It is no secret that the palace of Ma Nao is built in the ruins of an ancient temple: like most of the city, its walls were standing long before the pirate lords who became the first Beys ever settled to rule. And it is in the old shrine, where the walls still depict the heroes and gods of old in mother-of-pearl, that the council is held.
The room is filled with local lord and citizens, all hoping to resolve their issues and grievances through the elusive Bey. The debate over naming an heir or a regent is already well underway when the circle is led inside, and Rohim is asked to testify on Navayanan Yora’s health, in order to prove Piliang and Yembe’s claim that naming an heir would be premature, and that a regent could suffice to lighten the Bey’s load until his health is better. Of course, the separatists see this as a power grab, and attempt to smear the physician by painting him as a charlatan working for queen Saramen or one of the Bey’s wives. Beyaloa and Pragatima defend their friend’s expertise, and accusations fly, the Hazan woman even going so far as to imply that Faj, Yono’s first born-son and a popular figure amongst the separatist, is responsible for the attempt on his father’s life.
But slowly, the calm demeanor of the Zenith and his credentials convince the few fence-sitters, and Yembe is named regent. As Yono and the separatist start to protest, the Bey surprises everyone by decreeing that while she is regent, he does not give her the power to choose a successor, and that should he die of natural causes before getting better, Faj shall be the next Bey.
While the audience is processing this unforeseen turn of event, the newly named heir comes toward Pragatima, asking her to apologize publicly for her insinuations. When the Hazan refuses, he nods gravely, and names the firewand as his weapon of choice for their duel. The Dawn accepts, to the horrified gasps of her circlemates, and the council is back in session.
Meanwhile, Harik’s Peronelle starts muttering about a great silence, forcing him to find a more secluded spot in order to talk with the demon-armor. Hmaiyeroba tells her master that she feels suddenly strained, as if a sorcerous force was keeping her from the flows of essence. The sorcerer thanks her, and starts pondering silently if he knows and artefact or a spell able to weaken demons this way.
After settling a few minor matter (chief amongst them the news that the Pure Way has sent word to the coast about an Anathema being sighted on the island), the Bey and the new regent ask Beyaloa about queen Saramen order to send part of their fleet to the city of Ansibah. Cautious, the circle asks for the rest of the nobles to leave, and tells them plainly about the People of the Sea and the menace of the Unificator; showing them memories of their meeting with M’’ui’rin through her Hearthstone.
The news is grave enough to get everyone on the same page: something must be done, and the Bey decides to send part of his fleet north to join with the armada. Abduraman volunteers to accompany the ships, in order to make sure that they will be used wisely and protect the south if the need arises.
As the council breaks up, the circle breathe a collective sigh of relief: their mission here is done, and at last they can leave the Fiery Isles… once Pragatima’s duel is settled.