The Midnight Serpent continued to terrorise the shores of Sapience as time moved into Ios, and Xaseira’s mission grew more desperate with each passing day. Now docking more frequently, the Haekathi found herself facing not the ragtag band of adventurers that first boarded her ship, but trained soldiers well-versed in her battle tactics.
Forced to retreat more rapidly with each confrontation, the commander issued further orders to her crew, promising a second attack on Enorian in late Ios and reaffirming the key objective of their mission: securing the aeonic confluence. Mention was made of the Cogger and its interference, references to a ‘non-functional remnant’ in Spinesreach posited as a way of distracting its gaze.
News of the imminent attack spread like wildfire through the streets of Enorian before a proud Rhulin announced completion of the Dawnbreaker’s construction. Weeks of training exercises followed, and though the Enorianites struggled at first with manoeuvring the vessel, they soon found their sea legs under the efficient guidance of Church and Isia who had taken up the skill of captaincy with aplomb.
~ ~ ~
As Enorian prepared for the coming naval battle, the Warlord had but one thing on His mind: Yvalamon, the Fury, still loose and raging about Sapience. Reflecting on the prior battle with the Tumult – and indeed, with Heva before that – Bamathis knew the need for a powerful ally if the Sapient Gods were to prevail.
In a snap summit at the Temple of Thorns, the Warlord met with the Hunter in His own domain, formally requesting aid for the fight ahead. Tensions rose between the two deities as Their followers amassed in observation, those of Spirit and those of Shadow each staring down the other with barely-restrained loathing.
At first reluctant and savagely berating Bamathis, the Hunter’s reticence slowly waned with the continued requests of Strife, finally assenting to lend His aid under one condition: that the Manipulator be barred from the battlefield.
The Warlord assured the Hunter that Severn had His own work to do, and the accord was struck. Bamathis took His leave and the two Gods began to prepare for what lay ahead.
~ ~ ~
Meanwhile in Masilia, the stirrings of the aeonic confluence had risen to greater frequency and clarity. Overseen by Copperhead, the Cogger once more indulged the questions and speculations of many adventurers, assessing the likelihood of Haekathi success as exceptionally low.
Though content in its observations of the locality, it was Iesid Mulariad who first made mention of the Haekathi’s plot. Intrigued by the ‘non-functional remnant’, Copperhead made a final analysis of the confluence and took its leave – departing for Spinesreach in pursuit of a new objective.
The Kalchos emissary made known its presence with the familiar clanking of metal and grinding of cogs as it traversed the aqueducts and streets of the Lion, though its citizens searched with vain futility to locate it, and its mission remains unknown.