Regathering, the PC’s learn that the Haslanti never apparently got the memo about Raphares being willing to sign on as a privateer. They launch their greatly enlarged aerial fleet to attack the camp, only for things…not to go as planned.
Verith poses as Raphares, ascending on the single remaining intact airship, to gently advise the people of the Haslanti Aerial fleet to back down. This does not work.
The last airship is torn asunder. Verith falls below, but uses Awesome Shapechanging Powerz to not die.
The camp explodes.
Ascending from the permafrost and the ruins of Raphares’ camp ( Athyfer’s manse resting beneath it), comes a new ship, which issues one last warning to the Haslanti Aerial Forces. Again, this does not work.
Raphares retaliates with unhesitating and terrible force. The whole of the Haslanti Aerial Military is annihilated except for one ship, which he explicitly allows to survive and return home.
The Haslanti Military asks Sparrowsteel to take the Ascendant Nimbus Roar to fly to the site of the debacle, find survivors, and any other explanations for what the hell just happened.
Our PC’s do so, joined by Lyim, who has joined the crew, and Mother Only To The Dead, who has snuck on board disguised as a mouse, and whose stowing away north is intended only to be temporary as she seeks someone who stole slaves and then marched them into the Frozen North.
The crew quickly makes their way north, to find the ruins of the airfleet, as well as Without Epilogue, a Midnight Caste Abyssal who seems to have the slaves with him. Ina and Mina Rayfair are also present, surprisingly unharmed (“We only fell, after all.”)
The Abyssal is quickly destroyed, but it is revealed that he has used an artifact on many of the Slaves as they have died, locking their souls into their bodies and preventing any physical or spiritual degradation, but also preventing them from reaching Lethe; also, although their bodies will not decay, they will not heal, either. More on that later.
The site is further searched. Bodies are uncovered, and anima-zotted. Sparrowsteel realizes that the newer ships have design considerations directly inspired by the Roar and that Ina and Mina are responsible for that. The manse beneath is explored. It’s long-deactivated, but materials inside are still worth looting, including Frozen Lightning, several hundred pounds of Orichalcum, and schematics for a First Age Airship.
Lion encounters another copy of herself. An Eastern native—one of the slaves—tells the Other Lion’s tale, and explains that she’s a soul-eaten husk. The man also explains that the pins that prevent their souls from escaping cannot be removed by the victims themselves.
Speaking of, there’s no going back. They’re dead, they just haven’t stopped moving. Other Lion isn’t dead. There are a few Slaves that aren’t. And maybe one or two Haslanti folk, too. But most of them are just well-preserved zombies.
Including the Children.
Mother takes this chance to show her hand, pulling the pins from the children as they “sleep” and allowing them to pass on.
Many of the others allow themselves to die as well. The Haslanti are not allowed, however, as they have reports to file.
Other Lion is placed with Stormblown Pine, where she helps out as best she can. She’s not really lucid, obviously.
And with this, the Bull of the North sends Samea Blackwater to the Haslanti Oligarchs, with a simple offer: join his nascent empire, and enjoy his protection as they have cast away their own. Refuse, and find out what a Solar-led army is capable of.