Marielda 07: The Valentine Affair Pt. 2

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Episode description[edit | edit source]

The bells of Memoriam College ring out from high in the tower. At the top of the hour, The Diligent Peal marks the start and end of classes, ushering students from room to room. At half past, The Indolent Peal chimes, waking students who have slept in, letting them know exactly how long they have to get to class. The bells don’t ring cleanly; the first note is pitched differently to the third, for example. The fifth sounds as thought it belongs to an entirely different tower. There is a rumour that, on the foundation of the college and the building of the tower, one bell was taken from the spires of each of Marielda’s parishes and installed in Memoriam. Perhaps it is untrue. Who could say. Climb the bell tower and look out at the other churches in the distance, hear their distant notes. What a beautiful view. What a beautiful city.

This week on Marielda: The Valentine Affair Pt. 2

Shh! Quiet in the library!

Opening[edit | edit source]

You ever wonder what causes a god to declare war? Cause you should be ponderin' that particular question by now. I know you seen our type of war, bloody crusades and cold secular skirmishes both. We've all heard the generals talk about honor and greed, about justice and need. But behind all that, if you ask me, is fear. Fear is why people go to war. But for as fallible as the gods are, and they are, they ain't mortals. There ain't much that should scare folks like Samothes and Samot, like Severea and Tristero. These are, these are powerful beings, not like you. They squabble over concepts the way families argue about bills. They live in palaces of gold and fire and wind, castles they built with their own hands and ingenuity. So you should be asking yourself: what makes a thing like that afraid? What makes a thing like me afraid?

Plot[edit | edit source]

Inside the operating theater, Silas biffs Edmund on the head with his cane and sprints to the other door, which is locked. Hitchcock runs to choke him out as he fiddles with it, but Silas sweeps his legs with the cane and begins repeatedly kicking him, traumatizing him. Edmund goes soft and breaks into tears. As Edmund cowers, Silas grabs his lockpick, picks the door, and throws it back into his face before leaving.

As the banquet ends and people head to dorms, the other three hang back and move downstairs. They poke around and find a locked door beneath a sign reading "The Winsley Cartwright Living Library". The door's handle is cold. Sige picks the lock and they enter a library room in which two sets of stairs seem to descend into a dark pit. They can hear activity from below. Aubrey searches the card catalog for Bolster Valentine and learns that Mortal Liminality: On the Space Between Life and Death is in "Level 10: Special Collection Archive" and is only allowed to be studied in the Special Collection Reading Room. Castille puts on her spirit mask and sees a great deal of magical energy moving around below, similar to that of reconfiguration. She descends the stairs and reaches a tile platform surrounded by nothingness. After scanning to see if there's anything rare, Sige follows her. When he steps on the platform, it lights up and begins to descend. Aubrey runs to follow.

The platform loudly descends to the top floor of the library stacks, which are ten-story high bookshelves lined with similar moving platforms. Much like the floor above, they are surrounded by books on the basic history of Marielda—nothing too juicy. Looking around, Castille sees Miss Salary and Mister Calendar descend the other staircase and continue down. Salary waves. As Castille looks around, she attracts attention and the ghost of Winsley Cartwright appears before her and tells her that new students are not yet allowed to browse the library.

Castille tells him that they were sent by his daughter Ailenn (who is a contact of theirs, but not the one who sent them here) to find Mortal Liminalities and he begins bringing them down on a platform. As they pass a shelf of books on alchemy, Aubrey grabs a book titled Chemical Procedures and Unholy Transposition. Upon reaching the reading room, Aubrey asks him to decipher the Yellow House's card given to her by Salary, which translates to "Play in the dark, lest the heat catch you standing still." At that moment, Calendar appears holding an odd knife, and Winsley recognizes him as his son Winston.

Sige rushes in with his own knife and slashes Winston's arm, making him drop the knife. Winsley's spirit moves into Sige, attempting to possess him, but Castille begins to suck him into a spirit bottle, pulling him away from Sige. Miss Salary reaches into a pouch and throws caltrops all over the Special Collection floor. Aubrey throws choking dust into her face, but she drinks a vial of something and counteracts the effect. Winsley's spirit runs his hand along Calendar's arm, sucking some of the blood into his own arm and appearing to heal the wound.

In the dissection room, Carolyn Fair-Play finds Edmund on the ground and offers him a hand. He explains that he was beaten up by a priest (having, to her shock, disobeyed what he told her was the first rule of dancing: "Never trust a priest you don't know") and that he was in the school to steal a book. She tells him that he should rest and he asks her to look for his friends in the library, and gives her his sword. He asks her to bring him to the envigilator dorm, but all of the beds are full. She grabs a blanket from a student dorm, and tells him to go into the chapel. Edmund decides to pray to Samothes, apologizing for the train and for getting into a fight with a priest. While praying, he sees a golden candlestick on the altar with a symbol of Samothes, and realizes it is the most valuable thing he's seen in a year. He bargains and says that he won't steal the candlestick if he's not killed in his sleep, and opens a door to a stairwell. He hears footsteps, as if he's nearly caught someone eavesdropping on him. He quietly closes the door and creeps up to find a bedroom with Sabinia inside trying to look busy at her desk.

After Hitchcock calls her out for eavesdropping, Sabinia beckons him to sit on her couch, guilts him some about wanting to rob them, and then asks him if he would like to see what they prepare for at Memoriam, gesturing toward the door at the end of her room. She opens it up and steps inside with Edmund. There are windows in the room, even though it seems that there shouldn't be.

Outside the windows, you see Marielda, and it is burning. Not burning from fire, not like someone lit it, but burning at the edges the way paper does, to where there’s nothing left when it’s done. Where the whole thing is consumed, and then there’s nothing there, there’s just void.

"What is this? Is this—"

"This is the Heat and the Dark. And it’s coming for us. And He saw it and He reached out His hand, His holy hand, to protect us, for as long as he could, and to make our lives good. But that man who taught me, Christopher, he taught another boy, and he convinced that boy that there was always a way, goddamned optimist. There’s always a way to hold it off. To hold off the bad things and so, our Holy Father, committed to protecting us for as long as He could, to make our lives easy until this comes for us, He cast that boy out. That boy didn’t take kindly to it. And so now I sit here and watch, watch for this world to come into passing. And we study in our own way to see if there is anything to be done, but… there isn't."

"Why are you showing this to me?"

"Because I need you to understand why you can never leave this place. Now go rest. It’s a very comfortable couch."

Meanwhile, Sige picks up Winston's knife and, for a moment, he realizes that it doesn't matter if he dies in this fight. Sige plunges the knife into Winston.

"The Dark and the Heat are coming, and you can't stop it. Only we can," says Winston. He looks at Winsley and softly murmurs, "Dad…" before falling. At this moment, Salary runs past to the shelves to look for the book. Castille tackles and pins her. Winsley is losing it, prodding at his dead son and pulling more of his blood into his ghostly form. The room is shaking and books are falling throughout the library. Aubrey checks the shelves and finds a slip that says Mortal Liminality has been withdrawn, signed by Rector Sabinia. Sige grabs a couple expensive-looking books and then notes a vault door at the end of the room. Winsley looks at him and Sige's skin begins to burn[1], but he lashes out with the magic knife and drives the ghost away. With Salary out cold, Castille uses her pendant to turn the partly bottled Winsley to her will and put the library back to normal.

At this point, the three go to the vault door and Aubrey uses her fire oil to burn it open. In the dank basement air, the oil burns less quickly than normal. Behind them, they hear the door to the Special Collection open and the voices of Mrs. Manufactory and Master Latitude. Sige grabs the unconscious Salary. Manufactory arrives, draws a blade from her cane, and advances as Sige holds the knife to Salary's throat. The vault door falls inward. When she tells them to give her the book, Aubrey moves toward her while holding the alchemy tome that she grabbed earlier as a feint to throw choking dust at her. Manufactory catches the ruse and tries to stab her as she reaches for the bandolier, but Aubrey blocks the blade with the book. At a snap of Manufactory's fingers, Master Latitude tackles Aubrey to the ground and his features become wolfish as he snaps at Aubrey's neck.

Holding out her charm, Castille attempts to defuse the situation. Instead, Manufactory cuts her belt, dropping the spirit bottles to the ground and releasing Bolster Valentine, who looks around the room gaining his bearings, turns to Castille, and says, "You let them kill me, Castille."

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. At this point, Austin mistakenly remembered Winsley as the character who was killed with lava during The Quiet Year (that was Bolster), and described Winsley's appearance as changing to reflect this manner of death.