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The Spark hosts Pennons!

"Pennons is a day whose entire excuse is to win… But it's much more than that. How do you choose to celebrate?"

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, 4:00 am. The Spark is already bustling with activity as the residents prepare for Pennons-day celebrations. Sophia is ready to greet the day, excited and nearly bouncing with energy and excitement; Braum is preparing his formal attire for the Grand Mélée; and Patches, having been crafting and building around the clock for a week, is drinking coffee out of a Camelbak. Even the other members of the freehold are ready to work: Incisor takes the initiative to stand guard in the lobby, uncharacteristically friendly; Claude has switched from smoking to vaping for the occasion, even though he calls it out for being pretentious as he moves to set up an infirmary. Talus is in his element, doing final checks of everything in the garden, as he wishes Braum a fun day. Braum asks Talus if he will be competing, given his mechanical arm, and manages to firmly put his foot in his mouth by wondering aloud whether it is a "war wound". He tries to mend the mistake, but to no avail. Sophia also wishes Kyoko a fun Pennons celebration as the pooka zips her into her dress, although she dodges the question of whether she will stay.

The guests begin to arrive for Pennons from all over Cross' Shadow and further afield: Cog & SK4G try to help Patches improve on one element of the construction, Kaylie is curious about the Kithain celebration, and Marnie promises to get Braum smiling before the day is out. Charmed, Braum lets slip about Little One in the freehold's basement, and promises to take her to the chimera, trusting her intentions.

Duke Granville's court arrives, with the Duke very impressed with the scale and quality of the celebration. He offers the three freeholders a gift: a slab of marble-like rock unearthed outside The Spark, but shot through with different streaks of colour — the Duke explains that it was "tempered by dragon's breath". Entering The Exhaust behind the Duke is Sir Xaeron ap Fiona, a beautiful, noble sidhe with golden locks and gleaming platemail, the vision of a Seelie knight. Sophia is also introduced to two sluagh, Markus and Druelle, who are intrigued by the idea of The Spark being opened to changelings other than nockers. They also tell Sophia that they have important information for her later…..

Pennons gets underway, beginning with an archery competition. Cog is proud of his result, even if he doesn't progress far past the first round, and the contest comes down to Kenwyn and a stork pooka. A lone clurichaun in the crowd appears to be trying to throw off the pooka, and Patches strongly suggests he take off and enjoy a different event. Kenwyn is eventually declared the winner, and awarded one of the Duke's pennons.

Both Braum and Patches enter the markmanship competition alongside others: Cog fails to hit the target at all, while the other competitors are eliminated one by one. It eventually falls to Sir Xaeron and Patches, and the Duke declares that they must attempt to hit the target blindfolded. Patches manages the feat and is awarded another of the Duke's pennons! After the competition, Patches sasses Xaeron, shooting back when he suggests that "maybe you're born with it". When the Duke casually mentions that Xaeron hadn't even entered the marksmanship competition in previous years, Patches asks him where he learned: Xaeron tells her that Braum taught him to shoot, but that it was a long time ago.

In the wrestling contest, Braum handily makes it to the top two, facing off against the Prodigal, Kaylie. Charging her, a single touch from the werewolf instantly knocks Braum to the ground. Astonished that she has that kind of power, Braum concedes to her, although he is still awarded the honour of displaying the Duke's pennant. As the combatants prepare for the Grand Mélée, Incisor tricks the disruptive clurichaun into following her into the freehold, where he is knocked down and restrained. Patches politely asks that he leave and "try again next year". While escorting him out, Incisor asks Patches to not tell Sophia about the enforcement: "Let me enjoy the party at least a little bit."

Five competitors enter the ring in the Grand Mélée: Braum draws his enchanted sword, blasting the others with Arctic chill, roaring and declaring himself "the Storm of the North"; the crowd chants for Xaeron to draw his blade, "Whisper". Seeing these displays of power, one of the competitors flees immediately, leaving only Laughn (another troll) and Kenwyn. Braum knocks down Kenwyn, allowing the others to maim him, forcing his surrender, and Xaeron lands a precise blow on Laughn, leaving only Braum and the Duke's knight in the ring. While both manage to land blows on the other, Braum is eventually critically injured, and so bows before Sir Xaeron, yielding to him. With Xaeron being declared the winner of another of the Duke's pennons, Sophia conjures up a powerful healing spring in the pond by singing a beautiful duet with Talus. While Braum is brought to the healing waters by Sir Xaeron, the satyr's melody inspires excitement and lust in the crowd. Patches, invited to sit by the Duke's side, leans in and surreptitiously takes his hand, and Sophia seeks out someone to take to bed. Happening across Incisor, she flatters her, but the redcap holds fast, saying only that she can't… "although if you ask me again, I'll say yes". Sophia feels that Incisor may have been looking to someone in that moment, but can't find a sign of them. Forging on, the incredibly beautiful sidhe takes aside Kyoko, who agrees to meet her later, giving her the smallest of kisses….