As the tale of the Exalted Continues

Broken Walls Journal 7

In which we PARTY

Descending Wood 2, RY768

Today was mostly clean up, scavenging, and repairs. Many dead rats to dispose of. Cleaned Dauntless, not sure how much he needs it. Still, respect is due either way.
Over all, a shit day. I never need to see a “Rat Fire” again. Ever. Or smell one.
The only plus side is I gathered many weapons and bits of armour to melt for other possibilities.

Descending Wood 3, RY768

As I dressed this morning, Aster called from outside my room that there was a man waiting to speak with me. I put on my pants and headed downstairs. The man appeared to be fairly young, dressed in clothes that were plain in design but obviously of high quality. He politely introduced himself as Hatelis – the Champoori God of coinage, commerce, and contracts – or so he claims, anyways. He began by offering us a small chest of coins as a gift, and of no small value, to my eye. He then explained that he had come on behalf of a collection of other Gods of Champoor in order to broker a truce between Rising Sun House and Silgur.
Deep Breath.
Check your pride, Broken Walls, think rationally, hear him out.
I asked him to explain, and he presented a contract, already signed by Silgur, which layed out a number of terms that amounted to saying that Rising Sun House won’t attack Silgur’s holdings, and in turn Silgur and his people won’t attack Rising Sun’s holdings. Also, that our entrance to the sewers would be collapsed.
It was around this time, I think, that Piper clarified that she is not a member of Rising Sun House, which stung. I will come back to that.
The group as a whole had a variety of questions about the terms, I don’t recall who exactly asked what.
What counts as a “holding”? Basically, just owned land. Wagons do not count, people not occupying a holding do not count. I made an argument that ships should be considered holdings. Apparently the entire sewer system was to be counted as Silgur’s holding, but we argued that and had it removed.
Are our allies protected? Only if they are members of Rising Sun House.
What are the consequences for breaking the contract? While it seems the contract is in fact magical, the only effect of that magic is to alert the other signatories if anyone (or their agents) breaks the truce. In all other regards, it functions as any mundane agreement: by putting the signing parties honour and reputations on the line.
Now, I don’t put much stock in either of those as being objects of value for Silgur, but I suspect a number of other reasons for him to agree and adhere to this contract.
One, it is likely very much in his best interests, and this was likely made very clear by the thrashing we just gave him. To him, we must have looked like a minor (but insulting) threat that he could crush, and perhaps make an example of. Instead, we sent Silgur himself running with his tail between his legs, killed many of, maybe most of his followers in the process, and did all this in front of a sizable crowd of Mauk’s worshippers, who I’m sure are spreading the word of Silgur’s defeat and the death of his followers. I almost feel sorry for him, trying to gain new followers after this, or even not lose the ones he has left.
Almost.
So that’s one reason for Silgur to want this truce.
Another would be pressure from (fear of?) the mysterious group that is employing Hatelis to broker this contract. He declined to reveal their identities, but when I asked in a more indirect fashion, he implied that the group might be led by someone named “Tenepeshu”, who I have not heard of before. I also believe that Mauk and Kadu may be involved in this group.
At any rate, we made some revisions to the contract, then told Hatelis we would need some time to discuss it, and possibly make arrangements with our allies.
Someone also asked Hatelis what he knew about the creature Gumari. Hatelis expressed distaste for Gumari, but didn’t have much information.
After that, he departed, telling us how to find him when we were ready.
I think I like Hatelis, he left a good first impression.

Piper. She was very clear that she is not to be considered a member of Rising Sun House. Unexpectedly, this hurt quite a bit, and I’m not sure why. I’ve spent enough years, however, with no one for company except myself and sometimes Chaoxi, that I prefer not to let things like this fester in my mind without examining them… Although maybe if I had done so sooner, it might have prevented some problems that came up later. I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Maybe I just want friends too much? I have been in prison for over 150 years, with only Chaoxi for occasional company. I… don’t know how to make people happy. I thought giving people things would make them like me? I mean, Piper and I took down Rat House together, and then I built Rising Sun House on top of it – one of the first things I did was build a private room for Piper.
I don’t know.
“I thought giving people things would make them like me?”
Am I that shallow? No, I don’t think so. When I make something for someone, it’s because I think it will make them happy. I guess, despite that, I don’t like being taken for granted. I’m not entirely unselfish.
I’ll think about this later.

So, back on track – Hatelis departed. We discussed the contract, and while I think signing a truce with Silgur leaves a foul taste in everyone’s mouths, no one objected. I headed over to what I have been calling “Kahi House” to discuss this contract – if they join their business’ with ours under the name “Rising Sun House”, they can be covered under the agreement as well, in addition to what I imagine will be more free cooperation between us.
They… agreed, surprisingly readily. It seems they were more pleased with our thrashing of Silgur (and other things we’ve done) than I knew, and proposed a celebration to commemorate joining our houses.

Descending Wood 4, RY768

Piper and Aster wanted to see if Hatelis might have any information about Gumari’s whereabouts, so we headed into town to visit his temple. I believe this was my first time really stepping inside Champoor’s walls, which is kind of funny. We weren’t really here to see the sights, though, and it wasn’t too long before we arrived. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that Hatelis’ “Temple” seems to be more like a bureaucracy or business than a , well, temple, but I was surprised anyways. I was expecting something more like Karoski’s Temple – which reminds me, I should check up on that at some point.
Anyways, Aster handed over some small scrap of parchment to one of the uh… Acolytes? Clerks? and we were taken up to Hatelis’ office. I couldn’t help but notice that he had a desk I had crafted and sold in his office. An elaborate attempt at flattery, some kind of research into my character, or did he just genuinely enjoy my work? I decided it wisest not to remark on it.
In answer to our questions, he could not tell us the exact location of Gumari’s Sanctum (for free, anyways), and thought the other families should be covered by the contract under our planned arrangement with them. That, at least, is good news. Kahi, Fardo, Dhau, and Rinoh have been nothing but kind and generous to us, and I would hate to see them targeted as a result.

Next, we headed to Kadu’s Temple, to see if one of us could accompany Aster to visit Kadu as a guard.

Kadu’s Temple is more in the spirit (heh) of what I was expecting, and about as ostentatious as I was expecting. I spent some time there arguing that I be allowed to accompany Aster as her guard, but the priest insisted the invitation was for her alone.
Aster is better at talking than I am, perhaps she should have done the persuading, but she isn’t always willing to stand up for herself – others, certainly, but not herself.

At some point someone mentioned to Saiten the strange threats that keep Champoor’s residents locked indoors at night, and he insisted that we stay outside that night to face them. He was correct to do so, as well, and I am somewhat ashamed I had not already thought to do so. Partly, this is because I have been constantly occupied since our arrival in Champoor, and partly I think because everyone we have met here seems to just accept that this is how things are here that I didn’t really question it.
I have things to learn from Saiten, it seems.

We prepared, and spent the night completely uneventfully in the streets near our home.

This day feels like a failure.

Descending Wood 5, RY768

I realized this morning, as we all went to get some rest, that Saiten is camping outside!
What an ass I am.
I asked him to help me take a few boards inside, to an unused space upstairs, and I quickly put together a room for him, and stamped the door with the marking of a fist, which seemed amusingly appropriate. When I turned to ask him what he thought, there was a look of shock on his face. I guess he’s not used to having his own space.
I headed to bed for a bit.
Later, Jahir, head of Kahi, joined us, and we headed to Hatelis’ Temple. Piper did not join us.
Everyone that attended signed the contract, except for Saiten, who seemed surprised but pleased when we asked him to sign with us. Were we perhaps unclear when we asked him to join our House? Anyways, he said he didn’t feel right signing, but would adhere to the terms, regardless. Jahir told us the celebration at the family compound would be tomorrow.

I spent the rest of the day training my guards and crafting furniture to sell, as well as some spare weaponry. I also spent some time studying the swords I’d taken from the fish-men, and I think I’ve figured out their secrets – the way they fuse different metals together is very interesting, and I think I could improve on it with the right materials.

In the evening, Piper asked me to instruct him in learning Old Realm. I’m not sure if this is a gesture of friendship, or just that I have something he wants. I agreed, and spent some time teaching him – let him use me, if that’s what he wants. I will continue to try to be his friend.

Descending Wood 6, RY768

I woke up early this morning, and made sure my nicest clothes were clean.
A Party!
I haven’t been to a party in about 159 years, I think!
We didn’t have many parties in Fortitude, and I wasn’t even Broken Walls then, so you could even say I’ve never been to a party! Maybe I was a little excited.
That might also explain that when I spoke to Piper later that morning and she told me she had no intention of attending, I was somewhat upset. I said she should go as Pewter Spoon, she brought up some kind of problem with String… In the end she agreed to go. I’m glad.

Alright, so what I said earlier about having never been to a party may have actually been true. When I was Reedbuck, what we called parties in Fortitude was a bunch of kids getting drunk around a fire and hoping we’d be suave enough to have some sex. This party was more like a festival, complete with food carts and music!
I made sure to spend time with everyone that I consider a friend there – I told stories with Saiten to some pretty girls (maybe he’ll be suave enough?), and danced and ate and drank with as many of my friends as I could find.
Later, there was a bit of a ceremony – they made some announcements – Gi is going to be a captain! There was also a marriage announcement, and then our group (again, minus Piper), and the heads of Kahi, Fardo, Dhau, and Rinoh all signed. Even Saiten signed with us this time! I’m happy.
We celebrated into the night, then slept there until morning.

Descending Wood 7, RY768

I spent the morning working on our own compound. By now I have built Aster’s clinic, our home, stables, a well, a barracks, a forge, and a guard tower. I think walls are next, when I have materials.

Some time around noon, Saiten came to speak with me, visibly upset. He had been near the docks this morning when he had seen, on board a ship leaving for a city called Volivat, a man with the same tattoo as one of the men who, he tells me, murdered his entire family. He says this could not be the same man, because he killed that man, but he has to investigate.
Obviously, I immediately told him I would help, but…
We have just established a place for ourselves here in Champoor. There are people counting on us, on our protection. If we all suddenly leave the city, everything could fall apart, and our mortal friends could be in danger.
I apologized to Saiten – I want nothing more than to go with him, but I feel obligated to remain. However, I told him, I would head straight to the Family compound and then to the docks and build him a ship so that he could leave tomorrow morning. I then gathered my tools and headed out.
It turns out, the Rinoh family had an interest in establishing a trade rout with Volivat for spices and eagerly agreed to provide a crew as soon as I could provide a ship – materials, as well.
I then headed to the docks and got to work.
I took my time on the ship, spending all day and night on it – I wanted to make sure it was done right. I gave her one main mast, and two smaller, and 3 decks, with bunks, cargo space, a kitchen, and captain’s cabin belowdecks. I also included a small shrine to the Unconquered Sun near the bunks, and tried to give Piper’s bunk as much privacy as possible. The, uh, “figurehead” doubles as a ram, and is in the shape of a large, gloved fist. I should have coloured it red, but I didn’t have the paint.
On the side, in flowing Rivertongue, I carved “Saiten’s Revenge”.

Descending Wood 8, RY768

A sad day, the day my friends head out to sea on a ship I built, leaving me behind. I sent a small squad of the troops I’ve trained with them, headed by Seventh Dawn.
Chaoxi is staying with me, thankfully – at best, I would get nothing done without her, and more likely, I’d probably accidentally burn the whole place down.

Who knows, I thought as I watched them sail away, maybe it would be an improvement.

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Edgar_Grim Sleet

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