043. Masterpiece

Obi-Wan Finale - The Loop


The motley seeks to help Lauren, and throw themselves into the political turmoil.

"Not everything is exactly as it seems… but some things are."

Sophia awakens from Ramzia's dream, unsure of what exactly she's discovered. She takes a now-chilled Ramzia down to the balefire, where she relates the dream to Patches and Braum while the pooka warms herself. Ramzia explains that this mysterious figure in her dream isn't someone she's ever met, but somehow she knows her, and knows she must, somehow, find her. Sophia believes that Ramzia is experiencing "True Love", a bond across time and lives, but still offers to help Ramzia, despite the odds. Ramzia, for her part, maintains that she is still trying to live her own life, and that right now, that involves teaching Sophia Oneiromancy.

Patches is more pragmatic, expressing some hesitance at putting quite so much emphasis on each other's dreams, as she believes that some things witnessed there may simply be subconscious desires pushing through. Sophia counters: "If your subconscious desire is expressed in a dream, and it helps you achieve it, then aren't dreams real?" Ramzia, for her part, gives Patches a drink, somehow charged with energy. When Patches takes a sip, she remembers a dream from long ago, of herself holding a spear lined with LEDs and wiring, and using it to run through Kyoko.

As Braum and Sophia head back to bed, Patches remains near the balefire with Ramzia. "Yeah, yeah, our fates are f***in' important," she mutters. "At least it's better than boring." When Ramzia asks whether Patches will accompany Lauren into Braum's dreams, she expresses discomfort: learning of others' greatest fears, desires, and memories feels a bit like "spying on their diary". "Sometimes diaries make the best reading," Ramzia replies.

Patches is awakened in the middle of the night by Zistor stumbling into the bed where she's sleeping. She asks whether he wants to accompany her to Quebec City for a meeting, which he grumbles sounds an awful lot like she's making a pass at him. Patches rolls her eyes, assuming the conversation to be done. The next morning, Braum discovers smoke pouring out of the kitchen in the Exhaust: Laurentried to make breakfast for the motley, failing miserably. At that moment, Claude returns from a day off to discover his kitchen trashed. He vows to smash anyone left in the kitchen with a frying pan if they don't leave right now.

While out with Lauren that day, Sophia suddenly recalls a dream she had from the night before of being in a very well-appointed store of marble and wood, surrounded by expensive clothes and moving mannequins. That night, Lauren convinces Patches to accompany herself, Sophia, and Ramzia into Braum's dream, and they embark, finding themselves in front of a waterfall in Alaska. Approaching from a distance away is none other than Kay, now coatless. Lauren summons the bravery to lead Braum to her, marveling at her aunt's seeming. When Kay asks her how she's getting on, Lauren replies: "I don't know how to live your life." Sophia and Patches are both able to make out shadowy figures behind Kay: a rail-thin, serious young man, and a wild-looking sailor, laughing, possibly previous incarnations of Kay? The selkie tells Lauren that she doesn't need to live her life, but rather her own, adding on to the coat as she does. Running back up to the waterfall, Kay and Braum are left alone, and the selkie warns Braum to keep his "knights" close by, and that Lauren has something special and important to contribute. Kay then ventures up to Sophia, the Oneiromancer, to beg her to remind Ramzia that "there are others like her", and that she must keep searching.

Starlight Dove appears to Patches, idly wondering "what happened to Braum's confidence", before pointing out that Patches certainly hasn't changed much. Kay grabs Braum's hand and the two dash off towards "the edge of the world", leaping off a cliff edge together as Sophia crafts the dreamscape to catch them softly. All of a sudden, the land shifts around them: the mountains and waterfall disappear as buildings made of brick and sandstone push out of the ground. Braum is suddenly falling towards them, fist outstretched towards the ground, burning with light. As the "meteor" smashes into the earth, the others are forcibly ejected from his dream.

Ramzia soothes Sophia, telling her it's alright she lost control of the dream, and that sometimes one just needs to "ride the wave". Lauren stands up, brushing herself off, now full of confidence: she wishes the motley well, but that she has to find her own path forward. After a round of hugs, she sets off from the Spark, renewed. Zistor appears in the door, scuffed duffel bag packed. "I thought we were going to Quebec City?" Patches is annoyed that her mission to stay relatively inconspicuous is going to be jeopardized by Sophia and Braum, and she is definitely not put at ease when Zistor insists they take his car… a nuclear-powered Winnebago.

The Winnebago is somehow absolutely massive on the inside, and is indeed powered by plutonium (although the nocker dodges Braum's question about where he managed to obtain it). Despite Incisor having defaced the back, they still manage to make it to Quebec City, where Patches heads to Sybil's Tenderness. Tailor arrives, as dapper as ever, but even more secretive. He tells Patches that the Duchess has been acting quite normal, despite the political machinations that took place at the Spark. He slides an envelope across the table, telling Patches that he's unable to do more now, but that if she could, he'd like her to help extract "a friend". On parting, he tells Patches that "attacking a commoner freehold… I wouldn't stand for it if I were you." After he leaves, Patches inspects the envelope: inside is a letter bearing the House Beaumayn seal, and with some marked fingerprints.

Sophia plays a concert at Sybil's Tenderness that night in order to meet Alnek, but he doesn't show. Leaving the pub, she spots a figure huddled at a bus stop, his robes now rags. It seems that the Duchess Eloyse has been sending Alnek on travel after travel in order to keep him away from court and to burden him with Banality. Alnek is the "friend" that Tailor wanted the motley to extract, and so she invites him back to the Winnebago, to get away to the Spark.

Braum decides to check up on the old vampire lair beneath the streets of Quebec City. Although there seems to be nobody down in the sewers, he is surprised by a thin voice inviting him in: a old man in a lab coat stands in the place where the "restaurant" used to be. Braum resists his attempts to Dominate him, but is stopped cold when the man names himself Seville, and offers Braum help in saving Sophia from more creatures… and names her "The Quill of the Sun".

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