The Wall of Storms

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Spoilers are present.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter summaries do not spoil future chapters.

Chapter 1: Truants

Pan: The Second Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

In the Three-Legged Jug, a storyteller tells of the duel between Hegemon Mata Zyndu and King Mocri. Among the listeners are three of Emperor Ragin's children, who are out of the palace without permission. A large man with scars interrupts the tale. He claims to be an imperial spy, accuses the storyteller of borderline treason, and demands fines from him and the listening patrons. A woman who looks to be a senior civil servant challenges the scarred man's credentials. He violently attacks her, but she is saved by Ragin's children, who rouse the pub's patrons to throw mugs at him. The scarred man flees.

Chapter 2: Fallen Kings

Pan: The Second Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Doru Solofi, the scarred man, is away from the Three-Legged Jug. A small boy pelts him with a snowball. Solofi chases the boy into a cemetery. He loses sight of the boy but comes upon a man instructing several dancers. The instructor is Noda Mi, Solofi's former comrade from the Hegemon's army. Noda Mi convinces Doru Solofi to conspire to overthrow Emperor Ragin.

Chapter 3: Princes and Princesses

The Imperial Palace: The Second Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Zato Ruthi, Imperial Tutor, wants to quit because of the children's mischief and lack of discipline. Kuni Garu (aka Emperor Ragin) and the children convince Ruthi to stay. Other adults are worried about the children's safety, but Kuni admires their wit and curiosity.

The children—Timu, Théra, and Phyro—discuss how to help Zomi, the civil servant from the pub. Zomi's pass to take the Grand Examination was destroyed by Doru Solofi in the fight. They ask for the help of Gin Mazoti, Queen of Géjira and Marshal of Dara. Eventually she gives them one of her extra passes. After the children leave, Luan Zya disapproves of Gin's meddling because it might cause trouble with Kuni Garu.

Chapter 4: Grand Examination

Pan: The Second Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

The Grand Examination begins. Imperial Farsight Secretary Rin Coda presides, and Prime Minister Cogo Yelu observes. The exam lasts three days with one essay question: What one policy would you advocate to the Emperor? Zomi Kidosu is present and completes the exam.

Chapter 5: Mimi

Dasu: The 22nd Year in the Reign of One Bright Heaven - Eighteen Years Before The First Grand Examination

A girl named Mimi is born to a fishing family on the north shore of Dasu. They are poor and live humbly, yet they are happy.

Emperor Mapidéré launches a fleet in the hope of finding an island with the secret of immortality. A great storm comes soon after the fleet sets off, and the ships are presumed to be wrecked. Mimi's father and other fishermen are forced to search for survivors. He never returns.

When Mimi is five, she has a vision of a shark chasing a turtle that carries a ship. She recognizes the animals as the pawis of the gods Tazu and Lutho. The shark notices Mimi and tries to kill her with lightning, but she is shielded from the worst of it by a falcon. The lightning leaves Mimi with a lame leg and ugly scars.

Chapter 6: The Hundred Flowers

Dasu: A Long Time Ago

As a child, Mimi hears many stories from her mother Aki. One story is about how the cycle of 12 years began. The gods decided to divide time into periods of 12. At Tazu's suggestion, the gods challenged all animals and plants to play hide-and-seek. Animals and plants searched or made enticing displays. Those who succeeded in finding the hiding gods had a year named after them.

The war god Fithowéo did not participate. During a battle, Kiji had burned out Fithowéo's eyes with lightning. Fithowéo, defeated and depressed, hid in a cave. An orchid used its scent to draw Fithowéo to itself. The orchid convinced him that eyes are not the only way to "see" and that a war god must embrace defeat as well as victory. Fithowéo regained his confidence and emerged from the cave, and the orchid had a name year.

Chapter 7: Teacher and Student

Dasu: The First Year in the Principate - Thirteen Years Before the Grand Examination

Mimi learns to walk with a crutch. Her mother Aki refuses to remarry. They hear of wars and political changes in Dasu. Mimi is interested that the new Emperor is seeking people with talent, but Aki warns her that the plans of the powerful bring only sorrow to common people.

Dasu: The First Year in the Reign of Four Placid Seas - Five Years Before the First Grand Examination

Mimi goes into town to sell grain. She watches two scholars debating the nature of the sun. She loses track of time, and the market closes. A stranger from Haan talks with her. Mimi impresses the man, Toru Noki, with her wit and agrees to meet him later.

Mimi and Toru Noki meet at a wharf at dawn. She uses a device of her own invention that lets her see a reflection of the sun. Then she goes to town to trade, and Toru Noki goes too.

At Toru Noki's suggestion, Mimi goes to the palace instead of the market. The official recognizes Toru Noki as one of the Emperor's advisors. He buys Mimi's grain for many times the going rate.

Mimi figures out that Toru Noki must be an important man. They return to the wharf, and she makes another drawing of the sun. She concludes that the sun has not changed size. Mimi and Toru Noki discuss the scholars and their error. Mimi is awed by Toru's wisdom and begs to become his student.

Toru Noki reveals that his true name is Luan and agrees to teach—and to learn from—Mimi. He gives her the name "Zomi," which means "pearl of fire."

Chapter 8: A Drinking Party

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

General Mün Çakri is celebrating the adoption of his son. After a banquet, his close friends stay behind for an after-party. Cogo Yelu gives a poetic compliment to Mün and his husband Naro, but it is too highbrow for many in the room. Gin Mazoti scolds him for forgetting his friends' humble roots. Then the group plays the game called Fool's Mirror. Imperial Consort Risana arrives, greets everyone warmly, and dances for them.

Afterwards Luan and Cogo speak privately. Cogo tells of a rift in the Imperial household. The Empress Jia favors scholars and bureaucrats and has a network of well-placed women loyal to her. Consort Risana is friendly with the old generals. Kuni Garu gives attention to both, not choosing a side.

Chapter 9: Palace Examination

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

High officials of the empire gather at the Imperial palace for the outcome of the Grand Examination. Many scholars (cashima) are angry about the results, which favored many Haan candidates and only one from Xana.

The occasion is very formal, due to the efforts of Zato Ruthi, the Master of Rituals. At the coronation, the rough manners of Kuni Garu's newly risen companions had been embarrassing to the aristocrats. Zato and Kuni compromise on a ritual that will be acceptable for both highborn and lowborn.

In the Grand Audience Hall, Zato Ruthi presents a young man whose essay had won top marks. Kuni Garu finds out that the man was related to one of the kings of the previous regime. Kuni's children and Lady Soto eavesdrop from the adjoining dressing room.

Chapter 10: A Balloon Ride

Somewhere Over the Sea, North of Crescent Island: The 1st Year in the Reign of Four Placid Seas, Five Years Before The First Grand Examination

Luan and Zomi ride in a hot-air balloon over the sea. They see a cruben leap nearby, which delights Zomi. At night, she sees Luan tinkering with a contraption he wears on his leg.

Zomi has no patience for writing practice. She questions the need for precise letter writing and balks at the importance Luan places on beautiful presentation.

Luan decides that he needs to adjust his teaching method to his student's personality. He teaches Zomi how to fly the balloon, which prompts mention of Patternist and Incentivist philosophy. Zomi likes Patternism and dislikes Incentivism.

Chapter 11: The Cruben Wolf

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Kita Thu stages an elaborate visual presentation of his thesis in the hope of persuading Kuni Garu and his less scholarly generals. An animal that is half cruben and half wolf struggles to move on both sea and land. Kita makes an analogy with Kuni's imperial administration, which rules some provinces directly and others through nobles. Kita urges a complete return to rule by the nobles, with the emperor leading only by moral example.

Kuni Garu dismisses the proposal with a joke. Some around the table laugh and others do not. Kuni assigns Kita Thu to the laboratories in Ginpen. Kita is disappointed; he hoped to join the College of Advocates, which criticizes major proposals to expose flaws.

In the dressing room, the children and Lady Soto discuss the hidden meaning. The winning scholars—with the exception of Zomi—come from noble families. Presenting the proposal in front of the emperor and his court is a way of seeing how they are disposed. Of the children, Théra shows the most insight and aptitude for political thinking.

Chapter 12: Crescent Island

Crescent Island: The First Year in the Reign of Four Placid Seas, Five Years Before The First Grand Examination

The hot-air balloon approaches Crescent Island, which is mostly wild and sparsely populated. Luan has Zomi handle the landing. They meet an elderly native man, who welcomes them in a dialect unfamiliar to Zomi.

Luan and the man communicate by writing Classical Ano logograms, which have diverged less since the island was isolated from the mainland. Zomi tries to read the logograms. She is impressed when Luan explains how logograms can be combined to express abstractions and complex ideas.

Luan and Comi, the native elder, agree on a trade. Luan gives goods he has brought, and Comi provides guides and food for a mountain climb.

Chapter 13: Merchants and Farmers

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Presentations of the winning essays continue. Naroca Huza of Géjira uses a novel machine to present an animation that champions more favorable treatment of traders. Empress Jia questions him and says that traders are predatory. She demands to know his sponsor. Queen Gin Mazoti says that she is, and they trade barbs over Kuni Garu's taxes on trade.

Next to present is Zomi. Luan is excited and proud. Zomi's obvious poverty attracts attention, and she says that substance is more important than appearances. As she is about to present her idea, four-year-old Princess Fara bursts into the dressing room and gives the eavesdroppers away. Théra tells the others to sneak away while she pretends to the court that she and Fara had just been playing.

Chapter 14: The Hike Up The Mountain

Crescent Island: The First Year in the Reign of Four Placid Seas, Five Years Before The First Grand Examination

Two native women guide Luan and Zomi up the mountain. Luan wants to see how wildlife has adjusted after a recent volcanic eruption. Luan carries Zomi because the way is too steep for her lame leg.

At a stop, Luan finds branches that he likes. With them and other materials, he makes a leg brace for Zomi, which fills her with joy and gratitude.

At the top of the mountain, the group discovers a plant never seen before—red flowers that grow on solidified lava. Luan names the flowers "Zomi" because the meaning, "pearls of fire," fits them too. Then they see thick smoke coming from the direction of the village.

Chapter 15: A Rebellion of Scholars

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Kuni Garu calls out to ask whether Timu is also with Théra. Théra's plan to cover for the others falls apart. All four children come into the hall, and Kuni tells them to sit and watch.

Attention returns to Zomi. She says that her presentation is the cashima riot outside. Kuni sends Captain of the Guard Dafiro Miro to deal with it, without violence. Then he asks Zomi to make her case.

Zomi says that the exam is unfair. Zato Ruthi protests and goes into great detail about how essays were graded anonymously. Zomi says that the judges and the process are not intentionally unfair, but deeper problems exist. There are a disproportionate number of winning scholars from Haan. The past preeminence of Haan scholars has created consensus about what has merit, but that consensus has nothing to do with reality.

Chapter 16: Fighting Fire

Crescent Island: The First Year in the Reign of Four Placid Seas, Five Years Before The First Grand Examination

Luan, Zomi, and the guides return to find an earl's hunting party at the village. The earl is shouting orders that the villagers can't understand. Elder Comi tells the villagers to run up the mountain for safety, but the villagers refuse to leave him to die alone.

The earl, who started the fire to help the boar hunt, commandeers the hot-air balloon. He has his men seize Zomi and bring her on board to fly it. Luan tries to stop the earl's men, but one of them wounds his leg with a knife.

Luan urges Zomi to fly the balloon, and in exchange, the earl will let it tow a harness for Comi. The balloon is too burdened to take off. The earl cuts the harness line. Zomi jumps out of the balloon and breaks her leg.

Zomi gets an idea. She has the villagers start a fire between the village and the larger fire. The new fire burns toward the large fire because of the large fire's pull on nearby air. The large fire cannot move toward the village because the small fire has already burned an area between.

Afterwards, Luan and Zomi travel far and wide for many years. Zomi learns a great deal. Then Luan takes her back to her home. He says that she is ready to make her own way.

At home, Zomi eats with her mother Aki. She feels guilty for having been away and not sharing the burdens. She also catches herself in upper-class habits that she picked up from Luan. Zomi says that she will stay to work and ease Aki's life. Aki refuses the offer. Aki says that Zomi has changed in a good way and that she should make the best of her opportunities. Zomi is convinced and vows to take the Town Examination.

Chapter 17: Through The Veil

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Dafiro Miro says that he stopped the riot by promising an audience for one cashima—the most insightful—to present the group's grievances. Dafiro explains that the cashima would compete with each other to be the one representative.

Zomi continues speaking of the exam's unfairness. The success of Dafiro's simple trick on the cashima shows how narrow their learning is. They come from wealthy and powerful families so they do not have any understanding of the lives of ordinary people. Zomi also points out that she is the only woman among the winners. An almost-all male organization like the College of Advocates is unlikely to know what women know from experience.

Zomi answers objections from Kuni Garu, Phyro, and Timu. Then she proposes that exams should use only common zyndari letters, not the ancient Ano logograms. She says that logograms should still be studied, but only after the competitive exams in the vernacular. Many more people would take the exams, so the emperor would be casting a wider net and find more people of true talent, not just sycophants repeating back what their masters had them memorize.

Chapter 18: Heir To The Empire

Pan: The Third Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

In the palace garden, the children come across Kuni Garu carrying water for his plants. He invites them to work with him. Timu and Phyro decline. Théra and Fara say yes. Kuni makes an analogy between gardening and ruling an empire. Théra is interested and catches on quickly.

Kuni and Thera find Luan and Rin Coda. Théra excuses herself to let Kuni meet with his advisors. Rin mentions Kuni's Golden Carp program for girls. He is also worried about a cult of the Hegemon, especially in his homeland.

Rin leaves, and Kuni asks Luan to speak openly, as an old friend. Luan objects to Kuni's Golden Carp program, which he thinks is a way to find a new bride. Kuni laughs and explains that Golden Carp is paying money to poor families to get their daughters to attend schools. It is an attempt to get around old thinking about the proper role of girls and women. Luan is relieved. Then he asks for funds for an expedition to the north.

Kuni asks Luan's opinion about which child is suited to be heir to the throne. Luan is diplomatic, but it's clear that he does not find either Timu or Phyro to be ideal. Then Kuni says that he wants Théra to be his successor, though there are many political and cultural obstacles.

Rin is picking "happy herbs" in Jia's garden. He is surprised when Jia calls him into her herb shed. She gives him three herbs—a stimulant, a sleep aid, and an aphrodisiac. Jia suggests that Rin could improve his department's standing by secretly encouraging would-be rebels before reporting them to Kuni. Rin accepts the idea enthusiastically.

Chapter 19: Partings

Pan: The Fourth Month in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

At the gates of the Harmonious City, Luan and Gin Mazoti say goodbye. Luan warns her not to provoke a dangerous enemy, but she has no fear. They are interrupted by Zomi, who also wants to say goodbye. Zomi does not see Gin for a moment, but then she thanks Gin for the exam pass. Gin is cold toward Zomi and leaves. Zomi tells Luan that Kuni Garu appointed her to the College of Advocates, at a rank above the other exam winners.

Jia meets with Kuni's brother Kado. Kado is Xana's king, though without real power. Jia asks about Zomi. Kado says that he was not the one who gave Zomi her exam pass; it was Gin.

Chapter 20: The Magic Mirror

Tunao: The Sixth Month in the Eighth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Mota Kiphi, son of one the Hegemon's best soldiers, goes to a cave to meet two men. Doru Solofi and Noda Mi ask whether Mota wants to join an armed rebellion. Mota baulks. Doru and Noda show Mota a mirror that makes a life-like image of Hegemon Mata Zyndu, along with the words "Kuni Garu must die."

Doru and Noda have been successful in recruiting. They bought the mirror with stolen money, thanks to the unwitting help of stupid Imperial spies. The spies were being careless with information about things such as shipments of money. Doru and Noda are also buying weapons from nobles who need to pay higher taxes.

Chapter 21: Mother and Daughter

Pan: The Fourth Month in the Ninth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Zato Ruthi says that the children will spend the next month studying biographies of their choice. Fara chooses Lady Mira, the Hegemon's consort. Timu chooses King Jizu. Phyro chooses the Hegemon and Queen Gin. Théra chooses Princess Kikomi. Ruthi is sceptical, but Théra convinces him that her hypothesis—that Kikomi had acted strategically and only pretended to be lovestruck—is worth further study.

Chatelain Otho Krin meets Jia. He reports that funds are going to the rebels as planned. A folk opera troupe is doing it subtly. A woman in Jia's female network recommended the troupe. Otho is disturbed by Jia's plots, but he is in love.

Risana finds Kuni working in the garden with Théra. Risana and Kuni discuss standard lease terms to curb landlords from exploiting the poor. Risana says that her network of lords' wives will be useful in overcoming resistance.

Jia and Théra arrange flowers in a courtyard. Jia asks what Théra thinks of prospective marriage arrangements. Théra is not impressed with the men her mother names. As Jia urges her to consider a husband as a political alliance, Théra thinks to herself that Jia has Timu's welfare in mind.

Chapter 22: The Emperor's Shadows

Pan: The Fourth Month in the Ninth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Kuni Garu, Jia, and Risana discuss the training of Timu and Phyro. Jia suggests that the boys be assigned to solve problems in the empire. She suggests for Timu to go to Dasu to improve the island's education and for Phyro to go to Tunoa to suppress the Hegemon's supporters. Kuni and Risana both like these ideas.

Jia comes across Lady Soto reading to Fara. After Fara leaves, Soto says she does not yet grasp what Jia is plotting. Jia admits that she still wants Timu to become crown prince. Soto says that she knows Otho Krin has been diverting funds, but not to what end. Jia says that she is building strong institutions, which are better than personal bonds for running an empire.

Théra stops Zomi, who is cold. Zomi resents Théra's privilege and condescension. Théra wants to share a passage from her reading. Zomi says she is late for a meeting with the Empress. She says that Théra should stop idolizing her and take advantage of being a princess.

Zomi meets Jia. Jia sympathizes that Zomi is paid little and cannot give her mother as much as she would like. She proposes that Zomi take a position as Queen Gin's prime advisor. Zomi is thrilled. Jia tells Zomi never to mention this conversation to anyone else.

The four children go for a ride. They talk about what the boys will do on their assignments. Théra envies them. She feels a little better in remembering how Kuni Garu agreed to her requests. He won't marry Théra or Fara without their approval, and Théra will be in charge of her own and Fara's education.

Chapter 23: Letters From Children

Nokida: The Sixth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Zomi writes a letter to her mother. She loves her new job. Gin is growing to trust her. Zomi is teaching zyndari letters to poor children and having them read and write stories. In her reports, she is inserting folk sayings disguised as references to classic philosophy. Gin seems amused, but the ministers are fooled.

Timu's letter to Kuni Garu is long and boring. Jia summarizes. Wealthy families from other states are moving to Dasu to take advantage of the relaxed exam scoring intended to help native Dasu children.

Phyro's letter describes greater strife in Tunoa. Rebels are killing officials and posting anti-imperial propaganda. This happened after Phyro cracked down on Hegemon cults. With Rin Coda's help, Phyro continues to focus on finding and arresting rebels. The worst case is a violent group started by Noda Mi and Doru Solofi. They are using mirrors that project images of the Hegemon to recruit. Phyro sent a few mirrors for Kuni to examine.

Chapter 24: An Outing

Lake Tututika: The Sixth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Théra and Fara relax on a wharf at Lake Tututika. Women are harvesting lotus seeds. The outing reflects Théra's approach to education—varied and driven by interest.

An exceptionally beautiful woman greets the girls. They talk of life's greatest pleasures. The woman mentions four simple activities tied to the seasons. Fara asks why love is not included. Théra disdains love as a way to keep women out of domains that men like. They listen to the lotus harvesters sing. The song starts out about love, but then has a twist about spreading seeds on the water like the lotus. Théra notices that the lotus is similar to the dandelion. She suspects that the woman is the goddess Tututika.

The woman buys lotus seeds to share. After the seeds are cored, they are delicious. She says that a true friend is like a mirror. Théra thinks of the projection mirrors and asks about them. The woman gives a hint about light being like waves, which can join together or cancel each other.

Chapter 25: Tests and Counter Tests

Pan, Arulugi, and the Karo Peninsula: The Seventh Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Otho Krin reports to Jia that the mirror makers and their workshop have been destroyed. Jia's scheme is safe from detection. Rin Coda has been anonymously tipped off about a weapons delivery from Théca Kimo, duke of Arulugi, to the rebels.

Kuni Garu considers how to handle Théca Kimo. Jia suggests that Kuni take troops near Arulugi on pretext of a tour. If Kimo is a traitor, his reaction will show it.

Kimo talks with Cano Tho, commander of the palace guards. Kimo is uncertain how to read Kuni's move. Cano was the one who suggested selling arms to the rebels. Cano says that Kuni is coming to depose Kimo, who should resist by splitting Arulugi from the empire.

Kimo moves troops and ships in a defensive posture. He is still unsure of Kuni's mind. Cano again paints Kuni as someone who betrays his friends, like the Hegemon.

Kimo writes that he is ill and cannot travel far. Kuni and Kimo agree to meet on the water in separate ships—much like an earlier meeting between Kuni and the Hegemon. Kimo looks healthy. He declares independence for Arulugi. Kuni signals for a mechanical cruben to surface and ram Kimo's ship. The ship is destroyed. Kimo escapes by flying on a kite that was hidden under his large robe.

Chapter 26: Light and Reason

Pan: The Seventh Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Tututika asks Fithowéo for a favor. Fithowéo wonders why she helps Théra instead of her island Arulugi's duke Théca Kimo. Tututika says that Théra is a living embodiment of Kikomi's potential.

Théra and Fara go into the music hall, where a man is playing a large instrument. After he finishes, his solid-black eyes and muscular frame make Théra worried that he might be an assassin. His words, echoing Tututika's, put her at ease. Théra asks about the instrument. The man says that it has precisely made metal slabs, and he shows how he finds flaws to fix.

Théra is inspired to work full time on the riddle of the mirrors. She reads, questions mirror makers, and experiments in an imperial workshop.

Chapter 27: Rebels of Dara

Tunao: The Ninth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Noda Mi and Doru Solofi have a large army. They surround Zyndu Castle, where Phyro and Rin Coda are. The rebels try to take the castle. The defending soldiers won't kill the rebels because they think that they will be cursed by the Hegemon. Phyro grabs a famous portrait of the Hegemon and shows it to the rebels. They pause because they don't want to destroy the portrait.

A single airship appears. A woman jumps out and parachutes into the castle. It is Théra. Phyro is amazed, but he was hoping for an army from Kuni. Théra shows a small mirror to the rebels. It projects an image onto a screen suspended from the airship: the Hegemon and Kuni Garu are standing arm in arm, with words that say people should not break the peace. The rebel army loses morale and scatters. Noda Mi and Doru Solofi get away.

Chapter 28: Refuge

Nokida: The Ninth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Noda Mi and Doru Solofi beg to Gin for refuge against imperial punishment. Gin will wait until the morning to decide; she will let them and their followers stay for the night at least.

Zomi and Gin's daughter Aya come upon the followers. Mota Kiphi throws and catches a giant weight. Aya and Zomi talk with him. Mota's story moves Zomi, who feels that he was used by powerful men just as her father and the poor generally are.

Zomi meets with Gin. Gin is unsure of her standing with Kuni Garu. He has not asked for her help with either Arulugi or Tunoa, though she is Marshal. Gin is considering refuge for Mi and Solofi yet she will turn in the followers. Zomi asks that the followers be saved too. Kuni will regret executing them so Gin should wait until things are quieter when Kuni will be merciful. Gin accepts Zomi's advice and will dine with them all.

Chapter 29: Empress and Marshal

Pan: The Ninth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Kuni Garu is upset that the war to reclaim Arulugi is going poorly. Jia suggests calling Gin Mazoti. Kuni's pride is hurt so he won't go to Gin. Kuni decides that he and Risana will go to Arulugi and take charge. Jia will be Regent in Kuni's absence.

Jia assembles the ministers and generals. She calls in Fara to answer questions. Fara does well and says that an untrustworthy friend should be shunned and an incompetent minister should be fired. Then Jia asks what should be done with a treasonous noble. Fara doesn't know because that's not how the parable from Kon Fiji goes.

After Fara leaves, Jia asks the same question to the court. Cogo Yelu knows the reference to another Kon Fiji story and volunteers. Faced with evidence of corruption and incompetence, the king in the story changes the subject. Jia questions Gin's loyalty. Gin did not offer aid for Arulugi or Tunoa. She gave an exam pass to a cashima, who later became her advisor. Now Gin dines with the Tunoa rebels in her palace.

Gin has been called to travel to Pan by airship. She tells Zomi that Luan is Aya's father. If something should happen to Gin, she wants Zomi to protect Aya. Zomi swears to do so.

Gin and Zomi wait in the guest complex. Jia was busy, though the message required that Gin come right away by airship. Gin expects visitors, but no one comes except General Mün Çakri. Mün has been away on duty so he does not know the gossip. Gin is unnerved by her situation.

Chapter 30: Zomi's Secret

Pan: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Zomi refuses to sign a report that states that Gin is a traitor. Jia shows her a gold-threaded paper that had been cut into pieces then stitched back together. One piece is missing.

Zomi thinks back to the day when Dasu's candidates for the Grand Examination were being announced. She overheard a wealthy lady amusing cashima with a story about a poor girl she had helped. They laughed at the description of the poor girl's manners. Zomi berated the lady. Later she found out that the lady was the wife of Dasu's Regent. Zomi's name had not been announced as a candidate, though she had the highest score. Zomi changed her appearance to look like a servant and then stole an exam pass.

Jia says that no one will believe Zomi if evidence of her theft comes to light. Zomi thinks of the other people who will be harmed if she supports Gin. She agrees to do as Jia wishes.

Chapter 31: A Visit To The Lake

Pan: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Jia and Cogo Yelu visit Gin very early in the morning. They go for a ride to Lake Tututika. Jia shows Gin a small boat with an attached kite. It is a prototype, which Jia tells Gin to try. Gin must leave her sword and is strapped into the boat. It's a trap. Jia asks Gin to confess to treason; the escorting soldiers draw their swords.

Chapter 32: Battle of Arulugi

Arulugi: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Théca Kimo and Puma Yemu command the armies on opposite sides which, due to Yemu's superiority at sea and the difficult geography of Arulugi, are in a stalemate. Kuni Garu arrives to the front which boosts morale and allows Risana to help Yemu out with fog tricks. Morale collapses on the side of Kimo, who decides to allow the sailors have a night of drinking at the capital, Müning Yemu's troops use this opportunity to defeat them and take Müning. Théca Kimo is executed while demanding at Kuni Garu to be present at his execution. While Kuni mourns the death of Théca Kimo, a messenger arrives with news of the betrayal of Gin. Kuni sends Than Carucono to deliver a private message to Dafiro Miro.

Chapter 33: Matters of Honor

Pan: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Dafiro Miro offers a way for Gin to escape her prison. She doesn't want to confirm the suspicion of treason so she will stay. Dafiro says that Kuni Garu sent him but Gin still refuses, saying that if the Emperor wants to save her, he should do that publicly.

Chapter 34: Unexpected News

"Arulugi: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Risana and Kuni Garu speak of the rebellion of Gin and while Risana doesn't believe it, Kuni argues that the evidence is too powerful to be dismissed. In the middle of the discussion, Than Carucono delivers a message from Prince Timu that freezes him and Risana. Kuni sends a copy of the message to Empress Jia and an amnesty to the Théca Kimo's rebels.

Chapter 35: The Coming of the City-Ships

"Dasu: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

The biggest raid of pirates ever seen approaches the coast. Prince Timu organises the defence but when the ships land, the crew runs toward the city asking for mercy and protection. Twenty massive ships can be seen on the horizon. After some discussions with his advisers, Prince Timu decides not to bother the Emperor and sends Zato Ruthi to make first contact with the people in the city-ships to find out their intentions.

Chapter 36: Strangers

"Dasu: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Zato Ruthi enters the ship accompanied with guards and presents for the inhabitants of the city-ships. He meets Pékyu Tenryo, the chieftain of the people called the Lyucu. Pékyu asks for them to be disarmed, to which Zato agrees despite the mistrust of Jima, the captain of the guards. In order to further the communication, Ruthi shares the battle plans of the army at the beach after which the Lyucu kill Zato and the rest of the guard.

The Lyucu march outside the ships to face the army of Ra Olu despite their less advanced weapons. Thanks to the information gathered from Ruthi and a strange type of hide, the Lyucu are able to protect themselves against the attack from the air and the arrows from the beach. Ra Olu decides to change tactic and attacks the ship with the air fleet but before he can, massive winged-beasts (the Garinafin erupt from the ships and breath fire onto the ships. Seeing that everything is lost, Ra Olu order a full attack while he retreats with the hope of informing the Emperor.

Chapter 37: The Prince's Stand

"Dasu: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Prince Timu stays behind to serve as an example to his people while an airship with the news departs for the camp of the Emperor. The Lyucu arrive at the capital city of Daye and destroy it, leaving Timu alive as prisoner.

Chapter 38: The Empress's Request

Pan: The Tenth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

The Empress visits Gin Mazoti in her prison to let her out under the condition to save Prince Timu. Jia explains the reasons that move her to denounce Gin as a traitor but Gin will not help unless Jia comes clean and publicly announces her entire plan and doing so, cleans the name of Gin. The empress fears that doing so, would turn Dara into chaos and end the reign of Kuni Garu. Gin stands by her principles.

Rumours of the barbarian invasion of Dasu reach the entire Dara.

Chapter 39: The Farseer's Departure

Pan: The Eleventh Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

After the rebellion in Tunoa is extinguished, the Emperor and his family return to Pan. Théra confronts Zomi Kidosu about her confession incriminating Gin and Kuni Garu finds out that Rin Coda committed suicide for having helped the rebellion in Tunoa. Cogo Yelu begins an investigation that ends up with Otho Krin being imprisoned and tortured without confessing anything. He is later found dead in his cell. Kuni confronts Jia who cannot even speak back. Soto consoles the Empress.

Chapter 40: The Corruption of Ra Olu

Rui: The Eleventh Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

All the gods besides Lutho discuss whether to directly intervene to help the people of Dara or not. Kiji, Tututika, Rufizo and the twins Kana and Rapa are on favour while Tazu and Fithowéo prefer to not influence directly. No decision is reached.

Pékyu Tenryo has taken over the island of Rui and sits in Kiphri. Prince Timu and the loyal nobles are forced to work in the fields to collect food for the garinarfins. Ra Olu has been faithful to the Emperor up until now but he yields to Tenryo. Ra Olu gives advice to Tenryo about how to keep the people of Rui loyal to the Lyucu without having to spend manpower in policing them. Both Ra Olu and his wife (Lady Lon) offer their help to implement this measures.

Tenryo decides to let the temples be open to the public which attracts several Luycu. They soon see a resemblance between their god Péa and Kiji. After months of offerings from the Lyucu, the priests of Kiji decided to rename him Péa-Kiji. When mocked by Tazu, the god Kiji is not sure about his stand on the intervention against the Lyucu anymore.

Chapter 41: The Interpretation of a Letter

Pan: The Twelfth Month in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Gin Mazoti is moved from her jail to house arrest. Kuni Garu asks her to lead the attack against the Lyucu. She repeats that her conditions haven't changed. When the Emperor says that he cannot make the plan of Jia Matiza without absolute chaos, Gin breaks her sword and asks him to leave.

Zomi Kidosu has renounced her titles and wants to return to Rui (currently under Lyucu occupation). Théra Garu reminds her of the time Zomi reprimanded her for pitying herself despite her privilege and asks her to take the advice she gave back then. Zomi then visits Gin and asks for forgiveness.

Ra Olu writes a letter to the Emperor on behalf of Pékyu Tenryo to show the superiority of the Lyucu. However, the flowery words of Ra Olu give away unwillingly important information about the garinarfin, the Lyucu and the estate of the hostages. Consort Risana, Jia, Théra and Zomi visit Gin and manage to convince her to command the attack.

Chapter 42: Invasion of Rui

Rui: The Second Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Puma Yemu decides to divide the fleet into flotillas making it hard for the Lyucu to repel with either the garinarfin or the city-ships. Tanvanaki Garinarfin, daughter of Tenryo Roatan takes charge of the Lyucu fleet to counter the attack and deploys the city-ships to be used as landing platforms for the garinarfin, and increase their range. Puma Yemu uses this opportunity to drag them to the open sea and learn the range of flight of the garinarfin. As well, by attacking the West of Rui, the east coast is left less protected.

Than Carucono commands a fleet of mechanical cruben than lands in Rui in the middle of the night. These cruben contain materials to form airships called "fire-birds" that use flammable manure as a flame-thrower. Once assembled, they attack the fleet at Kriphi until the garinarfin are summoned. Once they arrive, the fire-birds use their fire weapons to aim at the riders who keep distance, confused.

Chapter 43: A Taste of Victory

Rui: The Second Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

The fire-birds under the command of Captain Pon Naye wreak havoc in the port of Kriphi. After assessing the situation, Tanvanaki Garinarfin commands all garinarfin to get fly around the fire-birds, outside of their range, but forcing all the ships to retreat to a single point. The ships form a circle to protect themselves but leave their top unguarded from an attack from above. Tanvanaki was expecting this and attack from high above, though a bit short of the unfamiliar shape of the ships. The airmen decided to counter and too late, Pon Naye realised this was the plan all along: Tanvanaki's garinarfin (Korva) was in the middle of the formation, when the fire-birds shouted at the beast, they inadvertently were shooting at each other.

After realising that the fire-birds were bound to perish, Pon Naye strapped herself to a barrel full with explosive manure and nails and other objects and catapulted herself to a garinarfin where they exploded themselves. Other captains followed until only Korva and Tanvanaki remained.

At that time, Than Carucono landed on the coast and assaulted Kriphi by land which forced the lyucu to retreat towards the west of the island. Zomi Kidosu decided to bring well-preserved carcasses of the garinarfin back to the big island to study them. Everyone is happy with how the battle went but Zomi doesn't understand why the Lyucu are further retreating despite having many garinarfins left. Two men are found and ask to speak to Carucono. These men are revealed to be Luan Zya and Zomi's father, Oga Kidosu.

Chapter 44: The Voyage of Luan Zya

Somewhere North of Dasu: Three Years Earlier

Three ships travel north. Luan Zya uses a kite to rise and be able to see from above and really far in the distance. Captain Thumo is not happy about the amount of time Luan spends with the kite since it is bad for his health and it pushes the ship too fast for his liking. In one of his rises, Luan is able to see the Wall of Storms and immediately wants to know what is on the other side. When approaching the wall, the captain refuses to go any further and Luan goes up in the sky with his kite pretending to want to take a peek but cutting the cord and flying over the wall. However, at that very moment, a cyclone separated from the rest of the wall and attacked the ships where Captain Thumo was, killing everyone while Luan was able to fly through the wall.

Luan woke up underwater about to drown to death when Lutho took the shape of the book Gitré Üthu, and brought him back to the surface. Luan saw that the book was blank and decided to document his travel in it. He constructed a raft out of the kite and rode a current first west and then south. While on the raft, Luan studied the wall and the times at which a cyclone would separate from it and leave some space to travel through. After many, many weeks, being on the brink of death, he was able to find land where he fainted from the exertion after seeing the natives.

Chapter 45: An Interlude

Rui: The Second Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

The gods listen to the retelling of the voyage of Luan Zyu from the lips of Zomi Kidosu while she reads the Gitré Üthu. Lutho tells how he helped Luan as much as he could, but he was losing power on the other side of the wall of storms. This leads the gods to discuss the limits of their powers and to wonder if the gods of the Lyucu have crossed the wall with them.

Chapter 46: Prince and Princess of Lyucu

In The Country of Strangers: Two Years Earlier

Chapter 47: Mapidéré Expedition

In The Country of Strangers: Two Years Earlier

Chapter 48: Lyucu and Agon

Ukyu and Gondé, The Land of Lyucu and Agon: A Long Time Ago

Chapter 49: The Dream of the City-Ships

Ukyu and Gondé, The Land of Lyucu and Agon: Twenty One Years Before Luan's Arrival in Ukyu and Gondé

Chapter 50: Homecoming

Ukyu and Gondé: Two Years Earlier

Chapter 51: A Trap

Rui: The Second Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 52: The Marshal's Decision

Pan: The Third Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 53: Discoveries

Dara: The Third Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 54: The Aid of Tan Adü

Tan Adü: The Fourth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 55: The Silkmotic Force

Dara: The Fifth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 56: The Prince's Flight

Rui: The Sixth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 57: A Plague

Rui: The Ninth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 58: Dream of the Dandelion

Zathin Gulf: The Tenth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 59: Battle of Zathin Gulf, Part I

Zathin Gulf: The Tenth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 60: Battle of Zathin Gulf, Part II

The Damu Mountains: A Few Months Before the Battle of Zathin Gulf

Chapter 61: Messenger from Afar

Somewhere Over the Sea Between Rui and the Big Island: The Twelfth Month in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Four Placid Seas

Chapter 62: Parting of the Lotus Seed

Kriphi: The Fourth Month in the First Year of the Reign That Does Not yet Have a Name