Interlude 01

The second night after your triumphant victory in the airship race, you all have the exact same series of dreams:

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The snow in front of you first appears to be pure, unblemished white, but as your vision comes into focus you notice dots of crimson trailing across its surface, leading to where you stand. Your eyes follow the vibrant stains – the only color you can see – and your gaze is led to your own hands held out in front of you – covered in dripping blood.

A sound from above draws your attention. You look up to see the Haslanti Wind Fleet. Though you are an outsider to the League and its ways, you have seen enough to tell that something is different, something is wrong. The airships flying above in battle formation are equipped with heavy guns of strange designs that have not been seen since the First Age.

“Why do you seem so surprised?,” a female’s voice says. The voice seems familiar to you, as familiar as your own heartbeat, but you can’t quite remember to whom it belongs. “This wouldn’t be the first time you were responsible for for such destruction.”

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You are walking through a snow-shadowed forest and all creatures step aside as you make your way, not daring to disturb your passage.

At the wood’s edge the trees part to reveal an expansive snowfield. As the clouds clear in the night sky, the moon shines on a horde of dark figures in frenzied revelry. In the middle of the snowfield a man in heavy furs stands. Massive wolves encircle him, mounted by members of a barbarian tribe. The man raises his sword to the sky and on his forehead a golden symbol begins to glow and his anima banner flares, lighting the night as bright as day. The cheers and cries of the tribe that surrounds him echo across the landscape, feral and triumphant.

The wolves begin to howl as the tribe’s Chieftain kneels to swear fealty to the shining hero.

Noticing you standing at the clearing’s edge, the Solar points his sword straight at you and bellows out the following choice:

“Kneel, or die.”

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In darkness you see two figures murmuring to one another.

One is a young woman, dressed in silks in all the different shades of fire, her hair colored in similar hues. Two slender, curving horns spiral from her forehead and her eyes burn a bright green.

She sits with her captive’s head cradled in her lap, and his long hair tangles across the bottom of her elaborate kimono like an elegant web of spider silk. His clothing is just as finely made as hers, though ruffled and styles in a long lost First Age fashion. Delicate threads of red string extend from him and she holds their ends like a master puppeteer.

“My poor pet. Are you suffering?” she asks. She strokes his hair with long-fingered, clawed hands.

“He doesn’t remember me. How can I bear to exist in a world where he doesn’t know me?” he says.

“You said the greatest pain you have ever known was living in a world without him,” she replies, and presses a fingernail against his throat in warning.

“I was wrong.”

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A woman in dark armor lays screaming and writhing on the floor of a stone chamber. Blue coldfire flickers across her form and illuminates her face: she looks very similar to Volla Verne, but with shorter hair, and older. Her soulsteel breastplate has been shattered, exposing the pale skin of her chest and stomach. Knelt over her is another woman, one who is dressed in the decadent fabrics of a courtesan. With a dagger, the courtesan is carving the following words into the flesh of her captive’s stomach:

YOU’RE NEXT

The finely dressed woman looks up, straight at you, and smiles slowly as she says in a whispering, sing-sing voice, “And I seeee youuu ~”

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The dreams abruptly end.

Interlude 01

Exalted: Northern Skies Jehzavere