In artificial night she waits, alone, fears mounting as the brittle sounds of vermin scratch and scrabble through the walls. He’ll return soon, but he will bring no light. And hope? It’s been days since there was any of that. They want to know what she knows, about the Tear, about the fragments, about her father. They’ll shout, they’ll threaten, deprive her of food and sleep, but they’d surely never use the twisted tools glimpsed in passing candle flame. Not here.
In the Tolarenz town hall, Askon thinks of nothing but the woman in the vision. His city is not itself. He is not himself. After seeing her, after using the fragments of Alora’s Tear to peer into the frozen caldera where his people entered the world, Askon knows he must go. He must brave the bitter cold and trackless snow in search of Dalkaldur.
Líana and Edward, Thomas and Elise, John of Dalstone, all will be tested. Follow or stay? And if they follow, to what end? Death in icy desolation is as likely as success. And if they succeed—if they find Dalkaldur and the woman whose circlet reads “Alora”— they must then answer the most unsettling question: how did she come to possess the fragments? With Askon in the lead, and a new threat appearing across the land of Vladvir, there is only one way to be certain. They must find her.