007. Truth or Consequences

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In the aftermath of Pennons, the motley tries to decide Little One's fate.

The morning after Pennons, the three freeholders celebrate their successes: Sophia with Talus over breakfast; Patches with Duke Granville, who reminds her that their respective stations in society must remain inviolate even though both enjoyed their night together; and Braum with Xaeron's sword Whisper, which he discovers causes collapse and destruction, both of objects and of concepts themselves.

Some of the other residents of the freehold are less celebratory: Incisor looks like she may not have slept at all, and upon seeing that the Duke spent the night, Sophia guesses what might have passed between him and Patches. The nocker is all business: The Duke has summoned the three of them to his court, as he now knows of Little One. Sophia and Patches trade barbs about whose fault that might be, but Braum interrupts them both to inform them that Marnie, as well, probably knows of the chimera. The three decide to make sure the selkie keeps quiet while they learn as much as they can, and then will set off to explain themselves to the Duke.

Kyoko approaches the three and distributes small sketches of their participation in Pennons, avoiding their questions about who drew them (although they assume they are gifts from her). After Sophia heads down to the workshop to see Little One, Patches asks Kyoko why she saw her heading up to Sophia's apartment as the pooka leans on Braum's arm. Worried for her well-being, Braum asks Kyoko why she came to The Spark in the first place. "No one comes to The Spark to be happy. No one stays at The Spark to be happy." When she asks Braum to tell her what he sees as wrong with her, he puts his foot in his mouth by asking about where to start. Following her back to her office, he apologizes profusely, wanting her to know only that she needn't be beholden to any of them for any reason. "I do what I want to do, what I am meant to do… But I do who I do for my own reasons… and it gets me into trouble." Braum lets Kyoko go, worried.

Sophia heads down to the workshop, discovering Little One back in her cage: using her Arts, she whispers to the chimera, learning how she is able to escape her cell. Little One offers no clues as to what she is looking for, and Sophia tells her to wait "just a little longer" until they can figure out what to do.

Out in the gardens, Braum speaks to Marnie, hoping she enjoyed her Pennons, even if her time in the wrestling ring was limited. Marnie tells him of steps she had to take as a teenager to avoid being found out and maintain the safety of The Dreaming before pushing Braum to be direct about what he wants. The troll asks her to keep her knowledge of Little One to herself, even if she wants to help, at least until the freeholders can determine how to proceed. Marnie tells Braum he has nothing to worry about.

Patches, Sophia, and Braum head off for Heart's Light to speak with Duke Granville. Meeting in his office, the Duke lets them know that he does not technically have jurisdiction in Cross' Shadow, but he knows of the dragon and the possible danger it may be in. He cautions them that while Duchess Eloyse of House Beaumayn may be reluctant to participate in usual courtly politics, she would do anything in her power to hunt down dangerous chimera… as which Little One may count. The three also ask Duke Granville if he had any meetings with Fala or the group from the Kingdom of Willows; he assumes she would have gone straight to the Duchess for permission to search The Spark. The Duke charges them with finding out what's going on: why did Zistor take Little One, and from where? Granville hopes they can get to the bottom of it before it becomes a "situation".

After their meeting, Braum takes a moment to return Whisper to Sir Xaeron, working in the forge downstairs. Curious about how the knight could have possibly obtained such a powerful and destructive weapon, Xaeron tells Braum that it was entrusted to him, gifted by someone who one day would wield it again. Xaeron tells him that the weapon's destructive potential can indeed create peace and a future, and that maybe Braum will learn that lesson before he does. The implication that Whisper may have been anyone's, even Braum's, completely escapes the troll. Afterwards, Xaeron takes a moment to speak with Sophia, asking her if she's been worried by Braum's recent behaviour. He must limit his exposure to Braum, he tells her, because the troll was once his teacher and then, one day, was no longer… Any more information may trigger a regression in him.

Suddenly, Incisor calls Braum, warning him that "they're on their way to the dungeon". Rushing back to The Spark, Patches, Braum, and Sophia rappel down from the sidhe's penthouse (discovering a bit of Kyoko's fur on the way, leading Patches to realize that more may have happened at Pennons than she thought). Incisor tells them that Fala and a sluagh somehow got into the workshop and sealed the elevator up to slow them down. Thinking quickly, Patches turns a small flashbang into a time-delayed concussive grenade, lobbing it down the elevator on its way down. Reeling from the shock, Braum grabs Fala as the sluagh rushes to Little One's cage. Patches manages to grab a hold of the dragon as the slaugh calls on the Dreaming to "get them out of there!" Thousands of spiders explode up from the ground, engulfing the three, and the slaugh disappears, leaving Patches clutching Little One.

Fala, captured, presents the freeholders with a search warrant issued by Duchess Eloise herself, granting her permission to "search for contraband". Patches is quick to ask why she didn't bother asking to enter the freehold instead of breaking in, but Fala implies that the three may have hidden anything they didn't want found. Sophia goes off on the eshu, confronting her about the lack of respect her party has shown them. Fala is cowed, but for how long? … And what will the freeholders do with her?

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