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Chapter One: The Lost Girl

 Post subject: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:41 pm 
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:Storyteller:

28th of Resplendent Wood, Realm Year 768

V'Neef Taban was not a woman designed for wilderness exploration. She was Exalted, a child of Mela, and in theory all human arts should have been hers to master and bring the elemental potency of her blood to the excellence of them. Of course that's assuming she'd ever done the smallest amount of wilderness hiking or camping or even looking at a particularly wild stretch of road before she came here to the Caul. Based on what you heard after she disappeared, and Diamond Flow's own memories of her youth, you honestly can't be entirely sure she was aware that plants grew in the wild outside of farms and gardens.

V'Neef Taban is an academic, a scholar and member of the Thousand Scales, serving under the Minister of Ten Thousand Forgotten Truths with her specialty and duties being the research and categorization of ruins and occult locations for the benefit of the Realm which until last month had been done entirely from the safety of a library in the Imperial City. V'Neef Taban should never have been allowed to trek into the dark jungles of the Caul armed only with her curiosity about ancient ruins and a few dozen armed Legionnaires to protect her, and whatever combat skills she may have acquired for defending herself from assassins. You hear there's a bit of a problem with those in the Thousand Scales, but really wouldn't know.

Therefore it likely comes as no surprise when V'Neef Taban and her entire expedition disappear into the jungles. When the monthly supply porters made their way through the jungle to their camp they reported the whole thing empty and desolate.

And the fact she's family, a first cousin to Diamond Flow, is why your Hearth has gone forth to save her. The sun burns overhead, half seen through the dense jungle canopy over the long overgrown road you walk to where her camp was last reported. It doesn't sear directly like in a desert but instead conjures the feeling of being slowly boiled alive in the thick humidity of the jungle. The chattering of monkeys and birds in the bush is a cacophonous riot, and the green foliage is darted here and there with bright floral blooms and the aforementioned birds as they squawk and screech their way through the day. The winding path through jungle covered hills opens into the ruinous clearing that Taban was here to study where you see exactly what they meant by abandoned.

It looks like a tornado literally hit this place, leaving scattered tents and equipment all over. No food, not anymore after this many days, and no bodies. There's a great stone ziggurat rising in the center of this clearing, with the small camp having been pitched on the overgrown stone courtyard before it. Where the people who once inhabited it are and what happened to them, is for you to find.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:01 pm 
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Ledaal Naxos has taken to the trees, hopping from branch to branch buoyed by his element if not with an excess of actual acrobatic skill, more watching for any movement than actually doing any formal tracking (not my forte, but maybe a demon would help? he wonders).

The jade and silver tiara on his brow carries a transparent, faceted square stone glowing softly with a violet light. It glints even in the sweltering shadows, and Naxos crouches perched, only his eyes moving, looking for the little telltale outlines of spirit doors. Seeing none for now, he sighs, and gives an exaggerated, bent-armed wave to the ground. "Why do they always make it so complicated? I just wanted to look at the ziggurat too, not......this," he waves a hand expressively, gesturing at the mess of a scene laid before them.

"Anyway all clear from up here for now. No doors to knock in this neighborhood. Though I would be remiss if I didn't tell everyone that this seems like a parallel to a set of stanzas from Mnemon Iladri's RY 325 translation of Gabmerin's The Redwood Wigwam," and, well, we all know how that ended up." He scratches behind one ear, adjusting the light cloths draping his neck, produces an apple, and starts to chomp on it. He does not yet drop to the ground, simply surveying the scene and chomping on the apple, seeing if anything responds to the noise or the smell.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:28 am 
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Verdant Thorn has come alongside Diamond Flow, not only a Hearth member but a family member under house V'neef. Though he also needed little reason to explore the great natural realm, nor does he not seem at peace in the jungle, the heat does not bother him, and the floral blooms seem to attract his eye, having to stop and inspect each one carefully.

He watches silently from the ground as Ledaal Naxos rummages through the tree tops looking down at the encampment below.

After hearing from Ledaal Naxos on any nearby enemy threats he calmly and casually moves forward, smoking a long pipe filled with a floral scented herb. Puffs of smoke mark his arrival at the scene as his long flowing robe rustles across the litter of leaves on the ground. With each step the butt of his bowstaff, a long single piece of wood beautiful carved and engraved and covered in with decorative mosses and leaves, hits the ground with a soft thud.

"I will search the area for tracks," he says calmly as he kneels down near a collapses tent and runs his fingers of the ground clutter, "this looks fairly recent, she couldn't have gotten to far, and as of now I do not see nor smell and blood."


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:22 pm 
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V'neef Diamond Flow emerges from the leaves of the jungle into the clearing alongside Verdant Thorn wearing a tight, professional frown. By now, the group would know that the cheery facade she put on in court tended to melt away the moment they stepped away from such matters. She'd waited for the all clear from Naxos and now strode with the confident, slow step of a warrior wound up to strike at any moment. Her pristine white gi had, as usual, resisted any stain the journey here would have put upon it's white and silver-hemmed folds.

She glances up at Naxos, calling over in a wry, ironic tone, "We, of course, all know every last detail of Iladri's work but maybe you could specify what you mean?"

"I doubt there's much that could laying in wait for us in all this, but let's all keep on our toes until we've secured the camp," she says to everyone assembled. "Last thing we need is a repeat of the viper incident, right Thorn?" she says with a fierce grin, teasing the man.

Approaching on light feet, the platinum-haired woman sent pale eyes over the details of the wreckage. She's mostly content to leave serious investigation to the more skilled. Instead, her search is to look into every place in the camp where something hostile could conceivably hide and look into or shift the wreckage to confirm that nothing hides there. She moves light on her feet. While it's too late to truly ambush anything, she might get the drop on anything taking refuge or hiding in the wreckage.

Some part of her fears that the next ripped scrap of tent she pushes behind will reveal the broken and bloody body of her cousin. She held some few fond memories, especially from her childhood when the adults and other children has acted like Diamond might just be ... gone the next day. Taban had never treated her that way. She was never much of a fighter of though. What were they thinking sending her here with such a small compliment?, she thinks to herself, fear for her cousin and anger clashing behind her pale eyes.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:51 pm 
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:sesus talos:

Sorry I am late. Sakio was not wishing to go to work and I had to explain to her she cant follow me everywhere and needs to do her duty like everyone else. (Sakio is currently entertains some politicians and listening in on them.) So I got the message Ms V'neef Diamond Flow, whats actually going on. Also any information would be helpful. Like is she a dragon-blood, Hight, weight, eye color, anything really? Talos starts picking apart the camp looking for parchment to put together profiles of all the people who were here and maybe anyone else.

6m Indisputable Physical Analysis Technique (She may add automatic successes on an Investigation roll for two motes each. She rerolls 6s until they cease to appear.)

Perception (2)+ Investigation (5) + stunt (2) = 9 (+3 auto)


Rolling some dice:
9d10: 51 (8, 8, 1, 10, 6, 7, 1, 1, 9)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:52 pm 
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1x6 reroll

Rolling some dice:
1d10: 1 (1)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:18 pm 
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What Sesus Talos is able to ascertain through a good quarter hour of picking the camp over, examining the damages, and the nearest surrounding jungle is that while the cosmic narrator may have chosen to use elemental cyclonic imagery to describe what happened to this place, he's fairly sure was in fact one or more large flying entities. They came from the north-west, coming laterally out of the jungle and had used the canopy for concealment as they neared the camp. The missing legionnaires and the V'Neef scholar were carried off. Alive, at the time, if he has to guess from the lack of copious blood spillage. This was a lightning raid, but he can't be sure if it was supernatural entities, winged beastmen or Anathema, or just very large birds or local reptiles looking for live food for their young. On the Caul any or all might be possible.

Verdant Thorn, I'd like a Perception+Survival check to find (and follow whenever you as a group decide its time to roll) tracks or other trail from these people. Augment with charms as feel is needed.

Diamond Flow, on a cursory look over you turn up no bodies thank the Dragons, but lots of left weapons and personal effects. In the largest tent ruins, the ones belonging to V'Neef Taban, you find a ruination of her notes and sketches but one intact journal. A personal one, not academic. You may, if you are inclined to look further, try to scrape something resembling carefully reassembled pages of those ruined notes, with an appropriate stunt and a Lore+Intelligence check.

Naxos, a bright blue butterfly lands on your arm. You think it wants to be friends! Or thinks you might in fact be a large flower and looking for nectar. Hard to tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:32 pm 
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Diamond Flow looks over the ruins of the tent, frowning again as she looks over the wreckage. With a practiced mental effort, she separates herself from the emotions connected to Taban. Letting them twist and move in the back of her mind, she settles over the ruins of the notes with a considering look.

From their time together in the past, Diamond considers the notes against the organization she remembers that Taban used back then when they both had cause to investigate the legend of a certain martial art teaching goddess. They'd collaborated for a time. Taban interested in the ruins she was said to inhabit and Diamond Flow for the Art she supposedly wielded.

Drawing from her memories that time, she first organizes what she can decipher from the ruins of the notes according to this system. Then, she stands before the assembled pile. She gathers wisps of air essence around her as she closes her eyes. She empties her mind, letting the essence guide her touch, charged with her intent to restore as much as possible. Her hands blur with motion. She lets the spark of knowledge in that charged Air essence guide her into re-assembling the pages in a frenzy of scholarly insight.

She surveys the results of her work as she picks up the intact journal, flipping to the latest entry and reading it - and perhaps more if there's anything telling or interesting there.



4m of Careful Insight-Gathering Study to add 2 successes.

Lore 5 + Intelligence 1 + Stunt 2 = 8 dice (+2 successes)

Rolling some dice:
8d10: 53 (6, 3, 10, 1, 10, 9, 10, 4)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:10 am 
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:sesus talos:

Interesting. Talos quickly looks at all the written documents making sure to analyze it all. Along with that he will make notes about personality traits of all the people missing, from what documents are there. Once done he will look at everyone and closes his note book with the information hes collected in it with dates, times, locations and a small drawing to help him self. Ok here's what I have gathered. Do to the little amount of blood I speculate that this was a quick snatch and grab. I also have noticed theres not enough foot prints here or tracks so its a good chance it was done by a creature that can fly. With that said, I would say there all alive for now by how little blood there is but we must act quickly. lastly they came from the north-west, coming laterally out of the jungle and had used the canopy for concealment as they neared the camp. Talos adjusts his pack and puts his notes carefully in side. Grabbing a water jug on the right side of his bag he takes a drink. So anyone else found anything or are we ready to head out? Pulling the straps up to tighten the backpack Talos looks energetic and ready to head out.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:22 pm 
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Verdant Thorn still casual and calm inspects the ground for tracks, even though the group has seemed to think it birds of prey.

"I do not wish to recall the viper, Diamond," he says with a sigh, embarrassed at the mention of the story, "that happened long ago yet you still tease me so, please let me focus on this task so that mistake does not happen again, but perhaps if it does this time you shall be bit."

Emerald green energy flows through Thorn's palm and pulses with a ripple into the ground. He closes his eyes and focuses his senses on the natural elements and energies that flows around him. Within moments his eyes open and are revealed to contain an emerald green light.

"Even if they did fly, they will still leave tracks in the form of broken branches and disturbed canopies, one attuned with the natural elements can sense even the slightest disturbance," Verdant Thorn says as the others begin to gather after their search.

2m of Quarry Revelation Technique (re-roll 6s on tracking until they cease to appear + contest magical concealments).

Perception 5 + Survival 5 + Stunt 2 = 12 dice

Rolling some dice:
Rolling some dice:
12d10: 63 (4, 6, 4, 1, 7, 1, 5, 6, 10, 2, 9, 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:48 pm 
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((Re-rolling 6's))

Rolling some dice:
Rolling some dice:
2d10: 17 (7, 10)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:19 pm 
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Verdant Thorn: You've got a path. They came through the trees from at least a hundred yards out from the camp, but you can see the trail in the broken branches. And with a trail, you've got a lead.

Diamond Flow: The anarchy slowly condenses into sanity, though it takes well over an hour of carefully picking through the papers and sorting. The personal journal is her account of days and her travels, and the eye opening experience being off the Blessed Isle was for her but nothing about any enemies who might have done this. Her notes? Pages of theory and sketches. This stepped pyramid is from days more ancient than you want to imagine, like so much here on the Caul, and dedicated to a vast pantheon of deities though as is right and proper the Elemental Dragons loom high over all in the reconstructed art work. There's a veritable menageries of gods depicted in the ancient stylizations she sees and partially reconstructed Old Realm hieroglyphics.

It looks like the middle text of an extended poem, in this case a warning about whatever lies at the far end of this stretch of jungle. The road between elemental cities isn't the only one here and there used to be many ancient cities and settlements and powers on this island. This one here doesn't seem super...nice.

O pilgrim, you who walk the Dragon Road
Turn not your steps from your purpose
Sun and Moon guide thy steps on the way to the home of your people
This way lies the court of the king of sky and blood,
foe to your people and father of banes
O pilgrim, give praise to the dragons and turn back


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:59 am 
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Diamond Flow emerges from the ruined tent without a strong sense of how long she was in there. She scans the camp and makes sure everyone is accounted for and not in obvious danger before calling out to the group.

"Does this poem mean anything to anyone?" she says to everyone, before reciting the poem for all to hear. "It looks like Taban was studying the ruins here. Our pyramid here is apparently dedicated to a variety of gods and, more importantly, the Elemental Dragons. Still, the poem sounds fairly ominous so let's stay on our toes. If anyone wants to study her notes further, come get them! Ancient ruins aren't really my area of focus."

"Before we head out, let me take a quick listen at the pyramid," she says.

With that, she walks over the pyramid itself and places a hand on the stone. For a moment, she lets the world dim around her as she lets a flow of white earthen essence course from her ear down her arm to her palm. It spreads through the stone of structure, an echo of her own perception coursing through it as she listens through stone, searching for any out of place noises and tuning into them.



5m to Deep Listening Palm. I'll throw an Awareness + Perception roll in case there's there's a layer of something that requires the roll / to hear within.

Perception 4 + Awareness 5 + Stunt 2 = 11 dice


Rolling some dice:
11d10: 60 (9, 7, 5, 6, 2, 1, 9, 4, 4, 4, 9)


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:36 pm 
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She hears the creak of the cold stone foundations, the slow groan of the roots of the mighty trees of the forest against the bedrock, and the sounds of her own companions but nothing else. You have the natural noise of the jungle alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter One: The Lost Girl
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:26 pm 
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Verdant Thorn, content with the tracks he has discovered and having announced them to the group joins Diamond Flow and assists in her investigation.

"What a fascinating poem," Verdant Thorn exclaims as he goes over it's structure and wording several times, even quietly reciting it to himself.

"It seems whatever V'Neef Taban was researching into, it perhaps caused her great concern or worry," he says to anyone listening.

As his left hand holds open the book he places a small pipe into his mouth with his right. He lights a small fire at the end of the pipe and a bark colored mist rises out of it like smoke. He inhales this smoke as he reads and recites the poem. It helps to open his mind and let it wander through his free flowing thoughts and feelings. A small emerald light shines in his eyes through the haze as he searches for the poems true meaning.

((Using the charm: Careful Insight-Gathering Study, I am spending 4 peri motes (now at 25/31) to add 2 automatic successes to my Lore Check.))

Rolling Lore + Intelligence, 10 die + 2 stunt die + 2 automatic successes

Rolling some dice:
Rolling some dice:
12d10: 64 (6, 4, 2, 2, 8, 3, 9, 3, 9, 6, 2, 10)


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