Acryn is a city divided with the forces of the Council in a stand-off with those of the Cargan's, the great river acting as the only barrier between the soldiers of each. However, thanks to the actions of some of Acryn's most influential people, there is no desire for a war which would plunge the city into chaos, while the Serradic Empire threatens her borders and the mysterious Magisterium lurks in the shadows. Still headstrong nobles and drunk guardsmen have been picking fights with each other and tensions are running high.
Behind the scenes diplomats from both sides have been working to reach an accord with little luck. With the standoff at an impasse Duke Corlo Graves, who claims to be the voice of reason, has called for a diplomatic summit and has enlisted the support of the four churches to bring both sides together.
The meeting has been called for one week hence and is to be held at the council building, which has so far remained unclaimed by either side for fear of provoking the other. The great and good of the city have been invited and one way or other an understanding will be reached.
The negotiations are difficult and the Cargan’s are very happy to leverage their troops stationed around the city in the discussions. Eric Luckner has much of the establishment behind him and this helps in coordinating the city's stance. However, it's clear that others are working against this unified approach and as such a sizeable proportion of the extant council does not cooperate with him. This substantially decreases his ability to push for the settlement his supporters would have wished to see. In the end however, a compromise is reached that after months finally restores peace to the city and results in substantially more representation for the people of Acryn. However, it also results in greater formalization of the noble houses' representation on the council.
The exile of the Cargan and Salic lines is lifted and citizenship restored to them. They push to have their lands restored but are beaten down to accepting only Castle Blackthorn. The Cargan's do not renounce their insistence that the monarchy be restored but they agree to recognize the council as legitimate until such time that the rightful ruler is chosen by the Leader (the meaning of 'Chosen by the Leader' is left purposely vague in the wording of the accord).
With this agreement in place the council is officially restored with a new membership still totaling 30:
The remaining 10 seats remaining as floating seats, chosen by election of the rest of the council.
Overall the new council is a unified one (though not all of the elected seats have yet been filled) seeking to work for the good of the city, but is clear that beneath the surface it remains finely divided between troyalist and republican camps.
It's notable that the head of the civil service no longer has a seat and the Cargan's have made clear they expect the running of the city to be shaken up.
Lavia Bran, head of the Farmers Union is tried for the murder of Galia Terrac. Although there is compelling evidence, including testimony that Lavia's family was slaughtered by the retreating Cargans during the revolution, giving her every reason to wish to frame Faria Carver, she is defended by the crack legal team from Hoskins Inc. who are able to pick enough holes in the case to force an acquittal. Still house Terrac makes clear that it considers her culpable and that justice will be had.
Faria Carver attempts to reinstate herself as Heirach of the church of the leader, however there is considerable politicking against her both by the church of the Tender and house Terrac. She is humiliatingly forced to renounce leadership of the church to keep the peace and instead takes one of the Cargan seats on the council. Considerable suspicion is circulating about her motives in religious circles and even amongst the Cargan's some feel that she has exerted to much influence too publicly.
As the peace negotiations conclude and the city begins to function once again as a cohesive state it becomes apparent that the words of the Magisterium emissary were no idle threat. The effect is gradual at first but over the next few weeks it becomes apparent that no human pregnancy results in a live birth - no children are born. As mages and priests probe the curse they find that it is entirely possible to salvage individual births with the power of the Tender or arcane wardings, but this requires precious resources to save just a single child. As news comes from the furthest flung settlements of the continent it becomes clear that the Magisterium is wrecking a terrible doom not just upon Acryn but on all.
However, for the moment it is the Serradic threat that occupies all minds with Liarus now fallen to the legions of the empire. As part of the negotiations the Cargan's demand that Julis Ravensfall is reinstated as Shield of Acryn and given the Cargan's larger military forces the city's negotiators are forced to concede. With the Cargan forces united with those of the city the Acryn army is now a force to reckoned with and large enough to face the legions of the Ascendent One on an equal footing.
As the city descends into something approaching calm following the signing of the accord the peace is riven one night when the city awakes to trail of destruction leading from merchants district to the walls. Something has gouged a path a devastation through the streets and out into the countryside, leaving nothing but dust in its wake. Rumours are swirling of a terrible monster, wreatered in bloody flames and inky shadows moving unstoppable through the streets and at least two watch patrols are missing.
Alastair - recognised as Duke Graves son and elevated to the rank of Count, with his protectorate of the southern villages officially recognised. Duke Corlo has had to expend considerable political capital to square this and is likely consider Alastair in his debt.
Jimmy - gets 50 Acra from the Farmers union for his legal work. The true council seem pleased with the outcome of the talks: Acryn will be stable but with a government riven by conflicting interests - giving the true council the scope to work beneath the law.
Jarred - he awakens one night in the strange room beneath his workshop to find himself sleepwalking apparently not in control of his own body. He feels another presence puppetting him as it places the stone orb with the alien device. He hears his own voice speak in a far-away tone: 'At last, my masterpiece is complete. Behold perfection'. As the device thrums into life he has a momentary flash of insight into the mind of soul that dwells within him: for eons it has been driven by a compulsion, a madness, to perfect destruction itself. It was for this reason its own kind banished it into realm of a dragon lest it threaten their existence. As the mental compulsion that has controled him for the past few months fades Jarred stumbles back as terrible power roars though the device, the sphere of Draconic energy at its heart pulsing with bloody fire, inky, fractal symbols pouring from it like shadows. As everything in the basement begins to dissolve into fine black dust the artefact twists though impossible dimensions and unfolds into an almost humanoid form, faceless and wreathed in countless bladed arms between which dark energy crackles. Before the basement collapses the last thing he sees is the construct, the Sundarshava, arise, all about it turning into dust, a bloody orb of power burning in the centre of its shadowy face and gaze at him with an unfathomable look of alien purpose. He awakens several hours later under the rubble of his workshop. Several of the buildings around his are simply gone, and trail of fine black dust leads from the district out into the city ( see above). In the chaos it's possible for Jared to conceal his direct involvement, but many are asking questions. Whatever its purpose the Sundarshava is now unleashed
He also shares the secret of animation with the Watchmaker's guild, who are very very excited by this.
Harlon - is able to research magics which he think would allow him to open a gateway directly to the Magisterium using the Demiurge's arm as a focus. This would require very powerful fracturing magics and who knows what defenses the Ishvaratar the Creator has woven about itself.
Eric - becomes the guild council member by out-maneuvering Lukas Vedetti the current encumbent, whose been weakened by rumours of involvement with the supremacist faction. Eric has made a powerful enemy in him.
Anabel - the civil service are worried by the new Cargan powerbase in the city and their influence on the council, in particular the fact tha they are carefully appointing vetted people to manage some of the arms of state.
Vincent - with Faria Carver distracted trying manage her own position within the new regime he is able to make inroads into the Cargan household and with his sister, the new Duchess. He highlights that Faria Carver is causing division, not displaying leadership. In the Cargan court there is a noticeable shift in power and although the Duchess still deeply respects Faria she takes control of those she speaks to and the advice she takes. Vincent is foremost among those she turns to learn what the people are thinking and how House Cargan should integrate into the city. His own efforts in religious circles mean he can take the Church of Tender's council seat should he wish.