The Circle squares off against its most formidable opponent yet and everyone must choose a side.
In Rey’s newly-transformed apartment, she, Ember, Tepet Exquisite Tide & her mystery gunslinger (revealed to be named Entropy) are together in Rey’s apartment. Rey is able to determine that Exquisite Tide, threatening her with an enormous jade goremaul, has a major tie towards Ember (one of blind devotion). Ember restates his duties as a member of the Wyld Hunt, but then draws one of his daiklaves and throws it aside, choosing to side with the Solars and face off against his wife.
Val and Jorek arrive at the apartment building. The Angel of Nexus has been followed by a crowd of slum inhabitants, though she warns them not to get involved. Jorek convinces them to stay put for now, just in case the Angel might need their help, before both rush upstairs, led by Rey’s flaring anima banner.
Tide accuses Rey of having “turned” her husband; Rey counters by saying she simply let Ember make his own choice. Tide calls Rey “The Forsaken”, and claims Rey could never trust Ember the way she does, and that it’s a terrible thing to ‘fight from a place of loneliness’. “I may be lonely, but at least I’m not trapped in an exquisite cage”.
Battle begins. Exquisite Tide proves to be incredibly powerful, harnessing the power of water and ice, and deals Rey extensive damage with her goremaul. Ember is enraged and goes into anima flux, as does she. Entropy does not commit to fighting for either side until mid-way through the battle, when he asks Rey whether he should listen to her or to Tide. Rey tells him not to obey either, but to decide for himself; in response, he fires an electric blast into the pool where Tide and Ember are standing. The Solars manage to score a few hits on Tide but are unable to do real damage to her. She escapes out the window after promising to come back “with friends”. The apartment building collapses, although no one is seriously hurt.
The Circle parts from Entropy (the Chosen of Disorder) on relatively good terms and he strolls off with Betty, his artifact firewand. Rey, Ember and Val retreat to the underground tunnels to hide their flaring anima banners. Val takes a moment to speak to the crowd that had been following them, although she is warned by a mysterious well-dressed man (possibly Speaks-of-Silence in disguise) that they are attracting too much attention and foolishly walking into traps.
Jorek is directed to his meeting with the Emissary in a tea room. The Emissary offers the protection of Nexus, as long as Jorek meets with him again in one month and keeps all 9 members of the Guild’s Council safe from harm. Jorek also requests a place in the fighting pits for Rey and a stage in the slums for Val. The men shake on it and Jorek sanctifies the oath. He then joins the others in the tunnel.
Ember has fallen into a dark mood. He apologizes for not having mentioned Tide sooner, and proposes being their “vanguard” should they choose to journey to the Blessed Isle. Rey says they can discuss it later, but she does not condemn him since it’s clear he’s already suffered considerably.
The water in the sewer suddenly drains, revealing a slab of stone with a glowing golden light underneath. Rey punches through the slab, opening a tomb containing a corpse clutching an Orichalcum spear and wearing a headband sewn through with the same material. This is most likely the Solar Exalted from Starlight Dove’s tale: the one who chose to sacrifice themselves instead of breaking the rock which would flood/destroy the surrounding buildings.
Footsteps approach from the entrance, so Val takes the headband and spear and guarded the corpse. Three Fates Shadow approached, and insisted on getting at the body. Val questioned her motives, and when Three Fates tried to reach out, grabbed her hand. Three Fates began to threaten Val, who wouldn’t stand down until she had an answer. It was only when Three Fates drew a weapon that Val stood back.
Three Fates Shadow revealed a scar on her chest, and revealed the chest on the body – but it did not have to matching scar. She was shocked, and wanted nothing to do with “that thing,” so she left.Val consulted with Rey and Jorek, then commited the corpse to ash.
Upon committing the corpse’s spirit, Val perceives his most powerful intimacies: Brotherly Love and Mistrust towards Three Fates Saved, as well as the same Defining Principle as Jorek, “My legacy is what will truly define me.”