The Board of the Chosen had provided Caemlyn and her daughter with an apartment in the Octad. It was sparse, but spacious. Xandrell has not reacted well to the loss of the fire tree pollen. Her Mother found her lying in bed, staring vacantly across the room. Caemlyn wasn’t wrong to end the fire tree festival. She was never wrong. Never the less she recognized that her actions had had a dramatic effect on her child. She couldn’t just let her mope like this. The two Chayans went down into the shopping district, and Xandrell was able to pick up some books and a journal, then get signed up for school. Both Mother and Daughter also acquire new clothes more fitting for the arid climate. The woman turn heads as they make their way to Durandel’s home. Kneal, the major dojo of his household, mentions is that Durandel’s children’s matron has recently left and they arrange for Xandrell to be their new caretaker after her school finished for the day. After seeing her daughter back home safely, Caemlyn returns to Ariana’s tower to research death lords.
Meanwhile, Durandel gets stabbed. Yushito Utrax comes to get Vox and tell him something has happened and he should come with him immediately. He says that three off duty soldiers assaulted him. On the way, Utrax mentions the reopening of the case on the death of Utrax’s best friend, Nefvarin Leodan, who was supposedly killed in honorable combat. He doesn’t react as surprised as Vox expects. Vox is taken to the recovery room. Durandel lives but is currently unconscious after a repertory procedure. Vox explains to Yushito Habo, who arrives shortly after, that this incident tarnishes the honor of Look Shy.
Byrrden goes looking for the fire blooded, Kalvos Ral, first. He’s told she can be found in the barracks. It’s too crowded for stealth so he disguises himself as an off duty soldier. He inquires after the fire blooded and they say she’s likely drinking in the commissary. He finds her at the bar drawing weapon designs in a leather bound journal with a pint of beer. She calls one of the designs “Leodan”. This matches the rumors that she had unrequited feelings for the deceased Terrestrial.
Back in the city, Felsic is carrying a stone sarcophagus overhead, following Rose out of a death lord’s tomb. He realizes that the scarab with an ankh found on the door to the tomb was not necessarily sinister and nothing in the tomb seemed Necromantic. He brings it to his Mance to examine. Rose comments that he should go get Caemlyn. Ariana has agreed to make me her an apprentice. Caemlyn has been research the Pharaoh who dreams of endless silence, who was the most passive of the death lords and a lawgiver of the southeast. So passive, in fact, that many think he’s either not involved with the politics of the other death lords or he’s playing a very long game. The southeast has many buried temples. A sworn brotherhood of exalts went to explore one of these and never returned. The study of death and the dead was surprisingly common in the southeast in the first age. Sijan, the city of the dead, was located there. She learns of the Shan’iatu, the judges of the dead. The pharaoh may very well be one of these. They were considered noble, just, and fair and said that they had clear eyes for the fate of the dead. She learns of the sacred animals of the southeast – Lion, Jackal, Snake, Crocodile, and Bull, but to speak of the bull in this context is heresy. She finds a book called On the Study of the Dead by a Mosak Dragonlord. It lists the Arts of the Dead – Stone, Word, Gem, Draft, and Flesh. There is also a Diary of a Mosak death singer named Sswssh who went to a city called Mingye for a convention on the Threat of the Underworld. He worked with a young lawgiver who was concerned about the expansion of the underworld and thought the human soul was made up of five parts, based on the virtues and will. Caemlyn recognized this as what her previous incarnations had been trying to use the stop the REBA. After a few days of research there is a knock on the library door and Ariana answers. It’s Felsik looking for Caemlyn. He says she may want to look at the sarcophagus they found that happens to be related to the pharaoh she’s been researching.
Vox is alone with Durandel when he wakes up. He notes that one of the soldiers who attacked him definitely wasn’t drunk and they had a key to the cell somehow. Durandel laments that it’s come to this and tells Vox that he was hoping for a peace treaty. Leodan’s family would have been more amenable to this which is likely why he was assassinated. Wei the monk arrives to tell Durandel that his key was used to open the cell and that he is sorry. He never meant him harm. Vox goes to talk to the assailants. Two of the men look drunk but the third looks blank. He was also in no one’s service at the time of the attack. Vox manages to charm the other two into talking. The third man is named Stelan and they were all drinking and he was spouting hate for the Anathema. They made their way to the cells and stole the key from Wei. They were going to walk away but Stelan went on with it. He previously owed fealty to House Nerigus, but his commanding officer was the late Leodan. Vox tells them he will speak to Utrax on their behalf.
Byrrden notices heavily armed soldiers with detection power armor and makes his way cautiously along. The house at the end of the way is guarded by more heavily armed soldiers. It looks like someone here will be shipping out very soon. After watching for about three hours he seems a tall, handsome man with green hair step outside with an attractive woman in a kimono. It’s his mother, and they argue about him going off to fight in Thorns. He had only just decided to leave that day. On his side the soldier Dilioc he carries a flute-like weapon that Burden recognizes as a blow gun weapon, and that would explain the deep piecing fire based wound that killed Leodan. Dilioc was also the lover of Utrax. Byrrden goes to tell Vox.
Vox goes to tell Utrax what the prisoners said. He tells him everything and says that the lightbringer has a request of him. He asks that he spare his attackers their lives. Utrax comments that, for a demon, Durandel seems to be playing a long game of honorable deeds. He also says that honor is paramount in Look Shy and while he can arrange for a punishment that is not death, they will never be soldiers of Look Shy again. He then says perhaps he should be punished too. Vox inquiries as to why. He reveals that his commanding officer took a hit meant for him. He was taken away from the field and didn’t see him die, but he believes he should have been there to take the hit that killed him. Vox says his farewell and leaves. Byrrden finds then finds him and fills him in on what he’s discovered.
Byrrden then returns to the Nergus house and examines the luggage that Dilioc had prepared earlier. He walks over and vomits on the palate after climbing a fence in front of the armored guards, who are just dumbfounded at this point. Burden face plants but manages to steal a scarf, a pen knife, and a leather bound book. The book is Dilioc’s poetry journal and on the day before the murder he was very angry about his breakup with Utrax.
Vox returns to Utrax and tells him what he has discovered about Dilioc, couching it as a connection he just made based on what was said by Stelan. Utrax realizes that Dilioc meant to kill him because of a lovers quarrel but accidently killed Leodan instead. He finds Dilioc and places him under citizens arrest. Durandel will be required as a witness and so gets a stay of execution. The trial begins.
Durandel finds himself face to face with Executioner Wei. She reveals that her daughter is a Solar Exalt, and agrees to let him and the others escape as long as he finds her estranged child. Durandel tries to explain that he may not find her daughter if she does not want to be found and that Wei should be proud of her for being Chosen, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She blasts a hole in the ceiling and tells him they better get moving.
Meanwhile, Caemlyn goes into Felsic’s workshop to examine the sarcophagus. Bogwai is also here as is evident from the giant green cloud. The sarcophagus is made of jet stone. Caemlyn realizes that what she thought was a man inside the stone box is actually an armored woman and her head dress is made of feathers. She holds a flail with a golden handle covered in alabaster beads and a claw at the end. Jet and Alabaster are the materials used to ward against and trap ghosts. They also notice scroll work in pictographic old realm language. It’s name is An-afkh the bringer of his arm. She was the judge who oversaw the fates of those who destroyed purity. Listed many times is Bah, referred to as a pillar. She was a master of many skills, and could see into the land of the dead. She could also bestow health to the prematurely ill. She personally shepherded a group of ghosts to Letha and even broke up a ghost slavery ring. The phrase “and her eyes remained clear” is also repeated in the scroll work. We can see her staring up at us. Felsic is able to find a seam in the sarcophagus and cracks it open. Suddenly, a single hand reaches up out of the sarcophagus and crushes the edge of the stone as it lifts itself free. In the distance, Durandel face palms so hard.