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. Just recently, you destroyed a coven of necromancers who tried to ambush you under the guise of the Morticians' Order of Sijan. Now, as you leave the Northern wilds behind and enter the rapids of the Northeast, you wonder if more dangers loom.Let’s change Creation tonight.——————> QM’s twitter: https://twitter.com/DelacroixQm> Past threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Guardian%20Beast%20Quest> System mechanics: http://pastebin.com/py3t5P53> Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/k1ZyxaDe
>>43652791Good evening, dela.I'm still reading the last thread, but I'll be sure to participate for a while yet.Are you still writing, or is this the part where we submit write-ins?
>>43652822Hey!I'm still writing the intro for you guys to respond to; please wait warmly
[The moon is CHANGING. +1 to social- and stealth-related rolls]As the sluggish, icy currents of the North give way to the rapids of the Northeast, the idyll of your earlier journey quickly gives way to white-knuckled excitement. For the girls, at least —Ashe grips the tiller as though it's a lifeline, and Astrid whoops, planting her spear in the deck and riding the rapids for all she's worth. You, with nothing to fear from a little water, spend much of your time in various shapes in the water, steadying the tiny boat with the bulk of borrowed forms.And then the rapids empty out into a great lake-basin, and all of you catch your breath at the sight that extends before you. A great city emerges from the trees, the giant redwoods and white stillness of the North giving way to deciduous trees and meadowland. Its buildings are of wood and mounded earth, their humble materials belying the exactness of the planning and design that went into each structure, and the city proper. "First Age planning," Ashe notes approvingly, as she steers your little ship closer, to where the docks seethe with activity. You notice that the majority of the craft aren't sailed, like yours, but rather rowed: stout canoes that skim across the water on dozens of wooden oar-legs. "This must be Rubylak.""The Linowan are no great lovers of the Fair Folk," Astrid mentions nonchalantly, assuming her guise of a mortal warrior. "Time for me to learn a new role.""No great lovers of the Exalted, either," Ashe adds, pulling up her hood. "They're nominal tributaries of the Realm —" a name you've come to associate with Wyld Hunts and a danger to your mate that makes your hackles rise " —and thus have a technical obligation to exterminate Anathema. Like us."You shrug. "I suppose it is time I learnt some civility."She rolls her eyes. "You speak like a Dynast from the Blessed Isle anyway. Best you keep silent. I doubt either of you speak passable Forest-tongue."[1/2]
>>43652856As you draw near, however, you notice that not all the craft berthed ta the docks are canoes. One of them looks decidedly foreign, with a deep keel and sails together with oar-banks. Ashe takes one look at the blazon on the sail and blanches, turning even paler. She hands over some coins to the harbourmaster's registrar for the berthing fee without incident, muttering some words in what t you sounds like a debased, barbaric language, and you nudge her in passing. "What's the problem?" you ask, jabbing a thumb at the ship at anchor."The Realm," she mutters to you. "Dragon-blooded. That's the symbol of House Mnemon."You shrug again, glancing at Astrid; she mimics your gesture with a kind of blasé hyperbole. "Don't look at me! Mortal politics are all the same: boring."Ashe says something about heading for the market to get supplies for the next leg of your trip, but as you draw closer to the central square, it seems that there's a kink in your plans: for such a bustilng town, the marketplace appears to be deathly devoid of life. Ashe spits out a word that sounds decidedly unladylike, blushing as you quirk an eyebrow at her, before examining a handbill pasted on a nearby wall. "Damn it! They've declared a state of emergency. Something about 'shades after dark'... There's a curfew." She squints at the lowering sun. "We'll have to try our luck again in the morning."The three of you move to find lodgings, but you're stopped on the street by a group of Linowan, their skin the amber brown of maple wood, bearing spears, their armour of what looks like laminated wood and bone. He barks something at your group, waving his spear aggressively, and Ashe stammers something in reply, desperately reaching for words before his withering glare. He repeats himself, more angrily, and this time, to your surprise, you find sense in his words. "What - you - here? Dark - now. Where - bed?"> let her handle it> take charge> Astrid, you're up
>>43652926>Arrived - now - business. Bed - looking. Travel - through.Or something. I guess Ashe can handle it if she wants to, just make sure she doesn't say something stupid and actually says what she should.
>>43652926>> let her handle itSup della?
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>43652980Hey! Good to have you.>>43652975>>43652980So we've got two different votes on a two-reader thread... ;_;1 is chipping in, 2 is letting her handle it
Rolled 6, 5, 5, 6 = 22 (4d6)>>43653005Chipping in it is, let's see how we doo~
>>43653014> ... Amazingly, it seems.You cut in, answering for Ashe. "We're just travellers, passing through, looking for supplies to carry on our journey downriver. We were just about to look for accommodations when you approached us."Ashe and Astrid are both staring at you, the former like you just sprouted gills, the latter with poorly-contained amusement.A thought occurs to you, and with a swift swipe, you pluck Ashe's coin-purse from her belt and give it a few thoughtful tosses, letting them hear how its contents clink invitingly. "I'm sure that you fine gentlemen know the city far better than we ever could; I don't suppose there's a place you'd recommend? I'm sure the proprietors would be grateful to you for the added business, and I'm equally sure my lady here would be glad to make it worth your while."The Linowan lowers his spear, his hostility vanishing, his scowl replaced by a beaming smile as he claps you on the shoulder. "Ha! And my men thought you were all foreign devils! You, you don't look like you're from around here, but you speak with sense and civility! Welcome to Rubylak, traveller. There's no finer hostel in the city than the Golden-Eyed Hind!"The rest of the stroll is pleasant, punctuated by your casual conversation with the city guards —as they turn out to be —and Astrid's muffled chortles at Ashe's gobsmacked air as you demonstrate a hitherto-entirely-unknown proficiency in the Forest-tongue.You notice something odd as you approach the hostel: all the buildings on the street seem to be ringed with a fine white powder. "Salt," Ashe notes as you pass. She turns to the guardsman. "Sergeant, are you having trouble with ghosts?"His smile fades, and he nods with reluctance. "The ancestors seem angry, and our prayers to the gods go unheard. The queen has sent for Exalted exorcists from our allies, but they haven't had any luck so far."[1/2]> Damn it, I keep telling myself to write shorter updates and I keep failing.
You spend a pleasant evening in the hostel's taproom, which does turn out to be rather fine, and after weeks of nothing but fish and river-greens, you relish the rich savour of roast venison and thick gravy. Ashe contents herself with pan-fried bread and some cheese, while Astrid drinks what looks like a dozen tankards of ale and then excuses herself as she sweeps towards your room with a giggling, nut-brown girl on each arm.Ashe blushes, and it's not just the firelight adding colour to her cheeks. "Let's just hope she's done by the time we're ready for bed," she mutters. > ask her why she seems so sour since you arrived> ask her about Rubylak to take her mind off things> [WRITE-IN]?
>>43653108>ask her why she seems so sour since you arrived
>>43653108>> ask her about Rubylak to take her mind off thingsAstrid should learn to share
>>43653207>>43653181The two of you are doing this on purpose aren't you.
>>43653108>> ask her why she seems so sour since you arrived
>>43653181>>43653232"Is everything all right?" you ask, concerned. "You've been a little off since we first arrived."She bites her lip and crumbles the last bites of cheese into fragments with nervous fingers. "I—I just don't like being around people. It's... it's the way I was trained. I like books, I like the quiet. All this —" she waves a hand, indicating the loud hustle and bustle of the taproom, and the city itself at large " —is... it's just too much for me."She arches an eyebrow at you. "I'm surprised you're taking it so well. And just now, when you spoke to those guardsmen... you clearly have a way with people." She smiles wanly. "I... I can't be charming, like you."You sip your own ale and let its dark, rich savour wash down your throat as you ponder her point. > I don't like it either, but sometimes the predator has to follow in the prey's footsteps.> I do like it! I'm surprised. Maybe it's because I was alone for so long?> ... You think I'm charming?
>>43653293>> ... You think I'm charming?
>>43653293> ... You think I'm charming?I hope this is teasing.
>>43653293>... You think I'm charming?Wow, girl, get some glasses.
>>43653293>... You think I'm charming?
>>43653293>I disagree, you can be rather charming yourself, in your own way.But if don't wanna go full cheese then can we say we're indifferent to it?>Eh, it's a day in life, some are different, some are similar.
>>43653310>>43653317>>43653321>>43653323You smile at her and waggle your eyebrows outrageously. "So... You think I'm charming?"She laughs, helplessly, shaking her head. "You see? I... I couldn't ever do or say something like that." Ashe's eyes flick up to meet yours, and for the first time since you landed, you see them full of light. "And... and yes. You are. Very much so. Surprisingly... so..." She looks down at her hands again. "The books said that... that you would be strong. Reliable. Protective. They never said that you'd be... *human*. Charming. Have that smile you smile, or say the things you say. They said you'd make me feel safe. "They never said you'd make me laugh.">>43653326You fold your arms magnanimously. "Well, maybe that's your charm? Bringing out the best in me.""My... charm?" Her pale cheeks colour brilliantly. "You look deeply into things, but not people. To you, a crowd full of people are like a shelf of closed books that you'll never open, that you'll never read. It's nice when you sometimes go the extra mile and actually crack that cover open.""People... are like books?" She rests her cheek on her hand, her look pensive, as if she's never actually considered that. "I... I suppose..." She smiles at you again, this time without reservation, and you feel again that surge of possessive protectiveness, of territorial warmth, as if her smile is itself a den, in which you can hunker down in absolute contentment. "Thank you, Casimir. F-For for talking to me, like this. You didn't have to. I half-thought you were going to follow Astrid, actually. This is a big city, with lots of... lots of girls." This line of inquiry is making you uncomfortable, almost as much as it is her. "And... you've been alone for a while... you must have... well, *needs*, and — "Her stuttering monologue is interrupted by a shrill scream from the street. "Thank Luna," you mutter under your breath, rising to your feet. > investigate> stand guard
>>43653415>> stand guard near the entrance so we can see out the door
Is Casimir a first age lunar? How old is he?
>>43653458>>43653465The taproom erupts into activity. Most people shrink inwards, towards the fire, pushing menfolk and those with weapons towards the windows and doors. The squad of guards you treated to drinks rise, weapons in hand, but they hover near the door, reluctant to move out.You push Ashe behind you as you shoulder your way to the door. People grab at you, crying out to the suicidal foreigner to stay put, but you shrug them off. On the street, it seems like someone has missed curfew. An old man, struggling weakly, gripped by the neck by a spectre clad in rotting rags, smelling of swamp. Roots are intertwined with its ribcage, and its empty eyesockets produce flowers and shoots. It shambles forward, holding up its captive to every window, as if taunting people to come out. Behind it follows more, a shambling horde of its kind. [1/2]
>>43653526What gave you that impression?He has no idea of how old he is, having only fragmented memories of the time before Ashe 'woke him'.
>>43653552As you open the door, ready to step out onto the street, it's shoved back into you and you stagger back, as a small group of men clad in white come down the street the opposite way. Leading them is a powerfully-built woman in gleaming white armour, bearing a great poleaxe. "Stay inside, citizens!" she barks in High Realm. The two forces look like they're about to clash. You lean forward to catch a closer glimpse of them, only to become suddenly aware that Ashe has pulled away from you, retreating away from the door and window. You glance over your shoulder, to find her drawn and shivering. > move out into the street> observe from the window> "What's wrong, Ashe?"
>>43653585> observe from the window> "What's wrong, Ashe?"
>>43653585>"What's wrong, Ashe?"
>>43653585> "What's wrong, Ashe?"> observe from the windowGetting in a fight with the Zed army would draw way more attention than we want, once we get a bit more intel we might want to sneak around, try to find whatever is directing the undead.
>>43653585> observe from the window> "What's wrong, Ashe?"Let's not draw attention to ourselves, we should worry ourselves with finding whatever is directing them.
>>43653585Didn't you use that pic for astrid? Did she change stories right now?> "What's wrong, Ashe?"
>>43653649I don't think I did, but Astrid is also "armoured woman with polearm", I guess. I imagine Astrid as being much more slender and agile, though; this other character is built like a brick house.
Rolled 3, 5, 2 = 10 (3d6)this roll is not for us
>>43653609>>43653612>>43653634>>43653649You split your attention between observing and sidling backwards to where Ashe cowers. "What's the matter?" you murmur, edging closer. "They're Immaculate monks," she hisses, throwing up her hood. "They can... detect us, somehow. Smell us! I can cloak my anima, and if you can do the same, you should!" She promptly vanishes from your senses in a manner that's hard to describe —while she's most plainly there, her scent still filling your nostrils, her hip still pressed against you, she's somehow... not all there. The vibrant presence that defines her, that lights her up in your mind's eye, dims to the point of invisibility. You're not sure you can replicate that feat: while you're adept at stealth, you've only ever had to hide from mundane senses, and only for the purpose of springing an ambush. True enough, the door swings open and one of the bald, white-robed men sticks his head into the taproom. He glowers at everyone assembled, sniffing the air like a dog. His head pans back and forth as he seems to triangulate for some scent...... which is when Ashe grabs hold of you and drags you close in a panicked hug, like any of the other frightened couples that fill the room. As her arms go around you, you feel as if someone has dropped a... a curtain of some sort, a veil, between you and the rest of the world. Colours become less vibrant, smells like penetrating, sounds coming as if from far away. Everything seems lesser, somehow, in the cocoon that Ashe wraps around you with her arms and pale face and huge eyes and dark hair, and you helplessly bury your face in her shoulder. The whole world seems to... go away... for a while, replaced by the frantic hammering of Ashe's heart against your chest. The contact is abruptly broken when she shoves you away, holding you at arm's-length, breathing heavily. You glance around. The monk is gone. With a muttered apology, you crowd closer to the window.[1/2]
>>43653794The 'Immaculates' are forming up, preparing weapons as the shambling mob draws closer. Their robes whip around them as each manifests an aura of elemental fury —you see hardening skin, swirling winds, sparks of flame —as they form a loose line. The armoured woman slams her polearm into the ground. She begins to chant in a different tongue, yet one still familiar to you, ritual words that the others echo."The Immaculate scripture," Ashe murmurs into your ear, coming up from behind you. "It's... it's a rite for the dead."The man held dangling by his neck is trying to pry open those rotting, steel-strong fingers. "Help me!" he gurgles. "I was your decoy like you said! Hel—"With a single swift stroke, the heavily-armoured woman shears through his neck and the arm of the creature holding him, sending head, body, and arm crashing to the ground. As if given a signal, the monks surge forward with a shout, meeting the mob with weapons that blaze with Essence. The stink of magic is thick in the air. Ashe tugs at you. "Come on," she urges. "We should get away from the window. You... you don't want to look too curious."And true enough, despite the fantastic display outside, the Linowan citizens all around you avert their eyes as if in dread. "It seems the Terrestrials are tolerated rather than welcomed," Ashe muses. You look around the room. Besides the main door and windows facing the street, there's a small window open near the hearth. You could slip out, if you wished, to watch the battle from a better vantage point, but Ashe's grip on your arm is unrelenting. > stay here> slip out in beast form
>>43653852>> stay hereGo to our room, assuming Astrid isn't playing with her girls still.>tfw Cassimir hasn't known lust for years while he was in rampage mode
>>43653871> mfw assuming he hasn't
>>43653852>slip out in beast form>>43653883Kinky~
>>43653883Mate, I was going off your words>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.>inb4 "hunger" was not literal and was also meant to include all carnal desires like bloodlust and lust
>>43653894It's time for Uncle Delacroix to sit you little Siddies down and explain how beastmen are made. When a Lunar and a whatever love each other very much...>>43653899Yuuuup. It just so happened that you awakened in your "literal hunger" mode, not your "berserk Lunar chimera rapemonster" mode, or your first meeting with Ashe might have gone... differently.
We're currently tied, by the way.
>>43653852>> stay here
>>43653852> stay here
>>43653968>>43653871You've seen enough. The zombies, while supernaturally strong and resilient, don't seem to possess any coordination of any sort, and are being smashed to pieces by the onslaught of the Exalted monks. The salt barrier ought to protect the inn, and its occupants, and by extension Ashe, so you have little to worry about on that score. So you tug her from the overcrowded taproom, full of scared mortals, and up, to the room you rented for the night. Ashe clears her throat loudly before knocking, but before her knuckles can meet the wood, Astrid has already yanked the door open. Instead of the dishabille you expected, she's fully-armoured, and has her lance in hand.She wordlessly steps aside to let you enter. The girls she brought up with her are huddled on the bed beneath the covers, their eyes wide and frightened. Ashe seems relieved. "Oh, so you didn't — "You sniff the air. "Oh, but she did."Astrid shrugs. "I don't waste time. But we were rudely-interrupted." She draws the two of you to the window which overlooks the street. From here, the order of battle is clear. The zombies shamble mindlessly into the line of Dragon-blooded monks, who dismantle them with their supernatural martial arts. Beyond the cold-bloodedness of the Immaculates' slaughter of the zombies' hostage, and the chilling appearance of the undead, there doesn't seem to be an actual threat here, and you say as much.Astrid nods approvingly. "If this was the extent of the threat, those angry, repressed virgins would have cleaned up Rubylak by now. There has to be more."You frown and focus your senses, remembering the last time you encountered undead on the river. And true enough, flitting to and fro in the air above the zombies are ghostly figures arrayed in armour. They don't seem to be organising or coordinating the zombies —instead, they seem to be... observing. Watching."Ghosts," you mutter to Ashe, and she nods, her lenses perched on her nose. [1/2]
>>43654060"There's been something wrong in the Underworld for some time now," Ashe confesses, sitting on the edge of the bed overlooking the street. "Something's been turning ghosts out, pushing them out. It's not just shadowlands. Even ancestral tombs, monuments long-thought sanctified, are becoming hosts to the unquiet dead." She looks like she might say more, but instead bites her lip and remains silent.Astrid smiles viciously. "Well, if I had known things would be this exciting, I would have left the white wastes a long time ago! It looks like we might have something interesting to do here after all." She cocks her head at you. "So what do you say? Want to go help those monks mop up?"You frown. Cavalier attitude aside, Astrid's battle-lust is imprudent. Naive as you are, even you don't assume that revealing your true nature via supernatural combat would lead to backslaps and drinks afterwards, not if Ashe's fear of the Immaculates is well-founded. Instead, you seize on something Ashe said. "You mentioned tombs, crypts... places where the unquiet dead seek shelter. What about a place like this here?"Ashe frowns, for the moment lost in thought, detached from the fray. "I... I suppose. I'm not sure how the Linowan bury their dead, exactly. Something to do with trees. But if the grave-sites are becoming infested with ghosts, that could in turn lead to the current problems they're facing... but they're not our problems. We should just stay put, and get our supplies in the morning and get gone." She glances at the two girls in the bed. "And hope Astrid's playmates don't speak High Realm."Something in you chafes at the suggestion. Yes, you're Ashe's protector first and foremost, but the notion of Creation, *your* Creation, being sullied by these abominations from beyond the natural cycle is also irksome, and you find a familiar redness beginning to tinge your vision. > propose observing the ghosts and trailing them back to their refuge> wait out the fight
>>43654106>propose observing the ghosts and trailing them back to their refuge
>>43654106I would be all for tracking them down, but with the immaculates here, I don't want to bring heat on us by fighting the ghosts>> propose observing the ghosts and trailing them back to their refuge then have someone tip off the immaculates to where the ghosts are coming from, we'll be long gone by then.
>>43654144That's certainly an option, but it's jumping the gun a little. At present, trailing the ghosts has no combative intent attached to it.
>>43654153ah, my sleep deprived brain is too used to QM's making planning choices a "locked in and unchangeable" scenario, time for sleep here its getting early here now
>>43654118>>43654144>>43654155You take Ashe by the shoulders. "You're right, in that this isn't our fight, and we do not want to attract the attention of those monks, Astrid. But people are still getting hurt. Those monks are here not to save people, but to destroy the undead —I'm not sure they have the best interests of the mortals at heart, here. "I'll go keep an eye on the ghosts. You mentioned before that they have to take shelter before daylight, right? I can watch from a distance, and follow them to wherever it is that they hole up during the day. And then we can let the authorities know, or pay a visit ourselves with some salt, and that'll be the end of it."Astrid snorts. "Sounds boring." She lets herself sink back onto the bed and leers at the two girls beneath the bedcovers. Ashe bites her lip and nods. "I... I know. This sort of thing... it goes against everything the Old Laws stand for. You... you go ahead." She manages a smile. "I ought to go with you, but —""You won't be able to keep up," you say gently, "and right now that's for the best. As long as I know you're safe, I can do whatever I have to."She nods.You take the form of a thick-furred tree-cat, not uncommon in the further North, and maow, batting at Ashe's leg. She grins as she hoists you, planting a kiss between your fuzzy ears, as she lets you out the window. The cold doesn't bother you with your thick coat, and you bound to the rooftop, hunkering down between bunches of thatch to make the most of your camouflage. You watch the melee, keeping track of the ghosts' movements. They seem to be most closely observing, not the zombies that are quickly disintegrating beneath the onslaught of the Dragon-blooded monks, but rather the monks themselves. With a chill, you consider their posture: like hawks observing prey, picking out probable burrow-sites and planning the best angle of attack...[TBC]>>43654227Time for me too. I'm barely staying awake!
Thanks all for joining me, and sorry for the very-short session, but I'm pooped and it's time to hit the hay before the quest quality degenerates further. I have a big evaluation coming on Tuesday, and that's taking a huge amount of prep-time. I look forward to resuming this story, hopefully with more attention to spare, after that milestone. Thanks again for joining me, and I hope to see you all next session!Oh, and I'd appreciate it if someone could do the archiving. Thanks!
>>43654268Thanks for running mate
>>43654404I'll be your running mate anyday, Mr President
>>43654406what the... I didn't know you revived this! I'lll try to join next time!