Classic Fantasy Exalted - "Echos of our Past; Chapter 1: A Cold Start."
#1
Hey all, I've decided I wanted to do an exalted 3rd edition thing for a while now, so I will. I have a mock post up that details how I made the character you'll see, but unless anyone is interested, it will not be shown. With that being said, lets jump in. I am starting as a mortal Independent Archeologist on a Cold Ship, to give a bit of starting context. Also, this series will be heavy on text, so be prepared to read a lot in between RPG solo decisions and rolls. At least until drama starts to crop up.
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I wrapped the bear pelt around me tighter, trying to fend off the blistering cold of the outside above deck. The further we sailed and the closer we got, the more the elements insisted we were on the wrong course. I looked around, at the shuffling sailors going from point to point, adjusting something or carrying things to and fro. I quietly question how they can be so active in this kind of weather. It's even colder than back home, outside the city! Not near as bad as when the winters would kick in, but worse than the coldest summer night, for sure. Considering we left at the beginning of summer too...I'd hate to be caught in this kind of situation during the winter. I couldn't imagine even I'd survive.

We're supposed to be sailing to Diamond Hearth, stopping there to grab some resupplies, and then continue north-west. About 1,000 miles southwest of a city called Ascension is where I was told to go looking for supposed ruins in the mountains that should house more clues to the construction of Whitewall. I was given plenty of accommodations, including the title of this expedition's leader, but I was also told not to come back until I either found something conclusive, or found something that proves what we're looking for isn't there.

I was told it was supposed to be about a 14 day trip to get to Diamond Hearth from where we departed. It's been ten, and within the last two, we finally started skirting the edges of the White Sea, and by Luna is it blistering cold. It's hard to imagine people have made lives up in these parts, especially when their average day is worse than our worst summer night. But I'm off track; we should be getting to Diamond Hearth within the next two days or so, and we've yet to run into any problems besides the cold. I've spent most of the passing time explaining some of my best-written Archeological papers to my colleagues; twelve other archeologists of varying age, ability, and attention spans. I've taken notice that the younger ones are easier to impress and immerse with my work than the old, stuffy ones. When I'm not displaying my brilliant discoveries with my peers, however, I'm conversing with the Guardian assigned to protect me and my associates, Seventh-Empress Tiger. Which was what I was planning on doing currently, if I could find the blasted woman. I heard a heavy bootstep on the upper deck behind me.

I stop a crew member, and asked him if he'd know where I could find her?

(50/50) Yes, and...

"Yes, sir. She's currently a few ship-lengths away, thrashin' a sea-serpent of some sort or other with Damp Rock. She should be back shortly however; she left only a few minutes ago."

"Oh..." I responded. She was fighting a sea serpent?...
Not out of the odrin-...wait...
...IN THE SEA!?
I swear, that woman is an oddity to me. Was this why we experienced so little problems with wildlife or gods? Was she always this active? Her blood ran awfully hot for an air-

"Hey! Book boy! Finally talk off the ears of those geezers below deck!?"
I heard a chipper, loud tone of voice from above me, warm enough to dispel the cold from the deck. At least a dozen heads turned and look upwards behind me, including mine.

There she stood, a fresh bloodstain across the light-blue and silver-accented heavy cotton jacket, and her Whitewall Guardian mantle vigorously whipping in the wind that surrounded her. She put off a soft blue glow, like that of the morning sky, and it lit all of the deck in its embrace. Her amber eyes sparkled with an ever-present, child-like mischief, and regardless of the wind her shoulder-length sky-blue hair didn't seem to flutter or move an inch. Gripped in her right hand was her beloved weapon, a Katar shaped like the claws of a tiger; it dripped lightly with fresh blood.

Yet, despite being in her 40's, she didn't look any older than she would if she were my age, which was at least 15 years younger. She didn't quite carry the same grace or authority that Seventh-Ice Star did, or the same gentleness or purity of Seventh-Lotus Moon, but she was the one assigned to be my Guardian all the same. I'd asked for Seventh-Ice Star, but she herself recommended that Seventh-Empress Tiger come with us instead. I accepted it, since I had no intention of telling her no, regardless her answer. It wasn't too bad, all things considered. She's been a bundle of energy to talk to for the past 10 days. It's easy to make a friend with her.

"I don't think you're young enough to be calling people geezers, Tiger." I quipped.

"Guh! I'll have you know I'm just reaching my prime! It'll be a warm winter day outside of Whitewall before I let someone like you call me old, Book Boy!" The winds around her, while they were slowly dying down, seemed to flap her mantle more violently.

"Hey, hey, I'm just saying. You're forty, the oldest ones down there are probably in their sixties, you guys aren't that far off from each other."

"Yes, but I'm likely to have a lifespan three times theirs. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm still 15 to those geezers." Seventh-Empress Tiger smiled smugly, and stood proud as she stretched and heard a satisfying pop from her spine. "Ahhh that felt excellent!"

"First sign of age shows up in popping bones." I couldn't help but mutter as I walked forward, onto the deck proper. I heard the sound of heavy boots hitting the deck behind me once again, followed by quick footsteps. When I turned my head, the area directly below my chin was full of glaring eyes and rushing wind.

"I'm not old, so stop saying it!" She glowered.

Despite being a head shorter than me, she was still awfully intimidating. "Okay, okay! I'm sorry...ma'am." I watched a satisfied and victorious smile cross her lips. Not two seconds passed before her eyes shot opened and the opened her mouth to say something, but then she paused. Her eyes spoke volumes greater than my excellently written books of confusion. I prepared for more shouting, for reasons I couldn't ascertain, but she seemed to be in some sort of mental decision-making that was halting any of it.

I took the time to continue walking away at a brisk pace.

I only got several steps away before a 'Get back here, you ass!' caught my ears. As i turned my head, I saw her walking, though not with ill intent, simply with annoyed purpose.
"So one of the crew told me you were fighting a sea serpent? In the sea?"

Anything she'd been planning to say slipped away from her as she paused, and quickly grew a big smile. She latched the handle of her weapon to a chain on her belt, and smiled proudly as she crossed her arms. "Yup! Nothing bests the boredom better than ruffing something up when its too close to places it shouldn't be!"

I looked on at her in bewilderment for at least a handful of seconds before the words escaped my mouth faster than the thought processed in my head. "Are you sure you're not a Fire-Aspect?"

The look of surprise that crossed her face gave me worry for a moment, before she put her thumb and index finger on her chin and pouted slightly. "Why does everyone keep asking me that?" She mumbled.

"It-..." I began, and then caught myself. Be respectful. While she's got the hot blood of a Fire-Aspect, that's all the more reason not to upset her, especially since she's an Air-Aspect instead. We're heading deeper into her element too, closer to the elemental pole of air, so upsetting her may truly end up in unfortunate circumstances for all of us.
"It was just a joke, pal. No harm or seriousness intended." I was deathly serious when I asked.

She stared at me with uncertain eyes, looking me up and down.

(Here we go! First real dice roll of the game! So she's not really sure she believes me, so she's going to roll a Read Intentions check against my Guile score, to determine if I'm lying or not. She has a dice pool of 5, against my guile of 2.)

10[d10]+7[d10]+2[d10]+1[d10]+6[d10]
(Three successes. 10s count as 2, and 9's, 8's, and 7's count as 1. She knows.)

"Don't pull that with me, you meant it..." She walked to my right, to the railing of the ship, resting her elbows against the polished wood and letting her arms hang off the edge. "Everyone does..." Her tone carried a very heavy and semi-depressive weight with it, and I couldn't help but feel I was going to be rubbing the bridge of my nose in agony within the next several minutes.

"I just...don't see what the problem is! Why does everyone have to make a comment!? I'm proactive. I get things done because the future needs them to be done to be better. That's how me and my sisters are. Am I really so much like a Fire-aspect that its confusing?" She asked, turning only her head to look at me.

"Well...you do appear quite hot-blooded...so I could see how someone who doesn't know you or seen you fight could easily confuse it. Despite what any dragon-blooded want to say, they do fall under a systematic purview that kind of make it easier to define which dragon chose them."

"Well I'm sick of everyone thinking they know better than the dragons. If I was supposed to be fire-aspect, I would have exalted as such; but I'm an Air-aspect, so clearly personality quirks don't play as much a piece in deciding the choice as mortals may think." Her tone carried a sense of self-assurance and resoluteness.

"Not gonna pretend like I know better than a Child of Mela about what makes a Child of Mela." I stated, trying to reassure her.

"You'd be among the smart few." Her playful tone had returned with that statement, but it carried an underlying sense of menace with it. I'd happily drop the conversation here if she would.

"What about you, hmm? What kinda dragon-blooded do you think the dragons would make you? I mean I've got a good guess, but I wanna know how wrong you are first." She held an impish grin to her face, her playful statements swinging around like the dull edge of a blade; bruising, but never cutting.

"Mmmmm I think I'd rather stay...mortal. I don't have the nicest opinion of the Guardians, no offense of course. I've just had some past issues that make the idea of being one...less appealing."

"Oh don't pull that with me!" Tiger's disbelievingly cheery tone and familiar words rang true within her usual demeanor. "I've heard that in The Realm, there are mortal people part of Dragon-blooded lineages that would kill their first-born if it meant getting to actually exalt as a Dragon-blooded at all!...Then again...it's The Realm. They'd probably kill their first born for severely less anyway."

"Oh quiet you! I understand the nuance behind the power the dragons give you people...but...I don't think it would help me pursue my dream of archeology if I had to be in the Guardians. After all, that's a requirement for anyone capable of supernatural power who wants to be a citizen in Whitewall."

"Pffh. Yeah. That, and knowing how to read two more languages than you can speak. Most infuriating time of my training."

I raised an eyebrow in bewilderment for what must have been the second or third time today. "You don't have to know three written languages to be a Whitewall citizen."

"No, but you do to be a Guardian, which is required of all supernaturally gifted Whitewall citizens." Seventh-Empress Tiger spoke with an irritated drawl as she rested her elbow against the railing of the ship, and her chin in the palm of her hand. She gave me a cheeky, pained smile. "I don't think I'd trade my exaltation to have avoided needing to learn two written languages, but I defiantly would have killed my first born."

I should have sighed disappointingly in her childish ideals, thinking she'd be so quick to give up her own baby just because she thought she was too young to begin even thinking about marrying or bearing children. Instead I laughed uncontrollably, at how she'd so seamlessly slipped her rumor-mongered beliefs towards The Realm's dragon-blooded into a conversation twice and had it function well in context both times. It took me almost a handful of minutes to recover from the fit she'd so expertly given to me, but by the time I'd recovered and looked back to where I had expected her to be, she had vanished.

"Like the wind itself." I mumbled to myself, in response to my own thoughts. I presumed our conversation over at that, and retired back to my quarters, thankful to be out of the biting cold of the bitter north.
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#2
Interesting story; I'd like to see more of it! Smile
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#3
Likewise. I don't know anything about the Exalted RPG or setting, but what you've written is well done.
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#4
More there shall be, then!
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