Our story begins with a party, celebrating the Province of Cauldron’s centennial of joining the Empire. Present were various lesser luminaries of the Court, including Julian’s son Duke Balor. Balor kicked the evening off by questioning Amara as to why Telluria would want to join the Empire.
The desultory celebration was interrupted by a distant explosion, which appeared to be from the direction of the dirigible works. Tyber departed for the site immediately. Amara, Kate, and Saif followed shortly, at the request of the Emperor (via the seneschal).
The entire dirigible yard had been devastated by the explosion, and was a raging inferno. Tyber investigated the site quickly, and surmised that the cause was unlikely to be accident. He located a bunker that might have been used for shelter. Once the others arrived, they were able to help open the bunker, and discovered an unconscious occupant.
Kate coordinated rescue efforts for those who had survived on the outskirts, and Kayleb was brought in to make a Trump gate to Rebma, to extinguish the fire. Between that and what little the fire brigade could do, the blaze was contained.
Amara noticed an anomalous substance in the bunker, and also on the survivor’s hands. Kate was able to awaken the survivor, and superficial questioning revealed duplicity on his part. Very little interrogation was required to get him to reveal responsibility for the explosion, along with assertions of the inevitable triumph of Caradoc (a Province) and the Pendragon Onslow (its governor). The prisoner was handed over to the Inquisition.
After updating the seneschal, our protagonists were tasked with investigating the cause of the incident. They requested further information about ships known to be at the yards, personnel records, and other background.
In the evening, Kayleb experienced an odd visitation from someone called The Guisel, accompanied by animated paintings. There was a cryptic offer of knowledge in the form of a rhyme, and the offer of further insight for a price.
The Inquisition’s interrogation of the prisoner, Bael, showed him eager to volunteer information about the plot of Caradoc to militarize, and form alliances with other Shadows. He had clear memories of being instructed on these plans by the Pendragon Onslow himself. The anomalous substance detected at the site and on his hands was an explosive/accelerant used to trigger simultaneous explosions via varied fuse lengths. Kate enjoined Flora to treat the patient as humanely as possible.
The investigation moved to surviving personnel of the dirigible works, starting with the off-shift supervisor. Mr. Tanner was very nervous at the attention, and did not seem to be concealing guilt about the incident. Trump surveillance of Tanner supported his innocence but not his peace of mind.
Tanner mentioned a colleague who had been out sick, Humphries. He turned out to be genuinely ill, and ignorant of the sabotage. Trump surveillance of Humphries speaking to Tanner also supported their innocence.
Bael’s residence had already been searched by the Inquisition. It was formerly tidy, perhaps obsessively so, and revealed little apart from traces of the mysterious substance Amara had detected at the site.
The investigation moved to Caradoc, via a roundabout route which resulted in their carriage shadowshifting into a ballroom in the palace. A brief survey of the capitol and palace revealed no signs of military buildup. Ruffled feathers were soothed, and the Pendragon indicated that the Ways to Amber were being disrupted.
Saif and Tyber moved to a nearby closed Way to investigate that, while Kate and Amara returned to the Pendragon to further unruffle, and get more background.
While Saif attempted to repair the Way, a masked individual appeared, and began using Pattern very expertly to undo the repair. Tyber engaged the masked man, who also displayed considerable martial skill, and that his sword was infused with Pattern. The masked man escaped Tyber’s onslaught by Trump, and work was resumed on the Way.
The Pendragon Onslow discussed the current crisis with Kate, revealing that several Ways had closed recently, and that other Provinces were experiencing issues as well. Messages to the Empire had gone unanswered, and some dirigibles had been shot down.
Kayleb experimented with sympathetic magic, with several Inquisition prisoners as subjects.
[edited for spelling of Guisel]