War for the Throne
The Diamond Orders (now the Pentacle, with the recent addition of the Free Council) always knew they were on the losing side of the war for the Supernal Realms. The Exarchs pretty much saw to that when they bodily ascended to the heavens and shattered the Celestial Ladder after them. Sure, a handful of Oracles trailed after, but all they’ve managed to do so far is construct the Watchtowers to keep a select few members of humanity from falling to the Quiescence.
The Silver Ladder and the Adamantine Arrow aren’t willing to admit defeat, though. Sure, there was a disastrous first battle, but few wars have been decided by a single battle and this one is no different, at least if you talk to any théarch or Arrow. Unfortunately, it seems they’re right. Because the Exarchs (care of the Seers of the Throne) have been loathe to loosen their stranglehold on reality. It’s mostly been a cold war, with plenty of spying and posturing, but things have heated up in Duluth.
A once-in-a-lifetime blizzard knocked out most of the city, drowning Duluth in snow and ice for a full week. Once things finally got up and running again, over 100 people were either dead or missing. The consilium didn’t escape losses, either. Unexpectedly, some of the consilium’s most powerful figures had disappeared during the confusion along with lesser mages. The resulting power vacuum was filled by a cautious new Hierarch who has effectively placed the consilium into hiding until they regain their footing.