After resting from the fight with the Renraku black bag team, the team decides to hoof it across the great astral sea, bypassing any potential entanglements on their way to the Seelie Court. They successfully avoid some fovae, mana voids, and slavers from ID, but run into a trap set by some maddened rift creatures near the Shattered Lands while cutting around Zecorporatum. They emerge victorious, though some of the team is poisoned. They pause to heal again, are approached by a spirit on muleback (they wonder if the mule is also a spirit). it’s Lys from Boston! He offers to pay off his debt to Guy by guiding them safely to the Seelie Court, saying he needs to visit his friend Aleiron now that he’s caught up with his family for a bit. He seems much happier, though still laconic.
They accept, and he gets them close before they are surrounded by the Wild Hunt. Chalcis, The Great Hunter, seizes their weapons, or peace-bonds them, but agrees to take them in to petition the Court for a longer stay since he saw their fight from a distance and approves of them clearing out dangerous maddened spirits in the wilds. They arrive after a short period of travel, and find themselves just in time for the Morning Hearing. They spend a while admiring the architecture, especially the Dawnseeker’s Arch, before heading in. They converse a bit, and get their request to petition the Queen approved.
They witness some impenetrable Court drama and appeals and then make their case. The Queen seems inclined to let them embark on their investigation, though some courtiers seems opposed. A fey man named Catondarez agrees to sponsor them for 1 day, and then to see where things are at after that. The Queen is then attacked by an assassin who snuck up during this, but the assassin is quickly felled by some sort of entropic field that surrouns the Queen. Aylin and 6 Cyl have some thoughts as to what that might be but aren’t sure- they notice what seems to be a human magical battery and have some weird memories from their time absent of an endless city.
Court is wrapped up as the Queen’s retinue leave the Great Hall, and Hotkey and Test are surprised to see that their does seem to be some kind of resonant field present, though not a matrix as such. Tattooed individuals, some with linked tats, in various nobles and courtiers’ retinues seem to be the main source. Catondarez approaches them and tells them to come with him for a talk. Kinnie also recognizes Old Crow from DC, who spoke with Catondarez briefly. They head for the Everhall and have a lengthy wander while Catondarez answers their initial questions.
He then takes his leave, and tells them to attend the Exile’s Return ball of that evening, and to explore and get lunch til then. They try to find the location of Hawin’s Cloak for Aylin, but end up dead-ended in a noble’s manor wing, so Aylin posts a note, and they grab lunch in the Grand Hall. Aylin decides to look for her mom in the smoky orbs over the fireplaces, and spots here- but her mom sees her back, and looks around the room as if trying to ID where they are. Aylin gets freaked and shuts it down, but her mom looks hungry.
They eat, and get slipped a note with some cryptic images. One of the Queen’s handmaidens, Fogharail ke-Coille approaches and sings a beautiful song for the Hall, and then provides the team a guide, Tivta Farspoken, who seems to have been assigned the duty as a punishment. She answers the teams questions but is quite sarcastic and droll. The team makes a list of things to investigate, and plan the rest of their afternoon around that. Avocado gets a few good hints towards healing his poison.
The bulk of the team begins exploring the Castle’s libraries, trying to get a grasp on what’s going on. Avocado continues learning to read as he’s finding it an extra struggle in the low-tech Court not being able to do so. He finds some talkative busts of deceased Croki scholars that seem quite gossipy but somewhat helpful. Aylin also agrees to take Tivta along to meet Thisbe the next day to discuss blood/mom stuff. They all learn a good bit before they are summoned to the Exile’s Return to try make a good impression with their sponsor. 6 Cyl and Kinnie find out about a bunch of mystical arms and armor, and 6 Cyl also get s a list of valuable “lost texts” as well as rumors of a “Library of Leng”.
Meanwhile, Tivta takes Hotkey and Test to the Castle’s newest room, “Geocache”, which turns out to be a strange wireframe 2050’s matrix-style space. It seems to run off of Resonance, somehow, and looks to have been the focus of NeoNET’s sole Court project- establishing a local mesh which they haven’t had time to expand before their collapse. 6 Cyl leaves some margin notes hinting at his experiences, hoping to attract some useful attention.
They are both very excited to be on a network of any sort again, and are even more excited when they realize they can hack the 8 huge floating icons, seemingly representing the 2050’s Corp Court members. They target the weakest “host” for an off the cuff Foundation dive, and barely make their way through the orchestral paradigm, to find the Null Node and do some skimming. They find a document suggesting that the origins of Resonance lie in something known as “The Seed”, which the unidentified writer compares to the magical origin point referred to as the “Prime Passion.” More research required, but it seems they are approaching an important payday from IOND!
At the feast that evening, they are approached by various beings and entities, who want all sorts of mysterious things (and some more obvious) from the team. A spirit called Rooster, who they’d heard of on Jackpoint, tells them he wants stories and also hints at criminal connections. Kami Aneki, seemingly the surviving spirit of Inazo Aneki, the CEO for Life of Renraku, speaks with the team and subtly warns them that they best have a conversation soon. Tivta makes a good impression on Aylin and they share some Tarot knowledge, and Aylin agrees to bring Tivta a little further in. They meet a Wuxing geomancer named Bjorn Salamatu, who is very interested in the Cornerstone.
Avocado gets some good gossip and info about the alchemists who can help with his poison so he doesn’t go in blind, and the team finds out some of the info about what their sponsor Catondarez might want in trade, as well as what it would take for his faction to provide longer term support. He hints at the goals and interests of his sponsor, and gives them, an initial task to test them before introducing them up the line. He also secures them a luxury Courtsman’s Suite, so everyone will have their own private chamber off a central trio of rooms. They head back there, and find it quite nice, and seemingly detailed by the Castlekeeper to try to match what seems to be either a strange joke or a humorous misunderstanding of what the material plane residents might want in temporary lodging.
After noticing a disturbing painting and removing it, the room feels much better (having heeded warnings about attempts by some at Court to mess with newcomers feng shui), they all get a solid night’s rest and prepare for their second Morning Hearing. Aside from Avocado’s poison, they are finally all healed from the previous few days’ fights.