[Ongoing Discord PbP Game] The Songs of the Lamplighter: Edited Gameplay Transcripts

Recruit or find groups, share your actual plays and post forum games
Post Reply
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

Discord Link to the Game for observers: https://discord.gg/38vE3jeNxy

This will be an edited gameplay transcript.  The main narrative as generated by the storyteller and the players will be posted, with the pertinent out-of-character discussions, questions and answers to and from the ST, mechanical actions, and dice rolls placed in spoilers at appropriate locations.

Narrative Musical Opening
The contingency plan - it activates.
Step one: to entangle the fates
Of Celestials.

The All-Seeing Eye
stores files on known exalts throughout creation,
in a micro-manse in a secret location
and to entangle their fates
this plot mandates
breaking into that manse

Say you’re an imperial bureaucrat
at the perspicacious ministry of blissful cultivation
and this new clerk
keeps interrupting your work.
You’re just auditing some geezer's farm
and he sets off an alarm
on some warded door
on the fourth floor

What’s he doing up there anyways?
Each time it happens a bunch of goons storm the place
and according to the drunk bureaucrat
the kid said that he forgot his hat
why doesn’t he get fired?

But if you’re a dynast from a powerful family
incompetence just isn't a barrier to entry
to getting the job as the guy
collating for the All-Seeing Eye.

He’s supposed to store each anathema’s dossier
In special cabinets when he’s gone, so they stay locked away
Behind layers of sorcery
In case someone like me
follows him and steal his zhuzi jin
with the special stone that lets you walk right in
to that manse.

But no one ever checks if he follows protocols
When he’s out munching on sesame rice balls
and if he left those files
Stacked out in some piles
what’s the difference?
It’s just 45 minutes....


The Cast:
  • Eclipse, in the role of The Nameless Sword Maiden a/k/a the Sword Demon - Dawn Solar - A deadly Single Point stylist who has lost her identity

  • Esbilon, in the role of Cynis Bellara a/k/a Persistent Cub - Eclipse Solar - An ex-dynast political strategist and White Veil stylist

  • Exewon, in the role of Protects-from-Cold - Casteless Lunar - A northern beastfolk hunter and natural weapon brawler

  • Hart, in the role of Khi aka Sadrica Ar White Hook - Night Solar - A touched-by-Mara sorceress and Black Claw stylist

  • TDS, in the role of Warden of the Onyx Eye - Zenith Solar - The last survivor of a monastic order dedicated to guarding a cursed demon blade

  • TheFarReach, in the role of Scales Glisten under Storm-tossed Waves - No Moon Lunar - A western necromancer and reptilian shapeshifter
Last edited by Plutonium on Thu May 20, 2021 4:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Tags:
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

The candlelight dimmed, and the Musician took center stage.

I didn’t mean to take away your smile
I didn’t mean to make you feel small
I just yearned to watch you dancing
I just yearned to watch you
dancing while the orchids fall


The opening verse of Orchids Fall rippled across the lounge on the shore of Nexus’s Cinnabar District. Light from the setting sun reflected off the swells of Yellow River and through the violet-tinted panes of the capiz shell windows, lighting up the room in parallelograms of twinkling lilac.

Every member of the audience, save one, knew the poem Orchids Fall. But none had heard it like this before - each word resonating as if sung by a ten and each chord coaxed from his magnificent lute reverberating in time and space, the music filling the room with pure soul-stirring emotion.

His voice: Perfect. Every note: Perfect. The acoustics: Perfect.

The extended, mood-altering instrumental that followed hit each of them like a narcotic.

In some it prompted deep introspection: Why did I decide to come here, at this place, at this time, on the promise of a mere letter? What did I hope to find? What am I really running from, and what am I really running towards? Who am I really?

For others perhaps less prone to brooding, it sharpened their determination and focused their attention on the external: So these must be the others - Who are they, and what should I make of them? What about my mysterious benefactor? What is the cost of their promises?
Last edited by Plutonium on Wed May 12, 2021 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

When Protects-from-Cold had entered the lounge and sat down, he had given a quick glance over at the five other people and had tried to get a read on them. He had only figured out that he was probably horribly under-dressed with his ratty, overly mended, traveling clothes and plethora of small hunting trophy's worked into them and hanging off him, before the music started.

Cold couldn't help the stunned look on his face as the poem and music washed over him.
He had heard Orchids Falls more then a hundred times. He himself had read the poem over and over again as he had been taught his letters. He had even wrestled himself through a performance of it once or twice. And he had thought he knew every way the poem could tug on your heartstrings.

But this, well, he hadn't even thought a performance like this was possible and there was the nagging thought in the back of his mind that this performance had to be infused with magic of some sort. But then the next verse started and those thoughts were washed away, it didn't matter if it was magic or not. It was magnificent.

His eyes glanced back towards the other people in the lounge, Were they like him? Exiled from their lands by the encroaching wyld hunt, their efforts crushed into the snow by belligerent princes of the earth? fellow exalts? Or were they different beings as well? Unsanctioned god blooded or gods that refused to bend to the lies that the immaculate order spat out? Either way, whatever they were, the lamplighter had called them here for a reason.

And Cold couldn't help but wonder who or what needed so much power at their fingertips in the first place.

Spoiler
Protects-from-Cold: Am I right to assume the 6 of us are the only ones in the audience? Also who is the one that doesn't know the poem?
Plutonium: Yep!
Protects-from-Cold: I am assuming Cold?
Persistent Cub: The one with amnesia?
Plutonium: Nope, you know it Cold. It's the Nameless Sword Maiden.
Protects-from-Cold: Gotcha! the one with amnesia makes more sense,
Plutonium: It's a very popular, common poem
Persistent Cub: Across the entire world, so, a magical poem
Plutonium: Well if you know high realm, You know this poem. It's a thing. And just to be clear, he's singing in High Realm and it's (apparently) a man.
Protects-from-Cold: gotcha
Plutonium: Unless specified otherwise, you should assume that anyone speaking is using High Realm.

Protects-from-Cold: So, 4 dice from perception, +2 for my keen ears and 3m for the perception excellency. I'm applying the effects of sense sharpening change. Which is reroll 1s and ignore essence penalty to the roll.

Protects-from-Cold: *rolls 9 dice* (4 perception + 2 keen ears + 3m perception excellency, reroll 1s and ignore essence penalty to roll)

Dicebot: you rolled 2,2,3,5,6,6,
7,8,8 for a total of 3 successes

Plutonium: You hear the same thing as the Nameless Sword Maiden, except that you don't really know whether the other instruments are being played poorly or out of time, merely that they are there and they are not adding nor detracting from the quality of the performance in the least.


 
Last edited by Plutonium on Wed May 12, 2021 3:01 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

So these people were the other wretches and lost souls the Lamplighter had deemed worthy of his questionable patronship?

Dark brown eyes peered from the pale face of the woman known as the Nameless Sword Maiden, though those who'd pursue her yet, if it wasn't for the Lamplighter's shielding hand, called her a Demon. Either way, she had no use for a name right now, as she wouldn't know if it'd even suit her.

With thin fingers, she peeled a strand of hair off her forehead, and carefully placed it behind her ear.

The Dawn unsurprisingly carried herself with the stride and posture of a warrior, back straightened, shoulders as broad as her frame allowed, one hand on the wooden hilt of a long sword that dangled in it's sheath on her hip.

She might've been more mysterious if her face didn't immediately betray how smitten she was by the performance. If she had ever known the words to Orchids Fall, she didn't remember them now. Whether it was the performance, or the echo of a lost memory, emotion washed over her and hit her in the gut like a stampeding yeddim.

The others didn't really give anything up to Nameless yet either, as she gave them sideways glances.

What their destinies might be? The Sword Maiden was in a unique position to accept an outrageous proposition like the Lamplighter's, she had been utterly lost and in search of herself - or really anything, she could hold on to. If anything, the mysterious benefactor was a distant promise of purpose, of belonging. And while she hadn't been able to really claw any of her past back, no matter how she tried, she resigned herself to be destiny's plaything. But to meet five other people who at least shared that part of her fate? It was all very intriguing.

And maybe, for the time being, as who she was escaped the Sword Maiden, she might as well work on being someone. She put on a thin, crooked smile and gave the assembled band of misfits a friendly nod.

Spoiler
Plutonium: If you'd like to try and analyze the music, it will require a difficult 3 perception + performance check.
Warden: Oh, I think I'll try this.
Protects-from-Cold: Yes, let loose the click clack math rocks.
Nameless Sword Maiden: Would keen hearing do anything for me here?
Protects-from-Cold: Same question for me, would my enhanced sense hearing and sense-sharpening change thing do something for me here?  Or is less the keenness of your sense that matter and more your ability with performance?
Plutonium: Awareness charms may help, but if you rely on them you'll learn slightly different information than if you were analyzing the music itself.  It's more a distinction between "the sound is coming from that direction" vs "the instrument you are hearing is a lute that is slightly out of tune."

Nameless Sword Maiden: *Rolls 7 Dice* (Perception 4 + Performance 3 + 1 autosuccess and -1 difficulty for keen hearing)

Dicebot: you rolled 4,5,7,8,9,9,10 for a total of 7 successes.

Nameless Sword Maiden:
So... What does this guy's very soul sound like? *sits atop a throne of successes, eating grapes*
Plutonium: In addition to the Musician's string instrument and voice, which is by far the most dominant aspect of the performance, you can hear two other instruments coming from the direction of the stage, the sound and impression of which are nearly entirely drowned out by the Musician's performance. One of the instruments is a higher pitch sound like bells, and the other is a lower pitch drum-like sound.  Nobody else, however is on stage.  Additionally, both of the instruments bother you because they are being played rather poorly and out of time with the Musician's performance.
Last edited by Plutonium on Wed May 12, 2021 3:17 am, edited 11 times in total.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

If Cold was underdressed, then Warden of the Onyx Eye was not far behind either. Though he had washed off the grime of the road on entering Nexus, he was still wearing his durable, heavily used traveling clothes. And with the massive shape of some kind of weapon on his back, wrapped in durable cloth, he stuck a rather martial figure at a musical performance.

Those with knowledge about the ways of the mighty would identify the way he moved as if the massive slab weighted almost nothing and conclude, quite correctly, that it was an attuned artifact.

As the music rang out and hit him, Warden closed his eyes, focused completely on the performance. For a few blessed moments, he didn't feel the weight of that blade on his back. For a few blessed moments, he remembered a time before his name was what it was.

Why did I come here, he asked himself. What set me on this path? Always on the move, before rumours of the sword can spread, before I am hunted down, my task failed?

He knew the answer. Or perhaps just an answer, not the singular one. His path was, ultimately, the result of following his convictions, always. And yet, when two of them clashed, he had been forced to chose one over the other. Would the Unconquered Sun have chosen him if he picked differently? Unlikely, wasn't it? No stories told of Anathema gaining fell powers for inaction, for failure. But did that, alone, justify his fateful decision?

Warden shock his head, opened his eyes, refocused on the performance and the others with him. He had let himself get a tad too distracted by this music, which made him wonder just what it might be that made it so special. Perhaps curiosity alone had made him follow the Lamplighter's summoning. He was a wanderer, he might as well move towards Nexus to hear this mysterious person out.

Spoiler

Warden: *Rolls 14 dice* (Perception 3 + Performance 5 + 4m peripheral excellency + 1 stunt) to analyze the performance.

Dicebot: you rolled 1,2,2,3,3,6,7,7,7,8,9,9,9,10 for a total of 9 successes

Protects-from-Cold:
and that's the sword maiden kicked from her throne of successes :D
Warden: Muhaha
Warden: I just built a throne twice as big, she can keep her tiny little throne.
Nameless Sword Maiden: Showoff.

Plutonium:
You hear everything the Sword Maiden hears, except that you are able to identify that the bell-sounding instrument is a Bianzhong or chime bells, which are a group of hanging clapperless bronze bells played by being struck with various wooden mallets, and the drum-sounding instrument is a Zhangu, a barrel-shaped drum with a hide head traditionally played on army marches by one man drumming and one man carrying the drum on their back, but is more typically played with the drum held in a frame.  Both of the instruments are not only being played out of time with the Musician, but also neither of the players can maintain a consistent rhythm.

Warden: Pfff, amateurs

Plutonium:
From the acoustics of the room, they're probably being played from off stage to left and right.
Last edited by Plutonium on Wed May 12, 2021 3:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

Exile. The word hits Persistent Cub like it has almost every night since the panic of her initial flight from the Imperial City subsided. Exile. The word is at once a lament for what she has lost and a relief - for an exile is something one can remain for a long while, unlike the prey of the Wyld Hunt. She didn't think she would make it this far when she ran out from her family home, honestly she did not think very much at all in those panic-ridden moments, merely that she had to get away, but on the rare occasions when she did think, she thought herself a prey to be hunted down and killed like the monster she was.

Her status changed when she went to her secret cache where she kept the bare necessities needed to survive on the run - though when she had left she had considered only rather more mundane pursuers than the full might of the Wyld Hunt could bring to bear. What changed was not some forgotten trinket she had put there herself, but rather an unassuming folded square of mulberry paper that had never been there before.

And so with a piece of paper and the promise of an unknown benefactor, she had made it from the Imperial City to Nexus, from prey to exile. And now, here in this lounge surrounded by strangers, the song of her childhood came and struck her. For while being in exile was better than being hunted to one's death, it was not a fate she would wish on her worst enemy, and it was not one she had chosen for herself.

She feels the tear coming long before it appears in the corner of her eye, and it would take the least part of her training to suppress it, but she chooses not to. These people are here for the same reason she is, and if they are to work together, there must be some trust. Some measure of truth between them, so she lets it fall, and the one after it.

When the Musician has finished his song, she reaches up to the collar of her dress and subtly demands that the Shifting Cloth form a silken orchid. She pulls from the Cloth and tosses it gently his feet in appreciation.
 
 
Last edited by Plutonium on Wed May 12, 2021 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

As Scales Glisten under Storm-tossed Waves listens to the music, his silver eyes grow unfocused as he reflects on what brought him to this place: a letter, found upon a ship days from shore, that was not there previously. And yet, that was just the invitation; why was he here? The promise of power to protect his people? The lure of companionship of his peers? A mysterious purpose to fill the lack of meaning held before? Perhaps none; perhaps all three. With a raised head Scales looks at his new companions, wondering what drove each of them to appear here. Ultimately, it did not matter. What is important now is the future, not the endless chains of events that brought them all to this point.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

Outside the lounge, the bustling city life of the Cinnabar district played on, almost oblivious to the gorgeous performance inside. Passerbyes would occasionally stop, caught in a beautiful memory by a strain of the music, before moving on. Down the street, the raucous patrons of a wine house could be heard loudly starting another round of ‘Those girls of Sion’, and the air was filled both with the smells of street foods from across the Riverlands and the rank smell of the yellow river, although someone with a particularly keen sense of smell might notice the stench of blood and urine was especially foul on this otherwise beautiful night. No one on the street, or inside the lounge, paid any mind to the slave sweeping the front. Their eyes glided over her, seeing someone about their business, just as they were, hardly worth noticing, much less remarking on.

The slave looked up to the heavens, for a moment as caught up in the beauty of the recital as everyone within. Sadrica would have loved this. Orchids Fall was one of her favorites she thought, entertaining nostalgia for a moment before shutting it down. A slave slacking off in their duties wouldn’t arise suspicion, but if she cried, passerby would start to notice, and then they’d notice the slave’s wooden mask, and headscarf, then the whole of her disguise would be up. Khī aka Sadrica Ar White Hook pushed the grief down. There would be time enough for feeling the keening absence that still hadn’t healed over later.

Khī chanced a peek into the lounge, glancing over at the creatures she had brought with her. Completely lost, just like everyone else in the lounge. The two demons, massive, ape like walls of muscle, with thick brass claws made for tending flesh, sat immaterial on a pair of fish barrels. One of them seemed to be crying bright green tears. The other was trying to hum along. Completely worthless. She should have bound a bisclaveret. They wouldn’t dare lose themselves like this.

She scans the crowd. She wouldn’t have been the only one summoned, what communication she’d had had indicated that. Not intentionally, but the person who had been writing her notes had constantly half written the wrong character and made the connection later hastily. There were, by her estimation, between 3 and 7 others the lamplighter had called here, not including the singer. There was a man at the bar that caught her eye at first. Broad, a brawler’s build. Knuckles scarred, recently reopened. Had fought recently. Street fight, based on dust and blood traces on his shoes. Lost in himself, just like everyone else, but didn’t keep an edge of wariness about him, nor looking for someone he’s meeting. Not here for the lamplighter. Pass.

Woman in the second row. Realm features. Carried herself like she owns the place. Probably a dynast, definitely disguised. Heavy wear on finer shoes than whatever she was pretending to be could afford. On the run, not used to it. Looking around. Khī mentally marked her as one of the ones here for the lamplighter, or at least a strong possibility. Began crying at the mention of exile. Holds personal meaning to her. Almost certainly no longer welcome on the isle. On the run, in the same meeting place? Anathema, almost certainly.

Two openly carried daiklaives. A man and a woman. Here for the lamplighter. Swords too fine for mercenary work. Too skilled for the regular nexus crowd. Anathema. She’d stake her ownership on it, if that weren’t up for debate.

Her eyes, hidden behind plain wood, flicked over to a beast man, who stood in rapt attention, save for when he hurriedly looked around, also searching for someone. Too out of place, even in cosmopolitan nexus, too clearly looking for someone he wouldn’t recognize. Another of the Lamplighter’s finds.

Shoes? No wear marks. Had never been worn. Odd. Cloth fine, but never wrinkled. Never worn previously. No dust. Somehow didn’t walk here, or dressed here. Odd. Khī let the insight flow into her. Letting the exaltation loose was like opening a dam. Information poured into her. The weave of his cloak, the cut of his hair, the way his fingers danced across the strings. Not human. Never was human. A god or spirit, most likely. Not a demon, or, at least, none of the ones she’d met, certainly not one of the first circle. Chose this form. What kind of creature chooses these things? Expresses itself through song. Wanted us to hear the song. Why? Khī pushes more power into her analysis, a lifetime of profiling bubbling to the fore. Thoughts begin to blur beyond the point of incomprehensible, and khī feels the beginning of a glow surrounding her before she cuts it off. None of that. Slaves don’t glow, and she needed to look like a slave now.
 
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

A bit uneasy, maybe, the Nameless Sword Maiden shifted her weight from one foot to the other. An innocent, nervous tick rooted in years of training katas that she no longer remembered.

The others around her seemed, to her, as open for destiny to grab them by whatever they offered as she was.
Her face was blank, though, she didn’t give much away, because there wasn’t much. Soft, brown eyes with an almond shape glistened in the muted light of the dusk that was turned to yet more compelling hues by the tinted windows it had passed through.
She closed her eyes, listening to the music.

A thin smile appeared on her face, soft lips, that might’ve enticed suitors if she weren’t so pale, parting to expose healthy, white teeth. Her face was angular, sharp, making her seem noble, fierce. She wore her jet-black hair down to her shoulders, the top of which she had fashioned into a knotted ponytail, though strands of black hair also framed her face.

Under finely stitched silks that had been kept clean despite a little bit of unavoidable dusk from Nexus’ streets, she wore armor of lacquered, reinforced leather.

The outer silken cloak slung over her shoulder white, with pale golden stitchings,the bottom layer in dark colors, almost-black hues of blue, the accents again a pale gold. The armor was dyed the same way.

All rather typical of the cultures that sprang up as remnants of the Shogunate of old. It reinforced her appearance though, as she was thin, wiry, the femininity of her youthful face undercut by the slender, boyish body. The shoulders weren’t broad, but her posture was that of an experienced warrior.

As her eyes opened again, the world around her had changed. A thin layer of the other had found its place on top of her perception, and the Sword Maiden looked at the musician with a different gaze.

She had needed a bit, to point at what was out of place in her mind, but her superhumanly sharp hearing, paired with her musical ear let her realize after a while that there were two unseen instruments that she could barely hear under the perfectly played music. They missed their beats, were not expertly played, missed notes, didn’t keep pace, and seemed to come from somewhere to the sides of the stage, or maybe behind it? She couldn’t tell, for now.

The musician himself also didn’t seem to be of this world, his being shining with a violet aura of spiritual energy, ever pulsating to the tact of his music, energizing his performance, letting the music’s power emanate throughout the venue.

Two other entities also failed to evade Nameless’ notice - two ugly demonic shapes. She didn’t know how, or why, but she knew what they were. Erymanthoi, Blood Apes from Malfeas. They however didn’t seem to bear any ill will, instead nodding along to the music, seemingly entranced.

Understandable, the Sword Maiden thought to herself, who was still fascinated by the performance. She styled herself quite the flutist, but such bravado was beyond the scope of her skills.

For now it was time to see what the Lamplighter wanted of this motley crew. Surely, destiny wasn’t done toying with Nameless, and she already felt kind of sorry for the others, if they were thrown in with her, to aimlessly wander along the strands of destiny that cluttered up Creation.

And what was she even doing here?

Dancing while the orchids fall, maybe.

Spoiler
Nameless Sword Maiden: Nothing incorporeal?
Plutonium: if you want to activate spirit-detecting glance, that will cost 3 motes :D
Nameless Sword Maiden: I am going to do that :>

Plutonium: The Musician glows with a pulsating violet aura of spirit energy that beats in time with the music, with bright sparks flying off of his fingers as he hammers each string in exceedingly complex staccato techniques. He is likely a spirit or elemental, but is materialized in the form of a man. You also notice, out of the corners of your eyes, two other dematerialized entities in the audience towards the back corners of the room - they are Khi's blood apes, who are entranced by the performance.

Khi: And boy howdy are they rank.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

As Khī focused on the performer, picking him apart, turning every piece of evidence over, trying to discern from it the contents of his character, she can't help but begin to listen more closely to the music. As she watched his hands ghost over his odd lute, fingers soundlessly strumming solidly out of step with the tune of the song, she stilled, stopping her sweeping for a moment to listen.

What was she even doing here? Sadrica was gone, after all. She didn't have a purpose any longer. No masters to serve, alone at the end. It was never something Khī had considered. She supposed she was just the property of Ysyr now, but the council had made it clear they had no desire for her service. Why follow the notes in neat flametongue that kept showing up around her? Just as Khī indulged a little too closely in introspection, she hit a mental wall. She was here because this 'Lamplighter' was hiding something and wanted to dangle a baited hook in front of her. Because they wanted to hide in the shadows, and she and Sadrica had existed for a purpose- to pull people like the Lamplighter into the light.

She shook her head, realizing she was falling to the same spell that had caught everyone inside the lounge, caught her bound demons and no shortage of other anathema like herself. She has a job to do, and as far as everyone around her was concerned, that job involved the ratty broom she had borrowed from a stall on the way over here. She'd keep an eye on the others the spirit and its backers had summoned, and keep to the porch while the interior of the lounge was still saturated with magic. Back to sweeping.

On the street, the nightlife of Cinnabar district went on.

Spoiler

Khi: Is that an acceptable way of expressing using evidence discerning method to profile the guy, Plutonium?
Plutonium: Yeah it's your character and everyone does charms their own way.  if you want to roll for evidence discerning method you can go ahead as well.
Khi: Will do. This will be investigation+perception+specialty and a full excellency for a total of like 19 dice, and 14 motes and a willpower to keep it mute.
Plutonium: Haha Jesus Christ.
Khi: I do like three things.  One of which is to just know things from a glance.
Scales: Much see, such perceive.
Plutonium: Take a +1 stunt on it too.
Protects-from-Cold: Just yeeting half your motepool on it :D

Khi: Rolls 20 dice (Investigation 5 + Perception 4 + Specialty: Profiling + 9m excellency + 1 stunt die)

Dicebot: you rolled 1,1,1,1,2,4,4,6,6,6,7,7,7,7,8,8,9,9,10,10 for a total of 12 successes

Plutonium:
You focus all your powers of analysis and observation on the Musician. Physical Appearance: a slight, skinny, youthful bronze-skinned man with long, curly dark hair and a pencil mustache that extends down the sides of his mouth. Clothing: a white silk shirt, with a black cummerbund around his waist, tight black leather pants, and a long white lace scarf wrapped high around his neck, the ends tied in a knot in the fashion of a cravat. Most prominently, an iridescent dark violet hooded long-coat (hood down) formed of an as-of-yet unknown material that twinkles like the most star-packed region of the sky. Visible possessions: a highly customized long-necked lute of no discernible provenance, but which appears to include any number of unconventional protrusions, and likely built from outrageously expensive exotic materials which are unable to be determined without closer inspection. Likely personal/organizational sigil? on the body of the lute: an arrow with a tail shaped like a treble clef in a field of stars.

Assessment: The Musician is a serious, serious musician who has dedicated his entire existence to his art, and likely has (or at some point in the past had) serious financial backing. Given apparent youth relative to level of skill and value and rarity of possessions, unlikely to be a purely mortal being.

Khi: Any conclusive thing on god vs elemental or other supernatural?

Plutonium: Unable to be determined at this time from any physical evidence.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

Cold was unconsciously tapping his foot and gently swaying in time with the beat, well mostly in time, he never had been that great of a dancer. There were so many questions still whirling in his mind. But for now, he didn't have any chance of actually answers to most of them. Not until the performance was over and the lamplighter revealed themselves at least. If they were going to show their faces.

But that still left the questions he had about the others. And it might be a bit rude to start talking during the breath-taking performance, but he didn't really fancy just sitting here and stewing on his questions for the entirety of it.

He glanced at the four other people and weighed his options. The pale bluehaired man had a fierce intelligence burning behind his eyes and somehow Cold was reminded of the wise elders of the tribes he had brought under his banner. Filled to the brim with knowledge he never had the time to really study from, he had always pushed it off, said that he would sit down with them and let them shove their knowledge in his skull after he had consolidated his resources and had a stable kingdom beneath him.

But then the Wyld Hunt had come and it had been to late. Only ashes and regrets where once had been the possibility of learning. He let out an annoyed growl as he felt a wetness in his eyes and rubbed it away. He pushed those feelings down as good as he could, the swelling music doing its best to drag it to the surface again. No, he didn't need to be reminded of what he had lost. He could deal with the grief later and it would be hard to have a friendly conversation if he started sobbing.

Before he even turned to look at the woman with the bearing of class, he had heard her sobs. He wouldn't even know where to begin, he had always been pretty shit at comforting people and he didn't even know why she was crying. Let alone how he would be able to comfort her, he didn't even know if she wanted comfort in the first place. No, best let sleeping wild-cats lie and leave her to her grief unless she reached out for help.

That left two others, The man who looked just as out of place in here as him, with his traveling clothes and the massive artifact sword slung over his back. And the woman with a warriors bearing. He frowned as he could feel his eyes glide over her weapon, none of it's features sticking in his brain. Both of them had magical swords of some capacity it seemed. Still, despite the difference in methods, all three of them were warriors. there had to be Some common ground he could breach here wasn't there?

"So," Cold said in a low voice as he glanced at the warriors, "I never heard a performance of Orchids fall quite like this one."
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

The final note of the song wailed and sustained itself as the last remaining sliver of the sun slipped below the wide waters of the Yellow river, extinguishing the gleaming violet parallelograms of light that had bathed the lounge and giving way to the somber stillness of twilight. The lamps ringing the edges of the stage and the spotlight bathing the Musician in a violet haze gave an ethereal quality to the scene.

“Thank you” says the Musician, picking up the silken orchard Persistent Cub had tossed on stage, holding it to his lips and giving it the softest of kisses. His voice, still reverberating with perfect musical excellence, was different now that the song was over. His supremely confident tenor had been replaced by a soft, nearly feminine falsetto still seeping with emotion. “I wrote that a long time ago, and I’m glad I could play it for you” he said to the audience.

“Thank you so much for coming” repeated the musician in his falsetto, holding his lute vertically above his head by the neck in a pose as he was joined on from offstage by two others – a man entering from the left and a woman entering from the right, each standing in the spotlight beside the Musician. The man held a pair of two-foot long round sticks tucked under his arm and wore the traditional and instantly recognizable formal grey scholar’s attire common to officials across creation since time immemorial. His face betrayed no expression other than perhaps mild irritation, apparently unaffected entirely by the music. The woman had a friendlier smile on her face, and wore a fashionable white dress embroidered with peony flowers. She held a pair of small wooden felt-head mallets in one hand, and her head still slightly swayed to the beat of the fading song, whose slowly-fading presence still seemed to linger in the air even then.

“We are Lamplighter!” shouted the Musician, all three bandmembers on stage showing their respect to the audience simultaneously: The Musician in a deep, sweeping graceful kowtow, the Man in a stiff, no-nonsense, exactly-by-the-book arms-held-at-one’s-side bow at the ideal 48-degree angle and held for the proscribed 1.2 seconds, and the Woman in a curtsy that fell somewhere in the middle of the two.

And not only did the three bandmembers bow, but so did the bartender, the hostess, and every patron in the lounge as well, all at the same time.

With a snap of his fingers and a flick of his wrist, the Man burst the tender moment with a signal to all the apparent flunkies not on the stage – the universal sign for “Fun’s over: Time for you all to go – we’ve got important business to discuss with our guests.” And the flunkies obeyed, shuffling out the door to the lounge or retreating behind doors to deeper sections of the building.

“Very well” said the Man: his voice and tone the exact epitome of the concept of humorless bureaucracy. “You’re all here, and here are your instructions.” He drew out an official-looking folder from within the folds of his robe that was bound by a red ribbon and a wax seal and tossed it to the stage with a sense of disdain. The spinning folder skidded off the edge of the stage, slicing through the air and landing on a cocktail table, coming to a halt wedged under a glass candleholder.

The Woman and the Man gave a look to each other – the Woman tilting her head in a bothered expression that seemed to say “Really? That’s all you’re going to do?” while the Man’s expression signaled an exasperated “What more do you want from me?” The Musician was still on one knee with his eyes closed grooving in the fading limelight of his performance.

Sighing, the woman addressed the Exalts in the audience in a commanding but kind voice, far from the wooden standoffishness of the Man. “I’m sure you all have many questions.” Looking with a quick glance at the Man, she seems to acknowledge the point conveyed by his expression. “It’s true, we are taking a risk in meeting in person like this. Rest assured, we will have more answers for you soon, when the time is right, and conditions have progressed along further. What we are doing is important for all of us, and you will have further answers in time.”

The Man and the Woman each put a hand on the shoulder of the Musician. The Musician raised his head, his teared-up eyes still lost in the wonder of the music. And in the blink of an eye, the three on stage were gone, a violet cloud of barely perceptible violet spiritous energy floating in the air like smoke from an incense candle, nearly invisible except for the spotlight illuminating the dissipating essence patterns.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

"Quite an exit" remarked Scales.

As the performance comes to an end, Khī walks into the lounge, the picture of a harried slave who has menial chores to do elsewhere in the building, ducking past patrons, borrowed broom in hand, absolutely nothing not indicate she wasn't completely supposed to be there, stealing glances at the other two new arrivals- it seemed Lamplighter was there in force and was, as she had surmised, a group, rather than an individual. Between glances as she began to clean, Khī did her best to put together a picture of who these people were, and the relations between them. The woman caught Khī's eye first. Peony flowers, she made a mental note. Everything about the musician suggested these people liked their motifs. The peony had some kind of symbolic meaning...grief? Khī wished she could remember. All of her memories about flowers tended to immediately afterwards involve other, more physical, somewhat more personal memories. The man didn't look like a drummer- an official. A traditionalist, by the press of his collar. Only the really old school ones buttoned it that way.

The three...gods? Spirits. Began to bow, and just as Khī began to pick apart their mannerisms, the entire lounge, staff included, bowed around her. She hastened to follow, a slave that was, perhaps a bit dim, perhaps a little late on the cue, but it was too late. She could feel the mantle slip off her. The damn northerners were so tall, it made it already hard enough to blend in.

One of the slaves you'd previously dismissed as yet another unfortunate domestic stumbles a bit on the bow, and it suddenly hits you that Nexus technically doesn't allow slaves. Besides, the woman looks a bit off- short by riverlands standards, clothes perhaps a bit too well made to be sweeping taverns for a living, and, most noticeably, head wrapped in a thin, well-woven blue-grey scarf with a subtle, yet intricate pattern, securing in place a smooth wooden mask with holes carved for eyes and a mouth, although you can hardly see what is beyond them. You're not sure how long it took you to notice- the woman doesn't really fit in among the people of the riverlands, as diverse as they are, they tend to run a bit less thin and taller to boot. As the other patrons and servers file out, she stays behind, setting the broom against a table, no longer making any effort to hide the intensity with which she watched the performers as they spoke. She nods at the pale man, the only one she hadn't immediately noted as one of the lamplighter's guests. "Quite", she says, softly, before turning on her heels to face the back of the lounge. She raises a small gloved hand, and snaps. From the back of the lounge, the snort of a large creature snapping to wakefulness sounds, although nothing seems to be visible. Far more sharply, she speaks, "Vicious Fang, you've failed me already tonight. Recover one of the guests, if you'd be so kind. Undamaged, lest I decide you'd serve me better as chalacath. Not a speck of blood on them, you understand?" - Khī turns back to the stage, scanning for any trace of the spirits, but expecting to find what she already knew- the gods had slithered back to their homes. And they knew she was there. Stupid. Wouldn't be in this position if I thought this through at all. Now the Lamplighter's scattered, and they know I'm on the scent.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

The performance had moved her, the reveal had intrigued her. The manner, in which the instructions were delivered, had mildly irked her.

Still, the Nameless Sword Maiden had taken in all that transpired with eyes wide open, the music still echoing in her ears, her mind, even heart, maybe, even after the spirits had disappeared, leaving nothing but a swirl of colourful specks, dancing in the glimmering light of the lounges lamps that have taken over since the sun had finally set.

She eyed the others.

There was the beastman. Head of a wolf. Not a pleasant appearance, clothes worn past what they probably should’ve endured. The Sword Maiden had never seen a beastman before, but somehow knew he was bestial, unbecoming, even by their standards.

But he had spoken first, and done so in a friendly, inviting manner, before the Lamplighter(s) had hogged the attention with their exit.

The thin, pale man with the dark blue hair was the second to speak, though he just seemed to talk to nobody in particular. Something about him intrigued Nameless, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it just yet.

There was the woman who had teared up during the performance. Nameless had wished for the emotional relief of shedding a tear, longing for the way crying might loosen the knots weighing down her stomach, her very soul - but even though she was moved, she didn’t get to that sweet spot that would’ve allowed her such catharsis.

The warrior, she noted, looked like he’d been through some wear and tear on the road, or maybe he just didn’t mind his appearance much. Hair and beard, both of a dark brown, looked as if they hadn’t been cut in a while. And the object on his back, wrapped as it was, seemed to be an artifact of sorts, from its shape most likely a massive Daiklave. He and Nameless might have things in common, was her mental note.

Khī had managed to surprise the Dawn; she hadn’t hidden, yet the Sword Maiden had not thought to pay her any attention, until she was so obviously out of place.

While she had still pondered, what the sudden realization meant, the fake slave spoke to one of the Blood Apes that Nameless had spotted earlier, and the situation made a modicum of sense.

Though as a nice peace offering, the woman then answered the pale man. Nameless, ever twitchy, relaxed her muscles and let her arm fall by her side, which had unconsciously inched ever closer to the hilt of her daiklave.

“A short introduction for the length of travel I went through”, Nameless chimed in, volunteering a bit of information first, in the hopes that the others might follow.
She glanced at Khī.

“So it was you who brought the backup” she concluded, while picking up the folder from the cocktail table, and slowly undoing the red ribbon around it.

She turned her body towards the others, radiating as much calm as she could. She didn’t want to insult anyone by taking the folder first, but also was unwilling to wait, so she hoped that the others would understand they were implicitly invited to join her in reading the thing.
User avatar
Plutonium
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:31 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 17 times

"I admit," said the Warden, "I expected more of a pitch on why we should follow their instructions. A promise of answers and a pile of orders doesn't exactly reassure me that it was worth coming here."

The tall man with the Daiklave says to the group in general.

"Though I admit the performance at least was intriguing. And I am curious enough to take a look at that folder.

The orders to a demon drew a suspicious look aimed at the fake-slave, the warrior subconsciously adjusting the grip of his massive Daiklave, while the obvious warriors didn't seem to concern him.
Post Reply