Location: Rider way-station near North, North
POV: Karigan G'ladheon
- Karigan G'ladheon
- Abram Rust
- Two woodsmen
- A stableboy
- A burly woman
- F'ryan Coblebay
- Lady Estora Coutre
- King Zachary Hillander
- The Mirwellians
- King Agates Sealender
- King Zachary Hillander
- Chief Stevic G'ladheon
- Joy Overway
- Ram Cannoral
- Joy's rider brooch
Karigan wakes up and forgets her dreams. She feeds the horse, eats breakfast, sweeps the cabin and checks her bags. She finds the love letter in the message satchel. The message is still sealed. She borrows a swordbelt from the closet. She wears her own trousers and hides the rider insignia on her shirt. She tidies the cabin and leaves.
Outside, she finds bayberry and bunchberry growing. She takes a sprig of bayberry and a bunchberry flower that is missing one petal, and meets Abram in the paddock. They leave for North, Karigan mounted and Abram afoot.
Abram leads her through the forest along no discernible path. He shows her wildflowers. He shows her a very large white pine, with a gull carved high up on the trunk, he explained that it was meant to be a ship's mast for a Sealender king.
Eventually, they encounter tree poachers chopping down trees. Abram commands them to stop. Abram tells them it is King's land, and warns them the penalty is death. One man tries to raise an axe against him, but he grabs the axe and breaks the handle over his knee. Tge otger man drops his axe,. Abram tells Karigan that this is where they must part ways. She leaves.
Later, she passes Shawdell as she rides through the clearcur surrounding North. It is early evening. The horse is uneasy. She greets Shawdell pleasantly; he nods back. She finds him terrible. When she looks back, he has vanished. It is after dark when she reaches town. She passes disreputable taverns, inns, and brothels. She encounters a cart containing Joy's corpse. The people of North are vultureish and offer no sympathy.
She arrives at the inn Abram recommended. She stables Condor herself. The stableboy recognizes condor from Joy's description, but Karigan misleads him and gives him a copper for a tip. She enters the inn through the kitchens.
In the common room. It is clean and quiet. There is a minstrel and a fortune teller. She rents a single room, finding the price exorbitant. After tge innkeeper leaves, she bathes and ponders the day's events.
She leaves her sword and gear in her locked room and goes downstairs for food. There are more people in the room and the minstrel is playing a jaunty tune. A servant takes her order for food.
The fortune teller approaches her and deals out her cards, saying they do not read, but reflect. She mentions the ghost, of F'ryan, describing him accurately. She says he is trying to warn her of something. A servant brings her wine, stew and bread. Clathius quietly mentions that a green rider was searching for Karigan. She turns over a card - it is a green rider on a red horse fleeing black arrows. She tells Karigan it is the same card she showed Joy.