Dynasty of Dovak

BY : JohnDoe
Category: +A through F > Exalted RPG
Dragon prints: 2113
Disclaimer: White Wolf, Exalted and Exalted 3rd Edition are all trademarks of White Wolf Publishing AB, and official characters, names, places and text are copyrighted by White Wolf. I do not own Exalted and I'm not making money from this fiction.

Session 1 - Reya (5XP 4DX) [Day 1 - Morning] - The Drawing of Two

 

“Well this is nice.”

 

Cynis Ganan stands astride the dock, waves gently lap against the side of the Alinos grand yacht moored at the Jiaran dock. The sun beats down on Ganan’s chiseled body as his eyes sweep the scene for any sign of danger. Effortlessly beautiful, Mnemon Alinos Danireya sweeps down the gang way.

 

“Which part, my love?” Danireya’s voice like silk, “The still smoldering defenses, or that ship moving against the wind with no wind or oars?”

 

At that point a giant lamprey rears out of the water, crashing a smaller ship as blood-thirsty pirates storm the dock further down. Ganan gives a large smile and sets to bolt down the dock, but Danireya holds up a hand:

 

“Tarry a little, my husband.”

 

A plume of petals cascades into the air, a flaming halberd is drawn, and a group of Dragon-Blooded at the site of the attack spring into action, defeating the pirate attack in seconds.

 

Mnemon Alinos, bedecked in the Mnemon colors of white and purple from head to toe, emerges from her cabin and walks down to her daughter and son-in-law, “It seems my grand-mother has everything well under control here.”

 

 

“Indeed,” Danireya turns to Ganan, “We’ve got to be sure our flank will be defended. We can’t be everywhere.”

 

Ganan makes a throaty noise of indifference, “There are disturbing reports of Anathema in this Satrapy.”

 

Alinos cuts them off, “Idle babbling won’t put those Anathema in the ground. See if you can find our contact. Mother and I will speak with Mnemon and then we take to the road.”

 

Danireya and Ganan give a short bow, and Alinos sweeps down the gang-way, and disappears into the crowd heading for the palace district.

 

“So,” Ganan drawls, leaning back on the pier wall, “Do we look for someone holding a large placard with our names on? Or do we fly the Mnemon mons and wait for our contact to find us.” He gestures at the ships in the port – almost all of them are flying the Mnemon mons.

 

Danireya pokes him playfully in the ribs then kisses him deeply. “Our contacts are mortals. Mortals need rest. Maybe we should hire a room and see if our contacts are in there. Might take a couple of hours… but… it’s a big port.”

 

Ganan smiles back, “Might take all day.”

 

“Gross.” Nula, their daughter, appears behind them as if from no-where, “And I’ve found them already.” She points at the dock.

 

A wiry man in tanned leathers, clearly looking out of place in the Jiaran city, sits astride a palfrey horse. His skin is sun-aged, and scared, brown hair cropped short and face garnished with short stubble. At his side, on a larger Harborhead endurance horse, sits a beautiful woman of regal bearing. Hanging from her hip is a large warclub. The wind seems to sweep about her, blowing her hair back as she looks down at the dock as if she owns all she surveys. Blue eyes like a storm, perfectly contrasted by the azure of her regal sashes, which hang perfectly over her armored breastplate.

 

“She’s the princess.” Danireya’s tone is half-way between a statement and a question.

 

Nula nods, “I’m not sure if they’re honoring us by sending the heir to their throne to guide us to the kingdom, or insulting us by rubbing their god-blooded violation of the Heirchary in our faces. The Dovaki are a primitive people, barely civilized savages.”

 

“Then let us assume good faith on the part of our hosts. Dovak is valuable enough to the Realm to bring us here, and they are wise enough to take a Satrap from our House.”

 

Nula bows and holds her tongue, and the three Dragon-Blooded walk over to the Dovaki delegation. Ganan and Nula hold back as Danireya takes two steps forward to speak.

 

“Tinkara Dovak, I presume? I am Mnemon Alinos Danireya. We are honored that you have come to guide us to your kingdom.”

 

Tinkara looks down from her horse, and dismounts in a smooth motion, leaping to the ground, “I am Princess Tinkara, of Dovak, First of Her Name, Heir to the Throne of Tomonas, Commander-In-Chief of the Dovaki Royal Guard. Jiara was one of our closest partners in trade. Now it smolders under the weight of House Mnemon. I’ve half-a-mind to guide you to Thorns.”

 

Danireya keeps her composure and gives a short bow, “I know the way to Thorns. My brother died there, trying to defend the city from Anathema. Anathema have been reported in this Satrapy. Better Jiara smolder under our weight than rot under the dead’s. We are here under the invitation of your king for the betterment of your kingdom. We are here, because like Jiara, your people are at risk from monsters – Princess Tinkara of Dovak.”

 

Tinkara pauses for a moment, studying Danireya closely, “And if I were to tell you, that my people did not want your help?”

 

Danireya smiles and spreads her arms, “I’m supposed to tell you that we will help your people whether you want us to or not. Perhaps accuse you of being a fool; unfit to rule. But we are reliant on you to guide us to your kingdom – if you refuse to return there, how could we follow you? We’d have no choice but to return to our very comfortable villas, in the paradise of the Blessed Isle, and return to our lives of idle luxury. We are at your mercy, Princess, if you truly do not want our help then we will leave.

 

But we are scholars, and we are diplomats, and we are warriors. We want to learn from your nation. We wish to trade with your nation. We want to fight the monsters which are killing your people. We are Dragons.”

 

Lightning crackles around Danireya as she speaks, punctuating her message with the least power of the Dragons that flows through her veins.

 

Tinkara gives a wordless gesture to her mounted companion, as she drops to one knee in the mud of the Jiaran street, as does her companion.

 

“Forgive me Prince of the Earth,” She casts her gaze down at Danireya’s feet, “We are honored by your offer of aid.”

 

Rather than ask the princess to rise, Reya kneels as well, lightning sparking out and dirt staining her purple trousers, and she takes the princess by the chin to meet her gaze, “There’s nothing to forgive. You want what is best for your people. So do I. I look forward to fighting alongside your royal guard. And call me ‘Reya’ there is no need for formalities, I hope in time you will consider me a friend, Princess.”

 

The two help each other up, and the princess’s companion rises, Tinkara gestures towards him, “This is Ratel, the royal porter. He will lead your forces back to Dovak from the head of the column. If you’ll have me, I’d be glad to travel with you and brief you on the kingdom.”

 

Reya gives a winning smile, and with just a hint huskiness in her voice, “Oh I’d love to have you.” She gestures back at Ganan and Nula, “My husband Cynis Ganan and my daughter, Mnemon Alinos Nula. The rest of my mother’s household are either disembarking or meeting with Mnemon in the city. We intend to unload and set out before nightfall – if that suits you, Princess.”

 

Tinkara smiles back, “The sooner we return to the kingdom, the happier I’ll be.”

 

****

 

The Alinos household disembarks, secures horses and forms up a convoy. A vast force of house troops, consisting of personal honor guards from the various Alinos Dragon-Blooded accompany the Dragons. Individuals get their land legs, clean up, and grab personal supplies. It’s clear that Jiara is still very much on a war footing, with expeditionary forces being put together to take the remaining rebellious cities, but the Alinos move with practiced precision. By words carried by the wind and by infallible messengers, the groundwork for their arrival is already set, and as planned they depart before nightfall.

 

The way from Jiara to Dovak is long. The Dragons pass fields and shrines untended, as civil war draws the population away from their proper places in the Perfected Hierarchy.

 

During the journey, they discuss the state of the war in Jiara, the principle gods of the region and the problems assailing Dovak. Whilst the majority of the House view Dovak’s social and military affairs purely in terms of how they impact tribute to the Realm, Reya eagerly proffers solutions for the betterment of the kingdom for its own sake, and draws a more reticent Ganan into her plans for the Satrapy.

 

Tinkara and Reya spend many long days at each other’s sides: sharing stories and getting to know one another. Tinkara confesses some reservations about the teachings of the Immaculate Philosophy: until the coming of the Realm, Dovak honored a powerful elemental as the kingdom’s champion and the elemental’s god-blooded descendents were honored as living gods. When Dovak embraced the Realm, the Immaculates began to preach that being god-blooded was no great honor, but a violation of the Perfected Hierarchy, causing some tension. Tinkara, thus far in her life, has met only two other Dragon-Blooded: Ragara Haseti, the courageous Garrison Commander who has many times taken to the field to personally repel Dovak’s enemies; and Mnemon Alinos Bekara, who excludes Tinkara from conversations with the king and raises taxes on the people of Dovak.

 

After some weeks, the convoy arrives in Dovak – a mishmash of tenements and marketplaces, farmhouses and smoke belching charcoal fueled furnaces.The cities defenses are as crude and shambolic as the layout of the city. Sat on a tributary from the mountains where the true wealth of Dovak (great silver and copper mines) is found, Tinkara leads the Alinos to a great wall – The Dovaki Wall of Stone. An impressive and well-fortified structure, quite out of place compared to the rest of the city: barracks and garrison building, a fortification surrounding the Tower of Air – the Royal Palace of Dovak.

 

“The Satrap and the Garrison Commander are quartered in opposite ends of the Wall,” Tinkara explains, “We have quartered the rest of your house near the Satrap. I’m afraid the accommodations must seem meager compared to what you are used to, but they are the best we are able to provide."

 

The Dragon-Blooded are shown to fine statesrooms where they will stay at the hospitality of the crown. Mnemon Alinos splits from the group to speak with her sister, the Satrap.

 

Reya makes her excuses and slinks after her mother.

 

On the inside of The Wall is a vast and well tended garden, at the centre of which a single tower rises high like a needle into the air. Amid the plants she spots her mother easily, as she speaks with Bekara and a powerfully built man she does not recognize. On the man’s back is a shield made of mystic white jade which Reya recognizes immediately as Perdurant Vault – an heirloom of the Ragara family, wielded by Ragara Haseti, The Jade Fist. Bekara and Haseti are dressed simply, in the style of the wealthier Dovaki merchants, but Haseti’s voice is raised. Reya dips behind an apple tree and listens in.

 

“The purpose of a Satrapy is to provide tribute to the Realm!” Haseti accuses, “Not to fill the coffers of House Mnemon. Do not think that this will stand with the Foreign Office Bekara!”

 

Mnemon Alinos’s voice peals effortlessly as she responds, “The Deliberative has approved the replacement Haseti. And your role as Garrison Commander is to protect the Satrapy. If the Foreign Office are going to involve themselves in the Satrapy it will be because you’ve allowed the garrison auxilia to become dangerously understaffed.”

 

Haseti looks ready to say something he’d regret but he thinks the better of it and leaves.

 

“I’m meeting with king Darios now sister,” Bekara gestures towards the Tower, “Perhaps you’d like to join us niece?” She calls out in the direction of the apple tree. A Collar of Dawn’s Cleansing Light is worn around her neck, Reya does not remember seeing her aunt ever wear one before – it looks subtly different from the one her mother wears.

 

Reya, Bekara and Alinos enter the tower of air, and ascend. The various functions of the Dovaki government are carried out in the tower, with business becoming more senior the further one rises. The king’s personal chambers are two floors above the throne room, and it is here that he receives the Dragons.

 

King Darios Dovak is a balding man, gone to fat and past his prime. He welcomes the Dragon-Blooded warmly and ushers them into his chambers, which are both spacious and splendid.

 

“Ah my beautiful and most trusted advisor!” King Darios embraces Bekara openly, his face lighting up with delight, “And these breathtaking visions must be your sisters from the Blessed Isle.”

 

Bekara smiles back formally, she first gestures to Alinos on her right, “My older sister and Matriarch, Mnemon Alinos. And her daughter, my niece, Mnemon Alinos Danireya.”

 

Darios bows theatrically, “A thousand thousand apologies. I am told you are replacing the useless busybodies advising my advisor.” He chuckles, clearly thinking himself witty. “Tell me, please Prince of the Earth, what do you think should be the first order of business should be in my kingdom?”

 

“Wise king Darios,” Reya begins without a hint of a bow, “I call you ‘wise’ not to flatter you, but because you have acted wisely. You have welcomed the Realm into your kingdom, you have embraced one of the Realm’s greatest minds as your chief advisor. I have been in your kingdom for less than one day – I do have recommendations, for the Satrap, which she will consider and present to you.”

 

Darios strokes his chin, “Wise king. I could get used to that. My subjects know me as the jolly king.” He gives another chuckle, “I will, of course, not act on your suggestion unless my Satrap concurs. But I have been told many times that you will be more valuable to the kingdom than those who came before you. I would have your measure. Are you valuable for your mind, or valuable because you will stay out of my Bekara’s way?”

 

Bekara makes a gesture to go ahead, and smiles without warmth.

 

Reya unslings her axe and hands it to king Darios, who takes it with a bemused look.

 

“Wise and Jolly king, on my way to see you we passed maybe three-score guards. No doubt the strongest, most capable guards. Your best. We have brought competent soldiers, my mother’s own bodyguards. Gladly would we guard your palace with our own troops. Realm soldiers are loyal and trained to the highest standards, but we don’t know the land. Dovaki soldiers know the land. In these hallways, Realm soldiers are better than yours. In those trees? Half of the Realm soldiers will get lost, and the forest will kill the other half. But for your royal guard? This is their home. They are both mighty warriors and they know the land. Let us prove our loyalty and friendship. Let us give you command of our troops, and release your palace guard to reinforce the battered auxilia. That is my first recommendation, King Darios, we must protect your kingdom from its enemies.”

 

Darios nods exaggeratedly, “Yes. Yes. Protect the kingdom. My guard do know the land, and only this morning did Haseti complain that his forces need more men.” He waves dismissively at the air, “Your friendship is proven beyond all doubt, but I would be honored to be protected by the same troops which guard your august personages.” He returns Danireya’s axe to her, “Ragara Haseti has taken the fight to our enemies but cannot find the lair of the bearfolk. Perhaps my elite guard will do better.”

 

“Once they are found, my husband and I will crush them personally.”

 

Darios lays a hand on Reya’s shoulder, “To be a king, one must be a good judge of character. You, Mnemon Danireya, are a woman of outstanding character. I could not be happier to welcome you to my kingdom.”

 

Reya inclines her head in the very slightest of bows.

 

“If you will excuse us,” Alinos interrupts, “We must settle in. It was a great pleasure to meet you king Darios.”

 

“Of course, of course. Please, I am honored to converse with the Exalted. I am grateful for the strength of your house, and I am at your disposal.” He gives another exaggerated bow, and Reya and her mother depart to speak with the rest of their house back in the Wall.

 

The Alinos household have gathered in the Satrap’s quarters, and Alinos gestures for Reya to take the lead.

 

“My family,” Reya begins, “King Darios extends his welcome to us. The local garrison here has been mauled by bearfolk. The king has put his faith in our house troops to guard the royal palace, and agreed to release his own royal guard to search the trees to find the bearfolk lair. Muli, my son, I want you and Tepet Agoram to handle this transition, direct our troops into the palace and go out ranging with the Dovaki guard. When we find were our enemies lair, we will mount a coordinated assault and crush them with our full strength.”

 

“I’ve upended my life to come here mother. Now you expect me to lead ingrates on a wild goose chase? I’ll not do it!” Muli whinges petulantly. Ganan shifts his weight slightly, tensing himself but Reya remains composed and broadly smiles at those assembled.

 

“Perhaps we can discuss this further privately. In the meantime, the rest of you should settle in. Learn what you can learn. Has anyone learnt anything of use?”

 

“I’ve met the local Guild Prince. Brightsky. A dozen caravans swear fealty, I caught him only by chance – though it is some coincidence that he just so happened to decide to personally oversee a delivery of firedust to the armory here on the day we arrive.” Reya’s brother Ferad announces, “Typical Guild. He has agents and friends throughout the city.”

 

Reya nods appreciatively, and the meeting is dismissed. Alinos eyes the structure of his sister’s room – clearly two well appointed suites have been remodeled into one and Alinos plans designs for her own quarters, complaining under her breath, but loudly enough for all to hear. Reya and her immediate family retire to Reya and Ganan’s room – though it is less than half the size of the Satraps, it is still well appointed by the standards of the Threshold. Alinos interrupts them to complain bitterly about how small her room is, and takes Ganan aside to help her plan the removal of the rear wall, leaving Reya alone with her children.

 

“This is an opportunity Muli. I need you to do this for me.” Reya speaks evenly, neither imploring nor commanding, and Nula remains quiet.

 

Muli whines back, accusingly, “An opportunity for who? For what? For you to ingratiate yourself to some Threshold peasant king? I’m here because you command it, but I’m not your errand boy mother! I’m a soldier. I’m one of the best medics to ever graduate the House of Bells. Melody is the ranger. She’s the one at home with these… people. Have grandmother send her!”

 

“My son,” Reya goes on, “This is not an opportunity to impress a barbarian king. This is an opportunity for you to showcase to your aunts and cousins how useful you and Tepet Agoram are to this Satrapy. And why we should value your partnership. That is the opportunity here.”

 

Muli opens is mouth to argue, then closes it. He raises a hand to point at Reya, the lowers it. He looks down at the floor. “Thank you mother. We will inspect the royal guard in the morning.”

 

Muli turns and leaves, Reya turns to her daughter, “Is everything suitable for you?”

 

Nula curtsies, “My quarters are suitable. I won’t be trekking into the wilderness looking for a lost city of bears for you.”

 

Reya chuckles, “Your brother and father’s skills are physical. I expect more… cerebral aid from you.” Reya pauses, “Interesting that you’d call it a city.”

 

Nula looks nonplussed, “Well if this is a city…? Do you think they’re nomadic maybe? That would explain why the Ragara hasn’t managed to route them out.”

 

“Hmm. Perhaps.” Reya considers, “I won’t keep you, but what are your plans?”

 

Nula moves to the door, “Oh, explore the local temples. Learn what can be learned. I may call in on the Guildsmen.”


Reya nods in dismissal and sets out to explore the Wall. She wanders making a note of where everyone is staying. Looking for a quiet alcove to make notes in her journal, she ducks into a side room to see her grandmother Nanals sitting on a futon, with a finely dressed courtier kneeling at her feet, worshipfully praising her return. As Reya enters, the courtier swiftly rises and walks out the far door. Nanals, who has been wearing what Reya now recognizes as Dovaki fashions since they boarded the ship to cross the Inland Sea, looks obviously irritated by the interruption.

 

“I didn’t know you’d been to Dovak before, grandmother. Mother and I have met the king. An… interesting character.”

 

“Who,” Nanals asks, an eyebrow raised, “Ever said I’d been to Dovak before my mother asked us to come here?”

 

Reya points after the courtier who just hurriedly left the room, “I just heard that courtier-”

 

“I’ve never,” Nanals says simply, with a note of irritation in her voice, “Been to the Kingdom of Dovak before. Can’t an old woman enjoy some peace and quiet!”

 

“… Of course, grandmother.” Reya bows, and backs out of the room, “It’s been a long journey.”

 

Reya retires back to her quarters, looking to write an account of her first day in Dovak in her journal. She pushes the door open to see her husband already fast asleep in the spacious bed.



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