Art by Clément Griselain with modifications by the author.
Meriel Ravenstone arrives at the Gilded Stage to talk to theater manager Artur Polinus about her lack of a private dressing room. She's promised at least part of one of the common dressing areas.
Ragor and Spruce attempt to visit the star actor Kappa Adolus in his private dressing room, but the door is locked and there is no response. Ragor kicks the door in, and they find Kappa's body inside. It is slumped over his desk, lips black with black lines going down his throat. Spruce is sent out as a runner to tell the Vigilants, but not before Meriel notices Ragor slipping Spruce a note addressed to "Surt."
At the Tradefair Seat of Law, Tor'in and Zarin of Bluereed meet for the first time. They are both working their first day as agents for the Vigilants.
Constable Amos Crow, himself a Vigilant, reports to Watch Commander Surt, where he receives a new assignment: to investigate the murder of Kappa Adolus. Surt has high hopes for the young constable, but is too inundated with paperwork to offer much support. Constable Crow, Tor'in, and Zarin head to the theater, led by Spruce.
Outside of the theater, they encounter Solari protesting the upcoming play, "The Sacrifice of Solarian." Looking for someone in charge, Crow instead talks to a tall, shirtless Caithan named Thesserram. Not making much progress, they are interrupted by Kennick, who says he is the leader of the group. After affirming that they have the proper permits for a protest, Kennick explains that they don't think the play accurately represents Solarian, and would like proceeds from the play to go to charitable causes. He invites Amos to the Giving Hands in the Oldkeep neighborhood where he and his fellow Solari gather to help the needy.
Rather than go through the main doors, the trio move around the theater to the back doors. On the way, they meet Braelyn in the middle of painting an unflattering representation of Prince Tobias er'Ceasian and a horse on the wall. Reassured that she isn't about to be arrested, she shares that she's been around the theater for the last couple of days. She once saw Kennick arguing with an elven woman about something, but didn't hear what the argument was about. While Amos and Tor'in went inside, Zarin bought Braelyn sausage rolls from a nearby food cart, and asked her out. They're planning to the Ten Torches in The Hub neighborhood.
Going around the building and checking the doors, the party finds that the north door near the stage was unlocked by acid, and the door to the south near the prop room was picked. Inside the prop room, a few boxes were knocked over. While Spruce starts doing a prop room inventory to see if anything is missing, the trio heads downstairs. Waiting outside the door to Kappa's room is Ragor and a Keeper to perform last rites and ensure the body cannot be resurrected, after examinations are complete.
Upon seeing the group, Ragor was a little upset that Surt did not come. They discovered that the dressing rooms are locked from the inside with a key. Zarin examined the room's interior with the power of Angranarsh the Many-Eyed. He discovered an arcane aura in the remains of Kappa's glass and an open wine bottle. There was another bottle, still sealed by wax, that did not appear magical. The wine bottles are both labeled "Soranus Vineyards" a gift from Nestor Soranus, the theater owner, that he gives out to the employees. Recalling earlier lessons, Zarin remembered a mushroom that causes the same black lips and throat, but although the mushroom can make someone sick, it isn't lethal.
Interviewing Chalinus, Amos got a draft of the play. He learned that Kappa had been working at other theaters, and returned to the Gilded Stage about a year ago. Chalinus remembers him when he was just starting out in acting, and he isn't happy with his secondary role as Ragor in the play.
Zarin interviewed Allora Vasta, and although he detected nothing arcane within the room, he pointed out to Allora that there was definitely something magical about her. They have a date in two nights.
Continues in Session 2: The Card Lady