The Lost Hand prepares to play Game 3 on their terms, but not all goes according to plan...
"Tell Bracken I'm sorry."
As the rest of his fang makes preparations for the fallout of tomorrow's game, Pyres visits Brevin in the Coral Helix's old room. Though Pyres musters up all the charm and prose he can muster in order to woo Brevin, he is unable to disguise his intent of driving Brevin to be an agent of chaos. Brevin is rather gentle at turning him away, but nonetheless, the Lost Hand will not be able to rely on the fangless band for the time being.
Meanwhile, Gale proposes a daring scheme to take the orichalcum in Quartermaster Juwinn's office and plant it in Vieren's cottage. Though there is no telling the kind of wrath that might be brought down by both the hidden Anathema and the other conspirators at the school, they can think of no better way to undermine Vieren as he acts against them. Gale and Sientelle quickly re-create their break-in to Juwinn's office with Oresta as look-out. Gale liberates only one piece of orichalcum and leaves three where she found them. The three quietly make their way to Vieren's cottage, where Oresta plants the orichalcum in the Gamesmaster's journal.
When the Lost Hand reunites, they solidify their plan to sabotage the game. They will bring destruction and fire enough to destroy the Glade outright, in hopes of invalidating the parameters set before them. Whatever Vieren's intentions, the Lost Hand is making a statement that they want no more part of this madness. With no more preparations to make, they get a good night's sleep, and show up on time for the game the next day.
At the edge of the Glade, Juwinn is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the Glade is surrounded by 7th years with pikes and armor. Vieren tasks the Lost Hand with entering the Glade and emerging with proof of victory, as the appointed guards enforce an ever-shrinking battlefield. Pyres hypes the crowd up once more as he and his fang bring themselves to bear against the battlefield. Once inside and out of sight, the Lost Hand sets to their grim task, felling trees and scattering brush to prepare and ignition zone. As the fang works, Pyres spots a trail of blood. He follows it to a quintet of lean-to shelters. Suspecting the source of the blood, and that she might be nearby, Pyres calls out to Juwinn. She is loath to reveal herself, but when she does, it's quite evident that she's been wounded. She does everything she can to push the Lost Hand to take an easy win, even going as far as outright forfeiting. But Pyres will not turn from his course, and so Juwinn attacks. When she unleashes her full ferocity, a hollow circle of gold shines on her forehead, marking her as one of the Wretched, a Solar Anathema.
Before the rest of the Lost Hand can successfully interfere, Juwinn knocks Pyres senseless with her direlash. Oresta finally manages to catch Juwinn with a surge of raw elemental power, followed by a more traditional beating with her tetsubou. Delirious, Juwinn asks them to tell Bracken that she's sorry before falling to the ground. Fleuvienne takes Pyres away from danger, leaving Sientelle, Gale, and Oresta to deal with the Anathema. With Juwinn held at bay, Oresta and Gale argue over the next course of action. Oresta wants to immediately drag the Anathema off to be chained and executed, but Gale sees a unique opportunity for answers. Neither can sway the other, with Gale's desire for hidden knowledge overriding any concern for the safety of herself or her friends.
Pyres struggles along, dragged by Fleuvienne. They are both unexpectedly met by Vieren, who bears a torch. He tells Pyres that he knows what the Lost Hand is up to, and congratulates them for their spirit. He then casts the torch at the fire zone that the Lost Hand had prepared, and immediately turns to beat Fleuvienne until her bones break as Pyres lies helpless. Meanwhile, Juwinn gives only one tip for the Lost Hand: that Vieren means them to die in the Glade, and to get away with it by blaming the Anathema. As a massive fire tears through the woods, Juwinn flees, leaving her weapon behind.
With a ring of fire closing in, Oresta, Gale, and Sientelle hurriedly attempt to find a way to survive. Without tools or time, they rely on main force and their connection to the raw elements. Oresta shifts the surrounding earth to form a shelter while Gale keeps the air breathable enough. Pyres and Fleuvienne, neither able to do much more than crawl and limp, both struggle towards the direction of their Hearthmates. Before they are consumed by the raging forest fire, Oresta breaks through the flames and picks them both up, carrying them all the way to the dugout. They bring the roof down and huddle together in the dark. After an unknowable length of time, a voice breaks through from above. The roof of the shelter breaks.
As the Lost Hand always reached out to lift those brought low, so too do the hands of Brevin, Kenton, and Fiej reach out to carry them to safety. The wounded students are passed along over the flooded, burnt remnants of the Glade. Garavel takes Pyres and Fleuvienne immediately, while Gale and Sientelle attempt to find comfort in each others' presence, knowing this respite only precedes a greater struggle.
The following are reactions from viewer's non-canon students.
- "I am relieved the Fang of the Lost Hand survived the recent forest fire, but one should treat Earth Aspects as one would unglazed Earthenware. Low heat only and not tasked to carry water." Tepet Yunomi, 5th year
- "What the actual fuck just happened. No really, what the actual fuck just happened? This was supposed to be a game not a war zone. This has gone too far and someone needs to answer for it." Tepet Aoife, 6th year
- "Someone is plucking at a loose thread in the fabric of the Bells, and it's begun to unravel." Cynis Fallen Petals, 5th year
- "Like in a game of gateway; initial strategies are done, it's about to get aggressive." Cathak Jak Cuse, 5th Year