Role in the Story
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.|
Esfand is denied participation in the council meeting to decide how to help Arithon. He and Khadrien eavesdrop on the meeting from the lodge roof. Siantra warns them of Khadrien's grandmother's anger, and the trio flees outside the camp. Esfand reveals that he's had prescient dreams of Arithon tracked by the Koriathain and True Sect, and that Arithon sensed his presence in the most recent dream. Khadrien admits that premonition led him to steal Alithiel from the armory. The trio decides to embark on their own to bring Alithiel to Arithon, in spite of the risks. Later, Jalienne reports his absence to Cosach.
The resonance of the planet shifts when Davien and Seshkrozchiel cause a plant to grow on Kathtairr. The trio feels the change and hears Alithiel ring in resonant sympathy but press on with their chosen mission. At the western border of Rathain, they argue about the best way to avoid the True Sect and Athili. Esfand falls into a Sighted trance and Khadrien feels his own Sight stirred up in sympathy.
Esfand has a vision that the trio must travel south near Athili to reunite with Arithon. They flee south after Siantra encounters headhunters nearby. Siantra's attempt to use her hunter's instincts backfires from the potency of the flux around Athili. When the headhunters' tracking dogs discover them again, Siantra draws Alithiel and causes Athili's borders to move again.
Asandir answers Alithiel's call and protects the children from being consumed by Athili. He returns Alithiel to Esfand's care and warns Siantra that the backlash from the flux might heighten her innate sensitivity. Unable to send them on to Arithon because of the Fellowship's vow of noninterference, he asks them to serve the land's greater need. The children accept and are transported to Fiaduwynne. Their arrival triggers Dakar's immutable prophecy about High King Gestry's death. His caithdein, Halika, orders Dakar and the children isolated out of fear that the prophecy will cause Gestry to lose heart. When Tarens arrives in camp, Dakar assesses the crofter's memories and recent dreams and demands an immediate audience with the High King. Dakar orders the children to pack for passage to the safety of Elkforest, but later finds that they have fled the camp instead.
Tarens catches up to the children on the Paravian road to Rathain after weeks of tracking. He allows himself to be caught in their trap and realizes that the clash between the True Sect army and High King Gestry's forces is imminent. From hiding, Tarens and the children observe as Gestry taps his crown jewels against the True Sect. This action ultimately summons projections of all three Paravian races, halting the fighting and rendering many combatants senseless.
A centaur appears before Tarens, Esfand, Khadrien, and Siantra, trailed by the reborn Isfarenn. The centaur charges one of them to rise and bear Alithiel, then vanishes when Khadrien claims this duty. Feeling as though he has failed Khadrien, Tarens resolves to see Esfand and Siantra safely back to Halwythwood.
Third Age 5923: Tarens, Esfand, and Siantra reach Halwythwood by the summer. Siantra suggests that Tarens visit a croft to trade, giving Esfand time to report back to the clans first. They are received by Cosach and Laithen at the edge of Halwythwood. Tarens delivers news of Khadrien's death in Havish, angered that the children were allowed to leave Rathain on their own. Laithen reveals that Khadrien is alive, sent back chastened by Asandir after losing Alithiel. After learning of Tarens' unique background, Cosach asks him to swear a guest oath of amity.
Arithon has a farsighted vision of the extermination of the clans in Halwythwood. The vision shows Tarens exhorting Esfand to rally survivors. Arithon learns that that invasion has not yet occurred, since the vision was sent as a warning through time by Siantra.
Third Age 5924: Under Dakar's guidance, Esfand's scouts capture one of the True Sect's copper rods. The clans plant the rod at Caith-al-Caen drawing lightning from seasonal storms to the Fourth Lane and triggering hallucinations in The Hatchet's men across Daon Ramon Barrens. The clans as they fall back to Strakewood.
Third Age 5925: In late spring, Dakar senses an imminent attack by The Hatchet and urges the clan council to retreat further. Siantra says that Esfand has already given the order but some families refused.