The group speak to Lady Y who expresses hope that the Regent’s Council might return and he Duke of Hazel won’t get the upper hand. Jenni and Noah question her on the possible consequences and the current situation (her followers have greatly dwindled) – she fears what the Duke might do with the resources of the Court and her own fate (the possibility of being exiled to Section 7 seems terrifying).
One of the Duke’s lackeys insults Patrick (and the others) but Lady Y cautions Patrick not to return insult an open hostilities. The Duke motions the lackey to back down. They call on the Knights to swear allegiance to the Duke, but this is politely declined as Noah moves to stall for time. They ask various questions of the Duke, who once again calls for them to support his obviously superior claim.
Back at the Wych House Old Pissant knocks on Imogen’s door and she invites him in. He eats some eggs. He says he’s come to speak about the Red Piper, that they should go to make the Ambassadorship official. Down past the basement and into the Labyrinth, or else she suggests we can summon the Red Piper. Old Pissant suggests that they should all go, Audrey and Damocles included. Imogen searches for weaponry or any leftover explosives, but only the sledgehammer is available. She asks Old Pissant if the guards outside take notice of him – he says they don’t really see him and that he goes about his business. Imogen agrees to go into the Labyrinth if he lends her his clothing. Old Pissant agrees and undresses (Imogen gives him a clean pair of boxer shorts). Imogen bandages and tapes half her body – it’s not perfect, but at a distance passable and the added benefit of Damocles having pissed on the clothes. She hides her sledgehammer in the trench coat, tells Old Pissant there’s alcohol in the fridge and heads downstairs.
She looks for one of the unassuming, lone security guard near the ‘line of obfuscation/exclusion’. There’s nobody too close, but some are in isolated positions. Imogen lurches over to one of the guards, muttering under her breath. The guard spots and challenges her, radios in and goes to investigate. Imogen tries to lure him to the corner, out of view, and as she tries to attack him, the guard reacts quickly to block her off and go for the radio. Imogen’s struggle goes badly as the guard has time to call for backup, so Imogen has to get the sledgehammer out. It catches him on the chin knocking him out (dead). She grabs the baton and tazer and sprints back towards the Wych House, returning to the flat. She can now go down more armed to the Labyrinth.
Meanwhile… Noah continues to stall for time, carefully selecting the right phrases to not escalate the situation. There are multiple attempts to entrap Noah in a disrespectful statement, but with Jenni’s help, it is possible to react and keep going. Steven goes to stand behind Joyguard’s chair and then gets a guitar case down from a shelf.
At Euston Square, Kelly Laboso gets on, and to astounded faces, goes to sit at her council chair. Jenni asks Kelly about helping get and introduction to The Bad Man. Laboso knowns the name, but doesn’t feel confident in setting up a contact herself, but has contacts and will look into the options and pricing available. At Aldgate, Joyguard gets on and takes his seat. The Regent’s Council is declared quorate and Joyguard inquires as to what all this business about people eating people is. The Duke of Hazel states that he is merely ‘hungry’ to make his rightful claim to the throne and there is no devouring going on. Jenni asks if Mr Dirt knows what’s going on here, but the Duke claims Mr Dirt doesn’t matter as he’s not of the Court. Lady Y claims that the nature of the Duke’s increased authority is by questionable means and has curtailed her rightful claim. The Duke asks if any can attest to any questionable means – nobody steps forward. Steven and Noah try to call anyone forward, but still no response and Steven goes in to goad and subtly insult the Duke. Joyguard requests that the Duke uncovers his face and the Duke nods. He begins to peel away the bandages and beneath it is just a normal face. (GASP!) The train pulls into Tower Hill and the Duke of Hazel’s faction as one turn and leave.
In the Basement Imogen, Audrey, Damocles and Old Pissant prepare to go down, first moving to the mystical side of the Basement and then down the corridors. They follow Old Pissant, who keeps away from anything more interesting, keeping to the dark and shadows and away from coming footsteps. Old Pissant tells Imogen that Patrick sent him here (giving him money to go away), explaining his knowledge of down here. Imogen has a conversation about Old Pissant’s situation (and if getting torn in half hurt – duh) – the Red Piper saved him after he was torn in half, and he is now ‘like Imogen’. They travel for an indeterminate amount of time and eventually the Labyrinth changes, becoming older and less solid. Then it becomes ‘less’ and there is a detectable smell of musky growth, the decay of an autumnal wood, the air becoming thick with spores. When it opens up, it is full of growing life into and out of one another. It’s kinda creepy. In a clearing, whittling a pair of long pipes, is the Red Piper. Imogen goes closer and he looks up.
In the Carriage, the Knights seek to be released from service, having fulfilled their Quest. Joyguard sees no further hold he has over the, but asks if Steven has anything to stay. Steven confirms he believes all duties have been discharged. Patrick is generally sceptical of the whole situation. Joyguard suggest the Knights will want to align themselves soon – the Duke’s claim is indeed likely to solidify soon. Navigating the conversation of ‘indebtedness’ is difficult but eventually a sort of equilibrium seems to be reached. He suggests that some sort of alignment would be necessary to stay safe – there are veiled threats. Talk turns to the ‘Parcel’ or ‘Dr Parcelsus’ as Joyguard clarifies. This opens up a can of worm of threats until Joyguard outright spells out that he’ll just kill everyone unless we get out of the way.
Steven explains that Mr Joyguard is very much a force of nature, and Steven’s engagement with Mr Joyguard is his sort of calling, as a way to manage his purpose so it goes along without too many people’s heads being chopped off. Mr Joyguard’s quest seems to have diminished his concern for human life. There’s a discussion of Dr Pacelsus and how to handle him while Jenni, Patrick, Noah and Steven return home. Coming to the Wych House they find the area cordoned off, huge numbers and the Police involved. The group is ignored as they return home, Noah looks into the tent to see the dead security guard. Jenni listens in to a witness statement describing Imogen’s antics (as Old Pissant). As they get into the lobby, they are met by an excited Amadia.
She claims to have got the lift working – it ping and opens. Unexpectedly to Amadia, there is a person lying curled up on the floor of the lift. She is clothed in burn tatters. Noah goes to check – it’s Imogen. She asks who Noah and Steven is. The last thing she seems to remember is the explosion of her apartment. To try clear things up, Jenni suggest going to Noah and Amadia’s apartment to make use of the Board. Steven suggests it is worth checking if other Imogen can be found. Jenni and co try to explain the situation to Imogen using the board. Patrick (taking a fireaxe) and Noah go to check if they can find other Imogen.
Patrick knocks on Flat 5. No answer. He calls for Damocles – no noise. Imogen comes up to whistle for Damocles. Nothing. Jenni picks the lock. They enter and see the strange flesh-pod attached to the ceiling. There is a debate whether to take an axe to it… (Peter grosses himself out with all the sea-life imagery here, it’s great). Patrck hacks it off the ceiling and Imogen takes a kitchen knife to open it up. She sees within it a part of shoulder and torso, growing within the pod. Imogen drags it out onto the balcony, douses it in bleach, and sets it on fire. It’s like in the Thing. It’s great.
They ask Amadia how she got the lift working – she says in the same way she’s moved the other entrances to the Basement. She thought it would be convenient to have an easy way down. There is some discussion of afterlife experiences between Imogen, Noah and Patrick and Steven notes it is curious that we haven’t seen a Labirinth/Basement-spawned version of Noah. There is a question of whether certain influences had an effect on how people came back. Amadia is questioned on the exact nature of the lift, and it seems her intention was to have the lift go a bit deeper than just the physical basement, maybe straight to the metaphysical basement. Patrick asks “Why did you make a lift, that goes, to Hell?”
During the discussion, Jenni goes into the elevator and presses to go down to the basement. She goes down. The door opens and she sees the path out and an old woman, mottled skin, naked with eight spider’s legs. She turns to look and it is Audrey.