The strange doom of the Magisterium hangs upon Acryn, and at night the wyrd aurora still flickers faintly over the night sky and during the day a small of crowd desperate parents can be seen crowding the doors of the Church of the Tender. However, in the build up to war with the Serradic Empire there other things to worry about and the new council has had to turn its already stretched resources to other tasks, ones that can be fought with soldiers.
Within minimal fanfare the Brotherhood of the Closed eye have put out a call for adventurers saying nothing more than that perilous travel will be undertaken.
The party are hired by The Brotherhood of the Closed Eye to make contact with rebels who are active in the lands of the Magisterium. They have offered to help Acryn locate some way to destroy the seemingly invulnerable ruler of the Magisterium. However, reaching them would take months of perilous travel through unchartered depths of the flux, so Captain Hopkins suggests they travel as the Magisterium do, through fractures in reality that link the Magisterium to other places in the world. To do so they'll need to travel to Caul where the Brotherhood believe there is an active Magisterium agent, who is likely to have come means of travelling home.
The party make their way to Caul. Normally a standard journey, on this trip the party find villages that sit along the road gone - annihilated into nothing more than fine black dust. They get the impression that something lurks just out of sight, but cannot identify what has unleashed such complete destruction.
The populous of Caul is uneasy and suspicious but the party are able to make it to the Magisterium agent who is posing as a simple seller of charms and potions. In his basement the party find a fractured portal that leads to elsewhere.
Going through they find themselves in a Magisterium tower overlooking grasslands whose geography and fauna are unfamiliar…they're not in Acryn anymore. After slaying the sorcerer who inhabits the tower the party meet with Histra, a young woman who is the rebel contact they were supposed to meet.
She leads them to a local town, inhabited by the Altan: a once proud people of skilled horsemasters they have been reduced to cowering slaves by the tyranny of the Magisterium. The party demonstrate their heroic credentials by slaughtering the local Magisterium Zarmindar and crashing his sky fortress, gaining the tribes trust.
Speaking to the elders of the tribe, the party are told that if the tribes are to rise up against the Magisterium the old gods must be awoken, their worship having been suppressed for two hundred years by the Magisterium. Furthermore, the old gods may be able to reveal some secret which will allow the heroes of Acryn to assail the evil at the heart of the Magisterium.
The party head off toward the sacred caverns of the Altan's gods. To reach them they are forced to pass through the great ring of arcane destruction that encircles the heartlands of the Magisterium: the Levistation, a place where gravity has been cancelled out and the geography and fauna floats in space.
At last they reach the sacred caverns and after undergoing an unusal vision quest the party meet the twin gods of the Altan: the Stallion of Heavans and the Mare of Night. They seem to be gods of life and death respectively, diametrically opposed but inextribly linked. They offer to aid the party but only if the party swear to rekindle their worship in the world and restart the divine cycle of which they are a part. Oddly, the party must make the oath to only one of the gods, choosing whether life or death predominates in the first turn of the cycle. After consulting the traitor Annabel recommends they swear to the Mare of Night, or at least Annabel and Jimmy do. Samuel refuses and is left behind when the Goddess summons her divine steeds and whisks the rest of the party away.
They are deposited before the ruins of a great city, similar in style to that of the Magisterium, but ancient. It has been riven by some terrible cataclysm, great rents running through reality fracturing the city into shards of space and time where the laws of nature are twisted and broken. Fighting their way through mind bending madness, the party reach the epicentre of the city where a single delicate silver bell hangs in midair, seemingly the source of the terrible destruction. The party see a strange vision, no doubt an echo of history, as two Dragonborn stand over the bell. The first, a smith, says that one strike of the bell will shatter anything, even a soul, a second will destroy the thing utterly. It warns of terrible consequences though it doesn't seem to care about them at all. Nor does the second Dragonborn who urges the smith to strike, cradling something in its hands that shatters as the bell rings with note that defies description. As the cataclysm replays, Annabel and Jimmy are forced to fight past and future version of themselves as time itself shatters around them, Jimmy slaying his older self and binding his soul within his rapier. With the monstrous bell in toll the pair return to the Altan village to find that Samuel has slain a Magisterium sorcereress sent to annihilate the rebels. Judging by her fancy staff she must be of considerable importance.
They tell that Altan that the Mare of the Night has returned and are hailed as heroes. Histra tells them that they will spread the word to the other tribes and try to inspire a full scale rebellion against the Magisterium. As the tribe makes to move, the party return to the portal and are whisked across the leagues to Caul. They are promptly taken into custody by a nervous Caulish militia but are freed thanks to Jimmy's influence with Acryn's ambassador.
Back in Acryn, Jimmy plays a dangerous game of brinksmanship with Captain Hopkins and the 'Unmaker's Toll' but manages to wangle a substantial bonus for his efforts. The Brotherhood are delighted at the intelligence the party have gathered and the recovery of an artefact that may hold the secret of the destruction of the malevolent Demiurge. Now all that is needed is for a strike into the heart of the Magisterium itself.
The divine favour of the Mare of Night is somewhat unique in its manifestation, for the powers of the goddess are invoked by bringing oneself closer to death. Mechanically they are paid for with seconds from your death count rather than being limited by the usual per encounter limit of divine favour miracles. The cost endures over the course of the adventure and only resets at the start of your next adventure. If you use up all your seconds then dropping to 0 hits results in your soul being instantly carried away by the mare.
You are member of the deathly herd of the Mare of Night and the thunder of skeletal hooves echoes through your soul. This has no effect on the living but upon things spiritual the power of the herd is a thing to be reckoned with.
Firstly, any who die within your sight (unless you do something else with their soul) are conveyed away by the spectral herd to the realm of the Mare of Night. Once per encounter by spending 10 seconds executing a being possessed of a soul and allowing the herd to carry it off you gain their favour. This adds 5 seconds to your Death Count for the remainder of the Adventure. This allows you to restore time lost through the invocation of the Mare's miracles.
Secondly, every 15 seconds you may call a FEAR against either a bodiless soul or any being (i.e. minions of the dragons) attempting to carry those souls away. This overcomes any standard immunity to the FEAR call they may possess unless they are unusually potent.
You call upon the power of the mare and the shadows length as in the darkness the goddess moves causing terror in those who cling to life. This allows you to call a FEAR at single target.
This costs 5 seconds of your death count. It cannot affect a target more than once an encounter.
You fall into a death like coma as your soul comes free of your body. As it does so one of the ethereal steeds of the herd of the mare will come to you. The steed will convey your soul wherever you wish at impossible speeds. In this state most physical things will not be able to perceive or interact with you, and you will not be able to affect them though you can observe them and perceive their souls. Spiritual entities will be able to perceive you. This miracle may only be invoked at night and the steed will always return your soul to its body by dawn.
Use of this miracle while waking allows you to perceive the souls of the dead and other ethereal creatures.
Invoking this power requires 5 seconds of your death count.
All things must end for no power may stand against the inevitability of death. You invoke the presence of the Mare of Night and in the distance the hollow thunder of the goddesses' hooves rumble. For 60 seconds all heal calls in the encounter become ineffective (call EVERYONE IMMUNE HEAL having explained the power in advance) as death comes closer to everyone. You meanwhile are STRENGTHENED while this effect endures.
Invoking this power requires 10 seconds of your death count.
You step closer to the brink of death and open way to the herd-lands of the Mare of Night. A huge shadowy black horse, spectral and cold as night, leaps from your chest and charges at a target of your choosing, galloping straight through them.
Mechanically, you may call a ranged THROUGH DOUBLE at a single target. If this reduces the target to 0 hits they are instantly executed and you will see their soul dragged away in the wake of the great black horse, off into the Mare's realm. Meanwhile, you take a REND from the terrible cold as the black steed leaps from you.
Invoking this power requires 15 seconds of your death count.