Smoke Orchid and Dawning Seaspray completed their journey to Great Forks. Passing through the streets, Smoke Orchid marveled at the strange inhabitants of the City of Temples. Gods led clamorous processions of their followers, beastfolk haggled in the street, and spirits mingled with mortals. All she saw was strange to her ordered sensibilities, but a wondrous part of the the wider world she could explore. She asked one of the gaily dressed locals what stopped the followers of the gods from conflict. The stranger replied that all gods were free to answer their worshipers and that "the Three" kept them from conflict.
After securing rooms at the appointed inn, Dawning Seaspray doffed the captain's destiny and Sienna slipped through the streets unnoticed. She made her way to the office of an old friend a rival, Sable Oak. They sparred verbally for a while about divine politics, then turned to reminiscing, followed by revisiting old passions.
Smoke Orchid continued exploring the city. While she was watching the procession devoted to a mountain god, she noticed a well-dressed, sword-carrying woman watching her. Sensing she was being followed, Smoke Orchid tested the theory by leading her through the crowd. The woman followed, and Smoke slipped round a corner and disappeared into an ally. She got a closer look at the woman and saw that she wore some sort of uniform and bore a sword with the tripartite seal of the city on its pommel.
Having lost Smoke Orchid, the woman started heading toward the center of the city. Smoke Orchid followed secretly. Before the woman entered the palace grounds at the center of the Temple District, Smoke Orchid revealed herself. The woman said she carried a summons from the Three for Smoke to appear before one of them. Smoke acquiesced, and the woman lead her into the temple, and passed her off to a temple attendant who led her into the temple.
In one of the central domed central chambers, Smoke Orchid saw the goddess Shield of a Different Day. She was standing in a pool of light reflected from the gilt dome and seemed to glow with inner radiance. She wore gleaming armor and had a shield slung on her back. While not taller than the attendants, scribes. and courtiers around her, she stood out from them.
The goddess dismissed her entourage to a respectable distance, and spoke to Smoke Orchid. She asked about the Solar's purpose in the city, and explain that the law of Great Forks required the beings of greater essence to appear before one of the Three before staying in the city. She asked about Smoke Orchids companions, though Smoke refused to give her any details. Dayshield gave her a week's grace to remain in Great Forks before need to appear again before the gods.
Another day passed before Senka, Zakiti, and Genjo arrived in the city. They disembarked from their dark ship, which slipped silently back into the river after depositing them. They made their way to the inn and were reunited with Smoke Orchid and Dawning Seaspray.
After a short reunion, Senka insisted on bringing Smoke Orchid and Dawning Seaspray before the three. They made their way to the palace, and were lucky enough to discover that Spinner of Glorious Tales had just returned from a journey. Senka requested an audience, and was granting one. Smoke Orchid was shocked by Talespinner's drastic differences to Dayshield. He was an ordinary looking man, travel-weathered and a bit scruffy. He address Senka informally, but called her Red Snow.
Senka shared her story with Talespinner, updating him on her travels and her recent meeting with the Walker In Darkness. Talespinner thank her for her stories and exchanged words with Dawn, implying that they knew each other and that Dawn had a "colleague" in the city. The god bid them fair travels and dismissed the Exalted.
Their delay in Great Forks having lasted long enough, the circle set out on the river once again…