The party breaks, in more ways than one. Can they reunite before it's too late?
“Sometimes you can see the inevitable before it happens.”
As his allies dash off after Rey, Jorek confides in Ember that he is very nervous about Velvet’s intentions, even though the arena’s guards and the sorcerer claim that everything is fine. Jorek instills the crowd with a sense of satisfaction from the fight and sends them away (concerned about possible danger to the people of Nexus). He and Ember decide to sneak out and then back into the arena to find Rey, but first Jorek collects his winnings from the fight: the gambler paying him out suggests investing in weapons, and Jorek is horrified, realizing how far he’s come.
Meanwhile, Valeria, her heart turned to flint with the knowledge that she cannot save her friend, exits the maze and the arena. As she does, the crowd flocks to her and she callously tells them to leave her presence, suggesting that they should “never meet their heroes”; perhaps the Solars were broken because of the foolish demands of the people. She makes her way to the Whispering Dog and convinces the captain of the vessel to offload his cargo and instead take the Circle to Chiaroscuro the following day.
As the scry ends, Velvet brings Rey into the “Hall of Heroes”: the Dawn is completely adrift and doubting in her ability to help people. “I’m too dangerous for Creation and for my friends….” Velvet tells Rey that she wants to help her harness and direct her power, and claims to be a member of the Gold Faction, while Starlight Dove has apparently been working against them as a member of the Bronze Faction. News arrives that Ember is safe, but that Valeria and Jorek have left her alone, which she proves by showing images of the two other Solars leaving the arena. Her feelings of doubt are compounded by the arrival of Alvor, safe and healthy, who is proud of Rey’s fight but also mentions that since Jorek stole from him in the past, that she should perhaps not trust her friends.
Valeria looks for Jorek or Speaks-of-Silence, and on her way out to the manse, encounters a man with a badly scarred face and missing an arm… It’s Entropy, but how is that possible? Val’s immediate skepticism is confirmed when she sits down with him in a tea shop and discovers that he is not Entropy, but his twin brother, the Exalt of Order. He warns Val that Speaks-of-Silence has been captured and in en route to the Blessed Isle.
Jorek and Ember make their way back into the arena and find four corpses in a cart, men killed for “trying to assault the Angel of Nexus”. Peering at their faces, Jorek discovers three members of the Golden Tigers and Kanna have been killed. Jorek threatens the woman attending the cart, persuading her to direct them to the men or women responsible.
As Rey accepts Velvet’s offer of help and comes to trust her, Three Fates Shadow arrives at the antechamber and, to Rey’s horror, kills Alvor! As she is dragged from the room by Velvet, Rey regains her decisiveness, breaks free, and runs back in to see her father, bowling over guards who are attacking Three Fates. It becomes clear that it was not Alvor after all, but a simulacrum, a woman made into a near-perfect replica. As Jorek and Ember rush through the maze that Valeria had left earlier, they meet Rey and Three Fates Shadow.
Immediately in the wake of hearing the news about Speaks-of-Silence, Valeria watches as a dark, spinning vortex inscribed with characters appears over the arena; the members of the Circle in the arena hear the fluttering of tiny wings, and as Velvet creates a portal to view the spell being cast, the group becomes aware of the thousands of razor-sharp obsidian butterflies swooping down on the arena!
As Valeria rushes out into the vortex to save her allies, the rest of the circle are heading back into the underground maze to attempt to escape. Following Velvet through the twisting halls, Ember suddenly decides to stand his ground against the onslaught, as does Three Fates Shadow. Between the four, they are able to parry the majority of the damage, sustaining some injuries, and Valeria charges through the storm alone. Three Fates is almost killed, and the group finds nothing but shredded flesh where Velvet once was. While Rey is still exhausted from her fight with Ember and wants to run, Val pushes forward into the maze, intent on finding the sorcerer who tried to kill them….