As the tale of the Exalted Continues

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Broken Walls Journal 1
In which I jumped over a guy.

Resplendent Wood 2, RY768
The Book of Broken Walls

Chaoxi Kawa has told me I should record the events of my life. Knowing her love of books, I took this for the compliment that it is.
It feels incorrect to start in the middle, so I shall provide some history.
I was born and grew to manhood in Fortitude. I took my second breath there, also. There were circumstances. This was in the year RY612. I was ejected from Fortitude, and picked up by some monks, who delivered me to the Imperial Mountain, where I have been a guest until just under a year ago.
It was in my home in the mountain that I met Chaoxi Kawa, somewhere around 100 years ago.

It feels like a week ago, and it feels like one thousand years ago.

Chaoxi was assigned to study me, after the previous researcher had failed.

Five years ago, the world changed.
I felt it happen.

A little under a year ago, Chaoxi brought me my armour, Dauntless, and with his assistance we departed the mountain, and then the island. We have been travelling since.

Today, we arrived in the small city of Nimrun.
In the market, while Chaoxi shopped, I saw a lad steal a man’s purse. The boy seemed cocky, but poor. I made myself seem like a ripe mark for the boy, then when he came for my pouch (largely empty, Chaoxi provides our funds), I assumed the role of his superior, relieved him of the purse, awarded him 5 bronze shekels from the purse, and sent him on his way, then returned the purse. The man rewarded me with a silver dinar, very generous.

Shortly after, what I presumed to be an air-aspected Immaculate Monk jumped onto a platform, shouting about an Anathema in the temple, requesting assistance. Her shouts drew what appeared to be two rival factions into the square. I volunteered to help.
Chaoxi gave me that look.

We ran to the temple. There was a beautiful woman glowing with a golden-white aura
with a great, horrible ogre of a man wielding a massive tetsubo stalking toward her. Even from outside the temple, I could smell him. I summoned Dauntless to me and leaped over the creature, landing as Dauntless locked his defenses around me. The golden disc of my caste mark slammed into place as my final piece of armour. The beastly man attempted to claw at me, which rattled off of my armour, naturally.
Some young girl ran up and tripped him up with a pretty pink ribbon, of all things.
Chaoxi harried him back with a slash from each of her black daiklaves – her grace in battle continues to amaze me. I then knocked the sense out of him before some young armoured noble skidded his great blue jade spear off the creatures skull. Funny, I could have sworn the lad was unarmed. Of course, the creatures blood bubbled green.
The other Solar sang a frightening melody at the beast, the young girl choked him with her ribbon. But then the beast swore vengeance in the typical fashion and then faded from view. Its name is “Gumari”.
The other Solar is named “Aster Full of Light”, and Chaoxi and I left in her company, as well as the young girl, and the Noble from the Motome House of Kamthahar – I recognized his House symbol and colours. We exited town to the southeast as Aster Full of Light’s Anima dimmed, then circled North, towards Champoor.

Piper's Journal

3 Wood Resplendant – Nimrun

I felt it again when I woke up this morning. The ghostly itch I can’t scratch. I would have thought that after all these years the sensation would fade. True I don’t feel it as often since I started ridding the world of the undeserving but every now and then it catches me off guard.

Perhaps I haven’t been working hard enough?

My investigations which started from looking into a shady takeover of a fish wholesaler in the middle of nowhere just keeps offering up new surprises. Now my latest intel has brought me to the town of Nimrun. Not a bad place, bit of a backwater but the inn has hot baths and the desserts here are worth the trip. Fresh fruit isn’t as good in the city.

I had been casing this town for a few days now to get the lay of the land. I was a bit surprised to find that this time the victim was still alive. The Magistrate, a man by the name Frozen Grain, had fallen deathly ill and coughing himself bloodily to death in the temple while his brother, Falling Harvest, was setting himself up to succeed him. I suspected poison but I don’t have much experience in medicine nor have I patience for nursing the sick and elderly. I followed Falling Harvest to ascertain the whole of his plot. With Luck he might lead me to his conspirators.

I followed him through the back door of the town’s fanciest teahouse taking a bit of time to make myself up like one of the serving girls. I was one foot in the door when I was stopped by a hostess. I told her I was the new hire and she took me at face value and sent me over to the tea brewing station. Seeing my target wasn’t on the ground floor I picked up a tea tray and went upstairs where they keep the private rooms. Some girls on the stairs accepted me right off and warned me that the fellow inside was a customer to be wary off.

I put on a bit of a show of being nervous to buy me some time to listen in. At first I only heard a loud man who sounded like he was gargling marbles but when I focused a little harder I could pick out my mark talking. Seems loudmouth was trying to shake down my mark for cash.

I went in and saw one of the nastiest customers I’ve yet come across. My first impression was he must have rolled in rotten fish garbage before he came to the teahouse. The rest of him was about just as pleasant. Bloated, tattooed and with a big tetsubo leaned up against the wall. They ignored me as I served them tea and just continued on with their conversation. The big guy mentioned his name was Guumari and referred to other people as mortals.

I have no idea what he is only that he isn’t human. If I had to guess I’d say a God or maybe some sort of demon. It sounded like he was the cause of Frozen Grain’s illness somehow and that he was extorting the other brother. Maybe it was as simple as just demanding payment for his services but it sounded like Falling Harvest was going to have difficulty paying up and was nervous about what would happen when he had to.

Guumari disappeared right before our startled eyes after declaring that someone was trying to heal the Magistrate and Falling Harvest left abruptly to go finish off Frozen Grain at the temple. This sounded like bad news for the healer so I followed Falling Harvest to the temple.

Following them was easy for an unexpected reason, a mob was heading for the temple lead by what looked like a monk of the Immaculate faith. My first thoughts when I saw where we were heading was that the place was on fire. A second look showed me the source of the trouble.

Inside the temple was a young woman of about 16. She was wearing what seemed like a robe made of flames. A man was with her dressed like a well off warrior or officer sort and he was facing down Guumari threatening violence if he tried anything nasty. Pretty bold of him seeming as he was unarmed and Guumari had that big tetsubo.

I ducked behind the temple doors and started playing my flute trying to leverage this strange power I have to calm the crowd but I didn’t get far into my song before That idiot Guumari tried to attack the glowing woman.

A guy jumped over the crowd and appeared to don armor in midair and took the blow. He was followed by a female attendant. She looked like she knew how to handle herself. I pulled out my hair ribbon and ducked through the stunned crowd tying up Guumari’s feet and tripping him up. The warrior woman gave Guumari a decent slice with her sword and the guy who had defended the lady from the beginning summoned a lance out of thin air and slashed the aberration across the face. His blood was green, bubbling and smelt foul.

This next bit is hard to explain. The glowing lady sang at the fellow. I know what music can do but it wasn’t directed at me so I’m not precisely sure what it did. I can tell that it did something to Guumari. The look on his face told me he was scared out of his bloody mind. I snapped my ribbon around Gumari’s neck and gave it a nice smart tug. Guumari did the smart thing and dissolved into thin air but not before he spat at me. Here’s praying I get the chance to make him regret that.

We sort of introduced ourselves while the warrior lady calmed the crowd. The big fellow in armor who lept over the crowd is Broken Walls. I don’t doubt the name suits him. The Lady is Aster Full of Light.

Hmm. Apt.

The fellow in armor showed more sense about sounding off his name before so many witnesses but I can tell he’s more than he appears to be. Broken Walls called the others “Solars”. I’ve never heard of a “Solar” and am interested to learn more about these strange beings. I think I can put off my investigations for a while to get to know these people a little better. I’m simply too curious to let this opportunity pass.

Piper's Journal 2

Wood Resplendant 3 – Later that day

We made a loop outside of town and headed North towards Champoor. We had to keep our eyes peeled on the roads so we spoke little until we made camp that evening. At camp we introduced ourselves. The man I mentioned before who looks like some sort of junior officer is named Chijiwa. The woman with the swords is Chaoxi. They seem alright. They’ve got the look of warriors who know what they are doing. Chaoxi has a handy skill of being seemingly prepared to accommodate for every possible need of her companions. She even carried enough spare tents for all of us.

After introductions the lot of them tried to convince me it was a bad idea for me to follow them. It was a reasonable thing to do given I was still shaped as a 14 year old serving girl. Broken Walls however noted that I could obviously take care of myself given my take down of Guumari earlier. It is nice to know someone is paying attention.

Broken Walls and Chaoxi explained some useful finer points about being Anathema that was good to know. If I am to believe them then Anathema are chosen of the Unconquered Sun. It’s an explaination of sorts which is more than I have had to go on up until now. Not sure if I entirely believe it. By way of demonstrating that he knows what he’s talking about, Broken Walls showed Aster how to light up the mark on her forehead. Neither of theirs looks quite like mine but the effect is similar enough that I know I am amoungst kin of some sort. Chijiwa refused to try the same trick but Broken Walls and Chaoxi seemed to be willing to accept him regardless.

Broken Walls then set into telling us that the Wyld Hunt was coming for us and that there were two options : To run or to make a stand and dig in somewhere. He told us he wants to take over the city of Champoor and set up some sort of fortification there. The whole thing sounds a little ridiculous to me. The others seemed to agree that being on the run indefinately was undesirable but I just think they have the sense to realize they wouldn’t be any good at it.

If I were more fair I might admit that the idea of running forever isn’t terribly appealing to me even though I know I could pull it off. Still, Broken Walls might as well set a rock on the sea shore and watch the Immaculate Ocean wear it away! Seiging a port city is difficult, not impossible and the Immaculate Faith has no limit to the soldiers they can field and the amount of diplomatic power they can wield to freeze out the city from trade.

The little speech did inspire me to come up with my own solution. The houses that supply the wyld hunt are in disarray. With a little push here and there to set them against each other could make them weak enough to take them down. Rot the ties between the houses and it is conceivable that a decisive blow could finish them off.

It’s ambitious. I admit that. It sounds dangerous and I am nowhere near ready to take on a task of that magnitude alone. To do what I intend I will need three things : money, allies and a place to start. Champoor is a pit. Everything I’ve heard about it tells me it is rotten to it’s core. If I have what it takes to take on the Wyld Hunt at it’s source then taking a single city shouldn’t be impossible. I will help Broken Walls place his rock on the seashore but nothing says I have to drown with him on it.

With the others willing enough to go on with Broken Wall’s plan they turned to me again to suss out why I was willing to follow them and how I could be of use. I think they suspected me of being some sort of spy which is fair enough. I could have told them a lie but there didn’t seem much point of going through the effort. If I am going to help these people then a little trust is necessary. I tried the trick Broken Walls taught Aster earlier and lit up the symbol on my forehead. The look of surprise on their faces was worth it.

There was some talk about fate and Broken Walls resolved that we were a proper group. He revealed that Chaoxi is a Water aspect Dragonblood which was a surprise. She seems like a nice enough person otherwise so I’m willing to give her a chance. We decided to go to sleep for the night after that. Broken Walls, Chaoxi and Chijiwa all went directly to bed but I stayed up for awhile to play the Radius. Aster butted in and asked me to teach her the words to the song which I sung for her. After one rendition she had it perfectly.

She is talented but then, if she is like me, maybe it’s to be expected.

Wood Resplendent 4 – On the Road to Champoor

I was awoken this morning by Broken Walls shouting my name and shining light from his mark in my face. I am not fond of people seeing me in my morning form but I am a heavy sleeper and slow to wake and this morning particularly I felt like there were lead weights sewn into in my clothes.

Okay well, there ARE lead weights in my clothes but I’m used to those. What I mean to say is this morning I was groggier than usual and a little achy.

Broken Walls demanded I light up the mark on my forehead which I did and thankfully he backed off. The others looked at me like I had grown antlers which is when I remembered that I never told them about my more peculiar skills. I transformed into the form I had used yesterday while they watched. This handily served as an explaination. Chijiwa and Chaoxi reacted as one might expect and looked surprised and alarmed. Aster’s reaction surprised me. She seemed delighted. She asked if I could turn into someone specific and asked if I could turn into her. I couldn’t resist trying. It made her rather shy seeing herself from the outside. I know most people find it disconcerting. Broken Walls asked me what happened to my bones when I change size and I replied that I prefer not to think about it… which is true. When my skull shrinks in size it tends to make a sound like a handful of sewing needles snapping. It hurts but not enough to stop me doing it. Broken Walls simply took my comment in stride and told me the skill was sure to come in handy. The man makes understatement an art form.

I reformed into the teashop girl and we were breaking camp when the cough started. Broken Walls and Aster were immediately concerned. Broken Walls mentioned the night before that he’s been alive for over a hundred years and since he took his “second breath” he has never gotten sick. Aster seems to have some healing skills and examined me for a little while before pronouncing that I had Guumari’s disease. When I find that bloated slimeball again he will die painfully and embarassingly. She told me that I would need to take a medicated bath that night which sounded like a fine idea.

By the time we made camp tonight I felt vile. Broken Walls went off and made a bath for me. I expected nothing better than a clay lined pit but he created an entire bath house complete with wall murals. The bath was a godsend. When I had finished however I noted that brown sludge had leaked from my pores to taint the water of the bath a foul brown. It smelled like that greaseball god and when I picked up my clothes I noticed I could smell it on them as well. I went to the river and washed them wearing a robe Chaoxi lent me. She really does seem to have packed everything.

I made sure I thanked Aster Full of Light for helping me. She is an interesting person. She seems willing to accept me as I am and I am beginning to believe that her kindness isn’t just some sort of act. She wanted to know more about my work and I told her about some of the more benign things I do. I don’t know if she would be so willing to accept me if she knew everything I do. Come to think of it I don’t think any of them would. Broken Walls and Chaoxi seem pragmatic enough but warrior sorts like them tend to frown on people who would rather take their enemies out while they sleep.

Resplendent Wood 5 – the Road to Champoor

Last night we mulled over a couple of options for getting past the border patrols. Broken Walls wanted to get past the river by building a bridge. His solution to any problem appears to be “build something”. I pointed out that that is something people would most likely notice and decided to experiment to see how well they could play.

I tried to disguise Aster first by using an old trick of frothing soap and wine to create a fake skin. I was putting a bit of oil in her hair to make it look stringier when all of a sudden the stuff just started to slide off her skin and hair like water off a duck. To add to the conundrum Aster is unused to going in disguise and refuses to lie even under life threatening circumstances. I sincerely hope she reconsiders that stance in the future.

Chijiwa, Chaoxi and Broken Walls were next. Thankfully they didn’t suffer from whatever bizzare condition effects Aster and the disguises stuck. Aster took her veil off and fashioned it into the sort of head covering they require of females in parts of the south. She has the potential to be good at this if she were more flexible about what she considers the truth. I made myself up to look like a young lord and climbed aboard the most impressive of our two horses. I’ve never liked riding but selling the disguise sometimes requires a little discomfort on my part.

I arrived at the boarder with my “guards” and let Broken Walls speak for me. It would have looked a little odd if I had addressed the guards directly and I needed to see how well Broken Walls can pull off an alias. He’s not bad. Not great but there’s time. He had informed the boarder guard that we were “Merchanting” and the guard seemed to be unimpressed. Not surprisingly, we weren’t well equipped to be merchants. He went to me to confirm the story and I fed him a haughty tale that I was going to Champoor to select a gift to impress a perspective bride. “Merchanting” does have two meanings after all. Broken Walls apologized saying he was just the hired help and they let us through. A good first attempt.

Resplendent Wood 9 – The Road

I have done my fair share of travelling since the incident at Great Forks but never have I travelled so comfortably. It seems to make some difference not having to be as guarded about being discovered every morning or losing sleep from every bump in the night when travelling alone. Chaoxi and Broken Walls supply us with everything we need. The food is rough but good. Aster accompanies me when I play Radius and she doesn’t pry too much into uncomfortable subjects.

I realize that she is a problem. She is kind and gentle and I have told her more about myself then I have told anyone in the past five years. Lying to her seems… wrong. From a practical standpoint I know shouldn’t become too attached. For what I intend to do I mustn’t have weaknesses for my enemies to exploit. Troublingly I don’t think I can find it within myself to exploit her for my own gain. I value her opinion of me. That is the worst of it. I know I will disappoint her eventually and that disappointment will hurt. I must accept that as the price for her company now.

Chijiwa told us a bit about his family. His ancestor founded the White Reaper Style and he is the successor of it. He seems proud of his lineage but he is hessitant to tell much about himself directly. I sense he’s dealing with something he doesn’t want to talk about. Until he coughs up whatever it is that bothers him I see no reason to disturb him.

Broken Walls and Chaoxi told us a bit of their story. Broken Walls came from Fortitude in the north. Given his discription I intend to never visit. After he “took his second breath” he wandered into the wastes and was scooped up by the Hunt and ended up in the Imperial Mountain for 100 years where he met Chaoxi. I can’t imagine getting stuck in a Mountain for that long. I would have gone insane. Perhaps he did- that would explain a lot.

They seem like good people. They also seem like very capable people. I don’t know how interested they would be in joining me in my scheme once they have built their tomb in Champoor but I hope they will for their sake. Best case senario their plan is successful, we make a ton of money and they can hold the city for awhile and take a lot of enemies with them. Either way the place needs cleaning out.

Resplendant Wood ? – A Temple

We have stopped for the night in a Temple. With us are two brothers Knot and String who are brewers on their way to negotiate a business venture on the way to Champoor. There is a mercenary as well – Seventh Dawn. She looks capable though when she claims she’s a martial artist I don’t believe her. She’s a warrior for certain but beside claiming to have had some White Reaper style demonstrated for her she’s been evasive. Broken Walls has negotiated a contract with her to join us on the road until we reach the city.

We paid our respects to the God of the temple before getting ready to sleep for the night. I am not sure I like these newcomers. I will need to be cautious again about my habits so they do not discover more than is healthy for them to know.

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.

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 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.

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

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

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.


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