Duchess Olivia Darrish seeks reliable and incredibly capable individuals for an assignment of great importance to the security of Acryn. Interested parties should present themselves to the Duchess at the Darrish estate for security screening.
Further briefing will be given to successful applicants.
The party, having been vetted by Olivia Darrish, are invited to a location in Acryn where they are met by various concerned parties. Olivia explains the plan: the party are to go to Strossbourg via the Dragon Gate and then sail around the outside in order to avoid Valydd patrols on the Strossbourg/Valydd front. The party are given a compass by Ghita Darrish, enchanted by herself to point toward the dangerous god known as the Eternal Song who was responsible for the assassination of various Acryn nobles.
Present are also Felip Caulson, who subtly urges for action to be taken at all costs to keep Acryn safe; Alistair Cargan, who urges for discrete disposal of any information that could bring certain dealings the Cargan family had with Valydd to light; the Strossbourgian Ambassador, urging for everything possible to be done to keep Strossbourg safe; and representatives from the Sailors Guild who wish for all out war to be avoided, contrary to Olivia's suggestions of “using initiative”.
Briefed, and with a brief detour via Jimmy Hoskins for Henry and a brief re-disguising as “Melinda” for Saffron, the party assemble at the Dragon Gate and pass through to Valydd without a hitch. They board a Strossbourgian vessel which lacks colours and head off on the long way round.
On their oceanic journey, they encounter pirates made up of Valyddis and Acrynites whom they dispatch and persuade (read: threaten) into helping them. Their fleet expanded to two, Nobody performed a miracle of the Splintered Man to make them all (except himself and Richard Silver) appear Valyddi to help their disguises (including “Leopold” and Andrea“). Before they could take this in, a terrifyingly large Kraken attacked the ship, smashing it apart. Luckily, Andrea used a Diamond Barrier to float the party to their secondary vessel from which they fended off the Kraken. Moving on, they encountered some more sailors whose Captain they challenged to a duel with Richard. Unfortunately for the Captain, the sailors decided they thought this was a stupid idea and so abandoned him with the party.
Finally on the sea trip, the boat encountered Merpeople, who were singing hypnotic songs before screeching dissonance at them and attacking. The party fended off the Merpeople and exited the Flux to anchor up in a cove along the coast.
The party departed and using a map found on one of the Pirates from before found their way along to a small encampment guarded by Valyddi soldiers and their resident singing priest. The party challenged their way through, aided by the fact that they look Valyddi, and headed up into the mountains the encampment seemed to be guarding, following the compass.
Up the mountain, they came across a plateau which housed a small pleasant village filled with devotees of the Eternal Song who explained to the party that the Song helps them in their lives and is generally amoral: bringing unity of all who sing her song rather than taking sides. They were so enthusiastic about the song that they were not too worried about dying: a young boy in the village was suffering a late stage of a disease of the lungs but was pleased to be joining the song. However, the party intervened and the medical knowledge of “Leopold” combined with the Tender's miracles wielded by Marlo healed the boy.
Following Ghita's compass further up, the party encountered a cave where they discovered mournful singers who brought them visions of their saddest memories, before being introduced to the Eternal Song who was lacking her voice. Nobody lent the Eternal Song his voice so she could speak, but she found she still could not sing. She explained that people had come to her and stolen her voice, and that she desperately wanted it back. While discussing matters, though, one of the Song's followers was heard singing outside the cave and when Andrea went to investigate he was promptly set upon by assassins. The party ran outside to help and fought a set of vicious assassins who, surprisingly, wielded magic against them. Upon unmasking the assassins, the party was more surprised to discover they were Serradic, but that they had no regrets for their use of magic: they had a job and it needed doing.
The party interrogated one of the Serradic assassins and discovered that they were working on orders given by General Scollund, as well as the details of where this General might be residing. They then offered the assassin to the Eternal Song so she could do whatever she wanted to them…
At a pace, the party headed off to head toward Scollund's fort, but on the way discovered a large Valyddi force had already set toward the Strossbourgian border at speed: with the Eternal Song's power wielded by the army, the balance could be tipped. Dispatching a patrol, the party convinced some Valyddi soldiers to run to the front line and reveal Scollund's betrayal of using magic of all things, and for good measure Marlo sent a message to Strossbourg by bird to explain what was going on.
The party then fought their way toward the Fort, cutting off Valydd supplies and trashing a supply camp on the way (though not before Saffron could steal 30 Kyat from belongings). At the Fort, Nobody permanently destabilised the entire area and half the party attacked the poorly defended fort while the others slipped inside unnoticed to find Scollund. Eventually they reunited at the centre of the fort where Scollund was delayed and then confronted. After a short fight, Scollund was bested and the Flute which housed the stolen voice of the Eternal Song was confiscated from him. Having had his beliefs altered to know it was okay to reveal everything you know when under threat, he revealed his plan to take Strossbourg down at all costs: he discovered the secret of the Penitent Damned from Serradis and threatened to expose the organisation unless they did what he said, and employed them to steal the voice of the Song so he could empower his own troops to execute the entire Strossbourgian army in one swoop. The party accused him of betraying his culture and his people, but he didn't care: taking down Strossbourg was a priority.
Stealing the General's face, the party knocked the warlord out and headed off (though not before Saffron pocketed a number of documents and another 60 Kyat). Nobody split off from the party, having gotten the code words to order a retreat from the General and headed to the front line of the war where he ordered a hasty retreat. Confusion spread across the front and Nobody directed them into the Flux. The further confusion caused the Strossbourgian army to route the fleeing Valyddi army, conquering several miles of Valyddi territory in a very decisive battle.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party returned the voice of the Song back to her. She was incredibly pleased, and bestowed her favour upon the party for their wonderful work.
For their work, Marlo and Richard also ask the Eternal Song if she could spread a ballad extolling the folly and shame of those who would skulk into Acryn as assassins. Delighted to be able to sing, and still very pleased with the work of the party, she agrees, and begins singing a song which would soon be heard across Valydd (relevant filk to come, because why not). Henry also voiced a suggestion that the Eternal Song could spread a song not detailing how terrible Serradis is, but instead how much of a bastion of culture Acryn is. The Eternal Song points out that she does not usually pick sides, but given her disgruntlement with the theft of her voice, she will compose a song for this one occasion (again, filk to come).
Finally, before departing the Song's cave, Marlo asks for the Song to release the souls of those who were assassinated in Acryn using her power over to the Tender. The Song's smile falters when she hears this request and explains that the souls that are taken with her power become part of the song together. To remove specific individuals from the Song would break apart the entire song: all of the souls that sing together in harmony would all be released and have to go somewhere. She assures Marlo that the souls are not in pain in the Song, though: far from it, they are in very literal harmony.
Having exited the cave, Vulcan urges the party to wait in the village outside the cave where the Song resides and wait for Nobody to return. When he does, he explains a plan to frame the General for even worse, and departs with the body of General Scollund, items from the bodies of the Penitent Damned assassins, and Henry, who offers to help. The pair, with Nobody still using the face of Scollund, set up the whole failure of Scollund's army to look like sabotage by the Penitent Damned. This rumour spreads well, and gives the soldiers of the army something to blame the desperate situation on. Nobody gives a rousing speech to the remnants of the army, at the Fort, pushing for a strike back against the Strossbourgian invaders, which gets the army excited and boosts morale for all a few days before everyone realises Scollund hasn't been seen since the speech… eventually he is found in several pieces, with traces of mana found in his room: evidently assassinated by mages! (Though of course, this is the work of Henry, working alongside Nobody). The army becomes terrified, and soldiers start deserting for fear of magical retribution from Serradis, and soon the entirety of General Scollund's army has disbanded out of fear.
While Nobody and Henry are gone and the party waits in the village, and Priestess Anastasia brings them one of the oldest songs they have about the Song. The phrasing is old (and according to Anastasia the tune is incredibly dire) but it details a singer who travelled the lands (it's unspecific as to which lands), uniting feuding and fighting people with her voice and songs which travelled faster and further than she ever could. Anastasia theorises that this is the initial story of the Eternal Song, but points out that nobody could know for sure.
Nobody and Henry return, and Nobody briefly visits the Eternal Song. She is very pleased with the efforts to strike back those who wronged her, and ensures he knows her favour is bestowed to him as well.
Heading back to Acryn, and once on the ship, Marlo calls down a Miracle of the Tender to change the appearances of all who were affected by Nobody's Splintered Man Miracle previously back to forms that match the shape of their souls. The Miracle works, and all are restored to their original appearances before the Splintered Man miracle. This includes “Melinda”, who is restored to her true appearance which none see as she quickly disappears and returns disguised once more.
Saffron also makes copies of all of the information she acquired, some copies for Olivia Darrish, and others for her own contacts. The information is mostly tactical information, listing the sizes of armies and dates for attacks that now never took place. It's now mostly useless except for understanding the doctrine of Valydd forces and the format of their communications…
Upon arriving in Strossbourg, “Melinda” quickly steps away from the party and exchanges her 90K for 30R, before the party step back through the Dragon Gate and arrive in Acryn. They return to Olivia Darrish and friends and explain their success, stressing the “initiative” they took in preventing an all out war and stopping the meddling of the Eternal Song in Acryn. Olivia is pleased, though those who know her can tell she's disappointed, and pays each the 50R they were offered.
Saffron stresses to the Strossbourgian Ambassador, also present, how much they saved Strossbourg through their actions, particularly given how expensive war can be, and the Ambassador (pleased in particular that Strossbourg has conquered several miles of Valydd land) agrees to pay another 50R to each of the party, as well as promising assistance should they find themselves in Strossbourg.
Saffron's contacts in the East Empire Trading Company and the Blood of the Empire are contacted by her to ask about the Penitent Damned. They explain what they know about the Serradic sect of mages who are damned for their use of magic but still use it for the good of the Empire. Or at least that's what they thought. The information that they've been leveraged is troubling to them, and indeed to Felip Caulson when it's brought to him by Saffron. Olivia Darrish is also intrigued by the same information when Andrea brings it up with her, and thanks him for the additional information.
Andrea also visits Felip Caulson and debriefs all they interrogated from the General: that he was acting alone, that he was leveraging the Damned to work for him, and that he was using the Song to empower his forces. Caulson is grateful for the additional information, and asks should anything else come up that he be informed (or that they'd be in touch should they have any further thoughts). Andrea also asks “Melinda” for the information she took from the Fort (Ellie, this is up to you whether you pass it to Andrea, I'll let you work that out). Finally, Andrea pays a visit to Alistair Cargan and explains that no information was found or able to be leaked. Alistair thanks Andrea for his help and discretion and gives him 20R for his trouble.
Vulcan visits the Sailor's Guild who are relieved to hear that shipping can continue as normal. They are very grateful and offer him the advanced training that they promised.
Henry debriefs everything that happened to Jimmy Hoskins.
Richard Silver goes to debrief to Julius Ravensfall, detailing in particular the military assets and positioning in Valydd. Ravensfall is grateful for the information and reassured that Valydd is no longer an imminent threat.
The Eternal Song is a Valydd god of music. She cares very little for the political machinations of the world beneath it so long as music is free-flowing and heard throughout. To those who accept the inherent truth that music is integral to all life, she grants her divine power to be delivered through music.
Calling upon the power of the Eternal Song is achieved not through chanting or ritual, but through music. Her miracles increase in power the more people are singing or playing “in harmony” – in the descriptions, [H] refers to the number of people with this Divine Favour in harmony at the point the miracle occurs. The people in Harmony do not need to have this Divine Favour.
A pleasant melody is interrupted by a wrenching dissonance, causing horrible pain to those who were paying it attention. [H] targets take a REND, but so do all those in harmony.
Your words and your tune are enchanting. After the words and the tune get into the head of those you are talking to, they find they don’t want the music to stop. “YOU DARE NOT STRIKE ME” may be called on [H] targets which lasts for as long as your music continues. If the music stops unexpectedly, however, call ENRAGE on these targets.
Your words and your tune are enchanting. After the words and the tune get into the head of those you are talking to, they begin to get the urge to join them. Call “MESMERISE” on a target.
This is an upbeat, triumphant melody. Usually a march or an anthem. Your song provides courage and strength to those who hear it. As long as the song is playing, [H] targets are STRENGTHENED.
This is a sad song, a ballad of sorts. The sad words and the minor key of this song bring to mind the sadness in the listener’s heart. Those listening will be reminded of their regrets, the things that they mourn, and will feel the urge to share those with those around them to try and bring them solace.
The hearts of those who sing together are woven together by the song. While you are singing, you will always be able to find those who have sung with you, even if they have fallen. Their hearts sing out to yours.
Those benefitting from this aura will be able to sing out for aid from the other members of their party while they are unconscious: only those in the party will be able to hear this. If you are EXECUTED while singing this song, call MASS REND as the cacophonous sound of a song being cut short fills the ears of all nearby.