We had another quickie session tonight, lasting just over two hours. Pleasantly, its plot content very neatly filled what felt like a chapter in a story, and I decided to end the sesh when the players began to discuss how much down-time (on a scale of months, btw) should elapse before they get where they need to go next.
The herald and the outlaw traveled to the Asagiri province, south of where they were previously; there, they followed a series of contacts and clues in the local criminal underground, finally trekking up into the hills, on the trail of a sorcerer. Upon finding him, the outlaw begged that he sever the herald's psychic link to his master, and replace it with one between the two companions. The sorcerer did not reveal until later that only the Emperor Himself could possibly sunder a connection such as that, but he gladly created another over top of the first.
This briefly led to some semi-derailed play, as I suggested that an "open" connection between the herald and another meant that any injury and discomfort felt by one would be felt by the other; this led to immediate abuse, and I will need to put a ruling on that before next session, something to the effect of "Okay, if you die, that's a problem. Also, no fair hurting yourself and thus making the connection utterly useless."
I was tempted to lean on the authority of a dice-roll, but that got me thinking my trigger-happy player could just constantly roll that all the time, in annoying moments, to be disruptive, and that's a stupid thing to allow. If one gets killed, the other is in trouble, particularly if they were connected at the moment of death; I daresay that the connection laid by a mere conjurer would be far shallower than those laid on by the Emperor's own power, and there could be a bit of retcon in there as well, just to ensure that no annoying shenanigans ensue next time.
All in all, though, I continue to be delighted and amazed at my players' ability to keep the conflict between the PCs fresh and energetic, with only a trifling bit of help from me. I keep the larger forces arrayed against them in an interesting fashion, and they do the rest to keep each scene fun and even gripping!
They shaved off the herald's Hare Krishna top-knot, by the by, and haven't been letting him shave his scalp. It's been only a week, but his Noble House scalp-tattoo is now harder to see, and people take him for a fisherman or laborer of some kind. The fact that he still bows and scrapes and is just so polite to everyone has raised a few eyebrows, but without consequence for now.
One last thought: read Watchmen, then go see the movie. You won't be sorry.