Circles Shattered and Reforged

An Offer You Can't Refuse...
But should you?
  • The Principle of Hierarchy offers Maïe Exaltation.
  • Lion, for obvious reasons, strenuously disagrees, but while the Yozi seems unable or uninclined to attack anyone while in this body, She does seem capable of defending the demon and its conocommitant Exaltation effectively.
  • Meanwhile, things have gotten…interesting. Apparently the Blood on the Rose has gone on the march, opening with firedust and explosions.
  • Chaos on the streets ensues.
  • While Lion and Lyim continue to try to talk the queen down off the edge of that particular pit, the others go to deal with the more pressing issues.
  • Sparrowsteel and Unari are primarily on the defensive. A series of tents is set up to deal with the wounded, and fire breaks are set up.
  • Akeva deals with the Blood on the Rose more directly. It looks like their hired sorceress has been busy summoning, and blood apes are on the prowl. Not that Erymanthoi mean anything to the Red Beast of Nexus.
  • Rallying some of the troops to himself, Akeva leads the charge, taking down many of the rebels trying to overthrow Askatu’s rule.
  • Askatu, in the meantime, is having a wonderful time beating people senseless with the flat side of a grand daiklave.

Elsewhere…

  • Eventually, knowing Lion disapproves but throwing her own words back at her in the process, the uncrowned Queen accepts the Exaltation and is immediately wrapped in a Chrysalis Grotesque.
  • The Chrysalis seems terrifyingly resilient to attempts to bring it—or its inhabitant—to harm.
  • Deciding the Queen isn’t going anywhere for a while, the two decide to turn their concerns to more immediately pressing matters.

Elsewhere…

  • Dusk—still wearing Maïe’s face—encounters soldiers. The first group he convinces to return to camp, and to spread the word.
  • The second one comes down to retrieve her.
  • Dusk fails to give some sort of cue, however—when they ascend on the soldier’s agata mount, they zip out to sea—dozens of miles from shore—and the two of them are deposited on the ocean—if Dusk hadn’t held on, the demon would have caught the soldier and left him asea.
  • With no options, the two begin the long, long swim back.
  • The Agata—Laphistes—says he can take back the soldier. He’s supposed to, after all. But the fake queen needs to drown.
  • Dusk finds this objectionable. He attempts to bribe the Agata, and realizes through preternatural insights that the demon desires vengeance for his previous master.
  • Well, forget that.
  • Frustrated, Laphistes returns to his master…

Elsewhere…

  • On the streets of Thorns, Mint is busy. She’s laying down a salt line, verrrry carefully. Very carefully.
  • And then someone from the Blood on the Rose messes it up. And kicks her in the side.
  • How hilarious! She laughs, and orders Zsofika to kill them all.
  • So she gets to work on that.

Elsewhere…

  • Laphistes arrives, bearing his master, Kiryam.
  • Ever the opportunist—and realizing this whole “Let’s take Thorns!” thing isn’t working out—she offers her services to Dusk.
  • Conjuring a Floral Ferry, she makes the return trip much faster and easier…and the two discuss business.
  • Meanwhile, Laphistes grumbles. A lot.

Elsewhere…

  • The Kite Flute sweeps across the city in a bloody swath. Hundreds, perhaps thousands die as she passes.
  • Akeva takes a stand against her; stopping the rebellion is one thing, but killing the fallen just because they’re wearing the wrong color is too much.
  • Lion arrives just in time to watch; to Zsofika’s disappointment she does not involve herself in the combat.
  • The battle takes a little bit, but the Dawn ultimately rises to the challenge, executing the demon with extreme prejudice and leaving a crater in the middle of the street that consumes nearby buildings.

Elsewhere…

  • Mint passes by the tents. Using sorcery to actually talk, she explains that she’s setting up something geomantic but doesn’t know what it’s going to do.
  • She doesn’t particularly care about the carnage.
  • Following back the salt lines, Unari finds…something. And is blissing out just a bit when she returns.

Elsewhere…

  • The battle is mostly over. The Blood on the Rose is mostly dead at the hands of one demon, the others are apprehended or fled.
  • Suffice to say that when Dusk-as-Maïe arrives, it is not a smiling crowd that greets her.
  • But the Night manages to pull off a convincing monologue, giving up any claim Maïe has to the throne.
  • It doesn’t stop them from trying to lynch their once-rightful Queen, only to be stopped by a sudden intrusion by a woman wearing the armor of the guard.
  • She stops the attempt—not that it was succeeding particularly well—and escorts the queen away.
  • Once safely apart from the crowd, she leaves Dusk in the company of a companion—a man named Sagacious Stone—and departs to get someone else.
  • A starry-eyed woman named Ailurah enters shortly thereafter, and the two promptly begin to warn Maïe about a demon that would approach her.
  • Too late, obviously.
  • But he comes to the conclusion that someone he doesn’t like much is involved.
  • Cover is blown. They realize who he is. He realizes Stone is Infernal.
  • But Stone apparently works for Heaven.
  • He takes them back to where he saw the Queen last.
  • Aaand pretty much everyone arrives at once.
  • Discussions are had, pretty much everyone is caught up on what’s going on, and Lion claims responsibility for the Queen.
  • In four days, she hatches…
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Off to Thorns we Go
There should be a hi-ho, hi-ho in there somewhere
  • The trip itself is quite windy, as befits a Stormwind Rider, but Lion manages to bring everyone down safely outside the city.
  • There’s even a welcoming committee! A man and woman who seem on terribly unfriendly terms both come to take them where they need to go,but it turns out their concept of “where they need to go” diverges.
  • Neither of them seem inclined to take the newly-arrived Exalts to Askatu, but they press on, and the lady escorts them to the palace.
  • This promptly results in an alarm.
  • It seems that their guide is openly connected with the Blood on the Rose, the movement to put the blood heir of Thorns back on the throne. And when she showed up with a half-dozen people, some of them clearly armed with orichalcum and/or moonsilver, the worst was assumed.
  • The Lord Starfall hurls himself out of the palace, grand daiklave drawn, ready to cut something down…oh hell it’s just the guys who are here to help. He announces a lack of immediate threat, and then invites them in.
  • He goes over the basic problems, such as they stand:
  • Maïe, the uncrowned but theoretically rightful queen of Thorns is young, and her guardians have made sure that they can rule through her.
  • Tarmach is perhaps effective, but his reasons for wanting the crown are probably less than selfless and he’s a shady character, and…
  • There was also the Merchant’s Union, but both Maïe and Tarmach sent assassins after their leader. Probably each other too, but less successfully.
  • So Askatu rules. Sort of. He’s pretty blatantly feigning incompetence and trying to piss someone off enough to wrest the throne away by force, but nobody’s worked up the courage yet.
  • So things just…are not in a good place.
  • Dusk suggests they find the Mask’s library, and peruse it to see if there’s some sort of information that might be used to fell others of his kind.
  • Sparrow and Unari get on that.
  • While Lion and Lyim go to talk to the queen.
  • Dusk, for his part, decides to pay a visit to Lord Tarmach, after learning that he’s got some…interesting…ties…
  • Akeva, for his part, is sitting on the docks.
  • An albatroll lands there.
  • Look again, the Albatross is now diamonds a lunar.
  • The Lunar—one Tei Mak Jahr—immediately tells Akeva to wake him up in a couple hours and falls asleep on his feet.
  • Akeva’s having none of that, wakes the Lunar up, and takes him to the foot of Mount Juggernaut.
  • Jahr proceeds to spit on the mountain, fulfilling a centuries-old promise to the maker of rubble, and asks Akeva for one last fight. He should have a couple hours left, having just used the Lunar anti-aging charm to buy himself some time while he slept—
  • Oh fuck right he didn’t sleep.
  • Tei Mak Jahr falls in only two passes, but not before congratulating Akeva.
  • The Bronze Tiger buries the strange bird man…but more on that later.
  • Dusk sits down for a glass of wine with Tarmach. It turns out he’s pretty much in bed with the Scarlet Dynasty, and the Iron Wolf attempts to be entirely pragmatic about this. Then again, so is Tarmach. They part on polite, if not jovial terms.
  • Lion and Lyim go to talk to Maïe. And she has a great big speech, and the crowd is all fired up for her, and she’s willing to shed her blood for them.
  • Afterward, the queen is clearly shaken by what happened and what she’s done, but the approval of the family who’s kept her safe seems to ease her.
  • Our Bull and our Falcon try to talk to her, but interference is had all the way, until finally they resolve to leave. Asim tries to plant a seed of reasonable doubt in Maïe’s head on the way out…
  • Meanwhile, Sparrow and Unari go and dig, dig, dig. The Lunar conjures up Irzath Forgotten-Mole and Ligneous Rall, both of whom begin to quickly open up the tangle of roots that’s buried the Mask’s fortress.
  • A wild Mint appears!
  • Mint has a bound demon with her. Out of curiosity, she decides to assist the PC’s in their dig.
  • Well, her bound demon can do that.
  • It’s about this time that everyone who isn’t Akeva sees the anima flare from Akeva and Tei Mak Jahr’s final battle.
  • By the time anyone gets there, the battle’s over and Akeva’s putting the last soil over the Lunar’s grave.
  • But everyone’s together, so there’s some discussion, and the dig site is really just over the mountain…
  • As are the Elementals.
  • And the demon.
  • Who is Zsofika.
  • Who is Lion’s mother.
  • This cannot be said to play out like anyone was expecting:
  • Zsofika, believing Six to be the only Lion, finds this relatively unmarred Solar to be an obvious—if well-made—fake.
  • Lion, for her part, finds that her mother no longer means as much to her as she once did, and while she initially maintains a claim that she’s the real Lion, she eventually “confesses” to seeing the real Lion destroy herself to escape Malfeas.
  • Mint seems to find her bound demon’s wrath hilarious, preventing her from doing anything to harm Lion, take righteous vengeance, or speak while they go check out what’s been dug up.
  • The result is a frankly exhaustive list of weapons which will be detailed elsewhere. And a single recorded prophecy.
  • Having heard it, the PC’s conclude that Mint fits the bill to have destroyed the Mask, which the mute copper spider finds hilarious.
  • Mint finds many things hilarious. Including her lack of a tongue.
  • Days pass, and finally the Solars conclude the only way they’re going to get a talk with the queen is going to involve abduction.
  • How wonderful, then, that they have someone adept at disguise and infiltration.
  • No, not the Lunar. She’s about as subtle as a soulbreaker orb.
  • Dusk breaks into the camp of the Blood on the Rose, steals the queen away while wearing her shape, and flees back to the city proper.
  • He is, unfortunately, followed with unnerving constancy by a dematerialized tomescu.
  • While it never directly confronts him, he can’t shake it.
  • He finally makes it back to the city a few minutes ahead of his tail, and lets Lion begin sweet-talking the Queen.
  • The demon arrives shortly after, and the PC’s try to stop it. But it defends with the charms of the Whispering Flame herself.
  • Dusk plays the part of an angry Maïe to shake it, insisting she was not to be followed. But the clamorous cloud arsenal simply responds—after analyzing the Iron Wolf—that he is not the one it is bound to, and passes on.
  • Dusk realizes that a demon being bound can mean only one thing: Maïe has infernal ties, and controls this demon directly.
  • Meanwhile, upstairs, Maïe is being talked down from “How dare you kidnap me I will see you all hang when I am queen” with surprising aplomb from Lion.
  • And then the tomescu comes in.
  • And it bows before Maïe.
  • Dusk comes in, already having deduced everything…
  • Except that this isn’t true.
  • The tomescu is not sorcerously bound.
  • It’s bound to an Exaltation. For her.
  • She Who Lives in Her Name would like a word…
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Across the World
In Other Places, Other People Do Other Things Otherwise...
  • So Dusk finds out through his information network that the city of Thorns was freed from the Mask of Winters, and journeys abroad to learn more.
  • It turns out that some enterprising Exalted pondered the idea that Juggernaut’s immortality was written into the stars, and if changing what was written could change that.
  • …turns out it’s super-effective!
  • Our heroes for this liberation effort are Askatu, a young Dawn with a great big sword and a deep-seated desire to use it; and Mint, a curious and rather disturbed—if quite chipper—woman with a terrifying grasp of sorcery.
  • Nhan seems to have been a part of this effort, actually, having struck with frankly terrifying puissance to bring down some of the Deathknights of Thorns’s guard.
  • Askatu seems to have been the one to knock the stars from the sky and duel the Mask himself upon the fallen frame of the Maker of Rubble. Mint was the one to conjure the demonic army that took the city, and the dragon that flew him above the clouds, and drove a Benediction of Archgenesis through the Mask and seemingly resolved at least one Deathlord forever.
  • You keep what you kill. Askatu seems to be regent over the city-state of Thorns now. Mint has no such rewards, but is content to be busy doing…something…outside the city.
  • Dusk meets with them both. Askatu really wishes he could walk away and find problems he could effectively solve by application of sword, but he doesn’t wanna leave the city in chaos. Meanwhile, again, Mint doesn’t give a damn.
  • Dusk offers to help Askatu with his problem.
  • Dusk heads back to Hatiq, and presents people with the option of helping out, and using it as a dry run for what they plan to do in Skullstone.
  • Motion carried. Pack into your Stormwind Riders, boys and girls, this is going to be a long trip.
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On Other Fronts...
Happening concurrently with the previous post
  • Aracember is not gone.
  • The Sidereal gathers information. She is…very interested in Briar’s story, and in the words that Rose speaks.
  • Lion somehow comes up with award medals from Heaven thanking all the Exalted for their valiant stand and defense of Creation.
  • Sparrow begins work on a new airship. It is not proceeding particularly quickly.
  • Did I say Sesht left to wander a while ago? Because she left to wander a while ago, and I don’t remember a bit if it’s a thing that I already mentioned. I’ll have to remove this later if I already said it.
  • Dusk finds a new minion in his employ: a spiderweb god who is all-too-happy to bear his words and those of his followers about.
  • Akeva gets a night-time visitor: Suntarankal catches him in a dream and asks when the hell he’s gonna get his butt to the dojo.
  • I really have no clue what the crew of the Roar is up to these days.
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On the Alchemical front...
We, in fact, WERE able to rebuild her...
  • After some brief back-and-forth—and Arc not seeming entirely happy about it—Spear enters the vats one last time.

(I was actually really happy with the post I had regarding this, but I had to do a full restore on my computer, and I think the quote is lost. Hopefully will be able to re-insert it here.)

  • His flesh is processed, reformatted, and poured over the rough braincase they’ve constructed to house Briar’s (Rose’s?) brain and soul, slowly coaxing it to reform a body for her.
  • It takes a long time to rebuild her, but not the near-on-two-seasons it takes for Arc’s refitting from a man-sized machine to something closer to a small warstrider.
  • And she eventually does emerge, Blight-free!
  • She also seems to have left the vast majority of her communication skills. Any sort of abstract attempts at relating information—outside of basic gestures or pictures—seems to turn into “The Maiden Woke Up.” It’s all she can say and all she can write.
  • Fortunately, she seems perfectly capable of understanding speech and—with instruction—writing.
  • She is able to communicate a few things, including why and how she came to Sparrow’s manse and wrecked it.
  • It seems that Sparrowsteel had kept a sample of Blight in there, not realizing that as an extension of the Engine of Extinction, it gave the unformed Neverborn a view into Creation.
  • It then called on one of its servants—one who still sought to reach Creation, even if her will was corrupted—to descend, and to sunder the wards that kept it in check, so that it could infect and spread throughout the fertile geomancy of the manse.
  • Success! Wait no success is bad…
  • Meanwhile, Spear eventually comes to.
  • Unlike Rose, he seems to function perfectly.
  • He emerges from the vats, bows to the people of Hatiq, and demonstrates his first colossus charm—a system to deploy a small police force charged by fragments of his will.
  • Meanwhile, to the West, Yurgen has managed to support the protection and reconstruction of the land surrounding Vista. It is not long at all after Arc’s re-emergence—only a couple of months—until the Moonsilver metropolis awakens.
  • Seer of Bright Vistas is now the Metropolis of Srivati.
  • Yurgen will never be able to say that right.
  • Perhaps it’s not a high priority item…he does get called away urgently to the newly-built city of Yurghar, and shortly thereafter many of his forces follow secretly in the night.
  • Dusk inquires regarding this—more on the causes etc. later, when it’s revealed—but is coolly rebuffed for asking questions about things that are none of his business.
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Coming to an Arrangement
Enter timeskip the next!
  • Athyfer tries very hard to recruit. And it’s not very hard to get people falling in line behind him. Between his innate charisma, his forthright—if simultaneously self-aggrandizing—desire to help, and his ability to play to what most of the locals—and the city itself—want, he doesn’t even need to use charms.
  • This doesn’t stop him, though; he lays on the Essence thick. With severe misgivings regarding his methods, the Circle acts to undermine, playing to domestic loyalty and pride in their own city, convincing them to stay.
  • Athyfer ends up talking to Lyim for a while, and the two do debate…but ultimately, Athyfer announces a lack of real importance to the matter and lets the PC’s do it their way, leaving fairly abruptly. If it were really important, after all, he wouldn’t let the Hatiqi people even be capable of saying no.
  • The circle then proceeds to go about their business. They arrange for the transport of some of the Autochthonian populat to Vista’s coccoon, and cycle them out fairly regularly.

This will suffice, for now. As of this writing, Vista has hatched, but we’ll get to that later. In the meantime, some other things to catch up on…

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A Sales Pitch
Please Allow Me to (re-)Introduce Myself

WARNING: Lots of quotes tonight.

  • Once Hatiq is there, Athyfer gets down to business.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Tripartite, and honored Patropolis. You honor me by agreeing to see me on such short notice.”
He says it with such humility and conviction that it seems implausible that he actually walked in without an appointment.
“I begin by saying that I did not expect to find you alive and well. When I returned to the place in the Maker where you once made your home, I only found a cavernous wreckage dozens of miles across, and a tumorous micro-continent of rust that had tunnelled through the Maker’s body that had carved it.”
“I did not expect to find you alive and well—none of you at all” He turns, and nods towards his fellow Lawgivers as though to include them, “—and it brings me the greatest pleasure to see you all alive here, and to see this city thriving.”
“Now I come to you here, and I am about to ask a great thing of you, but nothing I expect you will not give willingly.”
He pauses for a handful of seconds, just long enough for people to lean in, curious.
“I have been to Xexas.” He says, and the shock that ripples through the the older members of the Tripartite assembly is tangible. “I have been to Xexas, and I have seen the flowers.”
“I have been to Xexas and seen the flowers, but I tell you now that when I came there were four-score blooming into the smoke; when last I left, there were seventy-three.” Another pause, shorter. “We are winning. The Maker is healing.”
“Now a chance arises; there is a spot on the surface of Creation where the Maker’s Blight touched. By the workings of your Exalted friends, and of the Bull of the North, the Blight was beaten back, but this was not all…”
“Your Mirrorblade, the colossus Seer of Bright Vistas, has chosen to stand as stalwart guardian at the edge of our world and that which saw you born. Even now she sits in a chrysalis, embracing her duty and her fate.”
“But the Blight sits beneath and around her.” He continues, his face bowed. “The Bull agrees to defend her, but…” He permits himself a laugh, and a sly glance to the assembly. “what does an Icewalker king—even one of the Chosen—know of the dangers of a Blight Zone, or of the ways of fighting one back?”
He turns to Hatiq’s solid jade body, and bows. “Patropolis, I ask for some of your people, and in some ways I ask for your best. I ask for the wise ones and the strong ones. But I have spoken with you, in years past. And I would like to think I know you.” He looks toward the door, and takes a couple of paces towards it. “Xexas became as it must be.” He bows his head. “Neither he nor you wanted that to be the sole human legacy within the maker. You became as you wished it could be. Your city was the well-protected, armored seed from which you hoped could spring anew the Autochthonian people.”
“And now I tell you that thanks to Seer’s choice, there is a fertile ground for that seed to grow. She needs your help. And she will help bring your dream to fruition.”

  • There is little real debate. Athyfer is right, inasmuch as re-seeding the Autochthonian populace is exactly what Hatiq once wanted to do, and still would like to do!
  • Dusk privately voices to Hatiq his concerns:

Dusk shrugs. “Your patron was an ally of ours from way back. Powerful, loyal. If it weren’t for him we might still be under to Yozi’s yoke. I have no doubt that he seems more than I ever will. I don’t deny that for the lives lost in coming here alone, let alone all the effort made by others makes this turn of events feel like a punch in the gut, to use the vernacular…” He sighs. “But I Stand by my commitments.”

  • Akeva also has misgivings, although less about Vista herself, and more about the events of the past couple weeks:

“I still ain’t sure how the Blight got to there to begin with. [W]e didn’t even find what started this damned thing. Athyfer ain’t too concerned about it, since he didn’t even mention it. Assumin’ the thought occured to him.”
“And it happened at our manse. That can’t be just an isolated incident either.”

  • Hatiq holds that whatever Dissonance drove her, it held Briar’s leash and guided her to unleash the Blight upon Sparrow’s Manse. He does not have immediate concern, but Akeva is unconvinced.
  • Hatiq acknowledges that restoring Rose may be the best way to find out what happened, and advises the Tripartite to allocate the appropriate resources to the regeneration of Rose and the ascension of Spear.

  • Meanwhile, at the Vats, Sparrow and Unari speak with high-ranking Sodalites and confirm that the remains Sparrow purified are alive and clean. Briar’s brain and soulgem are set in a vat until such time as they can be appropriately addressed.
  • There is also some discussion re: Alchemical Weaving and Exalted Sorcery. Sorry, Sparrow! This particular form of Essence-shaping is not for you!
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Re-acquaintance
Nice to meet you again...or not.
  • Athyfer emerges from his ship at last, attempting to introduce himself to the Bull.
  • As a reminder, the last time they met was actually when Raphares was still around, and he left a hundred-mile long scar of scorched land and dead men.
  • But Athyfer can play the crowd, and attempts to flatter Yurgen. Maybe it would work.
  • But Unari speaks up, and clarifies things.
  • Raphares is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Except physically. And Yurgen intends to fix that.
  • Athyfer doesn’t like this plan, and attempts to talk his way out of it.
  • Dusk points out the inherent problems of killing Athyfer now, and tries to reason with the Bull.
  • Spear, for his part, also attempts reason after a sort, and points out that the Falcon was quite a bit of help earlier.
  • Damn, the Bull is stubborn. But with Athyfer’s assurance that he will return bearing people from Hatiq who can assist in the reconstruction effort, then his head is spared, for now.

Yurgen, for his part, seems only partly won over. But partly is enough. “Go, then. Return with men, and know this: if I see you within my borders uninvited after this? No more deals. I will have my sword in my hand, and you will have your tongue in yours.”
And this Northern pragmatism and forthrightness is why Sparrow has begun liking Yurgen. She smiles and bows her head respectfully.
“The best I could hope for.” Acknowledges the Eclipse. “Then I imagine you’d prefer we leave—”
“Now.” Says Yurgen. “Not ‘sooner rather than later’” he makes a mocking flourish with his hands. “Now. You. In your boat and fly.”

  • Onward, then, to Hatiq. And when Sparrow arrives, Athyfer immediately launches into salesman mode, turning on the charm and offering the people of the City that Fell a trip back home, to the Maker.
  • Dusk is gonna have none of that shit. He takes Athyfer just about by physical force to the center of the city, and informs him that they will talk this over with Hatiq, and they will abide by his decisions.
  • Athyfer doesn’t seem particularly fazed, but agrees, and calls for him the moment they step onto the tripartite floors.
  • Meanwhile, Sparrow and Unari go to the Vats complex, and run into a problem.

They look, and shake their heads. “We can’t. Her Essence isn’t developed enough for a purely mechanical frame, and assuming we weren’t a little afraid of what would happen, we still don’t have enough starmetal to construct that kind of body. We would need enough flesh-clay to build a new body, and…we don’t have that, either. We haven’t needed to, and we don’t have access to the Maker to craft more.”

  • Their local friendly Jade caste, however, has tagged along. And he has a solution, one which has been percolating in his head for a while:

He turns to the technicians on staff—all two of them, and kneels.
“I am Hundred-Hand Spear, Executive, Chosen of Autochthon and Champion of the people of Hatiq. I am one-hundred and thirty years from my rebirth in this city. With the loss of Seer of Bright Vistas and of Bright Alarum Carillon, I beseech that I be taken to the vats, and upraised to the status of Colossus.”
He looks up to Sparrow for a moment, and then back down to the ground, kneeling even deeper. “I ask that the clay of this body be taken to reform that of the recovered Whisper, Rose of Ineffable Wisdom.”

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Gentlemen, We Can Save Her
We Have The Charm Technology
  • The Exalts decline to finish off the apostate, despite the urgings of Athyfer and his crew.
  • Athyfer, for his part, is terribly glad to see everyone, but talks to Sparrow privately—she needs to convince him that she can fix this broken Alchemical and make her work again.
  • Meanwhile, Unari goes up to see how the Alchemicals are doing. They’re holding steady, but the Bull has arrived with his forces. They’re making some progress against the swarm, but there’s just so many, and this pit remains…
  • Vista sends Arc and Spear down with Unari; she needs to talk to the Bull regarding something.
  • We won’t go over Sparrow and Athyfer’s conversation here. Suffice to say that he was convinced; when they returned to the others his anima was blazing, and he gave her use of the Imperative’s sick bay in which to do her work. Unari goes with her, along with the favor of the Dice Roller Gods.
  • No, seriously, it was obscene how well she rolled.
  • Sparrow starts by removing the obviously tainted charms. They can’t be cured; it’s intrinsic to their function that they reinforce her infected state.
  • She continues by stripping out the less obviously tainted charms. They’re just as Blight-a-riffic.
  • Over the course of hours, she strips away everything she can’t save, until she’s left with a brain and a soulgem; an application of Order-Affirming Blow finally drives out the Blight, but there’s nothing left to heal back; something like a bismuth crystal with a diamond attached is all Sparrow has to show for her work.
  • Meanwhile, Athyfer takes the rest of the PC’s below decks as he takes his ship up into the skies of Creation for the first time in years, joining in the fray.
  • Akeva recognizes that the odds of the Bull surviving this are slim—still not good even with the help of the Imperative, and seizes command of the cannons.
  • He and Lyim also apparently bribed the dice roller gods.
  • It’s well into the night—closer to sunrise than sunset, and after a triumphant Sparrowsteel emerges from surgery—when the last few gremlins are struck down.
  • Landing, our heroes meet up with the Bull, and some posturing is engaged in, and it is learned that Vista has struck some deal with the Bull of the North, to protect this land and use any resources necessary to cleanse out the Blight from this land and the Autochthonian pit.
  • …Well, that’s just great, what does he get in retur—
  • Vista leaps into the pit, and suspends herself in midair by cable tethers from her feed and hands to the sides, and envelops herself in an Essence-enhancing chrysalis.
  • Oh.
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When Evil Giant RobaCancerBugs Attack!
No Song Lyrics Attached
  • A trio of gremlinized custodians attack the Exalts. It’s…messy.
  • Akeva manages to restrain one, but it’s big, and strong, and very, very unwilling to just roll over and die.
  • Another is taken by the rest of the Circle. Without Akeva, and having already spent so much combatting the Blight and its victims, the struggle is a hard one. It draws blood from both Dusk and Lyim, and Unari is hurt worse—far worse.
  • The Alchemicals field the third.
  • Finally, after briefly losing control of his clinch, Akeva manages to hurl the gremlin in his grasp at another, shattering it into tiny spiteful pieces and making the one the rest of the Circle fights a much, much easier proposition.
  • Eventually, Lyim pierces it through the skull, and Unari through the heart. It’s dead.
  • The Champions finish their dirty work, and the lot of them make their way to the pit; Sparrow heals Unari on the way.
  • A voice emerges from the pit. Its words are unclear, but Lyim listens a little too closely, and tumbles into the pit.
  • Lion and Asim make their way after him, followed by the other PC’s—the Alchemical Exalted remain behind to protect them from the swarm above.
  • Down in the darkness, a figure appears—an apostate who recites, repeatedly, an odd and dark story.
  • She puts up a good fight, and might have drawn more blood had Akeva not used his martial expertise to knock her out prematurely.
  • The gremlins have long since stopped scuttling out. Instead, down here, there is only the PC’s, Briar, and a handful of sounds: the buzzing and battle of above—it seems to have gotten busy up there—the broken clockwork heartbeat of the Engine of Extinction, and an incoming cascade of explosions.
  • From one of the tunnels emerges the Imperative, Athyfer’s ship. Hell, seconds later the young-old Eclipse emerges onto the deck: “Sun above, what are you doing here?!”
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