Main Plot: High Corruption
Some would argue that the festering rot of corruption is a natural part of politics. Others believe that all politicians are ultimately only in it for themselves. But like a fungus, the mushroom is only the visible part of a corruption that runs deeper than personal aims. Bishop Numasi has skeletons in his closet, and some skeletons are better left undisturbed. His actions have tarnished the reputation of the Church in Astoria, and for some, digging deeper to the heart of the rot is worth it to save the Church. Cantata, a criminal organization that transcends national boundaries, has sway in many spheres of influence. When their symbol, a sixteenth note, is found on the Bishop, Cantata's involvement seems only logical. Figures in the dark move to protect their asset and keep anyone from finding out why the Bishop has dealings with criminals. In the midst of all this, black smoke rises over the cathedral marking the Primate's death. The official cause of death is respiratory failure, but some believe there was foul play. As the Council of Bishops gather to choose a new Primate, the most promising candidates disappear. A mysterious figure leaves an ominous message. The bishops will be released alive if the weak-willed Bishop Lazar is made the new Primate. The Council is split. With the voting delayed a couple days, some hope to find the missing bishops while others would rather concede to the demands and see their peers returned safely. The eve of the vote, a second message arrives threatening to kill the captives if the demands aren't met. At the bottom is the musical score of a litany with bloody fingerprints representing the notes.
The Church is currently being represented by Bishop Numasi in Parliament. Over the last couple years, his personality and views seem to have changed contradicting earlier stances almost overnight. Last month, the Primate fell silent, and the Church will say nothing about his health or if there are plans to prepare for a new Primate. Despite Bishop Numasi's overall unpopularity within the Church, no one can accuse him of anything besides his change in views, and that isn't enough justification to remove him from Parliament.