In the wake of Lenore's test, Braum and Sophia each navigate relationships.
"Eventually you realize that there's someone you can't play with."
Sophia spends some time analyzing the actions of the Golden Braid members in their collective dream: while Kyoko, Xaeron, and Fala all died Fae Deaths, it should have no lasting repercussions on their "real" lives, other than stress. Claude, proud of having done something instead of nothing, may no longer be able to view Sophia in the same light, given her "cruelty" in forcing her friends to relive a trauma. She also comes to know that while Sir Xaeron feels no fear, he is thrilled to see everyone back together as a unit.
Braum proposes the team discuss their roles in the team, but most of the Companions are exhausted, or want to be alone. Kyoko, in particular, tells Braum that she is "OK, for now", but wants to be alone first and foremost. The troll goes out on a run with Helena and Claude instead, delighting in their renewed sense of purpose. Back at Tara Nar, Sophia soothes her own damaged soul with music, and is soon joined by Sir Xaeron. The sidhe is proud of their accomplishments, and tells Sophia that they all simply need to let the broken bone of their relationships set and heal. He asks Sophia about risk, which she replies is "doing something ugly in the hopes of beauty", playing her harp as she tells Xaeron that she saw his suffering and his joy on the mission.
The Fiona sits down against a wall and uses Sophia's music as inspiration to paint: a golden tree with tough, hard-working roots. As Xaeron smudges the painting, he releases a flood of Glamour, musing Sophia, and the two go in to kiss. Braum notices the huge surge of Glamour and goes to investigate: when he walks in, he discovers the two in delecto flagrante, and beats a hasty retreat, tracking paint down the hall. Braum manages to hold off Lord MacAllistar from also discovering them, and the two share a drink as they discuss love. Braum asks Lord Mac how he can best help those he knows who have been burnt by love in the past, and don't see themselves as worthy of it: the satyr simply tells Braum to help them grow past their old loves and on towards their new.
Braum returns to Kyoko's room, contradicting her request to be left alone, and invites her to dinner on the roof of the castle. When she reluctantly agrees, Braum pours his heart out to her about how hard it was for him to make the decision again in the dream mission, and how he feels a bit like a failure. The pooka uncharacteristically cuts straight to the chase, demanding Braum promise to tell her that he "would do it again", since their lives are based on their dedication to others. When he does promise it, they are both able to begin to heal, but it may be some time.
The next day, Sophia and Braum are invited to visit High Queen Lenore separately. Braum and Lord Mac are asked about the structure of the Companionship of the Golden Braid, how it would be possible for all members to be equal if one of them has a higher title than the others. Braum would rather not have anyone promoted or demoted, and though Lenore is alright with the idea of going over House Gwydion's head, she would rather Braum work things out with High Lord Allenion as to his future in the house. The two set off, apprehensive as to what they will find.
Sophia, by contrast, is invited to meet a wizened old man with an unkempt beard, and a hunchback: this is Noman, High Lord of House Liam. He is proud of her for having made such a huge difference to so many people's opinions of House Liam, and wants to offer her something even greater: her own title, based solely on merit. Sophia is overwhelmed with emotion, but accepts, and becomes "the Lady Sophia of Cross' Shadow", Baron of the lands around The Spark, and the "Queen's Advisor of Dreams". As she leaves, floating on clouds, she receives a text from the Countess Weyer: "I always knew."