Given that there was a delay in the action, the GM decided that the side-trip to Hogwarts would fit into the sequence normally – or at least with a bit of time-dilation – instead of being delayed. Similarly, the group dropped off the Praetorians along the way.
Heading on down into the crypts to release some souls turned out to be awkward. The remains of the Mage’s Guild tower were a smoldering ruin, with only a skeletal stone framework still standing – but the tunnels to the underlevels were still mostly intact.
While they group was pulling rubble out of the way, someone across the city somehow managed to summon Lingering Smoke – a Sidereal from the Exalted realm – before falling unconscious. Smoke shrugged it off: another bit of random chaos in the loom no doubt. Still, the smoldering tower was an obvious starting point. Where else would the loom put him but in the center of events?
Concerned with larger matters, the group had no objections to someone else who wanted to help out. The entire city was a war zone after all and there were endless strays running about. The couldn’t identify Smoke’s origin – but his general nature was clear enough.
Smoke found the group a bit more confusing, but at least they seemed to be familiar with what had happened to him. Best to hang around with the people who had some information.
They shrank down the Mirage to human scale – and Jarvian and his assistant to miniature scale – and headed on down. After all, they were more or less there to wreck the place.
It turned out to be full of bodies floating in tubes – youngsters who’d been experimented on and enhanced in various ways. Unfortunately, trying to release the obedience-bindings and get them out triggered both a lockdown and the defenses – including a pretty powerful automation / golem.
The resulting explosions (the Mirage really needed a new combat program: it’s tactical program was still designed for intership combat at ranges of many miles) did quite a lot of damage to everyone and threatened to bring down the roof, which busied the group with propping it up, pulling youngsters out of cylinders, trying to bring the golem back into action on their side, and trying to get through the blast doors – and spurred Arxus to expend most of his power-accumulation opening a local gateway to outside the city.
They managed to get everything out – including the reactivated golem – before the roof came down.
It took the remains of the guild with it – and sealed off the deeper levels of the crypts. They could break the compulsions on the ones they’d rescued, but no one was sure how many more there were deeper down – and there were seven other major chapterhouses of the mages guild.
They left the rescued and unbound youngsters with the local priests,
According to the golem, the lower floors had contained numerous labs: including Artificial Ensoulment, Artificial Physical Constructs, Revenant Creation, and Well construction. The Wells were a series of seven secondary Wells of Energy used to store and feed energy into the Primary Well. The local lab had been pursuing the construction of the Sunwell. There were probably at least 212 people still alive in the lower labs.
Back in town the fighting had ground to a halt, cleanup was underway, and the remaining powers in the city were beginning to gather. The mages had lost here – leaving the Alchemist’s Guild, the City Guard, the Independent Mages, and the Church of the Light (plus numerous adventurers) in control. Bristol had managed to repel the mage’s assault through the efforts of the Steam Guild. Londinium, Liverpool, and Manchester were confirmed to have fallen. Corinum and Calem still had fighting going on and the status of Avesbury was unknown. The military had mostly been sent into rural areas before the assault began, and their response was – as yet – unknown.
The group spread the word that the mages enhanced troops were mostly controlled by binding runes on their tongues, confirmed that the mages were kidnaping children for hideous experiments and stealing souls, put out the information about the Sunwell – and that the six other “minor” wells and a major one were also under construction. The “Sunwell” did seem to be literal – and possibly tied in with all that gold. Seven major astronomical objects, seven primary wells and one focus? No way of knowing yet. Even with the golem and the two captives to question, that was about all they could get.
The next step would be to assault the mages in Londinium (unless getting a tactical-program update for the Mirage took precedence). There was still some resistance there, but a lot more was obviously required – and if the army was moving in they could be a mutual diversion.