Circles Shattered and Reforged

Things Go Splat Lots
And then they die
  • This was a short session. We had all sorts of problems getting started.
  • Mother flips out, and attacks the Guildsmen. Unari tries to stop her, but decides to join in the fun.
  • Guildsmen die lots.
  • Six enters the fray, rushing past Lion from behind and then striking at one of the survivors. He dies messily.
  • Lion attacks Six, although the latter dodges.
  • Mother attacks the leader of the guildsmen:

Mother’s reach is slow and deliberate—she flicks claws up to catch into flesh, hold and drag upward; she’s going to have him look her in the eyes when she speaks next: “You took all of my children. You made me remember—this is not the first time. They took my children then and I could not stop them. You took them now, and I could not stop you. You have remade me, called me anew. I am barren as the yellow sands, no life grows in me. I can be Mother Only To The Dead, and you— you are the one who woke me.”
Her grip tightens, a tremble running down her arm. “They were babies, you fool. Children! They were not walking banks for you to pillage! Ayala wanted to be a healer. Wind knew all the songs of the sun. Kiki would have taken up the shepard’s rod, like his father. But you— you ended all of that. For what? To die wallowing in your own filth in a Nexus warehouse?” She snorts once, breath hot and fetid — and drops him once.

  • The man attempts to run away, only to be interrupted as the door explodes inward. Dressh calmly steps through, and rebukes everyone for starting without him.
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Things to do in Nexus When You're
Oh, wait, we did this joke already.
  • The PC’s continue doing what they were doing.
  • Dusk and company end up encountering a merchant named Hawk who gives them information about where Dressh is camped, and also where the slave deal is about to go down. Savant leaves the man grossly intimidated, but their questioning is cut short by the news that a fellow guildsman has been slaughtered in his own home. Other guildsmen are descending like vultures to claim his goods. Hawk must act now and take what he can!
  • Following Hawk, Lyim, Savant, and Lion arrive, and see the mess made—apparently by Six.

The first guard fell here. As a matter of fact, it’s easy to tell where he was standing when the blade fell; the blood smears down the wall to where he is slumped, and the stone is deeply pitted by a thick blade. It pierced him with enough force to crush his ribcage, and then turned to its side, and pulled through to his right, deeply scoring the wall.

Elzar is worse; He, too, was pinned to the wall by knives briefly. But he did not die from this. At least, one assumes instead that he first died to the wain of blows to his face, stabbing through his skull and into the stone again and again and again, until his head is a pulpy jelly speckled with bone; this mass is at least partially embedded in the wall.
A message is scored into the stone above him.

  • Hawk removes a document from a hidden compartment in Elzar’s office.
  • It turns out Elzar had slaves. Lots of them. Went through them on a regular basis, even. It seems that a lot of them were from Nut’s tribe. They seem to have disappeared in the chaos.
  • Back with Sparrow and Unari and Mother: Mother again has the voice in her head.

“I am done now.” The voice says. “They are dead.”
“Good.”
“They deserved to die. It will be cruel to them, but it was necessary. They could have been better.”
“They often could have been.”
“…Why are you here?”
“We are hunting.” Replies Mother.
“Will she be there?”
“If she is one of them, she will be. And she will die.”
“If she were one of—” The voice pauses, hesitates. “If she were, she would deserve to die. She could be nothing better. It would be what she deserves.” It goes on. “But she could not be. She is not real. She has no soul. She is nothing but a cruel trick. And so I have to kill her.”

  • Mother is confused. Sparrow spots a hooded figure above who quickly makes her exit, as does the voice.
  • The group regathers at the dock, as the supplies Sparrow purchased roll in. Savant pickpockets Hawk, and takes the document he had removed from Elzar’s office. It’s a deed to a “Geomantically Active Property” Located far to the east and a bit to the north.
  • The PC’s then make their way to the warehouse where the deal is about to take place. They take their hiding places…
  • And then the slaves are led in. And a Very Familiar Voice accompanies them. Mother Must Kill Now.
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Like a Circle out of Malfeas
Actually, they ARE a Circle out of Malfeas
  • In broken Riverspeak, he tells them about the Guild slavers that came and captured most of the village. When Dressh came through, he apparently mind-whammied everyone else into coming with him. Nut hid, but Six found him. They spoke for a while, and while she suggested he come with them, he refused to follow Things From The Woods. Even if one of them sounded like Lion. He apparently survived saying this.
  • The PC’s leave Akeva behind to watch over the gate, Unari summoning an Earth Elemental to train with him and assist in keeping things from passing through. She also summons a Garda Bird to conjure a portal back to this place—when the time comes, Akeva can step through and kick Dressh’s ass.
  • Sparrowsteel makes a boat for them to travel downriver—they were headed for “a large city”, meaning probably Great Forks or Nexus.
  • In Great Forks, Dusk goes to visit an old friend, Torch Banishes Night, and he learns from him that the Infernals passed through, and are looking at picking up a buttload of slaves. They’ve gone to Nexus to make the deal.
  • So, onward to Nexus.
  • There, the PC’s deal with a fast-talking dockmaster who ties their boat up with some sort of artifact rope, refusing to let it go until they agree to exorbitant rates. He is successfully browbeaten.
  • From there, they go looking for Slaves. Mother is sent elsewhere with Sparrowsteel, so as not to turn the Little Market into a righteous abattoir.
  • Mother gets a voice in her head that wonders what she is doing there—the voice claims to know her from long ago, although it refuses to identify itself; what other people call it is not its name, and it won’t use its name for itself until it’s taken it back from everyone else using it.
  • Meanwhile, Akeva minds the portal. Not much happens until a siderealman randomly passing through appears, pursued by an Erymanthus. Akeva easily kills the demon. The man remains, and spends many of the following days speaking with Akeva about his history and Copper Basilisk.
  • And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we’re caught up. Next post should be for a single session!
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Things to do in Malfeas when you're Exalted
If only we could burn the place down...
  • The PC’s arrive in Cecylene. The Endless Desert challenges their presence, but Lyim pulls the “Eclipse caste, yo!” card, and so they are let to pass on to the Demon City.
  • The PC’s arrive in Malfeas, and their presence is quickly noted by the local authorities. An escort is sent to take them to the Embassy of Creation.
  • Said Embassy is something of a cyst of Creation, with a blue sky, peace, quiet, and personal rooms that fit the one opening the door, complete with fitting clothes.
  • The escort is at their disposal—he’s a short, lizardlike goblin thing who is reasonably certain that the lawgivers are going to obliterate him from existence for some real or imagined slight any second now.
  • The PC’s search for the mortals whom Dressh took with him, only finding the ruins of a First Age City banished to Malfeas by some First Age Loon. Malfeas gets pissy and starts nuking them, lest the Exalted think THEY can lay claim to them.
  • The PC’s visit the Embassy of Heaven to Hell, and let the Ambassador know what’s going on with the Infernals, as near as they can. They also direct some humanitarian aid to the survivors of that ruined city above.
  • While they were in there, the previous escort was removed and replaced by a new one—a lean, black-furred thing with a cheshire grin, a bottomless appetite, and great big feline-seeming eyespots.
  • Returning to the Embassy of Creation, they decide it’s time to leave. They very nearly return through the way from whence they came. But on the other hand, their escort seems far too eager for them to leave through there, so they opt to find another way—perhaps one closer to the eastern destination that Dressh and Six and Sajira are headed for.
  • Searching through the library, Dusk finds mention of a gate that wanders throughout Malfeas, that exits into Creation at a concrete point in the East. Hey, this could work!
  • Meanwhile, Sparrow finds a strange, egg-shaped object that starts an…interesting show. First, two illusory characters appear—a man and a woman, the former naming the latter Byrell. They speak a bit about the recording mechanism, but are interrupted as another man appears, displacing the other two. He resembles the man, albeit exceptionally older.

“Is this thing on?” The man asks, He pokes at an invisible object. “I’m going to assume it is. And I guess,” He looks around, unable to see his audience, “that you’ve found your way down here, my fellow Viziers. Or maybe a lucky Steward, I don’t know.” His fingers drum on a nearby table. “I think that by this point I’ll be long dead. Maybe you’re my reincarnation. So listen.”
“You’re a lucky man. You’re going to get the first chance to talk to the First Age anyone’s gotten in…eh, who knows?” He laughs, softly, but then his expression goes grave.
“It hurts to watch this, you know. Maybe it won’t so much for you, but these are people I knew. Some of them, I killed.” He looks out, towards the door. “I’ve just about worn this thing out; there might be one more viewing left. So make good use of it. There’s a couple hours of recording here.”
“And remember, whoever you are, that we sacrificed this, and for the right reasons. These are people I knew. Some of them, I loved. And I miss them every day, still. But this had to be. The price Fate demanded for Creation’s safety was heavy, and—” He pauses, shaking his head.
“You should know all this already, what am I saying? I’m overwriting the old recording with this, too, so…anyway. Enjoy the opportunity.”

  • Most of the PC’s get the opportunity to interact with their previous incarnations, bearing witness to an estranged relationship between Kiho and his apparent former student, Byrell. Akeva witnesses Stone Dog fetch Melagrimas from the gym, and sees a distressed Netumiel confide something in him. Paravion simply seems to live up the party, chatting, feasting, and then finally confronting the End of All Wisdom to wrest away something new.
  • Eventually, the show ends, and our heroes set off for the wandering gate. Using a theoretical forecasting formula, they manage to find it in the depths of Szoreny. Stepping through, they enter a very different forest…
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It's raining DOOM
Also, demons
  • Yurgen Kaneko’s forces block off the lumber supplies from Guild shipments. Stormblown Oak seems to be operating as their man on the inside, although his exact motivations for selling out remain unclear.
  • The majority of the PC’s leave directly for the lumberyards and strike a deal with the woodcutters, flying out the lumber on the Roar and heading back to Haslanti territory.
  • The Bull has proceeded to make things messier by having Marottes summoned and dropped onto the construction yard, turning it into an escher-esque work of art that is not at all flightworthy. But this is where our heroes come in, killing the damn things dead.
  • Dusk infiltrates one of the Bull’s primary camps and does a number on it. Chaos is sown, two of the major tribes are turned against each other, and while it is eventually discovered that an outsider has sown suspicion and dissension, it is not without lasting consewuences, including the devastation of many of the supplies.
  • The Haslanti take advantage of this situation to extend an olive branch in the form of further supplies.
  • Raphares reappears in the skies over the Bull of the North’s camp—previously devastated by the efforts of Tranquil Dusk.
  • After initially opening friendly discussions, he opens fire with the cannons of his ship, reading off a list of all the fallen Tepet from the battle against the Bull several years ago. He will continue to rain down death and destruction as he slowly heads north, leaving a scar of charred earth in his wake.
  • In the resultant chaos, the Haslanti goodwill ambassadors are mistaken for insult or further injury, and many are killed.
  • When the PC’s return to pick up the ambassadors, they learn of what happened. Samea offers apologies and wergild.
  • Shortly thereafter, Dressh—apparently just passing through—social-fu’s the surviving troops of the Bull into following him, and uses some strange Infernal charm to turn Samea’s attentions wholly toward vengeance against Raphares. This doesn’t last, but it functions long enough to turn her attention away from trying to stop him.
  • Samea’s pursuit ends in futility, as Verith deceives her into chasing him off the ship. She survives, but Florivet is returned to Malfeas.
  • Yurgen makes a far superior showing, murdering every inhabitant aboard except for Raphares himself, Verith, and a mysterious shadowy figure who casts Yurgen through the darkness and miles away, allowing the Eclipse to make his escape.
  • When Samea is able to focus on things other than Raphares’ urgent need to die, she contacts the PC’s and fills them in on what happened. They pursue the Infernals.
  • Unfortunately, the trail ends in a ghost town long since killed by the cold, with only a trace of the silver sands of Cecylene to mark their passing.
  • The PC’s must continue pursuit, and so they take the gate that Sajira once escaped through, months ago. Our heroes have gone to Hell.
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The Bull Extends an Offer
But more on that later. Everybody get drunk!
  • Samea points out to the Oligarchs that Raphares has levelled their aerial superiority, and without that, the Bull can run roughshod over them without skipping a beat. Peaceful absorption into his territory is not the most terrible thing that could happen.
  • She departs, but not before a strange blind fortune-teller appears, shouting something about DOOM! at pretty much everyone in sight on the docks.
  • While Samea and company leave, the others consult her:
    • Mother will find the man she seeks in Nexus.
    • Akeva will…um…maybe? Find Basilisk there, too?
    • Lion asks her to take a look at the gate tattoo in her back. This gives her a killer headache and nosebleed. She does not explain the significance of this.
  • Unari takes the Fortuneteller out for a drink.
  • Everyone else comes with.
  • Unari gets Very Drunk. Again.
  • So does the fortune teller, who is neither blind, nor particularly old. She does, however, explain what’s up with Lion’s tatto, or at least the insights gotten therefrom.

“So your friend,” she begins, holding up a singe shelled peanut as she slurs, “your friend’s a peanut. I mean, she’s not a peanut, really, but we’re going to SAY she’s a peanut. So your friend’s a peanut.”
She puts the peanut down on the bar, and it splits in half. She stares down at it cluelessly for a moment before going on.
“Okay. That wasn’t supposed to happen. But-but it’s okay. So your friend’s a peanut, and there’s more than one of her. There’s more peanuts.” She grabs a few more nuts and places them around the bar.
“And Fate…fate doesn’t mind this, because it goes “Oh, okay, there’s different peanuts but they’re in different places. Except it’s not talking about peanuts, because your friend isn’t a peanut.”
“But your friend’s a peanut, and then suddenly, there’s more than one peanut in a place, and fate goes ‘Oh noooo! There’s two peanuts, but there’s only one peanut, what’s going onnnnn~!’ And then it gets all messy and wierd.” She waggle her fingers at this, apparently entirely serious.

  • Eventually, everyone heads back to the Roar, and sleeps the night off. The Fortune Teller with the sparkling green eyes and chestnut hair disappears in the morning—somewhat literally, in fact.
  • Hijinks ensue in the aftermath, as Mother .

[Akeva] wanders up to see what Unari’s doing, carrying a bottle of whiskey in one hand which he drinks like a sippy cup.
(We’ve taken Unari and replaced her with hyena-form Mother. Let’s see if he notices.)
Then, Akeva comes across the giant hyena. He blinks.
Mother snuffle-snuffles.
Mother snuffles Akeva.
He peers down at the animal. “Unari? Is that you?”
“Why’re you a leopard dog?”
Mother might get drool on him, but that’s just what you get with huge hyena muzzle pressed against your chest.
“Or… a dog leopard.”
Mother cocks her head and perks her ears.
He takes another swig. “Deopard. Log?”
Mother puts up one Enormous Paw.
“…SPAARRROOWWWW! WHAT DO YOU GET IF A LEOPARD AND A DOG HAVE A BABY?”
“….WHAT THE GODS’ DAMNED HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS DAMN EARLY IN THE MORNING??!” Shouts Sparrowsteel. “I’M WORKING, DAMNIT!!”
Lyim comes down from his work to investigate this… very odd and probably entertaining discovery.
Mother PAWSWIPES the liquor.
Then, Akeva’s liquor is sent flying. “NO!” Akeva suddenly dashes multiple yards in a single second, proving that Akeva considers catching a bottle of liquor worth 15 motes of essence.
Mother bounds after. Bound bound pounce. Mother thinks it may be time for Akeva to be sat on.
[Akeva] skids on his heels, cradling the bottle like a baby. Then when he hears the hyena, he keeps running. “NO! BAD LOG! BAD LOG!”
Sparrow will emerge from her cabin all covered in ink smears and glower most impressively. “…Leopard dog baby, huh?”
DEOPARD! LOG! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS THING!?”
Mother keeps making those goddamn GHEE HEE HEE noises.
Akeva bolts past Sparrow, with the hyena loping after him.
Blasphemy appears to have fetched Lion. She looks like she might actually laugh.
Mother ohshits and applies breaks. She may skid.
Sparrow will bust out laughing. Laughing so damn hard that her face turns red and tears roll down her cheeks.
Mother is going to apply BUTT to the ship. skiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid—- ERK. right next to Sparrow. Tongue lolls, prodigious drooling.
Akeva skids as well, though his bootheels shoot sparks out before coming to a stop.
Lion coughs, and then laughs as Mother tries to brake.
“…who bought a god damn leopard dog baby?” Akeva shouts. “It’s trying to steal my hooch!”
Sparrowsteel glares at Mother. “Goddammit, pup, if you got shit smears on my nice clean ship…”
Akeva continues to rant. “It’s a god damn hooch-stealing deck-ass-rubbing log! Tell Unari to quit it!”
Liam looks puzzled. “….log?”
“…it’s what happens when a leopard and a dog have a baby.” [Akeva] nods to Lyim.
“Not Unari, Keva.” Sparrowsteel explains.
“…then what the hell’s that?” He points.
Mother snorts. “I am perfectly clean. Cleaner then that one,” She headjerks toward Akeva, “Who needs a bath.”
“That he does.” Sparrow admits freely
“…well, that clears everything up.” nods Lyim
Akeva protes: “I’m bathing on the inside.” He takes another drink.
“You’re bathing with lye, dumb-cub.”
“You’re a dumb-cub! Dumb.. cub.”

  • “Maeglynn”, the Fortune Teller (Not her real name, apparently), leaves a message for Dusk that Heaven is working on the Infernal Issue—they’re currently in the committee stage.
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Northward Ho!
Now with 40% more characters!
  • 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.
  • Savantlistens in on the report when it is made.
  • 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.
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Seeking Stars and Finding Devils
With a little bit of downtime following.

03/30/10-4/30/10

  • Akeva receives word that Copper Basilisk waits for him at the Red Omen Dog Tavern in Black Cliff. With little more prodding required, the crew immediately makes their way across Haslanti territory to meet with her, and reacquaint his fist with her brainmeats.
  • Arriving in Black Cliff, the PC’s learn that the Tavern may have an underground (in all meanings of the word) fighting arena, but the bartender denies any presence of Basilisk.
  • Savant goes looking, but is clotheslined by Arcane Fate and is unable to produce anything.
  • The PC’s wait for the next battle royale, at which Basilisk still fails to appear, but Raven shows up, with two other Infernals in tow.
  • Akeva and Unari lead the way downstairs to the fight and join in the fray. Dressh also joins in.
  • Six and Raven talk, overheard by Blasphemy and Savant. Six claims a need to kill Lion, and that “She is the nightmare I see when I close my eyes.” Curiously, Six speaks in Lion’s voice.
  • Eventually, all hell breaks loose when animas start flaring.
  • Savant knocks Raven out, and Blasphemy takes a bite out of Six’s thigh. Six very nearly flips out with Smoldering Rage Beast, but opts instead to run away, getting a small cut in on Lion on the way out rather than, you know, killing her.
  • Six tastes like Lion.
  • Most of the people present flee the scene once the Slayer and Dawn Anima banners start going.
  • Unari is very drunk.
  • A past life flashback kicks in, and everyone’s past lives are laid bare:
  • We also know by this point that Savant is Wranthalas, Sparrowsteel is Kiho and Unari is Lasai.
  • Akeva is Stone Dog, the “Weapon of Seven Directions.”
  • Lion’s past life is Hiako’e, and she is accompanied by a woman wholly obscured by acolyte’s robes named Aphelsine.
  • Melagrimas and Stone Dog spar while the latter’s circlemates—including his lover—look on. Netumiel is worried every time her beloved bronze tiger gets clipped, but he’s fine, really.
  • Wranthalas is bored, and has an elsewhere he’d rather be. So much so, in fact, that he should limit break. He doesn’t, but there’s the distinct feeling he should have snapped, but instead nothing.
  • Hiako’e looks on secretly, swearing to herself that history will not repeat itself and they won’t die pointlessly this time.
  • The flashback ends, with a lot of WTF-ery going around.
  • Blustering is made on both parts, but eventually the truth comes out that Raven ditched Jaeldrin at her earliest convenience and effectively left him to die. Dressh offers to forestall the fight for now, let the PC’s take Raven, and then go. This is temporarily agreed to. He departs with an offhand “No Sorrow,” the standard farewell among his first age circle. Lion responds:

“There will be sorrow. You bring it with you. Whatever it was that made you take on Malfeas’ taint, it brought you that curse.” She sounds a bit more philosophical than usual.
Dressh shakes his head. “Yeah, you keep saying that, Six, but—” He looks to Lion, more than a little confused, but shrugs and continues on his way.
Blasphemy snarls warningly at Dressh after he calls Lion Six.

  • As Dressh leaves, the owner of the bar enters the arena.
  • The God himself puts in an appearance, and is impressed with Akeva’s show. He later appears in Akeva’s dreams, to tutor him in the Art of Forceful Declaration.
  • The Solars take Raven with them, with her barely alive.
  • Raven is defiant for a time, but eventually her past life comes to the fore, and gives some details about the Reclamation. She also gives a few details regarding her decision to accept the Ebon Dragon’s offer of power: “A Heart too full was too painful.”
  • Ultimately, Lion kills Raven, as Netumiel makes a desperate and furious grab towards Dusk.
  • There was one spectator: a figure at the window, humanoid but stretched-out and spindly: “[A]s though someone were told to draw a man in shadow, after being blinded for a thousand years.” It disappears even as Lion notices it.
  • The PC’s go their separate ways for a time after this, to train Essence, to study, and to Learn.
  • Lion and Akeva are fairly straightforward in their Essence training.
  • Unari does so at her manse, where she learns from her mentor that Raphares is being set up as a boogeyman to move the Haslanti into a more martial state to prepare them for any aggressions from the Bull of the North. Raphares is not expected to live. Unari has no sympathy.
  • Blasphemy seeks to grow into something more than what he is, and so takes it upon himself to learn what Lions are, beyond Teodozjia.
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Interlude and North
Guest Starring Eclipses
  • Returning from the battle, the PC’s finally make it to Kaet’s Landing.
  • Stormblown Pine makes her appearance here, first as the medic to treat Unari’s wounds, and then as the eventual caretaker of the children taken from the demon village.
  • Borin pays Lion and Savant, but not before he requests a chunk of Demon to prove the deed is done.
  • Winter’s Kiss is sent to the ship by the Haslanti military, to negotiate a letter of marque and reprisal for Raphares, or at least convince him to redirect his depredations. Her team is set as Crimson Skyrta, Maldanir, and Ina and Mina Rayfair.
  • The Dread Pirate Roberts Raphares is making camp in the less hospitable reaches of the north.
  • The Circle makes their way there, and attempts to spy begin.
  • Kiss attempts to infiltrate the camp, but of all the times to get a clue, the pirate recognizes that the pretty young thing flirting with him isn’t from this crew.

*Dusk will later infiltrate, and sneak into Raphares’ tent. It’s full of gems and pretty-shinies, but these distract from a few things: a map with a small handful of manses on it, and another chart keeping track of the Bull of the North’s troop movements.

  • Spying around the camp, Lion encounters something in the shape of a wolf, naming itself as “Sword of Forgotten Skies.” Obviously, it’s not a wolf, but the two part without blows.
  • Raphares greets the PC’s warmly…ish. Negotiations are interrupted by Unari, who demands the amulet Raphares took from his grandmother. He gently insists it’s his, but allows Unari to borrow it for a night to demonstrate the point. Sleeping while wearing it, she experiences a past life fragment, from which she learns a little of her past incarnation, Lasai. Also, she awakens with the knowledge of how to Summon Elementals, as she did in her dream.
  • The PC’s manage to evoke an image from the amulet: Athyfer, a First Age Lawgiver. Well, sort of. He has only a limited amount of knowledge, and while polite and friendly, is unable to help Unari. Raphares manages to establish himself as the reincarnation of Athyfer—vouched for by the image of Athyfer himself—and thus legitimate bearer of his grandmother’s heirloom. Unari concedes the Artifact to him, and then punches him right in the god damn face.
  • Raphares takes that well enough, though, and waves Unari off with a smile. He then agrees to the terms of the contract, surprising not only our heroes, but his First (Lunar) Mate-slash-lover, Verith Whisper-wind.
  • The PC’s return to Kaet’s Landing. Winter’s Kiss departs. Skyrta lets Akeva know that Copper Basilisk is watching him, and that he had almost caught up with her, before disappearing. Akeva…does not take the news well.
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Monkey Business 2
Sanguine Simian Boogaloo

9/22/09-11/10/09

  • Following the rumors of more Erymanthoi actions to the East, the reunited PC’s regather at the site of the Roar to seek out the source of the chaos. Well, one other than Sajira and Dressh’s terrified band of demon-summoners.
  • The Roar is currently insufficiently powered, but a combination of manual Essence contributions and Unari’s Hearthstone ensure that it remains airborne.
  • As the PC’s draw closer…

The camera pulls out of the bridge of the Ascendant Nimbus Roar, and races across the sky toward our heroes’ destination on the ground. It finishes on a wide angle shot, we see the wind race and rustle across the grass, the only noise except for the cry of a raptor circling in the sky above.

Our attention is drawn not to the grass, nor to the random hawk, but to a great stone emerging from the ground, with two figures seated atop it. The smaller of the two, clad in a heavy fur-lined coat, looks into the distance and raises a spyglass to their eye.

“Well.” She says. “It looks like they’re on their way.” She passes the instrument to the man still seated—less heavily clad, but perhaps born to this climate, shaggy-maned and bearded. He looks, too.

_"So they are." He says, resigned.

_"You know," the woman says, “you could always just make a break for it.” Her smile is mischevous, and perhaps she expects the man’s answer.

“No. I really can’t.” He sighs, and looks up to her reproachfully. “You know that. You, on the other hand…”

“Oh, I could.” She crouches to place herself on eye-level with her companion. “But this could be fun. Besides, I’m just the slightest bit curious…”

“Curious?”

“Oh, either we’ll see or we won’t.” The woman stretches her arms up over her head, and the edges of her sleeves pull back just far enough to show unidentifiable tattoos. “Come on, Jaeldrin.” She says, as she hops down off the stone. “Let’s go back to the village. You know what comes next.”

  • The Roar draws in for a landing, sending Unari out to search the surrounding area. In owl form, she finds Jaeldrin gently reminding the people of a nearby village that he and his have protected and aided them, and letting them know that there are those coming who would end what they stand for.
  • Unari returns to the Roar ahead of the march of villagers, giving them a brief summary before Raven and Jaeldrin arrive.
  • Savant sneaks out to get a peek at the Infernals and their people. While he remains mostly unseen, Raven catches a glimpse of him, and he sees the death of her previous incarnation. What Raven sees is uncertain, but while she is momentarily disoriented, she neither betrays Savant’s presence, nor seems particularly upset. In fact, she seems rather pleased.
  • Akeva later emerges and briefly speaks with Raven:

Akeva gets outside and onto the deck, then shouts back. “Hello, down there!”

The woman tilts her head as she eyes Akeva. “Huh. You, too.” She holds up her hands, as though in self-defense as she calls up to Akeva. “If you ever remember enough to wonder, I swear, it wasn’t my fault.” She smirks. “In fact, if you ever remember, we have a lot to talk about.”

She pauses. “Anyway, listen. We’re just trying to make a functioning community here and it’d be really appreciated if you people would just leave without things getting hostile, you know?”

“Uh.. I only understood half of what you said! Hold on!” [Akeva] ducks down somewhere, then pops back up. “…who’re you?”

  • Lion emerges, and debates with Jaeldrin over the ethics of servitude to primordial chthonic horrors that want the world to suffer. Ultimately Raven decides to just speed things up on their proper course.

Raven beams as she looks to the townspeople. “Ladies and gentlemen of Kurrah’s Field…”

And with that, the woman raises her hand out over the crowd, and her anima flares up in brilliant green and black, shaping into an obsidian mirror framed by a serpentine figure of jet, in which she reflects as a twisting shadow. When she opens her mouth, her words reverberate in a tone not heard in the annals of Creation since the end of the Primordial War. “I EMPOWER YOU.” The mirror shatters, the irregular shapes drifting in the air reflecting her and the others at strange angles.

The anima casts long shadows in every direction, and suddenly it grows larger still as the shadows bulge—these are not small folk nor slender, the hard-working laborers of the north, but their shadows cease to be human, and a heartbeat later— One man falls first, shrieking in pain, but everyone else quickly follows.

What happens next is grotesque, the bodies of dozens of men and women twisting and inverting, muscle and bone surging faster than skin can keep up with as they shriek in voices that steadily sound less and less human, until they stop.

And where men fall, crimson-furred, bone-studded Erymanthoi rise.

The woman grins, though the drain on her essence and will is evident, a towering black-and-green inferno looming overhead as a shadow-black disk rests on her forehead.

  • An extended battle explains why we generally avoid combat from here on, but it’s a mostly one-sided trouncing as the Solars gain initiative. The Blood apes fall like rain, but Raven quickly allows her pet Agata, Laphistes, to materialize and teleport her away from the conflict. As a matter of fact, it’s her first action.

Savant keeps his eyes locked onto Raven. The gaze would be considered intent if you were crazed. An almost jovial smile seems to spread across his face while the sling spins. “You know, if battles like this weren’t so important this would almost be funny,” he murmurs. “You, coming back again and again and me always smacking you down.” Essence pours into his weapon this time, burning bright, hungering to lance into the infernal energies of the woman before it. “Comedy routines have made quite a bit of coin off that very running gag…” The stone lashes out, glowing like a sunbeam peeking from the edge of a dark cloud only to strike the earth, successfully safeguarding the energy it held until the final moment. Which is exactly what it does in this case, rushng towards Raven until the last possible heartbeat before the subtle spin he was able to slip onto the missle makes it arc into the agata by the infernal’s side. “Oh, and you’re not running away, either.”

The stone spins through the air and shatters one of the legs of the Agata and part of its thorax. It arches its head to the sky and screams in pain.

Dusk almost smiles, letting his face return to a warm deadpan.

Raven sighs. “Well, I suppose that was the predictable thing to do.” She makes a leap astride the wasp, and its wail dims to a chiming sob; it struggles to remain airborne. “Well, if the surprise is spoiled, I suppose…”

“You’ve nowhere to hide where I can’t find you now, Raven. Not a place in Creation.”

Raven looks from her mount to Savant for a moment and then smiles sweetly. “Ah, but sweet Shadow-Keeper…that’s no limit on me at all.”

She turns her attention back to the demon beneath her, and pats it on its side. “Laphistes? Let’s go home. We’ll take care of you there” The Beauteous Wasp chokes its assent, and amidst the billowing viridian shadow of her anima, it glows brightly with fractured light for a moment, before mount and rider disappear in a shimmering burst.

  • The Blood Apes are slaughtered to a man. Jaeldrin, infuriated at the massacre of his people, holds out a little while longer, but while he manages to wound Unari badly, he ultimately can’t stand to the Exalts, and is beaten unconscious.
  • The PC’s ponder keeping Jaeldrin alive long enough to ask questions. Ultimately, they decide against, and impale him on one of the Roar’s Stormclaw Reapers, pumping him for a few paltry motes of Essence.
  • Ultimately, they track down the remainder of Jaeldrin’s village. Only a handful of survivors remain: the children too young to fight, and one old man left as protector. The children object to being taken away…

Savant and Lion both see the handful of children huddling away from the strange golden light that peers in through the door. Both, too, even notice the strange blue glow to their eyes, shining akin to a cat’s eyes rather than a human’s.

Unari snorts and shifts her weight carefully.

“bloody hell,’ Dusk murmurs in Old Realm.

“They may be gone already,” [Lion] murmurs, also in Old Realm.

“gone how?” [asks Dusk]

“Master Jaeldrin!” One calls out, who couldn’t be more than ten. “They’re here!

“Jaeldrin is dead.” [says Lion. She] glances to Dusk, speaking in Old Realm again. “It’s called the Locust Mana Plague. It’s complicated. They are tainted.”

Dusk nods. “Like a disease?”

“Shut up, Wren!” Snaps a boy several years older, probably oldest of all of them. “He and the grown ups went—” And he pauses as though slapped in the face as Lion speaks, and looks at her horrified. So do the rest.

“Yes, they’re all dead. Raven made sure of that herself.”

“Something like,” [Lion] says to Dusk, and then turns back to the children. “With him gone Cecylene will not continue to care for you, I think.”

“…” Wren’s mouth opens and closes for a moment before she stamps her foot. “No they aren’t!” She shouts. “You’re lying! They’re going to come RIGHT BACK HERE and KILL YOU!”

Two of the other children slap their hands over her mouth, one of them the older boy from a second ago. “SHUT UP, WREN!”

  • Regardless, the PC’s burn down the village, and while the old man protecting the children dies helplessly, they take the children with them to Kaet’s Landing.
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