BY INVITATION ONLY The Dragons' Run - Act 1

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Chaka

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Serea's eyes open. The irises are glowing faintly, but her expression doesn't change.

"I remember you, Banoron. And your Grey friend, there. The Caerdath, too. I see you've picked up some lackeys." She appraises Wei and Maatre for a second, snorts derisively and looks back at Abyss.

"You took me down, but I won. My father escaped, though really I should have seen his betrayal coming. It's all Daejon knows. So I accept that defeat, and that I am a prisoner of war or a hostage, for now. But you stole from me."

Her voice hasn't raised, nor has she changed position, but small curls of smoke begin to rise from the tatami mat she's meditating on.

"We live a long time, Serpent. And I won't be a prisoner forever. We'll face each other again, and next time I won't be fighting to delay."

The tatami is definitely smouldering, the mat beginning to blacken in outline around her.

"But for now, I'm Lesanda's prisoner. And I've no doubt you want information about my stepfather and his pathetic, amateurish scheming. Fortunately for you I've absolutely no interest in protecting him or his secrets. Ask, and I'll answer if I can."
 

Hair

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Abyss' Black Reach

Abyss snorts at the Fire Aspect's threats, then stands and moves behind the monk, looming.
 
Yvara

Oh, good. Hatred.

Yvara steps forward, her face unsmiling but gentle. When she speaks, it is in High Realm, but she deliberately allows a slight Helige accent to slip in.

“As you have said, Seréa, our kind live long. It is not impossible that you will see your mother’s swords again. For now, know that they have been vaulted and are safe.”

She sits before Seréa, in the same lotus posture, and exhales slowly.

“Tell me of Peleps Daejon, and of Seréa. How you came here with him. How he contacted the Lintha. What he promised them. What he thought to gain. Speak truly to me, and I will offer to you the apology which I have been carrying for three days.”

There is a barely perceptible pause on ‘your mother’s swords’, and Yvara lets the words ‘mother’, ‘Daejon’, and ‘Seréa’ hover in the air for a moment. She is sitting in the pose of a student of the Grey dojo, and appears infinitely patient. Let Ceréa wonder for a moment what apology Yvara feels she is owed.

Tell me of your pain, your hatred, your rage. I want to hear it just as much as I want to hear Daejon’s plan. More, in truth.


[Read Intentions, base 10 dice due to Attribute 4, Skill 5, and a Specialty. Spending 4m Peripheral for two successes on the Socialise Excellency, and 4m Personal on Loyalty Reading Meditation, which penalises her Guile by the strength of her Intimacies. Two Stunt dice and one success for layering social triggers.]

25208123-1CC4-4A07-B25A-A8C7DA360BE9.jpeg

Total 10 successes, plus the effects of Loyalty Reading Meditation.
 
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Chaka

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FuzzMonster FuzzMonster

To say Seréa wears her heart on her sleeve is an understatement - at this moment in time her heart is torn out and held up for all the world to see, bruised and unbeaten. Her emotions wash over you like the blast of heat from opening an oven door. She loves and hates in extremes, and for a moment you think the only thing keeping her upright is the tension between them. Only absolute, iron self-control is stopping her from tearing herself, or everyone in the room, apart. You've never seen anything like it.

Yvara learns the following Intimacies about Seréa. She has a Defining Principle of "I Have No Identity, and No Home, and I need neither." She has a Major Tie of loyalty to Peleps Daejon and a Major Tie of hatred to... Peleps Daejon. She also has a Major Tie of reverence to "Mother", a Minor Tie of hatred to "Mother", and a Major Principle "My Mother's swords are my last link to her, and they are my life." You can't get a read on her actual goals, just how she feels about her family and herself. And it's a mess.

FuzzMonster FuzzMonster Hair Hair Ragoza Ragoza Sarky Sarky Sideris Sideris

If Seréa takes notice of Yvara reading her, she pays no attention. She continues to passively sit and meditate, eyes once again closed. Only the tatami mat turning to ash beneath her suggests anything might be wrong. "I came with him as a bodyguard. He didn't trust Lesanda, expected trouble. Or so he told me. Daejon has been lying for human lifetimes, and he sees his own betrayal in everyone. As for the... Lintha..." (small flames sprout up on the tatami mat) "I didn't know the extent of his true plan until mere hours before it happened. That Lesanda had rejected his overtures of alliance against Clan Caerdath and their V'Neef bedfellows and spurned him, holding loyalty to her people as a whole over her personal vendetta against Caerdath Ifina. Daejon is not a man used to being denied." She grimaces.

"He paid the Lintha to attempt an assassination of Sorelt Fel and his daughter, rather than Lesanda directly. If Banoron would not join him, he would undermine her influence by having Lintha kill those under her protection, sow dissent among those vassal clans who could be swayed, and shatter Banoron influence in Lastland. Your sway over the mortal populace is so much less... pronounced, then the way the Realm does things. Easily broken, he thought." She smiles suddenly. "Of course, Lesanda didn't tell him you three would be there. and four Exalted were not a contingency he planned for. Naturally he didn't warn the Lintha. He left them to die, too. Not that I care about that very much."

She shakes her head. "The plan was... distasteful. Lintha are demon-tainted abominations. But I am sworn to serve, and I keep my promises."
 
Yvara

“I understand.”

And she does. To have made ill advised promises while young is a terrible thing to do to oneself.

“I saw your face before the fight began. You wanted someone, anyone, to prevent it. I failed. I am sorry, Seréa.”

She offers a sad smile.

“It is here that my interests differ from those of the Banoron. They would have me ask, who among the Peleps would approve or disapprove of Daejon’s actions? Who would seek peace?”

Yvara slips back into Wavetongue and speaks softly.

“This is what I, Yvara of the Grey, ask. Your mother’s swords rest secure in a vault of the dojo. Tell me of her. Tell me of the woman who held those blades, because I think that to know you, I must see the shadow of her.”
 

Chaka

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Seréa's face softens, momentarily, at the apology. Then it's gone, the mention of her mother hardening her expression. A few candles over by the bedroll spontaneously ignite.

"I'm afraid you've overestimated your importance. Lastland is a curiosity on the Western ocean, a potential launching pad for invasions into The Caul. That is a prize worth having. Lastland is full of strange Dragon-Blooded who live in weird harmony with mortals, bother Wavecrest, and somehow got the Empress to overlook the fact that they all worship Anathema. It's thought of with... contempt, if it's thought of at all. No-one in House Peleps will save you because no-one cares what Daejon does out here, and even if they did surely you must have heard there's a civil war coming."

Seréa smiles wryly. "Of course, allowing V'Neef a stronghold so close to The Caul is unthinkable, so I imagine you'll all get torn apart in a proxy war sooner or later."

She rises to her feet in a single smooth motion. If her wounds are slowing her down she doesn't show it.

"As for my mother," she snarls, turning away and walking towards the far wall, "she was a powerful, vigorous woman, an expert martial artist, and you couldn't help but love her. Everyone loved her. Even Daejon, and he only ever loved himself. She took me away from a world that rejected us, and she carved a place for us in the Realm like the ocean carving a cliff. She was the consummate child of Dana'ad."

She punches the wall. Stone cracks, audibly.

"She drowned in a shipwreck. Any more questions?"

She doesn't turn back to face you.
 
Yvara

She rises and joins Seréa at the wall, standing behind her, to her left.

"Yes. I have many questions, and more with each word you speak. You're a mystery, Seréa, a beautiful box sealed shut with pain."


She must know how much that sounds like blatant bullshit. Has she incorporated the lies into her own understanding of herself? Does she rage against them? Is she admitting that her mother was of the Grey?

[Read Intentions, I want to know what lies behind that frankly bizarre statement of hers, about her Water Aspected mother drowning in a shipwreck. Assassinated? Fled and abandoned her? Base pool 10, spending 2m peripheral for an autosuccess.
rolled 6

7 successes.



Also rolling Lore to see if Yvara can identify her mother, spending a point of Willpower just in case: Result of 4 rolled successes
5 successes, barely.]
 
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Sideris

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Maatre

“She’s not wrong, you know. Peleps, along with the other Houses, could give a damn. They see resources to exploit, populations to press into fighting shape, real or imagined heresies to stamp out.” Maatre says, staring at the Dragon’s tense back. “Everything exists to serve the empire’s purpose, nothing more.”
 

Sarky

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Jensa:

"Treating people as things. That is always where it goes wrong."
 

Sideris

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Maatre

“Hate it for the fundamental horror that it is, but few have been able to truly gainsay it save the past few decades.”
 
Yvara

She murmurs, a gentle and soft call, as if to a wounded animal.

"The clan never knew what became of Morvan. I'm sorry. More than anything, I find that I want her daughter to be alright. Oh, brave sailor, the clan did wrong by you."

And not for one moment do I believe that she died in a shipwreck.

"Seréa, please. I know this hurts, and my heart aches for what you have gone through."

[Gonna make a Presence roll, using Cha plus Presence, and burning in 5 Personal motes to bring it up to 10 dice, also spending a point of Willpower for an auto. What I'm doing here is leveraging her mother's name, to bring in her Major tie of reverence, and forging between that and the Minor tie of hatred to make a place for the following Intimacy: "Yvara Might Just Understand Me".

https://rolz.org/embed?X36897350

Alas, only three successes. ]
 
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Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
Wei Lwynn

"Just cos the Realm hasn't fallen yet doesn't mean it's right, or that it really works."

Wei is doing expert job of lounging against the wall, the foot of his bow idly resting on the ground. Relaxed and calm, right up until the monk snaps or that shark-toothed weirdo loses her patience. He's not visibly upset at Serea's revelations, but deep down he's aching for her.
 

Chaka

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"DON'T PATRONISE ME, YVARA!'

She rounds on Yvara, the bandages on her torso bursting into blue-white flames.

"You don't say her name to me like you have a right! You filthy heretics drove her away! She had to go to The Realm to be at peace! She... I..."

She sways on her feet, the bandages falling away in ashes. Her body is one giant bruise, and one or two of those ribs aren't healed. She staggers.

"Get out. Get out. Getoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetout."

She slumps to her knees. The candles and torches in the room gutter out.

"Leave me alone."
 
Yvara

Yvara is not shaken, but for a moment disappointed at her failure to reach Seréa...until she considers.

She's more vulnerable even than I thought. In time, she will reach out.

Before saying even a word more, she pauses and lets the pain in her heart throb and subside.

I'm so sorry, Seréa.


"I'll respect your wishes and leave you be. Should you wish to speak, about anything at all, I will come. I promise."

Yvara motions to the others.

I think she needs some time.

[The part where she reconsidered was the following Read Intentions roll, with 2m Peripheral spent on an autosuccess. 5 total successes.
Roll of 4 successes]
 
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Chaka

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Outside the cell, Lesanda is still leaning against the wall.

"Sounds like that went well. Still, you'll plenty of opportunity to talk to her on Helige. Maybe next time she won't do any structural damage."
 

Sarky

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Jensa:

"I wouldn't bet on it. All Yvara did was mention her mother, a Lastlander forced to leave an t-Oileánra. She has... ahem, Mixed Feelings, regarding her dual heritage. And I'm not sure even she believes the story that a 'consummate child of Danaa'd' as she called her would simply drown in a shipwreck. The good news is that she hates her father about as much as any of us. As you said, she's an odd one. And our people somehow had a hand in making her so?"
 

Chaka

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Lesanda stops in her tracks. "Who did she say her mother was?"
 
Yvara

Quick as a flash, Yvara steps to Lesanda's side, and leans in towards the older woman's ear.

Speaking as softly as she can, she informs the elder Banoron.

"Morvan. A...heretic amongst the Grey. Before my time, but I intend to go back and kick some doors and demand answers. Seréa loves her mother, and hates her mother, and lives in the shadow of her mother. She hates herself, she hates Peleps Daejon, she hates the Realm, she hates Lastland, she hates me. She hates and hates and continually builds herself out of hatred even as it consumes her. She appears to genuinely believe that her mother, a powerful Water Aspect, drowned. Drowned, for fuck's sake. She believes it and cannot question it, it's a linchpin holding part of her madness together. Sooner or later she must be confronted with the truth, but to do so right now, here, in this manner, would destroy her."

She looks Lesanda in the eye.

"Among the crimes of Peleps Daejon, high on the list lies his abuse of her. I didn't hate him until today. Lesanda, I don't think she's ready to return to Helige."
 

Chaka

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Lesanda piches the bridge of her nose, eyes closed like she has a headache.

"I remember Morvan, though I only met her a few times. The Heresiarch's daughter. I don't know all the details, but she broke his heart. Fled in the night and took her baby girl with her. He was devastated to lose his daughter and his granddaughter. I knew they had some kind of falling out, but I never knew why."

She sighs. "I've known Goren for all my 200 years, and he was a century old when I was born. I don't believe he drove his child away. Something happened, doubtless, but I don't think Seréa knows the full truth, and neither do I. She'll have the opportunity to ask him, though."

Lesanda returns Yvara's gaze. "Ready or not, the Tribunal will speak to Seréa, and the Tribunal is convening on Helige. She comes with us."
 

Hair

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Abyss' Black Reach

Abyss pauses in the door and looks back at Seréa. "If you take your promises so seriously, you should maybe consider them more carefully. This was the best case scenario for you. See you on Helige, no doubt."

She gives a wave, ice tinkling to the floor from Depth's Chill, and with a wink she's out the door and following the others, her features melting back to their usual appearance.