After talking to Raksi, Shrike intents to speak to Ma-Ha-Suchi. Arianna tries to explain who that is to Rais and Zanavterix. Mnemon still seeks to contact the Sidereal Exalted and so heads off on her own for the Heptagram. Conjuring up a Stormwind Rider, they depart.
Still stuck in the northern Imperial Isle, the Chef flees toward the nearest gate to Yu-Shan, hounded by at least 3 Infernals representing traits of rage, shadow, and speed. Losing his pursuers in Wyld tainted water, he makes it through the gate and finds Yu-Shan in disarray, apparently having suffered an attack a break in by demons itself. Heaven itself has fallen into almost absolute chaos as 98 of 100 Sidereal Shards have passed into the cycle of redistribution, leaving Chef and only one other Sidereal alive. Chef identifies Magdalena as the other remaining Sidereal but she is not within the purview of Creation… With almost all of his contemporaries dead, The Chef is left with a bureaucratic nightmare to clean up to keep the basic functions of heaven and earth in order and cannot in good unconscious abandon his post at such a time. He finds a chance to save the scenes he just witnessed on the Recorder of Everlasting Glories that he received from Silk the last time they spoke and transfer as much as he could into several dreamstones which he bid be sent to the other Exalted.
Back in the wastes that were once a city, Silk meets with Mask of Winters and completes transformation of Lookshy into the largest Shadowland in Creation. Satisfied with his work, he has little time to collect his results as he receives a message from Meticulous Owl (strangely not from The First and Forsaken Lion, himself) summoning him back to the Thousands. Before Silk can step back outside of Creation, he receives The Chef’s magical messenger falcon carrying a dreamstone containing some of the details recorded in the fight with the Empress and her Infernals. Examining the evidence and listening to the Whispers of his fallen gods, Silk hears only, “The second age is over. Our age has begun.” Bidding the Mask of Winters farewell and prosperity with his new patch of death, Silk leaves a few of his nemesaries behind to finish his documentation and dives into the Labyrinth once more, heading south.
Entering the lair of Ma-Ha-Suchi, Shrike chooses to slip on ahead of her Solar companions and engages the ancient Lunar privately before fur or feathers can be ruffled by her… less social associates. They exchange news of the Empress the her “unusual” assassins Shrike recently had to dispatch and both share concerns of the Silver Pact tucking tail and hiding. In short order, as they pproach the Nameless Lair of Ma-Ha-Suchi, avoiding his wolf/goat/beastmen, Rais, Zanavtarix, and Arianna are greeted by a silver falcon carrying another dreamstone. Rais meditates on the stone on the spot and shares the troubling information with his companions.
Upon meeting the Lunar and explaining their concerns and even the new information about the Empress, Ma-Ha-Suchi is unconvinced of their urgency over the constantly teetering fate of the world, claiming it is always on the brink of destruction. Rais performs a show of martial prowess displaying some of the amazing feats he just witnessed, gaining Ma-Ha-Suchi’s interest, if not his agreement.
The Lunar disagrees with their plan to make the Empress try to target her enemies in Nexus. He claims she’d be more likely to target a weapon on equal to her own. He tells them of Ikerre, the last holder of the Eye of Autocthon and of the Five Metal Shrike. He also them that another group which might be able to perceive fate from a different perspective than the Sidereals, particularly with most of them out of the picture, would be the Dragon Kings of Rathess.
Chef’s work starts to clear up as Yu-Shan gets back into order and they are sure that all demons have been dealt with or evicted. Being the last remaining Sidereal within range of Fate, he realizes he might have access to previously unknown functions and clearances with the Loom of Fate. Noting the goal Rais, Shrike, and Zanavtarix have set for Rathess, he locates the nearest gateway to their destination and plots his time to meet up with them before tidying up a few more tasks in Yu-Shan.
Upon reentering The Thousands, Silk finds The First and Forsaken Lion has gathered his army and claims he has an advantage and a plan to hand Creation over to the Neverborn all at once.
He requires Silk to speak with the Empress, an agent of the Yozi, and to find means of dealing with the most powerful Exalts left in creation, specifically the strange party of Celestial Exalted with whom he conquered Paragon. Noting Meticulous Owl’s presence in an otherwise private meeting, Silk confers briefly with him and accepts his master’s commands before setting off to make preparations for another extended journey. Making his way to the First and Forsaken’s libraries, of which Silk has nearly doubled their volume since his Exaltation, he researches demon and Yozi lore in the Lion’s resources and, almost as if expected, is confronted by The Princess Magnificent. She confirms his suspicions that Meticulous Owl is almost certainly a traitor and they try to figure out what to do about First’s plan, or even how to confront him without inciting his formidable temper, and she gives him a means of contacting her when he decides what must be done. He finally sets out for Gem, shows the dreamstone to Tensha and Valis, and sends word to the rest of the party on where to meet up. Arianna and Valis’s sorcerous means of communication making the process much easier before he disappears back into the Underworld.
From three very different worlds, the most powerful Exalts in Creation begin converging on Rathess to seek information from the Dragon King descendents.