The Circle learns more about the mysterious fox woman. A tense standoff in Nexus forces the Solars make a difficult choice. Are they going to be pawns or players?
The Solars’ fox companion transformed into a beautiful (nude) woman, to Val and Jorek’s shock. She speaks flirtatiously with both of them (especially a flustered Jorek) and requests an invitation to dinner. Val firmly insists that they eat outside, not yet comfortable with the idea of this stranger setting foot in the manse. She and Jorek head inside to fetch some food as well as some clothing for the woman to put on.
Inside the manse, Rey and Ember are “hanging out” when Jorek and Val arrive inside and catch everyone up on the fox’s transformation. After grabbing some food and a tunic they return outside, only to find a fox sitting on Summer Blaze’s lap. Some coercing from Jorek has her transform back into her human form, which completely freaks out Blaze.
The fox-woman introduces herself as Speaks-of-Silence, a Chosen of Luna, and reveals that she is able to take on different forms in order to “give people what they want” (as well as flirting with everyone, including Ember, to Rey’s annoyance). She has been in Nexus awhile, and claims to want to assist the Circle.
Speaks-of-Silence hints that Rey may want to track down Kanna, and tells Jorek she will do some reconnaissance to find out what sort of information/rumors are circulating about him. Summer Blaze, seemingly angry about S-o-S’s lewd behavior towards Jorek, storms off into the woods. Ember follows.
The next day, Val, Rey and Jorek head off into Nexus. At the gate they are met by some guards who inform them that their presence is required at a mandatory meeting of the Council of Nine, as it appears that Jorek managed to “capture the Anathema”. The guards lead them to an alley where they are confronted by the Magistrate. She reveals that she has the ability to blackmail all of them into joining her march on the Blessed Isle by holding hostage several people with crucial information on the Solars. One such hostage is the apothecary who had been selling poisonous medicine to Rey’s father over the years (unbeknownest to Rey until this very moment); Sheanne was another, and a third was “being procured”.
The Solars stand defiant, even when Starlight Dove once again appears as the Magistrate’s champion, with an arrow trained on them from a rooftop. The Solars are unable to broker a deal, although Jorek does glow his caste mark in front of everyone. Suddenly, Three Fates Shadow appears behind Starlight Dove and it seems that she is about to kill her. Val intervenes and warns Starlight Dove, who abruptly fires an arrow through the Magistrate’s head, killing her instantly. The party immediately splits: Rey bolts off in pursuit of the guards holding the apothecary, Val races to the roof to confront the other Exalted, and Jorek follows.
Rey takes down a few guards who stand against her and sprints along the rooftops of Nexus until she catches up with the guard and the apothecary. She scares the former off and angrily orders the latter to tell her eveything. He reveals that contrary to Rey’s assumption, there was no grand conspiracy: he simply wanted Rey’s father to become addicted to the medication yet never be cured, so as to assure long-lasting business for his family. Rey, in a fit of rage, beats him until he stops moving and leaves him, potentially dead, in the alley with her bag of pit fight winnings.
Back on the rooftop, Val manages to pull Three Fates Shadow away from Starlight Dove, the two staring daggers at each other. While Three Fates may not remember everything about her past life, she does recall that Starlight Dove “was the one who ended you (Val)”. With this, Starlight Dove now recognizes her as having once been Three Fates Saved, a Night Caste Exalt who was a part of the Solars’ Circle in the past.
A letter, delivered to an apartment in Blue Sky, remains unread