The trick to meeting people is to always give a good first impression.
[x] Defend and laugh
So that had all just been a stalling move, had it? It makes you wonder if anything that Yuuka had told you about Reimu had actually been true if that was her true purpose. Chances are that this Hakurei Shrine Maiden doesn’t even exist!
And to think that you nearly believed her for a moment there. She must be terribly smug about this whole thing, dropping in and taunting you in preparation for this. Well, two can play at that game.
So when the predicted attack comes, you have already used your Essence to prepare for it. You do nothing as it strikes you, an impact on the side of your head. You don’t know how strong it was because you don’t truly feel it. The force of the blow echoes through you and is diffused harmlessly without effect.
After spending a moment to calibrate it to sound as mocking and smug as possible, you let out a low laugh. The water transmits the sound as clearly as if it had been air.
“Nice try, Yuuka. Maybe if you had tried that on someone entirely incompetent, it would have worked. But I’m afraid tha- wait get off that!”
Your delivery is ruined as two hands, lightning quick, dart down to unclasp the pendant around your neck. You spin around, attempting to stand up as you do so. You manage to grab the other end of the necklace before the thief can make off with it entirely. The other end of the starmetal accessory is above the surface of the water. The pull increases so you wrap both hands around it just in time as you are yanked out of the water entirely.
The sun hasn’t come up yet, leaving the Forest of Magic still dark. This is probably for the best because the less witnesses to this ridiculous scene, the better.
Your feet are swinging somewhere about a full foot above the surface of the river, your outstretched hands holding onto one end of the pendant, the other end being held by a flying girl above you whose black wings are flapping furiously just to maintain her hovering position while supporting your unexpected weight.
This…this is not Yuuka. She’s wearing white and black and an absurd little red hat that somehow manages to keep itself balanced on her head. And the wings of course. Interesting. Well if she has nothing to do with this, then what the hell is she doing attacking you and trying to steal your hearthstone? And damnit, you need to learn how to fly somehow. Since arriving here, you have spent far too long dangling haphazardly from flying women than you would like.
A sudden flash of white light from an odd object in her free hand. It’s irritatingly bright. She starts flapping her wings faster, struggling to gain lift. You do not have time for this!
++Willpower reduced from 8/10 to 7/10++
The water underneath you froths as you vent the remainder of your Peripheral Essence into its depths, bestowing life unto it. It darkens and solidifies into a gelatinous and rubbery substance that divides itself into five, causing five fifteen-foot tentacles to emerge from the water.
One of the Ichor Flux Tendrils wraps around your ankle and takes firm hold of it, preventing any kind of lift-off from occurring. The girl has already started dodging and weaving as much as she could while still anchored by her stubborn refusal to let go of your necklace and she’s surprisingly good at it. She evades the tendrils, screaming as she does so.
“Aah! Zombies! Tentacle zombies! Get off!”
Energy bullets start radiating off her in small and erratic patterns. The tentacles ooze and undulate around them even when it isn’t physically possible to do so. You twist to the side as a blast smacks into the water below you.
[ ] Ask her to calm the hell down and try to talk this out.
[ ] Screw that! She’s trying to take your hearthstone! You’re pretty sure you need that to respire Essence here. She probably can’t keep dodging Ichor Flux Tendrils for as long as you can dodge her panicked rapid fire.
[ ] Demand to know what the hell she’s doing. She must be an accomplice of Yuuka’s. Interrogate her on the flower youkai’s whereabouts.
[ ] Just pull yourself and by extension her to some solid ground. Get her to calm down.
[ ] You really do not have time for this! Just get the pendant out of her hands and then just let her fly off. It doesn’t even matter if she’s an accomplice of Yuuka or just some random mugger with a pair of wings, she probably doesn’t matter anyway.
[ ] Emergency Mind Violation Powers!
[ ] Let Go.
[ ] Writer is smoking something, humble him with a superior write-in option.
[x] Screw that! She’s trying to take your hearthstone! You’re pretty sure you need that to respire Essence here. She probably can’t keep dodging Ichor Flux Tendrils for as long as you can dodge her panicked rapid fire.
[x] Emergency Mind Violation Powers!
EVERYTHING GETS WORSE. She'll never try to steal from us again.
Off-note, I can't wait to meet Rumia. Creatures of darkness should stick together, no? And with her ability to generate darkness, we'd match up perfectly. I don't know the charm on hand, but there's a thing we can do where as long as we're in darkness, we can attack from any angle, essentially teleporting instantly through the shadow.
[x] Pull her into the water.
[x] Demonstrate very clearly that you have the capability to end her here and now.
[x] Use oath-binding to make her unable to act against our interest in the future without eating multiple botches.
[x] Pull her into the water.
[x] Demonstrate very clearly that you have the capability to end her here and now.
[x] Use oath-binding to make her unable to act against our interest in the future without eating multiple botches.
There are consequences for trying to steal from the exalted . No, it doesn't matter that she might have believed she was just taking from a corpse.
I spent some time reading up on Ebon Dragon charms, and maybe I'm just an asshole but he seems like the most fun. You can mindrape the FUCK out of people. In fact, his exalted are geared towards social combat and demagoguery rather than actual fighting. I wonder how this'd pan out if we were a Slayer.
>>160232 Scream at them with CHARISMA! because Malfeas has a charm that makes all of his commands unnatural mental influence.
Alternatively, beat them with a daiklave and if they don't get turned into red mist, put a Magnanimous Warning Glyph on them. You can use it to reward them for their newfound loyalty, inflict pain on them until they come around, or use it to terminate them from afar.
Pre-fetich death Malfeas was even better at leadership.
[x] Pull her into the water.
[x] Demonstrate very clearly that you have the capability to end her here and now.
[x] Use oath-binding to make her unable to act against our interest in the future without eating multiple botches.
[x] Pull her into the water.
[x] Demonstrate very clearly that you have the capability to end her here and now.
[x] Use oath-binding to make her unable to act against our interest in the future without eating multiple botches.
>>160236 Do we even have any Malfeas charms? We've been pretty straight Ebon Dragon thus far, except for Enthymemic Pronunciation. Infernals can take charms from any Yozi though, so some variety would be awesome.
>>160252 The votes themselves might not be stupid but I wouldn't be too surprised if the though process behind them was. Some of them might be doing it just because it's Aya and all the fandumb that surrounds her.
It'd suck if they caused this story to jump the shark.
>>160247 Not a lot, I think I remember Drei mentioning that Nash has some charms from all the Yozis except She Who Lives In Her Name. Going by the story, he's probably heavily invested in Kimbery and the Ebon Dragon.
>>160320 Derp. Cannot delete for some reason, have a heartfelt apology instead.
Also, I did read the story. Why is the tactic of sliding a tentacle along our body bad? It's essentially an adaptation of letting ourselves be pulled down, only with less chance of this thief escaping.
>Well if she has nothing to do with this, then what the hell is she doing attacking you and trying to steal your hearthstone?
Restrain and interrogate: What the hell was she thinking?
>>160324 the impression was more showing off powers than any sensible action and as far as I can tell it was a misunderstanding (Aya thought we were dead) that Nash already retailated for and it's time to consider calming things down before they get out of hand, which I'm certain attacking her futher would cause as well as screwing with her mind.
Nash's general personality is reasonable and not one to really delight in any real evil despite his species.
The whole trip didn't help things matter as most non-writers with trips tend to be massive dumbasses.
>>160325 Not him, but I think Nash is entitled to some overreaction here. If he loses his hearthstone, he's fucked, pure and simple. Short of eating lots of valuable things, that's the only way he can get more essence. Scaring the shit out of someone is not too much of a reaction.
Emergency Mind violation powers. Some girl attempts to mug us and take our stuff, we do not play nice with them. We need to know who she works for and why she does. Mind control helps us meet those goals.
[x] Pull her into the water.
[x] Demonstrate very clearly that you have the capability to end her here and now.
[x] Use oath-binding to make her unable to act against our interest in the future without eating multiple botches.
[X] Get answers.
>Quick to assume, aren't you? That and the two parts conflict with each other.
The point was to be a bit humorous, yes.
More seriously, Aya is actually a pretty bad person to get on our poor side. Consider the fact that she's the fastest thing in Gensokyo (except maybe for Youmu), and the fact that she's strongly attributed to the wind. Both of these things are linked to Adorjan, by far one of the most feared of the Yozi.
Having her and the other Tengu as allies when the silent wind leaks into the skies of Gensokyo is far superior to the alternative. It's much like how I'd strongly recommend getting on the Oni's good sides, when they inevitably enter the picture, just in case we need to have Yuugi wrestle Isidoros.
Also, because a show like that would be amazing to watch. We could sell tickets!
Besides that, using our mind powers too often would make it pretty obvious we can bend psyches and souls. That kind of stuff is best kept secret.
>>160265 He has one SWLIHN Charm, Chirality Prohibition Index. As for what Charms he has, well I'm never going to have a full definitive character sheet for Nash but I do have a rough idea (obviously I knew what behaviour-altering ones he had from the start).
[x] Ask her to calm the hell down and try to talk this out.
Just what exactly do you have to do with one of those cadavers? Unless the definition of zombie is particularly different here, you’re generally considered too well preserved to be mistaken for one. …Unless someone found you unmoving underwater. That might set up a misunderstanding.
Not that that explains just what the hell she was doing!
You swing to the side to dodge another bullet, the pattern which had started out panicked and fractured starting to get dangerously quick. Well one way or another, you need to put a stop to this mess.
Your tendrils back down, assuming submissive postures before curling back under the water.
“Hey. Hey. Miss? Miss? Calm down, please.”
The content of the words doesn’t matter as much as that you spoke them.
“Fire! Foes! Awake! Tentacle Zombies Invading G- …”
Her red eyes widen and she stops for a moment, trying to get her breathing under control. The bullets stop.
“You’re not actually a zombie, are you?”
Much in the same way that she isn’t Yuuka, you suppose. And she really isn’t. Now that you can get a better look, you can see that she is a black-haired woman in black skirt and a white blouse. Not bad looking, you suppose, for someone who would loot the dead. She’s held aloft by swiftly beating black wings of some sort. Raiton wings? Probably but you’re not sure. You’d have to examine them more closely.
“No, I’m afraid not. Can I please have this back?”
After a second, she reluctantly lets go. You waste no time hanging it back around your neck, hiding the hearthstone itself under your clothes. That was close. You’d figured it out the night after the first Yuuka debacle that this was the only thing letting you regain Essence. You can’t just draw it naturally from the world around you like normal anymore but this stone still has enough of a connection with your Oramus-aspected manse back home to provide its usual bonus motes as your sole supply.
You’re not sure what you would do if you lost this.
The ration-girl drops onto the bank by the slow-moving river. The tentacle around your leg uncoils and forms a stepping stone for you to walk onto the bank. Its work done, it recoils back underwater with the rest of them. You don’t recall them just yet though; you may still have need for them.
She watches you do so, blasting you in the eyes with a flash of light again from the box in her hands.
“So if you’re not a zombie, what’s a human doing underwater without dying?”
“What were you doing, attacking me?”
“I didn’t attack nobody! Like I would pass up a story about a drowned villager after what happened two days ago! I was just slapping you to see if you were alive or not.”
Her voice takes on a wounded air, the attitude of one who is infinitely persecuted for her noble work. And from what you can see, she isn’t lying.
“…You took my pendant. So what, you figured you could just loot a corpse?”
“Well it was shiny and I figured that if I could do it before I took the photo nobody would kn-No! I was removing it for further study! I’m a reporter after all, I can do these things.”
You’re not entirely sure what ‘reporter’ is but you already don’t like it.
“So let me get this straight. You were flying by and you saw me in the river. You thought I was dead, slapped me across the face to check and then stole my valuables.”
“If by that you mean I performed an act of investigative journalism, then yes.”
Either she’s an incredibly good liar or Yuuka isn’t in fact involved in this at all. You feel a bit happier now that you just didn’t immediately go for the Shintai right away in reaction. That could have been awkward, though you admit that it would have been a lot less likely that anything would have been stolen.
The ration-girl hovers closer, pulling out a different black device smaller than the one she’s already holding.
“I’m sure we can sort this out. I am Aya Shameimaru. That’s right, the Aya. You may have heard of me. In order to resolve your troubles, I will give you the honour of one free interview and all that entails!”
“I think you’re confu-”
She blows right past your dialogue, interrupting you with a burst of questions.
“So just what are you? What is exactly up with the tentacles? Do you lurk in rivers often? How comfortable are you with allegations of attempted assault on innocent maidens?”
You suddenly have no idea about what is going on. She’s not mad or anything, you can see that she really just wants you to talk to her. But why? What good is it to her?
“Well if you must know Aya, I am a river youkai. My name is Vrastiras and I can’t really help about the tentacles, they’re just there. Lurking in rivers is basically all I do. I am only comfortable with allegations of attempted assault on thieves.”
“Interesting. Interesting. A rare male youkai! Would you say that pretending to be dead so you can lure in those with hearts filled with kindness to be your usual hunting tactic or are you branching out?”
“Hearts full of greed, maybe.”
“Your attempts to discredit the Truth are duly noted. And also as a rare unseen youkai hermit such as yourself, what are your opinions on the recent youkai/humanity controversy? Do you feel that perhaps youkai should be free to hunt as they please? What is your opinion on the recent stirrings of ‘youkai oppression of humanity’ that have risen with the attack on the village?”
What. You’ve humoured Aya for long enough but you really don’t have time for this nonsense. Not with what you just learned.
“No comment. Are we done?”
“Weeeelll, I had more questions but this is more than enough for a headline! Thank you!”
She rises into the air and blurs away into the sky with incredible speed, buffeting you with strong winds in her wake. You watch her shrink into nothing more than dot on the horizon and shortly, not even that.
You have a strange feeling rising up that you may have just made some kind of terribly grave mistake.
You dry yourself off as you gaze into the early morning sky. The stars really are very different here. For some odd reason, that strikes you harder than you thought it would. They’re so much more disordered here, as if they had just been scattered around haphazardly rather than the neat constellations of home.
The sun should be rising soon or, if the faint glow in the horizon means anything, perhaps sooner than you thought. The sun seems to move quicker here. And you still have things you’d rather do now before the hateful light envelops you.
[ ] Find Keine. Investigate the inverted trees and get some details about the Crane’s prophecies.
[ ] Find Komachi. By now she and Eiki would have surely read the Crane. The last thing you need right now is her of all people getting the wrong idea.
[ ] Find Daiyousei. You know what a daisy is now and she needs help.
[ ] Find Yuuka. Nip this one in the bud.
[ ] Find Aya. You don’t know what journalism is but perhaps you should find out. You’ve got a bad feeling.
[ ] Find Reimu. You’re not entirely sure if this one actually exists or not but she could be helpful and it would be better to prevent dangerous misunderstandings later.
>>160638 You'll do some of the others when you start picking some of the others.
No but in all seriousness, every one of those options represents a problem that is in danger of festering and becoming a much worse problem if left unattended for too long.
So rest assured, even if you don't vote for them, everything else in this list will inevitably come for you anyway.
[X] Find Keine. Investigate the inverted trees and get some details about the Crane’s prophecies.
Fixing Daiyousei is important, yes, but I kinda think that getting in touch with the Silver Forest is more pressing. We've been letting it slide for awhile now, and I expect that Szoreny can shed some light on whatever is going on.
You seem to have found yourself in a multitude of problems as of now.
Up front you have the terraforming of Gensokyo itself, a process that seemed to have brought you
here as well. You still don’t know how any of that works or how it could possibly benefit from your presence. The most helpful person there would be Keine who of course, is her own huge problem. She’s developing in disturbing ways and even if she’s probably not making more copies anymore, something there is festering. And speaking of copies, Shikieiki should have one by now and could be jumping to all kinds of conclusions and even worse, endangering your relationship with Komachi. And let’s not forget the Eientei situation. Or whatever mistake you may have made with the ration girl. Or this possibly fictitious Hakurei shrine maiden hunting you. Or you know, the insane nightmare youkai still at large and intent on destroying you. That would be difficult to forget.
None of those matter to you right now. There’s a nameless fairy that needs help. Against that, all of that other stuff just seems…trivial.
You stride dramatically off from the river before you realise you have no idea where Daiyousei is right now. You never learned where she lives, if fairies do indeed live in any set place, since she always kept coincidentally showing up whenever you went out looking for her.
Or maybe, considering that she’s been compromised, not such a coincidence at all. Why bother hiding from the hidden eyes of flowers, when Yuuka’s had one keeping watch on you all this time?
You jump up the side of a tree and start running across the canopy, as has quickly become the norm for your travel through the Forest. If the fairy has been a spy ever since that meeting, then Eiki’s plan is tragically flawed. To do this, Yuuka would have to be more than the hopelessly insane berserker that the plan of baiting her out with your regular appearance assumed her to be. There is method to her madness.
And more importantly, how much did Daiyousei know about this? Was she aware? Aware but unable to speak? Was her offhand remark about daisies an attempt to sneak a warning to you, a cry for help? A cry that you ignored, lost in translation due to the mutual lack of understanding about each other’s worlds.
The thought of this nearly makes you slip off the branch you were running along. No mean feat, considering that your balance should be literally perfect right now.
Perhaps a more heroic man would be right now letting loose a dramatic roar, shouting their friends name futilely. You have to settle for frowning and dropping your composure a little. Your face is a mask that is too important to drop.
You keep running through the forest, frantically searching. Part of your mind reopens the mental Gateway game against yourself you started a few days ago. Usually a pleasant diversion to be done in any moment of free time, it doesn’t feel right anymore. Though it has well-progressed into the midgame, little is still known and your pieces feel like they are stretching blindly into the unknown and boxing at shadows.
You find yourself liking the ‘‘ongoing mental Gateway game as a metaphor for your own travels’’ a lot less then you did back at the Misty Lake.
You come to a sudden stop, crashing down through the canopy. You stick the landing and end up standing in a small clearing. You then have to immediately dodge the blasts of those who drew your attention in the first place.
High pitched giggles echo through the forest as you perform an awkward dance of sidesteps and dodges, manoeuvring your way through the patterns of energy bullets being sprayed haphazardly by the small group of fairies. Do they do this to everyone? You recall Daiyousei mentioning that they usually only become this aggressive when something big is happening to upset whatever precarious balance Gensokyo rests on. It eggs them on or something.
As before, you feel sorely tempted to return fire. But you can’t. You can’t ever. There is no non-lethal option to your own ranged attacks. Altering the minds of others might be sadly necessary at some points but taking lives never is. Not even accidentally.
Though you suppose it doesn’t count for fairies since they just come back from dead after all. They don’t really die at all. It would be nice to cut loose actually, to take out some of your frustrations o-
“Fifteen villagers were confirmed to be injured and two dead.”
Nope. Not even one step along that path is justifiable.
You wave to the fairies, motioning them over while you keep dodging. It’s a small group, only about five of them. Their expressions are filled with a guileless innocent joy at the prospect of bombarding a complete stranger.
“Hey. Hey! Could you cut that out please? I need to ask you a question!”
For a moment it looks like they won’t listen to you at all. But the blasts slowly peter out as one slightly larger bright red fairy punches the others into submission. She looks imperiously down at you.
“What do we get for it?”
“Asking questions ain’t free. For an answer, you must give us a prize in return.”
“…You don’t even know what the question is yet.”
The fairy ignores you, already lost in its own imagination.
“You must owe us three. Three favours, for three-”
“Oh fuck off. I’m not on the receiving end of those deals, I make them.”
Though you suppose Komachi has already worked off one favour as irrelevant so it was more like two favours to begin with. Doesn’t matter.
“I just need to know where Daiyousei is. Do you guys know each other? Or seen her?”
Your reply is a blank stare.
The other fairies chime in.
“I saw a blue one an hour ago!”
“Nuh-uh! It was totally red!”
“Blue! No wait, yellow!”
“I’m a Daiyousei!”
“You wish! You’re not a Great Fairy, you’re like…a bad one. Yeah!”
“Oh yeah! Say that to my face!”
“I just did!”
“You’re all wrong; it was totally a pink one!”
“You feeling lucky, punk?”
“Come on and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!”
The lead fairy turns around, causing the four fighting fae to suddenly back off and assume positions of various kinds of wise benevolence, musing over your question. You sigh.
“The one I’m looking for has green hair with a yellow ribbon in it. Blue dress.”
The red fairy slowly nods haughtily, not realising the insult.
“I may have seen her recently. I may not have. But you will just have to tru-”
“Oh her? Didn’t we see her back at the-”
The fairy speaking out of turn is pummelled into submission. The red fairy continues.
“As I was saying, we may have seen her, we may not have. Our memories may need to be refreshed.”
“I don’t have any money.”
Oh it would be so easy to just force them to give up the information. They’d even do it willingly after a little kneading of their pliable minds. You wouldn’t have to suffer through one little fairy and her own delusions of grandeur while time was wasting. But that’s how it starts.
“What do you want?”
The fairies huddle immediately, whispering to each other. Apparently the idea of what payment they should ask for after demanding it hadn’t entirely occurred to them. You roll your eyes.
“I’ll tell you now, for this I’m willing to give up anything! As long as I never have to do this with you people again.”
A small note of disdain enters your voice in the last part.
The lead fairy breaks out of the huddle, triumph in her eyes.
“Anything, huh? Well in that case wait what do you mean you people?”
“Nothing. Name your price.”
“No! Tell me what you mean!”
“Er…well…it might have slipped out.”
You sound reluctant to speak of it.
“It’s just a little embarrassing okay? Having to get the help of fairies, of all people.”
She flies directly in front of you, attempting to lock gazes. You keep your eyes down.
“You have something against fairies?”
“No! No! Some of my best friends are fairies! In a sense. You’re a very nice people I’m sure and you are quite well spoken for your kind. But it’s just that I’m desperate, so desperate that I’d rely on your help rather than that of a person. But it is urgent so here we are. Name your price.”
The red fairy goes red in the face for a moment before it drains out just as quickly, replaced by the kind of conniving smug smile seen primarily on the faces of those who, in the arena of wits, are experts at fighting unarmed.
“Our help rather than that of a person! What kind of attitude is that!”
“Er…well I meant-”
“I don’t care! If you don’t want to be helped by a fairy then too bad! We’re going to help you, whether you like it or not! No cost! And you’ll just have to deal with it, Mister “You’re Quite Well-Spoken”.”
“That Daiyousei travelled in that direction and I figure she’s heading out to the Misty Lake, since she used to live there and cus it’s in that very same direction.”
“Now get lost! And don’t come back or we’ll tell EVERYONE that we helped you!”
You walk dejectedly out of the clearing, your shoulders slumped in the posture of utter defeat. You can hear the fairies laughing at you behind your back, sniggering at their latest prank. That was far too easy, both of you think at the same time.
You’ve already climbed a tree and running along the canopy towards Misty Lake before the red fairy turns back to her crew, her face pinched in deep thought.
“Wait a minute…”
Possibly for the first time in her immortal existence, the red fairy’s advice had been sound. You find Daiyousei by the shore of Misty Lake. It lives up to its name, waves of mist billowing around it and obscuring vision. The temperature seems to drop around it as tides of icy cold poison slowly erode the shore away. The looming red shape of the Scarlet Mansion can be vaguely seen on the far side. Daiyousei looks fine, certainly better than when you last saw her. She jumps in surprise when she sees you.
“Nash! The sun isn’t even up yet!”
“The best kind of time.”
“Hmph. Has something happened? Do you have another one of those games to teach me?”
“Nothing noteworthy has happened. I was just visiting the lake before the sun comes up, see if I can find anything I missed last time. I’m a bit surprised to find you here, to be honest.”
“It’s not very hospitable right now, is it? All the other fairies have left. I’m just thinking about how it used to be. It was such a beautiful lake, Nash and I’m not saying that just as a water fairy. Even with that mansion there, people would come to visit it all the time. Outsiders like yourself most of all. They all just seemed to love that lake, even if they couldn’t swim.Especially if they couldn’t swim. That was always very tragic.”
You skim a pebble across the surface of the lake. It dissolves into nothing by the second bounce.
“I can’t say that I see the attraction these days.”
“Do you think it’ll ever change back?”
“Think it will? Daiyousei, I know it will. Very soon, we’ll get to the bottom of all this and put a stop to it. And then I’ll get to see the proper Gensokyo, the one I’ve never seen. The one with an only somewhat lethal lake, with all of its forests pointed in the right direction, with non-murderous flower youkai and sane schoolteachers. Hopefully it’ll still have lazy shinigami though, that one was kind of a bonus.”
You both laugh, Daiyousei seemingly have gotten over her discomfort with aforesaid shinigami. Or possibly just forgotten. Easy to forget is easy to forgive. While she’s still giggling, you lean back behind her and activate a Charm.
For a brief moment, your eyes flash a jealous green and you find yourself using Insignificant Embers Intuition on Daiyousei for the second time. The last time you used this Charm, it had shown you without doubt that you had passed beyond your known universe, into one without Essence, constructed of unnerving dead matter.
It had also shown that you had been attempting to get into a dastardly battle of wits with a little girl but the less thought about that the better.
Using it here is a bit of a stretch, you admit. Usually it allows you to see the concentrations of Essence in all beings, allowing you to perceive their Essence patterns directly and gauge their strength and age. You have no idea if it could see if Daiyousei had been tainted by Yuuka or even what that would look like but it’s worth a try.
You nearly break composure with Daiyousei when you see her. She’s not the same fairy that you used this on only a few days ago. Throughout her spirit, you can see a curious synaesthesia spiralling down. It looks like the clanging of a large brass bell with a broken clapper and smells green, veined with black corruption. The sound of tarnished silver can be heard.
There is no doubt about it. While she is still formed of the strange matter that makes up this entire universe, Essence permeates her. Not much Essence, not much Essence at all but it is noticeably there, flowing through and around her soul.
Not just any Essence either. You recognise that signature anywhere. It’s your own Essence, the stuff that makes and encompasses your own being and forced outwards to create external effects on the world without via Charms.
And that, that right there, explains it. You’d formed a few half-baked theories on why any Charms of yours that affect something not yourself in Gensokyo cost far more than they usually do, along with some theories on how you’re able to do so in an Essenceless world in the first place.
This answers both of them at once and proves your suspicions correct.
Your Charms work by creating reactions in the Essence patterns of their target, affecting their minds and bodies. Here, in this dead corpse-world without Essence, the Charm still attempts to provide its usual functionality. It does this by drawing on more of your own Essence, sending it spiralling into the target and saturating their structure, linking their dead matter with motes of your own Essence. Setting up a pseudo-pattern of Essence tied to the target of the Charm.
Motonic theory has never been your thing but you suppose this is enough for your Charms to then have the desired effect, albeit with a higher cost. That would explain the external effects that some of your Charms have been creating due to spent Essence motes overflowing. Such as that little sparkly display when you made Daiyousei able to breathe water back after that night in Yuuka’s mansion.
No doubt Keine is the same, along with Aiko and all of those various inanimate objects you’ve effected.
You’re so busy gazing upon this marvel that you nearly miss it. But just before the Charm runs out, you catch a glimpse of it. There are flowers growing in Daiyousei’s soul, perfect petals carved into her emergent Essence pattern.
What the fuck. You’ve never seen anything like that before, even in similar effects. But there can be no doubt what it means.
“I’m sorry Daiyousei. So very sorry.”
Now that you’ve confirmed it, what exactly are you going to do about it? You can’t exactly cure her yourself. This falls a little out of your expertise and to be frank, you never had many ways of healing people in the first place. Not to mention that you have no idea how one performs the more supernatural kind of soul medicine in this world.
You’d need some kind of magical doctor or something.
[ ] What can be done can be undone. Confront Yuuka about this directly.
[ ] You can’t change history but maybe someone else can? See if Keine can eat Daiyousei’s history.
[ ] Eirin is probably the best person to see about this, from all you’ve heard. It’ll be dangerous but so is life in general.
[ ] You’d rather avoid the Bamboo Forest. You’ve seen Shikieiki cleanse people of this before.
[ ] Writefag has all the impulse control of a blind half-dead fool. You should obviously engage in a brilliant alternate write-in option instead.
>>161525 Ebon Dragon fucked EVERYTHING up on the infernals, but that's because he's the primordial of failure and treachery. He even betrays himself. He's like the scorpion that stings the frog because it's in his nature.
[X] You’d rather avoid the Bamboo Forest. You’ve seen Shikieiki cleanse people of this before.
She's a Yama. That's a fairly high-tier spirit, and she'd have access to lots of powers. But really, I just want to put a damper on the "HE'S A SERVANT OF WHAT?!" before it gets out of hand.
And by out of hand I mean all the touhous rallying against an existential threat.
>>161526 Not quite, the short lifespan of the Green Sun Princes is intentional, as they were supposed to be tools, not rivals. He could have foreseen the possibility of the Devil-Tigers, but I find that unlikely.
[X] You'd rather avoid the Bamboo Forest. You've seen Shikieiki cleanse people of this before
[X] You'd rather avoid the Bamboo Forest. You've seen Shikieiki cleanse people of this before
Some kind of hypothetical magical doctor could in fact be very useful in this situation, you suppose. Very useful indeed.
If you hadn’t already broken into said purely hypothetical doctor’s clinic in order to falsify her test results, assault her henchmen and watch large sections of the bamboo forest get burned to ashes. That might make things a little awkward if you’re going to ask her for help.
Besides, this hypothetical doctor has also always struck you as far too dangerous, from intuition if nothing else. Best to keep her on those false leads for now than ever meet her directly. Not to mention the murderous hobo prowling around her hypothetical base of operations, who while fascinating, is suspicious of you.
These hypothetical problems never seem to work out well for you.
And you don’t even need her anyway! You’ve already seen someone fix this back that night at Yuuka’s dream mansion. Shikieiki cleansed a group of people who had been there for who knows how long, defying Yuuka’s influence on herself in the process. The Yama would surely be able to do it again in this case.
And while she’s doing that, you can try and clear up any misconceptions she may have gotten from that copy of the Crane. She couldn’t have gotten too many you suppose or, knowing her, she would have likely to have reached over all Gensokyo to try and smite you already. But you can clear it up now nonetheless and prevent hilarious misunderstandings from cropping up at a vital time, as they are wont to do.
It’d be nice to see her again too. She probably still detests you but you have to admit she’s grown on you. Not that you had a choice about that. It’s part of your altered nature to make attachments easily.
Eiki should still be at her little afterlife depot, located beyond the Sanzu River. Which you don’t actually have any idea how to get to. She never actually took you there on her drunken misadventure, not before that little detour through the Garden of the Sun. And you have no way to get in contact with Komachi either, which is irritating. She left much too hastily last night for you to arrange anything. Perfect. Just perfect.
A drop on your head informs you that it's started raining as well. Fun.
There has to be some way. Did Komachi say anything at all?
“…the Sanzu river is connected to every body of water in existence. All the oceans in the world are nothing but its tributaries and if you know the right passages, you can ride the currents from one to the other.”
Well, that gives you one way to get there. Still not very useful since you don’t know the right passages. Maybe if you had the time you could have a fun time figuring them out but this is getting urgent.
You’re going to have to delve back into what your old familiar Vrastiras taught you all those years ago.
Magic. And by that you don’t mean your usual magic like Charms, inherent abilities that you can use instinctively. If you want to do this quickly, you’re going to have to use Sorcery.
Sorcery is an entirely different breed of magic, relying on learning esoteric effects by rote. As an inheritor to the power of the fallen Primordials, you could theoretically cast Adamant Circle Sorcery, the third circle, that rare breed of power that can shake the very foundations of the world.
Most Sorcery is impractical though and you never liked having such a rigid and defined magic system so you never spent much time on it. You’re an Emerald Circle Sorcerer, having access to only the first circle of spells and even then only a handful.
It burns through your motes like you wouldn’t believe and you have no fucking clue if it’ll still work here but you need access to Eiki NOW.
“Oh spirits of communication and trablahblahblahooggieboogyprestobullshit!”
You begin your mystic chant as you Shape the Sorcery. Daiyousei jumps at your sudden outburst. You haven’t told her what’s going on. Your Caste Mark on your forehead gapes open in full visibility and then becomes rimmed by a halo of green fire as the spell sucks motes from you. The air around you distorts as your anima manifests at its lowest level, a bright smudged whirl of green, black and purple.
Hiding your true nature is bloody impossible with Sorcery. Honestly, it’s good that nobody is around to see. At least you hadn’t spent too much Essence before this or you’d be lighting up the surroundings for miles around.
You wave your hands in what you hope to be a suitably arcane gesture and pull the Infallible Messenger into being. A small foetal being made of sticky shadows, it hovers in the air via three pairs of white feathery wings. An extremely minor god that was created by the spell, it can carry a message to anyone, anywhere. You hope its peerless navigation still works in Gensokyo.
“Komachi, it’s me Nash. I know you must have all kinds of shit going on from that book but you need to come and take me to Eiki now. I’m using one of the two favours you have left by oath, you can’t refuse. Sorry, I'll make it up for you.”
You release the Infallible Messenger, who nods its faceless head up and down in recognition of having recorded your message. It bobs around unsure for a moment before disappearing in a blur of movement.
“What was that all about?”
“Nothing important. Now we just have to sit back and wait.”
It’s hard to wait, thinking about whatever thing is blooming inside of the fairy beside you. It’s a difficult situation to make light of.
You hear a rustle behind you and jump to the side just as a familiar scythe cuts through where you once were. Komachi is suddenly there, having appeared from nothing. Her expression is nothing short of furious, her eyes wild.
“Hello to you too Kom-”
“Shut up! You are not allowed to speak!”
Her voice is raw, filled with anger and betrayal. She swings the scythe again with incredible speed, the air hissing as it goes by. You’re forced to use a Perfect Dodge, scattering into shadow and reforming instantly.
This further mote use ratchets your anima up to its next level, the colours around you igniting into a huge emerald blaze that engulfs you completely and colliding with the now thick rainfall to cause a slight haze of steam to form above your head. A huge radius of blighted light forms around you, the grass wilting beneath your feet. So much for secrecy.
Komachi hops back, looking hurt beyond belief.
“It’s true… How dare you? How dare you?”
A coin appears in her fingers, followed by several more.
[ ] Try and convince her to stop.
[ ] Try to convince her to stop, using mind magic.
[ ] She won’t listen to you, possibly because of something in the Crane that mentions how Social Charms work. Use your third and final favour to stop her.
[ ] Fuck it. If she wants a fight, then so be it!
[ ] You can’t fight her; she’s feeling hurt and betrayed. Just stand there and take it until she calms down.
Apropos of nothing, I'm trying something new. It's not a regular update. Voting for the regular update before this one is going as normal, this is just a departure from Nash's POV for a few events occurring around Gensokyo that I felt like writing.
Most of it isn't very important to Nash's story, except for the parts that are. Be sure to distinguish between the two.
It was a quiet night. Well, quiet morning really, even if the sun hadn’t come up yet. Though she was indoors she could still tell. Sakuya Izayoi has always kept perfect track of time and always will, no matter how drunk she might get.
Not that she was drunk. Oh no. Never. The perfect and elegant maid simply does not get drunk. It just isn’t done. But she had to admit to herself that she had imbibed copious amounts of alcohol during the last few hours and was undergoing no small amount of spatial uncertainty for entirely unrelated reasons.
She was attracting stares even from her shadowed booth in the back of the tavern. She did not often drink publicly and certainly not in the village. Such a thing was both unseemly and inefficient. What would the mistress say if she caught her in such a …lowbrow place? Maybe she wouldn’t say anything at all as in a roundabout fashion, it had been her idea for Sakuya to have some “time off” after the recent scare with Meiling.
Maybe she already knew; it wouldn’t surprise the maid. Her fate belonged wholly to the mistress after all, hers to shape and hers to see.
She hadn’t been entirely sure what to do when ordered this way, she hadn’t had any free time (had it been a joke?) since…ever. Possibly her time before being employed by the Scarlet Mansion had had free time but she had little ability to remember those times and even less ability to care about it.
With no idea what to do with her suddenly empty schedule, she had started drinking. That had been sometime last night. The bartender had been very receptive for her to stay so long due to the rather immense salary backlog she had to spend.
But friendly bartender aside, she really had spent far too much time here. There have to be better things to do with a forced holiday than drink alone. She could ask Reimu, she always seemed to have a surplus of free time. Maybe and this was a big maybe, she could even let her hair down.
She walked out of the establishment with a mostly steady pace. There could be nothing as classless as a stagger in her step, not after a mere six hours of drinking. Let it never be said that her constitution or her stomach were any less than the highest class.
“I heard you were here. Did the dog slip her master’s chain?”
Sakuya whirled around at the unexpected voice to find a red and white figure sitting outside. Waiting for her, it seemed.
“Hello Reimu. Just who I was looking for! But…shouldn’t you be out solving the incident?”
“Oh but you see, I am solving the incident.”
Sakuya got a distinct sinking feeling as the shrine maiden raised her ying-yang orb around her.
“I thought you might know something about it, being so close to your Mansion and all,” Reimu said. “You’re Stage Two.”
Sakuya had known Reimu for long enough by now to decipher the meaning behind her often rather eccentric remarks. She raised an eyebrow.
“Only the second? Didn’t you start yesterday? I’m a little surprised that the incident isn’t solved already,” she said playfully. “Or is the famous Hakurei maiden finally losing her touch?”
“Har har very funny,” Reimu grumbled. “Someone set my shrine on fire, I had to start late. Which is great actually because I have a lot of frustration to work off now!”
“…Does there really need to be a fight? I do happen to know a little about what people visited the Lake but I can just tell you.”
“No Sakuya, that would ruin my whole plan!”
Reimu paused for a moment to fish for something in her pockets before dragging out a piece of paper covered with a hasty scrawl that read:
Leave Shrine DISREGARD TOTALLY DONE ALREADY I’M AWESOME
Beat up everyone
“Oh good,” Sakuya said weakly. “You’ve gone and written it down.”
“New measure to increase efficiency in the workplace. I thought you would approve,” Reimu said. Sakuya could never tell when she was joking and when she wasn’t. A low thrumming came from the orb hovering around the shrine maiden as she began to release her dreadful power that had conquered all of Gensokyo.
“Draw your spellcards and don’t worry. Since you don’t seem to have a lot of fight in you tonight, I’ll make this quick and painless.”
The moon always shines down differently on Eientei. The light is just a little bit off, the phases slightly different then they are outside. The exact reason for this is unknown to virtually all in existence, the only one to know for sure being the eternal princess. And of this matter, she speaks little.
The reason was instantly known by the intruder the moment she stepped into its bamboo territory. A chuckle was the only response. She was not here to navel gaze on the foolishness of exiled Lunarians. She had a purpose, a method to her madness.
As she walked, she dragged her umbrella carelessly through the dust behind her, blue flowers blooming in its wake.
The fog has settled heavy in this village, shrouding the houses nearly completely from view. Only the very tips of buildings are visible from above. No doubt the villagers would have commented on this had they existed. But no villagers live here. Indeed, no villagers have ever lived here.
This is not a place for humans. It abides travellers only reluctantly and even then only for brief times. It is not a place for youkai either, save for a few.
It is a place for the missing, the lost. Those things that due to all kinds of reasons simply fall off the face of the world. They all make their way here at some point. Needless to say it had accrued an ungodly amount of unmatched socks before its current owner cleaned it out.
It is also, albeit grudgingly, a place for cats.
The group of cats ran through the street in a rough wave, separating and regrouping repeatedly with other felines. They moved inscrutably, following patterns only known to them as they spread out through the village.
Until by the end, they had congregated around a single building, pawing at the dark space underneath it.
The cat-eared girl burst exuberantly out from underneath it.
“Wheeeeee! You found me,” she said. “Alright now it can be Lucky’s turn to hide and the rest all have to look for her!”
She looks out hopefully at the crowd of cats, who do not respond save silence. Her face falls.
“I don’t wanna be the hider again, I want to chase something! You guys are mean, making me do this every time.”
The cats don’t dignify this with an answer and Chen could only respond with a sigh. She wished they could play a game besides this one but what could she do? The majority had overruled her every time. She just wished that they could be using this time better, due to it being one of those rare times when Chen and her friends had the place all to themselves.
Lady Yukari was still hibernating of course and was likely to continue for the foreseeable future and Lady Ran was out on business that Chen didn’t understand in the slightest.
She was about to go hide again (in a better spot this time!) when a hat blew in with the wind and softly collided with her face. She ripped it off her and inspected it. A battered broad-brimmed hat, it looked like something that a traveller might wear. Despite its appearance it seemed like it was in fine enough condition. Something felt strange about it but after a minute of looking it over, she came to the conclusion that it was just another piece of lost junk blowing in to join the rest.
One thing I have noticed about this story is that it is far better when you are able to let your hair down and go for the wacky gags.
Parts like the Daiyoshi "social combat" and Reimu in general so far are what separate this from the rest of the board. while it may be a bit hard with the way the plot is going right now try to fit a few more in. don't ruin the current plot threads for it but consider it once the current heat is off.
For the "stand there and take it" crowd, are we capable of doing that? Our PD seems to work fine, but she's just swinging a weapon around. What happens when we're mote-tapped?
[x]Try and convince her to stop while dodging shit left and right
She's furious because she thinks we're a servant of hell, and a servant of the most vile, wicked thing to ever exist, the Shadow of All Things itself. She thinks that every nice thing we ever said to her was a manipulation, and that we twisted her thoughts around and she doesn't know what's real and what's fake anymore.
And since we can't tell the truth and be believed, we're in some serious shit. How are we going to explain that we're no longer in the service of the Yozi when we can't actually say that?
>>161594 I ran up a charmlist when I first started this story so I had a good idea of what Nash could and couldn't do. I didn't want to share it since I didn't want the story becoming completely opaque to people who don't know the mechanics.
But if you want to know, I just made a pastebin for it. Keep in mind that Nash won't touch a fairly large number of them.
[x] You can’t fight her; she’s feeling hurt and betrayed. Just stand there and take it until she calms down.
-[x] Yes, this means dodge the hell out for your life until she cools down.
The aura thing is bad (if my only time playing exalted as a dragon blooded taught me something) as it means we are overusing our motes, and the best way to kill an exalt is to deplete them. So, yeah let's try to be as energy efficient as we can.
>>161598 Holy fuck Nash has some skills. I mean, he should be able to take on just about ALL of the Touhous. And I can see why Komachi is pissed, just the NAMES of those charms are pretty damn evil. "Sweet agony savored" and "wretched vile lies" kind of speak against his character.
With GSNF and godscorch invective, he can permakill even the crazy metaphysical ones. So what if Yuuka is some kind of "dream" Youkai? her soul will burn just the same.
But why, WHY would you take all-devouring-depths shintai instead of demon-emperor shintai? Giant ooze monster or walking supernova? The choice is obvious.
As for overusing motes, are you ruling the "stunts recover motes" thing? That rule was really put in there to encourage dramatic roleplay, but it doesn't really model an in-game function.
>>161603 >Holy fuck Nash has some skills. I mean, he should be able to take on just about ALL of the Touhous.
I think you perhaps underestimate some Touhous. Most of his worst effects are tied to attacks that can be dodged. Touhous are good at dodging.
And on the flipside, the easiest way to take down Exalt is to spam a huge amount of small attacks to wear down their mote supply quickly. But I'm sure no Touhou character is capable of that.
>kind of speak against his character.
He was a different person, once. And yes, it's not the Charmset of a nice person, considering that a very good chunk of it is dedicated to just causing pain and torment. It's the Charmset of a torturer.
>But why, WHY would you take all-devouring-depths shintai instead of demon-emperor shintai?
Because Nash designed his Charmset over time for his own whims, rather than striving for some kind of optimum mechanics. I already mentioned what Shintais he had back in the first thread, I believe.
>As for overusing motes, are you ruling the "stunts recover motes" thing?
Yes but they won't be popping up for every action. I'd rather not have too much of the thread taken up by the mechanics of what is going on though.
Personally, I find the idea that Yu-shan handles Eclipse oaths to be stupid. It's a power that's intrinsic to the Eclipse caste. It shouldn't be controllable by Heaven for the simple reason that it brings up weird questions about how it worked during the Primordial War.
Regardless, Nash isn't built for standing up and trading with someone in the same class. He has a good chunk of firepower and is significantly tougher than any mortal could ever be, but he's not a Slayer with charms that let him get up from a killing strike, turn into Godzilla, and start shrugging off blows like rain on skin.
[X] You can't fight her; she's feeling hurt and betrayed. Just stand there and take it until she calms down.
-[X] Try and convince her to stop.
>>161612 Eh, I don't think forcing her to trust you is a good idea when she thinks all you've ever done is lie and manipulate her for your own ends.
Using the last Favor to basically tell her "I'm not just using you but right now you have to shut up and do as you're told" probably isn't the greatest idea.
>>161609 Even if Yu-Shan doesn't hold sway here, consider who her boss is. If Komachi breaks her oath, not only will Shikieiki know, but she'll most likely be forced to punish her.
I'm pretty sure that probably counts as "revealing painful truths".
Depending on how we word it, we could probably get the same exemption on telling her that we haven't been manipulating her by revealing that yes, we are a Creature of Darkness, and we had no ulterior motives for our interactions with her other than the simple desire for friendship. Isn't flying into an emotional rage and betraying your friends over nothing *fun*, Komachi? [/sarcasm]
>>161613 I was under the impression that using the last favor would be a show of faith and not someone who could use charms would do if he was fond of abusing his power. That and it'd be a last resort.
How far does the "people won't believe you if you tell the truth" thing go? Only when we activate the charm, or is it running all the time? Because I can't see how Nash could make ANY kind of headway without a way to speak.
>>161616 Witness to Darkness is permanent. If you choose to dip your being in the essence of the Dragon Who Swallowed the Sun, you pay a price that cannot be recovered.
However, using charisma isn't entirely useless for someone with Witness to Darkness, it's just hideously inefficient compared to other options. You can still use a high ability score, pump dice using Excellencies, and channel a Virtue if the situation fits.
Unfortunately, Nash has the Ebon Dragon Excellency and even though the current situation falls under promoting Compassion, his Virtue ratings are terrible due to another Ebon Dragon charm.
Nothing's stopping him from manipulating Komachi into stopping though. After all, manipulation is not inherently 'Mwahaha, I lie to you so that I can steal your granny's heirloom and leave you with a ruinous mountain of debt.'
>>161615 Maybe so, but in this situation I think anything he says, no matter the intention, won't reach her until she's calmed down. And even then she will be suspicious of anything he says.
It's probably better to just talk normally, rather than doing anything that can be mistaken as a more forceful ("I'm telling you this and you can't say no because favor/oath blah blah blah") attempt to persuade her.
Especially considering his second favor was more a command than anything else. I mean, "I’m using one of the two favours you have left by oath, you can’t refuse" isn't exactly subtle. Even if it was followed by an apology, it was still a command.
From her perspective it's like (and it's not entirely untrue either, considering his Infernal nature) a demon of lies has tried to manipulate her for some grand plan and he's just revealed himself.
If he suddenly offers a "show of faith", it will just look like he's backpedaling, trying to fix his mistake of tipping his hand too early.
>>161619 Manipulation is probably his best bet. Instead of trying to make her believe him, he'd be better off by subtly influencing her to a point where she realizes the truth herself.
Of course, if he messes that up it will backfire so bad it's not even funny. He'll just end up confirming her suspicions and their relationship will fall apart beyond repair.
>>161596 Actually. Nash asked to be taken to the Yama.
Bringing people before the Yama is something Komachi does -well, SHOULD be doing- all the time.
Technically she hasn't broken her oath yet, since how she is supposed to bring him there (or what state he is in when he arrives) was never specified.
>>161642 I doubt that the Broken-Winged Crane provides enough information to detail this, but it has always amused me that creatures of darkness in Exalted are determined purely by the will of the local super-god.
For an example of how arbitrary it can be at times, ghosts are automatically considered creatures of darkness whereas shaped raksha are not. So the ghost of an old granny who died peacefully in bed but stuck around to watch over her descendants can be smote with Holy effects, but a raksha who runs around eating human emotions and then selling the burnt out shells can't.
>>161629 Yeah, I never meant it like that. I was just saying that even if she's terribly upset with him and wants to kill him instead of fulfilling the favor, no matter the consequences, she is still, in a way, fulfilling the favor because he will end up with the Yama anyway if he dies.
I'll repeat this because it cannot be emphasized enough in the setting. Barring a few rare exceptions among his Chosen, the Unconquered Sun chooses who is and who isn't considered a creature of darkness. He can do this on an individual basis, but has also made a few broad declarations.
All ghosts are considered CoD, all unshaped raksha are considered CoD, all Yozis, their soul structures, and their creations are considered CoD.
A ghost is a CoD and eat aggravated damage from Holy capabilities regardless if they are a specter preaching the doctrine of the end or if they are a kindly grandmother protecting her descendants. Similarly, there are entire species of first-circle demons who are more benevolent than humans in general and do things like 'serve as a mount' condemned to the same fate.
Furthermore, you can very easily build a GSP who does nothing but go around feeding the poor, healing the infirm, and helping people build up their communities and that GSP would still be considered a CoD.
>>161656 Well I'm sure that's an oversight of the game devs and not the God of Perfection. If he's willing to redeem Abyssals who work for it, then he'd be capable of looking past what you are to see who you are.
>>161660 It's not an oversight, it's the deliberate statement that there is no objective source of good and evil in the setting. There are things that seem like it, but they are not those things in truth.
The Unconquered Sun is the God of the Sun, of Virtue, and of Perfection. But his perfection urges him to strike dead anyone who challenges him even as it urges him to spare surrendered foes. He is willing to forgive you, sure, provided that you prostrate yourself before him and plead for forgiveness for sins that you may or may not have committed.
As for Abyssals, their potential for redemption is innate to them, much as the potential to turn into Abyssals is innate to Solars. They are two sides of the same coin.
The 2nd Edition Ebon Dragon is an antagonist who stands in opposition to all entities including himself and his soul structure. He is as attentive to the least mortal in Creation as he is to the highest of the Primordial host. In effect, this means that he does undesirable things to all people who encounters him. However, an argument can be made that the Ebon Dragon is doing good if he does what he does to a tyrant, a mass murderer, and people of that ilk.
That said, the 2nd Edition Ebon Dragon would love for you to believe him to Evil because his motivation is to make himself a fundamental principle of the cosmos. In such an existence, the Ebon Dragon would truly be objective evil. Until then, he must remain content with 'only' being a cosmos-striding titan.
>>161666 >However, an argument can be made that the Ebon Dragon is doing good if he does what he does to a tyrant, a mass murderer, and people of that ilk.
Torturing a murderer is still torture, and it's still evil. The Dragon opposes everything. He doesn't play to win, he plays to make you lose. What else can you call that but evil? A creature so focused on making you suffer that it doesn't care about the pain it causes itself?
>>161679 I fear I did not explain my viewpoint properly on this point.
You can certainly label the Ebon Dragon evil by your judgment and your character's judgment, but you will not find an objective statement of simple fact within the setting itself that the Ebon Dragon is evil.
That said, although I personally agree with you on the general sentiment that an evil act is still an evil act, that is not the only sentiment out there. There are people out there who would argue that evil committed in the act of stopping evil can be justified as being good under some circumstances.
Furthermore, it's hard to tell how much agency the 2nd Edition Ebon Dragon has in regards to his actions. After all, the 2nd Edition Yozis are unable to act outside of their paradigm to the point where they cannot even understand them, meaning that there is debate over the Ebon Dragon's culpability. I do no think a cat can be labeled evil if it chooses to torment a mouse before killing it, so why should the Ebon Dragon be any different? Seen under this light, the Ebon Dragon is more a rabid dog to be put down rather than evil.
Granted, there is another line of thought that the 2nd Edition Yozis can think outside of their paradigms by channeling their Virtues to do so. We have no canon indication that this is even possible, as it is speculation based upon the interaction of mechanics. However, even under this light, it is hard to put blame on the Ebon Dragon when it not only takes heroic force of will to even make the attempt but he is specifically crippled in this regard because of his charms. Seen in this light, it could be argued that the Ebon Dragon isn't responsible because he's impaired from doing anything other than what lies within his nature.
That said, I'm going to drop this here, defending the Ebon Dragon is distasteful.
>>161682 You bring up an interesting point about culpability, but that's already been answered in-setting. During the building of Creation, when the primordials were deciding on what to put in, they all had to compromise with each other. Can you imagine Theion (if you haven't read Shard of the Exalted Dream, that's pre-war Malfear) compromising on anything? Well, he did. They're perfectly capable of acting outside their purview, they just choose not to and can't understand why they should. They're autistic savants, perfect in their area of focus and deplorable everywhere else.
Thus the Ebon Dragon is evil because he does evil all the time, and is capable of not doing evil even though it's his nature to do evil. We have sociopaths in our society, and yet they can work around their deficiency and do good, or at least minimize their evil. The Dragon, if he wanted to be considered good, could do the same.
>>161686 Except Theion can be convinced. It's hard, time-consuming, and demands enormous dedication - but it's doable despite his charms.
Regardless, being able to compromise isn't the same as indicating that the Primordials can transcend their nature without enormous cost. Second Edition mechanics suggest that Primordials can do so through channeling Virtue, while Autochthon managed to do something vaguely similar by vivisecting his own fetich soul. I don't think the Ebon Dragon doing good is so much a sociopath fitting in with society so much as a cripple managing to climb Everest.
That aside, I prefer 1st Edition Ebon Dragon with elements of 2nd Edition plus a less limited concept of the Yozis. Regardless, there is no doubt in my mind that 2nd Edition Ebon Dragon is evil, although that does not make him the cosmic principle of evil.
>>161513 “'You must owe us three. Three favours, for three-'”
DOHOHOHO, some one has been reading Favors Owed.
[x] Stand there and take it.
She's mad at you, but more importantly, very worried.
Let her attempt to beat your ass and fail to hit (I hope, death gods do have a tendency to win in the end). Then she falls exhausted into our arms.
Ugh. I feel like death warmed over. Not even that warm either. A lukewarm death, as crappy a temperature as that cup of coffee that you left out for a while and when you drink it is just terrible. I’ll have an update up soon though, no fear.
And while my judgement is still compromised by medication, it’s time to answer people in the thread! I'll try to stay comprehensible.
>>161609 >>161610 I agree with the latter’s opinion on Oaths. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to hinge on the Celestial Bureaucracy, especially given what we know of the Primordial War. The power of an Eclipse Oath is inherent to the Eclipse, something that springs forth from their Exaltation. As a twisted mockery of the Eclipse Caste, this also applies for Nash and his Fiend Oaths.
…And even if the original Eclipse Oaths were somehow ratified by Heaven, I have a hard time believing the same is true for Fiend Oaths, given that they are oaths made to advance the cause of an enemy of Heaven. Yu-Shan’s bureaucracy is bad but it isn’t that bad.
>>161616 I should probably talk about the limits of this. As restrictive as his problems are, Nash isn’t automatically cursed with ill favour and disbelief when he dares to speak the truth about anything. He speaks the truth to Daiyousei quite frequently even (though he lies a whole lot to her too but that’s just a given). His story about his father and his mother were all completely true.
His problem comes when he’s trying to use the truth to convince someone of something/getting them to change their positions on something/attempting to appear charming and likeable on first impressions/etcetera. Anything that could be construed as aggressive social combat, essentially. Even this doesn’t stop him from speaking the truth, provided he does it in manipulative or intimidating ways. But if he does it in those ways, he’s not really being all that honest is he?
When he does use truth in these ways he’s not supposed to, he ends up saying it in a way that rarely convinces anyone of anything and may in fact just generally worsen their opinion of him. And it is always on, it’s part of the payment for getting the ability to see through all forms of darkness and a heightened ability to sense when people are attempting to manipulate him.
>>161619 >his Virtue ratings are terrible due to another Ebon Dragon charm.
This is not actually true. Nash never took Hollow Heart Transcendence, the Charm that lowers your Virtues to 1 across the board. He in fact has a rather high Compassion (one he raised with xp, he clearly wasn’t born with a high rating in it), which is why he won’t even raise his hand to fairies, even when he knows that accidentally killing them doesn’t mean anything. Nash might lie to himself about an awful lot of things but his desire to fulfil his promise of never severely harming another being is quite genuine.
This doesn’t seem to apply when he’s fighting Yuuka though. How odd.
I’m not sure how you got to the conclusion that Nash had Hollow Heart Transcendence to be honest. Unless you confused its effects with that of Ego Shell Ascendency, a similar Charm that Nash does in fact have, the Charm that erases the grand Motivation that drove the Exalt to be Exalted in the first place. This, incidentally, is why Nash was capable of going off and hermiting himself at the start of the story when Exalts are usually drawn to perform epic deeds. The original Motivation that drove him to seek to change the world was cored out of his soul in an act of spiritual self-mutilation and was replaced with nothing. He still doesn’t have one and in fact, never can. The only way he would ever feel the full passion and drive of a Motivation again is through the temporary ones he gains when he uses Charms to become somebody’s mirror twin.
>>Big Ebon Dragon morality talk
The Ebon Dragon isn’t objectively evil in the setting. He really really wants to be though. Because him being some Grand Big Bad Evil would give him substance and form and power, when in reality the Ebon Dragon is nothing but a pathetic empty shell of a Yozi, lacking basic existence beyond the ability to be the antithesis of others and gaining power from doing so. Shadow is not a thing in its own right, it is merely the absence of light and without light it is nothing. If the world was filled with kitten-eating monsters, the Ebon Dragon would rescue kittens and give them to good homes where they live out their entire natural lives in comfort and bliss. The nature of his existence is itself a lie and is entirely dependent on being defined by being the opposite of everything around him, like how a gap in the middle of a jigsaw puzzle has a shape even though it is literally nothing.
The greatest trick the Ebon Dragon ever pulled was convincing the world that he existed.
Granted, by most people’s morality systems the Ebon Dragon is very obviously evil but he isn’t objectively evil. This is because there is no ultimate objective arbiter of morality in Creation, which explains why looking at Nash with her black/white vision annoys Shikieiki. He’s from a place so alien to her existence that true morality doesn’t exist for him. As she’s already said, he looks green to her.
>>161697 >DOHOHOHO, some one has been reading Favors Owed.
Indeed! I love it and totally stalk Rabbit when he’s on IRC. Going through his garbage at night, watching from afar with binoculars, collecting locks of his hair and smelling them when nobody is watching, etcetera.
[X] You can’t fight her; she’s feeling hurt and betrayed. Just stand there and take it until she calms down.
Hadn’t she said something about them before? Oh yes, last evening. She likes coins. At the time you thought it had been cute and hell, you certainly like coins yourself. You are now finding however, that you like them significantly less when they are being hurled at you in the form of a magical bulletstorm.
Such is life.
You step to the side as a line of flying coins goes past, each one shining bright hot with mystic energy. They smash into the ground where you were standing, blowing great furrows in the earth. She’s definitely serious about this; taking one of those coins to anywhere vital would almost certainly kill you.
Against a threat like this, you cannot afford to just be passive. But paradoxically you can neither afford to not be. She’s not in her right mind currently. To her, you’re no doubt the probable cause of all Gensokyo’s current problems, having been tricking and betraying her the whole time. Against someone like this, against her, it would be better to just never raise your hand. Let her take out her frustration out on you until she calms down enough to be more rational.
Plus, you have no idea whether you could actually take her on in a fair fight like this. Fair fights were never your forte.
Another spray of magical coins, a beautiful and elegant pattern that can only be compared to the awkward bullet patterns of the fairies from earlier in the same way an artistic masterpiece could be compared to the spastic mess drawn by a young child. It’s very imposing but you can see gaps in the pattern tracing out paths through the bullets. Rather than move quickly and frantically, you carefully weave your way through the attack slowly and steadily.
You won’t be able to convince her of much while she’s like this. No doubt pre-warned, she’s closed her mind to your words and won’t let you speak.
You duck past the last monetary bullet and complete the pattern. That wasn’t too bad! She fires another one, identical to the first only that there are no gaps. Every hole in the pattern is closed up with more coins, firing off a huge inescapable wall of bullets. You get the vague feeling that she’s cheating. There’s no way you can dodge this on your own so you spend three motes to disperse into nothing momentarily.
“Stop fucking dodging!”
The air becomes filled with bullets again, forcing you to burn your Perfect Defence for a second time. Your anima rises to its final level, airing the complete truth of your soul for all to see. The cloak of green fire engulfing you twists and distorts, spindling itself into endless green paragraphs of broken glyphs. With a burst of illusionary flame, your eyes ignite, the dirty silver being burned away by a pair of emerald stars. And finally of course, you feel a vice-like grip on your left shoulder as a wooden hand with far too many fingers clamps down on it. You don’t even need to turn around to see what’s going on. Standing behind you is a gangly wooden stick-man, composed of and being consumed by the flames of your anima. Its face, perpetually frozen as an old eyeless tragedy mask, leers down at you disconcertingly.
You wish you could tell it to fuck off or something but you can’t. After all, it’s you. The final stage of your anima is a totemic representation of your own soul. At this level of mote consumption, it lurks behind you constantly.
“What the fuck is that thing!”
It totally makes awful impressions on people, as well. Komachi’s expression is a perfect mix of sorrow, rage and now confusion. You doubt that it’s doing anything to dispel the image of you that’s gotten into her head.
She raises her scythe above her head and then throws it at you with incredible speed, the weapon closing the distance between the two of you before you can blink. You spend another Perfect Dodge to duck beneath it, also fortuitously avoiding the return swing as the scythe arcs mid-flight and spins back to her hand.
You open your mouth to say something but she cuts you off pre-emptively with another storm of coins, accompanied by a scream of pure rage. You dodge past them with another Charm only to have the scythe spinning towards you again, so fast that it flies in perfect silence. It misses you and you’re able to avoid its return attack, even as you cringe back from the sudden immense boom! that cracks the early morning atmosphere apart.
Another wall of bullets, another Perfect Defence. You’re going to have to do something soon. She doesn’t seem like she’s calming down at all! Without any outside interference and provided you continue not fighting back, this fight can only end in two possible ways. Either she calms down before this is over or your constant defence-spam dries out your already depleted mote supply and she kills you.
You smile as a thought occurs to you. There are only two ways this can end and both of them end in your victory. It is assured.
You burn another Charm to dodge another bulletstorm. She is literally filling everything with bullets! There are no gaps, no passages hidden in the attack to work your way through. Just a pure wall of burning financial fuck-you expanding outwards constantly.
This isn’t calming her down. If anything, your dodging of her attacks has only made her angrier. Perhaps a different method of defending yourself might be in order?
The next time she throws the scythe, you don’t bother dodging. Instead of the Ebon Dragon’s Perfect Dodge you activate Kimbery’s Perfect Soak, turning you invulnerable. You take the glowing scythe directly to the face. It bounces off you with a metallic clang and soars off into the distance on an altered trajectory.
No actually that just made her madder. Her look of betrayal and sorrow has vanished completely, replaced with a divine fury that would see you dead before anything else. Or perhaps not fury, but spite. Maybe both. You wouldn’t have thought it possible, that Komachi had been hiding such a huge capacity of berserker rage and hatred, just waiting for something to break the dam walls holding them back.
By the gods, she has never been more attractive!
The bullets spin in the air, spiralling around you and attempting to enclose you. With a sudden blur they accelerate rapidly, striking at you from every possible direction. As you prepare to defend yourself, a sixth sense alerts you to the scythe, now finally returning to Komachi’s hand. With you directly between the two.
You close your eyes. You’re going to need a better dodging technique to avoid all of this at once.
Your totemic aura cackles in wild glee as every coin smashes into you at once…and continue directly through you, blowing great puffs of sand and grit out of the holes they leave in your body. The scythe whirls in a moment later, cutting straight through your neck, spraying sand everywhere.
You are completely unharmed.
Soul-Sieve Transmutation, an extended Perfect Defense that allows a single activation to work for multiple attacks honing in at once. Though the attacks might strike your body, all they do is pass right through, hurting nothing but sand. Unimportant parts of the desert within you are destroyed but everything that is yourself is saved. Costs a fair bit more than regular perfect defence Charms though, which might be a problem given that this entire “fight” is dependent on you not running out of resources to block her attacks before she runs out of rage.
++Willpower reduced from 7/10 to 6/10++
You burn another Charm to dodge yet another huge blast of spiritual currency. She doesn’t look like she’s running out of these bloody things anytime soon! While your own mote pool is dropping dangerously low. You only have a few more dodges left in you. You stare at her and realise it. She isn’t going to calm down so easily. Not from this. She’d need something more direct.
Time to go to Plan B. You hate Plan B.
When the next attack comes, you dodge directly into her. Bursting into shadows and reforming nearby her, you are now dangerously close. She sees you and in her eyes you see fear.
She raises the scythe and swings it right at you, a horizontal slash that leaves burning afterimages behind it. You don’t attempt to dodge it, magically or otherwise. Instead you throw up your right arm and block it that way.
There’s a meaty sound and sharp and deep thrust of pain through you as the scythe rips through the flesh of your arm. You can feel bone snapping, severed by the curved blade before it finally comes to a stop.
For a moment there is perfect silence and everything ceases. Then Komachi jumps aside as your pressurised blood sprays from your wound, covering everything within several yards with a rather potent acidic poison. With a feeling of only dull surprise, you note that the scythe is not affected in any harmful way from the blood running down it.
Komachi lands heavily, having taken to the air in a split-second to avoid the blood spray. She’s breathing heavily and now that you have such a close look, you can see how much she has exerted herself. But more importantly, you can see the anger slowly draining from her face to be replaced with shock.
Excellent. You had hoped this would happen.
She’s pale, her eyes growing wider.
“Why didn’t you fight back?!”
“I couldn’t. That would only be proving to you that I was what you thought I was. I’m not going to hurt you Komachi. And this way, it seems, is the only bloody way I’m going to get through to you!”
Your blood is starting to pool on the ground.
“I’m sorry, Komachi. But I could never raise my hand to anyone, let alone you.”
“You’re not…you’re not a monster!”
“Oh I don’t know about that. But Komachi…I never meant any harm.”
Her eyes are beginning to cloud with tears. You raise your left arm and let it fall on her shoulder. She doesn’t stop you. You take the time to get a quick look around. Daiyousei is still where you left her, looking wide-eyed and seemingly insensate at just about everything that happened and how it happened so quickly. You note that Komachi, even in her berserker rage, took care not to hit her in her wide-burst attacks.
“I’m sorry I lied. But don’t worry about this injury. I will make it up to you. I will make everything up to you.”
The shinigami finally manages to get some coherent words out through her shock.
“But…but your arm! And the rest of it! Oh gods!”
You laugh raggedly. There’s not much humour to it. That’s what you’ve been trying to ignore after all, though the incredible pain makes it hard. Your right arm is lying on the ground by your feet in a pool of caustic blood, shorn cleanly off by the divine weapon. And it hadn’t stopped there.
Rather than being blocked by ripping through your arm, the scythe had kept on going, cutting the arm off entirely and burying itself through your midsection. It’s ripped through all of you, you can even feel the point of it emerging from your back. The weapon rests uneasily, tearing apart more of you with every tremor. It hurts. It hurts so goddamn much.
It is without a doubt a fatal wound, even to one with as strong a constitution as yourself.
“In hindsight a mere arm would not stop a strike like that, would it? I was hoping it would turn out better than that.”
“Oh gods oh gods oh gods! I didn’t mean to!”
You can feel your strength leave, draining away from your body quickly and coldly. You can feel your body shutting down, your mind staying alive more through sheer stubbornness than any particular magic. The fires in your eyes die down to ashes, leaving only your usual tarnished irises behind. Your anima flickers uncertainly and falters.
“No worries. You just have to trust me when I say that all wi-….all will be well.”
The wooden beast behind you gives a silent scream as it disappears, the rest of your anima dying down and burning itself to nothing. The green fire separating you and Komachi dims down to a tiny ring of green cinders around your feet.
She’s trembling. Has she never killed before? Or is it because it’s you that she did it to? You would love to believe it’s the latter. You try to cough past the blood to spit a few more words out.
"Everything is going exac-”
>>161913 This post wasnt originally going to end there but I took way too long to stop procrastinating and to get it written and now RL disturbances are coming up. So instead of just sitting on the update for even longer than I already have I decided to make it a two parter.
The second part will come along shortly (along with the shitty twist that I'm sure you've all guessed by now) and then we can all get back to voting like usual.
Aaaand I forgot to sage. I'm sort of out of it, blast.
Incidentally, you did an awesome job with that Totemic Anima. While there are more terrifying demons around than the Chrysogona, their connection to The Ebon Dragon's merchant-soul and Erembour over him is kind of great, considering what sort of person Nash is.
I'd suggest summoning Makarios to try and figure out what the heck is going on, but considering he's met him in dreams, that might just result in Yuuka punching through the tower to interrupt.
>>161931 Ugh, I can't imagine a more terrible coadjutor. Stomach bottle bugs might be hyper and annoying, but at least listening to them isn't actively harmful to their host.
Seriously, whose brilliant idea was it to use a first-circle demon that is famous for giving hilariously bad advice and possessing charms to force people to listen despite knowing that it's bad advice?
That said, even though Nash gets a free re-do, this is seriously bad. Without that hearthstone, he's going to have serious problems regenerating motes.
I can imagine a worse one. Several, actually. The Noresores would just be awful to have sitting around in your mind, sucking away all emotion like the terrible lamprey they are. A Gethin would make its master terribly afraid of fire- which is kind of a problem if you're a Slayer or favor Malfeas. Decanthropes like eating babies, and so on.
Really, I'd rather have bad advice that I can proceed to do the exact opposite of, than a Decanthrope.
(Tomescu are still the best Coadjutors. They tell you exactly when you're going to die, and then you can give them fits by /not dying./)
>>161956 It depends a lot on whether the coadjutor retains its natural capabilities or not. Given that the coadjutor background is pretty limited, I'm going to guess that the default assumption is that the coadjutor can't do much once it becomes one.
That said, a tomescu can't foretell the GSP's death because its fore-knowledge is limited to its own death. Simiarly, a noresore can no more eat emotion than a stomach bottle bug coadjutor can fix up the GSP.
Likewise, a gethin's fear of flame does not bleed over into the GSP, not to mention that the gethin are adorable. As for decanthropes, they don't eat babies, they take over humans. Other than that rather glaring problem, decanthropes don't have any other problems other than pointless paranoia while around other decanthropes.
That said, I'm personally fond of agatae and teodozjia as coadjutor. Agatae come with zero bad points even for humans, while teodozjia are ridiculously useful if they retain their connection to their hive-mind. Not only are they great for getting your preach on, but they're also useful as lieutenants for marshaling giant demon hoards.
>>161960 If you're talking about the 'I die and leave a corpse but only in one scenario which means I reappear a scene later besides my corpse' effect. It's not an Ebon Dragon charm, it's one of Oramus's hearthstones. Five dots.
>>161984 I'm not certain, but I thought Nash has no mote regeneration coming in without the hearthstone. Since the hearthstone disappears once it's been used, he's going to be running on an emptied mote pool with few options for getting more.
>>161924 Alas this ship is forever unrequited. Someday...
>>161931 >>161938 >>161958 His Coadjutor is staggeringly unhelpful, yes. It's not really a character at all though since as was noted when it was first introduced, it was social-fu'ed into quiet insanity years ago.
These days, its influence on Nash is mostly just limited to his physical mutations.
>>161933 Not D&D at all, actually. This is an Exalted thing, which is a separate tabletop rpg. I'm trying to keep it reasonably non-opaque for people who don't know it though, probably with little success these days.
>>161999 This is what Nash believes yes. He has no way of respiring more motes in Gensokyo, anymore than he could in the Underworld. There's just no compatible Essence. The only stuff he has is drawn through his Hearthstone's inexplicably remaining connection with his Manse.
So very sloooooooowwwwww. Life has been busy as of late but not so busy that there's any excuse for this bullshit.
[X] Plan B
A small diamond scale trembles, unseen underneath a blood-soaked tunic. The stone seems to move with a non-existent light, refracting imaginary colours and mirrored possibilities. A tiny crack begins to trace its way down the stone. It widens slowly before splitting open. The gem set in the necklace snaps in half.
And so do you.
“-tly as planned!”
You reintegrate back into the universe with a loud pop! and immediately stumble over your own corpse and lose your footing. You collide with Komachi and knock her down underneath you, thus accidentally forcing the two of you into a rather compromising position. Neither of you make a huge fucking scene out of it though, due to being mature adults long past the flustered adolescence approach to such things.
You roll off of her, leering only a few times. Your anima has returned to ‘merely’ engulfing you in illusionary green fire which is probably for the best. Your totemic aura always makes it just that little bit harder to negotiate.
“What? You died! I can tell these things! Fuck, your corpse is right over there!”
Needless to say she’s a little confused. You stand, noting that not much time seems to have passed. It’s still dark early morning, the sun but a faint glimmer on the horizon. Excellent. You hop over to your bloodstained corpse, lying unceremoniously on the ground with the scythe still buried in your gut. Yeah, that’s you alright. And you are definitely dead. Luckily, you are also at the same time very much alive. And you intend to stay that way.
“Sorry about this, you handsome devil,” you murmur to yourself as you rifle through the corpse’s pockets. You find the tainted jade throwing knife right where you left it and slide it into your tunic. You then turn around and take a single step towards the deeply confused and grieving Komachi before seizing her in a hug, the bonfire of your anima surrounding both of you.
You can feel the pendant hang around your neck and without looking; you know that that only half your hearthstone is hanging off of it.
Which is a little odd since you’re pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to happen.
The hearthstone set in your pendant is after all, a Mortality-Entangling Gem. Originally a scale plucked from the Dragon Beyond the World himself, it is a hearthstone of incredible potency, only ever to be plucked from the most powerful of Manses that are attuned to Oramus’ Essence.
As well as channelling additional Essence to you directly from the Manse, it has a special effect only activated upon death. It will shatter, splitting its bearer into two separate alternate timelines that both immediately converge back into reality. One of you dies but the true you lives on, reappearing next to their own corpse. The only things that don’t copy over are magical items, which is why you had to get your Infinite Jade Stabbing Knife back from the corpse.
Because of this causing the destruction of your hearthstone, which was the only method of how you were still recovering Essence in this dead Essence-empty world, you really didn’t want to do this. Or at the very least, you wanted to save it for some kind of awesome pivotal moment so you could fake your own death and throw Yuuka off your trail or something. That would have been so cool.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. You weren’t going to fight back this time. Though it would appear that what you expected of this hasn’t quite happened.
You shouldn’t have come back with your hearthstone pendant still attached to you. You drag it out from underneath your tunic. Its strange warmth fills your hands and you still feel a connection to it. You shouldn’t, though. The price of rebirth is the destruction of your hearthstone, which lasts until a new one is eventually reformed at your Manse. You shouldn’t still be drawing Essence from it.
But you are. There is something very uncanny about this. Something is still moving through the broken channel of your hearthstone, dragging Infernal Essence from one world to the next. You can feel it. How con-
Komachi slugs you right across the face, twisting your head around and catapulting you a few meters back. You land on your back and decide that thinking can wait until the world stops spinning.
“What the hell is going on!?”
[ ] Lie outrageously.
[ ] Lie but more truthful than previous option.
[ ] Tell her the truth.
[ ] Tell her about Daiyousei. Let’s not forget our original purpose here.
[ ] Tell her everything. Everything.
[ ] “Look again, the stone is now extra lives! Anything is possible when your man uses proper hearthstones and not shitty ones. I’m gloriously resurrected.”
[ ] Hot make-out session with own disgustingly good-looking corpse No! Not yet.
>>162006 Exalted? Never got into yet, though from the cross over fic I read and word of mouth, it's a world of bad ass and awesome. Like, you think you can do it, there's a way to do it, and it'll be awesome.
[ ] Tell her the truth.
Come clean. Nash is a pragmatic person. Plus. Lying to the Reaper landed us in the mess in the first place.
[x] Tell her the Truth. Everything.
[x] Channel compassion even if it probably doesn't get you much. Or maybe it's temperance this time? Come on man, you need to make this one matter! An Infernal is greater than the sum of his charms!
>[X] Tell her about Daiyousei. Let’s not forget our original purpose here.
>[X] Tell her everything. Everything.
whilst intermittently having a
>[X] Hot make-out session with own disgustingly good-looking corpse
because stuff's probably going to happen right after this and you won't get another chance for ages. But be a gentleman, and offer to share with Komachi. It's fine; you understand. You won't hog you all to yourself.
It's important to remember that Oramus is only stuck in Malfeas because they bound him up in the only thing that he couldn't border-bend to get out from: Himself. If they tried to trap him anywhere else, he'd just redefine the properties of the world such that he was no longer in the prison.
Oramus cannot redefine himself as outside himself. It's his biggest limitation- and even then, it's only because he's bound up by a very complicated mathematical expression and geometric pattern that he can't escape.
What I'm saying here is that it'd take something like Canon Yukari and Canon Ran working in unison to solve the Oramus equation- and even then, it'd be tricky. The greatest Solar Craftsmen of the age devised Oramus' self-prison. But it's an interesting idea, especially since Oramus' loyalties, like everything else about him, are terribly undefined, except that he's somehow both older and younger than the first thing to ever exist, and is supposedly on good terms with Cytherea.
So uh. Maybe we should see about getting in contact with The Dragon Beyond the World about some of our problems? Problems like the borders he's supposed to be responsible for allowing for the bleed-through of two worlds? Or maybe- just maybe- that's the point?
Maybe someone ELSE got Oramus free? That would be rather dire, wouldn't it? Or maybe the Great Hakurei Border actually draws from Oramus' power, through Yukari. Is Yukari one of Oramus' souls?
>>162031 It's a simple, elegant and brutal solution to a complex problem.
Oramus controls boundaries, including the line between the possible and the impossible. If he is bound, then his control over boundaries enables him to escape confinement. Similarly, if he is permitted to soar through Malfeas, then those same capabilities enable him to escape the surrender oaths.
As a result, the Exalted mutilated him and bound him inside a cage of his own seven broken wings. In such a state, Oramus is bound so that he cannot act but also not bound because his cage is his own limitation rather than external constraint.
Of course, the whole business is more complicated than this, but it's enough to get the general point across.
As for his age, I tend to think of it like this. Cytherea is the Big Bang who caused all the other Primordials to awaken/come into existence, but Oramus is impossible. As a result, he was always in existence even before Cytherea made him possible, which makes him eldest of the Primordial Host.
>>162029 This is why I've been joking about Yukari being Daendels, fetich soul to the Dragon Beyond the World who bears the title of the Unfettered Heart.
Our essence was absorbed and woven into her own essence pattern, and was then corrupted by Yuuka?
Does that mean that this world is like a wrung-out sponge that is just waiting to soak up essence?
>>162031 >>162032 I love the Exalted setting, and could talk about it for days in a dedicated discussion thread. But where do you guys read this stuff? I'm too poor to go out and buy sourcebooks, so I've only been able to get my hands on an electronic copy of Broken Winged Crane.
The most relevant bit is this passage:
'This was Oramus, the Dragon Beyond the World, who stirred the Wyld with his wings. In the time before time he was Not, for there was no world, but in the moment of Ignition he came to Be. Yet he was before, for he was of the things which could not be, and counted amongst those things was him, the Dragon Beyond the World Which Had Yet to Be.
The other titans looked upon him and thought that he looked always to be the thing which he was not.'
Or in other words, Oramus is by his nature Impossibility. The only way he was able to come into being was because Cytherea, the Divine Ignition, effectively created the concept of existing. Before that, everything was impossible- and thus, everything was Oramus. Oramus could not be everything while also being Oramus, so until there was a Possible to contrast against Impossible, Oramus could not live.
>>162059 Makes sense to me, at least, but I'm not the one who asked, though.
Anyway, I was flipping through the Broken Winged Crane looking at the hearthstones, and the Mortality-Entangling Gem is a Blasphemy 5 effect.
That may or may not be incredibly bad.
For those who aren't too knowledgeable about the Exalted system (or just Infernal Charms in general), here's a quick explanation:
Normally, the Blasphemy keyword is attached to Charms and it adds an extra level of risk when using it.
Any Charm with that keyword will always, automatically, light up a flashing red lamp in the God's security station and depending on the severity of the threat vs available resources they may do something about it.
Basically, for each dot of minimum required Essence for the Charm, there is a 10% chance of a Celestial kill team appearing at the end of the current scene. And the higher the Essence, the bigger the response is likely to be.
Not only that, but any local God or Celestial Exalt within a mile's radius may notice the Blasphemy effect in the form of temporary pain or nausea and, if they do, will automatically know the Infernal's location relative to themselves.
In other words, had this been in Creation there's 50/50 chance that Heaven has already sent out troops to make Nash re-dead, plus anyone loitering around the area would probably have wanted to join in on making sure he stays that way.
I don't know how (or even if) that works within Gensokyo, but there's a chance that some people just found out that something very wrong happened here, and may have some questions for Nash.
I mean, at the very least they might want to know why they suddenly felt a sharp pain and just knew that it was because of that guy, over there.
Well, it's also important to note that the existence of what appear to be Yozi Jouten in Gensoukyo would probably have already set off major Blasphemy alarms in whatever relevant Loom of Fate-like system governs how Gensoukyo runs. I'm pretty sure that, in a place where fairies and ghosts are rampant, a little thing like cheating death would be far less notable than the sudden emergence and invasion of titanic god-heads into Gensoukyo.
Kanako or Suwako might still show up to give him the stink eye though. Or maybe we'll see a certain Evil Spirit show up? God I hope so.
Well, it was just something I started thinking about while waiting for the next update.
Then again.. While Blasphemy effects may be terribly bad, they may also have no relevance what so ever.
After all, the Gods of Creation personally imprisoned the Yozi after the war, and the only reason they have that flashing red light in the first place is because they know that the Yozi are still incredibly powerful, even when imprisoned, and they need to keep track of them in case anything happens.
Gensokyo is not part of Creation, though, therefore it is likely that nothing at all happens because they don't have the Celestial Bureaucracy here. Thus nobody has ever had knowledge of the Yozi until now, so why should anyone keep an eye out for them?
Even if he were to (learn and) use Holy Land Infliction to literally start turning all of Gensokyo into just another part Cecelyne, nobody would notice until they actually saw the sand creeping across the ground.
But still, even if Blasphemy effects aren't monitored in Gensokyo I'd guess that at the very least he'll have caused yet another headache for Shikieiki.
Basically, there's a trial scheduled without a defendant. She is tasked with judging the souls of the dead but Nash pulled a Schrödinger and is still very much alive, despite definitely being dead.
Not to get into power lever arguments here, but there is definitely a difference in terms of sheer scale. That is, as far as we know, Yukari is a Youkai with human form who might also be an incarnation of the Boundary itself- but we know she is extremely powerful, and can manipulate the concept of Boundaries.
Oramus is Impossibility and can define what is possible and what is not, within a region that he governs. He is also a massive, seven-winged dragon that turns everything around him into madness and Wyld-Stuff that could drive even the Raksha to insanity, rip Unshaped to shreds, twist reality into a soup of dreams and nightmares, and tear at the very foundations of the shinma themselves.
They are surprisingly similar in the whole 'boundaries' aspect, actually. Yukari might even be one of Oramus' jouten! Maybe the Hakurei Barrier is a manifestation of Oramus' own binding prison, and Gensoukyo is in fact inside Oramus? Maybe the Dragon that appeared when Gensoukyo was established was The Dragon Beyond the World? Maybe the only realm that Oramus was locked from was Creation and Malfeas? Who knows if he could travel beyond them?
>>162067 Not quite, some GSP charms register as blasphemous because they produce enough Primordial essence to ping Yu-shan's defense systems, which are good enough to give its readers some basic information about the charm's effects.
Otherwise, the gods of Creation and the celestial Exalted have a shot at feeling out the Primordial essence within a certain distance and then using it to find the source. They can certainly figure out the nature of the source, but there's nothing that lets them do so automatically.
I'm not convinced that the locals are even capable of noticing Blasphemous effects because they have no essence.
>>162073 Relax, it's mostly a joke because the two really do share some similarities.
As for power levels, there isn't enough information to tell. Touhou is famous for being vague, while Oramus is one of the more undefined Primordials.
However, I'm very much inclined to go with the eldest member of a group that created things like causality and linear time.
>>162076 Well, a Blasphemous effect does let them automatically know where the Infernal is at the moment of charm activation, IF they succeed at a reflexive (Perception + Occult) roll.
But since it's at difficulty (10 - Infernal's Essence) you would either need a pretty high power Infernal or a really skilled Celestial to actually do so, without just relying on luck.
Noticing Nash here would be a difficulty 5, meaning even a Celestial with a full 5 Perception, 5 Occult and a specialization in noticing Infernal Blasphemy would have a hard time noticing him without spending a few motes on Excellencies.
>>162081 Doubtful. The surrender oaths influence more than the Primordials' surroundings, they are changes to their very nature. I do not believe that any Primordial would permit someone to change them on that fundamental a level or that Yukari is even capable of doing so.
>>162082 They are still trying to be free, though.
Their surrender oaths only prevent them from
"going out the door" so to speak.
That's why the main job of Infernals is to contaminate Creation and make it more like Hell.
If you can't go out through the door, you just move the door to the end of the world and the entire world is suddenly "inside". Then you're free to roam as you please while still, technically, not going out the door.
I'm sure Yuuka could definitely speed up their plans, but I doubt she has the raw power necessary to actually free them. It'd be like picking up and moving the Hakurei Border outwards until it swallows the entire world.
The Primordials experienced soul-pruning prior to their imprisonment. It is canon that the Ebon Dragon was the least changed due to this process, but even he experienced the loss of at least one third-circle soul. In contrast, Malfeas is perhaps the best example of the other extreme, because he experienced fetich death via execution of Ruvelia.
The surrender oaths are an additional constraint on top of those changes to the Primordials' nature.
As for escaping through turning Creation into hell, that has problems. It is up to the storyteller of each game to decide whether escape is possible or the assumption carried over from 1st Edition that the Primordials cannot escape still holds true.
I'm one of those people who hold the view that though the Primordials can damn Creation through their struggles, their escape is ultimately futile. Making Creation into a silver desert cannot change the fact that Cecelyne is wound about her younger brother. Similarly, hurling the whole of Creation into the Demon City still means that Malfeas is trapped in a corporeal body that has been mutilated into a prison to hold his surviving subjects.
>>162085 Hearing about all that makes me wonder: The exalts did that in the first place, would the Infernals be able to break the Yozi's prison for them? Reconstructing souls, unwinding Cecylene, fixing Oramus' wings, etc?
They're so busy killing things that they don't realize they should be taking shop class.
>>162090 And another thing: Is there anything keeping the Yozi from just fucking off into the Wyld? Their oaths keep them from entering Creation, but why not leave and make another one with the knowledge they've learned (Listen to SWLIHN, no free will!)
>>162090 It's 2nd Edition canon that if anyone can free the Primordials from their prison, it is the Exalted. From a more meta perspective, it is because enough of the writing team thought it would be lame if the GSPs couldn't fulfill one of their main faction goals, which is why we got a compromise instead.
>>162091 The Primordials are not permitted to head into the Wyld. The possibility was considered but rejected because the Exalted feared that the Primordials would simply come back for round two.
Similarly, the Primordials cannot access the infinite resources of the Wyld from their prison.
>>162085 This stuff is written in Manuals of Exalted Power: Infernals.
The fluff in the beginning of the book mentions that something about that if they manage to turn Creation into Hell, they will be free enough to assault the Gods and retake the Games and some crap like that...
I'm guessing that's got an "in theory, at least" clause, though.
>>162096 Hm, not sure if I remember reading that in the Manual, but the plan from RotSE is certainly based on the same principles. That said, it doesn't change much. Even if Creation is hurled into hell, the Primordials will still be stuck in hell.
Sure, they'd be able to mangle their enemies into horrible ruin, piss on the ashes of human civilization, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the age, Malfeas is still a prison stuffed with his mutilated subjects, Szorney is still embedded upside down, Oramus is still trapped in his prison, and so on and so forth.
All they can do is to ruin their enemies as thoroughly as they've been ruined, their own escape is another matter entirely.
>>162097 IIRC the whole plan of RotSE was that the Ebon Dragon's name would be changed due to his marriage, and thus the oaths would no longer apply to him because of a loophole. Thus he'd be free to run around.
So why don't they all play a game of "Who Wants to Marry a Primordial?"
>>163100 For a given value of 'soon'. Goddamn. Turns out it's really hard to write if I hadn't done it for a while and I feel hella rusty so my writing should be even worse than normal. But now at least with the scourge of Christmas behind us we should be getting much more regular updates.
New Year's Resolution: Finish this story without anymore kerfuffle.
With any luck, this will be first resolution that I've actually kept.
[X] Tell her about Daiyousei. Let’s not forget our original purpose here.
- [X] Then tell her everything else. Everything.
You get up slowly, wincing and rubbing your cheek. It’s been a very long time since anyone had been able to successfully raise their hand against you. You’d like to say something cool and overdramatic such as thinking of how you had almost forgotten what pain had felt like but that wasn’t really true. Partially because pain is not something easily forgotten but mostly because you had just been impaled on a scythe a few seconds ago.
“My apologies for the distress. I did die but only an alternate version of myself. I broke my hearthstone and sundered the timeline for a little bit. Please don’t hit me again!”
Komachi looks sorely tempted but ultimately holds fire. You don’t need your eyes to see the turmoil she is in. She opens her mouth to say something but stops for a second. She tries again, her tone cold.
“What do you want? I don’t assume that you ordered me here just to toy with me.”
“About that favour…I was in a little bit of a panic. I should have worded that a lot better. I’d apologise again but I’ve already said sorry just about a million times right now and at least one of them must have been for me being a jerk.”
Despite herself, she smiles slightly.
“If the punishment properly fitted the crime for that last one, you’d have to keep apologising for the next seventy years. But that’s not my decision to make. You can explain all you want in front of the Yama.”
Looks like you weren’t getting away with this scot-free. Not that you thought you would. Letting Eiki read the Crane was never asking for anything but trouble and bitter misunderstandings. If only there hadn’t been so much other important bullshit festering that needed dealing with.
“Oh good, I was just thinking of how I wanted to see her again. I won’t resist. But first, there’s a problem with Daiyousei.”
She glances over to the side, in the direction of the unconscious fairy. You don’t even remember her collapsing. Had she done it when you died? Likely another symptom of her…condition.
“Yuuka’s put something in her soul. I don’t know how long it’s been there but I have my suspicions. I need Eiki to fix this.”
“She has been very busy trying to clean up the various messes you’ve caused everywhere. Why would Shikieiki suspend those efforts to try and heal something as irrelevant and unimportant as a single fairy on your word?”
“Only some of those messes were directly caused by me. And to tell the truth, because she is an irrelevant and unimportant fairy. If I can’t help something so small, what can I help? And…”
You mutter something indistinctly. It’s nothing.
This piques her interest, draws her in further. Excellent.
“And because it’s all my fault! If it hadn’t been for me, she’d still be off gallivanting around and spraying blasts at random travellers and whatever else fairies do. She might not have been the most helpful of the people I’ve met but she’s certainly been the most constant and well-meaning…and she’s received no reward for it but additional misfortune. I didn’t even tell her that Yuuka was loose! She got to her before I did. With my own blade, too. This is all my responsibility.”
To say that saying this is difficult would be a rather large understatement. To sway someone’s will with nothing but the raw truth is usually nigh impossible for you. You can feel your words dying on your tongue, your curse making them sound insincere and twisted. But you’ve managed to do it before. You just have to truly mean it.
++Willpower reduced from 6/10 to 5/10++
You meet her eyes.
“If Eiki refuses to do just this one thing, then I’ll find another who can. And I’ll be damned if I’ll come willingly to my judgement after that.”
“You can’t resist me now, Nash. You’re spent and powerless. You don’t have a choice about facing the Yama.”
She looks away first.
“Very well. Grab the fairy.”
You scoop Daiyousei up as Komachi tries to pull the scythe out of your corpse. Various squelching noises result. She curses as the blood down the handle of the weapon blisters her hands.
“Why the hell do you have so much blood everywhere anyway? You split open like a fucking piñata.”
Well at least she’s recovering back to her old self.
“Defensive mechanism. All of my veins are highly pressurised so that any injury results in loads of blood flying everywhere and burning people. I can’t turn it off. I’d recommend washing those hands very thoroughly before you eat again, by the way.”
“Did anyone ever tell you that making acid poisonous is overcompensating?”
“You know, it’s never come up.”
You walk over to inspect your corpse, getting a grip on it.
“I hope you don’t mind me taking a little memento? If nothing else, it proves my otherwise absurd story of splitting timelines true. Not to mention that he makes for a more agreeable companion than most. Never talks, keeps his opinions to himself and easy on the eyes. No downsides!”
You let your hand linger on that beautiful face, frozen in a mask of exquisite pain. No. Not now. There’ll be time for that later. You heft your corpse over your left shoulder, carrying Daiyousei on your right.
Komachi doesn’t react. You suppose one in her line of work doesn’t get put off by a few corpses. She grabs you, one arm braced around your side.
“I thought we had a good thing going,” she breathes. “Why did it have to end up like this? Why?”
There’s no time to answer as the world changes around you, distance stretching and contracting like rubber. You find yourself standing in a barren empty field as far as the eye can see. There are no stars in the sky.
“This place used to be a lot prettier,” Komachi says. “She’s ripped up all of the flowers. No sense in taking chances. Well come on, get inside.”
She pulls open the doors to a sprawling colourful building that you are quite sure was not there a moment ago.
“I would not recommend trying to deceive the Yama in here.”
“Whole truth and nothing but the truth. I promise. I’ll tell you all everything. And hopefully we can bring it to a beautiful conclusion, despite what I might say. This melancholy ill-suits either of us.”
You follow her through the corridors, taking a straight path straight to its heart. Surprisingly, there was nothing remarkable about the place itself. It all seems disappointingly ordinary for the ultimate judge of what lies beyond death. You’re not sure what you were expecting.
The last set of doors swing open to reveal a spacious office. The room is divided by a black desk, Shikieiki wedged behind it. She’s leafing through a ledger of some sort. You don’t know what it is but neither do you need to, it is transparently an act of feigned indifference to your arrival.
“Hello, Eiki! I haven’t seen you since you abandoned me on that island. If only we could have had our second meeting in better circumstances.”
“The best circumstances may have been never meeting you for a second time at all.”
Yeah, she’s pissed. She roughly shoves the ledger off her desk, pulling out a more familiar tome as she does.
“If it wasn’t for you, I would never have had to read this disgusting book. And it, combined with your own actions, paint you in an exceedingly unflattering light! And secondly, while you stand on judgement, you will refer to me as why the hell do you have your own corpse with you!?”
You drop the corpse on the ground, where it starts to immediately burn a hole in the expensive-looking carpeting.
“That’s a bit of a mouthful. I’m sure just Eiki will be fine with all of us. I bring the corpse along as proof of my good character!”
You hastily relate the recent encounter between you and Komachi, the shinigami herself interrupting often to add her version of events. All the Yama can do is sigh and rub her forehead.
“Sacrifices are a virtue, yes. Many a noble hero has passed through my gates so that they may remain barred to others. The willingness to throw yourself in harm’s way just so you do not raise your hand against Komachi would be a stunning proof of your character…if you did not immediately resurrect and show that you were never in any significant danger. Then it’s just showmanship and empty blather.”
“May I speak?”, Komachi asks.
“Why not? This judgement became a farce the moment he stepped into the room.”
“Even though he did not face true death, he still refused to fight back. Doing so even at the cost of draining his own reserves and becoming harmless and unable to protect himself significantly. With, as you can see from the corpse, no small amount of pain and mutilation inflicted too.”
“I doubt the harmless part. Who knows what kind of reserves he truly has?”
“Barely any, really.” You try to look as small and miserable as possible. “I could fire off a few more small Charms but that’s it. I had already spent a reasonable amount on a previous matter and Komachi took nearly all that was left. You can check, if you have some way to.”
She harrumphs but does not challenge your claim. Perhaps she does have some way to see your strength. That would only be mildly terrifying.
“You are correct in one way though. I never had any intention of sacrificing my actual life. I’m not some kind of noble hero who eagerly rushes to get himself killed for any cause he can think of. I’m quite attached to my life, to be honest. And that is no crime! Why would I suffer all that pain and helplessness if I were evil?”
“To trick us.”
“If we go down that path, let me say that I am not that depleted. I could not last in any significant confrontation but I still could have done significant damage to Komachi’s mind. Or yours. Isn’t the fact that you still have the capacity to mistrust me at all a sign that I can be trusted?”
Komachi steps back slightly, clearly not comfortable with being reminded of the possibility.
“No. Circuitous and based on bad logic. And the walls around my mind are absolute. Yuuka could find no purchase there and neither could you.”
“Pray that we never have to find out. It ultimately comes down to just trusting Komachi’s and my words. And I have no idea why the two of you disregard mine in order to trust that of a book as foul as that. Anything it says about me is almost certainly a twisted lie.”
Shikieiki glances down at the Crane on her desk, unwilling to look at it for longer.
“This book is unpleasant, yes. Filled with taint. After this is all over, I imagine I will have all copies burnt and their ashes buried. But if it is even remotely true, it cannot be ignored. As unsavoury as the prospect is, I’m going to move to interrogation.”
“I’ll answer everything you ask truthfully. Everything. But first, you have to promise me that you’ll help Daiyousei out.”
You dump the fairy on the desk. Shikieiki recoils immediately, her chair grating as she pushes it back.
“What is this? It’s foul!”
“I figure that this is in both of our common interests to help. I don’t really know how the metaphysics of this work but to put it shortly, Yuuka broke her. Fix it.”
She gets over her revulsion enough to peer at Daiyousei closely. “I don’t know if I can. With those others of Yuuka’s, they were supposed to be dead. Firmly within my domain and mine to take. But I’ll try. No matter how your judgement turns out, she didn’t deserve this.”
She takes Daiyousei tenderly and the fairy disappears, leaving only a few scattered flower petals behind. Shikieiki immediately burns them.
“We’ll see how she turns out. But I’ll take care of her.”
Eiki cares a lot more about fairies than Komachi does. You suppose it’s a requirement for her position. A shinigami can think all the bad or neglectful things they can about people as long as they do their job. Perhaps a Yama must show compassion towards all living things before she could judge them all equally. You know that Eiki hates to see souls go towards the worse end of the afterlife, hence her attempts to get them to improve while in life.
But when she turns back to you, you can find no trace of mercy in her eyes. Her gaze has picked up that uncanny quality to them as they did back when you first met her, the kind that makes your skin crawl and your Coadjutor scream. In the periphery of your vision, you can see Komachi edging out of the way in order to escape the Yama’s field of vision.
“Begin the interrogation.”
She stands up, placing her mirror on the desk. It goes blank, no longer reflecting anything in the room.
“There shall be no questions asked. In light of all the confusion, I will rip the truth from your past directly. It only showed tiny glimpses of you before but I have since then calibrated it to allow creatures beyond Gensokyo’s laws. Your life shall face a full judgement!”
The mirror shimmers, the blankness receding to show a luscious green landscape of immense trees, each one a giant. And a small house nestled away within the roots of one tree in particular. It was in far better condition than what one might assume from being in such a place, like a cottage in a storybook. Smoke curled slowly out of the chimney, being the only sign of activity beyond the two-legged riding lizard sleeping in the shade, its jaws still red from the meat that had been thrown to it.
You feel an immediate sickness through you that it almost pains you to look at it. Nostalgia perhaps for a time long gone, seven decades hence. But mostly, you just feel violated. This is what mental defences are for! So that you never need feel vulnerable or open to anything or anyone. And yet she just casually shows you that forest, that house?
You try to push the mirror over, Eiki pulling it out of the way just in time. She scowls.
“What are you doing? I can hardly imagine a more obvious sign of guilt.”
“I’m willing to truthfully answer any question you asked. There is no need to work your way through my life.”
The Yama raises an eyebrow.
“Oh? And if you are truly intending to answer any question I ask, what pray tell is the functional difference between the two methods? This one is far more impartial.”
“I’ll be honest. A lot of my life is pretty pointless bullshit. And none of it is pleasant. Quite unsavoury, in fact. We would all be a lot better off not seeing the large majority of it.”
“The words of a guilty man.”
“I agree with him,” Komachi says. Eiki gives her a death glare but she doesn’t back off. “Surely only his actions while within Gensokyo matter. Anything else is outside our jurisdiction.”
She knows how violating the feeling of your secret past being revealed is, you can tell. And you can see very clearly that she really doesn’t want to know. She’d much rather stick with the version of you that she’s known. So would you.
“There must be an alternative.”
[ ] Oh screw it. You said you would tell them everything. Even if it’s a terrible violation of privacy.
[ ] You just said that melancholy isn’t meant for the likes of you or her. And yet, at the price of being overdramatic, that is all that lies down that path. Force a different method.
[ ] NOPE NOPE NOPE. Run now. Do it do it do it. Fuck everything.
[X] Oh screw it. You said you would tell them everything. Even if it’s a terrible violation of privacy.
Mostly since I want to know his backstory, but also because backpedaling now would probably make it seem as if he's not as sincere as he actually is. They'd probably take it as if he said he'd be honest, but he was still planning to hide things, and now that he's forced to reveal everything, even the irrelevant parts, he's panicking and trying to back out.
Man, Nash was a servant to the ULTIMATE DARKNESS for who-knows how long. He took JOY in framing a man for the murder of his own family, and pissed off a solar enough for him to declare a vendetta and chase him into the Wyld.
Nash was an evil, vile man, pleasing to the Ebon Dragon, before whatever change occurred. I dunno if Nash will be able to save whatever reputation he has left.
>>164172 So just because he has done bad things he can't change and will always be an asshole forever?
Admitting that you <i>could</i> be a better person is the first step towards actually <i>becoming</i> that better person.
I don't think she'd just go "well that's fine then" and drop it, but she would approve of his determination to atone for his sins.
Especially if we're assuming that it's true that Shikieiki lectures people to actually help them realize (and overcome) the error of their ways instead of just for the sake of lecturing them.
In the end, if he dies (for real) in Gensokyo and is sent to her to be judged, then his determination to make up for all the bad things he's done will be a point in his favor, even if it won't outweigh his sins.
And, given enough time, he could eventually get enough "white" on his record to outweigh the "black" and be judged good enough to not go to Hell.
Binary morality, fuck yeah!
Also, while I haven't played PoFV, I poked around at the wiki and got to thinking... The wiki states that she told Yuuka to scare more humans and also told Reimu to exterminate more youkai. (I.e. "do what you're supposed to do".)
If attacking humans is "the right thing to do" for a youkai, and killing youkai is "the right thing to do" for a shrine maiden... Then isn't doing horrible things to everyone "the right things to do" for an Infernal? And atoning for those deeds are about as UNfernal as it gets, so that should be "wrong".
Then again, I guess that's why he registered as "green" on a scale of black vs white.
>>164177 I would argue that Nash's sins are too many and too much to ever be redeemed from. Go over his charmset and realize that for over a hundred years, he was using those powers to serve the most evil thing imaginable.
Nash may have changed his ways, but he's got a hefty debt to pay before "he wants to help now!" can be considered.
>>164172 I doubt that, actually. There are doubtlessly Oni and Youkai who made a living as bandits before they came to Gensokyo; we're talking about hundreds of years of robbing, raping, murdering, and eating people.
As for the vote, well...
[X] Oh screw it. You said you would tell them everything. Even if it’s a terrible violation of privacy.
>>164185 I just meant that he registered as "green" the first time they met.
>>164187 But that's the thing. It's a binary system. ANYONE can clean up their soul's "criminal record", no matter how evil.
Shikieiki judges black or white. There is no gray zone in between. No what ifs or maybes. A deed is either black or it is white.
At the end your black vs white balance determines where your soul goes after you die.
If we say each good deeds is +1 and each bad deeds is -1, and when you die your score is tallied up. High enough and you go to heaven, too low and you go to hell. Near 0 and you get reincarnated for another go. (I don't really know where to place Hakugyokurou, or if reincarnation is even the "neutral" result... But whatever.)
Right now, he's far in the negatives, but with enough time he can climb back up. It'll probably take centuries, maybe even millenia, but it is possible.
>>164322 Like the anon below you said, she judges black and white, because she has to; but her judgement is meant to be always fair (canon I think) Which means, while killing a man and stealing candy might both the black, they still aren't equal.
>>164187 >>164321 I don't know which of you is right, but I have to agree with the pessimistic guy. At best, we reincarnate, at worst...
>>164370 Yes, but my point is still (and always was) that no matter how much black you have on your record, as long as you've got more white you're "a good person". Doesn't matter whatever black deed you've done, as long as you've done enough white to cancel it out.
>>164387 That's why I always said that he needs time to work on that.
If he died right now, he's too evil to even go to Gensokyo's hell. If he dies a few thousand years from now, he might even go to heaven, assuming his change of heart lasts and he tries hard to make up for everything.
I never said he's a good person now. He's just taken the first step.
But if he continues down that path, he may be a good person by the time he dies.
>>164389 Heaven? I hate to break it to you, friend, but Gensokyo's celestial bureaucracy would have no jurisdiction over us even if we weren't a Prince of the Green Sun.
The best thing that could happen to us if we died would be eternal ghosthood, if Lethe were unreachable, or instant oblivion.
More likely, our sould would be recycled and returned into some poor peasant in Creation, through a connection to Malfeas.
A Creation-born's soul is simply an Essence generator at its core, nothing more and nothing less, as opposed to more conventional metaphysics - and Essence is alien to this world of dead matter.
We may literally be soulless, by the standards of Gensokyo.
Being an Infernal Exalt, if we possess the right charms (namely, [Yozi] Mythos Exultant, I belive), our very existence is inevocably coupled with the concept of 'sovereignty', and defining ourselves.
If you take the 'perfection and power beyond any measure' aspects of the solar exaltation at our core into account, we may very well be the only ones with metaphysical authority over ourselves, including the Yozi themselves.
In short, my opinion is that the only power the Yama has over us, is what we allow her and what she's capable of forcing in spite of any resistance we might offer, and nothing more.
Certainly, whatever measure of morality she uses in her judgements has no relevance to us. One of the core themes of Exalted is the lack of any sort of objectivity in these matters, after all.
She may disagree with our actions, and they may be loathsome, cruel, petty and brutal, but even the Ebon Dragon himself is not Evil.
>>164399 Come to the dark side, we have hell-cocaine and demon hookers!
I was re-reading Infernals the other day, and their entrance to Malfeas really is a masterpiece of psychological warfare. These people failed at a critical moment, ruining their lives and aspirations. Then they get all this tremendous power, get told how wonderful and amazing they are, then they go to an endless city with so many people in it that Creation is dwarfed by comparison, and they're all cheering for you. And after the giant parade and party, you get to chum about with 20+ of the most powerful things in existence, some of which made the world, and after THAT you retire to your palatial estate, staffed with all the amenities you could ever ask for, servants, guards, harem, everything.
And the alternative to all this, saying no to the exaltation, is a violent death at the hands of a pissed-off demon.
Are there any canon examples of someone turning down an infernal exaltation?
(And I know lots of people hate the "gang-raped by all the 3rd circles" fluff of the 1st chapter of Infernals, and I agree, but on the other hand if I just got done sexing a freakin' Yozi, I'd be feeling pretty good about myself.)
>>164583 I dunno if Nash even knows about DT, he kinda just ran off and went hermit mode. And DTs can die just as easily as any other Exalt. No multiple bodies, a smaller essence pool than a primordial, etc.
Of course, if you DO take eternal essence, you gotta be fuckin' careful to not get ganked. Being a neverborn hurts.
DTs are actually able to generate some crazy stuff, including a full Soul Hierarchy. Plus, going DT ensures power continuity for at least one incarnation, and the creation of a universal concept that can't ever truly be wiped away- so long as you teach your charms to another Infernal.
And if that Infernal learns You Cosmic Principle, then there really /will be/ a Primordial Of Bob/Nash walking around.
>>164621 There's nothing more to discuss, we've made our choice and are waiting for an update.
Now we're biding time talking about possible mechanics interactions.
If I were in Nash's position, I'd go Devil-Tiger and extract a promise from Shikieki or Yuyuko to revive me upon death. Then I'd build a new Jade Prison for my exaltation, kill myself, be resurrected, retake my exaltation, and proceed to become the Primordial of myself.
>>164679 It's a conceit of the Exalted setting. Once you're dead, the only thing that's gonna happen to you is oblivion, becoming a ghost, or reincarnation. In the first two cases, you're not getting an exaltation. In the latter, you /might/ eventually get one, but you'll have reincarnated, so probably not- and the chances are very slim.
There's an artifact that lets you ensure you reincarnate and get the same shard of exaltation the next go-around, though.
Dominca's Mantle is found on page 122 of the Outcastes book, back in 1st edition. It only appears to work with guaranteeing Terrestrial exaltation, but it effectively allows you to selectively choose how you reincarnate. Theoretically, you could use powerful enough future-sight to guarantee your re-exaltation, but it's iffy.
You could use it as a basis to create a related artifact that functions with celestial exaltations, though!
>>165522 I dunno about that, when you take Cosmic Principle you auto-learn all the sorcery and how to properly use it, as well as gain the kilo-mote pool, and other benefits.
Primordials may be thematically limited in their charms, but they're phenomenally powerful. Tens of thousands of exalts of all kinds were needed to bring them down.
And primordials have free will as well. Heck, they invented the idea of it. A devil-tiger is a facsimile, a look-alike, but you're still just an exalt with some fancy dressings stapled on.
In Gensokyo, without the Exalted Host to worry about, I'd feel better off going Primordial Apotheosis rather than Devil Tiger. In Creation, DT would probably be better because they can do mean things like gank your fetich or GET you into Neverborn, and that's no fun at all.