- Plane Weaver
Damien the farsighted of House Esteban requires competent explorers to aid in the recovery of a lost relic. Proof of competence ideal, discretion essential.
The party meet Damien - the city's most highly regarded banker - who explains to him the sticky situation he's in (he owes his success to a Connection Denizen called Greed and his life is forfeit) and would like them to travel to Eustragath to recover a God Engine called the Oathbreaker so he can break his deal with Greed with no repercussions.
They set out, and after a short altercation with some Mega Rhinos bump into a party from the Philosophy of Seluga who are most interested in tracking down a young woman with a spiral mark on her cheek. They talk for a while about “Rastaban” (which the party pretend to be from) and about how the Philosophy may soon be closer than they expect, and the party head on their way, slightly rattled, before entering the pass to the Eustragathi foothills. There, they find resonant crystals which hum and attack them. They fight through, but find themselves entranced by the crystals when they investigate them, which nearly proves fatal. Hat and Abigail take samples of these crystals and they all move along.
Heading toward the Eustragath town Damien has directed them to, they find a stream and a number of assorted fauna and flora which have all been blessed with life by an individual they call the Life-Bringer. They eventually get out of the talking bush, rock, fire, lizard, stream, fish and skull that the Life-Bringer looks an awful lot like the young woman they're seeking only with a sunburst on her cheek in place of a spiral. The party stay here a while and Abigail instills her sword with the ability to carry the living fire and Hat enters into a mutual sovereignty over nowhere in particular with the skull. Discussions about morality and responsibility are had and conclusions are avoided being come to.
Approaching Eustragath, the party fall afoul of a pit trap and fight off spiders that attempt to steal their solidity. They escape from the runemarked pit mostly unscathed and finally reach the city for some well-deserved lunch with Damien's contact and their associates. Abigail makes a deal to retrieve a powerful item as well as the oathbreaker, at the expense of her loyalty, with Damien's contact, and cultural exchange occurs in which the party realise the various horrors of Eustragath and its landscape are remnants of a long ago god-war and these are the machines and weapons of that war. They are cautioned not to touch anything, and the crystals are identified as an Archival weapon against the Seeker. The party conclude from discussion with a Priest of the Seeker that the Seeker has been brought to life and this is a problem. They determine that the woman the Selugans are seeking is probably the Seeker, or related to it.
Having made some life-long friends they will certainly remember the names of, the party head to a temple devoted to the Fool. Shenanigans ensue involving inversions of meaning, changing of places, and eventually the party infiltrate their closely guarded vault and make their way through a gravity-shifting puzzle into the Vault of Greed and start collecting everything they can carry.
Except, they find the more they take the more they don't want to leave. There's so much to take, and… soon they realise this is the trap. Greed appears to them and offers to help them in exchange for them betraying Damien, which they are on the fence about. Vera talks at length to Greed and the party make it into the Vault proper where they find all sorts of horrible artefacts. Freya takes one she feels particularly dangerous before the others arrive, and they proceed to touch everything. Several flesh-inversions and mass scar renewals later, they determine to take the Oathbreaker and then Hat and Abigail work together to make a large floating orb more portable (which they determine to be what is keeping the floating Eustragath capital afloat).
Moral dilemmas abound occur when Damien appears and takes the Oathbreaker from Callista by force. He unravels it and in doing so unravels all his connections. He is connected to no-one and owes nothing. But he is Wrong. His very connection to the world is gone, and he seems… strange. Not there. A Null Entity. Callista promptly starts beating him into the floor at the word of the Shroud, and the party join in, using their healing powers to hurt the Connectionless man.
With Damien “dealt” with, the party turn their attention to Vera's negotiations with Greed. Overriding the word of the Throne Paladin, Callista and Abigail debate whether to trust Greed. Hat takes the opportunity to grab Damien and leave, while Greed insists guards are coming to take them. In the end, they don't take Greed's deal, and all hop aboard the floating map table that Hat and Abigail created, blast out of the city and make a slow getaway.
Eventually, the floating map table descends and the various Bureaucrats in the party make contact with Nonnus Ingerinus of the Steady Hand in the Bureaucracy, who is eternally grateful for them bringing this to the city. Nonnus takes the map table and bids them safe travel back to Rastaban where they make their various reports.
Callista reports to the Shroud, and then back to the Bureaucracy and makes it urgently clear that the Silent Regent has gone walkabouts and that both Seluga and the party know about this. She notes that Seluga do not seem to be aware that the nature of the Silent Regent has changed, but the party does. Having satisfied herself that she's reported without breaking her vow, she sets up a counselling solution for Imperial Bureaucrats suffering from a stressful job with the helpful selling point that she can promise she won't remember a word of what she said. That's not strictly true, since she leaves herself a divine mental backdoor to remembering if anything someone told her was important.
Abigail talks to Nonnus at length about how there is now going to be a power vacuum in Esteban and a number of deals defaulted on. The negotiation is fraught, but Nonnus offers to sponsor her success so long as the city remains stable and she can ensure the funding is made available for the raising of an army. Satisfied, Abigail makes her move in Esteban, capitalising on the insider trading knowledge she has and eventually draws the eye (and ire) of her competitors in Esteban, Flavia and Lucretia. She finishes her day by making the fire sword instillment permanent.
Vera looks around for counselling for her religious concerns, and finds herself talking to Nonnus Ingerinus as well. She starts talking about the stresses of upholding her vow and Nonnus appears to sympathise until it becomes quickly apparent that he's actually talking about himself. Vera attempts to steer him back to talking about her, but the Throne Paladin Bureaucrat begins talking about the state of the city, until a fascinating game of verbal chess occurs that Vera was certainly not expecting which results in Nonnus sponsoring her to the position of Devout in the Order of the Throne in order to reform it, with a view to having her made Grand Master with Minerva Adastra deposed. Vera leaves and later gives her eternal gratitude to a poor family in the Barrens.
As Vera leaves, “Freya” enters and makes her report to Nonnus as well. She presents Nonnus the artefact she recovered which Nonnus identifies as a Philosopher's Stone and is eternally grateful for being given. Freya covers any remaining holes in the party's story, giving Nonnus the full picture of what happened.
Hat, taking the long way home with a now lackadaisical Damien, eventually makes it back to Rastaban with the former Kaiser and holds him to his promise of a Sword and Armour from his collection. Despite the fact that Damien's word literally means nothing now, it turns out that the threat of Hat's sword is enough to hold him to it. It's quickly apparent that while Damien has escaped with his life, his claim to ownership of, well, anything, has deteriorated, but Hat is able to get out with two instilled items before the vultures of House Esteban come circling. With that sorted, Hat reports to House Rom and drops House Esteban in the shit by detailing everything. With additional insider information, House Rom is also able to capitalise on Damien's impending financial doom and claims some not insignificant footholds within the Esteban holdings. The House is particulary grateful for this.
A woman reaches the end of her journey and makes her way into a new land. She makes friends in the right places, deals with enemies in the wrong ones, and finds herself in a place she wants to be. She consults her god on how to protect her city, and consults its greatest enemy on its destruction. Pieces are moved on a board that few even know is there.