Quintin, Rod, and Io arrive at the Tower of Stars in the Academy of the Stars’ Children. Several magi bar the way, claiming that the High Archmage is not to be disturbed. Rod introduces himself and points out that he is a very powerful swordsman and that Quintin should be admitted. Their captain sends one of the magi inside to give the message to Kurn, that Quintin is requesting admission into the tower. After several minutes, the guard returns, and Quintin is allowed in. Rod and Io leave the Academy to take on the Brindish army that is camped to the south.
Inside the tower, Quintin tells the High Archmage the tale of Moratu and how their group saved the world, yet had to sacrifice Ardia’s magic to do so. Kurn recalls that the Master Astronomer, Yolen, fled several days ago. Gralius Kurn speculates that he may have been in on the scheme with Moratu to fool them into believing that the exploding star was actually falling. The High Archmage regrets that he was fooled just as everyone else was. He thanks Quintin for their efforts, but says that the battle is not over. With the loss of magic, the walls of force that had protected the Academy grounds from the black powder kegs are gone. Nothing is there to stop an explosion from destroying the Academy and the surrounding neighbourhoods. For the moment, the Brindish are unaware that they are unprotected. Kurn asks Quintin to give the word to the nearby Ealduran forces that the Magi are ready for a charge on the Brindish lines.
Outside, Rod and Io find a detachment of Elduran soldiers and form a plan to have them and most of the party attack the Brindish encampment. By this time, Murad, Cendrik and many of the others have caught up to them. Quintin arrives and informs the commander that the Magi are ready. Rod sneaks off to the south to attack the Brindish leaders directly.
Rod makes it to the building that the Brindish are using as a headquarters and sneaks upstairs to the second floor. He finds the captain with two other officers. Rod bluffs his way over to the commander under the ruse that he is an ally assassin, with orders. As he leans forward to hand the orders to the captain, Rod stabs him with his poisoned dagger. The commander falls to the floor as Rod attacks the other two men. One of them goes down just as Rod makes for the window. Before reinforcements can arrive, he makes a daring escape out the window and sneaks away amidst the chaos. Once out of danger, Rod heads for the Queen’s Palace.
Meanwhile, the allies attack the Brindish lines, catching them unaware and routing them. Quintin disarms the black powder along the walls. As this is happening, they hear an explosion to the east. Smoke is rising from the area of the Queen’s Palace. Io offers to guard the powder kegs as the rest of the party runs toward the Palace.
Rod is able to use his rank to gain entry into the palace for the party and a group of about fifty soldiers bolster the Palace’s garrison. They find the outer wall to the southeast has been breached and Coorish are pouring in. They are bringing up cannon and large siege engines into the breach. The Party agrees to circle around and attack from behind and Rod will head straight for the siege engines through the mélée.
The party battles its way to the southern gate and, along with rallying Ealduran troops, defeat the Brindish army there, routing them. The Ealdurans push them to the river where they try to escape by boat. Over the following days and weeks, the Coorish forces are crushed and Llantry is liberated. The Queen, against her advisors’ pleas, refused to flee to the north during the siege and is there to preside over her capitol’s liberation.
Within several weeks, reports arrive about the southern Ealduran army, led by the new Duke Cahorn, that had marched south to confront the Brindish army. They routed the Brindish and managed to liberate Marakfell. The Queen’s Navy in the Bay of the Protector has bombarded the Sassimi army camped outside the walls of Wendgate. Within days, the Sassimi are scattered, sending them retreating to the south.
With the Coorish defeat, the CTL removes League Justice Rigo Ambron, who had overstayed his one-year term due to the war. He is replaced by Perl Jute of Caldy. The crown of Ealdur and the CTL negotiate a peace where all territories captured during the war are returned to their pre-war owners. The exceptions are Wendgate and Marakfell, which remain as free cities.
The Lettanni had taken some Eladuran territory south of the River Breev. With the Coorish defeated, the Ealdurans easily push the Lettanni out of Ealdur. Rod is called to a High Council meeting to vote on whether to continue the war with Lettan.
In the West Hanum Islands, Rolston Galfant gets the message from Murad about the real threat to their world. He leads an Ulgar scouting party to check for signs of the supposedly falling star. The above ground party of Ulgar, that had been guarding the entrance to the underground city, reports that a massive wind storm swept through the area a day earlier. After several days of scouring the area and observing the stars, Rolston is convinced that what Murad said is correct. The Ulgar find that the island of Ulawa, known to the Ealdurans as Jarith’s Island, has been swallowed up by the sea.
With Rolston’s report, The Ulgar elders, Fembe and Vula’a, command their army of warriors to the surface to retake their islands from the Lettanni and Gul. Within a few short months, all of the West Hanum Islands are liberated, with the exception of Toomiran and a few of the most northerly islands in the chain. The rest of the underground population of Ulgar and Lebreyans return to the surface.
A ceremony is held at the Queen’s Palace for the heroes of the war. The entire party is decorated and personally thanked by the Queen. She announces that an agreement has been reached with the Lettanni and that the war is over. At the celebration afterward, the young Duke Cahorn takes a liking to Fatima.
Sybil Athen, now recovered from her ordeal, explains how she was pursuing Sohrab and fell into the trap set by Moratu. She is happy that it is all over now and offers her help to Gralius Kurn with the casualties of the war. Sohrab is taken into custody by the Queen’s forces. His fate is to be determined.
Both the Churches of Galus and Fira are coming to terms with the new world without magic. Pascal and Arah help the Matriarch of the Church of Fira to rebuild Llantry’s southern city and aid its people. Bertom of Cuford travels to the south, with the Queen’s army, to help rebuild and protect the city of Marakfell. Gere Raimo stays in Llantry, in service with the Queen’s army, to help in the reconstruction of the city.
Not having much use with the pomp and ceremony, Io decides to exact her revenge on the former leader of the Children of Zepha, Yül Akafar. Reports indicate that he has fled to Burja, in the east of the CTL. She wants his head to present to her people.
Rod learns what happened to his family in Marakfell. It was his stepmother who arranged to have the gates opened for the Brindish army to occupy the city. The Brindish, on behalf of the House of Fenne, tried to force Rod’s father to direct his brother, Jestarein, to side with Duke Cahorn on the small council. When Rod’s father and brother refused to co-operate and perhaps because of a history of crossing the wrong people, they were killed. His brother Vergo was then put in irons and tortured to bring him around.
After Marakfell was liberated by the Queen’s army, Rod’s stepmother killed herself rather than be hanged for treason. Vergo was found in a rather sorry state. In the ensuing months, Vergo suggests that Rod continue to represent their house on the High Council, while he recovers and tends to some business in Marakfell. Rod, not trusting his brother, exposes his past dealings to the Queen, who strips Vergo of his lands and title, granting them to Rod. As the official Lord of House DeloSiren, Rod later has his brother Vergo “taken care of”. Rod’s half-sister Nelly comes to live with him in Llantry. Lord Waltin offers the hand of his daughter, Tanis, to Rod. After some thought, Rod accepts.
Quintin spends the months after the war getting to know the High Alchemist’s daughter, Vina. She is still mourning the loss of her father, but is happy to be spending her time with Quintin. Quintin’s family takes advantage of the Ealduran goodwill toward Zinova, who revolted against the League during the war, and strengthens their trading relationships in Llantry. Queen Elyn offers the title of Warden of the Great Forest to Quintin. He would be responsible for cataloguing the flora and fauna of the Great Forest of Ealdur and to protect its borders from poaching. Quintin happily accepts and is granted a staff of nearly fifty. He invites Vina to accompany him – she accepts.
The High Council of Ealdur sends a delegation to West Hanum to treat with the Ulgar. The people’s appetite for war is low, and the council is hoping to avert hostilities with the Ulgar. Murad is asked by the Queen to take part in the discussions. He agrees. And it is about time that he visits his home islands. Cendrik goes with him, hoping to find his privateer comrades.
In Princeton, Murad meets with the Ulgar elders. Rolston Galfant is also present. The Ulgar do not wish war with the Ealdurans. They offer to grant them autonomy in Princeton, to operate the port, on the condition that they recognize the sovereignty of the Ulgar nation over the West Hanum Islands. The fate of the other Ealduran towns in West Hanum will be discussed in future talks. With Murad’s help, the talks are successful.
Rolston updates Rod on his people. They will be allowed to live autonomously, under the protection of the Ulgar. The Labreyans will need some help to heal the rifts between the group that was under Ealduran sway and those that stayed with the Ulgar. Rolston says that a hidden population of about four hundred Labreyans was found on the island of Athlell, when it was liberated from the Lettanni. Murad offers his assistance to bring all of his people back together.
According to Rolston, the priest, Elrew, has returned to Princeton and is helping the displaced Labreyans re-settle. Rolston bids his farewell to Murad. Rolston says that he must return to Ealdur – he has business in Llantry to attend to.
Murad receives word that The Walrus has been harrying the Lettanni fleet over that past few months and is due to arrive in Princeton in three days. Excited, Murad decides to pass the time by meeting with his people.
Sota and Ita tell Murad the tale of what happened to their people after he left. Taipa was keeping their camp hidden with magic for months, until one day, he told them that he could no longer protect them and that they should flee to the south. He said that he had to leave them. They haven’t seen him since. Two days later, the Gul found their people in the jungle and, after abusing them, marched them off to a camp just north of Princeton. A few weeks later, they were liberated by the Ulgar. Murad offers his help to re-settle them and to help the various Labreyan populations to come together as one people.
In town, Murad finds Alurha and Aeric staying in Rod’s estate manor. He meets their 3 month old baby son. He has two names, an Ealduran one and a Labreyan one. His Ealduran name is Rod and his Labreyan one is Murad. He is happy to learn this and promises to inform Rod. Murad also agrees, on Rod’s behalf, to allow their family to remain in the estate as long as they like. Alurha tells Murad about the unusual birthmark on the sole of their son’s left foot. Murad looks to see a mark shaped like a sea turtle. He recalls that his people regard such rare things as signs of a re-incarnation. As he thinks longer, Murad remembers how his master, Matahi, had mentioned his previous lives to him in passing. Murad thought nothing of it at the time. And his former master did carry a symbol of a sea turtle, that Murad had found recently. He wonders…
While in Princeton, Murad notices a familiar crow, perched on a rooftop. He is sure that it is Taipa’s friend Koko. Before he can approach it, it flies off.
When The Walrus arrives in Princeton harbour, Murad swims out to great them. He runs to Maddy to embrace her. He notices a slight bulge at her belly. He looks into her eyes and she smiles knowingly. She says that the baby is his and that she is due in about four months. Murad says that he knows that it’s his and that he’s delighted. Maddy hints that she would like them to be married by their people and that she would like it if he asked her to go to live on one of the remote islands with him. Murad wholeheartedly agrees and the arrangements are made. After the wedding, Cendrik is gifted with The Walrus. He sails them to their new home.
Rolston arrives in Llantry. He meets Fatima at the House Cahorn estate. He learns that she is to be wed to the young Duke. Rolston is very happy for her, but with sadness, he asks if she received his “gift”. She takes out the coin on a chain that she had given to her mother as a gift those many years ago. She says that Murad gave it to her and said that he, Rolston, had asked him to do so. She is puzzled as to why Rolston had her mother’s gift.
With a heavy heart, Rolston explains that her mother died many months ago. She had been with him when agents of the Children of Zepha tried to kill him. She died trying to protect him. He wanted to tell Fatima the news right away, but was commanded by the High Archmage not to, so as not to endanger his mission in West Hanum. He was torn as to whether or not to defy his orders and tell her anyway. In retrospect, he wishes that he had told her. Fatima, holds his hand and says that she understands why he did not. Her only regret is that her mother cannot be there for the wedding. Fatima asks Rolston to give her away at the wedding and he happily consents.
Rolston asks Fatima if she remembers the day that they met, when he caught her trying to steal his pouch. She chuckles, embarrassed and apologetic for what she had done. Rolston says that they did not meet by chance. He was tasked by the Stars’ Children to find her, as they already knew of the talent that she possessed. Recalling the story that Ilio told them in the Labreyan ruins, she is not surprised. Rolston tells her that, after the wedding, he plans to retire to Menia, where he will keep a small farm. She is happy for him.
The High Archmage requests Cornelius’ presence at the Tower of Stars. Navin, the new High Alchemist, Tacitus, and Archmage Celia Heqar are present. Gralius Kurn announces that the organization of the Stars’ Children is now, officially, dissolved. He asks Cornelius, being one of the oldest members, to help him to catalogue their dead so that their bodies can be returned to their families. Cornelius agrees to help.
As Cornelius is leaving, Kurn informs him that his brother has asked after him, and is waiting to meet him at an inn in the harbour district. Cornelius recalls having no living brothers. He is a little curious and confused. He decides to go and meet this fellow.
At the inn, Cornelius is greeted by a slight man, with light colouring and pointed ears. He is an elf. He introduces himself as Hilinor, Cornelius’ half-brother. He says that their father left, with Cornelius’ mother, for the Elven lands in Kayemba some seventy years earlier. His mother died some time ago. Cornelius’ father remarried and had Hilinor. Their father is in old age and likely only has a few years of life remaining. He has asked that Cornelius come to live with him in his final years. Cornelius says that, once his work for Gralius Kurn is done, he will go with his brother to the Elven lands. As Hilinor departs for now, he says to Cornelius: “Father says, of course, that you may bring with you as much cheese as you like.” Cornelius smiles.