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The Hearth follows through on their promise of a fight and a speech, as requested.

"It's never been endings that are tough for me: it's beginnings."

As the next day dawns, Gale whispers to Sientelle, admitting that she's scared of what it will bring. Sientelle may be as well, but reassures her that "we know what we're fighting for"; Gale insists on buying Sientelle an ice cream cone when it all blows over.

Cathak Jalal brings the Hearth (minus a presumed-dead Fleuvienne) to the square flanked on all sides by the various Great House towers. Gale sends a message on the air for Juwinn, telling her that they've got the situation in hand, and to play along with the fake toxin she is to be administered. Oresta, meanwhile, prepares to throw down against the Anathema. When she is brought out, she tells Oresta to do "what you think is right". While Gale examines the situation and Pyres begins to bring the crowd to a boiling point, the fight begins in earnest. The Earth-aspect knocks the Wretched down to the ground, but she vanishes from sight and continues to fight for her life.

Gale uses her ability of farsight to see that Sientelle is, at that moment, having wine in a room full of flowers with a woman, and telling her that she doesn't have the egg. Could this woman be related to House Iselsi's plot?

Oresta sends a bolt of energy hurtling towards Juwinn, and brings her to the ground with a final, decisive smash. Pyres steps forwards and begins to rally the crowd, telling them he was wrong. The Realm is beset by enemies not from without, but from within: House Iselsi has returned to sow chaos amongst the Great Houses! Without proof in hand, it's hard going for Pyres to earn their trust as Jalal shouts him down. The Hearth tells the crowd about the toxin, and call forth on a member of House Iselsi to be honourable enough to declare their loyalty. Sientelle breaks free of the woman with her and stands tall. She was raised in House Iselsi, but declares herself to be "Bells Sientelle".

As Jalal shouts for guards to move in and kill them, Quick Rat strides into the arena, accompanied by fifty former House of Bells students, who draw weapons and fall into formation. Standing forth from the crowd, Tepet Ejava (the niece of the Regent Fokuf) demands to know if the students are staging a coup. They hold their ground, and tell her this is the way forward, into the future, and she steps over the line to take their side. Quick Rat helps to enumerate the evidence against House Iselsi, telling Jalal it will be impossible to hide now that the Realm knows what to look for; Jalal runs away, but is cut down by the students of the House of Bells.

Juwinn asks what her role is to be now: Oresta tells her that she will continue as she always has, as a guardian of the students of the House of Bells.

Student Comments

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