To present himself as a celestial exalted in Great Forks, Kage disguises himself as Shadow’s Light and meets with Shield of a Different Day and Porren, the spirit of the Palace of the Three. At first, Shield doesn’t believe Kage is a Solar. When requested to reveal his identity, Kage hesitated but agreed when Shield promised only the three would know his true identity. Shield warned Kage to be careful how far over he crosses the legal line in his activities and scolds Kage when Kage says he may know what this city needs more than Shield. Shield then threatened to kill Kage if he betrays Great Forks.
To present himself as a celestial exalted in Great Forks, Zhao meets Spinner of Glorious Tales at a city park. Spinner tells a story of a stranger who approaches a farmhouse asking for shelter for the night. The farmer and his wife are suspicious of the visitor who is from a suspicious people. Spinner invites Zhao to continue the story. Zhao tells how the stranger is turned away for three nights but each night the farmer and his wife find repairs and improvements to their house and lands and finally allows the stranger to stay the night. Spinner continues the story. The stranger leaves but hears those who believe he has broken a law arrive at the farmhouse and threaten the farmer and his wife to betray the stranger. Zhao then continues the story. The stranger returns and all the neighboring farmers unite against those who hunt the stranger as the farms and lands are more bountiful than ever before. The crowd applauds. Zhao expresses surprise at this encounter and Spinner replies “A man’s story reveals truths”
Ereset Deman approaches Zhao and pitches a play with an ongoing storyline featuring a first age Solars. He wishes to emphasize the Solar’s hubris and eventual regret.
Kage shows Zhao the manor of the Dragonblooded Shiladen Mne and the hidden shrine to the Unconquered Sun. Zhao invites Shiladen to a play. Shiladen declines the invitation and responds with his own invitation to a party. Zhao accepts.
Zhao hears the rumor about the missing actors. The missing actors all work for at the Onyx Opera House and are Meden a male slave who lives in the Slave Quarter, Janic a man who lives in a boarding house, Ipet, a woman who lives in an apartment and Te who lives in an apartment with a roommate.
Zhao, Fenfang and Kage visit the Onyx Opera House, talk with the owner Fallens Ara and find no evidence. Fallens says the Great Forks constabulary is investigating. Fallens say the last person to see Te is her roommate.
Zhao, Fenfang and Kage visit the Stage Tavern. They find Te’s drunken roommate and escort her home. They find evidence someone may have entered through a balcony. They also find a square burned into a table. The square prompts Zhao’s memory of the night of his Exaltation and resulting Blight.
Zhao, and Fenfang go to Janic’s room in the boarding house. They discovered a burned square on the floor.
Kage goes to Meden’s room in the Slave Quarters. Kage discover a cowering man beneath the second cot in Meden’s room. The man is terrified and babbles about “a corridor of infinite stars.” Kage finds a burned square on a wall covered by blankets.
Returning to Zhao, Kage realizes he is being followed by Splint. Kage confronts Splint. Splint offers to include Kage in a job to steal jade from Talan Gwynek. Kage recognizes Talan as one of Zhao’s friends and refused. Kage does not tell Zhao about Splint’s upcoming robbery.
Zhao, Fenfang and Kage meet back at Zhao’s apartment.
Zhao decides to go to the Blight to see if his memory is correct. Using his sorcery, Zhao flies Fenfang and Kage the 300 miles arriving just after dawn at the Blight. They see a camp flying Great Fork’s flag about a ¼ of a mile from the Blight. They prepare to set down and approach the camp.
Zhao has dinner with Gangfeng at a public restaurant the next evening and a party at Shiladen Mne’s manor the night after.