For ages, the homeland of the Fae was a place of myth and legends. Until the many empires of Man arrived and warred for control of its riches. Seven years ago, this great war ended when The Republic of the Burgue withdrew... abandoning the Fae to the iron fist of their rivals, The Pact. Now the Fae's homeland is the hell from which they yearn to escape...
In Pact-occupied Anoun, at Tirnanoc, a group of Fae flee through the forests. Soldiers open fire, taking a number of them down. As a soldier's hound leaps at one of the Fae, another one grabs the beast by the throat and finally strangles it. The Fae she rescued is shot down, and the fighter--Vignette Stonemoss--turns and runs as the soldiers catch up. Vignette comes to the edge of a cliff, leaps off, and flies to a waiting ship, the Deliverance. Boarding it, Vignette tells the captain that she's going with him for once and he should find another Pix to muster passengers for him. She refuses to leave and threatens the captain. Before he can respond, the Pact opens fire from the shore and the captain tells his men to get Vignette in the hold and then depart. Vignette enters the hold with the other Fae and one crewman tosses her a book of matches from the Tetterby Hotel. She whispers her thanks and goes below.
The ship sails out and a storm blows up. The Fae make themselves as comfortable as they can in the hold. Vignette looks at a photo of a soldier and feels the braid of her hair, and a woman comes up and thanks her for her arranging for the passage. Vignette says that they'll either have to pay or work off their fee, and the woman insists that what Vignette did was everything. The woman notices the photos and realizes that it's a Burguish soldier, and says that there's no shame in having a tryst with one. Vignette says that it was more than a tryst, and he died in the last Pact advance.
The walls spring leaks and seawater bursts in. Vignette makes her way through the rising waters to the grate and screams for help as the water rises above her head. The ship sinks with its passengers and their belongings.
In the Burgue, Inspector Rycroft "Philo" Philostrate--the man in the photo--takes the train. He then makes his way through Carnival Row where humans and Fae mingle. Two constables approach a young Fae wareseller and tell him that he needs a permit. They offer to sell her one, and tell her that her father was a doctor in the homeland but is reduced to selling on the street. One of them, Thatch, tosses a hogshead on the street. Philo comes by and asks if he's going to pick it up. Thatch comes over and threatens him, and Philo shoves him down, draws a blade, and holds it \to Thatch's head. Thatch's partner apologizes for him and keeps Thatch from going at Philo. Www thanks Philo, who tells her that a case brought him to the Row.
Philo arrives at a house and the husband Kardiez takes him to his beaten wife, Magrite. The inspector explains that he's been assigned to find the killer Unseelie Jack, who attacked her. Magrite says that Jack would never take the hammer to humans, and Kardiez assures her that Philo is one of the good ones. He insists that he wants to bring Jack to justice, He sees a painting of Anoun and tells Magrite that he served there during the war, and asks for her anything she can remember about Jack, who attacks a Fae every three weeks. Magrite describes how she heard Jack before she saw him, and said that she was a Pix whore. Jack's head was shaved except for muttonchops, and he had a tattoo of a snake on his forearm. The Fae remembers that Jack wore a uniform but she didn't recognize what kind it was. Philo takes her hand and thanks her. As he goes, Magrite says that she can see he's a good man and hopes he finds what he lost in the Anoun.
Children are playing on a cliff above the sea, and two of them see a shipwreck below. Their mother sends them to fetch a constable, and below Vignette wakes up.
At Balefire Hall, Ritter Longerbane speaks out against the "Critch"--the Fae--swarming their city and changing the fabric of their society. Chancellor Absolom Breakspear reminds the parliament that Longerbane's party let Tirnanoc fall into the hands of the Pact, and insists that it was they could and should have won. Longerbane complains that Absolom is dodging the issue, and that Fae do the work humans do for a pittance of the pay. Absolom invites Longerbane to get a law passed to send the Fae back, and Longerbane suggests that Absolom's family has been consorting with Pix.
Afterward, Absolom tells his wife Piety that Longerbane impugned his family's honor but refuses to say why. Their son Jonah walks past the doorway, and Absolom calls him in. He briefly greets them and then goes to his room. Piety goes after him and asks where he's been, and Jonah says that he was out but claims he didn't go to Carnival Row. His mother reminds him that he's the chancellor's son and can't give Absolom's enemies any ammunition. Jonah sarcastically says that he wouldn't become an embarrassment to his father and continues on.
Philo reads an article about the shipwreck, A Fae woman, Tourmaline Larou, comes up and notes that it's been three weeks since Jack last struck. Philo complains that the Fae victims haven't been forthcoming, and points out that believe the police have left them to Jack. Tourmaline warns that relationships are tense, and Philo tells her about Magrite's description of Jack with muttonchops. Philo shows her the article about the shipwreck.
The police question Vignette about the shipwreck and the Deliverance. They tell Vignette that everyone died except her, and she says that they wouldn't let her out of the hold even when it flooded. The constables point out that they would have flown off and the captain would have gotten nothing, and ask who she's contracted to. Vignette doesn't know, and the constables check on who the ship was registered to and prepare to get Vignette to who she belongs to.
Imogen Spurnrose looks out the window of her home at the house across the way, and wonders who is moving in. Her brother Ezra says that it was bought sight unseen and Imogen figures that the occupant is very rich. Constable Cuppins arrives and speaks with Ezra, confirming that he owns the Deliverance. At the station, Ezra confirms that his ship was lost and explains that he tied up a considerable amount of his family assets with the ship. He was to receive a share of the profits for bringing the Fae to Burgue, and Sergeant Dombey assures him that it isn't illegal, even though he thinks it should be. Dombey says that Vignette is indentured for the price of passage, and Ezra can keep her as a domestic or sell her contract.
Ezra takes Vignette home and tells Imogen that they're employing Vignette as a lady's maid. Imogen thanks him and apologizes for doubting his mysterious business interests, and the housemaid Afissa takes Vignette to get her cleaned up. Once Vignette is suitably clothed, she tends to Imogen's needs. Imogen details her duties and instructs her, and Vignette notes that all of her kinfolk are dead. Shocked, Imogen says that taking in an "unfortunate" like Vignette is the least they can do and tells her to clean her nails. She suggests that Vignette cut off her braid, and Vignette stops her and says that her braid tells her who she is. The Fae says that it reminds her of someone she lost, and Imogen says that she hopes Vignette won't be any trouble and dismisses her.
Philo watches as Burguishmen gather to protest against the Fae "invading" their city. The leader says that if Absolom can't put a stop to the Critch invading their country, he should step aside and let Longerbane become chancellor. Afterward, Philo sees the bald mutton chopped Dombey there and asks what he's doing at the meeting. Dombey says that it isn't illegal to gather with like-minded folk, and says that he will find Jack. He suggests that Jack is close, and points out that Jack's last victim identified the killer as a bald man in uniform. Dombey dismisses Magrite's description as a plea for attention, and Philo asks to see his arm. He wonders why Philo cares about the Fae so much, and Philo points out that he served with them during the war. The sergeant talks about how the soldiers had sex with the Fae, and Philo punches him and walks away, daring Dombey to report him.
That night, Philo goes to the room he's letting and sits down to dinner. Portia Fyfe brings his supper in and says that she kept it warm for him. Another of the boarder, Bagstock, points out that the house rules forbid dinner being served late. He complains that Portia is showing Phil favoritism. Later, Philo and Portia have sex in his room. Afterward she looks at the scar on his chest and asks how he got it. Portia admits that it's been since her husband died in the war, and asks what Philo's story is. He simply says that he did things he regrets, and begs off going into details. She gathers her clothing and formally bids him good night.
The next morning Afissa binds Vignette's wings and reminds her that she's always representing the house. Vignette asks about the Tetterby, saying she had a friend go there, and Afissa dismisses it as a house of ill repute. The house maid warns that she'll keep a close eye on Vignette to make sure she doesn't endanger the Spurnroses' reputation and tells her to mind herself.
Later, Vignette is scrubbing the toilet and finds a bottle of Imogen's perfume. She dumps it down the sink and Imogen comes by, asking if she's finished. Vignette says that she is and leaves, and Imogen comes in and notices the empty bottle of perfume.
Later, Imogen tells Vignette to take the bottle to the Row and have it refilled. She admits that it's used to make herself more attractive, and figures that her neighbor Louisa Pembroke has a dress picked out to parade in front of their new neighbor.
On the Row, Vignette goes to the Tetterby and sees Tourmaline. Recognizing her friend, she calls to her and goes up to her room. They hug and Vignette understands that Tourmaline does what she has to by working as a whore. Tourmaline figures Vignette helped refugees because she wanted to help people, and explains that she left Tirnanoc with refugee women who escaped from a camp. The Pact killed them all. She knew she'd never make it back so she left on the Deliverance, the ship that she had arranged for them. Tourmaline notices her braid and realizes that it's a widow's braid, and tells her that Philo is alive.
Philo tells his superior that he believes that Dombey is Jack. He insists that justice is justice, but his superior warns that the Row is an ugly place. All Philo wants to do is save one victim and put surveillance on Dombey, but his superior refuses and tells Philo to go home. Out in the hallway, a constable gives Philo a drawing that a sketch artist made from talking to Magrite. Cuppins comes by and says that the ironclad Basilisk is in port , and the sailors in town are to let off some steam... and the Basilisk arrives every three weeks. Philo realizes that it's the same time that Jack strikes, and realizes that Jack is a sailor.
Vignette tells Tourmaline that the Burguishmen take what they want and leave. She refuses to move on and says that Philo will know what he's done to her, and leaves over Tourmaline's protests.
Imogen sees a fine carriage pull up to the neighboring house and suggests that she and Ezra welcome him. Ezra warns that it's not proper, but Imogen goes over and her brother goes with her. Imogen barges in past the doorman, Fergus, saying that they're there to extend their hospitality. Agreus Astrayon--a Fae--comes in and he tells them that he's the master of the house.
That night, Tourmaline and her fellow prostitute Fleury discuss Vignette. Jonah arrives and Tourmaline agrees to "help" with him. The madame, Moira, greets Jonah and has Fleury and Tourmaline fly down to welcome the man. Fleury takes him to her chambers and they have sex, her wings fluttering wildly as she orgasms, lifting them both into air. Afterward, Fleury dozes off and Jonah goes out onto the balcony to piss. Two men beat him and drag him away.
Philo meets his ally on the force, Constable Berwick, at a tavern on the dock. The Basilisk boson claims he didn't recognize the man in the sketch. Philo figures Jack is left-handed because of how the victims were struck, and looks around for a left-handed sailor matching Magrite's description. He spots a man, grabs a drink, and goes over to join him pretending to be drunk. Philo "accidentally" stumbles into the sailor and pulls back his sleeve, revealing a snake tattoo. Jack realizes that he's been made, grabs a bottle, and hits Philo, and then runs out.
Philo chases Jack out into the streets, and Jack hits him in the head with a thrown hammer before fleeing. Berwick runs out and Philo tells him that Jack is their man, and orders him to around and cut Jack off. Philo sees Jack climbing up construction scaffolding and goes after him, and chases him across the rooftops. Jack crosses a plank between buildings and kicks it away before Philo can cross, and then runs into a building spanning both. There's no door on Philo's side, and he climbs the wall and continues the pursuit. He catches up to Jack, who knocks Philo down and continues running. Jack jumps across a gap and when Philo follows, he slips and hangs onto the edge before pulling himself up.
Jack is looking out on the city from a ledge, and Philo draws his gun and orders him to surrender. The sailor says that it's just beginning, and insists that he had to stop the Fae because they're up to evil under everyone's noses. The killer insists that the Fae come from a dark place and they've brought something with them that will be the end of them. Jack says that he's seen it and he knows darkness, and there's more than Philo can fathom. He lets himself fall over the ledge to his death on the street below.
At home, Imogen tells Vignette that they couldn't leave Agreus' home fast enough. She's shocked that a Fae is living there, and Vignette bids her good night. She goes to the kitchen and gets a knife, returns to her room, cuts free the corset binding her wings, and puts on her old clothes that she's hidden beneath the bed. Vignette cuts off the braid and flies out the window into the city.
Philo returns to his room and finds Portia in her bed, there to celebrate his "birthday". She notices his injuries from his struggle with Jack and warns that he could have a concussion. Philo angrily says that he doesn't want doctors, then apologizes and says that it's been a long night. Portia complains that he doesn't share his thoughts with her, and says that he carries it alone and doesn't have to. She wants to know Philo further, and Philo tells her that she may be happier in the dark. Disappointed, Portia tells him to let her know the quick time he fancies a quick fuck and leaves.
Later, Vignette flies into the flat and puts her knife to Philo's neck as he lies in bed. She says that Mima Roosan came to her and claimed that Philo was dead, and Philo says that he told Mima to lie to Vignette. He tells Vignette that he never meant to hurt her, and the crying Fae says that he destroyed her when she left him in the ashes of her homeland for seven years. Vignette puts the knife to his throat and he tells her to kill her. Disgusted, Vignette says that he's not worth it, says that she wishes he had died, and flies out the way she came.
On the shores of the river, a Fae woman is gathering flowers and finds a Fae flute. She blows a few notes and then finds the photo of Philo. In a nearby sewer tunnel, something awakes. It charges out and grabs the Fae before she can fly off, pulling her into the tunnel as she screams.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 1, 2019