Tang visits the Faerie Dance on September 25 and sees Michael, who now looks ancient. He asks her if he can stay, and she agrees. On the way back, Tang and Cadan avoid being attacked by bandits.
Natan asks Epona if he can use the library; she goes through the “Rules” with him and since he agrees to all of them, she allows him access. Since she does not have a full season to work in the lab, Aaazz visits the regio for two months and collects the vis available there. Jocelyn the redcap arrives on November 11. He brings a letter from Fredigisa announcing that Cymbaline ex Merinita is defecting from Horsingas; Epona travels to Burnham to decide what happens to the maga, and provide a guard. Epona leaves with Sinead and Everard via “portkey” to Burnham. Epona brings a rock from the Co cave.
At Burnham, Epona finds that Cymbaline has brought enough vis to pay the debt that will avoid the Wizard War. Unfortunately, she did not alert the other magi of Horsingas who will surely come looking for her. She asks for asylum in Stonehenge Tribunal. Goliard of Blackthorn volunteers to take the renegade maga, as does Julia of Voluntas. There is no consensus about where Cymbaline should reside temporarily; Fredigisa convinces Epona that AdAstra might be the compromise solution. The others agree with the decision, and Epona, her grogs, Cymbaline, Goliard and her grogs set out for AdAstra.
Just after crossing the Severn at Atcham on November 29, Goliard decides that she has accompanied the group for long enough, and leaves. Shortly after, Epona and Cymbaline are confronted by Phineas ex Tytalus from Horsingas over Cymbaline’s defection. One of Phineas’ grogs manages to knock Cymbaline unconscious with a thrown rock, and Epona challenges Phineas to certamen to avoid further conflict. The Creo Animal contest takes several rounds, with both magi suffering fatigue. Early on, however, Phineas botches an attempt to overwhelm Epona, and pays for his mistake the next round as Epona presses him. He never completely recovers, and despite some gains, is ultimately rendered unconscious by Epona. She takes her opportunity for to humiliate him by conjuring cat urine and covering him with it while he lay on the ground. The grogs and Epona bring Cymbaline back to AdAstra, where she recovers quickly from her injury.
Epona introduces Cymbaline to the other magi. Tang and Aaazz wonder why the carpenters have not yet finished the guest houses? Tang is delighted to meet Cymbaline; they chat about old faerie acquaintences from the north. Agnes provides bedding and judgement. Tang, Aaazz, Mabel, and Epona meet to decide what to do with Cymbaline. Cymbaline turns out to be a shrew. The magae give Cymbaline a key, but tell her she can’t talk to Agnes anymore. Aaazz, Mabel, Tang, and Epona cast Wizards Communion to cast the level 30 Aegis.