Jorek, Val & Rey do their best to navigate the twisting mysteries of the Wyld and gain some answers, but what will they have to give up in exchange?
“You’re about to step into an area where even Creation is behind you.”
Our heroes awake in the night to hear a couple of people wandering into their camp: one voice tells the other that “they have to stay safe — they’re important”. Jorek ventures out to meet Claws-in-Light, the Lunar who had volunteered to guard them; he and Jorek get to know each other, and he advises the Solars to be bold in their actions.
The next morning, the Circle sets out for the Wyld with Speaks-of-Silence as a guide in order to meet a powerful Fae and hopefully find a way to Yu-Shan. As they leave, Bent-Never-Broken asks for a kiss to be brought back from the Wyld, to which the Solars agree to try. Daja once again appears to guide the group to his “master”, and a misunderstanding with Valeria underscores the importance of the language of a bargain made with the Fae.
The group heads into Wyld through a portal in a tree root, and nothing is as it seems: shadow and light have changed places, and slowly-moving marble statues stand under trees forming arches from which flower petals rain down. Sitting a throne behind a curtain is a magnificently beautiful, striking creature who introduces herself as Illuma. The Solars manage to retain their composure in the face of this creature, even as she snaps Daja in half to underscore the “exceeding arrogance” of their request to get to Yu-Shan.
Jorek and Valeria offer up Rey and Ember as epic champions in a fight to entertain her in exchange for the directions, but Illuma instead asks for entertainment in “the birth and death of a civilization”. She does, however, feed on emotions, and asks to partake of lust, restraint, and despair. The Solars decide to take these burdens upon themselves instead of asking for sacrifices from their comrades. Jorek gives up his restraint, arousing both his innate curiousity and his arrogance; Rey shares her despair, freeing her of her bittersweet feelings towards her father; Valeria allows Illuma to feed on her lust, vastly changing her relationship towards Speaks-of-Silence.
After receiving thier “offerings”, Illuma thanks them and proposes obtaining the directions they seek. In the meantime, perhaps they could attend a banquet she is holding: given his lack of restraint, Valeria demands that Jorek not attend….