Alternative ideas and comments are very welcome.
Death is Everywhere
Extra cookie for those that recognize the Depeche Mode reference. I have based the story from some of their songs. Depeche Mode is the best. Read the lyric before the start of each scene.
This story is cyclical, and should be fairly long in game time, as a rather rapid development of characters are necessary. Furthermore, the plot is fairly combat intensive, and the players should be aware of this when creating their characters. Also, warn them that death is prominent in this story, and if they do not like that, you should play another game.
The PCs suffer because a very powerful abyssal with Unseen Wisp Method is killing their friends and family. For new PCs she should be overly powerful to take on, or even find. Perhaps they haven't even Exalted yet.
There are flies on the windsceen. Waiting to die. For a start. Reminding us. We could be torn apart. Tonight.
Ultimately, they all have a common friend that is murdered. They meet at her funeral in Sijan. All PCs have some relation to the deceased. This funeral should set the tone for the series, and many flashbacks here are useful. Mourning is the theme here. Some flashbacks are useful to make them recognize some characters (the strange abyssal, a smiling man in wispering armour which could be a Deathlord). Make the players answer the following question.
Why are you here at this funeral? Here, let them improvise their relation, and reward (XP) them for making it, close, credible, and emotional. Be lenient for the family relation, it onlymakes things better for the future.
The murdered friend has a will for them. She wants them to take care of distant relatives in Gem (or any other city near the edge of Creation). In return, they get a rather large sum of money, and big golden key. Assuming that they do travel the distance filled with unknown creatures and all sorts of problems and side-adventures related to their characters, they find that the relatives are the persons of their dreams, and some fall in love. Furthermore, there is a little girl in the family (Anya), that already knows that the PCs have a golden key. She says that they will need it when they do not expect it. [The girl is a very young Sidereal]. The family is very poor and the PCs have to give them lots of money, and even work to keep them afloat.
Battle among the helpless
Death is everywhere. There are lambs for the slaughter. Waiting to die. And I can sense. The hours slipping by. Tonight.
Time passes..and BANG! They fair folk are raiding Gem in accordance with First and Forsaken Lion's plans. The PCs are trying desperately to fight back and save lives. They increase in power (some high-passionate character might wigh to learn Tiger-Warrior Training quickly), but their lived ones fall one by one, by the arrows of a Fey Cataphract. The players cannot catch him or her (the cataphract have the same gender as the majority of the characters). When they finally stop the Fair Folk, they've learnt a lot of the fey, they have their armor, weapons, and some captives. Anya can show them some of Gems underground tombs, or manses. Make sure that there is some serious development here, the PCs need to power-up. Perhaps, throw in the PC driven sub-plot here.
The Battles End
Come here. Kiss me. Now. Come here. Kiss me. Now.
Finally, they capture the marksman fey, but he or she only tells his or her story in exchange for three nights in passionate bed with the most beautiful PC. This should make the PC feel awkward in the sense that she or he has to make love to the murderer of his or her true love. Make sure that the PC is a witness to this. The reason is simply a diversion.
We are the dead of night. We're in the zombie room. We're twilight's parasites. With self-inflicted wounds.
First and Forsaken Lion has plans to open the Mouth of Peace in Creation! He has sent some Abyssals to do that by giving birth to a child on the Imperial Mountain. The PCs now has many choices, they can confront FaFL and ask him. He would politely tell them the truth but also add that they're too late to do something about it. The PCs, regardless of a meeting with FaFL or not, have to rush to the imperial mountain to stop the Deathknights. Here, I suspect that the players assume that they epically will make it. This is especially true of they have some great transport (Griphons from dead fair folk cataphracts). However, they will be too late.
A shadowland occurs, and they open a gate, using a big black key. The Deathknights flee immediately after the opening of the gate. Out comes something really, really, bad. Perhaps, the Demon Empress with 50 infernals enter creation, perhaps something worse that have been falling for ages in the Mouth of Oblivion. Epic battle occurs. The things coming out of the gate are infinite, and the gate must be closed. This, using the big golden key they received many years ago in that funeral. The PC that closes the gate is impaled in the chest with a dark spear from the biggest badass that presumably haven't gotten out..The Spear is only halfway through, caught in limbo between two worlds...Hopefully, the players are not too interested in it and break the golden key in the gate's lock, sealing it forever.
A lot of lesser ones have escaped and is now roaming free in creation with their wings. Unless the PC have some serious healing charms the heroic PC dies. This should also set the tone for the series, but it should only be used if your players can handle it.
Closing the Circle
The mighty, but tragic heroes stand above their lost friend's grave. They all cry, but there no tears are falling down.
Ask the players..
Why are you here at this funeral? This ends the story...
Next story to be told
The aftermath is no fun. They have saved creation but to a terrible prize. Should they go and take vengence on FaFL? Will they chase down all the lesser winged creatures that are slaughtering mankind on their whims. What now, Champion of the Mountain and Prince of the Earth? What other stories will mankind tell of your deeds in the future?
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this plot, and find some catharsis for your players. I, for one, particularly like the twist of the key. Keys area not only for opening things, they arae also used to locking things. - Clebo