An Imperfect Circle

Session 8

True to her world, 1000 Lilac Cascade led them from the glade. The flowering hedges parted, revealing a blossom covered hall. The blossoms shifted to colorful ceremonial and carnival masks. Their faces displayed extreme emotion; anguish, ecstasy, and horror. Our heroes felt like hollow lights in the eye holes of the masks were watching them, but when they looked closer, this masks showed only empty darkness. Lilac's shell became a carnival riot of cloth and color, mirroring the masks. She stopped at the end of the passage, a broken tiled square in front of a grand building ahead. She bade her farewell to Drac, and said to call upon her when they were ready to depart.

The cracked tiles of the square formed a ten-pointed sunburst. The same sigil was engraved upon the massive gold doors. Genjo approached, and grunted with effort as he heaved the door open. The light of the firestorm overhead pierced the darkness within. Dust hung in the air, and the beam of flickering light illuminated a massive gold statue across from the door. Refuse and debris littered the floor. Looking in, they saw the room was circular, 5 doorways and 5 statues evenly spaced about the room at the points of the ten-pointed sunburst mandala on the floor.

As the Solars entered, the figure of a man rose from the debris. His gaunt form was garbed in ornate green robes of office stained with dark splotches down the front.. A long beard and mustache adorned his face, doing little to hide his sunken cheeks and sallow skin. His finger nails were inky black and his eyes reflected the mad flames of Firewander. The man spoke, stating that it had been many years since he had visitors who were not creatures of the Wyld, and asking them if they had come for a judgement. As he gestured, droplets of ink spattered from his fingers. After speaking briefly, he reacted with anger when they did not know his name.

"I am Tul Wan, Cityfather of Hallow, High Judge of the East."

Zakiti assuage his anger, and asked about the Law. She learned that this place was a court, and during the Shogunate, mortals and Princes of the Earth from across the direction came to Tul Wan for judgement. To make or change a law, required a quorum of five judges from among the Princes of the Earth, the lawgivers, or courtly gods. Tul Wan had been High Judge here since a few centuries after the Lawgivers were overthrown by the Princes of the Earth, and he did not remember much before that. He had served as judge for nearly seven centuries.

Upon asking whether the courthouse held artifacts of power, Tul Wan accused them of being thieves. Once again, Zakiti assuaged him and explained their purpose. Tul Wan said they were looking for a vault sealed by the Deliberative during the height of the First Age. The Five Days Darkness was sealed within the vault and it could only be opened by a quorum of Solars of each caste.

Zakiti and Genjo went to examine the vault while Drac and Kaveh remained to speak to Tul Wan about ancient law. Drac quickly became convince that Tul Wan was dangerously unhinged, but kept quiet about his opinion.

The vault was sealed with an orichalcum door with no visible mechanism to open it. The floor was a mirror of the sun-burst mandala above, except for the five circles marked with the five castes spaced evenly around the room. Zakiti examined the door, and found it was inscribed with archaic old realm script. From what she was able to understand, she learned that the vault sealed away The Five Days Darkness, which was deemed a threat because it was unable to face the light of the Sun. The vault was sealed by the order of the Deliberative, and could indeed only be opened by a quorum of the five Solar Castes.

Zakiti explained to Genjo that there may be ways around the seal, besides finding a fifth Solar. A powerful sorcerous working might be able to circumvent the requirements, but that would take research, materials, and time. Similarly, a third circle demon could almost certainly break or bypass the seal. Finally, if they were unable to find a Solar, and the rumors about the dark reflections of the Solars turned out to be true, finding one of them of the right caste would probably suffice. With no present way to open the vault, Genjo decided that their task for the Astrologer was complete.

Before leaving, Zakiti asked Tul Wan if he could bring them back to this place without passing through the Wyld. He explained that he could always get to the courthouse, but could not go through the Wyld. She offered him a way out in one of her binding jars if he would bring them back here when they needed. After some negotiation, he agreed, provided that Kaveh bound her to an oath to release him from the jar once they were beyond the Wyld and carry him out again through the Wyld if he brought them here. For his part, he agreed not to visit destruction upon Nexus, nor to disrupt its legal system. The agreement was sealed, and they departed.

Drac called out to Lilac, who's Wyld avatar appeared almost immediately from among the masks. She led them once more through the Wyld.  The walls became glassy and ran like melted wax before solidifying once again in rainbow hues, the light reflecting at odd angles, casting strange lights and shadows. Sounds were distant, and even the breath of the Solars echoed strangely as if from elsewhere. When the reached the curtain of fire that marked the boundary of the Wyld region, Lilac expressed her affection for Drac. In turn, Drac said he hoped they would see each other again soon. She said that time flowed differently for her. "The seeds of the sun are strong, and I'm sure we'll meet again soon." With that, she opened the curtain of fire, and the Solars departed once more into Nexus. Zakiti released Tul Wan, who quickly disappeared.

After resting, Drac went to meet with Rinriven Dai. The guild boss told him that several weeks ago, a group of the assassins he was looking for had been brutally murdered. Rinriven gave him the name of the mercenary captain who investigated the scene, and said he would call in his favor in the future. Drac told him were he stabled his horse, and that messages could find him there.

Drac met up with his fellow Solars as they returned to speak to Kratz, the Astrologer. She lamented that they were unable to unseal the vault, but appreciated their efforts. As a gesture of goodwill, she said she would fulfill any favor they asked of her if she were able. She would try to find out more about The Five Days Darkness, and would use favors to try to find a suitable fifth Solar.

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Session 7
Into the Firestorm
  • Genjo receives a vision from the Unconquered Sun.
  • Kaveh takes the next step on his mercantile scheme.
  • Our heroes enter the Wyld zone in Firewander and encounter a lovely Fairfolk who eventually agrees to lead them where they want to go for a price Drac finds more than willing to pay.

As the Sun crossed the horizon, Genjo experience a vision of the Unconquered Sun. Sol Invictus stood before he and spoke, "Genjo, forge a perfect circle," five flames in the colors of the sun of the sun appeared in a circle around the god, "and release my reflection." Genjo awoke, and went up to the roof to watch the sunrise.

The others awoke shortly later and shared a communal breakfast with Genjo's family and the refugees from Thorns. When questioned about the gar root, Kaveh explained his plan to sell it as a high fashion item from the Lap.  Hira quickly caught onto the scheme, and she and Kaveh worked out a deal in which she would take care of the proper licensing and sale in exchange for twenty percent of the profit.

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In Firewander, they approached the edge of the firestorm. Heedless of the heat, Genjo strode into the smoke and flames, and made his way through to a corridor made of cool silk curtains. He called for his companions to follow, though his voice sounded distant and muffled. Zakiti followed him through, pulling cloth over her face and wetting her clothing to protect herself from the flames. She passed through unharmed, followed closely by Drac who coughed and choked on the thick smoke and heat. Kaveh covered his face, steeled his will, and race through the flames, coming through unharmed.

Genjo lead them through the silk, brushing aside curtains, until they stiffened pulled away. The pathways were then formed with razor-edge, steel-strong sheets of crimson lace. Through the gaps the in lace, silhouettes of dancing flames or writhing bodies could be seen hazily. As they continued through the strange realm, Drac noticed the lace formed the shape of a face with eyes that watch him. He saw the eyes blink, and turned to take a closer look. Out of the lace, formed from the lace curving in on itself, stepped the hollow form of a perfectly formed woman.

The Solars greeted her, and she asked their purpose. Genjo told here they were trying to find a vault within the old capital building near the center of the district. She said she could guide them. When they expressed reluctance, she told them not to worry, the Interdict still held and she would keep to the Accords. The Solars did not know what she was talking about but she assured them that she meant them no harm. Zakiti asked what price she would request for guiding them, and the lace woman requested a kiss from Drac in the flesh. She danced spritely between the sheets of razor-lace, encouraging them to follow. Despite their reluctance, they decided to follow.

As she lead, the lace became glassy, and melted like wax into shimmering pools. The woman's form shifted too, becoming glassy, then running into liquid that shimmered like the pools she led them across. Giant mushrooms sprouted, growing rapidly to form a jungle of stalks and a canopy of gills. Sweet fungal spoors wafted down, clinging to the breath of the Solars. Genjo accused the woman, now made of mushroom stalks that more clearly showed the nakedness of her feminine form, of leading them into danger. She assure them of their safety and lead onward.

The mushrooms dried and were replaced by clusters of giant flower petals. The characters had to push by the petals, and found their clothing coated in a fine dust of brightly colored pollen. The wind whispered through the petals like distant lovers' sighs. Finally, the petals parted, revealing a glade domed by fire. Their guide, now formed from petals, blew away in the wind, and the characters saw an open pagoda atop a small but steep rise in the glade. A figure lough upon a divan in the shade of the pagoda.

They mounted the hill to meet their guide in the flesh.  In person, he presence was overwhelming; the sweet smell of lilacs permeated the air, her dusky flesh exposed save where purple flowers clung to her like wisps of cloud doing nothing to conceal her nude body. Her lilac eyes were flecked with gold and her pupils slitted like a cat's. She greeted them, "Welcome, and now for my price." Drac move to her, intending a quick and chaste kiss, but she move quick as a striking snake to touch his face and pull him in for a full-mouthed, passionate kiss.

Genjo expressed his displeasure at not being led where he wanted to go. The raksha replied that she had agreed to lead them, but never said where she would lead them, and they never asked. They asked what would be needed to guide them to the vault, and she requested a story. Zakiti recognized that when she asked for a story, she wanted something more than a spoken tale, and cautioned the others against agreeing. Kaveh suggested that he could weave a tale from illusions, perhaps the story of Genjo's escape from Thorns. Genjo refuse to share that story, fearing that the raksha would weave in into the reality of the wyld.

The Raksha has Drac's name, which he gave, and she provided her own name, 1000 Lilac Cascade of Discordant Poise. She gestured for Drac to come sit by her. Zakiti offered her a bound spirit, that of an irksome road god bound within one of her jars. The spirit could be hers and tell her many stories. The raksha said the spirit cost Zakiti nothing, and that the value of a thing was in its cost. Kaveh was outraged at the assertion and tried to convince her to accept the small God and a spoken story. She said she would guide them for the god and an hour of passion with Drac Ir. 

As they argued, the raksha worked Drac's armor loose, the the breastplate fell to the ground. Zakiti tried to lift it and found it almost too heavy to manage. Genjo tried to help Drac put it on again, but Drac refused. The solars argued, but eventually she sweetened the deal by offering to balm Drac's burns. Despite Kaveh's protests and Zakiti's caution, the deal was eventually accepted at Drac's urging. While the Raksha took her price, the other Solars withdrew from the pagoda.

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Session 6

After meeting with Kratz, Genjo wanted to spend some time with his family before venturing into the heart of Firewander seeking the vault.

Kaveh began the day exploring markets of Nexus before heading to the Guild headquarters and bank to cash out his bill of credit from Meresh.

Meanwhile, Zakiti asks Genjo's family where to find medicinal herbs. They refer her to Gol Yu, an herbalist with a shop at the edge of the Nightside neighborhood. She goes to the shop, finds its proprietor friendly and jovial, and buys a number of herbs. She discovers that he has mistakenly put gar root on sale for joint pain and points out the mistake. Yu is furious with his apprentice for such a foolish mistake and removes the offending root.

Drac checked on his horse and stowed gear, and once satisfied, began wandering the streets of Nexus, hoping something would catch his eye that could lead him to his lovers killers. Near mid-day, he entered the Nexus arena as a spectator. No major matches were in progress, but Drac spotted a well dress man with guards and scribes away from the main press of the spectators. Drac spoke to the man, and asked for assistance finding his friends who could be identified by the token he had taken from the assassins when he exalted. The man agreed that he could help, introduced himself as  Rinriven Dai, and arranged to meet Drac in his office near Yinhang square later that evening.

Kaveh returned to the Little Market to find wares that he could use to turn a profit. I found Zakiti shopping for rarer herbs, and expressed his desire to find something rare, but of little value. Zakiti told him about the gar root, and Kaveh went to meet Gol Yu. He purchased Yu's entire stock, selected the finest looking roots for himself, and had the rest delivered to Genjos house. Back in the Little Market, he negotiated a free sample of fine silken cord, which he use to tie the root to his belt. A scheme set in his mind, he took the gondola up to Cinnabar to find a fine establishment.

On her way across the city, Zakiti noticed someone following her, and recognizes the face of a woman she knows is a Lunar. The woman had helped her escape hunters from the House of Thirty Seals before she met Genjo. Zakiti lead the woman into a blind ally, and positioned he self to be able to step behind the woman before greeting her.

They discuss Zakiti and her circle having made an enemy of Ma-Ha Suchi. The Lunar reveals that Ma-Ha-Suchi is one of the Ancients, Lunars who have seen the passing of an age. The woman says she met Aycus once, and he was a boor. Zakiti asked her why she was in Nexus, and she said "business". Before departing, Zakiti asked her name, which she said was  Luminous Silk. Zakiti took her hand to shake it, and had a momentary vision of not herself taking the hand of a Lunar in another place and time, and placing a ring on the Lunar's finger. Silk showed no sign of sharing the vision.

In Cinnabar at the edge of the Parko Llana, Kaveh found an outdoor tea house, Madame Fei's, that seem to be popular with the wealthy youth. The tea house had lattice walls covered in flowering vines. He claimed he was supposed to meet a young, beautiful woman. The hostess told him that his companion had not yet arrive, but she would show her to Kaveh's table when she did come. Shortly thereafter, the hostess brought a young woman, Calra Ettros to the table, and Kaveh charmed her with flattery to join him. He bought here drink and told her tales of his travels and his homeland. After some time, Kaveh offers he a gift of the root on the cord, claiming that such decoration is highly sought after and fashionable in the Lap.

Drac went to meet Rinriven Dai in his office, a three story building with a nice facade and courtyard on a street adjoining Yihang square. Dai learned that Drac is seeking revenge against a group of assassins. He said he doesn't think Drac has the money to pay him, and instead asks a favor for finding the information. He instructed Drac to return within three days. Drac was satisfied with the progress in his investigation.

Zakiti begins asking questions to the dispossessed of Firewander. As she does, she offers food and aid. She learns that the firestorm at the center of the district sometime expands to consume the blocks surround the old capitol. She learns that wyld creatures and the Fairfolk sometimes emerge from the storm. And she learns that mad spirits roam the streets of the district. Attuning herself to the spirits, she looked into the immaterial. She was unsurprised to see the usual collection of disease and decay spirits, but was surprised that she was being watch a followed by the spirit of a young woman who had the look of a prostitute. The woman watched disapproving of Zakiti's actions.

Zakiti led her away from other people and address her with an offer of help. The spirit responded, "Succor is not yours to offer here." The spirit claimed to be the god of all in Nexus who seek their desire. She said she had no name but what they call her, The River Whore. Zakiti attempted to ascertain the spirit's motive and remained respectful. The spirit revealed that she wanted Nexus to be her city, for it had no god of its own. Zakiti thought the spirit wouldn't be a good thing for the city, but was convinced that her influence could be better than the Council of Entities for the poor. The spirit agreed to bless her efforts if she granted aid in her name an offer which Zakiti accepted. After the encount, Zakiti aproached the edge of the firestorm that shrouded the center of the Firewander district before returning to Genjo's.

Kaveh found a restaurant favored by those who serve the wealthy, a second floor place in Sentinel's Hill call Chiaroscuro's Gleam where candles in colored glass holders cast rainbow reflections around an otherwise simple establishment. Kaveh added to the rumor mill that Lady Ettros had acquired a new and fashionable item from The Lap and that informing their ladies about what would surely be a new trend as soon as possible would reflect favorably upon them. Satisfied, he returned to Genjo's.

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Session 5
Nexus of All Things

Our heroes make their way up the rivers through the Scavenger Lands to the heart of trade, Nexus. They make their final approach to the city through the manicured estates and densely packed farmlands around Nexus. They wait their turn to enter the city, and having no trade goods, they pay the head tax, and enter the city with throngs of other travelers. Genjo warns them about the laws of the Decree, tells them to meet at an inn called Riverman's Rest across the canal from the Iron Market before heading out across the city. Zakiti disappears into the crowd behind him, secretly tailing him.

Kaveh and Drac set out into the city, following the main broad avenue into the city. After passing along the broad avanue for some time, and crossing a rather large canal, Kaveh began to ask where to find Riverman's Rest. No one had heard of the place. Mildly frustrated, Kaveh continued, into the city. Cresting a hill, he saw the bulk of the city stretching out ahead of him, with the tangle of streets, canals, and suspended cable cars. He and Drac decided to take the cable cars. At the boarding station, they were told they couldn't take their horses on the gondola, and would be best off to pay for their horses to be delivered wherever they were needed in the city. Striking on an idea, Kaveh approached the horse-porters, and asked if they could deliver horses anywhere in the city. The porter said he could, and asked where they'd like their horses delivered. Kaveh named the inn once again, and the porter asked what part of the city that was in. Realizing his mistake, Kaveh told the porter it was across from the Iron Market. At that point, they were able to find a stables to take care of their horses, and make their way across the city to the meeting point.

Meanwhile, Genjo was tailed by Zakiti across Nexus to Nightside, where he had a joyful reunion with his son and father. His father, Noburo, told him that one of the recent civilities demanded that Genjo and his companions appear before the Astrologer, one of the Council of Entities ruling Nexus, within 25 hours of his arrival in the city. [The civilities are the ever-changing laws of Nexus as laid out by any member of the Council of Entities.] He also told Genjo that the community had done well; Hira, Genjo's wife, had a job with the civil administration, and many of the older children were getting an education. The tenements they were staying in had been repaired, and there was plenty of hearty and healthy food for the refugees of Thorns. It was as if fate had smiled upon them.

Sometime later, Kaveh and Drac finally arrived at the Riverman's Rest. Genjo was waiting for them, and told them that they wouldn't need to pay to stay there because his family would host them for free. Kavah, incensed at having marched across the city to find a place that they didn't need to go, stormed into the inn and ordered a strong drink. Genjo followed him in, and tried to convince him to leave. Kaveh insisted on having the drink, and down the tall cup of river rum in a single drought. [Kaveh's player rolled Stamina + Resistance (2 dice) and rolled double ones!] He sputtered, stumbled sideways, and dropped the cup, which Genjo deftly caught. Genjo hoisted Kaveh over his shoulder, and led the others to Nightside to meet his family.

Upon arriving home once again, Genjo was reunited with his wife. She first slapped him, demanding to know where he'd been, then hugged him tightly. While a drunken Kaveh insulted his hosts and bemoaned the state of the accommodations, the others discussed the civility with Genjo and Hira. Hira tells them that the Astrologer's name is Kratz, that her role in the Council is unclear, and that she seems to have some skill for predicting the future. She's worried about Genjo but has prepared formal attire for him to meet the Astrologer.

The next morning, our heroes made their way to the Astrologer's estate, a First Age tower across from the Parko Llana. Kaveh, suffering from a hang over and not yet having changed, used his artifact to garb himself in illusory finery. They were shown in, and asked to wait for the Astrologer to see them.

While waiting, they are served a fine meal of light fare. Part way through the meal, a ostentatiously and archaically dressed man with a corpulent build joined them at the table. He asked Genjo to pass him a bowel of fruit and in exchange, he'd pass the wine. Genjo agree to the exchange. Afterward, the man scrutinized Genjo for a moment, then exhibited a momentary expression of surprise before beginning to gorge himself, glancing warily at Genjo between mouthfuls.

Shortly thereafter, the Astrologer arrived. She is an elegant woman with deep black skin, more common in the south, and short tightly curled hair. She wears multiple layers of fine silks fringed with gold and silver charms. Bangles decorate her wrists and ring her neck and jangle slightly as she moves. She carries herself with a self-assured poise that isn't quite smug.

Smiling at Genjo, she spoke. "So you're the son of Thorns I've heard so much about…" Turning to the corpulent man, "Is he what I though?"

The man replied, "He is. This can't be kept from the Council Kratz."

Kratz: "Ah, but it must. Remember what you owe me. Fear not, your city will be safe and trade will continue to flow. You man go Master Gen."

And with that, the old man took his leave.

Now alone with our heroes, Kratz turned to Genjo.

Kratz: "I trust you have met with your family and seen that fortune has smiled upon them."

Genjo: "I suppose your going to say that's your doing."

Kratz: "It is."

With the tone set, the conversation continued. Kratz asked them to go into the crypts beneath Firewander, and unseal a tomb beneath the old administrative center. She admitted to not know exact what was there, but she knew only the Solar exalted could open it and it would likely contain powerful artifacts or sorceries that could be turned against the dead. Genjo felt he had no choice but to cooperate, but the others were reluctant to go along; they did not trust Kratz with whatever power could be recovered from the crypt. She agreed that they could negotiate about what was recovered after the task was complete. She hope this would be the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship.

During the conversation, she also implied that she knew something about Kaveh's family.

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Session 4
The Moon-Touched Champion

Since keeping the Arczechki away from the refugees converging on Merresh was essential, our heroes agreed that the best course of action would be to strike at the Arczechki warlord directly. Without his leadership, they believed that the horde would fall apart into in-fighting. They set out early, following the road north toward Ewemark, where the barbarians struck at the abbot several days ago.

The place of the struggle was not difficult to find. The road was scattered with the remains of the conflict. Drac investigated the scene, and found signs of an enormous animal, which he identified as most likely a yeddim. Zakiti circled the area and traced the Arczechki back to where they had camped. The site was no longer occupied but she called he companions before investigating fully. From the campsite, they followed the trail of the Arczechki north, back to the road, and on to Ewemark.

As the Unconquered Sun was reaching the horizon, our heroes arrive at Ewemark. They found the town smashed and smoldering, over a hundred Arczechki in residence, and the survivors corralled against the river. Amidst the destruction, they spotted the warlord, brooding alone. He was a big man, with the head of an alligator as decoration on one shoulder, and the rest of the beasts hide spanning his back. A yeddim with a battle howdah rested by the riverbank, captives from the town forced to bring it food.

Kaveh and Zakati express concern about the number of foes and began to plot drawing some of them across the river and destroying the bridge to split them up. Genjo refused to wait for a plan to be formed; he saw innocents in danger and felt compelled into action. He walked confidently into town, and cowed the individual Arczechki through his intimidating presence. Zakiti sprinted off around the town to get into position to destroy the bridge, Drac followed in Genjo's wake, and Kavah use his illusions to hide among the Arczechki now beginning to mass around Genjo.

The smoke and dust of the ruined town swirling around them, the warlord stepped into Genjo's path toward the river where he intended to free the captives. Genjo and Drac saw his fine leather armor was fastened with shining silver, and silver was inlaid in whirling patters across the leather. The warlord unslung his massive axe from his back. "Who challenges Aycus Wallbreaker?" Genjo scoffed at the threat, "You'll break nothing." and concentrated his essence around himself, hardening his body against attack.

Hoping to turn the Arczechki on each other, Kaveh took a javelin, and threw it from the group he was hiding with at another group. The two groups charged into each other, and the fighting began. Genjo struck at Aycus, punching through his parry and landing a withering blow, driving the warlord back a step in surprise. Thanks to Kaveh's deception, the Arczechi clashed with one another. The yeddim handlers began to rouse their beast and mount the howdah.

Kaveh used his supernatural balance to run across the crowd. At the last moment, he sent an illusion leaping at the warlord while personally trying to strike beneath his guard. Aycus spun, shattering the leaping illusion, and blocking Kaveh's strike. Meanwhile, Drac stuck all about him, thinning the throng of Arczechki. Zakaiti ran into positoin, and began gathering sorcerous motes around her.

Aycus turned on Kaveh driving him back. Kaveh had the shocking realization that this foe was beyond his skill, a realization that almost broke him. He was barely able to fend off the attacks of the Arczechki around him. Fortunatley, Genjo took the opportunity to strike a fierce blow, knocking Aycus through the thronging barbarians. The yeddim began to lumber toward the ongoing battle.

Drawing the final motes from a bound spirit, Zakiti unleash the Death of Obsidian Butterflies on the throng. With the casualties they had already taken, the spell was enough to break their will, and they began to flee. Some of the flitting shards even cut their Lunar adversary. The barbarians atop the yeddim threw a hail of javelins into the fray. Kaveh dove behind Genjo for cover. Drac was struck by one, but entirely protected by his orichalcum armor. Genjo stepped into a defensive posture over Kaveh to protect him.

Fearing defeat, Aycus transformed into an eagle, and began to take flight. Kaveh attempted to stop him, and failed to halt his takeoff. Acting quickly, Genjo leaped up the ruins of one of the nearby buildings, and launched himself through the air to tackle the eagle. He slammed into the escaping bird, grappling him, and tackling him to the ground. As they struggled, Aycus returned to his human form; not the Arczechki warlord, but a wiry and slightly hallow-cheeked man. Despite his essence enhanced strength, he could not break free of Genjo's vice-like clutches.

Seeing their warlord brought low, the remaining Arczechki, including those driving the yeddim, fled the battlefield.

Genjo ask why Aycus brought such suffering. Aycus said the suffering was necessary to draw out the Dragonblooded so he could break them and free the peoples of the Threshold. Genjo said the nothing justified the suffering of innocents, especially children, and asked for Aycus last words. Aycus said they would face the vengeance of Ma-Ha-Suchi. With that, Genjo snapped his neck and let his essence burn away the body and spirit of the thwarted Lunar.

Genjo was shaken by his visions of Aycus, a young man whose home was raided and enslaved by the Realm; and battle, and failure to save his family, a terrifying flight out into the Wyld, and the surity of righteousness in tearing down the Dragonblooded of the Real and Lookshy.

During the battle, the captives had seen our heroes reveal themselves as anathema. Fearing the welcome that would await them if they returned to Merresh, they spent the next week breaking up larger bands of Arzechki before heading north along the Gray River toward the heart of the Scavenger Lands, Nexus

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Session 3
Palace Intrigues

Drawing on what they had learned, our heroes decided to split up to pursue their objectives. They agreed to meet back at the inn later that evening. Feeling morose, Drac Ir spent the evening quietly drowning his sorrows.

Genjo and Kaveh went the to the palace to try to speak to the mayor, Urial White, who had not seen any visitors for several days. Dressed in southern finery, Kaveh talked his way into the palace, claiming to have knowledge about the fate of the abbot. The guards revealed that the abbot was also the mayor's brother. Our heroes were forced to wait over an hour for an audience.

Meanwhile, Zakiti went to a shadier part of Meresh to make contact with Beneficent Crossarchus. Focused on her goal, she failed to notice the watching street tough in the ally. The man grabbed her, and threatened her safety. She surreptitiously placed a knife to his femoral artery, and stated she was safer than she appeared. He backed off and directed her to meet Cross.

Back at the palace, Genjo and Kaveh are finally shown to the mayor's quarters. They immediately recognize that she is preparing for a journey. Through conversation, they discover that she is distraught at her brother's death and is preparing to go on a pilgrimage to the Immaculate Temples of the Five Directions, which she had promised to do with her brother and is now undertaking in his memory. Genjo tries to convince her to stay by claiming that her brother would not want her to abandon her duty. She responded emotionally, leaving Genjo at a loss for words.

Zakiti met with Beneficent Crossarchus, criminal prince of Meresh. He opened the conversation: "I hear you gave my watchman quite a surprise." She asked for information about how to break into the mayor's palace. He said he'd be able to provide, but she'd have to pay for it. She offered her service in dealing with any troublesome spirits. Cross asked her to deal with a diligent street god who saw it has his duty to disrupt criminal activity on the streets near the river loading elevators. She agreed to deal with the spirit.

Back at the palace, Kaveh steps into the negotiation and convinced the mayor to leave the city in his able hands. He used his artifact's illusions to convince her that he and his companions were dragonblooded pursuing anathema in the region. He said that she would be free to pursue her pilgrimage to honor her brother and that the city would be safe in his care. She agreed and let Kaveh and Genjo take their leave and stay as guests in the palace. Kaveh settled in for a comfortable evening while Genjo tried to figure out what to do next.

Zakati found the spirit tending his street, coaxed him into an ally, and spoke to him. She learned the spirit was called Harmonius Shale and convince him that working with the criminals would improve the wealth of his district. He agreed to leave the lanterns unlit 2 nights a week, chosen by Cross by lighting ceremonial incense at the ends of the street. 

Genjo questioned the servants to learn who the mayor might confide in. He learned that Resourceful Argali, the captain of the constabulary, would be the most likely confidant. Despite the late hour, he found her house, demanded that she be woken, and spoke to her about the mayor's plan. She said the best option might be to quote the Immaculate scriptures as her brother would have done. Genjo then went to the Immaculate temple in the city, and asked a monk to find an appropriate piece of the scripture.

Zakiti returned to Cross, communicated the deal with the spirit, and agreed to return for the dossier of information about breaking into the palace. She returned to the inn, and found her companions missing. After waiting a short while, she went to the palace to look for them. The guards at the gate stopped her, told her that her friends were staying as guests, and offered to bring word to them to verify her identity. Genjo arrived back at the palace at the same time, ushered he in, and caught her up on the events of the evening.

Using the Immaculate scripture, Genjo confronted the mayor once again to attempt to change her mind. He was unsuccessful, and left the conversation with cool fury and derision toward the mayor. Having watch the encounter, Zakiti waiting for the mayor to go to sleep, then summoned the Mists of Eventide to seize control of the mayors dreams. The dream depicted the mayor and her brother walking through a field, which twisted into blood and darkness, and ended with the mayor sleep walking and shattering her wall mirror.

In the morning, Drac was summoned to the palace. Over breakfast, the mayor announced her intention to stay in the city and lead the fight against the Arczechki. The mayor, Resourful Argali, and our heroes held a war council. Everyone agreed on the necessity of meeting the barbarians in the field of battle due to the limited resources in the city to survive a siege. Our heroes agreed to scout the Arczechki location while the mayor and Argali remained behind to must the army of Meresh as best they could…

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Session 2
Marauders in Meresh

Traveling through the south eastern reaches of the Hundred Kingdoms, our heroes come across the half eaten remains of several militiamen and a number of sheep. Investigating the area, they spot an ambush ahead along the road. Zakiti crests the next hill in hopes of a counter ambush, but she steps on the broken bones the Arczechki have set as a warning system, alerting them to her presence.

A fight ensues, in which Zakiti kills the two that came up after her. Drac's horse is spooked by the bestial barbarians. Kaveh trades blows with, and eventually kills one. The fight is ended by Genjo breaking one of the barbarians against the ground and intimidating the rest: "Why do you even try!" Drac rides down the surviving Arczechki, so none escape. Our heroes are careful not to display their power too obviously during the skirmish. Drac suggests taking the head of one of the Wyld twisted barbarians to prove their presence, but is dissuaded by Kaveh's repulsion. 

The next afternoon, our heroes arrive outside Meresh. Refugees crowd around the city gates and order is barely kept by the constables and militia. Livestock, especially sheep and goats are crowded into makeshift enclosures circling the city. Genjo and Zakiti learn that folk from the countryside are fleeing to the protective walls of the city. The poeple hope that the Sivo White will be able to protect them. (Genjo remembers that Sivo White was an honorable commander who opposed the armies of Thorns during the last war.)

Since Kaveh has a cart full of much needed food, our heroes are granted passage into the city proper. The streets are crowded with refugees, though the city seems to be doing its best to accommodate them. Kaveh travels to the merchant district and negotiates a bill of exchange for his wares. He also learns that the refugees have been pouring into the city for the last few days, especially since the abbot from the Immaculate temple was ambushed and killed on his way to a nearby town. Drac comments on his 'mercantile abilities' before finding an inn and stable.

Genjo makes contact with Ohn Ram, a businessman and smuggler. He confirms what Kaveh learned, discovers that Sivo has locked herself in the mayor's palace, and offers himself and his companions for work if Ohn needs anything. Zakiti makes contact with a young cutpurse to gather information. She learns that the Mayor is well respected by the people and a descendant of a hero who defeated the Arczechki in the past. Wanting to know more about the mayor's palace, she asks who would be able to provide more information. The cutpurse tells her she should speak to Beneficent Crossarchus.

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