“How can I be Prophecy’s bitch and still have free will?” — Jager Cull.
The Band of the Nine Towers prepares for travel.
Jager points out that they already know a person in Kith’takharos who might help them find Jheamast’s tomb: Yavanna Culand, archaeologist for the Order of the Jade Leaf. Everyone agrees that a visit with Yavanna sounds wise, and so the Band travels directly to Kith’takharos. While passing through Newthrone would be quicker, that would also draw attention to their new Dragonmarks.
The journey lasts about ten days and is filled with much discussion. Pasts are revealed in an effort to better understand one another and integrate Azereen and Mila into the Band. Jenna often flies overhead as an eagle. Both she and Jager note the absence of recent lizardfolk activity, which is very disturbing.
Onlookers stare as the band strides through streets of Kith’takharos to the Sheltering Frond. Azereen and Scylien take rooms at the inn, while the rest will stay at Jager’s house.
Just after Jenna and Scylien leave to visit Yavanna, Dorian Orsova enters the Sheltering Frond. He buys everyone a round of drinks and settles down to learn a little about their adventures. In return, Dorian mentions that some foragers overheard lizardfolk saying “the sleepers will awake.” No one has seen any lizardfolk since that time a few weeks ago. Also, Koran Thelig has been on a tear, performing goods deeds: rescuing foragers, capturing poachers, slaying beasts. While Koran was never a bad man, he has always been arrogant, and the new behavior is odd.
Meanwhile, Yavanna rambles on about Harlass Orn history, all the while consulting numerous books. Jenna gives her some sketches of the recently visited temple, which Yavanna suspects must date from the war between the dragons and demons. The archaeologist also digs up some information on Jheamast, who passed through Kith’takharos about fifty years ago, carrying a crown adorned with a large dragonshard.
Jheamast was seeking some place called Tarass Shar Orn, or “City of the Sleepers.” The stories claim that he died near there, and his companions buried him in the place, along with the crown. Evidence points to the crown as the third artifact missing from the temple. Yavanna believes this “city” to be east of Kith’takharos.
Jager, Fixit, Azereen, and Mila visit Patch at the Tipped Cup. After Jager asks the warforged to better describe the Forgebrother link between himself and Fixit, a long discussion ensues about prophecy, free will, destiny, and related topics. Mila gives Jager a headache with her contributions. Perhaps the most useful thought comes from Patch: some of the inexplicable things that are happening, such as Patch suddenly realizing that Azereen must join the Band, may be the playing out of prophecy.
Only a couple loose ends remain before the Band leaves the next morning. Jenna leaves her mount Flash with the Order of the Jade Leaf. He is getting old, and the journey will be dangerous; when she returns she will return him to the Talenta plains.
Finally, Koran Thelig approaches Jager, all smiles and kind words. While Koran insists that Jager helped him become a changed man, Jager presses him and learns that Koran hired the men that killed Skan’pa, although Koran only hired them to watch the characters. Mila presses Jager to make no rash move; Jager compels Koran to confess his misdeeds to Lady ir’Salmissra.
Now the Band heads east. Jenna flies above as an eagle, watching for possible ruins, mounds, or other suspicious formations. On the high ground of one small island about 30 miles from Kith’takharos, she spots a male lizardfolk leaning against an odd metal post. He has no visible weapons. She alerts the rest of the Band with a cry and they prepare to investigate.