Episode 3: On the Brink of War
With the negotiations between the Empire Indomitable and the Exalted Deliberative breaking down, the Exalts contemplate on the possible thought of an open war between all three powers. Meanwhile, the others receive some unexpected visitors.
Queen Raya, along with the Royal Consort Benjaho and her circle mate Silk Midnight Princess, then proceeded to Mount Megatalapa with haste to determine the situation of her land which was occupied by the Bull’s forces until recently. Upon arrival, the three were met with a horrifying discovery: All that remained of Mount Megatalapa was a burnt husk of its former self. Further investigation by the three Exalts revealed that a series of controlled geomantic explosions were executed upon the area, resulting in massive essence bursts that ripped the floating mountain’s surface, sparing no survivors. Silk Midnight Princess also noticed that the land form remained afloat, even without the Fair Folk noble living within the freehold. In light of these events, Queen Raya flew back to the Deliberative encampment determined to make the Bull of the North pay.
Back in Lookshy, Azrael Morningstar was visited by a being that introduced herself as Samirena, a Lumen of the Unconquered Sun himself. The Lumen then proceeded to bequeath a quest that allegedly came from Ignis Divine himself: a quest to seek out souls to serve as the Righteous Dead of the Unconquered Sun. Azrael, shocked and unsure of the authenticity of this message, then proceeds to seek out his circle mates to seek for answers , without success. He then proceeds to ask around and wait until companions arrive.
Meanwhile, Dormin found himself flying across the East on the back of a teodozjia onto the Malfean tainted lands in the East. There, sitting on the rock amidst the sands of Cecylene, stood one of his circle mates thought to have fallen during the Invasion of An-Teng: Obsidian Innocence. Innocence then reveals that she came to the realization that only through the Yozis would order be restored. She then continues to try and convince Dormin to join her in serving She Who Lives in Her Name, her “benefactor”. Dormin considers his old friend’s words, and before they part ways, his old circle mate gives him a smooth piece of stone.
With the threat of facing the incoming forces, Lookshy’s General Staff proceeded to formulate their own battle plans. A plan for evacuation was brought forward by Karal Linwei, but was met with fierce resistance from her former friend and head of Gens Maheka, Maheka Lespa. In the end, Queen Raya offered asylum for all those who wish to flee the beleaguered city. Meanwhile, the other deliberators formulate a plan in order to pit the two invading forces against each other. An idea from Midday Emerald resulted to a daring night raid by Azrael Morningstar in which he summoned a cadre of animated skeletons bearing the trappings of Thorn legionaires to attack the Empire’s supply lines. Unfortunately, the presence of a necromancer and a skilled sorcerer reduced the impact of the raid, but this action nonetheless produced the desired results.
Back in the encampment, Queen Raya was visited by the Empire’s sorcerer adept, Samea. She then proceeds to convince the queen to reconsider her decision to wage war on the Empire. With the destruction of Megatalapa, it seemed as if the queen did not wish to relent. However, Samea’s impassioned speech about her love for her tribe somehow made Raya reconsider. Furthermore, it was revealed that the Empire was not responsible for the destruction of Megatalapa as initially believed, and a message from Silk Midnight Princess further cemented the belief that the Deathlord known as The Lover Clad in Raiment of Tears may be somewhat involved in the whole incident. A shaky truce was established, with Samea going back to her camp to try and convince her circle to reconsider the invasion of Lookshy, and with Raya informing the army to refrain from killing members of the Blackwater Mammoth tribe unless in the defense of themselves of their allies.
However, an incident occurred at dawn when a troop of air glider commandos were shot down by Lookshy defenses as they entered the city defenses’ attack range. Raya struggled to contact Samea in order to inform the sorceress about the incident, to no avail. And as the forces of the Deliberative and Lookshy prepare for a retaliatory attack, chaos ensued. Massive tremors soon begin to shake the city and its inhabitants and from the Mourning Fields in the south appeared the terror that brought Thorns to its knees: Juggernaut. The Seventh Legion immediately mobilized its forces as the Mask’s forces came forth from the fortress.
Suddenly, the Greater Sign of Travel lights up the sky and a great flash of yellow light appeared to the north. As the light fades, the army of the Empire appears. Huge beasts of burden, siege machines, and barbarians litter the plains in a display of strength that has not been seen since the Tepet legions fell in the frozen tundras of the north.
As the three stand face to face on the open plains of Lookshy, a lone figure dressed in the garbs of ancient Thorns walks out of the Deliberative encampment. With her daiklaves secured in their sheaths, she then raises her hand and points out to the sky as Mars and Saturn appear on the heavens above.
The battle for city of Lookshy is about to begin.