Acryn remains in a state of flux. The nascent monarchy struggles to retain control as food rationing and wild currency fluctuations (caused by the King's attempt to confiscate riel and replace them with the Blackthorn pound) leave the poor to suffer. Factions within the city struggle for power, and assassination attempts against the influential are rife. In the slums and tenements, a scurrilous new newspaper has sprung up, claiming to be the mouthpiece of the 'People's Council', which has been printing some extremely unflattering woodcuts of the new King and his court.
Meanwhile, in the parts of the city more firmly controlled by the monarchy, posters have been appearing reading:
'His most glorious and beneficent majesty - Arcus I, King of all the Acryns, First Lord of the Seas, High-Prince of the Northern Marches, Supreme Accountant of the Treasury, Overlord of the Seven Dukedoms, Anointed of the Founders, Warden of the Watches, Master of the Privy Privy, Archduke of Thys and Prince of Hearts, doth hereby summon his most loyal and capable vassals from within his realms to humbly presented themselves to his most radiant court three days hence. No time wasters. Or rebels.'
The party are hired by Arcus Blackthorn, totally legit King of Acryn, to hunt down and destroy the rebels who have been printing 'the rag', a pamphlet that portrays Arcus in seriously unflattering terms. His cunning plan is that the party will pretend to betray him, learn the location of the printing press and the rebels’ plan and then betray the rebels to him. A classic double cross…or possibly triple cross, he can't remember.
They make contact with the rebels and get in their good books by embezzling a quantity of (highly unstable) ink from the guild of printers. With this they are able to win over Marius the leader of the revolutionaries, who are fighting for a new form of government that truly represents the people. He reveals to the party that his comrades have learned that the King has been confiscating Riel and replacing it with worthless Blackthorn pounds in order to assemble a huge tribute of gold that he intends to send to Liarus for some unknown reason. Marius asks the party to intercept the shipment, with such an amount of gold the rebels could buy weapons and supplies from their Caulish comrades and win the war for the city.
Deciding that they could put the gold to much better use the party decide to play along with the rebels and screw over Blackthorn. Of course, their plans aren't quite the same and Jimmy arranges for the True Council to intercept the shipment, in what would be probably be the biggest heist ever pulled off. As they leave the city they are briefly intercept by the mysterious Felip Caulson, who claims to speak for the Council. He asks the party to return the gold to the civil service who can ensure that the good of the city is protected from the chaos that Blackthorn and the rebels herald. Lady Rosemile pretends to go along with this and shakes the Civil Servant's hand before he and his allies vanish into the night.
The party head toward the ruins where the King has arranged to meet representatives of Liarus. There they find the head of Blackthorn's elite mercenaries -Sir 'Slasher' McGee- attempting to make a deal with Lord Azores, the head of Liarus' most powerful family. It seems the King is attempting to buy an alliance by marriage with Liarus and recruit their army to attack the forces of Acryn, who are currently sitting on the edge of the great desert, from behind. Blackthorn’s treachery seemingly knows no limits.
The party cut down Slasher but leave Lord Azores unharmed, not willing to risk a diplomatic incident. He asks them if they are willing to make an offer for his support, he's more than willing to throw his lot in with whomever pays him. They decide to discuss the offer.
Their conference is interrupted by the arrival of Faria Carver, high-priestess of the Leader, who confidently strides into the ruins. She is quite direct: the time of the council is over, destroyed by Blackthorn, who is the perfect of example of everything that was wrong with the Council - greedy, incompetent and uninterested in the good of Acryn. She demands the wealth of the city be handed over to ensure the Salic forces have what they need to crush Blackthorn and restore the true monarch to the city. Jimmy is somewhat surprised when Lady Rosemile and her entourage agree. Royalists! Everywhere!
Jimmy decides that remaining alive is the better part of valour and withdraws. As the party heads off with the gold he tries to organise a deal between Lord Azores and the True Council to capture the loot.
Several days later, Lady Rosemile and co. are attacked by a dashing masked stranger openly wearing the sign of the True Council. However they fend him off and are able to deliver the sovereign wealth of Acryn to Knight Commander Julius Ravensfall, who is not with the army as expected, but camped at a village several miles outside Acryn. He tells them that they will be greatly rewarded when the heir of the Salic line arises and urges them to return to the city to act as his eyes and ears within its walls.
The party return to the revolutionaries at the behest of Faria Carver to crush them and convert the people the royalist way of thinking. They do try to talk them round first, but they fail to win them over and so cut them down, seizing control of the printing press. However, during the fight her Ladyship feels a terrible pain in the hand which shook Felip Caulson's and as she cries out the flesh shrivels into withered black uselessness. In the confusion, they don't spot one of the rebels fleeing through a back window.
As they make to the Temple of the Tender to find a treatment for her Ladyship’s shriveled hand the city shifts and moves around them, buildings and roads reorganizing themselves into an inescapable trap as Arcus Blackthorn himself appears atop a huge white stallion, flanked by his flux knights. He's captured the rebel and is somewhat peeved about what he's learned - namely that the party have royally screwed him over and stolen all his purloined cash. Feigning regret he says that he must execute them for the good of the state…ie him. Fortunately, he makes the classic Blackthorn mistake of monologuing just a bit too long and is taken aback when Lady Rosemile lashes out through the flux directly at the source of his power. With a thunderous crack the great red jewel at the centre of the crown fractures as Arcus’ horse rears wildly. Arcus howls in pain and briefly his form seems to lose definition, but the power of the crown seems more deeply rooted than in only the flux and it remains unbroken. With a slightly panicked look Arcus hurls a smoke bomb to the ground and winks out of existence as his cadre of knights merge into a huge armoured battle-weasel that unsuccessfully attempts to devour the party. With the weasel defeated the party are able to vanish into the crowded city streets, which are now a mass of backed up traffic caused by the apparent renaming of every road in the city ‘Arcus Boulevard’, and the demolition of several major bridges over the river.
At the temple of the Tender the Lady Rosemile makes a donation in return for treatment but is cast out when the priests find her crippled hand is the result of a dark curse from a source they dare not name. Alchemy proves no more effective. Faria Carver, who fled the city after making an attempt on Blackthorn’s life, confirms that the ‘the fifth’ has cursed her and it will take considerable power to heal the blight. With the printing press now under their control the party begin to flood Acryn with pamphlets reminding people of the glory days of Acryn, when monarchs of Salic blood sat the throne. The hypnotic power of King Arcus still holds sway but in taverns and smoking houses hidden from the agents of the King the people remember the glory of the true leaders of the city.
In Liarus, Jimmy is informed that the heist did not down as planned but is assured that the True Council appreciate his ambition and are more than willing to protect him from any fallout. He covers his back by speaking to his contacts in the Circle of the Broken Wing, who indicate that Julius Ravensfall did indeed get the cash and appears to be using it to send his men out on mysterious missions.
After the heat has died down, Lady Rosemile awakens one night to find her blackened hand has cut her while she slept and scrawled a mysterious sigil with her blood upon her bed sheets.
Acryn is nominally controlled by the forces of Arcus Blackthorn but his hold on the city is weakening as opinion shifts against a King that compares poorly to the Salic's of old. Worse, the economic state of the city is getting worse, with much of Acryn's sovereign wealth now missing and rampant mismanagement by a monarch who seems more concerned with self aggrandizing pet projects than governance.