Silver Syndicate has poured into Pearl Street savaging hobgoblins and Shadow Court warriors.
The Shadow King has been weakened by Izzy and Peter. The darkness fades in some parts of Boulder, guiding the Legion of the Iron Wall with Mae leading their way.
Jack and Eden take on the Twins while Cyclone Jim and Bill battle Hans. The Man of Shears tears apart The Huntress and turns his sights to the Shadow King.
Annette and Joseph tend to Nacho.
Other changelings (Nyx, Adelina, Polyphemus, Kite) emerge from the alleys to join the fight.
The Shadow King is driven back along with Hans. The Twins are killed by Jack, Eden and Max. As the Legion of the Iron Wall enters Pearl Street, the sunrise finally breaks through the blackout. The Shadow King and Hans escape without any captured prey. Peter tells them to hold their arrows from the Man of Shears.
The Man of Shears, with the Gentry defeated, turns to the motley. He tells Eden “You have fought well my little orchid. You have earned your release from my bonds. After today our paths will never cross again”. He then leans in and kisses her on the cheek, snipping a small cut on her face. As he walks away, blood begins to stream from Eden’s chin and she collapses, her throat cut open. “Freed at last” the Gardener says, smiling, before he flees quickly into the Hedge.
The motley gather around Eden, Joseph trying to staunch her wounds. But despite her fire to live, the wound is too critical, too deep. Surrounded by her friends, she bleeds out on Pearl Street’s sidewalks, her hand falling out of Jack’s.
Three months have gone by. Summer Court is becoming frayed and isolated. Rumors persist that Cyclone Jim, having seen the glory and honor of the Rescuers firsthand, is losing his trust in Bill Tenkiller. Conflicts threaten to erupt in that court all the time though Peter does a good job of calming the waters.
Peter has asked Nacho to stay in Boulder as his second but Nacho politely refuses. Recognizing the Lonely Archer’s need to get away, he instead “tasks” Nacho with seeking out winter cottages in the Canadian wilderness and then Alaska if Nacho so chooses. Jack has been invited to join him. No one else knows where they’ll be but Peter.
Mae kisses Jack before he leaves.
Izzy has come into her own as Autumn Queen. Her skills in the Battle of Shadow Court has earned her a reputation as a harsh but honorable ruler, some say as a result of her heart hardening from her friend’s death. The only thaw to that frost is the persistent rumor that she and Peter are in love, though no one has ever witnessed this. They steal their affections secretly when they can.
Joseph’s prestige in Spring Court grows. He has recently been apprenticed to a man named Jeremiah Somn, a traveling oneirophysician who is teaching Joseph the means to heal people through their dreams. Court mantle rises to two dots.
Jenn also has grown in her court’s favor. Because of the choices she’s made, for the good of the freehold and not Coldmarrow, Peter has made her the Onyx Scribe; documentarian, spy and guardian of secrets for the Court. Her Court mantle is now two dots. He has also asked that she look into fortifying the freehold’s presence in the Hedge, to plumb its depth in greater detail, taking up what changelings she needs to do this.
Mae has set up a memorial for Eden, a series of toadstool statues on Pearl Street. For reasons most Boulder mortals don’t understand, a rose and an apple are left there every month. No one knows who leaves them there, though they rot and spoil before the new ones are replaced.
Eden, defeated by Bill and bleeding out profusely from her wounds, fights consciousness as she’s taken by Jenn and Nacho for medical attention.
Jack throws himself into the Silver Syndicate battle at Verdant Manse. Through a tangle of claws, snarls and bloodshed, he manages to kill Owen and, with Max’s help, literally bites the head off of his hated enemy Judge Wagner. Pounding the old man’s corpse through tears, Jack finally breaks through all the trauma and fear of his pack’s massacre and is at last, for the first time in years, truly free. Max and the other Silver Syndicate werewolves howl in solidarity at this.
Joseph assists Mr. Hart in the attempt to signal The Legion of The Iron Wall. Hobgoblins and Shadow Court soldiers are doing everything they can to stomp out the fires the group starts. After fighting off assaulting hobgoblins, he tends to the injured as best he can.
Nacho and Jenn try to staunch Eden’s bleeding. Fate is not with them and Eden is quickly dying. They must get her help and soon. Nacho attempts to drive them somewhere with Peter’s limousine but because of the chaotic nature of the Shadow Court blackout, skids and drives the limousine into a ditch. As they try to get the car out, a small trio of Shadow Court hobgoblins and tenebrous soldiers creep up on them.
Izzy, Annette Archer, Cyclone Jim and Peter discuss Peter and Mr. Hart’s plan. Cyclone Jim agrees with the signal fires on Pearl Street. Izzy strikes upon the idea of using the Auroch’s Horn to summon a True Fae to fight for them, in the hopes that The Legion of the Iron Will can defeat the last True Fae standing. The Boulder Royalty travel to Izzy’s home for the token where Mary O’Brine has it at the ready for her queen. She also lets Izzy know she’s trying to find a way for the motley to defeat the Gentry menace but is having trouble finding the right tokens.
Jack, his past now behind him, apologizes to Max but insists that he must quickly return to his changeling friends. Max nods in understanding and Jack wastes no time dashing to Peter’s safehouse.
Izzy, now with the Auroch’s Horn, joins the other Boulder Royalty. The group drives to Pearl Street but on their way there, encounter Nacho, Jenn and Eden. Peter, Nacho and the Summer King fend off the hobgoblins. When the Royalty decides that the Pearl Street fires are more important than anyone, Annette decides to stay with Eden, with Jenn agreeing to safeguard them both.
Izzy, Nacho, Peter, Cyclone Jim and Bill arrive at Pearl Street to see Joseph already amidst the blaze. Izzy uses her August magic to convince the Shadow Court minions to first cease their interference with Mr. Hart and his group and then to assist in setting the fires alongside changelings. Nacho takes it upon himself to search for the nearest gas line. When he has, and opens the valve to release the natural gas, he takes aim with his hand cannon and fires. He’s blown out of the restaurant and into the city courtyard, badly burned.
Jenn notices the Shadow Court mob growing around the ditched limousine. While she defends Eden, Annette tries to move Eden closer to Pearl Street using her wind ability. In swift time, she brings Jenn and Eden with her to join up with the Royals.
Joseph tries to see to Nacho’s self-inflicted wounds when suddenly the mall goes quiet. All of them witness the marching noise of an approaching Shadow Court. Four Gentry, tall and nightmarish step out of the darkness and onto Pearl Street. One of them is Jenn’s Keeper, Hans/The Cognoscente.
Jenn, on recognition of Hans, is dumbstruck with insane panic. She flees the scene while Izzy, Joseph and Annette work on Eden and Nacho.
Peter, Cyclone Jim and Bill take the Gentry head-on.
With Annette’s help, Eden is soon back to stable health. * Izzy decides now is the time to active the Auroch’s Horn. She recalls her agreement with the Tender and suggests to Eden that she should use the horn. Eden does and from out of the city courtyard grows a small patch of high-rising corn stalks. From these stalks emerges The Man of Shears/ The Gardener, who smiles at Eden and then strolls into the changeling fracas with Shadow Court.
The horn blown and her Keeper now battling Shadow Court, Eden wastes no time and immediately drops herself into the battle.
Jen flees to the Boulder Public Library. She breaks into her office and notifies anyone who will listen on the Internet that Boulder is under attack by True Fae. She recovers herself and bravely returns to Pearl Street.
Mary O’Brine soon appears and makes herself known to Izzy. She supplies her with five tokens, one for each of the motley.
Izzy battles the Shadow King along with Peter.
The Man of Shears battles The Huntress.
Cyclone Jim and Bill fight Hans while Eden fights The Twins.
While fighting with The Twins, Eden is suddenly knocked back several meters. Just as she skids to a halt, Jack plunges into the battle. Izzy sees to it that Eden ingests the mushroom token Mary O’Brine gave her. Jen returns from the library to the Pearl Street carnage.
Eden, Joseph and Jenn return from the Hedge and are picked up by Adelina. Through Boulder they witness the Shadow Court rampaging the town, seizing human after human and dragging them back to Arcadia. They arrive at Peter’s safehouse, where he is strategizing with Nacho and Izzy on the freehold’s next move.
Jack continues to battle Summer Court soldiers and the Pure. He and the Silver Syndicate force the changelings to retreat while the Pure attempts to hold out. Seeing to the beseiged Spring Queen, he escorts her escape from her mansion to Peter’s safehouse, where he believes she will be safest.
A messenger from Summer Court arrives at the safehouse, informing Peter that a meeting with the kings and queens of Boulder freehold is now dire. Mr. Hart is convinced that a fire, in the burning of Pearl Street Mall, might signal the Legion of the Iron Wall… a last chance rescue they desperately need. Peter instead insists that mending the peace with Summer Court is now the utmost priority and the two men begin taking up volunteers for their respective plans. Nacho, Izzy, Eden and Jenn join up with Peter (Eden determined to confront Summer Court and Bill Tenkiller) while Joseph and others join Mr. Hart in his mission.
The royal entourage arrives at Clutch’s garage and enter Bill’s compound in the Hedge. With no Summer Court soldiers nearby, paranoia is high. Cyclone Jim himself greets them and invites them into the house. There he attempts to broker an end to this civil war by proposing a duel between Eden and Bill. If Eden wins, she will be eligible to be the Summer King’s second and the Pure will be asked to leave. If Bill wins, Summer Court will spare her life and the other three courts will agree to work with Summer Court to route the invading Gentry. Eden vengefully agrees.
Jack decides, with the Spring Queen safe among Peter’s entourage, to return to the Verdant Mansion and assist his fellow Forsaken.
Joseph, assisting as a field medic with Mr. Hart’s gang of arsonists, ends up in a skirmish with a hobgoblin on the Pearl Street Mall.
The duel between Eden and Bill involves two longswords, both of which allow the wielder to hide his wounds by spending Glamour. The first person who runs out of Glamour and reveals first blood loses. Out in the yard of the compound, Eden and Bill begin against each other.
Eden battles valiantly but unfortunately cannot burn the amount of Glamour Bill can. She loses, her wounds opening up all at once over her body. Bleeding out profusely, she begins to almost lose consciousness. Nacho and Jenn quickly see her out of the Hedge while the Summer King, sated as a well fed cat, begins to discuss plans with the other Royals.
Peter, Mr. Hart, and Nacho face the terrifying presence that is Shadow Court emerging from the Hedge. Peter invokes a Goblin Contract, which transports the three of them back to the safehouse Izzy is staying in. Unfortunately, the contract is such that while the Shadow Court cannot find/locate them, another enemy will suddenly know where they are. They anticipate a confrontation will find them and soon.
In only a few minutes Nacho, waiting outside, sees Coldmarrow’s entourage drive up and a gun battle immediately erupts.
Izzy scurries into the panic room of the safehouse, at Kite’s advisement. She receives a call from Mary O’Brine, who informs her of Persimmons and asks the Queen why she isn’t fighting in the fray.
Eden, Joseph and Jenn manage to escape the changeling that safeguarded them from Shadow Court’s passage. Eden wants them to avoid the portal out of the Hedge and instead seek out the bridge burners. Joseph, on the other hand, decides to ask the Hedge itself for a way out and is immediately snared by it and dragged through the deepest parts of the brambles. Eden and Jenn, sourly, decide to walk on without Joseph to the bridge burner fortifications.
Joseph finds himself dumped out into a clearing. There he finds a cave entrance, guarded by two voracious briarwolves. He is barely able to off their attacks.
Jack, with Silver Syndicate has taken to attacking a few Summer Soldiers laying siege to the Spring Queen’s mansion. After tearing three of them to pieces, he charges into the house to locate and put down any other conflicts. He finds that off in the garage, Summer Soldiers have the Spring Queen pinned.
Nacho, in the gun battle with Winter Court, takes drastic measures. As Izzy scurries out of the panic room and begins cursing Coldmarrow with Autumn magic, Nacho quickly retrieves the grenades Jenn gave him from the bridge burner camp and rolls one at Coldmarrow’s limo. In a massive explosion, Coldmarrow is wounded and knocked prone. Ignatius, his lieutenant, is immediately killed in the blast.
Prone and bleeding, Coldmarrow tries to crawl away while his soldiers lay down cover fire against Peter, Kite and Nacho. Izzy, having activated her Heart of the Antlion contract, has a bloodlust that won’t be denied. As the gents trade shots at one another, she sneaks off to the side of the house, creeps up on Coldmarrow and before he can realize it, slits his gullet from ear to ear, screaming out “And you said I’d make a shitty Queen!!”
Nacho covers Izzy while she continues on her rampage, stabbing Coldmarrow in the eyes. With Coldmarrow dead, Peter asserts his claim on the Winter King throne and orders the Winter Court soldiers to drop their weapons.
Jack manages to rip away the Summer Court snipers while Silver Syndicate is rampaging through the house.
Eden and Jenn find that the bridge burners have been decimated by Shadow Court and with no large army to back up her revolution, Eden dejectedly turns to finding Joseph. Tearing through the Hedge where he was taken, they manage to find him, prone and with a briarwolf snapping at his throat. Jenn and Eden work to kill the two briarwolves and see to Joseph’s wounds.
Once on his feet, Joseph is able to enter the cave entrance with Eden and Jenn, emerging out of the Hedge into the outskirts of Boulder.
Raids on various locations in Boulder are executed by the bridge burners. A gun shop. The Boulder police department. Ending in double digit deaths, mostly of civilians.
Eden, Joseph and Jenn end up trapped in the Hedge, after venturing in there to gather up support troops (Joseph finds the amputation goblins he was seeking decimated by some unknown entity). Dragged into a bizarre underwater cave by a hobgoblin, they’re safeguarded from the Shadow Court that rides past them and into Boulder, a cabal of True Fae that suffocate all light around them (including the stars in the Hedge as they progress).
Nacho, Mr. Hart and Peter Boreas encounter the Shadow Court as they emerge from the Hedge gate Eden and company have used. Nacho is beset by the shadows and finds he must keep them from dragging him into a coma.
Jack is traveling with Silver Syndicate when he gets a call that the Spring Queen’s house is being attacked by Summer Court troops. He rushes there.
Izzy and Kite are waiting at Peter’s safehouse (when Izzy discovers a cold iron panic room upstairs.
Then, all of Boulder is immediately plunged into complete darkness.
Peter makes sure the motley is secured at a local safehouse and sees to it they all have encrypted cellphones. He asks Nacho if he would mind being his second, IF they retake Winter Court from Coldmarrow.
Jack sneaks back into Denver via a coffin and hearse to meet up again with Max Roman. Roman then decides he will join Jack on the way back to Boulder and in tow with the Silver Syndicate alpha follows five SUVs of Forsaken.
Eden has arrangements to meet with Polyphemus and inspect the bridge burner troops.
Joseph has been tasked with creating a nerve gas or other agent to fight against the Harsh Season Courts.
Izzy discovers that Squick, the Autumn Court assassin she sent to take out Cyclone Jim, has been mortally wounded. Mr. Hart, who has returned, advises her to stick with her friends and to help forge a cohesive front against the Harsh Season Courts.
The motley attempts to meet with Max Roman, despite the late night hour of their arrival. Blocked from access by a security guard, they decide not to press the issue and instead to check into a nearby hotel.
After a much needed rest, they gather their gear (and what they can take from the complimentary breakfast) and rendezvous at the Argentum Building. After a bit of formal hoop jumping through lobbies and receptionists, they are fingerprinted, given laminate badges and ushered through a service elevator to the top floors of the high rise. There, in a glass meeting room, sparse with only a conference table and chairs, they finally meet Max Roman.
They explain the incident with the Pure as well as Andrea’s death at Pure hands and entreat the Silver Syndicate leader to assist them in driving out the Pure and the corrupt Courts. Max Roman seems reluctant at first but once he hears that Andrea had sacrificed herself in order to see the agreement realized, he signs off on it. In exchange, the motley are to help Silver Syndicate establish control of Boulder’s loci sites (with the promise that Jack is to be heavily involved at every step.
The agreement made, details to be nailed down in the following days, the motley decide to move from their posh hotel to a Motel 6, to confuse anyone watching them and to keep from squandering their good will with Max Roman by asking him to put them up somewhere. Unfortunately, due to the news coverage of their escape from Red Leaves Falling, their fugitive status makes them high profile. And it’s not long before the Motel 6 manager has contacted the police. Jenn is the first one to notice and the motley immediately scrambles to get away from the motel, fleeing behind it into a large flood drain.
Paranoid and panic-stricken, the group decides to flee into the Hedge, hoping to escape mortal and Pure surveillance. They are soon followed by two plain looking individuals, who present themselves to Eden as Summer Courtiers of Denver who are big fans of her exploits. One of them then draws a blade and stabs her while the other fires at the motley. They are quickly killed in kind and Izzy finds that they aren’t changelings but ensorcelled mortals instead.
They soon encounter a hobgoblin with no lower torso, who gets around on a rickety sled/cart. He seems fascinated by Nacho’s legs and offers to buy them. When Nacho refuses, he grows surly and more insistent. More of the same cart-mobile hobgoblins arrive, looking to make off with someone’s lower torso. Izzy directs them to the ensorcelled mortals and the hobgoblins seize on their still-warm bodies with bonesaws and serrated blades.
With the hobgoblins distracted, the motley (lead by Nacho now) take another path in the Hedge. As they continue farther down it, they realize the Hedge is thinning out into an arctic wasteland, where glass-like grains form large dune wastelands. Eventually the wasteland is all they can see from horizon to horizon and the path that has lead them here has disappeared.
Convinced Nacho is lost, Eden opens up a Hedge gate through a small cobblestone path in the middle of the wasteland. She and Jack emerge out of it and into a rain-slicked street. The whole motley follows.
They quickly discover they are back in Boulder, on Pearl Street. Fearful of being watched/captured by the police or the Harsh Courts, Jenn contacts Peter.
He agrees to pick them up at their location and after a few minutes waiting in the alley, his limousine pulls up. They all pile in, under his protection but back in the proverbial frying pan of their enemies.
On their way to Denver, the motley were again chased by three cop cars. As Andrea tried to evade their pursuers by taking a zig zag route, the “cops” ended up blowing out their tire and forcing a battle on a rural Westminster road. The “cops”, it turns out, were instead Owen’s pack, who immediately attacked the group.
Nacho was able to fend off some of the attacks with his silver bullets, depleting his entire supply.
Jenn tangled with Judge Wagner and barely escaped (thanks to Touch of Winter and Joseph’s rain)
Joseph stabbed one of Jack’s attackers in the back with a scalpel and almost stuck another one with a massive dose of laudanum. But the driver seat of the van got in the way.
Eden was able to open a gate to the Hedge through the front door of someone’s house. The characters barely made it into the Hedge with their lives (Judge Wagner almost had them at one point had Jenn and Nacho kept him back). Jack (savaged and beaten nearly to death) was tossed into the Hedge gate at the last minute by Andrea, who sacrificed herself to the Pure so the others could reach safety.
Jack, clinging to life by a thread and barely avoiding Death Rage over the death of Andrea, was taken by the motley through the Hedge in the hopes they could reach Denver via safer channels.
They encountered a weird tent city where a group of medical goblins (who seemed to specialize exclusively in amputation) were able to give the group a brief rest and directions to a fringe Summer Court camp. Off in the distance, a massive wall of smoke bloomed. Convinced these Summer courtiers were associated with Polyphemus, Eden decided they should head that way. Joseph, who befriended the medic goblins, asked them to name a wing after him.
As they approached the smoke, they discovered it was a massive army setting fire to the Hedge itself.
Izzy immediately fell ill, an effect of the Hedge burning and the intense disconnect from the Wyrd. Eden and Jack met with the fire team leader, who lent them a guide. Eden promised the camp leader she would send him changelings to help burn away the Hedge in trade.
Jenn gathered up as much firearms and ammunition she could muster from the bridge burners’ arsenal and armed the group as best she could.
After several miles of travel, with no real rest after their escape from the Pure, the guide opened up a Hedge gate that emptied into a Denver alley. The motley emerged from it and saw the lights of the Argentum Building high rise.
Max Roman and the Silver Syndicate now awaited them.
Mai and Eden were almost taken to Boulder County Jail but, after a bit of maneuvering to gauge the right strategy, the motley (mostly Jack) scared off the cops sent to arrest them. And did so without physically harming a single one.
Andrea is driving the getaway van, hauling ass now to get them all to meet with Silver Syndicate.
Jack has befriended the spirit of Red Leaves Falling, namely a rather large lust spirit. The spirit promised Jack a gift for serving as a sentry for the brothel all this time and feeding it the appetites of the arresting cops.
Izzy has survived the trauma of killing Mr. Hart, emotionally unharmed.
Queen Archer has proposed tutelage of oneirophysics to Joseph. She has also appointed him her representative in the Rescuer/Stonehaven Guard group.
Polyphemus has told Eden he can conceivably sneak in 3 people max into Bill’s compound.
Eden has enlisted Polyphemus into spreading word about the Tithe conspiracy via mushroom art installations that promote “whatisthetithe.com”, an information clearinghouse site.
Peter has outed himself as the Winter-King-In-Exile ONLY to Jen (Adelina is allied with Peter, working to change the Winter Court regime under Coldmarrow). He has, though, met Nacho and advised him to stick with his friends and to keep an eye out for changes in Winter Court.
The whole group is now standing outside Red Leaves Falling, about to caravan to a Silver Syndicate meet-up (Andrea incl.) when four cop cars pull up. Out of them emerges two detectives and six uniformed officers, who present Eden (who lies about her identity and poses as Mai) with a warrant to search the premises. The reason: suspicion of an illegal prostitution ring.