Our heroes, Crioch Rhas Dunn and Karazou Edric Yang, both Solar Exalted, separately investigate an apparent demon attack on a homestead on Rhas Cayerne, belonging to the clan Rhas Taeryn. Their investigation leads them to the conclusion that the attack was targeted, and that the intention was for the entire family to be killed. The only survivor, a daughter, has been given refuge in a nearby village, with clan Rhas Borhan. Yang and Crioch, having decided to combine their efforts, set out to find the young woman and find out who might stand to gain by ending her bloodline.
After talking to the young woman, Mora, and her host, Korrack Rhas Borhan, our heroes realize that the culprit is none other than Hevyn Rhas Borhan, eldest son of their host. Hevyn learned the art of thaumaturgy from a local cult of druids, and summoned a demon to kill the Rhas Taeryns. According to old pacts and laws of inheritance, Rhas Borhan would inherit the Rhas Taeryn land. It seems Hevyn has taken residence in a nearby ruin, and is likely controlling the demon from there. Yang and Crioch, accompanied by Korrack Rhas Borhan, travel to the ruin, confront the murderer, and banish the demon.
1 Uthyr meets Trinh on the boat
2 People arrive at the castle
3 Our heroes actually meet
4 Trinh encounter a sea-zombie
Crioch Rhas Dunn and Karazou Edric Yang travel to Dun Creagh, to meet up with one of Yang’s companions, another Solar Exalt named Jadvyga Trinh. Trinh arrives to Dun Creagh piloting Yang’s ship, the Silent Storm. Having bought passage on the Silent Storm is also Uthyr Oathbinder, another Solar Exalted. As they near Dun Creagh, they encounter a mystical storm, staying perfectly still a short distance from the shore. Jadvyga manages to steer clear of the storm, and our heroes all set about investigating the storm and its causes. They find that the storm is of the Fair Folk, and only the oaths of the people keep it at bay.
1 Our heroes talk with the people, the ruling Laird and the two visiting ones, also the Laird’s sister (who captained one of the ships in the storm) and the surviving witness’ to the wedding.
2 During the conversation with the sister, a spirit (the presumed dead son) shows up in the form of a seagull.
3 Our heroes gather a party consisting of the local knight Sheban and the first mate of the Silent Storm, Aedra.
4 Yang buys a boat, and Crioch & Trinh has a weird-out match when looking over the boat.
5 All prepared they set out for the storm, and end up ramming the spirit boat (epic scene).
6 The fight starts with the ramming, ending up ON TOP of the other boat, then:
6.1 Trinh snipes, Crioch and Yang jumps the leader and Uthyr presences half the henchmen.
Our heroes, now all gathered for the first time, decide to set out at once and drive off the threat. Yang buys a boat, Jadvyga steers it into the storm, and the enemy is vanquished.
Our heroes return to Dun Creagh, and there was much rejoicing.
Yang, Uthyr and Crioch learn that the ancient giants who built these islands are weakening, and that an old enemy is drawing near. Only the oaths of the land and the oaths of its people can keep the islands strong and the ancient enemy at bay.
Our heroes board the Silent Storm, heading for Caer Gwynned, where the Laird has fallen the sway of a Fair Folk known as the Wolf of the Wylds. Captained by the immensely talented Jadvyga Trinh, the ship makes excellent progress. Our heroes decide to hire a group of huntsmen as archers for the upcoming battle. In the process of this, Uthyr Oathbinder chastises an errant, greedy spirit and promotes a new Oathbinder. Crioch and Jadvyga trains the new recruits how to handle being on a ship. Yang buys a Megaloceros.
After another day of excellent sailing, the Silent Storm arrives at Caer Gwynned, finding the village they intended to spend the night in abandoned, the villagers having been chased away by an unnatural fear of the ocean. Only a few villagers remain, whose minds have been destroyed by the fear. Uthyr and Crioch put them out of their misery.
After spending the evening debating the merits of spending a day or two finding the lost villagers in the woods over going to the castle directly, our band of heroes set out through the forest the next morning. With them they bring one of the huntsmen Yang recruited, to act as a guide. Their journey takes them within earshot of what sounds like a fight, so Jadvyga and Crioch hurry ahead to help, while Yang and Uthyr follow at a more careful pace. So separated, Crioch and Jadvyga encounter a man of the village and an enslaved kinslayer, beset by goblins. Killing the foe easily, Jadvyga and Crioch learn about the location and situation of the villagers.
Meanwhile, Yang and Uthyr find a Fae Circle, and enter it to find Hand and Foot, an enthralled goblin bound in servitude to the Wolf of the Wylds. Uthyr sends a powerful message to the Wolf, commanding the Fae to come and face him. Having thus taunted the old enemy, the group continues on to the villagers, presently seeking shelter at an ancient demesne, protected from the Wyld. They decide to spend the night, protecting the villagers from the nightly attacks of the goblins.
Uthyr’s message leads the Wolf’s daughter, the Black Huntress, to approach with an offer to invite Uthyr as guest slash hostage to the castle. Uthyr refuses, instead offering to throw a banquet for the Wolf at this location, swearing to “take his breath away” with the entertainment and fine food. Everyone thinks this is a terrible plan, but Uthyr goes through with it anyway, now that he’s sworn on it. Yang overhears that Hand-and-Foot has a plan of its own, namely to steal the Wolf’s skin while he doesn’t wear it. The skin givens him power to walk upon land. It once belonged to Hand-and-Foot, then known as Fang-and-Claw.
Crioch, Jadvyga and Yang help prepare as best they can for the banquet, by gathering various things. Yang also watches Uthyr use magic to put all the locals to sleep, and draining their dream energy as well as tapping their blood, as offerings for the Fairy and part of his plan. Uthyr also attempts to take some years off the life of the knight Alistair, but at this, Crioch protests, nearly attacking Uthyr.
When the Wolf arrives, its’ with an entourage of two children, the Black Huntress and the Red Knight, along with a large group of goblins. Uthyr and the Wolf exchange gifts, and Uthyr is given the head of an oathbreaker and a horn that summons a mighty beast from beneath the waves. Uthyr successfully impresses the Wolf with a display of Solar might, and invites him into the dream world for further entertainment, where he turns the dreams of the poor mortals into playthings for the Wolf.
Meanwhile, Crioch battles the Red Knight and the Black Huntress to keep them entertained. As the fight begins to go against him, he runs back to the banquet and eats some food, thereby joining it as a guest, keeping the two Fairies from killing him (by the power of Uthyr’s Eclipse anima, that forces them to follow laws of hospitality). Yang uses the distraction to sneak up on the sleeping Wolf, steals the wolf-skin, and uses it to disguise himself as Fang-and-Claw. In the guise of this mighty fairy, he sends away the Wolf’s goblin minions – including Hand-and-Foot, who is confused by the presence of his old self and has a major identity crisis.
Yang escapes just before the Huntress turns her attention on him, her old nemesis Fang-and-Claw. Sneaking back into the camp, he uses the Scepter of Danaad’s Authority to strike the unconscious Wolf of the Wilds. Uthyr, meanwhile, has seduced the Wolf in the dreamworld and persuaded him into selling his son, the Red Knight. Thus freed of the Wolf’s influence, the Knight (alongside Crioch) turn upon the Wolf, and he is destroyed.
Just as they are about to relax, a new fairy emerges from Uthyr’s mouth. This creature, the Chessmaster, offered him power enough to do what he did in the dream world. He has time to say one line to the Red Knight: “Remember Tanegar”. Thereafter, Yang kills him with Fang-and-Claw’s clawed hands.
The Red Knight sets off to find his ancient castle. The Wolf of the Wilds is dead, and the Black Huntress has disappeared somewhere into the woods, in search of Fang-and-Claw. Crioch swears that he will see Uthyr brought to justice before the other Binders, for all the many ways he’s transgressed his authority.
The heroes set out towards the dark castle of Dun Carrack to confront the fallen Laird Lachlan. A guard captain, Owain, introduces them to the castle and summons the knights. A little boy alerts Yang to that some knights including his mother are in prison; he commands these too be brought.
They arrange a Thing to be called, to assess the worth of Laird Lachlan; he, too, attends in the company of a mercenary. The angry Laird tells them to leave before the Wolf returns, for the Wolf now holds court in this castle and the Laird is powerless to stop them. He tells the characters that the Wolf used magic to bring back his dead daughter, and therefore he owes him everything. In response, Yang reveals the Wolf’s skin, slung like a cloak under his magnificent embroidered cape.
The Laird panics and runs into the northern tower, where his daughter is kept. Crioch, Yang and Uthyr follow him, but to their surprise, the magic has not failed. Uthyr and Yang both conclude, through their Solar magics, that she is without a doubt a Fair Folk taken the shape of the daughter; however, as soon as they lay eyes upon her, her magic enthralls them, and they become incapable of speaking ill of her. Subtly, however, the two let Crioch know her true nature, and his unrelenting hatred allows him to break free of the spell. This is a transgression worse than any he’s known. He shuts himself in the room with her and asks her if she’s human. When he sees that she lies, he hacks her into pieces, and she explodes into seafoam and slime, ignited by Crioch’s blazing anima.
The Laird, full of fear and anger, races into the room and seeks to slay Crioch for what he’s done; but he fails as Crioch seizes his sword, and with the Fair Folk dead, her magic recedes and he realizes he’s been deceived. Crioch persuades him not to commit suicide, revealing that he too has lost his children to the Deep; a flame of vengeance is lit in the Laird, and he swears the Oath of Broken Steel, becoming bound only by his desire to avenge the crime the Deep Ones have committed. With this, he grants his castle to “half-laird Yang”, due to a throwaway joke made earlier by Crioch implying Yang owned half the castle due to slaying the Wolf.
Uthyr appoints Yang Keeper of the Castle, giving him the authority to elect a new Laird. Yang uses all his wit and wisdom to pick the best man, the guard captain Owain, whose deep sense of responsibility towards his people make him the best ruler in Yang’s eyes.
After completing his duty as Keeper of the Castle, Yang immediately turns around and negotiates the terms for a trade outpost for his trade empire on the island, seeing a potential for profit in the island’s high quality mead.
Location: Island of Caer Gwyneth, castle of Dun Carrack
Ruling clan: ? Laird: Lachlan Rhas Cawdor (former)
Idea for writing this story, use perspective of the child at court, (that asked if the monsters where gone). Change it so he was from the
first village they arrived in (humans snarling like beasts in the longhouse), went to the standing stones circle where the party faced “The Wolf”
and then to the castle, where he’s around for the final showdown with the Laird and hes daughter (changeling).
Jadvyga meets a mysterious entity wearing a fool’s cap, calling itself Gwydion. Morag Strongbow persuades Uthyr to bring Fairlin to the Godspear for initiation to the Circle. After plotting a course and Yang securing some trade deals, they sail back for the Waxwood to retrieve her. Aedra tries to figure out if she should swear an oath to Jadvyga, but can’t get an answer out of anybody. Three new crewmembers are initiated, among them Ulthar of the Waxwood, but they swear their oaths directly to the crew, not the captain.
At the Waxwood, Yang discovers bad blood between the people of Rias End and the Rhas Feagles. Through trickery, he puts his purse on Gryndair Rhas Feagle. Ulthar finds out and hits her with a chair, prompting a fistfight outside between him and Gryndair’s brother, Trevor. Crioch and Yang have a short conversation about this incident. They sail on the following day, bringing Fairlin.
A rigging comes loose but Jadvyga fixes it. Crioch scolds Fenton, who was responsible. Jadvyga takes umbrage at this. A very bad rainfall followed by a cold morning makes way for an encounter with some pirates, blockading the trade route because there’s a rumored Dragon-Blooded ship nearby, and Rhas Gallanach wants nobody to trade with them. Jadvyga easily outruns the blockade.
An old fisherwoman barters with Yang over cold medicine for information about the South; beyond old Turghrim’s lighthouse, she says, there are more blockading ships, responding to this rumor of a single Realm warship.
The party continues their journey to Blindman’s Fire, an ancient lighthouse. They drink to Calum and Fenton’s mother there, and celebrate her memory with stories. Yang interviews Crioch and Uthyr about their expectations on the Godspear. The following day, they decide to run the blockade by taking difficult and strange routes through the archipelago known as the Kilt; but the winds are good and Jadvyga is so skilled they manage to navigate the entire archipelago at breakneck speed in just four hours. On the other side, to their great surprise, is the Realm ship – but it is no warship, merely a well-defended private yacht, and it’s becalmed. Despite the blockade, they decide to come to her aid.
Aboard is Peleps Yaram Teneris, a patrician woman and Governor of Cwennath on Wild Cerewyth; Yang negotiates with her while Crioch and Uthyr negotiate with Connor Rhas Connla, who breaks from the blockade to try and take her and her ship as his prize. He is turned down, and Teneris is taken aboard the Silent Storm alongside many of her men; a skeleton crew is left on the becalmed ship, to defend it until wind returns. The wind’s spirit, it seems, has been slain by the Fair Folk Heart of Salt, whom Uthyr bound beneath the waves with an oath. This worries the heroes and causes tensions to rise even further between them. Uthyr decides to summon a wind spirit and finds Ireena, sister of the slain wind-god, who explains what has happened and pleads for Uthyr to speak with Heaven and help her brother heal. In return, she lends her Huraka wind-bears to carry the ship forward.
As the heroes reach port at Cerewyth and return Teneris to safety (a detour from their original course straight to the Godspear), Uthyr suggests they go deal with Heart of Salt straight away. Crioch takes it as him trying to avoid judgment at the Godspear and an argument breaks out that becomes more and more heated until Crioch punches Uthyr in the face. An enraged Jadvyga throws Crioch off the ship and takes him out to sea to calm him down; Crioch, despairing, gives in to age and sorrow and slowly sinks into the ocean, to be claimed by the Deep Ones, too tired to fight. But as he does, he hears the call of his ancient foe Nidmaw the Whalebird, and is filled with angry determination. Uthyr, meanwhile, thinks Heart of Salt has come for Crioch and throws himself into the sea, summoning the Deep Captain; but Heart of Salt merely sends an illusion his way, mocking him and taunting him to come out to the far seas, at Heart of Salt’s home terrain.
Eventually, everyone is gathered aboard the Silent Storm again, and it sets out for the Godspear. Crioch and Jadvyga speak of hunting Nidmaw, on a great adventure. Yang and Uthyr speak of setting up some kind of trade post on the Godspear. Finally, Crioch and Uthyr reach an uneasy truce. Just before the ship arrives to the ancient temple-island, Uthyr accepts Crioch’s suggestion to duel to work out the anger between the two men.
Session Ten and Eleven
Arriving at the Godspear, the Silent Storm is greeted by an Oathsinger called Ysolde, who with the help of some local goat herders lowers a stepladder to help the visitors to climb up the sheer cliff wall. Jadvyga scares Ysolde by leaping up the ladder with inhuman speed, and Yang makes an impression by flying up the cliff using sorcery. Crioch and Uthyr makes their way up the ladder conventionally, with varying degrees of grumbling.
After explaining the purpose of their visit, the heroes are taken to an area of the temple to await the gathering of the circle. The walls are covered in scrawling text, old oaths and laws written over the ages. Crioch spots an old oath written down by his ancestors, and tells Jadvyga about it, while Uthyr meditates and Yang wanders off, learning of ancient laws and oaths as he tries to find something that might help defend Uthyr in his upcoming trial. Jadvyga soon leaves Crioch and wanders off by herself, finding a statue of the old heroes of ages past, including one that seems to depict an ancestor of Aedra, the First Mate of the Silent Storm. The statues are all positioned around a larger statue, long since broken. Investigating the rubble, Jadvyga discovers a disc made out of Orichalcum, which seems to whisper ancient words that only she can hear. Uthyr takes her to see Myrrdhin, the master of ceremonies, but he seems to fear the disc and wants nothing to do with it.
Yang learns of old court cases that could be used to defend Uthyr, stemming from Tir Na Nogh, the lost island. He also learns that there’s an Immaculate Monk here, also studying the laws for some reason. Crioch, meanwhile, drinks with Hobarth – an oathbinder who used to be a viking and an old friend – and learns there’s a war god loyal to Boudicca visiting the Godspear, named Clangethyn. Uthyr also meets with his old mentor, Ogham, a very eccentric man.
Once the circle is gathered, the heroes are sent for and brought to a large room with a jeweled ceiling, representing the night sky. The Circle interviews Uthyr, and he tells them about the Deep Ones and the threats to the islands. As they interview Crioch as a witness, Crioch accuses Uthyr of abusing his powers and having traded with the Fair Folk. Yang steps forward as his defense attorney. The argument heats up until Myrrdhin invokes a power of the ancient hall, revealing everyone’s oaths – including Crioch and Uthyr’s oaths to Heaven. Their animas flare, and they are revealed as Solar Exalted.
Myrrdhin, overwhelmed, says this case is now above his jurisdiction. As per the instructions of the Queen herself, carried down through three generations of Oathspeakers, he is to take the four heroes to the very top of the Godspear. On their way there, they learn the birds have all departed the islands, fulfilling an ancient prophecy.
Myrrdhin speaks an ancient command, and a door to a hall full of sleeping knights open. This hall was pressed beyond the veil of time in the days of the Great Contagion, preserving one hundred and twenty-five ancient heroes in a deep, dreamless sleep. They are to be woken in the hour of Rhas Cayerne’s greatest need – and can only be woken by one who has sworn to Heaven, such as Crioch and Uthyr have. The heroes deliberate, but Jadvyga simply flares her caste mark, Crioch joins in, and the ancient heroes awaken. Brigid, their leader, was the First Oathbinder, who created the circle to preserve the oaths of the island. Awoken, she explains that she has preserved these heroes because she knew Rhas Cayerne would once again need them, and they could not fight the Contagion. Only by the power of their knightly oaths could they escape the sickness that killed so many. She also managed to preserve their ships, summoning them now from a secret resting place beneath the Godspear to float where the islands’ harbor once stood.
Brigid and the heroes, alongside the bard Taliesin who came along by mistake, go to eat their first meal in eight hundred years after the heroes have introduced themselves. The four Exalts deliberate about what to do, but in the end it is decided Jadvyga and Crioch will simply try to get to know them better. They join the heroes in the feast-hall, while Yang spies on them in disguise and Uthyr goes to speak with Brigid.
Brigid has been updated on the accusations levered against Uthyr. Before she makes a decision, she asks him what is most important – his oath to create order and stability in Rhas Cayerne, or his role as Oathbinder. Can he be both? Uthyr goes to meditate on this.
Jadvyga gets in a dance-off with Elaine the Peerless, while Crioch speaks with Balin the Savage and Gareth the Enduring. As he does, he notices the war-god Clangethyn’s interference, as the curious deity surveys the mighty heroes. Yang and Crioch call out Clangethyn on his behavior. The war-god says he would love to recruit these heroes for Boudicca, thus revealing the state of the civil war. Crioch sends him away before explaining to the heroes that this civil war has nothing to do with the hundred and twenty-five knights – they must preserve their strength to fight the Fair Folk.
As Crioch, Uthyr and Yang assess the situation and the knights, Jadvyga goes down to the five ships summoned by Brigid, and becomes acquainted with them.
The heroes gather to work out a plan for what to do next. It is resolved to go West, to hunt Nidmaw the Whalebird, the ancient sea monster that took Crioch’s sons. Moreover, in the West, Uthyr might have a chance to confront Heart of Salt, and the whole group has a chance to learn more about Yalcalth, the World-Eater, the ancient mysterious thing the Fair Folk say will swallow Rhas Cayerne.
Having settled this, Crioch goes down to hold a speech for the Knights in the Mountain. They remarkably swear no oaths to join them, but merely agree to the quest, with Crioch as their war-chief, Jadvyga as their captain, Uthyr as the “dreamspeaker” and sorcerer, and Yang as a guy who owns a boat. Most of the knights agree to go west right away, while some hesitate. Brigid says she will go east, instead, to learn more about the isles of Rhas Cayerne.
Uthyr announces that he has made his decision to leave the Oathbinder circle, and Brigid uses magic to loosen the bonds of his tattoos. He goes off to be in solitude, but Fairlin, whom he was going to introduce, comes to him and declares her intention to be his apprentice instead of joining the Circle. Uthyr calls her to meet him at midnight.
Yang interviews the knights and learn that they lived before Rhas Cayerne feudalism, recognizing no liege lords or hierarchy beyond that of the clan. Crioch speaks with Brigid and she agrees to help him swear an oath and receive a new tattoo before she leaves for the islands. Jadvyga begins to interview the knights to learn more about their suitability for Captainship of the five ships.
Later that evening, Yang catches up with the strange monk Douji, who has been investigating the Godspear. The two are skilled socialites and schemers, but Yang is Exalted and soon learns that Douji is here to try and find a peaceful solution to the war that doesn’t involve the Dragon-Blooded bringing the hammer down on Rhas Cayerne, if he can. Suspicions that at least Uthyr and Crioch might be Anathema trouble him, but Yang convinces Douji that preserving the peace is more important, and Douji agrees not to share his suspicions with the Immaculate Order.
At midnight, Uthyr initiates Fairlin into his new budding order, the Dreamspeakers. His old mentor, Ogham, watches from the shadows and later emerges, warning Uthyr to be careful – it is all too easy to mess up a good apprentice.
Crioch wakes up and makes breakfast, being joined in turn by Jadvyga, Yang, and Uthyr with his new apprentice Fairlin. Yang, learning that his colony ship is arriving, goes out to plan for the colony. Crioch goes to swear his oath to the Unconquered Sun. After a ceremony in which he is tattooed, he swears to Ignis Divine to protect Rhas Cayerne, and the Unconquered Sun answers his oath, inspiring awe in all who are present. Crioch uses the opportunity to rally the Knights in the Mountain to come with him to the West.
Uthyr goes to speak with Myrddin Oathspeaker, and says his farewell to the Circle, henceforth forging his own path forward. Yang and Crioch meet the colony ship led by Feng Lau, a business associate of Yang, and they begin setting up on the island. Uthyr and Fairlin purchase some new clothes and cosmetics from Feng Lau on Yang’s tab. Jadvyga, Uthyr, Yang and Crioch gather near the ships, and Jadvyga hands out positions, assigning the captains to different ships after asking them which ones they prefer, with Yang recommending some first mates. Uthyr asks Jadvyga to teach him how to sail, and he and Fairlin are assigned to the Lionshield under Gareth the Enduring.
With matters on the island settled, Yang supplies the ships for two weeks, and the ships set out from the Godspear. Uthyr and Fairlin work hard on the Lionshield and the ships sail into the night as Crioch drills the crew on the Storm. As night falls, however, the ships enter an area of heavy surf, which deposits strange crabs made of dreams onto the deck of the Lionshield, and Fairlin is pinched by one of them. Uthyr, worried about the Fair Folk, descends into the dream world and learns they stem from a battle between the Red Knight and some type of Wyld crab monster, whose blood and flesh transformed into small crabs. Fairlin uses bloodletting on her bruise from the crab to wash out the evil of the Wyld.
It is resolved to sail on in the morning. The next day has a warm southern wind. Jadvyga spots a Rhas Cayerne ship in the distance, and the circle meets to discuss how to chase the Whalebird. They decide to ask the ship if they know anything.
The ship is called the Wildmare, and they have raided Smaragdi for giant seal bones and animal furs. The Silent Storm buys some bones to fashion more harpoons, but Crioch learns from the first mate Dylan that the acting captain, Morwen, killed the true captain of the ship, named Logan. The circle convenes to discuss, and it is resolved Morwen can either duel for her honor or accept banishment for this crime. Morwen, when confronted, explains that Logan left men behind to the savages, and spoke frivolously of their death, so she killed him in anger. She accepts banishment so as to not also have to slay his kinsman Dylan, and joins the crew of the Storm.
The following day, Jadvyga wakes up feeling thunder in the air. With the amazing senses of a Solar Exalt, she determines a bad storm is coming in just five and a half hours, and they must sail hard for the nearest shelter, which is but a small rock. She drums up the entire crew. Uthyr convinces the other captains of the urgency of the matter, Aedra assists Lyonesse on the Blackwolf, Crioch helps the men on the Ironbear row their ship, and Yang uses sorcery to fill the sails with an unseen and unfelt wind, brought by the Huraka.
Racing towards the rock, the heroes see the storm coming from the south – a monsoon, blown a long way from its Southern climes…
The storm is misplaced, having abandoned its duties, and now the Oathbreaker Storm sweeps over the six ships. Jadvyga leaps over to the Silverwing and the Lionshield to correct their courses, sacrificing one of the Lionshield’s sails to keep them from blowing past the rock. Meanwhile, the Jadestar struggles against high waves, being pitched sideways. Bruenor decides to turn the ship backwards as a last-ditch effort to blow her toward the rock. Balin makes a harebrained plan to ram the Jadestar and knock her back on course, but at the last moment Crioch decides to instead hook the ship and pull her straight by force of muscle. “I’m goin’ fishin’!”
Uthyr, seeing this, becomes suspicious and forgets to brace for impact. When Crioch unleashes his Solar strength to tug on the ship with all his might, Uthyr grabs the wrong rope and is swung off the ship, falling into the ocean. Fairlin, in panic, jumps after him. Jadvyga dives into the ocean to fish out Uthyr and deliver him to the Ironbear, to meet up with Crioch. She then swims dangerously deep into the stormy seas to retrieve Fairlin, in an impossible feat of athleticism.
Having brought both of them safely back to the ships, the six vessels make for the small island and anchor themselves for the storm. Given a moment of respite, Yang, Uthyr and Crioch gaze into the skies with their spirit-detecting glance and see a horde of stampeding elephants – southern spirits let loose by some malevolent force. Yang decides to attempt to break up the storm, and ascends into the sky on Flight of Separation to summon the huraka bears to do battle against the southern spirits. As North and South winds clash, the storm intensifies, but the ships are safe where they are anchored.
The crew ties down everything loose, heads below deck, and prays. There is nothing to do but wait out the savage storm. The following morning, the Solars gather to discuss their future plans, and resolve to go straight west to Tautoga, the last known location of Nidmaw, to gather more information. They gather the Captains and debrief them before they begin sailing. The Captains are surprised to learn that the Empire of the Petal Throne, that used to lie west of Rhas Cayerne, no longer exists, and mention that their great lighthouse once stood on what is now Tautoga. Crioch has seen the rubble of it, but nothing more remains.
Aedra speaks to Jadvyga and is upset Jadvyga didn’t tell her about her ancestor; Jadvyga also learns Aedra now has a tattoo of loyalty to her. Uthyr and Fairlin speak, and Fairlin reveals some of her devotion to Uthyr; he commands her not to follow him into deathly danger again, for his teachings must survive. She accepts this, but it’s clear she thinks of Uthyr as more than just a teacher by now. Crioch tells Bruenor that he will lead the charge against Nidmaw, and this raises Bruenor’s spirits after his mistake with the Jadestar during the storm, as well as smooths over his relationship with Balin a little. Yang visits Gareth and they have a discussion about how to handle the responsibility of holding people’s lives in their hands, Gareth as Captain, Yang as Merchant Prince.
The next morning, Jadvyga spots red water. She is alarmed, but Yang calms her down – it is the rust coming off Tautoga. The entire island is slowly bleeding away into the sea. Tautoga is the only place west of Rhas Cayerne that has large quantities of iron, but the merciless Western Sea is slowly eroding it, and has been for centuries. They are nearing the land of rust and scars.
Sailing into Tautoga, the heroes come to meet the Clan of Connor. These descendants of an ancestor named Connor welcome Yang with gifts of food and chalcedony stones, hoping to secure an advantage in aggressively negotiating with two neighboring clans at an upcoming moot. For this meeting, they will go to the ruins of the old lighthouse, where their ancestors are buried. Tautogan culture is extremely oriented around the worship of the dead, who bear witness to all oaths sworn on the island.
The locals explain that a great cat has been tearing their sheep. Yang deduces that this event also serves as an excuse for them to lord over the other clans, browbeating them into helping hunt the cat and establishing their authority. Yang offers to lend some of his men to the hunt instead, hoping to gain favors with the locals so that more can be learned about Nidmaw.
Crioch smells rot, and asks the locals to go see what’s washed up on the shore. It’s leopard seals, massive beasts, killed by Nidmaw – but there’s also driftwood from a shipwreck. Nidmaw must have sank a ship at sea, and Crioch recognizes the driftwood as Rhas Cayerne. The Whalebird has been here already.
Uthyr learns from the locals that the warriors have had disturbing dreams, and suspect them to be messages from the honored dead. Old men try to speak with them in dreams, but they cannot understand the message. The warriors are less keen than the leaders of Clan Connor to bully the other clans, since they know they will pay if a war breaks out.
Arriving at the Stone House, as the locals call it, the heroes are taken in with the scope of the ancient lighthouse, and Yang deduces it must have been a powerful manse – but it was utterly destroyed in the Fair Folk invasion. Yet it seems to have some geomantic power yet, for it is strongly attuned to the essence of Death. Yang becomes curious and heads inside it as Crioch interviews the coastal Clan of Karras. He learns that a shipwreck has washed up also on the northern shore, and that the natives have brought back three intact bodies and a mangled torso to bury them in the Stone House so that they may become ”part of the island”.
Crioch objects, sensing something foul about the Tautogan burial ritual, and instead takes the corpses to have them burned at dawn. This shocks the Tautogans, who seem to consider burial rituals extremely important, but they do not object.
Yang, meanwhile, discovers that the interior of the Stone House is full of corpses. At its very center is a white jade core, which once powered the lighthouse, but it’s become corrupted and blackened by the essence of death. Rows of dead stand around it at the walls, staring unseeingly at the white jade core. As Yang approaches, he finds that the geomancy has been horribly tainted, and seeks to suck his soul from his body – only the mantras he learned from his nameless mentor protects him as he investigates further, finding a mysterious chalcedony-capped scroll in the old library. Yang then returns to the surface.
Uthyr has learned of the politics of the locals, and now that they prepare to bury their own dead, as well as ”summon the dead and ask questions of them”, he becomes curious as to what manner of dream-magic plagues this place. He sinks into a meditative trance to look into the dreams.
He finds, to his horror, that the manse permits the dead to dream – but it is dreams of death, of deep, endless sleep. He sees the buried dead awaken and join this massive, collective dream of inky blackness, and begins to understand the island’s secret; the ghosts of its dead are all joined together to slow the inevitable erosion of the land. When the lighthouse broke, the islands began to crumble, and only the power of so many ghosts has kept it stable for this long. Uthyr becomes curious and draws closer to the lighthouse in dreams – but the soul-sucking power of the manse seizes him in his astral wanderings, and his unprotected soul – outside his body – is drawn into the blackness and he begins to die.
Yang has returned to the surface, and sees Uthyr suddenly convulse and collapse. He realizes the manse must have seized Uthyr’s soul, and so does the only thing he can – summons his nameless mentor and asks him to take Uthyr ”nowhere”. Uthyr disappears without a trace, a piece of the island coming with him.
Crioch and Yang look bewildered at the absence of Uthyr. None of the men can even remember him; they don’t know who Crioch and Yang are talking about.
Meanwhile, Uthyr finds himself back in his past, in Queen Mab’s court, the last time he was outside Fate. The entity who took him informs him that he now has a simple choice – choose the same fate that led him to Exaltation, to the Silent Storm, and to Tautoga – or choose a different fate. If he chooses the latter, it will be as if he never existed…