Afterwards, everyone celebrated their victory against Valentine's forces in what eventually became known as the Mortal War. Jace and Clary reformed their relationship, free to be together after all. However he began to see some nightmares which always ended with him murdering Clary. Jace fearing that he was losing control, decided to distance himself from Clary. He spent most of his time protecting Simon and avoiding Clary. Clary growing more and more frustrated with this whole situation took a lot of risks. After a while Jace no longer being able to bury his emotions told Clary about his nightmares.
Hoping to find a way to stop these nightmares, they visited the Silent Brothers, who informed them that with Jace's death the magic from the ritual which protected him from demon possession had faded and kept Jace in the Silent City in order to perform it again. Max gave him a knife, telling him to cut himself in order to be released from the demon's possession. Jace woke up under Lilith's influence.
He left the Silent City and went to Jocelyn's engagement party. There, under Lilith's influence, he marked Clary with a rune that made her lose her senses and carried her to the top of an unfinished hotel, where Lilith was preparing a resurrection ritual for Jonathan. Eventually, Clary, Simon and Jace defeated Lilith. However, when Jace was left alone in the top of the hotel, he unconsciously completed the ritual and awakened Sebastian. Sebastian, through Lilith's rune, had since gained some form of control and power over Jace. Jace's state and whereabouts were unknown for weeks after he disappeared with Sebastian, worrying his family and friends.
Moreover, the Clave's priorities shifted from locating Sebastian and Jace to safeguarding the wards , due to the increased number of demons which passed through them. Meanwhile, Jace and Sebastian were traveling all over the world preparing for Sebastian's plan. Jace, unable to stay away from Clary, visited her and asked her to follow them. Clary was considering the offer but their meeting was cut short when Jocelyn saw Sebastian in her kitchen and screamed. Their little adventure ended with Sebastian throwing a silver dagger to Luke and leaving with Jace. Jace's allegiance to Sebastian was confirmed.
After their departure from Luke's house, Jace and Sebastian kept working on their plans for a little while longer, until Clary joined them. Clary tried to understand the connection between her brother and boyfriend but she couldn't find a way to help Jace, not without raising suspicions. Jace, still under Lilith's spell, participated in all of Sebastian's plans and at the same time dated Clary. He was the happiest Clary had ever seen him.
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However, after an unfortunate turn of events, his bond with Sebastian was severed and he was able to say the truth to Clary, about the Infernal Cup and Sebastian's true intentions, after which he unsuccessfully tried to flee to the Clave in order to turn in the Cup. Once on the Seventh Sacred Site , Sebastian, with Jace and Clary by his side, was already preparing to create his own army of Endarkened , when the Clave barged in, along with Simon holding the Glorious.
Which he passed to Clary. Unable to reach Sebastian, Clary used the Glorious and stabbed Jace, believing that it wouldn't kill him as his heart was more good than evil. Jace was set alight severing the connection between the two, leading the others to believe that he was dead, and Sebastian was long gone with his army. However, his heart was still beating and he was taken into the Institute to be cured by Brother Zachariah.
When Clary was finally allowed to visit Jace, he told her that stabbing him with Glorious had filled him with "sacred fire," which would burn anything he touched whenever he got an adrenaline rush, which was what Silent Brothers had told him. Jordan Kyle started teaching Jace to meditate in order to be able to control the heavenly fire. Clary, Alec, Isabelle and Simon couldn't do anything else other than provide moral support. Concerned about Alec and Magnus break up, Jace visited Magnus and talk to him.
Jace bluntly pointed out that he was obviously unhappy, since his apartment was a mess and he had takeout containers everywhere, clearly gorging himself on take out food. Due to the several attacks on different Institutes by the Sebastian's Endarkened army, They were all ordered to pack up and gather in Idris for an emergency meeting of the Clave. On that meeting Jace first met the Blackthorn children and Emma Carstairs. By the end of the meeting, the Clave decided to use the heavenly fire within Jace to defeat Sebastian, although they did not know how to get the fire out of him.
Jace and Clary took a nighttime walk around the city. The two ultimately ended up in an alley, where, despite Jace's hesitation, Clary succeeded in kissing him. Their kissing escalated so quickly that Jace lost control over the heavenly fire, which caused him to burn his handprints into the brick wall he was leaning against. He felt so panicked and fearful that he hurt Clary that he quickly pulled away. The next day, when Jace and Clary went to buy her a new sword, Diana Wrayburn gave Clary a Morgenstern family shortsword, Heosphoros , for free. While Clary blessed her sword in Accords Hall fountain, they saw the demon towers lit up in a color of upcoming battle.
Despite not being allowed, the two went through a Portal and joined the battle for Adamant Citadel. Jace fought Sebastian, who then stabbed Jace. Surprised by heavenly fire, Sebastian and his army fled the battle. Brother Zachariah attempted to heal Jace, but was burned. Clary marked Jace with an iratze powerful enough to somehow heal him. Sebastian held the Downworld leaders, along with Jocelyn, in hostage, and demanded Clary and Jace in return. He gave the Clave two day to decide. Hinted by Emma that Sebastian kept prisoners in the other dimension, Edom , Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec and Isabelle escaped to rescue them through faerie tunnels.
Once on the other dimension, Clary transferred heavenly fire from Jace to Heosphoros, with which she eventually stabbed Sebastian by tricking him and the others. In , Jace was invited to the Shadowhunter Academy , where they sent Simon in hopes of helping him regain his memories through Ascension , to teach a lesson as a guest tutor. There, he met and conversed with his ancestor Tessa Gray. Jace has since become more serious about his passion for music. He'd begun to play more challenging pieces and composing, even collaborating once with fellow musician, Simon, on " Come Back, Meow ", a song dedicated to Chairman Meow.
Around a year later, Maryse stepped down as head of the Institute, and Jace and Clary were voted in by the Conclave as the new heads, making them one of the youngest Shadowhunters to ever hold the position. In the midst of Isabelle and Simon's engagement party in , Jace proposed to Clary. Her answer was interrupted by Magnus and Robert as the pair were pulled off to the Los Angeles Institute for a mission. A few weeks later, Jace returned to the L. A Institute with Clary to pass on what was discussed in a recent Council meeting.
While there, Jace met and spoke with Kit Herondale and convinced him to put off running away until he had experienced Shadowhunter life. Following a meeting with the residents of the Institute, Jace and Clary pulled Mark aside to question him about Faerie, and revealed that they were being sent on a mission there to investigate an unknown weapon left by Sebastian. Jace had always been independent and somehow self-possessed, having been taught not to betray himself to emotions as a child.
Jace has a sharp, defensive wit, an acidic temperament which was later only tamed by Clary, and a very sarcastic attitude when he chooses in order to hide his insecurities. Giving the impression of holding most people in disdain, Jace is seen as extremely arrogant, self-centered, and overconfident, believing himself to be "the best Shadowhunter to ever live" and above others.
True enough, Jace is superior in battle, something Jace has been training for since he was young and had grown to love over the years. He even exhibits sadistic tendencies, which he got on account of being raised by Valentine.
Despite this, Jace, in fact, has a strong moral core. He is dutiful and just, willing to make the right decisions, and sacrifices if it comes down to it. Though he can be, at times, vindictive, he is cruel only to protect those he loves. His conceited exterior hides a profound inner hatred which intensifies after he mistakenly believed he was demonic, blaming the demon blood for his conflicting thoughts and his, then presumed, incestuous feelings towards Clary. Even after this was disproved and contradicted by the fact that he actually is actually part angel, even more so than regular people of his kind, Jace continued to carry the weight of the lies he had lived for so long.
An example of this is Jace's love for the man who raised him and whom he believed to be his father, Valentine; despite the abuse and the deceit, Valentine was at times kind and affectionate towards him, and Jace found himself missing his father figure. Like Valentine and the Lightwoods, Jace also shared the snobbish attitude toward mundanes and Downworlders, though he lacked their extremist tendencies. Beneath Jace's flippant exterior lies a soul in constant torment, filled with a deep-seated rage that he keeps in check most of the time and channels into fighting and slaying demons and also, sometimes, his sarcastic and nasty remarks.
Jace relaxes and calms his nerves by getting into fights, with Clary even noting that fighting to Jace is "what sex is to normal people. Aware of his own beauty, Jace was also once quite chivalrous, and quite flirty, towards women before he met Clary. His charisma, good looks, and charm have made him quite the ladies' man. However, taught that "to love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be destroyed.
His personality drastically changed after he met Clary, with Isabelle even stating that Jace was apathetic about everyone else beforehand, not caring about anyone other than the Lightwoods until he met Clary, whose presence shook Jace, who was revealed to be a very passionate individual, loving Clary on a very deep and passionate level when he fell in love with her and does everything in his power to protect her from harm, the extent of his love for Clary even surprising those close to him. Jace is very well-known for his good looks.
He has curly blond hair, that he sometimes lets grow a little longer, long eyelashes, and amber eyes that look gold in the light due to his angel blood. He has a lean, slim muscular build, broad shoulders, and stands over 5'11". Like all other Shadowhunters, he is covered in runes , both the newly-applied or permanent black ones, and the faded silver runes that are to be reapplied. He has a star-shaped birthmark , a mark that has been passed on down through the generations of Herondales , starting from Will Herondale, on his left shoulder.
Clary is the love of Jace's life. Their love went through a great deal of complications and ordeals. While both showed dislike for each other initially, they began to care for one another other and inevitably fell in love during their adventures together. Even after they were misleadingly told that they were siblings, and while they fought hard to resist temptation, their feelings for each other were undeniable and they shared passionate moments on more than one occasion. Despite this longing, both tried to form a familial bond before Jace, horrified by the thought of being in love with his sister, tried to avoid her, ultimately failing when he once offered to have a secret, incestuous relationship with her, blaming this lapse of judgement on the fact that he may have Lilith 's demon blood running through his veins.
Penny plays fair with her readers. The Charlotte Observer 4 out of 4 stars At least two people are waiting very impatiently for this review to be done so I can pass the new Louise Penny along to them. With just her fourth book, she already has that kind of well-deserved following Starred Library Journal Canadian author Penny has garnered numerous awards for her elegant literary mysteries featuring the urbane Armand Gamache, chief police inspector from Quebec.
Gamache is intelligent, observant, and implacable, indispensible attributes for the sophisticated detection that characterizes this series Her psychological acumen, excellent prose, and ingenious plotting make this essential reading for mystery lovers and admirers of superb literary fiction.
Fans of Dorothy L. Sayers, P. James, and Elizabeth George will also be delighted. One of the best traditional mystery series currently being published. Publishers Weekly Murder interrupts Chief Insp. It's a serious novel that bridges the gap between the mystery genre and mainstream fiction Louise Penny's fourth novel is an enduring mystery that begins and ends with the qualities that make great fiction writing -- compelling storytelling, evocative descriptions that are the heart of the story -- and characters the novel's soul who are rich in qualities and foibles that make them unforgettable -- and capable of murder.
Time Out London. Montreal Review of Books The plotting is flawless and when the murderer is finally revealed in a thrilling climactic scene Penny has found her perfect formula with the carefully constructed puzzle plot in the perfect village with the classic cast of characters. The fact that it's modern Quebec is the icing on the petit four Once the puzzle is set up, it's impossible to put this book down until it's solved.
Devotees of Christie will be delighted by Penny's clever plots and deft characters. The Irish News In a traditional who-dunnit crime thriller that rivals Agatha Christie's Poirot, Gamache is a refreshing alternative to the hard-nosed stereotypical detective. Penny builds the lives and imperfections of the characters effectively, exposing the complexity of human nature, challenging the reader's opinion and creating a constant sense of suspicion. This is a classic tale that proves that revenge is a dish best served ice cold. You have to read it The temptation is to scarf Penny's books like potato chips but it's ever wise to savor each bite and let the flavors fill your tongue.
Easter in Three Pines is a time of church services, egg hunts and seances to raise the dead. A group of friends trudges up to the Old Hadley House, the horror on the hill, to finally rid it of the evil spirits that have so obviously plagued it, and the village, for decades.
One of their numbers dies of fright. As they peel back the layers of flilth and artiface that have covered the haunted old home, they discover the evil isn't confined there. Some evil is guiding the actions of one of the seemingly kindly villagers. A very personal demon is about to strike. A time of rebirth, when nature comes alive. And it become clear - for there to be a rebirth, there first must be a death. The mouthwatering food, the beautiful gardens, the quirky and literate villagers -- Three Pines is a charming oasis for the spirit Move over, Mitford. The Scotsman There's real pleasure here.
Kirkus Review Perhaps the deftest talent to arrive since Minette Walters, Penny produces what many have tried but few have mastered: a psychologically acute cozy. If you don't give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give. Publishers Weekly Chief Insp. Highly recommended. As Penny demonstrates with laser-like precision, the book's title is a metaphor not only for the month of April but also for Gamache's personal and professional challenges - making this the series standout so far.
And this place, this wonderous, fantastical place. The thing about the Gamache novels is that while the crimes are intriguing, the people are downright fascinating not just Gamache himself, who manages to be completely original despite his similarities to Columbo and Poirot, but also the entire cast of supporting characters, who are so strongly written that every single one of them could probably carry an entire novel all by themselves.
The writing is sensual, full of sights and smells and tastes that will resonate with her readers. And although Penny paints an almost Grandma Moses idealized view of village life, it is a view tinged with ominous foreboding, reminiscent of the brooding images of Breughel and Bosch It's a gem. Penny's writing is rich in imagery and atmosphere and characterised by a very quick and highly verbal intelligence.
Winter in Three Pines and the sleepy village is carpeted in snow.
Enid left him drained, and yet still feeling inadequate. As with the rules and features of her life, that is they are undergoing a metamorphosis, the rules of the world around her are changing as well. I like romance, but honestly? Instead, Draco Malfoy inadvertently earned the Wand's loyalty when he disarmed Dumbledore just before Snape arrived to kill him. As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. There's are some very important things left unresolved, and there's obvious setup for the next book.
It's a time of peace and goodwill - until a scream pierces the biting air. There's been a murder. Local police are baffled. A spectator at the annual Boxing Day curling match has been fatally electrocuted. Despite the large crowd, there are no witnesses and - apparently - no clues.
Called in to head the investigation, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache unravels the dead woman's past and discovers a history of secrets and enemies. But Gamache has enemies of his own. Frozen out of decision-making at the highest level of the Surete du Quebec, Gamache finds there are few he can trust. As a bitter wind blows into Three Pines, something even more chilling is sneaking up behind him Gamache is a prodigiously complicated and engaging hero, destined to become one of the classic detectives.
Library Journal A highly intelliegent mystery. Penny's new title is sure to creat great reader demand for more stories featuring civilized and articulate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Booklist Gamache, a smart and likable investigator - think Columbo with an accent, or perhaps a modern-day Poirot This is a fine mystery in the classic Agatha Christie style and it is sure to leave mainstream fans wanting more.
Koch For all the perplexing mechanics of the murder, and the snowed-in village setting, this is not the usual "cosy" or even a traditional puzzle mystery. It's a finely written, intelligent and observant book. Imbued with a constant awareness of the astonishing cold, this perfect blend of police procedural and closed-room mystery finds its solution, as in the best of those traditions, in the slow unlayering of a sorrowful past.
Her characters leap from the page, her plotting is sublime, the atmosphere she builds in a bitter Quebec winter in Dead Cold, completely chilling. The writing is superb. A magnificent read. And like Gamache, you too will be drawn to Three Pines and to this work of magical realism masquerading as a cosy English mystery. We're back in the charming Quebec village of Three Pines The setting is wonderfully done, as are the characters. The solution is perfectly in tune with their psychology and there's plenty of evidence that Gamache will make a third appearance. Sooner or later the whole world will discover Penny.
With a unique sense of timing, patience and subtle wit, Penny is able to create a whodunit that recalls those of Agatha Christie Magically bringing the postcard village of Three Pines to life, she gives it innocence, allows a touch of evil to intrude and then brings in the outsider, the intriguing Gamache, to solve the crime. The result is an engrossing read that will only add to the ranks of her readers. Shotsmag, UK This is a wonderful novel, full of mystery. It is as deeply layered as snow drifting down upon snow. The cold will seep into your bones so wrap up warm and have a good hot drink at your elbow.
As the early morning mist clears on Thanksgiving Sunday, the homes of Three Pines come to life - all except one. To locals, the village is a safe haven. So they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident - a hunter's arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead? Gamache knows something dark is lurking behind the white picket fences, and if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will begin to give up its secrets. Kirkus Review Cerebral, wise and compassionate, Gamache is destined for stardom.
Don't miss this stellar debut. Publishers Weekly Like a virtuoso, Penny plays a complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight. Filled with unexpected insights, this winning traditional mystery sets a solid foundation for future entries in the series. Booklist , Emily Melton This is a real gem of a book that slowly draws the reader into a beautifully told, lyrically written story of love, life, friendship and tragedy.
Miss Jane Neal kept a well-read book on her nightstand, C. Lewis' Surprised by Joy. That title is a fitting phrase for Still Life. Three Pines delivers. Toronto Star, Jack Batten A delightful and clever collection of false leads, red herrings, meditations on human nature, strange behavior and other diverting stuff. The Calgary Herald , Joanne Sasvari, This is a much darker, cleverer, funnier and, finally, more hopeful novel than even the great Dame Agatha could have penned.
It's light, witty and poignant, a thrilling debut from a new Canadian crime writer. As the last note of the chant escaped the Blessed Chapel a great silence fell, and with it came an even greater disquiet. The silence stretched on. And on. These were men used to silence, but this seemed extreme, even to them.
And still they stood in their long black robes and white tops, motionless. These were men also used to waiting. But this too seemed extreme. The less disciplined among them stole glances at the tall, slim, elderly man who had been the last to file in and would be the first to leave. Dom Philippe kept his eyes closed. Where once this was a moment of profound peace, a private moment with his private God, when Vigils had ended and before he signaled for the Angelus, now it was simply escape. Besides, he knew what was there. What was always there. What had been there for hundreds of years before he arrived and would, God willing, be there for centuries after he was buried in the cemetery.
Two rows of men across from him, in black robes with white hoods, a simple rope tied at their waists. And beside him to his right, two more rows of men. They were facing each other across the stone floor of the chapel, like ancient battle lines. No, he told his weary mind. Just opposing points of view. Expressed in a healthy community. Then why was he so reluctant to open his eyes? To get the day going? To signal the great bells that would ring the Angelus to the forests and birds and lakes and fish.
And the monks. To the angels and all the saints. And God. In the great silence it sounded like a bomb. With an effort he continued to keep his eyes closed. He remained still, and quiet. But there was no peace anymore. Now there was only turmoil, inside and out. He could feel it, vibrating from and between the two rows of waiting men. He could feel it vibrating within him. Dom Philippe counted to one hundred. Then opening his blue eyes, he stared directly across the chapel, to the short, round man who stood with his eyes open, his hands folded on his stomach, a small smile on his endlessly patient face.
And the bells began. The perfect, round, rich toll left the bell tower and took off into the early morning darkness. It skimmed over the clear lake, the forests, the rolling hills. To be heard by all sorts of creatures. A clarion call. Their day had begun. That would be ridiculous. In the background an old Beau Dommage album was playing. Beauvoir hummed quietly to the familiar tune. Beauvoir laughed. Poor Mom. Felt she had to marry him.
After all, who else would have him? Beauvoir laughed again. I could hardly give you a worse gift. He reached down beside the table in the sunny kitchen. A platter of bacon and scrambled eggs with melted Brie sat on the small pine table. The cat leapt to the ground and found a spot on the floor where the sun hit. Beauvoir lifted it into plain sight. Happy anniversary. And I got you nothing. Annie took the plunger.
You are full of it, after all. She thrust the plunger forward, gently prodding him with the red rubber suction cup as though it was a rapier and she the swordsman. So like Annie. Where other women might have pretended the ridiculous plunger was a wand, she pretended it was a sword. Of course, Jean-Guy realized, he would never have given a toilet plunger to any other woman. Only Annie. As he spoke he looked at Annie. Her eyes never left him, barely blinked. She took in every word, every gesture, every inflection.
Enid, his ex-wife, had also listened. But there was always an edge of desperation about it, a demand. As though he owed her.
As though she was dying and he was the medicine. Enid left him drained, and yet still feeling inadequate. But Annie was gentler. More generous. Like her father, she listened carefully and quietly. With Enid he never talked about his work, and she never asked. With Annie he told her everything. He told her what they found, how they felt, and who they arrested.
Beauvoir nodded and chewed and saw the Chief Inspector in the dim cabin. Whispering the story. So as the two homicide investigators deftly searched, Chief Inspector Gamache had told Beauvoir about the bathmat. And somehow deciding a bathmat was the perfect hostess gift. Her mother never tired of asking either. Her father, on the other hand, decided I was an imbecile and never mentioned it again. That was worse. When they died we found the bathmat in their linen closet, still in its plastic wrapping, with the card attached.
Beauvoir stopped talking and looked across at Annie. She smelled fresh and clean. Like a citron grove in the warm sunshine. No makeup. She wore warm slippers and loose, comfortable clothing. Annie was aware of fashion, and happy to be fashionable. But happier to be comfortable. She was not slim. She was not a stunning beauty. But Annie knew something most people never learn. She knew how great it was to be alive. It had taken him almost forty years, but Jean-Guy Beauvoir finally understood it too. And knew now there was no greater beauty.
Annie was approaching thirty now. Had made him part of the team, and eventually, over the years, part of the family. Though even the Chief Inspector had no idea how much a part of the family Beauvoir had become. She held up the plunger, with its cheery red bow. Would die together. In a home that smelled of fresh citron and coffee. And had a cat curled around the sunshine. But hearing it now, it just seemed natural. As though this was always the plan. To have children. To grow old together.
Beauvoir did the math. He was ten years older than her, and would almost certainly die first. He was relieved. But there was something troubling him. Annie grew quiet, and picked at her croissant. Just us. You know? He could never stop them, but it would be a disaster. The Chief and Madame Gamache will be happy. Very happy. But he wanted to be sure. To know. It was in his nature. He collected facts for a living, and this uncertainty was taking its toll.
It was the only shadow in a life suddenly, unexpectedly luminous. But in his heart it felt like a betrayal. She leaned toward him, her elbows and forearms resting on the croissant flakes on the pine table, and took his hand. She held it warm in hers. My father would be so happy. Seeing the look on his face she laughed and squeezed his hand. She adores you.
Always has. They think of you as family, you know. As another son. She just held his hand and looked into his eyes. Annie paused, thinking. Dad spends his life looking for clues, piecing things together. Gathering evidence. Too close, I guess. One of the first lessons he teaches new recruits.
The phone rang. Not the robust peal of the landline, but the cheerful, invasive trill of a cell. He ran to the bedroom and grabbed it off the nightstand. No number was displayed, just a word. He almost hit the small green phone icon, then hesitated. It managed to be both relaxed and authoritative. It was on a Saturday morning. An invitation to dinner. A query about staffing or a case going to trial. This was a call to arms. A call to action. A call that marked something dreadful had happened. And raced. And even danced a little.
Not with joy at the knowledge of a terrible and premature death. But knowing he and the Chief and others would be on the trail again. Jean-Guy Beauvoir loved his job. But now, for the first time, he looked into the kitchen, and saw Annie standing in the doorway. Watching him. And he realized, with surprise, that he now loved something more. And just the two of us for now. Should she come? Just to organize the Scene of Crime team and leave?
Hope you remember how to do it. All the way from downtown? Beauvoir felt the world stop for a moment. Not much traffic. Gamache laughed. And he did, placing calls, issuing orders, organizing. Then he threw a few clothes into an overnight bag. Even for a woman who cherished reality, this was far too real. She laughed, and he was glad. At the door he stopped and lowered his case to the ground.
Once he was gone and she could no longer see the back of his car, Annie Gamache closed the door and held her hand to her chest. She wondered if this was how her mother had felt, for all those years. How her mother felt at that very moment. Was she too leaning against the door, having watched her heart leave? Having let it go. Then Annie walked over to the bookcases lining her living room. After a few minutes she found what she was looking for.
She and Jean-Guy would present them with their own white bibles, with their names and baptism dates inscribed. She looked at the thick first page. Sure enough, there was her name. And a date. But instead of a cross underneath her name her parents had drawn two little hearts. Copyright by Three Pines Creations, Inc. She could see shadows, shapes, like wraiths moving back and forth, back and forth across the frosted glass.
Appearing and disappearing. Distorted, but still human. Still the dead one lay moaning. The words had been going through her head all day, appearing and disappearing. A poem, half remembered. Words floating to the surface, then going under. The body of the poem beyond her grasp. The blurred figures at the far end of the long corridor seemed almost liquid, or smoke. There, but insubstantial. This was it. The end of the journey. How often had they come to the MAC to marvel at some new exhibition?
To support a friend, a fellow artist? Or to just sit quietly in the middle of the sleek gallery, in the middle of a weekday, when the rest of the city was at work? Art was their work. But it was more than that. It had to be. Otherwise, why put up with all those years of solitude? Of failure? Of silence from a baffled and even bemused art world? She and Peter had worked away, every day, in their small studios in their small village, leading their tiny lives.
But still yearning for more. Clara took a few more steps down the long, long, white marble hallway. Her first dream as a child, her last dream that morning, almost fifty years later, was at the far end of the hard white hallway. He was by far the more successful artist, with his exquisite studies of life in close-up. So detailed, and so close that a piece of the natural world appeared distorted and abstract. Peter took what was natural and made it appear unnatural.
People ate it up. Thank God. It kept food on the table and the wolves, while constantly circling their little home in Three Pines, were kept from the door. Thanks to Peter and his art. Clara glanced at him walking slightly ahead of her, a smile on his handsome face. She knew most people, on first meeting them, never took her for his wife. Instead they assumed some slim executive with a white wine in her elegant hand was his mate. An example of natural selection. Of like moving to like. The distinguished artist with the head of graying hair and noble features could not possibly have chosen the woman with the beer in her boxing glove hands.
And the studio full of sculptures made out of old tractor parts and paintings of cabbages with wings. Peter Morrow could not have chosen her. That would have been unnatural. Clara would have smiled had she not been fairly certain she was about to throw up. Oh, no no no, she thought again as she watched Peter march purposefully toward the closed door and the art wraiths waiting to pass judgment.
On her. But mostly she wanted to turn and flee, to hide. To stumble back down the long, long, light-filled, art-filled, marble-filled hallway. And this is where it led. Someone had lied. She walked down this corridor. Composed and collected. Beautiful and slim. Witty and popular. Their relationship seems good, much different than Dash imagined.
Dash somehow accidentally knocks the glass ink bottle onto the floor. Olena and Nazuri hear it. Nazuri asks if she was writing to the stable boy. Dash is shocked the prince knows about him. He comes out of the vision and awakes somewhere icy cold. A war council meeting is called in Wildenhaven. They ask Casimir if he plans on taking back the Oremian throne if they find a way to win.
The old way was with one person from each royal family, but Ermias and his whole family is dead. Casimir says it depends. Bleak goes outside with the panthers. Casimir joins her and mentions a weapon he has to use against Ines, but it took one person from each of the three ruling families to operate. He asks what she can remember from her youth.
He asks her to push her memories into him. When she sees Casimir with Ines in one memory, they both come to. Casimir admits he was in love with Ines until he realized her evil plans and started working against her. He tells how Ines slowly gained power with her ability to host multiple Ashai powers. Ines eventually sowed seeds of discord between the ruling families. Ines eventually found and captured Casimir.
She tortured his mind by day and then spent the night with him each night. Bleak and Casimir are summoned to a meeting with the leaders. Bleak peeks in. Luka spots her and pulls her into the party. In the middle of the celebration, the battle horn sounds. Someone has arrived. Eydis, Henri, and Sahara go out to investigate. They bring in a stranger holding a young boy…and Fiore. Bleak realizes she knows the boy. She saw him at the palace on Heathton. He has the plague. Henri is furious they brought someone with the plague near her kindred.
It ages the person he heals, using their stronger, wiser mind and body to fight their ailment. Dash ages from ten to seventeen or eighteen. Casimir says the rest is up to him. Henri now thinks the boy looks familiar. They leave him with Tailor. Fi apologizes to Bleak about Bren. Fi says he must be dead because no one survives there. Henri says the Valians will join her to try to repay her for bringing Sahara home. Henri asks Sahara whether she wants her birthright to rule the Valians back. But she asks Henri to wait to name an heir. Henri says she plans on doing both.
Eydis asks what her plan is. Fi steps forward saying he has one. She thinks Sahara might be trying to manipulate her. This makes Henri furious. She demands that Athene leave. Back in his room, Swinton takes the coin from around his neck to see what vision his magic gives him. He wants news of his son. Instead he sees King Arden standing over the lifeless body of his daughter Olena. Therese brings Swinton a letter from King Arden. It tells him Fi plans to breach Moredon Tower.
He commands Swinton to stop him for the sake of Dash. Dash wakes up healed in his new body. Tailor takes him to Casimir to ask a few questions. He has a vision of war and tells Tailor and Casimir about it. Bleak, Sahara, Henri, and the Valians sail away on icy waters to rescue Bren. Bleak feels like something is missing without him by her side. Fi allows Bleak to travel in his mind to see the prison to give them an advantage before they enter.
Henri and the Valians pose as prostitutes and infiltrate the guard quarters when they come ashore. Bleak and Fi sneak off toward the prison. Fi knows the guards out front. Fi, Sahara, and other Valians appear and capture Langdon. They carry Bren away. Bleak wants to release the other Ashai held here. She and Sahara break open each cell as they pass, urging the prisoners to climb upward. Swinton and Fi duel, all the while discussing Dash. They stop fighting before either is hurt badly when Swinton learns the full truth about his son. Bleak and the Valians are departing with Bren.
Fi wants Swinton to go with them. Fi stays back with him. Swinton sails back to Battalon with Fi in the brig as as prisoner. They know people are suspicious. They bail overboard at night and swim to the Bay of Gifts together. They run deep into the slums. Fi is faltering from his wounds from battles at the prison and against Swinton. Ethelda knows Fi well and begins to tend his wounds. Swinton rests while Ethelda demands Fi tell her the full story as payment.
She gives them each a pack of supplies. The girl was looking for a cure for her magic. Swinton sails back to Battalon with Fi in the brig as a prisoner.
They know people are suspicious, so at night they jump overboard and swim to the Bay of Gifts together. They run deep into the slums after they come ashore. Athene comes to say the Ashai are being treated. She sees her relationship with Henri; Athene telling Luka Henri left with Bleak, so now is the time to show her leadership skills; and Sahara in the Forest of Ghosts arguing with Athene before walking into the mist, with Athene doing nothing to stop her.
Athene shakes Bleak awake, begging to know what she saw. Bren wakes up, asking Bleak who Alarise is. After Sahara and Casimir arrive, they ask what it means. Casimir is one of the other heirs, too. The third died years ago as a child. Bren calls Bleak a liar over and over. Eydis questions Dash about his abilities. She asks him to join her on the battlefield. She asks Luka to make sure he can hold his own in a fight. They spar. Luka bests Dash at first but can tell he has potential. Henri thinks it will be enough to keep her fighting for life.
Sahara thinks bringing her here among family, even with the impending war, is the best chance for survival. Bleak goes with Henri to deliver the letter.
Athene tries to accompany them, but Henri suspicious. Bleak says Henri should ask Sahara. Henri asks Bleak if Dash reminds her of anyone. Henri finds Eydis and Dash talking quietly with Bear at her feet. Nicolai charges into the room saying enemies have come ashore and mist is rolling in. Eydis asks Dash to stick close to her. Bleak and Dash talk a bit a dinner. They remember each other from the castle. Fi leads Swinton through the Battalonian marketplace to meet with his contact.
Klamath sneaks them into a garden where Olena is with Prince Nazuri. He also mentions Dash is actually his son. Nazuri and Olena agree to meet them at the stables that night. Swinton makes Fi vow to tell him about his past someday while they wait. When Nazuri and Olena arrive, they all ride off into the sunrise. Fi urges Swinton to take his coin necklace off.
Fingering it has become a tell. His direct line to Dash becomes taut. She asks for anyone willing to use their magic in a fight against Ines and King Arden. Bleak tries to visit Bren before she leaves for war. He orders her out. Dash has a vision of being trapped in an icy river.
He tells Eydis. Bleak and Henri are there to hear. Bleak thinks the vision is about a snow slide. They decide to dig into the tunnels below as a way of escape. Henri leads their combined forces into battle.