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As per Orma's suggestion, Seraphina goes to see the megaharmonium in St. Gobnait's cathedral. It is being played by its inventor, Viridius's protégé Lars, and Seraphina is impressed by the volume and quality of the instrument. When she goes up to introduce herself to Lars, she is floored to realize that Lars is none other than Loud Lad, one of the grotesques in her mental garden, and thus maybe a half-dragon like herself. She takes him to Wolfstoot Bridge to get something to eat, and Lars tells her that he heard her music in his dreams, dreams that had led him out of Samsam and to Goredd. He also describes to her how he calculated the acoustics for his megaharmonium.

Earl Josef, passing by, catches sight of Lars and begins to yell and curse at him in Samsamese. Seraphina tries to stand up to him, but Josef knocks Lars off the bridge and into the river. Concerned townspeople help him out and try to give him dry clothes to dress in, since it is the depth of winter. Seraphina, realizing that Lars is in danger of revealing scales or worse, jumps up and makes a spectacle of herself by playing a well-known folk song. The crowd is distracted, giving Lars time to change, though Seraphina is jealous when she notices that the only scales he has are a thin band around his arm.

Once Lars is dressed and Seraphina has finished her song, she is approached by Lucian Kiggs, Captain of the Guard, who is checking out the commotion. He asks Lars about why Josef would act that way towards him, and Lars evades the question and implies that he grew up as a serf on Josef's land but he is now free. Seraphina reads between the lines and realizes that if Lars grew up with Josef, Josef may know the secret about his heritage as a half-dragon.