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DerpRavener last won the day on July 12

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About DerpRavener

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    Philosophical Changeling

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    Gaming, game design, philosophy, logic. A little writing on the side.

    Oh yes, also changelings. I love changelings.

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    Slim Chance
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  1. I had a silly thought. Naj could be lured there, based on someone dropping the rumor that a number of changelings were gathering. She'd want to investigate to make sure it wasn't a threat, or sign of something ominous. Otherwise, I figure either Naj could have been hired by the researcher as an changeling expert of sorts, or Slim Chance could come along, as she's always up for trying a potentially dangerous idea. The latter would also be amused by the idea of turning the tables on changelings and spying on them for a change.
  2. So far so good. The chaotic nature...hmm...of the current set of circumstances, combined with the recent arrival of food, meant that An Xiang's hope was well founded. She was barely noticed as she entered the hall. Or if she was noticed, her faux pas was being either forgiven or ignored. Regardless of what the answer was, she was thankful. Only one of the dinner guests reacted to An Xiang thus far. The imperial physician, Denglong Xiu if she remembered the name, gave her a quiet greeting. She hadn't spoken to the other qilin as much as she perhaps should have. In retrospect, there were a number of official ponies in and around the court she wished she'd gotten to know better. But wishing she'd done things differently wouldn't be any help now. The chancellor returned the greeting by nodding back and, unsure whether referring to the other mare by title would sound snide, she replied with a quiet “Hello.” Now with her entrance taken care of, An Xiang sat in silence for a moment, not quite sure what to do with herself. Eventually she realized, that if she was going to find herself in this situation, she may as well make what she could of it. After staring forlornly at the food in front of her for a moment, she turned back to Xiu, and spoke in a hushed tone. “Er, I'm afraid I'm a little out of the loop. We' the spirit of chaos?” Though she kept her voice quiet and measured, hints of concern and distaste were evident in it. She knew there would be celebrations with Lian's return, but this was an unwelcome surprise.
  3. An Xiang bit her lip, and her ears flattened backwards for a moment. She was expecting a response like this truth be told, as in many was it was not a very well phrased question for what she was really getting at. She inwardly cursed her own lack of experience in this regard, surely one better prepared would have a less awkward way of getting the information they needed. Still, newfound shame aside, An Xiang did at least manage to get a few pieces of important information out of the caribou. For one thing, she learned his leg was missing. Given the way her patient was sprawled out on the ground, that hadn't been immediately clear. Second, while it was clear from his voice that he was not doing well, he was conscious enough to be making noise and have some awareness of his surroundings. It meant things were not as bad as they could have been. Fortunately the caribou made a request, which was enough to bring An Xiang out of her thoughts. He needed water, which made sense if he just recently washed ashore. Who could tell how long he'd been out at sea? Two others had arrived while that initial conversation had taken place. An Xiang probably would have found it more comforting if they didn't make such a strange sight, one being a unicorn with strange adornments, while the other was a diamond dog. Fortunately, the diamond dog was at least slightly familiar, even if she and An Xiang had never spoke to one another. They weren't her focus right now though. “Right, water!” An Xiang said, already turning and running back toward town. It would give her a chance to help the wounded caribou, and get away from this awkward situation, at least for a time. She did so enjoy when she could multitask. “If either of you know the local doctor,” she called over her shoulder as she left, “could you please get them?” An Xiang would return in a minute or two.
  4. I wish it hadn't taken so long, but I got my post up. I ended up improvising some of the details, let me know if if there was meant to be a different direction for this, and I can try to edit.
  5. An Xiang always enjoyed these sorts of tasks. She was not in the capitol as she usually was, but rather visiting one of the smaller, coastal villages. Officially, she was here as part of an ongoing effort to stop a plague discovered among the crops, following up on earlier efforts to see how their countermeasures were doing. Her observations thus far showed promising results, although it was too early to tell with any certainty. An Xiang had no intention of shirking her duties, but that didn't mean she couldn't enjoy herself. That was the beauty of these sorts of tasks, one could take some time to oneself and explore nature, while carrying out their responsibilities. It was important to take breaks, even when wasn't away from their home, to avoid one's work being sloppy among other things. Today, An Xiang decided to begin with a walk around the shore. She would have work to do, but nothing that needed to be rushed and her presence here was largely passive anyways. She didn't need to take any urgent action. So rather than fret about what she might need to do in future, she was going for a short hike to keep her head clear. It would not turn out to be that simple. It was only a short ways into An Xiang's walk that she noticed a figure. It was a little strange, as otherwise no one was in this section of the beach, but her first thought was that it was probably just another pony who wanted to get some air, and she paid it no mind. At first she kept walking. As she drew closer however, she noticed something off. The angle that the figure lay at was slightly unnatural. The more she looked, the more it seemed to be someone who couldn't get up than someone who was laying down by choice. She ran toward the figure, intent to help. Drawing closer revealed yet another surprise. It was a caribou! One that was perhaps a little scrawny by caribou standards, but still imposing to An Xiang herself. She had to wonder where he came from, and what lead to him arriving on these shores in such a state. These were questions she would need to ask, but not right away. Before her was an injured creature, and she needed to make sure he would be okay before any other questions could be answered. An Xiang knew a little healing magic, but that was not the same as actually being medically trained. Her plan was to fetch the local doctor, but first she wanted to get a sense of things. “Are you alright?” She asked after a moment's hesitation. “Are you in any particular pain?”
  6. Now that everything's accounted for, Iseiaisha is active as the karasu.
  7. Name: Iseiaisha Sex: Female Age: Middle aged Species: Earth Pony Eye colour: Cyan Coat: Navy Blue Mane and tail: Dark Grey Physique: Stocky Residence: She has an official office in Kyoma, although she is only there intermittently, and she has an apartment in the same city. She also has several safehouses spread across Neighpon, and a few in other regions. Occupation: Karasu of the Shogunate Cutie Mark: A spear piercing through a tree, representing Iseiaisha’s drive to accomplish her goal. It was harvest time. Among other things, for farmers this meant trips to market to sell off surplus, and make sure they had enough to purchase what they might not be able to make themselves. Too young at the time to do the bulk of the carrying, Hidzume did what she could to help all the same, largely at her own insistence. She was put to work in smaller ways generally, clearing the way for the cart, making sure things didn’t fall off of it, or helping setup and run the stall. This particular season however saw the family suffer an unfortunate occurrence, the father fell ill. Thankfully it was not life-threatening, but it would leave him bedridden, and that would set back their schedule. As the family debated what to do, Hidzume stated that she would replace him, so they would not fall behind. The idea was shot down immediately, as such a task would be far too much for her young self to do. Although she made as though she’d listened, Hidzume had other plans. She went to bed early that night, specifically for the purpose of getting up early the following morning. She knew she couldn’t tackle the task alone, but she had accounted for this. She coerced her older brother to help, although admittedly he only did so because he worried she might try even if he didn’t, and if it was going to happen it would be better for someone responsible to be present. The journey into town was several gruelling hours, while the nearby wilderness was relatively tame the route was long and bumpy enough to cause problems, but the pair emerged triumphant! Sure, Hidzume would be bedridden for several days herself afterwards, and she’d be chewed out by her parents after that. But she had proven that when she set her mind to achieving something, she would not be denied it. Unique Traits: Iseiaisha began her combat schooling as a soldier, and the skills and understanding that come with that are something that never left her. Through her training, and the subsequent years on active duty, she gained a familiarity with tactics, logitstics and combat with a number of basic weapons. The training also gave her new techniques for handling pain, which combined with her natural traits makes her a very resilient combatant. The shift from soldiery to espionage brought with it whole new sets of skills. Iseiaisha recieved intesive training ninjitsu, which included both a form of direct combat with a basis in misdirection, and techniques for avoiding combat in the first place. She knows how to remain concealed, discreetly gather information, and stealthily approach a target. History: Iseiaisha, then known by her birth name Shitto No Hidzume, grew up in a farming community on Dosanko. Her village itself was fairly secluded from the attacks which plague the region, but she nonetheless heard much about them. Though much diminished from the raids of old, they were still a constant source of gossip and thus concern. Hidzume however took what many would call exactly the wrong things from these stories. She took away only the tales of the mighty heroes who’d defended Dosanko in ages past, and while the stories their modern day soldiers who guarded the island weren’t as dramatic they were more real, which made them just as interesting. Those stories inspired Hidzume, but also proved to be a source of frustration. As much as her family insisted that role of a farmer was a noble and vital undertaking, it never felt very heroic. It was too much based in routine, how could one prove their bravery or tenacity if one could not take any risks? She found glory where she could, initially by trying to take on the more dangerous tasks, around the farm, and eventually going beyond that. Whenever she got wind of some critter that might threaten the farm, she made it her mission to ward it off. It was one thing when that was merely pests, but when she moved up to predators, her parents had enough. Fortunately, there was a military academy relatively close by, and Hidzume was of age my then to be sent to it. Though done with a heavy heart, it was thought to be the right choice by all involved. The filly was excited to follow in her heroes’ hoofsteps, and learn their ways. The rest of her family hoped her natural energy could be tempered by discipline. She did well, her own enthusiasm for the subjects carrying her through those aspects she would have otherwise struggled with. Naturally, on completing her pass through the academy, Hidzume went on to join the service proper as many of her classmates did. The capabilities she demonstrated in training earned her a junior officer’s position. It wasn’t actually a command position of any sort, but it was a fast track to it. In peacetime it is more difficult to find opportunities to advance or find glory, and at times it was a challenge for Hidzume to retain her poise, but she persevered. Her battlegroup was called to action every so often, but most of her early career was essentially guard duty. It was not what she’d been hoping for, but her role models would not quit in the face of unexpected challenges, and neither would she. While she had limited opportunities to show her valor, over her early years she was able to demonstrate her dedication to her position. In time, Hidzume earned a small squad of her own, and her first command brought with it a task. Several villages in a rural area had reported bandit attacks. The problem was deemed too small for a full sacle military response, but the damage could not be ignored either. It was thought that the task would be a perfect fit for a fresh commander looking to get a taste of leadership in a combat situation, being just serious to merit a response, while minor enough that the danger would be minimal. These assumptions proved perhaps too correct. After taking a few days to speak with the townsfolk, and get both the details of the recent attacks and the lay of the land, Hidzume began her hunt, and it only took a few days before bandits were baited into a trap and their band routed. They were never particularly skilled, having been driven to raiding towns out of a famine in their own home villages, rather than greed or challenge, and Hidzume mused on this even as she rounded up the stragglers. She found herself conflicted, being proud of a job well done, yet at the same time not being sure the bandits really deserved what came to them. She began to wonder if there had been another way to resolve the situation. Hidzume continued on as a soldier for several months, but during that time her doubts weighed on her. The life of a soldier seemed less and less appealing, if one would be forced to choose between doing her duty and finding the best outcome, as she had. After a few months of competent but increasingly distracted service as a soldier, she took an extended leave of absence. Hidzume had grown dissatisfied with her situation as a soldier, yet the mindset, and her drive to protect remained. She still wanted to fight, and she was determined to continue, but that was no longer enough. She was sure that, if she just knew the right approach, she could have found a better outcome and could do so reliably in future. As with many soldiers, she had until this time viewed the more subversive schools of warfare disdain, but now she saw them in a new light. She realized that with the right intelligence, or a blade in just the right place, one could change the course of of a battle or even prevent it entirely. Of course, there were no academies available to learn spycraft or ninjitsu, or at least none that could be publicly accessed. It was however, possible to find a mentor, if one knew where to look or had the will to track one down. Hidzume had both, and she demonstrated them in her search for someone who could teach her the skills she sought to learn. After a month of this, she caught the attention of one of the few ponies staffing the office of the Karasu. This pony found Hidzume’s efforts sloppy, but saw potential in the attempt and the mare who made it all the same. She had found her mentor. Hidzume underwent a period of intensive training, to bring her up to speed on the tools of the trade, which included both more direct means by which a ninja would reach a target or gather information, as well as the more roundabout methods of espionage. And this did not stop at mere demonstration and practice, Hidzume was called on to do work in the field long before her training was complete, evidently her teacher thought that a live environment was vital to the learning process. It was during the first of these that Hidzume picked up the name Iseiaisha, adopting a new name while in public to make her and particularly who her family and friends were more difficult to track down. Though finding the methods unintuitive at first, Iseiaisha persevered, and came to appreciate the means to control a situation that such methods offered. Once again her dedication proved to be her greatest asset, and after many years of service she rose through the ranks, first to achieve a position in the office of the karasu, and finally to relatively recently be selected to be the Karasu herself when the time came. Personality/Summary: Iseiaisha is something of a paradox. As the Karasu she is valued for her ability to act subtly, and yet at the same time it was her direct, driven approach that garnered her attention that allowed her to achieve her current station. It’s not that she can’t scheme, it’s just that when she has an objection she puts intense focus on it. Unless otherwise required, she prefers to strike her foes harder and faster than they can react over intricate plans, and she’s willing to put herself in harm’s way to achieve her goals. She’s less willing to put her subordinates in similar danger, although at a certain points she sees that as a hazard of the job and a risk one must have realized when entering the field in the first place. She sees espionage as the most brutal and underhoofed means to solve a crisis while putting the least number of ponies in harm’s way, and she embodies that interpretation in her tactics. She’s only had to change this mindset recently, as she’s begun to control the Karasu’s intelligence network. Now managing so many who each have their own modus operandi, Iseiaisha has taken up a hooves-off approach. She allows her agents to choose their own methods, provided they find success and avoid too much attention, as a disguise, a concealed vantage point and a spy golem all accomplish the same thing in the end. In person, Iseiaisha tends to be laid back. She’s a pony who’s seen much over the course of her life, and was so often called upon to make split second decisions in critical situations, such that little truly fazes her anymore. Which isn’t to say she can’t be surprised but rather that surprise isn’t enough to stop her from taking action. She takes her responsibilities very seriously, both being a career soldier and now holding a position of importance in the shogunate. Beyond that however she’s very easy to talk to, having cultivated conversation as both something useful to a spy and an alternative to combat as a soldier. Additional Notes: As this character is going to be the karasu, I'm going to want to get it approved by @Zeig as well as the usual process before I'd consider it truly complete.
  8. I have a qilin who needs more threads. While I don't think she'd necessarily trust Calder right away, she'd feel that was no reason not to have a conversation with him, and would be interested in learning about a culture by speaking to one of its members.
  9. Naj tried to get away when the...snake-dragon-goat-thing grabbed her, but couldn't quite make it. She squirmed in his grasp, at least until he placed her down again. The creature said something about a 'change program' between ponies and changelings and how they would 'learn what it was like to be a foal'. She might have believed it, if she could actually remember how she got here. It also would have helped if the creature who told her this didn't look like a drawing as he was talking to her, though that was a different issue. This was too much. It was bad enough not knowing how she ended up in this strange place, surrounding by ponies who'd want to do who-knows-what to her. But now she was being taunted by some kind of...of monster! Naj's composure finally broke. She lay down on the ground, wrapped her forehooves around her face, let out muffled sobs. Or at least, she did until something crashed into her, knocking her over. Snapped back to her current situation, Naj rolled back onto her hooves and whirled around, to find one of the small ponies staring right at her! “Eeep!” She recoiled, and took a few nervous steps backwards. She tried to hastily rub the tears out of her eyes, not wanting to show the pony obvious weakness. She was only partially successful. The little pony did not react to finding Naj how she'd expect. Rather than trying to attack, or running away, or calling for help from the nearby large ponies, he asked things about her. He thought she was diseased! What? How could he not know? Naj wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. “I'm not sick!” Naj snapped back, before remembering where she was. Her voice trailed off as she got to the actual explanation. “I'm...I'm a changeling...” And then one of the big ponies finally took notice, and an orange earth pony was headed right their way! Naj's first instinct was to hide. Unfortunately, there wasn't much cover right where she was, and she was forced to make do with what was right at hoof, which happened to be the colt she was talking to who seemed friendly enough. She crouched behind Inkbrand, shivering slightly, only poking her head round him once she found that the newcomer didn't seem angry. On sticking her head out, Naj was momentarily distracted by seeing that the bigger pony was not alone, but was also carrying a little, teeny-tiny pony as well. Naj had never seen one of those! Sure, there were plenty of younger ponies in the room, but they were more like little changelings, like Naj was. Ones that only needed some growth now to reach their full size. This really-little pony though, Naj quickly realized was something else. “It's a pony grub!” She spoke excitedly and leaned outward from her improvised hiding space, to get a better look. She never thought she'd get to see one! “It doesn't look very grub-like...” she frowned in thought. “They aren't called grubs, are they?” Naj ducked back with another “eep!” when the earth pony, known as Applejack if she'd given her real name, addressed the two little ones and revealed that she knew Naj's name. How did she know that? She also introduced the not-grub as Zap Apple, before asking if Naj or the colt to play or get some food. Naj wasn't really feeling hungry, but she couldn't understand why given how far she must have travelled. She didn't feel up to playing a game just yet. She mumbled a reply at Applejack. “...S-some food would be nice...” Naj would have left it there, but another thought struck her, and one she just couldn't leave alone. Maybe there was a reason a pony would know her name, although she still didn't like that she couldn't remember anything about it. “Uhm...miss Applejack? I-is what the monster said true? Is there some kind of, of 'change program' for ponies and changelings to meet?”
  10. I would greatly appreciate getting the solo pic of Naj.
  11. Eyes are cyan, wings are a pale blue.
  12. I'll throw Naj at this. Sex: Female Species: Changeling (often disguised as a pegasus) Build: Somewhat athletic thanks to being a soldier, otherwise average Mane/Tail/Other Appearance: As a changeling, she appears as a fairly typical drone aside from a scar on the inside of her right leg and perhaps her build. Her current default pony is a pegasus that borrows her changeling colours of black coat, with light blue mane and tail that she keeps short and messy. Pose/Expression: Standing at attention. So, I included both her pony and changeling form, in case one would be easier to make or make more sense than the other. Let me knwo if there's anything I should add to it.
  13. I've been partly waiting to see which characters reply to which, and partly using that as an excuse to work on some other things, but I could probably get a post up in a few days.
  14. An Xiang galloped through the halls, just barely avoiding careening into one of the guards out on patrol. She was late! How could she let this happen? She didn't take enough into account! She had known about the banquet, and had thought she had given herself enough time. And yet here she was, racing to the Hall of Plenty, hope of getting there in the proper time since past. She just hoped she she could minimize the damage now. Fortunately for her she tended to keep simple robes, just ornate enough to avoid a poor representation of her station. It made it easy to change clothes, such as she'd needed to shortly before now. It also made it easier for her to run, although it still slowed her down more than she was comfortable at the moment. An Xiang came to a sudden stop just before the doors into the hall. Being late was no excuse for losing composure, at least not before the empress. Standing before the entrance, she willed herself calm. It didn't work of course. How could she be calm now? But it did give her a moment to get her thoughts in order. She could at least enter the hall with a clearer mind. She took one last look at her robes, and straightened out a small wrinkle, before stepping into the hall proper. An Xiang entered the hall with an apology on her lips, but it died the moment she entered the room and had a chance to see what was waiting there. Prince Lian had chosen to wear...nothing. A curious choice, and certainly not one she would have recommended, but if the prince so desired it she was not truly in a position to rebuke him. His attendant, meanwhile, was doing something rebuke-worthy: she was wearing the empress' cloths! Why? How? Though not one to make outbursts, An Xiang was tempted to make some remark on the situation... ...Until she saw guest for the evening. The misshapen creature, seemingly made up of a set of mismatched limbs and elements from different creatures, was seated right next to Empress Yue. Discord, the Spirit of Chaos: An Xiang had read about him. She would hardly call herself an expert, but since achieving her current position she had been reading more on a wide range of subjects, and Equestrian history was one of them. And here was this creature, this villain of legend, seated at a place of honour at the banquet. An Xiang's mouth, which had been hanging open for a moment, promptly shut. She quickly came to two conclusions. First, Discord was probably all the explanation that would be needed for these and future oddities. Second, there was a decent chance her entrance would likely go unnoticed in the face these developments. Thus, in the interest of avoiding further disruption, she simply enter the hall and took her seat. She could always make her apology later, if confronted.