The motley find unique ways of undoing a political alliance.
"One of the best tests of any relationship is competition."
The motley enjoy their evenings at the Four Seasons hotel in Halifax: Braum and Kyoko discuss the possibility of Sir Xaeron leaving Cross' Shadow to "do his duty"… but to which duty is he more sworn, they wonder? Meanwhile, several rooms over, Patches meets with Duke Granville for a tryst. The Duke mentions that Countess Neela, his niece, will be visiting Cross' Shadow soon in order to "repatriate" Sir Xaeron in a political marriage. When Patches is shocked by the development, Granville has to shrug it off. "The order came from Rathesmere himself," he apologizes, referring to the head of House Fiona. "How can the Fiona allow a loveless marriage?" Patches demands. Duke Granville is annoyed, but acknowledges that they need House Dougal as an ally. Patches returns to romancing the Duke, thinking about alternate political matches.
Sophia walks in Xaeron's dreams. Inside the Colosseum in Rome, Xaeron draws his sword and faces down the silver lion of Fiona while a ring of anvils clang around him. Sophia paints The Spark for Sir Xaeron and asks him to describe his home, or at least his feeling of it. It's not just somewhere he feels safe, he tells her, but "where the heart is," but that once he felt that choosing a home would imprison "someone". When Sophia asks him to create his own beautiful future, he crafts thousands of acorns and rich soil, out of which he grows trees. As Sophia tumbles out of the dream, she wakes Xaeron from his slumber, telling him that she saw his "true desires": will he marry her?
Xaeron wants to know if Sophia is asking about his will or his future; Sophia isn't being selfless, but selfish in not wanting to lose him. "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" And while they'll have to worry tomorrow about telling everyone, and possibly making a lot of people very angry, they at least have each other that night.
The following day, Braum tries to get everyone up and out the door to have breakfast together. Duke Granville gets to talking with some Haligonian swimmers, including Chad, with whom Patches and Sophia had had a run-in many months before. She brings up Xaeron and Neela's marriage again to the Duke, asking him if he would have made the same sacrifice for his house. Granville goes off on her, exclaiming that love is a totally separate matter from marriage. Of course he's frustrated that the Kithain political system essentially forces members of House Fiona into relationships they don't want to pursue, but he understands that it's part of the system under which they live. He turns it around on Patches: she sure has a lot to say about the nobility for someone who's refused a noble title. Patches reminds him that she turned down High Queen Lenore's offer of title because it was attached to the Golden Braid, which hadn't yet "figured out their mission statement," she says.
The motley, Xaeron, and eventually Kyoko reunite over breakfast at a local restaurant specializing in cornbread, the "Cornhole". Over breakfast, the news breaks that Sophia and Xaeron are engaged! Xaeron admits how relieved he is about not having to go through with the political marriage. Everyone is happy for the couple, although Braum is more than a little worried when he learns that the two were not engaged before the news of Xaeron's betrothal to Neela was announced. Sophia promises that everything is going to be OK, and that she'll use her connection with the Countess Weyer to try to find a way of smoothing things over with House Dougal; Patches vows to help in any way she can. As Sophia messages Weyer to try to get a handle on how House Liam could lend their support to their union, Braum is roped into going for donair with Chad, newly arrived and looking to hang out.
Patches returns to the Grand Bes Din in order to visit the High Queen. While she does manoeuvre the situation well, she ends up telling Lenore about Xaeron's "prior engagement" to Sophia. While losing Xaeron will be a great loss to House Dougal, Patches wonders if there's some way she can help. Maybe she isn't so totally against titles after all, especially since she share so many values with House Dougal… She Flicker-Flashes herself and the High Queen back to Tara Nar, where the monarch invests Patches with a knighthood: arise, Lady Patches ap Dougal!