The shimmering darkness of sleep slowly coalesces in a familiar shape, that indescribable tea-house, between time and space, a small collection of finger foods is lain out with the tea, all in the classic realm style, rice balls and seaweed chips, sweetened bread and small meat buns, it looks delicious, your gaze passes up to the only other person in the room, the same woman you’ve meet here many times before, and she speaks ‘Now where were we, ah yes, at the castle of the woman named Black, Baroness of Manhattan.’ You reach down and take some of the snacks as you listen to the story play out, ‘Our heroes together again, pursue their own agendas, the Chosen of Journeys learning the intricacies of piloting the large metal transports that this world calls Cars, while the Endings and Serenity dive deeper into the history of the Kindred, learning all about the ’first’ city Enoch and it’s wayward children, learning what haunts each bloodline of the Cain. While the Chosen of Secrets perfects his ability to detect spirit creatures, to further assist in the original mission of sniffing out the source of the black shadows hanging over their respective hometowns. To better understand the spirits of this world, and the world they live in, the Umbra, the Secrets ventures back to the Central Park Caern and speaks with the Garou, Walks-in-the-Code says that traveling the Umbra isn’t really her thing and that he should speak with the wolf who fought him before if he wants to travel to the Umbra. After telling Touches-the-Wind his intentions she tries to teach him to make the step through the Veil to the shallowest of the Umbra, he fails terribly only succeeding in giving himself a terrible head ache. The wolf doesn’t give up on him and slices open his hand placing it with her own sliced hand and claiming him as kin, begrudgingly respectful of his ability to stand his ground against her and shrewd enough to understand that beings of his power might be good allies against the Wyrm if they can be shown how the Wyrm corrupts all. Having been claimed as kin she allows him access to the core of the Caern where on a ghostly tree waits a creature that the Secrets can actually talk to, a glowing blue owl of extraordinary size. Introducing itself as Owl, they have a conversation concerning many things about the spirit world here, and how Owl could take them to the Deep Umbra where he suggests they might find the creation they have come from, a place called the Shard of the Third Age. During this conversation, the Secrets reveals that they have been staying with a Baroness, which sends Touches-the-Wind’s hackles up and she jumps through a shimmering circle of light and disappears without much explanation. After spending some time talking with Owl, the wolf-lady returns with two men that are unknown to our heroes. Our hero takes this moment to shift to the Umbra so he can understand the words of these men through the gift of Owl, but notices something odd as he passes through, little white spiders gushing through the edges of the hole he used to pass over, in just moments the men throw him backwards as a giant mechanical spider like creature burst through the wound. Dragged away through a moonlight portal to the surface while he was channeling a spell, bronze skin shining over his as Touches-the-Wind dashes back into the structure, now seemingly over-run with little white spiders, turning what they touch into this weird calcified mass. The sun going down and dinner time beginning, Ms. Black gets a phone call, and tells her guests that another event has occurred in Central Park and the Serenity and Secrets confirm a return and regroup at the tower of Black. Ms. Black suggests that they make themselves scarce until she can get her men in a row. The heroes attend a party while they wait for their anima banner to die down, in a throbbing glowing smokey place called Club Nightfall, surprisingly full for a city under siege, using his last motes of essence the Secret views the creatures known as Kindred for the first time in the half-step umbra seeing them for dead bodies forcibly animated with life. Their aura having calmed our heroes head back to Central Park, deftly avoiding the barricade around the park and easily making the mirror with the intention to quickly check on the other side while things calm down here in the burg of New York, named Manhattan." You take a sip of tea the story’s pacing seemingly familiar to you, like this has happened already, like you know what happens next, only that feeling slips away so fast you can’t get a hold of it before the woman continues speaking.
‘As our heroes step through the mirror they find themselves somewhere completely new, a woman in white on a staircase turning to them and asking them if it is done. They all look to the person being addressed and see a woman in red, confidant and strong with a dress in a style unfamiliar to our heroes, the woman looks confused, but not as confused as the rest of our heroes as they slowly realize they are no longer in their bodies but instead in the bodies of four princesses climbing a spiral staircase. The woman responds in the negative and the woman in white frowns, quickly the woman corrects herself saying that she believes it has been done and they head up the staircase to a room with a giant black orb in it, with a woman in full black jade and starmetal heavy plate standing on the ceiling doing some last minute modifications, the device clearly ready for what ever purpose it is meant to serve. Our Chosen of Serenity starts to remember that this has all already happened, that she or he remembers standing here and completing the ritual. The Chosen of Secrets now in the body of a childish woman in pink interrupts the woman in white who is saying the preparations to seal away Kaine are almost complete she just needs the items they all brought. Trying to explain to the woman in white the time traveling jumps they have just gone through, the woman in white clearly believing that her friend has been manipulated by Kaine into trying to stop them from sealing him away, trying desperately to convince her friend to hand over the item so they can complete the ritual, one insisting that in order for the first age to continue they must not do this, the other insisting that they have considered all other options already and that they can’t let Kaine continue his destruction of all they hold dear. A small battle breaks out Pink against White, Red siding with White, Green siding with Pink, Black siding with White, and Blue siding with Pink, a battle fought to a standstill with the immense powers of Elder Exalted wielding weapons of great power, until the woman in black starts the orb spinning in place, each one of the gemmed items evaporating in kind, a heart of fire on a golden chain, the forest’s eye set in a golden ring, a black teardrop dangling from a silver earring, the frozen hearts blood of the greatest tree set in a golden comb, the depth of the sea set in a bracelet of black and silver, and lastly tiny stars fallen from the sky set in the crown atop the head of the woman in white. The woman apologizes for having to activate it without their total consent but that this is how it has to be, as her body slowly dissolves in what appears to be excruciating pain, ripped apart by some unseen energy. The woman in red realizes this is how it always was, how it always had been, that the woman in white could never betray her emperor, and in doing so sacrificed her own life so that this seal could be created. Falling out the far side of the mirror and into the caverns near Dragon’s Reach, our heroes regroup and try to figure out what just happened, the Serenity explaining that they couldn’t have changed the ending of that memory how ever hard they tried, that he remembers that event, slightly differently now but still a memory hidden away deep in the mind of his past incarnations. None of our heroes are sure how to respond and instead go check on Dragon’s Reach which seems to have only experienced the time that they were in the First Age as actual time passing.’
‘Returning back to heaven our heroes spend a little while trying to figure more out about the people they once were, the Secrets coming to a roadblock no matter what he does to search their past he never finds the people who he remembers being mentioned anywhere, the only reference he finds at all is a book written by Aisha Flameheart, who isn’t even listed anywhere else, it’s a heavy book made of bronze sheets and bound in deep red leather, a book on first age tactics, mostly the use of three dimensional combat against the armies of the Primordials, written by someone who was clearly a tactical genius. The Secrets brings it to the Serenity who says definitively upon seeing the final page that something is missing, leading our heroes to a gate to creation, shaking his head free of whatever influence he was under as he stands on the other side in the snow and cold of the north. Our Secrets turns on his spirit sight and sees hordes of the shadow dog creatures moving towards the west from the glacial area to the east, and the Serenity realizes that this is very close to the Jarldom of Tagun Sleeping-Bear and his barbarian tribe. They visit the Jarl who recieves them heartily even though it appears that the disease is spreading here as well with many sick. They as about the heart of fire, the item missing from the book, and the Jarl tells them a tale of the Glacier known as the Frozen Death where in is said to lie the heart of a beast that burns with an inner fire. After getting equiptment from Tagun our heroes head out to check the glacier, only to find the symbol of our villain carved into one of the walls of the glacier bones of dead creatures frozen solid in the ice around it. After attacking it to try to rid themselves of it, they spend a mote into it and the walls slide away to reveal a great hall carved from solid ice, a bridge spanning the large structure with a figure wrapped in chains standing on it, who congratulates them for figuring out this location, motioning to the shimmering mirror on the first floor as she takes her leave saying very little except to let them know her name the Bloody Maiden of Chains and that yes Abyssals were once Solars but are no longer such, chains writhing like living creatures around her as she leaves.’
‘Through the looking glass once more our heroes travel, to find themselves back in the bodies of the past, staring out at an approaching army on the balcony of a large redstone pyramid, pathway stretching out to the walls, city beneath with people scrambling to hide and towards the pyramid palace, a giant red drake made of solid flame crouched on top of it, and a full first age legion of troops aligned in perfect order. Beyond the walls chaos, black waves of darkness flowing through the desert towards the strong walls. A device makes noise at the woman in red’s hip, holding the disk up she sees the woman in white in hologram, the woman in white tells her to hold out that Kaine and her are coming as fast as they can, that they won’t let what happened elsewhere happen to this place as well. The woman doesn’t know what to say but takes control, mounting her dragon she begins calmly issuing orders, formations coming into being, her four allies moving to their places within the ranks of the army. The wave of monsters strikes hard tearing down the walls and falling into the city below, the army pressing hard to prevent the pyramid from falling too, amazingly holding the line as the woman in red calls tactical retreats, her men following her orders with surprising skill and discipline, until the woman in pink decides to not fall back becoming over run by the creatures of shadow and steel, the right flank of the army almost collapsing as in the distance the two solars, one with the anima of a down-pointed sword and the other a regal eagle, destroy the first of the distant crystal juggernauts causing a whole group of the monster to evaporate. The battle rages on for far too many minutes, as Kaine and the woman in white destroy the monsters leading the army causing them to evaporate. The woman in red realizes this too has already happened, although this time she was unable to save as many people, thousands dead in the city, and thousands of soldiers dead protecting the pyramid with the last remains of her nation within. The battle won, they find themselves in a sandstone corridor, blinking at the darkness, our Serenity reads the walls by castemark-light, he determines they have found themselves in a tomb of some sort, after a short exploration of the very limited location they find a sarcophagus made of glinting Oricalcum, removing the lid they just find a crusty old mummy, who disappears when they look away. Reading the walls they learn that this is the tomb of Amon Ra, God of the Sun. Making an exit up into the river above by destroying a wall they see in the distance a city beyond a grouping of pyramids, the eagle eyed amongst them catch the purple burst smoke that signals the appearance of something resembling the mummy as it raises it’s hands towards a statue of a half man half cat like creature, animating the monster as it attacks all the pedestrians nearby. Taking their forms the heroes dash forward and manage to subdue the Sphinx with minimal effort, but are surprised when the man name Ra returns, the Secrets throwing a rock at him, Ra extends his hand and energy starts coalescing around him forming a beam of purple light which lifts the Secrets off the ground and almost kills him before the Serenity interjects and calms Ra temporarily.’