As the people of Acryn go about their business in the Merchant Quarter, Elias Parr, spokesman for the “Adventurer’s Guild” stands at the entrance to the tiny Mosia Lane, holding a sign that reads “~ADVENTURERS WANTED!~”, tildes and all. And when anybody who looks like an adventuring type passes, he enthusiastically tries to get their attention.
It seems that some travelers have become lost in the Flux far out to the West, and are desperately in need of somebody to retrieve them, and then assist them with further work. Offering a most enticing rate of 81 Riel a head with all of the usual logistical support, Elias directs those who are interested into the Guild waiting room for further briefing.
Elias provides further briefing, informing the party that they are being hired by one Herman Aitch to go out West to the desert and help out some travellers seemingly neither from Acryn nor Serradis who have got stuck there, and then help with whatever task they were headed to Acryn to do. Though Elias provides all the information that he can, details are all quite vague and the party are naturally suspicious, so he provides them with a 21 Riel advance each, with the promise of a further 24 Riel when they return and a subsequent further 36 Riel should they bring the travellers back and carry out their task.
They head out, and much to Dauntless' dismay wind up killing their way through some odd Flux rat-people living in some long grass in the savanna. Deciding not to risk going near Liarus, the party navigate around instead, Edward getting slightly poisoned along the way, eventually reaching the desert and finding the lost travellers. These seem to be people from Lasra, a large settlement in the desert to the North-West, which has largely got by through putting a harsh desert between them and those they share a continent with, keeping to themselves for many generations.
The travellers are led by Saga, the acting Primate of Shatu the Radiant, their ancient sun god, who set out for Acryn in search of her sister Sher, the former Primate of Shatu, before their Guides (Wayfinders) were killed by beasts, leaving them trapped in the “Twisted Lands” (Flux). They tell the party that Sher had been acting strangely, and that they suspected that she had been tainted by Sinna, Lord of Darkness, who typically sought those closest to Shatu and tried to corrupt them with lies and shadow. One of the very few travellers to Lasra had claimed that someone like her had been seen in the East, in Acryn, spouting nonsense, another sign of Sinna's corruption. Saga informs them that she wishes to find her so that she can know the truth and deal with her if necessary.
At first they are suspicious of the party's offer of help, as they do not know who Herman Aitch is or how he could have known to send them, and because the nearby oasis is causing Edward's instincts to throw someone into a well to flare up, but after the invocation of a miracle of some sort Saga seems convinced that they are not agents of Sinna and accepts their help. They return to Acryn as a single force, Saga's divine lasers aiding along the way.
They return to the Adventurer's Guild, where Elias welcomes them and invites them to have a meal whilst they're there. Saga tries to find out more about Herman Aitch and is led upstairs with one of her bodyguards in a rare opportunity to meet with the Chairman of the Guild. Meanwhile the party meet Rupus Regio, one of the Guild's arcane clean-up specialists, and Mister Scampers, his pet monkey that devours magical hazards, which the party quickly come to suspect is a human Comsumption Mage who has somehow been transformed into a monkey.
When a wave of sunlight shines into the room and causes everybody to feel more inclined to reveal any secrets they may have, the monkey begins to write some jumbled letters followed by a single word over and over: “HELP”. Rupus quickly makes his excuses and takes the monkey off to the market. Saga returns from her meeting feeling a lot more content about what is happening but not prepared to reveal to the rest of the party who who Herman Aitch actually is, and they head off to find Sher with the new knowledge that she was said to have headed North to Margush after she was last seen in the Wizard Battle two years ago.
They head North, through the Queen of the Forest's land, encountering some rather annoying fairies in her service along the way. Reaching Margush, where Edward engages in a spot of well-throwing and causes a bit of a scene, they learn that a woman matching Sher's description was seen near Dual Peak out to the North, originally wearing white and gold robes like Saga's and more recently similar ones but in black and blue.
They go there, on the way encountering a water spirit. By offering things, mainly potions, they are allowed to pass, though Saga's religious fervour and dedication to her god almost causes them some trouble. Edward for some reason agrees to have all of his blood drained, and it ends up replaced with pure water.
Reaching the mountain and avoiding rocks on the treacherous path up it and (Flux) ghosts inside the cave systems there, the party are out in the open and enjoying the midday sun when suddenly the world around them plunges into darkness and it is nighttime. Saga recognises this as a trick of those who follow the Lord of Darkness, and the party head onwards into a cave to find Sher, now robed in black and blue and calling on the powers of shadow.
Saga attempts to convince her sister to return to the light but she does not, claiming that it is her who has not yet seen “the true light”. A fight breaks out, and the party help to cut down Sher and the cultists with her. Saga, with some hesitation, goes to finish off her sister to rid the world of darkness, but the party have some objections since they have essentially just burst in and kicked off without Sher and friends having really caused any harm.
Feeding Sher a Sleep of Death potion to keep her out of action for the time being, they take her back to Margush to attempt to find out if her mind is being affected in some way, and whether Felicity's invocations of the Rampant's power to encourage her to do as she wills will cause any noticeable difference in her behaviour. Feeling bad about having knocked them all out and kidnapped their priestess, Dauntless leaves a note for the unconscious cultists, apologising and promising to return Sher if it turns out that she was acting of her own free will. She signs it and encourages Edward to do the same.
Returning to Margush and using the Rampant's power, the party look for any difference in Sher's behaviour. However, there is none, and it seems that she is indeed acting of her own free will. Saga attempts to use a miracle of Shatu to get her to reveal the truth, but she counters with a miracle of Sinna which seems to have the opposite effect and cancels out her power. Since they are not making much progress, and resolving to not have to kill her own sister, Saga agrees to return her to the mountain and leave her be, instead returning to Acryn to search for a way to help her and save her from Sinna's influence.
Still suspicious about Rupus Regio and his monkey, some of the party try to find them again to have a word. However, there is no sign of them at the Adventurer's Guild. Edward uses his contacts to make a report to the City Watch with his suspicions about the man and monkey, whilst Karlos makes a report to the Brotherhood of the Closed Eye, also informing them of what he claims to be a potentially dangerous wizard. Both organisations separately investigate, and return with the news that Rupus and Mister Scampers whilst certainly seeming suspicious manage to avoid any obviously incriminating behaviour. And both state that in light of this, they would be most interested in further information on him.
The party all end up in a pub, having a drink. Edward complains about how having his blood replaced with pure water doesn't seem to have helped with the well thing, and Karlos brings up Professor Black and his Probulator as a possible way of understanding what is going on with him. Thinking that this is a good idea, most of the party head to the College of the Stars, where Professor Black is not available. However, one of his assistants, Professor Lemongrass, excitedly shows them to the machine, which is now a short way into the foresty parts of the College and has vines growing into it. She and her fellow professor point out that they have no idea what that means and that nobody has dared to try and use it since, and so they have no idea what any of the readings from it will mean anyway.
Edward, still drunk, thinks that it will be a good idea to give it a try, and agrees to go in and use it for some reason. Even when strapped in with various restraints, including some which are now just vines, he gives the go-ahead for them to start. The machine whirs into life, there are some odd noises, and things clunk and shift in odd ways that they didn't before. Some plant life flies into Edward's face, and an odd sensation washes over him. It stops and he emerges feeling somewhat dizzy. The machine outputs some readings, but as predicted the professors have no ides what it means. Thinking that it will be a good idea to have a control, Karlos, seeing that Edward has emerged still alive, decides to give it a go. However, once the machine starts, he feels a malignant presence attempting to break into his mind and he demands that the process is stopped. Attempts to use the controls seem to do nothing, and Dauntless uses force to break him out of the machine. It whirs a bit, stops, and there is a few moments of awkward silence, and then the whole thing violently explodes.
When the party have picked themselves and the professors up again, Karlos is concerned that something might have got into his head. Edward, still drunk and also dizzy, offers to do some brain surgery, with which he has no prior experience, to look for signs of any problems. For some reason, Karlos agrees, with Saul also agreeing to have his brain looked at in exchange for 24 Riel, so that he has something to compare against. He manages to look at Saul without incident and the experience is merely upsettingly weird. When looking at Karlos, it seems as though there is some surface damage at the back of his neck, but nothing to suggest that anything successfully managed to get in. After stitching him back up, however, he finds that the wound just won't stop bleeding, though it seems to have been something that he did rather than the corrupted Probulator. Karlos uses Consumption magic to heal the wound, as well as purify himself, for which he uses some of the pure water that is now Edward's blood, which possibly may prove to be a bit of a mistake. Then the party return to the pub to drink some more.
A couple of weeks later, Dauntless invites Saga and some of the party over for dinner with some of the Cargans. She shares a little more of her culture and people, and tells them how things are going. It seems as though the Adventurer's Guild has provided her with accommodation and she is currently working with them to try to find a way of helping her sister.