After apprehending a thief who was attempting to sell some incredibly valuable items within Acryn, the city seeks adventurers capable of finding the owner and returning their property. Given the value of the items, it is likely that it will be necessary to defend against bandits and profiteers. The nature of the property indicates someone with substantial holdings and magical power, so people with a history of international diplomacy are sought to ensure positive relations with Acryn result from the return of their goods.
The party received their briefings, Otto takes the opportunity to examine the objects he will be safeguarding in detail and discovers that among the items they will be escorting is a Dragion Soul implement which has been bound by another mage. Then they head off towards Caul. Shortly after the party have passed the watch towers and consensus markers, they encounter “bandits” who turn out to be mercenaries hired to steal a book the party are carrying (the Dragon Soul implement). The mercenaries are quickly defeated and the party make a quick detour to hand them over to members of the Watch in the nearest watch tower.
Shortly after the party are attacked again, this time by blinded stone golems lead by a binding mage. Then, on a mountain path, the party suffer another attack as the path is blown up beneath them. Finally, before the party reach Caul they are approached by a Merchant and his guards. The Merchant offers a substantial sum of money (2000r) to buy the book from them, which the party refuses. During and after the negotiation Lucian and Aria attempt to solve a wooden puzzle (which is one of the items which they are escorting) while Otto notices some unusual behaviour on the bindings sealing the Dragon Soul implement.
Once in Caul, the party meet with local experts who should be able to give them information about where to head next. A sigil on several of the items is identified as belonging to the Royal Family of Concerto, an island nation to the south of Caul. Given the repeated attacks on the party, it is concluded that the ring which Otto has identified as having had a Mind’s Eye spell cast on it is being used to spy on the party. They begin to prepare countermeasures; however, as part of Aria’s unwillingness to be parted from the ring, they discover that it is actually Aria who cast the Mind’s Eye spell. Otto then begins to experiment and discovers that the Dragon Soul implement is also Aria’s, and that the reason for her memory problems is because the implement IS her memory, and the bindings ensure that her memory remains inaccessible to her. The discovery throws the party and raises questions about how to proceed, with Otto arguing that the items must be returned to the person responsible for creating the bindings, while Xavier argues that they should be returned to Aria. Eventually the party agrees to continue on to Concerto for now.
The party arrange a ship to get them to the island nation of Concerto. On the way they are attacked by a number of Concerto marines riding a leviathan. They are very nearly overwhelmed, but just when hope was nearly lost, another leviathan rose from the sea and attacked the first, buying the party enough breathing room to be victorious.
Having realised that Aria is originally from Concerto, and quite likely an exile of the Royal family, the party arrange to disguise her. However, through a combination of the party having no real experience with disguises and Aria being much more famous than the party had realised, the disguise is blown almost immediately. The crowd at the port welcome back their Queen Oratorio with much jubilation while the Stone Guardians arrange escort to her castle. Before entering the castle the party once again discuss whether Aria’s memories should be unlocked. There is a fair amount of disagreement, which is exacerbated once Xavier starts directing his divine power to releasing them. Otto initially tries to prevent the bindings being undone, but once he realises that their breaking is inevitable, focuses his efforts on ensuring that the memories return to Aria in a controlled manner.
Following this, the party arrange to sneak into the castle through a secret entrance, one which is heavily protected by traps which prove a challenge to the party, although do not attack Aria (much to the consternation of the rest of the party). Once through, and with slightly more information about what they are likely to face due to Aria’s newly returned memories, the party begin to prepare for their introduction to the castle’s current ruler (and Aria’s ex-lover). One of the principal preparations Otto wants to make is to prepare a spell which would silence Xavier, this results in a disagreement which ends in Otto attempting to prepare the spell, being attacked by Xavier, and Xavier leaving.
The party encounters Cacophany, Aria’s ex-lover and current ruler of Concerto. As Aria talks to her, Otto notices something odd, erroneously concluding that the subtle signs of binding magic as a sign that she is being controlled and informs Marian, who in turn uses the power of the Leader to ensure that Cacophany can resist anything which would try to restrict her actions. As the discussion between Aria and Cacophany reaches a climax and it becomes clear that Cacophany will be unable to get Aria alone, Cacophany orders her people to attack. As Cacophany is struck she explodes in a cloud of paper. After defeating the attackers the party barricade the room to plan what to do next, especially as there was some concern that putting Aria back on the throne might not be the most ethical thing to do. While this was happening, Marian slipped out and went looking for Cacophany. Marian’s discussions with Cacophany were hindered by Cacophany’s resistance to Cease Your Deceptions (granted by Marian’s own miracle), and after a short discussion Marian was captured and locked up.
Following her discussion with Marian, Cacophany led her remaining loyal forces to attack the party, but was eventually defeated.
Following Cacophany’s defeat, Aria used the power of her Dragon Soul implement to rewrite her own memories, integrating Oratorio’s memories and Aria’s into a coherent narrative, while quietly forgetting about some of the more problematic elements of her life. Cacophany is exiled, and is offered a place to stay in the house of Astraeus’s uncle. Marian is eventually found in the dungeons, and her belongings are found some days later in a pawn shop. Aria does her best to bring everyone up to speed on what happened between her and Cacophany, which is largely summarised as evil queen tricked by equally evil lover.
With Aria in power once again, the party are able to head back to Acryn secure in the knowledge that they have arranged a very friendly relations. Lucien stays for a few days putting in place the foundations for trade deals beneficial to him. Marian uses Terrec contacts to do similar. Astraus stays to arrange similar deals, but her lack of experience when compared to both Marian and Lucien shows. All three arrange to have people reporting back to them incase Aria resumes her reign of evil.
Otto makes use of Aria’s extensive magical library, using a 5 mana ritual to bind up a copy of the library and take it back to Strossborg university.
All are given a hero’s farewell when they do leave a week later.
Meanwhile, Xavier has been attacking the Embassy of Strossborg over Otto’s magical attack on him. With no information and against someone with as much sway in the city as Xavier can bring to bear, the Embassy is firmly on the defensive. Even once the party arrive back, no-one is willing to defend Otto as strongly as the Embassy needs, and Otto is removed as an official representative of Strossborg in Acryn and the Embassy publicly apologises for his actions. However, he is reassigned to Concerto, as it is believed his close ties with the Queen will be to good effect there. While back in Strossborg, he is able to graduate from his apprenticeship, much to the annoyance of his master.
Marian continues getting into Angelo Terrec’s good graces, while aiming for the family’s councillor position. She is now doing most of the job, although Angelo still holds the official title, which means Marian will occasionally suffer from other councillors pulling her up on her unofficial status.
Ruled over by Queen Aria. The nation's most notable feature is its highly efficient criminal justice system. The nation's military and police forces are principally served by magical stone statues who are unquestioningly loyal to the Queen. In the past the legal system was handled through summary justice and the queen's dictate, but since her return she has set up a series of courts where the public can see the justice system in action. Many of the judges have been recruited from among Acryn's lawyers. The system is still being developed, but has the concepts of proof-of-crime and public oversight at its core. The strangest part of the system from the point of view of outsiders is their equivalent to a death sentence, the criminal's memory is rewritten so that they believe that they committed a terrible crime and sincerely wish to redeem themselves, then the criminal's soul is transferred from their body into that of a stone guardian to serve as part of the nations police force.
Since contact with the rest of the world has been re-established a foreign quarter has been established near the docks. The largest of these buildings is the Strossborg embassy, although the Acryn and Caul embassies are also impressive buildings. A number of trading estates have been set up, with the Graves and Terrec buildings close to the Acryn embassy but on opposite sides. A small “temple district” has also been set up, each building is a small and simple building with no ornamentation on the street itself. Priests operating in these buildings have been vetted by Queen Aria herself and while they are allowed to offer services to anyone who chooses to seek them out, they are strictly banned from proselytising outside of the temples or to people who have not sought them out. At this stage, temples to the Lord of the Rock, The Tender, The Warrior, The Builder, and the Leader exist. The other Acryn institution which seems to have done well in the new city is the Post Office, which has a large office in the foreign quarter, a small building in the Castle, and a dedicated pier in the docks.
Neither foreigners or citizens are allowed to carry weapons within the nation. Knives are allowed for self-defence, and citizens may apply for permits to carry tools necessary for their work which could double as an offensive weapon (hammers, axes, and similar). It is noticable that foreigners (who may be more used to being able to carry weapons) often become skilled knife wielders during their time in Concordia.
OC Note: Queen Aria is a blessed champion of the Traitor. Each of the priests in the temples are Traitor priests. The postal service offices are also run by the Traitor cult.