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 [WW] Exalted 3rd ed. Kickstarter 
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Mega Zuper Spammer
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Location: Athens, Greece
Post [WW] Exalted 3rd ed. Kickstarter

Όπως & τα προηγούμενα τους για τα όποια νέα corebooks πρόκειται για το deluxe edition, με το κανονικό να κυκλοφορήσει αργότερα σε print-on-demand.

I'm from Greece so i can say Tzimisce with ease.

Mon May 13, 2013 11:08 pm
Mega Zuper Spammer
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:04 pm
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Location: Athens, Greece
Post Re: [WW] Exalted 3rd ed. Kickstarter
The farming village was nestled at the end of a fertile valley, water-fed and cradled by two mighty mountains. It had been 768 years since the Scarlet Empress threw back the Wyld hosts, and now they had returned, marching their unreal armies through the mountains and scouring the valleys one by one. The Realm had withdrawn from the region the year before, first recalling its soldiers, and then the Immaculate missionaries; when the tax-man failed to appear to demand the dragon’s share of their harvest, the farmers knew for certain they had been abandoned. The village lay open and defenseless, ripe for the taking.

Janest paused for a moment at the top of the great high hill above the town, peering back down the way she’d come. The sun had set an hour ago, and she could see a vast and sprawling constellation of unearthly lights spread across the valley, rivaling the stars above in number and majesty—the camps of the Fair Folk. They would be upon the village with the dawn.

The field-maiden set her back on the sight, regarded the shrine ahead of her. It was a simple thing, built of deeply-polished wood, framed beneath a red-painted torii. One of the High Reavers had come and drawn her away from her preparations that afternoon, where she drilled with her field-sisters. Like the rest of the field-maidens, Janest had been taken as an infant in a raid on a settlement in a neighboring valley, and raised by the High Reavers—priests, augurs, and judges who watched the weather, proclaimed the first day of planting and the first day of reap, and spoke the will of the harvest god. She had grown up in the town, tilling the soil and working the fields, and training also to defend them. They were simple farm-folk, and so trained with the weapons of their trade: threshing-flails, pitchforks, winnowing-fans…Janest herself favored the scythe.

Ten Sheaves demanded her presence, she had been told.

“I can’t go,” Janest had said, glancing back to her sisters, “I have to make ready to defend the town.”

“The god says that your presence is necessary if we are to be saved,” the High Reaver had replied. And so the field-maiden had made the long climb up to the shrine.

Janest stepped forward, placing a hand upon the ancient wood of the torii. It tingled beneath her fingertips. The harvest god had lived up on the hill for as long as anyone could remember, and they had always honored him according to the calendar demanded by the Immaculates—and given him extra worship as well in the lean years, hiding their prayers and libations from traveling monks. But Janest had never seen the god with her own eyes, and couldn’t think of why he might want to see a simple field-maiden on the eve of the town’s annihilation.

She stepped through the torii with the sensation of crossing some subtle boundary, like passing through a shaft of sunlight or a stream of water. Golden wheat surrounded her now, stretching on and on in rambling rows. The sky overhead was a pure and perfect black, scattered with bright, unfamiliar stars that gleamed like winter ice. She looked back, and saw no torii, no hill: the rows wound away in every direction.

A voice spoke from her right, deep, crackling like breaking stalks: “Janest. Walk with me.”

Janest glanced toward the voice by reflex and caught a glimpse of a silhouette in another row, a figure with hair like straw and hemp-woven sleeves—she quickly pulled her gaze away. The High Reaver had instructed her to keep her eyes averted unless the god bid her otherwise, and so she did. Ten Sheaves began to walk, and Janest fell into step alongside—the god in his row, the field-maiden in hers.

The rich smell of growing things surrounded them as they walked; from time to time a cold wind would blow through the rows, a reaping-wind, and Janest would shiver. Presently, Ten Sheaves began to speak: He spoke of a long life overlooking the fertile valley and the farms beneath, watching the Ages unfold in extravagance and poverty, describing times and people Janest could scarcely imagine; he spoke of the Games of Divinity and how the sky of Heaven turned by their listings, and though Janest knew not of these games, she could hear the wonder and longing in the god’s voice; he spoke of the Exigence, a divine fire, a miracle even to the gods, handed down from On High that the gods might raise champions and protectors; he spoke of what it meant to be a god and to believe in justice in an age of the unjust. “Long ago,” Ten Sheaves said, “there were great champions, men and women of profound might, who carried the fire through the pitch. But when they left they took the light of the world with them.”

Janest cleared her throat, spoke for the first time since she had arrived. “What happened to them, these champions?”

“They were struck down,” the god said, “butchered, bound away. The world was eroded in their absence—even the fires of the Exigence guttered. Now they have returned, they walk the world again, but they have come too late, too late for me. Look.” She felt more than saw a hand pointing to the horizon. Janest looked.

The field-maiden realized she could see something dreaming upon the limits of the horizon—a great gleaming edifice of lights. She had the impression of towers, and heart-breaking beauty. “That is the Celestial City of Yu-Shan, which men and gods alike know as Heaven,” the little god said. “I have never walked its streets, and now I never will; perhaps you might, one day. For now, we can stand here, and look upon its lights.”

Unschooled in how to properly address divinity, Janest hesitated, then asked: “God of the harvest, why have you called for me?”

Ten Sheaves gave back a question of his own: “Have you any relatives of blood in the valley?”

“No,” Janest said. She realized the god was farther away, had slipped back to a more distant row at some point, though he sounded as close as ever.

“Yet it is not yourself you fear for.”

Janest’s jaw worked. She wasn’t normally a woman of words, and seldom explained herself. “The people of the village… they’re still my family, it doesn’t take blood. I want to protect them.”

“A field-maiden’s duty?” the god asked.

It was, but… Janest shook her head. “The people and the land together are my kin; separate, they’re not themselves. They’re precious to me. Without them, I am lost.”

Ten Sheaves seemed satisfied. “Field-maiden Janest. I have prayed to the Most High, and he has approved my petition. You are to become Exalted—my champion, my Chosen—and the salvation of your people. If you live, perhaps the salvation of much more.”

Janest stared ahead, eyes wide and focused on the row ahead as she spoke into the wind the way a blind woman might. She felt blind. It was a new terror, the fear of not knowing the way. “Ten Sheaves—I’m—I’m not the best fighter among the field-maidens, Amalon with her threshing-flail—”

“You fight well enough. Strength of arm is common in this age,” Ten Sheaves said, “and not the strength I desire.” A pause. “I am a god, Janest, but I am small among the ranks of immortals. When I call upon the divine flame, its price will be my consumption.” The night-sounds of the spirit field faded away—the crickets, the sigh of the wind—and it became very quiet. “There’s no other way. Come the dawn, the Fair Folk will erase this place if not stopped. This is my final day either way.”

Janest got the sense that the god was looking again at the distant lights of Heaven—at the streets he would never walk and the towers he would never climb. “I’m sorry,” she said, and though she had only today met the god on the hill, she meant it.

“It’s a strange thing,” Ten Sheaves said, “to die. It’s a strange thing for immortality to end, and to go into the darkness.” Janest could no longer see the god when she looked into the rows, he was receding, receding. “I will not come again, but is the wheat truly gone when it spills its kernel upon the ground? This is a wicked age; as my final act, I would sow it with hope. Turn toward the lights of Heaven, Janest, and walk. The Unconquered Sun stands prominent in the Games of Divinity; let his fire guide you.”

The field-maiden lingered a moment, searching for any sign of Ten Sheaves, but the god was gone. She turned and advanced into the rows as he bid. There was darkness for a time, and she felt fear, but she could see the sun rising through the stalks. It was the sign of a god whose name she had never heard until now—but hadn’t she known him all along, toiling under his gaze and thanking him for the life that sprang from the fields? In the sense that the light was familiar, she felt neither blind nor alone. Then she remembered—the valley, the village. I must go back. They need me—and the fear of not knowing her course melted away like dew under sunlight. She pushed onward.

At last the rows parted and Janest stepped into a clearing where the stalks had been beaten flat. In its center stood a strange lady scarecrow, born up by a brace of beams and spreading her arms as if to bear up the sky on her back. Her hair was dark like Janest’s, and what she had taken for straw was actually skin. She looked past these features, partly out of fear, partly out of consumption. She reached out to it, and in turn its arms came together between them, bearing up an offering, a final gift. Ten Sheaves’s voice was in her head, impelling her to take it—and take hold of her destiny. She reached out and grasped the perfect obsidian hilt, and the lady of straw met her gaze, her hat falling away, and Janest saw that she was looking at herself.

Almost immediately she saw and felt it—the pulse of eternity, a spark leaping, lightning unfurling in jagged tongues between heaven and earth, connecting them. The essence of Ten Sheaves exploded from her like fire: amber-gold changing into a ghostfire of blue-white. For a moment, Ten Sheaves was in her senses, crackling through her cells, changing everything he touched. Blood rushed in her veins, and it was not just blood but the mountain streams that tumbled down into the valley and fed the fields. She flexed her fingers and they were full, ripe stalks of wheat nodding beneath a passing breeze, the crops she had tended all her life. She felt also the seeds sleeping in the earth, felt the pregnant promise of the soil beneath her feet, and the call of rains drawn up from the oceans—and that too faded away as the last of Ten Sheaves fled down into the recesses of her soul, sending up a bonfire to mark his passing. The amber-gold light was all around her now, spilling out from her. As she stood under the rising light of the Unconquered Sun, she sensed the kinship between the small god that had Exalted her and the source of the fire that had empowered her and ended him. She knew that to be even the least among gods was still a wondrous thing, now ended, now passed to her, now kindling anew.

She took the gift to hand, and the world faded into the purity of the dawn.

* * *

Shortly after midnight, the spring that flowed from the top of the harvest god’s hill dried up, first slowing to a trickle, and then ceasing altogether. The creak-and-thump of the waterwheel slowed and finally groaned to a halt, its uncharacteristic silence awakening those few in the village who had managed to sleep. The wind that spun the prayer wheels outside the High Reavers’ hall hesitated and then died; the wheels ticked to a stop. The village was silent and still for hours after these grim omens, waiting without hope for the coming dawn.

An hour before the sun came up, the doors of Ten Sheaves’s shrine opened, and a young woman stepped out, walking with purpose.

* * *

The armies of the Fair Folk came on with the rising of the sun. They sang as they marched, knowing that the day promised a banquet of pain and fear—such was the meat and drink of the hobgoblins and silverwights and lesser panjandrums that made up the majority of the horde. The nobles leading the expedition hoped for more refined sport—the souls of mothers, torn raw and agonized by the deaths of their babes, perhaps; or the vengeful flailing of young boys burning to avenge atrocities. Either would make for appropriate amusement.

They marched under war-banners woven of flame and dreams of glory, and set up a great strange riot of drums and flutes played by wizened, hideous musicians dredged from the Lands Beyond Creation, capable of creating beauty only in their music; all else they did was crude and cynical and base. As the army reached the edge of the fields before the town, the jeweled and beautiful noble that led the war-band raised one elegant hand, signaling a halt. Slavering, fanged skirmishers beat the ground around him with their bone clubs and barbed blades, eager for slaughter.

A lone girl stood at the edge of the glebe, body toned and hardened by a life in the fields. Her amber-gold eyes flashed in the light of the rising sun, and her chestnut hair waved in the rising breeze. She carried a great and terrible scythe, a god-weapon, its haft shot through with veins of green jade, its long and wicked blade gleaming with a ruddy inner light. Its grips displayed the unmistakable hollows of empty hearthstone sockets. The weapon was taller than a man, yet she hefted it as though it weighed nothing at all. The lords of chaos signaled the advance.

Strawmaiden Janest crossed the field to meet them.

I'm from Greece so i can say Tzimisce with ease.

Sat May 18, 2013 11:45 am
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