My fellow members of the Gold Faction,
I am delighted to report that the many happy returns among the Chosen of the Most High have been no mere rumor. And yet, I write to you in concern and in fear. Not that we will fail them for a second time, for we will not – but that you will fail to believe me.
In the city-state of Shirakh and the Wathia-land, once known as Yondlan’s Delta, there has been a phenomenal resurgence of Solar essence. At my last count there are seven! Solar Exalted here on the plains, from queen to pauper.
They are about to go to war. I intend to intervene at this most crucial of times, to broker peace amongst these worthy individuals.
At this time I find it important to put you in mind of my actions in this land in the past centuries. How I have slowly worked our wayward allies’ hold from the Delta. How I have shepherded the Illuminated, letting them grow in number to replace the Immaculates in preparation for a day such as this. How I have kept this region free of both the warlords of the Silver Plague and the depredations of the Fair Folk. I call on you to remember my deeds and my rank, and honor the service that I have made here.
If there is anything that you can do to help bring success to this endeavour, I beseech it of you. I ask that you keep the Immaculate Order from these shores as best you can, and that the Wyld Hunt be diverted to other lands until I have the opportunity to enlighten those of these Chosen who will hear. I ask you to send such apprentices as you may spare, in the awful case that war does come.
This is an unheard-of opportunity. Here in the delta, we can show others of our Fellowship the right and shining path. Here in the delta, we can nurture the seed of a new age.
Brothers and sisters, this is our chance.
Vashra Tal shows her years. Her light brown face is deeply lined with wrinkles. She wears neither makeup nor jewelry. Her thin white hair is cut short and hidden beneath her head-wrap. This cloth bears the pattern of an ancient clan of the south, long gone from Creation, who were her descendants. She is prone to chills, and covers herself in warmer clothing than younger people might. She wears red.
Crafty, subtle, and wise. Vashra Tal knows how to talk to people, and approaches each person in the manner she believes will be most effective. This is always seated in her “old and cagey advisor” persona, but she knows that some people will respond well to brutal honesty, others to flattery, others to the gradual posing of mysteries.
Vashra Tal has been a functionary for many centuries. It’s difficult for her to get out of that role. She composes her thoughts and words the way someone might compose a letter, and writes her letters as if they were tiny important novels. She believes that “doing things right” in such a way matters in the long run, and given the length of her run, she may be right.
Intimacies: Defend Creation (defining), The Solar Exalted are our best hope (defining), Loyalty to my comrades (major), Bring peace (major), The Bronze Faction are misled unfortunates.
Vashra Tal passes for several people in Shirakh. To the people of the docks, she is a retired fisher-woman who ties nets and gabs with passers-by. To the people of the markets, she deals in well-made tin trinkets, and sends young would-be thieves running with a swatted backside. To the women who were of the harem, she is a kindly matron who takes them in and asks no questions, even if she does tell strange stories with Anathema heroes. To the people of the palace, she is a scribe, seldom heard and even more rarely seen. She has the skills for each of these trades and more. She is particularly well-versed in the history and languages of the south.
Few would suspect that she was a general once – she is chosen of Mars. She led the ancestors of the Wathia-folk against a demon horde that sprang out of the southern desert. Against creatures from beyond Creation, her soldiers were matchless warriors. Her battle patterns drove the demons back. Her sage advice rallied her troops. When she selected a target, her forces struck it as if their blades and bows were enchanted. Her commanders knew to trust her without fail.
Vashra Tal is a student of the Charcoal March of Spiders Style. She knows it up to its form, letting her shift quickly across a battlefield and attack with great rapidity. She is visible only when she strikes. Fate itself forms a web around her, preventing her from falling or being grabbed. She can use these threads to attack at a distance, including disarming or grappling. They stick to the living, making it difficult for them to move. She can inflict a deadly poison with a touch.
As with most Siderals, Vashra Tal is adept at bringing about blessings and curses. Hers tend to be longer-lasting and more specific than those of other star-chosen. She is especially known for her ability to bring about “ultimate fates” – great destinies, incredible accomplishments, horrible downfalls – if the person she is talking to will just follow her advice.
- Jenath, who runs the local Cult of the Illuminated for her. Smart, cautious, captivating.
- Ifala, who knows her in the palace. Dainty, dignified, embarrassed.
- Fairfax, her invisible wind-snake familiar spirit. Strident, logical, mercurial.
- Yondlan, guardian god of the Wathia-lands themselves. Taciturn, warm-hearted, vulnerable.
- Does Vashra Tal realize there are multiple Night Castes, or are anima effects working to keep her from knowing that Katavi is also Exalted?
- Will the rest of the Gold Faction listen to Vashra Tal?