- Plane Weaver
You are all in attendance at an Exhibition of Imperial Glory in the city of Rastaban when the Bell of Endings tolls, signalling the start of an Intercalary Event - a day which is not a day when it is Treason to go outside. Worse, a murder is discovered. There is a killer in your midst and none may leave…
A Crime Discovered
While Citizens of the Great City of Rastaban are gathered in the exhibition hall at the Department of Anthropology in the Circle of the Enlightened Mind, the Bell of Endings tolls direly, announcing the start of an Intercalary Event. Outside, the sky darkens, seeming to writhe in upon itself though naturally as Good Citizens, everyone does their best not to look outside. In the exhibition hall, student volunteer Giselle becomes increasingly concerned that the curator of this Exhibition of Imperial Glory, Professor Ekkehard is nowhere to be found.
Owing to the Circle bylaws, no more than five people are permitted in the corridors at once during an Intercalary Event as any more would be classified as a mob so Giselle recruits four people, including Ashes, Sowe and Leofric to investigate the Professor’s quarters. There they find Professor Ekkehard lying a pool of blood, evidently dead. A search of the room yields few answers but it doesn’t seem to have been ransacked at all so it appears the motive of theft can be ruled out. They do notice an open window with blood on the handle but close it quickly, being very careful not to look outside at the unnatural sky.
Ashes seeks guidance from the Torch and the way ahead is clear - to tell the truth of what has happened to the others. They take the body of Professor Ekkehard and leave alone, heading back to the exhibition hall. Meanwhile, Sowe explores the floor for clues, crawling around and getting soaked head to toe in blood. She does not find any clues.
Back in the hall, Leofric performs an autopsy. It seems the immediate cause of death was a stab wound, likely caused by a sword but strangely Ekkehard’s internals appear to be older than they should be, as if those of a man much older than himself. Ragnhild comes over and agrees with this assessment, noting the touch of Erosion within him.
Ashes calls upon the Torch to witness and under the Muse’s watch, asks the killer to confess their guilt. Selva immediately steps forward to confess, causing a short moment of confusion. With the actual killer not forthcoming, Ashes proceeds to ask every person individually.
An Investigation Begun
Realising that it will likely be necessary to search for clues in the rest of the Circle, Giselle proposes that the old abandoned tunnels beneath the department be opened up so that people may traverse between buildings without going outside. She brings together Prudence, Matthias, and Firminus for this task. They descend down a narrow flight of stairs to a locked door, which Matthias coaxes into opening. Firminus leads the way through the darkness with his gloriously mutated eyes. Prudence excitedly heads on down the tunnel toward adventure.
Ahead there comes a scratching and sniffling sound. A large rat rounds the corner, hissing at Prudence before scratching her across the face. Rather than retaliating, Prudence calms the rat and manages to tame it. The group press on. Matthias teaches a brick to be a spade in order to clear out a cave-in. They unbar the door at the far end and the trapdoors leading to the servants’ quarters and groundskeepers hut, then return to report back to the gathered attendees at the exhibition.
There is some debate about whether or not keys will be necessary to enter the basement where there is rumoured to be an Erosion artefact or if simply bringing sufficient Wheel paladins to phase everything through the walls would be enough.
While this is happening, a separate discussion has established that the Forest wood must be destroyed. Sato oversees as Matthias shapes a crucible and Ashes attempts to incinerate the wood with the fire of the Torch. At that moment, Sowe snatches the wood and attempts to escape but is stopped in her tracks by an ichor ball from Carmen. Unfortunately, the Forest within the wood has been stirred by the fire and has infected Sowe’s arm with a fine layer of bark growing up over her hand. Inquisitor, cowled in shadow, prevents her from fleeing. The others gathered there take swift action; Ashes sets fire to the arm and Carmen quickly cuts it off with her bone spurs, thus saving Sowe’s life.
While Ashes safely destroys both arm and wood, Selva uses an Embrace to shroud Sowe’s mind from the Forest, numbing the pain and offering a respite from the horrific psychological scars left by the Forest’s touch.
A Mushroom Consumed
Valencia, student to the recently deceased, wanted to go back to her room to check that her research into Anthropological Mycology was undisturbed; fearing the worst after the murder and the unsettled times. The group, led by Valencia and including Eli, Garrek,and Hatevil climbed up the tower to Valencia’s quarters-cum-research chamber.
Garrek, using Unfetted Path, passed through the door with Eli to investigate any possible disturbances, while the rest stayed outside to bicker. Rows and rows of tiny and occasionally incomprehensibly labelled vials were full of various states of fungi, lining most available spaces, impeccably sealed. In the centre, the prized mushroom was contained in a blackened box.
The rest of the group entered after determining no danger. While Valencia tried to dissuade Garrek from eating some of the very delicious-looking, sealed blue mushrooms, Eli discovered right in the darkest corner under the darkest desk was a tiny and impossibly beautiful flower.
While Eli inspected the flower, Garrek opened one of the blue vials against the advisement of literally everyone else (except Eli, who was perfectly content to ignore them). Since it was sealed a bit too well, he opened it with a bit too much force and ended up getting a face full of spores. This afflicted him with a very strong belief that yes, he really was the best. Afflicted with arrogance, he ate the mushroom.
In the meantime, Valencia noticed that the large black box had been sealed in a way not quite how she had left it. Garrek, using his profound sense of self-worth, browsed the room and felt that he learned a lot of valuable things (while succeeding in learning absolutely nothing). He found a small key which Valencia confirmed did not belong.
Determined to investigate what the key was actually meant to unlock, the group headed back to the exhibition. Eli, trailing behind, plucked the tiny, white, somehow fleshy flower. Determining that nothing too bad would happen (probably), they ate a petal. The result: overcome with a great euphoria, great enough to bring tears to the eye.
Thus ended the mushroom quest.
After reaching the exhibition once again, it was confirmed with Katepon Tielo that the small key was likely to belong to some kind of academic’s cupboard.
An Exhibition Dismantled
Three Shroud Paladins leave to the Gatehouse to retrieve the basement key. They return empty handed.
Meanwhile, Tielo shapes the podium into a vault to safely store the remaining exhibits. Ferminus has been attempting to find out who delivered the ichor ball while Carmen solves the problem by discreetly pocketing the ball and replacing it with one of her own. Sato ties a strip of her dress around Serjet’s Hammer in an attempt to claim ownership over it. Matthias determines that the hammer in question, though very old and purposeful, was not created by Serjet, something the Shaper’s College was almost certainly aware of. Nonetheless, they use Unity of Intent to designate themselves as the hammer’s user. Unaware of these developments, Tielo convinced Min Ishtar to permit him to return the hammer to the Shaper’s College following the exhibition and, in the meantime, stores it in the podium-vault.
Gerome Verdigris attempts to convince Min Ishtar that he should be promoted to the now vacant professorship. She is impressed by his brazen shamelessness.
It is determined that Leofric is suffering from some sort of affliction which Gidie determines is not physical in nature.
Garrek confronts Sato about the curse of the pebbles and Sato assures him that it is now lifted.
A Denizen Freed
Very carefully defining themselves as two seperate groups of people who happen to be going to the same place at the same time to circumvent the college bylaws, Carmen, Ragnhild, Tielo, Jasine, Gidie, Euphemia and Sato head down to the basement. Carmen recognises the place as somewhere she went earlier and felt a sense of deep lethargy.
They come to a door which Tielo shapes open. Inside is a pedestal upon which rests a box wrapped in chains which seem to be rusting as water drips out of the box. A voice speaks from within, the voice of Vashti, an Erosion denizen who is irate at being bound within the box and desires release. Euphemia uses a Perfection ritual to strengthen the bindings and buy some time but it’s clear that Vashti will break free soon.
After much discussion about the merits of releasing a dangerous denizen, Sato makes a deal with Vashti that if released she will harm no one. Jasine swings the box around a bit, then runs off with it back upstairs.
Seeking knowledge, Euphemia, Gerome, Matthias and another, headed off to the library with a purpose. Gerome, library key to hand, knocked thrice, waited the correct number of seconds, and entered, the rest of the party behind him. The library was vast and quiet, with shelves that stretched high and teetered, looking as though they would drop their books onto careless (or even careful) passersby. Those who spend time in the library know that of course it is perfectly balanced and stable, and there is nothing to fear.
The purpose the group had in mind was pretty much immediately forgotten after being confronted by the irate librarian. Much like many of the other librarians, this librarian’s name was either not known or not remembered; remembering the names of the books and the great order of the library was more important than such lesser names.
Annoyed that her book had been damaged, she confronted these careless passersby, demanding that they make it right or leave. The shaper accompanying the group offered to essentially heal the book in exchange for some information about the book and who had taken it out last. The group inspected the torn page deciphering the clue which seemed to indicate Vasti’s epithet: the Hour of Death.
Book healed and librarian placated, the group departed, but not before asking the librarian to check in more detail who had last taken out the book that had been damaged. Since the records are vast, stretch back hundreds of years, and have a somewhat eclectic ordering to them, she shooed them away and said that she would let them know at a later point
Back in the exhibition hall, Vashti finally breaks free from her bindings. The assembled group question her and are able to determine that the source of Erosion inside the murdered Professor was not from her. They re-examine the supposed bottle of Erosion water and realise that it is simply mundane muddy water.
Vashti grants Carmen a boon, the ability to smell the scent of decay all around, which Sowe removes from the disgusted commissioner. Vashti reviles Jasine’s perfect hand and Eli’s Glory-granted eyes. Eli offers to gouge her own eyes out and enlists Carmen to help with her bone spurs. Impressed, Vashti grants replacement eyes - black and fish-like, capable of seeing the overlayed Plane of Perfection.
A Mystery Solved
Ashes stormed off to the lecture theatre with two others, armed with the knowledge that this mysterious key dropped by the person who had stolen Valencia’s research would open something up in the lecture theatre.
The lecture theatre was pretty quiet and they found and opened the cupboard under the podium with little effort, discovering a blackmail note, which they tried to get to the bottom of back in the exhibition. They suspected that Firminus might have been the one responsible due to it being signed “F”.
As the Bell of Endings tolls the all-clear and the skies outside return to normal, suspicion seems to have fallen firmly on Gerome Verdigris. It is believed that he found Leofric’s baleful sword and was driven to use it against Professor Ekkehard against whom he had a vendetta on the basis of his research. This coupled with several acts of Treason and Heresy as well as avoiding the Inquisitor’s questions is sufficient evidence of guilt for the Imperial Bureaucracy.
Gidie, Eupemia and Sato escort Vashti to Rom where she marches to an area aligned with Erosion, causing minor havoc on the way. Sato engages in diplomacy with Vashti, resulting in an offer of mutually beneficial aid when in Erosion. Vashti then disappears back to her own Plane. The two weavers report to House Rom the events of the evening.
Tielo returns the items safeguarded in the podium-vault to Min Ishtar and personally returns the hammer to the Shapers College. Some time later, the hammer mysteriously goes missing but by that point the Shapers College has bigger things to worry about.
Jasine makes an appointment with the Imperial Commission to be studied, which they enthusiastically accept. They are grateful for her reports about how the Elect are created and for her agreement to participate in a number of tests which include physical endurance, identifying Forest creatures and having a Bolstered Ichorwerk Tankard thrown at her repeatedly. They note that these results have interesting implications for the other test subjects downstairs.
A rumour goes around the Order of the Wheel that Inquisitor has a crush on Jasine but don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret. Also the Wheel likes Inquisitor’s hair.
Gerome Verdigris is summoned to trial and is swiftly found guilty by Imperial Justice. He is executed for the murder of Professor Ekkehard.
Sato publishes a paper on Plane Binding, noting its utility.