Session 007

Title: Rescuing Vecca from the Twice Gilded Merchant
Real Date: 04/27/2013
In Game Date: Early Summer, Realm Year -5ish

GM Note: I changed the destination from Hollow (Nexus) to Marita both for distance and “historical accuracy”. I’ll go back through journals and such for consistency. Take a look at the map to get an idea.

Players discussed:

  • XP’s were spent all around
  • Post Exalted phase 1 plans
  • Eck generously award some background in Resources, and Influence to acknowledge the successes of the group up to this point.
  • If it was possible that the Thrice Gilded Merchant could possibly be a level up of the Twice Gilded Merchant.

The Plan:
Road weary from their months of travel the group finally arrives at their destination. The general plan is to send Shining Serpent in to meet with the Twice Gilded Merchant and purchase Vecca from him. After successfully buying Vecca’s freedom, the party will return to Anvil of Serenity by boat. The group plans to make one stop along the way to meet with the Troupe of Performers to pick up a monetary reward for helping the old traveler arrive at his destination.

How it played out:

As the party neared their destination in the city of Marita they observed that the surrounding communities and farmsteads had been completely emptied of life. The lands and town of Marita itself however were rich, active and full of life. The town’s economy seemed to flourishing with slave labor. And activity around a ship in harbor suggested that trade was starting up again. Like Habor Reborn and Gentle Mists, Marita seemed to have fared rather well against the ravages of the Contagion, with only 50% of the town’s population being lost to the disease. The relative prosperity of the town gave Shin Miyazaki and Shining Serpent a bad feeling however.

At the gate of Marita we were stopped by guards asking the typical questions of the party’s business in town. Shining Serpent suggested that they were from Gentle Mists and were in town simply for trade. This satisfied the guards who let the group pass. Markus Cellin suggested a decent inn, called the Grey Mare, for the players to stay at and prepare for their mission. At the inn baths, shaves, and lunches were had for refreshment. And Akira was put to bed to finish healing from her wounds.

Shin Miyazaki mentioned wanting to visit a garden for meditation. Since Shining Serpent was planning on stopping by the Temple of the Immaculate Order for information and a sense of the general lay of the land, he suggested that Shin join him and visit the gardens there. Dargar who was enjoying a fine repast volunteered to be a “bodyguard” for the monk and exorcist which everyone agreed would work towards strengthening the group’s cover. Shin and Shining Serpent left Dargar to finish his meal with the understanding that he would meet them at the temple once done. An understandably impatient Markus Cellin, and a very patient Ayr were left at the inn to watch over Akira.

At the temple Shining Serpent and Shin Miyazaki met with the Abbess who was named Graceful Winnowing Fan, and discovered that the secret to Marita’s success was due to a medical miracle discovered by a local merchant, he had apparently discovered a cure for the Contagion. The Abbess didn’t know many details other than it seemed like a medicine, the merchant made quiet a fortune on the product, and it worked wonderfully on everyone but the Dragon Blooded upon whom it had no affect. Shin asked if the merchant was an exalt, or a sorcerer. The Abbess was fairly certain he wasn’t the former, and had heard no rumors that he was later. But she understood Shin’s reasoning behind the question. Finally she revealed that the identity of the merchant was “The Thrice Gilded Merchant”.

Dargar caught up to Shin and Shining Serpent at the temple where they told him of their revealing conversation with the Abbess. Like the monk and exorcist he shared their concerns about that cure. At this point the three players decided to change up the original plan for visiting the merchant by saying that it was Shin Miyazaki himself who was seeking a slave and that Shining Serpent was acting as his agent for the transaction. Dargar of course would continue his role as the protector of the esteemed gentlemen.

At the house of the Thrice Gilded Merchant the players noted that his home was undergoing renovation on the third floor, and that it had enjoyed several previous upgrades. Gold had been applied anywhere one could get away with it, and valuable artworks, and tapestries decorated every hall. The reputation of the Shin allowed him to gain a speedy audience with the merchant. While waiting the players perused the merchant’s “stock”. A room had been set aside to present his slaves for sale. The poor souls were completely broken in will, and were listless. Looking over the women for anyone matching Vecca’s description they thought they found one. Shining Serpent inquired her name, but her brokeness prevented her from either remembering, or mustering the strength to answer.

At this point the Thrice Gilded Merchant entered the room excited to visit and do business. The players tried to pull some extra information about the slave woman from the merchant but he seemed largely disinterested in her background. Shining Serpent negotiated a good deal on her and Dargar took his leave to take her back to Marcus in the hopes that we had accomplished our goal of freeing his love Vecca. Shin Miyazaki and Shining Serpent stayed behind to talk to the merchant about his cure. At this point the merchant clearly became noncommital on the origins of the medicine, and to any ability with sorcery that he may or may not possess. The only thing they discovered was that he seemed disappointed that the Contagion was over since he could no longer profit from the tragedy. Getting nowhere the players decided to take their leave with only a suggestion that he might ought to take his discovery to the Blessed Isle where he might still gain more fame and fortune for his alchemical success.

Back at the Gray Mare the players found out from Markus Cellin that they had not resecued Vecca, and had instead rescued a woman named Kira. So now a new plan needed to be found. Dargar suggested that the simplest approach might now be the best, and that was to simply approach the merchant and see if he’d honor his deal of granting him Vecca now that he’d proven himself a man of means. The players thought it might be best if he go alone or perhaps with Ayr so as to not reveal the previous deception. But Markus was not too keen on going by himself. As a compromise the party decided that Shin and Shining Serpent would hide in the merchant’s bolt hole (which Markus was familiar with from his previous employement with the merchant), and that Dargar would disguise himself as one Markus’ mercenaries, and Ayr and Akira would join him too. Though the inclusion of Akira was thought to be risky as she was a former slave, and still recovering from her wounds.

Ayr explored the bolt hole to make sure it was safe, clear and usable, which it was. Shining Serpent during this time took Kira and procured a sailing vessel for a speedy escape. The plan now was that Markus would enter the merchant’s house to get Vecca one way or the other, then the group would quickly board the ship “Neried”, while Ayr would take the horses and travel over land. So Shin and Shining Serpent took up positions at the entrance of the bolt hole and waited. Markus Cellin, Ayr, Akira, and Dargar (now in a mercenary tabard) entered the house and requested audience. They had to wait longer but were eventually granted entrance to the Thrice Gilded Merchant’s audience chamber.

Markus Cellin stepped forward and asked the merchant to honor their previous agreement. At this point the Thrice Gilded Merchant recognized Markus and put on heirs of being happy to see him again, but feigned ignorance of any agreement. Markus restated it and then proceeded to review his accomplishments since leaving the merchant’s employ. The merchant half listened and seemed largely disinterested. After Markus finished his saga, the merchant flippantly informed him that he had taken Vecca to bed, had a son on her, then grew bored of the woman and child and sold Vecca to pirates.

At this point too much arrogance and too much pent up rage and frustration were present in the room for anything other than a confrontation. As the merchant was telling his story of cruelty and his rise to power Markus Cellin drew his sword and thrust towards the merchant thinking to quickly kill the soft and overly confident man. To everyone’s surprise instead of connecting, the merchant exploded into a sorcerous spray of essence and reappeared again standing on his couch but not dead. Markus’ and the player’s stunned reaction was made worse as the golden disk within a circle of the Anathema appeared on the merchant’s forehead. Shin and Shining Serpent burst into the room in time to witness this revelation and battle was joined.

As Shining Serpent and Shin Miyazaki made short work of the merchant’s guards, the rest of the players set upon the solar god. Essence flowed as the merchant avoided one expert strike after another. Both Markus and Akira had suffered serious wounds by the time that Shin and Shining Serpent could join them. Either by skill, or the intervention of lucky stars (or both) the players were able to defeat the Solar. The Chaos continued though, as Ayr quickly left to get the horses out of town. Shining Serpent rushed out to get the Abbess so that she could confirm that the merchant was an Anathema and that the players were not just murderers. Markus went on a rampage through the house looking Vecca. Akira went on a rampage of revenge. Shin Miyazaki searched the house for lore. While Dargar tried to control the chaos and put down any other loyal guards.

After Shining Serpent returned with the Abbess and a company of temple guards it was confirmed that the wyld hunt had been accomplished and that the Thrice Gilded Merchant had been Anathema. The grateful Abbess assumed that Shining Serpent or one of the other players was a Terrestrial Exalted and was stunned to find out that everyone in the party were mortals. The Temple guards took over the merchant’s house and Shining Serpent was able to get the surviving guards to aid the temple in holding the house as a form of penance. The merchant’s slaves were freed and some decided to aid the party on their vessel.

Akira sent her familiar to Ayr to tell her that the party was planning on staying in the town for a bit longer in order to help with the transition of power. And Markus Cellin and Akira were put to bed to heal from their wounds. A power vacuum was left in the town with the temple temporarily holding sway, but who knows how long that will last.

After healing up the party plans to head to their rendezvous with the acting troupe and perhaps enjoy some much needed relaxation as they plan how to move forward, and hopefully help Markus finally find Vecca.

Lessons Learned:
The confrontation with the Solar was supposed to teach many things.

  • Just because you’re a Solar, it doesn’t make you inherently good or nice.
  • Powerful though Solars are, they are not invincible.
  • Once an Exalted’s essence pool runs out, he’s a lot easier to take down.
  • You guys are pretty damn powerful as mortals.
  • Even when not specialized in combat, Solars are pretty damn powerful.
  • He had an invulnerable defense, but it had a drawback. Every time he used it, he was forbidden from running away for two more “rounds”. This meant as things started going south for him, he couldn’t flee.

We’ll review these at the start of next session, and again when we pick the Exalted game back up.

Session 007

Eck's Zalted Game Eck Eck