20th Day of Descending Wood, Realm Year 768
The group gets to Celeren, under the “care” of Zara Swiftsteed at sword and lance point of her guards. Zara bears another icon that the prophet shows them, a red rose on her armor, it is her family crest. She gives them a wary release to explore the town while they await the current leader of the Marukan to return from a yet ANOTHER hunting trip. He seems to take them often, even while his nation stares down the throat of an undead invasion force, lead by a Death Knight.
The circle catches up with Shek, whom they meet in the trading area of Celeren, and inform him of all of their adventures, and discover what they missed with him. He had barely gotten out of Haven, and made his way here. Without them around, his life is pretty uneventful, and mundane as the life of a trader can be.
While wandering around town, the circle overhears the screams of men and women in pain near the barracks, and they wander over to investigate. As they get closer, they are drawn inwards towards a supernatural force, that they believe to be another circle mate. Upon entering the building, they see a foreigner, definitely a priest of some kind from the far East, tending to the Marukan wounded. She is soothing them with kind hearted words, while the air is palpable with her Solar essence usage. After applying a balm to a soldier, she turns around, and has a bright Zenith caste mark upon her brow, and the group immediately recognize her as one of theirs. Oddly enough, she bears the Exaltation of the Solar they had found naught but a day prior. Fawn introduces herself, and tells them of her journey, agreeing that, it must be the will of the Unconquered Sun that circumstances have brought them together. The Circle re-gifts the Exalted with her prior Exaltations belonging, and they magically resize to fit the lithe female, changing sizes from that of the stoat stocky dark man that wore them previously. Upon donning her collar, her haggered traveler’s look disappears and she appears quite immaculate.
Kyurtin, the leader of the Marukan Alliance has returned from his hunting trip. Kyurtin invites the Circle into his personal chambers for a feast, and reveals to them the truth about his hunting trips. That they are really a means to try to find the fabled Rock Ram, and he often has prophetic dreams about getting the ram, and turning the tide of the war. He dons a hat that mimics another image by the prophet in Haven, and asks them to accompany him on his next hunt, leaving the following morning. The group begrudgingly agrees.
20th Day of Descending Wood, Realm Year 768
The entire hunting party rides off into the woods, which happen to be wyld-tainted, and not too far from Celeren. Due to the ability of Kittah-rah to navigate in the wyld, and the tracking skills of Fawn, the party is able to finally find the fabled Rock Ram guarding a flock of sheep. The group chases down the Ram, with little success, mainly because Kittah-rah has forgotten her chief ability of speed. Finally, Bruce is able to wrestle the Ram to the ground, while some of Kyurtin‘s men bind it, and heft it to Kyurtin’s steed. When leaving the pasture, an elderly gentleman steps from the woods, and accuses them of thievery, demanding the return of the Rock Ram; Kyretan defiantly refuses, offers compensation, and insults the man. The man leaves vowing vengeance. A Circuit Rider comes up to the forest edge at full gallop as the party departs the confusing woods, bearing a message for Kyurtin that INSERT NAME OF ABYSSAL ‘s army has became the attack on Celeren, and Zara Swiftsteed leads the defense of the capital.
The entire crew approaches the city, they can see the defense forces clashing with the invading horde, and to their flank, threatening to cut them off in a pincer attack, and go straight for the walls, is an intervention force, moving rapidly towards the gates. The group ride to cut this attack off. Mun-ja opening the fight with a volley of Death of Obsidian Butterflies, and disables the transportation snakes, maiming the attacking forces. Kyretan’s men discover that the tears the Ram is spewing are actually golden, yet another image from the prophet, and they do massive amounts of damage to the undead, as well as heal the super-natural plague affecting the Circle. Shrui ‘khan and Bruce concentrate on the shock troops attempting to set up siege ladders out of spine chains, as well their accompanying zombies. Mun-ja works to take down the invisible war ghosts that are assaulting people while incorporeal. Kittah-rah wades into the masses, and is almost brought low by another gaggle of zombies, having not yet learned her lesson. Fawn, still not full aware of her Exalted prowess, moves to defend Kyurtin and his men from the advancing attack, keeping the lines of undead at a safe distance from the Marukan’s leader. This counter-attack cuts the motion out of the assault, and the Ram’s tears turn the tide of the battle in favor of the Marukan troops. Who send the undead running back to their camp. The entire crew goes back inside of Celeren‘s walls, to nurse the wounded, and develop a strategy for the future.
21th Day of Descending Wood, Realm Year 768
The Circle comes to the conclusion, that through parlay, they might be able to convince INSERT NAME OF DEATHKNIGHT HERE to withdraw his troops. They wary advance upon his camp under a banner of truce, and make their way through the ichor strewn region towards his headquarters area. Through sly words, and verbose, grand bragging, Mun-ja and Fawn are able to point at the recent defeat, and convince him through Solar social charm use, that he stands absolutely no chance.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Shrui ’khan notice that there is an enchanted book on INSERT NAME OF DEATHKNIGHT HERE ’s desk. They overcome the enchantment and make an attempt to steal it, using Shrui ’khan’s stealth and thievery abilities. Once they get back to Celeren they realize that the book is actually a detailed journal, including DEATHKNIGHT NAME ‘s plans to use Celeren as a launching point, having diverted Lookshy’s gaze. Once Celeren is in his grasp, he plans to move on to Lookshy! They dispatch a Marukan circuit rider with the news to Lookshy
The Circle argues with Kyurtin about getting their end of the deal, taking the cure to the plague, back to Haven. Kittah-rah tries several different violent means of stealing the Ram, and as it cried out, blooded from talons, and such, a large Emerald Bull bursts over the wall of Celeren, and tries to get the Ram back. The group, recognizes the threat, and gives the Ram over to the Emerald Bull, whom they follow back into the Wyld-tainted woods….
Upon reading the woods, they see the old Shepard there, smiling ear-to-ear. Apparently he did get his revenge. The Rock Ram is returned to him, and by his proxy, to the apparent leader of this local council of spirits, Lady Goldmaine. She informs the circle that she quite pleased, and doesn’t understand why the humans are upset. What was hers was taken, so, any price paid was correct. She also tells them that the plague on Haven was completely and utterly her doing. She was slighted by Haven‘s god, Anjos thousands of years ago, and decided that a good way to strike one back, was to kill all of his worshipers in a terribly painful outbreak. [:lady-goldmaine | Lady Goldmaine]] agrees to give the Circle the cure, if they can prove themselves worthy, and understanding of the ways of nature.
The group undergoes a series of trials to show them the truth of nature, and that the circle of life is highly important. She then gives them a portal cure for the plague, as well as an extra supply of the Rock Ram’s tears, and bids them farewell.
The Circle returns to Celeren to deal with Kyurtin, and his annoyance, once and for all. They convince Zara Swiftsteed that she would make a much better leader for the Marukan, and offer their backing, and support. Zara had just been waiting for someone to say the word… she and her troops march in to the main hall, and demand Kyurtin’s surrender. He begrudgingly agrees to this turn of events. And Zara bids the Circle farewell, as she has many provisions to make, preparations, and training, even though the immediate threat is gone, the over-bearing threat of invasion from Thorns still looms, and word has not yet reached Lookshy. Having gained a new ally, the Circle heads back to Haven.
Upon reaching Haven, they find another healer, the former crazed man from the road-side faking miracles. Apparently Thericite, in the intervening time, has Exalted as a Chosen of Luna, and can cause illusions that mimic healing. He tries to denounce our heroes, but they will have none of that! The circle deposes him, and runs him down as he flees, killing him. Awards granted by the council of elders of Haven, and free passage, and friendship are granted to our Circle. They decide to head back to Crossroads, to attend to their newly acquired township.
20th Day of Descending Wood, Realm Year 768
Fawn had traveled for weeks at this point, drudging her way westward from her homeland, in search of needy people to help. She felt that she could not properly serve her people as a priestess, without having seen the world, and utilized her youth while she still retained it. So her pilgrimage had taken her westward so far. Her feet grew weary as she saw Celeren on the horizon, with a column of smoke near it, and felt something drawing her there, that she would meet destiny, and her help would be needed. She buckled down, and headed that way.
In the late morning, she came across two wounded Marukan outriders, whose steeds were dead, but, their injuries wouldn’t allow them to make the trip back to their garrison in Celeren; Fawn decides that she will personally deliver them back to their unit, and proceeds to make drag litters, and transport the two of them simultaneous back towards Celeren. The going is rough, and physically exhausting, eventually, Fawn is on the verge of collapsing and takes a break, determined to help these two soldiers. When slumps over to rest herself, she is visited by the Unconquered Sun personally. The Unconquered Sun explains to her, that she has been chosen to bear an exaltation of one his priests and champions; he also explains that wants her to set the record straight about his glory, and bring the power of his light to all the people of Creation. He grants her the power of a Solar of the Zenith caste, and tells her that her path will soon become obvious.
Fawn came to, and finished the rest of her journey in one long leg, with renewed vigor and strength of sinew. The power instilled in her shows through her constantly, and her caste mark is always visible upon her brow. Despite this, when she arrived in Celeren, and offered her help to tend to the wounded, she is quite welcomed, although she wasn’t there for long.