|Okay, well something like this -- only|
thornier and more juggernauty.
The results are harrowing: DUMAS’S head is partially punctured by a possessive though not entirely unbeneficial circlet; VARIAN and ARCTURUS are compelled to enter into honorable combat in connection with Varian’s wearing the Armor of Concealment; ARCTURUS’S actions are rearranged by a helm which resists removal until he disdains equipping it the following day; and CATALINA is not only killed by the circlet associated with Dumas (then fortunately revived through her lifethorn), but finds herself in involuntary negotiation with a succession of the Idecca, who claim to have come in response to her requests for an escalating series of bottle cases.
Later, during the second watch of the night (after eating a crab cleansed of blue by Catalina; and after ALINA and ROGELIO have likewise retired), ALECTO, Dumas, and Varian are remotely beseeched to come to the assistance of the Watchful Warder and its mount, TERENTIUS. They acquiesce and quickly find themselves helping the man against a construct called the Thornsmith Juggernaut. Through a series of accords, they are able to break the Juggernaut open, revealing an Oriental-attired man within who, surprisingly civilly, proceeds to concede the battle to Terentius. After each has chosen his respective claim resulting from the combat (Terentius, his fallen comrades; and the man, his Juggernaut), the unnamed man departs and Terentius thanks the trio and avows that his number owes theirs a favor, thereafter sending them back to their companions.
Soon after everyone has awoken and been apprised of what occurred, MANTIUS receives a summons in his office as Renegade Warder. He is given the opportunity to take three of his comrades with him; and so it is that Mantius, Aly, Catalina, and Varian meet the Diamond Blood Cloak Warder, who greets them all cordially and, in recognition of their success in obtaining the Eye of Pluto, elevates their number to Ninth in the hierarchy of the Army of Shards, displacing the group formerly in that position. He then proceeds to invite the warders of the eight numbers above them to come meet the new number, each warder bringing along three of his or her own group. The shards and bearers who therefore attend are:
Veda (female) mounted by the Intrepid Warder
Clemens (m) mounted by the Saint of Widows
Bartolomus (m) mounted by the Unbound Warder
Torrence (m) mounted by The Simple Man
Barnabus (m) mounted by the Keeper of the Fourth Flame
Andras (m) mounted by the Paragon of Will
Ezekius (m) mounted by the Thunderbreaker
Urich (male) mounted by
Lucia (f) mounted by the Accomplished Grey Opportunist
Ricius (m) mounted by the Accomplished Thornsmith Sage
Cornelius (m) mounted by the Accomplished Rumormonger
Hereus (m) mounted by the Accomplished Seismic Juggernaut
Crispianus (m) mounted by the Accomplished Feylight Harrower
Josias (m) mounted by the Accomplished Aurora Talon
Cinelis (female) mounted by
Danielus (m) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Scarab Monk
Sextus (m) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Runic Titan
Aloysius (m) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Cerulean Warder
Terentius (male) mounted by the Watchful Warder
Yvgeris (m) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Tempest Mage
Megaera (f) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Ravencloak Walker
Ionis (m) mounted by the Accomplished Thrice-Crowned Prince
Elinora (female) mounted by the Black Greave Warder
Fida (f) mounted by the Accomplished Faceless Queen
Caritas (f) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Glaive Vanguard
Helena (f) mounted by the Accomplished Gilded Cannoneer
Lady Adria (f) mounted by the Paladin of Last Chances
Lord Hanor (m) mounted by the Accomplished and Essential Caged Penitent
Senator Patrikus (m) mounted by the Cyclopean Grenadier
Most of the numbers leave quickly once courtesies are performed, but the third number stays behind when Terentius evidently accedes to MEGAERA’S request to be allowed to speak to her younger sister, Alecto. Aly infers that Meg had some sort of falling out with their eldest sister Tisiphone, which led the former to leave home some time after Aly’s own departure. All members of both groups seem to be getting on well enough until Aly mentions to Meg that she finds Terentius attractive, which, combined with Catalina’s display of charm in Terentius’s direction, clearly discomfits Megaera and causes her to urge the third number’s immediate departure.
Meanwhile, the Diamond Blood Cloak Warder has been in conversation for some little while with the chauvinistic warder encountered previously by Catalina. Despite the chauvinist warder’s sudden turnabout—explaining that he had been testing Catalina’s comportment when she was bearing the Harmonic Warder—he is severely chastised by his superior officer and eventually stripped of much of his power and demoted to the sixtieth rank of numbers.
After being informed by the Diamond Blood Cloak Warder that (a) they will soon be audited, (b) he will send them a new mission in 24 hours, and (c) they should be aware of the problem they face in the Harmonic Warder, they are returned to the beach, where it is not long before they are contacted in quick succession by three numbers of the circle of ten, each seeking a trade of shards, as follows:
- The Sixth comes in desperate need of a ‘terra’ shard; the party obliges trades them the Stone Mage for the Oracle of Equinox.
- The Fourth comes in search of fire, blue, or bardic shards; the party is unable to oblige.
- The Eighth, including Spectral Bowyer Banisa (?) seeks healing and/or summoning shards, and accepts the party’s counteroffer of the Ivory Mage, Cyclopean Nuncio, and Saint of Eaves in exchange for the Meridian Walker, Daughter of Passion, and Opalescent Mage.