The motley visits the Grand Bes Din.
"I've always really enjoyed games where you get to build shit."
To mundane eyes, the office block in downtown Halifax is perfectly unremarkable and thus overlooked; to Zistor, Kyoko, and the motley, the building is a hodgepodge of smoke stacks, nuclear cooling towers, brick walls, glass, steel, and stone. Zistor, decked out in a fancy jumpsuit, tells the assembled group that no one other than himself and Patches will be able to observe the workings of the Dayan. He and Patches step forward to the front door, an imposing steel monolith, and announce themselves as it whisks them inside. Braum, Sophia, and Kyoko do the same, although they are put into hard hats, safety vests, steel-toed boots, and affixed with visitor badges and mittens.
Inside the atrium, a vast glass room centered around a fountain with molten metal leaping between pipes, they are greeted by a pinched-faced nocker Britches, who lays out the ground rules for them. She has Patches decide what the non-nockers are allowed to do, and gives them permission to explore the grounds with the strict instructions to not touch anything without permission.
As Zistor and Patches set off towards their appointment with the Dayan, Sophia, Braum, and Kyoko try the first door off the atrium. Inside, a young, stunning nocker stands at a computer surrounded on all sides by a massive aquarium, with mechanical aquatic creatures of all sorts swimming around. Lanta tells them that she hopes to send the mechanical creatures off to a part of the Far Dreaming that has never been "mined" before, but that she's been running into some trouble recently with her system. Braum is in awe of Lanta's ingenuity, but Sophia deeply wants to help Lanta achieve her potential, and her Soul of the Muse inspires the nocker to realize a crucial piece of the puzzle. The AI she designed, she realizes, has become more and more sentient, and without even realizing it, is now a golem unto itself that she needs to "let go". Sophia is overjoyed to know that she help set another Kithain on the path to the Dreaming, and they leave, Kyoko urging them towards "the Cafeteria".
Meanwhile, Patches and Zistor take an elevator down to the basement of the Grand Bes Din, with the old grump asking the young wilder if she's nervous, or has any questions. It becomes apparent that Zistor did quite a bit of work at the Grand Bes Din "back in the day", and Patches incredulously asks if he's maybe a "bit of a celebrity around here". The two are shown into a boardroom, with nine nockers seated around a semi-circular table: 4 Seelie, 4 Unseelie, and 1 undeclared. Patches recognizes Fuse Terwilliger from the battle outside The Spark, who charges himself to speak to her on behalf of the Dayan.
"Here's the deal: we fucked up, she fixed it. What do you need?" Fuse is straight to the point, putting the Dayan at Patches' service. For her part, Patches is secretly thankful that they aren't making a huge to-do, as was her fear at the beach with Ramzia, but does call out the establishment for letting something like this happen. If King Meilge's influence was so strong that he was able to worm his way into the Dayan, and they would not listen to reason from Fala, how can they prevent themselves being taken advantage of again in the future? Fuse accepts the criticism, promising that they are moving forward: they are considering allowing other Kithain to bring emergencies to the Dayan directly, and that six of the nine Dayan were, secretly, replaced after the events of the past month.
The Grand Bes Din, Fuse continues, isn't representative of nockers as a whole, but rather of their work, and as such can't really give her the public recognition she may deserve… like a seat at the table, for instance. The Dayan visibly relax when Patches laughs off the idea of becoming one of them, and the other members of the Dayan point out that the Spark still needs a steward so that it can be "ramped up". Instead of a seat, then, the Dayan offer Patches the opportunity to design a new wing of the Grand Bes Din dedicated to Kithain outreach! Patches accepts the honour, demanding that she be allowed to consult with and employ non-nockers in the design and construction of the wing; before leaving, Zistor also demands on her behalf that the Dayan formally thank the motley for their efforts.
Bolstered by the incredible opportunity, Patches asks Zistor if she can see some of his old patents. The grump leads her to a massive archives room, with a mechanical crane towering over thousands of filing cabinets of all sizes. At the controls is a young nocker, Blockhead, who offers to show Patches any patent she wants to see. As Zistor steps out, Patches learns the old nocker not only designed the front door of the Grand Bes Din, but also the Cafeteria and the Archives themselves! Zistor used to be a famed weapons maker, Blockhead tells her, but something happened to cause him to switch gears. Blockhead is amazed by Zistor's capacity to absorb information like no other, learning in a night what takes most kithain weeks or months.
Blockhead shows Patches a couple of Zistor's "later" patents, including the miraculous mechanical arm destined for Talus, and a small dragon's wing, possibly originally for Scythe. Blockhead then shows Patches a couple of secret patents, including a silencer designed to be built into a rifle, as Patches shows him the Entropic. Blockhead's jaw drops as Patches and Zistor head out to meet up with the rest of the motley.
At the same time, Kyoko takes Braum and Sophia to the Cafeteria, which they discover does serve food, but is cooked by firing it through the air at supersonic speeds. A gnarled nocker with long hair and the air of cowboy introduces himself as Grimman, the head chef. When Braum makes a crack about the railgun being an inefficient, if dazzling, way to cook food, Grimman explains that the gun is actually the last weapon Zistor ever designed. He built it, Grimman explains, so that if it isn't fired at least once per day, it will explode, destroying the Grand Bes Din's atrium. Sophia is in awe: "He designed it so that you would have to be more creative with its use."
Zistor has one last thing to share with the motley, and shows them down to the Grand Bes Din's balefire. Planted around the balefire is a massive tree, with vines hanging from the ceiling and a whole ecosystem; Zistor says it's to remind all nockers that "there is an incredible machine out there too," and that there's really only one Earth for them all to share. Stepping through the door to the balefire, the motley are absolutely stunned to take in the massive blaze with thousands of molds above and around the fire itself. Each one has its time to be placed in the fire, allowing nockers the world over to take a small piece of the Dreaming with them into each of their creations.