She Who Knows Ten Thousand Things reveals a number of things, each more shocking than the last.
“…just when there is no hope, they beat the bad guys.”
The Circle, exhausted and pushed to the limit from their day in Chiaroscuro, wake from a well-needed sleep. Jorek and Rey meet downstairs for his first training session, discovering on the way that the Circle’s shoes have gone missing (well, those who wear shoes, anyway). Their lesson is a short one: Rey pushes Jorek to the ground and commands him to get up before she can finish saying “Lesson One”. He struggles to his feet and, demanding another shot, succeeds the second time around. Rey advises Jorek that in order to win a fight, you have to be the last one left standing; she also gives Jorek a gold broach in the shape of a feather that had belonged to Sola.
On her way out, Jorek asks Rey about what he had heard from She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things: is her mother truly a Dragon-Blooded on the Blessed Isle? This is also news to Rey, who only thought her mother had left herself and her father in the lurch years before. The Dawn confronts the Lunar, who tells her that her mother’s intended goal is to annex Nexus for the Realm and that she is indeed a Terrestrial Exalt; Rey refuses to believe it, completely in denial. She stalks off, looking for coffee.
Valeria also notices the missing shoes on her way downstairs for coffee: she is incredibly on edge, trying to work out the group’s next move given “Tepet Flow Exultant” is dead. Jorek makes coffee for the Circle while they plan their next move. While the Solars had been fighting yesterday, Ember was embedded with the Immaculate Order and learned a few things. Tepet Crest Exultant’s airship will be arriving in three days’ time; two days after that, the Circle has a meeting set up with the Tri-Khan (the de facto ruler of Chiaroscuro). It is at this moment that Three Fates Shadow comes downstairs: she is still exhausted, and says that she had been dreaming of trying to comfort Jorek. Val observes that the Abyssal’s strength & Essence seems to be decreasing as her emotional vulnerability increases. The Zenith and Ten-Thousand return Three Fates to bed, and just at that moment, Val begins to feel incredibly warm and her anima begins to glow. A visitation from the Unconquered Sun! Val falls unconscious in the hallway, her anima erupting to bonfire.
Standing on a beautiful beach, Valeria wades out into the water to share wine with the Unconquered Sun. He has Val reflect on her journey so far: while she feels she has been unable to work towards her goal of healing the world because of the “messes” she’s had to clean up, he gently reminds her that “You survived”. When he also suggests that perhaps the Deathlords of Creation are a disease themselves, Val realizes what she must do: if the Unconquered Sun will re-Exalt her, she will get Three Fates Shadow to renounce her Abyssal nature and be “healed” back into Three Fates Saved. The Unconquered Sun tells her he is proud of her, and of Jorek for having sacrificed so much; “Soon you’ll visit me,” he says, as Val wakes up.
Rey and Ember carry Val’s flaring body down to a wine cellar to hide her. Jorek kicks open the front door of the tea shop and yells at the arriving Dragon-Blooded soldiers that “She went that way!” She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things tells Jorek that he must watch over Three Fates as she takes off, turning into an owl and flaring her own banner, a pillar of silver light swirling with purple mist and chaotic silver lightning, in order to draw the Terrestrials after her instead. Briefly, Ember and Rey speak about her mother: while she isn’t sure what will happen between them when they eventually meet, Ember is sure that Rey will know what to do.
Heading upstairs to check in on Three Fates, Jorek finds her awake again, having dreamed of being able to save Summer Blaze. She is obviously torn about all of her very powerful newfound emotions: Jorek, sensing her struggle, attempts to persuade her that feelings are power. Valeria also arrives on the scene, still mulling over the Unconquered Sun’s words: if Abyssals’ souls are most malleable at times of great weakness…. With the return of 10K, the Circle discovers that she is the one who took their shoes (shoes, in her mind, make no sense). She also drops some more news on the Solars about their past lives: Finn (Val’s previous incarnation) had attempted to kill Ember’s mother but was killed by Starlight Dove to prevent this, hence Three Fates’ animosity towards the Sidereal.
In that moment, the Abyssal struggles out into the hall and addresses her Lunar mate: Ten-Thousand needs to return to her library for her own protection, as Three Fates is, and has always been, in love with her. This emotional act causes her to collapse as her Caste mark rips open and then seals over: Three Fates has renounced her Abyssal nature, and her heart begins to beat again! Val quickly moves to commit a large portion of her own Essence to keep Three Fates alive. If they can get her to Yu-Shan, they have a shot of convincing the Unconquered Sun to re-Exalt her as a Night Caste Solar Exalted again!
She-Who-Knows-Ten-Thousand-Things prepares to leave, as per the request of Three Fates. While she is very anxious about her mate, she knows that this is her destiny. And she has one more piece of information for Rey that she needs to hear: Rey’s mother is named Tepet Final Rush, and “You just might know her daughter”… Exquisite Tide is Rey’s half-sister!