Philo investigates the murder of his childhood headmaster. Vignette ingratiates herself into the Black Raven. Imogen hatches a plan to help her brother. Breakspear goes on the offensive with Longerbane.
Special Guest Star
At the Light of the Martyr Foundling Home, an orphan boy named Jacob wakes from his sleep in the late hours of the night. He asks the Headmaster if he may use the bathroom. Just seconds after leaving the Headmaster’s office, Jacob hears a commotion. He turns around to find the Headmaster being attacked and killed by some creature. Jacob slowly approaches to find his Headmaster ripped apart. He pees on himself at the mere sight of the aftermath.
Philo and Berwick arrive at the scene of the crime not long after. They track the killer’s footprints outside, though one print resembles that of a hoof and another a Trow. Philo heads down a sewer hole, where he finds the unknown creature. Philo shoots it several times as it charges towards him, though it does not attack, but simply disappears into the darkness, however, it did leave the Headmaster’s liver behind.
Hamlyn is impressed with Vignette after she managed to steal the flag. As an official member of the Black Raven, she’ll start out on deliveries and work her way up. She’ll be shadowing Oona, who warns Vignette that Hamlyn is trying to fuck her.
Dahlia and Bolero inform the group that a shipment of lixer from the jungles of Mag Mor were confiscated by the constabulary, meaning they have a cricket amongst them. Dahlia offers the cricket two choices. Show her they wish to be made clean. Step forward here and now, and she promises no harm will come to them. However, if they hide and force her to hunt them down, then she will see to it that they are torn from the sky and fed to the eels.
Ezra informs Imogen that he’s meeting his solicitor at the office to discuss which bank to approach for a loan. He’s alarmed by Imogen’s lack of objection and apologizes for the harsh words he said before.
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.
At the morgue, Philo tells Sergeant Dombey that whatever he saw, it was unlike anything he had seen before. Dr. Morange reveals that the cause of death was excessive exsanguination. Just like Aisling Querelle. Philo can’t imagine why the killer would want to extract the Headmaster’s liver.
Philo looks to Mima Sawsaan for answers as to why both victims had their livers removed. Mima explains these are unholy matters and she can only speculate. She doubts he’ll believe her, but there’s a story in their oldest traditions of a beast called a Darkasher. A golem of flesh, fashioned from the limbs of the dead, and given new life and purpose. Even after all he’s seen, Philo is skeptical. In search of proof, Mima sends him to a Haruspex with a shop off Vectis Square.
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
Nigel 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 Nigel advises against it without proof. Piety desires to torture him to get Jonah’s location. Absalom agrees with Piety and orders Nigel to bring him in.
Philo runs into Vignette on the Row. Philo admits that she was right about him being lost. He’s trapped between two worlds. For a while, he thought he could choose a third. A life with Vignette, but that was selfish. Loving Vignette meant letting her go. Unbeknownst to Philo and Vignette, they are being watched by Bolero.
Philo goes to the Haruspex with a dead fish and mole. With it, he wants her to make him a Darkasher. He won’t believe the killer was raised from the dead until he sees it for himself. She explains that a Darkasher must have a master. It’ll be bound to Philo until his last breath. The Haruspex requires from him what would be his part in any creation, his seed. The Haruspex appears to him as Portia and Vignette and takes from him what she needs. She tells him to come back in a couple days.
Oona shows Vignette her route. Couriers leave packages around town in places marked with chalk. Chalk tells them where to take the package, which contains all types of contraband. Vignette will be started on the day route. She’s to swap it out as quick as possible. Nights go faster because they can fly. Daylighters have to leg it. If they’re caught flying, they’ll have their wings clipped. They are interrupted by Bolero, who takes Vignette to Dahlia. Bolero holds Vignette by her wings off a cliff. They saw her talking to Philo. Vignette insists that they used to be involved during the war, and he wasn’t a cop back then. However, to Dahlia that makes Vignette a liability. Vignette insists that she’s an asset and that she can find out who the cricket is.
After learning that Vignette’s life is in danger, Tourmaline regrets ever sending her to the Ravens. She wants Vignette to leave town, but Vignette wants to find the informant. Tourmaline reminds her that she’s not invincible and to not do anything stupid.
Ritter Longerbane’s daughter, Sophie, noticed that his alma mater started admitting women. She’d like to start doing more with her life. Perhaps she’ll attend in the autumn. After sabbatical. Touring the Beornlands. Or down south to the Pharaonic Coast. A summer sailing amidst the sunken tombs of her ancestors. Longerbane tells his daughter that her mother was born in the embassy up the street. She couldn’t so much as spell her own name in Pharaonic. He forbids Sophie from exploring or even going to college. However, she wasn’t asking his permission. Longerbane approaches her and tells her to go and see how far she can get without him. Just then, the chancellory guards burst into his home and take him away.
Longerbane is taken to Absalom, who immediately goes on the attack, demanding the whereabouts of Jonah. However, Longerbane maintains his innocence.
Fergus informs Agreus 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.
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.
Hamlyn is taken into custody. As it turns out, he’s the informant. He tells Philo that Dahlia is on a war path after Dombey broke up the lixir shipment. Not that Philo cares. His only concern is the killer, which Hamlyn assures him is not the doing of the Raven. Philo is waiting on evidence, but in the meantime, he started thinking who could procure a bunch of dead corpses, if not the Black Raven. Hamlyn did hear that one of them, a fae named Wren might’ve gotten some side work digging up dead fae. Unfortunately for Philo, Wren is dead.
Philo exits the interrogation room to find Tourmaline waiting for him. She tells him how Vignette is in danger after one of the Ravens spotted Vignette and Philo together. They think she’s the informant, and now Tourmaline needs the name of the actual informant. Philo reluctantly gives up the name of Edgal Hamlyn. Berwick then interrupts to inform Philo that they found Jonah Breakspear.
Philo, Dombey, Cuppins, Berwick, and several others enter Copley Baths and recover Jonah. He returns home and rushes into his father’s arms, giving him a hug. He then hears his mother’s heals clacking against the floor, identical to those of his abductor. It’s in this moment that Jonah realizes that he was abducted by his mother, who greets him with a hug.
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.
Vignette reports back to Dahlia and Bolero with Hamlyn’s name. Only thing left to do is kill Hamlyn, which Dahlia wants Vignette to do. And bring back his wing as proof.
Vignette meets with Hamlyn on the balcony. She heard that he’s been telling people that he wants to fuck her and she means to confront him, or that’s at least what she tell him to get him to lower his guard. She takes out her knife and charges at him. The two go flying off the balcony. A fight in the sky occurs. Vignette stabs him in his wing and drops him to the ground. By the time she gets to the ground, he has gotten back to his feet and grabbed a shovel, which he beats Vignette with. He grabs a pair of shears to cut off her head, but before he does, Philo shoots and kills him. Together, he and Vignette toss the body in the sewer. Philo then apologizes for leaving Vignette. He kept telling himself he did the right thing, but he now realizes that lying to her wasn’t the right way to go about it. He then gives Vignette back her braid.
Vignette returns to Dahlia and Bolero with Hamlyn’s wings. Dahlia promotes Vignette. It’s now her job to run the lots with Hamlyn gone. She’s been given the Finistere route.
Philo meets with Portia outside a bar and diner. He reveals to her how much he cares about her, and then takes her inside for a meal. He then tells her it was him who hurt the girl she had asked him about. Portia remarks that sometimes it’s harder to live with that guilt rather then the other way around.
A bloody Vignette sits outside Tourmaline’s window. She cries as Tourmaline holds her close.