The day was set, the preparations complete for the attack. The local resistance of Bluesky had done some reconnaissance on the new temples and divined their purpose. Severus was planning a special ritual in the heart of Bluesky City to power up the Antitheses of the world. The ritual was to be conducted at the main temple and spread across Ferros via the use of very large emanation stones. Such epic magic, however, would be too much for one stone to handle, so smaller conduits were set up across the city. Destroy the stones and you would stop the ritual, or at least weaken it. General Beatrix had originally planned on attacking the zorite crystals during their transport from the mines, but with the increase in security she didn’t think it would be wise. The crystals were now being transported in cages of zorite steel and guarded by Wolfrau. When Severus was ready to start the ritual, the zorite steel cages would be released at the same time by the guards at each temple site. Any disruptions and the guards wouldn’t release the casings, preventing the ritual and letting Severus know something was happening. So Beatrix planned to attack all five sites at once.
Each one of Team RYSN would take a site, assisted by a friend or cohort. They decided where to go, but at the last minute, Yasuoi decided to split from his cohort, Quin, and stay with Titus. Niachi attacked with Sister Elone, Sara’phiem partnered with Brother Thom, and of course Rom stuck with Raniy. They would have one minute, and no way to communicate with each other.
Immediately most of them got off to a bad start. Raniy attempted to shatter the crystal, only to discover that as an emanation stone, it emanated the spell in a much more powerful manner across the entire temple, nearly destroying the building. Sara’phiem and Niachi learned this in the first few rounds as well, much to their chagrin. Quin had known this might happen and warned Yasuo ahead of time, but each group soon found themselves needing to use this property to their advantage as best as they could. It never worked. Raniy tried to paralyze the crystal, thinking a powerful spell would destroy it, but it only paralyzed her. Thom tried flamestrike and Sara tried entangle to slow down their monk and Wolfrau, but the one simply avoided it and the other absorbed it. Niachi attempted to use an unfinished spell to send the crystal to the shadow plane, but it blinded or hurt everyone in the temple. Yasuo deliberately used it to try and damage the golems at his site, which was very effective but hurt him just as much. Despite the bungling, they seemed to do well for the first round or two, but then things began to go wrong.
Rom and Raniy were slowed down by their enemies and Raniy’s spellcasting. Yasuo and Titus were sharply debuffed by a sorcerer casting the Hilbert Effect. Beatrix left Quin to draw off some reinforcements from General Ephraim and Quin was then attacked by Nathan Fillion, Beatrix’s second-in-command. Sara and Thom struggled to deal damage to the golems, Wolfrau, and crystal, all of which were largely impervious to their magic. The only one without any problems seemed to be Niachi as he bounced around the battlefield in his dervish dance. Despite his early playfulness and testing of the crystal, as his minute passed he became serious and used Really Interesting Name to make short work of it. He was the first to destroy his crystal.
Rom and Raniy succeeded next. Once they realized magic was not the way to go, Rom simply hit it with his claws. He was nearly carried off by the golem, but a Holy Anvil stopped it. After a tense battle with Nathan, Quin knocked him out and destroyed her crystal in a few hits. Time ticked by and Sara and Titus still hadn’t destroyed either of their crystals. With seconds left, Sara used all her mental strength to seal off the enemies behind an ectoplasmic barrier, toss some bombs at the crystal, and have Thom call down one last flamestrike to ignite them, blowing it up spectacularly. But Titus and Yasuo couldn’t get it done. Once they were forced into the material plane in real bodies, the stone golems had kept Titus on the ropes by grabbing him. He escaped, only to be grabbed again. While he was distracted, Yasuo kept dealing with small punches to his armor by a hit-and-run monk while also trying to damage the golems by using crystal shard on the zorite. It worked, but badly hurt himself in the process and missed the monk. This left an opening for the monk to knock him out with one more punch. The monk made ready to finish him, but Titus knocked him out in return, intending to capture him for interrogation. He managed to revive Yasuo just enough, but their time was running out. The ritual was almost complete. With nothing else to try, Yasuo put his final efforts into a disintegrate, hoping that the raw power of destruction would be enough to stop the crystal. Knowing it would kill him.
From across the city, almost everyone could see the sudden greenish-black sphere of destruction engulf the city. The beams of destruction shot forth in every direction from the zorite, creating a massive crater a thousand feet across and half as deep. Somehow Titus resisted the raw power and the fall should have killed him, but he woke up moments later feeling nothing but pain. His legs were shattered and useless, his arm twisted backward unnaturally. Above him, the crystal remained, floating in the center of the complete destruction. Above the city a thin beam shot forth into the sky, sending out a single ripple of power. The ritual was successful, but had been incredibly weakened. The Wyrd would not gain the strength they had thought.
After the battle everyone returned to the resistance’s headquarters to meet with Beatrix and report. Yasuo, Quin, and Titus were late, but something about the attack had bothered Rom and Sara. Listening to each other’s notes, they realized that each of them had had different enemies. Each had been optimized against them. Somehow they had been spied upon and their plans leaked to the Monks. They suspected either a powerful scrying or a mole and made preparations to interrogate the resistance captains. As Raniy meditated to reassign spells, Quin returned with the news: Yasuo had died trying to destroy his crystal, and Titus was back in Jik’ton for healing. Her report strongly implicated Nathan Fillion, who had disappeared after her fight and had reappeared briefly at Beatrix’s HQ to try and through suspicion off. Not certain, Raniy, Rom, and Sara interrogated the resistance captains, who all appeared to be clean. They also said it was probably Nathan, though none of them actually knew anything. With this in hand, the party reported to Beatrix, who was stricken with grief over the destruction, failure, and betrayal. She took it very personally and swiftly took them to the palace.
Expecting a climactic fight with Nathan Fillion and General Ephraim, the party geared up. Titus had returned with a fresh pair of legs from Father Arroway and Raniy prominenced everyone. Beatrix led them into the heart of the palace, to the Royal Chambers. Outside stood a man in heavy ornamental armor and cape wielding a mighty spear: General Ephraim. He advanced on them and demanded to know their purpose. And when they answered, he lifted his spear…and gave Beatrix a hug, glad to see her safe after Yasuo’s Destruction. The party was confused. He led them into the chambers where they met his sister General Eirika and Princess Tamra.
Tamra spoke largely with Titus, swiftly and decisively negotiating a deal between Manscell and the Resistance of Manny. The Resistance would provide Manscell with gold and resources and would rebuild Prime Meridian’s trade routes as well as manpower to take back the mines and other strategic locations. In return, Manscell would assist in recruiting for the Resistance, supply valuable materials, allow them to recruit Father Iomhar, and promote the worship of Manny. He was a bit reluctant at first until she reminded him that he was currently in the same room as the Four Generals of Manscell. This confused the party since only Generals Ephraim, Eirika, and Beatrix were present. Three times they asked, “What happened to the fourth general?” and three times the generals responded “We are the Four Generals of Manscell.” The party was very confused.
With all the excitement concluded, most of the party returned to Jik’ton. Titus stuck around to torture and interrogate a monk, who maybe revealed the locations of the other corrupted monks, though he also displayed a greater shout power and killed himself. Rom and Sara stuck around to look for the special piece of information about the Wyrd. Beatrix knew something but wouldn’t say directly, just telling Sara to go to the “Church Services” of Lachesis. Rom objected so they sat on a fountain and talked.
Sara sat through the church services. At first it was all songs and praise, but then the preaching began. The pastor talked about how Lachesis freed the soul from the oppression of the gods. He said the gods were weak, that they were the gods of one idea at most. How strong could a god of the mountains be if he couldn’t also be the god of the forests? How powerful could the god of the Ominians be if other gods still opposed him? The Seamstress, he said, was the worst, writing down and weaving everyone’s fates into the Loom. How could you have choice if she decided everything? Lachesis. Lachesis is the God of Fate and Freedom, of one’s own wyrd (a sort of personal destiny, fate, or purpose, supposedly self-made). And while he gave his blessings (the pastor indicated the corrupted among the churchmembers) his true converts were the Fatespinners. A group of people stood up, all wearing a similar outfit: a brown cloak with the symbol of the Wyrd made into a wheel on it and each held a holy symbol made into a spinner. Sara had seen them earlier and watched them. Unlike everyone else, who were mostly there by force, these five had seemed sincere in their worship, and now were proud Lachesis-ites it seemed. The pastor said that these Fatespinners could make their own destiny and that anyone could be like them, just speak with them afterward.
Sara stuck around after the service and indeed someone showed some genuine interest. Most of the conversation was drivel, but before Sara left, the Fatespinner did something. He asked the nearby Monk to hit him and the Monk did so, very successfully. Then Fatespinner put his hand on his holy spinner and flicked it and said to try again. The Monk struck and for a moment he hit, but in the instant that he did, the world flickered and all of a sudden the Monk’s fist sailed right past the Fatespinner’s nose. He had made the Monk miss! No one else seemed to notice the flicker, so Sara returned to Beatrix and asked about them.
Beatrix said the Fatespinners had appeared a month-and-a-half ago. She didn’t know where they came from, but somehow they were different. They were charismatic and sincere in their worship. Sure the corrupted worshiped the Wyrd, but how much worship could they really give as Antitheses? She reckoned that somehow the Fatespinners were the real followers of Lachesis, and were really drawing power from him. That’s when Rom informed her of Manny’s recent ascension (which Titus had only just learned of during his quick hospital visit). She wondered if somehow Lachesis had accomplished something similar, but seeing as he was still alive they weren’t sure how. Rom attempted to explain that Lachesis’ goal was to break the Great Seal (though he avoided explaining it to her), but she just asked why bother. If the Seal held back the gods, wouldn’t it be protecting Lachesis? Breaking it would let them attack him and he probably wouldn’t stand up very well to that. Instead she asked them what the Wyrd were trying to do and why they weren’t interested in Bluesky City very much. But neither Sara nor Rom had answers, and so she sent them home and told them to speak with their spiritual advisers.
Now the party must decide: investigate the Fatespinners in Bluesky City or go to the Esterlands to search for information about the Key of Slow Time?