The Lost Hand splits up to pursue individual goals, returning with revelations for all.
"Are you disloyal to the realm?"
With the hope of keeping a better eye on the staff, and possibly finding allies to rely on, Gale goes to have a conversation with Bracken the librarian. Oresta tags along, hiding in the stacks of the library and eavesdropping with her keen senses. Though Gale doesn't tell Bracken every single secret, she does bring up the concern of knowing who among the staff is on her side. Bracken says outright that Quartermaster Juwinn was in complete control of the expulsions, and could have spared anyone. This contradicts Juwinn's own testimony about the events at the beginning of the year, and there is no clear indication of which of them is more truthful. Bracken also suggests that the Lost Hand was preserved not out of kindness or trust, but that they are being positioned for part of a larger scheme. Gale makes inquiries into tutelage in the art of sorcery, but Bracken makes no indication that Gale's talent or conviction are yet sufficient to delve into the forbidden arts. Gale gets Bracken to agree a game of Gateway to be played after the next match. Bracken adds an unusual stipulation, though: Gale must bring her own board.
Pyres finds Single Edge in her fang's barracks, intent on following up with the latest news on the complications besieging the school year. Kenton, her fangmate, is there to meet him. Fortunately, though Kenton's unrequited crush on Single Edge fills the air with tension, he does not stop her from going off with Pyres. They find a quiet place to talk in the Glade, but it seems Single Edge has little to offer the Lost Hand in terms of practical assistance. However, she intends to do whatever she needs to keep Pyres pleased with her, and so the remaining details of their meeting are omitted from this summary to comply with the terms and conditions of this wiki.
Before they leave the library, Gale and Oresta overhear Bracken getting into an argument with Garavel, the head medical officer. It seems they're coordinated in some effort to protect someone at the school, though it's unclear who exactly their charge is. Oresta and Garavel run into each other on the way out, and Oresta tries to get some answers out of him. He's not willing to say anything, except for some complaints about Gamesmaster Vieren. Oresta and Gale go to find Sientelle and Fleuvienne, and they do so successfully, but not before everyone else on campus. They seem to have been involved in a scuffle with Kenton, though Fleuvienne's victory is so clear and brutal that it could hardly be considered a fight. Sientelle shows her fangmates a document of Pyres, Oresta, and Gale's families' financial information. She found it on Kenton's person before the confrontation turned physical, and Fleuvienne was moved to violence after seeing what Kenton had been up to.
Reflecting that Juwinn's signature inconvenient omnipresence has been lacking today, Gale and Sientelle check on the Quartermaster's office. It's locked, and their break-in uncovers some disturbing evidence. Magic wards that had protected the office were already broken, and a large quantity of orichalcum (the material missing from the wreck of the Heightened Sense) was stashed underneath the floor. The horribly daunting situation compels Gale and Sientelle to flee the office as quickly as possible after disguising the evidence that they had been there. They try to fetch Pyres for a fang meeting, but seeing him rather compromised at the moment, they decide to take a little time for themselves. Alone in the glade with Gale, Sientelle entirely breaks down from stress. She confesses to Gale that a secret has been weighing on her and exacerbating the pressure caused by the mysterious conspiracy. Sientelle was born to the Iselsi, a former Great House of the Realm that had been stripped of all status for treachery, their minor families quietly married off into other Houses. Though she was raised to continue the broken family's vendetta, she feels that her true family has treated her no better than her false one. Gale tries to placate Sientelle before she tells anyone else the secret, considering the potentially lethal consequences.
Back near the barracks, Oresta receives a delivery from Lee-Ann. It appears to be a duplicate of the announcement for the match against Juwinn that had been canceled for the inquisition. Unusually, Vieren is nearby, confirming proper delivery of the missive with his own eyes. Oresta takes the opportunity to confront him and get some more information about the consequences of this irregular match. He makes no attempt to be coy: Juwinn's eligibility for employment will be reconsidered if she loses, while the Lost Hand will face not only disbandment upon loss, but a re-opening of the investigation into their association with traitors to the Realm. Though he is assured of his own right to do all of this, Vieren admits that the request to investigate the Lost Hand was not his. And, of course, it's not for Oresta to know who else was involved in making these terms.
After recomposing themselves, all the members of the Lost Hand meet in their room to plan. Sientelle once again blurts out her traitorous heritage, but the other members of the Lost Hand have far greater concerns, considering the impending chance of being taken in as traitors themselves. They agree to arrange for their findings to be left where someone else will come across them should the Lost Hand be unavoidably seized. Gale encodes a message to Bracken, and hides it in the Gateway set that Bracken requested she bring. Whether the note will be discovered, and whether or not Bracken is worthy of Gale's trust, both remain to be seen.
The following are reactions from viewer's non-canon students.
- "I saw some scorch marks in the Glade. I mean, I get Fire Aspects wanting to mess around, but you gotta use protection. Nobody wants this place to burn down" - V'neef Siltara, 5th year