The team returns to Gwyn with their list of demands/requests for payment for the jail break. Gwyn bascially agrees and they receive various payments: Avocado gets a Blood Charm to store edge, Aylin gets help for her mom + protection + some Tarot, Hotkey gets money to clear his debts, Test gets the final secrets of the Coimediai and the ritual ties to the Jewel of Memory, 6 Cyl gets cash, Kinnie gets info on Richard Villiers’ safehouse to seek revenge for Boston, Carol gets some tips of continuing the Taco Temple investigation. They also buy a bunch of gear for the Fauth-Doshgoi raid. Gwyn tells them to make sure to have a distraction which will keep Alachia from visiting FD that day, so they head to the dungeons to ask Harlequin for ideas. 6 Cyl stays behind to rest from some massive drain damage.
Cadgris is very disappointed that 6C is absent, but provided with a letter and promised a future visit agrees to let the team visit Harly. They head in and he coaxes the Ashen Mirror deets out of them, but seems to have his own plan for the Ebon Queen which doesn’t mesh with Gwyn’s. But he agrees to create an appropriate distraction and jumps into the toilet void, seemingly having planned his escape ahead of time. Cadgris is PISSED at the team’s involvement/presence during his disappearance, and says she will give them the night but will have to present their involvement at the next Morning’s Hearing.
The team gets quickly dressed for the Eclipse Ball, and heads to Hakari Marama, where they socialize and try not to drop any hints that they will be leaving. Hotkey arranges to continue working with Eclipse whenever he is back on Earth, specifically Al’Farabi’s exploration of strange mana sightings on Earth’s moon. They rest up in their suites and leave a goodbye note for Eclipse, and head out early the next morning, before the day’s Hearing, meeting Gwyn in disguise outside the Castle. Also along are Aylin’s mom and Chloe Glowworm, who Gwyn seems to have blackmailed into assisting. They head out through Broceliande through some linked Passage Graves that Gwyn seems to know well.
Emerging back into the Astral Sea, they find their equipment and appearances returning to their usual paradigm. They swing by Celephais without issue and drop off Chloe and Aylin’s mom with Gwyn’s contacts. Gwyn says she will be delivered back to Aylin once it is safe to do so. They head further along, and all drink a vial of Aylin’s mom’s blood that Gwyn mixes with some reagents. He says this will help them penetrate FD’s border defenses. They approach a misty crystal mountain, and are all briefly overwhelmed by sadness and despair. Most of the them shake it off, but Test is badly effected.
They begin scaling the narrow crystal stairs to the plateau top, and come across a bunch of moaning severed heads on spikes and hanging from gnarled trees. As they beg for the freedom of death, Avocado begins punching all of them to bits, setting off an alarm. They get into a battle with two powerful shadow spirits, and defeat them, but get bogged down into a debate about whether to smash all the heads for a bit. After reaching the top of the stairs, they come under fire from a large group of mages inside a sphere of shadow. They manage to take them all out, but almost lose 2 of the team in the process. They quickly patch up and slam some potions before continuing.
They fight some Unbreakable shedim guards (using bodies minus the heads they previously encountered), and have to destroy the bodies completely to keep them from regenerating. They then find the cells themsevles, and free Aina Dupree, the Ebon Queen, who insists they also rescue the other prisoners, a point of debate within the team. They free the lesser dragon/Horrorstalker Kulkulkan, in human form, as well as Anne Lyne, the former DF head in Boston who Kinnie and Aylin helped trap using a false Tarot set on behalf of Valeria, the Nadja Fixer, and also Dr. Dyna Mite, the missing head of the Gateway Project from Boston. Meanwhile, Gwyn fights the Shadow Got, which has finally arrived (and appears to be winning), and 6 Cyl and some others on the team duel with some higher powered Tan Robes who have arrived.
6C is almost killed twice, but Aylin uses her magical and vampiric abilities to absorb his damage and then regen it. They defeat the Tan Robes, and Kinnie figures out how to use the Awakened World card using Niall’s instructions to open a portal. Gwyn, losing the fight vs the Got, communes mentally with Aina and throws his Tarot card to Aylin, as per the deal, before opening a Void Door, which consumes him, the Got, and Fauth-Doshgoi itself as the team frantically flees through the portal. They emerge in the idyllic TNN countryside and find Dan the Fomorain waiting for them with snacks and a roaring fire in his cottage.
They put up warning signs around the portal, which now opens directly onto the Void that FD has become, and will last for a year and a day, according to Aina. Lyne recognizes the team that trapped her, finally, and storms off in a huff after they refuse to ID their hirer. Kulkulkan also leaves, but gives them his contact if they wish to collab in future against dark forces, or need help in Aztlan. Dyna Mite trades them a bunch of info and offers future astral travel help in exchange for a ride back to the UCAS, and they debrief extensively with Aina, who has a uniquely similar past to the situation that Aylin and 6C are in.
They learn a lot about the 4th World, Tarot, and Horrors, and Aina offers future assistance, but says she must return quickly to the Fey Realms in order to take charge of the Guide role for the Unseelie. The team also hears what happened at Court from “Frosty” Jane Foster, who shows up to confer with Aina, and recognizes Kinnie from Jackpoint. Apparently Harlequin escaped through the Country of Kaol, where he fought a monster in a bizarre pyramid and also defeated a slaver crew from the plane of Id, who are perhaps the buyers for the prisoners Zeha Cadgris sells. Jane met him there and accompanied him back to Broceliande, where they also tracked down his dark shadow, Gwynplaine, who has been murdering and selling slumbering fey (to/for someone?), and used Gwyn and Harly’s rivalry as a massive distraction to the Morning Hearing. Alachia intervened, violently, and both have been banished, perhaps permanently, from the Court.
Aina seems saddened to have to further postpone her reunion with Harly, and gives Jane a message to pass to him, encouraging him to seek help reintegrating GP into him to stop his rampaging. Jane leaves, and the team finally rests and heals. The next day, Aina is gone, and Dan takes them via cart to the coast, where an Irish expat smuggler is waiting with a zodiac to take them out of the magical borders of Tir na nOg to the shipping lanes and get them on a cargo hauler to NYC. He uses some alchemical devices to obscure them as they boat through dense fog, but Hotkey is almost lured off the boat by what he thinks are his families shouts and cries. They restrain him and reach the cargo ship. Some Albanians smuggle them aboard, exchanging some mysterious cargo to the smuggler. They are locked into an isotainer with survival supplies, and spend 3 days in there before arriving at port.
They get let out, and sneak out of the port facility, catching up on about a week’s worth of lost time and messages etc. They find out the Towers was job was done without them, by a different team, with multiple arrests and casualties. They prepare to collect their few belongings in town, make contact with anyone they need to, and head to Chicago, where they have some job offers. Test also finds out he is even more fucked, reputationally, than he thought…. better figure that out!