(In print as Book 3, Story Arc 3)
In the immediate aftermath of the dragons’ attack on the city of Twynne Rivers, King Hastonne of House Twynnham and many of his courtiers are brought in chains before Kirraxal in Hastonne’s own burned and damaged throne room. Hastonne tries to be brave and defiant, but Kirraxal kills him with flame. The rest of the court is overwhelmed and slaughtered by screeching drakes.
Tonklyn meets the young page girl Mithrabella as he’s waiting to confront his old masters in the Royal Library. When they come, he is furious to discover that they don’t remember him working for them as a young boy, nor do they remember his attempts to join their scholarly conversations. He reveals that he is now the chancellor of the new Dragon King. He is furious with their forgetfulness and disrespect and orders them to be executed. He orders Mithrabella to be his assistant.
Later, in his chambers, he is visited by an apparition of a man who calls himself the Knight of Shadows. This man challenges Tonklyn to choose who he will follow. Tonklyn declares that he follows the winners.
Another day, Shylai’a, Korr, and the rest of the party venture out into the dangerous streets to try and find the Seekers of the Great Reality. They return to the bookseller’s where Parith had found them before. It has been ransacked, and books are scattered everywhere. While they search, a patrol of the Dragon’s Flame cultists and soldiers sweep through the streets, rousting people out of their homes and trying to capture them into servitude. Eddiwarth calls everyone into the fight to save the innocents. Even though they are in battle, Shylai’a finds herself less tense around Korr.
Eddiwarth jumps into a burning building to free some people there. He doesn’t realize it, but he pushes the flames aside to get to them. Illariel and Ari, the giant spider, get separated, and Illariel comes to help Eddidwarth. She is surprised by his ability to control the fire. The people escape, but Eddiwarth and Illariel are captured.
Eddiwarth awakens to find himself imprisoned with Illariel, who is sleeping. He contemplates his life, feeling like a failure, and prays to the Creator for guidance.
Back in the palace, Tonklyn watches Xintalan, Exakas, and Kirraxal argue over who gets to go and free the dragons that have been in captivity by the high elves, then lead them in the attack on Emberfire City. Kirraxal declares that Xintalan must stay with him and be his queen. She is not certain she wants that title but is too afraid to defy him.
Soon after, Kirraxal holds court as the new Dragon King. The various noble houses and trade guilds of Twynne Rivers appear to swear their loyalty to Kirraxal. The Church of Three Lights challenges him but is put down swiftly and violently.
A few nights later, Tonklyn sneaks into Kirraxal’s throne room and uses the Dragontooth Dagger to kill the three dragonbonded soldiers. He had believed that the dragon-slaying ability of the dagger would affect them, and it proves to be so. Kirraxal immediately knows that his soldiers, bonded to him, are dead and rushes down to the throne room to find out what happened. There, he and Tonklyn face each other, and Tonklyn kills Kirraxal with the dagger.
Meanwhile, in the Vast, Thissraelle decides to brave the entropy storm and tries to reach out to Eddiwarth. After a few difficult tries, she projects herself into Wynne and flies over the Emberfire Mountains. At first elated and invigorated, she panics when she sees her home city under attack by their own dragons, now freed. In her distraction, she loses control of the connection and is whipped through time and space. She sees herself as a child, then screams out to Heathrax to save her when she sees herself fighting the dragons in the mountain crevasse by the shrine. Finally, she sees Eddiwarth confronting three huge dragons in a throne room and calls out to him before they belch flames onto him. Afraid for his life and drifting in the Vast, St. Ivarr once again visits her, to lead her home.
At the start of Part 22, Ari finds the party in Eddiwarth’s courtyard. She has found where Illariel and Eddiwarth are being held. They are in the tower donjon of the palace in Centertown. Parith and Shylai’a argue over how to get to them until Korr notices that they’ve been discovered by patrolling dragons. They flee and the party holes up in an Inn, while Parith tracks down intel on the inside of the palace tower. A knight of House Northolt tells them how to get to the donjon, and to look for help from someone named Mithrabella.
That night, when Exakas returns from a defeat at Emberfire City with the freed dragons of the high elves, searching for Kirraxal. Xintalan tells him that the Dragon King is dead and Tonklyn convinces them not to kill him and that they still need him in power. He declares himself the High King and sets Exakas up as the King of the Land. Xintalan is to be Exakas’ queen, but they distrust each other.
Later, on the battlements of the tower, Xintalan confronts Tonklyn. She doesn’t kill him, because he has the dagger, but she fears what will happen under his rule. She is doubting the value of the Dragon Kingdom.
Trapped in the tower, Eddiwarth and Illariel talk. She helps him figure out that for him, control of the fire magic comes not through concentration and focus, but through needing to direct the will outside of himself, to help others like his friends. Eddiwarth draws on this to overcome his fear and the mage’s bane, and blasts the lock. He and Illariel go free.
In his chambers, Tonklyn wakes up. It is late at night. He had been dining with Mithrabella and had tried to drug her drink, but she had switched cups, and he had been the one knocked out. He notices that the Dragontooth Dagger is missing. He is furious and rushes out to find her and get the dagger.
The party sneaks into the palace grounds through the rain. They are hidden in shadow by Kiffra, the shadow wizard who helped Illariel heal Parith. Mithrabella finds them, tells them where to find Eddiwarth, and gives them the dagger. They creep through the palace, quietly arguing while looking for Eddiwarth and Illariel.
Meanwhile, Eddiwarth and Illariel stumble into the main throne room chamber to find themselves face-to-face with the dragons. Eddiwarth has to stop the fighting and, to Illariel’s horror, offers himself as a sacrifice.
Part 23 begins as Eddiwarth makes an impassioned plea to the dragons, asking them why they are destroying the city and what they hope to accomplish with their coup. Xintalan, troubled by Exakas’ ambitions and tyrannical threats, is conflicted by his thoughts. Parith and the rest of the party find Eddiwarth and Parith tosses the Dragontooth Dagger to him.
Tonklyn, meanwhile, has found the throne room and sees the dagger on the floor. As Eddiwarth leans to pick it up, Tonklyn rushes him, knocking him off his feet. Tonklyn threatens the dragons with the dagger. One of them attacks him, and the room descends into the chaos of battle.
While Shylai’a and Korr fight the dragons side by side, Korr is killed. A panicked and grieving Shylai’a grabs up the Dragontooth Dagger and goes on a rampage, killing several dragons before she, too, is knocked aside, unconscious.
Seeing all of his friends being killed and wounded, Eddiwarth tires of all the fighting and killing, and attempts to calm the room with a blast of mental magic. Though this succeeds for a moment and the battle pauses, the tension breaks and the dragons engulf him in flame. Just before they do, he looks up and sees Thissraelle calling out to him.
Xintalan realizes that the dominance of the dragons is wrong and attacks Exakas. They battle and Xintalan emerges victorious, but exhausted and confused. She sings the dragon song and leads all of the remaining dragons away from Wynne, back to the palace at Graemal.
While Eddiwarth is engulfed in flame, his insecurities and issues are burned away. He is purified, like the gem, and finally emerges in completed control of his powers and his destiny.
In the aftermath of the battle, the soldiers that had once tried to capture Eddiwarth and his friends are now leaderless and confused. Having seen Eddiwarth step out of the flames, they offer him the discarded crown. Eddiwarth, exhausted from the fight and the emotions of the loss of Korr and Shylai’a, declines the title of King.
Parith notices Illariel missing from the throne room and goes looking for her. He finds her crying in an empty hallway and helps Illariel process her trauma. They mourn Korr and both decide to return to Treehaven.
Later that evening, Eddiwarth looks out over the city from the palace parapets and ponders what has happened and what to do next. Thissraelle and Heathrax return to Twynne Rivers for a wonderful long-awaited reunion. Thissraelle and Eddiwarth declare their love.
Shylai’a is lost on the streets of Twynne rivers and feels the loneliness of Korr’s loss. Back in the mountains, Xintalan is conflicted and not sure she wants to take up the Dragon Crown. She accepts the role of the Queen of the Dragons, but reluctantly.
Tonklyn, however, still thinks he’s the High King of Wynne, and if he can just get the dagger back, he’ll be back in charge.