The Fang discusses potential members before another letter interrupts their musings.
"The measure of my worth is not solely bound to my successes, but they do count."
Pyres, Gale, and Oresta continue to muse on the possibility of filling their ranks with some of the former members of the Coral Helix. The need becomes much more urgent before the end of the night, as Peleps Lee-Ann slips a new order under their door - a second game. They'll be set against the all-Air fang called the Golden Thread in the courtyard where the school flies its flags. With only a night and a morning before the game begins, the Lost Hand immediately sets about inspecting the grounds.
The Flagpoles are not as lonely as the Glade - quite the opposite: many students mill about the area. Tepet Single Edge approaches from the crowd, expressing her own doubts about the Lost Hand's unusual status and supposed victories. She has no direct accusations to make yet, so she leaves when she finds the answers to her questions unsatisfactory. Not long after she leaves, the Golden Thread makes an appearance, most likely doing the same thing that the Lost Hand is. Unlike the Coral Helix, their leader, Cathak Fiej, make an effort to work with the Lost Hand in the face of the uncertain game ahead. They already tried to find Cathak Vieren to clear things up, but the man was nowhere to be found. The Golden Thread, like everyone else at the school, suspects that the Lost Hand knows more than they're letting on, but there's nothing more to be said until the game.
With the Lost Hand now faced with a deadline before they have to fight a full fang of five, Gale urges them to recruit new members immediately. She suggests Cynis Sientelle and Peleps Fleuvienne, both of whom displayed strong combat abilities in the Glade fight, and also possessed the elemental Aspects missing from the Lost Hand. Pyres and Oresta have their doubts, but neither relishes the prospect of a five-on-three fight. They agree, but before recruiting can be done, the yeddim in the room needs to be addressed: who leads the Lost Hand? Uncertainty would ruin any pitch they could make, so a decision needs to be made now. Pyres offers assurance that his leadership would be the sort that defers to his compatriots' expertise. Gale and Oresta assent, and with a Fanglord named, they set about procuring new talent.
Sientelle and Fleuvienne each present their own challenge for winning over. Both feel keenly the sting of losing so much to defeat by the Lost Hand. Sientelle is easily convinced that the offer is sincere thanks to Oresta's earlier visit, but she worries about the mysteries surrounding the Lost Hand. Promises of mutual honesty do not entirely win her over, but she does agree that she needs to hitch her horse to some wagon, and it's a good offer. Fleuvienne, meanwhile, is more concerned that she's being scouted for no other reason than she fits some shallow criteria and the Lost Hand is rushed and desperate. She shoots them down immediately, but the Lost Hand persists, raising the point that they've proven their strength and capability, and Fleuvienne seems like someone who'd rather be winning. It's enough to win her over, and just like that, the Lost Hand has five fingers.
With a full force, the Lost Hand tries to prod a few new angles to prepare for the upcoming game. Unfortunately, the well turns up dry. Juwinn is quite averse to discussing the games at all, and Gale's favorite librarian has much more to say about traditional games than the new school craze. The evening passes into night, night into morning, and morning into game time.
The Lost Hand is directed to a guard house near the Flagpoles, just outside the stands that have been erected around the courtyard. Inside, they hear the new rules being announced: the Fang whose flag reaches the top of the pole first is the winner. The only flag in the Lost Hand's guardhouse belongs to the Golden Thread. Together, the Lost Hand sets up a three point plan: Sientelle sneaks off ahead, Oresta and Fleuvienne to the midfield, with Pyres and Oresta guarding the opposing flag. When the mid-guard takes the field on the start signal, they see the entire Golden Thread arrayed against them. As soon as Fiej sees that the Lost Hand has kept the flag back in the guardhouse, he sends three of his Fang on a charge while he and Bana confront Oresta and Fleuvienne.
Pyres, seeing the enemy break formation, makes a daring risk. He takes their flag and rushes the flagpoles, dancing about them tauntingly. With fleet steps, he keeps ahead of the entire Golden Thread, making it back to the guardhouse where Gale lies in ambush. Oresta and Fleuvienne find that Fiej and Bana are a challenging match, and can only maintain a favorable position for brief intervals, unable to land a telling blow. As the struggle midfield carries on undecided, and Pyres and Oresta leverage their defensive advantage, two unknowns hang above it all: what are those strange whistling noises, and where is Sientelle?
The following are reactions from viewer's non-canon students.
- In regards to The Fang of the Lost Hand acquiring Fleuvienne and Sientelle from the fallen Coral Helix: "Interesting. PREDICTABLE!!! but interesting. Let their powers combine, I suppose." Tepet Kendra Kai, 5th year
- "I'm surprised that the Lost Hand were smart enough to recruit people from the 1st fang they beat. They have the most to prove right now, after that defeat, so they'll have to put in the most work to gain respect." V'neef Siltara, 5th year
- "Sientelle and Fleuvienne won't be offering much more in the ranged combat to the Lost Hand, so we should all expect an aggressive set of tactics to come. Lost Hand had pressure to fill out their ranks before their second game, but they clearly saw something in Game 1 that made them confident in their selections. Now let's just hope Brevin gets over himself, after getting over whatever Juwinn did to him, of course." Tepet Voren, 5th Year
- "I am starting to wonder about this Fang of the Lost Hand. Why are doing two games in a row? Why do they seem favored above other fangs? There is something going on and I don't like it..." Tepet Aoife, 6th Year
- "It's time the Lost Hand gets taken down a peg or two, this school doesn't need legends." Cathak Jak Cuse, 5th year
- With a sigh, "Pyres, really! That arrogance of yours is gonna come back and bite you in the arse one of these days." Tepet Kendra Kai, 5th year
- "Hmm, seems like I underestimated Pyres. Leading half a fang into an ambush is more brain than I thought he had. Seems Oresta is just the muscles, so nice to see I wasn't all wrong." Ragara Sepeta, 5th year
- "Golden Thread is simply reacting. Not a good sign. They need to get someone down, quickly." Tepet Voren, 5th Year