Agreus Astrayon is new to the neighborhood that Imogen and Ezra have lived in forever and he is not welcome. No fae has ever had the nerve to live amongst humans before. However, unlike other fae, Agreus is practiced in the art of code-switching. He knows exactly how to fit in with humans.
Agreus Astrayon is a mysteriously wealthy faun that came to the Burgue to make a splash. He spent 5 years indentured to a foundry owner in New Freehold, before being employed as a skipjack. His job as a skipjack was to track down indentured fae who had fled. When questioned by Ezra Spurnrose on the morality of hunting down his own kind, he states "I realized a long time ago, that if I was to find my way in the world of men, I'd have to play by the rules of men."
A Puck on Finistere Crossing
Agreus offers to share his umbrella with Imogen, who is stuck in the rain. He is quite aware of the reaction his arrival to the neighborhood has provoked. Imogen suggests that he consider moving, however, Agreus has no intentions of doing anything of the sorts. He then tells Imogen about herself. He can smell the perfume on her that she uses to attract men. He claims that it also contains piss from a Trow bitch in heat. He knows what it does, but he doesn’t think Imogen should’ve bothered. With that, despite the rain, Imogen takes off.
Afissa invites Agreus and leads him to the living room, where he and Imogen make small talk. Imogen looked into him and learned that he’s from New Freehold. It was his former residence, but he’s actually from Puyan. His kin mined coal there for generations. And then the war broke out, and the Pact started conscripting every able body they could. And thus Agreus found his way to New Freehold, where he found opportunities. Agreus’ only disappointment with the Crossing thus far is that its neighbors haven’t been more welcoming, for which he thanks Imogen for her hospitality. She claims that the Spurnroses have always been forward thinking. Her father was first in the Crossing to bring on a Faun cook. But one thing that Agreus keeps coming back to in his mind is why Imogen invited him over. He surmises that she invited him over for sport.
Agreus' human servant Fergus informs him that Ezra has been casting around desperately for a loan. With this, Agreus realizes that he wasn’t invited over by Imogen for sport, but because they need the money.
An Arrangement with the Spurnroses
Agreus knocks on the Spurnrose door to talk to Imogen. The neighbors are staring, but Agreus can only imagine how much worse it’ll be when Imogen and Ezra are forced to sell the house after the trouble Ezra has gotten himself in. He can only imagine their desperation. Imogen admits that her invitation to tea was meant to test Agreus’ generosity. She sensed that he lacked a proper invitation into society and smelled a bargain to be made. Despite Imogen going about it the wrong way, Agreus thinks they can come to an arrangement. The first step would be her letting him through her front door, which she does reluctantly.
Agreus and Imogen greet Pierce and Hortensia Guilfoyle. Much to their surprise, Agreus is not a servant. They’re even more surprised to learn that he took ownership of Cheswith House. Louisa and Leonid Pembroke arrive soon thereafter. Louisa takes one look at Agreus and assumes they’re playing a game. They’re meant to dress up as the help and serve the servants. After learning he is a guest as well, Leonid eagerly greets Agreus. He wants Agreus’ opinion on the city’s recent troubles. Agreus is insulted by Leonid’s condescending questioning and asks him if he’s ever been to Puyan, which he hasn’t. You could go months there without encountering anyone that wasn’t a Puck. And no one there gives even the slightest thought towards creating a more inclusive society. Not that anyone would want to live there after the war, which is how Agreus found himself in the Burgue.
Imogen wishes to negate their arrangement as she now realizes that she’s not strong enough to handle the disapproval of those around her. Agreus grows upset, but prepares to leave nonetheless, that is until Ezra arrives and welcomes Agreus to stay.
Agreus and Imogen arrive at the museum for the charity auction. They garner a lot of attention from the other guests. They are approached by Louisa Pembroke and Leslie Boythorne. Leslie makes a snide remark about Ezra’s lost fortune. Imogen and Agreus informs him that Ezra is putting his money into the shipping trade. Leslie has his eyes on the most striking and triumphant painting from Augustus Hope. "The Rising". It’s expected to fetch well north of 100,000 guilder. As Leslie and Louisa leave the room, Agreus states that they had sex in the carriage on the way to the auction. He can tell by his keen senses, which all Puck have. Imogen laughs following a joke made by Agreus regarding how tightly wound Louisa is.
Next up for auction is The Rising by Augustus Hope. Bidding starts at 100,000 guilder, which Leslie places a bid for. The bid eventually lands on 200,000 guilder. Leslie currently has the highest bid. And just as it seems the painting is his, Agreus places a bid for 300,000 guilder. Without contest, Agreus takes the painting home and Imogen is greatly impressed. Agreus never intended to purchase the it, but he did it because he wanted Leslie to know that he could take it from him after he took it for granted that it should be his. Admittedly, Agreus isn’t at all what Imogen expected, though he could say the same about her.
Agreus and Imogen return from the auction, both having had a good time. It was during this evening that Imogen realized that she doesn’t actually like anyone she knows. Afissa approaches and informs Imogen that the police were there
Ezra is very much pleased with the ship refurbished by Agreus. He’s calls it "The Swan." At 50 guilders a head, she’ll pay for herself. The rest will be profit after three crossings. Agreus tells Ezra that he was once indentured for five years to a foundry owner in New Freehold. The work was hard, but he was a fair man. As for how Agreus became wealthy, he did so guilder by guilder. Ezra made some inquiries about Agreus’ past and wonders what it is a skipjack does. A skipjack is one who tracks workers who’ve run away, meaning Agreus hunted his own kind. Agreus realized a long time ago that if he was to find his way in the world of men, then he’d have to play by the rules of men. Ezra then expresses his desire to discuss the terms of Agreus’ arrangement with Imogen.
Agreus and Fergus unwrap The Rising painting. Imogen offers her input on where to hang the painting. After finding a spot for it, they gaze upon it, looking to it as if to discover its meaning. Agreus takes it to mean that they’re all poised somewhere between Heaven and Hell. However, Imogen suspects the man with horns in the painting is a rescuer, saving a women from the ordinary. He then shows Imogen his electric lamp, much to her amazement.
Agreus imagines that some day the streets will be lined with wires bringing electricity from distant stream plants. There will be no smoke or accidental fires. Imogen admires his forward thinking. She questions if his forward thinking of a better, less divided world is how he ignores the stares and poor remarks towards him. Agreus agrees this is so. She adds that he is unlike anyone she’d ever met, and the two proceed to have sex.
Fergus is concerned with Agreus’ relationship with Imogen. Their affair is not as well hidden as Agreus believes it to be. People are already talking. What Agreus is doing with Imogen is dangerous, and Fergus worries what dangers it might bring.
In the middle of the night, during a rain storm, Imogen knocks on Agreus’ door. She comes through the servants’ entrance. Imogen came over to have sex, but is pushing her away to protect her, though Imogen won’t back down. He tells her to go and pretend their encounter never happened. However, she refuses to do so. In reality, them being together obsesses him and he eventually admits this. But he doesn’t believe they should be together. She questions the point of his charade of being human if he can’t have everything it offers because to her, being humans means taking what you want. Agreus slams her against the wall and they have sex, completely unaware that Ezra watches from outside.
Ezra runs back into his house and grabs his gun. He then breaks into Agreus’ home and follows the trail of clothes to the bedroom, where Agreus and Imogen lie naked in bed. Ezra throws Imogen her clothes and tells her to get dressed and go home. He then orders Agreus out the bed as he holds him at gunpoint. Imogen begs him to calm down, but Ezra is beyond reason. He cocks his gun, but before he can fire, Imogen disarms him. He then turns his aggression towards her, forcing Agreus to come to her aid. He headbutts Ezra, knocking him to the ground. However, in doing this, he’s made a mistake. Imogen explains that they have to go now because the police will not see it as self defense, rather a Puck standing over a bleeding man. Agreus and Imogen run out the room, locking the door behind them. Ezra declares that wherever they go, he’ll find them. The following day, Imogen and Agreus take off on The Swan. Sails set for someplace new and far away.
- Some Dark God Wakes
- The Joining of Unlike Things
- Grieve No More
- Unaccompanied Fae
- The World to Come
- The Gloaming