Chancellor Absalom Breakspear, member of the Commonwealth Party, is at war with himself and with so many other members of Parliament. As of late, there has been an enormous influx of "critch", and Breakspear is a believer that the Burgue should be a haven for them, particularly because he believes the opposing party is at fault for allowing Tirnanoc (where faeries are native to) to fall into the hands of The Pact. Every day, Breakspear must fight with his fellow Parliament members and Burguishmen over the right of the fae to call the Burgue home.
Absalom Breakspear, though from the Hinterlands, grew up well-off. His father was the owner of a huge, successful farm. Though, compared to the wealthy in the Burgue, he was a peasant. After primary school, Absalom set off to make his fortune in the Burgue by attending school at Aupidian University, studying economics. Later, he purchased a factory that led to great wealth.
Absalom and Piety learn of their son Jonah’s abduction from Tetterby Hotel. They have no choice but to wait for a ransom demand. The fewer that know, the better. Absalom is certain they’ll see Jonah unharmed and in their care so long as they pay the ransom. Absalom then approaches Jonah’s driver, Quill, who claims that he went across the street to get out the rain, so he doesn’t know who took Jonah. Absalom is enraged and demands that Quill leave his presence.
Absalom and Piety have yet to receive a ransom demand for the safe return of Jonah. Piety suggests seeking help from the Haruspex. She had advised Piety’s family for generations. However, Absalom is very much against it, denouncing Haruspexy as nothing more than superstition. Piety reminds Absalom that it was the Haruspex who brought them together. Her father would’ve never agreed to her marrying a Burguish man had she not foreseen that he was destined for great things, and Jonah even greater. Critch magic is a sin against the Martyr, Absalom states. Nevertheless, it works, and so he reluctantly agrees. A sacrifice is required. The dearer to the House Breakspear, the better, and so Absalom is forced to sacrifice his pet bear. The Haruspex cuts it open and uses it for her spell. She claims the man that took their son is known to them. It is he who would drive Absalom from his seat of power. They gather that Ritter Longerbane is Jonah’s abductor.
Winetrout informs Absalom and Piety that they have watchful eyes on Longerbane and his every known associate. Piety wants to arrest Longerbane now despite having no evidence. Absalom explains that in doing that, Longerbane would just deny everything and they’d never see Jonah again. Absalom realizes that Longerbane is after the chancellorship. When the ransom demand comes, it won’t be gold. It will exact that Absalom step down in exchange for Jonah’s return.
Absalom sits in Parliament as his party and Longerbane’s discuss the Critch and their place in the Burgue. Absalom grows angry at the sight of Longerbane and demands that he conjure his son, though Longerbane has not the slightest clue to which Absalom is talking about. And so Absalom attacks him from across the table.
Afterward, Absalom is disgraced with his own actions at Parliament which just may have cost Jonah his life. Piety instructs Absalom to arrest Longerbane, but Winetrout advises against it without proof. Piety desires to torture him to get Jonah’s location. Absalom agrees with Piety and orders Winetrout to bring him in.
Longerbane is taken to Absalom, who immediately goes on the attack, demanding the whereabouts of Jonah. However, Longerbane maintains his innocence and so he is taken to the dungeon, where after speaking to him, Piety runs out with tears on her face and tells Absalom that Jonah is at the old Copley Baths. Jonah is brought home by law officials and rushes into his Absalom’s arms, giving him a hug.
Absalom and Piety wish to discuss what happened and implement consequences on Jonah. However, it is Piety who seems more determined to grant punishment. She wants him to do away with his childish activities and take hold of the future. Naked and covered with ash, Piety scaled Mount Carpe. On her hands and knees, she climbed to consult the Augurs before she married Absalom. And they told her that he would be a great man and that his son would be greater. Maybe he could be king. Until then, they’ve ordered that Jonah take a respite from the public eye and concentrate on his studies. His hours of tutelage had been doubled.
Death of a former lover
Absalom learns from Winetrout that the constabulary has a suspect in custody for the recent spate of murders. The culprit, former inspector Rycroft Philostrate, is a half-blood. The killings were to keep his secret. Aisling Querelle, the first victim, was his own mother. A bag is put over Philo’s head and he is placed in a carriage and taken to an abandoned house. Philo is sat in a chair and the sack over his head is removed. Much to his surprise, waiting for him is Absalom Breakspear.
The bastard son
Philo sits restrained in a chair. Absalom looks into his eyes for a sign of remorse, but there is none. He believes that Philo killed Aisling and pulls out a gun and points it at Philo’s head. Absalom pulls the trigger, but the gun jams. Philo insists that he didn’t kill his mother. The first time he saw her was when she was lying in a pool of her own blood. He thought his father, who he now realizes is Absalom, was the killer, but he sees now that he was mistaken.
Absalom was a college student when he first saw Aisling at a late night salon on the Row. Her performance made an impression on him. Out of everyone in the salon, she chose him, a farm boy from the Hinterlands. When Winter came, Absalom brought her to the very house they’re standing in, his family’s summer home. They were the strangest and most uncomplicated days of his life. But, when his father discovered their secret, he threatened to kill her unless Absalom broke it off. She asked to see him one more time after that, but he never showed up. He now realizes that what she wanted to tell him is that she was pregnant. Philo then shares his story with Absalom.
Absalom will see to it that Vignette Stonemoss is released on Philo’s behalf, but Philo cannot return to the city as he’s the next target and he’s supposed to be dead. Absalom would rather see Philo make off with Vignette than stay around and end up the Darkasher's next victim. Absalom wished he knew Philo better.
Death of the Chancellor
Absalom returns home and tells Winetrout to bring him the Magister of police. He enters his office and signs a order for Vignette’s release. Unbeknownst to him, his Faun servant Krik, was killed, and Quill has infiltrated his office. After giving Absalom his tea, Quill stabs him multiple times and runs out the office screaming "Death to the Tyrant" and "The Hidden One is revealed." He doesn’t make it far before being apprehended by Absalom’s men. Winetrout then finds Absalom bleeding on the floor.
Absalom’s voice is weak, but he’s likely to survive. Jonah asks his father if it ever crossed his mind how ill-equipped he is to assume his father’s responsibilities had he not survived. Absalom would let Jonah get away with anything despite everything at stake. It’s as if Absalom never saw Jonah as a true successor. Absalom denies this as Jonah carries his name. However, that’s about all they have in common. Jonah reveals that he knows he is actually Ritter Longerbane’s son. Absalom is shocked, though he admits that he’s had his suspicions. Early on, Longerbane was a rival for Piety’s affections. Nonetheless, Absalom claims Jonah as his own. Not that Jonah cares.
The press has caught wind of his attack and are asking questions. He also hands Absalom the order of release for Vignette, though the Magistrate has yet to arrive. Piety enters and Absalom tells her that he had spoken to Jonah who inadvertently helped him solve a riddle he had been thinking over.
Absalom has figured out that Piety is the killer. She doubted that Jonah was his son, and it was Absalom’s son who was augured for greatness. And he only had one son. Until, by some means known only to her, she discovered that there was somewhere in the world another son. Now she had a problem. She had no way of knowing if the future promised to her child, belonged to another. But, she knew that it couldn’t belong to a dead man. So she orchestrated the murders of Aisling Querelle, Headmaster Costin Finch, and Dr. Morange to find the other son.
Piety demands to know who the other son is, but Absalom refuses to tell her, though he admits to having met him. Absalom insists that his other son is no threat as he’s a half-blood, but Piety must be sure of it. Absalom agrees to keep her murderous ways a secret, so long as she stop what she’s doing, but she won’t take that chance. She’s determined to learn who the other son is, so when Absalom refuses to talk, she smothers him with his own pillow until he stops breathing.
After killing her husband, Piety takes a knife and cuts Absalom open. She then removes his liver, and from it, she learns his secrets. She doesn’t learn who the son is, however, she learns of his weakness, that being a girl he loves. Wrapped in the blanket, Piety finds the order for Vignette’s release. In that, she learned of Vignette and her location.
- Some Dark God Wakes
- The Joining of Unlike Things
- Grieve No More
- Unaccompanied Fae
- The World to Come
- The Gloaming