3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption.   Posted by Gatekeeper.Group: archive 1
Gatekeeper
 GM, 689 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Sun 12 Apr 2009
at 07:00
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Willow seems accepting enough of the lack of privacy as long as she can at least give basic medical care to the heavily wounded acolytes, herself and even Bastion, though he remains mute and unspeaking -- and hardly moving -- for days on end. He has to be reminded to eat and does not even seem to need to so long as he is touching solid ground, as if respirating sustenance straight from the earth.

Jilava is a very different case, though. When she wakes to her predicament -- as she eventually does, a couple days after her capture -- she starts shouting at the top of her lungs. "LET ME OUT RIGHT NOW, ANATHEMA! I'LL FIGHT AND DIE IF I MUST BUT I WILL NOT BE YOUR PRISONER!!" The Fire Immaculate is as hot-blooded as her element, hurling epithets at the Anathema and swearing Hesiesh's own wrath, generally being as loud a nuisance as she can manage. If she could she would be clawing futilely at the collar, digging at her own skin, but Higura's orders from the collar strictly deny her any self-harm.

So the woman just keeps shouting, and struggling in her bonds so violently that she finally thuds onto the ground... and keeps wriggling. Her voice is significantly muffled to most anyone outside her room, but the other prison room is close enough that her words might still be heard from there.



OOC: The Jilava situation is mostly for Higura, who wanted the chance to talk to her personally. We can play this out gradually, the scene is less important than the others going on right now.

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:03, Sun 12 Apr 2009.

Yaishin Higura
 player, 91 posts
Sun 12 Apr 2009
at 23:11
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Quietly, Higura steps into the room, immediately assessing the situation and realizing that forcibly putting her back in bed would likely shame and anger her further. Rather, he sits at the chair he had used to watch over her while she was unconscious, and tilts his head to one side. "You have made your point known, Miss Jilava." He says, quietly, his voice a complete opposite of her harsh screams. "Unfortunately, I cannot let you free just yet. You will return to freedom in due time, as I have promised. But for now, I must keep you here, as much as it pains me to do so in these circumstances. You are not bound to like your predicament, of course, so I do not expect you to change your mind here and now."

He nods, pouring some fresh water into her glass, and depositing it near the small makeshift table he had put next to her bed. "As for your words... I must ask you a question, and although you are not bound to answer, I would like to hear what you wish to say. You harshly call me Anathema, and curse my name as such. Yet when we fought, you claimed that I 'should not exist', and expressed that you did not know who or what I am. Can I ask you then, how do you know I am what you claim me to be?"
Gatekeeper
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Mon 13 Apr 2009
at 15:57
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Jilava stops struggling as soon as Higura enters. Her burning coal eyes fixate on his face, deeply resentful of his attitude, but for now she sits up and answers. She, too, can appear calm on demand. "I am surrounded by Anathema. You are still their allies, regardless of who or what you are!"

"And you have collared me. COLLARED! ME! Do you realize what sort of dire trouble you are in? I've figured you out, defector. Chosen of Fate." Jilava speaks the words harshly, as if they are a prison sentence. "If I do get free I will make sure the Paragons AND the Council Overseers know of your crimes!"

She straightens her spine and lifts her chin, refusing to appear subservient even while looking up at Higura. "You may as well kill me because I will never truly serve you. Even if this collar makes me do your bidding, I will bide my time. The Immaculate Order WILL find me. And what of Bastion and Jade Willow, have you killed them already?"
Yaishin Higura
 player, 92 posts
Mon 13 Apr 2009
at 16:13
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"Your allies are alive. They are being held captive as well, but the both of them live and are not being mistreated." Higura remains seated, his attitude not in the least shaken by Jilava's behavior. "As little faith as you may have in my word, I have still promised you safe return among your peers, and that is exactly how things will unfold."

"It is a good thing that you will not become a servant, because I would have little use for one. Were my intentions completely hostile towards you, I would have killed you outright. You are a trained Immaculate. It is your life's work to hunt and kill those you call Anathema. One such as you represents a tremendous threat and an unacceptable security risk, if one was to think merely in terms of strategy. And I know a woman such as you would know that, strategically, such a gambit would yield no results."

"This would only mean that bringing harm to you is not my objective. I could tell you here and now what I believe in and why I chose to spare your life, but I am not here to dictate what you think and believe. You can decide for yourself, between here and the time where you are released."

He pauses, leaning back in the chair as he continues to ponder the Immaculate's words, and especially the threats she directs at him. "Of course, speaking in such a way would lend me in trouble with the groups you mention... Except for that fact I am no defector, and was already called a threat the moment the Purge of the Water District was ordered, I would wager. You see, I was enslaved to begin with, and even your masters have no real grasp of who I truly am. But then again, how can they? Applying a tag to a person will not reveal who they are, merely what one thinks of them."

"In any case, you are more than welcome to speak of what you have seen here to the people you believe need to hear it."
Gatekeeper
 GM, 705 posts
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Wed 15 Apr 2009
at 00:54
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Jilava snorts. "You do not fear discovery? Then you are a fool, and the deaths of you and your companions are imminent."

"So you will not kill me, and you will not enslave me. Then why keep me at all? Do you believe --" she stares at Higura with a mix of distaste and incredulity "-- that I will aid you willingly? I will do nothing of the sort. I will not give any information about the Immaculate Order or Five Coils that you can use to your advantage. You will have to force me with this collar the Anathema so hated and now use upon me just the same way!"

It is as much due to determination as natural flexibility that the Fire Immaculate manages to wrench herself up to a crouched position despite the bindings on her hands and feet. Stubbornly she starts to rise to a standing position. Higura's medicine skill tells him that in her current state of health this is actually quite painful for her to do (as it takes a great deal of muscle control to stand up straight while you can't spread your limbs out for balance.)

As she does so Jilava speaks through gritted teeth. "Now, Doctor Higura, since you were so kind as to tend my wounds while I slept, I want to see proof my allies have gotten the same treatment. Where are they? You'll show me where, or I'll believe nothing!"

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:29, Wed 15 Apr 2009.

Yaishin Higura
 player, 94 posts
Wed 15 Apr 2009
at 01:45
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"I do not recall having ever said I wished anything out of you other than simple chance to talk. I can already feel your frustration at trying to find the concealed motive behind my actions - frustration comes because you cannot understand, strategically speaking, why I would spare you. You might try to push your understanding to the limit trying to find the clever plan I am seeking to hatch by keeping you alive... And no matter what intent you give me, it will be too much credit. I am afraid there is no strategic value to what myself and Third are doing. We simply do not believe we should kill you. And so the only reason you are here is because it is not logistically reasonable to let you go yet. When it is, you will be released, along with your comrades and acolytes who survived the who survived the engagement. No expectations, no strings attached."

The doctor nods, then raises his chin at the mention of the others. "That is a fair enough request. Let me get one of your own to speak with you. You can ask her, as you likely can trust her word more than mine." Higura leaves the cell, closing the door behind him. A few minutes pass, and he finally returns, alongside the collared and manacled Jade Willow. Third does not leave the two of them alone, but he does step back enough to create a respectful distance between him and the two comrades, staying within the door frame and lowering his gaze.

"You can ask your comrade directly. I will interfere in no way in your talk. Be brief, however - I must return Jade Willow to her own cell soon."

This message was last edited by the player at 02:16, Wed 15 Apr 2009.

Gatekeeper
 GM, 711 posts
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Wed 15 Apr 2009
at 10:11
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
In the few minutes Higura was gone Jilava hops awkwardly over to the door and attempts to knock it down by ramming into it repeatedly. Wounded, she is too feeble for this to make a difference. So her attempt only leads to a bruised shoulder and an angrier Jilava, particularly when Higura returns and she has to hop back quickly from the door to keep from being hit by it.

Then she loses her balance and topples to the floor... again. Flat on her back, she stares up at Higura and Willow when they come in, her red-orange eyes glowering with shame and frustration.

Jade Willow, to her credit, does not react in any way except to look down at her comrade and say, "I am well... given the circumstances," she says neutrally.

"Well? Have they tempted you with their siren song?" Jilava asks suspiciously, managing to lift herself up to sitting position once again. "That's what they do if it's not killing you out of misguided righteousness. They'll act as if they know all the answers to your doubts --"

"They have talked, I have answered," Willow interrupts. "Not always calmly." Speaking quickly, the Wood Aspect addresses her concerns with Higura. "Excuse me, have her wounds been looked at? Why is she kept separately from us?"

Jilava looks about to open her mouth again and Higura is pretty sure what sort of retort will come out of that: They're afraid...
Yaishin Higura
 player, 96 posts
Wed 15 Apr 2009
at 18:48
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"I have tended her wounds, although you might treat them even better than I have. I will let you look at her as you have your other comrades, although you must promise me that when you are done you will be returned to your own cell without resistance." He nods towards Jade Willow, to indicate her that she can take care of her task if she wishes it so. He then turns to Jilava and, perhaps to her surprise, he nods to her.

"I will not act righteous with you, Miss Jilava. We do fear you, the same way one would fear a worthy opponent. We are not so vainglorious as to underestimate you - we recognize that you are capable of much damage. We fear not necessarily only for our safety, but for that of our community. As I said before, having you here is a risk - and so we must minimize such risk to the best of our ability." A sad smile crosses his lips, then. "We are not so omniscient as some would paint us, you see. We must recognize our own limits. Having you here is something we cannot take lightly, and thus we have to make certain we handle it carefully."

"As I said, however, this uncomfortable ordeal will not be permanent. When it is time, you will all be released from this predicament, and be allowed to return to your own dwellings. What you do from there will be up to you. If you decide to use what you have learned here against us, then we will not be able to stop you from doing so."
Gatekeeper
 GM, 715 posts
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Thu 16 Apr 2009
at 18:09
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"Very well," Willow says coolly, "though you have already done enough to bar me from violence or escape." Her fingers brush the collar around her neck. She often fidgets with it without even realizing she is doing it, as if its presence chafes at her constantly.

She does an examination of Jilava's wounds, which turns out to be more an examination of Higura's first aid skills. The doctor has already bandaged the Fire Immaculate's ribs and clavicle, applied salves to the bruises he inflicted upon her during the battle, disinfected and cleanly sewed up the one burning slash he reflected back upon her when she struck. "Other than needing to change the bandages soon, I think, you've done the best you could without Essence. I assume you or others would not waste your power on the likes of us."

The Wood Aspect is about to stand when Jilava speaks harshly into her ear. "Don't let them shake your faith. Do not forget who and what you are. One day they will pay for their weakness, for we will show none of it."

"They already know that," Jade Willow replies in a dull, neutral tone, glancing at Higura. She rises and waits for the doctor to escort her away.
Yaishin Higura
 player, 98 posts
Fri 17 Apr 2009
at 04:38
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"Your eyes do not deceive you. Unfortunately, your assumption is still incorrect, Jade Willow. It is not that we did not wish to use Essence on you and your comrades. The truth is, we cannot. My powers do not allow me to heal bodies, unfortunately. This is my own limitation, regrettable as it is." He shakes his head softly, then nods. "Now that you are done, and Miss Jilava has confirmed my words, I will take you back to your cell so you can sit and rest some more."

He opens the door, and gently guides Jade Willow outside, shutting the cell door behind him. Another long moment passes, after which Higura reemerges in the cell, and takes his position on his chair once more.

"You will probably admit to nothing, Miss Jilava, but this is as good a confirmation as I can give you. With a bit of patience, you will be able to return together with your comrades, and continue to say the things you wished to say to them. At that point, none of us will be able to argue against you."
Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 181 posts
Thu 7 May 2009
at 04:27
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Several days later:

'We are moving soon.' it says, as it opens the door to Jade Willow and Bastion of Purity's small room. 'Third apologizes that it has not had much opportunity to speak with you, Willow. Perhaps this will give us an opportunity to continue our discussions.' the Solar bows its head pleasantly. 'You will be given individual cells, in the hive of Queen Chilomena. It appears that there are still those here who recognize the true masters of Five Coils.'

Nanaret's words, on what's right, have not phased the Solar. It knows what is right, and what is wrong. The Immaculate Philosophy has it quite wrong. Third's way is right. And it is not right because it is what Third believes- Third believes it, because it is right. It's simply fortunate for the Immaculates that this view can, for now, be mistaken for compassion.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:06, Mon 11 May 2009.

Gatekeeper
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Thu 7 May 2009
at 18:26
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Jade Willow sits up when Third comes in. "I see no need for apology," she says stolidly, "I am a prisoner after all. And a prisoner I may stay for a very long time." She does at least seem resigned to this, though she has yet to really grasp the point of her prolonged captivity, stuck in a room for several monotonous days. Fortunately, allowing her to care for the two acolytes has at least somewhat mollified her. Maple and Cedar are at least in a state to move with some help, now.

Bastion, being mute, says nothing of course. He has been the most inscrutable of the prisoners and Third is still not quite certain what is going through his mind. [Private to Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge: might be a good idea for someone with good socialize or investigation to get a read of him at some point ;)] But he rouses immediately from his seemingly constant meditation at the sound of Third's announcement, the transition so startling one might wonder if he is a machine.

"What? a-are we moving?" mumbles Maple, alarmed and tense. She rolls to one side with difficulty.

Cedar seems only slightly more conscious; his brown eyes focus on the slight, dark-haired figure of Third. "That--that's the anathema... the ones that collared you--" He tries to rise upright a little too quickly and groans from the pain.

Jade Willow looks at Third. "I assume Jilava will be coming with us as well..." Harmony has been keeping watch on the Fire Aspect, as she is marked as the more likely to bolt at the first opportunity. Though she has mostly kept silent, after Higura's last conversation with her. It's uncertain whether that silence is a good thing or a bad thing, for the temperamental monk. "I suppose individual cells will be better than this. But I am aware of no 'Queen' in the Coils. The only rulers are our Council," she emphasizes.



OOC: we won't dally here long, just wanted to cover all the bases here (I figure Higura will get Jilava).. I wasn't sure whether you still had the monks/acolytes tied up so I left it vague.
Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 182 posts
Thu 7 May 2009
at 18:45
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
It looks towards her. "You are not a prisoner, Jade Willow. Not in the sense that we will lock you away, forever, and ever. You are a misguided soul." It nods. "Jilava will be joining us as well in the journey." It looks towards Bastion. It will have to look towards Xurizu for a study of him, hopefully he'll have a better grasp at looking into the mute Immaculate's motivations.

"All you've learned in these past few days, and you still are so easily surprised. Your council, like the Dragon-Blooded, and like the Celestials in turn, are usurpers of a far greater legacy from before them. Though we, at least, were able to expand that which we inherited. Suffice it to say that despite the best efforts of your Council, there are many powerful forces still in the Five Coils that remember who created it, and who will control it again." The mention of the Abyssals has left the Solar slightly sharp in its tone. "You will understand when you see her, Third thinks." It looks towards the two humans. "Maple, Cedar... and Willow. Third imagines there may be a connection there?" it says, an eyebrow raised with curiosity as its mind latches to a detail. The acolytes are bound, but only lightly, and as a reminder of their status as prisoners.
Gatekeeper
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Fri 8 May 2009
at 02:32
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"You speak of these few days as if they can erase a lifetime of learning and experience," Jade Willow says wearily. "I did say I am open minded enough to listen. But until I have decided I will cooperate with you, for certain, without a single doubt in my heart, I will still consider myself a prisoner."

"If you do control the Coils, one way or another, I hope I or someone like me will be watching you at all times."

The lightly bound acolytes get gingerly to their feet. Cedar keeps his mouth shut, still watching Third uncertainly, but Maple explains dully: "These are given names. For entering the First Coil of Immaculate Mastery."

"After a certain level we are allowed to keep our acolyte name, choose another or take our birth name," Willow picks up on the explanation, perhaps just to have something to talk about besides her conflicting thoughts of loyalty. She rubs uncomfortably at the collar still snug around her neck, and stands up, helping Maple stand as well. Bastion rises, ever the silent embodiment of solidity, and does the same with Cedar.

"So... take us to this Queen and her Hive. Show us what sort of entity honors your 'legacy' as you speak it."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:33, Fri 08 May 2009.

Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 183 posts
Fri 8 May 2009
at 15:10
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
'Life will be as uncomfortable as you choose to make it, of course.' Third says peacefully. It nods as it opens the door, one hand resting casually on the jade daiklave, a reminder to the acolytes that even if they don't have collars, that an escape attempt would be unwise. 'Then, is this name your given, your chosen, or your birth name?' it asks pleasantly, making some conversation as it leads the small group of prisoners out, back to the main group... And to the Hive Queen. 'Do try to show the proper respect to her. She will likely be unimpressed at best by any shows of defiance.' Jade Willow may notice the rather sharp tone in Third's voice, the way it seems to be more on edge than usual.
Gatekeeper
 GM, 820 posts
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Fri 8 May 2009
at 22:37
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"I was born a descendant of the old Houses. But I left my birth name behind. I was Willow as an acolyte, and Jade Willow upon achieving a junior monk status," Jade Willow replies, as the group begins to move out. "But many still use Willow."

"And there is no need to be so tense. We have no intention of showing any pointless defiance." She glances at both Maple and Cedar until they nod dejectedly. Even they know that at their current state of injury, they could not go far with attempting hostilities, or outright escape. That and they seem trusting of Willow -- which may or may not be a good thing. "As for Bastion... he has never been anything but quiet, dutiful and eminently observant."

Bastion maintains his stoic silence, not even a grunt as he trudges outside the storage shed for the last time, taking up the rear of the prisoner group.



OOC: I figure this more or less covers moving these people out, just gotta have Higura(+Nanaret?) to deal with Jilava.
Yaishin Higura
 player, 114 posts
Sat 9 May 2009
at 20:07
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
After leaving the meeting with the other Exalts, Higura leads Nanaret to the place where Jilava is being held, careful not to step in too suddenly and trigger the angered woman's reflexes. Making certain she can hear him coming, Higura unbars the cell, stepping closer to the prisoner slowly and carefully. Deep down, he regrets having to even keep her restrained like this - but truly, right now there is no other way. He does not want to kill her, but does not want to endanger his comrades either. And so, he continues to do what must be done.

"Miss Jilava." He begins, in a quiet tone. "We will not remain in this camp anymore. We are moving our settlement to a new location - unfortunately, for reasons of security I am certain you can understand as a soldier, I cannot reveal to you its location. But we will be moving you and your comrades as well, to new cells - ones I hope will be at least comfortable enough even if that is not something that can be appreciated in your position."

"I will make the trip as quick as possible, Miss Jilava. It is not in my desire to want to trouble you further."
Gatekeeper
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Sat 9 May 2009
at 22:53
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Jilava is seated on the floor, her expression haggard and glowering. She probably would have refused food if starvation didn't count as hurting herself. But she did refuse herself a great deal of sleep, staying up long nights thinking hard about her current situation and all the implications and consequences.

She looks up sharply at Higura. "Oh, this time you've brought the moon-mad one, too. Just in case, you could have her ravage my throat and tear open my ribcage. I saw what that one did to Aspen and Elm. Oh, you'll say she saved Maple, but who knows, with someone so inherently unpredictable?" Jilava shrugs -- and winces; even after about a week her internal bruises still hurt her immensely.

"So? Let's go then. I suppose you'll blindfold me too." The collared Fire Immaculate rises to her feet so quickly it might almost be mistaken for battle readiness, but she keeps her hands clenched at her sides, gritting her teeth through the pain of exerting her stiff, healing muscles again. "I'll say this much -- I don't understand how you're any better than us. So we're left in a cell and not forced to serve. But we're still wearing the collar. Whatever lessons you want us to learn by this are lost while your moral ground is shaky."

"And what do you plan to do next? Or is that also classified?"
Yaishin Higura
 player, 115 posts
Mon 11 May 2009
at 04:17
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
The doctor busies himself at detaching Julava's chains, knowing that the collar, at least, will prevent her from taking this opportunity to escape. As he works, he speaks softly and patiently, acknowledging her concerns.

"I will not say I am better than you, no. Were I in your shoes, and the roles were reversed, there is a possibility I would have become as you are. I know not why you became so ardent in your pursuit - perhaps through great faith and dedication to the teachings, or perhaps through personal loss. I cannot truly say. But one thing remains, even in this situation; I may not fault or hate you for the way you have matured, but the truth is that as long as we both believe what we do, we also are enemies."

"This is why the collars are in place, miss Jilava. Because even though I do not like to restrain you in any way, I also respect the power you wield as an enemy, and cannot allow you to use this power to destroy us. And I have seen enough of your strength and dedication to know that given any sort of opportunity, you would. I do not underestimate the power you wield in the slightest. This is also why you will be blindfolded, because I cannot endanger the people that live where we are going. And because I will not enforce my ideas upon you, I will also not assume you will not lead a strike against them later."

"I could perhaps try to remove the collar, but maintain you subjugated through other, more subtle methods. There are ways to do such things. But I find myself not wanting them. The reason is simple - when you are released, you will be free to think as you will. And when you recall or relate this event, you will not have any hesitations or misconceptions as to where the chains that held you remain. You can see and feel them. They are not concealed nor embellished. You can see and evaluate this situation as it is, without subterfuge. Perhaps you say my moral ground is shaky, but what I want is to see things as they are, without the need for powerful rhetorics and the biased discourse one side or the other might carry."

With that, the doctor finishes his tedious task, grabbing the chains and gently placing the blindfold on Jilava's eyes. When it is done, he carefully leads her outside, gently guiding her the best he can so she does not trip on rocks or uneven grounds.

"I cannot give you freedom of body, because we are soldiers fighting on opposite sides. What I can give you, however, is freedom of mind. Use it to judge us as you see fit."
Saina Nanaret
 player, 164 posts
Mon 11 May 2009
at 05:41
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Nanaret lets Higura do the talking, as she stands transfixed, her mind trying to understand what Jilava was indirectly accusing her of. I... did what...? Though her memory is uncertain, fragmented and bewildering, Nanaret remembers the feel of her bare, clawed hands tearing through viscera. Horrified faces and screams, the sharp tang of blood in the air, on her lips.

That's right. You let me borrow your body for a bit, remember? Ranavalona whispers malevolently, unheard by anyone but the Lunar herself. Don't forget how much you owe me. I'm stronger than you, and it's because of ME you've survived this long.

So can you blame me for enjoying it in the process? Those acolytes were weak, worthless meat.

"Nnngh..." Nanaret sags briefly against the door frame as Ranavalona asserts herself, though her body moves instinctively to right her balance. Rana continues to badger her mentally: Now that one there, she would make a fine challenge, a worthy trophy were she not collared like a dog. Come now... does the temptation not thrill you? "No. It does not," the Nanaret answers aloud, completely out of place in the conversation.

She sighs, taking a deep breath, and forces herself to gaze at Jilava with her own awareness. Rana can talk, but the Bitch Queen is just taunting, for now. Nanaret's words are somewhat kinder. "Very fortunate you have Doctor Higura to watch you. Unless you have death wish. He give you a chance where few others would, because he wish not repeat the sins of his captors. Take it for what it is and realize it could be worse."

Stiffly she strides to Jilava's other side, opposite Higura as he guides her toward their new destination.

(OOC: for those reading who don't know this yet, Nana has a high Throwback and minor Amnesia which partially wipes her memory when her Throwback takes control.)

This message was last edited by the player at 05:42, Mon 11 May 2009.

Gatekeeper
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Tue 12 May 2009
at 02:05
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Cathak Jilava is surprisingly quiet at first, walking blindly with Higura and Nanaret, following their allies and refugees on their exodus. She seems to be thinking this time, thinking carefully on the words rather than reacting on instinct. Perhaps those long hours up alone have calmed her zeal somewhat? Or has her determination simply honed itself to a single, white hot sliver, saving up all her conviction for the moment it will truly matter?

"You claim to imprison me out of respect and compassion? Yet you've still stifled my freedom in more ways than one. My freedom to follow my desires, to walk by my own volition, to escape from here, report your location and return with a larger force to capture you. Any or all of the above!" Abruptly, Jilava trips on a rock, and lets herself pitch forward to the ground, refusing to grab hold of either Anathema to steady herself. Were she able to touch the fires of Hesiesh that burn in her heart, she would rise instantly to her feet, propelled by that inner heat -- but instead she just falls, and painfully hauls herself back up to her feet.

"No matter what you do or say, I will not give in. Even if you turn out to be the kindest people I have ever met. Kindness can be a weapon -- and you are Anathema. Your eventual corruption is a matter of fact. Me? I'm just honest. I won't water down my feelings for propriety or anything else. And I believe too strongly to be put down by a few words of kindness and a few quiet days in which the people who hold my collar don't force me to serve, just sit in a cell."

Traversing through the tunnels of the Hive itself is long and circuitous. Jilava, stubbornly refusing help, manages to stumble only a couple times more along the way. Jade Willow, Bastion and the acolytes are more accepting of aid, accepting their prisoner status with grace, if (in Willow's case) a worried reluctance. Day by day, Willow finds her mind slowly working toward a conclusion that may one day endanger her position in the Order, should she choose to accept it.

[Private to GM: All the Immaculates believe the Anathema have ruin the world above and may eventually destroy it and all its people, along with Coils, should they be allowed to roam free.

Jilava - She has no qualms about using whatever weapons must be used in order to save Creation and guarantee its safety. Even if the Anathema themselves must be exploited.

Willow - She dislikes the extremes the Dragon-blooded have taken, and wants to understand the truth of what her people have become in their paranoia and fear of the unknown.

Bastion - His attitude is not so much complacence, as it is vigilance. Someone has to watch them. It may as well be me.
]

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:06, Tue 12 May 2009.

Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 188 posts
Tue 12 May 2009
at 04:16
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
Third walks amiably by Willow's side. 'Willow... Is that a name given to those who study the ways of the Wood Dragon style? Third has little information on the cultural traditions of the Immaculate Order here, it would be interested to learn more from you." the Solar says, having found some measure of calming now that it's been able to process the importance of what it has heard about these... cursed Solars. Whether what it says about its knowledge of the Immaculate Order is true or not, it is interested to hear her perspective on it, and to open up a more amiable route of conversation than to discuss some of the charms that she demonstrated before... for now. "Would your two acolytes be studying the same style, in that case?" it asks. The conversation is relaxing, but probing. Someone who was nervous about the intentions of the Anathema might waste a great deal of effort on trying to figure out what advantage knowing naming conventions will offer. After it gets its answers, it lets a few minutes pass, before it asks another question.

"Do you know of Holy charms?"
Gatekeeper
 GM, 843 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Wed 13 May 2009
at 20:43
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"There are no set naming conventions," Willow replies, her tone more guarded than friendly, though she doesn't seem unwilling to talk. "However, the school I was trained in preferred to give us names of trees. I am not the first Willow, though I am the first who kept the name."

Cedar replies tentatively, "Jade Willow is our superior," to the question about what he and Maple are studying.

Despite the blindfolds Third places over their eyes, Jade Willow and especially Bastion seem to paying careful attention to every twist and turn and passageway. They attempt to memorize their path as well as estimate the numbers of allies the Celestials have by listening to footsteps and voices, noting the texture of the earth at their feet and the airflow on their skin.

Higura and Nanaret take up the rear, with Jilava following stiffly along. So prideful is she that most of her effort is placed toward attempting to move without help. So much for Immaculate humility.

The question about 'Holy charms' elicits a slight frown from Bastion. Willow answers, surprised at what she perceives to be an odd question. "No, I've not heard of such a thing." She continues with an observation of her own. "There seem to be a great many beings following us. They don't seem bipedal, at least not all of them. I assume the Hive is... literally a Hive? They are large for insects."

[Private to Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge: I don't tend to think that Immaculates, or any Exalt really, would refer to a charm by an OOC keyword, anyway. But even if they did the Immaculates wouldn't be inclined to call Solar ones 'Holy', anyway.]
Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 193 posts
Wed 13 May 2009
at 22:26
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
'Quite literally...' says Third dryly as she responds. 'And have you ever used Solars to fight demons, the undead, such things, when they may happen to be loose in the Five Coils? The use of the Holy charms, the ones that burn them, the ones that can kill even the strongest demon, the creatures which you claim we are. Did you never see such abilities?' It would have been surprised if she had, or if she had known the 'Holy' charms at all- They were sometimes considered a rather pretentious name, considering their purpose. The charms that damaged 'creatures of darkness'. Of course, those who suggested this before the Usurpation were regarded with some suspicion, but they had their points. They hadn't an effect on those who did ill but were not condemned by the Sun itself. 'I wonder. Do you think of us as demons, still? Those who are brazen enough to take the image of the Unconquered Sun? Those charms don't harm Solars, after all. it asks, curious to see just what she believes of the Solars, now.

[Private to GM: I actually had to wrestle with myself for a little bit on what to call them, but thinking about it, 'Holy' would actually work as a category in-character, as well as out of character, though there'd obviously be a strong desire to squash the use of such a category after the Usurpation. If you'd like, I can probably think of something that sounds similar but doesn't carry the taint of Out Of Character knowledge. ;) Maybe 'Betrayal', in Immaculate circles...]
Gatekeeper
 GM, 851 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Fri 15 May 2009
at 21:32
Re: 3 Immaculates - A Chance for Redemption
"Utilizing demons against demons is only one way of waging war," replies Willow carefully, indirectly admitting she has in fact witnessed what Third described, "though a dangerous one, for certain. More often than not the power of Celestial Exalted are used only in dire circumstances, and the Immaculate Order relied on to combat undead, spirits and demons on the loose."

"The Immaculate Texts describe the 'Anathema' as 'demons'. However, I have also seen the sort of foul beasts that the sorcerers of Air and Wood Districts consort with, and I wouldn't consider the Celestial Exalted as the same 'kind'. Rather I would be tempted to say..." she mumbles something about sacrilege under her breath, but presses on anyway "...that 'demon' in that case was meant figuratively."

Upon entering the Hive, Third, Higura, Nanaret and the prisoners are escorted in a different direction by a pair of ruby guards. It seems the prison cells have been dug in a subsection entirely separate from the living quarters or any crucial Hive functions. Another half dozen rubies -- the largest number the Celestials have seen together in one place yet -- have been garrisoned at the prison facility. The walls and floor have been covered with hardened resin, then fitted over again with sheet metal, and the doors to each cell are nearly a foot thick, barred and multi-lockable, the same sort used in the Hive treasury (and likely brought from there).

Jade notices the difference in the echo of her footsteps on the floor, and sighs slightly. "I assume we're here? If I may let you know, Third Beneficiary, I'm not necessarily inclined to escape at this point. I also know that I'm vastly overpowered. If anything I will stay to witness the truth with my own senses. I..."

She stops, suddenly, as Jilava is brought in behind the acolytes, as obvious by her voice insisting, "I said I can walk on my own!" Awkwardly, and rather abruptly, the prisoners are placed into their cells... awaiting whatever fate they may have as captives of the Hive Queen.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:04, Sun 05 July 2009.