Felsic and I headed to Gorilla Bride’s home, still posing as officers of a mercenary group, to attempt to convince her to trust us with her her granddaughter’s life. I had hoped Vox would be with us, as he set up the meeting and is more adept at delicate negotiations than myself. However, he had informed me he would be taking someone or other to “pound town” and I decided I’d rather stop listening and walk off. So there we were, Felsic, and myself
now effectively mortal knocking on the woman’s door, about to wing a scenario we both knew good and well we shouldn’t wing.
Gorilla Bride was a kind, and gentle soul, who seemed to understand we were more than just a group of mercs out for some coin. She agreed to lend us her granddaughter, Ivalki’s services providing that we help smuggle she and her brother out of the region. We happily agreed to her terms, and I promised that we would keep Ivalki safe, despite the treacherous jungle.
The next morning we embarked on our journey to Mingye, with Ivalki’s aid. Negotiating the jungles went about as expected. The place is frighteningly deadly for mortals, and I was concerned with not only the well-being of our guide, but of Rose’s soldiers as well. We set up camp for the night in some ruins that would offer modest cover, while Rose and her new charge hunted a massive snake for us to eat. I’d have to say it tasted rather like chicken. Ivalki sat next to me and revealed to me some of her recent history, how she’d gotten caught up in the local rebellion, and had been hiding out for fear of being reported by her people. Meanwhile, Bastu confided in rose how he suspected our guide was still in league with the guerrillas.
Treacherous as it was, we eventually found our way to a river that was flowing upwards and into the mountain, which would bring us to our goal in the most expedient fashion. We took to making rafts, and with Felsic’s talents, we were able to put together several craft in no time flat. Up the river we went, when we were soon in the path of rampaging hippo. No doubt frightened by a Razor Ape, or some such deadly, uncontrolled first age age monstrosity. Rather than risk the ships, Rose quickly took aim and sniped the pod’s alpha out of Creation and into it’s next life. We anchored the rafts not far from the incident, as Rose, Byrrden, and Ivalki went to scout out the source of the disturbance. The rest of us stayed behind to watch over our retainers, and of course Vox had constructed something he coined “The Fuck Tent” which seemed to keep him occupied.
Rose, Ivalki, and Byrrden made their way to a clearing where there were clear signs of a Razor Ape having been through moments ago but the ape itself had already left the area. As Rose and Byrrden went about their investigation, [snake liminal] appeared from the shadows and tapped Ivalki on the shoulder, causing her to disclose that it was she who was responsible for the bombing on her town’s aqueduct. Rose unshouldered her large firewand, and hit Ivalki with a technique which, as I understand it, is meant to cause the victim to repent one’s sins and seek a different path, or to be scalded by sunfire. In light of our current situation, it is fortunate that Ivalki opted for repentance.
Back at the rafts, Bastu slithered out of the shadows to reclaim his seat. He immediately confessed what he had just done, and what Ivalki had divulged, as a pyre of flame erupted in the field where they stood. I bore in to [snake liminal], chastising him for his actions, for manipulating one of my circle’s most passionate members at a delicate time, possibly sabotaging our mission for the benefit of his would-be Deathlord, and for risking the life of a mortal I had sworn to protect. I promised him that if he ever tried to manipulate my circle like that again, he would regret it.
Rose arrived shortly, followed by Byrrden, and Ivalki, singed at the edges but still thankfully alive. Rose was upset with Bastu for her own reasons, and proceeded to lay into him as well. I tried to intercede, and asked Rose to come and speak with me an-dinh. She would not comply, and so I walked away. Since the world was young, and before time was even something measured and tracked, Ka has always been a wheel, and so to is the circle. I am the center, and all the members are bound to me, but each spoke is just as important, if we do not all turn together then integrity is lost and the wheel tears itself apart. I do not wish to be at odds with Rose, but I have done all I can to get her in rhythm with the circle, perhaps it’s best to let her find her own way.
Ivalki confessed to the circle that she was intentionally leading us into an guerrilla ambush, in the hopes that we might slay the War Aurochs commanding the resistance, believing that her people were being manipulated and used strengthen Ahlat’s purview. However, the base the rebels were garrisoned at was sitting directly next to a transit hub that could take us into Mingye. With that in mind, we agreed to allow Ivalki to lead us into the ambush and be captured.
That night, approached me to finally palaver, now that she’d calmed down. I, exhausted from trying to keep a willful Dawn on the path, questioned whether she even wanted to be part of Unbroken Fate, or if she would be happier seeking her own legend. We had a long talk, and finally aired out the things that had been bothering us each, pretty much since we’d met. I think, we each had expectations we felt the other was failing to meet, and had been frustrated by that. Rose felt stymied by the long view we’d been forced to take recently, under the shadow of the First and Forsaken Lion. I explained that whatever difference we make today will be wiped clean by the march of the dead if that is not the battle we are fighting, every minute of every day, until Creation is safe once more. That being said, I am just as pained at all the small indiscretions, and suffering we have to let slip in favor of the larger goal. I promised that whenever possible, we would stop to help however we can. Rose assured me that she was Unbroken Fate, and that her Ka was ours. And so, now that we are all turning as one, we are finally whole.
As we approached the mountainside stronghold things progressed quickly. We were captured by the rebel forces, only to discover that these War Auroch spirits were actually bull aspected Liminal Exalted, and thus the rebellion was already a tool of the Pharoah. The rebels threw us into a cell, and toted Ivalki off to be interrogated. It was only a matter of time. Bastu volunteered to accompany Byrrden to challenge Fentu, our liminal captor, and free Ivalki as the rest of the circle made good our escape, along with the Golden Guardians
Seemingly with a snap of his fingers, Byrrden freed us from our cell and ran off into the darkened corridor with Bastu. We freed all of the other prisoners, and headed toward the transit hub, which would be our choke point. Therein we discovered a magitech monorail system which was so complex, I walked into the control room, and immediately spun around to leave. Even had I my powers, I would be of no use in there. I left Felsic and Caemlyn to decipher that relic of Byzantium, and took up post with the Golden Guardians. Sounds of an ancient machine god roaring out of it’s slumber echoed behind me as the rest of our group made good their escape. The last to appear was Bastu who was true to his word, honoring our pact, and risking his life to do so. I would be a fool to let my guard down about him, but his actions so far have been true. Soon, he will be free from Heaven’s sanction, and we will see who he truly stands with.
With all accompaniment inside the the cabin, I threw the door shut as Felsic opened the throttle, and I, new to such physics, flew “ass over tea kettle” as Dace would say, into the back window. Onward to Mingye, onward towards our quarry.