director for a moment, then turned to speak with one of the folks traveling with her, a few words between them, her speech was perfect, as a native of Autochithonia would demonstrate. There was several minutes of discussion, before Daiya turned back to Director, as responded as though she was the leader of this group. "We shall go with you, it might work better that way, you may be able to ambush the one following us as well, that way."

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Seiya nodded. He would fight as he must, and do all he could to keep Daiya safe, as well as those he'd said he would. He trust in the others there to handle themselves.

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Having decided the matter between them, the exalts began to lead the party back toward the city of Loran, the nomads listened to the champions, but they also addressed an enormous amount of respect toward Daiya, as though she was a lector or something like that.

As the party continued to move, after a number of hours, there was a sound that the exalts heard, and they realized that they were being followed, as they had thought. When Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps went to check, the Jade caste Colossus that she saw as truly a corruption of what any alchemical should be.

lifecolossusbypoketixd3.jpg

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"Hideous," said the Exalted to herself.

She made her way carefully back to the rest of the group, and relayed what she saw. "This thing is an abomination and a perversion of all that the World is. We should strike while we have the opportunity."

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Mei-Ying nodded, seeing no reason to delay.

"What strategy do you recommend in fighting a monster like this? What powers and tactics will it employ? If we're unsure, I will lead off with the Hound and we can see how it deals with that before risking ourselves."

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Seiya, armed now with his bow, nodded. "Is there any weak spot you know of?"

He yearned for combat, but in a strange world, against an unknown foe, it was best to do at least a little information gathering before wading into battle.

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"Obviously, isolating it from citizenry is top priority. Beyond that I would say not giving it room to maneuver, but that may not be an option. I have not faced a beast like this before."

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"Then we'll have help," Mei-Ying decides. She presses her palms together and takes a breath, calling the still pool of Essence within to stir.

"Fa," she said, eyes closed. "Zhi. Yi. Pu. Rin." With each syllable, she changed the position of her fingers and hands, though they always touched at the palms stil. She exhaled, long and slow, and a gust of wind blew over the group. "I call the breath of the Five Dragons and bind them to my will.

Her eyes opened as wind gusted around her, flaring her hair wildly. Those eyes were pools of essence seething. "Yes, even here! I open the path and I open the way! No realm shall be barred to the Chosen of Sol Invictus! Give me the power I seek!" She threw her arms wide, and immediately the wind was howling; a tempest or tornado bound and writhing over their heads.

Streams of Essence poured from Mei-Ying's hands and plunged into the vortex above, molding it and shaping it as a craftsman would clay. In a surprisingly short amount of time it was done. A huge hound-shape crafted from fog and wind stood at Mei-Ying's side; the size of a horse.

Meanwhile, essence clung to and rippled around Mei, burning in her aura though not quite outlining her anima entirely. She inspected her handiwork and nodded.

"The Hound of Five Winds. Despite how it looks, it's not alive, not even a spirit. It's just wind, shaped and controlled by essence, with no will of its own. I suggest we use it as our shock troop, to absorb the monster's initial attack and alert us to its tactics."

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Vanguard paused. She was uncomfortable allowing something else to be the first to draw enemy blood - but she also saw many upsides and no downside to the proposal. "Very well. Once we are all ready, send it in to attack."

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"Send it in and let's see how this abomination reacts. Then we can exploit its weaknesses."

He hoped there'd be some, as it would make this so much easier. "This creature, it is a spawn of darkness is it not?"

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"A perversion of Autochithon's Order, one that used to defend it to make the fact more apalling. I suggest we set a chokepoint. Your servitor can harry and lure the Apostate into our trap- a place where mobility is quite limited for it."

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Sending the hound of the five winds back to give them a hint of just what sort of creature they were dealing with, at least a idea of it's capabilities, the five exalts prepared for their upcoming battle with the monster.

Soon enough the hound reached the creature and attacked it, they were able to watch from a distance as it pointed an arm, which then unfolded to reveal a void-tainted implosion bow, which the colossus unloaded into the approaching creature.

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Seiya looked on suprised. "That was an implosion bow."

He looked at the others. "Well, we know one thing about it, stay the hell away from that arm, or take it out of action fast. "If you cover for me, I might be able to get in close enough to use my other weapon." He had some practicew with the battle armor, but it drained his reserves of essence at an alarming rate. He'd hoped not to use it's full capabilities, though that might be needed here.

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"Understood. I shall concentrate on the bow. I will hit and run, attempting to draw its attention. Inform me when you are ready - and be quick. It knows it is not alone now." Vanguard took the tiny pendant off of her necklace, and with a twist, it unfolded with the sound of grinding gears into a chakram full of spinning, razor-edge teeth.

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