The opening storyteller journal for Exalted - Ghosts of the South. Arrival of dark figures, insights of the cards, and a bit of lunch.
A Boat from Nowhere
"Some call this the great jewel of the coast. A place of beauty, to feed all hunger and answer all prayers." The tired voice nearly slurred, exhaustion burrowing as hungry worms into his sanity. The Physician needed darkness and blood, a moment's respite. "I lack the encouragement to look beyond these walls."
Bone heels clicked across wooden planks, marking the time in seconds around him. She was the hands, relentless as time itself. Darkness punctuated by the pale, the Maiden marked with midnight under her eyes, ribcage of her first kill bound in embrace around her chest. The sword's hilt near scraping the roof.
"I detest this land and assignment. In the shadow of Juggernaut, I reigned through fear, sword in hand. Waiting incessantly in this hole frays every nerve." Mirthless' voice akin to a woman's raw throat after hours of screaming. "Typhon needs not nursemaids."
"No, we do not attend him as such. It is not the Tri-Khan the Mask holds in concern, but those he may call upon. The unknown elements. Unlike Thorns, a child of a city, Chiaroscuro is an ancient, and holds secrets beyond our sight." Eyes closing, a moment of respite caught hi
The steps halted, then rushed, a sudden flurry of movement bringing a swift end to a thief. They lurked and spied, a few coming close to touching the hull. Their orders demanded care in this tenuous situation, always with a wink and a nod regarding that level of care. Murdering the populace laid outside of that purview.
Midnight eyes glared to the bright day beyond, the alabaster flesh of Mirthless nearly glowing. Nothing of the South's warmth touched the warrior, the chill of her anima pooling about her feet, freezing the blood splatter across the deck.
The Physician followed her gaze which dropped to the chilled remains. She turned her boot, grinding the decapitated head in a lurid circle. A brand blistered upon the forehead as eyes crystalized in the sockets, lips turning blue.
"What have we here..."
Ruvia of Open Roads
Opala hummed to herself, twirling cards within hands newly dipped into lineament and myruhhin to stay limber for a long day of work. Combs held her hair in twisted braids, heated rocks tucked within to help lock in those lovely curls she was known for. A mask of red clay cracked over her cheeks, about her eyes, clean and rested leaving a touch of color to heighten a youth she lost.
A steaming pot of chocha steeped away, for that perfect bitterness to combine with spice cubes and grain sugar. A morning bun of jasmine, currandir, and fig laid forgotten if missing a bite or two. She had perhaps two hours before the early lunch rush would fill her table with officials seeking insight to gain position, mother’s eager for matrimony for their children, sultans wishing just a light bit of conversation while waiting for their meetings, and lovers new and spurned.
Cards fell into patterns. The flaming cup, the lost road, the single lute with cut strings but one, the empress blinded, the warrior climbing or falling upon a cliff. Each of the backs had the slightest change in color, in the feathers of a large peacock. So festooned in details, no one caught on to her tricks. The deck served her well, thick and enameled, some form of shell perhaps, though she never questioned the make.
A shadow marred the edges of her vision, someone come too early, taking the seat of pillows across from her. “Afraid I am not reading yet, ju’sha. Come when we open for luncheon.”
A hand tattooed in henna and fesa reached across to pull a card, flipping it before her. A thrill of lightening traveled along her spine. How long had it been since this visitor appeared, to turn cards, disappearing the moment she peered up? Months? A year? Holding breath, she watched for the design to lay upward.
Usually something intriguing displayed, coming up in her daily life within the week. But this once, something new met her gaze. A card not of this desk, yet with the same back! A gentleman with a wide hat, long golden hair burnished by the sun, a single bright eye like a gem peeking from the brim. He wore traveling clothing, swathed in gold, beads, a scarf of dawn scattered to night. Under his boots wound a path neverending upon shifting waves, entering and leaving, with a series of stars within the ripples of his steps.
“Ruvia, travels through the deserts, waves of red gold sands parted before him. Be watchful, he comes with a message, but his steps may become wayward.”
Her fingers sought the card, touching his for a moment, something aching and familiar. Yet when she raised it from his, glancing to where he sat, nothing remained. Only the card.
A lunch to remember…
Meandering through the start of a new day in glorious Chiaroscuro, Dusty (Dust of the Broken Road) and his intrepid chinchilla friend Sooty sought out pockets to pick! Lunch was coming, punctuated by growling stomachs and parched lips.
Seyjan Tur’quen began his day as any other, spying out the world around him with all the beauty of light playing colors over windswept sands or glittering gems upon velvet. He felt a tug, and gave chase to a furred thief.
The two met with short words. The bit of jade still found way in Dusty’s hand as they as quickly parted. Until the pair came across the silver tattooed mountain of a dereth woman (living as a man) with sailors garb, a vicious small daiklaive, and a hunger sated on thick beef. Scarlet Tooth of the Southern Waves met the pair, soon breaking their shared hunger on more meat, pineapple juices, and talk.
The trio overhead the usual fair of chatter in the streets and markets with a few additions. Someone on horseback rushed through the eastern gate in the dark of night! A death ship was in port! There was a sale on fried lizard!
They tossed in jade for a deadpool regarding who would touch, or board the ship, what they may find, and more.
Together they sought the Rusty Bucket, a dive bar along the docks. The tavern held together through old rusting metal braces connecting an old ship that crashed into the previous bar. The spied out and paid for fine drinks and a good spot on the deck.
The group caught sight of a few wonders. The ship Risen Star of House Peleps is in port with Captain Amelia Peleps at the helm (water aspected Dragonblooded, fair and respected at the Docks). The death ship has people in it…and a ghost that Seyjan determines is from House Ragara of the Blessed Isle (Dragonblooded, not exalted).
Upon the schooner, they watched a sleep masked man, a frightening hulk of a woman, a ship with black metal covered in screaming faces…and the decapitation of a young thief.