Word has gone out that the reclusive noble, Anthony Scarlett - last of the line of Scarlett, and owner of the grand Scarlett Estate - is looking to hire adventurers to apprehend and question the individual he believes is attempting to steal his identity. Those interested are encouraged to meet Scarlett himself at the Salamander's Head Tavern for more information.
The party have dealt with the immediate threat of a royalist uprising. Both Etienne Darrish and Maria Starling have been killed - Maria, hacked to pieces by Derrick. Little is made of this latter fact, though, because it is somewhat overshadowed by the more immediate problem of Pig: Pig, who has taken Maria’s body, unwound its intestines, draped them over its neck like a scarf, and dragged it out into the streets. Theo and Marian, horrified, attempt to prevent this from going further. Pig somewhat petulantly allows them to take the body back.
Meanwhile, Derrick gathers up the exploding mana crystals into a cart (requisitioned by Marian), and the group - unsure as to how to deal with them, but certain they must not remain where they are - move them outside the city gates. Immediately, it becomes apparent that these crystals were not all they seemed. All but about a handful of them prove to be flux, melting into thin air.
Out of the handful that remain, the party gather up one each.
This done, the party return to Alastair Cargan, who is very satisfied with how they have carried out their task. As promised, he gives them 50R each. They explain to him how Arianna died in the process of saving the city, and it is agreed that her share of the money will be sent to her parents.
The party leave in a sombre mood - with Pig and Derrick in particular distraught over the loss of Arianna.
Marian returns to the Cargan estate after a little while, in order to speak with Alastair in private. The two of them discuss establishing a new secret royalist group - this one, less extreme than the Violet Cravat. Marian suggests, thoughtfully, that instead of destroying the city Watch house in order to create the kind of calamity necessary to steer a monarch into power, they could… cripple the city financially in order to create the kind of calamity necessary to steer a monarch into power! After considering the practicalities of such a venture, Alastair decides that it is paramount that they find Catriona. As a last thought, he suggests that they find a new name for their organisation. Not the Violet Cravat, but… the Green Signet Ring! Marian replies that she will buy some green signet rings right away - although, on second thoughts, she lacks the money. Would Alastair take care of this? Yes. Yes, Alastair will.
Afterwards, the party head to the Terrec estate in order to see Arianna’s parents, Mathias and Arabella. There is little they can offer by way of comfort, other than to reassure them that Arianna died for the sake of Acryn’s safety. Leon, in particular, apologises for being unable to protect her - and everyone swears to hunt down the bandits who killed her. Pig, meanwhile, walks around the estate grounds, seemingly struck dumb with grief.
Marian takes a moment to speak with Simon. In honour of her cousin’s memory, she has elected to sponsor Simon’s entry into the Church of the Tender, and personally oversee his rehabilitation. Simon - reluctantly - agrees. They book an interview appointment at a local Tender Church for 9am sharp.
Leon returns home to the Darrish estate. Here, he confronts Olivia Darrish, who is pacing the room in a state of the utmost agitation. Nigh incoherent with rage, she demands to know how Etienne’s death came about. Leon replies that he and his friends were busy defending the Watch house from a royalist plot orchestrated partially by Etienne, and he was killed in the fray. He says he won’t apologise for Etienne’s death; the man was a threat to the city. Olivia opens up a flux pit, and sends him plummeting into a giant pig trough.
Whilst all this is happening, Evan has other business. Namely: the creation of a masterpiece. He takes a live guinea pig. He takes a stuffed toy guinea pig. He takes an exploding mana crystal. He eats them.
After the ritual, he ends up with two things. One: a cuddly guinea pig toy that squeaks adorably and occasionally leaks red. Two: a gaping hole in his stomach, following the inevitable explosion. Quickly, he heads for the nearest Tender Church.
At the same time, Derrick goes to a local Warrior Church to pray for advice and forgiveness for having left Arianna to die.
Simon attempts to contact Penelope Cargan - and fails, utterly. He then leaves notes in all of her known haunts, reading something to the tune of: Thank you for all you’ve done for me, but you’re a terrible person and we can’t be friends anymore.
He then goes to the Church of the Founders, in order to ask where he might find a Traitor Church. He is given the usual spiel about how, whilst the CotF honours all the Founders, worshippers of the Traitor are not welcome in Acryn. Upon leaving the building, he is unceremoniously bundled into a nearby alleyway and interrogated. It being established that he actually is a Traitor Priest, he is assigned a handler by the Civil Service to watch over him.
At midnight, Pig breaks into Arianna’s home. Unsubtly. Specifically, the kind of unsubtle that involves hurtling through a randomly selected window, and landing in a heap of glass and blood. Amazingly, it does manage to find the room in which Arianna’s body is stored, but is quickly spotted by Arianna’s parents and a handful of other members of their household. Pig is, however, fountaining blood - and is able to go careening out of the broken window on a blood waterfall before they can catch it. On the way out, it is confronted by two guards. On taking in its blood-drenched appearance, and hearing its ravings, both decide in turn that they are absolutely not paid enough for this shit, and scarper.
Pig, triumphant, bundles up Arianna’s body and tears towards the nearest Tender Church.
It is here, then, at approximately 1am, that an utterly bewildered junior Tender Priest is confronted by the sight of a) Evan, trying his best to hold his intestines in their accustomed place, and b) a huge clockwork golem, gushing blood all over a recent corpse.
Evan, still holding his internal organs in one hand, reaches out with the other to present Pig with the stuffed toy. Pig accepts it, gratefully.
The Tender Priest, appalled and terrified, is nonetheless able to gather her wits together for long enough to heal Evan. It is evident, though, that despite Pig’s demands, neither she nor the disgruntled senior Tender Priest she drags out of bed are able to do anything for Arianna.
Meanwhile, across the city, Theo wakes to find Pig missing. He heads over to the Terrec estate, and - after a brief kerfuffle with the suddenly-conscientious guards - it is agreed that they will follow the massive trail of blood and capture Pig together.
(Also across the city, Marian relaxes in her bath. A servant calls that they are out of rosé. This is an utter disaster.)
Theo and several members of the Terrec guard arrive at the Tender Church. Pig, despite all attempts to create what can only be described as a bloodsplosion, is captured. They are all brought to the Watch. Marian, having spotted the trails of blood outside, also follows - as does Derrick, on the way back from the Warrior Church.
Theophilius attempts to explain that it was grief at the recent death of its friends that motivated Pig’s actions - and that no-one was truly hurt, though rest assured he disapproves. However, they encounter a slight sticking point: Theo, as Pig’s guardian, is technically responsible for its actions.
Theo attempts to contact Walter Cargan, for the purposes of borrowing the family lawyer. He receives a note in response saying that Henry Cargan is attempting to build an amusement park, and he has bigger problems to worry about. Thwarted, Theo has no choice other than to pay 50R for a lawyer from Bartholomew’s Inn.
When the case is brought to trial, the defence manages to carry the day and win their clients’ freedom by arguing that Pig was doing all it could in order to save its friend - the impossibility of this task notwithstanding. However, in the process, an expert witness is called from the Clockmakers’ Guild - thus alerting them to the presence of a rogue golem…
The next day, Simon and Marian head to the Tender Church - firstly, to get rid of the wasp eggs still in their systems, and secondly, to attend Simon’s interview. Upon having a collection box rattled under their noses, Marian donates 8R - whilst Simon donates 8R from Arianna’s share of Alastair’s payment. They are pencilled in for an appointment later that week.
It is at this point that Marian brings up their interview. Simon adds, bitterly (and ill-advisedly): “Because apparently I’m not allowed to be a Traitor Priest.”
The effect of this is instantaneous. Marian and Simon are told to get out, now. Despite this, they both attempt to attend their appointments later in the week - and are, once again, told to get lost.
Marian therefore heads to another Tender Church, before news of this can spread too quickly. She is once again forced to donate 5R. She is, accordingly, purged of wasp eggs.
Simon, meanwhile, is adamant that he be allowed to follow the Traitor. It becomes quite clear that not a single Tender Church in the city will accept him when he is in this frame of mind. Therefore, he and Marian head to the College of the Stars. Marian uses her Noble Connections to hire a noble wounding mage to perform a healing ritual - all for the low, low price of one exploding mana crystal.
The ritual goes swimmingly prior to the explosion.
Afterwards, Simon is a bleeding wreck in Marian’s bathtub - though, fortunately, purged of wasp eggs. The wounding mage is severely burned, but Marian manages to heal her. (She flees.)
Simon then uses Gaze of the Traitor to gradually - over the course of one incredibly painful night - use healing miracles to restore himself to (near) full health.
Marian, in honour of her cousin’s memory, agrees (reluctantly) to let Simon stay with her.
Derrick, rallying some allies from the Warrior Church, goes to hunt down the bandits responsible for Arianna’s death. He finds them in a nearby bar, spending their ill-gotten gains. They are duly captured and arrested. He is able to retrieve Theo’s rapier - which is returned to the Cargan estate - and Pig’s mace and shield: though, these being unrecognisable, they are quickly lost in the Warrior Church’s armoury. He also finds Arianna’s cloak, which he keeps.
Theo heads to the Watch, and is given equipment to replace all he and Pig lost, as thanks for saving the city. (Needless to say, Pig does not accompany him.)
Pig is then disciplined by Theophilius. The debrief concludes on this merry note.