Having feng-shui’d their quarters appropriately, the team sets out to pursue their various day’s goals. They decide to attend the Morning Hearing to get a look at who else is around and see if anything interesting comes up. They see some of the same strange biz as the day before, and witness the surprisingly abrupt execution of a baobhan sith prisoner, although the hearings end a bit early today after a powerful illusion spell denouncing the Queen is triggered (and quickly counterspelled). Fentin determines it was likely an alchemical trigger set off from the cheap seats, but is chased off by 3 of the Queen’s royal guard, a mismatched trio of a left-handed duelist, a longbow-man, and some sort of social adept. They all wear black half-masks, and seem vaguely threatening.
The team also receives a few messages during the hearing, specifically an Elvar man named Honeysuckle seeking a meeting with Toast, a Wild Fae croki named Riva Dhillon requesting Fentin’s attendance (cloaked in a subtle insult), and some back and forth between Love and one of Thisbe Sorrel’s pages (who once again appears possibly related). They split up after the hearing to pursue these various meetings during the midday hours. Fentin meets with Dhillon, and is requested to do some info gathering to make up for the Wild Fae having ID’ed him as a member, after he claimed affiliation. He also embarrasses himself a bit due to his inability to operate in the strange freefall sky room that the meeting is in.
Chem and Toast go to the Cube, a truly 3d dining hall with people seated on every surface, to make their secret meet, and it seems that Honeysuckle is passing along info from the Moonlight Thorns, who want Toast to do some info gathering on the team’s sponsor Niall O’Connor. He agrees, and tries to interact with the 3d-ness of the room, but it seems that some magical property firmly keeps entrants orientated to the plane they entered on. Love and Toff grab a quick lunch at the freeform Grand Hall before afternoon tea with Sorrel, at which she explains some of the history of the court and it’s tech, especially pertaining to the Jewel of Memory and the coimeadai/Keepers. She also tries to hook up with Toff, but he is not enthusiastic. Also, disturbingly, she seems to have already produced a child from her previous day’s union with Love, who she says will have a full life of safe and gainful employ in her household. She also tells Toff that she can removed Gwynplaine’s mark using blood magic, if he wishes, and suggests that Harlequin and Gwynplaine would be difficult but not impossible to reunite.
Gethin returns to the Gallows, entering the old west paradigm, to meet again with Duke Flowerpot. He makes some general inquiries, and they both dance around the issue a bit, but he seems to be attempting to recruit the team to work with the secretive Bastard faction, and hints that they do not see eye to eye with the Queen. Gethin says they will discuss with the team and report back. Fentin goes to his 2nd meeting of the day, finding his way (despite a trickster) to the Geocache, a strange representation of a 2050’s style matrix- all green lines and hovering obelisks. He thinks the 8 enormous floating structures likely correspond to the Corporate Court members of the time, but can’t figure out how to gain access. Rooster eventually appears, and they discuss the use and nature of the Court’s “gramarye” aka it’s wireless aura. Rooster suggests that Fentin should be able to make good use of his hacking skills hear to access the Keepers, as well as locked portals and the like. They also discuss the team possibly collaborating with Hanged Man, although it seems Rooster mostly wishes to collect rare stories, to further his goal on becoming the Court Jester someday.
Chessick has been wandering and socializing, and getting shown the ropes here and there by Niall. He discovers that the Ember Banquet, though socially the lowest tier of the Banquets, can be useful to attend to make shadier contacts, and the team decides to head to a bar called Gilik’s to attend that evening’s feast. Love opts out, grabbing a snack at the Grand Hall, and seeking out one of the castle’s many Libraries, discovering much about the coimeadai/keeper system. He is told that the trick is not so much finding a library, as finding the specific thing you seek a 2nd time, and definitely gets the feeling that there are many more such stores of knowledge throughout the castle.
Fentin researches further at another library, and manages to use his recently acquired knowledge to get invited to a mid-level banquet in a strange inverted moonscape room that seems to defy gravity. He makes contact with members of the Comet and Eclipse factions, and thinks that Comet could be good to offer a contact to SK or the Vigilia Evangelica. He also gathers intel for the Wild Fae as requested. He tries a strange euphoric drug by accident as well. Meanwhile, at Gilik’s, Toast and Gethin make contact with some various folks on the outs at Court, and get some useful intel, as well as some hints of the castle’s mysteries. They also get the impression that Gilik himself could be a useful fellow to know, as he seems to have all sorts of strange connections. Chessick later gets a job from Gilik to assassinate a retired courtier of the Higher Power faction.
The next day Fentin passes along his intel, and Riva uses it to good effect to seemingly quash an attempt at a minor democratic reform. They do some further research into The Agents of Clarity, and seemingly have a good amount of options as to who to ally with. Love decides to try to impress the Magician faction as well, and boringly (though competently) crushes an opponent in the Arena with spellcraft. The team hears that the Queen’s arcana collection likely includes some Boston CFD (!!!) and also that her obsession with artifacts is a good way to manipulate her. They receive invites to banquets for the evening, and plan to reassess afterward what their next steps should be.
Love attends the Cyprian Feast, the lowest banquet of the top tier, where he makes some useful Magician contacts, more through skill than through charm. The rest of the team attends a Feast of the Fallen, discussing the castle’s mysteries and history. Toast and Chessick convince the HP assassination target to meet them on the roof after dinner for some secret knowledge, and grab Love once he’s free as well. Chessick strings the courtier along for a bit before telling him to wait and making his exit, at which point Love sends in an illusory Nightwatch Phantom, while Toast ko’s the guy with an arrow. Love scampers up under his illusion’s cover and drains the fae’s blood with his athame. He is about to recover the arrow and cover their tracks when both he and Toast are scared off by what seems to be the real Phantom.
The Phantom chases them to the exit, chilling their bones, and swipes at them with a massive blade just before dissipating into mist. They race inside, only to find that he has a left a small bleeding gash in both of their chests, that try as they might, they are unable to heal. They brief the team, and rest for the night. Nothing directly pertaining to them happens at the next morning hearings, although there seem to be more mortals than before showing up. Gethin gives info about the Queen’s CFD threat to Flowerpot/Bastard, in exchange for potential future alliance. Toast heads to the arena to try to overcome the shame of fleeing the Phantom, as well as prove his skill (especially after Love’s boring performance), and is having an impressive go at toying with and slowly disabling a shardik, when the oversized toxic bear gets a lucky swipe of it’s claws in and fells him, before feasting on his corpse. Though he tries to crawl free, he is unable, and is almost wholly consumed.
The rest of the team, unaware of his sad fate, head to the Catacombs to try to determine where the cache is, what the AZT team is up to in there, and what other secrets the catacombs contain…