The circle gathers at the first village, because of rumors of a Solar Exaltation occurring there – they find, however, that the village is in dire straights after a streak of murders have begun happening, and that several people in the village have become victims of lethargy, or generally have started to become forgetful. Whenever it seemed to get really bad, that person would show up dead – murdered. The villagers assumed that someone in the village was doing it, but didn’t want to turn to the girl, because she was so young.
As a result, they hired Alabaster Ghost. Ghost, however, isn’t entirely sure what seems to be the problem, and as she’s spent a lot of time trying to solve the mystery, and no new murders have occurred since she showed up, the circle arrives to roughly the same scene. She’s negotiating for more money – she can’t afford to stay in the village forever, and hope that another murder happens.
Circle offers their services, to investigate the murders. Alabaster Ghost seems to bail, but quietly sticks around, wanting to see if they, perhaps, are the culprits. It’s too weirdly coincidental for her liking.
So, circle does their investigation as-it-was, and on the first night, there’s another murder – the big one. They do their investigating, and find that it wasn’t anything human that attacked the family, and in asking about, they learn about the nephew, all the same. They talk with him a bunch, and figure him for a scared boy. That night, however, Alabaster Ghost tries to learn the truth, and hunts down the nephew. She ends up with more than she bargained for, and ends up losing her arm and the fight.
The circle hears the commotion and finds her, alone, in the woods. Several members take her back to the inn, and set about tending to her wounds as best they can on a girl who apparently shouldn’t even be alive, whilst the others hunt down the trail of the creature that attacked Ghost. They find Jaken, who has given up his shape for the furry, fair folk he is, and strikes back with several hobgoblins.
Emerging victorious, the circle regroups and takes a well-earned rest; by the morning, Ghost is gone, leaving only her bloody bandages behind. Confused, but undeterred, the group quietly go about their business as the Wyld Hunt shows up looking for the girl, (and subsequently, Kanna). They meet with her and realize she’s not a Solar, but find the Solar Tomb all the same. This is a pretty solid place to put any artifacts that people want to purchase. The intent was that at least 3+ members of the circle were all part of the original circle entombed there.
We’re going to substitute Kanna for Nicolette – making her more active in preventing the Wyld Hunt from capturing the girl, and keeping with the theme, rather than fighting in the inn, this is where the fight goes down. Kanna succeeds in talking down the Dragonblooded and his Immaculates, only to find that they recognize her description. People deal with this shit, resulting in the three dead Immaculates and one dead Air Aspect.
They decide once they’re done with the tomb, that no DBs showing back up for a few days is going to be a bad sign, so they decide that it’s in their best interest to get out before anyone notices the problem. They learn about the girl’s thaumaturgy, solve their Tomb issues, and then leave.
How they find Aeria is also fairly significantly changed. They mostly move from village to village, avoiding the Wyld Hunt as they get closer and closer to the Linowan borders. As they do, they find that during the night, one of the villages is assaulted by Screamers during the night; they do the usual pillaging, but engage in kidnapping as well, which is extremely not like Linowa.
Fending off a few of them, they note that they’re weirdly adorned, rather than with animal furs and pelts, they weave their armor of vines and thorny wooden plates, and that their spears are poisoned with knock-out drugs. So using Raja and Jasmine, they decide to track down the Linowa who have stolen people from the village. For our more material members, there’s a reward offered to help them on their travels – food, supplies, jade and silver.
They come across a camp a few nights in, where they find an old campfire, and some discarded cooked meats, as well as bones. Kanna, our medical professional, identifies the bones as human, and it doesn’t take much to gather that the odd meats that were left behind were from their kidnapped victims, and that these Linowa are engaging in cannibalism.
Linowa engaging in cannibalism. Normal people would leave this shit alone at this point, and let the psycho natives eat people, but no. You’re exalted. You have to do dumb things. So, off the circle goes, continuing to track the camps back to the village itself. It’s here that the Circle gets the first glimpse of Aeria, though it isn’t clear that who she is, or what she looks like, as she’s the one leading the congregation.
The circle attempts to mount a rescue for the remaining kidnapped, going in under the cover of darkness to free them. This is where the find Aeria, who apparently tending to the victims. Several of victims have had their tongues cut out, or were blinded, others are gagged, and unable to speak, as the circle gets them out, they decide to take Aeria with them, as she looks like a mostly harmless person. It’s of course, at Vincent’s behest, while Val objects – she’s Linowan and part of the village.
We keep the core of the argument the same – Vincent defends Aeria, while Val fears what she is. It heads off when Aeria attempts to attack Val instead. From there, the fight is largely the same; the early smackdown is laid down upon Aeria, who activates her Shintai, and escapes into the Graveswood in the North.
Bringing us to the end of the first year of the circle.