The Familia makes plans for the upcoming Samhaine ball, one of the four festivals held at the corners of the year. As it is Halloween, it is traditional to come costumed in the guise of something you hate. Secret Knowledge comes as a schoolgirl, Texas as a New York carpetbagger, Hope as a militant neo-Klansman, Entropy as a ???, and Apocalypse as Dan Jenkins (author of the Left Behind novels).
Croatoan gives them but a brief looking over and leaves to join the Imperator party, hosted by Lord Entropy itself. The Familia enters through the smaller but no less impressive Nobles’ entrance, and a dizzying array of social displays ensue. This is Hope’s first social function since being invested, and he endures a steady stream of introductions and veiled statements with ablomb. Apocalypse heads off to find his old poker buddies (War, Famine, Conquest, and Death, with Famine tagging along). Entropy however, with Secret Knowledge and Texas in tow, discovers a remarkable art display with her calling card.
The display is a window onlooking the hospital room of a certain prominent Senator, recently revealed to have been grappling with terminal cancer for some time now. Arrayed in the room as a bit of decollage are news clippings and the drone CNN in the background, all expounding upon how this secret completely undermines all the work the senator has been doing for quite some time, mostly notably his stance on nuclear non-proliferation.
Entropy is impressed, but disavows any hand in this. Apocalypse learns of this display over table chatter in the poker room, and is disgusted as this particular bit of art hits a little too close to home. Shortly after, a herald is granted entrance to the party – another Anchor of Least Ember, falling apart as always with green fire in her eyes. She proclaims the exhibit as a gift to Entropy, recompense for the mercy and restraint she showed during the recent confrontation in Iran. Entropy accepts, choosing her words carefully so not as to appear either indebted to this Excrucian shard or (worse) a sympathizer. The message having been delivered, the Anchor collapses in a pile of distorted flesh. Apocalypse and Entropy brainstorm briefly on the potential this Senator has, and Entropy grants Apocalypse permission to “deal” with his condition. He then heads off in search of Pestilience (currently playing his seat at the poker table) in search of a one-year Miraculous remission of cancer.
Meanwhile, Hope is engaged in a conversation with several powers of both Hell and the Dark regarding whether Hope has any place in Hell. The Power of Consumption delivers an anecdote about the world of Saxa-Royant, which found its cities besieged by entities known as the Devourers in its final days. The moment at which Hope was rescued by Croatoan (and, by finding refuge with a True God, became a concept exclusive to Earth), all the scientists abandoned their Great Work (an attempt to weave light into an impermeable shield against the enemy) and simply laid down awaiting death. Fortunately, Consumption continues, the Devourers are starch allies against the Excrucians, and she happens to be on good terms with them. She offers to inquire whether any of the focusing lenses being developed survived the end days of Saxa-Royant.
And with that, Consumption begins to become…incoherent. Pieces of her start to phase in an out, moving ahead or behind her personal timestream. Eventually, her physical form begins to unravel, each fragment of mass transmuting into a single, impossibly beautiful butterfly. Hope snatches one before it escapes, and is momentarily possessed of an overwhelming urge to attack the buffet with gusto. However, no diet surviving without a significant portion of hope, he masters the urge. By the end, Consumption is no more, and countless butterflys escape the room. Hope places his captive butterfly back in the Warehouse for analysis.
For which there is no better time than the present. The keen eyes of Texas reveal that the number of butterflies released is approximately equal to the number of beings on Earth. Thus, the Familia reaches the conclusion that Consumption has not been killed but rather…reapportioned, each person receiving an equal share of the Domain. An unheard-of and therefore disturbing development.
Of which there is no shortage. The party is brought to an unsettling conclusion as a massive chain, sized to hold something truly gargantuan, crashes into the Chancel. None is harmed, save the celebratory mood. Cursory examination reveals little of use, and all eyes turn to the door behind which the Imperators are engaged in relations of their own….