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Chain's King to Dragon Three is the 17th episode of The Chain. It aired on May 29th 2019.

The Chain attempt to escape from The Pellet and are confronted by the Prince's Red Falcons and the Twelve Dragons of House Alvaro.

Summary[]

Seven factions vie for control over the city of Capital. Open war is inevitable, but each faction wants the war on their terms, so for now they maneuver their pieces. It is a war of spies fought in shadows, until the arrival of a legendary mercenary company. Beaten, diminished, they are outnumbered and outmatched, forced to rely on tricks and schemes and dirty fighting. Situation normal for the Chain of Acheron. Now five factions converge on the dead prince’s territory, each convinced the others are trying to take it for themselves. The city of Capital is about to explode.

Getting Out of the Library[]

Between episodes, the Chain sends more messages to Angel, and instructs him to leak that the 12 Dragons are coming to take the Library -- instead of what they’re really coming to do, which is to apprehend the Chain. They also asked for a fake contract saying that the library job was to rescue the courier, instead of recovering the document.  Angel’s response was, “Stall.”

Leech sends an invisible Odie out of the Mausoleum to the front of the Library to scout around, but he’s stymied by the closed metal door that separates the rest of the library from the mausoleum. He’s able to open the door -- though slowly -- and makes his way towards the front door. Oddly, as he flies through the library, he notices that it’s now empty. He sees the librarian talking to some knights dressed in the uniform of the Red Falcons, the prince’s army. There are about six talking to the librarian, the same one who led them to the Mausoleum. Leech asks Odie to go closer to eavesdrop.

They’re asking the librarian for admittance to the library  so they can go look for The Chain of Acheron. She asks if that’s a book that she can help them locate. Odie sees a couple of people with hastily assembled stacks of books and papers hurrying out the door, trying to get out of the library before all hell breaks loose. Odie flies out the doors and sees that there’s a bit of a crowd gathering outside, muttering, trying to figure out what’s going on. He also sees more Red Falcons heading for the library. There are more guarding the outside of the library. The Red Falcons inside are stopping and searching the people trying to flee the impending chaos.

King feels a shift in weight in the Diplomat’s Pouch and finds inside the requested forged contract. They head for the exit of the mausoleum. Judge uses his Infernal Conduit ability to make Grumbles pass out to bolster their forged job. Leech calls Odie back.

They exit the mausoleum and return to the library at about 4:00 in the afternoon. When they reach the foyer, they see the librarian standing on top of the counter, rapier drawn. She’s pointing it at the Red Falcons, who have their hands up and are laughing at her. She shouts, “If you have a request, you’re going to have to fill out a request form!” One of them reaches for her and she stabs him, but he laughs it off.

They see the party and quickly lose interest in the librarian. She says to them, “I suppose you’re the Chain of Acheron.” Boots confirms that they are. A woman, who appears to be in charge says, “Who commands you?” King replies, “Me.” She points at Bigcat, “Is that thing tame?” Copper confirms, “Yes.” The leader of the Red Falcons draws King aside.

She wants to know what they’re doing here. King tells them they were here to rescue the courier. She says, “You know it’s illegal to have weapons here in the city. You don’t look like knights of the city. I’d recognize you.” King tells her they were granted temporary knighthoods so they could carry out their mission, which she inspects.She says, “If I’m being charitable, you’ve been deceived”, recognizing them as mere courier badges. She asks for proof of their job and King shows her the forged contract. She shows it to another Red Falcon, her lieutenant, and he says it looks like it’s in order. He says he doesn’t think the Hell Troopers would try to deceive her, that they’re rough, but honorable.

He hands her the contract back and she sees that they were hired, by proxy, by the Fulcrum. She wants to know why the Fulcrum hired them, specifically, instead of other mercenaries. They respond that it’s because they’re the most effective. She wants to know what they’ll do with him now that they’ve recovered him. They tell her they plan to get him medical care. She confers with some of her officers, then says, “Well, whatever you might have been up to or whyever you were hired, you’re not knights. You’re heavily armed for couriers. There’s going to be a fine to be paid. You can either come back to the station for questioning or we can escort you off the island.” King, wanting to avoid the Order of Twelve Dragons, says they’ll take the escort.

She finishes conferring with her lieutenant and draws King and Boots even further away. She says, “There isn’t anything you want to tell me, is there?” Her lieutenant introduces her as Captain Antonia. Boots says, “As a group of mercenaries, it behooves us to have an ear to the ground. We’ve heard that Prospero Alvaro is making a play for The Pellet and is sending the Twelve Dragons.” She’s not sure she believes the message. She thinks they may have misunderstood something, because she doesn’t think Alvaro would be that precipitous. Boots says, “Regardless, we don’t want to be here if they show up.” Her lieutenant whispers in her ear and she wilts a little. “You aren’t equipped to take the Pellet, are you?” King confirms they are not and that it’s not a job they would take. She turns and says, “Follow me. You’re safe as long as you’re with us.”

Copper is disappointed that he can’t get that book on displacer beasts.

Her lieutenant turns to the rest of the knights and says, “Falcons, we are escorting these people off the island.” As they exit the library, the crowd gasps and silence falls. Boots senses the tenor of the situation, and plays to the crowd: “Worry not! The boy is safe and we’ll take him to get the medical care he needs.” The crowd surges forward a bit to try to get a good look at the crazy people who belong to The Chain. The Falcons manage to keep the crowd back. They hear someone call out, “Look!”

A Standoff with Dragons[]

In the sky, they see something that looks like a descending bird. As the come closer, they realize it’s 12 mounted knights. The leader is riding a blue dragon; the rest are mounted on gryphons. Lady Antonia says, “We’ll lead you to the dock.”

The leader of the Twelve Dragons dismounts and his men follow suit. The dragon sits upright and the gryphons hide behind it, as if the dragon is in charge. The leader approaches the group. As The Chain looks around, they realize they’re surrounded by dozens of Red Falcons. The leader casts a spell as he approaches them. It creates dome of darkness, and when it retreats they see a heavily armed unit of light infantry in its place.

He addresses Lady Antonia. “How now. Who are these people and why are they in your company?” She says, “We’re escorting them off the island. Why are you here?” King talks to the party using Chain Sign, “Don’t talk to them.”  The leader says, “Couriers, hrm? You seem heavily armed for couriers.” King says, “I’ll defer to my handler.” He says, “If you won’t speak in your defense, we can just arrest you now.” He accuses them of being wastrels, criminals, and rabble and points out Slim. Slim says, “Take your filthy manes and begone.”

After some back and forth, Lady Antonia says, “They’re in my charge, not yours. Whatever you think is happening here, isn’t”, though she is ignored.

The Knight Commander takes a step forward to goad Slim, “Who do you take your orders from, Gith?” Slim says, “I am the pilot for the Chain of Acheron.” He then tells the commander that King is captain of the Chain. The Knight Commander wants to know why the Chain would have been hired to be in the Pellet. King refuses to answer, deferring again to Lady Antonia. She says, “We’re arresting them for bearing illegal weapons.”

The Knight Commander challenges Lady Antonia, “The Falcons! The pigeons more like! Useless even when the Prince was alive! Why don’t you go back to your family farms, stop pretending to be knights. What knights would be led by a woman? Lady Antonia. A faint echo of your great father. I knew your father.”

Lady Antonia, realizing what must happen now, sighs, and quickly writes a note. Handing it to her lieutenant, she asks once more whether the Chain can be trusted. Yes, the lieutenant replies. Lady Antonia hands him the note and says "Make sure my husband gets this."

She then faces down the Knight Commander. “You knew my father. Tell me, did you know your own?” The Knight Commander throws down his gauntlet and Lady Antonia picks it up and slaps him with it. She draws her sword and in a flash, the Knight Commander cuts her down.

The Red Falcons surge forward, drawing their weapons. The infantry unit stands fast, waiting for orders. The blue dragon stands up, inhaling. Slim picks up Lady Antonia as King tells the lieutenant, “We will help her.” The lieutenant tells the Red Falcons to stand down. He’s holding the note she gave him like it was Lady Antonia’s last orders. The Knight Commander puts away his weapon and says that he hopes the new commander of the Red Falcons will be more reasonable.

The lieutenant approaches King, asking what they intend to do with Lady Antonia. Slim says, “We’re going to help her,” and King confirms. The lieutenant is insistent, “They know you’re not knights. If you cast a spell, they will cut you down.” He hisses at King, “Do nothing, but hang onto her.”

The Commander of the Twelve Dragons says, “Now, let’s be reasonable. Come with me and we’ll visit the Duke. I think it’s time for a more reasonable administration of the Pellet.” The lieutenant turns around and says, “This is still the Prince’s land and we are still its administrators.” Slim’s displeasure with the situation is apparent and the lieutenant says, “In case you haven’t noticed, we are outnumbered!”

The crowd splits as a voice calls out, “Says who?”

Reinforcements Arrive[]

The voice belongs to Corporal Mud, leader of the Chain's scouting regiment, the Advancers. They make their way through the crowd, in red-black livery of the Chain, but with green boots. Corporal Mud approaches King and says, “Sir. We figured Sweet would retreat to Capital. We made our way here as fast as we could. Sorry it took so long. Still not sure how you got here before us.” King says, “There’s a lot we need to tell you.” She says, “Where’s Sweet?”

King says, “He passed away with Nails in the Astral Sea.” Judge confirms, “King is our new commander.” Mud claps him on the shoulder and confirms, “We’re rested, fed,  and ready for a fight.” She looks at the Knight Commander and his men and say, “Who are these assholes?”

He steps forward, demanding to know who these new armed people are and how The Pellet can be this lawless. She says, “Navy guys let us in.” This gives the Knight Commander pause. She says she intended to go somewhere else, but House Vorona told them they were due here and she wasn’t interested in arguing, figuring they knew something she didn’t. The Twelve Dragons says, “We’re going to stay here for a while.” The lieutenant of the Red Falcons says, “We’re going to escort our prisoners off the island.” The Knight Commander says, “I wish you a speedy journey.”

There’s a huge crowd now surrounding all this action. The Red Falcon lieutenant says, “We’ve got to get out of here.” King says, “We need to find a place out of sight and we’ll help her.” Once out of the way, King Revivifies her and Judge uses his Infernal Conduit to heal her. She grabs King and says, “How many were killed?” King says, “Just you… None, now.” She says, “It’s a miracle.” She orients herself, realizing that the situation has changed a bit. She extends her hand, “Thank you. I owe you my life.” King says, “We owe you ours. It’s the least we could do.”

Her lieutenant says, “The Twelve Dragons are staying. It’s the best we could do,” and explains what happened after she was cut down. She says, “So this isn’t over?”

Corporal Mud wants to know who those guys were. They start to explain things and then tell her that they’ll catch her up later. She says the navy intercepted them and them brought them to the Pellet, saying they had an appointment.

The Red Falcon lieutenant says, “We have to get you off the island.”

They tell Lady Antonia she better lay low, that if the Knight Commander realizes she’s not dead, he might try to kill her again. She says, “Honor has been satisfied,” then stops dead. She says, “Maybe you shouldn’t leave the island. If there’s going to be war, I want to be on the winning side.” King says they don’t really want to take any more jobs for the Fulcrum and that the Red Falcons seem honorable. She says, “Maybe we’re arresting you after all. You’ll be safe in the jail.”

Safe in the Jail[]

When they arrive at the jail, she makes it clear that they’re guests and offers them refreshments. King tells her that they have information that there are spies in her organization. She says, “Welcome to Capitol.” She asks if they have evidence and King says they don’t right now, but might be able to get some. She scoffs, “Spies. They have wizards and many other ways of gaining information.”

She takes them to a break room and makes them welcome. She waits until she and her lieutenant are alone with the Chain and wants to know how many men they can muster at need. They tell her they have one small unit of medium infantry and another, fully armed, unit -- and a very large squid ship.” She doesn’t know what that means and Slim says, “It’s an Illithid dreadnought.” She says, “Who ARE you people?”

Slim observes, “Your death was very messy. We should train.” She says, “I don’t know how much training would be necessary to defeat Knight Commander de Corano.” They discuss the jobs The Chain has done and Lady Antonia confirms that their first job was for House Alvaro and then the Fulcrum. She says, “The Fulcrum has a lot of money.” King wants to know what she thinks of them. She says, “I think they’re rich and they’re not House Alvaro. I carry the Prince’s crown and I have to think of what he would want -- and he would want the Twelve Dragons off this island.”

Boots wants to know if they were able to establish authority, what would she do and where would her allegiance lay? She says, “My allegiance is to the Prince. There’s only one way to do it, blood.” She shakes her head and says to her lieutenant, “When you left the hill, you left them in charge, which means you’ve just given him the Library.”

Lady Antonia and her lieutenant leave the room to give the Chain a chance to chat. They debate how to handle the situation for a while. When she comes back, she’s carrying a bag, out of which she takes six seals. She says, “I owe you my life and I think we should be allies.” She hands them each a seal saying, “That’s the Prince’s seal. With it you can go anywhere in the city. I don’t know how much difference this is going to make, but…”

King says, “If you need to get off the island, we’re in the Stays.” She says, “I took an oath to defend the Pellet with my life.”

Boots levels with her. “The job wasn’t the courier. We have a document that gives a legal claim of this island…” She says, “What document?” “That we were sent to retrieve from the Library.” Lady Antonia sais, “That you claim exists?” He confirms, “Yes.” Boots says, “This document gives legal ownership of the island to House Burnadetti. If we fulfill this contract, it will mean war.”

“War,” she says, and motions to the lieutenant, who hands them a broadsheet. On it is the largest headline they’ve seen yet that says, “War.” In the article, it says that the ownership of the Library has gone to the Twelve Dragons, the Red Falcons retreated,  and other districts have changed hands. During the lull, King had asked Angel to send the document back, and he hands it over to Lady Antonia. She says, “Well, we knew you weren’t here for the courier. Commander King, what would you do in my shoes?”

King says, “Let me tell you a story about Blackbottom. It was destroyed by Ajax and we retreated. You may need to retreat with your men in order to fulfill you job. If you give ground, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost. It means you still have a chance.” She says, “What about the prince? I don’t know why we’d retreat. Whoever wins will likely be declared the prince and we’ll work for him. At that point, the war would be over.”

Judge says, “The thing about this document is that it does legitimize the ownership of this island. There would be no dishonor to you in relinquishing control and there would be room for you -- and your men -- in the Chain.” She says, “If House Alvaro and Lady Shirome go to war, whose side would you be on?” King says, “We want to take the right side this time and not work for assholes.” Lady Antonia stands up, pulls herself together, and says, “I guess I need to talk to Lady Shrome. When you fulfil your contract, let her know. Remember that now, no matter what happens, you carry the Prince’s seal. We still have to get you out of The Columns. Assuming the Twelve Dragons don’t make problems, it should go smoothly.”

She escorts them to the gate. Everything seems to go smoothly and everyone appears to be carrying on business as usual, despite the change in administration. At the docks, she’s taken aback by their ship. She wishes them luck, reminds them that she’d like to talk to Lady Shirome, and says, “I hope we don’t end up working for the Twelve Dragons.”

Two-Shoes is on the ship and welcomes them back, along with the advance scouts. Mud says, “I think there may be more of us out there.”

After a long rest, they get in touch with the herald and tell him that they’ll only give the document to Lady Shirome or her spymaster. Judge intimidates the herald into taking them back to the Heraldic Society so they can speak to whomever has the power to get them an audience with Lady Shirome or a duly appointed representative.

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