The company of third party logistical brokers known as the “Adventurer's Guild” has been relatively quiet for the last few months. Ever since the Cataclysm, in fact. However, all of a sudden the following posters are seen around Acryn:
~ADVENTURERS URGENTLY NEEDED!~
The Adventurer's Guild of Acryn urgently seeks skilled and powerful adventurers to investigate a matter of utmost importance to the sanctity of our reality. Some travel will be involved, and as ever logistical support provided.
Expected danger: 10/9
Pay: 120R ea.
Those interested should gather at the Adventurer's Guild, Mosia Lane, Merchant Quarter, at the Eleventh Hour of This Very Saturday. Yes, that is tomorrow.
The party go to the Adventurer's Guild and learn that the East Empire Company has though various measurements and calculations determined that the Stasis has begun to spread faster than anticipated, and they've managed to track down the source of this increase in rate to somewhere North just beyond Margush. Meanwhile the Adventurer's Guild have determined that something is weird about that place… somehow. And so the two have a joint expedition to send a party to investigate and try to solve the problem if there's an obvious cause.
Heading North and defeating a Flux party of adventurers and some bears in an abandoned village the party escort some East Empire Wayfinders and one Mina Hatcher working on behalf of the Adventurer's Guild to what is definitely a big patch of Stasis. With a large lightningy explosion which feels like Scribing magic, they suddenly find themselves in Flux, with the Stasis on the other side of them. Mina Hatcher now seems to have a blue tinge and is fading, like a Flux Surrogate or something. She complains about being “cut off”, and imparts some last advice “whatever you do, don't-” before fading off. Also the party are being attacked by Carlaeon shapes now for some reason?
Confused that whatever has happened has pushed the Stasis further out such that they now seem to be inside an enclosed bubble of it. Inky lightning strikes nearby and becomes lightning golems which they fight. They then meet someone who claims to be an independent Wayfinder who has become trapped here, who calls himself Theodore Carat. They fight some Flux mountain cows.
They attempt to get some details out of Theodore but he's cagey, and so Jeremy dominates him and compels him to reveal everything he's hiding from them. He reveals that he's an Anomaly and the creator of both Hardy and Nice Lizard, and that his main desire is to sow discord. They're not massively keen on that, but nonetheless it's all a lot to take in.
The Abnegator shows up, and between them they all arrive at a small camp of Wayfinder's Guild members, including James Walker and Units 13 and 14. They de-escalate and discuss what they know and their plans over food - it's apparent that this stasis bubble seems to be due to the power of Turaya, hence the Scribing magic going on, and that they seem to be caught in the middle of a fight between the Anomaly dragon and Carleon. The Abnegator offers the party one of his crystals, suggesting that if they can drive it into Turaya's heart he can bring it under his control and then stop the fight and get them out of there. Walker is in favour of goading each side into stepping up their game in the hopes that both sides are wiped out in the ensuing destruction, at which point they take the opportunity to escape. Theodore approves of this plan. They decide not to go with other suggested plans such as negotiating with Turaya or attempting to create a temporary stable route through the Stasis boundary.
Things go a bit awry when Jeremy poisons Walker with Sleep of Death. The Units flip out and go into super death mode and a fight kicks off which concludes with the golems and Walker dead, and the rest of the Guild either unconscious or dead. Though Walker is assumed to have used Flux Resurrection.
For some reason deciding to go with the Abnegator's plan the party fight a series of Carleon minions and manifestations of Turaya's power as they make their way in the direction the bursts of power seem to be coming from. Eventually they find the Anomaly and a fight ensues, during which Jeremy attempts impromptu brain surgery to make Lionel not feel fear. Between this, Hardy calling upon all of his Anomalous power and the others pushing themselves to the limits of their abilities, they eventually manage to bring the dragon down and thrust the Abnegator's crystal into its heart.
The Abnegator thanks them for their efforts. Lionel in absence of fear asks to be subject to his power of Abjection when he offers, though the rest of the party convince him otherwise. He asks the Abnegator to explain what his next move is, but he simply says that he has a lot of work to do. Jumping on the back to Turaya, whose eyes are now black crystal, he offers the party a ride out of the Stasis.
The party fly on Turaya to find the people they left behind. One of the Wayfinder's Guild is there and gives them a dark look for killing their friend. They try to find the others and Hardy disappears into the Flux. He tracks down one of the other surviving Wayfinders with his parent, who enthusiastically agrees to come with him to escape.
They reach the edge of the bubble and the Abnegator has Turaya breathe an arc of lightning which creates a brief opening through which they can fly through, and they escape, seeing the stasis grow below them as they fly up and away. They discuss plans for a ritual to try to work out how Turaya was able to move stasis.
The Abnegator sets them down near Margush, where Mina Hatcher is standing nearby with a look of absolue horror on her face. The Abnegator gives her a look and flies off on the back of Turaya without a word, as Mina cries “what did you -do-?” After some explanation in which it is revealed that they didn't hear her warning not to trust the Abnegator before she was cut off from them, she tells them that he is a psychopath who is likely to be pro-stasis. Recognising that adventurers will be adventurers in response to their constant asking about payment, she agrees on giving them 108 Riel each, though doesn't mention that the Adventurer's Guild is covering most of this.
They return to Acryn where Jeremy distracts Theodore in a bar (where they start a huge bar fight) whilst the others sneak off to try a 5 mana Refinement/Scribing ritual to learn Turaya's technique for “moving” the stasis. The result is a large stack of papers which if used by a Scribing Mage and an Anomaly in tandem (or someone who is both) in a ritual can replicate this effect, using the Anomaly's nature to create Flux and pushing the stasis to the outside. However, this will always result in more stasis overall, just potentially in a less inconvenient location. A 3 mana ritual should be enough to carve a gap the size of approximately one adventuring party.
They return to the bar and lie about the success of the ritual so that Hardy's parent doesn't know it worked, and Lionel slips Jeremy a note to confirm that it was in fact successful. Jeremy gives Lionel's brain a check to see if there are any ongoing complications and to ensure that he is still able to recognise that things should be something to be hesitant of even if he no longer directy feels fear.
To take most of the blame for what happened with the Wayfinder's Guild, Hardy uses Shake Reality's Fetters in the middle of the city and declares that he personally has struck a blow against the Guild. This generally succeeds, and for their abilities to look after themselves the others don't get much backlash from this. Meanwhile Hardy is now highly wanted by the Guild.
The party return to make the most of what little remains of their everyday lives with their mana child and octopus and begin to make plans to reach out to Nice Lizard.
Over the next few days the reports begin to come in - of entire towns and villages across the continent with which all contact is suddenly lost. Excursions to check on them find only walls of stasis in the way. The East Empire Company are treating the mission as a failure and are in full panic mode, with people on the streets screaming about the accelerated spread of stasis and impending doom to try to get people to take these things more seriously. At the current rates, their latest best estimate of time remaining before the entire world is subsumed in stasis is but a couple of months.