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Messages were sent. The marines have been brought down. The ships quickly outfitted.
I summon some Sobeksis and Thunder Birds to help us on our way but once across the river they prove to be a problem. Apparently, one of the Thunderbirds killed one of the Sobeksis because of some feud in the West. He has sworn to be dealt with after the battle. On the 2nd night another of the Sobeksis died but not from the Thunderbirds. I rue to meet the creature that did this as it’s far more powerful than the Thunderbird. This particular case remains unsolved and it disturbs me for some reason. In the end I had to dismiss the other Thunderbirds and summon a Garda to help with the battle.
The plan was not exactly simple. Raven would keep their Agata airforce busy at rather great risk to himself while Oil in Water would engage the ships in boarding operations. My Thunderbird and Garda would keep the other ships too busy to assist each other and the Sobeksis would destroy their steering underwater and distract the infernal worms. Delicate Bloody Rose would lead me and my lieutenants to the main barge and we would blow holes in the ballast to sink the vessel. Naoko would provide cover fire.
It went well initially as Raven was able to dodge and cut a swath through his opposition without relatively taking damage. Oil in Water captured their main escort. And we blew the initial ballast pretty quickly. However, the Garda and Thunderbird were dispatched by their Dawn Solar commander and their men were being bulwarked by charms from their Zenith. Hanya managed to kill the Dragonblooded Commander of the escort vessel when Ophilis Ses made an appearance.
He called for a parley we agreed. He informed us of another threat of Malfean nature near Chaya. He needed the weapons for his troops to stop the Demonic Horde there. He has admitted to amassing troops in Cho-Holuth. He says he will be overun if he does not get the weapons he has today. He claims his own hubris in saying he can deal with the threat himself so close to our territories. My charms say that he is telling the truth.
I challenged him to swear never to move against the Exalted Deliberative or any of its members forever. He is evasive about moving against the Deliberative after and refuses to swear. He challenges the Deliberative that they not move against his River Trade Alliance as well despite his initial hostile takeovers of our economic lifeblood. He offers no recompense for what he has taken from our and my coffers.
Delicate Bloody Rose says never to trust him and leaves in a huff. Ardent Raven is barely reining his bloodlust. Cousin Raya’s and Benjaho’s reaction to the mere mention of Ophilis Ses when the situation was presented to the Deliberative reeks of hostility. Oil In Water’s strange behavior relating to this “jyliweed” he has imbibed does not help matters. I decide that if he will not cease we will consider it an act of hostility. His own hubris will be the end of him. Should his own forces be overun it will be on his head. From the reports of Raven on the troops they do not have much of their own minds left anyway.
I refuse him then and he calls to his Zenith Ally saying to launch plan B. Apparently, the barge with the First Age hull has flying capability and Essence weaponry. Quick thinking by Delicate Bloody Rose sabotages the engines and Raven goes after Ses while Hanya Squares off against Iron Tempest, Ses’ Dawn Caste Solar Commander.
Ses sees the situation as unsalvageable and retreats using a spell. When he casts Flight of Separation I launch my own counterattack at him with a Cascade of Cutting Terror. Some quirk of Fate favors him at the time and he escapes unscathed much to my annoyance. His Solar Commander also gets away with an almost palpable cry of anguish from Hanya as she botches what would have been her killing stroke.
The flying barge crashes but we unearth it and bring the engines to Denandsor to see if they can be outfitted in our own vessels. I hope Glimmer has the time for this. The Sobeksis seem satiated as the Thunderbird died in battle making the problem points moot at the moment and I say a prayer of thanks to them given their own hunger for worship it pleases them. The Thunderbird communities given their own propensity towards battle will be thankful as well that it ended in that manner.
During our return trip to Denandsor, I find out that it was infiltrated by a Demon Blood and Decanthrope using children and almost killing 7 Flowers, Cousin Raya’s Stepdaughter. The Demon Blood openly claims allegiance to Ophilis Ses, however, I don’t believe it despite his free use of demons. I suspect someone else is using this “Divide and Counquer Tactic” believing he or she is too clever for his or her own good.
Also, I find out that the newly formed Heaven’s Hammers have been lent out to Strategos Crimson Bladebearer and Karal Fire Orchid in defense of their homeland, Lookshy. The Viziers are all too unsure of wisdom in this course of action due to the fact that they already see the doom of Lookshy.
I reject a call to go into open warfare with the River Tradinig Alliance because it would cost too much and strip the Deliberative of its own home defense. Let our operations against Ses be as subtle as he thinks he is.
However, we also need to mount a punitive expedition to Chaya to ascertain for ourselves intelligence reports from Ses that the area is overun by a Demonic Horde. We have two Dragons of the Foreign Legion assigned to us now. However, we’d best make use of it.
A storm is coming, I can feel it in my own bones, as if I were some superstitious mortal. The Viziers say this won’t be pleasant.
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