The Scholar and Traveler Sulerem of Mengal writes in his journals of a distant land to the south where every man and woman is as a sovereign to themselves. It is a wasteland where in over a hundred years not even one fallen tree has been removed.Letters of the Philosophical Society
Shores of Creation
Kiska and Leoman have been walking for a very long time. Finally, Leoman suggests that they strike inland. They notice that the whorl is becoming smaller and Leoman suggests that it could be their only way back into the world. Kiska is determined to continue her search and Leoman suggests that they use the natives of the land, watch and observe them so that they will eventually lead them to what they are looking for. Kiska agrees.
A clerk from the council visits Barathol Mekhar's house to inform him that as a tradesman, he has been drafted for the city's reconstruction projects. Barathol decides to go along, to the vocal protests of Scillara, because he fears that if he resists, they would arrest him, and he cannot have Scillara and little Chaur out on the streets begging for food.
Rallick Nom is sitting at his usual place at the Phoenix Inn when Scorch and Leff arrive. They are searching for the scholar Ebbin, for the money he owes them. They warn Rallick to stay away from the dancing girl, then leave.
At the Lim Estate
Kenth is a full Claw member and a part of the Golana's clan of the Assassins' Guild, who have been assigned to assassinate Jeshin Lim, the Legate. The assassination attempt fails, with a lithe black clad figure killing the entire assault team except Kenth, who is spared to give a message to his superiors.
The next morning, Rallick is at an old tenement in the Gadrobi district, wondering about the turn of events, Vorcan's warning to stay away and Raest's hint, when Krute of Talient arrives. The guild believes that Vorcan is backing the Legate and is responsible for the deaths of several of their assassins. To strike back, they have decided to kill Rallick. Rallick is desperately looking for options to escape, when a strong sewer smell starts emanating from somewhere in the room. Thinking it is gas, Krute fears Rallick is going to blow every one up, and backs away. As Rallick searches the room for the source, he finds a greasy package with rolled crepe in it which has rotten. It has been a deception all along.
Ebbin has had brief moments of awareness. He rages against his mental captivity at the hands of the Tyrant who watches this rage with amusement. The Tyrant considers human ambitions, aspirations and goals as irrelevant and futile. Ebbin also oversees the salvaging of some very important stone blocks from the city mole. He (as the will of the Tyrant) remembers peeling away barnacles and sea-growth from one stone to reveal it white as snow. These stones were very important for some reason. Ebbin has become the human face of this Tyrant. He suspects that all these plans were being put into place for some sort of resurrection of Tyrant rule.
Fist K'ess is awoken from his sleep by Captain Fal-ej, who informs him that the barracks and the kitchen are on fire. She reports that someone probably set fire on purpose making it arson and hence an act of rebellion. K'ess comes out and orders that the fire be only contained since salvaging the kitchen and barracks is a lost cause. He then receives a report that an armed band of people is outside the barrack gates. He orders Fal-ej to strike off the hinges so that they can break out. Fal-ej sees to that, and when the entire garrison is assembled, they break out by breaking down the gates crushing the people outside beneath them, as they march out of Pale. Hinter, overseer on behalf of the Legate, is witness to this alongside the Mayor of Pale, who is appalled at the loss of life, while Hinter cannot be bothered by such trivialities.
North of Coral
The remnants of the 2nd Army were tasked by Dujek before he marched out for some distant continent, to make sure the general area around the former Pannion Domin and its environs started rebuilding in peace without fear of bandits. This small contingent is led by Fist Argell Steppen, who has headquartered her contingent in a fort built on a hillock at the headwaters of the River Eryn.
Bendan 'The Butcher' is a soldier serving in this contingent in the 23rd squad under the command of Sergeant Hektar. His squad lies in wait to ambush Confederacy pirates. This is their last chance to warn off the pirates before they leave for Darujhistan on orders of the Ambassador. Bendan along with his squad successfully assault and vanquish the pirates who have just landed on the coast with the help of the 33rd squad.
Antsy and Corien lead the way out of 'Pearl town' as it is called, with Orchid guiding them, Malakai having slipped away. They are all tired, especially Antsy who has just been in combat and Corien, who has taken a grievous wound to his stomach. They come to a long set of stairs and on ascending them, Malakai informs them that they are in a hall, and after that, they will find some rooms where they can rest. Malakai also intimates that almost all of what Panar had told them had been a lie. His assessment is that the people of Pearl town have turned to cannibalism as source of food since they cannot afford to buy it from the Confederacy pirates. They rest for what passed as the 'night' and wake up to continue through passages and go up another set of stairs to enter a large arcade. Here, Antsy lights a lantern and is witness to a beautiful sight. The walls and columns are decorated with carvings. He then proceeds to scout around, leaving Corien and Orchid. He descends a set of stairs to find human remains, with skulls still wearing helmets and other bodies ripped apart. He remembers Panar's story of a daemon attacking them, and hurries back to warn Orchid and Corien that they are now in this daemon's lair. He is too late, however, as he sees a dark apparition now blocking the doorway and the exit from where the entire group now is. Malakai is resigned to his fate, however, as Antsy is about to try his munitions on the apparition, Orchid moves towards this apparition, speaking in another language in a sing-song fashion. At last, the apparition speaks back, and Orchid continues her speech ending with a gasp. When the apparition speaks again, she launches into a recitation, which is continued by this apparition. The apparition then wavers and disappears leaving them alone. Orchid collapses.
The entire group is bewildered as she gets back up, and insists on pushing on. Malakai goes to scout ahead as Orchid rests, and she describes haltingly to Antsy what happened. Before doing so, she turns to Corien and heals him. She explains that she spoke to this creature of Night in the old tongue, and invoked a rite of passage as recorded by the Jaghut Hul' Alanen-Teth, who claimed to have traveled the paths of Eternal night. When Antsy thanks her for saving his life, she tells him she didn't save his life; the apparition had called Antsy 'Honored Guest'. Antsy feels that the dynamics of the group have now shifted; they are now Orchid's group and not Malakai's.