The Solars' "safe haven" may not be so safe.
A new day dawns in the manse: Ember is awakened from a nightmare, and the Solars unveil their plans for how to begin the rebuilding of Nexus. Valeria hopes to feed the masses with her words, Rey plans to train citizens in self-defence, and Jorek is organizing the re-construction of the buildings destroyed over the previous weeks. At Jorek’s mention of a new apartment complex to replace the old one, Alvor is unsure if he, as a mere mortal, is deserving of special treatment, though Rey believes otherwise.
Valeria heads outside to speak to Exquisite Tide, whose week-long imprisonment by the Solars is almost up. She tells Val that since Ember’s mother was sympathetic to the Anathema, so when he was returned home, he was brought to his father instead. Tide “lost her life to the drug at age 4”, and is more terrified of being put back into the drug’s bondage than of death; Valeria is moved and promises Tide to build a better world where she needn’t suffer.
It is at this moment notices then that Three Fates Shadow has been shot by an arrow!
Rey’s immediate reaction is to blame Exquisite Tide as the arrows are tipped with orange jade (she also finds a notched stick that may have been used as a bow). As Valeria stabilizes Three Fates, Jorek investigates the scene and discovers the hiding spots of two individuals: one who was watching Exquisite Tide… and another who fired on them. The tension between Rey and Tide is palpable, but they leave their animosity aside to deal with the present threat.
Following a trail of blood, Jorek and Rey discover Starlight Dove, wounded and hiding in a cave: she was injured protecting Exquisite Tide from a mysterious assailant, someone who is trying to kill Ember, and who will go through anyone and everyone to get to him. “If it is Ember giving an important speech in one year at the centre of the Blessed Isle… we might just stand a chance.” She also cautions the Solars that “Tide loves Ember too much to let him die.”
As Jorek heads back to Valeria, Three Fates, and Exquisite Tide, Rey heads into the manse to tell Ember to pack his things: she is desperate to get him away from danger, but isn’t sure how, where to go, or who to take. Jorek informs Val about Starlight Dove’s information, and wonders if the orange jade perhaps works as some sort of tracking device? In that moment, an arrow flies out of the forest and pierces Exquisite Tide! “Come out and face me!” Val yells to the attacker. A fight breaks out against the mystery foe. Val gets Tide to safety, while Rey manages to dive-tackle the archer and drag him out into the open. Jorek uses Heart’s String to see into his soul and discovers some of his Intimacies: “Ember – Bring him Home” (Major); no intimacies to Starlight Dove; “Solar Exalted- Attraction and Distrust” (Defining). Who is this mysterious stranger?