Across Acryn, the populace bubbles. Rumours of war are on everyone’s lips, as are the names of those taking the lead in preparing the city. Amidst this, another rumour is building. The gods are speaking to their priests, telling them to prepare their flocks for something is coming to a head, something that could change the face of the city in this time of troubles. Someone, somewhere, has the city’s crown, and they are beginning to take steps that may, if they prove worthy, end with them donning it in truth.
Word is that the gods cannot, or will not, intervene in this process, but mortals can. The has put out the call for city’s best and brightest with a clear goal in mind - find the one who would take the throne, and stop them by any means necessary.
Following the instructions they have been given, the party first head deep into the tunnels beneath Acryn, eventually finding their way to a chamber where a dagger sits on an altar behind a portcullis. While two of the party interact with the chamber’s guardians, Karl successfully retrieves the dagger from behind the grate, and the party leave to begin their journey south to the first destination on their quest.
After overcoming an assault by hideous winged clawfiends, the party find the entrance to the cave complex they’ve been promised, and find their way first past an imposing statue and then a corridor full of traps. They come at last to the centre of the complex, where an ominous orb of obsidian waits for them, the keystone they need to find on the floor before it. They see that it bears the following inscription:
“By the will of Tarkus this chamber shall be forever sealed“
The party places the dagger on the keystone, and the chamber seems to become somewhat unstable, as waves of malice attack the party from the obsidian orb. All present manage to fight back the mental assault, Blackthorne sufficiently more quickly than the others that he’s able to quickly place his Flux crown on the keystone and symbolically “forge” it for a few seconds before the others awaken. Kjell note down the apparent achievement of Tarkus in his book of deeds. Once done, the party leave the complex, the chamber having returned to normal. On the way out, the statue they passed when travelling inwards comes alive and challenges them to speak the password. The party successfully recall that they were given the name “Theresa” and try that - once the name is spoken, the statue allows them to pass unhindered.
Next, the party head north, travelling as quickly as possible to reach the highest peak from where the river of Acryn flows. After a small incident with some local water spirits, one of which manages to successfully latch on to Kjell, the party make their way to the spring. They find a great water spirit, which tells the tale of the last time a group came past wanting what the party do. It is, however, bitter that it never received the recognition it feels it was due for its part in founding Acryn. In return for allowing access to the spring, it wants to be recognised in Acryn as the Lifegiver. After some negotiation, Kjell promises to add components honouring the spirit to his temple of the founders, and Karl agrees to assist in spreading its faith as well. He also uses some of the water with the potent consumption spell “Consume and Assume”, taking on some of its lifegiving aspects, but also creating a connection between him and the spirit. Arcus then moves to place the dagger in the water, and “trips and falls”, carrying himself and the flux crown in as well. After a tense few moments, the party manage to dissuade the spirit from annihilating Arcus for the disrespect, and take their leave.
The party next head to the mansion in Margush where their foes have been gathering, and initially attempt to talk their way in, turning to force when this fails. Inside, however, they manage to make successful negotiation with the representatives of the three great cities of this half of the continent - Liarus, Caul and Margush. Using all their dimplmatc talents, the party manages to achieve their primary end - getting a sample of blood from each present (one somewhat diminished by being on paper first) while Arcus manages to get the acknowledgements and gems he needs.
All tasks done, the party race back to Acryn, but are intercepted by Chiara Walker and a party of her loyal soldiers. Upon hearing the accusations she throws at Arcus, Karl moves to stand with her, as they intend to take the dagger from Arcus and finish the task themselves. A massive struggle ensues, the end result of which is Blackthorne just managing to cut Chiara’s throat before Karl can stop him, and Karl fleeing the scene.
Kjell and Arcus continue on to the city, while Karl makes a deal with the spirit of the spring to travel quickly along the river. Kjell and Arcus arrive in the city to find the populace in a strange lull, celebrating the return of the throne to Acryn, and attempting to keep the two out. Arcus summons his mighty flux steed, and they trample through to castle Blackthorne, where they connect with Arcus’s troops. AS they head to the city centre however, the Circle of the Broken Wing contingent attempt to betray and kill Blackthorne, but are fought off.
Finally, the two come to the main square, where the crowning ceremony is in progress. Appearing out of nowhere in a familiar fashion, cloaked assailants attempt to keep Blackthorne and Kjell at bay, while at the same time, crashing in on a wave from the river, comes Karl and a few water sprite allies. A struggle ensues, Karl attempting to shatter the crown but being thwarted by the superb craftsmanship of the Builder, while Arcus fights the assassins. At the crucial moment, Kjell manages to plunge the dagger into the back of the Cargan noble as she’s about to be crowned, slaying her outright. Seeing his chance, Blackthorne calls on all his powers, ripping the consensus apart and remaking is so that he is in the path of the descending crown. As it falls onto his head, he fuses it with the Flux crown he has prepared, and vanishes in an explosion of power, leaving only a voice on the wind:
“At last, a Blackthorne is King!”.
The sway over the citizens of Acryn ends, and loyal council soldiers bring the situation under control. Karl lies defeated, but seemingly unkillable at this juncture thanks to the aspect of lifegiving he’s taken on, and eventually washes away back into the river. Kjell is left to explain the situation to the authorities as best he can.
Kjell explains all that occurred to the priest and councillors who engaged the party. They are pleased that the Cargan plot was thwarted, but concerned that, as far as the leader priest can tell, the city now very definitely has a king. Kjell has done as he was asked, and the leader priest congratulates him for his good work, and he is paid the 200 Riel he was promised. In addition, some funds are provided for extending the temple of the founders.
Kjell chooses to return the dagger to its resting place beneath the city, ready for it it is ever needed again. He then sets to work extending his temple. The book of deeds has grown considerably in potency from the work done with it (see separate details).
Karl finds his way to his room in the college to see how much trouble he is in. It appears that someone in the city is working to spread good words about him, and that he is not persona non-grata in the city for now.
Initially, the effects of Blackthornes actions are not obvious, save for the fact that most citizens, and especially priests, have a definite feeling that the city has a king. However, over the next few weeks and months, there are many instances of a figure resembling a noble, crowned statue of Arcus Blackthorne appearing in the city, and a wave of destabilisation boiling out from it. This destabilisation seems to create an area of stabilised flux which “sticks” - the Wayfinder’s guild are alarmed, as normally one would expect the consensus to re-establish itself over time, but the source of this seems to have the power to create permanent destabilisation on an alarmingly regular basis. They cannot explain, however, why the created Flux appears to stay in the same stabilised state it was created in - clearly something new is happening here.
OOC: More and more patches of the city are being turned into areas of stabilised flux. If you are running an encounter in Acryn, it is reasonable for it to be in stabilised flux if you so choose. For now, the fact that it is stabilised is at least preventing terrible beasts appearing out of nowhere, but the Wayfinder’s guild is extremely concerned. These patches currently cover about a quarter of the city.
Aspect of the Lifegiver: Damage higher than double shall only be taken as double. Once per encounter you may instantly HEAL 4 to a character as you pour some of yourself into them. You find the concept of clouded liquids horrifying and unpalatable.
Naiad Fusion: You have been lured by a Naiad, and they have fused with you. As well as potential gender confusion if the Naiad was a different gender to you, you also experience strange urges. You like water and especially like the feel of it on your skin, you dislike being away from natural water sources and lose 1 body hit when not immersed in water, being deprived of natural water sources (rivers, seas) in the long term can be problematic and if you find yourself travelling through the desert (or similar) you will be weakened. You also find that you are more sociable than before, and especially like getting to meet new people. Once per an adventure you may call “Just hear me out” on a group of individuals you have just met, as your new charisma comes to bear.
Character retires. Stay tuned for more in Oliver’s coming campaign.