The motley celebrate Yule at The Spark.
"It used to be that December was my least favourite month of the year."
In the aftermath of Talus' betrayal, things were slowly getting back to a "new normal" at The Spark. Sophia began planning for Yule as an opportunity to tighten the bonds of friendship between those left; Braum continues to look for work and a new sense of purpose while the plan to assault Abford Pharma intensifies. After spending almost a week as a shell of the Kithain, Zistor Flexx threw himself back into his work with Patches, trying to make progress on building a receptacle for discharged Glamour to more safely handle the rocket.
On the morning of Yule, Patches takes the day off work to spend time with her fellow Kithain, as Sophia puts the finishing touches on the Exhaust for the evening's party. Braum makes his way in from the West Island, where he spent a few minutes observing Abford Pharma, and also gave cards to his ex-wife and sons (although as he admits to Patches, his recent nightmare left him shaken, and he had trouble seeing them). Sophia receives a phone call when the motley has assembled: she is shocked to hear Talus' voice on the other end! While Patches does her best to look up a way to trace the call, Sophia hears how Talus has been "hurting for so long. I didn't ask you to find the safe!" When Sophia maintains that she thinks Talus is incapable of love after what he did to the Spark's denizens, Talus sighs. "I'm not evil just because you don't understand me, Sophia…." The satyr waxes poetic on the beautiful bouquet of flowers he would have given Sophia had he still been there, but denies ever giving her flowers in the past, leaving a shaken Sophia with more questions than answers. Patches, only able to confirm that the call originated from Talus' cell, does point out the tolling bell she heard in the background, although she can't quite place it….
Although the call was a stark reminder that Talus is still out there, the motley decide that their best course of action is to stay the course, and either head off Talus at the rocket, or use it to bait him out of hiding. At that moment, Alnek arrives with a delivery for Braum, setting out again immediately. He finds that Lauren has sent him a small plush seal, and enclosed a note for him, telling the troll that she is doing well in St. John's, and has learned much over the last few weeks. While Braum and Patches chat with Claude, Kyoko calls Sophia in a panic: she has no idea what to get Braum for Yule! Sophia tries to calm her down, reminding her that the gift-giving at Yule is more about the intention than the gift itself, since it should be crafted, rather than bought; she also reminds Kyoko about her talent for drawing.
After trying and failing to sort out who between Claude and Padraic makes a better Santa Claus, the Kithain gather in the Exhaust to exchange homemade gifts. They are mostly sentimental gifts, although Zistor is annoyed by the lack of practicality, presenting Sophia with a electronic tin whistle, Patches with a goblin lantern, and Braum with goblin parchment "so he can furkin' remember something once in a while". Braum good-naturedly challenges Zistor to a round of pub quiz trivia, which is accepted by the competitive nocker. The most dramatic gift of the day is from Sir Xaeron to Braum, although he claims that it's not so much a gift as a return: Braum's old sword, Whisper! Braum feels that its power to destroy is not quite as scary now, seeing as the weapon can be used as a tool to help others create.
As Sophia keeps the party going, Braum and Kyoko step into her office to exchange gifts: Braum got her a video game that they can play together, while Kyoko got the troll some moisturizer, which she offers to apply herself….
Sophia thanks Incisor for her gift: an innocuous enough chair that seems to refer back to their night on the town a month prior. It's clear the two have made quite a lot of progress in understanding each other, but can they ever truly be friends?
Out in the garden, Zistor commends Patches on standing up to Talus, even if it almost got her killed. He's relieved to know that he wasn't the original creator of the rocket… but he's going to need Patches' fresh eyes if they're ever going to figure out how to deactivate it!