As the tale of the Exalted Continues

Piper's Journal 5
Setting Up Shop

Resplendant Wood 23 – Late Afternoon

Blessed sleep at last. After Broken Walls relieved me from my watch we spoke a little about the fate of his captives and I left to cat nap in a shabby little inn that was snug enough once I had wedged the door shut as has been my habit for some time now. Even if the door had a lock I wouldn’t have trusted it. Locks only keep out the honest or the lazy. Wedges are not fool proof but people rarely expect them and they are more difficult to remove without creating enough noise to wake me. I didn’t sleep long but it was enough to refresh me somewhat before I headed back to Rathouse.

I was glad to see that Broken Walls had not killed his prisoners in my absence or done anything particularly uncanny to the structure yet. Stepping past a pile of mold ridden apples that had been inexplicably dumped on the doorstep I greeted Broken Walls who was understandably confused to see me given that I had changed my form to a young woman in her mid twenties whom I called Pearl. It appeared that one of the captives named Oob had earned Broken Wall’s trust somehow and was now in his employ. One other captive was missing but there were no messy signs of an execution. The rest who remained were still under scrutiny.

This Oob fellow, when asked, pointed out to us one Rat-eater and I quickly dispatched him but that left us four more possible Rats. I asked the remainder about their plans as to what they will do once they left and one of them had the gall to lie to my face so I marked his with my knife. Broken Walls objected to this treatment of his prisioner which I was legitimately glad to hear. I feel the need to test Broken Walls.

I suppose it is more than that. Broken Walls has angered me. Something he said regarding those remaining being my responsibillity since I unhelpfully left them alive. As if killing them wholesale leaves no mark on his conscience. There were undeserving amoungst our victims and because he didn’t have to kill them in cold blood he gets the benefit of feeling nothing. I feel he has treated me like one of his ever growing array if lackies and I do not care for it. Those left behind were obviously up to some mischief and I supposed that if I couldn’t impress on them that fleeing the city was a good move perhaps by putting on a show I could convince them that the chance of meeting us again would be too risky to return to Silgur’s employ. The smash and grab sort of tactic we employed here, while efficient, seems to have the drawback of causing a lot of collateral damage. My way is more time consuming and admittedly more personally dangerous but through infiltration I have more opportunites to mitigate the damage to those few honest souls stuck in a bad situation. Maybe, with some co-ersion, Broken Walls might be more willing to see the benefit of my way of handling things though I somehow doubt it. For a man of over a hundred years in age he does not seem to exibit much patience.

I did my best to convince the remaining hostages that their best option was to steer clear and unceremoniously tossed them out. If they choose to return to Rathouse I will meet them again and next time I will know who my enemies are. It doesn’t matter if they squeal about what happened here to their comrades. RatHouse will come for us one day regardless. We have issued them a challenge of a sort. Next time they will be much harder to crack.

Knowing that my companion wanted to get to the matter of sorting out his much awaited new business and I, not wanting to be caught in the crossfire, excused myself and went on a ramble. I decided to see how the denizens of the inner city live and to make myself a little honest coin to replenish my personal funds. I passed Mauk’s gate at last and handed some coins to the toll people there. The renowned cudgel of Mauk is indeed as impressively sized as people had claimed.

The inner city itself seems a decent place. Oddly there seems to be no law enforcement of any sort but order of a sort is kept regardless. I believe the bloodlines here have an disproportional number of non-human lineages as well, even more so than Grand Forks. Never have I seen so many part-bloods in one place. I purchased a kit of proper makeup to disguise my companions should the need arise in the future so I needn’t rely on more rudimentary means at the “Winter Meet’s Wind” Theater. The shopkeeper was kindly and told me of an opportunity to audition in the future. I will keep this in mind. I have been wanting to brush up on my acting skills lately since I believe that they will be tested to their limits soon. I purchased a few pints of strawberries and ate half of them by a fountain that was not clogged with sludge and trash. A treat for myself to make up for the unpleasantness of the night before. I settled beneath a tree on a throughfare and setting out the empty basket for coins began to play the radius and let my mind clear like a still lake on a windless day.

I am not sure why but the company of these other Anathema have stirred up a storm of emotion within me. Since my escape I have done everything I can to distance myself from feeling too accutely any emotion about anything. I was… Happy is the wrong term… content? Now these discordant feelings and thoughts bubble to the surface and I cannot stop them. I hunger for something more than what I had but I do not know what I am seeking. Whatever it is I must dedicate myself to becoming more than what I am now. I must hone my focus and maintain my composure.

A number of young women approached me as I played and they requested that I play at a party they were going to attend. It maybe wasn’t what I had in mind for the rest of my day but parties can be a goldmine for intel since people tend to let their guards down once they have had a few drinks. That and I need to start acclimatizing to the local way of doing things. I agreed and they whisked me away to dress me in more appropriate clothes for a party. It was pleasant to wear something completely unattuned to my power for a change though I had to use a few tricks to get it to fit properly.

The party was just one on a street lined with houses full of people employed in parties of their own. My stomach tightened at the familliar sounds of laughter, the sickly sweet smell of opium and perfumes, the shuffling steps of dancers and moans of lovers in corners. I must continually remind myself not to automatically judge these as evil people. I take comfort in that should I so wish I could tear through the entire room of these nocturnal butterflies like a chill winter wind. Simply not doing so is an act of defiance. I feel the gravity of the past here but rather than crumple beneath it I choose to find resolve in it. It is important to remember the injustices of old and remind myself they weren’t for naught. If it means I will never fully heal so be it. I choose to embrace this pain and rage and pass it to those who truly deserve it.

There was a ceremonial locking of the door at the start of the party which made me ill at ease. I hadn’t counted on the prohibition of being out of the streets at dusk being a problem on this side of the wall. I asked around between my stints of playing and learned that there are masked beings who roam the street leaving no trace of those they corner. It infuriates me that the night belongs to these ghostly gangs almost as much as I resent another night without proper sleep. I made proper note of the local styles and slang amoungst this group that I might accurately reproduce it later and listened for anything that might otherwise pique my interest though largely in vain. This night has not been a total waste but I am less than pleased that there is no safe place for me to sleep until dawn.

Resplendent Wood 24 – The Reclaimed Rathouse

I slipped out from the party at dawn and returned to the former Rathouse and was not surprised to find a fair number of alterations to the original structure. It now has a second floor and the trappings for what I suppose will be Aster’s clinic. When I entered, Aster, who I haven’t seen in a few days, didn’t recognize my new form and Broken Walls requested that if I keep changing my appearance I should come up with some sort of “tell” or password. We settled on three taps for the foot for now though it seems a little too obvious and easy to replicate to anyone watching. I will need to give the matter some thought. There are so many tactics to consider when working with others that I haven’t had to consider until now.

Aster took me aside and asked me if I would be willing to accompany her to a private meeting with Kadu, the God of feasts and slaves. Instantly I felt gooseflesh ripple along my arms. I don’t like the sound of this Kadu god. He sounds too much like… No. I will not let Aster walk into this place without me. I am glad she asked me to come along, it saves me the nessessity of finding less honest ways to accompany her.

I am weary and need to rest. The upper story has no walls or doors that I might lock against an intruder. I dislike that there are new strangers and furthermore untrustworthy ones that have been added to the panopoly surrounding Broken Walls but this morning I cannot bring myself to find a better solution to my vulnerabillity. I must sleep.

Resplendent Wood 27 – Reclaimed Rathouse

It has been a calm couple of days. Broken Walls has built me a room so that I can sleep securely. Aster has begun setting up her clinic and has thankfully decided to not go visit Kadu since we would not be permitted to bring us along. Using my new multipurpose alias of “Pearl” I have auditioned at the Winter Meets Wind Theater and have secured an income as one of their performers. It will pay better than busking and will help me keep my skills sharp. It also provides me with an alias with a moderate amount of notoriety which can be useful. I have been practicing new skills at night preparing myself for the challenges I anticipate. Particularly I have been practicing my weapon throwing using a set of flechettes I picked up a few months ago. Aster has been teaching me her native Seatongue and I have been making my way home stealthily along the rooftops to improve my stamina and learn better ways of going unseen.

I have taken to accompanying Aster when she goes out into the city to buy her herbs and such. Chaoxi seems glad for the change. I think Aster’s splashy nature makes her nervous that we will be noticed. I am worried too. I still don’t know what to make of Aster Full of Light. Her name suits her. I see no shadows within her like I do myself and Broken Walls. It is that lack which acts as a barrier. I can get no closer to her and must content myself with distance. She herself seems distant and troubled. Her time minding the weak and sickly have caused her distress. I cannot assist her. I am unskilled at dealing so personally with people. When it is all a charade and sham it comes easy enough but when it comes to honest dealings….

I feel restless. We have been at relative rest these last few days and while it has been good to pause and breathe before considering our next move I begin to grow bored.

Resplendent Wood 30 – An Inn

Today I decided to stretch my legs and clean out the lower city of those who thought to take the place of Kai. None of the fights I picked were really worth mentioning. The lower city is rife with all manners of criminal but I am rather selective when picking a target – I suppose with the exception of when one stumbles accross me unwittingly. A few days ago I encountered a beggar who killed another man about as well off to steal his food right in front of me. Were there some kind of local authority I might have dumped him on their doorstep. Instead I subdued him and strung him up by the arms on one of the shacks nearby for his neighbours to judge him as they saw fit. I took no satisfaction from it. Men whose meager existance has rendered them to the sort of simple beasts who by instinct kill others for moldy food are pitiable. Who is a Monster like I to render final judgement on the actions of a beast?

I was just leaving after finishing off the scum who had set themselves up to profit from the gleanings of children when I got the vague sense I was being watched. Acting as normal as I could I headed through Mauk’s gate and did my best to spot my persuer to no avail. I set up for the rest of the day pretending to be a child beggar and eventually went back to Fish District where I rented a cheap room. I still felt the eyes of my invisible watcher even from within the locked room.

It is possible I am growing more paranoid. Possible, but not likely. I trust my instinct. I was being observed. I know not what uncanny sorcery is at work or who my watcher is but afterwards I dreamed of the men I had killed that day going through an seemingly endless sequence of different ways I might have ended their lives. All in all the dream was rather dull but I ponder if it is connected somehow or if this is some sort of message. In the morning the feeling of observation had passed and I returned to the reclaimed Rathouse.

I get the sense that whoever spies on me has learned enough about me to satisfy them for now. Regrettable, but perhaps they have yet to draw the conculsion that I am connected to Broken Walls and Aster.

Descending Wood 1 -Rathouse

We had visitors today. The Docks District Chapter of Rathouse came knocking at our door and spoke to Broken Walls. There was a fair amount of posturing done on both sides but the general gyst is that they intend to make our lives difficult. How unfortunate for them. Sadly because Aster was present it lead to some questions about how we came by Rathouse. Broken Walls confessed that we had “kicked them out” which is not a complete lie if you discount the members of the organization whose ashes we are still sweeping from the corners whenever we clean the place. This troubled Aster who was angry at us for our misconduct. Perhaps given time she will see that we are going to need to resort to some violence to achieve our means or she will leave when she sees how detestable we really are.

At the very least she seems to harbour ill will towards Guumari. She has requested that I do my best to find him and I don’t think she intends to let him off with a scolding. Broken Walls wants me to scout for the location of Rathouse in the city which is likewise a priority. I have never hunted Gods before and my heart quickens at the thought of facing off against the unknown. I am apprehensive but I feel the razor bite of anticipation. The challenge is irresistable, our quarry deserving. Our rest is over. Time to get to work.

Broken Walls Journal 5
In which morals are examined

Resplendent Wood 23, RY768, continued

Piper went off to find somewhere to sleep, and I interviewed our remaining seven prisoners. One of them seemed honest in his desire to leave Champoor, so I gave him some travel funds and released him. Another, Oob, was impressed enough with my fighting abilities that he requested to train with me. The other 5, I didn’t trust.
I trained with Oob until he tired. At one point, an old man arrived with a barrel of rotten apples to sell. When I refused to buy them, he dumped them on my doorstep and departed. Later, Piper returned wearing a different, female form. We are going to need a password or something.
Piper performed her own interrogation of the prisoners, and when one of them revealed himself as a “rat-eater”, she stabbed him to death with a dagger, while he was still bound. When she didn’t like an answer one of the others gave her, she slashed his face.
I don’t know what to make of this, but her behaviour is making me nervous.
We agreed to release the remaining prisoners, so Piper kicked them out the front door, still bound. Ru returned, and we discussed business.
I got some building materials delivered, made myself some tools, made some nice furniture for Ru to sell, and built a structure outside for Aster : 2 stories, with shuttered windows, a bath which drains into the sewer, a well, some planters, tables, several cots, and a compost bin which is currently full of rotten apples and sawdust.
Aster returned that evening with Chaoxi and Seventh Dawn. Piper did not return that night.
Aster has been asked to meet the god Kadu, and wants me to come along. That makes me nervous.

Resplendent Wood 24, RY768

I went with her to the temple of Kadu, where she spoke with " Razu Topeshi “, who refused her request for us to accompany her to meet Kadu.
Not suspicious at all!
I headed over to the Kahi Co-Op and got some leads on people looking for work. Between their leads and some people ”/wikis/Ru/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Ru referred we are up to 8 labourers and 4 guards, not counting Seventh Dawn and Oob.
I also spoke with Knot and String, who had had their meeting with Vinom, the Harbour Master. He had apparently offered them an insultingly low price, so I offered our services to sell their mead. Going to have to come up with a name for the business. Rising Sun Trading Co?

Resplendent Wood 25 – 30, RY768

Finishing up the month, I built a stable, smithy, and barracks, as well as training the guards daily. Aster got her clinic up and running.

Descending Wood 1, RY768

This morning the priest and rat-ogre-beast from the docks district, which is just inside the city walls, came for a visit. The priest made some veiled threats under the pretext of discussing trade, I veiled threatened them right back, then they went on their way.
I bricked up our entrance to the sewer.
I told Aster about Rat House, and we had a small argument. Regrettable, but inevitable.

Piper's Journal 4

Resplendant Wood 22 Cont. – Champoor

We left Rat house to discuss our options. Broken Walls seemed confident that a direct assault on Rathouse was the best course. This is an alien concept. I am trying to recalibrate my tactics. I, so far, have only really opperated alone and I have prefered to take my time to assess the options, observing and eroding organizations from the inside before snapping the trap. Broken Walls prefers the most direct approach. By way of comprimise I told him I’d like to spend at least the rest of the morning learning the landscape and he went off to his lunch date with Chaoxi.

It was the first time I had been left completely to my own devices since I have met Aster and Broken Walls. It was a relief after the close confines of the wagon and the shared accomedation of Kahii house. It also gave me an opportunity to shed the appearance of “Pewter Spoon”. Being him has been like wearing the same clothes day after day. I assumed the form of a plain looking 16 year old girl with ragged clothing and went on a walk.

I decided to see what sort of involvement Rathouse has with the usual ranks of criminals on the street. I have encountered criminal orginizations that use child pickpockets as a kind of information network and wanted to test to see if Rathouse had a similar connection. I tailed a youth of about my seeming age after he snagged a purse from an easy mark. I cornered him and asked if he would teach me how to be a pickpocket. He insisted that if I had ambitions to steal in Fish District I needed to obtain permission from a man named Kai. It confirmed my suspicions that, as usual with child pickpockets, there was an adult in charge.

He brought me to Kai’s hideout and told me whatever I did, not to directly meet Kai’s gaze lest he become violent. The behaviour is reticent of an ape’s. I tested him by meeting his gaze for just a flicker of an instant and he didn’t disappoint. He lashed out and kicked me for it. He told me to return with money later and slammed the door in my face.

I have no issue with the average thief. Often as not they are pitiable creatures with vices to feed that keep them in their low station. Most just try their best to survive. Malice and greed are not nessisarily their byword. Theif lords, however, are nearly always parasitic bullies who organize and prey on young or weak theives taking advantage of their vulnerable status. Ticks, lice and hookworms have more right to live – but I was not in any particular rush to squash him afterall I had tasks yet undone and risking bloodstains before completing them simply wouldn’t do.

I returned to the main streets around the perimeter of Rathouse and briefly followed a group of black garbed thugs wielding clubs exacting “tolls” for passing through gates. When I asked a local they informed me these roving gangs were (unsurprisingly) lackies of Mauk and not affliated with RatHouse at all.

I decided to see about the direct approach and went to Rathouse under the guise of getting work with them. I spoke with a man who appeared to be some sort of functionary who told me to return around dusk but not to be out after dark. That gave me pause.

I have never encountered a criminal organization that works exclusively in the day. I had assumed that criminal activity was the reason people stayed off the streets at night but here even the criminals do not dare to set a toe out of doors after sundown. Very curious.

Checking the sun I realized that if I wanted to meet Broken Walls at our rendevous on time I needed to act quickly. I borrowed a purse from a foolish and oblivious passerby (note: remember to pay him back if I ever find him again) and went to revisit the Thief Lord.

I watched Kai’s hideout for a time from the roof listening to the three men inside talking about utterly inane subjects and observing their interactions with the children who came to the door. There was a decent stream of traffic. When a lull presented itself I knocked and offered Kai my stolen wallet. He took it and counted out the money he took in tithe while I waited for my moment. When he was finished he stepped back inside and made to shut the door but I put my foot in his way and followed him inside.

I killed him with a hairpin.

His lackies, seeing themselves outmatched, surrendered and set down their swords at my command. I asked them what their ties were to Rathouse and they told me they had none. I promptly tossed their swords into the street, shut the door and finished them off.

As usual I cleaned up a bit, disguising the unusual nature of some of the fatal wounds with a few dagger slashes. I washed the blood from my hands before meeting Broken Walls again as Pewter Spoon. I informed him of what I learned after which he insisted that we should not further delay and commence an assult on Rathouse immediately. I briefly wondered if his assumption that we could take it down was foolish overconfidence but I remember from my earlier observations that the armour he wears isn’t just for show. I decided that maybe seeing just what he was capable of was worth the risk.

I purchased a jug and some cheap ale to fill it in the event we wanted to reassume our identities as merchants to get in through the front door but I needn’t have bothered. After a rest we made our way over the rooftops to a building outside of Rathouse where we had noticed a sentry earlier and Broken Walls burst through the straw roof killing him before he could make a sound. I took on the rogue’s appearance which made Broken Walls recoil a little in disgust. Something about my assuming the form of a dead person tends to cause that reaction in some people. It surprised me a little however to see it from him. I would not have suspected him of being squeamish.

I scouted the single room of Rathouse as “Cliff” and found it less populated than I could have hoped. Rathouse’s organization was much smaller than I had expected for a criminal gang of such local notoriety. The only unknowns rested with a robed man in the corner and a large creature beneath a pile of rags. I reported this to Broken Walls who chose to pursue the attack. I fetched along an oiled paper umbrella I had purchased earlier to keep the day’s drizzle at bay and followed him.

My concerns over Broken Walls aptitude against so many opponents was unwarranted. He killed 12 men in the space of a few seconds. I followed close behind laying a number of them out flat with the umbrella. It was then that the robed man by the fire rose and spoke something in a language I didn’t understand. A large rat ogre shook off the rags it had been resting under and went straight for Broken Walls as it’s Master attempted to flee. Broken Walls shouted for me to go after “Silgur” and I,making an educated guess as to who he meant, followed the robed man who made it partway down the hall before he grabbed and sliced open a rat to use it’s blood to open a portal rimmed with insects. I used Cliff’s cloak as a straightjacket and kept him from escaping while I broke the handle of the umbrella and sought to end his life with a shard of the bamboo pole but his panicked struggles prevented me until I at last grasped his hair firmly to counter his flailing and pulling it taught made him pay the last price.

The portal of insects remained after the “Silgar’s” death. Broken Walls asked me to stick my head through to see what was on the other side. True the face I wear is very rarely my own but I have no desire to have it eaten off by insects. I was comfortable enough to let the matter lie. My companion on the other hand was not and plunged in up to the shoulders. When he came back through he told me there was some sort of red lit hallway and the sounds of something massive moving around inside. I heard the sounds from this side and I wish never to encounter the thing that made them.

We returned to the space and I attempted to calm the clerk who was hyperventilating in the corner where we left him. He still believed I was “Cliff” and I did not correct him. Eventually I will need to find some pretext of ditching the disguise. A temporary personality shift and obvious loss of memory can be explained away or blamed on any number of things but eventually people usually end up believing the person they knew has gone mad or become possessed. For now it is servicable.

While we spoke Broken Walls went about… cleaning… the room of corpses. I was a little shocked when he burned them to dust with a bright gold fire. That done he cursed the clerk forcing him to remain in place. I simply don’t know what to make of this.

I learned that the clerk’s name is Rue and he seems amendable to changing his alligence to suit Broken Walls. He also helpfully explained that Silgur, wasn’t actually the name of the man in robes I killed. It is the name of a God of Filth, Criminals and insects. Broken Walls came to address him and gave him his options : exile from the city or employment as his clerk. That done he laid down his expectations. For one the gambling problem which brought Rue into the service of Rathouse in the first place would need to stop completely under pain of death at first infraction.

It natural to avoid hiring a clerk who doesn’t have this particular vice and I understand his reasons to sever the possible complications that can arise from it. That said, as he threatened Rue I couldn’t help but be slightly appalled at his heavy handed dealing of the matter. The measure of a man can be seen not in how he treats his equals but how he treats those beneath him. It made me uneasy.

We killed those few that Rue pointed out were devotees of Silgur and left the rest tied up until we come to a census on what to do with them. Not all the criminals of Rathouse are worshippers of the Rat God. Some are just normal people down on their luck in a town where you can almost taste desperation on the air. Rue can’t say specifically which of the remainder is which. Broken Walls seems to believe the only answer is to kill them all. He at least seems to find the idea mildly detestable .

I cannot deny that killing the prisoners is practical. It is also more than a little hypocritical of me to judge him for it when I have, on occasion, killed people who might have been redeemable because they posed a personal threat to me. I have learned much over time to better avoid that nessessity…. But still…

I cannot help but feel there is a difference somehow. I consider myself an agent of change. I have never lingered afterwards or tried to seek long term control of others. I freely admit that I am monstrous and my methods are not the substance of virtue. Are these actions judged acceptable for someone who seeks to rule? By assisting Broken Walls am I delivering the people of Champoor into the hands of a well meaning tyrant? Earlier today I killed three men for the sin of ruling through intimidation and violence. I do not revel in the idea of judging Broken Walls guilty of the same crime one day. For one I’m not sure it is even possible for me to kill him. I dislike this introspection.

I have been left behind to keep watch and subdue those who shall show up later on. It will give me time to think and maybe come up with some sort of plan that might spare those worthwhile few in our clutches.

Resplendent Wood 23 – Early morning Champoor

It has been a long night. I reflect fondly on the days when only my fellow anthenama surrounded me and I had no fear of discovery of assassination as I slept. After sleeping but half a night curled uncomfortably in a linen cupboard yesterday this sleepless night wears hard on me. Sound sleep is a sorely missed luxury after my recent rediscovery of it.

My brain feels fuzzy and not up to the task of figuring out a plan to test our prisoners to find out their leanings. I have some half baked notions but I cannot trust them yet until I have time to review them with a clear head. I subdued and added four more prisoners to my consequence around dusk and have eaten some unadorned grilled fish. I feel irritable and resentful.

I find myself missing Aster’s singing.

So often as we travelled she would sing around this time and I thought little of it. Only with it’s absence do I realize that it had meaning. Music has been for years nothing but a tool for me to use. I haven’t found solace or enjoyment in it’s practice or in the listening since I was a child. What a dammnable, bleat-brained, slug witted, festeringly sentimental fool I am becoming.

What is wrong with me?

Aster Diary 3
Champoor is Going to Need Our Help!

Goodness, Diary, I feel as though things have been happening at a bracing pace for the last few days, but I will do my best to give you an accurate and thorough account.
To begin with, some sad news: Chijiiwa is no longer going to be travelling with us. He left early in the morning the day after we stayed at the temple (without even saying goodbye! :( ). But, I’m sure if it is meant to be, our paths will cross again.
After we had left the temple, we came upon a most distressing sight: fields and fields of poor, dying farmland, desperately in need of help. To make matters worse, a cow had been left in one of those fields, and was in the same (or worse!) state than the fields! The poor things was in such distress that I just had to stop everything and go over to help it.
I could tell at once that this creature was in dire straights, but upon further inspection, I knew it would take days of tender care in order to get this sweet cow back to its full strength. I was sure that this poor beast’s master must not know or understand how much she was suffering, and hoped dearly that he would understand what was needed in order to rehabilitate his charge.
I think I may have found some fellow feeling towards the welfare of creatures that day with Broken Walls, Diary, because he was ever so helpful in getting the poor cow (who I feel suits the name Daisy quite splendidly) the care she so desperately needed. He first came all the way out to the field where Daisy and I were in order to build her a well with clean water. And when that wasn’t enough, he was willing to negotiate with Daisy’s former owner (who did not seem to understand how much Daisy needed proper care) for her release into our care. While he seems to perform these feats for craft with much ease, I think part of the pleasure he must feel from building things is the aide he can provide others with them; I have never once seen him build something that was not for the help of another, though he could quite easily build things for his pleasure alone, or for the simple joy of building. More and more I see the light in him shining through.
He has been a torch in the darkness of this place, Diary, and it is in sore need of one. It was not just Daisy’s former home that was in dire need of assistance: the fields for miles up to [Champoor] were all but devastated. The god of this place appears to be called Mawk, but from what we’ve heard, he is more of god of violence and weaponry than he is of farming and growth, which makes his being worshiped as a god of the land terribly puzzling. I have begun to pray to the god that we discovered in the broken temple, Karoski, whom Broken Walls assured us was a Harvest god, in hopes that he will see the plight of these people, and come to aid them. Hopefully they will be able to be shown the light in this matter.

Oh, Diary! I cannot tell you how much I have missed the Sea! While it is, of course, a different sea than the Sea of home, it was the most marvelous thing to feel it, smell it, taste it again. While I passed the Inland Sea while on my travels, I was staying away from the larger cities at that time, and was not able to get close enough to really breath it in. The Dreaming Sea fills me with great joy and hope. :)

While still on the road, we came across a grueling battle! Two mariners were caught in the grips of a half dozen or so fish creatures, who were doing their best to harm these poor men! My companions sprang into action, and between their ferocious countenances, and my pleading battle song, we were able to drive the fish-men back into the sea without too much injury; poor Seventh Dawn’s horse took quite a beating, but we were able to get it right as rain in no time.
The two men are called Gi Kahi and Zeo Fardo, and were terribly gracious to us once they had recovered themselves. We traded songs, and Zeo even showed me how to pack fish in seaweed! We learned much more about them the next day, but I shall leave that until I tell you of Champoor , where they live.

Champoor is… a very broken place. Although we did not go into the city proper, its slums are like the bruised skin on its outside that speak volumes about the illness within. They are lined with the poor, the ailing, the destitute and dying. It broke my heart to see how these people were suffering, how this city is suffering. I am going to heal it, shine its black heart until it gleams. But enough doom and gloom, Diary, let me tell you of our new friends and acquaintances.

The first man we met in Champoor was at the suggestion of our new fishing friends; Gi and Zeo deal their fish through the Harbourmaster, who it seems is the Guild leader in this area, so thought we would have luck checking in with him first at the Guildhall. The Hall itself was bustling and loud; it seems anything you could want to buy was sold there. The Harbourmaster himself is a man named Vemon Eob, who seemed obviously a man to be respected. He and Knot made plans to speak about Knot and String’s business plans.
I have business plans of my own now, Diary! I plan on opening a by donation clinic in this area, to at least help with the pain and suffering that seems rampant in these streets. It will need to have baths, because it seems as though the Gumari disease has spread to (or, it seems, from) here as well.
Then we made our way to the community house of the Kahi, Fardo, Rinoh and Dhau families. We had been asked to be their guests that night be Gi and Zeo. The Kahi Family was terribly hospitable to us that night; we were given clean clothes, a lovely meal, and a warm bed out of the wind for the night. The four families live in a beautiful example of community in this large house, and were still more than warm to us as strangers. It is wonderful to see that, in amongst the cold, seemingly uncaring slums, there is this center of warmth and light. I am hopeful.
Tomorrow, Chaoxi, Seventh Dawn and I are going to one of the local temples that feeds the hungry; I believe that, for now, this would be the most appropriate place to open a temporary clinic until I am able to set up my more permanent one. With the poor unfortunates already coming here to receive food, it would make sense that those may be the people in most need of healing as well. Hopefully tomorrow will allow me to spread my light to those who need it most!

Broken Walls Journal 4
In which we attack Rat House for no raisin!

Resplendent Wood 22, RY768, continued

After Piper finished that conversation, we walked away to discuss our options. I left Piper to do some reconnaissance while I went to meet Chaoxi for lunch. I made a wood engraving of Maki, a restaurant God, and after entering with Chaoxi, presented it to our server as a gift for the owner. We ate, discussed tactics and the strange state that the gods of Champoor seem to be in. Chaoxi, Aster, and Seventh Dawn have been at a temple of " Kadu ", who is apparently a local god of banquets, the sea, and slaves – a strange combination. I asked our server if Champoor had a city god, and she replied that there wasn’t one she was aware of. Stranger and stranger.
We finished our meal (decent) and wished each other luck. Hanging out with Aster in a temple, I think she’ll need it more than I will. I headed back to meet Piper.

We discussed our options, took some time to rest (and armour) up, and then went over the rooftops to the building the Rat House sentry was watching from.
I jumped down through the roof and struck down the sentry in a single blow. Piper took the sentry’s appearance (ugh) and clothing. As expected, there were stairs heading down into a tunnel. Sentry-Piper led the way, and I hung back out of sight.
When " Cliff " (apparently) returned, “he” reported that there were 24 normal looking (armed) people, the merchant-looking type Piper had spoken with earlier, a nasty-looking sort wearing leather robes, and something the size of a bear, covered in rags.
These were all in a large, low-ceilinged chamber containing many crates.
I adjusted the plates on Dauntless, then snuck down the tunnel.
I readied myself, took a breath in, entered the room, killed a dozen men, breathed out.
Then Piper clambered over my back and knocked out five more with “his” paper umbrella… while wearing Cliff’s face. The robed man spoke to the ragged creature in a mangled version of Old Realm, saying, " Silgur wants you to eat them" before bolting. I told Piper to chase Silgur, while I faced what turned out to be some kind of Ogre-sized rat-monster.
The beast was mighty, and seemed to only get stronger as I spilled its blood – and I spilled a great deal of its blood. The beast was mighty, and struck at me, but I was mightier, and struck down the creature, and the remaining members of Rat House, other than the merchant. I went to assist Piper, and found him finishing off the robed man, who was attempting to escape through a horrible portal made of insects.
I stuck my head through it.
So many bugs. Some of them were bitey.
The portal led to some rough-hewn, red lit tunnels which contained… a presence, a large presence, which roared. It was very loud.
I withdrew through the portal, which closed before whatever was on the other side could follow me through.

I burned the bodies with Solar fire, putting some comforting emotions from one of them towards his family into a necklace, in case I should ever encounter them.

I interviewed " Ru ", the accountant, apparently. Turns out the robed man was named Lim, and he was a priest of Silgur, who is a god of rats, insects, and crime, among other things. I am curious what those other things might be.

In the end, I offered Ru employment. I’m fairly confident he will deal honestly with me, if only due to awe.

After that conversation, I executed the Rat House survivors that Ru identified as Silgur fanatics, then headed back to the Kahi co-op while Piper remained behind to deal with the four Rat Housians who would be returning that night.

I bathed with Gi, and informed him how the day had gone.
After he got over his shock, he suggested his father, who I was to meet tonight, would be very pleased by this news.

I met his father, Jahir, head of house Kahi, at the dinner table along with Jin, head of house Dhao. Jahir has scars from the rat-beast, it turns out. Also, he and his crew had returned with a mighty yellow tuna, the size of ten men, only the second he had seen in his lifetime. It fed the entire hall, and was delicious.
Afterwards, Jin, Jahir, Gi, Seventh Dawn, and I retreated to private quarters and discussed many things.
I revealed my identity as a Solar Exalt, and they confirmed something Ru had earlier mentioned, that there are more than one Rat House, but they don’t usually cooperate, so we may not need to worry about them immediately.
Jahir and Jin offered to help with Rat House in the future.
We talked for some time before bed.

Resplendent Wood 23, RY 768

In the morning I met with Aster and Chaoxi. I told Chaoxi what had occured the previous day, and told Aster we had acquired some property.
Aster had apparently had a tough day yesterday, as well. She healed many people, and lost one.
I walked with Chaoxi and Gi to (former) Rat House. She told me that during the night she had seen gaunt, black clothed, white-masked people roaming the streets in a pack. Later that night, she heard a scream. Even later, we all heard a bell. We have repeatedly been warned not to go into the streets at night.

At Rat House, I returned some of Kahi’s fish to Gi, gave Ru the task of purchasing a quantity of building stone, and gave Cliff-Piper a meal and a chance to sleep. Chaoxi headed back to escort Aster, and I took some time to plan.

Aster's Diary 2
Companionship on the road :)

Resplendent Wood 9

So much has happened since we last spoke, Diary! Our new friends are full of such strange and wonderful surprises!
To begin, I have discovered the most wonderful word for what my light has brought me: Broken Walls tells me I am a Solar (a most fitting description!) and that he is one as well! It is so wonderful to meet others who have been touched by the light, as I have now discovered that both Piper and Chijiwa have been too.

There is much to tell you about my new companions, as I have learned much about them over the last few days, even beyond their having been lit as I have. I will begin with Piper. Piper is a terribly interesting person, or at least, I believe this to be true. It is, however, a somewhat difficult thing to ascertain. Let me explain: Piper is impeccable at disguises. These disguises seem to be flawless and perhaps some kind of talent that Piper has gained from the light. I was terribly impressed (and terribly embarrassed) when this talent was used to imitate me! (What as strange and unnerving experience, to be confronted with one’s double.)
These disguises tend to accompany a differing array of personalities, however. When we first met, Piper was a young tea girl, not much taller than myself. However, when we awoke the first morning, Piper looked much different: shorter hair, taller, leaner frame, boyish figure. And gone were the demure tea-girl’s graces, replaced with a retiring demeanor that seemed reluctant to open to me. I do not wish to pry, as Piper seems unwilling to speak of the past in anything but the most basic terms, but I fear something inside must have been deeply injured to create such walls against intrusion. Until I know further, I cannot help to heal this, but I must tread carefully, lest I deepen the injury, or add further to the barricade.
Piper is currently in the guise of a young man named Pewter Spoon, who seems jovial and personable. (Perhaps this more open personality might be a way past Piper’s defenses?)
Oh! I almost forgot, diary! Piper is a musician who plays a tiny, intricately carved flute! I now know a new song, called the Two Birds. I always enjoy harmonizing with another :).

The next companion I will describe to you is Chijiwa, the young nobleman, who it seems is from Kamthahar, which is quite nearby. Even though he is reticent to speak of himself or his family, his nobility is quite evident. His bearing is straight, practiced, perhaps used to following and/or taking orders. That and his evident skill with a spear mark him as some sort of soldier, though I suppose many nobles’ sons have training in such things. He is well-mannered; he listens intently, and then speaks only when necessary. Something seems… broken, however, in him, Diary. I’m not certain what exactly; he does not seem quiet out of defensiveness the same way Piper does, but there still seems to be something that is causing him… distress? pain? I am uncertain. I will continue to get to know him, and see if I am able to help.
He allowed me to style his hair, which, although I have no particular skill it, I find terribly comforting, not to mention is a good way to build trust and intimacy.

I will tell you next of Chaoxi, the blue-hired woman who it does indeed seem came from the West (!). She is a lovely woman, terribly prepared and resourceful, and a pleasure to travel with. It seems she and Broken Walls are some kind of travelling companions (though I wonder perhaps, Diary, if there is more to it than that..), and it is evident that they have known each other for some time; they seem to barely need to speak in order to understand what the other wants. Broken Walls seems to trust her implicitly, and she subtly dotes upon him.
I also had the opportunity to wind her hair, and was pleasantly surprised when we were able to speak in my native tongue to one another! She even knew the words to “The Ships Come In”, which was a lovely bonding experience.

I will now tell you of Broken Walls. He is definitely as confident as I first believed him to be, but I worry that this may lead to overconfidence; while I have yet to see him fail at a task he wishes to accomplish, what he soon wishes to do may be more of an undertaking than we are capable of. But more on that later. There is something both inspiring and endearing about Broken Walls, even as I find him both confusing and far too ready for battle. He is blunt in his words, but quite compassionate with his actions; when we discovered that Piper had contracted the terrible disease that had plagued the poor man back at the village, he was quick to construct a beautiful bath in order to speed her healing. Oh! and his constructions! He is able to build without tools, and with such intricacy and speed! I think I find his name quite apt; although he is hard and defensive, through the cracks in his armor spill the light of kindness.
He has said he is going to write a poem, which I await quite eagerly :).

Now that I have told you of my new companions, I must now tell you, Diary, of the plan Broken Walls has devised. But first, let me bring some news to light (hee hee) about what we are, and why we are in such danger. Broken Walls tells us that we are Solars, which means that we have been touched by the light of the Unconquered Sun. However, this means that we are the anathema hunted by the Wyld Hunt, although we are of course not the evil things that they believe us to be.
Because we are in such danger from this fearsome force, Broken Walls has proposed that we make a place to stand and fight them, and that place shall be the one we are heading towards, the city of Champoor.

I, as you might imagine, have many misgivings about this plan, but I have decided to follow and aid him, and I will tell you why: Our Brother and Sister Solars are in danger, and their suffering will not end until someone has made a stand. If we can do so with as little bloodshed as possible, that would be ideal, but we cannot guarantee that the Wyld Hunt will not force our hands. If we are prepared, with an army, with a fortress, perhaps we will be in a better position to make them stop and listen. If not, then it is important that, first, we do something to make them listen, and, second, that I am there in order to help mitigate the damage to them and us as much as I possibly can.
I cannot imagine the suffering that our fellow light-touched must have gone through at the hands of those who think they are doing the gods’ work up until now. We cannot allow them to continue to be persecuted in this way, even if it means I must resort to harming others.

But on to happier news! We have made it over the border to Champoor, and have even made some new friends! Seventh Dawn, a warrior woman of strong countenance, Knot, a gregarious mead seller, and apparent lover of music, and his brother String,, a quieter man, but one who seems thoughtful and shrewd. I do hope we will get a chance to know them better! :D

Aster's Diary
New Friends :D

Resplendent Wood 2

Dear Diary,

Wonders never cease on my journey through Creation! Today I met eight new people, and I’m going to be travelling with four of them! But I’m getting ahead of myself, as you know I’m wont to do ;).

Today seemed like it was going to be a terribly pleasant day, full of birdsong and filled with promise. I had been wandering through the fields, making my way to the next town where I might be of service, when I came across a heart-wrenching sight: a young girl was crying in front of a shrine. Oh Diary, I just couldn’t bear to see the poor dear in pain, so of course I went over to her to see if there was anything I could do. And lo and behold, it seems as though there was! Falling Leaf (the poor dear)’s father was ill, and thank the gods but my light seems to allow me some skill at healing! She took me to the nearby village and into a temple, where her poor father appeared to be suffering greatly. Of course, I set straight to work.

It was the strangest thing though, Diary: he seemed to have a fairly straightforward illness, but after I treated him, he just wasn’t able to get better! I knew he’d continue to suffer (and maybe die!) if I didn’t keep treating him, so I rolled up my sleeves (so to speak, hee hee!) and poured more of myself into seeing that he got better.

My light must have been shining quite brightly with all of the effort, Diary, because soon after that, someone new came to see what was happening. A young nobleman (whose name I shall tell you now is Chijiwa) came to see me and asked what was going on. I knew I would not have the time to fully explain what was happening to the poor man I was treating without slowing down his treatment (and maybe putting him in danger :O ), so I’m afraid I was quite brusque with him when I implored him to assist me (though I’m sure he will understand about that, given the circumstances). Thankfully, he was not offended, and though he did not seem to have any abilities as a healer, he was willing to assist me with getting some water for the sick man :).

It seems, however, that my light may have been taken notice of by some less helpful individuals, however Diary, because not long after this, a terribly frightening person appeared in the courtyard and began to menace us! Unfortunately, Diary, He began to attack before I was able to reason with him, and I was unable to turn away from my charge. However, the young nobleman seemed to understand my plight, and with little provocation on my part he was willing to step in on our behalf.

If you will indulge me, Diary, I will take a moment to describe this terrifying assailant, as I do not yet feel I have given him enough of an introduction. He seemed fully ten feet tall, a massive man (although I am fairly certain he could not have been human), and had a terribly unfortunate odor to him. He seemed so terribly angry, and I wonder now if perhaps his terrifying nature led to his anger; if he had been shunned because of it, and become embittered and cruel because of this. If I meet him again, perhaps I can show him some of the kindness it seems he was perhaps not shown before, and maybe this will help to ease some of the pain he must be feeling in order to have behaved in such an angry fashion.

But I digress.

It seems that more than this imposing figure were called to the courtyard, however. Three others sprang to our aid from the growing crowd as the massive man sought to rain blows upon us; the first was an impressive sight: a broad shouldered man (Broken Walls ) in splendidly shining armor, confidence flowing from him like a beacon of hope. The second, Chaoxi Kawa, was an armored, blue-haired woman (possibly from home? Oh I do hope she is a kinsman), wielding two fantastic swords in a practiced, graceful fashion. The third was a young tea girl whose name I now know to be Piper ), daringly brave with her dark hair flowing about her, her weapon, of all things, a surprisingly sturdy pink ribbon, which she wound quite expertly about the giant man.

As the figures began to clash, Diary, I was of course terribly fearful that someone may be hurt (or worse, killed! D: ), so I began my Terrifying Battle Song. It has been some time since I have had to harm another creature in the name of anything but healing them, and I was hopeful that the beset creature would heed it’s words and leave before things turned to further violence. Thankfully, he fled before anyone could be seriously injured.

After the man fled, my ill charge began to recover beautifully; I have every confidence, Diary, that he will make a full recovery :).

While I am loath to put others in danger by having them pend to much time in my increasingly, it seems, dangerous company, the four who came to our aid seem willing to travel with me, and for the moment seem quite handy at keeping themselves safe (though I may need to use my songs again to keep them from too much violence; thankfully my light and my teacher allow me to do so :D ).

To summarize, if this has been too long for you, my dearest Diary: I helped a man and his sweet daughter, gained four new travelling friends, and was able to keep a most unfortunate beast from being ended by a blade. All in all, a wonderful and terribly light-filled day :D

Broken Walls Journal 3
In which Champoor is a...

Resplendent Wood 19, RY768

We awoke in the morning to the sound of Chijiiwa departing. Chaoxi says he claimed he wanted to find himself. Kids these days.

I told the others I would catch up with them, then once they were out of sight, set about restoring the temple to its original glory, offering respect to Karoski all the while. As I left, afterwards, I noticed a flower growing in one of the planters I had prepared.

I caught up with the others. After a few hours we came across a very sick field, with a very sick cow, and a sick looking farm. Aster became very upset and ran into the field to the cow, attempting to care for it. To attempt to get her back on track, I built a well. Seventh Dawn, our hired swordswoman, may have witnessed this, but Piper explained it away. Aster wasn’t satisfied with this, so I built two ox-carts to trade to the farmers in exchange for the cow. Sigh.
I also suggested to the farmers that they go pray to Karoski at his shrine. They said they had been praying to a god named “Mawk”, whose symbol is a cudgel, but agreed to pray to Karoski. We loaded up the cow, and left.

A few hours later we reach the bay opposite Champoor, part of the Dreaming Sea. Ahead, we heard the sound of combat, as fishermen fended off an enemy. I summon Dauntless’ embrace, and charge into battle. As the battle comes into view, I see that a group of about a dozen or so armed and armoured fish-men have pulled a small boat towards shore, and some are attempting to board it and attack the two fishermen on board. I pass through the creatures twice, killing some and scattering the rest. Aster sang at them, and the survivors flee into the waves.

The sailors are Gi and Zeo. We make camp, and I gather 5 of the fish-men’s strange swords. I also discuss some business arrangements with the fishermen, and build some nets and crab-traps for them.
The swords I gathered, while primitive, have potential. I will research this further.

Resplendent Wood 20, RY768

I offer Gi and Zeo half a dozen crab-traps and two nets in exchange for a portion of their catch upon our arrival in Champoor. Gi (Family name Kahi) also offered a few days accomodation, and advised we avoid Champoor’s streets after night.

We passed more sick farms, as well as another shrine to Mawk. I sense a theme, and we discuss how to return worship of Karoski to the area. Aster prays.

When we camp, I train with Seventh Dawn. She very much wants to be a martial artist, partially to her detriment.

Resplendent Wood 21, RY768

We enter the outskirts of Champoor.
Crime is rampant. Everywhere I look, someone is stealing from someone else. We head towards the stinking harbour. Aster seems very distressed. We made our way to a Guild Hall, met with the harbourmaster who answered several of our questions and arranged a meeting two days hence for String to sell his mead. We then made our way to Gi Kahi’s residence, meeting his brother in the process, Gor.
We discussed business somewhat, they are very friendly. Gi suggested I speak to his father, once he returns from sea. We discuss plans to open a healing clinic/bathhouse/trading house once we acquire some land. I can’t wait to get started! Piper will scout some land prospects.
At dinner, we sit across from the Rinoh family, Zara and Mosh specifically. There are 4 large families in the compound – Kahi, Rinoh, Dhau, and Fardo. Kahi and Fardo deal in fishing, Rinoh in wine and spices, and Dhau in shipping and protection.
We discussed a variety of topics at the dinner table. Apparently Mawk calls the “Cudgel Gate” nearby home. Also, apparently Gumari resides in Champoor, and the disease is rampant. We talk into the night.

Resplendent Wood 22, RY768

We have a free day, so Aster takes Chaoxi and Seventh Dawn to go do some healing at a temple, while I go with Piper to do some scouting for land.
One of the many pickpockets targeted me, so I made him escort us to “Rat House”, a local criminal organization we’ve been warned will likely cause us trouble, should we start a trading house of our own.
We were met with some hostility, so I pretended to be mute and let Piper talk our way out of the situation.

Piper's Journal 3
In which exalts do things difficult to explain away

Resplendant Wood 19 – The Road

I awoke this morning earlier than is my custom to don my form before our new companions arose. I heard Chijiwa and Choaxi talking quietly outside but didn’t bother listening in. I was in bad spirits for last night I slept poorly. I already resent Broken Walls a little for choosing to travel with these people however good their mead might be. I suppose they might provide some form of cover story for us later but here in the middle of nowhere there is no easy explaination for suddenly appearing as another person. It looks like I will be “Pewter Spoon” longer than I intended.

Broken Walls and Aster awoke shortly after me and after awhile we noticed that we couldn’t hear Chijiwa anymore. Going outside to speak with Chaoxi we learned that he has decided to go off to sort through what he’s learned about himself in these last few days. If that means he’s going to go inform some Dragon-Bloods of our location I will make him deeply regret the day he met me. I will, however, give him the benifit of the doubt for now.

Broken Walls told us he’d meet us down the road for he wanted to pray at the temple for awhile. Perhaps he meant he was going to track down Chijiwa and talk to him himself. Or, equally likely, he decided there wasn’t enough landmarks and decided to make one. I imagine that to him a deficit of adequetly built structures is some kind of insult.

I rode in the cart keeping our new guests company. To them I am a displaced farm labourer who’s brother’s family inherited the farm and kicked me out. It’s a dull but servicable alias.

Around noon we started crossing neglected and poorly drained farmland. Now there are mosquitoes to add to my dwindling comfort. Aster saw a cow and raced off into the field to tend to the thin staggering creature. Broken Walls followed while I sought entertainment from Knot who told me about hallucinations one has when eating unidentified mushrooms or alternately a story of what happens when one encounters dancing frogs and you eat the mushroom of their worship. Seventh Dawn noticed Broken Walls disappear suddenly into the ground and went out to investigate. The three of them eventually returned and we went on to the farmstead.

Aster and Broken Walls talked with a couple of apathetic farmers and negotiated a price for the cow which Aster could not suffer to leave behind. She recoiled when the farmer told her that dear old Bessie was up for slaughter and began an impassioned defence for the animal. I sincerely hope she doesn’t insist we all become vegetarians. Broken Walls at least managed to divert her focus onto fixing the larger problem at hand.

These farms are not flourishing. I admit that’s a problem given they might eventually be required to supply Broken Wall’s city. I suggested to Aster that this might have something to do with Keroski’s neglected shrine and she took up the cause with a will. Broken Walls found that the villagers have been worshiping some God named Mauk of the cudgel. I agree that doesn’t sound much like a Harvest God. We convinced the farmers to pray to Keroski in addition to Mauk and Broken Walls made two ox carts to pay for the cow which we seem to be taking with us. Seventh Dawn already suspects that Aster and Broken Walls are more than they at first appear to be and I have resigned myself to the eccentricities of my companions.

Resplendent Wood 20 – The Shore of the Dreaming Sea

As we came closer to the Bay we came across a fishing boat under attack by Fish creatures. Seventh Dawn and Broken Walls charged immediately off on the horse that had pulled our wagon to their rescue but not before Broken Walls donned his strange appear-from-nowhere armour.


Accustomed as I am to living inconspicously I am beginning to wonder if the reason most Solars are caught at all by the wyld hunt is because they lack any natural instinct for subterfuge. I digress.

Choaxi followed in her wagon containing Aster and her cow. I remained behind with Knot and String. I know when I am not needed. The sailors, Gi and Zeo were appropriately grateful ( and suspicious of the glowing mark on Broken Wall’s forehead) but they remained behind to camp while they waited for the surviving fishmen to flee the area. I tried my best to soothe Knot and String who were beginning to suspect that my companions were Anathema. I managed to halfway convince them they were Gods or God Blooded or some such and pointed out that a people who stop to help a sick cow are not terribly likely to be attempting to bring about the end of creation.

Resplendant Wood 21 – Champoor

We parted from the fishermen under instructions to meet them when we get to the city for they will be willing to supply us with accomedations for a few nights. Broken Walls supplied them with nets and crab traps under the pretense of getting some of their next catch. Gi seemed surprised as, from what I gathered, he never actually concluded a bargain for the equipment and had simply had an idle conversation with Broken Walls the night before about things they wished they had. Perhaps I should point out to Broken Walls that trade is generally arranged beforehand and that goods are generally not pressed on people before they have agreed to a price they might be unable or unwilling to pay. Gi and Zeo though are probably imagining their bones snapping if they refuse him outright. I almost feel sorry for them.

We travelled through more thoughly depressing farmland dotted with shrines of Mauk until we reached the city. All cities have slums and the bigger the city the larger the slum. I’ve spent enough time in them to know what to expect and watching Broken Walls I am beginning to suspect he has too. The dockside “Fish District” is a little more upscale than the slums but not by much. We reached the guildhouse where we were to ask for proper directions to the house of Gi.

Gi had made it seem that the Harbour master would be more than willing to point us in the right direction. He seems less accomedating than implied but was willing to meet with us and Broken Walls set up an appointment in two days time to discuss some business regarding making a combination Bath House, clinic and trade.

I confess I have no idea at this point what Broken Walls intends to do with a half concluded contract for Mead and a quarter boat load of fish. Or for that matter why we still own a cow. He’s mentioned setting up a trading company. Does he actually intend to keep trading in this minutia? How long does he intend the process of taking the city to take? Decades? I know he’s – we’re – virtually immortal but our time is worth more.

It was at this point when I was beginning to wonder what in Creation we are doing here the Harbour master mentioned that Guumari disease was prevalent in the area. My interest returned with a vengence and the witchlight of an idea took hold. Guumari when we saw him last was wielding a tetsubo which is more or less an iron studded cudgel. It is possible he and Mauk of the cudgel are simply similarly armed by coincidence. I don’t trust coincidences.

The Harbour master also mentioned that property ownership here seems to simply be a matter of who is most willing to employ the force required to keep it. I suppose that’s a good thing for us in the short term.

We went off to find Gi Kahii’s house and were pleasantly surprised to find it a large, multi-family co-op. We were invited to change our clothes which were drenched with rain for some of the family’s spares. I changed instead the clothes I was wearing. I will remain Pewter Spoon for the time being but his story has been too dull. At least I can make good on Broken Wall’s comments about “finding a merchant” to deal with the Mead brothers. String took notice of my change and we agreed to discuss matters after supper.

Supper was well off. These seem to be good people which means I don’t have much business being here. We learned a bit about the local state of affairs and asked a bit about Mauk and so on and so forth.

After supper I confessed to String that I wasn’t all I at first had claimed to be. I Introduced myself as envoy of the Togen family of Great Forks. It’s far enough off that it’s unlikely anyone knows them by anything but reputation. I told him that I had been saved from bandits by Aster and Broken Walls on the road but that I had been robbed of the better part of my belongings. Thus established he let me try a thimbleful of the special reserve mead they brought with them.

It is no ordinary alchohol. It promises to make them a fortune if they can find the right buyer. At the moment I can only offer them falsehoods of supposed connection to merchant houses as I doubt all of my companions combined have the money they need. I have some plans though that could kill three birds with one stone.

I have learned of a trading syndicate called “Rathouse” that serves as the only competing business with the Guild. Given what I’ve heard they keep their business afloat by sinking their competion and extorting others. I hope their physical location has promise because if I’m going to wipe them off the face of the map and take them for everything they are worth I’d like a it to be on a part of the map that I actually want.

Resplendant Wood 22 – Champoor

Communal living doesn’t suit me. I slept in a linen closet last night to avoid discovery and the possible late night amourous advances of String. I wish I could maintain my form when I sleep but no matter how I try it never works.

I want my own room.

Aster and Chaoxi went to the temple to provide some healing and gather information regarding the gods while Broken Walls and I went to check on the location of RatHouse.

I have been curious about Broken Wall’s past given his oddities so I asked him a bit about what he did before he took his Second Breath. I was surprised to learn he was born , as in essense all people born in Fortitude are, a prisoner and had run with one of the gangs when he was young. His descriptions of what the inside of the prison of his youth and the one the Dragon Bloods placed him sound like places I hope never to visit. I wonder if being born a prisoner made his ordeal more bearable than if he had been born free as I was.

I told him a little of my true history. It’s a story I’ve never told anyone before. There’s never been any need too. To tell it is to live it over again and to be seen as I never wish to be. For five years I have had no need for company. I do not get lonely. I do not need or want pity. I am not beholden to anyone.

There is… some appeal… in being understood. There is not so much difference between being a prisoner and being a slave.

After dealing with some incompetent pickpockets and an interlude with a vaguely unpleasant dealer of mealy apples we found Rathouse. The location is large enough for Aster and Broken Wall’s ambitions but the location isn’t great for a business being rather close to the sewer. The close proximity to said sewer could be useful for getting through the wall into the city proper which is conditionally handy (though I’ve always prefered to avoid such means) . We weren’t outside the house three minutes when a watcher from the shadows had his weapons trained on us and we were being greeted by a functionary from inside.

Broken Walls made a sound much like “Maaaw” which at first I thought was him trying to convey some sort of pre-arranged signal he forgot to discuss with me beforehand. When I understood he was pretending to be some sort of mute, simpleton bodyguard I was more stunned than anything. That he should hamstring himself so entirely in these dealings was surprising. He has so more potential than that. I went with it and introduced myself as a broker wanting to arrange to speak with someone regarding local opportunites. They said that we should bring some of our mead back for them to try and not to loiter in the area.

Afterwards Broken Walls conceeded that he had blanked when we were approached so abruptly. That he’s willing to let me take the fore on dealing with this says that he’s willing to trust me to deal with this properly.

I shall.

Broken Walls Journal 2
In which I made a cart.

Resplendent Wood 2, RY768, continued

The little girl is “Piper”, the noble is “Chijiiwa”.
I spoke with them and Aster Full of Light about the threat of the Wyld Hunt, and put forward a multi-step plan to take over Champoor in order to defend ourselves from that threat.

Chijiiwa and Piper are both Solars.

Destiny is at work here.

I took 5 minutes to build some fortifications, and we camped for the night.

Resplendent Wood 3, RY768

In the morning Piper looked like a different person. Somewhere around a foot taller? Different face, hair. Then she(?) changed to look exactly like Aster Full of Light. Disconcerting, but useful.
The actual Aster Full of Light says Piper has the Gumari disease, and begins treating it. She requests I build a bath, so I begin gathering stones as we travel. We camp near a river in the evening, and I use the stones and some clay from the river to build a bathhouse, heating the water with my breath. The others say it is beautiful.
Chaoxi raises the issue of crossing Kamthahar’s border.

Resplendent Wood 4, RY768
I leave the bathhouse for other travellers to use, but remove the fortifications. We approach the border, Piper applies some makeup to us, and we cross without too much difficulty.
Chijiiwa’s family are masters of the “White Reaper Style” martial arts, apparently.


Resplendent Wood 9, RY768

I made a cart.


Resplendent Wood 18, RY768

This evening we approached a somewhat dilapidated roadside temple. Inside were 2 brothers, travelling to Champoor to sell their families mead, anda travelling warrior heading to Champoor to sell her sword skills. I hired our protection to the brothers in exchange for 1/4 of their profits, and hired the swordswoman’s services in exchange for repairing her armour.
I discovered the temple was for an ancient, powerful god of all harvests, named “Karoski”, and we offered him a prayer.

I think once our new travelling companions are out of sight, I may double back and repair the temple.


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