Piety Breakspear is the epitome of an upperclass Burguishwoman. Wife of Absalom, she is a respected entity and carries herself with composure at all times. The chiefest of her worries at the moment is her son Jonah, who besides making a poor name of the Breakspears, is putting himself in serious danger by frequenting the more seedy parts of the Burgue.

History

Piety Breakspear hails from the country of Leonice, where her family was noble-born. Though because she was neither a male or first-born, she was entitled to none of her family’s land or wealth. She set off for the Burgue to marry successfully. There she found Absalom, whom the Haruspex prophesied would be destined for success, and more importantly, his unborn son would be even more successful and important. As a child, she was always very interested in the Haruspex's work and learned magic by watching her.

Biography

Season one

Jonah's abduction

Piety and Absalom 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.

Piety and Absalom 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.

As it turns out, Jonah was not taken by Ritter Longerbane, but rather his own mother. Her heels click against the stone floor as she circles her son. Jonah, still unaware that his mother is his own abductor, threatens to have everyone killed. Piety thanks the Haruspex for convincing her husband that it was Longerbane who took Jonah. While the Haruspex has served Piety’s family for many years, never before have they asked her to lie.[1]

Winetrout informs Piety and Absalom 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.

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.

Piety approaches a beaten and bloody Longerbane. She’s brought him something to drink for the pain. Longerbane insists that he doesn’t know where Jonah is. And Piety knows this as she has Jonah. However, Absalom doesn’t know that. Longerbane begins to choke as he realizes that Piety has poisoned him. As Longerbane takes his last breath, Piety runs out with fake tears on her face and tells Absalom that Jonah is at the old Copley Baths.[2]

Piety and Absalom 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.[3]

Help from the Haruspex

The Haruspex has a vision of her death. She’s in her shop when the Darkasher approaches her from behind. She turns around and in looking at the Darkasher, knows the identity of its master. However, she is killed moments after. She shares this news with Piety, who is distraught and hopes that it can somehow be prevented. Unfortunately, as the Haruspex knows all too well, there is no cheating death. Piety wants her to stay with them until the danger has passed.[4]

Piety informs the Haruspex that someone has been arrested for the murders, meaning she was safe from the Darkasher. However, the Haruspex suspects they locked up the wrong man. She knows for certain that it will come for her and in that moment, she’ll understand who summoned it. Despite the risk, Aioffe leaves.[5]

Master of the Darkasher

Piety confronts Jonah on his secret affair with Sophie Longerbane. Piety advises him to stay away from her. The Longerbanes are dangerous. Piety knew the family since before Jonah was born. Jonah then reveals to his mother that he knows she was the one responsible for his abduction. She tells him it was for his own good, asking that he trust her. Piety begs Jonah to break it off with Sophie because she’s his sister due to an affair Piety had with Ritter Longerbane.

After Absalom is attacked and nearly killed by Quill, a former employee and faun radical, Winetrout informs Piety that Quill is being interrogated in the Keep. They’re questioning all the Critch servants and will be replacing them. Jonah arrives and demands to speak with his father, who’s weak, but alive.

After speaking with Jonah, Absalom tells Piety 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 and the master of the Darkasher. 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 Finch, and Dr. Morange to find the other son by examining their livers which are repositories of secrets. However, while she learned some things from each of them, she could never learn the son's identity.

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.

Vignette is taken into the sewers and strapped to a chair. Piety asks that Vignette tell her where Philo is or else she’ll have to take out her liver to see for herself. In this moment, Vignette realizes that Piety created the Darkasher. Piety and the Darkasher’s eyes become one and she sees that Philo is en route to them. Piety confronts Philo. She would’ve never even known he existed if not for his mother’s blackmail note. She has to kill Philo to ensure Jonah’s prosperous future. Despite decapitating the creature, the Darkasher is very much still alive. It throws Philo across the room and reattaches its head. The Darkasher continues its attack on Philo until Vignette sneaks up behind Piety and stabs her in the back of the head, killing both the Darkasher and its master.

In the aftermath of Piety's death, Jonah finds Aisling's blackmail note amongst Piety's things. After Runyan Millworthy confirms that Aisling didn't write it, Jonah discovers that it was in fact Sophie who manipulated Piety to her own ends.[6]

Appearances

Season one

References

  1. Season 1, Episode 02: Aisling
  2. Season 1, Episode 04: The Joining of Unlike Things
  3. Season 1, Episode 05: Grieve No More
  4. Season 1, Episode 06: Unaccompanied Fae
  5. Season 1, Episode 07: The World to Come
  6. Season 1, Episode 08: The Gloaming
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