As Steve, Whistler, and V were nestled in their beds, two freshly escaped changelings clad in sackcloth arrived in a shipping yard with no memories to call their own. As the cry of a hunting horn and hounds echo through the air, Ward and Alan Thoreau hid about the shipping containers (with Alan growing to a tremendous size), ultimately to take refuge in a shipping container guarded by Will Do. The container proved to a be a portal that dumped them into The Middle of the Road in the middle of the night.
The new arrivals have an ignominious introduction — a surly Will Do, a curt Bishop Tom, and precious little else — to the freehold. In the end, they begrudgingly pledge a vague allegiance to the freehold. Given mismatched clothes and a cot to sleep on, they bring their day to an end.
The morning brings Alan and Ward into contact with Whistler. Down to the bar, they’re given a bit more of an education about changeling life. The remainder of the morning is spent with Bishop Tom, who regales the three with a barrage of Rook’s Beach, CT trivia. Mental notes are taken and quality maps are drawn.They travel to a rougher-still part of town to the apartment of Cyrus, who is able to provide barely-there IDs for the group; as Bishop Tom puts it, “the foundation of a new life!” The good Blackbird advises that the one to two week waiting period could be expedited should one wish to throw their lot in with the Bishopric of Blackbird, not to mention a modest stipend.
From there, the four go their separate ways.
V stays behind to chat with Cyrus. In a delightfully ham-fisted manner, V asks if there are any lockpicks to be had. Cyrus says it’s possible, and relates a story betrayal and violence. If V agrees to help with a plot of revenge, he’ll gladly pay him.
Whistler doubles back to a free clinic they had passed earlier. Understaffed and overworked, Whistler offers his help. The receptionist mistakes him for a medical intern, and with a bit of paperwork, puts him to work.
Alan Thoreau and Ward return to the bar. Ward goes about chatting up the regulars, ingratiating himself into their conversations. It doesn’t take long for him to be seen as a heckuvaguy, just a swell fellah. Alan hangs back, observing the scene.
With the motley having been filled out by two more, and plans and plots having been set into motion, only the fates know what’s coming next.