- Plane Weaver
Change is coming. The city has been moved, the sky torn asunder and the Imperial Palace destroyed by an act of Rod.
Meanwhile, in the Barrens, there are rumours that the Tyrant Thieves are meeting. Via discreet channels, individuals are being hired for an unspecified job; the only instruction is to meet at the Pickle Inn in the Barrens.
Jemil and Frond are taken to the Palace of the Tyrant of Tyrants beneath the Barrens where the Tyrant of Tyrants asks them to find out what's happened to Mabel, the Tyrant of Telemere ahead of a council of the Tyrants to discuss the issue of settling the Wastes. They head to the Pickle Inn where the Tyrant of Tyrants has arranged, via various proxies, for some support in the form of Heston, Alessia and a mysterious masked bounty hunter named Callaghan.
Owing to recent events, there's a hubbub of confused theories in the Pickle Inn as the patrons try to make sense of their changing world and track down the mysterious Kevin. The party, though have a far less mysterious Mabel to track down so they set off toward the Telemere section of the Barrens. On their way, they encounter some sadly Erroneous citizens led by a number of Rod faithful who have misinterpreted the Rod’s holy act of smashing the Imperial Bureaucracy into itty bitty pieces as a sign that the rightful authorities of Rastaban should be overthrown. They opt not to engage with this dangerous rhetoric and instead move swiftly onwards.
Barrens-Telemere is in chaos. There is fighting on the streets between Mabel loyalists and the forces of Anton, the former Tyrant of Telemere who has taken the opportunity to attempt to overthrow his usurper. The party defend the outnumbered loyalists and Callaghan gets a crash course in Barrens politics by interrogating one of Anton's defeated thieves. They are guided to the Telemere headquarters and up to Mabel's office where Anton's daughter, Felicia, lounges at her desk while her thieves ransack the place.
Felicia attempts to convince Jemil to turn on Mabel who's deserted her post and instead ally with Anton, a far more dependable Tyrant. He's reluctant but his hand his forced when Callaghan accidentally reveals that Mabel's a Forest Touched as Alessia contemplates performing a Connection ritual. With Mabel truly discredited, Jemil agrees to cooperate with Felicia and her father. Felicia gives them a map of the Wastes. Meanwhile, Frond befriends a vulture and everyone is suspicious of Callaghan's story.
A messenger is waiting for them in the shadows and beckons them to the Palace for the Council of Tyrants. There are clear tensions between Jemil and Petronax but Iseult and Anton seem amenable to working with the party. Anton and Jemil formalise their alliance with a handshake. Heston approaches Callaghan from behind and pulls back his disguise, revealing none other than the wanted fugitive Garrek. Iseult and Anton leap at the chance to exploit him while Alessia is more annoyed by the revelation that Garrek had known where Mabel was the entire time.
Petronax has had enough. He corners Jemil and reveals his ace - a brainwashed assassin Rod paladin whom he sets on the party before fleeing down a passageway. As they fight, Aphra reveals that the assassin is Maximus who was once “in her employ”. Alessia realises that Maximus has had his mind twisted by two layers of control - on the surface by Petronax but beneath that, by Aphra. She performs a ritual to release his mind and he awakens, furious at his captors but grateful for the party's assistance. By now, Aphra has vanished so Maximus sets off in pursuit.
The party find their way up to the streets where there is pure chaos. Devout Fiera of the Throne, gleaming the colour of pride (a shade somewhere near ochre) leads soldiers on a ruthlessly violent purge of the Barrens, slaying anyone in her way as she seeks to tear out the treason that has taken hold in the district thanks to the Erroneous followers of the Rod. The party escape but are scattered. Garrek flees south into the Wastes, Heston returns to the Imperial Commission, and Jemil, Alessia and Frond go to track down Petronax.
At Petronax's tower, a fight ensues. With surprise assistance from Maximus, Jemil and his friends drive back Petronax and, in desperation, the Tyrant weaver attempt to triumphantly cast a ritual to trap his adversaries. Unfortunately for him, his ritual backfires. The walls warp and shrink, sealing him within a miniature version of his own tower from which he is helpless to escape. Jemil calls upon the power of the Shroud and the tower is wreathed in shadows before disappearing forever. Petronax's former followers waste no time in proclaiming Jemil to be their new Tyrant Thief.
Meanwhile, Heston has been sent out by the Imperial Commission in possession of Mabel's map of the Wastes, tasked with delivering it to Grand Commissioner Lysander Slade who is leading a number of expurgation squads, attempting to refine usable black ichor from the contaminated land. He finds one team, accompanied by the Wheel paladin Fiona Gear and Garrek who had met up by chance.
The remaining three party members travel into the Wastes to assess the viability of resettlement. They are surprised to meet Garrek and Heston with the expurgation squad but their reunion is short lived as something goes horribly wrong and one of the commissioners enters a frenzy, killing her companion and attracting a number of dogsbodies. Garrek is able to help her, expelling the black ichor that has affected her, which Heston consumes.
On the banks of the river, the huge mutant corpse of the Eriden Leviathan lays dead, pierced by numerous pipes which are pumping its sad form dry. In its shadow, Grand Commissioner Lysander Slade conducts his experiments on two test subjects. Garrek objects, attempting to free one of them by turning her bindings yellow and brittle. The test subject is subdued, rupturing and oozing deadly sludge and Garrek is forced to flee from the commission. In the confusion though, the other test subject mysteriously escapes, without even leaving a scent trail for Frond to sniff out.
The meeting becomes tense as Fiona Gear learns the fate of her adopted son, Benten, blaming the Commission for his death. Though she is stopped from attacking them, she does reveal her knowledge of how Jemil's family died. With a few scraps of information, Jemil pieces together the truth - that they were the victims of Lysander's experimentation. He can't risk attacking the commissioner directly but now he knows…
As the light fails, the party decide to head to an interesting hole marked on the map, meeting up with Garrek on the way. It's a dangerous descent but at the bottom they find a room with alien writing, flowing and curving, inscribed in concentric circles. Lit by the torch of the Guiding Light, they hear the words spoken aloud, telling a story of Anata who was born with two bodies, each with half a head. They argued and fought until their second best friend convinced them to stop.
Once the story is acted out, a passage opens to reveal a burial chamber. Two-headed skeletons emerge from the walls. Garrek and Frond speed to the sarcophagus at the far end which they open and pillage, taking the occupant's skulls. Frond sets Fascination to take note of the inscriptions while Garrek phases through the wall to find a small, hidden chamber with a number of grave goods which he takes. Their prizes snatched from the dead, the party escape back to the surface.
Bizarrely, Garrek is dancing. It transpires that the musical instrument he looted has afflicted him with the sound of cursed music in his head, which is causing him to dance. He attempts to give the instrument to frond but this only results in them both hearing the music. On their way back to civilisation, Garrek reveals many secrets about the history of Rastaban.
Back in the Barrens, Alessia leverages the support of Jemil to rise in the ranks of House Keelen, enlisting the help of Maximus as an ally and potential patsy. Jemil, meanwhile, goes to work gathering all the information he can on Lysander Slade.
Garrek attempts to decipher the circular writing. His attempts go poorly at first, it being near impossible to tell where sentences start and end in a script devoid of punctuation. However, when he falls asleep one night, clutching his notes, he dreams and awakes the following morning with a passable ability to read the texts.
Frond sleeps too but they sleep clutching the Guiding Light to meditate on the nature of ichor. On a vast plane of black sand, they meet the Magos and make a deal for power and knowledge in return for freeing the Magos.
Elsewhere, Heston similarly seeks an audience with the Magos, bringing black market ichor into his mind and annoiting it on the black door in his orrery room. Stepping through the door, he finds an infinite, raging black waterfall. He allows the Magos to enter his mind, flooding it to the brim with inky black liquid and expunging the furious Forest. Just as the Magos expects Heston to let them enter the world through them, Heston flings open the door to the closet where he has kept a spark of light from the Torch. The water tries to rush in but is held back by the light. In a rage, the Magos tears apart the rest of Heston's mind, transforming it beyond recognition but, in his Torch closet, Heston's consciousness remains safe.
Garrek travels to the Painter's star pool and asks about Anata and the forest. The Painter complains that the reality Garrek inhabits is dull and bland, and he tires of answering questions. As such, he offers one truthful answer for every sentient being dunked in the pool. Garrek immediately jumps in. Exasperatedly, the Painter says, “Garrek… I already have you” and charges him with being his prophet.