Nico Chetaine, currently transformed into a man who calls himself Dante, has managed to steal very important documents from her mother’s hidden compartment in her mother’s bedroom. However the whammy laid on him by a winged ninja shortly before he fought her werewolf friend and flew out the window into the Hedge, has left him doubting himself and shuddering so bad he can barely speak.
Dante takes out the hand-held radio that he had been given by Gipontel the last time they had spoken and updates the Fallen on the situation, seeking clarification on fae banes. Gipontel tells her that cold iron is the bane for the fae.
Gipontel comments that he actually has a small bucket of cold iron nails (about a hundred) and a cold iron tower shield. Apparently he is capable of crafting them as he technically neither hammers nor heats the metal to sculpt it. Also, being a Fallen, he has certain capabilities to deal with metal without it being count as ‘shaped by human hands’.
Dante asks him if he could skim off the top of the tower shield, turning it into a regular shield, and use the excess for some stones for a slingshot and a short sword. Gipontel tells him it’ll take him a couple hours but he could certainly do that. Dante points out a meeting place not too far from the Abjuration Stone protected settlement and tells him that Jack will be over to pick it up.
Then Dante fills a bathtub full of ice and water, needing to bring on some Infernal Visions but assuming that his twitching muscles will prevent him from falling into a trance-like state. Johnny watches over him to ensure he doesn’t a) drown or b) die from exposure.
Dante gets his vision of a battlefield full of torn bodies while a black-dragon-on-white-background flag slowly slumps into the bloody muck as well as a flash of a golden-eyed woman with feathers for hair and a raven on her shoulder. It’s not terribly explanatory on whether he should try to brave the Hedge or not but it’s what he’s got. When he awakens, Jack is back with a cold iron gladius, shield, pocket rocket (slingshot) and cold iron shield. Finally they were ready. Dante gets everyone down from the roof into the main house, sticky taping cold iron to every window and door to prevent anyone from gating inside. Despite specific instructions *not* to hammer them or do anything else that could deactivate them, a few people – being people – very nearly do. In expectation of this, Dante selects a few people to go around and ensure that folk don’t do that.
Dante also points out to Cameron that he wants his bag of dicks back at the end of this. Cameron seems honestly surprised that that’s all Dante wants but isn’t silly enough to offer payment – and is too confused to realise Dante has already extracted payment with Mother’s Notes.
Dante gets leave to access the family library with Jack and Johnny and they do a bit of general occult research to try to find out more about what they’re facing. They don’t have much luck though Jack does get to scoff about the Chetaine family’s knowledge of demons. Apparently some of them are *just spirits*.
That morning a raven flies up to tap on the window with it beak. Wondering if it’s morse code, Dante taps back a message. It almost seems that the raven is intelligent but most of what it taps back are simple repetitions. Out through the window, however, Dante can see a woman who looked much like that feathered-haired imagining. Dante heads out to meet with her, Jack at her side, while Johnny rouses everyone else to be cautious and wary. The meeting is short but simple. She is the Autumn Queen and she believes that Dante is their champion. In her mind, he is the only one who can retrieve his mother. She has come as an act of faith and show of trust.
Dante’s not greatly confident about going but has figured out that the alternative is to stick around under self-imposed house arrest for the rest of his life with 200 people *or* go with her. Dante elects to go with her, taking Jack but leaving the other two behind in case it’s a trap. Johnny sends his wind-ghosty-homunculus thing in through the gate with them, giving them a grin and a pair of thumbs up before heading back inside the main house.
Dante takes a deep breath and follows the so-called Autumn Queen who, as soon as she is through the hedge gate, appears as the feathered-haired woman from his dream.