The motley tie up loose ends.
"Sometimes I wish I could accelerate time… and sometimes pause it."
In the aftermath of Broken Flight’s attempts on the kingdom of Concordia, the motley spends some time reconnecting with their allies and tying up loose ends. Braum goes out thrashing with Incisor, which involves a warehouse basement rave with shawarma afterwards. Broken Flight’s defeat has led High Queen Lenore out of hiding, and therefore Halleah can be properly sentenced. Both Braum and Sophia vote for some mercy, while Patches keeps her mouth shut. For her part in the rebellion, the troll is sentenced to a year imprisoned at a location of her choice, and can no longer gain title. She chooses to head to the Kingdom of White Sands with Parris for her year, trying to save Claude the trouble of having her around. Boli, unrepentant, was executed.
Incisor tries to make the motley promise to not reveal that it was Sophia who asked Claudeto be frozen: “it’ll kill him to learn it,” she warns. When they unfreeze him, they break the news about both Halleah and his fate gently, but Braum can’t help himself from accidentally betraying Sophia. Patches is unwilling to keep Claude from the hard truth, and while Sophia tries to speak to him, the boggan can only shake his head: “Her friends catch all the dirt coming her way.” Sophia writes him a heartfelt letter to try to communicate why she took the action she did, and delivers it to him on Yule. She tells him that she froze him because she’s selfish, and couldn’t bear how much she would miss him.
Queen Laurel invites the motley to Caer Frost to reward them for their service. She provides The Spark with the gift of everlasting ice, and names the three of them (and Kyoko) as “Defenders of Northern Ice”. In addition, she gives them all gemstones, which are actually powerful pieces of dross.
Patches parts ways with her father, Malcolm, who is ready to head home to England. He will still have the ability to see her reality, and asks that she find him again. After Yule, Sophia receives a visit from Claude, who wants her to give him something "real" to demonstrate how she feels. "If these words aren't real, then neither am I, because I'm poetry and music, and I am a lie," laments Sophia. She won't apologize to Claude because she isn't sorry, but she knows he can't understand what it means to be loved by her: he deserves her love. Claude tells her that he's spent the last while trying to "lure" her every day, because he knows that beauty can't be captured; perhaps he will continue in his stillness, then, hoping to continue to bring her to him.
Meanwhile, Braum receives a call from his sons, who are still out seeing the world with Countess Weyer. Aidan confirms that they're both safe with the Countess, and is excited to explain that he's learning all about Naming.Gus, for his part, is learning Soothsay, but is mature enough to realize that both Arts can be quite dangerous in their implications. Both of Braum's sons come back to Montreal for Yule, staying with him and Kyoko at their new home (courtesy of Patches' new wealth, a gift from their wedding). Kyoko admits to Braum that she really wanted to kill Boli, and he cautions her to stay away from Mazer: "I know how dangerous pursuing vengeance can be". Later, Kyoko privately confesses to Patches and Sophia that she was Boli's executioner at Tara Nar, and doesn't know how to break the news to Braum. The two stand with her and support, even as she admits to having stolen Whisper in order to unmake Boli; when she gives Braum a gift of sword oil for polishing, he can't seem to get the reason from her, try as he might. The two continue to hold their secrets from one another as they head in to dinner.