The Lady, disgusted at the idea of being traded away, argues with Ana, and lays down the law – she won’t let her wielder leave with knowledge of the Vatcha. There is a brief struggle for control, before the Lady orders her minion to remain in the cabin and care for the plague-riddled Captain Steadiship – until he is recovered or until both are dead.
The Vatcha talk among themselves of their past wielders – Timmy, Rufus, Marta and The Liar. Their reverie is interrupted when they see a thin trail of smoke up ahead – a campfire! Anders talks to the flame; and is just fetching dry wood for it, when he is attacked – a wild-eyed young man with sunken cheeks and an unruly blonde hair. The group smash the boy down, doing far more damage than needed – and Niklaus dies, babbling wildly about the loss of the Jotun’s eye, his last moments betraying a desperate hunger for it. Yarn offers Tobyn the power to revive him, but only if he passes the book on to Niklaus. Tobyn refuses.
Genevive and the Crown discuss the Heat of the Moment – the Crown describes it’s nature – harmless if entertained, an un-natural disaster when bored. Genevive reads a story from Yarn – the Girl’s love for the traveller boy, the Mayor’s refusal, the mob’s folly; and the destruction of the city of Calmlakes, all at the Heat’s “hands”.
They all discuss next steps – Bruce, sure of his divine protection, wants to find another ship to carry him north – the others aren’t impressed, and discuss how they might keep him from leaving. Carmine, learning of Senator Oppenheimer’s letter, talks of his rivalry with her Grandfather – Senator Faze, of Worldsend. Doctor Quatro speaks with Ancylometes via the spelljar, and the two begin to compare notes.
Back at Beggar’s point, Quatro grabs more supplies and the group try to track ‘Senator’ Talaken, believing that he now has the Jotun’s Eye. Leaving Bruce, Toby and Captain Steadiship in the care of Ana and The Lady of the Forest, the others talk a local moneylender by the name of Barnicote in to fetching one of Talaken’s sheets, and they then track him deep in to the forest and off of the path.
A day passes and turns in to night. In the early hours of the morning, they discover that they themselves are being tracked – Carmine hangs back to see what is following them, to discover that it is a monstrous wolf, larger than any they have seen before, who launches itself at her. She scurries up a tree to escape it.
With a combination of Vatcha powers and weapons, they set about the wolf, through the waves of unnatural fear that slough off of it. Williams is savaged horribly; and torn apart, then Anders is subjected to it’s vicious teeth. Davvie, seeing his master attacked, leaps on to the wolf’s back, slamming his tiny paws in to it’s head, but the monster throws its head back and snaps the little monkey in two, before Genevive‘s blade and Anders’ axe finally do for it. Anders is close to death, but Tobyn uses Yarn’s power to revive him from the brink.
Carmine is desperate to bury Williams, but there is no time to waste – they must track Talaken; and the Jotun’s Eye. Hauling her to her feet, they stumble on through the wood, leaving the clearing slick with gore behind them, as the blood of man and monkey and wolf mix in the mud of the forest floor.