Flying through the air at breakneck speed, the Circle received an Infallible Messenger sorcery from the Bull’s camp. It indicated that there was a great deal of trouble at the Bull’s, the most important bit was that the Bull himself was incapacitated and hovering between life and death, helpless. Despite the newfound sense of urgency, there was little they could do to arrive sooner, and they arrived 2 weeks later to see the camp on a full military lockdown. They were escorted to the Bull’s adjutant, noting that the soldiers were more focused on internal than external threats. They reached the Bull’s throne room to find him confined to bed, with an alchemist running all manner of tubes into him to keep the Solar going.
The Bull’s adjutant, a God-Blooded, said that several days ago, people had started disappearing. First one at a time, then in small groups, soldiers had been disappearing. The pattern fit someone very skilled at disguise, and they went to lockdown quickly. Eventually, they located the source of the problem – a soldier that transformed into a hideously deformed monstrosity – and they set upon it. The heavy Essence cannon they had laid one into the beast before the Bull himself came down to do battle with it. The Bull wounded it, but couldn’t kill it, and was poisoned in the process. Armed with that knowledge, the Circle deduced that the hostile was a Chimera, and they knew they had to find it and kill it. Finding it would be easier said than done, though, since Chimeras could look like anything they wanted to. With that, the Circle started to search, with Hugo and Callas airborne while Geralt and Hakun searched on the ground. Jasper, though, had been pulled in by the Alchemist to provide raw Essence to keep the Bull alive, and he was out of the picture.
Searching from the air with Essence sight, Callas expected the search to be brief. She was surprised, though, to see a horse on the ground. There had been no horses there before, and her gryphon immediately launched into a dive-bombing attack, snarling a war cry. Hugo leapt from the glider he’d borrowed into a freefall descent as soon as he saw Callas charge, and the others on the ground followed suite. The gryphon tore into the horse with a snarling war cry, but what emerged chilled the bones of the Circle. The horse became a Chimera, with razor-sharp quills, a snake’s body, and a lion’s head, laughing madly the entire time it transformed.
With that, the Circle set to work. Hugo snapped off a volley of chakrams as he descended, lighting off as many of his charms as he could. The remaining Solars all cast their charms and sorceries, and before you knew it there were four totemic banners flying, lighting up the sky for miles. Hugo’s eyes widened as his throws all landed good hits, but did next to nothing against the beast. The beast turned its attention to Hugo in retaliation, sending a volley of quills his way. Hugo twisted, but wasn’t fast enough, and his armor didn’t take all the hits, one of the quills scoring deep into his arm. Callas renewed his attack on the chimera, but her attacks barely scratched it too. Hakun, meanwhile, began directing the Circle for one massive, coordinated strike. The rest of the Circle didn’t relent their assault, though, but it wasn’t enough. The Chimera continued to laugh insanely as it set into Callas’s gryphon, badly wounding the animal.
However, it seemed that the Circle wasn’t alone. A falcon came screaming out of the sky at breakneck speed, before flipping over and transforming into a pissed-off Lunar, screaming ‘MINE!’ as Hugo and Callas continued their assault. The Lunar had transformed into his war form, and he too set into the Chimera as Hakun shouted directions, coordinating an attack on the Chimera. Hugo managed one last burst of energy, infusing his assaults with lightning before Hakun’s coordinated strike landed, with Callas pinning the beast down and Hugo raining electically-infused chakrams onto the thing. Those finally did something, and Geralt took advantage of the confusion to lay into the beast with his claws and boots. Geralt’s boot did a good number on the beast as the Solar stepped further in. He locked eyes with the chimera, expecting to see hatred. What he got back instead was… different.
Geralt felt a sparkof recognition in that instant, and the chimera transformed into a mouse, climbing up onto Geralt’s shoulder, simply repeating ‘you came back for me!’ After the initial confusion, Geralt realized that was the recognition of his Lunar bondmate, and he nestled up to the mouse, which now looked… cute That fact terrified the rest of the Circle beyond belief, and Hugo was still intent on killing the thing as a Chimera, since he viewed Lunars that had descended into Chimerism as Anathema. The young Lunar, Aunn, that had showed up agreed with Hugo, stating that the thing was beyond sanity and that it needed to be put down, although it was calm enough that Aunn was confused if that was still necessary. Hugo was… somewhat forceful on that point, flipping a bolt of lightning past Hakun’s ear by way of insisting. Callas broke up the argument by offering to seal an oath on the Unconquered Sun that the barely-not-a-Chimera Lunar known as Mocks Her Madness would not descend into madness again, would not recklessly attack thinking beings, would cure the Bull, and most importantly, that she would take the Moonsilver Tatoos that the Silver Pact used to contain the madness associated with travel into the Wyld.
With the Oath sealed, she transformed back into her human form, revealing a stunningly beautiful young woman, her hair the color of Orichalcum in a perfect mirror of Geralt’s moonsilver hair. They headed up to the Bull’s hospital bed, where she transformed again, sucking the poison out of the Bull. The alchemist that was trying to heal him noted that he would make a full recovery in the span of a few days, and all present breathed a deep sigh of relief. Aunn, the young Lunar, said that this was the last thing he’d expected, and that his Elder would be pissed. Almost on cue, a scout showed up saying that they’d spotted a massive owl indicative of another Lunar coming in. Aunn cursed, and the Circle, plus Aunn and the recently restored to remote sanity not-Chimera, headed to the largest landing on the tree as they waited for the Elder. Callas asked Aunn if it was Fury Of Claws, and Aunn said yes, indicating that he had been given instructions by Fury not to approach the Bull’s city because his bondmate was there and that they hadn’t parted on the best of terms… then he realized why Callas was asking and quickly facepalmed.
Fury Of Claws landed and was about to demand an explanation from Aunn when he spotted Callas and muttered a strained ‘Hi, Honey.’ He was backfilled on what had happened by Aunn and Callas, and was flabbergasted that Mocks Her Madness was ready to take the tattoos and wanted to become sane…-ish again. With the aid of Callas and Aunn, they performed the tattooing ritual by the changing moon, plugging the leaks in the Lunar’s sanity before setting off back to their camp to repair the damage that had been done. Fury indicated that there would need to be a suitable punishment to Aunn for his disobedience, and elected to have him remain with the Solar Circle. With that deal done, the Circle went back to the Bull, happy to see him recovering. His adjutant mentioned that he was glad to see the Circle back for a multitude of reasons, and now that the immediate crisis had passed, they would need to help with the envoys of Lookshy that were coming to discuss a non-aggression pact.