RY 767, Ascending Water: Liquid Courage.   Posted by Storyteller.Group: 0
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 21 posts
Fri 10 Jan 2020
at 18:09
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
"I have no idea what you're talking about." He cut himself a more reasonable piece of cake before continuing, biting into it between words. "Immaculate doctrine is pretty clear: Anathemas are never shorter than two meters, have goat horns, flaming breath and burn with the eye-searing, sick radiance of a green sun. This is clearly just a trick of the light." Nevermind that there was hardly any light in the room to play tricks in the first place. Also, that was the OTHER kind of Anathema.

"And believe me, the Shadow Lover's mark is obvious enough on you. It smells of blueberries, blood and impending, unavoidable doom - you should consider it for the next cake. Incidentally, you might want to save the whole 'deal with a demon' bit of info for at least the second or third date in the future. You know - along with 'My family is cannibals', 'I live with my six children' and 'I have all the STDs'" He took a break to munch on yet another piece of cake. Did she use spices from the special drawer? That would have explained his inability to stop eating it. "Although, this is Champoor." he added after a moment of consideration and deep, thoughtful chewing. "You're probably more likely to find people begging you to set them up a date with her."

"Anyway, the kitchen is yours." He didn't seem to be about to consider the chance she wouldn't be interested in the offer. "If you need a bed, make yourself at home upstairs and I won't take an entirely unfair amount of money from your pay. There's a bonus if you can play, sing or entertain in any way when you're out of the kitchen. And there's a bigger bonus if I end up in need of your bow." "To deal with issues you didn't bring here in the first place" was the barely hidden subtext.

"Bring vengeful Guildspeople or similar trouble at my door and I'll dock your pay. Force me to lie to a Dynast's friendly questioning and I'll dock your pay. Bring a Wyld Hunt - or piss the Guild off enough to get Makarios here to ask questions and I'll spank you - before docking your pay." His offer made he proceeded to produce two glasses and just raid the kitchen (and before long the bar next door) in what appeared to be a systematic experiment to find out the best drink to go with that cake. Soon every flat surface was holding bottles of varied flavors and alcoholic gradient, barely two sips taken from each - but the quantities added up.

I'll probably put a new intimacy down at the end of the scene, but I'm not telling if it's for Bitter Leaf or for cake.
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 19 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Sun 12 Jan 2020
at 06:10
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
"Right! Green Sun Radiance, 2 meters tall and goat horns. I'll watch out for that. Yeah, this is a trick of the light." she responds when he ignores it. She realizes he probably doesn't want the Wyld Hunt poking around either. When he finishes, she hopes "docking pay" isn't a euphemism for murder, but she doesn't want to betray someone's trust either.

"Well, that's great then!" she looks at the drinks, and takes a sip of one. "This is good. At least better than what we had in the Scavenger Lands. I can dance and sing a little, but not... certainly nothing like I can cook, or even particularly well. Oh, I figured if one secret slips out, I might as well not hide the smaller ones. Not sure how to contact Mara though. On that note, I have one spell that can send people dreams and- " she suddenly cheers up "I can use it to contact Blaze! But its a good way to make friends and influence people. I think. I haven't actually used it. I'm rambling. I sort of want to try contacting Blaze now..."
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 24 posts
Mon 13 Jan 2020
at 12:20
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Ash would never murder her - not just for the fact that she could probably tie him up like a non-euclidean pretzel, but also because murder was a thing for other people. Like, for example, for the Dynasts, immaculates and Guild assassins tipped off to her presence: she didn't seem to be short on enemies.
Still, he wasn't quite plotting her demise yet (not any more than he idly plotted anyone's demise to keep himself sharp anyway), so he went on to talk.

"I believe I heard of that spell." After the slew of secrets she revealed, telling her he knew of sorcery would be hardly damning - and could be seen as a show of trust. "But I don't think it's the best way to communicate - and if you don't get the message through, it might be a problem to find a way to insist."

"I have access to more specialized magic. Teach me yours at a later date, and I'll send an actual message for you." He proposed his offer. 'Teach me yours and I'll teach you mine' would probably have been more fair - but it would have required far longer waiting times before the message could actually be sent. "I'm a bit rusty, so throw in on-demand archery lessons and I might be able to take a quick look at his surroundings - just in case, even if I'm absolutely sure he's completely safe."
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 22 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Wed 15 Jan 2020
at 04:32
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Bitter realizes this probably isn't a perfectly "fair" trade, but teaching people doesn't cost her anything. Better to be freely spread knowledge among friends and allies than grasp secrets.

"Yeah, you're thinking of the right spell. If you have a more reliable method that would be perfect. I can certainly teach you what I know about archery and sorcery. Honestly, going through everything-" there is a pause. Bitter still isn't good at talking around her Exaltation. But she recovers after a couple moments "-recently learned is probably a good idea. Umm on that topic, can Mara's education impart... negative influence? Distort personality?"
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 26 posts
Wed 15 Jan 2020
at 20:25
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
"The Soul Stealer?" Ash offered a mock expression of absolute surprise "What ever bad do you think could possibly happen from mingling with her?" He then proceeded to explain, his voice just a smidgen more serious.
"Sorcery changes a person. It opens one to the essence of the world, to feel and manipulate. Learn it from the Shadow-Lover, and your first sip of this new power will taste of dark fates and robbed souls. I believe that's bound to leave a mark." It was, without shadow of doubt, a 'yes'.

"But look at the bright side!" He continued. "At least you didn't learn at the foot of the Archon of Bloodletting!" Was that even a real demon or was he just making up stories now? "I hear their rituals take days to clean up. And let's not even get started on the Zodiac of Tentacles and Slime" Now that HAD to be a made-up entity. "Your mentor can be related to from a mostly human frame of mind - that's already a victory when it comes to demons." He skipped over the part of Mara mostly offering her favor to those she saw fated to bring great suffering into the world. It was almost a form of kindness on his part: it's not like she could do anything about it right now. "Just remember that 'Mara made me do it' has always been and still is terrible excuse. She will nudge and influence, but in the end all choices will be yours. If she eats souls and gleefully spectates tragedies, it's her nature; if you do it, you're probably being a dick."

"About Blaze." He led the way out of the kitchen and into the main room, pushing towards her the back of one of the scribbled pieces of paper: the arrival of the two newest hires had screwed with all his shift planning anyway, so he had to start everything from scratch. "You get four minutes and spare change of chatting. Get it in writing, I'd hate to forget the important bits. Innuendo and sweet nothings cost extra."
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 23 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Fri 17 Jan 2020
at 05:39
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Bitter takes the knowledge about Mara and files it away. She seems reassured actually. "Well that's good to know.

 "So write down what to say? Okay, let me think... Bitter Leaf then starts writing down what to say, with some stuff crossed out, eventually getting a new piece of paper and creating a cleaner draft.

Blaze my love, I wasn't eaten by the giant eagle. She rescued me. I was dropped near Champoor and am currently staying in the city. I'm laying low for now, but I miss you already. The eagle left behind the artifacts from the Dynast she ate. If any of the other consorts survived you should celebrate with them.

If you can get a message send it to Shadow Tulip's Teahouse in Eastgate in Champoor. (Hint: Its not a Teahouse). I'm not staying there, but the message should get to me.

We're going to kill those murdering Dynast jerkfaces.

The city is always dark, which is strange. The people seem nice at least on the surface. I think one little street rat tried to steal my theoretical purse, which really shows courage although I don't have any money. If you need to run you should head here. The food's good, although not as good as my cooking these days.
With Love, Bitter

"Umm... I'm not sure how secure this is. If it isn't you might want to leave out the bit about Shadow Tulip. Wait, can he send a message back?"

This message was last edited by the player at 05:40, Fri 17 Jan.

 GM, 180 posts
Sun 19 Jan 2020
at 02:56
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Can you re-describe exactly what/how you have an unbreakable oath.  Also, your relationship with Sapphire Striking Snake.

You have little time to train your staff before the grand opening, so your customer service leaves something to be desired, fortunately since your staff are all picked specifically for their ability to extract information your female staff are quite adept at shifting someones passions from anger to lust.  Unfortunately, Scarlet is quite the tease.  As she flirts from patron to patron enticing and tempting but never delivering anything substantial, jealousy and envy run rampant.  A number of fights are started among men wanting her attention, leading to one of your girls getting bashed in the head, suffering a broken nose and two black eyes, not to mention the damage to your establishment.  Scarlet seems indifferent to the problems she causes at best, and might enjoy causing them at worst.
How do you expect your staff to behave, especially Scarlet?  Do you give any specific instructions on what is or is not allowed?

One of your staff, a man by the name of Jisseur is quite the skilled pickpocket apparently, as  he gets accused of stealing coin by a group of men who up end a table, and cause a brawl before you are able to get things sorted out.  Jisseur swears it was a simple misunderstanding (its not, hes a thief).  The men demand their money back and that you give Jisseur over to them (Definitely for a beating, maybe his death).
How do you sort things out?  Jisseur has some valuable skills but the men carry some influence locally, and people will believe them if they spread the tale of how you will get robbed at your location.

Is your business strictly a bar? or do you allow/expect the girls/boys to work as prostitutes?  Do you allow gambling?  Do you allow drug use/dealing?

A Representative of the court approaches you towards the end of the night.  You will be expected to pay the usual rates for the privilege of operating a business here in Champoor in addition to The Secret, The Service, and The Duty. (The "usual" rates are extortionist and predatory).  However, because they believe you have such potential, they would be willing to give you a significant break.  If, you were to provide some more information about your staff... their names, where they come from, who their parents are... then they might be too busy to bother with such trivial details until some future point.  Their staff is terribly overworked, there just arent enough hours in the day, and sometimes things just fall through the cracks.  They look forward to hearing from you.

To be clear, they want information about all your staff (This includes Bitter Leaf as she is ostensibly a cook), but especially Scarlet.  Also, They will forgoe The Secret, The Duty, and The Service are from Riaus's thread if you dont know/remember

What do you plan to do?
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 33 posts
Tue 21 Jan 2020
at 23:52
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Ash extended one hand to the shadows, his voice a quiet whisper in Old Realm as he channelled the essence of darkness itself into his magic. "...Servant of the guardian of knowledge, descendant of the all-encompassing desert, heed my call. Find the Dragon Blooded named Blaze, and deliver the wisdom of my words..."
The room visibly brightened as the shadows coalesced into a roughly spherical shape that gradually took a more physical form as essence poured to make it real. With the end of the spell darkness had become glass, and an unblinking green eye scanned the room. "Greetings. You probably don't remember me, but a common acquaintance asked to deliver you a message..."

He felt no need to name any names beyond what she did in her writing: if the message reached its intended recipient it contained enough details to pretty clearly identify the sender. Incidentally, he made a mental note to drop by the mentioned teahouse himself.
As soon as the message was recorded the orb dispersed into a rain of silvery sand carried away by an invisible wind, leaving behind only the thinnest trace it ever existed and carrying along Ash's senses.
"As secure as a message can be. Prayers are easier to overhear." It wasn't a 'perfectly secure', but still a pretty good standard. And Ash rarely used absolutes in the first place. "And he can certainly send a message back. He just needs to find himself ink, a piece of paper and a good messenger." That, on the other hand, was a 'no'.

...and days passed...

He just barely got the operation off the ground and things ALREADY went south. He tried his best to juggle issues, but things ended up utterly unpleasant as the one with the skills most suited to be helpful turned into a nuisance herself. Problems never came into a neat line.

It didn't help that the problems in question threatened the foundation of.. everything. He needed loyalty, by love or by fear. And he needed his employees to be safe from the threat of back-alley knee-breaking. Once more, by love or by fear: he already scraped the bottom of the barrel and any replacement would end up orders of magnitude worse.

He knew someone who might be able to help with the broken-nosed girl in return for a proper offer of alcohol, but Scarlet had to be reined in one way or another. He had just started to consider exactly how to do so that the sound of more 'expensive' broken furniture brought him back to reality: Jisseur causing trouble. Such utter shamelessness - not even waiting for the first paycheck before being a nuisance, and brazen enough to lie to his face about it. In another occasion he could have appreciated it.

Most of the near surroundings of the quickly sedated brawl immediately emptied, as a good chunk of the patrons suddenly remembered they had anyhere to be but here. The only ones remaining where the chronically drunk, the compulsive betters, and the eyes and ears of other groups in Champoor. Not a big crowd, but still a crowd of witnesses.

He clicked his tongue as ideas to deal with this took precedence over whatever problem Scarlet caused - he didn't particularly mind personal initiative, but without an overarching plan and proper grandeur it was but petty larceny. Maybe it could be used for a small lesson for more than one subject?

He approached Jisseur with the stern step of someone hellbent on discovering the truth of the matter. "Well!?" The other man's defiant expression even in the face of potential punishment forced him to crack a smile before putting his mask back on, hands already in the other's pockets in a frisking equally showy and ineffective. "Tell me what happened here!" Just as the other spilled his story of accidents and lies, the frisking led Ash close enough to whisper in his ear in a way nobody else could notice. "Lie to me again and I'll personally melt your soul in vitriol and fashion a chamber pot out of it. Keep to your story - show weakness and you're theirs."

"And a most beautiful chamber pot it would be, stained in the prettiest sins of lies and deception." Voices in his head. A constant company. "- And when I got up from collecting the spilled cutlery, you jumped on me screaming insults!" As the story finished, Ash brushed against the only spot that mattered in the whole show and slid the stolen pouch of money from the thief's satchel into his own flowing sleeve, sleight of hand clearly something he was familiar with.

New prize in hand, Ash approached the group once more just in time for the table to once again be on upright position. "Scarlet!" His first words weren't for the assembled thugs, but for the pretty lady in red and sea-green. "Be a dear and bring us new drinks. As for you most valued patrons -" He made himself at home on a chair, and motioned for the others to take seats again. He continued even as they snarled, apparently not too willing to engage in civil discussion quite yet. "Any employee of mine is personally vetted and has my full trust. But you are honored guests in my home, and I'm bound to believe your word. As such!" He paused dramatically and placed on the table in front of himself a pile of money of equivalent value to the stolen ones, and the broken, jagged remains of a chair leg. "This is what you claim was stolen, and this is the right to a broken limb. You can have them if you choose, and leave."

"Hey, WHAT!? Are you crazy!?" Protest from Jisseur was loud and immediate, but his dash towards the door ended with little fanfare, tackled and tied by the people he was about to be sold to. "Or you can sit." Ash continued like the little scene never even happened. Without warning, he plunged a meat knife from a nearby table near the center of this one - more damaged furniture, but scene demanded it. "This is... the effort I'll have to go through to find another employee." The implications of what he was offering them were clear. "And this -" Scarlet had returned with the drinks just in time for him to nab a ribbon from her clothes to join the prizes already on the table. "- one hour of private melodies from our prettiest singer. One hour. One person."

Ash was offering people like meat on a market stall, without the slightest hint of hesitation or compassion. A truth easily learned in Malfeas: showing attachment to what you cared for only made it more precious for your enemies and harder to hold onto. "I'm not your who-!" Ash interrupted the girl's protest with a predatory grin. "I had someone else in mind - but it seems her pretty nose had an accident." Never waste a chance for a lesson in pain.

"You can take what I offer, or you can play for the full set." He revealed a deck of cards, already shuffling like he was sure of their choice. "Let's say that all four things I have are of the same value. I'm sure together you can match it." What he definitely did not expect was the splash of drink on his face. "Hey! What are you talking about!?" Apparently Scarlet objected more to being valued as the life of Jisseur - or as a small handful of coins - than to being part of a bet in the first place. Good to know, he thought as he cleaned himself amid the general snickering.

As expected, the four thugs fell for his bait. Greed and lust were such trivial things to manipulate it was almost boring to do so. Winning everything would have been easy. And not a bad choice, if he only cared for damage control. But lessons had to be taught. Scarlet had to see what was expected of her. And Jisseur to taste fear and failure. For his plan, he needed to know more.

He smiled to himself as tendrils of invisible, impalpable sensation wrapped around the foursome, enveloping them in simultaneously the most and least invasive frisking the had ever been subjected to. Information flooded him - even if most of it was absolutely useless. Hidden weapons - they were all armed, some with more than one hidden blade easily within reach. Expected. Unhelpful.

Scars. All of them had been in their fair share of fights, but that was also expected. But speaking of scars... small signs of bites, rough enough to leave a mark but light enough to not come from a brawl. On the same spot near the neck of two of the men, and of the same size - except one had more of them than the other. Ash barely suppressed a grin. Someone was being a pretty bad friend here.. he could use it. A small pair of weighted dice in the pocket of the third - maybe he already had a reputation for cheating at games?

He discovered dozens of tiny weapons like this: useless on their own, but perfect to be polished as the game went on. Thanks to his perceptions, he had near-perfect knowledge of the cards even before they were dealt: the drawings had (as is normal) different textures than the rest of the card, and he could feel every tiny little imperfection. He used this to lengthen the game, trying his best to keep things even - and to feed their frustration.

"Such luck you have, my friend. The cards absolutely favor you!" Whenever he could, he fed the one he suspected of being a cheat most of the flashy hands, and he soon gathered a small advantage. "The Queen of Fire and the Jack of Fire - such a perfect couple. Don't you feel bad when you have to tear them apart?" More innuendo was delivered with every hand, each comment a passing attack on their bonds. Jisseur was lost in his own little world of despair as the second hour of the game began, but Scarlet had caught on as soon as Ash had pushed the ribbon into the pool: nobody could hold onto it for long, as every time one managed to nab it the others focused on him, each round with louder words and harsher insults. Anger easily turned to lust - but lust easily turned to anger, and Ash was grooming and feeding that anger like someone saner could care for a prized contest animal.

Scarlet gave him a chance for the final push when he winked at the last loser of the ribbon - a silent promise of things that could happen if only he won it back. The man slammed his hands on the table with a loud shout of "You CHEATED, you motherless son of the sands! I saw you! Everyone saw you!" It was time: nobody managed to remain seated and it soon escalated, not yet a brawl even if tones and tensions were rising and fists were getting pounded on the table. "Shut the fuck up, you're not even enough for your girl! Oh, yes - they were rising. Ash was nearly forgotten as the three got into a shouting match, their faces inches from each other and fully focused on themselves. At least until he called their attention with his softest, most apologetic tone. "I think one of you lost something?"

On the table was sitting, plain as day, the stolen pouch - CLEARLY fallen from someone's sleeve.

I'm putting a small break here because I've already written entirely too much for a single post - the bit of Jisseur was probably meant to be quicker than this, but I.. kind of went and ran with it. I'm fine with keeping the ball of narration myself, but this seems like a nice spot to give you a chance to disagree with the events. I'll keep going if you don't stop me.

Ash doesn't have an unbreakable oath himself, but can sanctify them as per the Eclipse power. He used it to turn one bet between (probably) Blood Tiger and her rival of the day into a binding agreement. He doesn't have a relationship with Sapphire Striking Snake beyond keeping tabs on her and her career - especially if she ends up in danger. He'll likely approach after the first big victory to congratulate, and maybe offer a feast.

@Bitter Leaf: Casting Infallible Messenger with a surcharge of two wp (and hoping to have enough time before the rest of the post to recover them). This means Ash sees, hears and - ridiculously enough - touches around the messenger as it delivers its words. However, as this is your ally, I'd prefer to leave up to you the eventual trouble he finds himself in Or to the Storyteller. Any further help from Ash is easily acquired with promises of 'a future favor'

Mechanical bits about the rest of the post:
-5m, Personal to activate Impatient Tempest Labor and frisk the guys at 16x speed with Invasive Exteroception Technique - so using a sense of touch that ignores barriers (including flesh, so.. knowing their dinner is fair game) and doesn't apply physical pressure. Also, it includes Keen Touch Technique for maximum creepy stalker sensation.
-00:38, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 3 successes using 10d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 3,4,8,10,1,4,5,3,4,6.  Per + Investigation +2m Exc +2 (basic stunt assumed) - sneakily grabbin' pouch.
*Wrong description, the pool is correct for Dexterity + Larceny, which is the roll it was intended to be. Feel free to reroll it if you want to.
-00:44, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 10 successes using 11d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 1,8,7,10,8,7,9,10,2,5, 8.  Per + Investigation +2m Exc +2 (basic stunt assumed) - frisking the guys. Keen Touch applies, so 11 successes and difficulty reduced by 1.
-00:46, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 8 successes using 11d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 2,8,2,4,4,10,8,4,10,10, 5.  Man + Larceny + 2m +2 (basic stunt assumed) to lead the game.
-00:50, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 9 successes using 20d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 6,6,8,3,6,2,7,6,8,7, 8,10,3,2,2,9,5,6,9,1.  Man + Perf + Sp. + 1 (WtD) + 6 Exc +2 Stunt. Sneakily escalating. Assuming events long enough to recover some Essence, otherwise remove dice.

Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 26 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 05:09
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Bitter Leaf profusely thanks Ashes for sending the message. She is sure that if Blaze needs help he'll send for her or make his way to her, depending on the situation. If not he'll probably send for her.

---The impending fight---

This calls for popcorn. Its a simple dish made from corn seed. Bitter checks no one is watching in the kitchen and then uses a charm to quickly produce the snack. Its... passable, but not great. Still she pours it into bowls and then walks out and gives one to Scarlet. "I feel like I should be offended that I'm not the prettiest singer. I'm not giving any of them a "private song" though. Unless that means an arrow through an eye."

Using Craftsman Needs No Tools, 6m, but no excellency. 6m from the peripheral pool leaves her at 17/23m in that pool.
01:04, Today: Bitter Leaf (DS) rolled 1 success using 8d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 2,2,6,8,1,2,3,6.  Dexterity + Craft(Cooking) to make popcorn. I don't think this really completes any of the craft objectives, unless Scarlet really loves popcorn.

I'll leave Blaze's condition up to the Storyteller. It leaves a really good hook for Bitter Leaf and he got downgraded from an ally. He's really more of a storyhook.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:14, Wed 22 Jan.

Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 36 posts
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 21:25
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Violence started in a flash: someone had left a knife on the table, well in reach of anyone acting in a fit of anger: it was a tragedy, really. Weapons wouldn't have been drawn otherwise, but this was so close...
Steel flashed and blood arced in a scarlet rainbow. Then hell broke loose. Someone else had grabbed the chair leg (seriously, who kept leaving all these weapons around?) and smashed it right on his friend's face. Teeth went flying and more weapons were drawn, furniture kicked to the side by the escalating violence.

For himself, Ash just stepped back after saving a bottle from imminent destruction and poured himself a drink, dispassionately watching the unfolding events like an artisan would his newest creation.

As fast as it started the fight ended, with one rapidly exsanguinating soon-to-be-corpse and several people dashing and scrambling for the exit. The show was over. "Please, everyone." A cloak went to cover the unlucky thug. "Forgive this unfortunate show and turn of events. The kitchen will provide something warm to comfort your souls." Truth be told, nobody seemed particularly shocked: the worst in the audience were the people grumbling about lost bets as money changed hands. His kind of crowd.

"That was a good show for those who could see it, my friend." He was approached by a bystander just as the kitchen started prodocing free soup: a man of short, blond hair, tanned skin and a smile that rarely wavered - or reached his eyes. "Especially the opening act. Very interesting." Subtext: I saw what you did. Don't make me use it. "My name is Rolling Copper. I represent the interests of an association of gentlemen in this district." He didn't need to call the Guild by name to make his affiliation obvious.

"As a show of good neighborhood some of my friends will help you clean up." A gesture and two people proceeded to pick the covered corpse and head towards the exit with practiced ease. "It's my hope you'll be an equally good neighbor and remember to not make an habit of having gambling here, or prostitution. Not without asking first: some people would be very disappointed. We'll be in touch, I'm sure we can be useful to one another."

"I never would mess with the harmony of this beautiful district -" A quick glance towards the door closing shut after the recently deceased "- not any more than unfortunate circumstances force me too, anyway. You can be assured I'm well aware of the polite society rules on gambling or drugs - and that none of my boys or girls is on payroll for intimate encounters." although they were all adults, and he wasn't their babysitter.

"I'm glad we could have this chat in a civil way. Now my duties call me elsewhere - my congratulations to the cook!" Rolling Copper offered half a bow in the direction of Bitter Leaf before heading outside to join his people. As he left, Ash muttered a frustrated '..and goodbye to you too' through his teeth. He didn't have the cash to bribe for an official position in the Guild, so any deal in drugs or slaves would have to account for their... sizable bonus, or his supplies would be cut. Gambling and prostitution were new, but they probably followed the same rules. Break one, and his channels to purchase just about anything would immediately dry. They'd probably contact him soon with deals for partial access to one or more of the goods they maintained authority over in return for favors of varied unpleasantness.

Was the day finally over, or was this a goddamn revolving door of misfortune? Could he maybe fix one problem and then be left problem-less for at least five accursed minutes!?
The answer came in the form of the next guests, envoys of the court in person: no, He most definitely could not.
At least these gentlemen didn't expect an answer now, but they still posed an interesting dilemma: their offer was clearly too good - so he had no good reason to refuse it: if he did, it'd be clear he knew something about his staff he didn't want to share - but if he didn't, he'd lose the surprise factor of at least one asset. Namely Bitter, as bad as she was at keeping a low profile herself.

"If I knew the valuable secrets of my people -" he explored a tentative answer "- they wouldn't be secrets anymore, and as such no longer valuable." He closed his eyes and nodded at the envoy in a show of regretfulness. "As I can't offer the Court something of no value, I'm honor-bound to give of what I own instead. However, if you so desire, I will also gladly share of my employees. You will hear from me in the coming days."

After a brief exchange with the divine emissaries he went for Jisseur, just now recovering from the experience of having his life on a gambling table for more than one hour with a strong drink in hand and lightly trembling legs. "Good job. You discovered the 'cover for me because I fucked up' bonus." Ash didn't seem particularly angry - just a peculiar mix between a mildly amused tone and a matter-of-fact one. "You don't get another until you find me, let's see... a glass coin from Chiaroscuro. Consider your life choices until then." It wasn't a particularly rare trinket to find, but it would still require investigation, planning and skill to steal one. That, or just saving the funds to outright buy one: Ash didn't specify the way to obtain it, or even a timeframe. Not delivering would simply leave the pickpocket without the layer of protection he just enjoyed in case he caused more trouble. The implication was also that every other employee had a similar benefit hanging until the first serious fuckup, but he never explicated it.

Finally - and tiredness was finally starting to show - he went for Scarlet and Bitter. "I don't have the time, or the energy, to deal with internal sabotage - put this back." He tossed the bottle he saved from the brawl in Scarlet's direction and helped himself to the treat the girls were sharing. Before continuing he led the two into the marginally more private confines of the kitchen. "My assets in this town are half a dozen employees of debatable skillsets, a rundown drinking hole and my winning smile. The guild and the court are already demanding their pound of flesh, and in case you didn't notice I just declared outright war to whatever gang those four assholes belonged to - Bitter, feel free to deal with them yourself if they return. There's going to be plenty of chances to see blood spill, and you're not going to enjoy the consequences of spilling from mine." He didn't want to escalate things to 'local crime lord' this quick - or at all, if not necessary. But now he was going to need his own loyal legbreakers - and since he couldn't afford any, he needed Bitter's help at any cost. She didn't need to know in detail, though.

After the veiled threat to Scarlet, he turned to Bitter once more. "If we survive the week we'll have a feast. Be ready for it. And if you know any combat skill more practical for our situation than archery, start giving basic self-defense lessons to the staff." Hopefully without glowing, he added inwardly.

It was only the following day that he set to prepare his answer for the city Court: a veritable pile of information on his whole staff, all of it equally useless and easy to find, but compiled in a form that made him look like he was doing his best to comply with the request. Juicier was the bit about the secret he was planning to offer - he didn't know for sure how it worked, but he was about to find out.

"This is the secret I offer to the Court: I'm not who I claim to be." Most definitely true, and equally something he was keeping secret. "My power doesn't come from the blood of First Circles, but from That Which Calls to the Shadows herself." That was also factually true - at least as it pertained to his abilities with Sorcery and most of his affinity to shadows. "I am nobility in hell, with all the rights of a citizen of Malfeas." But none of the duties, even if that was not a detail he was so keen on sharing: there was a fine line between 'I am allowed to own land in Hell and can be an useful pawn there' and 'I am Peer to the Unquestionable, and an existential threat to the hierarchy you claim you follow'. Even with some bits trimmed, he evaluated it a juicy bit of knowledge.

...he evaluated what a juicy bit of knowledge? He was sure he had an idea for a good secret to share, but what was it again? It took moments for him to figure out what happened while staring at the blank paper: his offer had been accepted, whatever it was. Hopefully he didn't give more than he wanted, but... he had no way to know. Just the sensation that someone, somewhere, owned a part of himself. He could do nothing about the service: it was something that would happen, whether he liked it or not, and he'd only find out how bad it was after being asked to complete it. As for the duty, he couldn't help but grimace at the thought of even the 'standard' contract: the taxation pressure alone would risk putting him out of business there and then. "Enemies of both yours and mine." The recently emptied scroll was now being filled by the most beautiful cursive, written in night-blue ink. "The Devourer of Beauty. The Fruit that Eats Itself. The Thrice-Looped Worm." He instinctively knew those were three of many names - probably not IMPORTANT names, but many. "Forbidden Gods slumber and stir beneath the Dredge. For as long as you help my city against them, you will be a welcome guest in it."

Yes, apparently he DID reveal some pretty serious link to Malfeas in his secret. At least no taxes?

...I think I opened literally ALL THE PLOTLINES.
Bitter, get that feast going because I want to find out just how many dice I can collect on a Performance roll to inspire loyalty in this band of misfits. :D

Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 28 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Thu 23 Jan 2020
at 03:42
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Bitter Leaf will drag the body out of the main room and into the kitchen. Now she has a body to dispose of and only one way to dispose of the body. The customers! They would be serving long pork tonight it seemed. In the end she just goes with a big meat stew. Even the bones are ground into dust and mixed in. The meat is well pulped and crushed so there aren't discernible organs, eyes, etc. With enough water... free food for everyone! Except for the employees. She doesn't give any food to the employees. She tells ash... "Don't eat the stew. Just don't. Its not cannibalism if you don't eat. Also don't say anything because the chance of turning into a ghoul is much lower if you don't know you ate someone. Probably."

Dex+Craft Cooking +Stunt roll: 23:39, Today: Bitter Leaf (DS) rolled 5 successes using 10d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 ((3,6,3,10,8,4,9,7,1,6)).
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 38 posts
Thu 23 Jan 2020
at 13:31
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Ash was pretty sure that Rolling Copper and his goons took care of the only corpse he knew of, so where did this new one come from? He'd have find and complain to the customer service of the Guild if they just dumped it in the nearby alley.
At the end of the day he didn't care enough to investigate: one tiny little corpse here or there wouldn't make a difference. Just as long as it didn't happen often enough for a Shadowland to pop in his kitchen.

Experience in Malfean living made one remarkably cavalier about what could be classified as 'ingredient', and everybody loved a discounted stew.

One way or another, the Rainbow of Shadows survived to the end of the week. Ash took a couple of chances to drop by the confines of the Dredge and see what it was about, and the near-abandoned district didn't exactly make him want to set home there - but he didn't notice any outright, obvious danger in his exploratory forays.

Finally, it was time for the promised feast (mostly enabled by Bitter's skills in the kitchen, because the ingredients were FAR from top-notch - even when they weren't people). The party started pleasant, with food, music and not even a single knifing.

"I don't know how many of the latest events you're aware of." Ash took word between courses, the moment when people had eaten enough to not be distracted by hunger, but not enough to be dozing off. "There have been issues, road bumps and unexpected twists. You don't need me to tell how harsh life in this city can be: everyone here has a story, and there are shadows in all of them. I can't promise things will be smooth from here on." He took a small pause before continuing and offered a sad smile. "In fact, I can probably promise it will not. But I can also promise - as some of you already discovered - that as long as you put your faith and loyalty in me, I will have your backs. Against thugs and gangs. Against the Guild and the Realm." This was mostly for the benefit of Bitter Leaf, but grudges against those groups were remarkably easy to find in the lower classes. "Against the Court, and the will of Heaven itself." They didn't need to know he had already deflected some of the prying eyes of the court. As for the last part... well, he was a demon-blooded, no? What's a little bit of blasphemy for grandeur?

...and this finishes wrapping the 'how does he deal with his employees' part of the question, closing this collection of ridiculous walls of text.
Inspiring Loyalty with:
14:29, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 6 successes using 16d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 5,3,5,6,9,6,7,2,5,3, 3,10,7,6,8,1.  Cha + Perf + Spec + Full Motes -3 (crowd) + 2(stunt).
Dunno if delicious foods give extra boni ;P

Tldr of everything:
 - The Guild holds rights to drugs, gambling and prostitution. To share, they want money upfront for membership (that Ash doesn't have), borderline robbery-tier percentages or might be generous and offer some in return for assorted favors.
 - The four - now three - guys that Jisseur tried to pickpocket are part of a gang who is probably now out of blood - personally, I'd say with the help of the former owner of Ash's place.
 - Ash covered for Scarlet and Bitter with the Court, resulting in himself being tied in the whole Secret, Duty and Service shebang.
 - ...but that's not entirely bad, because now he has an excuse to poke around the Dredge and maybe begin interacting with Golden Lion.
 - Bitter is an adorable psycho.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:18, Thu 23 Jan.

 GM, 221 posts
Sat 25 Jan 2020
at 14:04
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
10:40, Thu 23 Jan: Storyteller, on behalf of Oaths in Ashe (DS), rolled 1 success using 2d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 2,8.  Bonus dice due to grand feast.

Leaf's feast is simple, but exceptionally well made.  It evokes the simple pleasures of a home cooked meal and puts everyone in a more receptive mood.  You feel like the evening went according to plan and that your toast was well received.

Your staff have developed a minor intimacy of loyalty to you.  This will be slightly different for everyone depending on their current intimacies and ties, but all else being equal, they at least wont go out of their way to stab you in the back.

Over the next few days and weeks, things are going pretty smoothly all things considered.  Your tavern is getting a few regulars, there are only very occasionally fights that result in anything more serious than minor knife wounds, you are turning a minor profit, and most importantly important details about peoples lives are beginning to accumulate.  So far it is nothing terribly important, but every great structure must first have a solid foundation as they say.  A major avenue for loosening tongues however, is coitus.  Since a sizeable number of your stuff use sex as their major, if not their only tool, they are falling back to what they know.  This is only relevant to you of course, because the guild has already made it quite clear what their position on you running girls is.  Of course, it is a technical distinction that the girls are working of their own volition, not for you.  But somehow you dont think the guild will parse the nuance.  You believe the guild would be open to discussing the expansion of your business dealings, but they havent made any obvious requests just yet.  Those that succeed in the guild often have to make their own opportunities.

You receive +1 dice ongoing to any roll where your low level accumulation of secrets would be of advantage insofar as you can keep the secrets rolling in.  You can only use this advantage once per scene.  You also have an income of Resources 1 from your tavern.

The three remaining men that Jisseur ripped off feel slighted and have been making rumblings in the neighborhood.  They are part of a small gang that does work for local Dragon-blooded who runs a larger gang in another part of the city.  Luckily for you, they dont work directly for this man as a part of his gang, so he is not likely to stick his nose into petty business about a bar brawl gone bad.  Unluckily for you, these guys are under his protection, and if they are dealt with too aggressively, he will have no choice but to step in or else risk looking weak.  Something he can ill afford due to his current turf war with another group who operate out of a local shadowland.

More to come
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 30 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Sun 26 Jan 2020
at 01:10
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
I should roll for and describe the cooking.

For cooking a grand feast, Bitter Leaf goes with an old favorite of spicy carrot cake. The main dish is stew, thick with meat and assorted vegetables. As an appetizer she makes yet more popcorn. A highly watered down beer for the beverage, but she covers up the taste with spicy carrots. As for cooking it, she once again uses her charms, but she manages to use the right amount of essence to not flare anything. If anyone had been watching they would have seen her dumping everything into a giant stew pot, stirring it and then pulling out the finished dishes!

Not the most complex feast ever done, but its certainly a feast for the employees.

21:07, Today: Bitter Leaf (DS) rolled 8 successes using 14d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 ((7,5,1,9,5,6,9,10,3,3, 10,9,3,4)).

This uses eight motes, which should be regained over the course of the feast, but shes at 13/13+15/23 if she gets has to act before recovery.

That bumps me up to 9 silver craft experience, since this does have in game effects.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:13, Sun 26 Jan.

 GM, 225 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 00:14
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Over the next few days members of your staff are being harassed, bullied and robbed.  The girls are getting afraid to go out and the men are sporting bruises and black eyes.


Bitter Leaf
You are returning with some supplies from the market when a shadowy form steps out in front of you as you pass down a narrow street. "Ain't you the cook for that new tavern? Yea, sure you are. We are gonna be needing those supplies you got there. And anything else you got too. Don't put up a fuss now girlie, nice and easy." There is another man behind the first and he is reaching out for the bundle of goods you are carrying.

what do you do?
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 31 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 21:13
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Bitter Leaf doesn't do close quarters combat if she can help it. Fighting is always better at a distance. So she promptly jumps twenty feet up to a nearby roof. She's pretty sure she's allowed to kill these people, so she sets down the supplies and draws her bow. Of course, this means that her armor is now easily, viewable as is her bow. Only an idiot could think that they were anything except for a pair of artifacts. They would need to be slightly more informed to connect her tattoos to Mara.

She wonders how fast they can run away. Then she wonders if her eagerness to kill is due to Mara's influence.

She spends 2 motes on Monkey's Leap Technique and then rolls join battle!

17:11, Today: Bitter Leaf (DS) rolled 2 successes using 4d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 1,9,4,8.  Join Battle!

Essence: 13/13+21/23
Initiative: 5

This message was last edited by the player at 21:16, Tue 28 Jan.

Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 34 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 03:17
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
The two bullies stand slack jawed for a moment. Then Bitter Leaf pulls out an arrow from behind her back and draws the bow back. The arrow is forged of essence, and it comes out looking like some sort of clear glass. Then the pair starts running. She releases arrow and it strikes one in the back and through the heart. He falls and his "friend" ignores him. Instead the coward grabs an old lady and interposes the lady between himself and the young Exalt.

Bitter now has a dilemma. She doesn't want the lady to get hurt because of her. She resolves to lie "Let the lady go and I'll let you live!" Despite her generous offer she gets a string of profanities. Bitter replies with more profanities. The people in the streets seem to hardly give the scene more than a passing glance. They do stay out of the line of fire.

Then both parties run out of breath. At this point the old lady stabs the bully in the stomach. Its not deep, but its hilarious. Bitter is laughing while the bully stumbles away and into a building. "Are you okay lady?" Bitter is sworn at by the old woman before the elder continues down the street.

Bitter shrugs and puts her weapon away, and picks up her stuff. Then the bully is thrown out of the building he had fled into. He takes off running, and in his haste knocks over the old lady. He realizes what he's done at which point he turns and runs in the other direction. The old lady gets up and gives a chase while waving her bloody shiv. She seems a good bit slower than the bully.

Bitter is left laughing for another good 15 seconds. "He started it!"  the Exalt says pointing to the dead guy. She then returns to the restaurant. She now has another dilemma. How does she get down? She's stuck on the roof! Eventually she draws upon her essence and manages get down by sliding down a kite string as a pair of children ran by. "Thanks!" she says to the kid and walks in the door.

Bitter Leaf is about 15 minutes late. When she gets to the kitchen she loudly explains. "Sorry I'm late, but good news, I got the food and stuff! I did have a little trouble. A couple of idiots tried to mug me. One of them got a free arrow and one was chased off by an old lady. It was actually really funny. In the fight I jumped up on a roof, which is how I got in trouble. Turns out, there isn't any easy way down from the roof near here. Eventually some passing children helped me get down. Good kids."

She ends up spending another 3 motes on Graceful Crane Stance and 2 more for Phantom Arrow Technique
Essence 13/13+16/21

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 03:19, Wed 29 Jan.

Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 48 posts
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 09:57
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
This was getting ridiculous. Plotting had to happen, of a most devious kind. Days after he told his people he'd havetheir backs he couldn't allow stuff like this to happen: in defense of his reputation blood had to be spilled.
Ideally, not his own.
He could just go after their weak underbelly: thugs were human, and humans had loved ones. Family. People disappeared all the time, and the right 'guest' could ensure him weeks of peace - and most annoying plots for retribution longer term.
Straight-up violence would have depended nearly in full on Bitter Leaf, and leave him at odds with the dragon-touched. Even assuming the archer could prevail he was... not enthused at the idea of leaving so much of his plan to depend on a single factor.

He plotted and planned for nearly a whole day, placing cards upon cards on a strange castle of ever-increasingly improbability built on lies and masterful deceptions.
Then he received news about Bitter Leaf latest exploit, and everything collapsed into a Dawn-shaped mess. A dash of chaos - just what he needed. "...just how much did you sparkle?" despite the sigh, his smile was almost playful.
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 35 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 03:06
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
"I avoided Sparkling! I should probably explain the whole thing in detail..." Bitter Leaf says, starting over from the beginning and going chronologically through all the details. "That's stuff a Dragon Blooded Exalt could do. I'm sure its fine. Its probably fine. "
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 53 posts
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 08:27
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
After hearing the extended version of the story he placed one hand on the Solar's shoulder, nodding. "Well. I sure hope you enjoyed a calm, quiet three days. You're just about to end up famous."
And without elaborating further he moved past her and into the eternal dusk of the district.

He had to ride this dragon - quick - or he'd end up devoured: she didn't reveal herself too badly, and he could spin this in his favor - her privacy a necessary, acceptable sacrifice. It was a completely different person that stepped out of the alley he entered, the shadow that was his skin apparently melted away to reveal another visage.

"I saw her!" Said an old lady at the fish market "She had a beautiful bow, and flames danced along it! It's that new girl, and I think she's blessed by the dragons!"
The stall keeper stared back at the lady, disbelief apparent in his gaze. "Yeah - sure. And what's she doing here instead of in a palace somewhere?" He clearly just wanted to sell his fish.
"But it's obvious!" The lady was infervorated "She's here because she's a hero! She'll protect us from all the criminals and ruffians that infest the city!"
"Lady - do you want that eel?" He wasn't impressed - but he wasn't the target: the scene had gathered a small group of idle, curious shoppers wondering what it was all about.

A tattooed sailor - clearly a deckhand who couldn't afford pricier and better places for entertainment - was playing dice on a barrel, minutes after the scene at the fish market. "Hah. Lost Eggs. They appear everywhere." He had a story to try and impress every single passing lady - but rarely much success at catching their attention for long. "Believe me, I've seen so many. They spread their seed like it's not even theirs!" A vulgar laugh. "Worse than sailors!"

Elsewhere and not much later, a boy was earning copper by delivering messages. "I think she's a noble!" He nodded excitedly, mimicking an arrow pull after getting the grocer a shopping list. "Like in the stories! She's hiding her true name for freedom and adventure!" The girl at the counter wasn't much older than him - probably helping her family. "Or maybe to find true love!" In response the boy scrunched his nose, visibly near-disgusted by the idea. "No, no - it has to be adventure!"

Ash was out nearly the whole 'day', busy spreading rumors: some of them contrasting (as rumors do), but all hinting at a deeper secret and noble past behind Bitter Leaf: only fools would mess with the amusement of a Princess of the Earth. Of course, this was bound to get her all other sorts of unwanted attention, especially if the Dragon Blooded leader in the next district cared about bloodlines - and they all did.
But hey - she could work as bait for Sapphire Striking Snake if she saw Bitter as a kindred soul.

 - Spreading the rumor that Bitter Leaf is totally a lost egg, or maybe even a noble in disguise - with the unspoken implication that criminal meddling in her life choices (ESPECIALLY her cover job) will lead to terrible retribution from overprotective family. Marriage proposals that result from this are going to be her own problem - or at least a worry for a different day.
 - If helpful, activating Impatient Tempest Labor to decrease the time interval needed by his rumor-spreading by one as he spreads news of the potential lost egg near-simultaneously in multiple locations of the district. (-5m - personal)
 - Activating multiple instances of Loom-Snarling Deception (6m) in order to change several faces in a day - since it's mute I'm free to grab from Peripheral. If we consider some natural mote regeneration (7 per hour) through the day and a willingness to finish things nearly tapped that's easily enough for a firm 10 disguises - let's say Ash dedicated a round 8-hours workday to this.
 - Summarizing the efforts with a Manipulation + Performance roll, fully enhanced.
(09:26, Today: Oaths in Ashe (DS) rolled 8 successes using 19d10 with the White Wolf Exalted system with a target of 7 with rolls of 8,3,2,2,8,9,5,6,3,5, 6,9,3,2,10,6,7,2,8.  Man + Perf +ST1 -3(group)+Exc.)
 - Finishing the day reactivating the 10m, 1wp version of Loom-Snarling deception and getting back into the default Ash persona.

 GM, 255 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 03:28
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Rumors spread like fire about Leaf.  The few things that everyone knows to be true, she is some kind of lost egg in hiding.  Or maybe descended from the nobility of Prasad, in hiding.  Or maybe... lots of other things.  This has a number of rather immediate effects.  First, is that your tavern gets a lot of new business.  It has become quite a popular local spot over night.  Second, you get an invitation to meet with Rolling Copper to discuss business opportunities and the future of your tavern.  Third, you receive an invitation from the court of secrets summoning you to "the barge".  "The barge" as it is colloquially known, is a boat used to meet with the spirit court.  Fourth, you receive an invitation to attend court in Solemn, where the official Prasad city business is conducted.  You get the impression that not many of the "invitations" the like of which you have received are ever turned down.

What do you do?
Where do you go first?

What is your favorite rumor about Leaf that is spreading?


You have become a local celebrity.  Everywhere you go people are staring at, bothering you, asking you questions.  You have no more privacy.

How do you handle the newfound celebrity?
What is the most difficult thing that you now have to deal with?

Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 60 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 21:52
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
"So, ladies" With the district in eternal dusk it was hard to set a proper schedule for opening and closing. Ash still tried his best to be as consistent as possible, but it wasn't always a given - and closed time was plotting time. He had gathered Bitter Leaf (she was the focus of the current issues, after all) and Scarlet: keeping her out of the loop of things was annoying enough that it was simpler for everyone involved to just invite her from the start. He didn't expect anything he discussed with even one person to stay secret for long.

As the two made themselves at home he pushed aside some of the things he was working on (Bitter Leaf DID mention she was a passable dancer, after all - maybe a masked ball night could prove successful) "I have several invitations from prominent figures in the city that just can't be ignored without making me look like an uncultured country bumpkin." He suspected the consequences for a couple of those wouldn't be simple reputation hits, but there was no reason to worry his collaborators just yet.

Scarlet's chin was slightly raised, showing just how superior she was to any of these mundane worries. A single well-curated eyebrow somehow managed to, at the same time, express a near-feline detachment to everything AND to urge him to go on. "To begin with, I'll be personally paying a visit at the barge." The reason of his choice was simple damage control: any form of support from the other factions would end up about as useful as sand in a desert if he managed to offend the spirits of the Court.

"I have two more." He produced two letters and placed them on the table. "One is from Solemn, and probably involves a fancy dinner with the local Dragon Blooded for a pleasant night of smiles and daggers in the back. The other" He coughed - for a moment he considered not even pulling it out, considering Bitter Leaf rather... extreme views on the commercial consortium. "The other is from the guild, and probably involves a lot of paper they'd like me to sign, and if I'm lucky drugs and catgirl slaves to sweeten the deal. Catgirl slaves - that's what he didn't have enough of as servers. He made a mental note to consider acquiring some at a later date.

"If you believe you can collaborate on one of the two and come out of the meeting with, if not concessions, at least not new enemies I'd like to see how you'd deal with it. But it's not your job, so it's really up to you." Helpers capable enough to deal with problems on their own would have been incredible assets in the future, so he was willing to risk it on these... somewhat lesser issues. The worst case scenario PROBABLY still wasn't going to see him burned at a stake, right? However, he wanted them to work together: he didn't trust Bitter Leaf's ability at being subtle - and just didn't trust Scarlet in general, even if lately she behaved marginally better: none of her antics resulted in blood, at least.

More coming, but this looks like a good spot to wait for something from Bitter Leaf. If you're asking 'What is your favorite rumor about Leaf that is spreading?' to make that the winning one I'd really rather have Bitter's input as it's her character - if it's just a matter of which rumor amuses Ash the most I'll add that in the upcoming posts.
 GM, 261 posts
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 22:11
Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
What is the most amusing rumor you have heard spreading?
Bitter Leaf (DS)
 player, 40 posts
 Damage: B0L0A0
 Essence: 13/13+15/23
Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 09:07
Re: Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage


You have become a local celebrity.  Everywhere you go people are staring at, bothering you, asking you questions.  You have no more privacy.

How do you handle the newfound celebrity?
What is the most difficult thing that you now have to deal with?

Bitter Leaf handles her new found celebrity by ignoring it as much as possible. About the only change is she is now more open about her artifact armor. There is no real point anymore to hiding it.

The hardest thing to deal with is the fact that everyone seems to want to talk with her and hint about some crime or villain that needs an arrow to the throat. Like she's some hero! Just trying to buy ingredients takes nearly an hour longer than it used to because people just won't stop talking.
Oaths in Ashe (DS)
 player, 65 posts
Mon 10 Feb 2020
at 12:58
Re: Oaths in Ashes - Liquid Courage
Alright, time to prepare properly. First, he'd need an offering - something within his means but at least proper: as usual, he went for the cabinet where he kept the decent alcohol to search from something appropriate. It only took him a few moments to find what he was looking for: a drink from the west, a gin, distilled from the most common resource one could find by the sea: seaweed.
Very popular when it came to offerings for Undertows, despite the far-away first origin variants of the drink ended up created anywhere with a sea, and the one to the northwest wasn't too far, even if he wanted to avoid the 'home-distilled moonshine from the Dreaming Sea' version. An acceptable compromise.

As he set for the Barge he gave one last check to the rumors about Bitter Leaf - considering just how wild they were getting he considered for a moment he might have overdone them just a little: some of them had grown to have their own life and were getting... weird.
Like, how the hell did she turn out to be 'The champion of Whakarei, god of cooking, who fearlessly prowled the streets to defend the innocents carrying foodstuff from the rapacious hands of bandits and brigands'? It was only a tiny minority that held that opinion, but just the fact that it managed to stick was both weird and hilarious.

After visiting the Barge he'd probably set for the Guild - he cared about the same for them and for the Dragon Blooded, but the Guild was a closer neighbor - and as such, a closer threat.