- Plane Weaver
The Court of Rom would be particularly grateful to any Good Citizens who voluntarily deliver a writ of summons from the Imperial Court and ensure that it is carried out to the letter in the name of Imperial Justice. If you do not volunteer, the Court of Rom reserves the right to volunteer you on your behalf.
Applicants should pay no attention to the current Planar Conjunction and present themselves forthwith while remembering that Imperial advice is to lock one’s doors and remain inside. It is hereby affirmed that there is no contradiction in the previous sentence, as is evident to all Good Citizens.
In the midst of a planar conjunction, the party meet up outside a lesser-used entrance to the House Rom headquarters, situated on the site of the old Imperial Archives. Unfortunately, Aurelia Darling doesn't even make it that far before being dragged off by a Greedling. She finds herself in front of a connection denizen in the form of a very large, grinning cat who calls themself Friendship. Aurelia takes the opportunity to make a deal with Friendship; they will be able to see through her eyes and she through theirs. Additionally, should Aurelia serve Friendship well, there may be room for the gifting of more power. Aurelia's eyes become more cat-like and Friendship's more human-like.
Aurelia leaves through a door and comes out outside the Imperial Archives where everyone else has been searching for her. Reunited, they head inside, through disused blackened corridors. Ash swirls on the floor and rises into figures, connection beings driven mad by the severed threads of connection in this area. While most of the party slay the beings, Frond attempts to assuage them by offering connections, which is partially successful and results in a list of treasons being transferred via Frond to Fascination, the connection denizen in their head.
The party puzzle their way through a maze of Imperial Bureaucracy which is working exactly as intended. Watcher quite easily finds her way through the tangles of red tape while everyone else is frustrated by the number of forms required which results in some entirely unwarranted anger toward Loyal Imperial Bureaucrats. Most notably, this results in a long tirade against the Secretary for the Liaison to the Imperial Court who was, at the time, mid-way through granting the Permit to Seek an Audience with the Liaison to the Imperial Court.
Permit in hand, Watcher leads the party to the Liaison to the Imperial Court, a dour-faced figure with grey hair tied back into a tight bun. She entrusts the summons to Watcher, reminds them of the seriousness of their mission and is deeply unimpressed by Aspirant Aurelia's attempts at ingratiation. She asks everyone to leave and stop wasting her time.
Meridian stops off at one of his contacts to ask for details about the subject of the summons, Balthasar Chrysoloras, learning that he was involved in a plagiarism case some years ago and stripped of rank. He also receives a forecast of the ongoing conjunction.
On their way, the party encounter a group of figures attempting to look imposing. They claim to be providing a public service by making sure everyone returns to their homes during the conjunction, going so far as to offer their especial gratitude. When this fails, they attempt to stop the party by force. The party naturally triumphs, though not without some difficulty. The thugs have no identification, though some members of the party suspect they may be members of House Keelen.
The party find Balthasar's home but it has fallen into ruin and decay, now inhabited by an erosion denizen, Bitey, who was attracted by the sense of despair from the place. Bitey takes the form of a shark with spider legs and is accompanied by tentacles writhing from the floor and swarms of endings. While Aurelia negotiates with Bitey, Meridian bleeds out on the ground. Frond checks Meridian's body for a mark of the blessed and then they and Aurelia convince Bitey to grant them a boon for letting Meridian die. Bitey tells them to be patient and points out that there's a large gathering of weavers at one of Grand Magister Isabella's secondary residences nearby before scuttling away up the wall.
Meanwhile, Meridian wakes up in Grand Magister Isabella's bed. Realising he's somewhere he definitely shouldn't be, he sneaks out and heads downstairs, finding an odd mixture of weavers sheltering from the conjunction. He mingles for a while, welcomed by his fellow Rom citizens until the rest of the party arrive, carrying Meridian's dead body.
Watcher takes Meridian's body away. Frond asks to be allowed to study it on behalf of the commission. Meridian's hand with his mark of the blessed is removed and held onto by Watcher who ushers everyone away before preparing the body for sky burial. Her work complete, she returns to the gathering and presents Frond with Meridian's hand.
Over the course of lunch, Selva creates some art which specifically does not depict the Shroud. Meridian is approached by Councillor-Apprentice Fendrel who mentions how grateful he'd be if Balthasar didn't arrive to the appeal. Watched by Watcher, Meridian turns down the bribe. When Hatevil hears of the matter, however, he demands the guards arrest Fendrel, accusing him of perverting the course of justice. Despite having the legal procedures of Rom explained to him, Hatevil maintains his accusations and arrangements for a trial are put into place.
In the meantime, however, the summons still needs to be delivered. Selva has heard that Balthasar was seen some months ago on the edge of Rom and leads the way. There, they find Balthasar's heavily decayed corpse in bed, a number of sleeping draught vials on the floor and a wardrobe that seems strangely inviting.
There is some debate whether the summons should be opened which is ended when Watcher walks into the cupboard with the summons. Frond cuts off Balthasar's head, claiming it as proof that the summons has been delivered, then steps through the wardrobe. The rest of the party follow with Hatevil bringing Balthasar's headless corpse.
The party finds themselves falling, assailed by strange dreams. Selva is traumatised by a dream of losing her teeth while Hatevil plays into a power fantasy, revelling in his sense of invulnerability. Eventually, the world settles around them and they see a ball of faceless figures. By interacting with each figure, they manage to identify Balthasar's conciousness lost in dream and try to convince him to return to answer the summons.
Meanwhile, a dream version of Fendrel attempts to eat part of the summons. While their consciousnesses are exposed, Aurelia takes the opportunity to forge a link between herself, Friendship, Frond and Fascination. She also takes what she believes to be a dream denizen into her head.
Balthasar is overwhelmed by his decisions and erupts into a monstrosity as red, chitinous legs burst from his back. The party hack them away, with Frond slamming the whole thing to the ground and Balthasar is subdued. They stuff his conciousness back into his body, ignoring the fact the neck is severed, and bring him through the wardrobe portal which has reappeared. On the other side, they find Fendrel with a group of assassins ready to kill them.
Balthasar's decaying corpse is somehow able to walk, given vitality by his conciousness, though it seems likely that his second existence will be short lived. Frond attempts to pick up the wardrobe but moving it destroys the portal. The rest of the party fight the assassins but Fendrel manages to get Balthasar's head and abscond with it.
The party is separated pursuing Fendrel but there is no sign of him. They come back together to discuss their plans. Watcher leaves to infiltrate the Keelen gang that Fendrel hired. Frond uses benediction to grant themselves spider olfactory organs which they use to track Fendrel and Balthasar's head. Unfortunately, they walk into the worst of the planar conjunction. Frond strikes out on their own after Fendrel while the others fight the connection denizens. Hatevil is preoccupied by hacking oversharers into little pieces while Selva is swallowed whole by a Fear of Being Eaten and Meridian is dragged off by a greedling.
Frond learns the hard way the mistake of taking on a perfection weaver one-on-one. Fendrel kills them and completes a ritual attempting to terminate the conciousness in Balthasar's head.
Aurelia and Hatevil manage to free Selva from the Fear of Being Eaten. They take Balthasar's headless body to traitor's gate and it is taken inside by shadowy figures.
Aurelia realises that what she had thought might be a dream denizen has faded from her conciousness and reasons that they probably weren't a denizen but rather a figment of dream. She isn't exactly sure when they disappeared but it was definitely some time after stepping out of the wardrobe.
Meridian wakes up in front of a smiling Friendship who greets him cordially despite having heard him insult them previously. Disgust is a connection, after all, even if it isn't as juicy as friendship. Aurelia, watching through Friendship's eyes arranges a deal. Meridian is to work to bring Friendship new friends or else Friendship may have to come for friendship.
The first trial is Torch sou Hatevil Stingelhelm v Rom sou Fendrel. Hatevil summons Meridian as witness and legal counsel and calls down the Torch to watch the proceedings. Meridian gives a statement exposing Fendrel's attempt to bribe him which Fendrel disputes, claiming to have been expressing a hope rather than an intention to bribe. Meridian agrees to submit his memories of the event to the court. The evidence is compelling but not sufficient to be conclusive. Several arguments over semantics follow, which results in the charges being reduced to disrespecting the Imperial Court. Unfortunately, given Fendrel's rank, and that Hatevil, an outsider, is the one making the accusation, the court does not find sufficient proof of guilt and therefore the punishment is applied to Hatevil. He is stripped of his rank in Rom (of which he had none) and sentenced to be thrown into Erosion for a month. The Torch is unimpressed by this failure of Justice. Hatevil appeals to the Imperial Court.
At some point, the appeal of Rom sou Balthasar Chrysoloras v Rom sou Fendrel occurs. The results are not publicised but Fendrel is dragged off by shadowy figures. Balthasar is later restored to the rank of Councillor-Apprentice. He is not declared dead.
Frond performs a Guided Mutation of themselves, becoming more arachnoid. Each of their legs splits apart down the centre twice before lengthening and undergoing sclerotisation to form a chitinous exoskeleton. By the end of it, they have eight spider legs, allowing them to climb up walls and hang from ceilings. They also attempt to perform experiments on the Mark of the Blessed on Meridian's severed hand. Unfortunately it transpires that the Mark of the Blessed has faded from the dead skin. Meridian follows up on Frond's results but it turns out that not only have they had no success, they seem to have died. Selva asks how the Shroud feels about ganking traitors and how the Shroud's day has been.
Aurelia returns to Scylla Frost, claiming to have information about the conjunction and offers a connection with Friendship. Scylla attempts to tear the connection away from Aurelia's mind for herself but Aurelia is too strong willed. Further negotiation fails so Aurelia takes the offer to Benedict Scrubb who creates a link without removing Aurelia's bond, allowing Friendship and Benedict to communicate directly.
Hatevil presents himself outside the Traitor's Gate for his appeal, accompanied by Meridian as his legal counsel. The shadowy figures take him and leave Meridian behind. The Imperial Court is every bit as terrifying as its reputation. A severe silence prevails in the gloom. Hatevil presents the same case as he presented to the Court of Rom. Fortuitously, it seems a wealth of further evidence has been submitted to the Court, detailing the events of delivering the summons, including Fendrel's hired intimidation, Fendrel bringing a number of assassins and attempting to murder the party and, most notably, Fendrel absconding with the disembodied head of Balthasar. The Court also has in evidence the head of Balthasar Chrysoloras which, though silent and unmoving, is declared to have Balthasar's conciousness sealed inside by a botched perfection ritual. It is apparent that Balthasar is aware and capable of sensation but incapable of any movement or communication short of through means of connection weaving. He gives testimony to Fendrel's actions and the murder of Frond who was engaged in Official Imperial Business at the time. Deliberation is short and the appeal is granted, reversing the earlier decision. Balthasar's head is retained in evidence and not seen again.
Fendrel is executed. Imperial Justice has been served.