After the Rain
Houses of the Blooded
Rio and Ash decide to explore Jarik's old castle. There are no orks in the castle, however there seem to be a lot of wards present. All the Art have been ransacked save for a statue of Galeo Silja. There is a glowing door and stories of a hidden shrine. In the courtyard, a scene has been immortalized with makeshift statues reenacting the events of the opera house. The castle remains structurally sound. The staff tell them that Jarik used to stare at the recreations a lot. He has had no visitors for twelve years; and his last visitor was a certain Lady M. The two also locate tunnels which Jarik may have used in the past. Rio finds a mannequin representing Nia and her Tulpa - and finds a note that says, "Sorry, Jarik, this isn't how the ritual works. This is not a tulpa."
Ash discovers the tunnels extend to Warriorset and Catan. The staff share that Jarik used it for select vassals, and they never were permitted inside. Rio notices an unidentified mannequin but fails to recognize who it should be. She rearranges it's position elsewhere and sticks a note, "Try again" on it. Birds flutter away.
Cass and Gil prepare to leave Warriorset, but thee memories of Dalvinosh's visit are still fresh in their minds. During his stay, no Contracts were established. Dalvinosh shared he is convinced the attempts on his life are not by fellow Elks. He told Cass he had forgiven all the insult he had taken from her vassals, but has requested for Gillian to be lent to him for a season. Dalvinosh caught Cass during one of her moments when she was speaking to herself. As Gil and Uvanla prepare for the travel to the Peak, they talk about Kether and see Artemesia and Lukas talking. Gil remembers that her familiar saw the two talking before, and referring to them as "the children."
Gil and Uvanla talk and he shares his "assassin" was really an affair. They establish that there is something between them, and that they have been flirting. But Gil notices something odd, Uvanla seems to be leaking wine. She inspects his back and finds a tiny clean hole. Somehow the wine he drinks leaks out there.
Rio and Ash send for the vassals and meet Jeeves, and old man, and Sofia. Both were once Jarik and Nia's valets. Jeeves shares that the tunnels were built with the help of "The Duchess" named Dranna Ru and that it leads to five locations: Catan, Warriorset, Calcifer, Meridian and the last being one only Jarik would use. The last one is heavily warded. To their surprise, Jarik emerges from one tunnel, mumbling to himself about the wrong puzzles. It fades away. Jeeves explains that echoes of Jarik and his work still linger. Sofie admits the echoes are strongest during the Summer. The group then returns to the Opera House which had been completely burnt down and find the echoes visible. Rio realizes his is how Jarik was recreating the scenes in the courtyard.
Stepping into an echo, they see the opera's final moments. Rio stares at the unknown person and sees it is a woman with golden hair, who is looking straight back at her. The strange suddenly speaks and asks for the master of the house! She introduces herself as Norene, Baroness of Bleylock and claims to be here to search for Anguish and finds instead Avanadande. She seems disappointed to learn Jarik is dead and says she was his guest. She claims to visit every Summer at his invitation. She claims she needs no roadmen, however, to return to the supposed city Under the Sky. She disappears through a glowing door.
Ash and Rio continue to investigate, sensing the ruin feels like a puzzle house. Rio calls upon her secret name, Tissera, the hooded light, which she cites when she travels through ruins. They learn not all echoes are what happened, but are projections of something else. The ward blocks all ven, ruk and veth alike. A new structure in the garden is a tower with no visible entry way. At the base, a lush growth of a variety of plants. There are no books to be found. They find the remains of a glider hanging at one area. But no tomb for Jalani, Jarik's wife.
Ash and Rio join Cass, who claims to be concerned about his welfare. A one-eyed woman interrupts them, an echo of Szaz, Artemesia is denied the chance to excuse herself. Glass shatters inside - and the sounds of footfalls close in. From the Opera ruins, figures dressed in light emerge. A man emerges after the guards, with blood-red eyes. He bows and introduces himself as Nolwen, Shivu of Belgrave, and Norene's sister. Before he can explain his presence, he notices Cass and mistakes her for Ash's wife. They learn he is an emissary from Canulderene, to confirm if the Treaty of Summer still stands. It is clear he is distracted by Cass' presence, however, and is surprised to hear her name. Nowlen is taken aback that she is Galeo's daughter. They learn that an agreement had been established between Shanri (through Jarik) and Canulderene and they note how Nolwen speaks of their world as that of the ven. He sees Cass, however, as close to that perfection. Ash asks to review the treaty's conditions and learns the castle is deemed neutral grounds.
Nolwen's power is hinted at when he casually "splits" into two beings to both converse with the gathered and invite Cass to the other castle. Rio asks if they may visit the domain of Jaymen Steele - the Sorceror-King - and Nolwen readily acknowledges he is their Totem Rex. Somehow, he seems to easily "read" their Blessings as well. They learn Jarik's death would undo the Treaty, and Ash lies through his teeth to claim he still lives.
Gil and Uvanla go through the days as normal, with Gil attempting to tend to the hole. It baffles her, however, as it seems to not need to heal. Uvanla tells her about Kether - whom he claims to have never met and only knows of thanks to Kether's closest friend. During the narration, however, Uvanla unveils a lapse in his memories. The hole seems to be that caused by an arrow. Cass, Lukas and Artemesia walk in them and mistake the moment to be one sexual in nature.
Nolwen invites Cass to stay in his Castle for two seasons until the Winter. She agrees if a door can be opened in her own Castle. Nolwen says Cass is "Pure" unlike the others and claims she has four names. Ash is unhappy with this offer, but chooses to stay. Rio chooses likewise to remain. Having no choice, Ash accepts that he has to let Cass go through the door.
Uvanla maintains the castle, now that he truly is one of Cass' vassals. In her absence, he informs any visitors that she had gone to a "pilgrimage."
Norene visits Ash once more, who admits to be happy to know Jarik is well. She wasn't sure what to tell Jalani - which makes Ash realize Jarik's wife has been at the "other side" for the last ten years. She has land, it seems in the other city, but Jarik never visited as the city is full of Sorcery. To Ash's surprise, Norene and her kind do not believe in any Suaven. Norene also claims Jalani is her mother and that their father is the Totem Rex. Ash arranges to have a meeting with Jalani and she laughs when Ash calls themselves ven. Almost at the perfect moment, Ash catches sight of an echo of the moment Jarik bid farewell to Jalani.
Gil sees a man at the gates of Cass' castle. She goes to see who it is and discovers it is the same man which Uvanla sketched to identify the "closest friend" of his father, Count Kether. The man introduces himself as Count Kether and claims Uvanla is his familiar, a child he found before whom he had claimed. He invites Gil to discuss things in his castle, which turns out to be an airship in the sky, but Gil declines and brings him instead to the village to talk.
More and more, the children begin to realize that their parents have left them far more stories to finish than they had thought.