It's "parp" now. It'll always be parp.
Last time, the throng got stuck at the parp while Enoch worked on the RV's engine. The rest of the throng collectively discovered that something that local spirits called the "All-Bane" had followed them there, and so they were understandably concerned about that bit. They went to Enoch to include him in the conversation (now that his player was back), and Grimm took him to see the weird-ass tree with the swiped-off Pilgrim Mark. Enoch studied and noted that it contained Flux and Pyros in almost equal measure, but zeroing in on either was impossible - the signature seemed to shift. It wasn't the work of a Centimanus (which Enoch would have recognized). Maybe a mage?
The Prometheans regrouped and talked a bit about it, and about their next moves. They made the connected between the mysterious "All-Bane" and Rock, the weird not-human guy that Enoch had spoken to some time back in the hotel. Matt figured that the guy he'd seen running through the woods might be Rock, but he hadn't gotten a good look.
They realized that Virgil was not among them, but they could feel him - he was just a little ways off. Matt followed him into the woods and found Virgil standing by a creek staring into the water, but there was a second set of footprints next to him. Matt asked about it, but Virgil was standoffish and reticent, and said he needed to be alone for a bit. Matt accepted this, but then dampened his Azoth and followed at a distance. He saw Virgil talking to a man sitting on a fallen tree, and the man encouraged Virgil to leave the throng behind. "They're much farther ahead than you," said the man. When they were done talking, the man collapsed in on himself and vanished.
Matt talked to Virgil, and Virgil told him that he needed to split from the throng for a while. Matt told him he was always welcome back and to send up a flare if he needed them, and Virgil walked off. The others had felt Matt's fire dampen, and since there's a bad history with that, everyone except Avalon went off to find him. They found him, and Matt told them what had happened, but it didn't go well - Matt didn't mention the strange man he'd seen talking to Virgil and the others assumed that Matt had told Virgil that it was OK to leave, and while they understood the impetus to be alone, they were upset that Virgil hadn't said goodbye. Some harsh words were exchanged, Enoch socked Matt in the head so Avalon wouldn't have to, and the throng split up.
In the meanwhile, though, Avalon had been hanging around outside the RV. A young man walked up and asked to play with her cats, and then when he touched one, its fur poofed up - much like when Skip does it. Avalon talked to him, and he dropped some fairly cryptic hints, making her figure him to be a qashmal. He said he didn't have a name and wasn't likely to need one; he would be recycled when he was done with this little mission. She said it was important to have a name - maybe he'd remember it. He told her that she wasn't Deviant-ing very well, and she said she knew, but she was having a hard time figuring it out. He said that the laws of humans weren't really something she had a lot of familiarity or connection to, but Prometheans had their own "laws" (norms, really) and maybe transgressing against those was better? She'd been told to avoid Ollie, for instance, after that whole debacle. Avalon agreed and thanked him, calling him "Milo." Milo collapsed in upon himself and vanished, and Avalon called Ollie (she got his voicemail and left a message).
Feather got back to the RV and talked to Avalon, and told her what had happened with Virgil. They tearfully talked about their experiences with throng members leaving and coming back - Feather said she hadn't been sad about Skip flying off the mountain or the throng splitting for a time or Grimm going off alone or even her time by herself, but she was sad for Virgil because she didn't really believe he wanted to be alone. In the midst of this conversation, they felt Virgil break the throng-bond.
Skip, meantime, went over to the playground to give Avalon and Feather some space (he's not great with people or emotions) and wound up talking to a little boy with a video game...who almost immediately implied himself to be a qashmal. He asked Skip what he was going now, where he was going on his Pilgrimage next, and Skip said he was going to go out among people and try Aurum. The qashmal said that he was apparently ahead of the curve, then, and collapsed in upon himself and vanished.
Matt went walking angrily in the woods. He found a set of footprints - big ones, boots - and followed them kind of half-heartedly. He found someone (far too small to be the one leaving the prints) waiting for him, carving an angel into a tree. He watched for a minute, and then laughed, saying that this was perhaps a bit on the nose, and the man spoke to him ("Finally!"). The man had cat's eyes, and Matt guessed he was the cat from before, which the man confirmed - it became clear that the man (or qashmal?) couldn't offer information so much as confirm it. They talked and the man confirmed that the thing that had been talking to Virgil was the "All-Bane," not a qashmal - he had been the qashmal but had been disrupted, and now was in this form and limited in what he could do. He led Matt through some questions and conclusions, notably that he was different in some way than the others, and that difference might hold the key to figuring out how to beat the All-Bane. At one point he offered information and his hand burst into flame as he wept - offering information directly cost him. He reminded Matt that he hadn't told Virgil to leave - that had been the All-Bane. When they were finished talked, the qashmal burned, collapsing forward and burning to ash.
Matt walked on, following the footprints, and found a makeshift hut. Inside, he found Lurch (his Azoth also dampened). They talked momentarily, and Lurch told him that he'd followed the Refinement of Phosphorus after finding an Athanor teaching it, but had failed to understand it and was losing hope. Matt realized that although he'd looked up to Lurch - regarded him as a creator and kind of parent - Lurch was hurting, confused, and lost, and Matt was in a much better place. In that he found his projectio milestone (Confront Lurch), and brought him back to meet the throng.
Feather, meantime, we in the RV, feeding the cats, and found herself talking to a man in a yarmulke who called himself Isaac. Feather expressed distrust - she used Heed the Call to take his Measure and found that instead of a Pilgrimage, he had the opposite of that, just a cold, dark pit instead of any relation to humanity. Isaac asked if he gave her some help achieving a milestone if that would help her trust him, and she agreed (it was more than most qashmallim did). He told her to think about her experiences with faith and community and apply them.
The Prometheans regrouped, and decided to find Virgil and make sure he wanted to be alone. Grimm tracked him through the woods, and they found him in the cardboard recycling dumpster outside a local Popeye's. He agreed that he didn't really want to be apart, but the man - the All-Bane - had convinced him. The throng took him back, and they bought a bunch of food and beer and went back to the RV. Feather gave a toast and said a prayer (achieving a milestone: lead a prayer...so Isaac's advice kinda panned out), and the throng ate, reunited. They offered Lurch to join, but he said he had some things to figure out. He wanted to talk to Grimm, for one, since Grimm had achieved a Role on Phosphorum.
More to come!