Imogen Spurnrose, the woman of the household that Vignette is the housemaid for, leads a privileged and sheltered life due to her upbringing. All of her whims are catered to by her house staff and her brother Ezra.
Daughter of Simon Spurnrose, popular watch and clock maker. He was a brilliant engineer and one of the most politically progressive people of his day. He was one of the first to hire a faun to his staff. For this and other quirks, he was always considered an oddity in the Burgue. Some of these stranger traits have been passed on to Imogen and to a lesser extent, Ezra, Imogen’s brother.
A Puck on Finistere Crossing
Brother and sister duo Ezra and Imogen Spurnrose discuss their new neighbor, who had just purchased the finest house in the Crossing. They then receive an unexpected visits from Constable Cuppins, who informs Ezra that his sailing ship the Deliverance crashed near the shore.
Ezra decides to keep Vignette Stonemoss, a faerie who's indentured to them and brings her home as a lady’s maid. Imogen is thrilled at the news of gaining a new servant, which she’d not had since her father’s passing. Afissa, the Spurnrose’s housekeeping faun, offers to clean Vignette up and get her into uniform.
Imogen informs Vignette that she’ll have Swansday off and that she’s to use that time to attend to any personal matters. Imogen need not worry as Vignette has no kin to speak of as they’re all dead. Imogen offers her condolences. She doesn’t agree with the Burgue abandoning Tirnanoc to the ravages of the Pact. She sees her taking Vignette in as a good deed. She attempts to touch Vignette’s braid, but Vignette pleads with her not to. While she doesn’t have much, her braids tell who she is. It reminds her of someone she lost.
Imogen sends her on an errand. To go to the Row and have her perfume refilled. It’s Tamphus Oil. Along with Calder root and many other ingredients. A drop behind each ear and men take notice to what they otherwise overlook. Imogen worries, as she’s about to turn 23 with few prospects for marriage. She wants to use it to gain the attention of the new neighbor.
Imogen and Ezra watch as their new neighbor arrives in a carriage. They greet him at his home, having come to extend their hospitality. Much to their surprise, their new neighbor, Agreus Astrayon, is a faun.
Imogen and Ezra requested Wigsby over to inform him of the Puck that moved in next door in the Cheswith House. Unfortunately, there are no laws explicitly banning the sale of property to fae folk. According to rumors, Cheswith was in debt when he died. Wigsby suspects that his heirs decided to sale to the highest bidder.
Imogen and Vignette go for a walk through the park. As it starts to rain, Imogen sends Vignette back to get her parasol. Unfortunately for her, the rain comes down fast and hard, with Agreus being the only person kind enough to offer to share his umbrella. 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.
Ezra reveals to Imogen that they’re in financial trouble despite the fact that their father left them with 10,000 a year. Ezra explains just how much it takes to sustain a household, down to Imogen’s fancy wardrobe. He tried to take the resources their father left them and use it to grow their income, but it backfired. Ezra aims to procure a loan to fund the refurbishment of another ship. He insists that there’s still money to be made in this business, but Imogen begs to differ, and she refuses to allow him to offer the house as collateral to the bank. Not that Ezra takes what she has to say into consideration.
Imogen watches Agreus from her window. She suspects that he’s desperate for attention and intends to prey on that desperation to get money from him. So, Imogen writes an apology letter and sends it over with Afissa. Agreus tells Afissa to tell Imogen that he would be pleased to take tea with her tomorrow.
Once Ezra is gone, Imogen prepares for Agreus’ arrival for tea. However, Afissa doesn’t think much of Imogen’s plan to invite a Puck over for tea. Imogen has set up ladders and painting material in front of the main entrance and then hands Afissa a note to take to Agreus explaining that they’re in the middle of sprucing up and to come around to the servants’ entrance. He’s desperate for acceptance into polite society, so imagine his gratitude at being invited into the home of one of the most prominent families in the Burgue. That gratitude might yield some dividends.
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 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.
An arrangement with Agreus
Imogen tells Ezra of her arrangement with Agreus. Should they accept him into their social circle, then he would fund the refurbishment of the ship in its entirety. Imogen informs Ezra that Agreus will be joining them for tea along with the Pembrokes and the Guilfoyles. However, Ezra is resistant given the scandal it would be. Whatever the cost, Imogen refuses to allow Ezra to put their house at risk.
Imogen and Agreus 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.
Imogen and Ezra receive a check from Agreus, which Ezra refers to as blood money. He worries what’ll happen to their reputation. Imogen thinks they can weather this so long as they stand untied. However, Ezra surmises that Agreus will want more than just a tea invite for the money he paid. Imogen agrees. She’ll have to be seen publicly with him. At least until someone else extends him a proper invitation.
Afissa delivers Imogen a dress from the dressmaker, courtesy of Agreus, who Imogen agreed to accompany to the charity auction at the museum this afternoon. Both Imogen and Afissa are impressed with it. Ezra enters the room and reveals that Morange, a friend of their father has been killed.
Imogen and Agreus 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.
Imogen and Agreus 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 reveals to Imogen that their father gave refuge to a pregnant Pix in their home. While there’s nothing he can do about that, he can however intercede on Imogen’s predicament with Agreus. He believes Agreus is asking too much of Imogen and plans to negotiate an end to their arrangement. Ezra is starting to wonder if Imogen might enjoy Agreus’ company, which she denies.
Afterward, Ezra returns to Imogen and tells her that not until she’s helped him establish a foothold in their inner circle will Imogen be free of her obligation to Agreus. However, Ezra informs Imogen that Agreus has received an invitation to take tea at the Tripplethorn’s this very afternoon. They insisted on turning over the painting he bid on personally.
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.
The Swan is ready. Ezra is headed to take it out on its maiden voyage. They’ll head up the coast and then come directly back. Imogen recommends inviting Agreus to dinner to celebrate as business partners, but Ezra has no desire to. Ezra also doesn’t like the course Imogen is headed down and the unflattering assumptions that’ll come with it should she continue to be seen with Agreus. Imogen exclaims that she’s tired of worrying about what others think as it’s no way to live. Imogen speaks as if Agreus has become a friend to her, Ezra states, but she insists that is not the case.
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, sailing away and 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