The One by C.S. Lewis

Brigid prepares to visit with Bastiano. She leaves most of her trump and icon deck with Isabelle for safe keeping. Brigid brings Natasha and Isabelle, making sure to let them know she's got to focus on Bastiano to ensure no offense is given.

While we were doing recovery, a delegation requested to meet with you. Delegation from dwarf, rabbit, stag, tree nymph. We need a queen. Between fairy and broken place and others. "Great old one". someone came and conquered their realm. A queen would come to save us from the oppression. Little guy says he and his brothers can help rebuild. Isabelle is delighted at the offer and sends a note to Gerhardt to let him know.

Gerhardt's advisor shared the note with him. The Strategic Consortium suggests 5-6% chance they are dangerous. Typical threshold is 8. Gerhardt personally goes to check on this situation.

Prophecy: brother not inclined to help, burned ruins, companion Jericho. Omg he's real???

Dark lady (Morwen) - remnant of the "old ones". Mixes legend and prophecy. She's in hiding biding her time? Something about their lands nd its magic is important to her. Deadly dark arts pre-history.

"Hello Dread Lord!"

Brigid steps through and icon to meet Bastiano. He takes the party to a flying golden barge. As they soar over the different districts, she notes the meticulously planned nature of the place. For a land with 2-3 million people, it's quite odd that it did not have a natural evolution.

Low table with pillows. Center piece is a living flower arrangement with brightly colored beetles and birds. None ever come onto the table, so there must be some kind of barrier. Brigid listens to the music and everything appears very controlled, even perhaps constrained. Wow he is a smooth talker with a lovely voice. Such a pleasant experience! Brigid pinches herself when she gets too drawn in. "I don't bite," he laughs when she does it again. They continue to talk and it is so delightful.

He explains that his efforts are to protect all the Lords and Ladies and their allies. The key component is choosing to work together for the greater good at all levels. He mentions the Dwimmerlaik and says the best way to be prepared to fight them again is to have a unified front. He says it is unfortunate that people think he is trying to make a power play because he is absolutely not.

"Eventually I'm going to get a chance to talk to Oberon directly." Nobody really knows why they "beat" the Dwimmerlaik. The Ascendency exists separately from Bastiano, he explains. He is only in charge now because he is best suited for it. He considers himself a servant of the movement. He perfectly delivers more completely undetected platitudes.

Sophisticated AI are working together and making decisions my consensus. Those decisions are reported up, but Bastiano is not directly involved. Upon completing the tour, Brigid uses the icon of Finnegan to go see him. "I think it was Luther," he tells Brigid regarding how they beat the Dwimmerlaik.

Gerhardt tells Jericho that his father has been working to become the next emperor over chaos. Apparently he has married the Duchess of Hendrake.

Isabelle trumps Jericho to follow up on the whole prophecy thing. As they reach the end of the path, the ground begins to crunch underfoot. The stag and the tree nymph are blasted with ice and frozen! There is definitely a darkness latched onto this place. It feels like a very real world. Apparently the founding of this world might have involved Amberites, but they certainly didn't stay. Morwen found it around the same time and went into hiding to reappear later. Magic and Eidolon are key elements here, but Umbra has been imposed on the world.

Jericho realizes they are being watched by mechanical spider-like creatures. It seems like they are following and tracking them along some web network in the treetops. Gerhardt notices through the eidolon that they used to be living creatures, but they've been assimilated into some weird umbra corruption. Jericho tries to capture one and control it to put it back on the network. His warfare makes it abundantly clear that this is a trap.

Lowen tweaks a spider to follow its network to its source, Morwen. There is an explosion in the distance. Jericho reminds Lowen that he's still connected to it, so they work together to remove that part. It seems the explosion did pretty much nothing. A large gargoyle approaches, then transforms into an armored man of sorts.

"Have you been called here by the creatures?" it says. They continue to talk, and it explains that she has the right to claim this land. She is far older than anyone else who might lay claim. This is clearly not going smoothly. Jericho sizes this up as an automaton that he could probably take out. It continues, explaining that they have two options: serve Morwen or leave.

Gerhardt offers to have a more peaceful interaction. If Jericho agrees to be peaceful, he can have an audience as well. Lowen, however, is flat out banned. Jericho calls Isabelle, who flat out refuses to get involved in any capacity that could put a target on her. This was far more involved than she wanted to get. An audience with the Dark Lady of oppression? No thanks.

Morwen talks to Gerhardt and perceives a lot of his background that he does not tell her. She explains the reasons not to pursue violence. Some creatures (a thousand or so) are suffering under her reign, but it will only be temporary in the grand scheme of things. It is a special place, she explains. "Sneaky animals! How did they find an Amberite in the middle of nowhere?"

Gerhardt asks if he could provide aid that would speed up her work and lessen the burden on the residents. She wants assurances that the robots/machines he provides would not cause any harm. He suggests a fairy promise, and she seems happy to oblige.

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