Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core.   Posted by Gatekeeper.Group: archive 1
Gatekeeper
 GM, 1448 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 03:54
Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Negotiation Group (Higura, Nanaret, Perian, Third, Veldygar)

Activating the elevator leading to the Gatekeeper of Earth is not difficult with access to the facilities within the Central Column, and the mind and Essence power available to the Celestials.

As convenient a solution it might have been simply to ride the elevator past the District of Earth to the Transcendent Levels and beyond, the contraption automatically stops on level B21, and refuses to go any further. An unseen force ejects the Celestials out one by one into the room that makes up the Central Core, persisting until the elevator shaft is cleared.

The center of Floor B21 may not be quite what the five Celestials might have expected -- if they had expectations at all. The first thing they notice is the distinct lack of obvious ceiling or wall limitations. Instead what they see, quite startlingly, is a sight they have only seen in artists' depictions: a seemingly endless expanse of azure sky and white clouds drifting above them. No sign can be found of the fabled celestial sun; rather, the surroundings appear to be illuminated from everywhere at once, leaving no shadows.

The elevator shaft seems to have disappeared behind them, for they appear to be standing on an ivory jade and marble platform overlooking a mountain face. Beyond the perimeter of the platform is a steep drop all around, plunging into a canyon that stretches down into unknown depths, a deep abyss to contrast with the hue of the sky above. The entire vista is both bewildering and humbling. Could they have possibly emerged from the underground into the highest point of Creation, where history states the Immaculate Temple of Ivory Resplendence stood (and, for those with the memories to recall it, the ancient city of Meru)?

There is a statue of a male figure sitting at the platform's edge in lotus position, carved completely out of white jade. He is tall, broad and muscular, his head completely shaven, garbed in ceremonial robes and breastplate. A grand goremaul lies balanced on his knees, and his eyes are serenely closed, as if the carving were made to capture the Immaculate Pasiap in the midst of meditation.



OOC: Assume you've had the time to activate any scene long charms you need. I would recommend using OOC PMs to corroborate your social strategy so you don't end up unintentionally sabotaging one another's attempts to negotiate.

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:05, Mon 30 Nov 2009.

Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 300 posts
Fri 27 Nov 2009
at 18:02
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Third leaves the elevator without attempting to keep itself within. It has prepared itself. Its mind is hardened, the temptation resisting stance active, its thoughts made sharp and unbreakable, able to resist arguments easily. Its actions move fluidly, in case this gatekeeper proves to be less sanguine than the Gatekeeper of Water, and decides to assault them physically, as well as mentally.

Shining Eye narrows these borrowed eyes as she looks around. "Impressive. But this vista is incomplete." She approaches the carved figure, and bows respectfully. " Might I ask, sir... Where is the Sun?" Her tone that one would use with an honored equal, yet curious, as she lays those unfamiliar hands on those unfamiliar hips, stretching a bit as she feels out the body. Different, but not so different as to be impossible to use.

OOC: Activated Temptation Resisting Stance, and Flow Like Blood.
Veldygar Arhandor
 player, 97 posts
 Eclipse Caste
 Diplomat
Sun 29 Nov 2009
at 23:23
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Veldygar exited the elevator, holding his shock pike tightly. Upon seeing the statue in the center of the room, his grip loosened, and he tried to adopt a more relaxed composure.

Upon hearing Third's remark, he pondered the reason of the daystar's absence in this vista. As far as he knew, even the Immaculate Faith's teachings did not go as far as slandering the Unconquered Sun himself.
Kares Perian
 player, 87 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 00:22
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Perian steps into the Core a fraction of a pace ahead of the force clearing the elevator shaft, and examines the setting beyond with oddly detached interest. In his mind, essence structures maintain his focus on the goals he and the other Celestials have set, persevering against outside pressures.

Third's query is an obvious opening, and he moves to stand beside the other Solar, projecting curiosity and support. Should conversation ensue, he is ready to speak his part.
Yaishin Higura
 player, 175 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 00:58
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Higura also follows the group within the room, and for a moment, stares upwards at the vast azure expense above them. As the rest of the group walks within, the doctor stays his steps for a time, lost in his observation of the skies above. There are memories welling within him, of seeing these expanses, once, a long time ago. He also remembers the sky cloaked in darkness, with millions of diamond specks shimmering above his head. Somehow, the memory brings a certain sense of comfort to him, a feeling reminiscent of a homecoming.

And yet, this particular sky does not bring the same feeling. It is bare, forlorn. It looks like it could be real, and yet something within it is missing. And it is not just the sun, either - but Higura cannot quite place his finger on what else is amiss.

Like the others, the doctor maintains a respectful respect once Third enunciates his question. It is a valid line of inquiry, and one that could open them a way to negotiate with the Gatekeeper - it would not do to muddle it with other statements just yet.

Thus, Higura holds his tongue for now, ready to enter the conversation when the sitting figure makes his answer - and extending his own power to shield his allies from mental duress.

[Private to Gatekeeper: Activating Preservation of Resolve for the group.]
Saina Nanaret
 player, 244 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 03:15
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Nanaret steps in with Higura, gazing around at her surroundings with a mix of wariness and curiosity. What a strange place. She had never seen anything like it, and finds that wide, seemingly endless expanse of azure disconcerting, though Ranavalona would know it as the sky... or some caricature of the sky.

The wiry Lunar's demeanor is less of a negotiator than a guard, though she still remains unarmed, her arms folded behind her. When Shining Eye opens the line of inquiry, her eyes settle on her, perhaps recognizing some similarity in how Third's demeanor has changed -- almost as if it has become the vessel for another person.

Lastly Nanaret focuses on the statuesque figure. On the outside it is unliving, inert. The Gatekeeper of Water had met them in a realm that was completely submerged in her element. This Gatekeeper surrounded himself with sky and stone, as if to emphasize its solidity with the contrast.

Either this is his sanctum, and thus as real as he makes it to be, or it is an illusion. Could it be possible to pierce it, then, to disbelieve its very existence? Walking toward the platform edge, Nanaret draws out a slender object from her boot, and tosses it down the canyon beyond, listening for when it hits the ground.
Gatekeeper
 GM, 1465 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 05:05
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Garnet Cog is the last to step in, joining Veldygar. The machine-spirit does not make any effort to hide her presence, perhaps aware that the Gatekeeper would still be able to sense her. She does say one thing to Veldygar, communicating silently, rather than manifesting a voice: He is here. You and your comrades are being scanned.

Shining Eye's initial statements are met with a long silence, at least initially. The Celestials are left to stand expectantly in that silence, or in Nanaret's case, attempt to interact with the scenery. Her slender knife falls into that deep yawning chasm beyond the platform, and seems to be swallowed by it entirely, without sight or sound to confirm where it has gone.

The statue remains unmoving, eyes still serenely shut. But a voice does emerge, in time. "THE SUN DOES NOT SHINE IN THIS PLACE, FOR THE OMPHALOS IS MY HOLY GROUND. TWICE, THE LIGHT OF THE ANATHEMA BROUGHT RUIN AND DESPAIR TO THOSE WHO CRAVED ORDER AND PROSPERITY. IT IS AN ENTHRALLING LIGHT, BUT IT IS INHERENTLY SELFISH AND DECEPTIVE."

"BLINDED BY THE SUN, THE WORLD ABOVE WAS SUNDERED. THUS THE EXODUS OF MY PEOPLE TO THE COILS, TO ESCAPE THAT DEMON LIGHT. THUS I STAND GUARD AT THE GATE OF EARTH, AND JUDGE THOSE WHO WOULD ASCEND UNBIDDEN."

A tremor shakes the platform, too slight to be menacing. "STATE YOUR NAMES AND PURPOSE FOR COMING HERE."



OOC: Do not roll Join Debate. Instead, only one post per person per turn will count toward social combat with the Gatekeeper. A 'turn' in this case begins with each Gatekeeper reply, and ends with his next reply.

If you want your action to count as a social attack, use dice rolls along with your post.

Higura used a Charm adding a +3 Dodge MDV to the group. This only applies if the Celestials are social attacked as a group, and if Dodge MDV applies. The 'leader' is whomever posts the best Integrity defense incorporating the group.

Similarly, if all Celestials focus on the same or similar point in a single turn, I will use the best rolled result and count it as a social group attack. If there's more than one line of argument, I will have them count as separate attacks as long as they're not contradicting one another.

Anyway, Gatekeeper of Earth is attempting to determine your motives. You could either let him (be honest) or resist (with MDV). This affects each person individually.

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:14, Mon 30 Nov 2009.

Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 301 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 23:41
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Shining Eye raises an eyebrow at this answer, hands on her hips as she considers this quietly, before responding to the question. " Eye am Shining Eye. Eye have come to see that the one who holds guard over this place has not lost his way." All strictly true, if slightly vague, as well.

" If Eye may ask. Who, then, are you?" she asks the gatekeeper, slowly moving to take a seat, legs crossing in a mirror pose of the statue, facing it, slightly offset so that neither interrupts the other's line of sight. A harmonious position.
Kares Perian
 player, 88 posts
Tue 1 Dec 2009
at 08:25
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Perian waits patiently for the Gatekeeper's reply, and, once it has been spoken, takes a moment more to compose his own response. If he emulates the earth in this way, it is not in imitation of his interlocutor, but a deliberate reminder.

"Kares Perian. I have come to share the tales of Earth, and to see them brought to right."
Saina Nanaret
 player, 245 posts
Wed 2 Dec 2009
at 11:17
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Nanaret frowns as her dagger falls... and keeps falling... and is lost in the gloom. As the Gatekeeper, or what she assumes to be the Gatekeeper's voice, poses his question, she strides purposefully back toward the others to join them, stopping somewhere between Higura and Third.

"I am Saina Nanaret, gladiatrix of the Pit. I am Ranavalona, Bitch Queen of the Southeastern Jungle." She realizes that if Gatekeeper's memory has been wiped of anything before RY 800, he would know nothing of Ranavalona. Still, it feels right for her to include that fact. Ranavalona is about as true an identity to her as Nanaret is now. This time, both would speak. "As you stand guard before your gate, I too guard what is important and dear to me. That is my first purpose here, to protect my comrades. My second purpose is to lend my voice to their cause, to recount to you the memories that have brought me to this point. Which brings me to my third purpose. For I wish to see what lies above, I wish to know what we have lost, what has been hidden from us, and why."

"Perhaps when we are done here, you too will wish the same." Has she said too much so far? Still, Nanaret's intention is to be truthful, so the truth is what she speaks. And that truth is multifaceted.
Yaishin Higura
 player, 176 posts
Thu 3 Dec 2009
at 13:15
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
When the others advance, Higura follows as well, making certain that their group shines through its unity. If their purposes and intent may vary, at least their strength of will and their convictions would stand united, their determination the strong link that will bind them all together.

"I am Yaishin Higura, once of the Resplendent Assessors, now simply a doctor. Like my comrades, I come to recount the past, and share the tales I remember of it. But I also come to speak with you directly - just like Dusan the Mindwalker did, so long ago. Eons ago, our voices lay united in purpose. I have come to ascertain that these memories subside, and have not simply died off, like so many things who have become lost or forgotten with the cruel passage of time."

"Perhaps, if you allow us to speak, you will find a certain symmetry in our core purposes."
Gatekeeper
 GM, 1476 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Thu 3 Dec 2009
at 15:04
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
"And I am Garnet Cog, Clockwork Goddess, and Guardian of the Key." The materialized machine-spirit communicates in polite High Realm, rather than the old tongue, though she is more accustomed to the latter. She gestures toward Veldygar with arms that lack joints; rather they are constructed entirely of a jigsaw of magitech parts held together by some unseen source. "This is my young apprentice. We are here to help corroborate the stories and claims our comrades will make."

"I am sure you can tell that we speak the truth. We have nothing to hide." It's a bit of a bet, Garnet Cog cannot read minds the way the Gatekeeper can, after all. But her time spent among the group of Celestials gathered here, thus far, has given her the impression they would rather win the Gatekeeper's trust with truth than lies.

Another silence passes after Cog finishes speaking, leaving Shining Eye's question hanging, though not ignored. Finally, there is motion from the statue, slow, laborious motion, as if the stone entity had not moved from the spot he is perched in for hundreds of years. All he even bothers moving is his head, the marble chin tilting up to meet the gaze of the strong personality that has recently assumed control of Third's body. "YOU ASK WHO I AM? YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE HE WHO ILLUMINATES BOTH WORLDS WITH MAJESTY AND POWER? HE WHO STOOD AT THE CENTER OF ALL CREATION, AND ENDURED AS THE ANATHEMA THOUGHT TO BREAK HIM A SECOND TIME? I AM PASIAP! I SERVE AS A BASTION OF MY PEOPLE, UNTIL THE DAY WE CAN RECLAIM WHAT WAS LOST!"

"YOUR NAMES, I DO NOT RECOGNIZE THEM. NO. I KNOW SOME OF YOU!" A warning rumble becomes an ominous one, the platform shaking and tilting, becoming unstable to stand on. "YOU, KARES PERIAN, HAVE BEEN ASSUMED DEAD FOR TWO YEARS. AND YAISHIN HIGURA, SAINA NANARET, YOUR NAMES ARE LISTED AS ESCAPED, UNCOLLARED ANATHEMA! YOU DO NOT HIDE, YET YOU PRESUME TO THINK I WILL LET YOU PASS? DEMONS, I THINK NOT!" The statue's marble-carved fingers jerk and twitch, then abruptly grab hold of the goremaul on his lap, as a bright white light surges from his carved eyes!



OOC: Posted Cog speaking for Veldygar, RL is making it difficult for him to post.

You have a post each to come up with some sort of good, or at least distracting argument to keep 'Pasiap' from turning hostile, setting what sentinels he has in reserve to recollar all confirmed Anathema, etc. (Admittedly his best fighters are already distracted, but a hostile situation may not be what you want here.)

[Private to Kares Perian: BTW is Kares Perian the name you had while collared? Or did you assume the name after joining Free?]
Third Beneficiary of Orderly Knowledge
 player, 303 posts
Fri 4 Dec 2009
at 15:39
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Shining Eye's eyes flash, as the statue gropes for the goremaul that sits in its lap, her own hands not yet moving to take her sword against the statue, as she looks into those eyes, unphased by the light. "Pasiap, are you? Then why do you not recognize me? I fought alongside you against the Primordials. I counted you as one the greatest among the Dragons, equal to the Celestials! If you are Pasiap, why do you not recognize the name of the one who was there with you in your last days, when you sacrificed your life to help build the Sword of Creation?!" The Solar's demeanor is intense, her eyes as intense in their passion, if not their light, as those of the statue. " You died, at the end of a long life protecting the earth, ensuring that forever after none would be able to threaten your mother, Gaia! Her voice is angry, but level, even as her body tilts with the shaking of the platform, her eyes never losing contact with those of the thing that she helped to nurture, all those years ago. "No matter who you are, Pasiap or other, you should still remember the name of SHINING EYE!" the Solar says, voice passionate and full of energy, as she confronts the Gatekeeper. Even if it does believe it is Pasiap, that name should still hold some inner significance for the wayward child.

OOC: You rolled 3 successes using 8d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 ((6,8,5,5,4,3,5,10)). Not quite as impressive as I'd hoped, but hey. >_>
Yaishin Higura
 player, 177 posts
Sat 5 Dec 2009
at 23:03
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Seeing the angle with which Shining Eye is trying to attack the Gatekeeper with, Higura immediately adjusts his own approach, to better try to support and assist this undertaking. His way of handling the situation is markedly less majestic and confrontational than Shining Eye's, his approach much more subdued and rooted in simply conversation than in pure charisma or intimidating presence.

"I do not expect to be left to pass, my Lord Pasiap. Instead, I come to you merely to speak. Yaishin Higura might have been branded as an escapee and a dangerous Anathema... But certainly one with such power and wisdom as you would know that it was not the case for Dusan the Mindwalker. His disappearance, a long time ago, left many perplexed, and most did not even know what occurred to him. In fact, many listings simply say he vanished during the great Dragon Blooded revolution of old, never to be seen again."

"But there is no way the mighty and wise Pasiap would not know what happened to Dusan the Mindwalker. There is no chance someone possessing such insight would not be privy to what happened. You are the unwavering Pasiap, and thus you must know of what happened to the Mindwalker and his circle, in the upper levels of the Coils. You must know what have become of them, and what fate befell them, yes?"

"There is no way you would not know of this, my Lord. Even if your children and subordinates were to hide the information from you, there is no way they could keep you from the truth. Pasiap's will and strength would simply not allow such an event to occur, certainly not coming from those less powerful and majestic as he."

[Private to Gatekeeper: Using Auspicious Socialize Excellency to make a perfect Socialize on the Gatekeeper, for 9 sux + any stunt dice (also converted to successes).]
Kares Perian
 player, 90 posts
Sun 6 Dec 2009
at 02:14
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Perian heeds the words of the statue, but seems undeterred. "I seek truth, oh Gatekeeper. As yet, I cannot honestly claim to recall who I may have been, or that my memories of what was are without blemish. Still, I have gathered tales from many sources, that speak of Pasiap in the past, stories that delighted the Dragon and won many boons and kindness from the Earth. And I bear facts of Pasiap's Repose as well, truths unvarnished and plain, as the great and enduring lord of Earth would have them."

As he speaks, his voice gains a deeper timbre, seeming to fill the space much as the Gatekeeper's did. Already, his motions take on an abstracted smoothness, each word melding the comfort of a restful camp with the sharpness of raw honesty. Perian readies himself to weave his tales - not to distract or dismay the Gatekeeper, simply to seek the truth together, to garner a moment of companionship and understanding before what may follow.

[Private to GM: OOC: I'm fine with not having changed names. Makes things simpler, and Perian isn't that good at deception anyway.

My plan for my part of the conversation is to employ Respect Commanding Attitude, and start telling stories. Factual sstories of the present, tales of Pasiap's great feats (at the behest of the Exalted) in the past, and so forth. Plus, query the Gatekeeper as to whether it feels the prayers that Perian is forming to it...

I think this fits in with what everyone else is doing.
]
Veldygar Arhandor
 player, 98 posts
 Eclipse Caste
 Diplomat
Tue 8 Dec 2009
at 22:16
Re: Floor B21 - District of Earth, Gatekeeper Core
Veldygar's eyes widened at 'Pasiap''s hostile reaction. He did not expect things to go downhill so quickly.

Flaring his caste mark, he addressed the Gatekeeper: "I, Veldygar Arhandor of the Eclipse caste, by the authority entrusted to me by Heaven itself, demand that you cease your hostile actions and honor the rules of hospitality!"

He was unsure whether the maddened spirit would recognize his duty to listen to them peacefully. But then, he had somehow understood that some of the beings compelled by the ancient treaties could pretend not to be.

No matter who you may believe yourself to be, Gatekeeper, you must feel deep within yourself the pull of ancient, transcendent oaths...