Hunter, Olivia and Kami have all regrouped back at the Moon-Sheltered Manse, trading equipment and stories and congratulations to Kami for curing Jacob, who is running around looking like the littlest chemo patient with his day’s growth of hair on his head. The fun and games, however, are interrupted by Blade, who has been missing for a while and suddenly shows up in a bit of a panic about Mithril. One of Olivia’s minions confirms Mithril left a message saying he was going to Rurk to complete the portal back to Autochthonia, and Blade insists they stop him. Lacking any long distance communication, the party packs up and heads out to the Jadeborn cavern that leads to their underground city along the Frictionless railway. Soon they have arrived at the city, finding it abuzz with technological work.
Blade sprints ahead into the main building with the party close behind, and just as they enter the central room they see Mithril push a giant red button, and an archway suddenly lights up with electricity, some of which courses through Mithril’s body. As he staggers and glows brilliantly with electricity zapping through the room, a portal opens through which can be seen another laboratory similar to the one they are in now. Mithril continues to shimmer and crackle for a moment, then turns and greets the party cheerfully.
All eyes turn to Blade, who awkwardly declines to explain why the portal shouldn’t have been opened, but Olivia turns on the persuasion a bit (barely any essence though) and Blade cracks, explaining that she had stolen the plans for Kami’s Void Essence Suppression Field and given it to the Alchemical back at the Yugash embassy. Seems she belongs to a group called ARCO and they relayed information back to her that Kamak was under attack and that ARCO would deal with it, and it wasn’t safe to go through yet. The party doesn’t want to stand by and do nothing, though, so Kami goes through first, followed by the rest of the party.
Once through the portal, the sounds of battle and chaos are echoing through the hastily abandoned lab. Jadeborn come through to secure the entrance with Blade, but as the rest of the party exits the lab, which is a Municipal charm of an Alchemical city, it becomes clear they are in serious trouble. The city, which Mithril identifies as the Patropolis of Mossan, is being swarmed over by gremlins of all kinds, from human wastelanders to giant robotic monsters. In the distance, an absolutely enormous shadow seems to be crawling through the darkness with two gigantic red discs for eyes trained on them.
Mithril tries to lead the party to the core of Mossan, which is close, but fails to account for the panicked crowds of civilians trying to get into the cafeteria between the lab and the core. Five monstrous gremlins approach the crowd intent on murder, so Olivia tries to reason with their leader, then brainwashes it as Hunter destroys another and Kami and Olivia then deal some damage, the brainwashed gremlin slays another, then Mithril activates his Axiomatic electricity and deals aggravated damage to the gremlins through his spiderweb lines (and bashing damage to Kami, who fails to actually take damage as usual).
After entering the core, the party finds a holo-projection of Mossan’s face on a wall, spazzing out Max Headroom style due to the severe damage he is taking, and also Move Point, one of Mithril’s teammates, badly wounded and near death. Kami heals him while Mithril tries to get more info about what is happening. Turns out Move Point had followed Mithril and saw what he did not see: that the way they got into Creation in the first place was through a gremlin Alchemical city, the apocryphal Erlik, which it turns out is a very real thing and is not too far away. However, when the party brings up that it is nearby, Mossan has no knowledge nor ability to sense Erlik, despite backup scanners still being functional.
This has barely sunk in when the city rocks from an explosion, and Mossan reveals there are missiles incoming targeting the gremlins but that are also dealing collateral damage to his systems. Move Point tries to get a fix on these missiles and finds they have incorporated a Void Essence Suppression Field to make them invulnerable to gremlin technology, but they don’t seem to be targeting Erlik. The party moves outside trying to adjust to the new problem, and Olivia activates her powers to the maximum to move as much of the horde of gremlins as she can towards Erlik. Kami and Hunter protect civilians and follow Olivia’s lead, while Mithril resolves to get a missile to hit Erlik, hoping it will allow the others to lock onto it. After an extravagant number of virtue channels, he manages to track an incoming missile with his telescopic vision, lasso it, veer it off course using his armor’s air manipulation and a feat of strength, and then ride it as close as he can to Erlik before letting go. Unfortunately, it explodes right on the border of Erlik, causing no major damage. In the flash of the explosion, Olivia sees something everyone else misses: the Pool of Death is on Erlik, and had caused the missile to explode prematurely.
Olivia calls out to Kami and Hunter about this development, then she and Mithril pick up Kami while Hunter rides atop them as they head into Erlik. There appear to be some defenses but they are easily avoided. Mithril manages to identify the core and the party flies onto the roof of this charm, whereupon Mithril uses the drill with his beamklaive to dig directly into the core. There, they find themselves on a platform, slightly above a lake of some kind of (nonflammable) oil. The core itself is in the middle, a mass of grime and wires and electricity. Around the edge of the room are other control panels, each for a Municipal charm. Mithril flies to the nearest panel one way, while Olivia flies Kami another way. Right as Kami gets to the first panel, finding it the control station for a charm for producing food, suddenly he gets a feeling that something is above them. The Pool of Death tries dropping onto them, but Olivia weaves out of the way and then Kami asks to be dropped onto him. Unfortunately, the Pool of Death hits the oil and sinks straight into it, while Kami splashes in, failing to get a hit and then is pulled under. The Pool of Death then arises from the oil in a magnificent vortex, as arms of oil reach out and grab at the other party members, successfully pulling Mithril under. Cackling, the Pool of Death gloats that Autochthon has completely different elements.
TO BE CONTINUED!