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The Hearth attempts to complete their mission and escape with their findings, but Seru has other plans.


"We need to make an example of him."


As Sientelle gets nervous that they're going to be discovered, Gale Whispered searches the artifact room again, her eyes alighting on a chandelier centrepiece, more or less the same size and shape as the ovoid they were to steal for Bati -- it would seem that Gale has other plans. In a makeshift cell, Pyres reassures Fleuvienne that, despite her poor attempt at concealing her identity, they've all been through tougher scrapes in recent weeks. Oresta steps in to interrogate the two ex-House of Bells students while Seru watches, but the host gets bored, and returns to his party. The three captives are able to make quick work of their guards and escape.

Back out mingling again, Gale is swept away on to the dance floor by an Arjuf Earth-aspect, Poken the Undefeated , a known Gateway master. He lets on that he recognizes Gale, but that he believes that the events reported at the House of Bells aren't the whole story. If he can help them do whatever they came to do and escape, will she tell him her version of events that took place at the House of Bells? Gale confirms Anathema were present at the House of Bells, but it was only after Vieren's arrival that students found themselves in danger. Poken agrees to help her escape the gala, and points out that she's managed to steal a Cache Egg, a powerful artifact with the ability to contain a multitude of objects... but only openable by the Exalt who sealed it.

Pyres manages to integrate himself with the guards at the gate, scoping out the Hearth's escape route, while Oresta and Fleuvienne head off to try to find The Heightened Sense's logbook. Under a trap door in a humidity- and climate-controlled atmosphere, Oresta descends into a meticulously-organized archives, where she discovers it is managed by a massive, hairless man. He kindly asks to help her in her search, but when he refuses to let any documents leave the archives, Oresta drops a lit torch and takes off, gambling that the man will stay back instead of chasing her.

Seru mounts a sculpture in the centre of the courtyard to announce that he will soon be making an example of Pyres, the traitorous House of Bells student. He toasts Vieren's heroism, which many of the guests drink to... but not all. Thinking quickly, Oresta smears sauces and dirt on the face of the one of unconscious guards, dresses him in Pyres' clothes, and brings him in the Fire-aspect's place. Seru sees through the ruse and raises his blade against Oresta. The Earth-aspect manages to knock him down as Pyres sows confusion amidst the assembled guards, and Gale summons snow and ice down from the sky to devastate the field further, allowing the escape of the Hearth of the One True Bell.

After recouping their loot from Poken, they return it to Bati... minus the Cache Egg, with Gale pretending she had retrieved the correct item in the chandelier centrepiece. The scholar is devastated, as he had really hoped to study the Egg, believing that it had belonged to the Scarlet Empress before her disappearance. He will remain in Arjuf to hunt it down, but true to his word, secures the Hearth passage on a ship. As they board, they get ready to face new adventures across Creation....



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