The Shattered Child

On the sixth day of the Ritual of the Winged Cascade, Eryn Thrax and Chloe Rue who were both slated for sacrificial execution, were set free by a serpentine voice in their head along with a manacle. This freedom was exchanged for them finding the Princess, which the Ritual of the Winged Cascade was meant to bring about. They were kicked out from the Grapnel Arena and dumped into the lower portion of the city called The Foundations, where the poor and the criminal reside. They came across Matthew Shroud and Meow in the Pale Spine, an unsavoury tavern. After a brief fight with some drug smugglers, Meow left the group with the drugs while Eryn and Chloe followed Shroud to the Undercroft Market. Shroud had gained information that would allow people to know him as a Lord, yet he needed to be perceived as one, including the trappings of wealth such as servants and finer clothes. The first came in the form of Neave, a downtrodden and out of work Seneschal who had a family to feed and provide for. She returned to her family to say her goodbyes.

On return from visiting Neave, Shroud encountered the Silver Palm guild-member, Dehart, and his companions looting a shop. Shroud was there at the time of the founding of the Silver Palm so walked over to introduce himself. Looking how he did, and speaking with such familiarity, Dehart had his Guldspar inject him with Judgement. This was swiftly apologised for after Shrouds credentials were verified. Eryn and Chloe stumbled upon this situation, with Chloe antagonising the Silver Palm and in return breaking her lute.

Chloe soon became ill under the effects of the Untethering and so the group visited a Narrkonis Atrium. They ‘acquired’ a set of earrings that were meant to combat the sickness, in return for exploring an area of the city where a body had been found floating. When the group arrived they were attacked by mechanical beasts. They fought them off, however after the struggle Shroud was separated from them by being detained by Aeon Priests who worked for Cairn. Eryn and Chloe found themselves under the city with a woman called Lily and a creature she had found called Valma. Investigating the rock found that it was perhaps originally a machine that had somehow fossilized. At the end of what was explorable, they discovered a cure for Chloe and found an exit. Before they left Chloe touched a crystal egg that transferred a consciousness to her mind. The voice was piercing like glass and was slowly using her power of transmutation to transmute her own body, eventually including hair, eyes and nails..

Chloe, Lily and Eryn returned to the Narrkonis Atrium in hopes of returning the earrings but did not. Instead Chloe managed to get into a fight with a Purple Order Monk over theology and Valma followed by attacking the woman. Lily is offered an assignment by her employer via a note handed to her by a monk. The group are then offered flowers to smell, after she accepts, and are transported to a stone room. They eventually escape the exit-less room and corridor by walking through the outer stone wall which had writhing hands out-stretched. They had left the Foundations and on to the Merchant floors.

The assignment Lily received was to interrogate the Grapnel Guard and Glaive Keeper Xivians Cairnin, who had been blamed by the public for Chloe and Eryn’s acquittal. During the time Lily was trying to ascertain information on Xivians whereabouts, Chloe was slowly losing her mind to the two voices in her head and attacked a cook from the Beyond and her fellow patrons in a restaurant. Eryn found a fan of his called Arden, who had heard of his heroic deed of slaying the first born of the criminal Marish Clan in the city of Qi. Arden had told the Hawk-Eyes of his bravery and requested an invite to be sent to Eryn to join if he was to ever visit. Adren did not expect him to visit, nor for Eryn to deny the rumour Arden was left dejected by Eryn was summoned by the Hawk-Eyes.

When the group finally came together Lily had found out that a select few merchants would know of a way to get inside the Grapnel Academy, where Xivians was located. Eryn was tasked to find this merchant with a sleeping poison on a ring. Eryn found a cigarette salesman called Styenbeck. A freak accident caused Styenbeck to be poisoned and was taken to Mezzo Holdings. At Mezzo’s Lily had found a man named Mephisto was living in the room she had rented. After a brief discussion they were interrupted by Eryn and Chloe’s arrival as the receptionist Margaret would not let them in. They were allowed to pass but on returning to the room they found Zarik, Mephisto’s brother, dying on the floor, to the indifference of Mephisto.

After Zarik died, Mephisto was offered by Lily to talk to his brother. The reason he had been killed was related to the Rings. Styenbeck revealed afterwards, although not knowing of Zarik’s death, that he had heard Zarik had returned to the city and was working as Ring of Melch. The interrogation Lily had planned for Styenbeck failed due to Styenbeck’s abilities and he demanded that they accompany him to the Tangent Bank to rectify the loss of his business, that of his stock and his peddle cart. The former had at the time of abduction, been taken by Chloe. She, during the interrogation had disappeared onto the rock garden.

She had found a device used by the Whisper Network and transported herself via the Flower Network to where a Professor Melvile was researching in captivity by House Lyathra and that specifically of Silas. He warned her not to have anything to do with the Network and quickly sent her away after noticing the bloody hand-prints on the device. These hand prints belonged to Zarik.

Outside the bank, Lily followed Styenbeck and discovered his links to the Whisper Network and eventual discovery of the eight versions of an old woman who was a gatekeeper to the Tangent Bank. Eryn and Lily found Neave and Shroud at a cafe, deciding how best it would be to steal from the bank. The group joined forces and found their way into the marbled and mirrored bank with Mephisto staying out the outside to keep guard. They eventually found the top floor where Styenbeck took off with a Silver Palm coin from Eryn. Neave was then attacked in the Mirrored Vault. Eryn, Lily and Shroud all hurried into the dimly lit vault. All the surfaces excluding the floor and ceiling were mirrored, and in this were visions of a monster. Chloe was discovered by Lily in a vault drawer.

The monster was a writhing mass of bloody flesh with a brilliant and terrifying golden eye at its centre. Although it was seemingly trapped behind the mirrored glass, it attempted to attacked the group forcing them back out of vault. Outside they quickly hid from approaching Grapnel Guard, who swiftly took Chloe Shroud and Lily into custody. Leaving Eryn and Neave. They both followed behind, with Eryn being interrupted by Arden trying to sell images of a Hawk-Eye version of Eryn. As Eryn tried to stop him he was introduced to Arden’s fiancée, Rose, who was also Eryn’s ex-girlfriend. This was interrupted by the introduction of Rose’s sister, who turned out to be an exact copy of Neave. Eryn knew something was wrong and ran towards the Academy being chased by this clone.

Meanwhile at the Academy, Lily had been introduced to Ellin Darkspur, a plant from the Whisper Network and a member of the Metricious guild. He was there to facilitate her ‘slow’ progress. Xivians had died and was in the morgue. Lily was able to ascertain that Xivian’s was attacked by Zarik before fending Zarik off. Xivians had already taken a slow acting poison due to his guilt and had been spending his time away from the public to repent before he left the earth. Lily, out of curiosity checked a few more corpses and found one of them similar to Neave. The corpse then awake and rampaged inside the academy. Outside, Chloe was with Shroud when Neave approached them, she asked them where Valma was but neither of them had it. The creature was with Lily but Neave was impatient, regardless of Shroud telling her otherwise. Within a few moments Eryn arrived and yelled at Shroud and Chloe to move away from Neave. The one that had given chase arrived as well as one from the morgue, who had thrown Lily’s unconscious body out onto the walkway.

The Neave clones were defeated and another Neave, who they believed to be the one the group was associated with, arrived, decapitating one of the Neaves still left on the walkway. She then took Shroud and Valma with her a corner away from Lily, Eryn and Chloe. She opened up Valma, much to the groups on-looking dismay, and rearranged the internal structure. She then apologised for the situation. She explained that she was also a clone, but she had given birth inextricably to a family and she and her were under threat. She was to leave with Shroud for the top floors to get away from her pursuers but she asked if they could find her children. They had been taken into hiding but Neave had wiped the hiders memories clean remotely so needed the group to take them to a man named Braxx to restore their memories. She also explained that Valma had a vastly larger database than original thought and that it was the interface and firewalls that were blocking access. She explained that she had ‘fixed’ Valma, but during the rebuilding phase of the library, its behaviour would change from childlike to adult. During the adolescent phase she instructed Lily and Eryn to be careful with it, as its programming could become corrupted and may react violently. It was also at this point Valma gained the ability to shrink into a size that fitted onto an attachment onto belts or to a pocket size.

After a stopover at Areanna’s,  Lily was made a full member of the Whisper Network and was tasked on relaying all information on Chloe to her Entwined Evaline. The next morning, Eryn left early to find a way to gain favour with the Silver Palm, remembering their smuggling business from when he first was released. This woke up Lily who quickly after Erny leaving, used her new connections to organise him to be followed. Eryn found that the Minotaur’s, a rogue criminal faction against the Silver Palm, were slowly being ‘cleansed’ from the lower areas. Eryn decided to find the leader and hand them in. This turned out to be Rose. He placed her unconscious body in a barrel and transported her to Dehart. Dehart told him that Neave’s house was currently being occupied by grunts with heavy machinery and medical equipment, although they had no insignias.

Erny arrived at the house, created a hole outside the house to trap a few grunts and then went inside. He found an elaborate autopsy set up amongst the humble property. He was attacked to a shadow and a man Eryn was unable to grab. He noticed after that there were multiple body parts of young children but no heads, spilled blood and mercury. He also found information by Melvile about a poison called Prosapiae. Chloe and Lily soon arrived, with Lily stopping Chloe from entering. Eryn handed Lily the research before she was abducted through the floor without Eryn’s notice. He heard her Whisper Network box fall to the floor and used it on a flower and left.

Chloe was now on her own. The crystal voice and the serpent voice fought in her head. She received a vision of a gigantic spaceship crashing into earth. Valma heard the crystal voice crying to this and appeared to Chloe. Valma told Chloe of records it had of a ‘transdimensional gramatrix drive’ failure and an ’emergency shift to evacuate all personnel’. Chloe was convinced Valma, the voice and the ship crash were all linked. She tried to tell Eryn or Lily but both had disappeared She remembered the frequency of the Flower Network on the rock-garden outside Mezzo’s and teleported.

Eryn was transported to the back of a shop where he met Xera and Eciton who were working on another part of Prosapiae. They were attacked by the Rings of Melch and managed to capture one member. They brought him back to Mezzo’s where he revealed that Melch was believed to be real, confirmed by the serpentine voice in Eryn’s head. Chloe arrived and in a fit of madness cut off her own arm in an attempt to remove Melch’s voice. She passed out afterwards and during the confusion the manacle attacked itself to her leg without being seen. Eciton and his Ricora soon left suspiciously quick after Chloe’s self infliction and the disappearance of her manacle and was blamed as a thief.

Xera offered Eryn to help work on Prosapiae at his lab in the Foundations. He accepted and so took both Eryn and Chloe with him. Eryn decided to contact Neave about the possibility of House Lyathra of the Whisper Network being involved with her childrens’ capture. She snidely thanked him for being useful, ordered the removal of Shroud’s memories and cut all communication. On the way down the group was cornered by Aeon Priests and Chloe was quickly handed over to them. She was subsequently taken and examined and imprisoned by the Aeon Priests. Eryn and Xera finally made it to Xera’s lab only to encounter Xera’s partner in his drug creation enterprise, Styenbeck. All too soon however they had to fight off one of Xera’s ingredients, Jesanthums.

During this Lily had been taken by House Lyathra, specifically that of Silas. He warned her for using his property for frivolous and unsanctioned affairs, such as hiring someone to follow Eryn. He then made her apologize and forced her to take an assignment called ‘The Harvest’. She was then transported via the Flower Network to Styenbeck during the middle of the fight. After the fight was over she and Styenbeck carried out the mission they had been assigned. Xera was attacked by a presumed dead body of a Neave clone, one of a number who had started falling to their deaths. It grabbed hold of Xera, Eryn tried to free him with a fireball, and accidentally set his lab on fire. Xera managed to rescue some ingredients, notes and lab equipment and some vials of the drug he had been working on called Black sunshine but most it was turned into a blue cloud that drifted up and around the city.

This fire sparked Deharts anger. Xera enquired as to where they might find the ingredients for the poison they were working on. Eryn handed over five Silver Palm coins. Dehart could not refuse, he told them that House Lyathra had one of the ingredients as they had delivered it themselves. He would offer his guild’s full services Eryn and Xera collected all the bodies of Neave to which they agreed. Eryn decided to use barrels and so went to the Pale Spine. This lead him to find out that the Hawk-Eyes out of the city and t criminals were known as bounty hunters and was given everything he wanted. Xera on the other hand went to the local Narrkonis Atrium to gain supplies using Silas’ name. This also allowed time to pass into night so that they could easily collect the bodies.

Chloe who had been captured slowly made her escape, aided mysteriously at each turn. She found her way up to the office of Egron Mar, the head of the Aeon Priests in Auspar, only to discover communications between him and another, talking about her. The letter jokingly referred to the amethyst that was showing on her would break if she was to lose anymore sanity, referring to her as the ‘Shattered Child’. This was only offered as an alternate explanation to the reference. Chloe took the letter and escaped with the aid of a maid and cook, who Chloe realised too late, that she might have possibly been her murdered handmaiden. The crystal voice offered Chloe a new hand but she was distracted by the faint voice of Valma, who she followed to the bottom of the city.

When she arrived on the first floor, she bumped into Styenbeck. He was carrying the head of a Neave and instinctively Chloe tried to stop him. She had intended to remove the walkway in front of him, however he fell into this hole and was swallowed by the rubbish. She went over to where Styenbeck had been and found the body to go with the head. As she was discovering this she was shouted at by two indistinguishable men, who she believed were Aeon Priests. They were in fact Eryn and Xera but she managed to lead them on a chase through the Foundations.

The next day they were lead by Deharts contacts to the place where the ingredient was being held. They were transported half way up the tower by a few Untethered members of the Silver Palm. During their entry they managed to escape detection and make their way upstairs. On their way up they discovered more details about Prosapiae, most of which were in a kind of binary format as well as details on types of shadows being considered the true rules of House Lyathra. At the top of the tower they discovered more research notes as well as a seven foot tall vase with similarly large flowers. The group were prompted to connect to the flower and were transported to what looked like an underground cellar.

Inside this cellar were more gruesome aspects of the research into Prosapaie. In one of the locked rooms, Eryn and Xera found the body of Lily with a Neave head. This head started talking to Valma in another language before Eryn permanently put a stop to it by melting the flesh off the metal bones. Chloe meanwhile was downstairs. She had encountered the creature known as a Nychthemeron, a monstrous creature who only spoke in questions. After Eryn and Xera joined him her they discovered they were being watched by Silas. There was a sudden earthquake and Silas offered Chloe, Eryn and Xera safe passage out of the city .As the cellar was collapsinging they noticed that the creature was just a holographic projection, even though their interactions with it had been visceral. Silas also told Xera to use a Cypher to convert the words of the creature into its own language.

They agreed hastily and they were transported to the Narrkonis Atrium. From there Eryn directed the group to the Hawk-Eye tower. Silas explained, that as a member of the Purple Order, he had noticed that Chloe had a prophesy on her amethyst transmutations and needed to see the rest so she must be saved. He then revealed that the cause for the earthquakes, the Obsidian Spire in the city gyrating up and down, was caused by the Whisper Networks interference with the Neaves. It had triggered an alarm which seemingly cause the earthquakes.

Silas offered Chloe a serum that would re-grow her hand, she agreed. This not only allowed Silas to read her hand for prophecies but had the intentional benefit of converting her own flesh into amethyst. The group eventually reached to top Needle-Point summit where Silas revealed the extent of the prophecy and Chloe’s conversion to a group of Purple Order Monks and Hawk-Eye guild members. They all agreed that the three should be evacuated. However Melch had other ideas and used the manacle to poison Chloe. The crystal voice sped up the conversion, stopping the organic poison from harming the body. However as this process was sped up, it resulted in solid rather than organic crystalline structures, eventually converting Chloe completely into amethyst.

Silas told Eryn and Xera to take the notes Xera had gathered from the creature and to find the House of Morianna. They were the only ones capable of translating. He told them they would look after Chloe and sent Lina Rennis with them. She instructed them on a man named Jarvi being their guide outside of the city. She also asked if they could find a man for her. His name was Zarik and he had gone missing after fighting with his father, Silas and she wanted Silas to be happy again. She took them to a zip line that lead far off into the distance to a village called Darkperch.

As they ventured down the line, Eryn’s manacle was caught in an invisible barrier over the caldera edge. It had yanked him from the zip line and he was losing his grip. He could hear Melch laugh as the Obsidian Spire slammed for one last time, sending a shockwave through the city. This reached Chloe and shattered her into dust. A split second later the cable snapped, leaving the fates of Xera, Eryn and Lina in the balance