Crokus visits the D'Arle estate and returns the jewels to Challice.
After talking for a while, Challice lets him go. Sorry watches him. Beyond these thin hide walls a child sits, before her on worn silk a Deck is arrayed. She cannot yet speak and the scenes before her she's never before seen in this life.
The child gazes upon a lone card named Obelisk, the stone grey she can feel its roughness in her mind. Obelisk stands buried in a grassy knoll like a knuckle protruded from the earth, past and future. This child's eyes are wide with terror, for cracks have appeared in the stone of stones and she knows the shattering is begun. Tool and Lorn arrive at the Jaghut barrow. Although Tool's recounting of past events wakes doubts in Lorn's mind about the wisdom of what they are about to do, she decides to go ahead as planned. Kruppe and his group travel in the Gadrobi Hills. Kruppe tells Crokus they are working for Baruk and that they are trying to observe what has the crows in the area circling above.
Paran and Toc are following Hairlock's trail who is leaving dead Ravens in his wake. They are ambushed by the puppet and Toc is thrown into an unknown Warren. Quick Ben who was watching from afar, passes on the whereabouts of the puppet, to Shadowthrone who sends the Hounds who rip the puppet apart. Lorn comes across Kruppe and his group and, not thinking clearly, attacks them unprovoked. The fight leaves Coll injured and Kruppe and Murillio unconscious.
Eventually, realising that the fight had been unnecessary, Lorn extracts a promise from Crokus to tend the wounded and leave for Darujhistan the following day. Meanwhile, Sorry is closing in on them. Having finished with the puppet, the Hounds turn on Paran but Rake appears and kills two of them with his sword, Dragnipur. He then tells Shadowthrone to call them off and also orders him to recall his companion, resulting in Cotillion giving up his possession of Sorry.
After they have left, Paran touches the blood of one of the dead Hounds and is transported into the Warren of Dragnipur where he encounters a huge wagon, pulled by those slain with the sword. With Oponn's help he manages to free the Hounds, then finds himself back in the real world with the bodies of the Hounds now gone.
The totally disorientated Sorry stumbles across Crokus and the others. Coll recognise that she has been possessed and tells Crokus to take her to his uncle Mammot immediately. Lorn and Tool enter the barrow and despite their own misgivings decide to proceed with releasing the Tyrant. On their way back to Darujhistan, Sorry adopts a new name, Apsalar. Kruppe and Murillio are following them to guard Crokus and bring news of the Malazan presence to Baruk. Paran encounters a band of Rhivi , amongst them a young girl who has the bearing of Tattersail.
They disappear before he can investigate further. He then comes across the injured Coll and the two men strike up a friendship. Rumours like tattered flags wind-snapped and echoing in the streets below told the tale of the days upon us… 'Twas said an eel had slipped ashore or not one but a thousand under a jagged moon that might be dead, 'twas whispered that a claw scraped slow on the city's cobbles, even as a dragon was seen sailing high silver and black in the night sky. Rallick meets an agent of The Eel who warns him that Ocelot has accepted a contract on Coll's life. Rake and Baruk have a long meeting during which they explore the motivations for Rake's actions amongst other.
Later, Baruk leads him to the sleeping Mammot and Rake points out that the scholar might have got too close in his research and might become possessed by tyrant. Meese warns Crokus that he is wanted for killing a guard and advises that he and Apsalar remain hidden at Mammot's house. Unbeknown to all three of them, a Tiste Andii assassin is watching the house to kill Crokus when he leaves. Kruppe and Murillio arrive at the Phoenix Inn. Murillio leaves soon after and is accosted by Circle Breaker who passes on a message concerning Turban Orr.
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Rallick meanwhile is hunting Ocelot. Whiskeyjack tells Kalam to make a final attempt at contacting the Assassin's Guild. Quick Ben can not trace Sorry. Fiddler gives Whiskeyjack a moral talking to. Paran arrives at the city gate with a delirious Coll. A guard organises a wagon to convey the injured man to the Phoenix Inn.
Rallick thwarts Ocelot's attempt to assassinate Coll and kills the Clan Leader. Serrat regains consciousness and realises she has been knocked out by someone as she was about to make a move on the coinbearer. She vows revenge and leaves by Warren.
Crokus and Apslar have moved to the attic of the Phoenix Inn in the meantime. A surgeon is attending Coll and Paran considers breaking his sword. Kalam arrives and Paran orders him to fetch the squad's healer immediately. Kalam returns with Whiskeyjack and Mallet who is able to save Coll. The Sergeant uses a device from the Emperor's days to get in touch with Dujek.
They exchange updates on the current situation in Pale, Darujhistan and of Genabackis as a whole. Dujek is about to defy orders of the Empress and is intending taking on a new enemy, called the Pannion Seer.
Paran agrees to stay with the squad but asks for Whiskeyjack to remain in charge. Lorn and Tool take the Jaghut Tyrant's Finnest and return to the surface. Rallick reaches Murillio's room. His wound turns out to have been healed to the point of looking like a week old scar but he is weak from the loss of blood.
Murillio has suspicions as to who is The Eel and leaves to find him. Lorn and Tool part ways as she heads for Darujhistan whilst Tool remains behind to observe the Tyrant as he emerges. Crokus and Apsalar reach K'rul's belfry where they find the body of Ocelot. Observing Moon's Spawn, Crokus briefly sees five huge winged shapes leaving it. The pristesses race down the streets, strips of wolf-fur streaming from their hands. Banners are unfurled. The noises and smells of the market rise into the morning air.
Masks are donned, the citizens discard the year's worries and dance across the day into the night. The Lady of Spring is born anew.
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It is as if the gods themselves pause their breath Murillio accuses Kruppe of being The Eel but Kruppe uses magic to make him forget about it. Baruk realise that Mammot's nephew is the coinbearer although this does not seem to be news to the scholar. Lorn meets up with the Bridgeburners and takes over command which seems to anger Whiskeyjack.
Yet another attack by Serrat on the coinbearer is foiled, this time by someone whose voice she recognises. She is told that he is protected care of the Prince. Raest leaves his barrow and is attacked by Silanah and four other dragons whilst Crone observes the fight from the air. Lorn plants the acorn in a garden and goes in search of the coinbearer.
Kruppe senses that Crokus has additional, outside protection. He also considers that his secret identity is about to be revealed but is not concerned. Crokus and Apsalar are heading for Simtal's estate where, in the meantime, the Bridgeburners are reporting there for guard duty. Kalam threatens the barkeeper at the Phoenix Inn to tell the Guild to get in touch or else.
Rake is introduced to Orr and Simtal but his name means nothing to them. Murillio and Rallick observe as Kruppe meets Baruk and his guest. Orr realises that one of the guards is the spy he has been hunting for but before he can get to the man, Rallick provokes Orr into a duel. Murillio in the meantime seduces Simtal.