“What do I think about the Sacred Hunt?” You pause to collect your thoughts. While you didn’t read do more than skim the first page of the chapter, you observed the Desert Fox during the of her Sacred Hunt. Maybe you can bullshit your way through this session. “Before a Lunar can take another form, she has to observe the animal to learn its habits and behaviors. After they learn enough about the animal to mimic it, the Lunar kills it and takes its heart’s blood.”
“That is all true,” Elder Kejak taps his fingers on the conference table. “but what do you think about the chapter in the Five Moons of Denial?”
You remember the Desert Fox tricked the islanders of the Cobalt Atoll to help her kill the whale. “The Lunar can have help for the kill and…” you were running out of facts about the Sacred Hunt. An idea comes to you. “You should know what I think if you read my report.”
Crossing his arms, Elder Kejak gives you a skeptical stare. “What Report?”
“The report I had Amilie your Receptionist put on your desk.”
The Elder Sidereal glares at you skeptically. “I don’t remember seeing this report on the desk.”
“Did you check under the goat shit?” You couldn’t help but smirk.
Elder Kejak’s chair squeaks as he leans forward. “Tell me, Svante. When you attend your Martial Art lessons, do you leave your sword and armor home?”
“No,” you cautiously answer. You weren’t sure where Elder Kejak was going with this.
“If you come prepared for your Sifu’s lessons, then why do you come unprepared for mine?!” Elder Kejak slaps the table, startling you upright. “Do you think this is a game? Do you think I enjoy having my time wasted?”
“Then don’t teach me!” you argue. “You don’t like these sessions anymore than I do. We would both be much happier if we canceled them.”
“Do you think I care about your happiness? I am not a Joybringer. I am not here to entertain you, Svante. Jupiter has assigned me to teach you what Akachi and Yeva cannot about being one of her chosen. I am a patient man. I am willing to meet with you every week for the next thousand years until you learn to respect me as your mentor. It is up to you whether this time will be productive or not.”
You scowl. “How can I respect you as a teacher when you don’t respect me as a student?”
Elder Kejak’s eyebrows raise in surprise. “In what ways do I not respect you as a student?”
“You manipulated my Trial of Endings. You could have been open with me what you planned at the Loom of Fate, but instead you tricked me and you tricked Akachi.”
“Do you regret becoming a Sorcerer?”
“No.” You quickly deny. “At our first session, I thought I proved that we could come to an understanding and work together.“
Elder Kejak raises his hand to stop you. “I have kept my end of the agreement. I have read every single issue of Pretty Dragon Princess Meru that has come out since we started.”
“You say you treat me as an adult, yet your actions say otherwise. “ You shove the book away. “To you, I’m just a pawn in whatever game you are playing with Akachi.”
The Elder Sidereal studies you for a moment and then nods. “From your point of view, I can see how you can come to that realization. I have my reasons why I have not been open with you. I am not just accountable to you, but to the Convention of Essence Users, the other Elders, and Jupiter herself. “
“I can I talk to them? I mean, speak before the Convention?”
Elder Kejak winces. “That may not be a good idea, Svante. “
“Why? Are you afraid they might tell me something you don’t want me to hear?”
“No,” Elder Kejak corrects. “I’m afraid they will find out how much you already know.”
“What do you mean?”
“How to raise future Sidereals is a delicate issue. Everyone feels like their opinion should be heard since the child will eventually become one of our coworkers.”
“But I’m already a Sidereal,” you remind Elder Kejak.
“Yes. You have dug through every deception and incessantly asked questions until you got an answer. Annoyingly so, but then what would you except from one of Jupiter’s chosen?” Elder Kejak muses. In a much better temper, he continues, “But, no need to waste this session. You can catch up on your chapter reading,” You groan. “and I can use this time to get some paperwork done.”
Elder Kejak leaves to go back to his office and you crack open the Five Moons of Denial. You absently mindedly scratch at a mark on the page as you attempt to read though the first page of the chapter. After a few minutes, you bang your head against the book. This book was so dry, you were afraid it was going to spontaneously combust in front of you.
Where was Elder Kejak? It shouldn’t take that long to pick up a pile of paperwork. Unless of course the goat ate it. You imagine Elder Kejak tugging one end of a scroll with the goat pulling the other. Leaving the book behind, you get up from the conference table and stick your head out into the hallway. You quickly duck back in when an office god passes by. Just to be safe, you step outside of fate and head towards Elder Kejak’s office.
“Are you beginning to regret your decision to support Akachi and side against the other elders?” Your hair stands up on end and feel a tingling along your spine when you hear Jupiter’s voice. You put your ear to the closed door to better hear the conversation.
“No, of course not.” Elder Kejak replies. “But sometimes I despair of Svante ever gaining the wisdom needed to be a Sidereal.”
You hear the whispering of cloth as Jupiter crosses the study. “He is still a boy, but as you often remind Akachi, he will not be one for long. “
“Akachi still believes you lied to him about Svante’s Exaltation.”
“And Akachi and the others must continue to do so. If Svante’s premature Exaltation becomes common knowledge those who wish his Exaltation to pass to its next incarnation will gain support. The only thing staying their hand is the belief that his Exaltation is part of my plan.”
You lean against the door for support when you hear Jupiter’s response. You were a mistake. You weren’t supposed to Exalted at twelve! Your heart pounds as the rest of Jupiter’s words begin to sink in. The other elders wanted to kill you! You search your memory and realized you have never had a single conversation with any other elder except Akachi and Elder Kejak.
The door opens suddenly and you fall among on top of Elder Kejak. You barely avoid touching the Elder and scoot away. “Svante?” Elder Kejak asks, searching the empty hallway for you. “Come back into fate and we can talk.”
What do you do?
- Go into the office and talk with Elder Kejak and Jupiter
- Go find Akachi and tell him what is going on
- Run and hide.
(I’ll admit I enjoy writing a PC who is unafraid to talk back to Chejop Kejak. Most players start quacking in their boots if Kejak shows up in their game.)
(I think I have written Svante finding out about the details of his exaltation into two different scenes, but it always gets cut.)