Sophia decides to be forthright with another noble, and gets more than she bargained for.
"It's chance that defines the roleplaying games we play."
At the Chateau Frontenac, Braum consults with Patches about next steps, unaware that the nocker has found "proof" that the Baron Velan does indeed have a claim to the county of Cross' Shadow. Patches teleports back to The Spark and passes the proof to Sophia, leaving the political decisions in her hands. Returning to the Chateau, Patches and Braum have dinner at the freehold, and Patches spends the night with Duke Granville. She asks him about his hobbies, pressing him to "take time for himself", and the Duke realizes that Patches is concerned that he might, by tending to the Duchy, lose his connection to the Dreaming as High King David once did.
Meanwhile, Sophia brings the news to Count Xaeron, determined to do the right thing. "Who am I to deny the truth?" she asks, referring to Velan's claim via the Countess Viara's proclamation. "Who are you not to?" Xaeron asks in return. While Sophia understands that her claim as Countess is also legitimate, she still wants to rule with truth, and decides to inform Velan at their dinner on Wednesday evening.
That following Wednesday, Sophia and Xaeron dine with Baron Velan. The Balor is calm and a bit smug, being in Heart's Light, but Sophia's etiquette and social maneuverings are impeccable, keeping her in full control of the situation. After dinner, she invites Velan to chat, and reveals the information discovered in the library of the Chateau Frontenac. The Baron is taken aback, but only briefly. Sophia is honest with him, confirming that this proof seems to give him a claim over the County of Cross' Shadow. "Are you abdicating?" Velan asks her with curiousity. "Do you want me to?" Sophia replies, wanting no part in a civil war.
Braum and Patches arrive at Heart's Light, and start to head in to the meeting with Velan. Braum experiences a very strong feeling of something that he left undone, but shakes it off for now. When they step into the hall with Velan, Sophia is in the midst of telling him how challenging it might be to step in to the public eye after all these years. Velan takes command of the room, and tells Sophia to communicate to Zistor Flexx his desire that the nocker "not worry". Sophia challenges him: "Are you telling me Zistor doesn't have to worry, or that you're doing something to his freehold and commanding him not to worry?" Patches, too, has had enough of Velan's attitude and Mooches his sunglasses right off his face, revealing the flames in his eyes!
The motley get texts that there are Balor sidhe at The Spark already, ransacking the freehold searching for Zistor Flexx. Braum tries to defuse the situation but ends up laughing in Velan's face when he announces his intentions to delcare the Golden Braid persona non grata in the County. How could he be so stupid as to antagonize them? Sophia notices a large crow outside the window, observing them intently, and the Countess leaves, heading up to her room to pack. If Baron Velan is going to be power-hungry, then at least Sophia will find a way to regroup and retake her position legitimately! As she packs, the crow hops into her room and shifts into a man wearing leather pants. The mischievous man introduces himself as Marv, describing himself as akin to a werewolf. Examining Sophia thoroughly, he declares that she is "not one of the Wyrm," and vows to help. She asks him to round up all of the building's staff so that they can escape, and he hops off to do so.
Downstairs, Patches has had enough of pleasantries. She uses Pasebakhaenniut's gift to summon him to Heart's Light. The Garou appears and, understanding Patches' descriptor of "Fomorian" instantly, shifts into his war form to destroy Velan. The Baron, though, calls upon Sovereign to force the Garou to defend him instead. Patches leaves Heart's Light to secure Zistor at The Spark while Balor knights close ranks around Velan. The Baron demands he be referred to as "Your Grace", a Duke's title, and declares the Golden Braid in contempt, ordering Xaeron to be locked up. He gives the group 12 hours to be off-island before they are hunted down. The Fiona asks Braum not to fight back, but to regroup, and Pasebakhaenniut carries Xaeron off to the dungeon. Braum heads upstairs to make sure Sophia is safe and discovers the staff of Heart's Light quietly sneaking out of the building. Marv spots the troll and tells him that he "holds the Dream… the bastion against their enemies." Not sure what to make of that, Marv offers to transport Sophia and Braum to the Spark.
Patches discovers the freehold being turned upside down by Balor agents. Incisor is ready to fight and Cog is being restrained. Patches gets both of them to keep their cool while she heads back to Zistor's office, passing a frantic Kyoko asking her "for two more minutes". Behind the barred door, Patches discovers that Zistor has tricked the assailants with a recording of his voice. But where is the nocker?
Suddenly, the freeholder's voice rings out throughout the building, announcing a self-destruct countdown. The motley rush to get everyone out: Talus secures Cog as the Balor knights scurry out; Kyoko stays in the city to be their eyes on the ground; Patches and Braum grab Incisor and Sayley as Sophia morphs into her dragon form to carry them away! Flying off into the night, a massive explosion rocks the Spark, masking the fate of the freehold. The motley decide to head back to the Chateau Frontenac to regroup and try to get some answers from Duke Granville.
During their flight, Patches hears from Seven that Velan hasn't just claimed Cross' Shadow, but also the whole Duchy of Many Rivers as his own! The nocker receives a call from Velan's associate Ser Kent, the "Duke's mouthpiece". He tells Patches in no uncertain terms that they know the family tree pages have been stolen, and demands their return by the end of the twelve-hour deadline, or else Xaeron's life is forfeit.
They are greeted at the Chateau Frontenac by the Baroness Akanthea who guides them back to the library but, regrettably, can't get Duke Granville since he's already in talks with a representative of Velan. House Balor moves quickly, it would seem…. In the library, Braum asks Incisor privately whether she's willing to defy Sophia and fight, if necessary; of course she is! Lord MacAllistar reaches out to Patches to find out what's going on, and the satyr confirms that he's going to stay on-island until they return. Countess Weyer reaches out to Braum and Sophia to confirm that Aidan and Gus are safe, and that she can try to scry the Baron Velan to provide any help she can.
Duke Granville storms into the library, furious. He "needs this to be dealt with, NOW" before confirming that Velan is indeed a Duke. Patches tries to ascertain the legitimacy of his claim by using Backwards Glance on the torn pages of the book, discovering the person who cut the family tree out and placed the torn pages with Velan's name was none other than Caitlin the boggan! Patches sets to work creating a forgery with which to trick Velan….
On some darkened stairs in Montreal, Claude leaves a man with Trevor the redcap, claiming that he is "the king in this game of chess". Trevor needs something in return: "come to my aid," he asks the boggan, who agrees to his terms….