The Twisted Circle

No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy
Ascending Water 765: ... Or PCs for that matter
20, Jupitersday:

We discussed battle plans.  Kazu was to occupy the Big Guy, also known as "Fred."  Hai'li and Shinnosuke were to take down one of the officers, while DS was to take down the army.  

It was a big ol' fight.  Armies clashed, or more accurately the Darkening Sky clashed with an army.  Kazu leapt into battle with Fred.  Hai'li initially fought "Eaty-Guy" (aka Randy) before becoming distracted by wanting to poison Fred.  Shinnosuke tried to stalk Sword-guy (aka Earl), and got a good hit in though he failed to take him down in one shot.  Eventually the army, Randy, and Earl all went after DS, though Earl was disheartened by his inability to hit Darkening Sky effectively.  Though things were looking pretty bad for DS since Randy sent him into initiative crash and DS wasn't having much luck getting out of it, partially because Worthy was using the manses defenses against the battle group and thus taking them out before DS could.


Eventually the Darkening Sky took out the army, Randy jumped on to Fred and called a retreat.  DS had gotten a second wind and jumped after Randy.  Fred dropped over dead from poison. Earl tried to cover their retreat.  Shinnosuke stealthed after the retreating Dragon Kings.  Hai'li tried not to get crushed when Fred fell over.

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Travelling to Northhaven
Asc Water 765: Remember kids, don't fly kites in stormy weather

18, Venusday:

The journey to Northhaven starts.  Harmony brings the simhata to Great Forks while the rest travel by way of Stormwind Rider.  Hai'li transforms into something small while the Darkening Sky flies a Shinnosuke kite. Which seems dangerous, but whatever.  While stopping for a break, they are accosted by Ma-Ha-Suchi's beastmen while Kazu grumbled about Wyld mutants.  Hai'li managed to diffuse the situation while we continued on the journey.

19, Marsday:

A stop to rescue villagers.  They're told to go south to the Dreaming Sea where they can be picked up.  Kazu and DS are baffled that people who live in the East are worried about starving to death.  Arrival at Northhaven.  Grandad is using to manse to fire lightning bolts at the assailants.  Talked about evacuation.  Feard built wagons.  Exalts attuned to the manse.  Dragon Kings were killed.  It was discovered that some of the "Dragon Kings" actually started human.

That night,  Shin and Hai'li went to cause trouble for the army and returned to report.

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Discussing What To Do About the Partycrashers
Ascending Water 765: I am way too tired to be elaborate today
17, Mercuryday:

Messages were sent to Harmony's dad and grandad.  Dad was skeptical, Grandad was already holding them off at the family manse.  The caravan was stopped.

The Darkening Sky checked to see in the Neverborn had any information to glean about the current events.

Plans were made to go help evacuate.  

Akamura revealed his real name, Sōseki Shinnosuke.

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Things Get... Interesting...
Ascending Water 765: Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die
16, Moonsday:

Kazu returns with the son of the Yesunshin chief, Unnar.  He reports that some enhanced ghosts tried to abduct the boy on the trip back.  Upon further questioning, he realized that he were old Marukan ghosts.

We discover that Clifton Mayhiros decided to commit suicide.  After investigation of the corpse and the cell the Lookshy delegates held him in, it was determined that he enacted somekind of ritual using nightshade to commune with spirits.  Those knowledgeable in the Shining Path said there was a ritual that people only used when they were desperate to commune with the Bishop.  Mayhiros received a suicide note from his brother and talked about it with Sejong.  Afterward, he proposed to end feud saying it was unresolved and Yesunshin agreed to go along with it.

Both Yesunshin and Wagasu joined the Confederation.  People also agreed to vote to increase military strength with the details to be worked out the next day. 

Aria and Harmony had dinner at a fancy restaurant.  

17, Mercuryday:

While people are discussing things, some oddly colored Dragon Kings come to crash the party.  Quite literally as their Stormwind Rider-like spell crashes through the walls.  They claim everything East and South of the Vaneha split (conveniently avoiding Ma-Ha-Suchi and Raksi's territory) at least until their ready to conquer us.  They claim they became unlightened enlightened through the Path of Blood, which Feard recognized as a forbidden path.  Dark Storm observed they were practically oozing necrotic Essence.

Feard and Harmony were quite worried about the fates of their respective families.  Hai'li was quite upset that they would be taking humans as slaves and denying them their freewill.

After "Marilee" got all glowy, they reluctantly acknowledged they couldn't do anything to us right now.  They were also not thrilled when Light's Valor made an appearance.  They ran off in a similar way to how they arrived.

The Confederation observed that they were surrounded by death-y forces and decided to up military power even more.  The Marukan's talked about going to the Bishop, which lead to Hai'li prodding Dark Storm into telling the Convocation what he know about the Shining Path.  The Marukan's still didn't want to believe him claiming "if he wanted me to kill my son I'd say no" to which Hai'li replied "Isn't that what happened with Clifton Mayhiros?" She got glared at.

After hearing Sijan's (ridiculous) idea of what Deathlords were and how they were created, Dark Storm also informed them as to the nature of the Deathlords and their relationship with the Neverborn.  Nezri asked him to swear under the Eclipse Oath that everything he said was true to the best of his knowledge, which he did.

"Marilee" and Kazu wanted a Wyld Hunt assigned to Kazu to kill him if he went crazy.  Hai'li thinks they're idiots.

After the meeting, Nezri and Hai'li went to get drunk. They also had an interesting conversation.

 

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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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