They who go out into the world see the wonders wrought by the gods,
And return humbled
Kreshen Reel, compiler
Antsy has been dreaming of the Northern campaigns, when he and his squad took out a contingent leader of the Free Cities army with a Moranth munition. He wakes up when Orchid shakes him as she wants to take care of his neck, which is bleeding. She notices his Bridgeburners tattoo and thinks that she saw it glowing and the flames moving. Orchid guesses that Antsy's panniers contain Moranth Munitions. She reminisces about her childhood when the Malazans came to conquer the Free cities and she used to live there. Corien returns with a lot of bits and pieces to build a fire. He and Antsy leave the room to give Orchid some privacy while she dries her clothes. Corien tells Antsy that the Lim family has lost their fortune through reckless spending of is uncles, but he intends to remedy that by riches from Moon's Spawn. Antsy, not wanting to give his real reason for coming, says he just wants something to enable him to retire and hopefully start a family. Malakai appears, informing them that there are no lamps. Sometime later, Antsy and Corien dry their clothes and oil their weapons, then they and Orchid move on. Malakai is lurking in a doorway, but Orchid spots him since she can see just fine in the dark. He informs them that there is pick-up point and that there are people up ahead. They move on, Orchid guiding them, until they get close to the group Malakai spotted. Malakai and Antsy agree that there are too many people up ahead for them to challenge the group. They decide to parley for information. Antsy and Corien will go straight to them and ask, while Malakai stays in the shadows and Orchid stays out of sight.
Antsy and Corien introduce themselves to the strangers and a man from the other side introduces himself as Panar. Panar tells them that Moon's Spawn has been completely looted and there is nothing for them to fight for. After some more talking, Antsy and Corien deduce that Panar is lying to them. As they are about to retreat, they are attacked by a horde of men and women armed with rudimentary weapons. Despite being overwhelmed, Antsy manages to free his dirk and clear a path to a small room that has a very narrow entrance, a position where he can defend himself easily. He is surprised to find that Corien is alive too. Malakai tells Antsy to join him at a certain room, meanwhile keeping the others busy by snuffing out the lights and causing general mayhem. Antsy joins Corien and Orchid, and the girl leads them away. Corien reveals that he has incurred a serious injury. Orchid leads them to a room which can be easily defended where they wait for Malakai to join them. He does soon after along with Panar, whom he has captured. Questioning Panar, they find out that he was one of the first on Moon's Spawn, but he got stuck there as he couldn't ransom his way back to the shore. The people who were to take him back simply asked him to bring more loot, leaving him stranded. They also hear a long wail, and Panar tells them he believes it is a demon of the Spawn. When Malakai reveals that he is searching for the Gardens of the Moon, Orchid gives a gasp of recognition. The group then moves on, leaving Panar behind.
In Nathilog, the Malazan Governor Agull'en receives a visit from a Mage who has a red and blistered face, as if punished. He asks the governor to swear allegiance to the newly installed Legate of Darujhistan. The governor laughs at the idea and refuses. He orders his guards to flay the Mage, but they are all killed in short order.
Similar scenes occur from one ex-Free City to the next.
The last of the cities to be visited is Pale, where the mayor receives a tall shade, which asks for the mayors allegiance to the Legate, as the representative for Genabackis. The Mayor asks for some time to consider and is given two days. Fist K'ess of the Malazan Forces who is also present leaves as soon as the visitor is gone. He makes his way to the Malazan garrison, ordering his officer to restrict the troops to the garrison. He also orders Captain Fal-ej to send a runner to Aragan to find out what is happening
Caladan Brood, to the west just outside Darujhistan
Caladan Brood is watching Darujhistan, when he receives a visit from Baruk. Brood immediately senses that there is something wrong with Baruk and that the man he is facing is no longer the friend he knew. Baruk introduces himself as Barukanal. Caladan threatens Barukanal not to tempt him to use his power the alchemist declares to be an empty threat. Brood warns him that he will not tolerate if the presence he senses in Darujhistan reaches beyond the city itself. After Barukanal has left, Brood reflects on the fact that tears had constantly been glistening on the man's cheeks and that the look in his eyes might have been torment rather than feyness.
Rallick Nom forces himself to go to the Finnest House in a bid to find more information about what is going on. He is let in by Raest, and finds a T'lan Imass sitting at a table; the two had been playing cards. Rallick asks Raest if he can at least give him a hint as to what is happening. Raest tells him that it is a game of bluffs from both sides. Rallick leaves.
Legate Jeshin Lim
Jeshin Lim finds Humble Measure standing before him in his office. Humble inquires about the Legate's plans to arm Darujhistan, for which he will need Ironworks and other metals for armor and weapons. Jeshin argues that the walls need to be strengthened as a priority. Jeshin closes the argument.
As Humble makes his way back in his carriage, he makes up his mind to resort to other means to get what he wants.
In the Mengal Mountains
Yusek is a young scout for Orbern, a bandit in the Mengal Mountains, preying on travelers. Yusek spots two men in the rain, and leads them to Orbern's camp instead of the monastery they are searching for, so that they can be robbed. Arriving at the camp, one of them pushes back his hood, revealing himself and his companion, to be Seguleh. They are challenged by one of the bandits and the Seguleh kill him. Orbern who unlike the hapless victim knows who he is dealing with hurriedly agrees to provide them with supplies and a guide in the form of Yusek. They set out to find the monastery, and along the way the spokesperson for the two introduces himself as Sall, three hundredth of the Seguleh. His silent companion who never speaks is Lo. Yusek has had enough taciturnity from the two, and being a good walker, decides to walk faster and lose the two of them. After a very strenuous day of travel, having lost sight of them long ago, she decides to rest at an overhang. Soon after, to her utter chagrin, she finds that the two have easily followed her. They decide to rest there.
Spindle meets an informant from the Malazan military intelligence and reports to him about the masked man who has entered Darujhistan. The intelligence officer asks him to track this entity down, threatening to expose Spindle and the Bridgeburners if he doesn't, since they are officially deserters. He also tells Spindle that they have an Imperial Sceptre in the city.
Aman and Taya enter Aman's shop to find it in disarray. Aman recognizes the intruder from a handkerchief he has left behind. This intruder had been powerful enough to slip through Aman's wards, and hold off an automaton guarding the shop, while at the same time searching the shop itself. He calls the intruder an old friend who has slipped away greasily yet again.