Corsair Stir-Fry

Journal of Ember Rose 2
Not This Day

When we sailed for the island of artisans in Sanguine Vow’s magnificent ships, we did not know how complicated things were about to become. From the moment we landed, we were surrounded by peril and possibility. Katwe and her artisans made many contacts among the islanders, and brokered a deal with a god called Invisible Hand. I doubt the deal will be terribly real, since the Invisible Hand is a myth, a figment. Still, the fact that many believe in it must give it power, and we need all power on our side.

The Invisible Hand’s slimy employee showed us beautiful obsidian horseshoes to draw our attention. It was merely a marketing ploy, but I wish I’d been able to get them for Brist. They would have made such lovely ringing sounds when she runs. Perhaps someday they will be proffered as a gift, something whose value derives from the principles it embodies and the relationships it builds—from intimacies, not money. Everyone assures me that such a day will not come soon to this island, giddy home of the free market.

Then I met a band of Surfer Dudes. They feel free when riding the waves, but their home island was destroyed by the Silver Prince. They joined with with us and became followers of a homeless god, Bountiful Apex, whose head is a cloud. Wellspring picked him up on the docks, hoping to improve him, as is her wont. He promised to make waves for the surfers. So perhaps they will all live happily on Porto Spice, near the Gill People. Katwe promised the Gill People a home on the reef off the southwestern shore, where they can continue to practice their traditional communal culture. As if this were not enough peoples, some odd ones formed from chaos who are drawn to inspiration and potential grew very fond of Ool, and followed her. She seems to have promised them space in her well-engineered dwellings on Porto Spice.

In truth, I doubted the wisdom of inviting all of these peoples. But it turned out to be a wise thing when we decided to attack the Litha, horrid demon-tainted dark creatures. In a battle that spanned land and sea, we slaughtered them without too much trouble. Tragically, though, our friend Jurrican Veliv was mortally wounded by the demon leader, who’d been sent by the violent usurper Jurrican Scitha. Katwe vengefully killed the demon by boiling him in a sea-spout and then skewering him with her flaming sword. But despite Ool’s attempts to heal Veliv, it was too late for him.

Before the battle, the other Exalteds, especially Sanguine Vow and perhaps Wellspring, made a deal with a group of Dragonbloods—some Princess and her entourage. When I first saw them on the docks, my blood started to boil and I looked for ways to attack them. But an attack was not practical, and not part of our strategic plan. So when they approached the ship, I exercised restraint; I left and went to the galley. Vow promised them something in return for a fleet—and gaining a fleet was the primary goal of visiting this island. So, we have a fleet, but with strings attached—strings that lead straight to the Realm. One day, I will turn that fleet against the Realm, and make them feel the pain they have visited on others. But today is not that day.

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

In a high battlement overlooking Far Harbor, Sagacious Phoenix arranged green, red, yellow, and black banners on bamboo poles. The winds at this height were steady today, whipping the banners and issuing a droning buzz from the various holes carved into the poles. Satisfied with their arrangement, Sage stood in the center of the arrangement, a steel wand in his left hand. At the wand’s tip a small black jade dragon’s head clung to the metal with smoky incense drifting from the nostrils. For the next few hours, Sage carefully went through the mudras of creation, purpose, and service. The wind’s speed and fierceness grew.

With a great shout from Sage, the winds howled, snapping the bamboo poles and carrying the banners into the sky. They wrapped on each other and faded away, leaving a green condor-like elemental in their place. It had long red-and-black tipped white wings with markings resembling red eyes underneath.

The winds dropped back to their usual levels as the Xatu landed on the battlements edge, wild defiance in its eyes. Sage leveled the open palm of his right hand at the creature, shouting the Old Realm word for submission. A golden flare of essence burned the symbol on the creature’s brow and it bowed its head in obedience.

In the coming days, people would come to notice the creature perched high above Far Harbor or gliding on the island’s thermals, never interfering but carefully watching all beneath it.

At the end of the Far Harbor docks, Sage had arranged a complicated sculpture of glass and crystal. It caught the setting sun’s light and cast a prismatic rainbow on the water. He set a number of small coconut husk boats into the water, each smoldering . The heavy smoke clung to the water’s surface, spreading out and causing the reflected light to ripple as if alive. Sage sat at the dock’s edge, humming a traditional Noh score about beauty born of sea foam.

As the song swelled, Sage pressed his lips together into a high-pitched whistle. The floating embers flared into life, before sizzling and sinking into the bay. Moments later, the rainbow-filled smoke lifted into the air in massive brilliant fins attached to an equally massive seahorse-shaped water elemental.

The Tidemare flared its nostrils in challenge to Sage’s authority. Again Sage won the force of wills, branding the creature. Quickly thereafter, the sailors and fishermen of Far Harbor came to enjoy their new companion who was equal parts harbor pilot and town gossip. Ships slipped in and out of the harbor waters without incident and docking berths were perfectly aligned, like a well-rehearsed ballet production. Little did they realize the creature was carefully inspecting each ship, knowing all that floated through its home.

The Retirement Plan.

Iago sputtered and spit as he slowly swam his way to the docks. His hands were of little help and the hooks weren’t made for swimming. He reached up with one hook, burying it into the planks and tried to orient himself to pull his body out of the drink when a rope looped under the hook and began to lift him to the dock.

Once sitting on the timbers, the man holding the rope dropped it and stepped aside, revealing a tall, slender woman in a black coat and red sash sitting on a crate.

“I’m Vow. Sorry about all of that up there.” she said nodding toward the Pole. “I wasn’t real clear on the whole pomp and circumstances that came along with the bounty.”

“You fucking bitch!” he said as he scrambled to his feet. “I can’t get away from you fucking quims always wanting to fuck with me. First it was that Waverider bitch and now you.”

Vow held up her hand as she stood, a slight smile crossing her face.

“Please, don’t embarrass yourself any more tonight, Iago. Your crew and your conduct have done plenty of that. I’m not here to ridicule you more. It is much worse than that. When my crew was on your ship, in your cabin, we saw the map. We saw the equipment.” she said nodding lightly as she stepped towards Iago. " We saw the girl."

Iago bared his teeth and snarled a bit.

“She’s mine. I bought her. I bought her fair and square. The flag is part of the game, that wasn’t the first time it was taken and it won’t be the last, but she is mine. I saved for years to buy that one.” he hissed.

“Oh. You bought her fairly and squarely. Oh well in that case, all is forgiven. Right fellas?” she laughed to her crew. “Jerrick, you were a slave, right? It’s all fine as long as he bought her fairish and squarish, right”

The man to her right snorted and spat on the Iago’s seasoaked shirt.

“Huh, I guess I don’t think Jerrick forgives you.” she said with a caricaturish look of confusion.

“Look, Iago. I’m not in the game of ruining lives or killing weak and crippled old men. So I’m going to make you a deal. I’m going to offer you the best deal you’ve heard today. I will let you live your life without ever having to see me again. You can live your life away from all of this hatred and embarrassment.” she said as she leaned against a stack of hogsheads.

“Here are my conditions: First, you never set foot on a boat again. Learn to fish, learn to farm, learn to shovel shit. I don’t much care what you do as long as it doesn’t include being a sailor. Second, you never buy another slave. Period. Third, your “retirement plan”, and everything in it, belongs to me and my friends, and you will never speak of it in front of ANYONE ELSE for all of your days."

She paused and observed his sneering face growing angrier.

“Lastly, you never tell anyone that you made this deal, just that you decided that your seafaring days were done. In exchange, you get this.” she said holding the Ensign Bounty, obviously a touch lighter. “And you get to see the next sunrise and as many as you can manage after that.”

Tossing the bag’s tie string over one of his hooks, she stepped forward. She leaned forward and pressed the tip of her dirk against his other wrist.

“The alternative is that you get to try to convince Jerrick to let you live.” she said as she put her mouth aside his ear.

“His former owner cut his tongue out, so he isn’t much of a conversationalist.”

Iago Brinetooth sighed and his look of anger faded from his face. Resignation took its place as Vow stepped back, snapping her heels together and extending her free hand.

“So, do we have a Deal?”

A feint glow bathed the end of the dock for a moment and faded. Moments later, Vow emerged from behind the stacks of barrels and crates. She stopped and handed a small handful of shells to Jerrick with a nod.

“Have a round on me. And after that round, I need you all to go back to the ship and secure the standard. These fuckers are ruthless.” she laughed as she headed back to the Pole of the West.

Brother Sun's Call

“Just stand still and look handsome, or whatever it is you do.”

“I’ll look good and look good doing it!”

Lusa grumbled at Higalik. The fool was stuck waist deep in snow, supporting a large chunk of frozen stone that would have sealed them all in the cave for certain. By all accounts they should be dead right now.

“Good thing my gut was right, eh, friend? The old hero of the Moving Glaciers was here! Frozen in ice all this time!”

Lusa rolled her eyes, quickly dragging the next explorer out from the cave. Just a few more and then Higalik could let the collapse finish without fear of any Salluit explorers being trapped.

Higalik was trembling under the massive weight as the thick metal fingers of his newly acquired gauntlets dug into stone. It was fairly an impressive display. While he certainly wasn’t the legend of old, shifting glaciers by will of muscle alone, he was doing a damn good job of trying to live up to the the name. The scales of the ancient lamellar fitted over his torso rippled, following the ebbing flow of power that coursed through the sinewy man. Higalik groaned under the strain as the collapse weighed down upon him. The momentary grimace that followed couldn’t shadow the thrilled grin splayed on the man’s face; He was enjoying his display of raw thew.

As the last explorer scrambled out, Lusa urged them further from the cave opening and out into the tundra.

“Higalik, come, we are out!”

He didn’t need further encouragement to leave the icy tomb. With a final heave, and the sickening snap of sinew, he hefted the weight enough to roll away into the thick slush that lead to the opening of the cave. A tumbling cascade of white followed the thunderous roar from the cavern’s collapse, rapidly burying the man and reaching out to swallow Lusa and the rest of the expedition crew.

Lusa called out once more, her voice drowned out by the roaring fall of ice and slush. The others pulled the Lunar back, not keen on loosing both of their champions. Lusa had been around for years, kindled by Sister Moon’s succor, but Higalik was only recently ignited by Brother Sun’s radiant light. Losing him would bring great sorrow, but losing Lusa would shatter the Salluit people.

Blinding white filled their vision, half buried in a frozen blanket. The heavy weight of dread filled the air as they reoriented themselves. Higalik was no where to be seen. She called out to the Solar, uncertain of where he was buried. Silence was the only reply.

A murmur of whispers spread between the explorers, a few readying whale-bone spades. They were ready to search at Lusa’s command. She raised her fist, not wanting any to get close. The fresh collapse of snow and slush was still deep and fragile. Disturbing the site further may get them buried for good this time. She urged them away as she began to alter her shape, lightening her step. She would be less likely to disturb the fickle runout and unlike the others, she could readily escape further danger. Her unnaturally lithe form slinked across the snow, quietly calling out for Higalik. There was still no response, save the deadening silence the heavy layer of snow provided. Worry creased her brow as she knelt to the ground, pressing her ear to the icy debris.

Snow shifted under her as a large hand erupted from the snow beneath her feet. A small yelp accompanied her forward tumble from the sinking pit of snow as Higalik dug himself out. Still embedded in the snow with his head above it all, he shot her a stupid grin.

“We did it! And now to just follow Brother Sun’s calling from West!”

Lusa smiled back at the dauntless soul before her. She’d miss the oaf.


Art by RedlyJester

Post from the STs setting the stage for session 2

As Calibration ends, the normal celebrations are muted or missing. Instead, mournful bells are ringing, and the smell of funerial incense wafts through the sea breeze. Almost every member of the Jurrican clan was assassinated.

Scyawn, the black sheep of the Jurrican clan, has conveniently returned. He’s talking big about finding the culprits responsible and establishing Porto Spice as a rival to Wavecrest. Orators are in the town square proclaiming his speeches. Messengers are being sent out across the other nearby isles where the family hold influence, spreading his propaganda.

Scyawn was already an accomplished sorcerer before he left for the Dragons know where. How much he’s grown, and what allies he’s made are hard to discern. Secretly, Jurrican Veliv and Kira are making plans for how to avenge their family and save their home.

Absolute Beginners
Sagacious Phoenix

2 Calibration 768

I intended to be back at the Citadel by this point, however it seems Fate had different plans for me…

Jurrican Agwe’s letter drew other Brothers and Sisters of the Sun and I am unaccustomed to the spectacle that amplifies as we gather. Grigori brought a sort of bear from the far North with him, clearly wyld-touched, that drew quite the crowd in the markets, and the sheer presence of the others disrupted studies at Ouregon University. While I do not seek to stifle my Brethren, we should strive to be less disruptive to those who have granted us such hospitality.

It is good to see others and know I’m not alone here in the West, but the events that followed left me shaken as much as excited.

The discovery of Exploding Infinities is like nothing I’ve seen. While the Citadel of Eventide is immense, it is a quiet place of reflection and study, nothing like the loud machinery contained within the manse spanning so much of the northeastern portion of Porto Spice. I suspect once fully restored I could staff the Citadel much the same as a Dynast compound, however Exploding Infinities would dwarf that. Hundreds of people could live there, perhaps more if we fully understood the nature of the pathways. The sheer space we’ll need to search is boggling.

My first goal is to work with the other Children of Twilight to catalog what’s within the manse. I suspect we’ll need to leverage elementals to assist us, as Hunter Wren’s attitude towards demons rule them right out. Given my experiences at the Heptagram, demons are better suited for the task, but the agitation from Wren would wipe away any positive gains.

Perhaps even before this, we have the gruesome matter with Agwe’s murder to address. The entire household, slain without signs of a fight. The details provided by Wren also suggest it was a single man, someone named Jurrican Scyawn. I’ve heard tales of Dragonblood masters of aspected martial arts, but nothing with this… efficiency. I can only assume their blood is on our our hands, their deaths directly related to Jurrican’s relationship with “the Anathema”. I’m again reminded how far the Realm’s lies can reach. Was this punishment for Jurrican’s betrayal to the Immaculate faith or a warning to us of what would happen to any who chose to ally with us?

Perhaps before returning to the excitement of our new discovery, we should prepare for the possibility of a Wyld Hunt. While full of discovery, the manse is also a clear reminder of the scale to which the Realm will go in their damnable mission to purge our Glory.

Sagacious Phoenix

Journal of Ember Rose
Seatongue as a Second Language Exercise 1

I have nothing to do but wait in the Manse, so I am try to improve my Seatongue by reading and writing. Seong-Hyeon helps me. I do not think she likes me but she wants to help because I had no education as a child, it was unjust. I hate sitting here while nothing happens, though so many all over Creation are oppressed and suffering. I can tell that Katwe Kikorongo feels the same way, but at least she has her crafts and her art, making wonderful things that will be useful to us in the revolution. All I can do is sit and try to read. Even Brist is jujurralt, I do not know how to write it. “Bored,” Seong-Hyeon says. The strange thief, Sid, I never see him, and Darius the Fighter is happy as long as any woman will smile to him and pet his scorpion. That islander Velev who summonded us, he is in ecstatic that we are together with Lunars. But that is not in itself the point. So I wait, not patiently, hoping the Embers got my messages, hoping they come here soon. Counting the slow passing days until we can take action again.


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