A man has been going around Acryn looking for heroes to help with a brave quest to rescue a child from the clutches of an evil god. No reward is offered, only the comfort of doing the right thing. Those with past experience dealing with the Pivot of the World are particularly sought.
Those interested are invited to join the man outside the residence of one Joshua James at noon on the coming Saturday.
The messenger is dragged to Joshua's house by Krodd where the others are waiting and hammers on Joshua's door, explaining it's another person to do with Xavier. Joshua comes out to see what's going on and backstabs the messenger. Hardy interferes, and upon revealing he used to be on the Crimson Mother is also knocked out by Joshua. Joshua and Krodd drag Hardy and the messenger to a warehouse where another unconscious person is found. They wake up Hardy and interrogate him, but Hardy protests he's nothing to do with Hugh Branch. His story is corroborated by Joshua's friend Octavian Caecilius at the East Empire Company and they believe him. They then wake up the messengers who insist they have never heard of Hugh, and they determine they were paid by a man dressed all in black to tell Joshua they know the Pivot of the World has his child and that there are people who can get him to her. The messengers are eventually believed, and Hardy let go. Rodrigo mentions that he's seen some confusion surrounding Hugh Branch being also the same person as Hugh Terrec, and they note to go and talk to this Hugh Terrec.
They go to the docks where a series of badly disguised anomalies are being affronted by the Wayfinders' Guild. Joshua knocks one out to interrogate it, and the others run away. An anomaly calling itself The Sailor explains he's never worked for Hugh and would dearly like vengeance if Hugh is still around. Joshua not trusting the anomaly keeps it close by but believes it can take them onward. They go to the Terrec estate.
At the Terrec estate, Angelo Terrec is not pleased by the presence of the party, and Marian is confused about the allegations being made about her brother. Significantly more level headed than the Duke, she keeps the party around to talk to them, and has them cleaned before Hugh enters. Things are confused, Hugh remembers that Hugh Branch is in his head, and an argument breaks out about how to deal with this. Jacob insults Angelo Terrec who insists they are removed, and Joshua infers from Marian's behaviour that she'd be far more reasonable than Angelo, and that she wouldn't mind Angelo being jobbed. Joshua murders Angelo, and Marian and Hugh make little attempt to stop this. Rodrigo, Hardy, and Krodd have fled by now to fetch the Watch who arrest Jacob for his presence. Joshua and Hugh both appear in a corridor, both having done fairly dodgy things and agree to go to a safe house that Hugh has. Marian heads there, and they discuss removing Hugh Branch from Hugh Terrec. Joshua accepts full responsibility for the murder of the Duke, something which Marian- sorry, the Duchess Terrec - is all too happy with. Hugh reveals under Cease Your Deceptions an oracular vision that Xavier does in fact have Clarissa, and the party finally set out to rescue her.
After an attack by some mighty battle lobsters, the Abnegator and his friends arrive on their boat. The Abnegator explains he's helping to take down Xavier who is a threat to everything, and offers them help with this. Most of the party don't believe the Abnegator about this, though Hardy accepts a crystal from him. Xavier also shows up and explains he has Clarissa and will gladly return her to Joshua, though they'll have to come to the Pivot for this. He creates a giant dog with a castle on its back to transport them and the party leave the anomalous armada behind.
The giant dog is attacked by narwhals, and the denizens of the castle appear to be facsimile representations of people Xavier knows. The Castle itself declares the party should engage with a trapped corridor and take on the dog at the end of it, and promptly drops them into a pitch black corridor. They beat the corridor and the dog's mouth opens, with them inside it, to reveal they are at the Pivot, but a fully blown battle between the Abnegator's Anomaly Army and the defences of the Pivot is raging. The party make their way through the whirling melee to the Pivot and inside find the mechanisms of the Pivot of the World.
They solve a puzzle and the Pivot reveals its workings to them, realities that could be float up and present themselves to the party, but Hardy doesn't like the idea of choosing from them, and as a Harbinger of the Consensus plunges the Abnegator's crystal into the heart of the machine, damaging it. Xavier, the Pivot of the World appears, holding Dragon Slayer, and is very upset by the party attacking him. Clarissa is with him but is a full High Priestess of the Pivot of the World and does not recognise Joshua as her father. Joshua insists that Xavier fix this, but Xavier says he can't, causing a melee to break out.
Krodd decides to fix the Pivot by removing Hardy's crystal, which Hardy attempts to take back. Leaf, High Priest of the Pivot of the World, snatches the crystal from them and disappears into the Flux with it. Hardy is outraged.
Using the blessed daggers, Joshua stabs the Pivot of the World numerous times, but is dropped by the guards at the same time that Xavier, wounded uses a massive force to throw the party out of his realm, sending Clarissa with them. They find themselves back in the ocean and fight back to the ship, where the Abnegator helps them on board. Hardy and Krodd argue about who made the right decision, and Joshua stabs Hardy again. The Abnegator snatches up Hardy and the pair disappear in an instant.
The ship, captained by Rodrigo, heads back to Acryn slowly but surely. A Darrish ship is encountered which helps them find their way back, and the ship is duly searched but nothing of interest found for them. Upon arrival, the party split up very quickly.
Rodrigo goes to the watch alone. Maria Addinell becomes tighter and tighter lipped as Rodrigo explained what happened, and questions him seriously on the fact that he was present when Joshua murdered Duke Terrec but did nothing to prevent this, and what's more was actively working with him following this. Maria is unimpressed that Rodrigo “went to get back-up” and is even less impressed that he was at a meeting between Joshua and Marian Terrec. She presses for information on this, and begins to put together clues that point her to later question Marian. Rodrigo provides as much honest information as he can, but the fact that he did not report any of the various crimes Joshua committed, and the fact that he was present with Joshua before and after the murder and did nothing about this means that Rodrigo is suspended from his post on the Watch. Rodrigo finds a way to contact Hugh, saying he wants to help. Hugh says he has an idea but it will need time.
Jacob returns to wander around the woods, looking for adventurers who want a bodyguard. He eventually encounters a group who take him under their wing.
Krodd, still at the dock, decides that the ship probably belongs to him now and walks around looking for a buyer. He puts the price of 20R on the ship and it's immediately sold. He can now afford a place with a bath!
Joshua makes haste with Clarissa to Marian's estate where he meets her in secret. He begs Marian to help Clarissa, as she had always wanted to be a Leader Priest, and Marian offers to adopt Clarissa and take her as a ward and turn her into a Leader Priest. Joshua, a broken man, agrees to this: he wanted Clarissa back with him, but realises she would have a better life under Marian's guardianship. Joshua agrees to also belong to Marian for jobs of whatever she chooses, so long as he's not told to do anything that would harm his family. Joshua makes a point of being seen escaping the city and then slips back in to work for Marian. He also tells his family to move to Margush, which they do, and Joshua eventually begins splitting his time between the two cities.
Over time, Clarissa becomes responsive to what Marian is saying. While she firmly believes Xavier is good, Marian is a charismatic individual, and slowly but surely Clarissa comes round to what Marian is saying: about how good a Leader Marian is… eventually she becomes willing to listen, and to remember.
Maria Addinell comes knocking to interrogate Marian. She queries her testimony about the murder of the Duke, about why she didn't protect the Duke, about how he died with Unending Fervour up, about why she didn't stop Joshua when they met, about why she was meeting Joshua, about the meeting with Joshua after he returned, about Clarissa… Marian remarks that it sounds like Maria is accusing her of conspiracy and asserts that she did not conspire to kill Angelo. Maria asks whether Marian is happy with her new position, and that Angelo died, and Marian is very positive. Marian insists this was all a (happy) accident of fate, and while Maria believes this, she says she's taking over “The Terrec Case”. Marian questions whether this means Tabitha, and Maria doesn't answer. The Watch maintain a presence at the Terrec estate, with Maria there frequently, but Marian lets her go… for now.
Far away, Hardy Quinn wakes up to the Abnegator who explains the situation for Hardy. The Abnegator makes an offer to Hardy to turn him into an anomaly, to realise the potentials around him, and Hardy agrees. Abnegation occurs.