We make it back to Belisaere. It is late in the day by the time we get there. We request an audience with the Prince Regent.
Finn goes to Farisean's home to report in. Evie accompanies Finn to make sure he isn't accosted on the way there. The door opens on its own. Finn pushed the door open further and hears Farisean shouting for him to come in. There is smells of freshly cooked food and a table full of food and Farisean's family. Finn feels awkward about interrupting dinner. Farisean excuses himself for dinner so he can speak privately with Finn. Evie takes Farisean's place at the dinner table and introduces herself, and regales the family with tales of adventure.
Farisean offers Finn a glass of scotch. Finn tells him what we have discovered and Farisean admits all is not well in the Kingdom. The Prince Regent wants to evacuate Qrrie but is having trouble having the order pushed through. Apparently there is politics and business at work within the Council. The Queen refuses to do anything but sit and wait for news of her daughter. Belisaere is otherwise stable.
Finn tells Farisean about the Free Magic red and black pyramid that his Free Magic taint attempted to activate or use. Farisean suggest amputation or Charter-based advanced healing techniques. Farisean says one team of the Unseen went missing in fog that overtook the area where Finn was infected with Free Magic. Finn says he should be sent back to investigate; he feels responsible even. Farisean says he's hesitant to send Finn back there. Farisean says he will see us all tomorrow at the meeting with the Prince Regent. Finn and Evie depart.
Finn tells Evie that he thinks the demise of his former team members was his fault. And now there is a weird mage-eating mist in the place where he was attacked. Evie comforts Finn and he says he thinks he's going back there to investigate. Evie gives him a hard time about thinking about going there on his own. Finn doesn't want to risk anyone else but Evie won't let him off that easy. Evie proposes they get a drink and they're off to the tavern.
Roxy gets back to her place and it's darker than it should be. Roxy casts detect traps and then darkvision. She sees the leader of the Knight Blades, Maltoral. "Damnit, Mal, you scared the shit out of me!" Maltoral tells her to get inside so they can confer. He and Roxy have a conversation.
Roxy goes to visit Muriel at the Abhorsen quarters at the castle. Muriel answers the door in sweats and holding chips. Roxy tells Muriels her boss told her that three different contracts have been taken out on Corain. She shows Muriel the contracts. Muriel thinks Roxy has better resources than anyone to find out why Corian has those contracts out on him. After hanging out for a bit Roxy goes out to talk to some of her contacts.
Roxy accidently lets her contacts know she's asking about Corian but she does get to talk to Squirrely. Apparently Corian has been messing with some very high class ladies and some angry rich husbands are out for his blood.
The next morning we all gather and Roxy tells Corian has three separate contracts on him. Corian thinks only one of them is a legitimate grievance against him. Finn mentions that Corian has been falsely accused before.
We see Hastinean outside the castle speaking with Finn's mother, Caethyn. She rushed up to embrace Finn and says Hastinean was telling her what happened to him on the last mission. She scolds Finn for not telling her and says they have the best healers at the Academy. Apparently Hastinean has told her he's offered to help heal Finn. Finn is understandably uncomfortable and introduces us all to his mother as a distraction. Caethyn wants Finn to stop by and see his visiting aunt and new cousin.
Off-key bells ring in the town and it's time for our meeting with the Prince Regent Tiburolt and Abhorsen-in-Waiting Ramoniel. Roxy presents the letter from Garnelle. They look over the parchment. The Prince Regent says it will help him become the proper Prince "before things become too dire". Evie asks Ramoniel if she and Muriel could talk in private later.
Tiburolt wants help from us again. He says they're having trouble evacuating Qrrie and wants to get a ship or two out there to help. And apparently the way is to schmooze with rich people like Finn's Aunt Varah at a fancy party. Tiburolt wants Finn to be his date. Finn asks for a drink. Corian asks Roxy to be his date and she agrees so that she can protect him.
After they leave Finn starts freaking out a little about meeting his Aunt Varah and tells the rest of us about how terrifying she is. We are skeptical. Finn, Roxy and Corian go grab a drink.
Meanwhile Ramoniel meets with Evie and Muriel. Evie tells Ramoniel about the Three Sisters poem. We tell her about how Arielle got swept into Death, and the visions we both had at the Glacier. Ramoniel says she has to go to the Rift. Muriel tells Evie she doesn't think she could handle sending Arielle into Death a second time. Ramoniel tries to comfort us that it isn't our sister any more. Evie tells her that in the visions Arielle appeared to be in pain. Ramoniel reads the full poem and wants to study it further; she thinks there's some weird code in the wording. Ramoniel says she will inform us as soon as she finds out anything more. She tells us thank you and then admits that she hated us before now for turning our backs on the Abhorsen ways. Ramoniel bids us goodbye and goes to prepare for her journey.
Finn says he's only having one drink before going to see mom. Roxy and Corian are planning on finding Corian's accusers. Finn goes to his childhood home where his mom still lives. Caethyn calls him in to meet with his sister Bronwyn, her new baby, and Finn's other Aunt Lillis. FInn says he will be at the party with Prince Regent Tiburolt. All the ladies speak at once excitedly because it will "kill Aunt Varah" because his accidental social climbing will suddenly overtake her in one fell swoop. Finn says he didn't mean to but the ladies say "let us have our fun". Finn asks to talk to his mother in private.
Finn pulls her into the kitchen and asks Caethyn about Hastinean. Finn tells her about the rumors of Hastinean's "experiments" but she is dismissive. She even encourages Finn to see Hastinean. Caethyn says Hastinean's research applying Ancelstierrian scientific methods have been beneficial to the Academy.
Roxy and Corian go snooping. They spot that one of the ladies Corian did not recognize from the contract list and her daughter appears to be pregnant. Yet another one has a pregnant teenage daughter. Corian is adamant he did not sleep with either of these youths. They spot the third, the one that Corian knows he did sleep with. She now has a wedding ring unlike before but no pregnant daughter that they see. Roxy doesn't want to confront her directly for fear of discrediting the Knight Blades. She settles on representing a different organization falsely.
Roxy finds an opportune time to sneak up to the woman and ask her about the contract. The woman is clueless about the contract that her husband put out for Corian. She tells the woman about the other two lord families with the pregnant teenage daughters. The woman says this is "just like" her husband and claims she will ensure her husband rescinds those contracts. Roxy says Corian owes her one.
It's time for the fancy charity ball for the Annual Academy Scholarship Fund at Aunt Varah's manor.
Finn's outfit is white with gold accents. He has a military cut cape with a brilliant crimson lining. He arrives earlier than the Prince told him to, but waits for Prince Tiburolt who is dressed in black with gold accents and a cape with a solver lining. Finn warns Tiburolt about Aunt Varah but he laughs and says he's met Varah before. They chat sweet/awkwardly for a bit and then Finn asks Tiburolt if his is what he really wants. Tiburolt admits he would rather be slinging bells with the other Abhorsens but he feels duty-bound to serve the Kingdom the best he can. Apparently the Queen has literally no other care other than finding her daughter and bringing her back. The Queen no longer talks to him or anyone else. "We must put this on hold for much more dire matters – my Aunt is throwing a party."
A servant announces Prince Regent Tiburolt and Finn together and the crowd is really keyed up. Aunt Varah looks darkly at Finn, and Bronwyn immediately rushes in for interference.
Muriel arrives in an Abhorsen-blue high-colared mermaid cut dress with Quinnona in an airy ice-blue ball gown.
As Evie arrives stag, Hastinean approached her. She corrects him as her name being Evaiel since he has heard of her as the Abhorsen not the treasure hunter. He offers to escort her into the ball and she accepts.
Evie is wearing a corset bodice with many translucent scarves that barely show silver keys underneath, and a necklace with a single silver key. Hastinean is wearing a coat of green and gold. As they are announced Muriel's head snaps over to them and she GLARES at Evie like she is in so much trouble. And then she turns an absolute cold death look at Hastinean. He flashes a smile at her and Muriel can tell there are gears turning in his head.
Roxy and Corian arrive together. Corian is in a purple waistcoat and a black coat and Roxy is dressed in a frilly black and purple accented poofy midi dress with big boots.
While Prince Tiburolt and Finn are dancing pretty much no one else is and are watching the two of them instead. Prince Tiburolt breaks away to gather Muriel and go talk to Lord Alaren about borrowing an airship. Muriel is visibly agitated about something.
During a break in the dancing a lovely red-haired woman approaches Corian saying she doesn't think she's ever seen him before. He tells her he is from up north and she introduces herself as Bronwyn. Across the room Finn starts sliding his way over there. Corian tells Bronwyn that he's just finished a job at the Clayr's Glacier. Bronwyn greets Finn as he comes over. "Your sister you say?"
Bronwyn says she's just started studying Free Magic at the Academy. Hastinean apparently proposed this project for her. Finn says Hastinean seems to be making friends with everyone he knows. Aunt Lillis walks up and also asks about Corian. Both Lillis and Bronwyn are hitting on Corian and Finn is panicked. Corian offers to get drinks as Finn clenches his jaw at him. "YOU ARE TOO FRIENDLY." "Aunt Lillis, again?!" "All I wanted was a date with the Prince!" "I was just going to talk to them!" Finn is distressed about Corian and also that Bronwyn is studying Free Magic.
Evie is craning her neck to see what is up with her friends and Hastinean notices. He asks about her compatriots and Finn in particular. Hastinean mentions Finn had been hurt and they had been worried it might be affecting him. Evie expresses concern and promises to tell him if she notices anything. Evie can't tell if she's fooled Hastinean.
Muriel is introduced to Lord Alaren as one of the best pilot in the fleet and an Abhorsen. Prince Tiburolt makes some small talk before asking about the air yacht for use in the evacuation. The Prince does most of the talking. Lord Alaren isn't convinced there is true danger. There's some arguing but eventually Alaren relents. The airship will be prepped and ready to leave tomorrow. Having accounts from actual Qrrie exiles will help the Prince's case for evacuating the whole area.
Aunt Varah approaches Finn as he feels a chill up her spine. She immediately demands to know what he is doing here with the Prince. Varah thinks Caethyn put him up to this which surprises Finn. Varah thinks her family is trying to show her up at her party. Finn tries to mollify her by saying that it's only because of this party that he gets a chance to spend some time with Tiburolt. Varah finally says it's nice to see Finn and gives him an awkward hug and walks away. Hastinean catches Finn's eye and saultes him with his drink.
Corian asks Hastinean about his project with Bronwyn. He says the Academy is helping him with Free Magic studies. Hastinean wants to interrogate if Free Magic is inherently evil, or if it could be wielded for good purposes. He says the people of Athask use Free Magic without it controlling them. Corian and Hastinean express interest in learning what each other knows about Free Magic. Hastinean says short small uses of Free Magic do not have lasting effects on the Athask but bigger uses do. Corian argues that there could be cumulative effects. And he thinks we need to understand how Free Magic is bound in the Charter to begin with. Hastinean really does believe that studying Free Magic is a way to help keep the Kingdom safe.
Finn and Muriel go to dance with their respective dates. Hastinean tries to tempt Evie back to the reformatory with ancient artifacts. But she invites him to dance for now.
Corian excuses himself from Roxy to bring drinks to Lillis and Bronwyn. And then he goes back to Roxy for a dance. Roxy forces him to dance for quite awhile. Roxy does not want Corian to hook up with Finn's sister.
The party wraps up and Finn sees Prince Tiburolt back to his room and Quinonna would really like to see the Abhorsen quarters of the castle. Hastinean politely bids Evie goodnight since she does not apparently show interest in spending the night with him.
Pillow talk! Finn tells Tiburolt he knows about the Princess. Tiburolt says that what he wants for himself has to come second to what the Kingdom needs. He says the Princess trusted him to not tell anyone where she was going because it could mean the death of her people. Finn wants to contact the Princess to ask her if her vision has changed at all. Tiburolt says he can get a message to her but he doesn't hold much hope. Finn says that if the Princess could come back and rule then they could go fight against Free Magic creatures and the Dead together. Tiburolt smiles and says he would love nothing more.