The Circle continued its investigation.
Kafun continued his surveillance on the Lap’s Embassy, watching it during the day. He observed a great deal of traffic from the 17th Legion… 4 different messengers showing up over 11 different trips. He had his spiders watch during the evenings…
Hatak continued his investigation of the 17th Legion and its Talon Lord. He discovered that the Talon Lord was fortifying the town of Valen, making it into a fortified outpost that could disrupt trade in the region, as well as ordering supplies from both the Realm as well as from Lap itself, suggesting a possible alliance between the two. The Talon Lord and his Legion were apparently resisting orders to return to the Blessed Isle in order to pursue a find in the deserts of the South… he arranged for tea with the Ambassador of the Lap the following afternoon.
Obsidian Skye again attempted to meet with Grandmother Bright, but the great spirit again was not in. She then visited the Deep Docks to meet with the Hand of the River (with Sundered Cliff in tow), to find out what she could. However, the Hand continued to be her usual cryptic self, revealing only that the River was not opposed to the goals of the Court of Orderly Flame. Sundered Cliff went to drink while Obsidian Skye arranged for a meeting with the Emissary of the Mist-Shrouded Isles, which would take place later that evening over drinks.
The Circle met with the Emissary, and informed him of their suspicions and what little they knew thus far. He was surprised to hear about the Circle of Orderly Flame, and also expressed an interest in them, as their goals apparently coincided with his.
The next morning, Kafun learned from his spiders that the Lap’s Ambassador had had some late-night visitors. The spiders weren’t intelligent enough to determine who these were, so Kafun decided to put them on the day watch while he would watch the Embassy in the evening.
In the meantime, Hatak met with the Ambassador. Using his considerable knowledge of bureaucratic procedure, the information he’d discovered, and her considerable stress, he discovered that the bracelet (that the automaton assassin was disguised as) was supposedly from On-Tang, according to the Ambassador. Continuing to obfuscate his intentions behind his speech, he managed to get the Ambassador to reveal that she was aware of the 17th Legion’s intentions. Finally, as she grew more and more frazzled, Hatak asked how the bracelet actually killed people.
Reacting on its own as the ambassador recoiled in fear, the bracelet leapt from her wrist, lashing out at Hatak, who rolled backward and fired his flamepiece at the creature. He scored a brief hit, yelling at the ambassador to call the beast off. She exclaimed that she couldn’t, and the creature lashed out at her, punching through her. Hatak took the opportunity to leap from the window and begin running, and the creature exploded through the wall and began to pursue.
Its figure was smoking in the sunlight, but this seemed only to enrage it as it continued to grow. Looking less like a centipede, the creature now looked like a roiling amalgamation of flesh and chitin, and was growing to enormous proportions. Hatak dodged in and out of alleys, hurrying to the Tower.
Sundered Cliff answered the door as the little bureaucrat fled inside, closing it just as the creature boiled up at the face of the building, slamming its flesh against the walls, faces appearing on its surface as it tried to get inside. After a few more blows to the wall, it began to quickly scuttle up the side of the building.
Everyone hurried upstairs, with Sundered Cliff and Kafun running up the stairway while Hatak and Skye took the lift. Skye took the opportunity to take on her War Form, assuming the shape of a gem-encrusted panther, which left Hatak aghast and drinking.
Kafun made it to the roof first, only to be struck from the stairway’s roof by the creature, which had anchored itself in a large, ink-black, flesh-woven web to the top of the building. He rolled away from its flurry of blows, getting grabbed by one of its barb but escaping any harm associated, then returning that strike with one of his own.
Sundered Cliff burst onto the scene like a bolt of lighting. He charged up the creature’s forming barbs, using them as stepping stones to leap, calling Slaughterwake to his hand at the top of his leap and then striking with the coruscating fury of the Unconquered Sun’s chosen warriors. He left a tremendous blow in the creature’s back/front as he landed on it, using its roiling plates of armor as flagstones amid the sea of writhing flesh.
Hatak used some potent alcohol and his flamepiece to burn away the fleshy webbing that the creature was placing over the doorway as Obsidian Skye ran onto the roof as well, her fans trailing in her wake and weaving their deadly dance. She leapt, striking with her poisoned claws, and then her fans whirled through the creature’s flesh.
Sundered Cliff was struck several times by a rain of probosces that manifested out of the creature, but had used his Essence to dodge the many enemies. He rallied to channel his Essence into another titanic strike, which left the creature split open and spraying putrescent ooze onto the roof, which began to dissolve in the light.
However, the fight did not stop there, as four smaller creatures crawled out of the remnants of its body. They were, thankfully quickly dispatched… too quickly for Obsidian Skye, who tried to stop Sundered Cliff mid-strike from killing the thing, but he was unable to pull his blow in time.
The Circle proceeded to ask Hatak what he had done to bring this thing upon them, and he revealed that it had attacked him at the Embassy of the Lap. Obsidian Skye left to find the Emissary, changing into a bird, and Kafun jumped down the side of the Tower, leaving an irate Sundered Cliff leading the inebriated Hatak.
Sundered Cliff and Hatak proceeded to the Embassy, finding an Immaculate Monk (the same gentleman who had come to their tower) leading an exorcism rite on the ruined building. The bureaucrat knew about an entrance in the back, and the two headed that way, unknowingly picking up Kafun as they did so.
The three headed into what remained of the office, finding 4 Realm Guardsmen present. Hatak dismissed them and began investigating thoroughly. He found plans for the Lap to collude with the 17th Legion’s desertion, going so far as to propose a military alliance between the two, after Kafun opened a safe…