Your name is Casimir, and you are a Chosen of Luna: a king of beasts, a shapeshifter par-excellence, defined by your own wilful choices and nothing else. Your form, your world, and your very destiny are yours to shape… with a complication. You seem bound on some fundamental level to another Exalted, who calls herself Ashen-Tome Scholar. You feel conflicted around her, protective impulse warring with predatory desire; for the time being, you’ve acted as her protector and custodian, seeing her safely through the Northern wilds to the great Silver River, sailing south. Along the way, you’ve acquired a companion, of sorts: a Raksha noble calling herself Astrid Nahaka. And as you travel, you find yourself struggling, for looking within, you find only instinct but no memories with which to channel them. The path ahead is as shrouded as the path behind. Let’s change Creation tonight.——————> QM’s twitter: https://twitter.com/DelacroixQm> System mechanics: http://pastebin.com/py3t5P53> Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/k1ZyxaDe
Your name is Casimir, and you’re on a boat. The past few days have been idyllic, more relaxed than anything you’ve ever known. That’s not saying much, considering that your memories don’t extend far beyond a week at most. Before meeting Ashen-Tome Scholar, all you remember is hunger, and sleep, and waking up at indeterminable intervals to slake your hungers on whatever was at hand. Now, the world is richer, more beautiful, than you could have imagined: you’ve found fellowship, laughter, and purpose. And also two beautiful women, whom it seems are determined to make things more complicated than they really had to be. Now, most days drift by with few complications. The tiny sloop put together by Ashe out of Essence and flotsam shoots downriver with little but a light touch to the tiller, and when the whimsy takes you, you slip overboard and take the form of a gar pike or a freshwater dolphin, racing alongside just to glory in the sensation of movement and exertion, or if you’re feeling helpful, taking your new-won form of a monstrous river dragon, butting your great head against the boat to push it along at an even faster pace, provoking shrieks of exhilaration from the ladies you shoot through rapids like an arrow. Your duties seem to be providing: you come aboard with trout or salmon or eels, and prepare them simply over a hot fire, and the others eat appreciatively. Astrid and Ashe take turns steering, and the former trains the latter in occasion in combat, with the result of Ashe’s combat-drill movements slowly taking on a modicum of the Raksha’s elegant grace. You converse often with both, educating yourself on the intricacies of Creation, which with every conversation seems wider and wilder than you ever thought possible.At the moment, however, the idyll is largely marred by the two women squabbling over a handshake.[1/2]
>>43549793Astrid has her arms crossed beneath her breasts, affecting a stern air. "Little girl, are you suggesting that the sworn word of the Knight of the White Waters is insufficient?"Ashe glares, crossing her own arms pointedly in a mirror image of the Fae knight's indignation. Unfortunately, it has the effect of emphasising her petiteness before the taller, more lushly-built Raksha. "My name is Ashen-Tome Scholar, and I am Chosen of the gods! You will address me with respect, not as 'little girl'! And yes! You bet your word is insufficient! You're a *Raksha*! Do you think I don't know what that means? Your word is only as true as your nature is constant, and *that's* no guarantee at all!"If you're going to be travelling with us, I *insist* that you bind yourself to a pact that I will guarantee!"Both of them round on you, glaring. "Casimir, kindly inform your ward that to accede to her demand would impugn my honour!""Casimir, *kindly* inform our 'companion' that she has to shake my damned hand, or else we'll wake up one day to find that she's sucked our souls out in our sleep!""Oh? I'm not the only one who's been contemplating doing some nocturnal sucking," Astrid taunts. Ashe blushes brilliant. "Th-that's got nothing to do with anything! I... I just need more Essence, t-that's all!" You surmise that they're referring to Ashe's regular need to drain blood from the living in order to sustain herself. Your sturdy little boat is, after all, held together by willpower and magic, and every time the sun rises Ashe looks visibly more drawn and pale with the effort of keeping it together. The strain is clearly mounting, and thus far, neither of you have spoken of the option of her feeding from you. The last time was... strange.[2/2]> Astrid, I'm sure your honour won't be impugned from just a handshake.> Ashe, if Astrid wanted to hurt us, she's had a hundred chances by now.> Ladies, there's enough sucking for everyone on this boat.> WRITE-IN
>>43550053> Astrid, I'm sure your honour won't be impugned from just a handshake.Didn't she say that we were the Knight of the White Waters last session? She came along with us to find something new, and starting fresh with a nice handshake ought to help with that.
>>43550293Thanks for choosing the classy option, Sidereal.>>43550349It's a legacy thing. And yes, she did! But clearly she forgets herself from time to time. Habit of centuries, and all that.
Er, wow, slow day. I was expecting a little more activity than this given the interest-thread.
>>43550053>Astrid, I'm sure your honour won't be impugned from just a handshake.>>43550536Completely forgot about this, sorry.
>>43550053> Ladies, there's enough sucking for everyone on this boat.> Astrid, I'm sure your honour won't be impugned from just a handshake.>>43550536I'm at work and can only check in during breaks, my timezone is an arse
Well, that deletion does bring us to a clear decision, at least. >>43550349>>43550712"Astrid, I'm sure your honour won't be impugned from just a handshake," you say, reluctantly drawn into the dispute from your cosy nest at the bow of the ship. "Surely your chivalry extends so far in order to lay to rest the fears of a young maiden?"Ashe's blush only gets deeper at her being called a 'maiden'. Astrid chuckles. "Very well, sir knight, since it's you who's asking so nicely." She grips Ashe's hand and looks her straight in the eye. "I, Astrid Nahaka the Knight of the White Waters, do solemnly swear to neither by act nor omission allow 'Ashen-Tome Scholar' and Casimir to come to harm."The slight, pale savant straightens and nods, pumping the handshake once. "I, Ashen-Tome Scholar, bear witness to this vow, and sanctify it. By the Old Laws of the Underworld, it is binding until discharged, and may the chill of the Abyss be visited upon you if you break it."There's a chill in the air, and Astrid snatches her hand back. "Ooh, a geas! How tricksy! I didn't think you had it in you."Ashe looks simultaneous pleased and concerned. "A-- yes, indeed. D-don't think you're the only cunning one here!" She frowns at her hand, and her consternation is clear. Obviously something didn't go her way. She shrugs it off and turns to you. "Well! Now that that's done, Astrid's marginally more trustworthy. Now, let's continue our lessons on Creation, shall we?"In a far cry from her usual anxious demeanour, Ashe assumes an entirely different persona when teaching. She brightens up at the prospect of sharing knowledge, and her words come more easily, more confidently, as she divulges lore. Astrid nods. "I too could use some refreshment of my knowledge. It has been long since I walked among mortals."Ashe looks her up and down sceptically. "I can tell. First you'll have to do something about that outfit —I don't think such finery is very common among mortals."[1/2]
>>43550936>noble blonde elf cleavage red dressNonsense, the dress is perfectly fine.
>>43550890No worries, Sidereal. I'm the one running this from half a world away from my main audience.>>43550936Astrid sniffs, and snaps her fingers. The elaborate, brightly-coloured viridian glass is replaced by what looks to be bronze, finely-worked but not fantastically-so. She saunters over to you and does a slow turn. "What do you think, Casimir? Will this suffice?" You're hard-pressed to ignore how the plates of armour outline every lush curve of her body in a manner you find rather provocative. "I'm hardly the best person to ask, Astrid." You gesture at yourself, clad in rough furs like a barbarian. "Hardly the height of fashion. Besides, I'm sure it's your nobility and grace which dignify your raiment, not the other way around."She laughs, her sultry air dissipating into genuine humour. "A most courtly answer, sir knight." She bows sardonically. "How our little dusty bookworm found a treasure like you in the white wastes is a story even I find incredible."Ashe huffs. "We're connected by bonds deeper than blood or magic, Raksha." She glances at you, shyly. "And... and it was Casimir who found me."The mood is getting strangely tense, and so you decide to change the topic. "About that lesson. This is... the Silver River, correct?"Ashe nods. "It's a major waterway that cuts through the Linowan territories; we'll pass by Rubylak on the way downriver to Sijan."You make a show of glancing around. "For a major waterway, it seems rather deserted. We haven't passed a single ship, boat, or barge."She nods animatedly, hands sketching shapes in the air: her fingers leave a faint, bloody glow. "Since the Empress disappeared, the Realm has greatly reduced its military presence in the outlying provinces, and banditry has made travel and commerce very difficult. As we get closer to the Linowan heartland we might see more of their canoes, but nobody's risking trade-runs this far out anymore. Not even the Guild.""Empress?" you ask blankly. [1/2]
>>43551211"The Scarlet Empress." She looks at you oddly. "I... I thought everyone knew about that."You shrug. "You don't learn much from wolves and bears.""Well... You speak like a noble, an educated man. I thought you must have had some learning in the past." Ashe nods decisively. "You must have, and you must have forgotten everything. What a terrible fate! Here, let me..." She spends the next few hours happily putting you through a crash-course on history and geography.That evening, the three of you pick over the bones of your day's catch, fried in some of the yak's-butter the villagers of Snowspring Falls sold you in exchange for loot taken from the dead Dynasts who hunted Ashe. You stretch, about to reach for your blanket to turn in, when your keen ears pick up a new sound: the slap of waves, not against the shore, but against wood. You start to your feet, and peer out into the darkness. You're at a bend in the river, where tall trees on either bank cast long shadows over the water, preventing even reflected moonlight from showing details. You shift your eyes into those of an owl's for better night-vision, as you try to make out what lies ahead.(Roll 3d6)[3/3 (my numbering's fucked)]
Rolled 3, 3, 1 = 7 (3d6)>>43551372
Rolled 5, 3, 2 = 10 (3d6)>>43551372
>>43551478> 8> on a d6Sidereal shenanigans!
Rolled 3, 3, 6 = 12 (3d6)>>43551501Er, oops. Nothing to see here.
>>43551406The others are on either side of you, also squinting into the darkness. Ashe shakes her head, but Astrid points. "There. A ship! A... black barge."Your eyes prove the keener, picking out details besides shape and colour. The ship is squat, fat-bellied, made for cargo and not for speed. Its rigging and black sails are supplemented by a bank of oars, although they're currently still. Some oars appear to have been snapped by some tremendous force. The barge wallows in the water, listing badly, and your nose catches the scent of smoke on the wind. "Arm yourselves," you instruct. Ashe squeaks, but she has her exotic throwing-weapons in her hands and a sword at her belt in moments. Astrid merely plucks her long lance from thin air. There are a tense few minutes as you creep closer. A light kindles on the other ship —a lantern —that waves back and forth a few times. A signal?You glance at the smouldering logs in the brazier you use for cooking. Should you signal back?> signal back> ignore it and pass the barge by?
>>43551610> signal backIt isn't in much of a position to fuck with us, it's not particularly mobile and we can always sink it if we don't like what's waiting for us.
>>43551672>>43551723You scoop up a brand and wave it, the flames hissing through the air, and your counterpart waves again. You nod at Ashe, and she takes the tiller, bringing you closer. A lone figure stands on the deck of the barge. Everything about him from head to toe is in the same unrelieved black as everything else on the barge. He shouts across the water. "Hello the ship! We're a Morticians' barge from Sijan! We were recently attacked, and could use some help!""The Funerary Order!" Ashe perks up at the mention. "How fortuitous!"You remember. Ashe's plan — to head to Sijan, to join the Funereal Order of Righteous Morticians and Embalmers, and then something something something (it's a blur to you of names and places you've never heard of —hinges quite strongly on being able to ingratiate herself with the pre-eminent authority of that city. And certainly, this is convenient.So convenient, in fact, that you and Astrid exchange glances. The smell of smoke is getting stronger, together with the smell of blood and dead flesh. All of which makes sense if they were attacked... but something is bugging you. You notice Astrid's knuckles whiten slightly as she grips her light lance more tightly. You nod to Astrid, handing her the brand, as you make your way to the rear of your boat where Ashe sits with the tiller. (Roll 2d6)
Rolled 4, 1 = 5 (2d6)>>43551993Worst happens, jump off the boat, go river dragon, and open a can of whoop-ass.
Rolled 4, 1 = 5 (2d6)>>43551993
Rolled 2, 4 = 6 (2d6)>>43551993
>>43552068>>43552079How? That's what's discomfiting you. From what you've heard, the Order of Morticians are not militant, relying on their clout and their reputation to keep them safe on their sojourns. No region wants to be blacklisted, to have future generations denied a Sijanese funeral, and so it's served them well. But in lawless times... how well does that strategy hold up? If the barge was unarmed and attacked, how is a survivor signalling you?You whisper urgently to Ashe as she plies the tiller, instructing her to...> go in hard and fast; you and Astrid will leap across to ensure the place is safe> go in slow; Ashe and Astrid will make nice and investigate while you slip off and take a more potent form
>>43552175> go in slow; Ashe and Astrid will make nice and investigate while you slip off and take a more potent form
>>43552175>go in hard and fast; you and Astrid will leap across to ensure the place is safej-jam it in
>>43552175> go in slow; Ashe and Astrid will make nice and investigate while you slip off and take a more potent formIt is pretty suspicious. If we can find their leader hopefully we can take care of the problem before it ends up being an actual problem.
Check back again in half an hour, guys; something's come up for a bit.
>>43552195>>43552249"Are you sure?" Ashe frowns. "I-I mean... they're morticians! They take care of corpses, not make them."You wonder how someone so learned could be so naive. Instead of mentioning it, you touch her cheek gently. "I'm your protector now, Ashe. Let me protect you."She bites her lip and looks away, but nods. You shrug out of your furs and slip over the side, hitting the water with nary a splash. You take the form of a river dragon, slipping soundlessly beneath the water.The tiny ship draws up alongside the barge, and Astrid and Ashe exchange salutations and pleasantries with the man in the black cloak. You slip up on the barge's other side, closer to the riverbank, and that's where your suspicions are confirmed.On the far side of the barge, a row of black-clad bodies are laid out on the bank, together with a few others. They're all dead. What's odd is that some seem to have been dead for a very, very long time: withered, dessicated flesh, held together in some places by rivets, sutures, and leather straps. The scent of blood makes your head swim: some, freshly-spilt; the rest, old, dry, dead.Overhead, Ashe and Astrid converse with the 'survivor'. " — pay our respects to the Morticians' Order," you hear Ashe say. "How can we assist?""Passage," the other replies, smoothly. "You can clearly see that the barge has been damaged, and our cargo must reach Sijan.""You can see our craft is small," Astrid points out. "We can't convey you without inconvenience. What do you offer?"The man's voice thickens, deepens, as the air clots with an unnatural stillness. "Why, what all seek in Sijan — a funeral!"The corpses on the bank stir! More movement from the cargo-hold, too. On the deck, a glimmering, half-seen disturbance in the air lays a skeletal hand on the man's shoulder.What do you do? (4d6)> attack the walking corpses; let the girls handle the situation on deck> go for the black-clad figure> (optional) engage Essence Sight (-1m)
>>43553165> go for the black-clad figure> (optional) engage Essence Sight (-1m)
>>43553165Oops, forgot we're in river dragon form. Make that 6d6Also note that you have other options: - invoke Valour (add +1d6 to all rolls to do with honourable combat and standing our ground; this prevents us from attacking any target save the most dangerous-seeming)- spend more Essence (+1d6/mote)
Rolled 4, 6, 3, 2, 4, 5 = 24 (6d6)>>43553165>go for the black-clad figureI'm afraid I can't stay on for longer, dela.
Rolled 6, 4, 4, 6, 6, 5, 6 = 37 (7d6)>>43553201- invoke Valour (add +1d6 to all rolls to do with honourable combat and standing our ground; this prevents us from attacking any target save the most dangerous-seeming)
Rolled 6, 2, 1, 5, 5, 1, 1 = 21 (7d6)>>43553165> go for the black-clad figure> (optional) engage Essence Sight (-1m)Being able to see/smell ghosts might come in handy for this.>>43553201I say we may as well invoke Valor, start by wrecking the bossman, then go after everything else.>>43553329Damn, that's a hilariously good roll.
Rolled 6, 1, 1, 4, 4, 2, 5 = 23 (7d6)>>43553165> go for the black-clad figure> (optional) engage Essence Sight (-1m)Invoke valour
>>43553191>>43553298NP, thanks for joining us!>>43553329... Wow, Valour indeed. 7 hits on 7 dice.[Valour +1]>>43553353>>43553191Essence Sight engaged.You concentrate, and see the figure of the black-clad thaumaturge limned in dark threads, tying him to the now-distinct shape that stands behind him, a hand on his shoulder. A formidable spectre, clad in heavy armour, with a great axe in one skeletal hand. You ignore the shambling zombies: a casual sweep of your great tail leaves many shattered in your wake, as you clamber your way up the side of the barge with powerful clawed feet. The thaumaturge skips back from Astrid's spear, only to scream in horror and surprise as he sees your jagged maw looming over him. He raises his hands, a half-uttered incantation dying on his lips as a snap of your jaws bisects him neatly at the waist. Your reptilian lips sting as the war-ghost sweeps its spectral axe at you. You sweep your head at it sideways, intending to knock it off the barge, but to your surprise, your flesh passes through ti without resistance, even as it stabs at you, drawing a little blood as your reflexes draw you back out of reach.It turns on Astrid and Ashe, swinging that ghostly axe. Astrid shoves Ashe backwards, the Abyssal stumbling over her feet, as the Raksha stamps forward with a lunge and a war-cry. Just like your attack, her spear passes through the ghost's side without resistance; its return blow, however, takes her in the side, knocking her from her feet and denting her armour. She staggers and stays standing only by leaning on her spear. "There's some foul magic at work here!" she yells.Ashe, half-fallen to the deck, raises her hand and calls out a word that seems to make the air congeal with cold, freeze, then shatter! The force of it knocks the war-ghost back, bringing it to its knees. She's fumbling with her other hand in her pockets. "That ghost is bound to the material world by some kind of... of Fetter!"[1/2]
>>43553518Your senses pinpoint the stink of some unnatural power emanating from the thaumaturge's bisected corpse. Astrid runs over to it, guided by a jerk of your head, and begins rifling through its belongings. She comes up with a piece of dark stone, set in a pendant crafted from what looks like the skull of a raiton. "Is this it?"Ashe is still rifling through her pockets. "I... I don't know! I need to find my — "You take charge, hooking it out of Astrid's grasp with a claw, and then laying it on a flat rock on the riverbank. A mighty stomp of your clawed foot and the fetish cracks and crumbles. With a thin wail, the war-ghost dissolves into a smoke that's torn away by the wind.You resume your normal shape on the deck of the barge, still humming with tension. The walking corpses reverted to their regular states with the death of the thaumaturge, and your keen senses, capable of piercing even the veil of material existence, detect no further magic. Astrid joins you, wheezing a little. You help her unstrap her breastplate, as she squints dourly at the beaten metal. You try not to squint too hard at her, clad now only in a thin silk shirt that sticks to her, slicked down with sweat. Ashe clears her throat, now wearing a pair of what appear to be glass lenses perched on the end of her nose, secured by a clamp. She scans the deck, and then removes them, satisfied. "I... I think that's it. Thank you, Casimir. I would probably have walked right into that one without you."You smile and shake your head. As the three of you pick over the barge, the truth becomes clear. The thaumaturge attacked the morticians, giving them caskets filled with his corpse-servants. He was probably after the handsome casket in the hold. Ashe studies the engravings, and conclude that it probably contains the remains and grave-goods of some tribal chief. > open the casket! Grave goods mean treasure> don't open it! It'll invite trouble, and you should deliver it intact to Sijan
>>43553666>open the casket! Grave goods mean treasureAbyswaifu can turn ghosts away.
>>43553666> don't open it! It'll invite trouble, and you should deliver it intact to SijanLet's not get on the bad side of ghosts, it could end badly and between the three of us our travelling costs are low and we shouldn't have much trouble getting spending money later.
>>43553666> don't open it! It'll invite trouble, and you should deliver it intact to Sijan
>>43553666>> don't open it! It'll invite trouble, and you should deliver it intact to SijanCurry favor for abyssalwaifu
>>43553719>>43553725>>43553727> don't open itIt would seem too much of a stretch to kill a necromancer for desecrating the dead, and then do so yourself. Ashe nods in approval at your decision: she seems serious about how the dead ought to be treated, and at her prompting, you also stack the corpses neatly on the deck, for her to pronounce a final blessing over them.You take form of one of the great white bears of the North, and drag the casket over to your own ship. Lamp-oil and the lantern ensure that the barge goes up in flames, a handsome pyre for the brave morticians who died defending it, and a cleansing crucible for the unclean spirit of the thaumaturge you slew. Ashe produces the barge manifest. "As I guessed. This is some chieftain, on his way to Sijan for his last rites. The morticians were waylaid by rumours of a plague —probably spread by this same thaumaturge —and took on a load of extra corpses, which turned out to be zombies.""Why would a corpse-thief and grave-robber want to go to Sijan?" Astrid has been pacing restlessly. "Isn't it a city of exorcists and funerists?"Ashe nods. "But things have been unquiet in the Underworld recently. The old laws are... not what they used to be." She gives Astrid one of her rare, brilliant smiles. "Some things are the same, though. I'm grateful to you for saving me just now. Even if you *were* bound by the old laws. That war-ghost could have cut me in half."The Raksha twirls her lance and smiles a secret smile. "Oh, it was my pleasure, little girl. I will snatch you out of the path of every weapon the world turns on you —until you don't want me to." She winks at you in an unnerving manner. "Some thrusts you may not wish to evade, hmm?"You sigh as you push off. Apparently the oath didn't cover the Raksha delivering barbs of her own, as Ashe's pale features colour prettily at the teasing.As wild and lawless as Creation was becoming, some things really didn't look like they were going to change.
Aaaand I'm calling it a day! Thanks for joining me, and I hope this was fun. It's a bit of a slow re-start, because I wanted to get back into the flow of things, so a nice little adventurelet before we get on with the plot. Next time, on Guardian Beast Quest —Sijan! (maybe)> Gained: Valour +1> Gained: Influence (Morticians' Order) 1 (upon delivery of the casket to Sijan)I'll be around for a bit for Q&A and random chat. Recommendations, suggestions?
>>43554037Maybe a better time to run the quest? And advertising to your akun audience.
>>43554037It's good to have you back, I missed this quest.I hope that Astrid transitioning from KotWW to another story doesn't horrifically fuck up the oath she took. It'd make things awkward, we might have to eat her.How annoyed would Ashe be if we popped open the box?
>>43554137The best time for me would be about 8 hours from now, but I think that'd make it worse for the majority of you guys, right? I *should* advertise on Akun, huh? I thought covering it on Twitter was good enough, but you're right. Or should I just switch over to Akun entirely? What's the current /tg/ archiving format? suptg still?>>43554139> we might have to eat her. She might not mind being eaten up by a rough beast~> How annoyed would Ashe be if we popped open the box?She'd probably be a bit annoyed if we did it to take a look. It's disrespectful, but not damning.If we wanted to actually loot the thing, she'd be angry. She's a deathknight! Keeper of the Old Laws!
>>435542068 hours is good for me, but I'd miss the start. I can only speak for me.As for advertising on akun, yes, you should. Akun has its own timer so people don't need twitter to follow quests there. As for moving to there, give /tg/ another week or two, try different times and schedules, see how the audience is like.And yep, suptg still the best archive.
>>43554037Thanks for running this again Dela, I missed itWe should would take the river dragon form and curl ourselves around ashe and cuddle up with her
>>43554311I think our river dragon form is approximately the size of a house and covered with scales.Casimir has better cuddle forms than that, something bear sized and fluffy or long, thin and scaly to wrap around her are way better for it.
>>43554311>>43554464Hey, mix-and-match! You could turn into a thick fluffy snake!... Although that sounds kind of freaky. And yeah, the river dragon is a little too large for the boat right now. Think of it as a really, really aggro Nessie.
>>43554206Nah, don't advertise on Akun.
Just caught up on this, thanks for running Dela, good to see this back.>>43554653>You could turn into a thick fluffy snake!We now must do this with Ashe, we'll be the best cuddler in creation!