|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Prows of the Day|
|Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9|
|Chapter 10||Chapter 11|
|All That Lies Unseen|
|Chapter 12||Chapter 13|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15|
|Chapter 16||Chapter 17|
|Chapter 18||Chapter 19|
|Chapter 20||Chapter 21|
|Chapter 22||Chapter 23|
|Chapter 24||Chapter 25|
There are tides beneath every tide
And the surface of water
Holds no weight
Tiste Edur lands
The Nerek tribesmen pulling Buruk the Pale's wagons believe the Tiste Edur are demons. They begin keening when they see an Edur approaching. The Edur is Binadas Sengar travelling to meet the caravan of Buruk, Hull Beddict and Seren Pedac and guide them back to the Warlock King. Binadas is angry about the illegal seal harvest, and it is obvious to Seren that Baruk already knew it was going to happen before they left Letheras. She notes that Baruk's face is showing the signs of alcohol and white nectar addiction.
Baruk walks back to his wagon and Binadas approaches his friend, Hull. They talk, and it becomes obvious that the Edur are aware of the role Hull played in the decline of the Tarthenal, Nerek, and Faraed cultures. Binadas warns that his people will not fall in the Letherii trap. To his surprise, Hull promises to take the side of the Edur and speak against Buruk's lies in the coming meeting. Seren speculates to herself that Queen Janall or Chancellor Triban Gnol has orchestrated the seal poaching as a strategem to take control of the Edur's valuable Blackwood. With Hull pushing on one side and Janall the other, the Acquitor forsees war.
Letheras, Drownings District
We move to Letheras where we witness The Drownings, a spectacle for the masses. Criminals are forced to carry heavy sacks of coin as they swim the Quillas Canal. If they make it they are free. Brys Beddict is in company with Finadd Gerun Eberict, a man who has been granted the King's Leave after foiling an assassination attempt on King Ezgara Diskanar, and is thereby immune to criminal conviction. Since then he has become rich. They are observing one Ublala Pung, a Tarthenal half-blood, about to make the crossing. Bets are being taken and the Finadd has wagered a substantial amount of money. He wins. The Tarthenal has four lungs, amongst other notable credentials.
Brys and Gerun Eberict retire to Rild's restaurant to talk. Brys notifies Eberict that his brother, Hull, will likely take part in the Great Meeting with the Finadd, and there is concern among the king's advisors of what the rogue Beddict will do. Eberict and Hull were once comrades and Eberict knows well what Hull's character might lead to. He tells Brys to inform First Eunuch Nifadas and Ceda Kuru Qan that he understands the complexities that await him.
It also becomes apparent to Brys that Eberict has an unhealthy interest in his brother Tehol, and his financial acumen. The Finadd has used his King's Leave to wage a personal crusade across Letheras, slaying anyone who stands in his way and making himself rich in the process. Brys fears his brother might make Eberict's list.
Letheras, Tehol's residence
Tehol is not happy about the company Brys is keeping after spotting his brother with Gerun Eberict at the Drownings. His research has revealed that Eberict organised the attempted assassination on the King precisely so he could earn the King's Leave by foiling it. Tehol suspects that the Finadd knows he is not as destitute as he appears to be, and decides to remove the threat before it removes him. He decides to start stripping Eberict of his wealth and assets, with Bugg's help, and that of a thief.
Bugg knows the perfect candidate for the job. Shurq Elalle, a master thief, had taken part in the Drownings. Unbeknownst to her, someone had placed a curse upon her, and although she had died when her clothes snagged on the canal bed, she found herself still living inside her corpse. An undead. Now no one wants to be near her, let alone hire her. Bugg finds her sighing outside the windows of a bordello and asks her to meet Tehol upon his roof that night to talk about a job.
Letheras, Shand's office
Shand, Rissarh and Hejun have demanded Tehol meet with them to update them on the state of his scheme. Tehol is annoyed that such meetings risk spoiling the secrecy of their enterprise, but assures them plans are in motion. Bugg is to meet with the royal architects tomorrow. A naked Ublala arrives to take on his new job the women's bodyguard. His impressive "showing" is enough to rid the three ladies of any doubts. Tehol and Bugg leave a visibly worried Ublala with his new charges.
Letheras, Old Palace
Brys returns to separately report the results of his meeting with Gerun Eberict to Nifadas, Kuru Qan, and Unnutal Hebaz. He finds the Preda already meeting with First Concubine Nisall and reports that Eberict is considering killing Buruk the Pale at the Great Meeting. The three loyalists to the king discuss the implications of removing Eberict from the delegation, knowing that Queen Janall is pushing for war. The Preda has a spy close to Buruk who reports the merchant is tortured by his instructions. Perhaps he can be swayed back to the king. But first, Moroch Nevath, Prince Quillas Diskanar's watchful bodyguard and alert meeting attendee, will have to be removed. The Preda leaves Brys with instructions to find a way to add Moroch to Eberict's list.
Letheras, Tehol's residence
Tehol offers to employ Shurq in return for improving her unhealthy appearance and restoring her ability to feel pleasure. They discuss a child, another undead, who lives in the grounds of the old tower behind the palace (an Azath House), and why a child would be cursed that way. Shurq wishes to find out who cursed the child and Tehol agrees to help as part of her employment.
As she leaves his roof-top meeting place, Brys also comes to pay him a visit. He has come to warn Tehol that Gerun Eberict is showing an interest in Tehols' affairs and to express concern over their brother, Hull. Tehol reassures him everything is in hand, but warns him that he was likely followed. He sends Brys out a secret tunnel and Brys stealthily checks for spies. As he does so, he sees a thick trail of blood leading away from the shadows near Tehol's front door, and the footprint of a child.
Letheras, Azath Tower
Shurq visits the city's Azath, whose grounds contain many prisoners. She follows a trail of blood and finds the undead child, Kettle. A body is being dragged down into the earth in front of her. Kettle tells Shurq that she followed the thief to her meeting at Tehol's and disposed of a spy she found outside.
Kettle tells Shurq the Azath is under stress and that some of the inhabitants of the yard make her afraid. Five in particular whisper that they will soon escape and tear her apart. Shurq advises her to find a friend amongst the Azath prisoners. Kettle then tells Shurq she is feeding the Azath to try and stop it from dying, if it dies, everything will escape. Shurq promises Kettle plenty of victims.
Unknown to both of them, the Azath House, in desperation, has chosen someone from amongst its prisoners to help the Guardian.