August 21st, 2025 – New York City
The exhausting battle with Martin continues, until finally some well-placed blows bring him down. When he falls, there’s an explosion of light, and everyone in the party is infused with warmth and color. Martin’s body doesn’t disappear, and while the party is contemplating this, a woman approaches from around the corner and kneels over him. Those who can sense power are blinded by hers as she kneels down and straightens some stray hairs on Martin’s head. The party assumes this is Titania. She admits that Martin was insane, but “he was mine”. She also tells Daphne that “nature abhors an imbalance, and a Queen of Autumn without a Queen of Spring” would be catastrophic. She warns her against continuing on her path (which Daphne finds quite frustrating since she’s not doing anything on purpose). Titania leaves peacefully.
Jamie feels like he can attempt to transport the party back to the world of the living, and they relocate to One-Eyed Cat Lane for the attempt. In a relatively un-spectacular fashion, Jamie transports the entire party back into living world. There are guards in suits posted at the doors to the wreckage of The Castle and one of them makes a call upon seeing the party appear in front of them, but beyond that they don’t comment.
Notable to everyone’s reappearance is Margaret’s seeming return to life – this middle ground between living and vampirism has yet to be explored.
The party scurries into Dr. Pickens’ bookstore for help. The man takes their appearance in relative stride. He calls a friend to deliver food and clothing to the bookstore, then describes current events to his understanding:
- The destruction of The Castle is a huge deal to the supernatural community. John has been operating Sanctuaries for centuries and they have never been violated. Pickens is sure there would be a war right now if the community had someone to blame.
- Martha was killed as a result of the explosion, and the party already knew that Ian had died in the hospital. Alfred was out of town on business. No one has seen John since the explosion, but Alfred claims that he still exists.
- The mortal authorities are naturally all up in everyone’s business, what with a Broadway theater being bombed. Lydia, the vampire Prince of New York, has been doing her best to cover up the supernatural elements, including having the bodies of the party stolen from the morgue and cremated.
When the food and change of clothes arrive, the party finds that one of the guards in suits (later identified as “Nunzio”) is now standing guard at the door to the bookstore, and advises the party that Lydia is on the way to see them and they should wait.
However, Emily needs to meet Benjamin Randall to receive Teddy’s package, so she talks her way past Nunzio and meets the man at a coffee shop nearby. Benjamin Randall is a middle-aged man who took the opportunity to bring his teenage son to NYC, and whose curiosity is outweighing his discomfort at his elderly father including a 20-year-old girl in his will. The bombing has forced him to accelerate his trip, and he’s preparing to leave for the airport. He asks how Emily knew his father, and she placates him by stating that they did some freelance work together in Teddy’s retirement. Benjamin hands her a card that had been addressed to her. The card reads “S3cret, in return for my favors, I ask for one in return. Any inconvenience caused will be brief.” Below the statement is a black dot marked “Place Thumb Here”. When she does, something happens, though she’s not sure what, and the block dot is gone when she lifts her finger. They excuse themselves from Benjamin and return to the bookstore.
Shortly after the party has had a chance to eat and change clothes, Lydia arrives. She asks “Now…what the fuck am I going to do with you lot…”. At which point, a man appears next to Emily who only she can see and says, “Oh my, what will we do!?”.