[Exalted-China] Story Two: Episode Six : The Hanging Garden

Lev Lafayette lev at rpgreview.net
Sat Dec 22 18:33:10 AEDT 2018

Story Two: Episode Six : The Hanging Garden

Scene One: The Dinner

The dinner with Consort Yuan was both uneasy and revealing. It was a
simple but suitable fare, of vegetables, chicken, noodle, and despite her
best efforts, none of the Exalted would partake in the pork. Over the
discussion the Consort explained at length that she did not wish to be
back to Ma Yin. She has fallen in love with the gardener at her palace and
had promised to stay her with him, even if he died, which tragically also
happened. As for the pig with human faces, those who have sought to take
her back to Ma Yin have found themselves transformed into pigs.
Evidentially there is a great and strange magic in the place which does
this. The Exalted mentioned that they would only accompany her back to Ma
Yin by her own will.

After dinner the Exalted asked to see where the Gardener was buried, which
the Consort consented to. In her private courtyard between two dove trees,
was the plaque marking for the remains of Huó Huā. The Exalted retired to
their rooms, wondering what sort of message they could take back to Ma

Scene Two: The Ghost

That evening Shí Rén was awakened by light coming into his room. Looking
outside he saw the form of another terracotta soldier like himself out in
the misty gardens. With a moment of wisdom, he awakened Hěnānjìng and
informed of of what he had seen. With Hěnānjìng watching, Shí Rén
approached the soldier, only to have a ghost approach him which enamating
darkness from its orifices, when the darkness cleared, Shí Rén, the ghost,
and the terracotta soldier had gone.

Hěnānjìng awoke Qian Die Zhi and Xiǎo Yàn Zi and all three remaining
Exalted went into the courtyard, for they suspected the ghost of the
gardener had come. Only Hěnānjìng had the power to see such apparitions,
and when it attacked the others swung wildly and even scored some
successful hits. The ghost attempted to possess the Exalted, but their
Essence proved to be too strong, and eventually it attempted to flee.
Hěnānjìng had other ideas and gave chase, eventually catching up and
driving his magically-enhanced staff into defeating the spectre.

Returning to the courtyard, the three Exalted were taken aback however to
see Consort Yuan in tears over the graveyard of Huó huā, as the spirit of
her beloved had gone. She told the Exalted that the ghost of Huó huā had
controlled her and it was she would had transformed the envoys to pigs,
with reduced spirit, as ghosts do not have their own Essence. There was
relief when it was explained that the ritual took several hours, and that
Shí Rén had not become a terracotta pig.

Scene Three: The Goat

With the ghost gone and the stone man recovered, Consort Yuan agreed to
return to the court of Ma Yin, although the Exalted all agreed that she
should just explain that she had been under the control of a ghost. On
Hěnānjìng's prompting, Yuan, skilled at transformational powers, could
indeed help return the envoys to their previous selves, although it would
take a great deal of Essence and time. To unbreak the scrambled egg is
truly a feat for even the greatest wizards. Such an offer seem to placate
the warlord-king, who lived up to his end of the bargain and gave
four-goat-square-zun his freedom to return to The Invisible Fortress.

Later, the stories will tell in Consort Yuan's memoirs, that Huó Huā
affections to Yuan were as stong and perhaps just as honourable. For
whilst she did not mention it to the Exalted, after several weeks of their
romance, Huó Huā was torn by his affections and the fact that she was the
King's consort, whom he had also sworn duty to. Unable to resolve this
breach of protocol whilst still living, he took the only way out - as he
saw it - and had hung himself. At least that way they could be together
and even at times share the same body.

Hěn for story two, episode one = 10
Qian for story two, episode one = 9
Xiǎo for story two, episode one = 9
Shí for story two, episode one = 5 (not present)

Thus ends Story Two!

Lev Lafayette, BA (Hons), GradCertTerAdEd (Murdoch), GradCertPM, MBA (Tech
Mngmnt) (Chifley)
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