Travel up further up the Yellow River seemed painfully slow to the Solars and as they traveled, they discussed their options in Marita. They decided that while they did not trust the Walker In Darkness, he was not their enemy at present, despite the warnings passed to Zakiti by the Green Lady. Dawning Seaspray agreed to use her connections to sway the Confederation Assembly. While she had contacts in the city, her influence and connections had never been as great as those of her former partner and lover Sable Oak, so she penned him a letter and sent it by spirit to reach him.
Upon arriving in Marita, Dawning Seaspray took them to a bath house. On the way, Senka and Genjo noticed Zakiti receiving excited glances followed by whispers among the slaves, beggars, and urchins in the streets. When asked, Zakiti said she had a past here and she would tell them privately.
They ordered a private bath and slipped into the steaming water, dismissing the attendants to give them privacy to speak. Zakiti explained that on her previous passage through Marita, she had brought justice to a Guild factor. The man had arranged to have the cities criminals sentenced to banishment and slavery sold to him. He traded their dreams to the raksha for gossamer treasures and sold their dream-eaten husks to work the drug fields of Great Forks. But this was not enough for him and he bribed the judges and lawkeepers of Marita to unjustly sentence more bodies for him to wring for profit. Zakiti put an end to his business in the city. She did not realize her needs had been noticed.
The conversation turned to the matter at hand and they discussed needing to look the part to approach members of the Assembly. Dawning Seaspray revealed herself as the sidereal Sienna, and Zakiti recognized her from previous conversations. Senka too remembered following her through the streets of Nexus. She explained her purpose aiding the solars and that she would have to call in many favors to help them gain the right to speak before the assembly. If they aided her finding the ancient war goddess she sought, her faction and the solars would gain another great ally.
The solars revealed more of their plan to Sienna, explaining that the Mask of Winters was the ghost of Larquen Quen and that they sought his bones to bind his spirit. Even with the goddess freed, they would need more allies. While they did not trust the Walker In Darkness, his aim to warn the Confederation of Rivers against complacency regarding the Mask of Winters. The overlord of Thorns had claimed to be a liberator and enemy of the Realm. Genjo joked that he would tell the Assembly how liberated he felt.
After the bath, they purchased fine garments to meet with representatives of the Assembly. Zakiti packed away her fine new things and slipped into the city to do some reconnaissance. She cloaked herself in unobtrusive essence and listened to what the people of the street had to say. She overheard the whispers, "The Hero has returned!" They were going to some kind of meeting to hear a new hero of the people speak. Zakiti, drawn to know more, followed…
Senka visited the temple-embassy of Great Forks to pay her respects to The Three. Then, she set out into the city to do some intelligence gathering of her own. She found a bar near the 7th Legion barracks-fortress and settled in to hear what the soldiers had to say. She started asking question to find out whether any of them had heard of Solar activity until she noticed one of the legionaries watching her intently, then excusing himself. She feared she had been made, and departed herself to warn her companions.
Sienna adopted the destiny of Dawning Seaspray, and began to lay the ground work to get votes of approval to speak before the Assembly. She called in favors, cut deals, and cajoled representatives and knew she had done good work. If Sable Oak was amenable to her offer and could sway one of the ambassadors of the great nations, her ground work would ensure the motion carried.
Zakiti followed the beggars who had whispered about the heroes speech. They made their way to the shipyard where the scaffolds were covered with dock workers, beggars, and urchins waiting excitedly. After a short wait, a stocky man appeared on a raised platform, tough looking men and women around him. He was stocky and had terrible red scars across his face. He spoke and the crowd listed, rapt in is message.
He reminded them of Zakiti's story, of the nameless young hero who delivered justice and demanded no payment or credit. She brought help to those who were in truest need. He besought any who had seen her to speak up, and several in the crowd shouted that they had seen her passing through the streets. There time was soon.
Zakiti followed him back to a swamp shany near the edge of Marita. She reached our through her senses, resonating with the essence of Creation to hear him speaking. She overheard him discussing plans. Her arrival, he said, coincided with their last shipment. Another voice spoke, expressing concern that no one knew who she was or what she really stood for. She heard the scarred man's voice again saying that she had undo one tyrant, but they would undo many.
Genjo dreamed of the Sun. His divine form rose in the East and soared over the rivers, sunlight glittering from the flowing waters. He spoke and Genjo heard. "Show them that there is a great way. Unite them. As the Sun rises in the east, so too shall the new age of Creation."