Angels and Demons

Skytech Labs and Research
You all meet in the engine room.

The Oculus. A powerful artifact, capable of projecting and locating any being in Existence.

  • Team Wanderers (Jak & Taylor) discovered its existence through the occult scrying of one of Taylor’s monastery brothers, Thomas.
  • Team Wu-Jian (Leo & Mnarset) were told, rather simply, by Sans: “I want you guys to have it”.

Each pair arrived separately, via sorcerous teleportation mechanism, to the ancient Manse said to house this artifact. The building seemed to be devoid of all life and sound – excluding one polite voice overhead, who happily introduced itself as Cirrus as it welcomed them to “Skytech” – an invisible R&D facility flying right above the Blessed Isle.

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They traversed the Manse, along the way hearing from their unwanted tour guide of Skytech’s history and purpose (namedropping Silur and Vanileth in the process). Through the various puzzles and traps, they made their way deeper into the building, until, finally, the two teams reached the heart of the facility, where they ran into… each other.

During a brief dispute of possession, Mnarset discovered that an entity named Oadenol left an emergency protocol in case the Manse’s primary seal needs to be unlocked. Figuring that it would have to be, if they were to claim The Oculus, the two teams cooperated to do so.

However, the hearthstone was already removed by “Cirrus”, who simply needed the Solars to unlock his seal. The now-unbound custodian revealed himself, and thanked them for freeing him.
The four argued momentarily whether to fight this strange being, until he began to send tremors through the walls of the Manse, forcing them to escape (Jak begrudgingly) via sorcerous clouds.

Realizing that they accidentally released a rather powerful demon upon Creation, the two teams decided to join forces in order to track down Cirrus – whether be it to slay him, parley with him, or just take back the Oculus.

And so, our adventure begins.

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Wu-Jian
"I know a shortcut."

Flying away from Skytech, using a spell ironically named Cirrus Skiff, the group traveled north, hoping to get as far away from the Blessed Isle as possible.

The party got to know each other meanwhile, spurring a slight argument of ideologies between the two sorcerers, while the two fighters bonded through shared interests.

After three nights’ travel, at Sans‘s guidance, they arrived at the Temple City of Pneuma, where they were greeted by the little guy himself, apparently working as a sentry at its gates.
He led them on a leisurely stroll through the town’s many pagodas, before walking them into Gobby’s, a remote, somewhat empty teahouse… in Wu Jian. 5000 miles away.

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At the teahouse, they told Sans of their complication at the Manse. He informed them of a… lady residing in Wu-Jian’s Cat House, who might be able to tell them more about Cirrus’s whereabouts, if they could beat her at her game. Assuring them that they are welcome to stay at his and Mnarset’s residence while they remain in the city, he left the four Solars to their own devices.

As Leo and Jak went downtown to pry information about the “Cat Lady”, Taylor and Mnarset remained at Gobby’s. The former updated his people on the Cirrus front, as well as his promise to Jak to find a way to break his shackles – while the latter read as much as she could about war and strategy games to prepare herself for the match.

Meanwhile, Leo and Jak learned of the Cat House’s history from Leo’s contact, Weasel: Once a temple dedicated to a feline god named Nine Curses, it was raided, its deity slaughtered, when the Immaculate Order arrived at Wu-Jian. Now a gambling den owned by Nine Curses’ priestess, it is said that Nine Curses’s spirit still lingers within the pagoda, wreaking vengeance on any who would harm the cats inside.

They also learned of why Wu-Jian’s streets and taverns all seemed suspiciously empty: For an unknown reason, the Empire unceremoniously decided to leave the island-city. Now Wu-Jian holds its breath, as they wait to see which of the Thirteen Dojos – the institutes who truly run things behind the scenes – will be the first to assume control.

Knowing which of the Dojos he supported, Leo passed a message to the head of Live Wire, a private law enforcement corps, before they returned to Gobby’s with their findings.

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JAK'S LOG: Sigereth gateway game
The cigarette demoness

Imagine getting a box for your birthday, and then a scary clown jumping out of it.
Now replace the clown with a scarier (or slightly less scary, depends on how messed up you are) demon that.. hardly ever does anything until you cheat.

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Sigereth's Riddle
Why Does The Sun Set?

Rejected answers:

  • So that Luna may shine. (“You assume the sun had always set. Once, they shone together.”)
  • So another sun may rise. (Mnarset: “Nooooooooo.”)
  • The Usurpation. (“Ah. No. Way sooner. Earlier than humanity can remember, it seems.”)
  • TUS and Luna do something they can’t do together. (“Direction. Not an answer.”)
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There and Back Again
"So, yeah. All hail the new Scarlet Empress."

The party defeated Sigereth, who had brought her pawns to life in order to make the game more interesting. However, the anima banners scorching through Wu-Jian’s skies, as well as the perimeter Live Wire set up around the Cat House, did not make for a subtle affair.
Indeed, a street rat had even witnessed most of their match firsthand, before making her escape through the window.

Agreeing to rendezvous with Sigereth later to uphold her end of the bet, they split into pairs to lay low while the dust settled. Leo and Mnarset returned first to Sans’s shop, and were met with Yung, who came to hear Leo out on behalf of Live Wire’s head, Dr. Delphi. That, however, is a story for another time.

As the air cleared, the four of them sat down for dinner with Sans, who explained that while Wu-Jians aren’t exactly Immaculate fanatics, they don’t exactly associate “Exalted” with “Good News”, either. Knowing that the mob would be at their door soon enough, he suggested either they take advantage of the Empire’s absence to establish themselves – or leave. The dilemma hung in the air for a bit, as he went on to other subjects of interest.

Namely, why the Empire was gone to begin with: Apparently, something massive fell onto the Imperial City, just as the Deliberative was congregating. Almost every political power was either dead or M.I.A. The most prominant survivor, Cathak Cainan, declared state of emergency and (with no one left to protest) took control of the Empire. While most satrapies were forced to pull home at this, it also meant that they would very soon return, in greater numbers, united under his flag.

The rest of the evening was spent on similarly-peppy topics, such as the three sorcerous schools, crude humor, and the difference between tactics and strategy.
Later that evening, Sigereth came by, retailing Cirrus‘s history and whereabouts, as agreed. The four Solars unanimously decided to go after him, leaving Wu-Jian to its fate.
Unfortunately, going after the demon as he heads to Vanileth’s Sanctum would take them weeks using their default means of travel. Taylor suggested summoning Agatae, which would reduce the flight time immensely, but Mnarset flatly refused to summon further demons into their mess.

A short diguise for Jak’s ugly mug and Jade shackles later, they settled for Sans’s shortcut, which only took them as far as Pneuma. However, it did cut their distance in half, as well as put them strategically close to an individual who, according to Sans, might be able to assist them: A man named Stenvall.

When asked if they can repay him somehow, Sans pointed at the blue-and-white marble tower overshadowing the rest of the city: “There’s a dungeon at the base. The Empire uses it to torture beings they believe are Anathema. I’d like for that to stop.”
And with that, he left them at the mercy of the agitated innkeeper. At 2am.

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Pneuma
"We're asking really really nice." "Aww. No."

Jak, Mnarset, and Taylor awoke in the Dragon’s Eye Inn to find Leo missing from his bed, presumably to investigate the Nail of Truth, as he suggested the previous night.

However, Taylor spoke out against that plan: Replacing the current reign in Pneuma would be more complicated than they assume. Sans’s request to stop what’s going on in the dungeon could wait a few more days. But the longer they stay in the city, the less likely they’ll be able to catch up with Cirrus on time.
Jak agreed saving Vanileth is more urgent, while Mnarset insisted on rescuing the prisoners. Seeing as they couldn’t leave without Leo either way, the three decided they might as well look for the guy Sans told them about; Stenvall.

They went downstairs, where Jak was somewhat harrassed by a… fashion designer of sorts, who gave them her card.
As the three ate their breakfast, an armoured man came by to announce that a “sorcerer with a sense of humor” seemed to be disrupting communications – Infallible Messenger services are, ironically, unavailable. So anyone with information regarding that should speak with him or go to the House of the Blue Wolf – the Realm’s prestigious Magistrate School placed within the city.

A purchase of supplies and a quick chat with the inn-dwellers later, they discovered that the guard who visited the tavern was, in fact, Stenvall – whom they then tracked down to Sans’s sentry station, and explained why they needed help reaching northward.

Unfortunately, with Sans gone – an ominous black feather hovering over his empty station – Stenvall had very little reason to trust their story. The threat of a necromancer roaming nearby made him very unlikely to give up his airship easily, as it is his mercenary company’s job to keep the city standing while the Empire sorts out its mess.

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It was only once Mnarset confessed their being Solars, Taylor that they intended to liberate the city, and Jak that they planned to free the prisoners in the Nail of Truth, that Sten explained to them a few things, among which the true nature of the tower:
It’s a temple, where the Immaculate Lamas negotiate with the gods to decide who gets prayed to on what day. Every Exalted the Wyld Hunt saw right to keep alive is kept in its dungeon – but that doesn’t necessarily make them worth saving. Worse: “liberating” the city with no solid alternative to the Immaculate Order will make it – the last harbour in the entire northern coast – easy pickings for the Necromancer. That is, assuming they could even manage to do so, with the powerful entity currently oathbound at the top of the Nail.

For now, rescuing the prisoners will suffice. They could return once they’ve gathered the support they needed to deal with the city itself. Sten said he’d even volunteer some of his crew to make sure they and the refugees reach safety northward…

On one condition: They will not kill, or loot any of the local guard, until they come back with their new reign. If the four of them, or any of the prisoners, wreck unnecessary havok – they will have to answer to Sten. And he will not be happy about it.

As they bade farewell to the Exigent mercenary, Taylor received a message:
His ‘children’ were coming to Pneuma.

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The Nail of Truth
Ascending Water 5th, Wooday/Jupiterday/Thursday

Picking up where we left off – our party spent the rest of the day resting and prepping for the long night ahead.
Leo returned to the inn at eventide, explaining that he’d been surveying their target. Sharing his findings with the rest of the group, they began to plot the jailbreak.

Around that time, a formally-dressed man came by their room, accompanied by a pair of Erymanthoi. Introducing himself as Magister Ledaal, he said their belongings must pass an inspection under the head of security (i.e. Stenvall) for anything that might risk the city’s safety. He assured them that if all in order, it will be returned to them the following morning, before taking most of their baggage, and a certain notable possession of Taylor’s.

Following that, Taylor went on to introduce the party to his children, who came to Pneuma to help with the prisoners. It was settled that the two of them will wait by the border in case their assistance was needed.
Later, Thomas got to inspect Jak’s handcuffs, and concluded that while they are breakable, it will be painful, and making sure the Dawn doesn’t get killed in the process will be expensive – in either time, or actual money.

Midnight struck, and the four stormed the tower, using Jak’s familiar Lady to distract the guards via fly-by defecation. The young Terrestrials were quickly disposed of, but doing so was both loud, and highly visible: Alarms were bellowing all around the city by the time they entered the tower proper.
The ground floor was dark, silent, and vacant – with the exception of an immaterial rabbit spirit, whom Mnarset persuaded to show them how to enter the dungeon. Unfortunately, them attempting to do so triggered a trap, which set the floor on fire, as well as drop a Jade wall over the entrance. The latter may not have been so bad, as it kept whatever came after them out of the tower. A short team effort later, the four traversed the fire, and entered the dungeon.

Downstairs, they were vocally met with Moira – a somewhat drunk guardswoman (and Zid), who revealed (behind a rather thick door) that, because of Leo, she knew they were coming (disappointedly noting she expected five of them), and made preparations – setting up traps, calling off the patrol – to accommodate.
However, she was perfectly willing to let the prisoners go, in exchange for safe passage for Zid and herself, plus the name of whoever sent the party (or an equivalent of such).
A long negotiation ensued, which only ended when Mnarset named Stenvall. This was met with confusion and disbelief from Moira, who asked for two minutes to consider.

Meanwhile, the party prepared a poisoned cup of wine as they waited for her answer. Alas, none came. The door opened, revealing a mostly-empty chamber. A short investigation led them to where the guards must have gone – a complex network of tunnels spread beneath the city. Going back and forth through the tunnels, getting a message from Moira that they were still in the tower, but knowing the Nail of Truth’s “Guardian Entity” was hot in the party’s trail, the four escaped through an underwater cave outside the city borders.

Flying north to where an airship would be waiting for them, the party got an eagle’s eye view of what’s been going on in the meanwhile: The Necromancer invaded the city, and his forces were now barely, likely temporarily, held back by Stenvall and a handful of Terrestrials.
Deciding it was not their fight to have, but agreeing to return to Pneuma later, they parted with Taylor’s understudies, boarded the airship, and set sail towards Vanileth’s sanctum.

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Recap - the adventure time!
Because.

After fleeing Pneuma from an encounter with two soldiers at the Nail of Truth, our party watched the city burn from the wrath of the Necromancer that Stenvall warned them about. The fight looked hopeless from where they watched as three different Anima effects were seen at the city sky’s. Wishing to help the one she framed – Mnarset wanted to go back to the city but was convinced by Leo to go to the ship Stenvall has prepared for them. As they reached the airship there were Sister Alice and her Brother Thomas. They seemed quite displeased with their Father Taylor and seem to demand him to go back to the monastery. He seemed upset with them but still went to the ship. Then the party met Penn the weird human (he isn’t really, right?), Giga the pilot, and Odysseus (see character description). The Party seemed quite and shaken by the situation they left Pneuma at. Each had their way of coping with the thought of loss and danger they left the city to deal with. (Yes, I also think Jak had some feelings about this matter…yeah. He’s just good at hiding them!)

At night the party (except Mnarset) got together at the Boys’ room to discuss further actions. They seemed to be at the same page that we still should go after “Cirrus” and continue our way north.

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The Airship - Or, Oops is he dead?
The time we went (almost) full circle

After the morning came Mnarset was still in her room. But Leo woke up early and started his day by fixing everybody breakfast. He took note of the boiling hot liquid and served it as “coffee” next to Jak’s and his meal. He offered some to Giga that was horrified because that was Penn’s….thing. And apparently it might kill you. Luckily nobody died from that.

As the morning progressed Father Taylor woke up and as he tried to figure out how to heal quickly from his wounds Giga has confirmed Penn is the medic in Sten’s party. He asked Penn’s aid to make him heal better and… ended up mostly dead. To which the toxic fumes and the weird things Penn must have had poked trough him would have finished the job but Giga was very firm to make him stop this. Father Taylor survived the experiment, to Penn’s disappointment, and had to shave his entire head (now he looks like a weird version of Tenzin). As time flew by things heated up in the airship. The party had a lot disagreements about nearly every topic. So Giga told them to simply get things straight after discovering they are the reason that Sten is in trouble in the first place.

After they cleared their goal to find Cirrus and then to go help Sten and make amends. During this the engine “suddenly” stopped working and Giga had “no choice” but to land a few hours from the nearest town. We said our farewells and flew on our clouds to the town. The town was so quiet and eerie so we stepped into the first house at the edge of the town. It was a toy store and at the center was a toy from the Skytech L. We rang the bell on the counter to see Sans emerging from the shadows. He was listening to our story only to tell us we did poorly (He was right though.)
As the night progressed we made a pack to try our best to aid each other and do our best.

We now face a lot of options which are well to deal. Will we go meet Bull of the North? Will we find Vanileth at his Sanctum? Will Sans actually give himself to the Angels?

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The Monastery - This Rock is so High right now.
Thank the gods they also make wine.

The gang woke in Sans’s shop after their group counseling, the one that was about how they need to stick together and help each other out, only to find out that Leo bolted, gods know where… and Sans!
Seeking answers, Mnarset went up to Sans’s room only to get her Rickrolled.
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That led to a random inspection of rooms by Jak, looking for the drowsy shopkeeper. Sans was found splayed all over the floor of some room, his head adorned by Leo’s signature little pink hat… napping.

As Mnarset interrogated Sans for Leo’s whereabouts, a friendly and not suspicious at all old woman knocked on the shop’s door. She was greeted by both Jak and Taylor. In her hands was a parchment that was left at their doorstep and by her unassuming nature and good old fashioned caring for thy neighbors, she did not want it to be tarnished by the snow. As Taylor thanked the old lady and sent her on her way Jak opened the parchment. it was revealed to be a drawing of Pneuma as if viewed from the sky. The city’s edges were covered in dark clouds.

Jak and Taylor went to Sans, who was busy ignoring Mnarset’s questions as always, and gave him the drawing. After inspecting it for a moment the shopkeeper informed them a few details:
A. The gang’s initials were written on the parchment in Riverspeak.
B. The drawing was drawn with a crow’s feather.

Sans, as he is Sans, informed them that they know of someone with a connection to crows but batted away all their guesses and gave no answers. He than dropped an info bomb that he and Leo were off to Pneuma as he made his quick(?) getaway. Furious at both Leo and Sans, Mnarset ran outside in rage, Jak fast on her heels.

Eventually they both arrived at the crash site of Giga’s ship… Minus Giga and her ship. Mnarset let free her anger, though slim she had hoped Leo will be there. She and Jak returned to the shop, as Jak tried to his best (less worse maybe?) to comfort her along the ride home. Once they settled inside the three of them agreed to set course south-east and pay audience to The Bull of the North and pay a visit to Taylor’s monastery.

The journey took them 15 days by clouds. An uneventful journey, filled with training, chit chat and bonding. It seems little by little the gang grew closer.

On Sunday they arrived at the monastery, just in time for the market where the monastery makes its livelihood and where Taylor hoped he could make some sort of a political pact with Father Claude, a dreadful man by the panic that is seemed by Sister Alice as she greeted them.
She enrolled Mnarset and, unknowingly, Jak to persuade Father Claude to come out of his carriage. After a small conversation Father Claude, charmed by Mnarsets’ inquisitiveness and Jak’s Jak-ness, agreed to join them for dinner.

In the meantime, Arch-priest Taylor set to work, greeting all that have paid tribute at the dining hall, at the other end of the table sat a cloaked man drinking wine. Father Claude entered the hall accompanied by Mnarset and Jak and gave his acknowledgements to Father Taylor for the hospitality and respectfully sat as far away as possible from him. Father Taylor welcomed all those who filled the hall with a awe inspiring blessing. Wineglasses were raised in approval.

After a minor political debate between the Fathers, Sister Alice presented the cloaked man, who didn’t make his presence noticed before as he did not want to interrupt the entertainment, as Bright Yilling, a representative of The Bull of the North and other interested parties. Though his appearance a bit strange Yilling fell naturally into the conversation, losing no composure when Jak and right after him Taylor asked about his caste.

Father Claude, having his goals laid out on the table and his opinion of Taylor clear, made his leave. Bright Yilling, seeing as the gang was heading for The Bull of the North offered to escort them and accepted both Sister’s Alice dinner invitation and Taylor’s tour of the ground. They drank, gawked at books, drank some more, paid respect to the gods in the cathedral, visited the winery to drink even more and than came dinner time.

At dinner Arch-priest Taylor held a pledging ceremony for all the new initiates of his monastery and announced a showmanship match, his bast men against Jak. With his eyes glittery Jak pumped his fist in the air, gettin’ psyched for the mass combat.

The battle’s results were clear. Though close, Jak was triumphant! After the great meals and drinks and the joyous battle that ensued, the residents and guests retired after an eventful Sunday. Some a little bruised and other a little bit drunk.

The Sun will rise again…

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