The Trapped Circle

Wherein the Influence of Sidereals Makes Itself Known
Ascending Wood 765:
5, Marsday:

Logs from the manse indicate unusual reading from the sorcerer's work room, some logs indicate some kind of sentient artifact.

The Circle finally gets around to investigating the sorcerer's workroom.  The visuals indicate that there's a deck of cards surrounded by wards, some books, and a vault.

Entering the space, Kazu and DS find what appears to be an endless corridor and the sense of danger, which reveals itself as a cat-bodied chimeric creature with 11 snake heads.  Kazu decided to feed it an make friends with it.  Appeasing it. they found an illusory jungle past the barrier.

Kazu brought the creature to play with the ghasts while Xian Lin and DS further explored the room.  Feard really wanted the books, so they were sent back to him.  The vault appeared to also be an endless corridor of sorts, which was suspected to lead Elsewhere.  Seven was called in to investigate, after which she called dibs.  It was apparently a saferoom inspired by Secure Den Prana, a Lunar ability to make a space in Elsewhere.

This lead to asking the manse who last held the manses hearthstone, who the manse revealed was the sorcerer, who the Circle already knew had primary attunement to the manse and was in Medical.

They finally went to the deck, which revealed itself as a sentient artifact with a multitude of identities that was created by Fading Laughter.  The Deck revealed that its previous owner was a Sidereal.  Nezri started becoming uncomfortable with the knowledge of other Anathema, as well as the Circle's claimed they were the ones that created the Immaculate Faith in the first place.

The party rests for the nice, with many grateful for the new Wyld-taint free space to rest in.

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In Which Marilee Doesn't Commence Full Integration
Ascending Wood 765: where did the past week go
5, Marsday:

Marilee decides that, having learned to protect herself from the Wyld, she wants to hide from all the scary things.  She enters the heart of the manse to hook her up to the system of the manse and somehow manage to convince it she belonged there.  While she stayed in there to investigate the systems, she tried to do what she could to make the manse more functional.   This included giving the Circle ranks within the manses structure.  

This eventually lead getting a view of the outside world, where the airship had its guns pointed at the door.  After opening communucations, Nezri explained the situation concerning the contamination and why the doors couldn't be opened yet, but every thing was find…for now anyway.  Everybody was alive and oh, by the way, Erigone was actually a Lunar.

She also found a video of when the sorcerer of the manse made a chimeric creature using craft Genesis that the logs considered important.  

The manse constantly asked Marilee if she'd like to fully integrate, but she declined. 

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In Which Time Passes Quickly
Ascending Wood 765:
4, Venusday:

The Circle spent the rest of the day investigating the living quarters down one of the hallways.  They found, among other things, books they left with Feard to fix.

When they got to the end of the hall, DS and Kazu went over to the main room to investigate how his working held up to the Bordermarches.  They discovered within the sphere of influence, it reacted more like how the area acted when the sprinklers were running, but the border of the zone was very obviously in conflict with the Wyld.  There was a thin layer of essence that acted like Deep Wyld.

"Marilee Floros" asked Nezri what his personal grudge against Anathema was, and he recounted the story of how a Lunar from the North, Trivaal, used to try and make alliances with Dragon-blooded, but has used some power to force them to follow him.  One time when Trivaal had ventured south, a Wyld Hunt went to kill him.  Only a handful survived, and among those lost to Trivaal's bewitchment was Nezri's brother.  There are rumors he's allied with the Lover due to his methods.

5, Marsday:

The exploration continues.  They found the sorcerer's workshop, where he tried to craft sentient golems.  There was an artifact taxidermy kit which DS hoped would be better for surgery than anything else available to him.

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In Which the Circle Finally Sleeps
Ascending Wood 765: a new day has come
4, Venusday:

The Darkening Sky completed a necromantic ritual to subdue the Wyld energies.

The following morning, the Circle went to the Demogorgon's lair and investigated.  They found a bunch of stuff, including:   broken eggs, a few whole eggs with dead human fetus', white jade chain shirt, and some ghasts that ran in a panic.  Following them, "Marilee Floros" heard them speak to each other in what sounded like a modern dialect of Riverspeak.  When they reached the Agriculture area, with the slaughtered ghasts, they shouted "Where now?" and "I don't know!" before running off.  Marilee returned with a vision of the ghasts rising.

This played into Kazu's fears, so before the next spray they spent time piling the ghast corpses into holding cells in Security.  When the sprinklers went off, the ghasts regenerated, except for the ones Kazu disintegrated with holy light.

Further investigation of Security found:
3 Black Jade War Bows
4 Fire Lances (red jade with starmetal filigree)
1 Orichancum Orb (an Essence capaciter to charge the fire lances)
12 jadesteel swords
12 jade steel shields
1 green jade warstrider shaped like a snake ( which Kazu shoved into Elsewhere)

Nezri commented that non-humanoid warstriders were rare and mentioned Lookshy had one.  He also mentioned having fought a warstrider, but didn't want to talk about it until it was safe enough to get drunk.

"Marilee" claimed a war bow and the white jade chain and Seven claimed a wa rbow and they went to the shooting range to practice

Hai'li turned into a spider so Seven could practice using her as a throwing weapon with "Marilee" as the target.

Feard spent this time curled into a little ball of pain and misery in the manse heart while investigating the artifacts Kazubrought to him.

Game time: around 2 pm

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In Which the Circle Talks to Demons
Ascending Wood 765: A very long day finally ends
3, Mercurysday:

After the Circle found themselves in the Command Center, they listened at doors.  One they heard nothing from, the other had wind sounds.

Entering the room without noise, they found some kind of secretary's study.  In one of the drawers of a desk, Marilee found the notes to a thaumaturgical ritual.  It would somehow create/summon wind elementals, but could only be performed inside place it was being created.

They went to the door with wind noises, and after a brief discussion about whether it was safe for Feard to stand just behind Kazu when the door was opened, Feard claimed the only thing that was likely to be in there was the remnants of the Great Contagion.  When the door was opened, it would spread into the room so what did it matter? Kazu shrugged and opened the door and a bunch of wind demons swarmed out and started trying to eat everyone.  There was a ritual in the room, which Kazu called Xian Lin to look at.  She eventually determined that it was a door to Malpheas and one of the runes had been smudged which was why the wind demon things could swarm.  

While she determined this, DS, Kazu, and Feard fought the swarm while others hid.  The swarm proved too much for Feard to handle and he was brought down and one of his hands ripped off.  DS stopped fighting to tend to his wounds and Feard's hand ran off and was caught by Marilee. Xian Lin destroyed the smudged rune and the demons stopped swarming. This allowed them to stop respawning and be finished off.

When the crack to the portal was closed, a black mist started to appear, and eventually Sondok She-Who-Stands-In-Doorways appeared and chatted with the Circle.  Apparently she took the Abbot and his family in to keep until the crisis was over and his allies came to bring him back.  She hoped the Circle would be those allies since she was bored of him.  She made other offers to tempt the members of the Circle, and then left so the Circle could discuss what they wanted to do.  They eventually concluded they should save the Abbot and his family, though it might eventually mean they would have to kill them when they returned.

In the meantime, DS and Hai'li tried to reattach Feard's hand.  It could have gone better, but it was still mostly functional.  They then went to rest in the heart of the manse.

DS ended up with improvised surgery tools scavenged from the remnants of a soulsteel glove he had.  The Circle put two talents of black jade into Hai'li's bag.

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In Which the Circle Talks to Mold
Ascending Wood 765: Who knew we'd need Bureaucracy in a dungeon?
3, Mercurysday:

After the ghasts and demogorgon were defeated the Circle investigates the hydroponics area.  There aren't plants left, but there is mold that moves away when people tried to touch it.  Marilee asked Hai'li to look at Feard's hand, though she didn't determine much about what happened to him. 

 Down in the basement area below the hydroponics the sentient mold "Ex-chagger" was discovered, who was quite surprised that colonies as small as Kazu and Haley could speak.  This lead to a long discussion where the Circle traded with the mold to get the pieces of red jade armor it was holding.  They also taught it about currency, Nezri (as a representative of the Shogunate) wrote a permit for it to carry weapons so the Circle could trade jade steel weapons for the actual jade it carried.  It decided nails were currency, then Feard shaped it into coins.  He also got a bone with a sorcery spell carved into it.  Books were also traded with the mold. 

It called itself "Ex-chagger" because it had a book belonging to the exchequer of the Shogunate so it figured since it owned the book it must be the exchequer.  This is also why it thought of communications and interaction in the form of trade.  How it learned to read, sapient or not, is still a mystery.  After figuring out how long "moments" and "Cycles (the time between when the sprinklers went off)" the Circle figured the mold had been sapient for 27 years.

Afterwards, the Circle explored some more and found the Command center.

Kazu found a jade steel dagger, the corpse of a man who commited suicide (now ash), and a 4 stone bracelet which he claimed.  it has a black stone added.

9 hours since the sprinklers went off.

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In Which the Circle Learns About The History of the Vault
Ascending Wood 765: insert witty comment here
3, Mercurysday:

Marilee, Xian Lin, and Hai'li come back from Security with a folder.  On the way they encounter a fae being bouncing a ball, who asks for Hai'li name, but Hai'li says no, because she likes her name.

Feard fixes the panel of the door so it can be opened, Hai'li reads from the journal which tells of the decline of the Vault.  It told the panic when they realized the Great Contagion had followed them in.  The Sworn Kinship who ran the places claimed to have a solution, but the security personel was upset because it wasn't being explained to him.  A cure had been found, but people were degenerating faster than expected and there was no way to open the door.  Part of the journal explained that Abbot Takana was one of the first lost, and hopefully doesn't "come back out."  The icon for "changing seasons" seems to refer to a new facility between the morgue and medical.  The door can only be opened with permission from the Administrator or the Abbot.

While going up to Nightingale and Agriculture, the demogorgon attacked while fighting the ghast horde in agriculture.

It's been about six hours since the sprinkler went off.

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In Which the Circle Find the Heart of the Manse
Ascending Wood 765: How do you fix a Manse's broken heart?
3, Mercurysday:

The Circle goes to investigate the corridor leading south and eventually come to an intersection.  The other paths are marked "Lark", "Heart/Soul", and the west path "Nightingale" and "Agriculture."  There was some kind of storage room just past the intersection down Lark.

Feard could barely be stopped from going down "Heart/Soul".  Down the corridor sapphire orbs appeared and shocked Feard and Kazu who were in front, or at least tried to shock Kazu.  Xian Lin, who had a bracelet with a blue gem, was notified of the intruders and managed to tell it to deactivate.  Feard went to investigate the orb, Xian Lin got another warning, and DS dragged Feard back.  (The Neverborn lashed out at him for his efforts.)

Eventually they got to the end of the hall to find a locked door.  "Marilee Floros" managed to put in a passcode for an administrator and the Circle (plus Nezri and Seven) gained access to the heart of the Manse.

In the Heart there was a wood essence laser that kept on trying and failing to fix the crystal icons that represented parts of the manse.  There was also a person-shaped alcove.  Feard tried to fix the laser thing, while Xian Lin went into the alcove to see what it did.  It accepted her as an interface and she discovered she could shut the laser down and view other parts of the manse through the interface.  Feard figured he could sacrifice some of the crystal to try and fix the repair routine.  A new bracelet was found with a green, blue, and a white stone.  In the same drawer was some replacement crystals.

It was also discovered that the laser-thing could spin all around and in doing so broke the panel to exit the room.  He and DS went out to the intersection to check if there was a mirror that could redirect the essence beam, and in the process Xian Lin noticed the dragon mutant thing was doing a good job of sneaking up on the two of them so they went back to the Heart and the dragon thing seemed reluctant to pass by the security.  Xian Lin also discovered that hooking up to the interface subjected the user to Wyld taint.  Eventually it was decided this would be a safer place to camp, so Xian Lin and Marilee Floros decided to sneak back to get their food, and discovered the Heart wouldn't open the door without an interface.

DS manned it since he could resist the Wyld taint and Kazu was still trying to attune to the manse-.  They managed to get to the entrance room without too much trouble.

There were several symbols on the interface: the birds, agriculture, security, medical, "heart", "leadership/command", "changing of seasons/denotes something unpleasant"

 

While investigating where the camera pointed, between them, Xian Lin and DS discovered:

The bird symbols pointed to the residences:
Lark= the dragon thing was poking at eggs, there were many more broken eggs.

South= Intersection
Agriculture= about 200 ghasts
East= Entrance
North= Unviewable through Wyld taint, probably northern part of main room
"Morgue"= a room with insane writing on the walls "find cure, solve problem"more bodies than beds, and a ghast stabbing the remains of a skull saying "fix it"
unknown symbol= central room
unknown symbol (translated by Xian Lin to contain the radicals "changing of seasons/denotes something unpleasant")=  when DS checked out the camera to that room, it was pitch dark and he could hear whispering.  It was similar, but not quite like, the Whispers of the Neverborn and then the other whispers started arguing with the Neverborn.  The Neverborn first decided that DS wasn't ready to destroy them in their names, then shifted to think that he should try to prove himself to them

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In Which Things Decided To Poke Back
Ascending Wood 765: And headshots
3, Mercurysday:

After the spray went off, and the members of the Circle who had protection against the Wyld noticed their defenses triggered even in the spray-free room.  The Wyld ghoul things decided attacking Kazu was the thing to do.  Hai'li, who was hiding in Kazu's pocket, bit and poisoned the ghoul-things. They proved very effective at regenerating until DS decided to stab one in the head, which finally defeated them.

While this was happening, The Eclipse Alternatively Known As Marilee Floros decided to sneak around to see what else was going on, and found a very large creature with horns and not quite human limbs spying on the fight, those it seemed to lose interest and wander off when the fight was over.

Nezri guarded the sorcerer types, Seven was no where to be seen.  Feard failed to cast a spell, fell down the stairs, and threw his gun away.  After the fight he was questioned about his odd behavior and seemed very confused about what was going on.  He also claimed his name was Brigha, which was somewhat concerning.  Then Feard "came back" and was still confused about the battle occuring.

Nezri pointed out that if people were tainted by the Wyld, the Circle would probably have to kill them and wanted to warn the Circle know instead of just having to bring it up then.  Hai'li was very cranky and revealed herself to yell at Nezri.

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In Which the Circle Pokes Mysterious Things In The Vault
Ascending Wood 765: Mysterious things don't poke back...yet
2, Moonsday:

Going down the Vault's elevator, a mysterious voice informs us that, if we're here, we're deemed critical to rebuilding the Shogunate after the Great Contagion.  Neat.  The mysterious voice also inform us that Containment Protocal 3 is in effect and that people should remain in residences until its resolved.  Whatever that means.

The voice also calls this place "Yu-shen Vanesh".  

We find a large room with two signs, one is almost illegible but leads to security.   The other leads to the residential areas.  This room also has a bunch of green and gold clothing and bracelets with blue jade charms with a faint aura of Essence.  Most dress up in these to pretend to fit in in case it matters.  The clothes are the colors of a lost House of the Shogunate.

The Circle begins to investigate.  The room is occupied by weirdly dematerialized spirits and a skeleton.  Investigating the skeleton, it was missing its feet and the bones were burnt as if attempting to cauterize a wound.  The person had appeared to be trying to drag themselves after having lost their legs.

Xian Lin poked at a panel which activated red jade orbs that were gathering fire essence as a security system.  She decided to turn it off and go explore the security room.  The room had a barricade in it.  There was evidence 2-3 people were behind it, though only one body was left.  The body was wearing clothing that appeared 100 years out of date, a broken artifact crossbow, and a blue and green jade bracelet, as well as jade steel armor.  

Xian Lin, Feard, and Floros started poking at the records.  All the senior command was housed in "Nightengale" while employees were in "Pheasant".

While this was happening,  there was a very unfriendly sounding noise down stairs.  Later, DS heard 3 noises down the stairs.  They sounded like ghouls, but he couldn't feel anything undead or necrotic or whatever, so Seven decided to investigate.  She saw what appeared to be ghouls, but after DS insisted that they were unlikely be able to hide necrotic essence from him, Kazu mentioned that he heard of something similar happened because of Wyld taint, a mutation that decays without killing,  but it would require something far more concentrated than we were likely to find here.

Poking at what turned out to be some kind of communication device, Xian Lin contacted the other residences.  At Parrotbill there was just movement and growls.

When she tried Swan, she heard a voice trying to teach the ghouls poetry.  Xian Lin introduced herself, and the individual at the otherside couldn't remember their name though it was something like "Mysterious Song" and she(?) was named for her(?) grandmother.  

She mentioned they had found a cure for the Great Contagion, which sprayed some kind of Wyld tainted poison which turned everyone into the ghouls.  She doesn't know why she can still talk and has a mind, though she's still trying to teach the others.  The dragon-blooded occupants seem to have turned into something far scarier, but all the others who came down her died.  Apparently killed by something nasty in Lark. And we couldn't get to her anyways because no one could pass through Medical, which sounded heavily tainted by the Wyld energies.  

The person eventually remembered her name was Mysterious Melody when Xian Lin hung up.  

In the other residences, the com heard 

Lark: a growl and a shrieking whine, similar to what was heard ealier

Pheasant: Static

Nightengale: groaning

The "Cure" was sprayed shortly after Xian Lin hung up, though the sprinklers didn't activate in the opening room.  Containment Protocol 3 was apparently that a side effect for the cure turned people into ghouls and a solution hadn't been found yet.

Kazu put up IPP and went to investigate the spray and brought some back.  DS determined it was some kind of poison base that was infused with Wyld energies.

3, Mercurysday:

The group waited to see when the spray happened since nobody wanted to deal with Wyld taint, determining it seemed to happen everyday at noon.

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