Summaries

The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest (Summary)

Note:

Hi everyone! So this month in preparation for the release of The Demon Tide, the long awaited new book in the Black Witch series, I’m re-reading the three previous Black Witch books. I’m going to be posting my summaries here, just in case anyone else wants to check them out if they don’t have time to re-read the series before The Demon Tide.

Same stuff I said in my previous post, do not read on, dear friend, unless you have read the book. This is my favorite high fantasy YA series of ALL TIME, I recommend reading it. Please don’t spoil yourself. Just click away unless you’ve read the book already. I’m begging you.

Thanks bye!

!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Key Characters:

Elloren Gardner – Seventeen years old, middle child in the Gardner family. Raised by her uncle with her two brothers out in Halfix (remote Gardneria). Wants to be an apothecary, enjoys making and playing violins. Has a connection to wood, able to see the origin tree to any piece of wood she touches.

Rafe Gardner – Eldest of the Gardner siblings, enrolled in the university. Protective elder brother, master hunter and tracker. No magical abilities.

Trystan Gardner – Sixteen years old, youngest Gardner sibling. Level five mage (the most powerful), studying at the university as an apprentice to the weapons guild.

Vyvian Damon – Member of the Mage Council, very involved in politics and obsessed with carrying on the legacy of her mother, the Black Witch. Aunt to Trystan, Elloren, and Rafe.

Fallon Bane – The most powerful young female mage in Gardneria, a level five. Desperately wishes to be wand-fasted to Lukas Grey. Cruel and power-hungry.

Lukas Grey – Powerful level five mage, a rising star in the military. Charms Elloren upon their first meeting and is interested in fasting with her.

Marcus Vogel – Gardnerian priest and member of the mage council. Hoping to be elected the next High Mage. Gives Elloren the creeps.

Aislinn Greer – Quiet, sweet Gardnerian girl Elloren’s age, loves romantic poetry and quickly becomes Elloren’s friend.

Sage Gaffney – Gardnerian girl a few years older than Elloren, lives on the estate next door. Runs away from school with a boy she isn’t wand-fasted to, gives birth to an Icaral child. Her and her child are wanted by the mage council.

Yvan Guriel – Keltic student at the university. Works in the kitchens with Elloren, seems to hate her on sight.

Tierney Calix – Water Fae girl glamored as a Gardenerian. Fellow apothecary student with Elloren.

Wynter Eirllyn – Icaral Elf, Elloren’s roommate. A soft-spoken, timid girl, she is a wonderful artist and the first Icaral to make Elloren think that perhaps her religion has gotten it all wrong. She’s also an empath, which means she can sense people’s emotions through touch.

Ariel Haven – Icaral Gardenerian, Elloren’s other roommate. Spent most of her life locked away due to being an Icaral, is somewhat unhinged and instant enemies with Elloren. But they eventually come to an understanding and Elloren learns that Ariel is connected with winged creatures and can speak with them mind to mind.

Diana and Jarod Ulrich – Twin siblings of the Lupine race – can turn into wolves and live in the forest with their pack. Currently students at the university per their father’s wishes for the Lupines to be more diplomatically integrated with the other races.

Andras Volya – Son of Professor Volya. The professor was part of an Amazkaran tribe, but she refused to abandon her child like she was supposed to when he was born male, so they’ve been banished from Amaz lands, but they both still wear the runes. Andras is incredibly skilled with horses and the Amaz fighting style.

Cael Eirllyn – Wynter’s brother, Alfsigr Elf. Elite archer.

Rhys Thorim – Cael Eirllyn’s second in arms, loyal to Cael and Wynter. Alfsigr Elf, elite archer.

Bleddyn – Urisk kitchen worker, works with Elloren in the university kitchens. Starts with a strong dislike for her and all Gardnerians, and along with Iris they bully Elloren.

Iris Morgaine – Kelt girl who works in the kitchens at the university with Elloren. Actually a glamoured Fae. Romantically interested in Yvan and hates Elloren with a passion, no matter what she does.

Lucretia Quillen – Gardnerian Vice Chancellor at the university, one of the resistance leaders along with Jules Kristian and Fernyllia.

Jules Kristian – Keltic history professor at the university. One of the resistance leaders along with Lucretia Quillen and Fernyllia.

Fernyllia – Urisk kitchen mistress at the university. Grandmother to Fern. One of the leaders of the Resistance along with Lucretia Quillen and Jules Kristian.

Olilly – Young Urisk girl, works in the staff at the university. Kind and gentle, she often tends to young Fern, Fernyllia’s granddaughter.

Kam Vin – Commander of the western Vu Trin sorceresses. Firm and resolute, gives Elloren her wand to wand test with when she first arrives at University. A good person who believes the Gardnerians go too far, even as she tries to remain politically neutral (on the surface).

Ni Vin – Sister to Kam Vin, a Vu Trin sorceress herself. She was disfigured by a fire caused by Carnissa Gardner during the first Realm War, and it has left her burn-scarred on one half of her body. Beloved of Valasca.

Marina – Selkie that is originally held captive by the University groundskeeper. Elloren and Yvan free her, and she teaches herself to speak the Common Tongue and is the first of her kind to be able to communicate with the land-dwellers. Convinces the Amaz to help her free the rest of her people from the Gardnerians. Lived for months in the North Tower with Elloren, Diana, Wynter, and Ariel.

Naga – Formerly a Gardnerian military dragon, Yvan, Elloren and the gang were able to free her before the Gardnerians broke her. Ariel and Andras keep her hidden in a cave while they nurse her back to health. Friend to Yvan and wants to help take the Gardnerians down.

Valasca – Amazkaran Commander of the Queens Guard. Powerful rune sorceress. Goat herder in her spare time. Friend to Elloren. Madly in love with Ni Vin.

Alcippe – Uriskal woman, powerful member of the Amaz Queen’s Guard. Saved her mother and carried her to the Amaz when she was just twelve years old. Went back once she was grown up and killed her tyrant of a father. Dislikes ALL men, but is a gentle protector to children in particular. Hates Elloren Gardner for what she stands for.

Queen Alkaia – Queen of the Amazkaran. Believes firmly in the morals of the Amaz people, that men are unkind and cannot be trusted. A strong and fair leader, she agrees that her people will help free the Selkies from their Gardnerian captors.

Summary:

Part 1:

  • Elloren finds herself wanting more and more to be with Yvan, but knowing that despite their clear attraction he doesn’t want to be with her.
  • Elloren meets with some resistance members, Vogel is now in charge essentially of Gardneria and Verpacia, because the Verpacian ruling council now has a large Gardnerian majority. Iron testing is happening at the borders in an attempt to catch disguised Fae blooded folks. The wandfasting age for Gardnerians has been lowered to sixteen, anyone not fasted by the fifth month will have a match chosen for them. Elloren and Tierney promise to make medicine to help with an outbreak of illness among the refugees.
  • The resistance leaders ask Elloren to maintain her relationship with Lukas Grey to see if he can be swayed over to the Gardnerian side. Elloren agrees.
  • Lukas Grey arrives back in town, Elloren agrees she’ll still go to the Yule dance with him, but she tries to suss him out to see where he stands. He won’t speak against Vogel, but he does think the religious fervor is getting out of hand. The two of them are more and more drawn to each other as Elloren’s fire and earth lines develop.
  • After being bullied in Apothecary class, Tierney demands that Elloren write to her aunt about going to the ball with Lukas so she can get the most stunning dress and make all of those bitchy Gardnerian girls, especially Fallon, absolutely weep. Elloren agrees, and they go to a Verpacian dress maker who has a dress from Vyvian that is considered scandalous and revealing and covered in realistic iron flowers.
  • As Elloren heads to the Yule dance, she thinks she hears the trees whispering to her about being the Black Witch, and they seem to crowd in on her, only interrupted by the arrival of Jarod, who escorts Elloren to the dance.
  • The two of them go to the dance, Jarod hoping to see Aislinn. They hide out of the way of the crowd, people watching, Jarod mentioning that more than half of the wand-fasted couples there have no interest in one another. Diana and Rafe make a dirty and wild sweep through the dance, scandalizing everyone, before making a quick exit. 
  • Aislinn arrives and tells Elloren and Jared that she tried to tell her father she didn’t want to fast to her betrothed, Randall, but he threatened to pull her from the university, so she agreed, and now Randall follows her everywhere. Jarod asks her to run away with him, right now, and Aislinn almost agrees but Randall comes over and Jarod threatens him when he puts his hands on Aislinn. Aislinn cannot make the decision to leave her family behind for Jarod so she goes away with Randall and Jarod leaves the dance in torment.
  • Lukas arrives at the dance and the two make an entrance together, dancing and showing off Elloren’s glorious dress. The two of them have a conversion, Elloren still trying to suss out whether Lukas’s loyalties can be changed, but though he seems to disagree with the religion and the purity, he doesn’t believe there is any reason to stand against what the Gardnerians are doing.
  • After the dance, Elloren goes to visit Naga and finds Yvan there, along with Trystan and the Icarals. Tierney arrives soon after with her kelpie, a water horse, who tries to attack Elloren before Yvan and Tierney get him under control. Tierney is desperate for her kelpies, the Gardnerians are driving iron spikes into the river to kill them, and Tierney feels like she and her pets will be trapped forever until they’re found and killed by the Gardnerians. The kelpie also tells Tierney that he and the whole forest believe that she is the next Black Witch, despite her not having access to her magic.
  • Elloren speaks to Andres, who was also there checking on Naga, and he tells her and the others about how he was briefly in love with an Amaz woman named Sorcha, despite all the Amaz rules against feelings for men. He impregnated her, which was her goal, and she left him behind and never returned. Diana tries to convince Andras to join the Lupines, where he could find love and be accepted. He doesn’t think he could ever do that to his mother, who gave up her life with the Amaz for him. But Diana wants him to talk with her father’s beta, who is a man who was given up by the Amaz as a baby for being born male.
  • Aunt Vyvian comes for a visit. She pesters Elloren about fasting to Lukas, which she says she’ll do, but not before talking to her uncle about it. Vyvian is very disappointed in Rafe, who doesn’t care at all, but she’s proud of Trystan who seems to be the perfect Gardnerian boy. She demands that the boys find a fasting partner by spring, no exceptions. She gifts Trystan with a powerful military wand and tells him to try and straighten his siblings into line. They all pretend in order to get Vyvian to leave. The next night Trystan comes to Elloren and gives her the White Wand back now that he has his own, even though she can’t use it.
  • On Founder’s Day, family comes to visit. The Lupines, including Diana and Jarod’s parents, younger sister, and the alpha’s guard, are there. Rafe stands his ground against the alpha and states his intentions with Diana. He seems to impress Gunther despite the alpha’s best efforts not to be impressed. Andras is there and he meets the beta who was abandoned by the Amaz, along with his mate and their child, who turns out to be Andras’s son by Sorcha, who brought the boy to the Lupines. Andras is floored to find out he has a three year old son and that his adopted parents want him to be a part of the boy’s life.
  • Uncle Edwin arrives to visit with the Gardners, and is immediately taken with Kendra, Diana and Jarod’s little sister. Aislinn’s family arrives, and Jarod has a hard time seeing her. He’s talking with Elloren and his mother, and his mother realizes that he’s in love with a Gardnerian girl who he can’t have.
  • Andras tells his mother that he intends on leaving in the spring to join the Lupines, so he can be a father to his son. Professor Volya is dismayed by this, truly believing that if Andras does this, he’s turning his back on the goddess and they can never be together after death. He says he does not believe in their religion and that he must do what’s right for him and his son. It seems as if they are destined to be forced apart, which greatly upsets Andras after his mother leaves.
  • Elloren and Tierney are out in town getting ingredients at the apothecary shop, but as they head for home, mobs of Gardnerian soldiers begin rioting and defacing shops belonging to non-Gardnerians, all as a reaction today of the sentencing of a group of Urisk workers who attacked a Gardnerian farmer who was abusing them. As Tierney and Elloren hurry back, they spot Bleddyn from the kitchen, obviously injured, so they gather her up, conceal her in a cloak, and hurry her back to the kitchens at the University to be tended.
  • Yvan and Fernyllia are there to tend to Bleddyn, but young Olilly never came back to the market. Tierney offers to go and get Trystan to help look for her. Shortly after, Rafe barges into the kitchens with a screaming Olily, who has been cropped by the mob – the tips of her ears cut off along with all her hair, permanent disfigurement. 
  • Trystan and Tierney ward the windows and doors with magic and volunteer to sleep outside the Urisk quarters to make sure the mob violence doesn’t spread and continue. This is really the last straw for quiet, measured Trystan. He is alight with fury and purpose, vowing to go East and lead an army back to take the Gardnerians down.
  • Elloren and Yvan meet and Yvan tells her that despite his mother’s wishes for him not to be involved, he needs to fight the Gardnerians, so he’s also going to go east.
  • Diana visits Olilly and Bleddyn and scented their attackers as third division Gardnerian military apprentices. Rafe has talked her into not killing them now to start an all out war, but she will never forget their scent and as soon as she can she is going to rip them to shreds for what they’ve done. Elloren agrees.
  • Elloren goes to Kristian and Quillen, desperate for justice for the attacked Urisk. All they can do at this time is provide false identification papers for Fern, Bleddyn, and Olilly so that they won’t be deported until they can be moved east.
  • Elloren reaches out to Lukas via runehawk and tells him that they have to meet in private.
  • Lukas takes Elloren away from the university to the military base on dragon-back so that they can talk uninterrupted. She is given a glimpse into Lukas’s life as she sees his office and his bedroom at the base, which has more than recovered from the recent attack when they broke Naga free. Elloren asks Lukas straight up what he thinks of Vogel, and Lukas says that Vogel is unhinged. The two of them argue about what the right thing to do is. Elloren says that they must fight for equality among all races in the Western Realm, and Lukas says it’s impossible, that Gardnerian might be too much. Elloren also finds that Lukas knows everything, that her friends are responsible for Naga and the destruction of the base. But Lukas is not going to sell them out. But he also doesn’t want to try and take on Vogel, and that’s when Elloren gives up on him.
  • Elloren returns home to find Marina the Selkie the only one there. Together, they discover that if Marina manipulates her gills just so, she can communicate in the common language, especially if she’s underwater. She frantically tells Elloren that her sister is trapped in one of those terrible Selkie taverns and that they have to save her. Elloren agrees.
  • Gareth Keeler returns to university, his maritime guild studies having kept him away on the ocean until now. Elloren catches him up on everything, he’s obviously an ally, and tells him about Marina. He asks to meet her, and despite Marina being terrified of men, Elloren agrees to introduce them. Elloren also agrees that if Gareth cannot escape before he is forced to fast, because he is clearly not fully Gardnerian, they will fast as friends.
  • Gareth comes to meet Marina. Immediately Marina is taken with him, telling him that he is part Selkie, which is not a huge surprise to Gareth, as his father is a mariner. Gareth has incredible abilities related to the ocean that he has always concealed, but he cannot breathe underwater and cannot shapeshift. He is, of course, willing to join the cause to help the Selkies escape the cruel Gardnerians and save Marina’s sister.
  • Marina asks Elloren to take her to where Naga is, so she can meet with the others and be a part of the group, despite her fear of men. Elloren agrees and takes her to visit Naga, where Marina is introduced to those she has not met, particularly the men of the group.
  • Tierney and Marina connect, because Tierney smells of the water like home. Yvan and Elloren have a moment where they can feel each other’s fire and it’s very obvious the attraction and connection between them to everyone in the group with extra senses, but nobody says anything. Elloren realizes she has four of the five affinity lines strengthening inside her, all but light.

Part 2:

  • The prologue of this part puts us with Gwynnifer Croft, a young mage at a Vogel rally in Valguard. She is just as swept up in the religious fervor and Gardnerian military glory as the rest of the Gardnerians. She’s got a fastmate she loves and she is a true believer from the hyper conservative Styvian sect. But she was once Sage Gaffney’s best friend, and it was her who originally stole the White Wand and gave it to Sage for safekeeping. 
  • Gwynnifer suddenly has a vision that Vogul’s guards are demons in disguise and that Vogel in fact wields the Shadow Wand, the mythical dark counterpart to the White Wand.
  • Yvan arrives at the North Tower to ask Elloren to travel to Keltania with him. He says he has a contact there, the leader of the Keltic rebellion, that may be willing to help the Selkies, but he needs her to help convince him. Though uncertain about her ability to convince the Kelts of anything, she agrees to go.
  • Since Vyvian would never allow Elloren to go on this trip, Yvan takes them directly over the Spine, which shortens the normal long journey to only a day. Elloren, being afraid of heights, clings to Yvan as he carries her over the Southern Spine. Arriving in Keltania, they meet Andras who gives them a horse to borrow to ride inland to Lyndon, Yvan’s hometown.
  • Yvan brings Elloren to see Clive Soren, a Resistance leader and a surgeon, and though he is angry and dubious at first that Elloren Gardner isn’t exactly her grandmother, he listens to them both eventually. He argues that trying to save the Selkies is pointless, there aren’t enough of them to even stand up for themselves, much less the Selkies. Plus, there are certainly Kelts who participate in a similar practice with Urisk girls.
  • Clive recommends that Elloren go and petition the queen of the Amaz, because the Amaz are fierce and will do just about anything to stop women’s suffering, and the Selkies are all women.
  • Yvan takes Elloren home to stay at his mother’s, but when his mother sees Elloren she refuses to take her in, despite everything that Yvan says to defend her, his mother refuses to acknowledge that Elloren isn’t an evil Gardnerian just like the rest. So the two of them are forced to leave and find an inn to stay in.
  • There is only one room and one bed (love that trope!), and Elloren and Yvan lay there talking, and slowly they work at admitting their attraction to each other. But they both know it wouldn’t work, because if anyone ever found out, not only Yvan would be in danger from the Gardnerians, but his family as well, because Gardnerians believe it is their divine right to take revenge on anyone who “steals one of their women”, and it just happened to the Kelt that Sage Gaffney ran away with.
  • The two of them travel safely back to the university, quiet and distraught at the knowledge that they can never act on the feelings between them, but that they can be friends and allies only.
  • The next day, Ariel arrives at the North Tower in a panic. Naga burned the bag with all of her nilantyr berries in it. Nilantyr is an illegal drug that the Gardnerians used to subdue Ariel since she was a child, and she is very addicted to it. Naga burned the berries on purpose because they were making Ariel weaker.
  • Ariel goes through a horrific withdrawal, but the women of the North Tower all band together to take care of her as she fights the week-long battle of withdrawal from the drug.
  • Yvan arrives after a few days to look in on her, but there is nothing she can do to help, though he believes she’ll survive it despite how weak the drug has made her. Elloren and Yvan spend some time talking, and he finally admits to Elloren that his mother is part Lasir fire Fae, making him a quarter. He tells Elloren that not only was his father killed during the Realm War, but every single member of his mother’s family was as well for being Fae.
  • The two of them talk and fall deeper and deeper for each other, though they know it cannot be. Finally Yvan leaves and Elloren understands that she needs to walk away from her feelings for him.
  • Ariel survives the nilantyr, and is uninfluenced by the drug for possibly the first time since she was a child.
  • Marina, Diana, and Elloren set out for Amaz territory as soon as the winter storm ends.

Part 3:

  • Diana, Marina, and Elloren go to plead Marina’s case for the Amaz to help free the Selkies once and for all from the Gardnerian taverns. They are escorted by Trystan, Rafe, Jarod, Andras, and Yvan, who will take the women as far as the border of Amaz lands.
  • Upon arriving at the border, two Vu Trin sorceresses try to attack them, but Trystan puts up a magic shield, and Kam and Ni Vin arrive shortly after, along with a contingent of Amaz warriors on the other side of the border. The sorceresses say they were just holding up their end of the deal, that if Elloren tried to go to the Amaz lands, they would kill her. Elloren knew nothing of this, and she tells everyone present that she is just going with Marina to help advocate for the rescue of the Selkies. Marina speaks and everyone is surprised to hear that she can. They agree that the women can go to Amaz lands as long as Elloren is kept under guard by Ni Vin, who agrees. Valasca, one of the Amaz guards, agrees to be Elloren’s guard and guide in Amaz lands.
  • The group departs, leaving the men behind to wait for their return the next day. They travel to the largest of the Amaz cities for an audience with their queen. The Amaz have formidable fortifications, with a rune ward protection that can keep dragons at bay.
  • Many of the Amaz are not thrilled to see Elloren, as she so resembles her vicious grandmother. Alcippe, the fierce Urisk woman who is in the Queen’s guard, tries to stop Elloren from going in to see the queen, but Marina convinces her to step aside.
  • Diana, Marina, and Elloren meet Queen Alkaia, the fierce old queen of the Amazkaran. Marina starts by proving that she can speak the common tongue and pleading her case, but it isn’t until Elloren tells the whole story that the Queen agrees that they can stay and present their case tomorrow morning.
  • Valasca tells Elloren the story of Alcippe, who saved her mother at age twelve from their vicious father who beat Alcippe’s mother to within an inch of her life. Alcippe is headstrong, but she loves her adopted people and is a fierce believer in their anti-male ways.
  • Elloren sees Sorcha, Andras’s old flame, and pulls her aside to tell her about Andras and their son, who will soon be united in Lupine lands. Sorcha doesn’t seem to care and scorns Elloren, who cannot imagine that anyone can be that unaffected by the whole situation, and she doesn’t understand what Andras ever saw in her. Valasca tells her that she held Sorcha for two weeks as she cried over Andras and her son Konnor, and that Elloren should remember that people aren’t always what they seem.
  • Valasca takes Marina, Ni Vin, Diana, and Elloren to a remote lodging where they’ll be staying for the evening, and Elloren finds that there is a powerful barrier up that prevents her from leaving, which shows just how afraid of Elloren they are, despite her having no access at all to magic. But as everyone is settling down, Elloren sees the Watchers, and follows her instinct, using the White Wand to cross the barriers to follow the bird. The bird takes her through the forest to a small dwelling, where Elloren finds her friend Sage Gaffney and her son, the Icaral. 
  • Her guards chase her down, but they see the Watchers and Elloren finds that it is Sage that all of the Amaz and the Vu Trin were afraid she’d find, they thought she might be here to fulfill the prophecy and kill Sage’s baby. Sage is unafraid of Elloren and asks to speak with her alone. Diana, Ni, and Valasca retreat.
  • Sage is so much different than Elloren remembers. She’s now an accomplished Level 4 Light Mage, the rarest kind, and she has completely broken free of the Gardnerian brainwashing. She broke her fasting to be with the man she loves, Ra’Ven, who is a Smaragdalfar Elf who was glamored as a Kelt. Sage plans to head east soon, as her protection with the Amaz will end soon. She wants to work with the Wyvernguard in the Eastern Realm and find a way to break the wandfasting spell (which currently cannot be done) and protect her son Fyn’ir from the Gardnerians who want him dead. Sage is also a true believer that the wand she gave Elloren is the White Wand, and as the current and former bearers of the wand they have a duty to use it for good.
  • Sage gives Elloren a few runes, one so that she can pass through any rune barrier, and one that will deflect demonic search spells, so she can look them in the eyes and they won’t detect the presence of the White Wand. Elloren is happy and proud of her friend, but also sad that so many that she loves are going to be forced East by the threat the Gardnerians pose.
  • After leaving Sage, Elloren heads off on her own for a while, wanting to be with Yvan and tell him all she’s learned. Valasca finds her and offers Elloren some Tirag, a fermented spirit, which Elloren has never tried. The two of them end up getting a little bit drunk and having a very personal conversation. Elloren tells Valasca all about Yvan and how they cannot be together. Valasca tells Elloren how she is in love with Ni Vin, but they cannot be together because Valasca cannot bring herself to abandon the Amaz, but Ni will be going east eventually with her sister and the other Vu Trin. Valasca also talks about how she doesn’t particularly agree with the Amaz stance on men, despite her loyalty to this culture. She has seen so many women here who have had their hearts broken because they cannot be with the men that they love, or that they have had to abandon sons, brothers, and fathers for the safety the Amaz lifestyle provides.
  • In the morning, the Queen states that her council has made the decision that they cannot help the Selkies now, not until something changes. She says that if they go and rescue the Selkies now, the Gardnerians will simply destroy their skins and turn them all into soulless husks. Alkaia says that the Amaz will rescue all of the Selkies if Elloren and her friends can find their skins.
  • Elloren, Diana, Marina, and Ni leave the Amaz city of Cyme and head back to their male companions, who have big news. In the time that has passed, they managed to find Marina’s skin, buried in a box behind the groundskeeper’s house. Gareth is the one to give Marina her skin back, and with it she transforms from the waifish seal in a woman’s body to her powerful human form that can compete with the strength of a Lupine. Marina is finally fully equipped and ready to help save her people.
  • Rafe, Trystan, and Gareth go off to the three Selkie taverns in Gardneria to see if they can discover what happens to the Selkie’s skins, and Yvan goes with Clive Soren to the single Selkie tavern in Keltania. Wynter has drawn pictures based on Marina’s memories and illustrated guides to show the Selkies that the men are there to help them.
  • Gareth returns and tells the women that he found out that all of the taverns keep the Selkie skins locked up in trunks made of Elfin steel. Yvan, Trystan, and Rafe return as well, having found much of the same systems at each tavern, each of the men sharing their thoughts with Wynter so she can illustrate guides for the Amaz for when they rescue the Selkies. Rafe also found Marina’s sister in the final tavern, but he saw Damion Bane with two Selkie’s who’d had their skins destroyed and were husks.
  • Yvan and Elloren talk on the Equinox, which also happens to be Yvan’s nineteenth birthday. They have a tender moment which they force themselves apart from, again.
  • Diana, Marina, Wynter, and Elloren travel immediately back to Amaz lands and are brought back before Queen Alkaia, who after hearing their accounts and looking at Wynter’s drawings agree that they will free the Selkies after the next full moon, so that they can make sure and catch any that were brought in with the tide, and prevent any Selkies from being captured and forcibly brought to shore ever again.
  • A few days before the rescue is set to take place, Valasca and another one of the Amazkaran, Alder, comes to visit everyone in the North Tower. Valasca has come without the knowledge of her queen to talk to the men, the ones who were actually in the taverns, to learn as much as she can. Elloren finds out that Valasca is actually the commander of the Queen’s Guard, not just a simple goat herder as she led Elloren to believe. 
  • Tierney beseeches Alder, who is part Dryad Fae, for help for her and her family. Tierney tells them how she and her brother were bound by the tightest of glamours when they were small children, and they along with their Gardnerian parents will need help escaping the wrath of the Gardnerians before they’re found out. Alder and Valasca promise Tierney that after they help the Selkies they will figure out a way to help Tierney’s family.
  • Yvan and Elloren share another moment, and Yvan tells Elloren that if they kiss, they will be bound, and that it is because he is not just Lasir Fae, he is something else as well, but he will not, cannot tell her what that is.
  • The day of the Selkie rescue arrives, and Elloren and Diana stay behind at the Amaz military base while all of the Amazkaran warriors, and Marina, go to rescue the Selkies. Dawn arrives, and the warriors come back, all of the Selkies successfully in tow. Alcippe is in a right state, forcing Elloren to look, really look, at the irreversible trauma that each and every Selkie has suffered. Alcippe says that if she is ever face to face with a Gardnerian man, even if it is her friends or her brothers, Alcippe will split them in two. Elloren is struck hard by the beatings, rape, and torture administered to all of the Selkies by the Gardnerian men. She works in the camp to help the Amaz care for the Selkies until night falls again and they can take the Selkies back to the sea. Marina and her sister bid goodbye to Elloren and Diana, and they know they will likely never see each other again, but Marina can finally go home to the ocean.
  • Elloren and Diana return to the university, and Elloren is struck by grief and rage and the firm belief that all Gardnerians are evil and should be smote from Earthia. And of all people, Ariel comes over and gives Elloren one of her chickens to console her.

Part 4:

  • Days pass, and there is no news of Gardnerian retaliation for the Selkies against the Amaz, who are pretty much the only group that it could have been who freed the Selkies. The only sign the Gardnerians even noticed was that wanted posters went up warning of dangerous escaped Selkies and the new Mage Council ruling that Selkies can be executed on sight if found on shore.
  • Yvan and Elloren are working in the kitchen, Yvan scouring iron pots when suddenly he drops the pot and leaves the room. Elloren follows to find him suffering from painful red welts on his hands, his reaction to the iron worse than ever before. Elloren uses her apothecary skills to work up a salve that heals him pretty effectively, but clearly his Fae powers are growing if he’s becoming more affected by the iron.
  • Elloren talks with Jules Kristian, who gives her more books, religion this time, to read to gain important alternate perspectives. Kristian is convinced that Gunther Ulrich will take in the refugees, Fae, Icaral, Gardnerian, and Elloren begins to have some hope as well.
  • A few days later Diana announces that both her pack and the Northern Lupine pack will be granting amnesty to the Fae and their families. And not only Fae, but the Icarals and other refugees in danger as well, without the normal requirement of becoming Lupine. This means that Elloren and Trystan can go too, Trystan without losing his magic. It seems like a dream come true, and in celebration Elloren takes out her violin and they all dance, Elloren eventually doing a dance with Yvan while Trystan plays. If everyone is going to Lupine lands with their families, perhaps there is some hope yet for Yvan and Elloren.
  • The next morning Elloren wakes to Watchers, dozens of them, sitting outside the window of the North Tower and all through the trees when she goes outside. This is very concerning to Elloren, so she heads toward the dining hall to make sure her friends are okay. On the way she runs into Brendan, Diana’s friend from the Lupine pack, carrying Konnor, Andras’s young son. Brendan has horrifying news. The whole Southern Lupine pack has been slaughtered in the night. Every single one of them, men, women, and children all, besides him and Konnor. Brendan only escaped because he was out hunting at the time, and Konnor was concealed underneath the bodies of his Lupine parents. But Diana and Jarod’s parents, their younger sister Kendra, all dead.
  • Elloren takes Konnor while Brenden goes to find Diana and Jarod. Elloren runs into the kitchens and tells everyone there what Brendan told her, only to hear a scream from the adjoined dining hall. Elloren, Trystan, and Rafe run in to see Diana screaming and Jarod chalk white from shock as Brendan tells them the news. Diana transforms into her wolf form right there in the hall and runs out. Brendan and Yvan go after her, and some Gardnerian apprentices howl suggestively at Rafe. Rafe, in a rage, beats the snot out of him, and Trystan raises his wand at the others, daring them to retaliate.
  • Elloren runs to Andras at Rafe’s suggestion. She fills him in and he is of course relieved that his son is safe. He says that rather than trying to flee, which the Gardnerians will never allow, he’s going to get the Vu Trin, because they will need an army to stand against the Gardnerians that will obviously be coming for Diana and Jarod. They all hole up in the North Tower for now to wait for Andras. Brendan and Yvan return with Diana, who threw herself off a cliff to escape the pain for a few hours, she knew it wouldn’t kill her.
  • While waiting for Andras, Aislinn shows up frantically looking for Jarod. He’s in shock and doesn’t see her, doesn’t react, but Aislinn confesses her love for him and apologizes for the way she’s treated him.
  • Andras arrives with the Vu Trin, Rafe tries to argue that they have to run, right now, but Andras says that they need to wait and let the Vu Trin guard them, because Diana and Jarod are in no condition for a frantic, likely deadly flight from the Gardnerians, who somehow took out two entire Lupine packs in one night. Those who can mobilize do: Yvan takes Ariel and Wynter to Naga’s cave while Trystan goes to find Cael and Rhys to send to the Icarals. Rafe goes to find the Rebellion leaders, Elloren knowing full well that if her brothers don’t get out they’ll be arrested for the stunt they pulled against the military apprentices at the dining hall.
  • Andras, Brendan, Konnor, and Professor Volya are set to go East immediately with the Vu Trin, since the Gardnerians don’t know that Brendan and Konnor survived. Aislinn refuses to leave Jarod’s side, and just as the Gardnerians arrive Diana wakes up, and she wakes up screaming with the immediate knowledge of the fact that her whole pack is dead, her parents, her precious younger sister. Rafe is able to talk her down enough that she won’t immediately rampage, reminding her of what her father would do in this situation. He’d wait until the opportune time to strike, not get killed swinging alone at an army. He doesn’t want to leave her, but he has to for now, promising that he’ll be back for her as soon as he can.
  • The Gardnerians arrive, and despite the Vu Trin’s best efforts, Aislinn will not leave Jarod’s side, so the Kam and Ni Vin, along with their warriors, go out to meet the Gardnerians, who send the Elfhollen archers from the Verpacian guard along first. Kam Vin speaks to their leader, Orin Morlyr, and convinces him and his archers to break with the Verpacian guard with the cold knowledge that now that Gardneria and their allies the Alfsigr have complete control over the Western Realm, the Elfhollen and their families will no longer be safe in Verpacia, hated as the Elfhollen are by the Alfsigr, regarded as half-breeds. Orin and his Elfhollen soldiers agree when Kam Vin promises their families refuge in the East this very day.
  • Lachlan Grey, commander of the Gardnerian forces, along with Aislinn’s father Pascal Greer arrive and Kam and the rest of the Vu Trin go out to treat with them. Commander Grey orders that the Lupines be turned over to the Gardnerians. Commander Vin refuses, the Vu Trin prepared to fight. The two commanders argue over who has the power, and they arrive at an impasse because the Vu Trin are aligned with the powerful Amaz, and the Gardnerians clearly don’t have the strength to challenge them openly while they are still recovering from the attack on the Lupines the night before. 
  • Commanders Grey and Vin agree for now that the only way forward is for a joint guard of Gardnerians/Verpacians and Vu Trin shall be placed to keep the Lupines in the North Tower to prevent either side from using them to create an army of shapeshifters at the full moon. To avoid a fight, Kam Vin agrees to let the Gardnerians in to confirm that Jarod and Diana are really in there.
  • Aislinn’s father is coming up to check on the Lupines, and Aislinn makes Elloren promise not to interfere no matter what, because she needs to stay free so she can make sure that Jarod gets out safely. Elloren promises.
  • Aislinn’s father orders her away from Jarod at once. She refuses, and the Gardnerians grab hold of her, ripping her away from Jarod as she fights them with everything she has, screaming at the soldiers and her father that she hates them and they’re murderers. Aislinn spits in her father’s face and he slaps her, ordering the guards to take her back to Valgard, bound and gagged if they have to. Since he is her father and she is unfasted, he has every right to do this and the Vu Trin and Elloren can do nothing to stop it.
  • The other council mage confirms that Jarod is in fact who they say he is, but he’s still in shock and cannot answer. Elloren goes into their room to fetch Diana, but she won’t move, transformed from the forearms down, frozen with rage and hatred. The Gardnerians take Elloren away to alternate lodgings her aunt has arranged. Elloren must push past her grief and figure out a way to get them all out.
  • As Elloren is led to her new residence in Bathe hall, she finds out that both her brothers have been found and arrested, they are being held at Lukas’s military compound. Aunt Vyvian has sent a letter that she’s to be under guard until she can be put in Lukas’s protective custody. Lukas sends her a message that he’ll be in Verpacia that evening and he’ll send for her. She puts on one of the scandalous outfits that her aunt has sent for her and prepares to find out where Lukas really stands. Because she knows she cannot work with him unless he is firmly on her side, which is against Vogel and Gardneria at all costs.
  • Tierney arrives and gives Elloren the updates. Wynter and Ariel are going off to Cael’s ancestral home in Alfisger lands with Caela and Rhys, and Yvan is desperate to reconnect with Elloren, but cannot with the new guard. Tierney says that Elloren has to let Yvan go and do what she must do with Lukas, it’s the only way her brothers will get free and have their chance to flee east. Elloren steels herself and lets Tierney help her get ready, doing her best to look and play the part of Carnissa Gardner in front of the Gardnerians at the military base.
  • Elloren arrives at the base in time to see the leader of all the Vu Trin arrive on dragonback from the East, along with Vogel on a broken military dragon from Valgard. Vogel looks right toward Elloren, as if he can sense her there with the White Wand tucked in her boot.
  • Elloren meets with Lukas, demanding how he could be a part of the slaughter of the Lupines. Lukas wasn’t there and he didn’t know it was going to happen. He’s upset that Vogel has just destabilized the whole realm, and Elloren calls him out, saying the he should be upset because what happened to the Lupines was a genocide and that’s the problem he should be having. Lukas says that for Vogel to be taken down he would have to be deposed, removed from within by the military. Lukas does not believe that there is enough opposition for Vogel for that to happen. Elloren demands that her brothers be freed and that her guard be dismissed. Lukas agrees. He then asks, once again, for Elloren to fast with him. He says that his fire and earth lines were strengthened for weeks after they kissed at the Yule ball, and he suspects he can draw more power from her if they become fasted. Elloren demands that he break with Vogel completely, and says she’ll need his word that he will fight to overthrow Vogel no matter the cost. Lukas can’t do it. So Elloren leaves him behind, despite knowing that this might be the only chance for her brothers to be freed.
  • Elloren walks back home, completely downtrodden, distraught that she’s so powerless to help everyone that needs so desperately to escape Verpacia. But then she has an idea. An idea that will allow her and Tierney to help save everyone.
  • Lukas keeps to his word and frees Trystan and Rafe, the apprentice that was attacked by Rafe dropping the charges against them in exchange for a promotion within Lukas’s division. Tierney comes and Elloren tells her of the plan, and together they use the Iron flowers along with their magic to make a poison.
  • Once the poison is ready, Elloren and Tierney meet with the Resistance in secret, along with Kam Vin to tell them the plan: the poison will be put in all the food, the food that is distributed to the whole army, and it will render everyone unconscious for six hours, which is plenty of time to get the Lupines, Rafe and Trystan, everybody out that needs to get out, including the kitchen workers, Yvan and his mother, everyone except Fernyllia, who will be staying behind to act as the poisoner. She knows this means her execution, but she is old and unable to travel, and has been fighting a long time. She wants to do this to give everyone, especially her little granddaughter, the best chance at escape. Gareth and Tierney’s family will also be going. The only ones staying behind are Elloren and Tierney, who will take the poison along with everyone else to avoid suspicion. Elloren cannot leave her Uncle Edwin and Tierney is going to go to the Amaz, hoping they can break her glamour so she can go east in her full form. Kam Vin agrees to these terms and the plan is set.
  • Elloren says a tearful goodbye to her brothers, who promise to be back for her. Elloren and Yvan also have their goodbye. Yvan doesn’t want to leave her, but knows this is his only chance to go East and live to fight another day, and save his mother as well. 
  • Elloren wakes the next day, groggy and in pain from the effects of the poison. The only thing she’s able to glean right away is that it worked, and her aunt is there, questioning her, sure she must know where her brothers and the others have gone. Elloren plays her part well, it isn’t hard with the very real pain the poison has caused her. Everything went according to plan, everyone got away, and fifteen Gardnerian soldiers are dead. The university groundskeeper was decapitated and the military apprentices that cropped Olilly had their ears ripped clean off. Fernyllia was executed immediately, before Elloren ever even awoke.
  • When Elloren has recovered more from the poison, she’s brought before her aunt, who is reeling at the betrayal of Trystan in particular, Rafe she’s not surprised about. She states that it’s all her mother’s blood, who was apparently a simple country Gardnerian girl who was about to go off and get married to a Kelt, Jules Kristian in fact, when Elloren’s father stepped in and fasted to her. Just an elitist, wicked rant against the tainted bloodline her mother must have infected her brothers with. Aunt Vyvian says that despite the fact that the university has been shut down, she’ll be staying here for now to fast to Lukas Grey, within the next three weeks, or she and her uncle will be completely cut off from funds and tossed into the streets. Elloren doesn’t know what she can possibly do now, she’s out of options.
  • Alone at last, Elloren goes back to the North Tower, now empty of its prisoners, for some comfort. Instead, she finds Ariel and Wynter, Cael and Rhys there in hiding. Wynter has officially been shunned from Alfsigr culture, so they cannot go back to Alfsigroth lands. Wynter, who loves the Alfsigr people and culture, believes this is her righteous fate. Cael explains that were she not born an Icaral, she would be considered an Alaiontora, which for the Alfsigr is a great artist, prophet, spiritual leader for their people. But since she is an Icaral, all of her accomplishments and everything she is means nothing to the Alfsigr. Cael is going to petition their aunt, the queen for Wynter’s life, but if that appeal fails, they will find a way to escape east, join the Wyvernguard, and take up arms against Gardneria and the Alfsigr. 

Part 5:

  • The Gardnerians now rule over Verpacia as well, and have annexed the Lupine lands, the Northern territory going to Alfsigroth and the Southern territory going to Gardneria.
  • Damion and Fallon Bane plot against the Gardners. Fallon says she’ll take care of Rafe and Trystan, while she wants Damion to destroy Elloren.
  • Elloren waits with Wynter and Ariel in the North Tower for Cael and Rhys to return from Alfsigroth, where they’ve gone to petition their aunt the Queen for Wynter’s life. The university has reopened, all of the professors that weren’t loyal to Gardneria or Alfsigroth having been replaced. All the Icarals that were formerly being kept in the Sanitorium have been moved to the prison, where Vyvian is pulling them one by one to be publicly executed, trying to restore the family name after having to Banish Trystan and Rafe.
  • Tierney tells Elloren that the Amaz have figured out how to remove her glamour, and they’re taking off of her in a week, and when they do she’ll be leaving for the East. Elloren will miss her friend, but is happy she’ll be safe and that she’ll get to rejoin her family.
  • The next night, Elloren is looking out the window in the North Tower when she sees Tierney rush out from the trees on the back of one of her Kelpies. Elloren, Ariel, and Wynter rush down to meet her, and Tierney tells them frantically that the Marfoir, the dark assassins of the Alfsigr, are coming right now to kill Wynter, Cael and Rhys’ plea clearly having failed.
  • Ariel tells Wynter to trade clothes with her, that Ariel will use it as a distraction so that Tierney can get her away, to the Amaz. The Marfoir won’t kill Ariel, but they will turn her over to the Gardnerians, and she’ll be taken back to Valgard as a prisoner, where they’ll likely cut off her wings before killing her. Ariel confesses her romantic love for Wynter, though Wynter already knows due to her empath powers. Knowing that Ariel will fight the Marfoir if Wynter doesn’t do this, guaranteeing her death at their hands, Wynter agrees. Elloren thinks that Ariel is the most heroic person she’s ever known. Tierney and Wynter ride off toward Amaz lands while Ariel goes to meet the Marfoir.
  • She doesn’t have to wait long, the Marfoir emerging from the trees as Elloren’s demon rune that Sage gave her starts to tingle, and when the horrifying Marfoir emerge, Elloren can’t help but run toward Ariel, desperate to help. The two of them are unable to fight the Marfoir, and they are about to kill Ariel when Elloren screams that she’s not Wynter, and the Marfoir pull off her scarf and she’s revealed to be a dark haired Gardnerian, not a whitehaired Elf. The two Marfoir bind Ariel and ride off with her, surely to turn her over to the Gardnerians.
  • Distraught, but determined to save Ariel from the Gardnerians, Elloren hatches a plan and sends it in a missive to Valasca, Alder, and Tierney in Cyme. While she waits for her reply, Yvan returns. He came back because he found out the grave danger Ariel and Wynter were in, that the Alfsigr Elves were sending the Marfoir after them. Elloren tells him what happened, and he promises to help Elloren save Ariel.
  • Gathered in an isolated barn on the edges of the university, Valasca, Alder, Tierney, Elloren, and Yvan meet. Alder removes Tierney’s glamour and saves it in a runestone. Tierney is finally free and in her true Asrai Fae form for the first time since she was three. Her skin, hair, and eyes are blue like deep water, and whereas she was considered “ugly” as a Gardnerian, she is beautiful in her real body. Alder is able to use the glamour they’ve just removed from Tierney to make a temporary glamour for Elloren and Yvan, who disguise themselves as Vyvian and one of her trusted guards. They are going to break Ariel out of the Valgard prison.
  • Elloren and Yvan make it Valgard without any problems, and are even more horrified than they could have possibly imagined seeing all the Icarals being tortured at the Valgard prison. There is a young Icaral girl, no more than three years old, who is not yet broken. They are trying to force feed her drugs to make her complacent, and she has not yet had her wings removed. This causes Yvan to break his cover, rescuing the little girl and force feeding the nilantyr to the guards and the surgeon. They find Ariel, having once again completely succumbed to the nilantyr addiction once again after only a few days as a prisoner. One of her wings has been torn almost clear off and she seems close to death. 
  • They’ve almost made their escape when the guards catch onto them, as the real Vyvian is on her way to the prison. There looks to be no way out, and Elloren prays, the only prayers she knows, for a miracle. And that miracle comes, in the form of Naga swooping down, breathing fire on the guards and soldiers. Ariel’s raven is with her, the brilliant bird must have found Naga and brought her here. On Naga’s back, the group makes their escape.
  • Naga takes them to Cyme, because it’s the only safe place in the realm, despite the firm chance that Yvan will be killed on sight for daring to enter Amaz lands as a male. Naga lands in Cyme to the outrage of the Amaz, who think her to be a Gardnerian military dragon. Elloren shouts that Ariel needs a healer, and that she needs to speak to the queen, that Ariel and the young Icaral girl that Yvan saved need sanctuary. Alcippe is there, she takes the little girl from Yvan and is about to strike her axe down on Yvan when Freyja arrives, stopping Alcippe from killing Yvan. Luckily, at that moment the queen arrives with Valasca and Alder. Shortly after Wynter arrives too, having been staying safely with the Amaz. They hold off on killing Yvan as healers assess Ariel’s condition. They say she is too far gone from the poisonous nilantyr, that she’s overdosed and beyond help. 
  • Wynter puts a hand on Naga to speak for her, and Naga says that Ariel’s life force is ebbing, she is in no pain, but she will be dead soon. Naga is leaving and taking Ariel with her, so that she can take her last breath where she belongs, in the mountains with the Wyvernkin, the true people of the Icarals. Queen Alkaia gives Naga a rune axe to be buried with Ariel, so she’ll have it in the next life, and Naga tells Elloren and Yvan that they are true friends to her, and that they must prepare for the fight that is coming. Before leaving, Naga tells the Amaz  that they must prepare for the war that is coming, and they must know they cannot fight the Gardnerians and the Alfsigr alone, but that she will be back to fight with them.
  • The queen lets Yvan go, telling her guards to take him to the edge of their territory, but wants to talk to Elloren before she goes. Yvan thanks Alkaia for taking in Wynter and the little Icaral girl he saved before being led away. Alcippe takes charge of the little Icaral girl, naming her Pyrgomanche, or Pyrgo. Elloren turns to the queen and thanks her for sheltering Wynter and Pyrgo, and for freeing the Selkies. The queen says that Elloren is welcome to join the Amaz, that they would train her as a warrior. But she’d have to let go of her male attachments. She thinks of her brothers, her uncle, of Yvan, and knows she could never do it. Elloren says goodbye to Wynter and her friends in the Amaz before going off to rejoin Yvan.
  • Yvan and Elloren hold each other and grieve Ariel, heartbroken that they were too late to save her. Yvan tells Elloren that he loves her, and she says it back. They finally have their first real kiss. They go back to the North Tower together. They’re kissing, Elloren tries to take off his shirt but he stops her and they get into bed together, Elloren in her underthings and Yvan with his clothes on. It’s getting heavy, but Yvan stops them from taking the final step, and Elloren agrees that it’s not the right time.
  • The next morning they wake up to find Aunt Vyvian in the north tower. And Elloren is in bed with, for all Vyvian knows, a Kelt. Vyvian tells Elloren that her uncle Edwin is not doing well,  that it’s his heart and she needs to go back to Valgard to see him now. Yvan leaves her to get ready, and Elloren embarks on the journey to Valgard with Vyvian.
  • But they don’t go to Valgard. They stop at an isolated Gardnerian military outpost, where Elloren is shoved inside a cell with her uncle, who has been beaten within an inch of his life. Vyvian says that Edwin has to say the words, as her guardian, giving her permission to fast. And Vyvian says that Elloren will be fasting. Today. Edwin refuses, but Elloren begs him to do it. Vyvian gives them ten minutes to decide, otherwise she’ll kill Edwin, then she leaves them alone.
  • Edwin is not doing well, he apologizes to Elloren and says he was wrong, that he raised her to think she was weak, but she is NOT weak, that she must fight them. And then he dies, his heart giving out. Elloren breaks down, the only parent she’s ever known killed on the orders of his own sister. Vyvian comes back into the room, and since Rafe isn’t quite twenty, Vyvian is officially Elloren’s guardian for three days. And Vyvian intends to use that power. Her guards drag Elloren to the carriage and to some town magistrate somewhere. 
  • She leaves Elloren there on the floor, sobbing, and then comes back with Lukas Grey in tow. The guards force Elloren to clasp hands with Lukas. Elloren snarls at him, hating him for doing this. Lukas is furious too, saying it’s him or someone far worse, Vyvian will not leave her alone until she is fasted. Lukas is doing this because he’s her friend and he cares what happens to her, but he’s not exactly thrilled to be fasting to someone who’s there against her will. But the priest says the words, and though Elloren cries against it, she is fasted to Lukas in the blink of an eye, the black lines etched permanently into the skin of her arms and hands. Lukas owns her now. The guards ask what they should do with her, and Lukas says she can go wherever she wants and leaves her behind.
  • Elloren returns to the North Tower, where Yvan is waiting for her. She tells him that her uncle is dead, that Vyvian good as killed him. Elloren, desperate, numb, kisses Yvan, and then she asks him to take her to bed. But that’s when Yvan notices her fastmarked hands. He knows that it’s Lukas Grey, that she was forced to fast. She asks Yvan to help her break it, despite the pain and the agony she knows it causes. Yvan won’t do it, and Elloren falls apart, thinking he doesn’t want her anymore, but he assures her that he always will, that he loves her. And that’s when Elloren finally, ultimately breaks down, and Yvan just holds her as she cries, the only thing keeping her from drowning.
  • Elloren can’t get out of bed. Tierney arrives, telling Elloren she’s headed to Noi lands with her Kelpies. Elloren is defeated, saying it’s no use, nobody can win against the Gardnerians. Tierney says that she’ll go down fighting in the east, and that Elloren will be there to meet her someday.
  • It takes a few more days, but slowly Elloren starts to eat again and Yvan feels able to leave her for a bit. Elloren watches him out the window as he goes, and sees a Watcher. Elloren dresses and runs to the forest, following the Watcher, which leads her to Yvan, where he’s about to jump into the lake to take a dip. He undresses, and Elloren sees what looks like a huge tattoo on his back that looks like wings. Then the tattoos become actual wings, huge feathered Icaral wings, and Elloren gasps, revealing herself. The pieces fall into place, and Yvan confirms that his father was THE Icaral that the Black Witch killed at the end of the Realm War. And that being Icaral makes Yvan part dragon, not just the Lasir fire fae that comes from his mother’s side. 
  • Elloren despairs that her Yvan could possibly be the Icaral of the prophecy, not Sage’s baby, and that the Gardnerians would stop at nothing to see him dead if they found out about him. She wishes that she had power, calling herself worthless, Yvan assuring her that she’s not. But Elloren picks up a stick, intent on proving him wrong, but when she casts the candle-lighting spell, the fire comes out so intensely she sets a whole bunch of trees ablaze. Yvan realizes that Kam Vin gave Elloren a rune-blocked wand, that’s why nothing happened when she tried to cast the candle-lighting spell all that time ago. Elloren realizes that she is, in fact, the Black Witch.
  • Yvan and Elloren are likely the two points of the prophecy, who obviously have no intention of trying to kill each other. But they realize that Kam Vin knows about Elloren, but never said anything. Both Yvan’s mother and Uncle Edwin never wanted their children to be part of this conflict, but Yvan and Elloren agree that they were wrong to keep their powers from them, to ask them to stay out of it.
  • Yvan tells Elloren another important thing about him being part dragon-that when they kissed, he bound himself to her. He’ll be able to sense when she’s in danger, and any pain she experiences. If Elloren were to die, he’d be stripped of his fire and power for a time.
  • The two of them ride out of Verpax City that night, intent on finding Commander Vin. Yvan seems to know where to go, and out in the countryside they find Professor Hawkynn, Elloren’s old professor. They tell him Elloren has power and Yvan has wings, and he allows them in. He takes them underground, where Elloren realizes the Resistance never left, they just went underground.
  • Lucretia and Jules Kristian are there, along with the Vin sisters. Elloren confronts Kam, who admits to giving her a blocked wand, to knowing that she probably had quite a bit of power when she dropped it at her testing. Kam had to wait, to see her character, and only the White Wand choosing her stopped her from cutting Elloren down to stop the prophecy.
  • Yvan reveals himself to, in fact, be another male Icaral with his wings intact, and EVERYONE is surprised. The decision is made that they have to split up, to each be trained in their powers. They cannot stay together, it would make it too easy for the Gardnerians to find and kill them both. The Kin Hoang Vu Trin warriors take Yvan away, East, to train. Leaving Elloren behind.
  • Commander Vin dresses Elloren for battle and then they’re off, Elloren ready to face her destiny as the Black Witch and do everything she can to take down Vogel and the Gardnerians.

End of Book 2

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