Sands of Chiaroscuro

Why Early Morning Exalted

Some secrets are best shared. There’s a theory for some that not all things need to be equal. A small partitian of the Gold Faction support this philosophy, a group of sidreal devoted to not only the solar ruling, but claiming that it is right BECAUSE they are strong. These have had an interesting time on their path, since often their agents are unable to operate directly. But when the chance presents itself, sometimes they can try to find ways of not only diverting some disinherited solars into productive behavior, but through what seems to be natural events. Illegal by the levels of Yu Shan’s law, they invest a lot of time with the pattern spiders of the loom of fate, offering them bribes, blackmail, or even outright benefits in exchange for hiding certain ‘anomalies’, judging their value by the effect they have on fate. In these cases, pairs are sent to monitor but not interact with their agent, instead keeping watch on them and making sure other sidreal are unable to find them, deliberately muddying the waters, so to speak. One day, long ago, a man found this secret, in a bar far from the lands of his birth and disenfranchise. The man had a simple exchange. He would help them, to cleanse a taint from himself that fate had dealt him. In the process, he approached a god known to have the power to take chances with exaltations, and in his game, he bet in a highest regard. His exaltation, a potent one, colored by the earth, in exchange for his daughter’s reincarnation. For three days, and four nights, the pair wagered and brokered, dealt and folded, in games so numerous that the god itself began to get amazed, for the man had studied the arts of gambling to the point of almost making it worship. And then, one day, he won.

His exaltation, against an exaltation for his daughter’s reincarnation

It’s possible to trade your exaltation when the realms of a god are more… esoteric. Had Tremors lost even a single one of the games, with the stakes against him, he would have been mortal – which was fine for him, as his life was giving him nothing, even under the pay of the shogunate of the region. If he had made bargain with the Lady of the Lost, it would have been the same.

But the man was victorious, and despite his elation that his progeny’s returning would be fuelled with power beyond what was her ken – he also remorsed. His aim had been to lose enough to require a bargain, something that was unavailable to him now. And so, into the fray, he offered one last wager.

In his hand, he would take a coin, to drop it to the floor. Regardless of the outcome, his life was forfeit, but the wager would be one of two outcomes. In his loss, he would be stripped of his exaltation, and all that he owned would be the god’s to use as his own. In a win – then the god himself would watch the child, to give her his own luck and hand in fate

The god agreed, and Tremors dropped a blank coin to the floor – neither heads, nor tails, and as this counted ‘cheating’, the guards of the palace descended on him, to end him, as he knew they would. In the scope of his audacity, however, the god approached the dying exalt, asking him what he had hoped for. Tremors explained; he had not determined how the bet was to be made. By his death, he had won what he wished. With a laugh, the god praised the man’s actions. He had lost his life, but in his mourning that was no loss at all. As his spirit left for the lethe, with nothing left to hold it to this world, the god called after him. A promise, that it would be so, in respect for a man who gambled with the lord of the art, and who against all odds, won against fate itself.

That was the end of the story of Tremors, former guardian to the Solar, Raven’s Flight of the Midday Shadow. Four hundred years earlier than his intended death by drowning in his own blood in a bloody battle against a rival shogunate…


This was written originally by Ben. ^^

Why Early Morning Exalted

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