The Tardy Circle

On The Road Again
Resplendent Fire 765:

Wherein the Circle Is Once Again On The Road, Metaphorically As The Case May Be, As Their Journey Takes Brings Them To The Oceans Of The Underworld

 

3 Mercuryday - 4, Venusday:

Seven finished healing in the manse once known as the Doomsday Bunker, and the Semi-Circle returns to Great Forks.  The ship destined for the Underworld was finished and the ship was burnt.  After going through the nearby shadowlands, the Circle found that the ghost ship was created and Captain Elaine was nearby waiting, correctly assuming the Circle wanted to go to the water-logged crater once known as Grey Falls.

Captain Elaine was able to make a link between Kazu and his relative to make the trip quicker.  The trip was relatively uneventful, and the travelers speculated on what the Dragonkings hoped to accomplish.  It was theorized that the blast was intended to break Creation creating a hole leading to the Labyrinth, if not the Void itself.  When they reached to "deep waters" near Grey Falls, the crew went trawling for ghosts, and Kazu was able to help sent the ghosts to Lethe so as to rescue as many as possible.  On the way a Moonshadow Abyssal and his (probably) Day Caste parnter were discovered doing something to a group of ghosts.  The Moonshadow was killed, but was finished off by his partner so the Circle couldn't make him talk.  The surviving Abyssal was successfully able to hide to spy another day.

At the center of the blast, the Circle found Tyr, the Dragonking Master of Void, bound by chains made from the souls of the Tepets.  Tyr had a bit to say, revealing those following the Path of Void could hear the whispers of the Neverborn, Walker In Darkness was the one that empowered the Dragonkings and also bound Tyr for his failure.  

Kazu (Light's Valor) asked Harmony (Fading Laughter) to sanctify an Oath that Tyr wouldn't follow the path of Void in his next life, and wouldn't follow any dark paths if Light's Valor ever regained the implements that made the dark paths.  Whether the Oath effects later lifetimes remains to be seen.

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In Which There Are Things To Do And Places To Be
Resplendent Fire 765:

3, Mercuryday (Fairly Early in the Morning):

Nezri comes by to see what all the excitement was about, and was not happy to hear about the Dragonking's shenanigans.  Seven eventually woke up and talked about what she saw, which included a the Void Path Dragonkings creepy ass necklace with chunks of the Abyss embedded into it.  She also mentioned she and a group of others party crashed the Lover's Citadel.  She mentioned she escaped because Lilith had left some kind of clone that tricked the Lover long enough for them to get out, (though sometime afterwards she mentioned that it seemed pretty choreographed/scripted and wanted to talk to DS about it later.)

Kazu Stormwind Rider'd Hai'li and Harmony home, after which Kazu, DS, and Seven went to the manse to get Seven healed up quicker.

While there, DS communed with the Neverborn to find out how the DKs did what they did, which is how he found out they were mining the Void.  While doing so, the Neverborn known as "Wisdom Wreathed in Darkness and Crowned in Sublime Entropy" possessed his body to chat (and flirt?) with Kazu.  Apparently Light's Valor was best buds ("Frenemies") with said Neverborn. This lead to the question of why communicating with the Neverborn was different for DS than any other creature in or outside of Creation (with whole incredibly unpleasant, inevitably leading to madness thing.)

Feard stayed in Great Forks to finish the ship being built for Captain Elaine, so it could be sent to the Underworld and hopefully get the Circle in contact with her to see about what was going on in the crater formerly known as Grey Falls.

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In Which Events Suggest That Downtime Is Inevitably The Worst Idea
Descending Wood: Isn't Gem the city that's supposed to blow up?

In Which the Events Following the Spying Mission Suggest To Our Heroes, Or At Least Their Players, That Downtime Is Inevitably The Worst Idea

 

Descending Wood: 

After meeting up with Hai'li, Kazu decided to hang out with the group in Rathess.  They Investigated the eternal fire area, only to discover that it did appear to be a shadowland, and the link between the Circle was muffled when they entered.  Inside, they found that it was hosting a ritual combat for the Flame Path Dragonkings.  They fought and if they learned to breath flame and kill their opponent, they passed the trial.  If neither breathed flame, they were both killed as failures. 

The Semi-Circle decided not to investigate Rathess its self.  DS was still concerned about what the Dragonkings were planning in Mela's Grace and suggested that it at least be observed.  Kazu decided to Infallible Messenger Seven to ask her to investigate.

In the interests of not being in the South during summer, the Circle agreed to stay in Great Forks and help war efforts until Fall.

 

Resplendent Fire 2 (Midnight):

DS was woken up by a burst of necromantic energy, with the Neverborn being really happy for a moment, then super angry with their whispers being louder than any he had heard without the headphones.  He went to Kazu to ask him to guard him while he tranced, since he wanted to listen to what the fuss was all about, but was concerned about listening to the Neverborn while they were in this state.

While this happen, Dreamweaver showed up to see if DS knew anything about what was going on since the necromantic burst resonated with him.  She mentioned the burst came from the north and it seemed to be drawn to DS like he was a magnet.

While DS and Kazu were making a Working so he could listen to the Neverborn without them hijacking his body, a seconds away from dead, unconscious Seven was flown into the room courtesy of the elemental Kazu made for her.  They stopped working on the Working so DS could heal her.  It was entirely possible that he wouldn't have been able to save her if he hadn't been overcharged on necromantic Essence at the time, due to the fact that her wounds were poisoned by necromantic essence, which needed to be purged, and that she was breaths away from dying. 

After he stabilized her, DS realized they couldn't feel her over the Circle link because she was so saturated with necromantic energies it was like she was in the Underworld.  The elemental reported that, after the skirmish at Mela's Grace, the Dragonkings requested entry into Greyfalls to talk to their "employer".  Greyfalls was then destroyed in an explosion of necromantic energy.  Seven shielded the elemental so it could get her to Great Forks.  Feard and Xian Lin showed up to see what DS's anima banner flare was all about.

Kazu sent an Infallible Messanger to Nezri telling him Greyfalls was gone and he needed to come to the Intent Compund to talk.

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In Which the Circle Show Caution, Until It Doesn't
Resplendent Wood 765: Spying continues
22, Sunsday – 28, Saturnsday:

The Semi-Circle (and company) eventually decides to spend a week spying on the camps outside of Rathess before investigating the city itself.

Among other things, they discovered the large mound was actually the gigantic Lord of Ash.  They Dragonkings perfomed some kind of ritual so they wouldn't wake him when they fed him.

There weren't Flame troops camped outside Rathess, only Void, Ash, Blood, and Brass.

The Circle theorized that their food, which was made of sea birds and whale blubbler, was obtained through a portal to the West.  DS listened to the Neverborns whispers and it seemed to confirm they were hunting in the West, but the Dragonkings didn't seem to be doing anything else, like amassing power, in the West.  Other than avoid the Bodhisattva's ships.  He also discovered the Neverborn's hijacking of his body was getting worse. 

On the 25th, Hai'li decided to go Pterok hunting.  She eventually stole its form but upon consuming its heart's blood, was consumed by an unreasoning panic of something being "wrong" and randomly fled farther East.  Kazu. upon sensing this, immediately Stormwind Ridered to reach her location.  Eventually Hai'li's fear left as suddenly as it came and she decided to go meet Kazu as she felt his approach.

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In which Nothing Happens...
Resplendent Wood 765: ????

Something may've happened here, but it is now nothing. And while no discernable time passed, the Circle still gained strength from the experience of it…

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Wherein the Semi-Circle Investigates Rathess
Resplendent Wood 765: Shenanigans
21, Saturnsday:

Spent the day preliminary spying in Rathess.

22, Sunsday:

The Half-Circle (and associates) goes to explore Rathess.  They find out the Plausible Deniability Branch of the Guild is making a deal with the Dragonkings to attack a town near Greyfalls called Mela's Grace.  In return the Dragonkings will be paying in various "exotics" including sorcerer's blood?

The Dragonking mentions to Guild envoy to make sure they're armed with silver to defeat them since they won't hold back in the attack.

Hai'li further split the Circle and entered Rathess on her own.  She triggered an alarm but was able to hide from them because shapeshifting.

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In Which the Party is Split
Resplendent Wood 765: Welcome to the Jungle
12,  Marsday:

Plans to spy on Rathess were delayed a week as the spies wanted to learn the language of the Dragonkings.  

19,  Marsday:

Xian Lin, Harmony, Hai'li, and Hanaiko leave by way of Stoormwind Rider.

20, Jupitersday:

That evening, they arrive in Rathess and set up the camp where the Circle previously stayed.  The jungle was on fire and the smoke was weird and the trees were dead.  The fire seemed supernatural and didn't look like it was going out.  There were more military camps, and while it seemed their growth was quick, it didn't seem supernatural.

They noticed what appeared to be a pavilion guarded by human merceneries.

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Wherein Plans Are Discussed and Made
Resplendent Wood 765: *insert Doublemint Gum jingle*
10, Mercuryday:

The Circle discussed further plans, and were stimied by the concern that the Wyld Hunt would object to anything the Circle tried to do because they were afraid of the Circle getting more powerful.  Part of the problem being that all the things they would be ok with would probably mean the Circle, or some members of it would be killed.  If Mask of Winters for example, we'd have to fight his Circle and he has more resources to train his lost Exalts. DS also brought up the concern if the Circle did pick a fight with Mask of Winters and failed, he might have more Abyssals.  Monstrances are a problem and it was questioned if something could be developed to stop Abyssal Exaltations from returning to they're monstrances.  DS, at least, was concerned that someone else might find out how to use such a device and adapt it for all Celestial Exaltations.

Eventually they decided it might be worth finding out the power and timeline of hte Dragon Kings to find how how much time they had and how worried they should be about the threat of invasion.

On the 10th, the Circle met up with Nezri to talk about their plans and concerns.  He agreed that it would be helpful information to have, but objected since a Solar Circle in their territory would probably be considered a declaration of war.  Darkening Sky pointed out that only sending "spies" is would be problematic since the spies might not understand what they saw and they didn't have a way to report what they would see to be analyzed by more knowledgeable members.

Nezri agreed and asked for a few days since Nezri had a solution that should remain secret and he needed permission to tell Great Forks and the Circle about it.

12,  Marsday:

Something is delivered from Lookshy and the New Dawn meets up with Nezri again.  Lookshy's solution is a pair of Wood Aspected twins who were bound by a working so they would each now everything the other experienced as she experienced it.  Xian Lin tentatively agreed, assuming they passed the test she wanted for them.

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In Which the Circle Decided to Rest For A Little While
Ascending Wood 765: Downtime really begins
16, Moonsday:

The Circle discussed amongst themselves what to do about Nezri's requests and what they were ok with agreeing to.  Kazu affirmed that he wouldn't let them hold him accountable for stupid reasons, such as accusing the Circle of something they didn't due.  He had his oath he made to the monk after all.

17, Mercuryday:

The Circle remeets with Nezri.  Kazu signs a document so a thaumaturge can evaluate his sincerity.  The Circle agrees to stick around for a month so his superiors would be less edgy.  Nezri mentions he might plan a party of his own on the airship.  The mice of the sun rejoice in a Great Holy Day because the Circle reached an Accord with their future slaves.  Hai'li discovered that no-one remembered her sister or had any documentation she ever existed.

Féard again used Infallible Messenger to reach Hai’bo Xue, after much struggle to even remember her name, and found out she was apparently a Sidereal and people couldn't remember her because of the Shattered Mask constellation.  

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Of Parties and Meetings
Ascending Wood 765: talky sessions are annoying to write
15, Sunsday:

Some of the Circle went to talk to Talespinner about the coming party and meeting with Nezri.

Evening Mist talked to Nezri about the announcement during the party and left a guard-Kazu.

Harmony and "Erigone" were announced at the party and entered with Caste marks shining.  Nezrti shattered his wine glass.  Xian Lin mingled to find out what the attendees thought of the announcement.  Seven got permission to punch someone who wasn't being nice.

During the party, Xian Lin, Kazu, and DS attended the meeting with Nezri.  Many things were spoken of, such as the difference between Wyld Hunt guard dogs and an alliance with Lookshy and how they were different things.  And that as far as the Wyld Hunt was concerned, killing us while they were still able to do was inevitable.  An allience with Lookshy was possible, but it would put the Circle at the mercy of Wyld Hunts again and the Circle would have to prove their commitment to Great Forks.

One proposal had to do with a treaty that would last a year where the Wyld Hunt would at least challenge the Circle to formal combat instead of some kind of ambush.  

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