|The Thousand-Fingered God|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Beneath This Name|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8|
|Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Shadows of the King|
|Chapter 12||Chapter 13|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
My faith in the gods is this: they are indifferent to my suffering.Tomlos, Destriant of Fener
?827 Burn's Sleep
Cutter rides ahead of Heboric, Felisin Younger, Scillara, and Greyfrog along a track near the Path'apur Mountains. His passage stirs up the biting insects and those behind him are miserable. Heboric frets about the souls lost in the shattered pieces of the Jade giants. He does not know what he can do in response to their constant begging and pleading. Is this how it feels to be a god? So overwhelmed by countless prayers as to become stunned into silence?
Scillara runs through her regular litany of complaints related to her pregnancy while Felisin attempts to counter them. Cutter is oblivious to the problems he is causing behind him and Greyfrog is happily running with his mouth open.
When Scillara draws up alongside Cutter, the young thief wonders if they are wasting their time taking less travelled roads. Perhaps no one is pursuing them. Scillara ruminates on Bidithal and his cult and how the High Mage deftly capitalised on the need of the dispossessed. Heboric interrupts to argue that Bidithal's idea actually came from the Crippled God.
- It belongs to the Crippled God. The Chained One. A broken creature, betrayed, wounded, imperfect in the way of street beggars, abandoned urchins, the physically and the morally damaged. And the promise of something better, beyond death itself – the very paradise Scillara spoke of, but one we could not deface. In other words, the dream of a place immune to our natural excesses, to our own depravity, and accordingly, to exist within it is to divest oneself of all those excesses, all those depravities. You just have to die first. — Heboric
The historian calls this idea a lie, saying that all we do here and now is meaningless if absolution is free. The idea invites anarchy and chaos.
Iskaral Pust inspects Mappo Runt's spiderweb enshrouded body. He and Mogora begin squabbling over the Trell's treatment. Amidst the arguing, Pust recalls his youthful interest in fishing and plots to construct a rod and reel using Mogora's pilfered hair as the line. He hopes to fish the new Raraku Sea. Mogora curses him for invoking the nutritional value of nose picking. Pust notes the groaning Trell's skin is now lined and creased. Mogora says it is the price of the spiders' healing.
The unconscious Mappo is visited in a dream by an unnamed woman. They stand amongst tall pillars of stone and below a hole in the sky. The goddess identifies the place as Jacuruku four or five years after The Fall. Mappo suspects who she is, but she only admits to being "a queen about to be driven from her throne, banished from her empire. My vanity is about to suffer an ignominious defeat." She is used to hiding and is not pleased that Mogora has granted the Trell her favour. She tells Mappo that it was the Nameless Ones who had originally made Icarium so terrible in power and that they intended to use the Jhag for some unknown purpose. She concludes that countering the Nameless Ones must be why Shadowthrone has shown a personal interest in Mappo and Icarium. She is offended that Shadowthrone has assumed her allegiance in the matter and is even more offended that he is right. She sends Mappo back.
Mappo awakes to find Iskaral Pust and Mogora wrestling in fierce combat. The two stop to observe the now conscious Trell, and a blood-smeared Pust says, "Don't mind us, we're married."
Ganoes Paran and the Trygalle Trade Guild's attempts to evade the creature in the mist have failed. A gigantic scaled and bear-like beast is in full pursuit along the shore line. Paran directs the Guild carriage to towards a hill inland while he turns to face the beast. The Master of the Deck pulls a card from his saddlebag and holds it before him facing the charging creature. Just as it reaches the outstretched card, the creature vanishes. The Guild shareholders cheer until Paran admits he had no idea if his gambit would work.
The group reaches the area of the Nascent where five huge black statues of rearing hounds have been erected. Nearby are empty two pedestals surrounded by rubble. Paran identifies the statues as the Deragoth and the two shattered statues show that Doan and Ganrod had reunited with their counterparts before being freed. Hedge admits two Deragoth were spotted during the Battle of Raraku, but they were both slain by Sha'ik's bodyguard, Toblakai. Ganath notes that Dessimbelackis had a connection to the Deragoth in his attempt to promote himself from Ascendant to godhood.
The Guild shareholders form a defensive perimeter as Paran inspects a driftwood shrine built at the base of one of the intact statues. He asks Ganath to accompany him inside where they discover the ritually murdered bodies of Darpareth Vayd and Sedara Orr. Someone has sacrificed their blood in an Elder propitiation to the Deragoth.
Outside the shrine, Paran asks Hedge to prepare to destroy the remaining statues with munitions. But first Paran uses the Deck of Dragons to call on Shadowthrone. He angers the god by telling him he plans on freeing the remaining Deragoth. Shadowthrone thinks it is a profoundly stupid idea until he realises Paran's ultimate aim. The Deragoth will return to their home realm in Seven Cities and hunt down the T'rolbarahl, Dejim Nebrahl. Paran asks for Shadowthrone's aid in sending the Hounds of Shadow to Seven Cities as well because the newly freed Deragoth will seek them out much like what happened with Doan And Ganrod. If the Deragoth are forced to search out the Hounds in Shadow nothing there will be able to stop them. Shadowthrone agrees to the plan and departs cursing Paran's idiocy.
Hedge sets up the charges and Karpolan Demesand readies the Guild carriage to make a quick escape through the warrens. Once the Deragoth are released they will not have much time to run. The plan is complicated because the statues are not all close together and Paran wants to bring Hedge with them. He asks Karpolan to hold off running as long as possible.
Hedge sets off the charges and the Deragoth are released. As the first enormous Hound charges the Guild carriage, Karpolan struggles to open a passage. The carriage escapes just in time, but Hedge is left behind. The Guild and Paran enter a world of living corpses who clutch onto the carriage claiming Hood has forgotten them. As the shareholders fight them off, Karpolan leads them to another place of snow and ice. The carriage tumbles and is wrecked, killing shareholders and horses, and throwing off the living corpses. One of Karpolan's Pardu guards tells Paran, "Hood knows, we've had worse trips."
Back in the Nascent, Hedge walks off on his own to explore.
East of the Path'apur Mountains
Cutter and the others reach a broad, sandy basin that shows signs of once being a marshland. Carrion flies swarm in droves, alighting on their skin and making travel unpleasant. Scillara recalls the downward path of her life and how Bidithal's promise of paradise after death had been so seductive. Heboric contemplates his role as Destriant—a title allowing him to slay in Treach's name and deliver justice. But the old historian vows he will not take a life again. They spot a small hamlet a third of a league to the east and make their way towards it.
Scillara's thoughts are interrupted when something punches up through the ground sending her horse staggering with blood gushing from its body. As horse and rider fall to the ground, Scillara catches sight of several figures emerging from nowhere bearing blades of flint. Heboric's arm is severed by one blade while another impales his chest. Then they begin repeatedly stabbing his downed body. A figure with a desiccated, skull-face slashes Scillara's chest. Another disembowels Cutter and another cuts off one of Greyfrog's arms and legs. Heboric recognises their attackers as T'lan Imass and he dies thinking he has done nothing worthwhile in his life. The souls in jade have placed their trust in the wrong person just as he suspected.