The night is tense. Guards have been posted everywhere on the palace grounds, the intendant even calling on the local chapter of the Children of the Spear to protect the guards. The circle is awoken by a servant bringing them breakfast : a simple vegetable soup with fruitbread. Before the meal is over, Rohim leaves silently, quickly followed by Pragatima. In the gardens, they walk in silence for a time before the physician blurts out an explanation for saving Panman ; reasonning that this will help them ingratiate themselves and admitting that he couldn’t have done anything else anyway. Once she is assured that the prince will not be able to confront or oppose them for the next few days at the very least, Pragatima mellows somewhat, accepting the young Zenith’s judgement.
The days is spent waiting for Piliang’s return and the council. But waiting does not mean staying idle, and the circle spend the day intriguing, meeting with as many people as possible in order to further their agenda and decide who to back as a heir. Most do, at least : Rain Pearl, taxed by events of the previous days, elects to wait on the beach, in order to parse her toughts away from the tense atmosphere of the palace. As she walks towards the shore with Harik, they stumble on a crowd massing in front of the sanctuary of the Children of the Spear : monks and followers of the Pure Way are forming a human chain in front of the entrance to keep the warrior-monks inside.
Investigating, Harik learns that while the followers of the Honored Ancestors and the Pure Way are both planning to call for a Wyld Hunt to run down the Anathema who attempted to attack the royal family, the Children of the Spear are planning to flush out the Wretched hiding in their midst themselves. Fearing that such a move would invite retaliationg, the adepts of the Pure Way have sent word to the coast and are ready to use force to keep the Children from doing anything until Dragon-Blooded help arrives.
Harik spend a while talking to the leaders, hammering out a deal and forcing them to cooperate in order to make sure that the Anathema doesn’t escape the town. In exchange for the help of the Pure Way monks, the Children promise not to try anything unless their hand is forced. Hoping that this agreement will suffice to stop the violence, he heads on to meet Sondahk and discuss his particular brand of metalurgy, spending most of the morning talking to the thaumaturge.
Unaware of the religious tensions brewing in the town, Beyaloa and Pragatima meet with Yembe, the Bey’s second wife, eager to know more about her before they commit to backing anyone. They talk about local politics, and she explains her version of the family conflict, deploring the fact that her eldest son walked away from politics to join the cult of the Honored Ancestors.
In the meantime, Rohim goes to see the Bey directly, hoping to finnally have to opportunity to treat him. Using the fact that he saved Panman’s life, he is escorted to the Bey’s room, where he finds Yono, his last wife, mother to Panman and stauch separatist, caring for her husband. After some hesitation, she lets him help her husband, keeping a watchfull eye on him.
As Piliang’s ship is sighted in the bay, the circle meets next to the port to share their perspective on the day. Pragatima and Beyaloa are unwilling to back Piliang’s daughter as an heir : while her loyalty to the crown could be an asset, her lack of popular support could lead to more unstability and could see more people flocking to the separatist’s banner.
Rohim chimes in, telling them that he can probably end up curing Navayaman’s dementia, provided he comes back a few time in the next months. Already, he has managed to give him back some clarity of mind, even if this cannot last without further treatment. This means that the Bey will probably be able to choose his own heir in a few month’s time, and that naming a regent in the meantime could also suffice.
Accompanying Piliang to her quarter, the circle explain their vision to her, hoping that she will agree to back Yembe’s claim as regent instead of risking one of Yono’s sons becoming heir. Somewhat taken aback, she takes some time to reflect before agreeing, a sour taste in her mouth.