A constable on his beat checks doors and sees Vignette fly overhead. He can't make out her features but realizes that they have a flyer and runs after her. Vignette lands on a rooftop for a moment and then continues flying. She lands outside her bedroom window at the Spurnrose house and goes inside.
The next morning, Philo dresses for work and sees Vignette's discarded knife on the floor. He puts it in a drawer and finds a string bracelet inside, and studies it for a moment before putting it back. As Philo leaves, he sees Portia working in the kitchen and apologizes about the night before. Portia asks what he's hiding and if he's ever let anyone love him, and wonders if the woman responsible hurt him or he hurt her. Bagstock asks for breakfast, interrupting the conversation, and Philo leaves for work.
Berwick is waiting outside and tells Philo that he wanted to catch him early to tell him they have another dead Pix. They go to the river where a trail of entrails leads out of the spillway to where the Fairy Aisling Querelle lies dead. Philo realizes that the victim died after Jack killed himself. He tells Berwick to send men into the sewers. Berwick says who the victim was and that she was a famous singer back in the day, and Philo tells him to get her home address so they can see if there are any clues there.
Once Berwick has an address, he and Philo go there. The furnishings are expensive, and a Kobold emerges from hiding. Berwick captures it under a glass jar, and he and Philo open the closet it emerges from to find a man, Runyan Millworthy, hiding there. They accuse him of killing Querelle, and Runyan wonders who would want her dead. He says that Querelle was his friend from years ago and he only arrived in the Burgue that morning. Runyan needed shelter and let himself in, and hid when he heard them coming.
Runyan goes to the captive Kobold, Fike, and releases it. He says that it's his star, and Philo asks him who would want Querelle dead. Runyan says that they were both performers but Querelle was the true star. He plays a record of her singing a fairish tune, and Runyan explains that she was the toast of Burgue society. Then Querelle fell out of favor and she took it hard, becoming a recluse. She never married and has no family to talk to. Philo tells him that he's a suspect and won't be leaving anytime soon, and insists that he'll find the killer despite Runyan's skepticism.
Afissa instructs Vignette in which china to use for their visitors from the professions. She then tells Vignette that she knows she snuck out and threatens to tell the Spurnroses. Vignette assures her that she wasn't looking for lixer, and that she visited an old lover from Tirnanoc that she never wants to see again. The bell rings and Afissa goes to greet Solicitor Wigsby. Imogen complains that a Puck has taken up residence in Cheswick Hall across the way. She insists that the situation cannot be allowed to stand, but Wigsby tells her that there's nothing against the law. Ezra apologizes for Imogen's manners and accepts that there is no recourse. Imogen says that they'll have to do their best to ignore Agreus.
Tourmaline wakes up in her brothel bed and discovers that Jonah is gone. His Puck manservant Quill knocks at the door, and Tourmaline tells him that Jonah ran out on her without paying.
Jonah sits tied up naked in a room, a bag over his head.
One of Absalom's men, Nigel Winetrout, tells Absalom and Piety that Jonah has been abducted. All they can do is wait for a ransom demand. Absalom agrees and tells Piety that they have to keep it a secret so that his rivals don't make a scandal of it. Once Jonah is home, they'll find the people responsible and hang them. Absalom then goes to see Quill, who says that he has no idea who took Jonah. Angry, Absalom accuses Quill of failing his duty and has another servant get Quill out of his sight for good.
Runyan performs his "puppet show" in the park, with Fike and the other Kobolds performing wearing masks. Once a passerby tips Runyan, he instructs his Kobolds in improving their performance. Imogen is walking nearby with Vignette, and sends Vignette back to get her parasol because it looks like rain. Once Vignette goes back, it begins raining and Imogen tries to borrow an umbrella without success. Agreus finally offers her his umbrella, and she reluctantly accepts shelter underneath it with the Puck. He makes small talk, addressing her by name, and says that he made inquiries. Agreus admits that he knows the reaction his arrival made but says that he prefers it there and has no intention of moving. Imogen angrily tells him not to speak to her, and Agreus says that he can smell the perfume on her and he knows no man can resist it... and she needn't have bothered. Shocked speechless, Imogen walks off.
Philo enters the station and finds Dombey, Cuppins, and Berwick gossiping about the Fey. He discovers that Flute has turned down his autopsy request and objects to the man. Flute says that he's not going to waste the coroner's time on a dead Pix, and tells Philo to let Berwick handle it. Philo points out that Querelle was brutalized and he wants to find out why. Flute says that he won't stop him but he also won't waste the coroner's time. Philo takes a carriage to the Row. Once he's there, he tells a Puck butcher, Sylvanus, that he has one for him at his usual fee.
Later, Sylvanus examines Querelle's corpse and reminds Philo that he's the only doctor Philo could find to do an autopsy on a Critch. He notes that a sufficiently angered human could have inflicted the wounds, and the liver is missing.
That night at the prison Bleakness Keep, Philo visits a prisoner, Darius. The inspector says that a singer died and he can't get her song out of his head, and Darius advises him to solve the case and get a different song. Darius begins singing a song about the Battle of Burgue and Philo joins in. Once they're done, Darius tells Philo that he doesn't have to visit him every day, and Philo notes that it could just as easily be he imprisoned... and he'll be there the next day.
Ezra comes to the kitchen and looks at Vignette, then suggests that there's a quicker way for her to pay off her debt for the passage and grabs her. Vignette knocks his hands away and tells him to stop, and Ezra grabs her face and says that he lost everything in the Deliverance's sinking except her. He slams her onto the table and tries to rape her, and Vignette hits him the head with a plate and then knees him in the groin before running out. Imogen and Afissa hear the noise and come in, and Ezra claims that he caught Vignette stealing. Afissa realizes that nothing is missing, and Imogen is shocked that Vignette left with months still on her contract. She promises that Vignette won't get away with it and they'll report her to the police, having her sent back.
Vignette goes to the hotel and Fleury tells her that she doesn't have to go back. Once Fleury leaves, Vignette tells Tourmaline that she found Philo, but didn't hurt him. She realized that it's time for a fresh start, and asks Tourmaline to find her a job there. Tourmaline says that it's not her, and Vignette points out that Tourmaline is a poet laureate in their homeland. Vignette wonders what else there is, and Tourmaline offers to put her in contact with the Black Raven, Faeish homeland fighters without a home to fight for. They run lixer and contraband, getting by however they can. Vignette figures it sounds perfect, and Tourmaline offers to get her into a meeting that night.
Piety asks Absalom if there's any word from Jonah's abductors, and he says that there hasn't. She wonders why they haven't received a ransom demand yet, and suggests that he keep an open mind and then brings in a Fae woman, a Haruspex. Absalom refuses to allow the witch in her presence, and Piety says that the "witch" has advised her family for generations. She reminds her husband that Haruspexy brought them together and she foretold of Absalom's greatness and Jonah's even greater future. Absalom reluctantly agrees and the witch says that a sacrifice of something dear is required.
Absalom offers up his pet bear and the witch guts it. She tells him that Ritter had Jonah abducted, driving Absalom from his seat of power.
Vignette meets with Tourmaline's contact, Hamlyn, who takes her to Dahlia. Dahlia is atop a cathedral with her people, a young Fae woman named Wren before her with her wings bound. The woman claims that she gave her captors the slip, and Dahlia has her manacled and tells her to prove her claims by freeing herself. Dahlia then talks to Vignette, aware that she got Fae out of the homeland. She points out that Wren is wearing a wing-constraining like the one both she and Vignette have worn, and talks about how humans are envious of them. Dahlia asks Wren what really happened, then shoves her over the edge where the woman falls to her death. She notes that after one of her people spend a night in police custody, there's nothing she can do but kill the person to protect her own. Dahlia tells Vignette to go if she can't live with that, and Vignette insists on staying. The leader then tells her to bring her the flag handing on the rotunda of the constabulary to prove that she can get anything from anywhere.
The next day, Philo arrives at the station and finds Imogen and Ezra filing a writ against Vignette. Later he goes to the Spurnrose house and offers to settle Vignette's contract. Ezra agrees to drop the writ and Imogen refuses, and Ezra dismisses Imogen from the room. As Ezra goes to his desk, Philo asks him why Vignette ran since she's not a thief. He realizes that Ezra forced himself on her, takes back his check, and leaves.
Later, Ezra tells Imogen that he squandered their father's money. He plans to procure a loan to fund the refurbishment of another ship. Ezra plans to use the house as collateral, and Imogen refuses. He insists that he is the master of the house and will make the financial decisions, and walks out.
Jonah hears a woman in high heels walking up to him and tells her who he is. He's unaware that it's his mother, Piety. Piety walks off and Jonah angrily says that his father will crush them for abducting him. She then tells the witch that Absalom is convinced that Ritter took Jonah, and the witch is concerned that it's the first time she's been asked to lie.
Agreus returns home and tips his hat to the human couple staring at him as they walk down the street. Imogen watches him from her window and complains to Afissa, then gets an idea and writes a letter to Agreus apologizing for her behavior earlier and inviting him to call on her. Once Afissa delivers the letter, she returns and tells Imogen that Agreus said he would be pleased to take tea with her the next day. The maid leaves as Imogen smiles in satisfaction.
At the station, Philo confirms that the writ has been released. Berwick takes him to Mima Sawsaan, who has asked to see Querelle's body. Sawsaan insists that Querelle must be anointed and Philo takes her into the morgue. The Mima performs the anointing ritual and tells Philo that Querelle lit a candle at her shrine every week. She senses that a pall hangs over Querelle and she was taken by something neither human nor fae. Philo isn't surprised and explains that someone described a dark god lurking beneath the city. Sawsaan warns that the old ways could summon things that would drive a man mad. She says that her species was once among the magics of the world, thanks him, and leaves.
Vignette and Tourmaline approach the station and Vignette tells Tourmaline to go if anything goes wrong. They go into the station and Tourmaline goes to the front desk, yelling for someone to talk to her. She picks a fight with Cuppins, and Vignette flies up and grabs the flag. The wind from her wings draws the constables' attention, but they can't shoot because a miss will bring down the glass dome above. Vignette flies down to the balcony and runs with the constables in pursuit, and she runs into the cell area and locks the gate behind her.
Philo finds Vignette, realizes that she's with the Ravens, and tells her to give him the flag. She wonders why he cares, and threatens to tell the others about him. Vignette realizes that they don't know about Philo's past, Philo figures that she'd never tell them, and she asks if he wants to take the chance. She pulls away from him and flies out the skylight with the flag, and Philo looks out after her.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 3, 2019