Second Martial Arts Excellency
Death Between Heartbeats
Breath and Essence Control
Close Your Eyes and Look
Even Blade Form
Second Dodge Excellency
Threshold Warding Stance
Hopping Firecracker Evasion
Safety Among Enemies
Falling Star Maneuver
Second Integrity Excellency
Second Presence Excellency
Effortlessly Rising Flame
Bellows Pumping Stride
Incense Smoke Ladder
Glowing Coal Radiance
Aura of Invincibility
Sweeten The Tap Method
Artifact 2: Reaper Daiklave (red jade)
Artifact 2: Reaper Daiklave (black jade)
Artifact 2: Hearthstone Bracers (jade)
Artifact 2: Artifact Breastplate (jade)
Manse 4: Seven Leaping Dragon Stone, Precision of Form Gemstone, Memorial Iron
Cathak Domician Ventesus was born into a life that many would be envious of; the only son of two Exalted parents, born into wealth and luxury in the Scarlet Prefecture, and himself gaining Exaltation at a young age, his affinity for the House's Aspect was simply another favorable turn of events. Naturally gifted and driven by the pressures such a birth forced upon him, he worked diligently to accomplish each challenge set before him, to be the best, and to uphold the ideals that his teachers and history pressed upon him. It was only as he began to mature that he noticed with increasing clarity how seldom it seemed others strove to do the same. Most social events seemed less focused on matters of Realm and order, and more as elaborate parties to flaunt vices and discard any sense of decency and responsibility. Even in the House of Bells, he met few who shared his strict and self-imposed philosophy of righteousness and honor; while there were some, most others were content to simply follow orders and fight on command, or even graduate to more mercenary roles.
Graduation and time brought experience, and with it, growing dissent. Taking part in a Wyld Hunt, if it could be called that, he was able to join in the slaying of a lone Anathema. He found the ordeal distasteful and unsatisfying, however, and as the group of well-trained warriors took down the demon, he felt the victory was hollow and meaningless. The destruction of one, the inexperienced man barely able to swing his blade properly, against such stacked odds....it hardly warranted the following celebration. With each new event, the Fire Aspect's blood grew hotter, finding it difficult to keep his perfect manners in check as fury rose beneath a calm exterior, every new display of childish bickering and abject depravity further mocking the legacy of the Scarlet Empire.
Eventually he could stand it no longer. The Cynis hosts had gone to great lengths in providing all manner of pleasures for their guests, sparing no expenses on food or entertainment. All around, idle conversation and barely-masked innuendo did its best to mask the beautiful music of the performers....and then, someone made the mistake of asking the stoic and silent Cathak what he thought of the evening. His voice had, thankfully, not been loud. But it had been as destructive as any blaze, a burning tirade on the disgust he felt for so many lying, back-stabbing sycophants and the decadent corruption they eagerly lost themselves in. Following the affair, a number of his House's members had decided that it might be best for him to take an extended leave of absence....they masked it as little more than a vacation, a tour to spread influence and gain new holdings, all while hoping to keep him away; both for the sake of their own reputation, and to distance him from any number of assassins and other such seekers of retribution.
The Most Eloquent Tongue of the Water Dragon and The Most Ferocious Fang of the Fire Dragon - Eloquence and Ferocity, the twin swords given to him by his most influential tutors; the first imparting the skills and knowledge of court, and the other instilling more martial talents. These two blades were forged as a set, despite being made of black and red jade, respectively. They are very personal, and one of few things holding sentimental value.
Seven Leaping Dragon Stone - After the destruction of the Anathema, its possessions were divided up among the victorious members. Having little use for the inferior weaponry and armor, he chose the stone set in the sword itself.
Precision of Form Gemstone - A parting gift from his Even Blade master, along with the elder's own encouragement and wisdom.
Torque of Immaculate Purity (Artifact 1): an elaborate black jade torque inscribed with sutras to Daana'd, given to him as a graduation present years ago. It acts as a Collar of Dawn's Cleansing Light, only less...y'know, Anathema-y.
Unsurpassed Vestments of the Vigilant Tailor (Artifact 2): a set of Silken Armor. particularly stylish, for the barfly on the go.
Relentless Tsunami Soul (Artifact 3): an ancient House relic, passed down to Nadal by his father, this black jade Daiklave mirrors the ebb and floe of the tides, twisting to strike or defend against any opponent. Through masterful First Age craftsmanship, it can also be recalled from Elsewhere through a small use of essense.
Authoritative Stamp (Artifact 2): another graduation gift from his Secondary School, this jade stamp can mimic any signature, stamp, crest, or seal Nadal has personally seen.
Nadal is atturned to 2 manses, both Water-aspected. One is a small grotto off the shores of the Blessed Isle. Minimalist but comfortable, it serves as a retreat for when Nadal needs a quiet place to reflect (hearthstone: bloodstone). The second Manse is one he shares with several of his borthers and sisters. It is a dojo in one of the off-the-beaten-path districts on the Bleesed Isle. A place for him to socialize with his family, as well as refine his fighhting techniques and work out some misplaced aggression 9hearthstone: freedom stone).
Compassion 2, Conviction 3, Temperance 1, Valor 4 (1 BP)
Willpower 8 (3 BP)
Second Martial Arts Excellency
Five-Dragon Force Blow
Five-Dragon Blocking Technique
First Dodge Excellency
Safety Among Enemies
Smoldering Karma Strike
Threshold Warding Stance
Observer Awareness Method
Ears of the Snowy Owl
Imposter's Voice Technique
Elemental Concentration Trance
First Awareness Excellency
All-Encompassing Earth Sense
Distracting Breeze Meditation
Trackless Passage Style
Second Investigation Excellency
Revelation of Associates Hunch
Nadal was a pet project for his family. one of the finest-bred Iselsi in several generations, his elders had great plans for him. From an early age, he was enrolled in the Palace of the Tamed Storm, learning the finer arts of criminality and intelligence gathering under some of the most devious and unforgiving tutors the Realm had ever had the displeasure to inflict upon its own. Privy to certain secrets about his family, most naturally assumed he would join the House intelligence network, and within a few decades, become a celebrated spymaster in his own right. Of course, what no one could have counted on was the willful ignorance of a spoiled Dynast spoiling his House's carefully crafted plans. While nowhere near devout enough to be an actual Immaculate monk Nadal did beliueve in the Immaculate Philosophy, and devoted himself to a career in the legions, with the goal of joining the Wyld Hunt, to seek out and destroy the Anathema before they could rise up again.
Nadal got his wish,and it ruined him. A gifted fighter, but lacking the talent to be an officer (a holdover from his Seconday School days of being aught to avoid calling too much attention to himself), he was invited to serve as a member of the Wyld Hunt. He tracked down several rogue God-Blooded heathens and rogue spirits, but never had the luck to encounter an Anathema. Until the day of his 31st birthday. Based on sightings on an Anathema inthe Scavenger Lands, Nadal's group went to investigate. They stumbled across a circle of Anathema. Nadal's Sworn Brotherhood tried to do their duty. And they were promptly butchered. Their minds were broken, and they were savaged by the terrible fiends. Faced with monstrous foes out of the Realm's darkest nightmares...Nadal fled. The only, shamed survivor of the encounter, he never had the courage to return home. He lost himself in Greyfalls, where he has developed a reputation as a notorious drunken scoundrel, and a lesser known reputation as a notoriously brilliant spying scoundrel, determined to pick up the pieces of his life for his House, if not for himself.
Every Sorcerer must sacrifice something upon attaining the final station; Malina lost her vision. Or, at least, so she tells everyone. In actual fact, Malina sacrificed her former ambition: she can see just fine, although she's found that feigning blindness has many useful social advantages and has reduced the effectiveness of assassination attempts on her life by 40%. After her "crippling injury" and graduation from the Heptagram, she sought a postponement of her wedding to a Memnon lordling, and as part of her "recuperation" she found a position in Greyfalls working as a liaison between House Cynis and the Guild. While her duties include overseeing the relentless stream of drugs and slaves passing from the Riverlands into the Realm, as well as maintaining good social ties to Cynis's Guild debtors by throwing tediously lavish orgies in which she has little interest, in her heart she takes after her ancestor Cynis Mond; she'd rather be elbow-deep in the dirt unearthing First Age tomes or strange devices than overseeing the training of high value pleasure slaves. To that end she's been cultivating several of the better class of Scavenger Lords, trading access to high society through her weekly parties in exchange for fresh news about First Age findings.
She dreams of making a discovery so great that her family's name will finally be associated with something other than debauchery.
Retainers: Malina’s most trusted retainer is Trajan, a robustly graying man in his sixties who serves as her seneschal. Trajan is technically her half-brother, one of her father’s un-exalted by-blows from a previous generation. Educated to the highest standards of the house, he tutored her throughout her younger years, and has been more of a father to her than her actual father. She trusts him with her life, and upon graduating, took him on as head of her household in perpetuity as a sort of extended retirement. She also took on Trajan’s
wife, Seven Shadows Starling, as her personal cook.
The rest of Malina’s household consists of a pair of maids (Tonic and Xheh) and a secretary (Bhu), all of them former slaves of House Cynis that Malina freed.
Demons: over the ten or so years that she has practiced summoning, Malina has developed a casual working relationship with a few named first circle demons.
Cinder Heart is a neomah Malina summoned largely because it was the sort of thing expected from a Cynis sorcerer, and she does try to maintain a certain air. To her surprise she found the courtesan of hell to be an interesting and clever conversationalist in a demonic sort of way, as well as a potentially deadly household guardian.
Zug is a sesselja, and a Cynis’s best friend, making it easier to carouse at parties and preventing the worry of poisons.
Mercurial Freedom’s Folly is a demon wasp, and Malina’s vain, preening mount. He complains or days if his carapace isn’t oiled properly once a week, a task that terrifies Malina’s household maids.
House: Malina moved into a small Cynis estate in the High Quarter district of Greyfalls, immediately making sure to plant and then thaumaturgically enhance a ring of high thorned hedges to guard against casually prying eyes. She purposely cultivates an air of exotic mystery to the house, since being known as the “creepy blind Cynis sorcerer” tends to insulate her from the company of dullards. She throws the bare yearly minimum of bacchanals that her House standing will let her get away with, keeping the guest list small, exclusive, strange, and dissolute. The House's library currently occupies two entire rooms, and is preparing to creep into a third.
Artifacts: Malina has a suit of ceremonial blue jade armor, given to her as a present from her House when she embarked on her first – and only – Wyld Hunt. She also possesses a slim blue jade bracelet set with a single hearthstone, which channels her essence into crackling lances of lightning.
General Sesus Maela was a hero of the Realm, a brilliant commander who led her armies to battle across Creation until she died gloriously in battle with the Empire's enemies. Sesus Kaeo is known, where she is known, as Maela's daughter and as little else.
Kaeo's Exaltation into the wood aspect was an inheritance from her Cynis father, a man who showed little hesitation in showering her with gifts and luxuries. The Sesus family was slightly less enthused about a wood exalted (Exalted is Exalted, to be sure, but some were unhappy that her father's blood won out over Maela's excellent fire-aspected bloodline). Still, Kaeo was given her mother's ancestral daiklaves as a gift, and sent to the House of Bells to study the arts of war. She proved herself able, but not exemplary. In personal combat, excellent; in the art of war... adequate. She was able to graduate, with all due honors, from the elite institution. But it was clear that she was not the genius her mother had been.
She also had more than an allowable share of troubles with the school's strict disciplinary regimen. Some people thought that it was her response to the demands of her mother's name, while others attributed it to her wood aspect and Cynis heritage. Either way, loose tongues were beginning to wag, especially after she left the Bells and gained her commission. It was decided that the House's name, and Maela's, would be best served by securing a posting for the troublesome girl in the farthest corner of the Empire, where she could either learn her lessons or fall off the edge of the world.
Kaeo, for her part, is a more-than-competent example of the Dragon's blessings, but one who has spent her life measuring against an impossible standard. She is nothing but excited at the chance to experience the far-flung adventures from a posting in the Threshold. She is a spoiled girl and a shameless libertine, but she still dreams of glorious victory and success, and glories heaped on her by the House and the Realm. Though she would never say as much, she wishes for a day to come when the Realm knows the name of Sesus Maela as nothing more than Sesus Kaeo's predecesor.
Daiklaves: The Brightfeather Razors, a matching pair of red jade daiklaves were signature belongings of Sesus Maela before her death, commissioned specially when she graduated the House of Bells, from one of the finest craftsmen in Eagle's Landing. Both daiklaves have the stylized feather of the Sesus mon etched just above the hilt. Kaeo rarely even sleeps with the daiklaves out of her reach.
If possible, I'll be using the alternate rules for red jade in Odanel's Codex, since as pointed out, the jade bonus won't stack with the bracers.
Reinforced Breastplate: Kaeo's own graduation present from the House of Bells from relatives in House Sesus. The green jadesteel armor is patterned in an eagle motif, with stylized wings on her shoulders and a crest of feathers on her pot helm. The armor also included a pair of hearthstone bracers, which she generally wears even out of her armor.
*Yeeve - A young man, of slight build, with a thin mustache over his lip. He was born of six generations of fishers along the Imperial River, and the youngest of three brothers. He is the family's first real chance for social advancement, and fully intends to serve the twenty-year term in the Legions to achieve citizenship and a hefty pension. Unsuited for service in the front lines, he is instead serving his time as an aide du camp and secretary for Kaeo.
The man is loyal, although his loyalty is to the Realm and its Legions before it is to Sesus Kaeo specifically. His interest is in completing his service with a clean record and no black marks against him, so that he can spend the remainder of his life supporting his family with the 'luxury' of a citizen's wages and pension. If that entails becoming selectively blind, deaf, and dumb while his superior is in a compromising position, he'll do so and forget he ever did as soon as convenient. Perhaps surprisingly, Kaeo has earned a certain degree of personal loyalty from him, as hidebound and regimented as he is.
*Makona Red Shells Rattling – Makona was born and grew up on a small island on the great ocean. Her and her people lived off of whatever could be grown on the island, whatever they could take from the sea, and some meager trade from nearby islands and with the people from the deeps. There was little on the island save its people, and so when raiders came from Coral, it was the people they took, to sacrifice to the shark-goddess of war or to sell as on market.
Makona was fortunate enough to avoid death at the hands of her captors or the sharks that followed their boat. From Coral she was shipped to the western edge of the Isle, and sold to the traders of the Cynis. There, she was further 'fortunate' in that she caught the eye of one of the slave-traders, who determined to give her as a gift to his daughter as a graduation present. And so Makona Red Shells Rattling entered the service of Kaeo, and her journey has taken her very nearly across the bredth of Creation.
In Kaeo's service, she acts as a handmaiden, a status symbol, and a translator; although Kaeo speaks the Rivertongue quite fluently, she enjoys the air of mystery it affords her to speak only in the High Realm in earshot of the locals. Makona serves willingly enough, and has found Kaeo to be kind and gentle, by the standards of her captivity. By the standards of slaves captured by force and held in bondage far, far away from their people, their homes, and their gods, Makona could even be considered to be fortunate.
Eryx –Kaeo keeps a mospid as a pet and companion, and she frequently takes the creature hunting. Makona cares for the bird as one of her duties, dealing with the routine feeding and sanitation while Kaeo is free to spend her time training and hunting with it.
Tiny point--Sesus Maela is Kaeo's mother. Her father is a Cynis slave trader (who I still haven't given a proper name to).
...also, would it be possible to use the stats for Realm Legionarres in the Blessed Isle book for my combat units? Or at least the equipment? I don't care for the aesthetics of Realm soldiers with chain armor and no shields.