It was the 28th of Descending Wood, the eve before the final season of the year. With only 72 days to go before Calibration, Minister of Emergencies Jin was hard at work in his offices. The last thing he expected was a visit from a minor celestial god. Nevertheless, Little Po stopped by the Ministry to convey a message from Elephant Speaker. The message regarded Jin’s ongoing rehabilitation project, Unfettered Horizon. If Jin wished to protect her, he would need to put her in a secure location for the next two days. Jin heeded the bureaucrat god’s words and hid Unfettered Horizon at the Ministry, though she seemed grumpy at the mundane accommodations.
It did not take long to find out why it had been necessary to hide those with some connection to Suto Toyokuni. The next day, Ascending Fire 1, Jin was contacted by Guild investigators, alongside officers of the Ministry of Peace, who informed him that Suto, his Guild Patron, had apparently been attacked in his own home. Jin, affecting far more concern than he actually felt (save for a hope that his nemesis might have been dispatched) immediately headed for Suto’s compound. The scene was terrible – a hurricane appeared to have blown through the house, though it localized in a single room, where the bodies of Suto’s bodyguards and, of greater immediate concern, Suto’s fiancee sprawled lifelessly. Jin called upon Sarnai, Locke and Kalanthes for aid, and sent a runner for Li Zahn, who Jin knew was also familiar with Suto, and bore certain responsibilities in dealing with the dead.
Sarnai, Locke and Kalanthes arrived and immediately began investigating the crime scene. Their keen eyes and diligent efforts uncovered the following facts about what had transpired.
• Three attackers had entered the house. They killed the guards first, then killed Suto’s fiancee. They fought with Suto.
• Suto is a decent fighter, but was no match for the attackers. At least one of them used a supremely powerful supernatural martial art, although Elephant Speaker was not among the attackers.
• Suto was injured, but survived and fled. He demonstrated an ability to reflect attacks back at his assailant.
• A hidden wall in his study revealed a sub-basement with a costume wardrobe ranging throughout the middle and middle-upper classes of Nathir society.
While this investigation was ongoing, Jin began praising Kalanthes to Li Zahn, attempting to bend the will of the secret servant of the Deathlord so that he would have a profound admiration of the Solar Sorcerer.
Kado joined up with the circle as they were leaving Suto’s estate to follow a few more clues. Locke went with the body of Suto’s fiancee to the morgue, where she persuaded the family to allow her to consecrate the body and bless it in the name of the Unconquered Sun. When she did so, the body was consumed in holy light, the scene shocking the Law family, but seemingly in a positive way. Kado and Sarnai tracked Li Zahn, watching him prepare the other bodies for burial and then following him home. They did not discover him doing anything sinister, but they maintained a vigil to see what he might be up to.
On the 2nd of Ascending Fire, Locke was out hunting at Dawn when she saw a woman by the river, summoning power. She sent her bird to investigate, but the point of the woman’s actions became obvious soon enough, as a mighty wave rose up out of the river and went barreling towards Nathir. The magic that powered the wave was unravelled just as it reached the town, but the force was still tremendous and a large portion of the city wall was shattered, along with the Lookshy Embassy. Hundreds were slain in the deluge and the circle raced in to help mitigate the damage and save whom they could.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the circle met with the Taimyo of the deployed Lookshy forces, who informed them that Ambassador Karal Triumphant Horizon and her second, Maheka of the Mountains, had both perished. Jin and Taimyo Gherin both agreed that the assault, which seemed to target Lookshy assets and shatter a key part of Nathir’s defenses, was merely a prelude to something further. Kado offered to attempt to track the sorceress back to wherever she may be fleeing to after making mischief, but even with his great speed, he and Sarnai were only able to determine that she had crossed the river and headed north before far graver news forced the circle to prepare for war.
Lookshy scouts reported that a legion of Erymanthoi, some 3,000 strong and organized into 10 wings, were on the march and headed for Nathir, likely to arrive in the next day.
War was coming. As the circle began to make preparations, Taimyo Gherin pledged to align the Lookshy forces with the Nathir forces, under the command of Minister of Emergencies Jin. Little Po paid one more call, this time on Kalanthes, where he related Elephant Speaker’s regrets that she would not be able to help in this particular emergency.
And here we paused.