Several weeks after the mysterious disappearance of Duke Arcus Blackthorn -who, according to his lawyers, died heroically saving the city- the elusive executors of his estate have begun to arrange the greatest funeral that Acyrn has ever seen, an event so opulent and so expensive that is rumored the cost of the black silk alone could have fed the city for a month.
In the upper echelons of society several noble houses are engaged in legal warfare, as dubiously distant ancestors place claims on the vast Blackthorn estate and several long-lost relatives present themselves laying claim to Castle Blackthorn, which remains locked down by the Duke's executors. Within political circles strange things are afoot and several important members of the council have vanished from public sight with scandalous hints of treason being implicated. While, outside the city, the flow of grain from several of the major outlying farms has failed, the Wayfinders guild claiming no knowledge of why. Among the populous whispers of Serradic plots are circulating and in military circles, rumors swirl that Serradic forces have been seen mustering on the border of the great desert. The City's mercenary companies are mobilizing in preparation for a surprise Serradic attack and the council has held several emergency sessions.
Meanwhile, in the dark places of Acyn, in the alleys and the slums the flux creeps forward and around the city people have noted that statues are taking on an oddly familiar visage, that can't quite be placed.
But all that's neither here nor there; for in preparation for the great funeral the Worshipful Guild of Pâtissiers and Confectioners have put out a call for resourceful types to help with the baking of a grand cake to be handed to the masses at the wake after the funeral.
The party is hired by the honorable guild of patissiers and confectioners to help create the greatest cake the world has ever seen, for the most expensive funeral ever held in the city. To do this Fauntleroy le Marche, master cake maker assisted by his sous chef Norma Crone, sends them off to gather the components needed to forge his masterpiece.
First they leave to fetch a shipment of flour that has gone missing on its way from the outlying farms. It's not the only one, and the unrest is growing on the streets as the populous becomes agitated with the Council's seeming disinterest in their plight. Heading outside the city the party readily identify the source of the problem, a guild Wayfinder who has blocked off the road leading the farms and is intercepting wagon trains under the pretence of forged Council orders. The party takes him down but he refuses to talk and demands to be taken to back to the city and the Guild's lawyers. With the grain in tow, and several stolen tyrant lizard eggs, they return to the city and hand him in to a strangely delayed response from the Guild's legal team.
Fauntleroy immediately sends them out to recruit the finest city's icier to decorate his grand dessert: Lydia Guant, who retired from the world of extreme baking to become a mercenary in the Circle of the Broken Wing. Getting her back will prove difficult given that the City's mercenary forces are mobilizing against the Serradic a Invasion force that has appeared, as if from nowhere, on the northern border of the great desert.
The party is able to convince her return to her old profession after stealing her contract from the study of the Commander of the circle, in process Page finding a cryptic note reading:
‘The Council have become suspicious of your motives. You acted too overtly during the ritual and your failure to stop Blackthorn may have a cost everything. The Serradic incursion provides a good opportunity to lower your profile. Take the Wing out of the city. We will deal with the politics.’
When the party return to the guild, Le Marche is nowhere to be seen, apparently taken ill the night before. Crone tells them that all is needed now is the black dye to dye the cake's marzipan. The party is sent to purchase from the warehouse of Isabella D'Strada, guild mistress of the Spicers' guild and influential council member. They find her personally directing the packing up of her warehouse to move out of the city, it seems she believes that she is in danger from someone making a move for power…she's also pretty rude to the party. She comes around when they save her from the tentacular black thorns that erupt from the cobbles and attempt to ensare all present. She agrees to make the sale at a substantial discount. Jimmy promptly sells the information about the movement of her goods to the True Council, knowing that they'll be able to rob the caravans for the heist of a lifetime.
At last the grand cake nears completion and along with the chefs the party is offered some of the first slices made from the extra batter by Crone. Those who eat are rapidly incapacitated by the poison Crone has added. Those who don't eat are assailed Crone's goons before becoming overcome by the weaker poison added to their lunch earlier. It seems Crone has some diabolic agenda. She orders their bodies dumped in the sewer.
Several hours later they are awoken by Anabel, the Civil Servant who warned them earlier about strange goings-on. It seems she was able to double cross Crone and mix the antidote in with the poison. She tells them that something big is afoot and the cake is at the heart of it, her superiors are suggesting that someone is attempting a move on the city…but who? Marissa gets some clue when around the bend come armored flux knights bearing the heraldic weasel of house Blackthorn and demanding the party submit to the king's justice…needless to say the party do not submit.
The party race back to the guild to find the cake already gone. They locate Crone in the basement directing her men to dump empty barrels of alchemical blasting into a rubbish chute. It seems the Cake is hollow and filled with a huge bomb…big enough to take out the entirety of the City's great and good, currently gathered in the great square before the council building. The plot is revealed and the party race to diffuse the bomb, though the city itself seems to be against them as dead-ends appear at every turn.
Along the way they find Isabella D'Strada carriage being assailed by an angry mob baying for the blood of the greedy council. She shouts for help from the party who respond by chucking a smoke bomb into the crowd and cheesing it over the barriers that have been erected to keep the hoypoloi out of the square. They last they see of her is her carriage being overturned and the mob swarming in. They reach the square where the great and the good are assembled to pay their respects/celebrate the death of Arcus Blackthorn. They struggle through the crowd and more of the strange flux knights to reach the deadly cake where Jimmy cuts the fuse just in time. It seems Blackthorn's traitorous plan is only partially thwarted however, as the square begins to fold in on itself: the flux surrounding the crowd and drawing them into to a self-contained bubble of flux. However, without the bomb everyone remains safe and well as the party flee with a few members of the council as the prison closes, it is clear that with the remains of the cake those trapped will be able to survive for some time.
The party emerge back into Acryn from thin air and find that the populous has flooded into the now empty square. At the front of the great crowd stands a figure in a crown, flaked by ranks of the strange armored knights: Arcus Blackthorn. As the crown on his brow radiates a hypnotic light he proclaims himself Arcus I, King of Acryn. In a strangely unified way the crowd hail him as their new King, along with Faria Carver, who has an unreadable expression, on her face- and several powerful nobles, including Duke Corlo Graves, on whose lips is a faint sneer. As the party watch the council building's roof collapses a huge golden statue of King Blackthorn rises above the city. With the three Council members they have rescued, the party flee through the crowd with Anabel to a civil service safe house, where a mysterious woman thanks them for their help and pays them 85 riel. She tells them that the new 'King' will not have long to rule if she has anything to say about it. However, the political situation is difficult and if Arcus I is be cast down then powerful allies must be found.
Jimmy investigates and is able to uncover the fraudulent paper trail that suggest that Arcus Blackthorn both commissioned the cake and hired crone to plant a bomb in it. He ensures the now bankrupt guild of patissiers and confectioners gets a settlement from the new, an clearly illegal, royal court. The land is of use but the cash is unfortunately paid in 'Blackthorn pounds' (unit: the Arcus) which is of dubious value. The guild return the favor by baking some seditious cupcakes to inspire patriotism (though no loyalty to a particular faction) to the city.
Acryn is nominally controlled by the forces of the new king but his hold on the city is far from secure and though his troops walk the streets, other powerful factions, as well as the old order, are vying for power. For the moment many of the City's most influential people are trapped in the strange reality created by Blackthorn, other have fled to their estates outside the city or gone into hiding.