Exalted: Northern Skies

Session One: Meetings, Matches, Masks

The Cry of the Northerlies, a festival held in Icehome at the beginning of the winter season, was still in preparation when the rumors began to spread. They grew as rumors did from a simple airship race to one with prizes far grander than any captain could hope to garner – and it was to the surprise of many when they turned out to ring of truth. A First Age airship, salvaged and repurposed by the Haslanti Wind Fleet, was being offered by the airship captain talented enough to wind their vessel through an obstacle course and prove themselves a proper representation of all the Haslanti League had to offer.

There were, of course, catches: the captain had to be an essence user to properly attune to the airship, and they had to be Haslanti proper. But these were obvious restrictions and easily met by the proud people of the North.

Volla Verne was apparently one such person, and few questions were brought up by her official papers as she was an overlooked novice for one and in the company of a very insistent grey-haired young man for another, who happily prattled on about nationalistic pride for anyone unlucky enough to be caught in his social cross hairs. Though she had no crew to speak of she did boast a decent enough airship, making up in speed for what it lacked in aesthetic quality. And she looked Haslanti enough, strangely beautiful behind her sprawling blonde hair and stern features. Probably from a greenfield somewhere.

When she began inquiring about a crew, most of the tavern-folk laughed and wished the woman and her retainer luck. And they probably laughed more so when she set her flint-sharp eyes on her first target: Darius Wintersun, victor against the Scourge of the Haslanti Skies, a man of legend and repute, undoubtedly suited to better crew than that of a nobody.

If Volla cared of Darius’ one irredeemable feature – that of the title of Anathema – she certainly didn’t show it in her pursuit. She sent an urchin with a letter for Darius to meet her at the Three Grapes, a higher class establishment than her small reputation should have allowed. When he showed up with his entire mercenary company in tow she didn’t seem as surprised as her male retainer, the Grey Whisper. They stayed in the lower echelons of the place, anyway, and if anything bolstered Volla’s confidence – for they could probably throw rigging as best as any men she pulled off the streets for her venture. And better, as they clearly worked together and probably had rapport with one another enough to provide a stable unit in a pinch. Thankfully, Darius had the sense to bring a single man upstairs with him, intimidating despite only having one full arm to speak of.

Though Volla and Grey Whisper had very little to offer in terms of coin, the notions of Haslanti vainglory and its ties to Darius’ love of airships were enough to pique his interest. Though her steward gladly spun great yarns of Volla’s valor and prowess in the skies (…despite her obvious lack of crew, resources and local renown) it was the woman’s pragmatism that caught their target’s interest in the end. For though there was no guarantee to her success, there was the promise of a story to tell in the end — and that, to the great relief of the Grey Whisper, was enough to secure Darius Wintersun as one of their crew.

After the contract was signed and discussions of seeing Volla’s ship were concluded, Grey Whisper spoke to Volla Verne in private of another individual he wished to add to their ranks. Word had reached him from his own superiors that one of his kind — a Lunar — had been sent to Icehome after her mentor was ordered away to another Exaltation. Though she was a novice, she still had great power at her disposal and the promise of great things, as all Exalts held.

Asking Darius if he wished to join them, the three headed to the Market District where they encountered the Lunar — easily identifiable among the rest of her tribe, the People of the Pines, due to her style of dress. Her cloak was less a cloak and more a glorious mantle of feathers, the woman’s features soft, her eyes incredibly striking in her pale face. Her name was Neve and instantaneously Grey Whisper knew her as another of his kind, nodding to Volla that she was indeed the person they sought.

Volla offered protection for her disenfranchised people. Neve gladly joined.

Four strong — and with Grey Whisper’s recommendation that they should seek some sort of thaumaturge to assist them in their new vessel if they were to win it, they went to the Scriptorium. Saffuran Somei was easy to find if only for the ruckus he caused — controlled chaos, really, dutifully attempting to read the entire library after renting its annals with whatever funds he had at his disposal. And seeing as the other scholars agreed to it, it must have been a great deal of coin.

To call him bookish would have been a grievous understatement. He wasn’t bad looking, a bit more than conventionally attractive really, but the spires of books he’d constructed around him added to a scholarly air and the strange mannerisms of a scholarly shut-in. His method of speech echoed it, verbose and intently interested in whatever topic he picked. Studying every bit of thaumaturgy he could get his hands on, Volla asked him if he had any knowledge in First Age items. When he said he did, she discussed the race with him, the price, its status as a relic of the era. After agreeing to join them (both out of an interest in the ship and a desire for adventure), Somei promised to wrap up his studies and focus on anything and everything that would add to the group’s success.

Neve herself, upon seeing Somei, found a strange and sudden fascination with the bookish young man which likely helped to cement her place in Volla’s crew. She didn’t quite understand the fixation but didn’t question it — and didn’t appear to want to leave Somei out of her sight.

With her crew secure, Volla took the others to her ship — the Fimbulvinter, definitely second-hand but in good enough condition to compete in the race. However, before they could reach the ship, Darius in specific was ambushed by a spritely blue-haired girl shrieking his name, two otherworldly-looking twins in tow as her apparent cheering section. Her name was Kaheila Highwind, another airship captain, a Dragonblooded who clearly believed she would win the race without question. Staring daggers at Volla, she demanded that Darius join her crew. When Darius explained to the girl (who he hadn’t met until that point) that he was unable to accompany her due to having signed a contract, she argued against it. When it proved fruitless, she told Darius that when she won he would have to go on a date with her for penance and disappeared.

Following that debacle and when everyone was settled, Grey Whisper suggested three names of who to sponsor their airship, as it was another listed requirement to compete. Volla chose an easily recognizable name, Grimhaldr Feathersteel, the head proprietor of the lightweight ore exclusive to the Haslanti League.

Saffuran Somei used his scholarly love of mathematics to convince Grimhaldr of the profit earned in playing the odds for Volla’s ship winning. This, coupled with Darius’ social artistry, convinced the boistrous man to allow the Fimbulvinter to fly his colors of red, black and silver. Volla also promised to place antlers on the figurehead of her ship as this was also something Grimhaldr adored.

With the ship situated and the night before the race, Grey Whisper explained – with Darius away on some errand – the policy of some airship teams harmlessly sabotaging other ships taking part in the venture to try and gain a leg on the competition. He didn’t condone it, of course, but it was a possibility to help them further guarantee that they gain the prize. Volla Verne’s complete lack of moral scruples ultimately lead herself, Grey Whisper, and Neve to sneak aboard Kaheila’s airship. Neve disguised herself as a mouse while Volla and Grey Whisper somehow made their way through the shadows undetected. Three sets of sailor’s foot pedals were unscrewed to the point of simply slowing the ship down and nothing that would cause permanent damage was attempted.

On returning to the ship, the three discovered that five men were trying to scale the side of the airship, obviously intent on attempting their own sort of sabotage. Undeterred, Neve clearly had a handle on the situation by sneaking back onto the Fimbulvinter, returning to human form, grabbing her bow and returning to the ground with her moonsilver bow to go on the attack. She aimed and fired, severing two of the ropes and sending their passengers plummeting to the ground. One managed to escape — the remaining three men driven off by the crew who was alerted by their screams — but Volla managed to catch the other by the shoulder.

When the man refused to say who sent him, Volla had no qualms applying express force, booting him in the head with one of her sabatons. He gave up the name of Bjorn the Facebreaker and, uninterested after obtaining what she needed, the captain allowed him to skitter off into the dusk. Saffuran, who had been drawn to the group below by the commotion caused, voiced his objections of Volla using such violence as an interrogation method. Volla quietly and patiently conjured fantastical visions of strangling Saffuran with a noose made of his parchment. This was thankfully kept to herself.

Noticing Neve’s moonsilver bow, Saffuran questioned her about it and learned she was also an Exalted. He displayed his own weapon, orichalcum bands encircling his forearms and, when Darius returned at having heard of the commotion, commented on the man’s orichalcum daiklave. Everyone quickly realized they were Exalted of some manner, though Volla Verne did not comment either way on her own state — just that she cared little if her crew were Anathema or not.

When the attack was explained to Darius, he was aghast at what had occurred in his absence. He passionately spoke of how traitorous it was for other crews to sabotage the ships of their comrades-in-arms. Grey Whisper and Volla Verne completely agreed with him. Neve commented later that evening of having seen movement at the prow of the boat, a mere whisper of movement and perhaps the glimmer of dark fabric. But as quickly as she spotted it, it was gone.

In the morning before the start of the race, Kaheila once again harassed Darius to join her crew, explaining this was the last chance for him to join the winning side. A man of honor, he once again cited his contract with Volla Verne and likely cemented Kaheila’s hatred for the other airship captain. The Fimbulvinter made its way to the starting line of the obstacle course an hour later, the air rife with enough excitement, joy, and delight to create a wonderful nervous tension. This apparently affected the captain adversely and when questioned upon her grimaces and hunching, Volla Verne cited nerves before the race and perhaps some kind of migraine headache.

The race began and the Fimbulvinter was off like a shot under a combination of Volla’s prowess and Saffuran Somei’s augmentation of the very air around them through his thaumaturgy. The other ships were left in the proverbial dust (strata?), and only movement from the periphery caused several of the crew to look back and check on the competition.

A strange thundercloud drifted many leagues behind the Fimbulvinter, moving in a strange formation towards another ship easily identifiable as Kaheila Highwinds’. Darius, upon noticing it, complained in a loud roar to Volla Verne that it was not a cloud but a masked ship, the ship of the hated Scourge of the Skies himself — Captain Gyrfalcon. He demanded that the Fimbulvinter be turned around so he may be met in combat and the honor of his crew avenged and proven for all to see. In time with his screams six agata, beautiful and terrible, descended from the blackened thunderhead like sentient glittering lightning bolts. After a quick deliberation, Volla turned the vessel to meet the fiends in combat.

The crew set to dispatching the agata who were intent on destroying the airship’s balloon, distracting the demons long enough to cause them to flutter to the deck. Darius’ loyal right hand man, Halvar One-Fist, easily rent one of the wasps in twain with his great axe and the backing of Volla Verne, whose rapier daiklave seemed to emit screams as it sailed through air and insectoid chitin. Neve turned one into shimmering clouds of dust — the single agata intending to run Saffuran through which she simply wouldn’t stand. Darius leapt to Kaheila’s vessal amid her joyous exclamations of his being her savior, handling the final three with little effort. During his heroics, his anima banner flared and, strangely, its appearance caused the thunderhead to retreat.

Though Kaheila’s vessel was damaged enough to begin to sink, it was clear she was not in dire straits and so Volla Verne turned the Fimbulvinter towards their impending victory. They crossed the finish-line amid astonished cheers and exclamations of surprise — for between the vaguely glowing Saffuran and Darius, the conquering apex of light himself, there was a great deal to be said. Jurgan Einarson, the Oligarch of the Icehome, congratulated the crew of the Fimbulvinter on their victory and explained how glad he was that the stories of Darius Wintersun were true. He also alerted everyone of the state of the other ships, all injured by Gyrfalcon’s machinations, though only one crew was totally lost.

At the banquet celebrating their victory, Volla Verne was surprisingly absent but might have simply been overlooked in the pandemonium of the evening. Kaheila happily spun yarns of Darius’ glory, the number of agata defeated growing as the night wore on. Saffuran Somei, Neve and Darius discussed the behavior of Gyrfalcon and how peculiar it was that he decided to retreat — as such behavior was nearly unheard of. They agreed to bring this up to their captain later, when they are able to locate her.

They weren’t able to get into contact with Volla Verne until the following morning, meeting her at the hangar where their new airship is located. As they headed up the hallway to the locked entrance, Somei noticed the two guards nearest to the locked door knocked out and dragged nearly out of eyesight. Alerting Neve who told the other three, Volla chose to open the door with her free hand on the hilt of her weapon.

Staring at the First Age airship was a cloaked figure, a masquerade mask obscuring what little of his face that was visible within his hood. He proclaimed the Storm Light (the name scrawled on the side of the vessel) as previously belonging to him. Volla Verne had little trouble in proclaiming the ship as now belonging to her.

The man didn’t argue that, and gave his name as Red Sky at Night. He explained a slight history of the airship and told the group that the ship was incomplete, missing some required component that sat in the middle of the vessel to make it whole. He had coordinates to where this item was and would gladly give it to them as long as they promised him this: that they swear not to harm him except in defense of themselves or that which they cared about. The same would go for the crew on their end as long as they agreed to the pact.

After some deliberation, they did agree to the man’s terms. When the deal was properly struck, a strange lurid circle appeared behind the man, green and awful and crawling, apparently sealing the pact in a supernatural matter. With that, his business was concluded and after giving Darius the same longing glance he spared the ship, explained to the man that of all the people to obtain the vessel he was glad it was in Wintersun’s hands.

Red Sky at Night vaulted to the prow of the Storm Light, staring down at it for several moments. When he was able to wrest himself from his reverie, he fled into the darkness as if he had been little more than a figment to begin with.

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Session 2: GM Notes
The Stormspire Citadel

Part 1: The party will have had mysterious dreams (Interlude 01 on Wiki).

Volla Verne and her crew receive a summons to speak to Wind Admiral Twenty-One Kestrels, commander of the Haslanti Wind Fleet, at a remote teahouse. The missive indicates that the summons is urgent and expected to be immediate.

When the party goes to board The Storm Light, Hoshi is waiting on the dock.

“Sitting before you is what can only be best described as a dirty vagrant. He is lazily smoking a pipe and is sitting atop a haphazard pile of traveling chests and bags, which could be his luggage, but it more probably the entirety of everything he owns.

You think if he cleaned up he could possibly be extremely attractive (Appearance 4) but his long hair is wild and uncombed and knotted with small trinkets that look to be from all parts of the world – but upon second glance you aren’t sure if this is intentional decoration, because there is a fishhook or two caught in there as well. His unruly bangs obscure much of his face, though you can see one eye is covered by a battered leather eyepatch. He wears colorful silken robes, though they look patched, unwashed, and fraying around the edges.

The tanned flesh of his chest and arms that are visible are tattooed with words written in Old Realm. He holds an umbrella that has tattered prayer strips hanging from it, and the underside is painted to look like a starry night sky with 5 specific constellations (The Captain, The Gull, The Mast, The Messenger, The Ships Wheel.) There is an angry looking rabbit in his lap (Usagi)."

Hoshi claims he is the best Navigator in the North and he will ask to join the crew.

Though at first he is severely questioned, he is allowed on board the ship to prove himself.

Part 2: When arriving at the teahouse the party will be greeted by Twenty One Kestral and one of the Grandmothers. Grey Whisper seems to acknowledge and know her.

Kestral questions the party and their motivations and determine if they are willing to serve the Haslanti League.

She questions them about Gyrfalcon, asking if they are in league with him. The party denies any association.

She then dismisses the party, saying she will need time to prepare a mission best suited to their unique abilities (giving them leave to go to the map coordinates).

Part 3:
Darius is the only one not to remember Hoshi. The others all make the rolls. The others suspect maybe it’s because he didn’t seem to trust Hoshi and he’s either pretending or had been drinking too much.

Hoshi will advise that the map coordinates lead to the middle of nowhere. Volla commands him to chart the course there anyways. Somei advises there may be a storm awaiting.

After several days travel, closer and closer to the Wyld, if the group follows the coordinates they will arrive at the Stormspire without any incidents or storms.

“When the Storm Light lifts up through the clouds, at first there is nothing to be seen but the blue and white expanse of empty sky. Then, suddenly, the air begins to shimmer and ripple like a mirage and a massive floating Citadel comes into view right in front of the ship. Vents from its underside extend and open as they begin to hiss and pump out giant, billowing clouds of steam.

It seems constructed of a hundred intricate archways and spiraling towers, but toward its middle, though it is crumbling and ancient, is a very obvious airship dock leading to a large metal door."

Inside the party will encounter a long, dark hall with decaying paintings. A candle will gutter to life and SIGERETH the Guardian will appear and speak to them address them by their first age incarnation names and ask if they have come to play. She will be very upset when she discovers “Master” is not there.

Sigereth greets everyone with the following:

Volla – “How good to see you’re not keeping your Lunar on a leash anymore.”
Somei and Neve – “Ah, Davros, how good to see you are back together with your wife.”
Darius – “Are you no longer fighting with the Master?”

She asks “Davros” to fix the labyrinth mechanism before they can begin.

Activating the Labyrinth-
The labyrinth is part of the puzzle that protects the manse, and it has been broken, maintained since the First Age. It will have to be reactivated in the lower control room. The passageway is in the basement chambers of the manse and riddled with People of the Air. Tharion is the god-blooded leader and there will be 20~of them. Tharion advises there is also a device that allows his people to survive and it is failing, and they worry tampering around will break it. Somei offers to fix it. As he is working on it, Neve notices a place on the wall for two overlapping hands to be placed. She and Somei place thier hands together and it reactives the device in the room to full function. The People of the Air then regard Somei as thier savior.

The next room is the control room for the labyrinth, Somei easily pulls the lever and reactivates the labyrinth, which causes the whole manse to shift and reorganize itself internally.

The party goes back up into the main hall, Sigereth advises they must now defeat the labyrinth.

The Theatre of Crimson Delights -
Two fey sisters are within this grand theatre room, blowing bubbles. They offer to show the way out if the party will become part of their play. They will attempt to dress Volla Verne, “the prettiest” up as a princess. The party agrees and begins to put on a play. Neve is the “monster” and reveals her Beastman form. The Sidereal, “Forever’s Promise” attacks. Darius easily defeats him. Somei however will not let anyone kill the Sidereal, and decides to carry him through the remainder of the journey. Darius demands a kiss as being the hero of the “Play”. Volla obtains Resonance.

Tier 3 – The Chambers of Memory
There are memory orbs with the names of the Circlemates which stores their favorite or most important memories.

1.Davros – His wedding day with Zastruga.
2.Relentless Tempest – Being named General of the Sky Cities.
3.Three Virtues in Darkness – Glory in Mercy watching the sunrise. She notices him watching her and smiles, and turns to extend her hand towards him, saying his name.
4. Zastruga – Memory of sealing an alliance with Queen Tenrae of Ondar Shambal (Whitewall). Promising an unbreakable oath.
5. Blood Promise – Killing Three Virtues in Darkness and promising “things will be different next time”.

The Gateway -
The party enters a giant Gateway board and must find the pathway. There are 4 pieces – one moonsilver, one orichalchum, and two brass. As they move across the two brass pieces merge and attack them. The Sidereal warns Somei who the monster is going to attack next.

The party they enters a hallway with a locked door at the end.

Side room: War room – there is a map to Ondar Shambal and a treaty written and signed by Zestruga and Red Sky at Night on the table. The oath will be detailed to say the Circle will always be welcome within its gates.

Side room: Meeting room – holographic image of Davros warning the others that “he” is mad, and he thinks he killed “her”. Relentless Tempest and Red Sky at Night are unsure and tell him that he wouldn’t kill a Circlemate. There is a key in one of the drawers.

The Master’s Study -
“When you open the door you behold a decadently furnished study in the colors of crimson and gold. Detailed maps of sky cities and wonders across Creation line the walls and there are countless crumbling statues and navigational devices on tables and scattered across the floor. It appears as if someone had gone into a mad rage in this room, with sword gashes marring the walls and fine vases smashed in the corners of the room. On a desk in the corner of the room is a journal with the quilled ink pen stuck into its pages like a dagger.The party finds the journal prop.

There is a door on one end of the study with a knocker that asks for the password.

Password: Relentless Tempest

Tier 5 – The Storm Sphere
The study opens to a room with a massive domed skylight. In the center of the room is a golden statue of Red Sky at Night. There is a gaping hole in his chest, and he is sitting with his eyes closed and and holding a red gem (hearthstone) the side of his fist – as if it were his heart, and he he had ripped it out of himself and were holding it out in offering. Projected from it on the ceiling is an image of everything in the airspace within 100 yards of the Citadel. It can easily be taken and attuned to the ship.

The party sees something that looks like a Fey War Whale approaching and return to the ship. The sign of MERCURY is on the ship, like a ward. Forever’s Promise is imprisoned below deck. Hoshi is confronted and he reluctantly gives a basic explanation as to what Sidereals are, and that the party has attracted a lot of attention from “others” so he is there to try to watch over them.

The party heads back to Icehome.

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Session 3 - GM Notes
Whitewall and the Circus Moribund

Part One – Prisoner
Somei spends time speaking to Forever’s Promise (Ren) trying to convince him to not kill them if he is released. Ren wiill not make any such promise, but requests that if they decide to execute him, he wants Hosh to be the one to do it.

Hoshi approaches Volla and asks if he can exchange his life for Ren’s – she agrees to not kill Ren in exchange for his service, because she had already planned not to kill him because of Somei’s wishes.

Part Two – Diplomats, Kurenai and Red Sky at Night
Twenty One Kestrals will summon the party with a mission for them. Though she seems reluctant, she has been advised they are the best ones to send on a diplomatic mission to Whitewall to once again try to seal an alliance. They agree, and as they are speaking to her a messenger rushes up and advised Kaheila has cornered a man they suspect to be a member of the Wyld Hunt. Darius and Volla go to investigate, Somei and Neve return to the ship.

Darius arrives at the pub to see Kaheila is on a table, threatening a redheaded man who is speaking. He seems to be trying to ignore her. Darius takes a seat and introduces himself and asks Kaheila to stand down. The man introduces himself as Kirigasa Kurenai, and shows Darius the symbol of the Dawn caste and says he is looking for a man with that sign. Darius advises he has seen no such man, despite what the rumors say. Kurenai tells him he is looking for a very specific man, someone who used to be his friend, and describes him. Darius has heard of no such man in Icehome. Kurenai thanks them and says he will try Gethemane next. Darius lets Kurenai knows that if they run across a man like that, they will send word to Gethemane somehow.

The next morning, Red Sky at Night appears on the ship and reveal his true identity to the party. Darius is enraged, but does not attack him due to the vow. The party takes his weapons from him. Red Sky at Night tells them he doesn’t know why he still exists as he does, and something is wrong. He advises he is ttying to fully take over the body he is possessing. The others let him go, agreeing it may be better for him to possess the body than Gyrfalcon.

Part Three – To Whitewall
During the journey, the party has the following dream:

“You are a wolf running alone in the dark. Your bloodied paws leave stains behind you in the snow. You are searching for the pack that you have lost. You are desperately seeking the sunrise.

A thought haunts you: wolves mate for life."

There is a blizzard outside Whitewall, and the party lands at a small airdock outside the city. Several armed guards man the dock but most noticeable is a man in furs and what appears to be frost-coated moonsilver armor. At his side are two wolves so large, a person could ride upon them – such as the Wolf Paw tribe used. It is Ragnar Frostmane. He appears to be a Lunar. He will seem to startle when he notices Darius and his orichalcum armor/weapons. He will ask the party if they are the emissaries from Icehome and escort them to the city to rest for the night.

Within the city, Ragnar gives them a tour which ends at a temple to the Unconquered Sun. Everyone beholds it in awe, except Volla, who gains Resonance. Inside is Kirigasa Yuhi, practicing katas. He looks like the man Kurenai described. When Darius mentions Kurenai, Yuhi seems to recognize him and Darius passes along his message. Yuhi rushes off. Somei departs to go to visit Whitewall’s Scriptorium, and Neve follows him.

The next morning they are summoned to speak to the leaders of the city. Somei has spent all night in the Sciptorium, and Darius visits the temple of the Unconquered Sun as the dawn breaks. After they gather for the meeting, they are escorted to a chamber with 3 statues that represent the Syndics – seated in the middle of them is Ragnar, who says he is present to speak on behalf of Whitewall. He is dressed in white robes hemmed with gold and silver, and images of suns and moons linked together along the edges.

Ragnar makes it clear he and the Syndics are interested in particular in a greater alliance with them as Solars, and have plans to openly defy the Realm. Darius does not want to make any other decisions on behalf of the Haslanti League without consulting them.

They negotiate further, but ultimately Ragnar will extend the offer that Whitewall will only consider the proposal of trade if a particular service is rendered: Assistance with travelers being lured off the holy road and into a Shadowland due to some sort of supernatural influence. Normal soldiers sent to investigate have not returned.

Part Four: The Holy Road
The party journeys along the holy road toward the Shadowland by airship. Ragnar will explain that the broken lights used to add further protection, but there is no one around now with the knowledge to fix them. As they travel, Ragnar tries to question Neve about what tribe she is from, but she is guarded and icy and he lets the matter go.

The party descends from the ship to the road, and Somei beings to repair the broken shrine which has a big sign desecrating it saying “CARNIVAL”. Compelling music is drifting from off of the road. The party decides to go investigate.

Part Five: The Circus Moribund
The party steps into a black mist. The mist parts to reveal a dark forest, with a single pathway illuminated by misshapen, glowing mushrooms. The pathway leads to a clearing that reveals a circus. Demons cavort between the blood-stained tents, and a few mortals can be seen, wandering around with vacant expressions. Suddenly, everyone turns and begins making their way to a large tent in the center of the circus.

The soft strains of song drift from the tent and grow louder and more alluring as it is approached. In the center of the central tent is a stage wreathed in mist and smoke. In the center of it, a beautiful man dressed all in black is chained and singing while playing a strange instrument of soulsteel. All around him, people begin to weep and drink from dark goblets placed at nearby tables, falling over lifelessly afterwards. One young man in particular seems gripped by a terrible despair and stabs himself with his own dagger.

Several members of the party fall prey to his musical spell of lust.

The chained man (Harlequin Who Dances On Forgotten Pyres) will pause when the party enters and recognize Volla Verne and call out to her as, “the Runaway Princess.”

He will advise the party that he is being held captive by the Melkin Fool in Red and he will willingly leave if they release him. He insists that his religion is for mortals to willingly choose Oblivion as the ultimate truth and that he does not force them.

He will try to seduce Volla and Ragnar freaks out and reveals himself to be a Zenith Solar by flaring his anima and calling a blade of light. Volla will gain Resonance by the extreme memory of happiness seeing his anima banner brings her. He holds the Exaltation of Glory of Mercy.

The party forces the Harlequin to bring them to the Melkin Foolin Red. She accuses them of trying to steal her precious captive, and attack the party in a fury, and she summons clown monsters to aid her. Harlequin cowers in a corner. Tharion kicks major ass, and the party defeats her and her minions.

As the party debates on what to do with the Harlequin, in desperation to save his own life he reveals that Volla is the same as him. The party takes Volla’s side, saying she has done nothing “evil” and has aided him, while he clearly wants to harm people and lead them to Oblivion. Somei is struggling with his lust for the Harlequin and asks that someone tie him up in a “non-sexy manner” while they decide what to do with him. They ask Hoshi what to do with him – Hoshi says the creature is something he doesn’t recognize, and he is not sure what he is – and the choice of if he can be redeemed lay in their hands. Ragnar says that a creature of undeath cannot enter Whitewall, and he will not invite him within. Since he seems mostly harmless, they decide to bring him on the airship and also keep him as a captive belowdeck with Forever’s Promise.

Forever’s Promise tells them all that he is a “deathknight” but refuses to say more. The party begins to journey back to Whitewall.

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