Heading deep into Halta, the circle found themselves hiding from the Fair Folk who thrived on the forest floor. Whilst they moved, avoiding the fae hunters, a young haltan girl found them – chastising them on their foolishness. After some discussion, the circle convinced the girl that they were in Halta to find a Lunar Witch by the name of Twice-Born Thrush.
Leading them to her hut, the circle set about making her their ally. The lunar woman looked upon them with curiousity; the circle, having brought her bondmate, appeared to have an extra bargaining chip. Thrush made her best attempt at making Li uncomfortable, whilst Nicolette explained that she needed her help with her manse.
Agreeing, Thrush decided on an exchange: she would become their ally if they could slay the Black Exaltation in the Eastern Threshold that was attacking Linowan villages. With their agreement, Thrush also provided them with information that another Solar might be present nearby, and that they should seek her help.
The circle, determined to fulfill this goal, and gain Thrush’s aid, set out to find the Exigent and the Solar. Their first signs came at the river-crossing back into the Hundred Kingdoms, where a great land bridge of spiky vines and flora had formed. It was here that they found their next circle member, Valmela Indega, who Vincent quickly made the mistake of showing his caste mark off to – assuming she was the correct person without verifying so first. Valmela, taken aback, accepted the help for the search of the Exigent with a bit of disdain, but chose to take her own path.
Vincent decided to follow along with Valmela to a ruined Linowan village, where they found what little remained of the people who lived there. The village was ruined, and most of the people consumed by the beast. Only a single soul survived, a young girl who Vincent proceeded to aid, providing her with food to fill her voracious appetite. Valmela distrusted the girl, but Vincent thought nothing of it, as they set about burning the bodies remaining in the village. Afterwards, Vincent offered to take the girl, Aeria, back to a nearby Linowan village. The girl agreed, while Valmela stayed, looking for any sign that the monster was still nearby.
Meanwhile, the rest of the circle were led to a small Linowan village by Akantha, seeking to investigate the Exigent. Instead, however, they found themselves meeting with someone that Li knew. Unfortunately for the circle, most of the encounter is foggy, and hard to remember – the only real fruit borne from the conversation being that the Linowa in the village were currently divided between their chieftains and the shaman, who had begun engaging in feasts in the name of a new god.
With some investigation, the circle uncovered the worship was the beginnings of a Yozi cult, dedicated to worshipping Metagaos, the All-Hunger Blossom; a being fixated on consuming all within his expansive reach.
As Vincent raced towards the village, Valmela caught the scent of the beast – recognizing it as the same scent of Aeria, and began to curse Vincent, chasing after him in order to prevent him from dying. When she caught up, she found herself in a stand-off with Vincent, who refused to believe that an innocent girl could be a village destroying monster. Morrigan flew on ahead, in an attempt to find Nicolette and the others.
Akantha and Nicolette came to the aid of Vincent as Valemla attempted to shoot through Vincent to get to Aeria, to no avail. It was then that Morrigan confirmed that Aeria was, in fact, tainted with the putrid essense of the Yozi, a servant to Metagaos. Caught in her lie, Aeria attempted to consume Morrigan, but found herself in the midst of a melee she could not win. Rather than fight, she decided to run, and when she couldn’t break free, decided to reveal her true shape.
The massive beast that made up Aeria’s Shintai made it hard to focus on chasing her – the lashing vines and enormous thorns took their toll on those who chased her, until Vincent and Akantha eventually gave up, not willing to risk their lives in a futile chase. Exhausted from the fight, Vincent collapsed, and Akantha took him back to the village, where one of the chieftains made the shaman treat the solars.
Nicolette, however, decided to go north, in an attempt to learn more about the Exigent. Instead, she found a village of Linowan and Realm soldiers who had fought against the Bull of the North; the crushed troops were still attempting to treat their wounded here, and in her search for information, she was instead faced with a new mysterious Lunar – who rather than aiding her, offered her a riddle as a warning.
Following her strange meeting with the Lunar, Thrush, who had been keeping tabs on the circle, decided to reveal herself to Nicolette, warning her against heading further north without allies or properly preparing. Instead, the circle regrouped, and a few days later, met up with Thrush again, who asked about the manse. Learning about its location and nature, she decided that the circle should head there first – learn about what is there, and how to use it to their advantage, rather than rushing headlong into the North, where a Deathlord and his Deathknights lurked.