BY INVITATION ONLY The Dragons' Run - Act 1

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Sideris

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Maatre

"I'm excellent with languages and I can hit things rather hard when push comes to shove. I was a house-servant to Great House Peleps for most of my life; born into servitude until I finally made my escape. Translation work for patricians and Dynasts of the Houses who couldn't be bothered to learn a language. Ever since I've been drifting on the ocean current and working on what you Westerners call 'a tan.'"
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
Wei Lwyn

"And having mastered my craft as a handsome drunken layabout with a talent for archery and trouble making, I have taken Maatre on as an apprentice. He's coming along nicely."

Wei leans in close, lowering his voice and cupping his wine between two hands.

"So tell me about this war."
 
Yvara

Yvara’s smile fades away.

“The Peleps have done something foolish. Peleps Daejon attempted to intimidate the Banoron, and may or may not have quietly invited an entire ship of Lintha raiders into Clan waters.”

She looks to Maatre and seamlessly switches to High Realm.

“If you have knowledge of the workings of House Peleps, I might appreciate a word on that noble subject, from a former subject, of such former nobility.”

Back to Wavetongue, and Yvara glowers at Wei.

“For you, this brings the threat of something long dreaded and now arrived: Steady employment. I am considering deputising you, and getting your help in arresting the House Peleps navy.”
 

Sideris

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Maatre

"I know the name," He says in High Realm. "To be perfectly fair...this place isn't too high on the Imperial lists of prestigious, posh posts. This Daejon would most likely be doing what any Dynast would--raging against the end of their career and making their own moves in a backwater. No offense." He shrugs, thinking back to his days under Peleps rule. Sighing, he switches to Dragontongue. "They liked me so much more when I wasn't glowing."
 

Chaka

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Outside somewhere a bell peals the hour. It's time.
 
Yvara

Well then. Let’s go have a word.

Yvara rises from the table and unfolds the leather scroll of her official seal.

“Wei Lwyn, I formally offer you the position of my bailiff. It comes with a stipend, the authority to enforce warrants, and I’ll design some natty livery for you, with tight pants.”

To the meeting!
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
Wei Lwyn

Oh sweet, merciful ancestors. Work. Still, it's not like Wei has two obols to rub together at this point in his career. A few weeks of pirate-hunting with Yvara wouldn't be the worst thing, all misgivings about tangling with the Realm aside.
He makes a great show of kneeling, holding his cup out to Yvara.
"Magistrate Yvara, it is my great honour and grim duty, with Maatre as my witness, to formally accept your tight pants."
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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Jensa:

On hearing the bell, Jensa's smile faded, but she did not stop playing until the tune was done. Respect for the arts was important, after all. Their set concluded, she winked at the musician. "Deepest apologies darling but play time is over, a Serpent's work is never done. You know where to find me if you want to try another duet."

She bowed to whatever applause there was, paid for her food and drink, and stopped to observe the solemn ceremony of Yvara deputising some strangers who really did not look all that much like magistrate material, all things considered.

"The tight pants are to weed out Realm spies," she quipped. "They are so obsessed with dynasties they fear to constrict their, ahem, passions."
 

Chaka

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Hair Hair Sarky Sarky Ragoza Ragoza Sideris Sideris FuzzMonster FuzzMonster

As the four Exalts leave Smiley's and head over to the Great Hearth, they are greeted at the gate by a tall, slender young man with brown skin and hair the colour of grass. He inclines his head respectfully as you approach; if the addition of Wei Lwyn and Maatre to the expected party has surprised him he doesn't show it. He is dressed in fine, elegant clothes in a traditional Lastlander style, though the materials look imported. "Calm seas, my friends. I am Banoron Selt, Lesanda's son. I've been asked to greet you here and bring you to see Mother by the Hearthfire."

He nods to the guards who open the compound gates, and you are escorted inside. Selt walks ahead of you, chatting amiably about nothing in particular, as he leads you inside. Inside the Great Hearth, the building is a maze of corridors and rooms, bustling with activity. A number of the people you pass are clearly Dragon-Blooded, though most are mortal clan members or hired servants. One, a striking young woman with amber eyes, almost bowls Wei over while carrying a pile of fresh laundry, and apologises profusely before running off, Selt watching her go in annoyance. "Apologies, my friend. You just can't get the help, you know?" He is still lamenting the total inadequacy of the new hires on the waiting staff when he leads you into the centre of the building.

Unlike the Sorelt Hearth on Seppish, the Great Banoron Hearth is open to the sky - a five-story circular room with an open roof, with the higher floors all having open viewing mezzanines overlooking the Hearthfire all around - though no-one is on them and you can't see any doors that would grant access. The hardwood floor that makes up much of the rest of the building gives way to cold, rough paving stones that are arranged in an eye-catching spiral pattern. Abyss' Black Reach is here, leaning against a wall near the door and reading a Shogunate-era book on small-unit tactics. Otherwise the Hearth itself seems unusually clear, a large bonfire burning smokelessly in the centre of the room on a raised stone dais. The dais and walls are intricately carved with images of the Sundering, showing the Ríastrad of Bann and her facing down dozens of traitor Gentes, a pile of corpses around her feet. Selt withdraws, waving a friendly goodbye as he leaves you alone with The Banoron. The sunlight streams down through the opening in the roof oddly, rippling on the walls and floor and giving a slight sense of being underwater.

Lesanda barefoot and simply-dressed as ever. She is facing away from you, staring into the crackling flames. You can't see her face, but her stance is pensive.

"Afternoon, girls. I see you've made some new friends, Yvara. Do you trust them?"
 
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Hair

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Abyss' Black Reach

The rough sharkskin on the palm of Abyss' gauntlet scrapes across the cover of the treaties as she snaps it closed, straightening off the wall. She gives Jensa and Yvara the hint of a smile and respectful nods, before settling her cool gaze on the strangers.
 
Yvara

Well, here we go.

Striding into the magnificent chamber, Yvara spreads the smile that is her spirit and strength. To cold stone and brooding violence, she offers joy, with no hint of hesitation or reservation. Let five stories of mezzanine see her and her companions. Justice and compassion have arrived, yoked in the same harness.

"Banoron Lesanda, gracious murder mother, may I present Wei Lwyn and Maatre. Wei Lwyn is Exalted of Sextes Jylis. In that philosophy which says that one should set a thief to catch a thief, I have taken a troublemaker as my bailiff. His heart is strong, and beats to the drumbeat of the poor and the downtrodden on the march. I trust him with the souls and lifeblood of the mortals of these isles, but probably not with my wallet nor the key to my bedchamber."

She continues her graceful twirl, black silk playing around her as she sweeps and indicates Maatre.

"This man has left the service of the Peleps, a high ranked servant in their House, talented with tongue and quill. He has survived traveling in the company of that bounder Wei Lwyn, and thus is worthy of some small measure of respect. He may yet be able to offer some knowledge regarding the Peleps. I trust him to pour the wine, rescue the brandy, and tell a truly fine tale. We must see what intelligence he may yet provide. I must say, that he is a companion of Wei's counts for much in my mind."

She strides forward and stands at Lesanda's shoulder.

"Finally, both of these men are fine drinking companions. No small matter, that."
 
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Chaka

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At Yvara's side, Lesanda smiles absently, still lost in the flames. "Taverns and battlefields forge strong friendships. Don't be so formal, Yvara. We've fought together, after all." She drains a goblet in her hand of deep red wine, before turning and facing the others, arms folded. "Well, boys? Cat got your tongues?"
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
Wei Lwyn

Wei takes a moment to snap back and realize he's being addressed, so engrossed was he in Yvara's performance. Once his jaw has reattached itself he he strides into the room, not even pausing as he pulls Spring's Last Whisper from the leaves of a potted plant just inside the door with a flourish, 6 feet of green jade sliding effortlessly from the leaves of a waist high fern. Bow in hand he takes a knee before Lesanda, his free hand over his heart.

"Banoran Lesanda, as Yvara's pet rogue it would be my honour to serve you and the people of these isles. I solemnly swear upon my bow and upon my honour as a drunken layabout that I will do everything in my power to protect you and yours, even pausing in my quest for the key to Yvara's bedchambers that I may better serve.

Rolling Charisma and performance to instill an intimacy of "That dashing rogue Wei Lwyn" in Lesanda and her staff.
https://rolz.org/embed?X36762462
7 successes, charming as fuck. Also ending commitment to Elemental Shath for dramatic effect.
 

Chaka

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Lesanda stares at you for a moment like you have two heads before throwing her head back and laughing, convulsions of sheer amusement. "Your honour as a drunk, indeed! And I'll hold you to it, Wei Lwyn. A name I've heard before. I thought you'd be taller." She giggles softly to herself, a moment of disarming humanity. "Alright, enough. Yvara vouches for you and she has right of deputisation as a Magistrate. I'll trust her judgement."

Her face grows serious. "The monk, Seréa. She is awake, today. Still weak, but we heal fast. I'd like you to interrogate her, see what you can find out. She's... she's an odd one."
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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Jensa:

Jensa bowed politely to Lesanda, fairly certain she'd know without looking. These new guests were intriguing enough to warrant an amused smile. She may want to be careful around them. Anyone who could make Lesanda howl with laughter was worthy of caution, to be honest.

"I gathered from impounding the Realm ship on Seppish that she is Daejon's daughter. I believed myself incapable of thinking less of the man before he left her to cover his escape. The good captain here almost killed her," she nodded to Abyss. "I would be happy to talk with her. Given her current situation, I imagine she could do with a friend. Or at least someone with the appearance of a friend."

"I take it when you say she is odd, you mean odd on top of Realm airs and notions? How so?"
 

Chaka

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Lesanda shakes her head. "That's just it - she doesn't have any Realm airs, or at least if she does she keeps it hidden. Her High Realm is slightly accented but she speaks Seatongue like a native. She denies it but she has a link to An t-Oileánra, I'm sure of it. It could just be that she was born and raised on Sark but, she looks familiar somehow. That's not all though."

She considers what to say next. "She's Fire-Aspected, so a little temper is to be expected, but there's a rage in her. She's angry right down to her bones, and I don't think it's just because of her present circumstances. I want Cylin there when you question her, to see if it puts her off balance. She's calm and she's polite, but looking her in the eyes is like staring into the heart of a forge."

She turns away again, staring back into the flames. "The Tribunal's convening on Helige to discuss these matters. The others have demanded the prisoner be brought to Helige to speak. This'll be my... our only chance to speak with her before then. We leave on the evening tide.

Yvara, Jensa, Cylin. You have proved yourselves so far, and I trust your judgement in bringing these newcomers into this. You can't let me down."

The threat is implicit in the compliment.

"Any questions?"
 
Yvara

The magistrate speaks up.

"Lesanda...I have a suspicion in that regard. I've been harbouring it for a couple of days now. I'll let you know whether my hunch was correct after I speak to her."

She looks the old woman in the eye.

"Call me soft if you will, but I'll take it, and call myself as soft as the surf. I want this poor fool to live."
 

Chaka

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Lesanda laughs. "Do you think I'm on opium? No-one's going to execute the daughter of a Peleps dignitary, no matter what he did to trigger a casus belli. We're not idiots, child."
 

Chaka

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The conversation over, Lesanda gestures you to follow her and leads you through an exit opposite the way you all came in. She leads you through labyrinthine passages and corridors to a plain, unassuming wooden door at the end of a side hall. She pushes and it swings silently, revealing carved stone steps going down.

The steps bring you down to another network of corridors, these ones roughly carved stone and clearly as old as the original structure above. Lit with torches, she guides you unerringly to another, considerably more impressive door - it looks to carved from the living rock and banded with thick iron. Two women are standing guard outside, the touch of Dana'ad clear in their bluish skintones and dark, inky hair. They come to attention as Lesanda approaches. They are too alike to be anything but sisters.

"Leera, Garane, you're relieved for now. Take a break. I'll watch for a spell." The two Dragon-Blooded exchange glances but neither question the Hearthmother. Bowing deeply, they go without a word.

Lesanda touches the door and concentrates for a moment, a ripple of Essence pulsing across the stone. The lock clicks audibly. She leans against the cold stone wall beside the door casually, arms folded. "You're up. No hitting."

As though on cue, the door swings ponderously open. Inside is a large chamber, Spartan in its decoration but not uncomfortable. There is a bedroll against one wall, neatly rolled up and put away. Beside it are some books, neatly piled, and a carafe of water. In the centre of the room Seréa is meditating. Her hair has grown in to a dark, reddish stubble, and the bruises on her face have faded. She is stripped to the waist, her chest bound from collarbone to navel in bandages. She sits in the lotus position, eyes closed. She doesn't react or open her eyes when you come in, but when she speaks her voice is low and melodious, and absolutely calm.

"Where are my mother's swords?"

The door swings closed behind you.
 

Hair

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Abyss' Black Reach

Abyss sneers as Wei Lwyn proclaims undying loyalty to her Hearthmother. Another flowery fop come to plague her affairs.

As they make their way down to the gaol Abyss prepares herself for her task. The shadows seem pool around her, settling in the recesses of her features in ways contrary to nature. When Lesanda opens the door an aura of dear envelopes Abyss as she strides into the cell.

Upon hearing the monk's question Abyss' face contorts into a rictus grin, revealing a maw of jagged, shark-like teeth. She crouches in front of Saréa, and puffs a grave-gust breath into her face.

"Your swords were seized by the state, in response to aggression against her citizens." Fog pools around Abyss' feet from the rimed gauntlets resting on her tighs. "They will now defend the isles, rather than abet those who would harm them. I suppose you'll be happy to know that your father hasn't choked on his own balls yet, so your task is complete in spite of your humiliation."

[Activating Dragon Mariner Attitude, Menacing facet, granting Abyss the Hideous Merit and an automatic success on Intimidate rolls for the scene. I'll then roll Manipulation + Presence (?) as an instill action to induce rage]