A Tale sung by The White Navigator upon The Silver Chair.
3rd Day of Resplendent Air RY 764
Calibration continues by with little to no incident for Alamut. Just more drunk people asking for late night messages. Most of the Yellow Rose Breeze actually work on Calibration and make a nice chunk of dinars. The rest of the group that discovered the Perfect of Paragon’s secret go with their lives. They train in Martial arts, go to secret meetings, and Devi prepares to go her Tourney at the Flaming Arena in a month.
Alamut herself has been starting to work with a knife, trying to get better at using one and keeping an eye on her Followers. However, the very first thing? She goes to the Tri-Khan with the knowledge about the Perfect possessing one of his citizens.
The Tri-khan’s palace is a buzz with activity. Soldiers marching by, nobles delivering paper work, bureaucrats delivering permits and work orders. Absolute organized chaos. A Delzahn nobleman approaches Alamut with five Delzahn warriors guarding him. He looks down at her with stern eyes. Alamut adjusts her tunic as she stands there, her face just as grim.
“How may I help you young courier? Have you come to see if the Tri-Khan has any deliveries?” He says to her in a firm, yet respectful tone.
“I got something a bit more dire.” Her nose wrinkles. “It involves the arrest of the Pargonese noble during Calibration.” The Delzhan woman says the last sentence as softly as she can without getting other attention. This was something NOT good and any more gossip may go even crazier.
“Interesting,” He replies. He glances over to one of his guardsmen and nods, they nod in return. “Follow me then, I believe the Prince Semanos has a spare moment”
She bows. “Thank you, sir.”
The Noble and his guards lead her into the palace at a brisk pace. Alamut arrives shortly, via various short cuts, and the deference of everyone around her to the noble escorting her. She is taken into a room she has seen many times before. An audience room filled with comfortable chairs and a desk covered in maps of the Delzahn Empire. She is often brought here when given her deliveries for the Tri-Khan. She remains standing, her head inclined down slightly.
“I will go inform the Prince of your arrival.” the noble says as he exits the room, two guards man remain behind to guard the door and she left alone in the room. Alamut takes a slow, deep breath, listening for anyone coming and her fingers still on her weapon. She didn’t want anything bad happening before she told the Prince. About fifteen minutes goes by and the door opens, Prince Semanos and his 3 personal guards enter. He looks fresh faced in quiet a pleasant mood. A faint whiff of hashish lingers in the air as he approaches.
“Greetings Ferek Alamut, I do not recall summoning you for any deliveries?”
“Forgive me, your highness, but I learned something involving what happened with Jesan Ferem during Calibration.”
“Ah yes, I had heard he had been falsely accused of stealing a precious jewel from one of the Beys.” He heads over to the desk and pulls out a drawer, he takes out two cups and a wine bottle and begins to pour them both a drink.
“It’s… a lot worse.”
“His name has been cleared, there is no need for any more concern”
She shakes her head. “It’s not his name that’s the problem, your highness.”
“Worse?” The Prince takes one of the cups and offers her a drink. He sips his cup before replying “This sounds serious. Is he in some sort of danger? The last thing we need is some sort of diplomatic incident with Paragon.”
She takes the cup and then a sip. After a moment of quiet, the courier takes a deep breath and explains about the delivery she ended up doing, one of her couriers following after Jesan and the fight involving the Perfect possessing the noble, the demon and him escaping using some sort of spell or something. The Prince listens intently, his expression is scrutinizing. When he sees no deception in her words, he downs his entire cup. She pours him another, downs hers, and then pours herself a second cup as well.
“So you and your associates believe that the Perfect can possess Jesan? And possibly other citizens of Paragon as well?”
“The others said that he never showed any kind of that stuff before.”
“If what you say is correct, yourself, and your associates are in grave danger, as The Perfect himself has seen you through Jesan’s eyes.”
“Why do you think I came here?” She bit her lip. “I wanted to get the message to the Tri-Khan before anything happened to me.”
He nods. “Here is what we are going to do. I am going to tell my father what is going on,” He pulls out parchment and quill and begins to write furiously, “I want you to gather your things and I will make arrangements for you to be quartered in the palace. As soon as you are settled I will find a job for you that will take you outside of Chiaroscuro, where the eyes of the perfect cannot reach. I know my father, he will want to sit on this knowledge as a bargaining chip against Paragon to keep them out of the war. But that does not mean you and your companion must suffer the price.” He finishes his writing and hands her the paper. The paper is a large letter of credit.
“This should pay for your moving expenses.”
She bows. “I can visit family and seek out friends to see if they have found word of my sister. I have one question, if I may.”
“Your other companions are going to the Flaming Arena Tourney as the entourage of the Gladiator correct?” He interrupts.
She nods. “From what I understand, yes.”
“Ah yes, go ahead, I will provide the best answer I can”
“But my question was of if the palace knows of any groups or cults that believe in the Hundred God Heresy that train its students. I was told my sister is within one of those, but I know very little of such things.”
“Have you tried The Court of the Orderly Flame? It is possible she may have taken up with them. They are a Court of Fire Elementals who fancy themselves ‘heroes’, and often take in mortal agents to aid them in whatever causes they are championing.”
She bows again and nods. “I’ll ask about them then.”
“They have an open embassy here in the city. My guardsman Ukio can escort you there once you have made your moving arrangements” One of his personal guards steps forward and bows to Alamut respectfully.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
He nods. “You are dismissed, however I expect you back here by sun down, do not make me send someone after you.” He then smiles, “Ukio, makes sure she returns alive.”
“Yes my Prince” he salutes as the Prince and his other guards take their leave. Ukio turns to Alamut and says “Shall we depart?”
She nods and then grins. “Just keep up.”
And off the little rabbit goes to get things set up.
For the next month, Alamut has permanent quarters in the palace. She receives various small jobs delivering things on the palace grounds for bureaucrats and soldiers. She does them pretty efficiently, and makes sure that her couriers are safe and keeping in touch. When the month has gone by, the Prince finally gets her a more substantial Job. A job to deliver mail to a Delzahn Military Outpost named Rjun’s Stand. It is 50 Miles South of Chiaroscuro, along the Great Desert Road.
Alamut decides to travel by sandship as it is faster, in disguise the best she can, with help from someone who can actually does disguises before leaving. Passing as a young man, since that isn’t too hard with the right robes. One of the Prince’s Agents crafts the disguise. They are leery of dressing her as a man, because she is not dereth, but the Prince insists. She is about as comfortable with it as they are, but Conviction and the wisdom of safety overrules.
The trip on the sandship is smooth as the sea, its two day trip via ship and a one day’s travel by camel from the sandship port to the Outpost. Her stomach is strong and she suffers no motion sickness from the sailing upon the dunes. If anything, ‘he’ is running about helping the best he can, and is as fresh as a young colt. Alamut has been asking questions to the captain, a savvy and sly young man named Saffron Wind about sailing, as it seems fun to Alamut. Wind is more than happy to answer any and all questions she has. He seems to take a liking to her, even showing her a few tricks of the trade.
On the morning of the second day the Captain tells all the passengers you will arrive at port tomorrow in the morning.
Alamut stays up the whole night. It’s been a while since she has seen the stars, after all. She is on the deck the dark hours just before dawn. The stars are shining bright in the winter sky. They are just a few hands up, the Captain has retired for the night and all of the passengers are asleep.
“So quiet…” She is holding the package in the back next to her, keeping her voice soft.
As she looks out over the vast Dunes, she notices the sands are shifting, and then sliding out of the sands and scaling the sides of the ship are an uncountable amount of pale skinned, loin clothed, humanoid figures. Large ropes with crude grappling hooks sail across the night sky and embed into the sides of the ship. She sees them wielding nasty serrated metal, obsidian, and bone blades. They move with terrifying silence. She has but one free moment before they overwhelm the small skeleton crew and the sleeping passengers.
She takes out her knife and shouts, “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!”
As she shouts the horde swarms over the sides like locusts, the five awake crew members igniting the lanterns with firedust to illuminate the area. She then sees what they are..Dune People.
Alamut shouts out her warning as she rushes towards one of the ropes tied to the mast and to the side of the ship, a long and sturdy several yards from where they were storming. The girl starts pulling and untying it as fast as she can, keeping an eye for the dune people approaching her. She needs to get the rope long enough, but she has the speed to do what she is intending. Once the rope is undone, she grips it firmly, takes a few steps back and at an angle towards the people boarding and then RUSHES forward, off the ship with a whoop and then a THUD as she lands on her feet on the side and keeps running, her knife out and dashing across the wood to gash across the ropes and keep the Dune People away from the boat. The robes slice open and Dune people begin to plummet to the ground! Confidence fills her to the brim and her feet feel as light as air. Then she notices on the opposite side of the ship, another swarm has come. However, she has bought time for the skeleton crew to arms themselves and she can hear alarms being raised throughout the ship.
The crew draw their swords and flame pieces and begin firing on the albino horde with gouts of flame and edges of steel, it cuts down a third of the first swarm in fell swoop.
Alamut keeps RUNNING, kicking herself up and swinging across the deck. The rope winds around the mast, lifting the girl higher and swooping RIGHT across the heads of the second swarm coming up. As she does this the crew continues their assault, fire and blades flashing as Alamut continues her attack on the ropes. The ropes are cut like a hot knife through butter and the Dune people scream as they plummet back down into the sand. More dune people reach their end as the crew continues on slay a second third of the first swarm.
Frothing at the mouth, the five angry dune people that managed to get on deck, shriek at the Crew and attack. The five crew members try to defend themselves but all are slaughtered by the ferocious dune people. Their blood spattering the deck. The dune people shout a cry victory answered by their fellows in the sand.
Alamut then twists her body to start moving BACK to the right at a lower angle to keep the other side from being attacked again, shouting in Firetongue to the Dune People to keep away and off before she kicks ANOTHER group of them away.
“DON’T GET COCKY YET!” The woman hollers as she swings right back at the Dune people on board, her feet coming in first to see if she can actually nail one RIGHT out of the boat, to buy time. Her foot connects and she can hear the loud crunch of a broken nose as the Dune person is sent flying into the air plummeting down into the Dune. The elation she felt when the first cut the ropes a few second ago suddenly crescendos to new heights as her kick made full contact, As she flies once again at the end of the rope, her soul soars as she is bathed in pure, burning white silvery light, as pale and glorious as the face of Luna herself. Every inch of her flesh is filled with essence, and in the distance she can see a man, dressed in white desert robes, walking the dunes straight toward the ship. Alamut’s eyes go wide but she narrows them and again, turns to keep fighting. This is NOT FINISHED.
Enraged, a dune person climbs up the mast and leaps at her, his knife bearing down towards her midair, the other three running to find more prey inside the ship. She lets GO of the rope to tumble down to the deck again to give chase towards the Dune People going after the passengers. The Dune person mid flight swings wide and completely misses his target, he screams as he plummets down and land on the deck, knocking himself unconscious. The other Dune people dash towards the entrance but Alamut conveniently lands between them and the entrance to below decks.
The newly empowered woman lands on her feet, shouting again with anger.”I SAID-” She jams her blade into the side of the Dune person to her right, “DON’T GET COCKY!” The Dune person screams in agony as the knife slices into his pale flesh. Infuriated the they all fall on her with their knives, even the injured one. But the courage of Exaltation stay with her and she will not be cowed. Alamut keeps rolling forward, bouncing on the balls of her feet before spinning about with her bloody knife in one hand and her hand braced against the frame to force them to take her on one by one. Each attack is deftly and gracefully evaded by Alamut. The Essence of Luna sings in her blood, Luna’s light radiating all around her. She keeps her hand against the entrance as she keeps using her knife, her voice quieting down.
“I’m not letting you.”
She aims her attack against one of the two Dune people who had almost attacked her, gritting her teeth as she fights. The Dune person shouts out in pain and blood pours out from her strike. He bends down, his knees giving out on him.
“How many of you do I have to cut down before you LEAVE?” The girl frowns painfully at them all. They shout in fear and begin to flee with all their might. The two injured ones shuffling along for a few moments before being able to reach the edge of side of the ship, grabbing one of the cut ropes and lowering themselves down.
Once they are all gone, Alamut walks to where she had been leaning against the rail before and sighs, letting her head collide with the wood for a moment before standing upright again and adjusting her disguise. The ship sails on leaving the horde behind..and then sitting next to her suddenly is the man she saw in the distance, she recognizes him immediately, as she has heard tales of him since she was a little girl. Its The White Navigator.
“Hello Alamut” He says it in the most pristine and pitch perfect Delzahn, his voice like music to the ears.
“Well, shit.” She waves with a bit of a grin, trying to get her heart to stop racing. After she actually has her breath, she does actually BOW politely, as if to the Kha-Khan himself.
“It was wonderful what you have done for these people. it is in no small part why I have Chosen you.”
“It’s what I do.” She leans back against the railing again.
“I am one face of five of the Fickle Lady,” he gestures up at the Moon,”and I have Chosen you as one of my own. An Exalted… of Luna” he smiles at her dashingly.
“Uhuh.” After a moment, she blinks. Exalted. “Luna even”
“You can feel it your breathe, can’t you? Savants call it The Second Breath, exhilarating is it not?”
“Wait a minute.” She closes one eye, squinting with the other. “How did you get Chosen? I thought only the Dragons had them.”
“I have been Choosing for Millennium Alamut, my Children are the Stewards of this world.”
Eyebrows go up. “You’d think it’d be a bit louder, but I’m not really a history person.”
“The Dragonblooded have been, misguided, they consider Celestial Exalted to be Anathema. But it is not true, the Yozi’s have not touched you, but I have.” he runs his hand softly along her cheek.
“I’m not an Immaculate, I’m Delzhan.” She shrugs.”Though at least not being a demon is good.”
“Good.” he gestures at her feet where her travel bag and mail are, pristine, packed and ready to go. “Then we shall go, I wish to take you on a Journey.”
“Am I going to get to drop my message off like I was ordered?”
“If that is your wish, from now on, you make your own path.” He smilies once more and sweeps her off her feet. Her bags suddenly appearing slung over his shoulders. He leaps off the bow and flies through the air. They soar among the stairs for a few moments before they softly land in the dunes.
“Hey!” She jumps out of his arms. “And yeah, I want to. I chose being a courier myself because I liked it!”
Their time in the Dunes is lovely, he shows her how to navigate the stars, how to hunt and capture Hearts blood. He tells her poems about Gaia and her beauty. He tells her about being a Steward and what that means. He dares her to find her place in the world, and let nothing stop her from protecting her Stewardship, and being her own person. Dawn’s morning light finally comes and she can see the destination of her message in the distance. The White Navigator turns to her and says. “This maybe the last time we ever see each other. This time we have spent together has been wonderful. Go out and to the World and be great, and know whenever the moon shines upon you, I am watching..” He kisses her on the forehead, gently and with much love. Alamut gives him a fierce hug. “I’d be some dinar I’ll probably bring a message to you some day.”
“I’m sure you will, if you set your mind to it..” he says to her before he turns and walks away fading with each step as the morning light rises all around her.
Alamut grins before adjusting her pack.
“Well, still need to figure out a way to find sis… but there’s other stuff to think about, I think…”
Alamut noticed she still has a good half days walk before she arrives at the outpost, but she making good time. She head up a rather large Dune and when she reaching the top notices a frightening sight. Five Dragonblooded girded in full Jade Armor, armed with various artifact weapons, 20 Delzahn Cavalrymen, and 10 Mortal monks. A young dragonblooded woman in a red jade reinforced breastplate, with flaming red hair and smoldering brown eyes, points her Daiklave at her and shouts.
Alamut blinks twice at the scene.
“Before you do anything,” She removes the message she has to deliver, “Can you at least get this to where I’m bringing it? Or promise before we do anything? I’m still on a mission from the Tri-Khan and even if I’m Anathema, I don’t think he’d be happy to have it getting lost because of that.”
The Fire aspect woman blanches and looks at her in utter confusion and then says “What?”
“This.” She holds up the case with the message. “I’m supposed to be going to Rjun’s Stand to take this to the commanding officer there.”
“Its a trick!” An obvious water aspect in a black jade reinforced breastplate says. He has the vestments of an Immaculate, razor claws dangling from his belt. The Delzahn Cavalrymen murmur among themselves.
“It has the Tri-Khan’s seal, if you want a look.” She actually DROPS her knife to show she means no harm.
“Is that the Tri-Khan’s seal?” the Fire Aspect shouts back the the Delzahn. They all nod in reply. The Fire aspect, sighs. and rubs her temples. “Fine Anathema, for the good of Chiaroscuro I will present to you a comprise..” She begins as Alamut cuts her off with exactly what she was going to purpose.
“I’m willing to hand it over to one of the Delzhan for them to deliver before I start actually running in the other direction.” She is very cheerful about this whole thing.
“Agreed” She replies, the water aspect looks flabbergasted. She points to one of the Delzahn. “You! approach the Anathema and take the scroll for the Tri-Khan, if she kills you with her trick the Dragons will bless you with Exaltation in the next life for dying in their service.”
“Hey.” Alamut’s nose wrinkles. “Why would I kill a fellow member of my people?”
The Delzahn Calvary man nods slowly. Upon closer inspection it is actually a Dereth, She rides her horse in a gentle cantor towards Alamut. AS she gets close she can see the woman has beautiful, yellow sapphire colored eyes. The Delzahn’s eyes widen as she sees Alamut’s face. Then a Shout from the Monk is heard. “I tire of this Demon’s Tricks!” he leaps in the air heading strait for Alamut, black water essence rippling and heralding death by drowning. Then the woman leaps off her Horse and draw a beautiful curved Daiklave that radiates with the five colors of the Rainbow, her veil flies off as she flips off her horse and parries the incoming blow. As her Veil falls down the desert sand, she shimmers with Yellow stardust and Alamut sees her own face staring down this Monk in her defense. Alamut’s eyes go HUGE as she steps back, her voice in a very high pitch.
“Who are you?!” The Monk says blinking, as if she had just appeared to her.
“Your death should you attempt to make another strike against this woman” Abyad snaps back.
Alamut stands a bit straighter, speaking. “We can talk later, just get the message to the Tri-khan.” The Lunar grins. “Because as fast as fast can be, you’ll never catch me.”
“Attack the Anathema!” Screams the Monk. With THAT, Alamut shifts into a rabbit and BOLTS as if Adorjan was racing after her. Abyad runs like the wind alongside her, blockading and defending her from all incoming attacks.
“I’m not leaving you,” Abyad says to her, “They won’t stop!”
“And I won’t, either!” Alamut shouts back, using Dog Tongue Method.
With a gasp from Abyad you are flanked and surrounded. As Alamut prepares to dive between some feet and lose them again. A cloud overcasts a shadow over the sky. But it is not a cloud causing the shadow, but four large Birds of Prey: A Ration, Strix, Falcon, and a Mospid
“I don’t know what’s worse, the birds or the lizards.” Alamut comments.
They explode into four Deadly beastman forms covered in intricate moonsilver tattoos.
”... Yep, definitely the lizards.”
Two Large Reptilian, an Auroch, and a Jackal.
The girl’s nose twitches.
There is chaos as four Lunar Exalted crash and rips into the Dragonblooded. Abyad, lends her aid with delicate yet devastating Martial Arts, a halo of yellow light eventual shining from her as the mark of the Maiden of Journey shines on her forehead. Alamut also tries to help, keeping her sister’s back and using her knife and abilities the best she can. In a matter of minutes the entire Wyld Hunt is decimated. The large Auroch turns and looks at Alamut and Abyan, and then blinks.
“Uh who are we here for?” he says in a growling voice
“Hi!” Alamut says. “Who are you looking for, Alamut or Abyad?”
One of the serpentine figure shrinks down to a red robbed man with olive toned skin, his tattoos radiating with essence. “We are not looking for a name child, we are seeking out a newly chosen of Luna”
“Well, who’s not glowing?” Alamut says, her anima not radiating in the slightest.
“We came to bring you to safety, from the Wyld Hunt,” the red robed man replies.
“I still need to bring a message to the Stand.” Alamut cries. She puts her hands on her hips stubbornly.
Abyad’s aura dims and vanishes.
The other serpentine figure transforms in a lithe woman with long dark hair, a moonsilver breastplate and a green skirt. “Well I don’t think it should be a problem”
Alamut bounces on her heels impatiently, still standing beside her sister.
The red robbed man smilies and extends his hands, “Hello my name is Desert Morning.”
“And I am Heshya Black Asp,” the woman replies.
The Auroch grumbles “Can we please get someplace safe before we do niceties?!”
“I’m Ferek Alamut, and this is my sister, Ferek Abyad.” She looks at the Auroch. “Which direction, though?”
The Jackal turns into a quiet young man in a red scarf and dark brown desert robes. ” Where could be more safe than amidst the bodies of fallen foes? I am Silent Walker” the Jackal tribesman replies.
“I promise you that you will be able to finish your delivery, in fact I guarantee you will. However we must leave this area post haste.” Desert Morning says.
“Then let’s go.” She bounces on her heels again.
“You” Heshya says, “I can smell the Dragonblooded all over you. You were with them weren’t you?” The Aurochs hackles rise and looks of suspicion shadow Walker and Morning’s face.
Alamut stands before her sister, just GLARING.
“Look all I care about is my sister’s safety, you have nothing to worry about from me, so long as you truly mean she will be taken some place safe.” Abyan replies, putting her hand reassuringly on her sister’s shoulder.
“A truce then? At least until we can be completely assured Alamut is safe?” Heshya says extending her hand to Abyan. Alamut’s sister takes it and shakes it firmly, “Agreed” Abyan replies.
The Auroch man carries Abyan and Alamut as the others change into Bird forms again, Abyan, bathes everyone in a yellow halo of light and suddenly they are start to move faster. They soon arrive at an oasis and are greeted kindly by the people of the nearby village. A Shrine to the White Navigator is open for all to see. They are all offer hospitality from the villagers. Food, rest, and most importantly, water.
The Village of Moon Pool is a kind and comforting place to take respite. Alamut, her sister, and the Lunars pack are treated well. Alamut has been running about, finding her footsteps way too hilarious. That and ‘bothering’ Abyad and asking what DID happen.
Desert Morning takes Alamut aside the next morning, and over a shared pitcher of water and some dates, he tells her of the dangers of Chimerism, the sacred tattoos, and how one must undergo the trials of Cunning, Mettle, Succor, and Courage to receive them. Alamut listens for the whole thing the best she can, but she’s a bit fidgety about getting the message to who it has to go to, and thinking of other things, if the message has been taken care of.
“Do not worry I promise you will get to deliver your message soon, but your spiritual, physical, mental well being a threatened so long as you go untattooed.” Desert Morning says patiently, “Tonight under the light of the Waxing moon I shall ink your tattoos, take this time to speak with your sister, and I shall see you here after sundown” Desert Morning’s tone is calm, soothing and self assured. He makes his statement absolutely convinced that Alamut will accept the tattoos.
“If I don’t change while doing it, I’m fine, right?” Her nose wrinkles up as she asks.
He nods sagely.
She just sighs and heads to talk to her sister. Tempted to just run off anyways and just be careful.
Abyan is sitting cross legged in front of the shrine to The White Navigator, staring up at it.
“Whacha looking at, Abby?”
She turns to her and smiles, “The Incarna that has decided to play a cruel prank on me.”
“Meh.” She flops down next to her. “At least you are still alive. Everyone kept saying you didn’t even exist.”
“That is not entirely untrue.” She replies, “I was gone from my old life.”
“But no one remembered you but me.”
“Hell, I got told that recently too.”
“That is the burden I bear.”
“Does it come with the eyes?” She says while scratching her head.
“One of many, you see Alamut, a few years ago I was Chosen by Fate itself to become its champion. The Maiden of Journeys had blessed me from birth to become one of her Chosen.”
“Huh. That explains why you left, I guess. Still annoyed you didn’t tell me, but I would have run after you either way.”
“Three years ago my time came, and I was taken away to the Heavenly City of Yu-Shan. I wanted to take you with me Alamut, I truly did but they…they wouldn’t allow it. They told me I had to leave you behind, that I had responsibilities to this world far greater than any single mortal. I trained for a year and a day to serve Heaven as an Agent of Destiny.”
Alamut nods.”Still could have told me and I would have went looking for a way. I’m the stupid one, remember?” She winks.
Abyan smirks at her, “You are making jokes while I’m trying to be serious for once, that just like you little sister.”
“Well, yeah. Otherwise I’d start crying and have a fit, Abby, and what’s the use in that?”
“You’re right. Its all in the past now anyway. Now we have found each, and I promise I won’t leave you behind ever again.”
“I’ll catch up if you walk off while I’m doing something.”
“I can outrun a horse already.”
“Don’t promise to not leave me behind. Just promise we’ll keep running into each other. More reasonable, and don’t laugh on me actually thinking about sense!”
Abyan nods slowly, her smile warm and reassuring, “We’ll keep running into each other, I promise.”
“Good.” She rubs her temple. “Desert Morning wants me to do some sort of thing for trials.”
“Trials? I wonder what that means. Perhaps it is like my training…” She contemplates to her self quietly before perking back up. “I’m sure you’ll do fine. We Celestial Exalted are not all that…common. I’m sure these chosen of Luna have your best interest mind.”
“I know, I know.” She humphs. “It’s supposed to keep me from mutating into something crazy and set exactly what sort I am.”
Abyan stands up and puts her hand on her twin’s shoulder, they stand eye to eye as if looking into a mirror.
“So we keep getting more different. I guess that’s not a surprise.” Alamut replies, peering into her sister now yellow sapphire eyes.
“Oh!” Alamut holds up a finger. “If you ever need a job in Chiaroscuro, just find someone in the Yellow Rose Breeze.”
Abyan laughs and smiles, “I will make sure to do that.”
“The Yellow Rose Breeze is my business of couriers.”
Alamut bounces on her heels. “Hell, we actually work with the Tri-Khan!”
“Its seems you have gone quiet far in the world sister!”
“Looks like I’ll get farther too… Stuff’s getting crazy.”
“You will do well my sister, the blood of the Delzahn flows through our veins.” Abyan replies with a slight head tilt.
“I already am.” She grins.
“I knew I wasn’t going to have to hold your hand forever.” her tone is playful as Abyan pats her sister’s shoulder.
“Hey,” She bumps her shoulder against her sister’s.
“Well, I’ll turn up again with silver on me.”
Abyan giggles at the bump and whorls around happily, her arms extended out. Her laughter filling the air with joy.
“Come sister, its such a beautiful day, ” she takes Alamut’s hand, “Let us explore this beautiful oasis..”
The rabbit keeps moving along as well, grinning. “And make up for lost time too.”
Abyan and Alamut share a wonderful day walking all around the beautiful oasis and village inhabiting it. The sunset ignites the sky with vibrant colors as the wondrous day comes to an end. Desert Morning awaits her by the pool with a small stone altar nearby. Upon the stone altar is an incense burning bowl, a bamboo tattoo kit, and a Black Jade bowl filled with shifting, and shimmering liquid moonsilver.
“This is going to hurt.” Alamut says to herself before approaching. The Wanning moon and starlight have illuminated the scene, the moon’s reflection perfect in the nearby pool.
“Please disrobe, and tell me the story of your life, all your greatest deeds, most wondrous adventures, and precious memories.”
“Hrm, okay then.” The girl strips, thinking about what to actually talk about.
Desert Morning lights the incense, which has a calming effect upon those smelling it. He dips his bamboo sliver into the pool of moonsilver, his own tattoos begin to glow white as he begins to thread the metal into Alamut’s bare flesh. Alamut then begins to tell him, the story of her life. The first memory was running after Abyad and tripping before getting up again and keeping on running. Stupid little memories of not just being a twin, but running and listening and exploring everything around her. Her favorite memory being coming back from her test, not with a hunt or a poem, but with words about where a good hunt could be found. A third option and thinking on the feet. Seeking out her sister, going to the City of Glass and the adventures and running there, watching the world go by in a blur. The attacks while BEING a courier, almost dying but not being afraid of it. Guilty for having to leave someone behind, but it was for the city that she had fallen in love with. Meeting people, both high and low, having to lose the skirts she used to use because they got in the way of running as fast as she could, riding the sandship for the first time and loving it, talking to (What was the guy’s name? Saffron Breeze?), the different things she tried, the links she made, the quiet challenge of delivering a message to Luna someday just to prove she could, just the running forever without fear or exhaustion. Her story is painted, threaded and woven in glowing moonsilver upon her body, the telling of her story and the smoke of the incense chasing away to the searing pain, and as she reaches the end of her tales, Desert Morning does one final brush stroke and is finished.
“You may robe now.” Desert Morning rises, and the glowing of his tattoos subside. She winces as she gets her clothes back on. Stupid tattoos. She thinks to herself.
“Your trials begin now. Your first trial is to deliver your message to Rjun’s Stand, alone and with no aid.”
She nods. “That won’t be a problem, at least, even with the hunt.”
“Tell Sis I have to do it alone, else she’ll have a fit.” She bounces on her heels once before shifting into a rabbit again and bounding off towards Rjun’s Stand.
“Our truce with your sister, the star-chosen, still stands through your trials. She will be safe here.”
She call upon the Hide of the Cunning Hunter, shape shifts into her hare form and runs off like a blur. Alamut races across the dunes heading straight for the Outpost. She notices a Wanning moon in the sky. Once she gets within distance, and can find a place to hide, Alamut literally disguises herself as one of her own couriers, one of the young men. She draws upon the illusion of the wanning moon anima to make her disguise perfect.
‘He’ heads to the fort, shaking his head with a bit of a grumble inward. Hopefully the hunt WASN’T there in truth, but still, this was caution. The sun slowly rises and bathes the outpost with morning light. Delzahn soldiers are switching guard shifts as Alamut approaches.
“Got a message from Chiaroscuro, from the Tri-Khan’s palace!” She reports to one of the Guards on duty.
The Guard nods and escorts her into the gates. The guardsman leads her to a large Fortress, inside they are various clerks and soldiers walking around. She led straight to the office of the general. She glances about to make sure she can figure out an escape route, just in case. The general is a graying man, in chain and cotton desert robes. He nods at Alamut respectfully and he takes the scroll with the Tri-khan’s seal. The rest of the mail he hands off to a clerk. ” makes sure these are distributed among the men.” he say to the clerk a matter of fatly.
‘He’ bows curtly.
“Have need of water or food young man? it has been a days travel in the desert.” The general inquires.
“I was able to get enough supplies before hand, thank you, sir.”
“Well then, you have the hospitality of the Outpost for the a week should you need. Report to the clerk for quarters if you wish to do so. otherwise, you are dismissed.” His voice is stern and no nonsense.
He bows again, going to get some at least some water before heading back to the Moon Pool.
The journey back is a fast one and takes another day of travel.
“Well, that’s over with.” She shifts back from the rabbit form she took after leaving the fort, dusting herself off.
Desert Morning awaits her by the pool upon her return.
“See I kept my promise did I not?”
“Yes, you did. I was still paranoid, but I just used a disguise for that.”
“Good, now you thinking like a child of Luna.”
“Your next trial is simple, yet a touch more dangerous. There is a sandswimmer that has been plaguing the peace of this village. It has been attacking villagers who travel to the edges of the oasis near the sand, or traveling out to do trade along the Great Desert Road.”
“Hunt it, slay it, and take its heartsblood.”
“Okaaaay.” She scratches her head. Tracking. This will be a first. She goes to the edge, sitting down under a tree or something shady and thinks.”I just hope the damn thing is a good one, or else it won’t work…”
Alamut notices about 10 yards out in the distance a shifting in the sand, and a scaly backs rising and then sinking back into the sand.
“Yep, there it is.” She is still sitting there, watching it. “Probably going to come RIGHT up and bite my ass too.”
For one hour Alamut stalks the Sandwimmer, moving silently and observing the creature in it natural environment. Then Alamut is poised to strike. The woman sits down as loudly as she can, taking out her knife and waiting for the pesky bastard come towards her. The sand rumbles beneath her and the scaly reptile bursts up under her feet, growling with hunger.
“Sorry, but,” The girl bounces up as she moves from the swimmer’s attack, “I’m stuck doing this!” With that, she lunges forward with her knife, aiming for the throat.
The Sand swimmer growls and deftly slides opening its jaws attempting to clamp down and take a chunk from her arm. The girl jumps back onto grass with a grunt, shaking her head. “I’m starting to wish I learned a BOW instead.” The girl actually scrambles up a tree, with a grin on her face once she is perched over the sand swimmer.
“DEATH FROM ABOVE!”
Down she jumps, knife first. Her blade sinks through its hide and thrashes about angrily. It swerves around and once again attempts clap its jaws on her arm. She tries kicking the damn thing away before it can get to her arm, her grip on her knife to pull it out. Fortunately, her kick lands solid and shoves the beast away. Alamut keeps trying to attack the wound she landed before, to make it deeper and bleed more blood. The knife slices deeper into the wound and the creature roars and thrashes, its teeth glistening in the moonlight. The Creature gnashes at her again with desperate fury and pain in its reptilian eyes. Its gnash falls shorts of her, its wounds preventing it from getting a good bite.
“I’m really, really sorry about this, but…” The girl is almost crying, feeling bad that she has to do this, still attacking it with her little blade. Her blade connects, craving deeper into the scales. The creates eyes turn red with rage and his now bloodied razor sharp teeth come coreening towards her.
“You things have a crazy form?” She scrambles backwards, trying to pull the knife not OUT, but to drag the swimmer away from her, at least. She overwhelming succeeds as the creature is dragged through the sand and twisted so his bite snaps upon nothing but air. She leans into the knife to try burying it deeper, since it is still in there. The wound is embedded and more blood seeps out. The Creature attempts to shake the misty eyed woman off of him and clamp it jaws into her once more. Alamut only has the heart to try stepping to the side. Her movements, while not filled with heart, are stiff deft and graceful, the creature once again merely snapping at night air.
“I’m going to drop your damn corpse on that guy’s head once I’m done with you!” She grumbles to herself as she rips the knife out and starts going for the eyes. With a final stab the creature thrashes and then collapses into death. She flops down, putting the knife into the chest before pulling it out and grimacing as she licks it. A strange warmth fills her as she feels the form of the sandswimmer fill her body and mind, the shape is not hers, and can be taken as easily and swiftly as her hare form. Her moment is interrupted by the single applause of Desert Morning.
“Excellent, although I noticed you did channel The Relentless Lunar Fury or Changes into Deadly Beastman Form.” He comments curiously.
“I don’t know how to do that last one.”
The moment she sees him, she hoists up the sand swimmer and almost as quick as one would blink, HURLS it at the other Lunar. He catches it, and hoists it over his shoulder.”The hide is good for weapon sheaths.”
“I think I need a bigger knife.” She answers about with a sigh.
“The Deadly Beastman is our battle form, you witnessed it when my pack and I were fighting the Wyld Hunt.”
“Ah.”She flops back down again to clean the knife.
” I didn’t practice it either when I first took the Second Breath, I learned much later, and only at my pack mate’s explicit request.”
“Seriously, me as a giant rabbit monster?”
He nods sagely.
“I’d piss myself laughing if I ever saw one.”
“You have done quiet well so far.
“Thanks. So, what now?”
“Well you have one final trail before your initiation is finished and your tattoos fix your caste.”
“Negotiate a new truce between my pack and your sister, one that goes beyond the immediate security of your safety.”
”... Somehow I figured you’d say that one.” She gets up, stretching. “But what’s the problem? She’s my sister.”
“Come, the others are awaiting us by the pool, You will see”
She groans once again as she follows him. He leads her back to the pool, still carrying the carcass over his shoulder. When they arrive at the pool she sees the other Lunars and her sister, huddled around a fire. A tall young man, shirtless in vast pantaloons with shock white hair and large horns coming out of his head cheers.
“Yeah! I knew she could do it” He exclaims.
The Auroch man is nowhere to be seen.
She isn’t going to ask right now. She has a headache and isn’t looking forward to this at ALL.
“Its appears that Alamut is now blooded, and brought us dinner!” Desert Morning exclaims as he slumps the carcass down next to the fire. His pack mates cheer and news, all smiling and congratulating Alamut on her success.
Alamut rubs her head awkwardly.
The horned man takes the carcass away to a corner, pulls out a knife, a bag of salt and a bag of spices. He begins skinning the carcass and curring the meat as Desert Morning extend out his hands and calls out. “Silence my fellow Chosen of Luna.”
“We now begin Alamut’s final trial.” He turns to her and finds a seat by the fire and nods to her. She keeps standing, feeling a bit awkward.
Heshya sighs. “Look these past two days have been lovely, however dat does not change za fact she was vith the vild hunt”
“She was with the Delzhan calvary.” Alamut crosses her arms. “We sort of have a problem with the fact that our capital is under the Realm’s control, sort of. Which means the Hunt can conscript soldiers into it for a time while in the area.”
Heshya smiles at her, “Well yes you have a point. It can not be helped that the you are delzahn and conscripted by the Realm. There is only so much that can be done about that.”
Desert Morning looks at Abyan, his eyes and tone quiet serious. “I know the ancient lore, I know what your caste mark means. You are one of the Sidereals.”
“Wha?” The horned man says. “The ones who send the Dragonblooded to hunt us?!”
Alamut head tilts.
Desert Morning puts his hand up and the Horned young man seems to visibly calm. Silent Walker stares at Abyan, his eyes cold and neutral, and the only part of his face truly seen uncovered by the red scarf.
“Yes I am a Sidereal.” Abyan answers, “I will not deny it.”
“Do you deny riding with the Wyld Hunt with the purpose of aiding the Dragonblooded slay an Anathema?”
“I was there to ensure their safe journey there and back again.”
“Even if that meant aiding them fight the Anathema?” Walker continued his interrogation.
“Then why didn’t you?”
Abyan goes silent, and turns red in the cheeks. Alamut quietly face palms and holds up her hand.
“We are twins.”Alamut declares. “And damn it, I’m not going to let you hurt her because of her damn job. Especially when it seems like she blew it to hell because of me.”
“You would throw away your conviction against Anathema, your support of the Dragonblooded and Immaculate philosophy..” Walker Continues, his gaze never leaving Abyan’s for one moment.
“For my sister yes. She is apart of me, she is family.”
Walker falls silent and nods with deep reverence and respect to Alamut.
“Hell, I went to Chiaroscuro to find her as well. You could say it’s her fault I’m here either way.” Alamut turns to her sister.”I’m not going to promise anything stupid that will lock either one of us, but we did promise to run into each other sometimes.”
Desert Morning speaks up, “This is where we are Alamut, your sister helped us rescue you from the Wyld Hunt. However, it is a Wyld Hunt she was part of, because her kind, the Sidereal Exalted have been hunting us down and secretly supporting the Dragonblooded in their crusade against us.”
“Then maybe she can be the start of stopping it, don’t you think?” She is still looking at her sister. “It’d be one hell of a trip.”
Abyan face brightens, and a glimmer of hope is in her eyes. “It will be hard, but it is a road I am willing to travel so long as I can always come home to my sister, every once and awhile.”
“I mean, the Dragons live for hundreds of years, how long do we live? Misdirection and that sort of thing can’t be that hard if people forget you too… And rashka are Wyld too…”
Abyan nods, “I do so enjoying hunting Fair Folk.”
“ME TOO!” the Horned Man exclaims and everyone give him a look, “oh um yeah..”
“You can make sure she keeps to her promise around here and help out, maybe?” She looks at the two questioningly to see their consent.
Desert Morning nods, and then looks to Heshya, who nods, and then to Horned man and he nods, and then all to Silent Walker. Silent stands there, his eyes still neutral and impassive and he is silent for a fill long agonizing minute. Before he slowly nods his head and says “yes”, his eyes warming with kindness towards Abyan, deeper than any the rest of the pack has shown.
“Pheeeeeew.” Alamut says, wiping sweat from her brow.
“Then it is settled, our pack and the sidereal Abyan are at peace, so long as takes up the cause of ending the Dragonblooded’s crusade against the Children of Luna.” Desert Morning announces this as he stands. He turns to Alamut and smiles down at her as the young Lunar tackle-hugs her sister with a cheer. “Chose a name for yourself Child of Luna, one all within The Silver Pact will know. One that speaks of your spirits and your deeds.”
“Welcome Bright Road, Changing Moon Caste, to the Silver Pact”
Suddenly her tattoos glow white and infuse her with overwhelming warmth as she feels her caste fix. Abyan kisses her sister on the cheek and whispers, “Welcome to the beginning of the greatest journey of your life, and I am honored to have guided you there, little sister”