The Fang of the Lost Hand deals with the aftermath of "Game 1".

"I'm going to find out what's going on..."

As a prize for their victory in the game in the Glade, the Lost Hand is granted a day of self-directed study. Like any reasonable students, they decline to spend any time studying and set about their own pursuits.

Pyres and Oresta try to hunt down someone to repair their atrociously decrepit accommodations. They make their way to the smithy, hoping to find some students who will be handy with tools and easily swayed. Unfortunately, the few cadets who are working there have little that they want out of other students. While the Lost Hand attempts to charm and bribe their way through, a rough-looking 7th year student shows the Lost Hand how it's done by coercing some labor from the younger students through blatant threats of death and torture. Despite her villainous demeanor, she takes this as a teachable moment for her juniors. Also, despite how horrible of an idea it is, Pyres takes this as a flirtable moment with the sociopathic senior. After that encounter, Pyres decides not to follow the example set before him and just offers to tell the young craftsman the secret to the Lost Hand's upset victory in the Glade, which works well enough.

Gale, meanwhile, was unable to get her mind off the issue of all of her friends being mysteriously dragged away in the night, and so she resumes the investigation she was unable to finish on the first day of school. She sneaks into her old room to find it not only empty, but spotless. The place has been scrubbed clean and everything (including the furniture) is gone, erasing any possible clues. Before she can leave, Quartermaster Juwinn busts the door down with extreme prejudice. She's ready to rip Gale at least one new Air-hole for poking her nose into something she should leave alone, but softens a bit when Gale portrays herself as a patriot wary of traitors who got so close to her. Juwinn tells Gale to fetch her fangmates - it's time for a chat.

Standing in the empty room, Juwinn offers the Lost Hand a deal: ten minutes of free questions in exchange for a promise to drop the matter for good. The first thing the cadets want to know is what triggered all of this happening, and Juwinn only has limited information. A ship called the Heightened Sense was found sunk off the coast two weeks ago, and while its actual contents are a mystery, the grand efforts spent in the search and recovery indicated that it must have been worth quite a lot to the Realm. Investigations into the matter were hampered by the interference of one Peleps Quiriol's parents. Once this was discovered, further prodding uncovered that these traitors had been working through the students at the House of Bells, leading to the expulsions at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, none of this shed any light on why the Lost Hand had been set aside. Furthermore, the other two students who weren't seen on the morning of the first day, Mnemon Seppe and Chryssel, were never found by the staff. All Juwinn has left to offer on the matter is a warning that being spared the first strike is no guarantee of continued clemency, as well as a private admonition to Oresta that in matters like state secrets, lying can be the moral thing to do.

Back in the Lost Hand's bunk, the 4th year cadet has done a passable job at making the room weatherproof, if nothing else. The Lost Hand tries to decide what to actually tell him about the Glade battle, but they're interrupted by the sight of new furniture being carried into their room - furniture taken from the Coral Helix's room. When they question the students moving the furniture, they learn that this is no theft, for the Coral Helix was disbanded by order of the Quartermaster. Pyres is hopeful that it means he'll see less of Brevin, Gale wants to poach Sientelle and Fleuvienne to round out the Lost Hand, and Oresta is concerned that this is not a good sign. She goes to check the infirmary while Pyres and Gale oversee the refurnishing.

In the infirmary, Oresta first visits Sientelle. The young Wood Aspect is about as peppy as one could expect from someone with a head wound who just got told she would never get to hang out with her friends again. She explains that the dissolution of the Coral Helix is a penalty for the loss in the Glade. In the House of Bells' centuries-long history, fangs were never dissolved as a punishment for failure, and Sientelle is greatly disturbed by this sudden break from such a long tradition. She posits the idea that some outside force may be subverting the school, but for the time being, the cadets just have to take it in stride. With this new information, Oresta decides to grit her teeth and visit Brevin. He is predictably upset and all-too prepared to lash out at Oresta. Oresta stands her ground through a verbal barrage, insistently encouraging Brevin to accept his failure and use it to be the best person he could be. Brevin tries to deflect, but when Oresta offers to let him take as many shots at her as he wants until he gets over it, Brevin breaks down entirely. Oresta leaves him to his thoughts.

While they bask in the new opportunities ahead of them, Pyres and Gale spy a mysterious shadow sneaking about. Though they fail to successfully ambush the infiltrator, Pyres distracts him long enough for Gale to circle around and corner him with the power of the wind. She is shocked to come face-to-face with a poorly-disguised Mnemon Seppe. She seizes and interrogates him, though he has little to say. The only thing he can offer is that he wasn't doing anything under his family's orders - he was working for Juwinn. According to Seppe, the Quartermaster tasked him with uncovering information. Gale tries to convince him to correspond with her through letters, but the only contacts he offers are fake. She reluctantly lets him leave. Pyres assumes they were up to something very different in the bathroom, and Gale lets it slide.

The Lost Hand reconvenes in their newly-refurbished room. Gale gives the cadet who led the repairs a very succinct summary of the tactics involved in the clash of the Glade, which he is very pleased with. He runs off, leaving the Lost Hand to spend an evening relaxing before another day navigating conspiracy and battle in the halls of the House of Bells.

Student Comments

The following are reactions from viewers' non-canon students.

  • “For now, I’ll put my trust in our teachers, and hope that members of dissolved fangs will be reassigned to new fangs that will better utilize their skillsets.  Dragon-Blooded warriors are too valuable to be discarded for a simple and single game, after all.” Tepet Voren, 5th Year
  • "I heard it from a 7th year who heard it from a friend who heard it from his sister who is sleeping with one of the staff who heard it from the grounds keeper who saw the letter on the commandants desk that she suspects more traitors and these 'games' are intended to weed them out. Rumor has it the Coral Helix has a traitor in the midst and by disbanding the fang they can deal with the traitor more discretely. No you're a stupid rumor!" Tepet Aoife, 6th year
  • "If fang-disbandment is going to be the penalty for losing these new war games, there's going to be a lot of fangless cadets soon. The better to form new fangs, stronger than before.  Stronger fangs build stronger legions.  See where I'm going with this?" Tepet Kendra Kai, 5th year
  • "When we retire to our bunks tonight, will we all look at our fangmates and wonder whether we will stand next to each other tomorrow? Will the Cathaks of the Lost Hand continue to trade places and cause more chaos in the games? Or is the Ledaal seeing more of the game board than she should? Is all of this to service choosing the best game pieces to complete their Fang?" Cynis Fallen Petals, 5th year
  • "Helix disbanded? Surprising. Maybe the school is changing, have to see if it's for better or..." Cathak Jak Cuse, 5th year
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