The Circle has entered the Imperial Manse.
“While you’re holding your breath, think about how essential it is… take in what is necessary, and breathe out what is not.”
Standing at the top of the Imperial Manse, having just deactivated the Realm Defense Grid, Felicity confronts the Circle. She is derisive of the prophecy that brought them there; why is it that they should have the right to rule? Valeria is steadfast in her belief that they have done the right thing, even if the odds seem to be against them, and that she will not sacrifice others for power. “Well, only the one you love,” Felicity retorts, and leaps off the platform.
Leaping down towards Speaks-of-Silence and their other allies, Felicity is followed by Rey, along with Valeria and All Fates Saved. The Night intimates to Valeria that she isn’t sure they are all strong enough to defeat her, but Valeria insists that they must try. A huge battle erupts on the floor of the manse, with Valeria moving to protect Speaks-of-Silence and Rey going toe-to-toe with the Scarlet Empress. Rey manages to throw her back into a wall, but Felicity directs a huge bolt of lightning at her, injuring all those to whom Rey has positive Ties.
Jorek stays up on the top platform with Starlight Dove, who informs him that the Fae are coming…. The two rocket through the roof just in time to see the sky turn lavender as the amassed army of Fae arrive above the … Continue reading
“Everything has been leading up to this point.”
As the airship crests the horizon and comes into view of the Imperial Manse, the Circle is greeted by ranks upon ranks of Dragonblooded soldiers outside a massive set of doors with mist billowing out. They settle on a plan: Ember will distract the crowds using the power given to him by Felicity as the Circle rushes into the Manse, hopefully holding it open long enough for Ember to join them. As they prepare, they watch as Tepet Ken-sha strides out onto the stage set up in front of the Manse. He announces to the assembled Terrestrial Exalted that now is the time to crown a new Emperor: “This is the moment where we leave uncertainty behind!” As the Circle climbs onto the warstrider and All Fates Saved straps in to pilot it, she offers one final thought: “You all saved me… Now we will save Creation.”
There is a moment of shock that ripples through the crowd as the Warstrider touches down in front of the Imperial Manse. Tepet Ken-sha seizes the opportunity to rush inside. As Rey and Valeria wrench the doors open, and the rest of the Circle throws themselves into the mist, Ember begins to speak. “It’s time to understand who is in charge. Here, now!” Having stopped the assembled crowd in their tracks, Ember hurls himself inside the Manse too, as Rey and Valeria slam the doors shut. Inside the misty darkness, … Continue reading
“I feel like after so many sessions, you know what you need to know… Now is the time to embrace it, and move forward.”
Their work in Nexus done, and eager to get on to the Blessed Isle, the Circle returns to the airship, now flying Tepet colours once again. Jorek presents the mysterious box he received to All Fates Saved: she’s not sure how it came to be in someone else’s possession, as she left it in trust for She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand Things. As she takes the box below decks, Jorek reveals the existence of the Warstrider gloves and schematics to the rest of the Circle. As the airship departs towards the Blessed Isle and both Rey & Valeria train with Ember, the latter confides in the Zenith: “Although they may all listen when I speak, they may be mad.” Later on, Jorek shares All Fates Saved’s chocolate with her as a tribute to She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things. Although All Fates doesn’t remember much in particular, she does remember a phrase that was written in Sewell’s diary: “In opposition, forward.”
Approaching the Blessed Isle, the Circle sees a place that doesn’t look to be dangerous to the Solar Exalted… though they know better. With her heightened senses, Rey spots a single tree east of Arjuf with owl talon marks at the top, the only one in the area. Setting down, Crest heads into Arjuf to announce their presence to the town, while the rest of the Circle spot a … Continue reading
“I’m not going to say the Blessed Isle is the most dangerous place in Creation for the Solar Exalted… but what you are attempting is dangerous.”
Having left Mahalanka with one fewer ally, but with a renewed sense of purpose, The Circle takes some time with each other. Rey finds a particular book in among those She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things included, and gets a sense that there is something different about it. Bringing it to Valeria, the Zenith discovers that it is a primer for Low Realm, included for Rey; the Dawn is stoked to finally learn to read and write, if only in memory of 10K.
In his cabin with Eyes Alight, Jorek sorts through the sorcery materials given to him by 10K: he is particularly intrigued by Corrupted Words, which would grant him the power to ban his victims from speaking of a certain topic (or be subject to a disgusting fate). He also learns to channel his essence into his focus, the Talisman of Ten Thousand Eyes. He asks Eyes Alight whether she wouldn’t be safer back in Yu Shan, and she tells him that she is no stranger to danger: she has been on the Blessed Isle before, attempting to sow discord. She also playfully asks Jorek where he would like to go, if he could choose anywhere in Creation. The other Solars are also having moments with their romantic partners: Speaks-of-Silence comforts Valeria, making sure she knows that leaving Ten Thousand behind … Continue reading
“The end of the game: when the GM might lose control. I can go crazy… or maybe the players will.”
Eyes Alight’s news takes the whole Circle by surprise. Rey rushes off with Valeria to check on her state, and discovers that she is not, in fact, pregnant. “You wouldn’t let me finish,” Eyes Alight pouts: she meant only that a child is in Rey’s future. (Later on, she hints to Jorek that by revealing this to Rey, she is able to assure her destiny.) The Dawn steps out onto 10K’s balcony to process this revelation about her destiny, and is joined by Speaks-of-Silence. The Lunar commiserates with Rey about her feelings, and specifically about not yet feeling ready for children. She also reveals to Rey that she once adopted a child, Races-the-Dead. Rey is crushed to learn that the Lunar she killed was in fact Speaks-of-Silence’s child, but she puts at Rey at ease: he betrayed them, and it would have been him or them, sooner or later.
Using Valeria’s incredible mind, the rest of the Circle sets about interpreting Entropy and Weaver’s prophecy: it would seem that immediately after Ember speaks on the Blessed Isle, the way back into the Imperial Manse will open again. The first inside will be able to “forsake Creation” and activate the Realm Defense Grid, giving that person the power to choose the new order of Creation. She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things warns the Circle that this should all be accomplished … Continue reading
Recognizing that she has inadvertently killed someone again while blinded with rage, Rey stalks off, and Ember in the opposite direction. Valeria sets off after Ember, reminding him that it is important to stick with the group, even in the face of danger. “Rey is the danger,” Ember retorts. And while Valeria admits that the Circle may be imperfect, they are all still allies. Jorek remains behind at the scene at the fight, speaking with Eyes Alight: she believes it is very important to get Ember and Rey back together. At that moment, Tai-La appears, recognizing that she is competing for Jorek’s affections with the Sidereal.
Rey is walking back to the manse, trying to figure out how she can restrain herself in the future. Speaks-of-Silence catches up to her and points out that she has been there for Rey twice in times of need. When Rey lashes out, desperately wishing that the Solar Exalted could be freed from their Limit Breaks, Speaks-of-Silence remembers that Starlight Dove had mentioned a long time ago that there should be a way of ending the Great Curse. However, given that they cannot as of now, she hopes that Rey can accept the help of the rest of the Circle instead of wanting only to be alone.
The Circle decides that the next logical step is to reunite All Fates Saved with her lover, She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things, at Mahalanka. As Rey promises her father to better manage her emotions … Continue reading
“They destroyed a threat, and yet Creation is not fine…”
Exquisite Tide’s news of Ember’s mother being alive and well and nearby takes him completely by surprise. Valeria in particular urges him to go to her and find out what she’s been up to since he last saw her. Ember exits the manse, with Rey close behind to provide him with some moral support. As Hope explains the state of affairs in their village to Valeria, revealing that the Zenith’s cult has grown, she bluntly asks why Hope came. Exquisite Tide had compelled her, she explains. As the sisters catch up, Jorek starts to plot a course to Mahalanka, eager to reunite All Fates Saved with She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things. Tai-La, alone in a manse full of strangers, is drawn to Jorek again, hoping to win him back.
Ember is hesitant to venture out to the fox cave, concerned with how his mother might react to him. Rey pushes back, telling him that being nervous is fine, but that he should seize the opportunity. The two of them head out to the cave, and there, drying some clothes and cooking a meal, is his mother. With dark skin like Ember, but hair like Summer Blaze, the plain, small woman introduces herself as Firma, mother to 26 children, all but one of whom has died protecting the Chosen of the Unconquered Sun. The three share some food as Ember apologizes for not having done enough to protect Summer … Continue reading
“I wonder whether it’s possible to truly kill a Deathlord.
In the aftermath of the Gentle Father’s death, Valeria and Rey question Jorek about their missing memories. One moment, the fight began, and then next, the Deathlord was dead; how was that possible? Reluctant to reveal the fate that befell Rey, Jorek tells them only that Final Beat had power enough to undo some actions made during the battle, wiping everyone’s memories.
All of a sudden, a massive earthquake shakes the ground as a fissure opens up in the earth on the riverbank: the Deathlord has returned to claim All Fates! A sickly green glow emanates from the ground along with the cries of the damned, and a large, twisted hand reaches up for All Fates Saved. Jorek and Tide attempt to build an escape route on the river while Valeria and Rey battle the hand and attempt to reclaim their friend. As All Fates falls into the pit, Valeria hurls her spear down for All Fates to catch. As she summons it back to her, Rey leaps off the wall of the fissure, kicking away the Deathlord’s grip on the Night caste. On the surface, the five decide that, their escape notwithstanding, they will need to finish this enemy once and for all: Exquisite Tide creates a large ice floe, and they ride it down into the depths.
Once there, as it becomes clear that the Gentle Father is on his own turf and that … Continue reading
“Fifty is the golden anniversary… the orichalcum anniversary, maybe?”
The unnatural storm cloud continues to roll in across the river as the Circle looks on. They rush to get Hope and Exquisite Tide to the manse; All Fates Saved is rooted to the spot because of the approaching Deathlord, and Jorek persuades her to get moving, although he is a little too harsh in his attempt. A voice rumbles from the cloud: “Your tactic of assembling all targets in one location has been noted.” The Deathlord claims to be owed one father, one sister, and one lover, having already taken one daughter from the Solars, a part of the bargain he made with Three Fates Shadow. And even though she no longer exists, he is single-mindedly pursuing the other targets, unable to be budged. Jorek is able to discover some other things the Deathlord would accept in lieu of the three deaths: the destruction of three of the Solars; total fealty from one; or the death of an Incarnae.
Valeria uses her considerable strength to try to weaken the Deathlord’s resolve, but to no avail. When the Gentle Father asks for an hour of truce in order to show them one other possible option, they agree. The dark stormcloud parts, revealing Sola, now a girl of twelve, with a cracked, bloody disc on her forehead: Requiem of the Unnecessarily Sacrificed. The Deathlord offers the return of Sola in exchange for the lives of the three targets, … Continue reading
“Whether they choose to discover information… or end people….
Back safely in the manse, Valeria’s first order of business is to heal Tai-La: removing the artifact spear from Tai-La’s body that was keeping her alive, she heals the woman’s wounds. Knowing she won’t be up for some time, Jorek heads outside to speak with Rey, on watch. After the events of the day before, Rey tells Jorek how incredibly confused she is feeling about her mother’s death. Jorek jokes about using his newfound Fae powers to relieve her suffering through pleasure, but has to backpedal pretty quickly when Rey takes it the wrong way.
Jorek heads back inside and suggests Ember join Rey: the Dawn asks the Terrestrial about Tepet Deep Fury, her mother. Ember recalls her as very ambitious: she was a “deal closer”, a Terrestrial with a huge network of informants and allies… and so it seems unlikely her death will go without notice. Rey also admits to him that while everything did work out, she knows that Valeria attacked Deep Fury knowing full well that Alvor might have been killed in the process. “A wound like this will only fester,” Ember tells her; is it better for Rey to confront Val?
Valeria and Speaks-of-Silence take some time to speak about home, and how, even knowing that her sister in on her way to Nexus, Valeria no longer considers her village home. At that moment, Tai-La wakes up, and the two women leave Jorek … Continue reading