A midnight meeting turns up new leads.

"You're up late."

In their quiet meeting, Cynis Sientelle tells her new fangmate, Ledaal Gale Whispered, the last known providence of the Heightened Sense, a ship that was recently wrecked by seditionist conspirators. The Sense had always been a luxury passenger ship, one that Sientelle along with many other Dynasts used as transport. On Sientelle's last voyage, however, her curiosity found her poking among some secret cargo, where she discovered heaps of orichalcum, a rare and magical golden metal. However, the ship was intact when she left it, and she's not heard anything of it since. Gale decides not to mention anything further, making this show of trust rather one-sided.

Cathak Pyres takes some time to debrief the rest of the Lost Hand on the findings from Gamesmaster Vieren's office. With more mysteries opened than solved, most of the Lost Hand deliberates on follow-up investigations. Pyres already has another lead: a late-night rendezvous with Tepet Single Edge in the forge. Though she had asked to meet him alone, she and her fangmate Peleps Kenton have shown themselves to be slightly hostile towards the Lost Hand. Oresta and Fleuvienne come along as backup, hiding in the hallway so that Pyres appears to be by himself. With assurances of cooperation in uncovering the mysteries of the school year, Pyres coaxes some information out of Single Edge. She had seen Lee-Ann make a detour on her last delivery, disappearing into a barracks with one set of messages and reappearing with different ones. Pyres does confirm that he had the opportunity to spot the notices drafted for the third game, without the Lost Hand's name on them. Before more information can be exchanged, Oresta hears Kenton leading some others down the hallway. She warns Pyres and Single Edge with a clever ruse. After agreeing to a later meeting time, Pyres successfully helps Single Edge make a getaway, but is unable to evacuate himself before the door is kicked down by Quartermaster Juwinn.

Juwinn confronts Pyres with the usual manner she takes with rule-breaking students. He dissembles poorly, and Juwinn attacks him with her direlash. Pyres, stoked to anger by the castigation and threat of pain, responds with an attack of his own. Juwinn catches him off-guard and easily takes him down. Thanks to his insolence, Pyres gets a worse punishment than he would for simply being out after hours: his privilege of using his family heirlooms, Hope and Abandon, is suspended until further notice. Oresta is given the responsibility of enforcing the punishment, and she takes custody of the swords. As a final kicker, Juwinn assigns the Lost Hand with the task of repairing the unfortunate forge door.

Back in the barracks, Gale and Sientelle bond over Gateway. They are both naturally curious people, and when Gale is in her comfort zone, she finds pleasant conversation comes a bit more easily. After some time, Sientelle displays some discomfort at the fact that Gale has managed to pick apart so much of her character in comparison to the shallower relationships Sientelle had in the Coral Helix. Pyres, Oresta, and Fleuvienne return, with Pyres still steaming. Oresta manages to calm Pyres down, and the Fang sets about getting the forge door fixed. Between Juwinn's punishment and emotional turmoil, everyone in the Fang except Fleuvienne finds that no sleep comes to them. This has a fortunate side, as before even the first light of dawn, they spy a lone figure traveling the school grounds. Peleps Lee-Ann.

Gale tails the messenger, and sees Lee-Ann take a message into the sixth-year barracks. However, when she emerges, she meets with a hidden figure beneath a tree. This person gives Lee-Ann completely new scrolls to deliver, and she goes off to destroy the message she already delivered. Gale creeps closer and identifies the interceptor as Mnemon Seppe. He flees into the treetop, and when he sees Gale waiting below, he leaps out like a soaring leaf. Gale gives chase, and the Lost Hand sans Fleuvienne joins her. Unfortunately, before she can close the distance, Gale has the misfortune of catching the attention of Juwinn, who is apparently quite literally tireless in her pursuit of rule-breakers. Before she can levy further punishments, the Lost Hand cobble together an excuse about going into the woods to help with their door repairs. Whether or not Juwinn believes the lie, she decides to let the matter be, and the Lost Hand returns to their barracks. Upon arrival, however, they're met with a supposedly official message, one different from the one they saw in Vieren's office. A new game announcement, pitting them to a match in the mess hall just after breakfast...a match against Kenton and Single Edge's fang, the Bearded Skull!

Student Comments

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