The Magpies split up to take care of some loose ends from past scores. Minx and Myra set about framing Harvale Brogan to remove him from play, and Blaire descends into Duskwall’s catacombs to deal with some ghostly remnants.
Content Warning: Emotional abuse. If you need to skip this episode, a text summary of the plot is available on the Magpies website.
Featured Charity: McLean Hospital
Due to the emotional abuse plotline in this episode, a text summary is being provided for listeners who want to skip over the episode. SPOILERS AHEAD.
After talking with the young artist, Nessa Ericks, about helping her fence her forged paintings, the Magpies turn their attention to their plan of removing Harvale Brogan from the Circle of Flame. They find a short article about the incident in the Old Railyards, with Inspector Severin asking for anyone with information or evidence to reach out to him. The crew realizes that he’s trying to make contact with his blackmailers–them. Myra and Minx plan for their meeting, while Blaire hurries off on her own errand.
In a flashback, we see that Blaire met with members of the Reconciled, wealthy and powerful members of society who are possessed by non-feral spirits. While some of the Reconciled had doubts about Blaire’s abilities and youth, they still gave her a task: in order to prove herself as someone they could trust, she must take responsibility for her actions. Many of the spirits she has freed have caused trouble throughout the city, but none so badly as the lingering spirits from the Ink Row riots. Some of those spirits are beginning to form a Harvester. The Reconciled tell Blaire that she must deal with the pre-Harvester, one way or another, before they will allow her into their group. Returning the present, Blaire packs a bag and heads out into Six Towers.
Minx delves into the world of scrapbooking with a newspaper clipping letter that she sends to Inspector Severin to arrange a meeting. The meeting takes place on the canals, and is somewhat less than friendly; the two Magpies aren’t very interested in why the spirit has taken over Severin’s body. Severin tells them that Brogan is still untouchable due to his connections in the Circle. As long as he’s valuable to them, Lady Drake will ensure that he doesn’t go to prison. He says that until the Magpies can turn the Circle from Brogan, he won’t make an arrest. As he’s leaving, he peers through the ghost field and past the Magpies’ disguises to identify who they are.
Blaire visits Quellyn, a witch and contact of hers who allows her to rummage through her personal library. She learns about how Harvesters form and the options for destroying them. The only way that doesn’t involve destroying the spirits requires her to provide a lure to separate the spirits before they merge into the Harvester.
Minx and Myra devise a scheme to get the Circle to turn on Brogan: make it look like Brogan hired the Magpies to kill Avrathi, and like he’s hired them to kill Lady Drake next. Myra forges some letters from Brogan to the Magpies, then writes the corresponding replies from the Magpies to Brogan.
Blaire heads into the catacombs under the Docks to look for the pre-Harvester. While searching, Setarra shows up and demands to know what Blaire is doing. Blaire explains herself, and Setarra interjects herself into the mission, foisting her help upon Blaire. Setarra uses her powers to locate the pre-Harvester, and leads them off into the catacombs.
Minx and Myra, forged letters in hand, make their way to Brogan’s estate in order to plant the Magpies’ letters to him in his home. Things go smoothly until Myra, snooping around in Brogan’s office, finds a letter from her old employer, Salia, to Brogan. She’s so startled that she knocks a statue off the desk, shattering it. Fortunately, Minx has successfully hidden the letters in a book detailing a story of betrayal and revenge, and the two are able to escape into the night before anyone comes to investigate.
In the catacombs, Blaire and Setarra locate the pre-Harvester: a pack of eight angry, vengeful spirits swirling together. Blaire manages to lure a couple away with persuasion, then a couple more with electroplasm. Setarra then intervenes and breaks up the remaining four, who vanish. Blaire is able to pack away the others into spirit jars. Setarra chides her for wasting her time and tells Blaire to bring her something useful. Blaire agrees, Setarra departs, and Blaire sets out for the Deathlands to free the spirits.
Minx reaches out to Harker, a criminal contact from her youth, and asks him to deliver the other half of the forged letters to Salia. Salia will then sell the letters to the Circle, who will, the Magpies hope, cast Brogan out of their ranks for his betrayal. Harker agrees to the job and takes the packet of letters.
Blaire returns home and, rummaging through her room, comes across one of the books she stole from Arun, the Red Sashes alchemist the group framed for murder several months ago. The book is in a language she doesn’t know, but she recognizes many of the symbols as relating to summoning. She decides this will be useful to Setarra and takes it to the sea demon. Setarra looks at the book and is very pleased by the offering.
The Magpies reconvene back at the Nest. Blaire is evasive about where she’s been, and while concerned, Myra and Minx let it go. Blaire and Minx dig into some scrapbooking, and we see a newspaper announcing Brogan’s arrest and impending trial.