“The truth is my friend, I've spent my life playing this part that has been assigned to me. I only married her because it was my duty and I pretended to love her because that is what I thought was required of me. In this life we all are merely actors and we all wear masks that disguise our true feelings. The dutiful daughter, who secretly scorns her father or the hardworking servant, who hides his desire for his master. Was my love for her merely another mask? Then why should my heart been rent apart now she is gone? The fact is, old friend, that the longer you wear the mask the more it becomes your true face.”
From The Passion of Vassilly Salic, Rodrigo Starling
About twenty years ago a number of highly trained infiltrators were sent to the Serradic Empire. During the Upheaval the civil service lost all contact with these infiltrators and they were presumed KIA. A few weeks ago, however, a deserter from the Serradic army turned up at Acryn's gates with knowledge of secret code words and claiming to have been turned by one of these sleeper agents. The agent has sent the message “I am alive and awaiting further instructions”. Felip Caulson has taking the decision that any information the agent may have gained would be useful in putting a stop to the Serradic expansion and using some detailed maps that were recovered from the Raven King of Blood Crag's tower has decided to send a team in to the empire to perform an exfiltration.
The party meet with and are briefed by Felip Caulson, who gives them some remarkably detailed maps of the Empire, along with the agent's last known location. On their way out of the offices they are attacked by shadowy entities who seem to be interested in knowing where Jimmy Hoskins is. As the party head to Serradis in search of Elizabeth Tomes, the spy who has been living under the name Attia, they learn of the history of the Jubliant Mask. Richard Twine has several dreams, which reveal that the Jubliant Mask and his brother the Stoic Veil were once human and were brothers. He learns that the Jubliant Mask had a lover who drowned trying to retrieve a necklace in the shape of two makes that belonged to him. The party are attacked by the Jubliant Mask's lover, who refers to himself as The One Who Drowned.
The party find Attia who reveals that her husband was a a devotee of the Stoic Veil. When the Ascendant One arose he summoned both gods before him in the bodies of their respective priests and asked which of them would serve him. The Stoic Veil sacrificed himself and was devoured along with Attia's husband. She also reveals that The One Who Drowned has only appeared since the Upheaval but does tie in to an old legend of the Jubliant Mask having had a lover who died. The party piece together that the souls of the dead and the Stoic Veil that were inside the Ascendant One ended up in Acryn's afterlife. Upon learning this Richard Twine uses one of the Stoic Veil's priests to forge a connection to the god and learns he is in horrible pain having been ripped apart by Carleon and now trapped within the Guardian of Acryn. Although he may not mean to it seems the Guardian is slowly killing him. Twine uses a binding ritual to solidify his connection to the god.
The party discover along the way that Attia has been betrayed by one of her associates: a priest of the Silent Expectation. Twine however manages to reason with her by convincing her that he will send the souls of her people back to their afterlife. In order to ensure he makes good in his deal she gives him a blessed dagger. As the party make to leave Serradis Attia is posessed by her god, who angry and clearly having been driven to madness attacks the party. He removes his mask to reveal the human face that Twine saw in his vision. Unit 03 delivers a treppaning blow, which stuns the god. Just before the posession ends Brother Miller notices that the Jubliant Mask's human face is in face another mask and pulls it away to reveal the Jubliant Mask's lover before the face morphs back in to Attia's.
Confused by this turn of events the party head back to Acryn, where they are attacked by people possessed by what appear to be draconic entities. They take a particular interest in Twine, who they attempt to drag back to their “Mistress”. Luckilly Julius Ravensfall appears to lend some aid, having apparently received forewarning from an associate of his that they would fall in to trouble.
The party are escorted by the Circle of the Broken Wing and meet with Julius Ravensfall, who explains his associate Rodrigo Starling told him that he should go help the party and recover from Attia a manuscript that he requires. He confesses that he doesn't really understand how Rodrigo knew about any of this. The party then speak with Felip Caulson and explain both their mission and the weirdness surrounding the draconic entities and Julius Ravensfall. Pleased that they have successfully completed their mission he pays them 100 Riel each. Later he has a private chat with Anabel and instructs her to spy on Starling by taking a part in his new play. Unit 03 and Anabel both indepently warn Jimmy Hoskins of an impedending threat to his life.
That night Twine has a dream, where he sees a different version of the story of the Jubliant Mask played out. This time he sees the original Jubliant Mask drown saving his lover and his lover, Luka, taking on his role after his death. He sees Roderigo the Stoic Veil, who pleads with him to save the Jubliant Mask, not caring what becomes of himself. Twine promises he will save them both. He them uses his mask to contact the Jubliant Mask. He swears quite violently that he will save him. The Jubliant Mask merely stares back at him, his expression unreadable behind his mask.
The civil service has a lead on the location of the Serradic Dragongate, which might provide a future plot hook. Attia has been given
Has successfully infiltrated the cast of Rodrigo Starling's new play. The civil service is pleased with her, especially since they do not find out she disobeyed orders by going in to Serradis itself.
Over the next two weeks more sightings occur of shadowy creatures, often possessing innocent victims. Several people are attacked. The only pattern to these attacks is that they tend to occur against students of the colleges. Quite aside from this a group of these entities seem to have taken a personal interest in Jimmy Hoskins and he is forced to up some of his security measures. He finds that those close to him are also targetted, seeming as if whatever it is that has a vendetta against him wants him to suffer.
Has made friends with Attia's children Nerrissa and Paulo.
Has learned a vague location of the Serradic Dragongate. This will be sufficient to provide a hook for a future player request. The Stanchion has had her suspicions raised and it is likely she is looking for the back door to the afterlife. You may use it once more before she will find it.
Twine now has a connection to the Stoic Veil. He will know that the deity is horribly tormented by the damage Carleon has done to him and by being trapped within the Guardian of Acryn. In this weakened state he is not much of a match even for the much younger god and it is clear that although likely unwittingly that the Guardian is killing him. If he is not rescued soon what remains of him will certainly die. The connection also causes him horrible pain from time to time and means a GM can choose to call a rend on him at any time due to the pain that is transmitted through the connection. It may also have other effects at GM discretion.
The Jubliant Mask, having been driven insane by the Ascendant One, is gradually loosing his grip on reality. Should something not be done soon he will become irredeemable.
Twine is geased before several gods. The Stoic Veil is in no position to take vengence on him but it is highly probable that whatever the Jubliant Mask may be becoming will turn on him if he does not keep his promise. He has promised the Silent Expectation that he will return to it the souls of its people and should he fail to keep this promise the dagger that he carries will certainly try to kill him. Fortunately for him he has the promise of the Stanchion's cooperation.