“It isn’t unusual for you to see a Fair Folk on their own, because that would imply there’s a usual in the Wyld” – Mike
“I don’t think pregnancy is a Wyld mutation” – Mike
“It is if you’re male” – Aaron
Once the Circle had rested in the near Bordermarches, they pressed on, leaving Hakun to guard the airship. Vaulting over the massive waterfall they had found, they came upon a massive desert at the bottom. The desert eventually degraded into a literal sea of sand, which had a skiff beached on it. Hugo tentatively called out to see if anyone was there, and what appeared to be an old woman came out. She was so obviously Fair Folk it wasn’t funny, but she wasn’t hostile, so the Circle engaged her in conversation. She said she was fishing, and that she just caught five big ones. The she asked the Circle where they were headed, and Aunn told her they were looking for the Silver Pact. She offered to give them a lift, but the Circle elected to take the gryphon.
As they flew, fortunately for everyone Aunn spotted a large fin cutting through the sand. THey climbed, and escaped the wrath of the siaka that had been stalking them. The same skiff then darted in and cast a net about it, which instantly became razor-sharp the second it closed about the beast. She waved the Circle down. Aunn dove, transforming back into his human form, while the gryphon dove. THey had to wave off, though, when the effects of Hugo’s Wyld-repelling charm interfered with the boat. They quickly reached an accord. The little old lady would guide the Circle to the Silver Pact in exchange for protection from them. Sealing the deal with an Eclipse Oath, they presed on, reaching the end of the sea of sand.
The lady quickly fashions a simple diving rod to track down the Lunars. The Circle is confused, though, since she pretty much ignores it in her single-minded pursuit of her goal. They start in a forest where the entire landscape is made of bone, including the trees. Quickly that descends to just being littered with skeletal remains. They then come upon an archway into a jungle. The Old Lady continues on, as does the Circle. The lady is still totally focused on her divinations, and in that focus she steps on a brown mound. That mound then twitches, and what used to be a tyrant lizard comes out. Callas quickly tries to talk it down, but it responds by spraying the Circle with burning sand and ash. With the diplomatic option out the window, everyone lights off their combat charms and starts thed process of taking it down.
Hugo pulls away as he lights off, as does Jasper. Callas clambors onto her gryphon frantically as Aunn throws himself forward full-force, shifting to his war form. Aunn and Hugo deliver somewhat effective attacks as they finish lighting off, their anima banners going totemic, visible for miles. Aunn is scored by the battleaxe-like tail of the beast as Geralt flings himself forward. Geralt kicked the beast int he face before he slid down its back, dragging his razor claws as he fell. That badly wounded the thing, and Callas was able to convince it to let them go.
Hugo chides the old woman for letting them get in that kind of trouble. She just laughs, citing that its their job to fight and hers to look. They come upon a great river of lava which bears a single bridge. Across that bridge is a quartet of Lunars in war form all hurridly looking to cross. When they see the Circle, they calm down somewhat. They quickly begin talking, with Hugo and Aunn taking the lead in the discussion. They indicate they’re looking for an akuma last seen in this area, possibly searching for a manse, and decribe her phoenix form. The Lunar’s diviner quickly tries to set something up to find her. As the ritual was cast, Hugo and Strength of Mountains, leader of the Lunar pack, swapped notes on long hunts. Once the divination ritual had finished, the stick that Wind Reader had been using as a focus shattered. She looked puzzled as she consulted her thaumatology notes on what exactly that meant. She informed the Circle that they and Lisara were intertwined with a very powerful line of destiny that was not Lisara’s. She explicitly told them “You are fated to find her. There will be strife, struggle, and unintended consequences” That was all she could say; the presence of so many Exalts, operating outside of Fate, made the rest of future unclear. She did get a solid fix on Lisara’s location, and the Circle sets out, thanking the Lunars for their aid.
They approach the likely spot for Lisara – a manse where all 5 elements coincide, being a volcano with a lagoon and a forest at the base, with plenty of air at high altitude and the mountain itself filling in for earth. They approached the mountain under cover of dark before setting down. Aunn did a quick recce of the volcano. He spotted a secondary entrance to the place through the lagoon. The Circle moved in, trying to time their arrival with the dawn.