As the tale of the Exalted Continues

Resplendent Fire 15, RY 768

I went to visit Aster today.
Well, we live in the same building, so I didn’t go far. She seemed to be fretting over her hair when I arrived – I’m not really sure why, Aster is always beautiful. I was going to say “radiant”, but that seems redundant, for obvious reasons. I tried to make conversation, but she was clearly distracted, and kind of… snippy. Aster is never snippy.
At any rate, she mentioned her “date” with Hatelis (that evening!), so I subtly mentioned that he’s probably around 700 years old, then departed.
Aster is a Solar, she can take care of herself. Still, I thought the age difference between she and I was great, and Hatelis could be more than four times my age!

I also stopped by the Family Compound to ask for info about Mawk. They pretty much suggested I speak to Mawk’s followers. Well that makes sense.

Resplendent Fire 16, RY 768

This evening is Piper’s meeting with the murder spirit’s superior. Piper has taken the appearance of a fire-aspect Terrestrial she calls Garnet. When I asked what kind of signal I should look for, should she be in danger, she summoned some flames into existence dancing above her hand. The seeming of flames, anyways – though I could see the fire and feel warmth, she assured me they could not burn anything. An illusion, then, a sterile flame incapable of spreading – good for a signal, though not subtle.
I headed up to the top of my tower to attempt to track “Garnet’s” progress, or otherwise watch for the signal. Glad I built the tower taller than the city wall, makes it an excellent lookout point. Also glad Piper is imitating a Dragonblood, and their lovely tradition of colour-coding themselves (Chaoxi if you’re reading this I apologize but look at what you’re wearing right now, I bet you a Mina there’s at least some blue there), as Garnet’s red and purple clothes are a little easier to follow.
I managed to track Piper’s progress for most of his journey (I’m certain he must have been trying to be visible for my sake), and though I lost sight of him for a time, I eventually spotted him and another that must have been the mysterious superior (human in appearance) climbing up onto the city wall, where they seemed to speak for a time. After they left the wall I lost track of them, and enough time passed that I had to remind myself that people don’t just see through Piper’s disguises, and even if they did, she’s still a Solar.
Eventually I sighted Piper approaching our gate, his steps seeming more leaden than normal. I went down to meet him, but he wanted to speak privately, so we returned to the tower-top. I couldn’t help but notice the blood on her hands and clothes, but waited for her to recount the evening at her own pace before offering words of my own.

According to Piper, the “murder spirit” she had previously encountered had led her to his master, a woman named Lang, whom I had seen with Piper on the wall. There, Lang had explained that she was a worshipper of Champoor’s Goddess of murder – Akkimu.

Great. Amazing, beautiful. Of course this city has an active murder Goddess, why wouldn’t it?
Anyways, apparently Akkimu’s followers wear masks and robes that allow them safe passage at night in the city, but the masks require upkeep in the form of murder with special silver daggers. In addition, use of these daggers may provide some further form of power.
That’s quite the package deal, I can see how it would tempt those seeking strength or status. Oh, and Lang’s bloody-handed servant-spirit is named “Hathesis”. I can tell you now I’m going to get that name mixed up with Hatelis’, hopefully not in the commerce god’s presence. Piper says these murder spirits can point the way to potential candidates for murdering. Speaking of which, Piper did not explain her bloody appearance. She seems nervous, too – maybe frightened? I am not used to seeing Piper displaying anything other than general annoyance, or perhaps poorly hidden pleasure while consuming her weight in strawberries.
His agitation is understandable, though. These are grim tidings he is bearing, and it’s obvious there are further details he is keeping to himself. I pray that whatever he’s hiding hasn’t damaged him irreparably.
At any rate, I told Piper that this information was too significant to even consider hiding from the others, and we should let them know right away – or after he had cleaned up. I also thought saying the information came from an informant might avoid some uncomfortable questions – Saiten’s views on right and wrong can be very rigid and small picture, and I wouldn’t want Piper and Aster’s friendship to be hurt. Chaoxi would probably understand. She’s worked in the Imperial Mountain. She’s seen far darker dealings.
And in fact, that’s about how the meeting went. Saiten wanted to rush out immediately and punch something, Piper asked for more time for her “contact” to gather more info, and Aster expressed concern for Piper’s contact’s safety should we act now.
In the end we convinced Saiten we needed more information before taking action so that we could get to the root of the problem.

As it turns out, Piper had gotten Saiten to go do some snooping for info about some “city improvement project” being run by the temple of Kadu that had been taking people out of the city. Apparently there is no further information about this project being offered, so tomorrow morning Saiten is going to go volunteer. However, Saiten isn’t always the most subtle person, and I worry he might get himself in trouble (although it would have to be some pretty major trouble for Saiten to be in any real danger) so I volunteered to go along with him.

I’d have to wake up early, though, as I have some other business planned at Mawk’s gate first.

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Edgar_Grim Sleet

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