Lossefion/Dividing The Spoils
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After defeating a hastily assembled Wyld Hunt during a frantic chase north, the party realise that in spite of the danger, they've a fair amount to sort through...
Back on board the Reachfar, Laeo takes stock, "Ok, dividing the spoils..."
Max nods, and peers at the haul with a practiced eye. Ryo toys with the large faceted jewels, mentally estimating their worth. Miyamoto stays on deck for a time, obviously lingering only to see the spoils of his enemy's defeat. Koshiko remains steady, her delicate scholar's hands perhaps out of place at a rough merchantman's helm, her eyes set on the horizon, as the Reachfar slowly limps north.
The small pile is rather substantial. Einar takes some time to help sort through the new cache of artefacts, with a low toneless whistle. Inasmuch as he realises you were fighting for your lives, he can't conceal his excitement at the real treasure trove you've got your hands on. He seems like a little child in the reflected glow of your animas for a moment. At the final tally, he sobers, as he reflects.
"...this is...well, as much real wealth as you're likely to see in one place in a lifetime if you're a burgess, never mind a farmer." Einar pauses, hefting the links of the chain shirt. "It's all in fair condition too, apart from fairly minor combat damage." He wiggles a pinkie through a hole, before quickly knitting it back together with a curious looking pair of needle-pliers.
Laeo nods briefly, before looking at a small, swiftly-written list.
"As I see the divisions, for myself, I'll claim the Hookswords, Bracers & Chakram. Miyamoto should have the Bow, Bracers & Lamellar, although you might want the bronin sword as a momento." His golden features crease into an unfamiliarly youthful smile. "Max, the Reinforced Breastplate and Matching Bracers. Koshiko...the Daiklaive, Bracers and Lamellar, and Ryo - Bracers, Hearthstone and lens. He's interested and it's no apparent use to us."
He pauses, before continuing. "That would leave us with the chain shirt and breastplate spare, although one of them might be handy as a back up for myself in less *ahem* dire situations."
Max interjects, "Okay.. I would have thought one of these would have been earmarked for Ryu... as either would be a significant upgrade in protection compared to his current armour."
Ryo looks over from his juggling momentarily, and shakes his head. "None of the jade is appealing, it all screams Exalted. I wants to keep a low profile - I burned through pretty much all my peripheral essence without glowing darkly. The bracers have the affect of too shiny but too expensive. To be honest, I doubt i'll take a set and use them. Fair enough regarding the hearthstones, but next time we get loot *I* get first pick." He sniffs a little. "This focus lens thingy is mine as a trinket/momento."
"I realise that", Max nods solemnly, "but both the items I mentioned are fairly concealable...the chain shirt, in particular, was hidden under normal robes, and gains nothing from the material benefit that I know of. It wouldn't cost you that much to attune."
"True, but concealable or not it's just not stuff he wants to be caught in - let alone with. Unless you can attune to them, they don't do much for you. My knife, I can say it looked pretty. I'm not sure if the armour would be sized for me *anyway*. Chances are, I'll not fit it, and go back to my chainmail."
"Fair enough!" Max's finger taps his chin in thought. " That's a really good point though...being magical artifacts, it may be a case of 'one size fits all' (or something of that nature), especially given the attunement process... but I can't see anything that might suggest that. Einar?"
"What?" Einar looks up suddenly, blinking a little in the still fading light of Max's anima. "My apologies, I was just..." He somewhat regretfully puts the breastplate he was just examining down. He stands up brushing himself off. Some wooden splinters still cling to his outer clothes. The old man takes a moment to centre himself, before assuming a somewhat professorial tone - somewhat unaware, perhaps.
"Well, I'm sure that you know from your own family and schooling that most artifacts were made for, or by, their specific wielders. One individual. However, many Dragonblooded families and organisations - and those of other users of Essence besides - have traditions of passing down artifacts for generations. Several combat applicable artifacts - weapons and armour, in the main - that appeared on the battlefields of the Shogunate can still be found in use to this day."
"In short, and Koshiko can confirm this, artifact weapons and armour can be made usable by anyone who commits essence to them. One size fits all, as you said. Mere handling is enough, although it takes time. This is because it eventually resonates with an attuned user's Essence on a basic level - motonic theory calling it simple or first circle attunement, which grants access to the magical material's lesser alchemy." This last leaves a momentary look of bafflement on most everyone's faces, apart from Koshiko who nods briefly, and Max who appears to understand.
"Dragonblooded essence resonates naturally with all types of jade. This is because jade and jade alloys are material expressions of Elemental essence. Dragonblooded Essence is Elementally aspected as well, and so greater abilities can be unlocked when they attune to, for instance this...*nnngh* daiklave, here." HE finishes weakly as it takes him two hands to awkwardly heft what should be a one handed weapon. "Second circle attunement, giving access to the greater alchemy. "
Miyamoto shoots a somewhat helpless look at Akimaru. The wolf whines, and tilts his head. Miyamoto sighs, picks himself up off the rail, and moves closer to the straining scholar. "Einar, what you're saying doesn't make sense to me. I think we need to look at practicalities here. If I heard right, I'm looking at getting this Jade Powerbow, a set of Hearthstone Bracers, the Jade Lamellar and possibly a Bronin Sword. The attunement costs for these are bound to be a lot - and I don't think our power will...what, "resonate"?" I am thinking costs for these items are gonna sting..."
"On that note, given we've just been given these abilities, I have a question. If the level of committed Essence means that you start using your Essence that triggers your...anima flare (assuming this is possible), does this then start triggering your anima every time you attune these things?"
Einar blinks, a little stunned by the rapidity of the questions.
Almost without waiting for breath, Miyamoto presses on, "On the note of concealment, I believe Ryo mentioned it, there is an issue of being found wearing this stuff. I was only planning to be wearing such obvious armour and using such weapons when we are in major combat - like donning it when we saw the ships coming!! Although, this still has the issue of being caught in possession of armour that clearly doesn't belong to us..."
"One other question that may open a whole new can of worms. What is the likelihood of some stranger in Lookshy (or other area heavily populated with Dragon Bloods) seeing us in armour intended for a Dragonblood, and assuming we must be Dragonbloods??"
Einar puts down the daiklave, and slowly returns his gaze to the somewhat worried ranger. "Finished?"
"Alright then. Firstly, Jade artifacts are the most visible and most common ones here in the East of Creation, in spite of their great value. It's not only Dragonbloods that can use them. They are usable by any given Essence user, as committing the basic Essence to them grants the benefits of simple attunement. This gives access to the basic abilities of, say, your powerbow there."
Miyamoto frowns at this last, and looks at Max, who translates. "Anyone who puts their own Essence into these jade weapons or armour can get some basic use out of them."
Einar nods, "Just so. I could do it, given time. Secondly, if your Essence does not naturally resonate with an artifact, you can forcibly attune with an artifact such that they gain the benefits of the magical material's greater alchemy. It takes roughly twice the number of motes required for basic attunement, but this does not have to be done. I would recommend against it, as I've had second and third hand reports of such artifacts sublimating and spontaenously forcefully into their component motes."
Miyamoto looks expectantly at Max, who smiles, "If you force it, they can blow up."
Einar continues, "I can't say I've seen Dragonblood triggering their anima banners just through handling and attunement of artifacts. If that were the case, then the night sky of Lookshy would be a spectacular light show each and every night!" He chuckles. "That said, I believe it's possible to decide which Essence pools you possess to draw upon - so you could link your powerbow to your anima banner's flow. This would lessen the number of discrete motes available to you in that pool, but - I would hazard a guess - would lessen your anima flare by simple virtue of that limitation."
Miyamoto nods slowly, "I think I followed you there. Attunement doesn't cause anima flares. It's a case of you can't spend what you don't have. The essence is in the weapon, or whatever. Though this *still* has the issue of being caught in possession of armour that clearly doesnt belong to us..."
Max pipes in, "Who's to say that just from looking at us? Ryo has a point in saying that it screams "Exalted" but, from my point of view, wearing artifacts of Jade could actually help explain away minor 'incidents' as long as we don't set off our anima banners. Anyone who doesn't know any better could just chalk us up as being Dragonblooded, rather than Solars. Like you said:
"What is the likelihood of some stranger in Lookshy (or other area heavily populated with Dragon Bloods) seeing us in armour intended for a Dragonblood and assuming we must be Dragonbloods?? My answer would be... hopefully, pretty goddam high!"
Einar's face takes on a rare expression of disapproval. "Well, yes and no, Max. Jade artifacts don't automatically scream Exalted, more essence-user. That could be godblood, enlightened mortal, a spirit or so forth. Specific*designs* on an artifact might. Dragons are pretty common on jade, given their elemental aspect and all. Even so, the iconography and style would be a giveaway to those that knew exactly what to look for. Realm designs are fairly stark, except in the depictions of the dragons. Given where we're going, I think that the danger of recognition is limited. If we return to these waters...*sigh* a mortal insult is hard to ignore, especially for Realm natives." He scratches his head. "It might be better to pose as enlightened mortals than dragonbloods. Several of you are too well known in Lookshy for that to be considered otherwise. Actually, I'm surprised you didn't think of that one yourself, Maximilian Madorosu."
Max continues, "I think you give the average 'man-on-the-street' too much credit Einar. An educated man like you or I..." He half-turns, and gestures towards Laeo with one hand,"...or even someone with extensive experience in a military force like the Seventh Legion, would probably be aware of the distinction. But, in my experience at least, most ordinary people don't really know the difference. If you poked your head out from behind dusty tomes a little more often, that thought might have occured to you, old man."
He grins, cheekily, before continuing. "Besides, it's not like I'm planning to walk up to everyone I see and say 'Hello, I'm a Dragonblood'. I'm just talking about letting people fill-in-the-blanks in their own head if they happen to witness any of us doing something... strange. After all, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, not many people are going to expect it to be a Champion of the Unconquered Sun in disguise!"
Laeo smirks slightly. "That may be true, but we're not going to be able to hide whats happened to us for long, and not from the people who matter. Only Ryo is of the right age to have had a Dragon wake in him, but that disguise will only last until his anima flares... or doesn't when people expect it!"
He turns to regard the pile of loot. "I suggest we each try using these as much as we can over the journey. Using these types of equipment is as much a part of what we are as any other and it won't hurt to hone our abilities, even if you don't plan on keeping any of it."
"Agreed... on both counts! We have some time, so best put it to good use." Max's smile fades noticeably. "We're all going to have to think long and hard about who we're going to tell and how. Only Jupiter knows what my father's reaction is going to be like, but he'll find out eventually, so it'll be better if he hears it from me. At the very least he should approve of these..."
Miyamoto nods grimly. "On that score, I also agree. But, second circle attunement? I think that's what you called it." At that comment, he directs his gaze to Einar. "If what I have understood is correct, my lack of knowledge in these items makes the likelihood of an explosion into......their.....constituent motes of essence" Miyamoto continues with a quizzical look of someone who thinks he understands, but really has no idea if he actually knows what he's talking about. ".....a lot more likely. Which means I may need to spend some time with either some of you or increase my knowledge before I attempt secondary attunement."
Einar smooths out his robes. "Maybe, lad, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd leave it with the basics just now, if you feel uneasy. Handling and and mere extension of...your awareness of the item should do. I It might be described as first putting on a suit of armour. You have to get used to its confines before you press out to fill it fully and find where it best fits you. Between myself and Max, we should be able to show you what to do." He nods at his erstwhile pupil.
With that, Max will reach over and pick up his share of the spoils. Moving over to one side of the deck, away from the group, but still within earshot, he sits down with his back to the bulwark and crosses his legs. Then, with a bracer in each hand, he closes his eyes and begins to concentrate...