The group arrives in Stygia on Naming Day. In Mordant, Naming Day is the day the revolution that created their country started. In Terund, Naming Day is the day that their children become adults and are conscripted into the military. In Stygia, it’s an excuse to party.
Cathexis immediately went to get a few very strong drinks. Kisasi was being avoided by most orcs for reasons he couldn’t fathom, though one ran into him and gave him a chest bump. Ignatius and Odd tried selling spices to the people in the strong ale tent. Slim met up with an orc friend named Hrothgar and traded tales. Palio went to check out the strongman competition—turning a giant water wheel. Bombik went to Modern Engineering, where he met Pendulum, an old friend turned enemy who promptly threw him out. Palio and Bombik then checked out the Hall of Mirrors and the House of Wonders (being run by an alchemist named Damiel). Meanwhile, children were being placed into casks and going down a canal before being pulled up.
In the ale tent, Hrothgar suddenly cast Burning Hands on the orc whiskey and made the tent catch fire. While they put it out, the entire floating city changed course. At the same time, people started acting oddly. The people in the tent didn’t seem to notice the flame, and people outside laughed too hard at nothing at all.
Palio and Slim ran off to change the city’s course. Bombik tried to locate the source of what was causing the strange reaction. Cathexis and Ignatius watched them burn a Naming Day wicker man.
Palio and Slim fought two coral golems and a mind-controlled wereshark. They destroyed the golems and knocked the wereshark out. Then Slim changed course for the entire city, steering them away from shoals.
Bombik located the source to find a Nuckelavee, a pollution-based fey creature that knocked Bombik unconscious very quickly. Bombik was bleeding out when Palio arrived, healed Bombik, and the two of them fought it off. There was a small orb called the Eye of Rapture that was causing the mind-fugue, and with the Nuckelavee’s death, its affect would only last two more hours.
Ignatius jumped into the canal to find the children in the casks being taken away by water elementals. They were tossed into the water wheel while a muscled orc kept spinning it, which would crush the children. Cathexis flew at the man and breathed fire on him, killing him instantly but saving the children.
Fireworks went off in the sky. The commoners claimed it was hearts and constellations, but the heroes saw arcane markings that Bombik identified as an Arcane Mark, showing that this was done as a sign of power by Onnahan Lore.
At the same time, with the Nuckalavee’s death, a few people managed to break their trance. Parents called that their children were being taken by creatures in the Hall of Mirrors. Damiel, the alchemist from the House of Wonders, was being devoured by homonculii. And Pendulum fled the Modern Engineering with half his arm gone, as gearghosts were formed by the machines.
Bombik went to work with Pendulum in Modern Engineering and destroyed the gearghosts. Palio and Slim fought Soulslivers in the Hall of Mirrors. Ignatius and Cathexis went after the homonculii. One crushed Damiel’s ribcage, and he wheezed out that there was a bomb underneath him. Cathexis canceled the bomb, but Ignatius was killed by the homonculii. Palio and Slim came in and helped kill the homonculii while Cathexis spoke Ignatius’s True Name and turned into a beacon of flame as a last gesture of respect for his fallen comrade.
(To be continued)