The Twisted Circle

In Which We Finally Get to the Convocation
Ascending Water 765: We still cause trouble though
15, Sunday:

Breakfast is had.  Harmony talks with Nezri.  Kazu and Hai'li Stromwind Rider off the get the chief of the Yesunshin Clan.  "Marilee Floros" arrives and delays the heck out of the meeting to give Kazu and Hai'li the time to get back.

The vote it called and they arrive just in the nick of time to see if the Marukan troubles can be resolved.  Yesunshin and Mayhiros still disagree on who killed the Mayhiros' chief's nephew.  In Kazu's exhaustion, Light's Valor asserts himself and suggests that the Eclipse can bind an oath to see who's telling the truth.  They agree to bring in Yesunshin's son and Mayhiros' brother to testify under oath.  The brother left so Hai'li tracked him down and convinced him to come back.  The oath and interrogation will be tomorrow when Kazy comes back with the son.

Marilee asked for Sijan's help with a shadowland. Sijan wanted the Darkening Sky's help to deal with it.  This eventually lead to DS making the observation that Walker in Darkness had taken over the shadowland that the Princess Magnificent had abandoned.  This lead Sijan to ask if DS would talk to the Lover to see if she would help them fight the Walker. He declined.  The vote still passed for Sijan to send an ambassador to the Lover.

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Last Friday...er...Jupitersday Night
Ascending Water 765: Join Us Now...In the Past!

13, Jupitersday (night):

Unbeknownst to the spies, Kazu, the Darkening Sky, and Féard decided they hadn't had enough screen time so went tomb robbing, I mean, sight seeing in Nexus.  After hearing there were six First-Age Solar tombs, they decided to go check out the Tomb of Keening Spirits.

While the tomb was guarded (mostly to keep people out), they didn't have much trouble jumping up on the wall and not being noticed.  Kazu and DS went to pick a fight with the ghosts while Féard went to look for a door in the tomb.  While the battle wasn't too difficult, both Kazu and the Oncoming Storm went iconic during the battle, giving Nexus a nice show of two dragons fighting one another.  This was also a bat-signal for Hai'li, who rushed over to see what sort of trouble was going on.  Akamura was also concerned about the Anathema Kazu seemed to be fighting, so after leaving a note for Harmony, he also rushed off to the tomb.  The Emissary was also a spectator for these events.  

Hai'li, when she arrived, dove down to Kazu's shoulder.  While Akamura stayed hidden in the shadows, the Emissary dropped down for a chat with him.  The Emissary observed to Akamura that they were breaking 3 city ordinances, one of which was noise pollution, and upholding another.  Either way, he didn't care enough to interfere.  The Emissary also mentioned not trusting Akamura's previous incarnation.

Meanwhile, Féard found the door to the tomb which had been blocked off by cement.  He used the Demonforge to make a sledgehammer which DS used to break down the wall.   They went in, Kazu layed the Dragon-blooded ghosts guarding the tomb to rest, and then they figured out where to go next.  Féard used the Demonforge to make some rope so they could climb down the hole to the burial chamber.  While DS had hoped to stay on top to guard, Hai'li made it clear she wanted him down there thank-you-very-much.

They had a chat with the Solar ghost who wanted to atone for his misdeeds in life by protecting the ghosts from Hollow, the city that stood before Nexus.  Kazu decided not to lay the ghost to rest since he wanted to stay.  During the conversation, Kazu's previous incarnation asserted himself, who the ghost called Light's Valor.  He also called Hai'li "Hope" and observed they were together again.

Kazu/Light's Valor performed the rights the ghost wanted and agreed that he, or someone else, would be sent to perform them again.  The ghost asked Hai'li and Kazu/Light's Valor if they trusted DS.  He gave Kazu an artifact spear and Hai'li a heartstone to give DS if she ever decided to trust him, looking significantly at the very large door behind him.  They left, but the ghost said he wanted to talk to Dark Storm, who stayed.  The ghost got some idea of what DS was, decided to trust him for now, and told him to find Lytek (whoever that was, the ghost was disappointed in modern education and chose not to elaborate.)

At the top of the pit, Kazu didn't remember what happened.  He found it distressing.  Féard then used to coffins to build a door to the tomb.

Harmony got a letter from Aria insisting he tell her what his group was up to.  They concerned him because the only thing he knew at the time was spying, being unaware of the other's adventure.

 

14, Saturnsday (again):

They went to see the ruckus in the Marukan camps.  The Abrogassu went to the camp to find out about the Mayhiros plotting and a fire started.  Mayhiros insisted Abrogassu set the fire, Abrogassu insisted that the younger brother did.  Harmony determined the younger brother's denials were lies, but either way, the proof had gone up in smoke so they had no way to determine Mayhiros' shady dealings.  Harmony observed that the other part of the correspondence might be in Wagasu, Nezri wondered why Harmony would think he, an ambassador, would have a spy capable of not being caught.  They could talk about it tomorrow if they wanted.

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In Which the Circle Causes Trouble, Some Of It Even By Accident
Ascending Water 765: You have to admit, it was a pretty good distraction

14, Saturnsday:

The Darkening Sky Which Heralds the Oncoming Storm has lunch with the Sijanese delegates.  He tries to inform them as to the true nature of the Abyssal Exalted, they still insist on saying he's blessed.  They send a letter to Harmony informing him that the Darkening Sky isn't being blessed enough.

Akamura and Hai'li try to help out in one of the slums.  Akamura healing those who accept his help, Hai'li became very offended at the slave trade.  She bought a man out of slavery which lead to a mob of people trying to convince her they needed help too.  This lead to a mother, desperate because her son was press ganged by a dragon-blooded captain to be one of his rowers.  Hai'li gathered together everyone int he Circle she could to ask Captain Remo to free the boy and his friends.  The captain, though baffled, agreed.  He later sent a letter to Harmony asking what his deal was and what he hoped to get out of freeing some of his slaves.

Harmony went to the Abrogassu Clan to sell them the information he got from Mayhiros.  As coincidence would have it, when he left, he distracted the tail they sent on him by throwing some of the money at the youths Hai'li just rescued from slavery.

Later, when Harmony returns to the hotel, he finds many letters:

  • The afore mentioned letter from the Sijanese
  • The letter from the baffled captain 
  • An Immaculate monk who wants him to repent.
  • A letter from some people asking for help in the feud between their gods. (He sent Kazu to deal with it.)
  • A letter and a fruit basket from Aria, offering to help if his employees wanted more people they could help.
  • A letter from the House of Glorious Grace, wondering what he hoped to accomplish by buying slaves.

People sent gifts and were singing to Hai'li outside her window, and after she went off to wave at them, Maheka Nezri stormed in.  He accused them of being a distraction so no one would notice that Abrogassu and Mayhiros were starting some kind of feud and their camps were on fire.  Harmony was relieved that Hai'li wasn't around at the moment.

The session ended on a cliff hanger, as Harmony, DS, Hai'li adn Akamura went with Nezri and his dragon-blooded companions to see what was happening at 

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Spying on the Marukan Clans
Ascending Water 765: Something smells fishy

13, Jupitersday:

During the party, Kazu talked to Maheka  Nezri about the Wyld Hunt, and about how they should try to capture him outside so civilians aren't hurt and property wasn't damaged.  Unforetunatly, Kazu had made a promise to an Immaculate Monk that he wouldn't hand himself over to the Wyld Hunt and instead try to redeem the Anathema.

That evening, after the party, Harmony, Hai'li, and Akamura engaged in some good old fashioned spying.  

In the Wagasu Camp, they found out:

  • The priest of the Shining Path, not the clan chief, sent the person who went to meet us on our ship.  They seemed pleased we delayed the vote.
  • While the Shining Path has many saints, the people of Wagasu consider the Handmaiden their saint.
  • Akamura also came across the clan chief arguing with someone about being against selling their horses to the Guild, no matter how good the man thought his Guild contact was.

Hai'li, who went to the Arbogassu clan, found:

  • This clan head seemed to object to Wagasu because they were "Feasters" or that's what he was drunkenly complaining to his wife about.
  • Yusuhin pulled out because something reignited a feud with Mayhiros
  • He actually did want to block them from getting food for their Feast
  • Apparently one of the sentries really likes cats.

Harmony, who went to the Mayhiros camp:

  • Clan chief is quite worried about Mask of Winters and Fae troubles.  Wants the vote to pass so the Marukans can be in the alliance for military power.
  • The Yusushin trouble was that during a raid, the clan chiefs nephew was killed.  Yusushin refuses to apologize for it and claims these things just happen during raids, which the chief thinks is bullshit.
  • Thinks confederation of Rivers will be in a fight soon.
  • Made a bribe to Aria for if the vote goes through.

However, in the chief's younger (and much wealthier brother's) tent, he found:

  • The younger brother was more interested in getting firedust and supplies for the Mayhiros clan.
  • A poisoned, encrypted message in which someone was pleased that the younger brother was keeping the chief on the defensive, and that he will continue getting funds and will be rewarded for doing so
  • The message also strongly implied the younger brother killed his own son to start the feud that caused Yusushin to drop out.  Someone really wants to Wagasu to join the Confederation of Rivers.

14, Saturnsday:

Over breakfast, the information from the previous night was discussed and Hai'li played guard cat against the people trying to spy on our conversation.   Afterwards, Harmony and Hai'li went simhata shopping.

Akamura went to find a clinic in the poor sections of the city.  Féard went looking for a library.

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Arrival at the Convocation
Ascending Water 765: Party time. Excellent.

9-12:

Travel on the river continues.  During a meeting, the Circle discusses what they will face at the convocation.  After some joking that they might be spied on, they heard an eep! and a sploosh of water.  There didn't seem to be anyone trying to swim away, but Hai'li did find a water buffalo to take the form of.

One of the secretaries advised Marilee that the vote wouldn't be held until she got there, so she came up with an excuse to delay her arrival so the Circle could have time to feel out the situation.

13:

They arrive one the 13th, Jupitersday, in the afternoon.  Harmony and the Darkening Sky go to the meeting to regretfully inform them that Marilee had to go back to Great Forks and wouldn't be back for a few days.  Harmony would hold a party that evening as an apology for the delay.  The Sijanese priests were quite excited to see Dark Storm, and very enthusiastic about getting to know him better.

 The others were taken to their hotel.  Akamura looked around the building for spies.  During a meeting before the party, the Circle discussed what they hoped to find out from the other delegates during the party. Hai'li attended in her bathrobe after her bubble bath.  Kazu, given how quickly he disappeared, seemed to have learned how to teleport.  Harmony informed Hai'li that Kazu "liked liked her." Much blushing ensued.  Hai'li rushed off to Dark Storm, who was reading an illuminated Sijanese manuscript, to ask him for advice.

That night, the party was held.  Many elbows were rubbed.  The Lookshy delegate was very suspicious about the abrupt change in Marukan clans that hoped to join the Confederation of Rivers.  Not only did the previous candidates drop out, this clan, which had previously shown no interest in joining, suddenly volunteered.  It was all very suspicious to him.  

Aria, the Nexus delegate, seemed to get more information from Akamura than he got from her.  She was also apparently interested in having a date with Dark Storm.  Hai'li was quite shocked when she realized that was what Aria meant when she invited Hai'li as a chaperone.

The Chayan delegate explained how Chaya worked.  That, though they often abstained from voting, there was much they could effect by the consequences of the vote.  She advised Akamura he could check the minutes.

The Sijan priests were delighted to talk to Hai'li.  She got an invite to the Underworld.

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Getting Ready for the Diplomatic Mission
Ascending Water 765: Woo! Shopping trip!

8:

Everyone decided that the Circle needed to be better dressed, so everyone went to Evening Mist's favorite tailor (including the Darkening Sky who found it easier not to fight Hai'li as she dragged him along).  Every one (except Dark Storm) showed off their anima banners so he could find the proper colors to match.  Kazu went iconic and made quite a spectacle of himself.

 

9-13:

The journey to Nexus begins.  Hai'li noticed a 4 inch tall fae climbing onto the boat and tried to make friends. but couldn't understand him.  So she called Kazu over and the little fae felt it very important to tell Kazu that whatever was happening was not their fault.  The fae complimented Kazu on how impressive his consort was, which made for a very red and flustered Kazu who ran off to tell Harmony that there was trouble ahead.

While this happened, someone came to look for the medics, who were both with Harmony at the time, that Dark Storm appeared to be injured, so  Hai'li and Yū ran off to see what happened.  Hai'li commented that his injuries looked as if someone had tortured him, which he didn't deny.  She insisted on patching him up.

During the trip, a representative from the Marukan clan who hoped to join the Confederation of Rivers showed up to talk to Marilee Floros.  Apparently the other clans pulled strings to force the vote early and the envoy wanted a chance to plead his clans case.  He insisted it was actually a religeous matter because the other clans worshiping the Shining Path in a different way so want to make trouble by denying his clan access to Nexus.  During this, the Oncoming Storm brought up the fact that the Shining Path was actually a religion created by a Deathlord, the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible.

AFter the man left to another boat, Harmony asked about what DS was talking about.  He wondered if maybe the Deathlords were victims of propoganda and maybe not that bad, but Yū offered to go spying to find out more about the Shining Path.

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So Much Plot
Ascending Water 765: Revelations Galore

6, Jupitersday:

In the mean time, Yū Akamura was looking for a sedative powerful to knockout a Lunar.  He came across a potion in which one of the ingredients was derived from a slime secreted my a manifesting spirit.  He went to go gather something.

Harmony of Intent refused combat training from Peleps Hai'li after asking for her help in combat training. Things were then cleared up after some discussion.

7, Saturnsday:

Self defense classes start.  Yū watches from the shadows, wondering why the Lunar is tormenting Harmony (and his wife? It was all very confusing.  He was sure the Lunar had eaten Erigone.  How were there two of them?).  

One Comedy of Errors later, Harmony, Hai'li, Seven, Darkening Sky and Yū are in the Blue Room talking about why Yū wants to arrest Seven and whether or not Seven's murder of Erigone was even in Great Fork's jurisdiction.  Harmony and Hai'li defended Seven's decision to kill Erigone, saying she was an awful person, she had it coming, and it was totally a legitimate decision to protect Harmony from her.

Eventually, Seven revealed herself as also being a Lunar to Yū.  The topic changed to how Yū was far too good to be a mortal, so they tried to make him spend essence to reveal his power type, hoping he was a Dragon-blooded.  He was not.  He offered his prayers to the Immaculate Faith and his desire to reveal his power as a Dragon-blooded overcame his subconscious denial of his power.  Yū was revealed to be Night Caste and ran off having a not-so-minor break down.  He fled to his batcave with Hai'li following to make sure he didn't encounter any trouble in his mote-less yet iconic anima flaring  state.  

Sometime during this, Harmony revealed himself as an Eclipse. Surprise!

Seven shooed Dark Storm away to talk to Harmony in private about her realization that a Perfect Circle seemed to be forming in Great Forks and was quite concerned that a Dusk Caste seemed to be taking the place of the Dawn that should be there.

DS, after leaving, followed after Yū by way of his anima banner to check if anyone with connections to the Underworld was taking in interest in the newly reveled Night.  This eventually lead him to the entrance to the Batcave, where Hai'li remarked that the ghosts of the Northerners he had killed were sounding an alarm, which she noticed were drawing the city folk to the area.

To avoid the mob, he ran off and Hai'li watched the crowd disperse in confusion.  A woman from the shadows revealed herself, quite put out that Hai'li convinced DS to leave.  After commenting that the grove would look much nicer torn down and in flames, Scary Lady said she was bored now and left, disappearing in the shadows.  She didn't hide herself so well that Hai'li couldn't follow her, so she did.  Hai'li followed her until the woman did some kind of ritual from which Scary Lady disappeared into the ground and left a charred circle.

Hai'li freaked and went back to her vigil at the entrance to the Batcave.

8, Sunsday:

First thing in the morning, Hai'li rushed to Harmony of Intent to tell him what happened the night before and about the super scary crazy lady who was super creepy and talked about how everything would be better torn down and in flames and then she left disappeared into the shadows and was hard to follow but Hai'li managed to follow her anyways but then she made a circle with some kind of powder on the ground and then she sank into the ground and disappeared and then there was scorched stone where she made the circle and the lady was super scary and creepy.

Harmony, in addition to not having had enough coffee, was disheartened to realize these were the rumors he was fighting against.

Then she went back to the Batcave.  Yū finally left, resigned to his fate and determined to make the best of it before he went evil and insane.  Hai'li, as a small cat, perched on his shoulder and tried to comfort him. Yū, like so many others before him, got a job at the Intent mansion.  

DS questioned Hai'li about what happened after he left the night before.  She mentioned the crowd dispersed but there was a super scary lady.  When he asked her for details about the super scary lady, he was clearly unhappy.  Hai'li was quite shocked at his first ever outburst (he even swore!).

Later, Yū went to introduce him to Talespinner with Hai'li accompanying him.

That night, Yū and Harmony frolicked on the rooftops of Great Forks.  Hai'li followed them as a guard and they tried to evade her.  Because its inconvenient sneaking on rooftops when a golden eagle is circling you.

 

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Oh Look, Plot.
Ascending Water 765: Meetings and Confrontations

5, Marsday:

Yoshinkazu is informed of the break-in.  He offered his journal in case there was something missed during his reading the previous night.

Harmony got a missive from the gods of the city about being an emissary to Nexus for the yearly meeting for the Confederation of Rivers.  This involved a message for those in Harmony's employ to attend to be a polite show of force at the meeting.  They are supposed to leave for the meeting in 4 days.

A very non-native monkey was pelting people with cherries in the Intent compound (note the courtyard did not, in fact, have any cherry trees).  He also read the missive before running off with Hai'li following.  Hai'li came back with a bird named Jewel.

Harmony also met Yu that evening, with Hai'li hiding in his pocket, to see what the spy wanted.  Yu called himself the Black Mask and seems worried about Harmony, given his guests.

6, Jupitersday:

Some Northerners attacked the Oncoming Storm.  According to the Darkening Sky, he inadvertently killed them when defending himself.  He turned himself in as well as the bodies when the other assailants ran.   Harmony went to defend him.  Hai'li was very concerned that he wasn't hurt in the attack.  , who had been following DS, seemed oddly helpful in making sure the guards knew the truth about defending himself.

Rumours are running amok about the horrible, brutal murders DS got away with.  Harmony was happily assisting in spreading them.

Seven Deadly Virtues came home.

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Are you sure this is coincidence?
Ascending Water 765: Somewhere, Sidereals are crying

Following the full moon of Ascending Water:

 Yū Akamura follows The White Fox to find his Batcave.

3, Mercuryday:

After this, he sneaks into the Intent family compound, breaks into Tepet Yoshinkazu's room, and starts reading Kazu's diary.  He failed to pay attention to the cat, who was actually Peleps Hai'li Yu, sleeping in a basket.  Hai'li caused a ruckus to alert Dark Storm, whose room was next door, to the intruder.  He entered just as  was jumping out the window.  Since The Oncoming Storm couldn't actually see the exceptionally sneaky ninja, he left Hai'li to give chase.

Their chase eventually led them to a University, where Féard Alistair was quite surprised to find a talking cat and a talking tree stump(?) outside of his window, remarking that neither of those things were things that were supposed to talk.  Hai'li and Yū decided to talk in private, and switched to another roof when Féard went to the roof to continue listening to their conversation. While Féard was on the roof, Harmony of Intent came looking for his cat, and Féard mentioned he saw the cat but thinks the cat ran off somewhere.

Yū eventually tried to run away, so Hai'li turned into a spider to catch a ride.  After much talking, she convinced him to try and be friends and invited him to the Intent compound.  She left in eagle form and found Harmony and DS on the roof talking to Féard.  Harmony, grateful the boy told him about his cat, told Féard that he could come by his house if he needed help with something.

4, Venusday:

The next day, when Féard was looking to find out about his artifact, found out Miraculous Success, a scholar who might have helped him, died several months ago.  Another option was to search for Ysyri texts, and that the Intent family ran the trade route to Ysyr.  After remarking how convenient it was he met Harmony the night before, he set off to the Intent Family compound.

Harmony, Hai'li, and Darkening Sky talked with Féard (with Yū spying from nearby) talked about Féard's demon artifact problem and Harmony offered to let Féard stay while they waited for a caravan to come back with more texts from Ysyr.

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It Begins
Descending Air 765: A Circle Gathers

A remarkable number of Celestial Exalts start arriving in Great Forks during Descending Air 765.

Perhaps even more remarkably, many of them seem to end up at the family compound of Harmony of Intent.

Over the course of dinner on the 27th, Harmony of Intent's Lunar wife convinces the newly arrived Full Moon Lunar, Peleps Hai'li, to participate in a ritual that will teach Hai'li one of Seven Deadly Virtues forms so Hai'li can occasionally impersonate Harmony's wife.  The ritual will be held the next full moon.

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