This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Warbreaker. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book.
Vasher gets thrown in the God King's dungeons for striking a priest in a bar. He Awakens a figure he makes from the straw in his cell and Commands it to fetch keys. He uses the keys to escape from his cell while the guards are distracted by his sword, Nightblood. Vasher goes deeper into the dungeons, finding an emaciated Vahr, evidently the leader of a rebellion, bound and dangling in his cell. After some convincing, Vahr gives Vasher his trove of Breaths to prevent them from being used by his enemies, the Hallandren. Vasher kills Vahr with an Awakened scarf to save him from more torture, grabs his sword, and flees.
Siri, the youngest princess of Idris, considers her rather unimportant position in the Idrian royal family. She walks in from the countryside to Bevalis, the Idrian capital. She is trailed by children, who are fascinated by the flower she carries because it is a breach of the normal drabness maintained by Idrian followers of Austre. Siri talks to her friend, Mab the cook, about how she is tired of the Idrian traditions of austerity.
Meanwhile, King Dedelin discusses the possibility of a disastrous war with Hallandren with General Yarda. Yarda convinces Dedelin that they could keep the Hallandren at bay for longer if they kept the treaty, which entails sending an Idrian princess to marry the Hallandren God King. King Dedelin cannot stand the thought of sending his oldest, most beloved daughter Vivenna to marry the monstrous God King to bear him a child. Since the treaty does not specify which princess, at the last moment Dedelin sends Siri instead of Vivenna, who has been trained since birth for life with the God King.
Siri sits in the carriage taking her to Hallandren, terrified and confused at the last minute switch that means that she must wed the God King.
In Idris, Vivenna begs her father to reconsider his decision and send her as he originally planned. She feels suddenly bereft of purpose, now that her sister is marrying the God King in her stead. Her father argues that he has done what is best for Idris, because in the event of war, the Hallandren could have used Vivenna as a more effective bargaining chip than Siri.
Siri becomes enraged at her father's decision, shouting at her honor guard. She wishes Vivenna were in her stead, because she is sure her relative political experience would make her a better representative of Idris in Hallandren. She decides that she will send her honor guard back to Idris, as they would be adrift in Hallandren.
Vivenna and the middle princess, Fafen, discuss their father's decision to send Siri while picking blackberries. Vivenna begins to get an idea to help Siri.
Lightsong, one of the Returned in the Court of Gods in Hallandren, considers the fact that he cannot remember his life and heroic death before being Returned and rolls out of bed. He is surrounded by servants, who as always attend to his every need. He recounts his dream of a boat on a red ocean to his priests, who records it as prophecy. Lightsong teases his high priest, Llarimar, calling him “Scoot” and asking for the details of his past life that he is forbidden. He receives a Breath from a child, which will allow him to live another week. Then he judges the poetic and artistic offerings to him, when he is informed of the arrival of the God King's new wife.
Siri arrives in T'Telir, the capital of Hallandren. She is greeted by a field of forty thousand Lifeless soldiers, and is overwhelmed by the huge, colorful, tropical city so different from her humble mountain town. Treledees, high priest of the God King, welcomes Siri to the Court of Gods. Siri is told that there will be no wedding cermony, and is brought to the God King's dark, pyramidal castle.
Vasher stands atop the wall surrounding the Court of Gods and realizes that the fact that the Idrians actually sent Siri complicates his plans. He meets clandestinely with a priest, Bebid, from the Court of Gods in a restaurant. Bebid informs Vasher of a faction among the Court pushing Hallandren to war with Idris. Vasher leaves and retrieves Nightblood from a dead cutpurse who stole it.
Lightsong watches the new Queen arrive from his patio. He discusses her possible effects on Court politics with Llarimar, and insists that he have more wine, although as a god he is immune to drunkenness.
Siri is led by servants into the palace. They take her to a bathing chamber, where they scrub her clean. She becomes embarrassed at the appearance of a man, Bluefingers, the head scribe and steward of the Court of Gods. He informs her of the rules of her new life, stressing that she may not speak to the God King lest he order her executed. She is given makeup, a medical examination, and a magnificent gown, which she accepts, thinking that ironically, it will be stripped off given a few minutes. Bluefingers leads her to the God King's sleeping chamber, where she enters with utmost trepidation.
Remembering Bluefingers' instructions and warnings, Siri removes her dress and underthings and bows naked before the God King's bed. She waits for him to call for her, not daring to make a noise and wondering if he judges her inadequate or not beautiful enough.
Lightsong watches the celebration of the God King's union, bored with the luxuries and the fireworks. Blushweaver, another goddess, comes to greet him. They talk and flirt, but Lightsong rebuffs her advances. They discuss politics, with Blushweaver in favor of the war and curious as to Lightsong's opinion of the new queen.
Siri bathes in the relief of having survived the night untouched and unexecuted. She climbs into the unoccupied bed and goes to sleep.
Hours later, she awakes and burns her sheets, as is her duty as the Vessel. Exiting the bedchamber, she is confronted by a group of servants offering many choices of gowns. Somewhat overwhelmed by extravagance, she chooses one and is primped for the day. She asks Bluefingers what her daily duties are, and he tells her she has none other than staying within the palace. He offers entertainments, but she wants to be free from the palace to go explore or horseback riding. He firmly denies this request. Siri sets off to explore the palace.
Vivenna arrives in T'Tellir. Parlin, her friend, goes ahead to scout the area. She arrives in a restaurant, and Parlin leaves because he doesn't like the enclosed feeling of the restaurant and wants to explore T'Telir more. Instead of the Idrian spy, Lemex, that she had planned to meet with, two mercenaries, Denth and Tonk Fah arrive and after a bit of joking, announce that they are there to kill her.
The two mercenaries burst out laughing, and tell Vivenna they are joking. They inform Vivenna that Lemex is ill with fevers, and give her a letter written in his hand. The mercenaries eat Vivenna's seafood and lead her to Lemex's house.
Vivenna, Parlin, and the mercenaries arrive at Lemex's house where he is laying deliriously ill, in the care of a nurse. Vivenna excuses the nurse, and asks Lemex for any information that could help her, like how to access the Idrian spy network. Lemex, however, refuses, thinking he is being tortured. Lemex confesses that he has acquired a lot of BioChromatic Breath. He insists that he give it to someone before he dies, and Denth and Tonk Fah refuse to take it. The mercenaries manipulate Vivenna into taking the Breath despite her moral objections, because it would be worth enough sold to buy her whatever resources she would need to help her sister. Lemex gives his Breath to her, and she is amazed at the new life and color awareness it gives her.
Siri begs Treledees to let her leave the palace after the days she has spent trapped inside. He is deeply offended, because her period of isolation is the least she can do to honor the God King. She orders dinner, is scrubbed and primped, and once again brought to the bedchamber of the God King. At the door, Bluefingers gives her a cryptic warning to be careful, but when Siri presses him for more information, he does not tell her anything.
Kneeling naked on the floor, Siri contemplates her options and becomes completely frustrated. Finally, she shouts at the God King to just “get on with it!” Immediately embarrassed and fearful of punishment, she ducks back into a kneel but soon lifts her head to look the God King in the eye. At the usual time of his departure, he gets up and leaves. She crawls into bed, relieved and unpunished.
Lightsong hears petitions, struggling with the dreams he has been having of T'Tellir burning and his own doubts about his usefulness and the Iridescent Tones religion. A woman presents her dying infant to Lightsong, begging him to heal the child. He refuses, knowing that to do so he would need to give up his divine Breath and die. Suddenly overcome with emotion, Lightsong throws down his cap and storms from the room, a retinue of priests and servants following. He shouts at them to leave, and Llarimar comes in to reason with him. Lightsong asks Llarimar about the reasoning behind the Iridescent Tones theology, especially frustrated with the fact that he doesn't consider his dreams divination, and that he must effectively commit suicide to heal someone and become useful. Llarimar answers his questions with unshakeable calm, teaching him for the first time much of the religion. Lightsong falls again to banter, and asks Llarimar a few more questions about why he Returned and the new queen's effect on court politics.
Siri looks out the window of the God King's bedroom over the sea. She does not know why she is still unpunished for being rude to the God King, but recognizes that she needs to stop being afraid and start directing her life again.
Vivenna awakes, having fallen asleep in Lemex's house. Despite the fact they are no longer under Lemex's orders, Denth and Tonk Fah insist that their, as well as the third member of their group, Jewels' contract was paid halfway and that they have a few more weeks of work that they feel they owe to Vivenna. Vivenna decides to give away the Breath she holds, one at a time to Drabs, but Denth informs her this is impossible, because Breath must be given away all at once or not at all. Tonk Fah suggests she Awaken something to hold the Breath, but this disgusts Vivenna. They ask her what her goal is staying in T'Tellir, and she tells them that she plans to untraceably rescue Siri from the palace, possibly staying in her place. The mercenaries say that this is not their business, but perhaps they could put her in contact with useful people. They then say that they are going to search Lemex's house for valuables and information, and that Vivenna should go see her sister being presented before the Court of Gods, now that she has enough Breath to get in without question.
Siri is being prepared to be presented before the Court of Gods. The serving women do her hair and present her with options of dresses, while she excitedly considers the prospect of exiting the palace, if only to go into the Court and see the gods. Getting into the festivities, Siri decides to try on many gowns and enjoy the ostentatious ornamentation in her hair.
The light rain falling on the proceedings in the Court of Gods causes Lightsong to banter with Llarimar and Blushweaver about the limits of Returned godly powers. He claims he wants it to be sunny, so the weather should reflect that. Llarimar says that the rain is for the best, and Blushweaver insists she wants a tempest, so the light rain is merely a compromise of their wills. Blushweaver and he continue to talk politics, with Blushweaver seeking Lightsong's support, but they pause for the presentation of the new queen.
Siri is carried in a sedan chair to her place in the Court of Gods. She basks briefly in the rain, feeling how good it is to be outside again. She settles into her seat, and watches the colorfully dressed Hallandren people watching and the different gods arrive.
Vivenna, attended by Parlin, enters the crowded entrance into the Court of Gods without trouble because of her Breath. She worries about being conspicuous in her modest Idrian dress, but then realizes that there is such a variety in dress that nothing she could possibly wear would make her stand out. She resists the urge, like Siri, to kick off her shoes and walk in the grass. Vivenna watches with disgust an arrogant god entering the court through the gods' entrance. She then sees Siri in her low-cut gown and concludes that it is a show to prove that the Hallandren can do anything they want with a modest Idrian girl. She resolves to rescue Siri as soon as possible.
Up on her seat on the balcony, Siri awaits the arrival of the God King. Suddenly, everyone bows and her white serving bowl throws out prisms of color, marking his arrival behind her.
Siri is awed by the appearance of the God King, who is more youthful looking than she knew, and also splits white light into the color spectrum by his mere presence.
Blushweaver kneels at the entrance of the God King, and tells Lightsong to not hurt their cause by refusing to kneel. Lightsong feels that he owes no allegiance to the God King, and idly wonders how he would be punished if he didn't kneel. He does kneel, however, fearing for the safety of his serving people.
Still amazed by the God King, Siri asks Bluefingers, who has just appeared, about the God King's prism-like effects. Bluefingers explains that his powers are largely results of having a trove of Breath passed on from Peacegiver, who ended the Manywar generations ago. He also mentions that he does not believe in the deity of the God King, as a Pahn Kahl. Siri reflects on the history between the Idrians and the Hallandren, with the original royal family being driven out of Hallandren and into Idris when Kalad started the Manywar. The God King is lifted by Awakened ropes to his throne.
Vivenna sits in the crowd, debating whether the Breath she holds is beautiful because of the pitch and life sense it grants her, or a corruption. She decides it is even more of a corruption than she thought because of its beauty. She sees an unkempt man with a large BioChromatic aura watching her. She notices that the sword he carries also seems to have an aura. She panics, and turns to leave, but Parlin stops her, telling her that she might want to stay because the gods' priests are debating going to war with Idris.
Arguments for and against going to war against Idris are heard in the Court of Gods. Blushweaver’s priest, Inhanna argues for war, and Nanrovah, Stillmark’s high priest, argues against. Lightsong feels uncomfortable, because he has been having dreams of destruction he subconsciously fears will come true with war. Blushweaver asks for Lightsong’s Commands so she can control his part of the Lifeless army. He dodges her request, and they begin discussing the cleverness of the Idrians sending the wrong princess as a random element into court. Blushweaver worries that she has been sent to influence the God King in favor of Idris.
Siri asks her servant what the Court is arguing about. The servant sends for Treledees, who tells her they are arguing whether or not to go to war with Idris, which they consider a rebel province. Siri contains her objections to this stance, and Treledees says that she could help stabilize the Hallandren kingdom and forestall war if she were to provide an heir as quickly as possible. Siri flushes and says that she is working on it, but Treledees disagrees, hinting that there are spies within the palace who know what is really going on. Siri becomes even more embarrassed at the thought of people watching or listening in on her and the God King.
Lightsong approaches Siri, thinking because of Blushweaver’s reasoning, that she is a dangerous element that the Idrians cleverly introduced to the Court. Siri is awkward speaking to a god, disconcerted by his levity, and Lightsong gradually realizes that her naivete is not an act. He feels sorry for her, knowing that she has been thrown into the thick of Court politics, and tells her to not let other people get to her and leaves.
Vivenna returns to Lemex’s house, which the mercenaries have ransacked thoroughly. Denth and Tonk Fah show her Lemex’s secret stash of five thousand gold marks and his personal papers, many of which are communications with King Dedelin. Through the letters, Vivenna learns that her father gave Lemex enough money to buy Breath to enter the Court, and that Dedelin felt that war with Hallandren was inevitable and that not sending Vivenna was purely a matter of favoritism. Feeling betrayed, but even more determined to rescue Siri seeing that her father thought of her as good as dead, Vivenna resolves to hire the mercenaries, proved trustworthy because they did not run off with Lemex’s fortune when they had the chance. She believes she must continue Lemex’s work in undermining the Hallandrens’ ability to wage war.
Siri waits nervously outside of the bedchamber door with Bluefingers. She asks him about those spying on her in the bedchamber, and he indicates that they listen, but don’t watch. She resolves to take a stand, thinking that the God King is simply insolent and lazy. She doesn’t strip off her shift, but instead sits on the bed and fakes the noises of sex the best she can. Before she falls asleep, she thinks she sees confusion on the God King’s face but dismisses that as silly. She falls asleep peacefully.
Lightsong refuses to get out of bed. Llarimar comes in, dismissing the servants so he can have a candid discussion with Lightsong. Lightsong tells him that he fears to take any kind of political action, fearing that Blushweaver’s push for war is a path of destruction, based on his nightmares. He is afraid that in her haste for war, Blushweaver will crush the young queen. Llarimar tells him that his inaction would equate to action, and then lets slip that he knew Lightsong before he Returned. This tidbit invigorates Lightsong, who begins asking questions about his past life to no avail. Llarimar is then successful at making him get out of bed.
Having relocated to a nondescript house in the rich part of town, Vivenna discusses working with Vahr’s associate revolutionaries to sabotage the war. Denth justifies working with crime lords and sabotaging the supply lines of food by explaining that these are the only people still loyal to Vahr’s cause and that war is inevitable, so all tactics must be used.
Clod, the group’s Lifeless, enters with Jewels. Vivenna is disgusted by the Lifeless abomination, but Denth justifies him by saying that all necessary means must be used to save Idris and that if she doesn’t allow Clod, then she will have to find a new group of mercenaries. Jewels informs her partners that Vasher is in the city. Vivenna figures out they are talking about the unkempt man with the mysterious sword that watched her in the Court of Gods and tells them. This makes them very worried, as they say that Vasher wants to kill her in addition to his grudge against them and must know who she is by now.
Siri again awaits outside the God King’s chamber door. Bluefingers says that he is worried, because creating a child with the God King would be the worst possible thing Siri could do. He hints at different factions in the palace, and that she is in grave danger. Confused, but knowing full well that she is in no danger of becoming pregnant, Siri enters the God King’s chamber. As she drifts off to sleep after her moaning routine to fool the listening priests, Siri is startled by the God King, Susebron, looming over her. She shrieks but apologizes to a startled Susebron. He tentatively shows her a children’s storybook and wants her to read to him. She is confused, but after he opens his mouth, she realizes that his tongue has been cut out so he can’t use any of his Breath and that this makes him a mere figurehead. She begins to use the book to teach him to read.
Vasher climbs from the God King’s palace, using his Awakened clothes to enhance his strength, into the Court. He pretends to be insane and seeking the blessing of the goddess Mercystar. He uses his Awakened clothing to strangle and knock out the guards and sneaks into her palace. He stumbles into a group of servants, and uses rope to subdue them. He then Awakens a Lifeless squirrel, commanding it to make a ruckus in the palace. He uses the distraction to find the trapdoor entrance to the tunnels leading from the palace and climbs in.
Lightsong plays an impossibly hard game, Tarachin, with the gods Weatherlove, Truthcall, and Lifeblesser. Despite not knowing the rules, Lightsong wins handily. While playing, they discuss politics. The gods, except for Lightsong, plot about going to war with Idris and using the new queen in their political games. Lightsong, knowing she is naive, worries for her but tries to tell himself there is nothing he can do. However, his dreams of war and destruction haunt him, and he sets off to see Blushweaver in hopes of helping the queen and preventing the war.
Vivenna eats in a restaurant with Denth, Tonk Fah, and their contact, Fob. They convince Fob, a landowner, to harvest his crop early by proving to him that Vivenna is an Idrian princess with her royal color-changing hair. They leave to meet with Grable, a crime lord who attempts to kidnap her. Denth kills two of Grable’s guards almost inhumanly fast and they leave. In an alleyway, a random Idrian, Thame, approaches Vivenna, asking her if she has come to help the oppressed Idrians in Hallandren. She tells him yes, but the mercenaries whisk him away because they think he is a plant from Grable. Later, they meet in a safe location, and they determine after some knuckle-cracking and tough talk on the mercenaries’ part, some kind words on Vivenna’s part, and some investigations on Jewels’ part that he is what he says he is. This gives Vivenna the idea of meeting with the common Idrians in the city. The mercenaries say it is dangerous, but she insists.
Lightsong approaches Blushweaver, who is being entertained by portable garden arrangements. Through a letter she hands him, he informs her that he is ready to join her political scheming. Blushweaver tells Lightsong that Mercystar’s palace had been broken into the night before and the two go to meet with her.
Mercystar, in a state of flaky distraughtness, is comforted by Blushweaver, who is trying to worm Mercystar’s Lifeless army commands out of her. When Lightsong hears that a servant was killed in addition to those knocked unconscious in the break-in, he becomes intensely curious about solving the mystery. He abandons Blushweaver to go interrogate the servants. He notes a patch of grey wall and determines that if the intruder was not an Idrian as Mercystar said. Although according to oath, they cannot lie to a god, Lightsong senses that the servants are lying about the details they are giving him, which makes him even more curious about the case.
Siri walks into the palace library to get a history book to enlighten herself on the God King’s succession history. The scribes tell her that she may not take any books out of the room, foiling her plan. Later that night, Siri and the Susebron talk, communicating through writing. Siri teaches him of sarcasm, and he uses it jokingly. Susebron asks of an heir, and Siri realizes he knows nothing of the process of making one. They then discuss whether or not the God King continues living after an heir is produced, because the histories are all unknown to Siri or jumbled, and she is worried about Bluefingers’ cryptic warnings.
Vivenna walks through the streets of T’Tellir. She tries to spot the mercenaries in the crowd, and sees their first distraction, a building on fire. Then Clod, the mercenaries’ Lifeless, clubs high priest Nanrovah’s horse to halt his carriage, making the second distraction: his gold coins spilling onto the street. Vivenna and Jewels return to the house, waiting for the mercenaries. Jewels is irritable, and Vivenna tries to comfort her for being a Drab. Jewels responds vehemently that she believes that giving her Breath to the God King was the right thing to do. Denth and Tonk Fah return, and tell her that their theft of most of T’Tellir’s salt to sabotage the war succeeded. Vivenna asks Denth about his beliefs and origins, causing Denth to dodge her questions and then storm away.
Lightsong awakes a full hour earlier than usual, chipper and ready to go and investigate. He refuses to stop and record his dreams, but instead goes to look at the art offerings. One abstract, red painting makes Lightsong see a battle scene with a sea of fighting Lifeless and people with a woman holding up a terrible, dark sword. He tells Llarimar, who is worried by his prophetic vision in the painting. Lightsong tells Llarimar his dream of a storming sea and a red panther. They arrive at Mercystar’s palace, finding her out visiting Allmother. Through questioning all witnesses separately, Lightsong determines that there were two intruders, one that took care not to kill, and one that swiftly killed the only witness of his passing. Lightsong sees a trapdoor, and guesses that both intruders left through there. He has a priest fetch the Lifeless squirrel used as a distraction during the break-in, and tells his priests to break its Command. His feelings of curiosity about the crime worry him, so he questions Llarimar about his past life, who does not tell him anything.
Being blocked from reading books, and with Bluefingers avoiding her, Siri returns to the arena to seek out Lightsong to try and get information on what happened to the previous God Kings. Lightsong offers to answer her questions if she answers his own, which she agrees to. Lightsong's priest, Llarimar, helps to answer her questions and she discovers that the previous 2 God King's died shortly after producing a male heir. Llarimar suggests she tries a professional storyteller. To get around the priests trying to block her from getting information, Siri asks Lightsong to summon a storyteller, which he agrees to do. Having fulfilled his part of the bargain, Lightsong then asks Siri about law enforcement, as he tries to discover what he was before he Returned. After getting answers to his questions, Lightsong offers warning and advice to Siri away from their servants, telling her that she needs to come across as average when she plays politics, and to not rely on Lightsong.
Vivenna meets with Thame, discussing the Idrians in Hallandren while she reflects on her situation in relation to theirs. Thame tells her that he's organized for her to meet with the Idrians in three days. After Thame leaves, Denth notes that Vivenna is starting to fit in. The pair, along with Jewels, Parlin, and Clod, leave the restaurant to meet some forgers. Vivenna commissions them to create documents to show the Hallandren priests as corrupt, extorting the Indrian King for years, as well as to show that the Idrians do not want to go to war. After the deal is done, they head off to meet some thieves they'd hired earlier. Vivenna thinks she should send Parlin back to Idris. Denth teases her about being attracted to Parlin, which Vivenna denies.
Susebron asks Siri to tell him about the mountains. She dismisses them as boring as compared to Hallandren, to which Susebron points out all he is confined to the palace, and pampered, winning the argument. Siri starts to tell him about the mountains, but gets sidetracked when she mentions Austre. When Susebron asks about it, she goes on to try and explain her religion, and the existence of other religions, to the God King. After the conversation returns to the mountains, Susebron begins to flatter Siri. He then comments he wished he could let Siri go home so she could see the mountains again, suggesting he could ask the priests. Siri warns that that could be dangerous, as the priests could find out that he's been talking to her. Susebron doesn't agree that his priests are planning to kill him. They briefly discuss how the God King passes on his Breath. Susebron then comments it makes him sad that his wife doesn't believe in his divinity.
Vivenna views 4 dead bodies, belonging to thieves that had worked for Denth previously. They bear wounds with a dark black tinge, the result of Vasher's sword. Denth explains that this is why they were so worried about Vasher. They decide they're going to have to find a way of dealing with Vasher's sword. Tonk Fah suggests stealing it, but Denth instead plans to have Vasher draw it and kill Vasher after it has weakened him. Vivenna realizes she is being watched by someone with a lot of breath.
Vasher watches Denth and his party. Nightblood wants to go talk to VaraTreledees (the name by which he knows Denth), as well as wanting to meet Shashara. Vasher reminds Nightblood that they killed Shashara, along with Arsteel, a long time ago. Vasher worries about the rumors spreading about him, knowing that later he's still going to have to deal with Denth and those with him.
Blushweaver finds Lightsong trying his hand at being a potter. He quickly discovers that he has no idea how to make pottery. He then grabs five lemons and attempts to juggle them, this time successfully. He asks Blushweaver to grab a guava and throw it to him. She complies, and Lightsong smoothly grabs it and adds it to the fruit he's juggling. Blushweaver wonders if he has lost his mind. Lightsong explains that he's been trying to work out what he did in his past life, having found out that he knows a lot of sailing terms, he's fantastic at mathematics, and has a good eye for sketching. He's also found out he knows nothing about the dyeing industry, horses, and gardening, has no talent for sculpting, and has just found out he's terrible at pottery. They talk while walking to Hopefinder's place. They discuss current events with the rumours of the Idrian agents causing a ruckus and a second princess being in the city. While Blushweaver and Hopefinder talk, Lightsong considers the appearance of the gods, how it seemed that a Returned's appearence seemed to reflect how they saw themselves. Blushweaver finally gets to her point. She wants the commands for Hopefinder's Lifeless. He says he'll give them to her if she gives him her vote in social matters. In a move that surprises all present, she agrees to the terms. As Hopefinder prepares to give Blushweaver the codes, Lightsong sees a vision of a prison. Hopefinder tells them the command. As Lightsong and Blushweaver leave, she reveals that Mercystar had also given Blushweaver her Commands, partly due to Lightsong's investigative work. Lightsong wonders if he was a sheriff or an investigator, but can't work out how juggling lemons fits into the picture.
Denth doesn't want to go through with actually meeting the Idrians in the slums, but Vivenna insists. She comments that she worries for her people being surrounded by the gangs and prostitutes of the slums. Denth tells her that those are in fact Idrians, along with everyone else in the slums. Vivenna refuses to believe but then starts to see symbols of Austre, and mementos of the highlands. They meet with Thame. Vivenna decides to address the people before meeting with the other leaders. It doesn't go as planned - the people don't want to return to the mountains - they just want to see the Hallandrens suffer. Vivenna goes to meet the other leaders. She realizes that they are slum lords seeking personal gain and scolds them for their impiety. Before long she decides she wants to walk out. Before she can, they are interrupted by a Lifeless raid, coming right for them. Vivenna runs, but is attacked by three Lifeless. She tries to use her Breaths to awaken something to defend herself, but she isn't able to. She is saved when Clod appears, taking out the three Lifeless but at the cost of his life.
Siri wakes up and plans her next move while going about her morning ritual. She decides to send a message with one of the Pahn Kahl servants to Bluefingers, telling him she has vital information, which she wishes to trade. She then goes to meet Lightsong. The discussion briefly touches on the reasons for why people Return, and Siri theories that Lightsong could have been a diplomat or a salesman of some sort. Lightsong has a surprise for Siri - an elderly storyteller with a long white beard whom Lightsong introduces as Hoid. Siri asks the storyteller about the days before the division between Idris and Hallandren. Hoid proceeds to tell her about the First Returned, then moving on to the background of the Manywar, telling how it had been about BioCromatic Breath in addition to the Tears of Edgli, which was more commonly believed as the reason for the war. One of the Five Scholars discovered a means by which a Lifeless could be created from a single Breath. Further still, Kalad (one of the Scholars) was said to have created a more powerful type of Lifeless, which came to be known as Kalad's Phantoms. Hoid tells her that it's unclear as to why the royal family separated from Kalad, but that they had blood of the First Returned - being descended from the First Returned. Hoid tells of Peacegiver bequeathing his breath to the next God King after dispelling Kalad's Phantoms and ending the Manywar. The story ends with the revelation that each God King fathered a stillborn son who then Returned and took his place. Siri asks why the previous God Kings died. Hoid tells her that the God Kings only live as long as it takes them to produce an heir. Siri thanks Hoid, and asks him where he learnt his particular style of storytelling with the colorful dust, to which he replies that he learnt it in a distant place where two lands meet and gods have died. Lightsong comments that maybe they should be hoping for Susebron to pass on, because maybe then she could return home, and everyone would be either happy or dead. Siri excuses herself and leaves to avoid Lightsong seeing her crying.
Jewels works to repair Clod. She accidentally slips, letting Vivenna hear Clod's security phrase. Denth talks to Vivenna about her near death experience, telling her she did well in that she didn't freeze. She asks him to teach her Awakening. Denth asks her if she's sure. Vivenna explains that now she really hates this kingdom, wanting them to hurt. Denth realizes, and Vivenna admits, that she hadn't come to Hallandren for her sister, but because when Siri had gone, she'd felt inadequate, and needed to to prove herself. Vivenna then asks about what Jewels is doing. Denth explains that Lifeless are not equal, that a Lifeless who was an experienced soldier before dying would retain some of their fighting ability when Awakened. Denth explains that to Awaken, she'll need to learn the Commands. He explains that the Commands need to also be formed in the mind first to direct the intent behind the Command. She thanks him for what he's told her, telling him he's a good man. He replies that he's not been a good man in some years. Jewels finishes up, and they return home.
Parlin meets them when they return. Vivenna gets jealous when he asks about Jewels' well being. After the conversation, she goes to her room, locks the door, and goes to close the drapes, only to see a figure on her balcony, carrying a deep black sword. The man tells her angrily that she's been causing a lot of trouble. The drapes muffle and pin her, and choke her into unconsciousness.
Lightsong feels slightly guilty as he watches the queen leave. He hadn't expected her reaction to his comment about the God King's death. He guesses that she is concerned about losing her status should the God King die. He returns to listening to the proceedings, with priests arguing for going to war. Blushweaver eventually comes over. She comments that soon they'll be voting for going to war. Lightsong asks if she's changed the Commands on Hopefinder's army, to which she nods. Blushweaver expresses annoyance at Allmother, who controls the final part quarter of the armies. Lightsong doesn't understand why the Goddess of matrons and families needs ten thousand Lifeless. He decides to go talk to Allmother about her codes, though Blushweaver reminds Lightsong that Allmother doesn't like him very much. To change the subject after Blushweaver notices Lightsong observing Siri, he asks her about the tunnels beneath the Court of Gods.
Siri watches the court proceedings, feeling a little like Lightsong - it was frustrating to listen when she didn't have a say in the court, but still wanted to know what was happening. As she listens, she hears the priests discuss an Idrian agent who has been stirring up trouble - purportedly a princess. Siri smiles, knowing neither of her sisters were the type to come and work as "Idrian agents". She couldn't imagine Vivenna having to become Susebron's bride. Her thoughts are interrupted by Blushweaver, who accuses Siri of spoiling Lightsong and pulling him into her schemes. Blushweaver tells her that Lightsong is one of the last good people in the court, and that if Siri taints him, Blushweaver will destroy Siri. As Blushweaver leaves, she calls Siri a slut. Embarrassed, Siri flees to the palace.
Having returned to the palace, she decides to bathe and prepare for the evening. While she is getting washed, Bluefingers comes in, having gotten her message about having vital information. She tells him she knows about what happens when a new God King takes the throne. This gets Bluefingers to tell her a bit about what he knows about the God King, and he tells her he's worried about the God King's life. She then tells him that she has been talking to the God King, but that it was the God King that told her to contact Bluefingers, being aware of the priest's plans to kill him. She makes a deal with Bluefingers to look after him should things turn out right, but otherwise, Bluefingers needs to get Susebron and her out of the palace. He agrees and leaves. Siri knows she's gained something but is not sure how to use it.
Vivenna awakes sore and in a strange room. She realizes the figure from her room is there. She panics when he turns around. He warns her to behave, not having decided whether to kill her or not. He cuts the ropes tying her hands, and then reaches for his sword. As she scrabbles to get away from him, he point it at her, commanding her to be quiet. As she huddles in the corner, the man (who she knows has to be Vasher) undoes the clasp on the black sword. Vivenna feels nauseous as black smoke begins to curl up from the blade. He drops the sword on the floor in front of her, commanding her to pick it up. He repeats the command, before bellowing it again when starts to reach for it, thinking that maybe should could use it against Vasher before shying away. She grabs it, feeling a terrible sickness travel up her arm to her stomach, and hears a voice in her head asking her if she would like to kill someone. She drops the weapon, retching onto the floor, having pulled away her gag. Vasher grunts seemingly in surprise as he picks the weapon back up, and cleans up the mess she has made. He ties her back up in a second, smaller room, telling her not to run or else he'll find her and kill her, and that he has work to do, cleaning up the mess she had created. He then leaves.
An hour later, she has finished crying and decides now to try and escape by using a Command to untie her bonds. She tries Commanding through the gag, but realizes that it is futile, so instead works to get the gag off first. Having done that, she again attempts to Command the ropes. She is unsuccessful until she remembers that visualizing your intent is important, and speaks a simple Command - "Untie". She grabs the rope after it unties itself, unlocks the door, peaks outside into the dark, and then rushes out into the night.
She wanders aimlessly until she notices a broken statue of a horse man and recalls Denth's directions to Parlin on how to get from the safe house to the restaurant. She realizes that the safe house is just nearby, so she enters and goes down to the cellar, only to find a corpse tied to a chair, which she soon realize belongs to Parlin. She feels a hand on her shoulder - Tonk Fah. As she tries to flee back up the stairs she runs into Denth, who asks her why she ran way, and what tipped her off. Vivenna realizes they'd been manipulating her the whole time. She refuses to say anything. She attempts to Awaken Tonk Fah's cloak, but is prevented from finishing the Command by Denth putting his hand over her mouth. The bad command still causes Breath to enter the cloak. Denth realizes that Vivenna has marks on her wrists from being tied up, realizing she hadn't run, but rather Vasher had taken her. Worried, Denth decides to get Vivenna to give her Breath to him, telling her to repeat the words, "My Life to yours. My Breath become yours." Instead, Vivenna whispers Clod's security phrase and orders him to "Attack Denth." As Clod punches Denth, she breaks free, ramming her shoulder into Jewels, scrambling up the stairs, throwing the latch on the top of the doors, and escaping out into the city, finding the smallest, dirtiest, darkest alleyways she can.
When Siri talks to him about the God King successions, he tells her he wouldn't leave her. She notices he's getting more articulate in his writing. Though Siri wonders how he can be sure, he convinces her. She then brings up the question of how to deal with his priests. He doesn't respond, not yet agreeing with her assessment of his priests. He asks her if she would grow her hair. She asks what color to make it, to which he replies "Red". She tries to be flirtatious in her response, but then has to try and explain the concept. Susebron expresses his frustration of not being able to understand things that most people take for granted, having only had children's stories, with no interaction outside of his priests, and is worried that he'll never understand Siri. She responds by saying that he knows her better than most people back home, who just wanted her to be more like her sister, who was more reserved. Susebron can't understand that, saying Siri has so much color on the inside that it bursts out and colors her surroundings. The conversation lapses, and they sit for awhile, with Susebron hesitantly wrapping his arm around Siri. The moment is spoiled by Siri's stomach rumbling in response to having exhausted so much energy growing her hair. Susebron orders some food, and they both eat. Siri reckons they need to somehow expose the truth behind what the priests are doing to the world outside, though they can't come up with a good plan. Siri asks if Susebron would run away with her back to Idris if she could prove his priests are trying to kill him. He tells her that he would, but does not believe it will get to that point.
After fleeing from Denth and his companions Vivenna wanders through the Idrian Slums. She thinks about their betrayal and Parlin's death for which she feels guilty. At one point, a thief forces her to give up her fine dress and leggings. Only wearing her shift and with white hair she rubs herself mud and dirt to not stand out in the slums. She takes a dirty shawl from a pile of cloth on the street to wrap around her. But with her Breath she is visible to everyone with the First Heightening. Thinking about this problem she gives her Breath to the shawl. She is now a drab and has to care for her shawl containing all of her Breath.
Lightsong wakes early, having dreamed of a battle in which friend after friend was killed. He also dreamed of Blushweaver with her face flushed and the God King crying. He orders Llarimar to procure a number of urns, painted with each god's colors.
Lightsong throws pebbles into urns. Blushweaver stops by, asks what he is doing, and notes that he is becoming very strange. He explains that he is counting the colors of priests that enter the Court. Upon counting the results, while most gods have hundreds of priests entering the court, a number have very few - including Mercystar. Lightsong intends to have her priests watched, to count how many she actually has, believing that she has just as many as any other god, except they use the tunnels to get around instead. He believes the intruder with the squirrel broke into Mercystar's palace to access the tunnels. Lightsong asks Blushweaver why any of the gods are here, and why, from the moment he Returned, he refused to believe he was a god. After their conversation, he leaves to talk to Allmother about her Lifeless Commands.
Vivenna lives as a drab. She is on the run from Denth and his gang, as well as hiding from Vasher. She tries to beg, unsuccessfully, because she is made to move on by the City Guard. She sells her hair to buy food, but the food she buys doesn't even give her the strength to regrow it. She notices that her mind doesn't seem to be working right. After these indignities, she bemoans her fate to herself, acknowledging how helpless she is. Other than her shawl and her shift, she has lost everything; she has eaten rotting garbage from the gutters and would be willing to steal to live if she had the opportunity. She goes to find a place to sleep in the Idrian slums where she hangs out when she isn't trying to beg, eventually settling in for the night in her third-favorite alleyway. Her first and second favorites were occupied by a group of desperate men and the gang of urchins that beat her up and stole her last coin, respectively.
Siri dines in the court, trying various types of seafood, which she doesn't like. Treledees shows up, but she ignores him and makes him wait. After some insistent throat-clearing, Siri finally acknowledges him. He had summoned her, but she ignored the request, trying to assert some authority. They verbally spar, and she realizes that he has enough Breath to perceive slight color changes in her hair. He interrogates her about her "wifely duties." She reveals that she knows about Susebron's cut-off tongue, and Treledees explains that it was necessary to guard the treasure of Breaths that Peacegiver had left them. She requests that her serving girls be replaced by Pahn Kahl servants, hoping that that will help facilitate their escape, if necessary.
Vivenna earns one bit (coin) from her begging, but that is not even enough to buy a place at a garbage can outside a restaurant. Her mind is fuzzy due to lack of food and illness. She considers prostitution, realizing that her morals are being set aside for her more immediate needs. She finds a decent place to sleep and is ambushed by thugs, led there by the same man who robbed her of her clothes. Denth has put a bounty on her. She is led away, too weak and hungry to even attempt escape. They come upon Nightblood. One man picks up the sword and proceeds to kill the rest of the thugs, then himself. Vasher slings her over his shoulder.
Lightsong repeatedly requests to see Allmother, but he is repeatedly denied entrance. He commands his servants to set up a pavilion outside her palace, threatening to stay there until she will talk to him. He then sends in Vasher's squirrel to make a ruckus. He is finally admitted.
Allmother is hearing petitions. Rather than simply saying no, she makes arrangements to help her petitioners. It appears to Lightsong that Allmother looks older than when he last saw her, which is impossible for Returned that have reached a mature age. She scolds him for acting the fool and undermining the gods' authority with the people. He tells her his Lifeless commands, but she perceives that he is simply shirking his responsibility as a god, so she gives him her commands.
Vivenna has been unconscious for a week. She wakes up in a room with Vasher with clean clothes on, still dizzy and hungry, but not famished. Vasher scolds her for getting fooled by Denth and asks if she gave all of her Breath to him. She admits that it's stored in her shawl. She recovers the Breath and feels much better, experiencing a shock of pleasure that incapacitates her for a moment. Vasher makes Vivenna see how she was used by Denth to encourage the priests to start a war against her homeland of Idris.
Vivenna and Vasher go back to the Idrian slums. Vasher explains that Denth has been hired to start a war between Idris and Hallandren, and he doesn't know why or by whom. They enter the home where some Idrians are gathered. Vivenna displays the royal locks and begs them to not go to war, as Idris would surely lose. Vasher displays his lack of diplomacy and tact as he tries to convince them to avoid war. Eventually, the men promise to try to influence other Idrians against the war. Vivenna is still distraught over being fooled by Denth, and Vasher sympathetically explains that he's good at taking people in with his charisma. She agrees to continue to work with him.
Siri and Susebron eat together in the conception room. She warns him not to eat too many sweets, but he explains that Returned don't get fat; they always look the same. He tells her that he confronted his priests directly about what would happen to him after he fathered an heir. They answered vaguely that all would be fine. Susebron speculates that the God King is simply a vessel for the treasure of Breaths. They come to the conclusion that a still-born Returned infant from somewhere in the kingdom is the actual heir, not a child that they would bear. He then wonders if his "mother" was actually his biological mother, and Siri assures him that the woman who raised him is his mother. She tells him about her family and they start to snuggle. Susebron leans over to kiss Siri, passion takes over, and Siri leads the way. The marriage is consummated.
Lightsong dreams of T’Telir burning, the God King's death, and a black sword.
Vivenna waits for Vasher in a tiny room. She's exhausted from making so many visits to various Idrians, trying to avert war. Vasher lives a spartan lifestyle. Vivenna contemplates who she is, and she decides that she never wants to be incompetent again. She begins to practice Awakening with a length of rope. Vasher walks in on her and gives her some tips. He lectures her like a scholar on the different BioChromatic entities and Awakening techniques. He refuses to answer her question about Type IV entities, Awakened objects with sentience. He gives her a dueling sword and they go out for yet another visit.
Lightsong contemplates his role as a god and his struggles to live up to it. He presses Llarimar on the identity of the young woman from his dreams. He reveals only that she was not his wife or lover and that she is still alive. This motivates Lightsong to action.
Lightsong goes to the Lifeless Enclave. He observes the track and other facilities to keep the Lifeless in good physical condition. They stand in their ranks in the dark, not moving at all. Lightsong orders all the priests out so he can give his and Allmother's Lifeless a new command. He has decided to not confide the command to any of his priests so that it can't be bribed or tortured out of them.
Siri and Susebron lie in bed in the morning. She ponders their relationship and fears the consequences of their actions (i.e. having sex and possibly producing a child). They express their love to each other. Susebron wants to assert his authority as the God King and take control of the government. They discuss enlisting the help of Lightsong since he cannot speak. They discuss the alternate plan of fleeing, but Susebron believes that this will only be abandoning Irdris to invasion. If they were to flee, Siri worries that he will die without his weekly Breaths, but he explains that he can feed off of the treasure one Breath per week. They decide to implement his plan.
Vasher watches Vivenna practice Awakening through a window as he hangs from an Awakened rope. He marvels and how quickly she is learning and laments that she came to Hallandren, providing Denth with a very effective tool. He also thinks that Denth didn't really need her anyway, and that he shouldn't have stayed away for so long, but he couldn't come sooner. Nightblood likes Vivenna.
Vasher comes in and reports that Denth's safe houses are abandoned. He suggests meeting with some more working-class Idrians, and Vivenna expresses her doubts that their efforts are doing any good compared to Denth's plots. Both are frustrated and discuss what they can do differently, and Vasher mentions a priest named Nanrovah that suddenly turned against his anti-war stance. This jogs Vivenna's memory: the priest's coach was involved in one of Denth's operations. Vasher leaves to try to figure out more.
While Vasher is away, Vivenna ponders her judgment of Vasher. He comes back and reveals that the robbery was a cover for the real target: the carriage. He puts on some other clothes and gives them various Commands, preparing for combat. He gives Vivenna a quick lesson in swordplay and invites her to come along. She arms herself with some awakened rope and says that it's better to lose Breath than to die. Vasher seems to agree with her. They walk to a small house and Vasher disables the guards. He then uses Awakened straw men to find a trap door in the back. They proceed into the basement and find the priest's daughter captive in a cage. Vasher is furious and engages the thieves with Nightblood (sheathed) while Vivenna frees the child. Vasher appears larger. His fury is such that he considers unsheathing Nightblood, but Vivenna distracts him by getting him to help get the girl. Oddly, the girl rushes into Vasher's arms; Vivenna couldn't get her to move.
Vasher and Vivenna walk to Nanrovah's house. Vivenna notices that the girl's BioChromatic aura flickers a bit. It appears that Vasher did something to her involving Breath. She appears to have completely forgotten the ordeal, worrying that her mother will be upset that she is dirty. They return her to a very grateful Nanrovah. Vasher is also able to quiet and make instant friends of the guard dogs. He tells Vivenna that she has redeemed herself by leading to the rescue of the girl.
Lightsong and Blushweaver chat as they enter the arena. She suggests that they share each other's Command for his 20,000 lifeless, but he refuses to give her his. He is disgusted with the other Gods for only wanting to be involved in politics but not taking responsibility as leaders of their nation. All of the gods except for the God King finally arrive, and Lightsong is puzzled when he looks for Siri and sees that she is not there yet.
Siri is walking through the palace, going over in her mind the plan to expose what the priests have done to silence and control the God King. As she approaches the door leading to the court, she sees that it is guarded by priests with Lifeless soldiers. Rather than resist, she attempts to exert authority over them, but they lead her away, saying that they will announce that she is pregnant and cannot exert herself. The priests seem to regret their actions.
Vivenna and Vasher watch the debate. Nanrovah is back to arguing against war, but there is little support for that position. Vasher notices that neither the God King nor Siri are in attendance, and goes to find out why. He returns with the news that Siri is pregnant, and Vivenna insists that they rescue her from that "thing" who they assume is also in favor of war with Idris. Vasher promises to try. The priests go back to their respective gods to seek the Will of the Pantheon -- the formal vote to decide whether to go to war.
Lightsong watches as most gods vote to go to war. He tells Blushweaver that those in control of the army have the real power, and that he is willing to defy the Will of the Pantheon if necessary. Blushweaver votes for war. He abstains from voting.
Vasher sneaks into the Court of the Gods, contemplating killing Lightsong. He reflects on the creation of Nightblood, requiring the Ninth Heightening and a thousand Breaths, awakened with the command "Destroy Evil". He sneaks into the God King's palace, searching for the God King's chambers. He interrogates a maid servant, who points him in the direction. There he finds the room guarded by a large group of mercenaries, who he engages by throwing Nightblood at them, but is engaged from behind. He takes out a fair number of them before he's subdued and Denth appears, ordering Vasher's Awakened clothing to be taken from him, and Nightblood thrown out somewhere far away.
Lightsong dines while his servants shift anything that moves into the one room, piling up all the riches he has access to. He considers what the people give him, and thinks about what to do about the coming war that seems inevitable. He asks what Llarimar would do, who says that he'd go to war but not attack. Lightsong then decides to investigate why tensions are higher after the wedding of the God King when it should have unified them.
Siri sits alone in her bedchamber, contemplating her situation, fearful that she is going to be stuck there for six months. She hopes in Susebron, knowing that she taught him to read and gave him the determination needed to break free from his priest.
Lightsong sneaks into Mercystar's palace with Llarimar. They get spotted by two guards once they are inside, but get to the trapdoor to the tunnels beneath the palaces. Llarimar realizes the tunnels are accessible from the Lifeless barracks, before following a tunnel that is visually newer than the others. They stop when they hear some voices, overhearing Denth talking to another person about capturing Vasher. They then hear Blushweaver scream. Lightsong runs in to help, seeing that she has been captured by servants of the God King. Lightsong knocks one of the guards over with his shoulder and picks up the man's sword. Lightsong then finds out he is a useless swordman, and is subdued quickly, though not before getting stabbed in the thigh by one of the guards.
Vivenna waits up, waiting for Vasher's return. She considers everything that has happened to her and the people she has met.
Siri wakes to shouting, quickly rising to check the door to see if she could escape. The door opens and Treledees comes in, telling her to come with him quickly. Siri protests, but she is grabbed by the priest's soldiers.
Old Chapps, a fisherman in the bay is fishing in the dark, when he hears a voice in his head, directing him to shift his net. He complies, shifting the net, and then pulling it up when something catches in it. He finds a silvery sword with a black handle tangled in the net.
Vasher wakes to find himself tied by his wrists to a hook in the ceiling. Denth interrogates him and starts to torture him in retribution for Vasher killing his sister.
Vivenna gets up as dawn approaches, having been unable to sleep, realizing something is wrong as Vasher has not returned. She decides she needs to prove her competence to herself, so she grabs some of Vasher's spare clothing, Awakening various pieces, grabs her sword, and heads out.
Lightsong, Blushweaver, and Llarimar have each been caged separately. Blushweaver is crying. She reveals she's been working with the God King's priesthood the whole time, that she had been tasked with getting the Command phrases. Lightsong decides to try to break out of his cell, asking Llarimar what is used to pick a lock. At this point Llarimar reveals Lightsong had been a scribe, an accountant for a local moneylender. Llarimar describes him as having always having been a fool, with Llarimar always ending up in trouble with him. The God King's priests ask Lightsong for his Command phrases, which he refuses to give. He gives them up after Blushweaver is killed and Llarimar is threatened.
Vivenna asks Tuft what the word on the street was. He doesn't volunteer anything until she gives him a bright handkerchief. She asks specifically about disturbances that could be related to Awakeners, and is directed to the Third Dock slums, and the buildings near the wharf.
Vasher is surprised to find it was already morning. Denth has taken a brief pause from the torture. Vasher observes that Denth still had some good in him. Denth resumes the torture.
Siri is being pulled through the palace. She realises someone is attacking the palace and hopes they are coming to save her. In the last room they enter, she sees Susebron, who is surrounded by guards. Siri asks Treledees what is going on. He doesn't know. They plan to get the group out by a back exit when Bluefingers appears. He starts to take Siri and Susebron, aiming to get to the docks while the other priests give them time to escape. Siri feels like something is wrong, and then remembers Lightsong's comments about being average, and realizes that it is the Pahn Kahl who are attacking, seeking revenge on those who had conquered their land years before. She confronts Bluefingers about this, who runs away. They change their plans to now try and fight their way out the front entrance.
Vivenna quickly finds the location the beggar mentioned. She soon hears Nightblood, and retrieves him. Nightblood tells her that Vasher had gone to try rescue Siri, but had been stopped by Denth, who then threw Nightblood into the water. She takes Nightblood and heads for the Court of Gods.
Lightsong mourns Blushweaver, asking what the point of godhood is. Llarimar interrupts him when Lightsong describes himself as a coward. He goes on to tell Lightsong about who he had been before he Returned. He had been a scribe, and Llarimar's brother. Llarimar had been a priest back then too, but then Lightsong had died saving the girl in Lightsong's visions. She had been Llarimar's daughter, Lightsong's favorite niece. When Lightsong had returned, it had restored Llarimar's waning faith in the Iridescent Tones, and this was the reason why Llarimar viewed Lightsong as god.
Siri, Susebron, and their party of priests have a chance of getting out into the city. Treledees comes clean on the process of how the God King's succession works, but is surprised to find out Siri already knows. However he is shocked to hear that she believes they were planning to kill the God King, telling her that it is possible for the God King to pass on only the Treasure of Peacegiver and retain his divine Breath, but before he can tell her they are attacked by Lifefless. Siri and Susebron flee right into Bluefinger's hands. The Lifeless kill Treledees and the priests.
Vivenna asks the guards at the entrance to the Court of Gods to let her in, but is refused. Nightblood directs her to sneak in from the side. She does so, but is spotted. Nightblood asks her to draw him, but instead she throws him at the guards. She uses this as distraction to run past as Nightblood starts killing people. He continues to give Vivenna advice, directing her to climb out a window and scale the wall, until she gets out of range of his telepathy.
Lightsong tries to absorb everything that has just happened. He realizes that the 'priests' are actually Pahn Kahl.
Siri tries to get information out of Bluefingers as he leads them captive through the hallways. Susebron tries to break them free by punching one of the lifeless, but the pair are quickly subdued. Bluefingers orders the attack on Idris when he is notified that they had received Lightsong's Command phrase. Bluefingers tells Siri about how he plans to enrage both Idris and Hallandren to commit to war. Siri realizes that Bluefingers plans to kill her.
Vivenna is just outside the window of the room in which Vasher is being held by Denth and Tonk Fah. She manages to disable Tonk Fah by throwing an awakened rope at him. Drawing her sword surprises Denth long enough for her to cut the rope keeping Vasher upright, but then Denth stabs her in the shoulder. When Denth goes to free Tonk Fah, she withdraws the Breaths she kept in the hand tassels, and then passes on all her Breath to Vasher. As she backs away towards the window, she's stopped by Tonk Fah, but when his cloak touches her, she realizes she still has Breath stored in the cloak from when she had used a bad command. She withdraws it, and then awakens the cloak with the command 'Attack and grab Denth'. Tonk Fah crashes into Denth, catching Vasher by surprise and causing him to be knocked out the window. Denth orders a squad of Lifeless to be sent, knowing Vasher will have survived the fall.
Vasher uses his rope belt with the Breath he recieved from Vivenna to catch the wall, slowing his fall, before re-purposing it to support his legs as he approaches the ground. He picks up a sword and engages the men seeking to kill him, awaking the clothes of two of the fallen soldiers to help him fight. When fifty Lifeless come around the corner, Vasher hears Nightblood. He withdrew the breath from the two awakened allies he'd made, making a run for Nightblood, who is just in side. He pulls the sword entirely free of its sheath, using it to slay all 50 Lifeless in a matter of minutes, though at the cost of the over half the Breath he had. Vasher then uses Nightblood to cut through walls and ceilings as he rushed back to the room he'd fallen from. Reaching it, he tossed Nightblood aside, barely having Breath enough to reach the First Heightening. A dueling blade gets dropped in front of him. Denth challenges Vasher to a duel.
Bluefingers leads Siri to the top floor of the palace, where she sees a black stone altar. The bodies of dead priests are brought into the room, including Treledee's.
Lightsong looks up to see the God King thrown into the cell next to him. He no longer cares, having failed Blushweaver and everyone else.
Vasher stands up, holding the duelling blade weakly. Denth asks him how he beat Arsteel, and when Vasher says nothing, attacks, stabbing Vasher in the left shoulder.
Siri seeks to understand why Bluefingers needs to kill her. Bluefingers explains why and apologizes for what he is about to do.
Lightsong is crying again. He notices that the God King, while pounding on the bars of his cage and moaning, doesn't speak. He has a vision of the Red Panther, remembering the events leading to his death. There had been a storm, and he'd been attempting to lash down some barrels when a wave hit the boat and washed his niece, Tatara, overboard. Still holding rope in his hand, he leaps after her, managing to find her in the water and throw the loop of rope around her ankle, pulling it tight before being pulled down into the depths of the ocean. Snapping out of his vision, Lightsong sees the God King yell in fear and realizes that his tongue has been cut out to prevent him from using the Treasure of Peacegiver. Lightsong realizes that the God King loved Siri. As the God King is about to be executed, he reaches out to Lightsong. Lightsong grasps the God King's hand and sacrifices his divine Breath, and his life, to heal his king.
Vasher's fight with Denth goes poorly, with Denth landing blow after blow. As they talk, Vasher offers to make Denth forget the terrible things he'd done, which makes him pause to consider it. Denth decides that neither of them deserved that and raises his blade to finish the fight. Vasher touches Denth's leg and gives him fifty breaths. The surprise makes Denth lose control for just a second, falling to his knees. Vasher uses the opportunity to kill Denth, commenting that now Denth knew how Vasher had defeated Arsteel.
Siri begins to get tied to the altar as Bluefingers prepares to kill her. She demands that he give her the decency to die standing up, which he agrees to do. As he places his blade against her chest, she tries to dissuade him to no avail. As he draws back to deliver the blow, the building begins to shake. First the floor and then the rest of the black stones turn white, then the entire room bursts with color. As Bluefingers tries to ram his knife into Siri's chest, Susebron appears, causing him to stop, before awakened cloth pulls him away from Siri. Siri's bonds are removed and she grabs Susebron as he lifts her into his arms.
Vasher eventually finds Vivenna in a closet and sets her free. He tells her Denth is dead, Tonk Fah and Jewels have escaped, and the Lifeless armies have begun to march on Idris.
Susebron leads Siri into the depths of the palace, to where he had been kept captive. Siri sees the bodies of those who had held him, as well as the bodies of Blushweaver and Lightsong. Susebron explains that Lightsong gave his life to heal his tongue. Siri tells him that Lightsong was a very good person. Llarimar tells the God King that in fact Lightsong had died twice to save the God King. They all leave to gather the rest of the priests to try and work out how to stop the Lifeless
Vasher explains to Vivenna how hopeless things are, while she insists there has to be a way. She finds out that Vasher was one of the Five Scholars. Nightblood suggests they use Kalad's Phantoms. Vasher is reluctant, but at Vivenna's request, decides to find the God King and then decide.
Siri and Susebron view the Lifeless armies marching. Susebron suggests using his Breath to try and stop them, but those near by explain why it wouldn't work. A guard appears, saying someone is asking to speak with the God King, and that they have the Royal Locks. Vivenna appears, and runs up and hugs Siri. Siri introduces Vivenna to Susebron, and then Vivenna asks for Susebron to meet with someone. Susebron agrees to meet this person.
Vivenna, Siri, and Susebron wait as Vasher is given a garment to change into to ensure he couldn't awaken anything. Vasher talks with Susebron, telling him that he's the reason why the God King's tongue was cut out. He alters his appearence, now appearing as a Returned. Susebron realizes who Vasher is, and drops to his knee. Vasher gives Susebron the command phrase to Kalad's Phantoms - the D'Denir statues in the city which contained awakened human bones.
A thousand stone soldiers leave the city to chase the Lifeless armies. Vivenna and Vasher discuss what happens next. Vasher plans to leave, and Vivenna decides to go with him. She asks Vasher who he is - Kalad or Peacegiver. Vasher says that he was both - he started the war and ended it. He names the Five Scholars - himself, Denth, Shashara, Arsteel, and Yesteel. He's heard that Yesteel, Arsteel's brother, has resurfaced and made a more potent form of ichor-alcohol, and so Vasher plans to do something about it. Vivenna asks him what his real name is, listing the various names he's been given: Peacegiver, Kalad, Vasher, and Talaxin. Vasher tells her he doesn't remember his name from before he Returned, but he was given a name after he Returned - Warbreaker the Peaceful.
|Characters||Vasher · Vivenna · Siri · Lightsong · Denth · Susebron · Llarimar · Bluefingers · Blushweaver · Nightblood|
|Places||Hallandren · T'Telir · Idris · Kuth · Huth · Tedradel · Court of Gods|
|Magic||Awakening · BioChromatic Breath · Drab · Heightening· Ichor-alcohol · Lifeless · Returned|
|Mythology and Lore||Endowment · Austrism · Five Scholars · Iridescent Tones · Manywar · Kalad's Phantoms|