The team, as well as the other courtiers, are surprised by Lady Brane Deigh’s announcement that there will be only 1 petition today- from another new faction for official recognition, the “High Priestess”. They also announce the existence of another mysterious cult faction called “Threshold”, who wear two-tone robes, though not much else is known (or announced, anyway). The session is quickly called, and the team is surprised to find Aleiron seemingly working with HP, and she passes them an invite to the evening’s Greylight Gathering- it seems their next encounter with Aylin’s mom is on track. Lady Xoc, head of the HP faction, will be making her social debut there.
Aleiron also gives them some Tarot cards, as a show of good faith. They head out and find a delivery from Zhigul Makers- some comms from the real world, as well as the Taco Temple they ordered, in order to poison. Test gets confirmation from the IOND of “job well done”, and he gets approved for provisional membership, though they tell him he will have to clear up some kind of confusion around him online with his references- he fears the Dox may be coming after him. HK hears from his family, and is stoked to report to the team that not much time has passed on the Material Plane.
They poison the food, and 6 Cyl forges a note to redirect blame to AZT if anyone looks into it. They leave it near the servant’s quarters where they hope it will be found and delivered to Viltharion. Some of the team heads to the libraries to do some more research, looking into the Dungeonkeeper and TT. Test meets with Rooster, and trades him some info about himself (what people are saying about him on JP) and agrees to deliver a reply, in exchange for an explanation of the coimediai, which Rooster thoroughly provides.
6 Cyl gets pulled off of their Dungeon planning to help Court alchemists try to find an antidote: the Executioner’s niece has been poisoned! 6 Cyl plays it cool and doesn’t let it slip that the team is the one who did the poison. Strangely, there is also another odd substance ID’ed by Glasseater as a non-digestible fragment from the toxic plane of Carcean, which they body wouldn’t either digest or pass, though it is far too small a quantity to be harmful. 6 Cyl conceals his interest as best he can, and returns to the team after they make the best antidote they can.
They head into the Dungeon again, and cut a deal with Cadgris. They fill her in on the details of how ultraviolet nodes and BTL’s can be used as torture/interrogation techniques, and give her a heads up that the Geocache has a similar quality to it. She is excited and agrees to give them a short time with the 2 prisoners they requested- one AZT soldier (cleverly ID’ed by Carol), and Harlequin (requested as a longshot by Avocado). 6 Cyl and Cadgris continue their flirtation, making the team somewhat uncomfortable due to it’s violent nature.
They question the AZT guy first, smuggling Aylin in in mist form, who successfully mind reads him and finds that he was part of an AZT black ops team that was investigating global power sites, with a seeming focus on volcanoes. They encountered a secret Sioux Nation facility under Yellowstone, guarded by some powerful shamans, and engaged in a firefight in which the other team members were killed and he was sucked through a rift, and imprisoned in the Court. This seems to have been right around the same time that the rift opened (and the last big runner crew came through the Court, also). They send this info off to Aneki hoping it will be enough, in concert with the TT poisoning, to get the payday they need by tonight.
Aylin mists back into the briefcase and they go have a dangerously informative chat with Harlequin. He recruits them into seeking the Ebon Queen on his behalf, and tells them to seek the Ashen Mirror in a temple somewhere in the Castle. 6 Cyl asks one more question and unleashes a whole problem- Harlequin is horrified to hear about 6C and Aylin’s new mentor, their travels through Kadath, and the 9 Gates being opened. He tells them this is very bad as it means the coming of the Scourge is accelerating. Properly spooked, they head out and begin dressing for the night’s Ball, figuring they best deal with the immediate problem of Blood Mom before stressing about next steps.
Aneki delivers, seemingly satisfied, and Test decides to disguise himself as a mockery of Hermit’s petition to defend the slumbering fey, to continue his insult comic vibe. This will allow him to bring in Aylin’s dad in the bio-pod he was delivered in as part of the costume. Everyone else dresses pretty well, mostly fairly subtly or minimally to avoid attention where possible. 6Cyl and Aylin get the ritual details from Thisbe Sorrel and link back up with the team as they head to the Ball.
They arrive and are ushered to the 2nd least desirable tier of the Hall of Night by the host, a dark elf named Sylana. Test manages to make a noticeable negative impact on Hermit and other isolationists. They watch as Lady Xoc and other higher members of High Priestess are introduced, and the HP members begin circulating. Aleiron approaches the team and explodes in a cloud of blood, as Aylin’s mom emerges. She says she thought it was time for her debut as well as Courtiers flee that tier and the Queen’s Guard seal off the stairs. The team initiates their trap, with some opening the biodpod and Aylin conning her mom to get her to attack her dad.
Aylin’s mom, vengeful, falls for it, but not before making 6Cyl shoot Carol in the neck, nearly killing him. Aylin’s mom kills Aylin’s dad, as Aylin opens the Blood Box, pulling the shade (along with Aylin’s dad) into it, leaving only the mortal part of her mother behind. They barely manage to slam the box shut as Avocado is ko’ed and others injured by the energies within. Thisbe Sorrel arrives and takes custody of the box, saying she will destroy it. Purlie Tallow also blags his way up, wanting to take a look as a conouisser of blood. The Ball ends early, though the Queen never acknowledges what occurred, publicly. The team heads back to quarters after ko-ing her mom, who is in a deep panic/trauma response. They plan to seek therapy or magical help for her on the morrow.
On their way out, they are approached by Sister Verda of HP, who requests they visit Lady Xoc the next day to make up for their faction’s infiltration by such a dangerous entity, and also as they believe they may have common cause. The team agrees and calls it a night, relieved to finally be free of this one threat, at least.