The Circle finds themselves confronted with over a dozen armed guards. Did we mention they don’t speak the language?
Well, sort of. Autochthonian sounds like a broken, grammatically strained version of Old Realm that requires severe mental gymnastics to make sound understandable.
Threats and tense glares are exchanged for a bit, but an ignited caste mark and words from Linguistics-favoring Lion calm the situation.
One of the soldiers turns to his commanding officer and offers to escort them into the city. Said officer nods his agreement, and the soldier leads the way.
He introduces himself as Spear, and in the course of broken conversation mentions that he, too, is a champion among his people.
Spear guides the PC’s up spiralling tunnels, until they reach a city made of severe jade blocks, towering from floor to ceiling. “Welcome to Hatiq.” He says. “Welcome to the last city.”
The Exalted are taken to official quarters and questioned, briefly, before the city is attacked by gremlins.
The PC’s join the fray, taking on one of the bigger ones themselves, a giant beetle of a thing with a human, smiling mask made of some strange cloth nailed to its face..
The Hatiqan people fare generally quite well—the city is literally mobilized against them, buildings sliding around to crush smaller invaders, windows closing and opening to shield bowmen and allow them to reload.
Perfect victory, right?
Not really. It seems one of the elder Exalted in this city, Seer of Bright Vistas, was captured outside.
The Circle agrees to help, assisting the Soulsteel caste Alchemical Subtle Hewing Arc, who introduces himself by rewriting Sparrow’s brain to be able to speak Autochtonian.
The PC’s leave the city and find themselves in the metallic wilderness of the Great Maker. Another Colossus, Bright Alarum Carillon, points them in the right direction. Carillon does ask Arc to avoid the city of Xexas, which the later almost pre-emptively snaps back that he will.
Over time, as the PC’s travel for days and weeks, Arc’s cold personality begins to crack as his Clarity begins to drop. He kills a void-tainted village of Steam mutants on the way, taking one as a guide.
Our heroes finally find their way to the mad metropolis of Irgalah, fighting their way through dozens of lesser creations with stitched-on doll faces. By this point, Arc is not calm at all.
Finally, they make it down to a vats chamber, finding a couple of Voidbringer demiurges preparing to attach tainted charms to the sedated, charmless body of Vista.
Oh, also the Ragdoll Princess and Ellaphelia. The later comes to the defense of the former, opening her stitched mouth to reveal a mass of mechanical soulsteel arms, the sort of thing that would be a terror…
To anyone who wasn’t Akeva. It’s an extended battle, but he escapes unharmed, tearing the burlap skin of the doll apart.
Meanwhile, Sparrow and Lion attempt to free the Moonsilver alchemical from the vat she’s in, preventing the implanatation of voidtech and its concommitant corruption.
Savant has his own problems, as the Shadow seems to have tagged along with Athyfer’s crew, and while the old-now-young Eclipse had other things to do, it seems, the Shadow does not. It screams and yells at the Ragdoll Princess while she looks on, but she pays it no heed. Only Savant really even seems to hear it.
Finally, Savant convinces the shadow to let him and his deal with the Princess. It disappears, although not altogether happily.
The metropolis grows upset at the fighting in her, finally twisting off the vats complex furiously and dropping everyone aboard down a hundred-mile abyss.