Gia Sojourner is going to the temple of Mara. The city is rejoicing because of the recent victories against the Reavers and the demons. Suddenly, the city is rocked by explosions from the docks as a large fireball lights up the early evening sky. The streets start to fill with people trying to figure out what happened. Gia and Belenus run into each other on one of the bridges. They see a fiery nightmare crossing over the city toward the explosions. Bel decides to escort Gia to the temple of Mara so she can take shelter there.
Bel and Gia are in the square when the crowd starts to panic. Gia notices that the spirits are panicked as well. Bel gets her toward the temple where he can see Ælfric waiting. The temple is walled by defenders against the Reavers, but they are hard pressed. Bel notices that there is no central organization for the defenses instead each pocket has been isolated and driven by self-preservation. The commanders are on the stairs of the temple arguing and Gia can clearly see angry spirits swirling overhead. Their problems are spreading to everyone in the courtyard, including the guards. Bel joins in, which gives Gia a chance to drive back the spirits, and is able to convince them to take the fight to the Reavers instead of each other. They break the guards into teams of six to hunt them while the wounded stay to protect the faithful.
Nigel pushes past people until he gets to where he can see the destruction. The Oswalds have been destroyed. On his way, he sees Boris, one of the Bloodletters sulking away. He had come out of a door carrying a heavy sack. Three Reavers come out behind him and turn towards the people closer to the docks. Nigel follows Boris as he heads deeper into the city. Boris catches wind that someone is following him. He throws something into a building. There is an explosion and the building catches fire. Boris covers himself in his cloak and ducks into the burning building. Nigel follows in and traps him inside. They both ignore the screams for help from the occupants. They fight and Boris manages to slip past Nigel, getting outside, but he drops his bag on the way out.
Nigel follows him out and harries him in the street. Xarth sees the house burning as he is crossing over the city. He swoops down and has One-Eye clip Boris in the head. Nigel takes the opening and drives inside of the man’s reach, sticking him several times with his dagger. People fleeing from the Reavers are pushing towards the fire so Xarth lands and uses the fear of One-Eye to drive them towards another street. He turns to help Nigel when the house explodes, knocking both him and Nigel down. Boris calls to the crowd and pretends that Xarth and Nigel are the bad guys. He turns the crowd against them. Xarth throws off the men trying to drag him down and clubs Boris unconscious. Driven by his own fury he cowers the crown enough to get the constables to take Boris into custody.
Nigel and Xarth climb over the seawall towards the Bloodletters. A guard sees them and thinks that are with the attackers of the city. They find the Bloodletters killing people. Another Man is with them who seems to be reanimating the dead. They fight them at the edges of the surging sea. A couple of the Bloodletters are pulled into the waves during the fight. They incapacitate him and escape from the water’s edge. Nigel questions the shaman. He tells him that Jiron is coming into the city via the old smuggler tunnels that start in Bourilli. These are the tunnels controlled by Rocco. They decide to go back over the wall to try to find Jiron, who should already be inside the walls by now.
Brizanthimus’s box is lifted onto a cart and wheeled over to the front of the castle proper. Lady Hapsteng, her guard Fredrick, two Templars and three of the Queen’s guard lead a group of city leaders outside. She lists off charges against Briz about how he is behind all of the chaos in the city. How his foul magics have worked against those in the city and caused harm to many. He rejects the charges. She commands Frederick to take him away.
Fredrick takes Briz to a small room with a elaborate magic circle inside. Fredrick, who is actually Charles in disguise, tries to get Briz to work a new deal with him to stand aside until the first light when his plan will be complete. He offers Briz the promise that fewer people will be killed than what the elves have planned. He offers a contract that will limit any human suffered to the barest minimum for the plan. When Briz refuses, Charles threatens him that he will be trapped in a room, where he will never starve to death, but will slowly die for hundreds of years with only a true master of Tminir Tower for company. He locks the door behind himself and leaves Briz alone.
The fear of the spirits is finally too much for Gia and she is driven into a panic. Her oratory whips the refugees into a crowd with only a single thought – escape the city. They storm Bornheim’s east gate and throw it open – stampeding into the path of a new Reaver attack, led by Dae. The Reavers kill thousands, but are driven to ignore any not directly between them and the city. Most of the people are pushed aside or trampled by their other Bornheimers as teh Reavers split through their middle.
Gia, in a mad panic, runs until she comes to a sheltered ruin of a longhouse. Huddled against the remains of the building is an old man, a young woman and two children. They try to drive Gia off saying that she had been speaking in a demonic tongue. She manages to calm herself and gain their trust. She talks to the old man who tearfully tells of how he had killed his wife to stop her from letting Reavers inside their house in the city. He gets up and walks into the storm to die despite Gia’s protests.
Bel goes to the area of the east gate. Dwarves are fighting the Reavers in a slow and methodical manner. Bel joins them for a bit, but he spot Thanian and a group of elves sneaking through the streets. When he approaches them, he can see that they are transporting one of the giant seed pods and they appear to be trying to take it outside the city. There are four of them holding the pods while in trances. When Bel approaches, Thanian stops to talk to him. He tells Bel to leave the city before dawn. He explains that the seed pods are a gift of life from the ancient elves. They will use some of the power to work a spell that will kill the demon when he manifests. He begs Bel to leave as someone runs by yelling about the Reavers coming in through the east gate. Bel rejoins his team and leads them back toward the dwarven stronghold. On the way there, he rallies combatants and by the time he reaches it, he has gathered a group of around forty behind him. He rallies them to help defend the city. They are pinned in by the Reavers.
Briz convinces the Incar to break up the manacles holding him down. He examines the circle on the floor. It is a binding circle for a portal. He activates it and uses it to destroy the door locking him in the room by redirecting energy from it. He continues to examine it when the elder fae appears. The fae demands that Briz give him some of the incar a give in return for the metal that he had given to Briz before. At first, the fairy demands that Briz give him the Incar, but he refuses. The fairy then demands that Briz gives him something from inside the portal. Briz reaches in and pulls out an intricate silvery whistle on a chain. The fae explains that the space inside the portal is a drop of time frozen forever. He who signed the first contract with Charles is trapped inside there, frozen in a moment of time so that he can never die.
His final words are a warning about the portal. If he does not unwind it carefully it will draw in everything from the surrounding area – trapping it all within the droplet of time. It is some of the most difficult work Briz has ever had to do, but he manages to pull it apart enough that is collapses in upon itself. Just before it disappears he thinks he hears the words, “Kill Me” come from the portal.
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