Last session of the Fearful Symmetries campaign was a little unfocused. I don’t think it was too much of a problem, overall, because they’d just completed a big storyline, ending the White Court influence in Prague. Thus, they spent this session looking around for their next short-term goal ((Interesting to note that they’ve got some solid ideas about long-term goals. They’ve both decided that their characters – for their own reasons – want to keep Prague safe.)).
They had a couple of pet projects on the go: Izabela wanted to keep trying to dismantle the curse on Gold Lane, and Emeric had decided to see if he could step into the power vacuum left by the departing Malvora clan. And I had some dangling plot threads to throw at them.
Now, one of the themes that I wanted to introduce was that the Emperor’s spies are everywhere. To layer that in, I wanted to establish some uncertainty in the players about some of the assumptions they were making about how things fit together. I started with the Malvoras.
During their raid on the Malvora manor, Emeric and Izabela had found a room full of documentation on the various noble families of Prague, including the Valdstejns ((Which is Izabela’s family, for those of you following along at home.)). They nabbed some of these files, though most of them were destroyed in the fire that was rapidly consuming the manor house.
As part of stepping into the power vacuum, Emeric and Izabela decided to return the documents to the various families in order to assure them that the blackmail they assumed the Malvoras were perpetrating was at an end. And that’s when they found out that there was no blackmail going on.
Time after time, when they brought the documents to those they concerned, they were faced by incomprehension and disbelief. Lukrezia Malvora had always been a charming, friendly, generous lady, with absolutely no political influence on others. There was no hint that blackmail had been part of her operation, and indeed, there was some regret that she was gone.
Emeric was dealing with some other stuff, at the same time. He had been somewhat shaken by the events in Mstetice the previous session, and was beginning to question his approach to staving off Ragnarok ((His goal is to try and prevent the worst atrocities of humanity, and to help humans maintain hope. The actions of the soldiers and citizens in Mstetice, and the number of times he’s had to unsheathe Beortning is giving him a bit of a crisis of faith.)). Add to that the fact that he got struck with lightning out of a clear sky ((A 12-stress hit. The only reason he survived was because the spellcaster who whipped up the ritual didn’t know how tough Emeric really was. Emeric sucked up the blast, though it hurt him.)), and he was starting to feel a bit persecuted and depressed.
He went to Reverend Nicola at the Church of St. Lawrence up on Petrin’s Hill, whom he suspected of being a priest of Petrunas, looking for some spiritual guidance. He waited through evensong, then asked the Reverend for help. Nicola proved to be much as he always was: a compassionate Lutheran minister with an interest in local history and legend. When Emeric prodded him to admit that he worshipped the old gods, Nicola was honestly confused ((According to the setting document we created, Nicola does indeed worship Petrunas. However, because of the way I’ve been running things, they’re not sure whether I’ve changed that up, or if he’s just really good at hiding his secret identity.)), and when Emeric revealed himself in his true form, his main concern was to offer to save Emeric’s soul.
Still poking around to find out how the Malvora clan was manipulating things, Emeric went to see the Mayor, whom he knew was behind the attempt to arrest him with Kirchoff’s help. He disguised himself as a White Court vampire, and passed himself off as one of Lukrezia’s kin. When he met the mayor, he came on pretty strong, trying to assert the hold he believed Lukrezia had over the Mayor – which caused the Mayor to get a little testy, as he didn’t work for the Malvora. Following a bit of backpedalling, Emeric managed to find out that his arrest had been ordered because Lukrezia had convinced the Mayor that Emeric was a Papist spy.
Izabela and Emeric were starting to realize that the Malvora manipulation must have been more subtle and indirect than they had previously surmised. They also realized that, just because Malvora was gone, it didn’t mean they were safe from White Court machinations ((Oh, and somewhere in there they remembered that they still had a White Court vampire strapped to a table in Amadan’s cellar, and went to kick him out of the city.)).
We wrapped up with our heroes meeting with Captain Amiel, who told them that Emeric might be able to redeem himself if he were able to prove that he had only been pretending to be a spy in order to capture a Papist cell that Amiel’s men had located in Old Town. So, they’re suiting up to go raid the spies’ nest and clear Emeric’s name.