Before the group returned to the ballroom, two things happened, one of them very important. The first is that Jason Spectre stayed behind in order to attempt another conversation with Persimmon; he attempted to pretend that he was not with the group, but was unable to convince Persimmon otherwise. He simply could not get the old man to budge on the subject.
The second, and more important, thing that happened was that the group returned to Aurora’s room only to discover that her body was no longer there. A number of her valuables had been taken—enough to fit inside a suitcase.
The group returned to the ballroom and reported their findings to Iolian, the Queen of Spring. She attempted to talk Jonathan into unwittingly accepting a pledge for her favor. As soon as Jonathan realized what was happening, he walked away without another word. Jason noticed her men watching them closely, and attempted to warn the group. (His attempt at being subtle was incredibly overdone, and he likely ended up attracting MORE attention to the group.) He suggested that they go somewhere private to talk, and the group left for another room.
They discussed the situation behind a closed door, and even turned out the light at one point. They realized their conversation was being eavesdropped upon, and were about to throw open the door and pull in the listener when Iolian burst into the room—literally, she sent most of the group flying. She demanded to know what they’d done with Aurora’s body, then ordered them to report any further findings only to her.
After the group left her presence, they attempted to report their findings to the Winter King as well, but he and his men were presently in the middle of a loud argument at the gates, as they wanted to leave, and weren’t allowed.
At this point, the group decided to find Aurora’s motley; they searched the entire grounds, and eventually discovered something odd as the night drew close to its end. Two people were waiting at the edge of an isolated area of fence while Aurora’s motley approached with a ladder. One of the people who was waiting was a large, Stonebones Ogre.
The other was Aurora.
The group approached, ready for potential combat, and confronted the two. Aurora claimed that Iolian had forced her into a lifelong pledge without her knowledge, and that her near death was the only thing that had allowed it to be broken. She was in love with the Stonebones, Micah the Tall, and neither of them wanted any part of her prospective marriage to Todd White. Their intention was to run away together and escape the dangers of the court entirely.
The group was rather divided in their opinions about how the situation was resolved: Eric Bloom firmly believed that they should return to the court and work things out there. Jason Spectre was willing to let them go once he heard their story. Jonathan Stone was inclined to allow the group to leave but recommended that Aurora pen a “suicide note” that detailed her distress; Aurora and Micah talked him into believing that the note was a bad idea. Tim Peter Southwind, on the other hand, firmly latched onto the idea and wouldn’t let it go. When Aurora and Micah went to climb the ladder, he moved forward in order to attempt to stop them.
It was at this point that Jonathan tackled Peter. Peter had an electrical shield up, which meant that Jonathan came out of it more injured than Peter did; Jonathan, however, showed no signs of caring. He verbally berated Peter for getting in his way at every turn during the course of their investigation and attempted to egg Peter into a proper fight, but Peter just walked away…