001. Dungeons & Dragons

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We meet Braum, Patches, and Sophia as they inherit a Freehold under questionable circumstances.

It is Friday, August 18th, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, Canada. An architect, a small woman in ripped jeans and a plaid shirt, finishes up her shift at a firm after a long week. Before she can leave to head to the Changeling court, Patricia is accosted by an IT employee. He hopes to install some more RAM in her computer, but seems reluctant to come in on the weekend. Brushed off by Patricia, he asks whether she might consider going out with him sometime, but she turns him down, hoping to get away from the Banal place as quickly as possible.

Friday, August 18th, 2017, Montreal. An incredibly beautiful woman in long, flowing dress finishes playing her harp to a rapt group of passers-by. Sophia gets an invitation to court via text, but before she can leave, she notices two parking tickets on her car. With the parking attendant still nearby, Sophia attempts to charm him into tearing up the tickets, reasoning that it would be better for both of them to avoid having to go into court to contest them. The attendant cites some Banal red tape and dismisses her, snapping a picture of her over his shoulder as he walks away, much to Sophia's ire.

Friday, August 18th, 2017, Montreal. A large man of about 45 stands over a toilet, plunger in hand, preparing to deal with a massive clog. Knowing he needs to be at the Duke's freehold in half an hour, Braum attempts to make quick work of it, desperately wishing that he could be doing anything more exciting.

The three meet just outside Heart's Light, Duke Granville's freehold in the County of Cross' Shadow. The building flies the red and gold pennants of House Fiona, although the door is guarded only by one surly-looking sluagh. Making sure that they are indeed the three invited guests by asking their relation to a nearby freehold, The Spark, the sluagh grudgingly lets them in, twisting the door off its hinges as it opens.

A grand feast has been arranged in the great hall, although there appear to be no other invited guests. The three Kithain take in the vast array of food, drinks, and drugs spread out before them, presided over by a Boggan wilder, Ashley. She seems intimidated by Sophia's charisma and appearance, and by Patches' bluntness when the latter tells her that putting out cocaine seems a bit forward. Embarrassed beyond belief, Ashley retreats, and the Duke appears. He tells them that a missive from the Duchess Eloyse has arrived, containing a very brief note from Zistor Flexx, the freeholder of The Spark, stating that he's left for an indeterminate amount of time. Since Duke Granville has no interest in having to manage both freeholds, he charges Sophia and Braum, as nobles, and Patches, as a nocker like Zistor, to keep The Spark safe and open to all until Zistor returns (presumably). The three agree and head over to their new freehold!

The building in which Braum and Patches work, and in which Sophia owns the penthouse, has an elevator that, in the Autumn word, is missing the 13th floor. Those with Faerie sight can see that it does exist, leading them to The Spark. Their first stop is The Exhaust, a parlour and bar with dozens of broken tools adorning the walls. They inform the freehold's steward, Claude Centième, that they are the new freeholders and celebrate with a drink. The cynical boggan fixes them drinks and presents Patches with a gift left for her by Zistor: The Entropic, a lightning rifle mostly in working order, with a note that says "Fix it for me, and test it regularly." While Sophia and Braum take on the duty of informing the rest of the residents of The Spark about their new roles, Patches rushes off to the basement to get into Zistor's private workshop.

Patches makes it to the basement, located on the 13th floor below ground, and takes stock. The balefire is burning brightly in a common area, and a single keypad maintains access to the workshop. The keypad locks her out, stating that she is not authorized by Zistor. Patches, desperate to enter and fed up with the keypad's adherence to rules, metamorphs the digital lock into an analog one, picking it in just a few moments.

Back up in the Freehold, Sophia and Braum find one of the Freehold's residents hard at work in her office. Kyoko, a rabbit pooka, works at a computer with four monitors, ears tied back on her head. They inform her of the change in leadership of the freehold, and the pooka toys with Braum, teasing him that she would definitely follow his orders. Sophia, meanwhile, asks Kyoko to find out more about the parking attendant that snapped a picture of her; after the pooka agrees, she casually points out that Patches' unlocking of the workshop seems to be leading her to the Dungeon… containing a dragon!

As the two nobles rush downstairs, a voice announces that a deadly neurotoxin will soon be flooding the basement after the lock was tampered with. A stone dungeon is revealed with a path of lights pointing the way, as the keypad explains that "the dragon must be fed". When Patches admonishes the keypad for activating the freehold's defenses on its current owners, the keypad explains that the security countermeasures are automatic. Not to worry, though: there is no neurotoxin, and the three kithain can safely be added to the manifest of authorized personnel.

Sophia takes a moment to herself to bathe in the light of the balefire while Patches finds Zistor's private workshop, huge and incredibly well-equipped, with hundreds of tools adorning the walls. Patches examines The Entropic further, finding that it will fire, but that some of its advanced mechanisms are currently locked.

With another prompt from the keypad, Braum sets off in search of the dragon, promising to subdue any danger he finds. Further in the dungeon, though, he is surprised to find a silvered baby dragon, scarred and operated on. The three Kithain gather around, with Sophia speaking to the dragon, asking its name, and where it came from. While the Little One doesn't know much, Patches finds some documents left behind by Zistor, explaining that he's gone after the dragon's mother, and that the freehold's new owners should take care of it.

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