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The hearth lands in Arjuf and sets off North to find out who or what is waiting for them at the former campus of the House of Bells.


"I play to explore, to broaden my horizons... but it's for fun, after all."


The Hearth decide that the treasures from The Heightened Sense will come along with them until they can work out their worth. Sientelle finds reasons to avoid Gale and goes out with Oresta and Fleuvienne, leaving Pyres behind with Gale. The Air aspect is obsessing over the table inlaid with orichalcum, and through her studies, understands its purpose. The table of Instantaneous Conference can immediately communicate with other tables of the same kind anywhere in Creation, as long as the appropriate code phrase is uttered. It's apparent to Gale that the tables may have been used by House Iselsi members to communicate.

Pyres asks Gale whether she understands how her recklessness hurt Sientelle. Gale provides an intense explanation as to why retrieving the table meant so much more to her than just taking possession of a treasure, and how obtaining a new pawn is integral to the fight.

Meanwhile, Oresta agrees with Sientelle that Gale cannot be trusted to make strategic decisions when it comes to artifacts and Anathema. She orders Gale to always stay with someone else when she might be compromised by the lure of knowledge.

The Hearth dock at Arjuf, and are approached by a man who asks for their travel documents. Pyres and Oresta declare that they are travelling to the House of Bells on a reconnaissance mission for House Cathak; the man sadly informs them that no one has returned from the House of Bells in some time. Someone, or something, is there.

Oresta, Pyres, and Sientelle obtain a cart so they can travel with their treasures, while Gale goes to purchase jewelry with Fleuvienne. The Water aspect cautions Gale to not try to give anything to Sientelle right now: while the gesture is kind, it may come across as callous. The Hearth then continue on towards the House of Bells. Finding a spot to camp for the night, they are surprised to meet two other Dragon-Blooded Exalts, members of House Ledaal, along the road.

Ledaal Theyla and Ledaal Bo, the former tells them, are on their way to the House of Bells too, in order to recover knowledge from the ruins. Pyres and Oresta try to reason with them, and eventually intimidate them into staying put for 24 hours while they investigate first; they're unconvinced that anything dangerous could be at the House of Bells. Oresta and Pyres read the Heightened Sense's last log. Seven-Fingers writes that he has to scuttle the ship, as "communications have been intercepted", and how he must "protect the Vendetta".

Sientelle stayed behind with Gale, and explodes at her, upset that she risked her life for something mundane. She admits that without Gale, she would have no purpose as a soldier; Gale does her best to explain to Sientelle that risking her life is something she would do, not just for knowledge, but to win the game. "You're not you if you're not winning," Sientelle smiles. "It's not winning, it's knowing," Gale responds. Sientelle tells her of the nightmares she's had of all of the members of the Hearth being killed: "I can't lose any of you," she admits. Gale goes to her, and the two make up.

The next morning, the five enter the grounds of the former House of Bells, now a wasteland. At the bell tower, a single weapon has been placed on each step leading up to the belfry: warnings to those who dare enter, with the top five steps currently empty. Arriving in the belfry, the group take in the mound of skulls, victims of Maral, who sits with her Grimscythe in the centre of the space. With a shock of white now through her hair, she seems to have been changed by her time away from Vieren. She tells them that he showed her a wrold to take back, and then destroyed it. She claims that they are all Anathema, able to burrow into each other's minds. Pyres kindly asks to show his sister his truth, backed up by Oresta's insistence that she listen to her blood.

Pyres dances for his sister, using Oresta as a stand-in for her: he uses a small flame to travel across his body to highlight his lithe movements, describing his resentment towards Maral, his fear and sadness, his forgiveness, and finally his joy in finding a purpose in life. She steps forwards and dances with her brother, believing herself to be forgiven by him. She tells them that she will go, but that there is someone they have to meet, revealing a secret trapdoor at the base of the tower.

Down below, in a room made of seventh-year students, kept in a cage, is a woman who looks an awful lot like Cynis Bracken... Neckarb tells them that staying in the cage seems an awful lot like "following rules"....


Student Comments

The following are reactions from viewer's non-canon students.

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