As the Solar Exalted reawaken, Creation shudders at their return. A thousand dooms plague the world. As the light of the First Age dwindles, and darkness awakens in hearts of men, gods, and the Exalted alike, great acts of mighty heroes are needed to bring Creation out of this Age of Sorrows.

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Jade Forgetting
The boy is safe now. His glow has gone down by far and so has the big one, who has introduced himself as "Dega." He is good and cares for the boy but I do not know if that is what I am going to be called to do. The boy reminds me of a group Amatha spoke of: The Chosen of the Stars. She was not very keen on their kind. I will keep my heart distant if actions must be taken.
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The boy's name is Einar. A sweet adolescent who wishes nothing of the life that has been laid before him. The shifty one brought back meat and has also introduced himself as "Xhangda." He is previously of the Immaculate Order which might serve my duties to the Pact well. As we talk, Xhangda speaks of this life as if he has been cursed and all who live the same life are also cursed. I feel pity for him that he does not feel blessed. Maybe that is a journey he must take soon.
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Xhangda and I left to go take care of some business in the village. Xhangda to a home to take some goods, and I to put up the threatening orders to warn the village of their doom. I think Xhangda is a better person than he thinks he is. He treats my spirit shape well without even thinking. Only those with good Heart's Blood have done that for my Spirit shape before. This is a good sign
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Who is this boy? He waves at me and smiles to both Xhangda and I but I have not memory of him. I try not to stare but his joy of us does not make sense. Xhangda and Dega say I know him but why can't I remember? We must be protecting him. I will keep him close and try to not forget again. Amatha will wish to hear of this.
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Episode 2.2: Roots
  • The group carries the young man to a cave. While they deliberate, Einar wakes up and is terrified. The group takes the day to calm him down and earn his trust.
  • He and Dega trade stories, Xhangda retrieves his belongings and says good-bye for him to his family, and Jade forgets he exists.
  • They decide to take a shortcut to Solsheim, so Xhangda rushes south to Dawnflood, while the rest cooperate to create a false trail leading east. They then meet up with Xhangda.
  • He has planted a seed that grew into a blue-orchid tree whose roots connect with the one he planted in Solsheim, but a little snake god isn’t happy that he’s done this without permission.
  • After a week of hard work, it is done and Xhangda wants only to rest. But that night, Einar warns the group of imminent danger. Sure enough, they are ambushed by archers, including a fiery one, and they retreat to the tree.
  • Xhangda transports Einar and Jade there quickly, then helps haul Dega across the lake while he defends against the arrows.
  • Finally, they escape into the Unseen Paths.
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Episode 2.1: Sparks
Realm Year 774, Resplendent Water 1
  • "Anathema!" cries the preaching monk, but the preacher is waylaid.
  • Xhangda carries him off while Dega preaches.
  • Jade helps Xhangda confuse the monk, but it is short-lived as Zaoti arrives.
  • A fight ensues, but the crowd is fixated on Dega. Xhangda lures the Dragon-Blooded out of town, but a bonfire erupts as Jade witnesses a young man Exalt.
  • She rushes him out, but they are cut off by another Dragon-Blooded.
  • Xhangda allows Zaoti to leave just as Xua Huo is returning.
  • Zaoti attacks and kills Mira, then turns on the young man and Jade.
  • Xhangda promptly kills her. Dega goes totemic and intimidates Xua Huo, but permits him to leave with his life.
  • The group is left with two radiant beings and the question of what to do
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On Movement Methods in Creation: A Treatise of Travel
For a certain kind of person, the goal in life is to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. Some people are happy to use horses to move faster, or to ride a boat to ensure no possible moment is wasted. Some go as far as to learn to harness magical means to pull themselves farther, faster, and more intensely than others. For mortals, these speed boosts leave them content in how much faster they can move than their peers. But, while the Solar Exalted are routinely called many things, the Lawkeepers are rarely if ever called "content".

Translated First Age texts speak of vehicles faster than racing skiffs or thoroughbreds propelling the God-Kings through the sky, high above what any mere mortal would ever be able to achieve. The earliest known warstrider propulsion mechanism is found doodled in the margin of one of the oldest copies of "The Seventeen Holy Paths of the Eastern Citadel", and consists of a quartet of stripped-down siege flamecannons strapped to each leg of a pair of God-Kicking Boots, utilizing a surprisingly clever Essence-sensitive fuse setup to ensure all eight cannons fire at roughly the same time. The design, while simple, is robust enough to propel an average user about fifty feet in the air with only minimal chance of catastrophic explosion.

A multitude of unmanned tests have been performed on this design, and modern jump assists for warstriders are based on this same design. The only manned test ever recorded was undertaken by Trail-Blazing Seeker, a Chosen of Fire better known for his role in calibrating the great smelting foundries of Firahane. The initial explosion engulfed him in flame and snapped both his femurs before sending him almost two hundred feet in the air. Only the timely intervention of his wife, Graceful Flyer, stopped Trail-Blazing Seeker from plummeting to his death. Trail-Blazing Seeker would continue creating new and better versions of firedust-powered flight until his death by unrelated incidents, though Graceful Flyer never did let him try his own inventions again.

Trail-Blazing Seeker's work advanced the knowledge of the properties of firedust, but the true white whale of the fast moving seeker has been true Essence-powered flight. While it is well known that Essence manipulation by Exalted generates force around an object, the amount is so trivial that even the mightiest of God-Kings in the First Age would only move objects as a party trick. Pure Essence-using thruster designs exist, including a design that is powered only by the natural movement of ambient Essence, but the known designs remain expensive, fiddly to create and maintain, and utterly not worth the time to create. The Guild has multiple carts they claim are powered entirely by Essence thrust and are only maneuvered by their pack beasts, but Guild representatives have stonewalled any and all attempts for Realm engineers to actually study the mechanisms. The are "A gift to show the Scarlet Empress upon her return," say the Guild, but whether they will honor that promise remains to be seen.

As Essence-using athletes approach closer and closer to the theoretical maximum speed possible to move on foot, merchants and military generals alike look into alternate ways to move men and materials to points meaningful and multitude. Tessalable locations, or two points bonded in reality to be in the same place at the same time, are possible and even trivial for some gods to create, but they come with a unique set of problems. When an object moves from one point across a tessalable link, all pieces of said object do not necessarily move together. Some pieces move faster or slower than others, and some parts experience a velocity change while others do not. The Earth-path scholar, Two Paths Converging, claims to have solved the issue with an immense Essence-channeling sculpture based on the absolute accuracy of the Elderclock Manse on each end of the tessalable link, and spared no expense building a pair at the behest of the Scarlet Empress. When Two Paths stepped through the link at the grand unveiling of his masterpiece, he traversed three hundred miles in a split second in an event as dramatic as his death was quick. The masterwork of Two Paths Converging is still around as of the time of this writing, and can still be seen during the occasional execution of someone for who beheading is deemed too kind.

The final way of traveling point-to-point is to pass through a reality other than Creation. Traveling through the Wyld is a common thought experiment and is theoretically possible, though limited in usefulness due to its bordering mainly on the absolute edges of Creation and the extreme inherent danger of travel. Travel through Malfeas or somewhere else is also possible, as shadowlands exist at a multitude of locations in Creation and the denizens of Malfeas can be traded with to ensure safe travel. The Guild famously runs a trade route between Celeren and Carthren in a journey that goes two thousand miles in a fortnight, and reportedly only costs a dozen slaves as tribute each movement. This is still not without risk, as over the thirty-year history of the Celeren-Carthren trade route three Guild caravans have gone missing, but the Guild is quick to point out how that is still safer than many shorter trade routes on the Periphery.

As modern scholars continue to push the bounds of travel, more and more exciting avenues of movement continue to open up. From the continual incremental improvements on Essence and Firedust thrusters that happen every year to the recent forays into once again trying to move living people through and out of Elsewhere, travel continues to be safer and more efficient than ever. If you would like to know more, or sign up for one of the many open positions as a test traveller, please visit your nearest Immaculate Order compound and ask for the Order of Flying Serpent.

May your travels through the Realm be as safe as if guarded by Graceful Flyer, and as swift as Trail-Blazing Seeker would wish.
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Season 1 Finale
The singing the Circle heard above was actually Solar essence being concentrated into a magical hearthstone, the Gem of Day’s Light. Lord of Blades claimed it, but as he removed it from its pedestal, the Hall of Solsheim and all surrounding areas lost power. Upon investigation, they discovered that the essence-conductive wires, unused since the fall of the First Age, had disintegrated, due to thousands of years of corrosion. Cold began to set in quickly as the Season of Earth progressed. Luckily, Iris enacted a sorcerous working to catch the first light of Calibration, ensuring the region would always have some degree of warmth. The Circle observed Calibration, exchanging gifts between themselves, and even receiving gifts from their boar-man steward.

Remembering their rendezvous with the Winter Dragon, all of the Circle journeyed south toward Gethemane. All, except for Iris, who was compelled to remain behind to “mend something broken.”

The journey south was smooth and without delay, save for a small stay in Baliguld. The city flourished thanks to the presence of the Guild. The Circle also helped the infamous Lunar free spirit, Six Dances Lover, the unofficial herald of Spring.

The Circle reunited with the Winter Dragon at the village north of Gethamane and celebrated their successes. Arcturus praised the Circle on finding the mythical Solsheim and acquiring new gear, and the Circle praised Arcturus for finding new recruits and surviving in the Southern Cities. The Seer brought bad news, however: They had lost Iceclaw. He had defended them against an incoming Realm Legion while they retreated, but they were unsure as to his current state.

The next day, a lovely woman calling herself Fallen Valkyrie approached the village and offered an alliance with Pain’s Bitter Tears against the Realm, who had approached Gethamane from the East. The Circle agreed to assist, fully planning to betray the Gethamane forces once the Dragon-Blooded were roused.

Before the intended incursion, Xhangda visited Master Luen Tso to warn him of this plan, but the Master and Fist of Five Dragons turned on Xhangda. His heart was broken, and then turned venomous. The next day, the Realm forces awoke to a profane message regarding the Dragons, written in golden flame.

That night, the Circle attacked the Realm forces in darkness, drawing them out so that the Gethamane archers could attack them. The Realm legionnaires had difficulty keeping pace, but the Immaculate monks pursued them closely. Once they had separated the forces enough, the Circle then decimated the monks, and then the legionnaires when they finally caught up. Lord of Blades fought Master Luen Tso, who fared much worse against the mighty Dawn Caste than when the two had fought in Icehome. Lord of Blades quickly dispatched Master Luen Tso, taking his head as retribution for his eye. Meanwhile, Xhangda fought Fist of Five Dragons. He also managed to overcome the Dragon-Blooded, but kept him alive—albeit at the cost of crippling his legs.

At this point, their champions defeated, the Realm forces retreated. The Gethamane forces then advanced—thousands of squishy faefnir and scores of fungus beasts.

Meanwhile, upon the wreckage of the fallen mountain, the Circle saw a ritual being enacted, with Pain’s Bitter Tears standing over her twin. The Seer could feel something beginning to tear, and launched the Circle into battle with a mighty whirlwind.

The Circle dealt death and destruction to the Gethamane forces. They smashed through their lines, defeated their deathknight champions, and cast down Pain’s Bitter Tears.

The ritual worked, however—Fate’s Frozen Tears and Pain’s Bitter Tears had been separated, with the latter’s released life force being subsumed by the former. The Guardian of Gethamane then struck down the remaining creatures of darkness.

In the days that followed, Dega returned to Solsheim to help Iris reconstruct the region, ensuring it was free of the Skyfathers’ vanity. The Seer took her leave and wandered the North, trying to find Iceclaw. Xhangda and Komi traveled to Tovrida together in an uncomfortable silence. Xhangda called in a favor Aravey owed him to restore the hand he had lost in the Battle of Gethamane. Komi tried to figure out his new relationship with the goddess. Finally, Lord of Blades, Yolan, and the Winter Dragon remained in Gethamane to assist Fate’s Frozen Tears with the repairs to the mountain.
Session: Episode 26 - Wednesday, Sep 21 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
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