When the Raoul’s wagons finally come to a stop Kira, Melantha and Evan go out to greet the members of Melantha’s tribe. Evan is greeted warmly and everyone is happy that he has returned from death. Kessler, Iadrei, and Zora had found their way back after being lost in the fight with Ebe. Luceitta (the daughter of Gabrielle Aderre and Matton) and Nicolletta and Stanislova are also present.
Evan tells all his tale following the separation at Castle Hunadroa and deaths over the last year. At hearing how Kazandra killed him quickly, Stanislova also comments to Evan that it takes an incredibly special person to evoke compassion and mercy out of a vampire. Perhaps she actually cares for Evan in some way, a thought that intrigues and frightens Evan.
The celebration is interrupted when and emaciated Vistani approaches the camp – Valanna a member of the tribe of Hyskosa cast out by Melantha who Evan had previous encounters with and believed to have killed. Although tense at first, she is allowed to enter the circle and speak.
Valanna tells of the activities of the Dukkars and although they cannot be seen by the Vistani sight, they can be followed by more conventional means. Using the Mists to travel, Melantha, Kira and Evan are able to witness a meeting of the know Dukkars, an unknown female Dukkar and Kazandra.
During this meeting Kazandra convinces the female Dukkar, Czesia, to aid them, saying “there is more to life than piracy”. Together the four use their powers to allow Malocchio to take a few steps outside of Invidia, although it causes him agonizing pain. Kazandra muses on what the power of all nine Dukkar could accomplish.
Back at the camp, there is much discussion about the implications of the activities and what to do about it. It is the general consensus that Azalin is attempting to use the Dukkar’s ability to distort reality to try and break his bondage. Valanna believes that they do not know the identity of all nine and that Azalin had sent out a scholar (only known as “S”) to search the lands for them.
Stanislova mentions the legend of the Sword of Vistan which will be present at the end of times. The sword is said to be a powerful weapon but must be bathed in the blood of the nine before it can vanquish the evil. Kira’s swords have already drawn blood of Malocchio and if she drew the blood on the others, her sword could be forged into the Sword of Vistan.
During the night, Kessler has a serious conversation with Kira and attempts to dissuade her from joining this quest to fight the Dukkars, which he feels is suicide. Kira cannot abandon her friends, especially Evan, and needs to explore her growing powers that manifested in Necropolis. Eventually they agree to part ways.
Kessler and Melantha have a long argument about where the child Luceitta should live. As half wolfwere and half Vistani, both Kessler’s pack and Melantha’s tribe is appropriate, but Melantha doesn’t want here to become a killer. Evan proposes that she spend time with both and act as a liaison, passing information between the groups. Melantha and Kessler agree.
Evan’s reading of the notes of “S” have the last entries mentioning someone called Meridoff on an island in the Eternal Sea. Although it isn’t much to go on it is a lead that might potentially allow Evan to find “S” and discover how she was able to break her bonds to Azalin. Also, if the female Dukkar is a pirate, they might encounter her as well on the Seas.
Melantha, Evan and KIra decide to head back the Dementlieu and make for the Eternal Sea from there. Evan wants to stop by his vault to check on the Skull, and see what has become of his family home. From there they will venture into the Eternal Sea to search for the Dukkar and the fate of “S”.