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The hearth sails to the Imperial City and makes use of the time to work through some details.

"The concept of travel has always been one I've overprepared for."

On board their transport to the Imperial City, the Hearth has some time to rest... the calm before the storm. Pyres asks his Hearth what their favourite memories of the House of Bells were, while Gale reevaluates the Hearth's relationships via codenames (Bread, Bae, Bro, Books, and Boss, respectively). After Maral steps out to find them some more food, and Fleuvienne invites Oresta and Pyres to join her downstairs, the latter tiffs with Gale over his sister. Gale isn't sure she can still be trusted, if for no other reason than Vieren might still have some hold over her. After he leaves, Gale speaks with Sientelle about where they stand now, and they admit that their love for each other is not a weakness, but a strength, and an important facet of who they both are. The Air aspect also opens up to Sientelle about her dreams of the future: working alongside Anathema to take on a Deathlord and free Thorns. Sientelle is shocked... but doesn't want to leave Gale or her crazy scheme.

Down below, Fleuvienne goes to "freshen up", leaving Pyres and Oresta alone. She's admitted her love for him, but Pyres isn't sure he feels the same. How can he be? He loves all the members of his Hearth in different ways, and Oresta in a stronger way than the others, but he's still not sure he even knows what love should feel like. He asks what she wants, and she tells him "to close a chapter on something, finally." Pyres admits that what he feels for Brevin drove him to new heights, but that he doesn't want it any more.

Fleuvienne sends Oresta to check on Maral at the bow of the ship, confiding to Pyres that "we all need to learn to trust her", before they get intimate again. Up on deck, Oresta does indeed find Maral at the bow of the ship, contemplating her life. Pyres' sister tells Oresta of her desire to show the world truth, and how she has been offered a new truth by the Hearth. Oresta explains how her truth has changed in the last couple of months: she's always considered herself a soldier, ever since she was young, but now, with her new allies, her relationship to that life has become more complex. Oresta tells Maral that making mistakes and being deceived is ok, that it is human. Maral accepts the difficult truth and sets off to win over Gale Whispered's trust.

Maral finds Gale and Sientelle in their stateroom, and offers a game of Gateway. The Oblative game is playable by three, and while Maral is very good, Gale manages to triumph over her. Maral asks how she could have avoided losing, and listens to Gale's wisdom before setting off again. And as the Hearth heads towards the Imperial City, they know that they will all have to confront their desires & aspirations soon....

Student Comments

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