The following call for aid circulates Acryn, starting in the Guilds but filtering into the streets:
Adventurers and otherwise capable individuals are sought to investigate disturbances to the continued construction and maintenance work beneath Founders' Square. Interested individuals should meet with the site Foreman at 11 on the coming Saturday. Payment 36R and negotiable.
The party awaken to a sight of blood and despair, only remembering having gone to meet the Foreman for this job. There's a broken mirror, a terrifying creature, wisps of draconic influence, and a woman dying. The party are quickly cut through as the woman tells them to try to remember and then they find their minds yanked through some magical ritual and find themselves heading down to meet the Foreman.
Startled, they attempt to work out what to do next and decide to continue. Warily, they meet the Foreman and ask about the vision and what's been going on, but behind them a man starts attacking workers. The workers flee as draconic wisps start attacking but are defeated by the party. Evan determines that the man is possessed by draconic influence and the party consider they need extra payment for this. Emilio and Marian send runners to the Council to explain what's going on and to order an evacuation of the Square as they investigate and try to put a stop to the draconic incursion. The unhelpful Foreman is put on probation and informs the party as well that some mages, including one Amelia Stone, went down to look into this thing.
Down in the tunnels, they encounter a manner of Flux undead creatures (identified by Peter) and put a stop to them before wrestling with a draconic puzzle of statues and hellish beams of untold power to advance after their quarry. They find themselves following the tunnel into a deep library of the College of the Stars where an irate librarian insists on their silence as they work out how to free Miss Stone from a book she's become trapped in. Having made too much noise, the Librarian orders books to attack them, and Otto ends up stuck inside a book about Symbols of Destruction. Evan uses a ritual to rip out the page Amelia was trapped in and frees her, then checks out the book Otto was trapped in in order to free him. Otto finds himself with a due by date inked on his arm.
Amelia explains she was pursuing the thing along and they continue chasing, finding some more draconically possessed individuals and stopping the dragon trying to heal a wound. Otto transfers the possession into a cloth for analysis and notices that the text shies away from Stone.
They then come across a number of entities referring to themselves as “Scales” and refer to themselves as Triskelion. The party talk and try to work out what to do as the Scales inform there are cracks and wounds at risk of opening, and that the thing they seek is part of all of the dragons, and Stone. The Scales suggest Stone is the key to fixing the wound, but also necessarily part of the wound itself. Evan assumes some of Stone's mind and uses a Veil to give himself a vision of the events of Dissonance from Stone's perspective and gets a greater understanding of what is going on, and that the Thing they saw at the start must be destroyed.
While discussing what to do next, Triskelion's scales become aware of an imminent attack by claws of Carlaeon which swiftly attack. Triskelion protects the party as Carlaeon claws at them, and the party get away into a twisting geometrically unsound tunnel network where things get stranger. They encounter some builders who have lost their minds and started their own Empire Beneath The Surface and take from them a mana crystal connected to the Thing, more Flux entities of the Earth and another draconic puzzle before finding themselves outside a room marked by the Leader's Sigil. Inside, Ravens greet the party but insist Marian must leave as a traitor. She refuses to and they try to peck her eyes out, but she calls down a Miracle to control the Leader's Ravens. With a flock at her disposal, they investigate the Mirror and see its engraving “ASK THAT YOU MAY KNOW WHAT YOU DENY OR REFUSE TO ACCEPT”. Evan asks it for assistance but it remains silent. The mirror is identified as Divine by Marian, particular around cracks that look like someone punched it very hard.
The Thing is identified down a nearby tunnel, and as it notices the party it summons draconic wisps to attack them. They fight it off, wounding it with their combined power and the crystal taken from the Empire, but it starts to phase away. Stone is brought forward to attack it, but when she touches it there is a blinding light and the Thing disappears, leaving only Stone behind. She's dying, but thanks the party: the city is safe, and reality is healed. Otto checks his scarf and the text which previously said “THE WOUND MUST BE HEALED” now reads “THE WOUND IS HEALED”.
The party bid farewell to Stone, and look for a way out. They realise they are in the Vault of the Leader, but with Marian's authority over Ravens and the power of the Leader radiating off her, they're able to command guards to let them past, with Evan carrying the Mirror of Revelation for good measure. Otto apologises to the guards and suggests they deal with the huge hole left by the draconic incursion.
The party leave the vault but as they do they begin to feel incredibly fatigued. Their abilities wane and they begin to worry this is a curse of the Leader. They plod on desperately, and arrange to meet back up with the Council to get paid and split up. Marian and Evan head to the Terrec estate with the mirror and barely make it through the door in time for Marian to splutter an order to her servants to secure the mirror safely before collapsing with exhaustion. Peter heads to the Flux to restore himself before returning to the Strossbourgian embassy with Otto and Emilio where all collapse from exhausation.
The Strossbourgian mages identify that the exhaustion is extreme fatigue, as if they'd been out on ten consecutive adventures. This causes some alarm, but after days of rest, all feel better and head to the Council to get paid. They meet with Ghita Darrish due to the connection with the College of the Stars, and the acting head of the People's College in order to explain what was going on, and though there is grave concern over the repercussions of the Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division that was shut down and redacted from Council records, there is relief that the Thing From The Otherside is now disposed of. Each are offered 75R for their assistance saving the city, though Otto refuses to take that as he sees his duty in saving the world from the Draconic Incursion. His share is split amongst the others, but he negotiates a gifting of the book he is supposedly “On Loan” from instead. He also offers Strossbourgian assistance in organising the College of the Stars' library, an offer Ghita is keen to accept.
The party go their separate ways. Emilio heads to the Margushian Embassy to report on all he's seen, particularly noting the fractures of the Terrec family and how Marian Terrec seems to be related to some deep rift in the Leader Church. The Redans are intrigued by this and the information that Emilio gives them and consider a way to put pressure on the Terrecs to allow them either safety or profit from the ongoing Acryn Trade War.
Peter Kally heads back to Founders' Square to check on construction efforts and that everything is alright. He is pleased to find that the administrators have sacked the unhelpful Foreman, and that reinforcement of the underground columns and arches supporting the square has been successful, making the Square significantly safer from collapse, something only possible thanks to the work of Peter and his compatriots. They offer him a favour should he ever need one from them.
Otto consults with the Strossbourgian Mages about all he saw. He asks for them to examine his memories using Manipulation and discovers that there are 9 missing memory strands about the same length as the adventure, each of which is interrupted by a magical force. They suggest a hypothesis that Otto was stuck in some sort of magical time loop or simulation, and that he did play out the same adventure 9 times. They find this fascinating and store copies of the memories for further analysis. Otto heads to the College of the Stars with the finest Strossbourgian administrators and gets to work on the monumental task of organising and recording the College's libraries.
Evan and Marian investigate the Mirror of Revelation. Having received documents from the Leader Vault using the remnants of the authority of Darak that was radiating off her as she left, she finds cryptic clues as to what the mirror might do. “Question”, “Could not ask again”, “Answer”, “Broken?!” are scribbled across papers as with many other words, and they piece together that the Mirror can answer questions about yourself that you already know the answer to. Marian summons in Wilkins and asks that Wilkins ask it a question. She suggests “Who is my true love?” and Wilkins obliges, asking the question as Evan puts his hand in the mirror with the Splintered Man's power. Evan turns into Wilkins. Awkwardness ensues and Wilkins suggests the mirror is broken, before Marian asks him to ask it “What's my favourite colour?”. He does, but receives no answer. He rushes off to continue his duties as Marian and Evan discuss repercussions. They hypothesise that the marks in the mirror are from the Leader asking it a question and not liking the answer. Marian, whose hair has been fluctuating to the Raven Black of the Leader whenever she was exercising her authority under the Leader Miracle, asks the mirror “What question did the Leader ask?”. She sees herself reply, “Would I be a good ruler of Acryn?”.
They continue to ponder the mirror, with Evan looking up stories about such mirrors in the College of the Stars and finding that rumours of mirrors that provided answers and introspection are not uncommon, and there are stories that the Leader had one (possibly the same one as in all stories) and imbued it with his power. It's all divine though, and nothing magic seems to be present. He does also check the other side of the mirror in the Shattered Plane but finds nothing pressing there. Marian invites Wilkins to dinner while continuing to spread her influence in House Terrec.
Engraved around the edge of this mirror are the words “ASK THAT YOU MAY KNOW FOR SURE WHAT YOU DENY OR REFUSE TO ACCEPT”. It is broken in the middle as if it has been punched, and the mirror is divine. Any person may ask it a question about themselves only once ever, and it will answer truthfully.