Months after the events of Winter, Cinder has a new job for Cress and Thorne: deliver a few crates full of letumosis antidotes and bioelectricity chip prototypes to a research lab in Hawaii. Easy, right? They’ve already been doing it for months–travelling the world, seeing the sights, dropping off cures, helping people.
It should be a routine mission. They expect a routine mission. But when they arrive in Hawaii, everything immediately starts going wrong. A few of Thorne’s shadier acquaintances show up out of the blue, and immediately after, the research lab goes into full lockdown following a break in. Cress and Thorne are thrust into a pursuit across the sea to prove their own innocence, and end up discovering a plot that might shake up the precarious peace Cinder and Kai have managed to build between Earth and Luna.
They also manage to make new friends, connect with their family, and build their home on the Rampion. Let it not be said that the path to happily ever after was easy.
Stars drift like snowfall past the windows of her satellite.
Cress watches, and waits.
Behind her, the pale blue hologram of Little Cress dances in the starlight. Her dress twirls around her, and her bare feet trip and jump and skip easily around the only floor she has ever known. A soft melody drifts from the speakers, and her little voice hums along–old Italian opera, country-western, a fast, upbeat pop song all at once. Every few notes, static buzzes discordant through the blank netscreens, then fades quiet beneath the music.
She dances, and hums, and in the reflection, Cress watches.
“What are you waiting for, Big Sister?” Little Cress sings.
Waiting? Cress is… dreaming. She’s dreaming. And, she feels, pressing her hand against the worrying knot in her chest, waiting for something important.
Six Magical Gangs In Search Of A Story, Which I Encourage People To Tag Themselves In
The Bruisers. Magical and magically-augmented weaponry. Enchanted daggers, pyrokinesis, alchemical grenades, etc. Intense pride in their work, and no particular goals beyond making ever-cooler weaponry. Using looted/foreign spells or gear is the gravest excommunicable offense. Leader: Ossifraj, an anthropomorphic bearded vulture lady with a very cool jacket.
The Sculptors. Extensive personal modification to suit one’s needs, or for the hell of it. Members take pride in pushing the bounds of a “single” “living” “being”, remaking themselves as marble statues, pointillist clouds, or anything else. Leader: Themistocles, a serpentine chimera bristling with hundreds of body-mods and tattoos.
The Communicants. Extraplanar contact and summoning. Members see it as essential to bring the local plane out of backwater isolation, and into a vast cosmopolitan multiverse. (If the entities are also very kissable, that’s a nice side bonus.) Leader: Apocrypha, a shrouded mass of robes and jewelry who seems to simultaneously stare through your soul and be focused a million miles away.
And then, the Heretical Tinkers, much smaller groups with no identifiable leaders:
The Quartermasters. Magical weaponcraft + personal modification. Members spar to test the weapons they’ve made themselves into: a modular quicksilver arm, poisoned retractable claws, and so on. The best contract killers in the world, if you don’t mind a little one-track-mind volatility.
The Hive. Personal modification + extraplanar summoning. Members hold that each being can become a world unto itself, and so can each of that world’s beings, and so on ad infinitum. Thus, they turn themselves into vibrant extraplanar ecosystems, using methods that require at least three Magical Physics degrees to grasp. With all their talk of embodying an infinite fractal universe, it’s easy to dismiss them as hippie cultists until it’s too late.
The Ochlocrats. Weaponcraft + extraplanar summoning. The most dangerous group by far. Members believe that otherworldly beings, with their vast perspective beyond our mundane world, have the right to scour our world as they please. They tirelessly build conduits for whatever spirit wishes to use them, and while Ochlocrats are the smallest group by far, their destruction is unmistakable and catastrophic. Ochlocrat slogans and iconography are banned in most jurisdictions, but that does little to stem the appeal.
We haven’t had much time to play together lately, so instead we have been building individually. This is an NPC housing in one of our single player worlds, mostly built for pleasing aesthetics, not for being all that useful (at that it’s pretty terrible).
This screenshot was made partially with the in-game camera, and partially with a photo editing program, because sadly it was too big to fit in one screencap. Another downside of the camera is the way waterfalls are drawn.