- Duke receives the blessing of Kasai while chained up in Mentari’s forge, and she frees him from his chains.
- Krenzi frees Iambs Twiling from the iron mine at Heechoven, but abandons him in the wild. Duke and Krenzi knock Mentari out.
- The dark powers at Heksepunt demand a sacrifice from Tulasa and Ghanna. Tulasa rejects the demand and is attacked by the shade of Shiisa while Ghanna fights off shades of the fallen Skaalruters.
A Vision of Kasai
Duke wakes in a fever, chained to the anvil in a makeshift forge. His vision is drawn into the consuming flame inside the furnace, where he beholds a vision of a queen seated on a fiery reptile in blinding glory.
She addresses him as a child of her royal city and offers him grace, while calling upon him to drive out the spawn of the Dark Fire. She further commands him to protect Ghanna, the heiress of Atzara, from the Dark Fire spawn that surround her.
Duke accepts Kasai’s grace and finds himself free of the chains that bind him to the anvil. As the vision fades, the smith returns, wearing a dried tongue on a lanyard around his neck: Duke recognizes the smith as his ancient rival Mentari, whom he last faced in Adûnibad.
Putting the tongue in his mouth, Mentari reveals that he went to the Skedelfjilden, where the Hudbeklaaid dwell. There he was taken captive by the Konur Villtar clan, who cut out his tongue, but he gained their favor through his skill at the forge. They came to know him as Heilagur Ingvar Járnhendur—“Saint Ingvar Iron-hands”, a craftsman of renown.
Then Mentari draws out Maiven, and Duke addresses his demon. She asks when he intends to raise her into her true form. Duke promises that he will find her a suitable body here among the Konur Villtar. Then he rushes Mentari, revealing that he is not really chained.
The Walls Are Ringing
At Heksepunt, Krenzi recognizes Beppe Hinnemûs before being grabbed by the Invader and taken into a dark, cold crack deep beneath the earth where he hears miners toiling and the labored breathing of Iambs Twiling nearby.
Iambs reveals that he was taken captive by the Konur Villtar, along with all the men of the South Farthing who did not escape. They reopened the long-abandoned iron mine at Heechoven and forced the Klavs to toil there. Iambs rolled his ankle early in his labor, and Renke hid him in a cavity, doubling his own workload so that their captors wouldn’t learn about Iambs’s injury and feed him to their dogs.
Krenzi helps Iambs up and bears him up the steep slope toward the mouth of the mine shaft. There, Krenzi speaks to the Konur Villtar guards, and they loose their dogs on him. The Invader lashes out at the hounds, driving the guards and their dogs to flee.
Outside the mine, Krenzi sees the war camp that the Konur Villtar have established reviving the iron smelting at Heechoven. He bears Iambs across the forested slope out of sight of the Hudbeklaaid women.
We Offer No Sacrifice
The apparition of Ausmundt fades and his voice merges with a chorus of voices echoing from the standing stones at Heksepunt, including voices of a crone, a mother, and a maiden weaving in and out. The chorus offers Tulasa and Ghanna their lives in exchange for two concessions: No one may leave Heksepunt without shedding their blood on the stones, and at least one of them must leave something more: Some organ or body part.
Tulasa announces that there will be no sacrifice and calls on Beppe to explain her bargain with these voices. Beppe explains that she came to Heksepunt after witnessing Krenzi’s traffic with demons. She realized that the Heksememmen—Granaatmem and Appelmem—might give some real protection to the Klavs like they did of old.
The Heksememmen answered her call and returned Ausmundt to her, her deceased husband. And they gave her their word that they would aid her in driving out the Ynkringers so that the Klavs could live in peace again.
The shade of Namuu of the Skaalruters demands a tithe of blood for his men too. When Tulasa rejects the demand again, the chorus calls upon the Skaalruters to shed their blood as a sacrifice for their mothers. Namuu is incensed and they draw their weapons to take Ghanna’s blood.
Ghanna fires her arrow into the shades while the disembodied chorus of Heksepunt summons the shade of Tulasa’s old ally Shiisa from the ashes. Shiisa lays hold of Tulasa, while Ghanna’s desperate assault drives the Skaalruters away, forcing them down the slope.
The Lover’s Grasp
The Invader tells Krenzi that the makeshift forge they espied from the slope is hiding the mercenary they met before, Duke, in chains. Krenzi drops Iambs in the snowy forest, and travels with the Invader through the shadowy void.
Mentari deftly dodges Duke’s surprise attack just as Krenzi takes shape behind him in the shadows. Maiven leaps out of Mentari’s hand into Duke’s. Krenzi brains Mentari with his shillelagh, knocking the forgemaster unconscious.
Duke stoops over his old enemy and takes Mentari’s great shamshir, Amoria, into his grasp.