The motley celebrates Beltaine!
"I thought games would bring me love… but they changed me from searching to finding."
Several months have gone by since the motley freed Scythe from Abford Pharma, reunited her with Little One, and destroyed the rocket after returning its stolen Glamour. The morning of Beltaine, The Spark is awakened by Incisor bellowing "It's time for the Fuckpocalypse!" The silence shattered and any chance of sleeping in destroyed, Sophia and Braum head into the Exhaust. They confirm that Scythe and Little One will, unfortunately, have to hide themselves during the celebration in the afternoon and evening. Zistor appears, confused by all of Sophia's decorations: back in my day, he seems to say, we barely celebrated holidays at The Spark and we liked it. Both Braum and Sophia are firmly on the side of building a sense of Kithain community in Cross' Shadow, and they set out with Patches to finalize preparations in the garden.
The afternoon arrives along with the Spark's guests, each bearing a plant at Sophia's request. Sir Xaeron's black rose, Marnie's chrysanthemum, Padraic's marigolds, Claude's marijuana plant, Kaylie's maple sapling, Charles' tomato plant, Kyoko's orchid, Sophia's tulips, Braum's Norwegian spruce, and Patches' glamour-infused flowers are all planted in the earth in the middle of the Spark's garden.
Charles, in particular, is very curious about Changeling customs, asking questions to both Patches and Sophia, trying to impress them both with his dedication. Both Fae seem interested in the werewolf, but decide to see how the evening plays out.
Patches goes to find Zistor in his workshop, convincing him to at least be present for the planned dinner, as he is technically the host… but also that if he were to stick around, he might be able to participate in the "mischief" Patches has planned. Zistor seems down on the holiday, supposing that he is perhaps "too old for love"… but Patches manages to get him to at least show up.
At that moment, an Arcadian sidhe arrives in the garden, asking for Zistor but seemingly very out of her element. Introducing herself as Aria, Braum and Sophia try to suss out whether she is newly chrysalized or has just spent too much time in the Dreaming of late. Zistor rolls his eyes: it's one of his "odd friends" from New Orleans, he tells Patches, but that since she's a bit "dotty" and also a bit of an admirer, she should get him out of the conversation as soon as she can.
Two more women arrive: a sluagh, Edwina leads a blindfolded woman with spiky hair, a red panda pooka. Baya is the changeling who presided over Patches' saining, giving her her true name. Although Patches is surprised to see her here, now, Baya is unperturbed: she's come to the Beltaine celebration simply to "check up on" the motley, nothing more. After the maypole dance, Baya teases Sophia by speaking to Mab, implying that the chimera is the "real virtuoso" in their relationship.
Over dinner, Sophia thanks the assembled Kithain (and Garou) for coming and helping to celebrate the arrival of spring and new beginnings for all. She announces the next phase of the evening: a hunt for logs to build a bonfire! Patches has treated certain logs with chemicals so that they burn with bright colours, and Charles is off like a shot, trying to collect as many as possible to impress both Patches and Sophia. Braum and Sir Xaeron set off in the opposite direction so that Braum can ask his friend about a look that passed between him and Kaylie. Sir Xaeron admits that he felt totally bowled over by Kaylie, but when Braum tells him to "go for it", the sidhe puts his hands on Braum's chest. The troll lets him down gently, and Sir Xaeron tells him that only his old mentor could possibly make him comfortable enough to not be embarrassed by his actions. Braum jokes that sometimes he feels as if his power is to take on others' confusion for them, but Sir Xaeron just clasps Braum's arm, telling him that at least he is no longer confused about the troll.
As the night continues, Sophia finds herself drawn into a hut with Charles Leads-the-Charge-Screaming; Patches, let down to not have a chance with the Garou herself, is surprised by Duke Granville and proposes they take to a hut of their own; and Braum sits by Baya, who tells him that "one among you" will be "important… very soon".