Prologue: Chejop Kejak (leader of the Bronze faction) and Ayesha Ura (leader of the Gold faction) left on a mysterious mission leaving Nazri (the head Independent) in charge. Nazri instructed the circle to head to Thorns, a prosperous city in the East, in order to resolve some minor fate tangles.
Scene 1: Aisle of Secrets, rating XX (actual rating XXXX)
The first mission the circle took on was a missing library book, Toben’s Spirit Guide. It was necessary for a certain girl named Ruffled Blossom to read this book in order to become a great exorcist one day. Upon going to the library and talking their way past a suspicious head librarian, they discovered that the section on the occult was vandalized, with several books destroyed and others stolen. The party tracked down a frequent visitor of that section named Karzan Stevens to his house, which was abandoned and full of tawdry novels about romances between mortals and ghosts. Finding out about the man’s dead wife, they followed that lead to her mausoleum only to find cultists attempting to open a portal to the underworld.
It was a difficult battle, but after slowly tearing through an ablative layer of skeletons and cultists they were left with three void imbued casters. The cult leader continually blasted the party with immobilizing cold, which forced the monk to release his Anima Banner in an awesome display of power using masterful spiral. After killing a great many of them, they destroyed the portal and interrogated the survivors. Posing as monks from the Central Library Authority they convinced Karzan to leave and atone for his sins against libraries. He left on a pilgrimage and said he would head to the city of Nexus next. The other cultists were convinced to seek out the Cult of the Illuminated or face utter dissolution. Bob the Cultist is headed to an unknown destination to find out more about this mysterious cult that probably doesn’t have raging librarians after it.
In the end, a ‘mysterious stranger’ brought the book to Ruffled Blossom and with a wink she took it to study immediately. Fate was completed and the scroll transmuted into a Cloak of Eyes +2. The psion then cast Arcane Fate in order to muddle the memories of those they met to ensure their identities remained secret.
(Reward: 500 xp per character)
Scene 2: “Are you Chicken?”, rating XXX
The party then sought out the heir of house Mikflay, a hotheaded fire aspect named Mair-Ti. He needed to learn humility or he surely would pick a fight he couldn’t win and would be killed before he could sire an heir. After discussing the possibility of finding a woman for him the party decided on the direct route: humbling him by kicking his ass. After challenging his honor at a local outdoor cafe, they used fate and mind-bending tricks to continually make him strike his little brother with his twin waraxes. Finally Mair-Ti had enough and released his own anima banner in the form of an inferno that burnt anyone who got near. The battlemind fell from the heat but Mair-Ti fell just moments later. The party then unceremoniously dumped him into a nearby manure cart, fully humiliating him. The reward was an Elusive Action Ki Focus +2.
(Reward: 300 xp per character)
Scene 3: “Two Houses Divided”, rating XX
Two young nobles are supposed to fall in love, but since their families get along they just aren’t interested in each other. Astrology predicted that if their families hated each other then their love would blossom. The party started by spreading rumors about backbiting comments the families made about each other at the market, and continued by sending flowers to rival houses under false names in order to cast suspicion on the heads of the two houses. Finally they staged a robbery attempt in order to frame the Montegues of theft. This lead the two houses to have a banquet in order to resolve their growing tensions. After sneaking in the party spiked the drinks with laxatives and narcotics making the hosts abandon the party and the guests listless. Both families left the party feeling insulted and relationships between the houses were predicted to deteriorate from there and now there was fertile ground for forbidden love to grow. Cementing this fate earned the party a Staff of Ruin +2.
(Reward: 200 xp per character)
Scene 4: “Missing From Fate”, rating XXXX
Mysterious deaths were occurring around Thorns, changing fate as people were dying years ahead of time. Some hand outside of fate must have been behind these deaths. One house leader who was strongly tied to the others was still predicted to live for another twenty years but due to his strongly tied fate to the others he was a likely target. Upon arriving at his house at night the party heard unearthly wails from inside. Rushing to the rescue they encountered skeletons and ghouls as well as a hungry ghost. Drained from all the earlier fighting they struggled to overcome these foes. The monk was assaulted by the hungry ghost as it ate his very essence and dazed him only overcoming it with an amazing comeback by focusing his energies. The battlemind did his best to defend the others but spent of resources from the earlier battles he fell unconscious under the brutal psychic assault of the head ghoul. The ghoul fell beneath the blows of the others and they rescued the dying Earth-aspected Dragonblood upstairs.
(Reward: 500 xp per character)
Epilogue: With his breath recovered the Dragonblood noble warned he knew of a plot by the Mask of Winters, a powerful ghost, to invade Thorns by breaching the barriers to the underworld. This information came too late though, as undead were already pouring into the city. More bad news arrived as Nazri contacted the party remotely to inform them that Chejop and Ayesha have disappeared during their mission. They only managed to send a message that the Jade Prison, the artifact that kept the Solars from reincarnating, was shattered. When the party informed Nazri that Thorns was being opened to the Underworld he replied that he had no choice but to lock off the celestial gateway trapping the party in the city. What will the party do now that they are abandoned in the face of the largest underworld incursion ever witnessed?
(Reward: 500 xp per character for Major Quest completion: Thorns and Roses)