Tepet Sanzo meets with Tepet Corino at a small fishing town, the location chosen to avoid drawing attention. He greets her with considerable respect and describes his plan to give House Tepet control over Jiara. She expresses skepticism about any alliance with the anathema, but Sanzo argues that the potential benefits make the risks worth it.
After lengthy discussion of Realm and House politics, Sanzo and Corino come to an understanding. Corino informs him she intends to appoint him to House Tepet’s Council.
Mnemon Sarissa and Cathak Shao Dun arrive in Nathul and make the journey up the mountain to the warstrider. As they draw closer and the reality of the situation strikes home, they discuss the impact that the introduction of the great weapon will have on the unstable political situation.
Peleps Maera and V’neef Kai are shocked at the news that an emissary from Thorns has arrived to speak to Prince Ozria Khidara. Thorns appears to want an alliance with her against the Great Houses. They meet with Saffron Veil, still impersonating the Prince, to discuss strategy. Maera and Kai agree to meet with the emissary, acting as the Prince’s representatives.
Sarissa and Shao are overcome with awe as they reach the magnificent warstrider. Sarissa conducts her assessment of its status, finding it in need of maintenance but essentially undamaged, and the difficult excavation begins. Sarissa realizes that the warstrider will need a hearthstone before it can be activated.
Maera and Kai meet in secret with the emissary from Thorns, Righteous Shrike. Shrike speaks respectfully of Prince Ozria Khidara, and proposes an alliance against the Realm, while Kai and Maera question the terms of the potential arrangement. In spite of Shrike’s eloquence, Maera and Kai cannot ignore their sense that a deeper evil exists inside him.