The fang of the Lost Hand asks questions and gets answers... including the revelation of several secrets.


"Pawns don't have a right to be players."


The missive in Lee-Ann's hands is revealed. It reads, "You cannot trust Juwinn. She was the one who picked who got expelled." As much as the Lost Hand tries to get more information from Lee-Ann, it seems she has no more to give. She is confused and frightened as she's caught up in something. Pyres and Oresta attempt to give her some comfort and encouragement, but at Gale's insistence, Lee-Ann is dismissed. There's substantial disagreement in the fang regarding Lee-Ann's true motives, but there's nothing to do about her now but wait for her next delivery.

When the Lost Hand makes their way to the library to do some research in this day of self-study, they hear a loud argument coming from inside. Oresta attunes herself to the vibrations of the stone to overhear them more clearly. They seem to be arguing about the course that Vieren is driving the House of Bells along, and in a manner that suggests Bracken knows more than Vieren has let on to the students. They wait for a good while until after the sounds of the argument dies down before entering the library. They make a concerted effort to impress and flatter him, and it seems to get him to open up. Vieren claims that he had something to do with keeping Gale, Oresta, and Pyres from being expelled because he hoped they would be a strong example and anchor for the students as he threw the school into chaos. He knows well the whispers of a traitor still lurking within the school, and he means to cleanse the Realm of filth. His conviction is true, but his ultimate aims remain mysterious.

Outside, as the other students of the school attempt to make the most of a day of no classes, a peculiar sight draws the Lost Hand's attention. Brevin leads a large group in formation, consisting of the disbanded fangs. He stops to give them a speech, and to the surprise of few, takes some time to specifically point an accusing finger at the Lost Hand for meeting with school faculty. Though his common antics do little to shake the members of the Lost Hand, his band of disaffected students seem enamored with him. Once the crowd leaves, Sientelle points out that Vieren's chaos is liable to make the students of the school into a group ready to spring into war - a valuable thing in the Age of Sorrows, surely, but who will profit?

With chaos on the horizon, the Lost Hand agrees to solidify their bonds. Gale frames it as a desire to assess their personal liabilities, and Sientelle makes another belltower drinking party of it. In the privacy of the tower, the Lost Hand lets secrets spill readily. Some follow from their known histories, such as Pyres's crush on Brevin or Sientelle's animosity towards her own house. Others are more surprising, including Fleuvienne's crime of murder against a fellow Terrestrial, or Oresta's parents' failure to Exalt despite excellent breeding. As more confidences bind the Lost Hand to each other, they resolve to swear themselves to a Kinship. By blood and bond, the Lost Hand now share one destiny, whatever it may be.

With nobody else to trust, the Lost Hand attempts to plan an approach to drawing out the conspiracy they find themselves caught in. Sharing information with the faculty selectively will be necessary, but without being sure who shares information with whom, they will have to be careful indeed. The fang splits up to attend to some minor tasks. Pyres approaches Bracken, but he reveals little of her enigma. When Oresta investigates Lee-Ann's fangmates, they are unwilling to betray her for any reason, but Oresta frames her questions as friendly concern. It is to little avail, since they say that Lee-Ann hasn't told them anything interesting from her messenger work, and they're certain she wouldn't hide anything from them.

Late at night, Gale wakes to the sound of Sientelle sneaking out the window. But she's not going anywhere, just appreciating the pure elements at night. Sientelle has some very romantic things to say about the winter warming and giving way to spring. Though she does not say it out loud, both she and Gale know that winter is the Season of Air, and spring is the Season of Wood.


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