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 25 – Ganan (60XP 48X, Spent 58XP, 46DX; 18GP 7SP) – The Other Brass Dancer

 

This may be harder than we thought.” Ganan says as he passes the pale blue torch back to the Liminal Ghost Hunter, Whim.

 

The Liminal’s anima burns bright, casting his unnatural, deathly features in a spectral light. The image is not made better by his wounds. Whim takes the torch from Ganan and says nothing, turning his face away.

 

Ganan’s own anima swirls fiercely, but Whim is well protected by his armor. Whim says nothing. Ganan lays a hand on his shoulder, “You fought well. Erymanthoi are potent combatants: to fight two at once is quite the feat.

 

Whim starts to speak, then stops and shakes his head, “Come on.

 

The pair continue up through the crust of the Malfean underground without incident. Whim calls a halt, “We should wait here until our animas die down. Malfeas is… not a pleasant place for Exalted who seem vulnerable.

 

Ganan shrugs, “I’m in no hurry to get back under the green light of Ligier.” Ganan flicks open his hell-watch, and surprisingly there isn’t an imminent crisis. “So what is the plan? We’re obviously not going to be able to fight our way in. You’ve taken a beating, and to be honest, so have I.

 

Whim shrugs, “Where there are necromancers there are corpses.” Ganan looks perplexed, “I can use them to heal.

 

Ganan clears his throat, “I can’t.

 

True, but you can fight two Blood Apes at once. Give me a distraction, and I’ll sneak my way inside, heal, and flush our necromancer out.

 

Still, open combat on the streets of Malfeas?” Ganan shakes his head doubtingly, “I don’t see this ending well.

 

Whim taps his temple, “Timing is everything. Batter the guards with your fancy Immaculate moves and run… straight into the rain.

 

That could work.” Ganan checks his watch: Hegra might be an option.

 

They make their way close to the surface and wait for their animas to die down. Once again Whim looks human, albeit a human who’s been badly mauled. Ganan and Whim peek out from the underground, back into the harsh glare of Ligier’s light.

 

Above ground is louder than under as various demonic vendors shout to hawk their wares, in addition to the clamor of drums and bells for the sake of clamor. Though the sun remains directly overhead, Ligier’s forge is also visible. Various mighty towers rise up around the grandeur of the Demon King’s heart, but Whim gesture’s to the most ostentatious: “There it is.

 

The size of the thing is boggling. A vast hemispherical tower of tarnished bronze surrounded by a wall of black bones, easily the size of Dovak’s Wall of Stone. A profane gate of putrid flesh frames the only gateway, guarded by a pair of erymanthoi. The noise around The Conventicle Malfeasant is beyond deafening. Approaching the tower is like pushing against a solid wall of sound. Demons of all kinds can be seen surrounding the surrounding district, on balconies and at windows, all producing noise: joined, even at this distance by the ringing of Ligier’s hammer on an anvil, singing out like a steady heart-beat.

 

Ganan pulls Whim away, and shoves him in an alley: even here he has to raise his voice to be heard. “This isn’t a good idea! This has got to be the most heavily defended place in Malfeas!

 

Oh it’s not that-” At that moment a middle aged woman, dressed in fashionable layers and wearing a lavender veil approaches the gate, the guards falling over themselves to scurry out of her way as she enters. In a heart-beat the flesh of the gate swallows her then spits her back out again, totally preventing her entering. “Fine. Maybe it is… a challenge.

 

Ganan looks at Whim long and hard, “You don’t know me very well. But let me assure you that I take no pride in saying this: we’re not getting in here.

 

Whim is clearly frustrated, he casts his eyes down to the ground, “I can’t let a necromancer – almost certainly a Deathknight – roam free, gathering power and defiling the dead. I can’t do it Breaker. Help me bring down this Anathema.

 

Ganan turns to walk away, he makes it to the end of the alley where he stops and punches the wall, then he turns back to Whim, letting out his own cry of frustration. “You’re right. We have a duty.” He checks his hell-watch again, “I can hit the guards. Draw them out into Hegra. But how are you going to get past the gate? Do you think you can reason with it?

 

I’m… not great… at talking.

 

Ganan chuckles, “You talked me into your bed easy enough.

 

Whim throws a playful pout, “And little it profited me: you went straight to sleep!

 

Alright, lock picking?

 

Do you see a lock in that thing?

 

Well we clearly can’t just walk in.

 

You don’t want to try?

 

Those guards didn’t even try to stop Amalion: that gate chewed her up and spat her out. Do you think we can draw your necromancer out?

 

I’m not a sorcerer. Can you get a message in there Breaker?

 

Ganan shakes his head, “I mean, I can try...” Ganan closes his eyes and speaks his words on the wind, “Come out necromancer.

 

They wait for a while, but nothing happens. Ganan shrugs. The hell-watch chimes gently.

 

That’s rain,” Whim warns, “Let’s get out of here.

 

Terrestrial and Liminal push their way out onto the main street, already filling up with demons traveling in the opposite direction. As they muscle their way through the crowd, the rain starts to fall. Ganan makes his will as the Granite Curtain of Serenity, grabbing Whim by the hand as he pulls them through the rain. Vague emotions crash against him like waves against a cliff-face, leaving him unmoved.

 

Ganan pulls Whim into an abandoned tenement. The roof of the crude shack is fallen in: Ganan lifts the fallen metal sheet back into position and pulls some masonry tools from his belt. With Masterful Dragon-Artisan Expertise, he quickly hammers a couple of supports for the make-shift ceiling with pitons. Rain batters the metal sheet, but the Exalted beneath stay dry.

 

Merci,” Whim says earnestly, “That was unpleasant.

 

Well at least Hegra’s rains almost never flood. She’s too capacious.” Ganan relaxes back against the shack wall. “Collapsing shells, acid floods, battling demons, an impregnable fortress, psychedelic rain… Good first day.

 

Whim smiles ruefully, “Wait until you’ve been here a month.

 

Three. Days. Then I’m gone.” When Whim doesn’t respond Ganan continues, “Plenty more necromancers in Creation. You’re not getting into this tower, and if it’s been a month then there’s no guarantee your quarry is still inside. I’m dealing with a Deathknight myself back in Creation. You should escape this place.

 

I can’t. I can’t let this go Breaker.

 

Ganan sucks air through his teeth, “We could chase after Amalion. She must have had a reason to want to get inside. We have a reason to want to get inside. Maybe… maybe we can work together.

 

Whim looks at Ganan quizzically, “How much do you know of Amalion?

 

The Manse of Echos Ascending, Fifth Soul of Malfeas. She’s a builder of manses.

 

And we convince her to help us by… ?

 

Ganan gestures to the crude sheet-metal roof, “Professional curtsy, one master builder to another.

 

Whim bursts out into open laughter and Ganan smiles back, “Fine. I guess we’ve got nothing to lose.

 

Ganan and Whim push their way back onto the streets as the rain patters out. Demons throng the streets in varying states of delirium as the Exalted push their way back to the Conventicle. Amalion is gone, but they set off on the clear path through the lesser demons, Whim leading them deftly through the streets. Whim rounds a corner, flashing out of Ganan’s sight for a second, when Ganan turns the corner he sees a woman in a lavender veil lifting Whim off the ground by his neck.

 

Wherefore art thou pursing me, Strangers?” Amalion’s voice is soft and melodic, with a hint of irritation yet underscored with amusement.

 

We seek to aid you, mighty Amalion. You seek to enter the Conventicle Malfeasant. So do we. I propose we help each other.

 

Amalion gently lowers Whim to the ground with a deliberate slowness, “Forgive me. The rains play havoc on my humors. I indeed did seek egress for mine own purposes. Thou hast peaked my curiosity: how doth thou propose to aid me?

 

Ganan gives a short bow, “We are at your service. In Creation I am a skilled builder, but Malfeas is foreign to me. The architecture here is beyond my understanding, I was hoping you might have a plan and that we could assist you.

 

To ride on my coat-tails.” Amalion’s voice is playful.

 

You are far mightier than us, and more knowledgeable. Is there a more worthy being in all of Malfeas whose coat-tails we might ride upon?

 

Ligier’s forge is yonder.” Amalion begins circling Ganan.

 

And should I seek to acquire a sword there is no finer blacksmith. But this is a matter of architecture. To build is a matter of not just vocation but avocation. If we are of no use to you, then refuse us – such is your right. But...

 

But?

 

Don’t pretend to be less than you are. And I’d wager you could use two able bodies if nothing else.

 

I am Unquestionable. Every body is mine to command.

 

By the laws of hell. And all those you command are bound by the laws of hell. We are not.

 

How well doth thou dance, Dynast?

 

Outcaste. But well enough for most purposes.

 

‘Pretend not to be less than thou art.’ Dance with me.” Amalion begins a strange dance, Ganan follows along. “You are slowed by wounds. But perhaps… Follow me.

 

Amalion walks through the streets of the demon city, lesser demons scurrying from her path. She moves with an unhurried pace, yet the city seems to speed beneath her feet and Ganan and Whim have to trot to keep in her wake. The maddening architecture of Malfeas seems to clash in a riot of styles and impossibilities as it leads them inexorably to a dance hall. The hall seems to fit perfectly with the landscape, blending in with the buildings on all sides even though the surrounding buildings all have wildly different styles, the central hall seems to unite and glorify them. A domed structure, superficially similar to the Conventicle, of simple elegance and great beauty. Amalion leads them inside, and with impossible grace plucks a Sesseljae from the ground and rams it into Ganan’s chest. Ganan reels back as the demon starts to stitch together his insides (4B) before forcing its way free again, then scurrying off out of sight.

 

Whim catches him, and hurried asks if Ganan is okay as Amalion strides imperiously further into the building. Ganan gives a quick nod and they hurry after her. She leads them to an observation balcony overlooking a practice suite.

 

The lone dancer appears to be a man wreathed in silver fire. Ganan quickly corrects himself, obviously a Gilmyne. Then he corrects himself again, it is a man wreathed in silver fire. Perhaps a demon-kin? His dancing is far better than Ganan’s.

 

Jinku of Varsi. On his invitation, we may pass through the gate.” Amalion gestures.

 

He’s good,” Ganan remarks, “Picked a fine place to practice.

 

Amalion curtsies gracefully, “Indeed. Use that.” She gestures at stares down into the dance floor.

 

Ganan makes his way down and begins to dance his own dance by Jinku (2WP). Ganan’s beauty and grace are unsurpassed by mortal standards, inspiring awe in all onlookers. Jinku stops dancing and observes for a moment, before joining Ganan: dancing with him, around him, surpassing him.

 

You’re good.” The silver-flamed Jinku remarks, “But you are no match for me. A poor substitute for the real Brass Dancer.

 

Of course.” Ganan responds, “You are very skilled. But you have chosen your practice space poorly.

 

Jinku stops dancing and looks at Ganan indignantly, arms crossed. “How dare you!? This is the hall of Amalion! There is no finer establishment in all of Malfeas or Creation!

 

Ganan holds up a hand for peace, “A fine enough establishment for the likes of myself. But only because I cannot enter the Conventicle Malfeasant.

 

Jinku shakes his head in disgust, “Fie on the Conventicle. There is no place inside that compares to this.

 

There could be.” Ganan gestures to Amalion on the balcony, “My mistress and I would be happy to raise a dance hall suited for your skills, at your invitation.

 

Jinku looks up at Amalion, “You would do this for me? Truly?

 

Amalion looks down from behind her veil, and nods graciously “I live to beautify Malfeas. Thy training hath caught my eye, and I doth hath business besides with thy fellows upon the Conventicle.” Whim stands beside her, gazing down.

 

Jinku considers for a moment, “Then, of course, by my leave I entreat thee and thy companions enter the Conventicle.

 

Amalion nods again and makes a summoning gesture for Ganan to follow. Ganan gives a short, cautious bow, wondering why the demon-blooded offspring of a lesser demon has the authority to invite them into the Conventicle, and hurries after Amalion.

 

The trio make their way back to the gateway, dodging falling rocks. Amalion shows no signs of being concerned, and Ganan’s hell-watch does not indicate imminent collision between Malfean shells.

 

The guards allow them to pass, and the three pass through the gate without incident. Ganan feels vaguely nauseated, not dissimilar to traveling through the heart-rot tree. He looks around to find himself within a vast hollow dome, containing a small city: almost a microcosm of the demon city itself. Hmm, bigger on the inside.’ He thinks.

 

Amalion turns to them, “And now we part ways. I shall honor thy hasty commitment and build a suitable dance-hall for Jinku of Varsi, then see to mine own purposes. Thou shall not get in my way: for either task.” Amalion turns and starts to walk away, before pausing and looking back over her shoulder, “Midnight Flamebough can usually be found at the ‘Chirurgery of Black-Blood’ near the center of town. Far from where I will be working.” She nods meaningfully at Whim, “Should that be useful to thee in any way.” She melts away into the crowd.

 

So… to the center of town?” Ganan suggests.

 

Whim holds out an arm to point the way, “After you, Dynast.

 

Without looking back, Ganan starts to walk forward, then at the last moment, he reaches back and grabs Whim’s still outstretched hand, pulling him along behind him. Whim is shocked, but happily follows along holding Ganan’s hand. “Don’t be an ass.

 

The tomescu scream, denoting nightfall and the end of Ganan’s first day in Malfeas.

 

****

Ganan trains Stone-Carving Fingers (8XP) and Demon of the First Circle (10DX).



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story