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Sidereals - New Beginnings - IC Thread

Dice System
Exalted 2.5
OOC
Here
Characters
Here

Psychie

Princess Psychie
It is a unremarkable day, with people across Creation going about their business as they always do. Bakers pull bread from the oven, farmers toil in the fields, and merchants haggle over the price of some gaudy trinket. It is in the midst of this unremarkable morning that something truly astonishing happens. Appearing in the sky over the Blessed Isle, standing miles tall, is the image of the Scarlet Empress! For a long moment, she stands silent, seeming to look into the very soul of every man, woman and child that have the courage to meet her gaze. Then, with a sudden motion of her hand, she speaks!

"My children! My subjects! People of Creation, FALL SILENT! Hear me, your Scarlet Empress, champion of Creation, eternal ruler of the Blessed Isle! For years I have turned my face from this world to commune with the Dragon of my aspect and his four equal peers! And now, with my return from meditative isolation, this lawless tumult ends! Today, I set right the crumbling hierarchy of my government, my legions, and my Great Houses! And woe be unto those that would defy me in this righteous cause! I begin by turning my attention to the city of Thorns. For too long, this city has been a scar on the face of Creation. This will be tolerated no more, and I bring and end to the cancer that is this dark blight upon the land."

As the shocked people of the Threshold look up, dark clouds fill the sky, lit by jagged blasts of lighting. Soon, the clouds turn black as fire rains down, along with hurricane force winds driving razor sharp shards of ice, and blasts of Essence cascading down upon the city, scouring it from the very land, leaving only a smoldering crater where Thorns once stood. Not a single stone remains standing.


"Hearken to my words and know that those that dare to cross me will face a similar fate! I am the Eternal Empress, and I have spoken!"

As quickly as they appeared, the dark clouds vanish, and the image of the Empress blinks away into memory.

This calamitous event took place three months ago, and all of Creation is buzzing with gossip over what will happen next. Among the ranks of the Sidereals, it is a case of semi controlled chaos and confusion as the rank and file of the Fellowship try to get some answers of what the hell just happened, and what will be next. During this time, three different members of the Order are found dead in the Imperial City; two of the Bronze Faction, one of the Gold, and the cause of death in each case is different. One was found with his throat cut in a public bathhouse, one was found in an alleyway with a knife wound to his heart, the victim of an apparent mugging, and the third drowned after falling into the river.

Hardly the expected way for three experienced Sidereals to end their lives.

Some of the order are trying to blame the ranks of Solar and Lunar Exalted for these deaths, but the leaders of the Gold Faction are quick to point out that one of their own order is among the fallen, so clearly it is not one of their Exalts. At least, that is what they claim. The more conservative members of the Bronze are not convinced, however, and tensions between the Bronze and the Gold members are rising even as Chejop Keyjak and Ayesha Ura both call for calm as more investigators are secreted into the Imperial City to try and find the guilty parties.

But even as the various members of the Fellowship scramble for answers, the business of steering Fate down the proper path still needs to be attended to. To this end, we find ourselves in Looksky, bastion of the Seventh Legion, attending a gala banquet celebrating the retirement of one of the high ranking generals of their military forces. It is early in the day, just a few hours past the noon hour, and the guests are just starting to arrive. It is cold outside with snow and ice on the ground, but the banquet room is kept warm by means of several large fireplaces. Several servants make their way through the room with glasses of fine wine for the celebrants to drink before setting down for the formal meal, and there is soft music playing in the background to help pass the time along.

Talk amongst the early attendees is all about the devastation of Thorns and the Return of the Empress of the Blessed Isle, wondering if Lookshy is about to be next on the Empress' hit list.

As of right now, Tien has just finished up a marathon session negotiating an alliance between two rival Houses of Lookshy, trying to set up a new power block in the city to take advantage of the retirement of the outgoing general, and is in desperate need of some relaxation, just after he has a celebratory glass or three of fine wine and an excellent meal. Perhaps add on some friendly companionship to that, too. Especially that rather attractive woman in the bright green dress being chatted up by a member of the general's staff. She is doing her best to not look totally bored and/or trapped by the blowhard, and could probably use some rescuing, followed by some dancing, drinking, and who knows where it will lead from there?

Across the room, Daivaja is busy listening in on the conversation between two of the generals of the city's forces as they discuss the options of just how to respond to the startling developments presenting themselves. On one hand, the threat from Thorns and the Deathlord Mask of Wiinters has now been ended. But on the other hand, the Empress has just proven herself to be more merciless than anyone had thought when she obliterated all of the city's population, and not just those that might be loyal to their new master.
There is a real threat to the city of Lookshy, and despite the military power of their army, how can anyone stand before the might of the Sword of Creation?
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Renna is currently running fashionably late for the gala, but with as famous as your current identity is, you can get away with some things that another person could not. As you and your current entourage arrive, it is with much fanfare as many of your fans come over to see the star in person, and perhaps get your autograph.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
"Thank you," Euphemia says brightly as she takes a sweet delicacy from a passing server as he pauses to offer his tray to her cousins, Ytsela and Maura. He can't hear her, and doesn't know she exists, but it's the thought that counts. Gratitude is one of the many paths to joy. She's shattered the Mask for her cousins, granting them her blessing and curse for the evening. As well dressed but unremarkable Yushoto, with fragrant lilies and streaks of fiery red in their hair, they are well poised to offer wise but neutral counsel on subjects of heated debate, its source forgotten scant moments after they leave but not its contents.

She tasted a small spoonful of the dessert and considered it thoughtfully. The stoic Seventh Legion never could equal the decadence of the Dynasts, but this would serve her well tonight. Sometimes ensuring fate flows as it ought is easy. Convincing the Seventh Legion to face down martial danger calmly and stoically, with careful planning and measured response, is like convincing a Cynis to succumb to vice: It is simply in their nature. Which isn't to say she can't help the process along. She can feel the threads of fate that bind the room together, the overwhelming concentration of the gauntlet, the banner, the spear, the treasure trove, the key, but beneath it all, here as everywhere, ran the ewer, the lovers, the peacock. Everything was about sex - except sex, which was, of course, about power.

Karal Mifuri and Maheka Gizel were no longer on speaking terms, the former a hardline Interventionist and the latter a stalwart Mercenary, but more importantly Gizel had recently stolen away the heart of Mifuri's favourite courtesan. Should their rift continue long enough, it would fracture the General Staff and lead to a violent and destabilizing coup, but there was always another path. Without communication the rift could not heal. She had already arranged for a dashing foreigner to sweep the courtesan off his feet and take him far away, that Gizel and Mifuri might some day commiserate shared sorrow over a drink, and with just a little push, their favoured children might exchange more than simply words, forming a binding tie and a back channel through which their parents might better understand the opposing position and defuse the mounting tensions. While highly compatible, it was not the flawless fated union she might usually bring together, but sometimes needs must, and though gauche, a relationship could serve a higher purpose.

She brushed her fingers against each of their shoulders in turn, identifying them by their bright burning destinies, bringing their threads together from opposite sides of the room to tie a knot at the centre. She burned a little sprig of cinnamon and a bundle of cayenne seeds for spice as she sealed the knot with a prayer strip - she could not give them a union of unmitigated joy, but she could add a little fire.

That out of the way, she circulated, whispering choice thoughts into carefully chosen ears. 'The pretender has held the Sword over our heads for centuries, too frightened to use it. Thorns was a nest of corruption, and deserved its fate. Nothing has changed.' 'Everyone who knows anything of geomancy knows the ruinous cost to the Blessed Isle of wielding the Sword would make any use of it against the Seventh Legion a pyrrhic victory. Nothing has changed.' 'Our arsenal may be smaller than that of our wayward cousins, but it is better maintained, and for that no less potent. They have numbers, but they fear our knowledge and our discipline still. Nothing has changed.'

Her work complete, and war averted for the foreseeable future, she sat back to savour her desert and dance the night away.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna comes sweeping into the ballroom as if she owns the place. Given her current popularity as a performer, in some ways, she does. Renna gives a slight smile as she starts to mingle, taking time to greet those that come up to her. With a deft hand, she snags a passing glass of wine and takes a slight sip, enjoying the fine vintage. It is a fine break from teaching her students the intricacies of the martial arts.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
A sealed treatise was a curious prize to gaze upon from the other side of a cup. Change and fear were such powerful drivers to today's success it hardly seemed fair to call these terms anything short of inevitable. Threats were always baring down on the denizens of the Seventh Legion. This one, however, was a special quality. Certainly, none of the bronze expected to experience a double dose of both relief and trepidation and neither did the retiring chumyo or his General staff much less these Gentes Minor.

Anathema of both old and new stripes had been on the rise for too long. Much as one never liked to witness the sword in action, it was still a needed symbol of strength in a season of frailty. Perhaps that's why so many in this room seem to have such a bitter taste in their mouth in spite of such sweet wine to sample. Any warriors of the old Shogunate could feel the wound in their pride. Their hope, their sense of relief came from the rising hand of another enemy rather than the thunder in their chest, the might of their arms, or the skills of their hands.

It was heartwarming to remind these wounded patriots of what their honor meant. In a time of upheaval when the mother's brood withdrew to the roost, these warriors held strong. The Scavenge had always known the spirit of a Dragon by the sons and daughters of the Seventh. For these last long years, however, nearly all had begun to forget the touch of the empire in its course of devouring itself. Despite their turmoil, the last legion remained as it always had. Binding alliances among them was easy, especially when they could feel the vultures readying to leave their nests. Now it was just a matter of resting easy and enjoying the spoils of war.

***

"Greetings friends," Tien called with a wave and proffered a hand for a polite handshake. "Karal Gerak. I don't think I've caught either of your names." Tien introduced his mask, eyes glancing between the green-clad woman and the man Tien assumed to be her aspiring paramour. "Ah, right. I remember your name good sir. I have something for you." He leaned in with a conspiratorial whisper. "I hear the general's retiring soon and several of the staff have prepared gifts. You bring a winner? Forget all that, I have what you need right here." From his sleeve, Tien Gerak withdrew a latched wooden box. "General's favorite cigars right here with some aged bourbon to wash it down. Tell ya what, if you hurry, you can catch up with him before he leaves. Best of luck, I hope you get his endorsement for the office." He said grinning, urging the man forward with a heavy pat on the back.

Once he was sure he'd given the man all he needed to make a courteous play for a promotion, he turned to the woman now relieved of her vigil with a wink. "Ah, the things ambition makes us do, right? It's been a full day, but I think I might be able to make time for a dance or two. How about it?" Tien Gerak offered, hand extended. "Feeling brave enough?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
While Daivaja moves quietly through the growing number of dignitaries that are there to celebrate the retirement, whispering in the ears of the various generals to start to steer the response of Lookshy away from open warfare, Tien/Gerak is able to pull the lovely young woman onto the dance floor with him. She looks up at the statuesque Exalt (although she doesn't know he's an Exalt, of course) with a smile. She quietly murmurs, "Thank you for saving me from the dry windbag. I was in danger of being bored to death, so I am in your debt!" She spins around, her dress flaring out as she does so, and once more takes your hands. "I am Felicia. Tell me good sir, what is your name?"

After several turns about the dance floor for Felicia and Tien/Gerak, a new level of excitement can be felt in the room as the various props are being set up for Renna's dance performance. It was a rare treat to see such a stellar performance, and everyone there was starting to clear the center of the ballroom for it. It is such a masterful dance, even Daivaja pauses in her work to enjoy the sight. It doesn't take long for Renna to have the crowd mesmerized. When the final pose is struck, the crowd of normally stoic military men and women cheer and clap in amazement.

With the amazing performance complete, servants once more bring glasses of wine out on silver trays for the refreshment of the guests of the gala. As everyone is coming down from the high of watching the dance, the three members of the Fivescore Fellowship all receive a message at the same time in the form of a letter inside a golden box appearing in the air in front of you. This is nothing new for you; the Bureau of Destiny frequently sends out missives in such form to the Chosen. Wreathed in its own magic, the boxes are not able to be perceived by any but the members of the Order, making it the perfect method for sending messages to the various undercover operatives of Yu-Shan.

The only unusual thing about this is the fact that all three of you have received your communique at the same time. Of course, it is very rare to have so many of the Chosen in one location, so perhaps it does happen more often than you know and that it is just hidden from you by the fact that you are usually by yourselves.

Once you reach into the box to recover the message inside, the box itself vanishes as usual, leaving no trace that it had ever been there.

The paper itself is made from pure Essence, and as you unfold it, time seems to slow down to a stop as the script on it glows with its own light, revealing its message to you.

Under My own authority, for no reason, do not return to Yu-Shan until at least four bells past the noonday hour. It is worth your life. Do not let any other order supersede this directive.

The message is written in flowing handwriting, and is signed only with the astrological symbol for Jupiter, the Maiden of Secrets. Hardly the normal format for an official message from the Bureau of Destiny. After the message is read, it vanishes back to the ether from whence it came.

The current time is just two hours past noon, leaving you two hours before this order passes.

As you begin to digest this, right on the heels of this delivery, another message box appears in the air in front of the three of you. This particular message is written in the usual format for an order from Yu-Shan, and it reads:

All Chosen of the Fellowship are to return to Yu-Shan immediately for an emergency conference. This order overrides all others.

It is signed by Chejop Keyjak and Ayesha Ura, the leaders of the two orders of the Sidereals, along with several high ranking gods of the Bureau of Destiny.
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Messages from Yu-Shan were no new thing for Renna, especially after all these years. But it was nearly unheard of to get a message directly from her Maiden, Jupiter herself. Usually, whatever message that had to be sent was arranged and handled by some subordinate and not Jupiter. The Incarne was far too busy to deal with thing like that. But this? Renna was quite perplexed by the cryptic tone of the message. Don't return to Yu-Shan for the next several hours? Why? How is it worth my life? Strange, even for the Maiden of Secrets.

As she was pondering this turn of events, the second box arrived, this time signaling of an emergency meeting of some sort, signed by both Ayesha Ura, the head of the Gold Faction, and Chejop Keyjak, the head of not only the Bronze Faction but the leader of all the Sidereals. Renna frowns as her mind goes over the messages. The first was clearly a warning, and if it were truly from Jupiter, what would that mean for the second message? What kind of emergency meeting would require the whole of the Order to return to Yu-Shan?

Looking around the room, Renna's eyes land on Diavaja and Tien. With as much tact as she can manage, she slowly works her way through the crowds of people until she is next to Diavaja. In a quiet voice, she murmurs, "I just received an odd set of messages. The first was a warning to stay away from Yu-Shan, and the second is a summons to attend an emergency meeting of the whole order. I saw that you were also sent two messages; did you get the same contradictory orders as I? What did your messages say?"
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien, as Karal Gerak, makes a show of appearing distracted after reviewing the missives. "Ah, seems I've been summoned by a sorcerer for a classified meeting. Among a couple others here from what I gather. If I don't make it back in a timely manner, it's been fun Felicia, truly. I'm often away from the city, but I do own an apartment within the walls of Lookshy, perhaps we'll see each other again." He excused himself with a smile and a bow as he handed her a contact card, fully expecting this heavenly intrigue to soil any opportunity of leisure for the remainder of the day.

He cast a glance upwards, seeing Renna approach Diavaja and stepped through the crowd to join the huddle. "As in plural? Then I'd wager much the same. A warning and a summons is it? I think we should retire to a private place and cast a glance for ourselves, don't you?" He lifted his head up and scanned over the crowd to find the ideal exit. He continued, assuming his wise peers wouldn't argue with a harmless glance of this meeting. "Follow me, there's a sealed room in the basement for classified debriefings."

***

Once they'd secured a spot to properly discuss the crisis, Tien stowed his resplendent destiny away and withdrew a crystalline sphere from his sleeve. In it was a mirror-polished gemstone notably occupying a facet in contrast to the consistency of glyph-laden contraption. The globe floated before him as he spat in one palm and rotated the mirror gem with the other. Tien looked to his hand opposite the globe with an amiable demeanor to great his pattern spider secretary. "Charles, if you would kindly resonate with threads ExSJ-06 and ExSS-02, I'd appreciate it."

The small mystical insect gave a dutiful salute before hopping over to mount the top of the orb. In each foreleg, it wove a coil of reverberating webbing and attached it to the sides of the gemstone. Within moments, a three-dimensional holographic projection manifested from Tien's essence around his artifact. Ordinarily, its output created a sealed environment, but with a bit of tuning from a resident consultant, it could leverage the luminous byproduct into a functional image.

Should the connection succeed, the image should lock onto the signals of a prominent chosen of Journeys and chosen of Secrets.

[10m 1w for First Excellency and Fateful Excelleny in Investigation. Base pool is 3 Intelligence + 6 Investigation + 3 Specialty + 6 Excellency = 18 before any stunt bonus or penalties. After any adjustments to the pool, all dice get converted to successes. Let us know what we can see/interpret.]
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
OOC I'm not sure what you are looking for. Can you be more specific?
I was referring to Ayesha Ura (Journeys) and Chejop Kejak (Secrets). Trying to watch the meeting, or at minimum what is going on surrounding those two now.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Looking in at the image, you see a hazy image of the two elder Sidereals walking rapidly through the familiar corridors of the Bureau of Destiny, with scores of followers tagging along, desperately trying to keep up and not drop the armloads of papers that the various employees are carrying. A veritable storm cloud can be seen thundering over Chejop's head as he strides through the halls, and a look of worry can be seen on Ayesha's face.

As they walk towards the main conference hall, Ayesha asks, "Are you sure? This is one hell of an accusation."

Chejop snaps out, "Will you stop asking me that? My agents at the Heptagram spoke at length with Mnemon, and they verified the information. I will go over all of this once all of the Order are here. This is serious enough to need the input and actions of all the Chosen. How many are here now?"

One of the agents following along manages to sputter out, "Uh, as of our last report, eighty eight are in attendance, with more on the way that have cleared the Celestial Lion security at the Gateways. According to reports, they will be here in a few minutes."

"Good. Keep me informed as to the status of the last few."

The image continues to follow the group as they enter the main hall. Even though there are only one hundred Sidereals, the hall seats over four times as many, to give room for the various secretaries and servants that are in attendance with their Chosen. As you look, the hall is nearing its capacity, filling up with scores of different members of the Order and their agents, most of which look confused as to what is going on, and even more are showing up.

Suddenly, the image goes blank, showing you nothing else. The signal is totally cut off.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien took a pensive stance, hand to his chin. "Well, can't say that was unexpected. Let's dial back our view a little bit. Charles, can you withdraw resonance with Ayesha's thread and draw upon Mnemon's? I'd like to see what intelligence made it's way to Kejak. I can only assume something's off about little Scarlet's return."

The chosen of battles tapped a fingertip to the polished hearthstone, instilling it with essence anew and now bearing intent to see the past rather than the present. Whether it be the moment Mnemon had her revelations, or the moments in which they passed from one agent to the next, Tien pressed onward to glean what he could of current events and the ultimate cause for today's disturbances.

[Same Charms and rules as before]
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
[Just as a note, apparently Varangian names are (caste city given), so calling her Daivaja is addressing her by caste (seer), which is a super formal way to address her. They don't seem to have family names, which is interesting. I think they probably would have family names, so I might tack one on.]

Euphemia's smile shines like the stars when Renna approaches, and she leans in to kiss the air to either side of Renna's cheeks. "It is always work with you! It is never, 'Oh, Euphemia, it is so lovely to see you. What have you been doing this century?' No, it is, 'Are your orders from Heaven as nonsensical and conflicting as mine?' To which I say yes, of course. As above, so below. And so I shall do nothing. One does not look a gift sabbatical in the mouth. Even if only a few bells. More importantly, your performance could only be outdone if the Argent Madonna herself descended from the Dome. Only Jupiter knows why you were not chosen by Venus for all the joy you bring me."

"Tien! How scandalous. What will your paramour of the hour think should she see you ushering a defenceless maiden down a dark corridor for purposes unknown? Oh, very well, if we simply must work it should be somewhere you won't appear to be conversing with phantasms."

Her cousins take up positions flanking the door as she drapes herself over one of the unadorned chairs of ironwood that surrounded the table in the spartan briefing room. "Far be it from me to decry immorality, but is it not perhaps against the spirit of Jupiter's directive to spy on the meeting whose secrets we are forbidden to learn? It was not Mercury who sent the missive," she inquires lazily as she savours another small spoonful of dessert.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
"A double dose of rank pulling is cause for questions is it not? Jupiter is well within her means to shroud what she must if secrecy is indeed her intent rather than what I presumed to be safety. Perhaps that's just the brutish perspective of the Crimson Panoply speaking though. If you'd rather I return to the floor with my dance partner, I suppose I could merely channel the Gull and skate by my obligations for a few bells. It's been such a long time since I've enjoyed the company of my defenseless maiden peers though." Tien replied, removing a flask from his sleeve. He filled three glasses, then took a long pull from one before setting it on a nearby table while his secretary performed his duties. "What ever shall we do with a Maiden sponsored sabbatical?" He added with a playful smile. "I think it inconceivable to use any such blessing for anything short of troublemaking."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna lets out a chuckle and returns the warm welcome that Euphemia gives her. "You are right, of course. Please forgive my remarkable lack of manners. How are you, my friend?"

When Tien shows them all the scene of Chejop and Ayesha sharing words on their way to the conference hall, Renna raises up an eyebrow. "Well. That is . . . . different. Something certainly has good ol' master Chejop all riled up. I've never seen him like this since . . . well, ever. What could possibly have him this worked up?" She looks at her fellow Viziers and asks, "The two of you are both Bronze; is there something in the rumor mill that I am not in the loop for? What could possibly be the information gleaned from Mnemon to get the whole of the Order summoned like this?" Finally, she looks to Tien and asks, "Why did the image inside the auditorium stop?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Tien took a pensive stance, hand to his chin. "Well, can't say that was unexpected. Let's dial back our view a little bit. Charles, can you withdraw resonance with Ayesha's thread and draw upon Mnemon's? I'd like to see what intelligence made it's way to Kejak. I can only assume something's off about little Scarlet's return."

The chosen of battles tapped a fingertip to the polished hearthstone, instilling it with essence anew and now bearing intent to see the past rather than the present. Whether it be the moment Mnemon had her revelations, or the moments in which they passed from one agent to the next, Tien pressed onward to glean what he could of current events and the ultimate cause for today's disturbances.
This time, the image is not as cloudy as the events being witnessed have all taken place here in Creation. What you see is Mnemon striding purposefully along a smooth stone path, flanked by literally hundreds of demons; most of the First Circle, but there are two Second Circle demons at her shoulders, all moving along with Mnemon. The stone path that she is walking along is one that is familiar to any Sidereal that spends any time focused on the events of the Realm. This path leads up to the entrance to the Heptagram, the Realm's school of Sorcery and Magic.

As Mnemon approaches the closed gates, an alarm bell begins to ring from somewhere inside the walls. The Dragon Blooded woman comes to a stop and points her hand at the gates, saying, "Octavian, open the gates!" With a simple nod, the burly figure raises up his staff of Malfian Iron and with a single blow, the wooden barrier to the inner courtyard is shattered. Now with the pathway open, Mnemon walks into the open space. With the scores of demons all taking up station around her, she stops and shouts out, "All of you know who I am. I seek no battle here today! I am only here to deliver a message, but if I am attacked, I will defend myself. Octavian, point out any of the Sidereals that are here."

Once more, the massive figure nods. "Of course, mistress." Looking over the growing crowd of students and teachers, Octavian points. "There. That one, and him, too. They both stand outside of Fate, and are the ones you seek."

Mnemon motions for the two teachers that were pointed out to her to approach. With some caution, the two instructors step forward to stand nearby the Dragon Blooded woman. In a stern voice, one says, "Yes, we all know you, Mnemon. What is the meaning of this? Are you here to declare war on the Sidereal Order?"

With a shake of her head, Mnemon says, "No. As I said, I am only here to deliver a message. My mother, the Scarlet Empress, has been actively working with the Ebon Dragon since her Return from her five year sabbatical. She had spent her time in the claws of her demon lover, and seeks to shatter the binding on the Ebon Dragon that keeps him in his prison, and plans on standing at his side and rule all of Creation with him as the Demon Queen. Her powers have been boosted, and she can now subvert others of her Dynasty to her will. I stand against her in all ways, and have cut all ties from my mother. Tell your fellows that Creation will fall unless a united front is leveled against her."

She reaches inside her robes and pulls out a small pouch and tosses it at the feet of the two Viziers. "Inside that you will find my proof. Take it to your master, and pray for us all."

At this point, the two Sidereals gather up the pouch and look inside as Mnemon turns and walks away with her demon escort following along. After a moment, the first of the Sidereals casts the spell Summon the Heavenly Portal and they quickly step through into Yu-Shan, taking the contents of the pouch with them.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
As the spider continued adjusting signals, Tien sat back and replied to Renna. "Many of the Elders are pretty self satisfied that our operations are objectively in the best interest of creation. So not as many things as one might think are held as confidential. After all, Gold agents are obligated to operate within Realm and Lookshyan boundaries all the time for the purpose of bureau business. Sabotage of a heavenly agents duties is grounds for a rather pernicious audit as we all know well. So, no I don't think anything important has been withheld. As for why the image cut out, I presume scry blocking was put in place for security. This is all possible through a scrying stone in a socket so of course the security measure was effective. If it wasn't, we'd have some serious implications on our hands wouldn't we? Either way, we saw enough to continue investigating the nature of today's little mixup. Ah, the next visions about to start."

***

By the end of the projection, the stoic sifu sat leaning forward head resting face down against his hands now combed through his hair. "Gods above, this is both very validating and horrifying at once. I knew leaving her to consolidate rule for this long was an unnecessary risk and concession... Wait.." Tien paused. "Malfean officials still occupy some divine offices... you don't think we were held back because..." his eyes began to widen. "No. I-... it's too late isn't it? If that old scheming devil rope is behind this, he's already set in motion a counter for the five score fellowship hasn't he?"

The overwhelmed vizier withdrew a small pipe and a match from a coat pocket, lighting it to calm his nerves with a serious of shallow pulls. "The Maidens may've preserved us, but what now? Clearly if the core of the Realm is now a serpent's puppet and the fellowship either defecting or defeated... Where do we even start?... Gods why?... You're right there. Can you not save them? Mars? Luna? Sol? Anyone?" His voice trailed. Though he leaped from implication to assumption, the disciplines of a strategist taught that no move like this was done half handed, accidentally, or recklessly. Any and all possibilities were valid expectations, but only by preparing for the worst could the trio hope to turn this about.
 
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Random Word

Two Thousand Club
"Are you certain you were not chosen by Mercury, Tien? Because you are making excellent time down a long and twisted path with little to go on. The old witch walks into the Heptagram surrounded by demons with some delightfully spicy gossip, tosses down some 'proof', and you're ready to pronounce the Empress Akuma and a collection of some of the most paranoid players of the great game dead?" She shakes her head, "I would not take that proof anywhere near Heaven. Let a Chosen of Jupiter prod it with a long stick in the middle of the West until they become bored. How do we know the old witch is not Akuma? She trafficks with powers above her station, and covets her mother's throne fiercely. The return of mother dearest must have been quite upsetting. Possibly enough to do something foolish indeed."

She takes another spoonful of dessert, continuing after she has savoured it, "If the Empress is Akuma, this is a simple task for the Chosen of Saturn. There is no need to interrupt the Games. For all that she has done in service to Creation, may her end be swift and merciful, and her memory untarnished."
 
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Rykon

Four Thousand Club
"I really hope you're right about getting spun up for no reason, Euphemia, I really do. Either way, unsubstantiated accusations do not generate both a fellowship wide summons and an intervention from the Incarnae. They didn't even step in to stop the Crusade or Contagion..." Tien trailed off. He took the orb in his palm with a forlorn look. The fuck is going on up there?
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
When the images of Mnemon calling out the Empress as a demon worshiper and working with the Ebon Dragon, it makes Renna sink down heavily into the nearest seat in shock. It is one thing to fight against the iron hold on Creation of the Dragon Blooded to reinstate the Solar Deliberative, but it is a very different thing to hear this! "Whatever it is that Mnemon produced as her 'proof', it was enough to make the two Viziers break their cover as instructors at the Heptagram and have ol' Chejop call for this emergency session of all the Chosen. Even Ayesha Ura is adding her name to the order to return for this meeting!"

She looks around the room in sudden shock. "Wait. What time is it? How much longer is the deadline imposed by Jupiter for us to stay out of Yu-Shan? Do we dare go back early? It is clear that most, if not all of the Order are now up in Yu-Shan; what will happen to us if we don't go back now?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
According to the message sent to you by Jupiter, you are not to return to Yu-Shan until four hours past noon. This time has nearly come and gone, with little more than fifteen minutes left before the aforementioned time.

What do you do?
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien glanced to Charles at Renna's question and the answer was spoken aloud. "Might as well start heading to a place where we can access a gate." He said with a sigh. "A perfectly good party wasted... just my luck." He added in a whispered grumble.

"At the fourth bell's toll, we can confirm the details in person."
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna stands up and slides her hands down her fancy dress to make it turn into something a bit more maneuverable just in case it turns out that there will be fighting in their near future. As she does so, she grumbles, "Waiting. I hate waiting. In over three hundred years, I still have not gotten used to having to wait for something important. Well, it can't be helped, I suppose. Unless we plan on using the Calibration Gate, we would best take ourselves to the nearest Gateway. If I am not mistaken, the nearest one is in Nexus, so I'd suggest that we don't waste the time traveling that far and just call the Calibration Gate to us."

As a final measure, she reaches into one of her pockets and pulls out her floating ribbon and wraps it around her waist, and slips her war fans into the sheaths that she added to her garments.

With a final nod to her two companions, she says, "I'm ready. Shall we go? We have only fourteen minutes left before our Jupiter-acquired ban on returning to Yu-Shan is over."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Euphemia sighs, "Yes, make it so. When the bell strikes we return to duty. I do not look forward to explaining I missed the meeting because Jupiter in her ineffable wisdom demanded it. 'For no reason' no less!"
 

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