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Location: The Ballroom of the Castle in Sacor City
POV: Karigan G'ladheon

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SummaryEdit

Karigan arrives at the ballroom, again dressed in a formal green rider uniform. Karigan feels uncomfortable. She has no invitation, and the guards refuse to let her in. They do not accept her story. Before she can leave, Alton arrives. He is wearing civilian clothes. He says that Karigan is his guest, and they enter the ballroom.

The Ballroom is huge and beautiful, full of dancing nobles. Old clan tapestries are on display. Alton points out D'Yer's tapestry. It is gold, bordered by a stone wall design, and features a sword crossed by a hammer. Their motto is the hammer of D'Yer shall break stone, but no others shall break walls made by D'yer. He tells her that the castle was built by D'Yers. He mentions the breach in the D'Yer Wall.

Alton asks her if she is shy. She admits that she doesn't like aristocrats. He points out Shawdell. She does not want to go meet Shawdell, because he is standing with the king. Alton asks her to dance, Karigan refuses. Alton goes for refreshments. Karigan eventually follows. He gives her wine, Rhovan white. She makes note of clan colours in the crowd. Purple of L'Petrie, gold of D'Yer, scarlet of Mirwell, and cobalt of Coutre. Karigan is alarmed that there are Mirwellians present, but Alton tells her that enmity is set aside for balls.

Karigan bumps into Lord Mirwell. Beryl dabs at the spilled wine. Karigan sees that Beryl wears a rider brooch. Alton comes back and leads her out to dance. They dance in a reel. Karigan closes her eyes and thinks of riding, hearing hoofbeats. She spins to another partner; it is Shawdell. His eyes remind her of the winter sky. When the music ends, he bows away. Karigan flees to a balcony. There is a telescope on the balcony, and a silvery haloed moon in the sky.

Alton comes out and asks her to dance again. Karigan refuses. He mentions Shawdell, but Karigan is troubled and doesn't want to speak of him. Alton apologizes for making her dance. Alton is about to ask her something, but is interrupted by the arrival of the king. He sends Alton away. The king addresses Karigan as Rider G'ladheon. He apologizes for interrupting her.

Karigan tries to leave, but Zachary asks her to stay. Zachary watches the silvery moon and mentions the Eletian, who is inside. This is strange. Zachary says that Shawdell has offered him magical powers and ties with Eletia. Zachary is suspicious. Shawdell says that they must keep the breach open. Zachary takes off his fillet. He speaks of his uncertainty. He explains that he doesn't consider his throne room secure, but that here are no eavesdroppers on the balcony, which is why they played intrigue the previous day.

He asks Karigan about her journey, and Karigan tells him what she has heard from Torne and Jendara. He is attentive, and Karigan changes her opinion of him. He ponders why they were hunting F'ryan's unimportant message. Karigan says that she plans to leave the city, but her asks her when she will return. She says that she does not plan to. The king is not pleased. He calls her a Green Rider, saying that he will not command her to join the riders but that he is sure she will be compelled to join regardless.

He looks through the telescope, and Karigan realizes that the man she saw in the Berrys' telescope was an older Zachary. She feels faint and flees the balcony. She brushes off Alton and flees the ball. Zachary watches her, bemused. The Eletian smiles at her, and she is disturbed.

Later, she returns to her room, upset by the vision. It is dark in her room, so she uses the moonstone. Estora is waiting, cloaked and veiled, in her room. Karigan is wary. Estora introduces herself and speaks of F'ryan's letter. She tells Karigan thar their romance was forbidden. Karigan offers her sympathy. Estora says the riders aided their affair. They speak of F'ryan. Estora thanks Karigan, but is confused by the letter. There are inconsistencies. He has called her hair dark amber when it is golden. He mentions a summer wedding, which was impossible and unplanned. He mentioned a brother, but F'ryan had no brother.

Karigan wonders if the message was in code. She asks Estora if she can have it. Estora is reluctant to part with it. The ghost of F'ryan appears. Estora cannot see it, but she feels that he approves of giving Karigan the message. Karigan agrees to return the message when the captain is done with it. Karigan runs off to the officer barracks.

She knocks until the captain wakes and answers the door. The captain is sleepy and in her nightclothes, but has her sword drawn. Karigan says she has a letter. She explains its origins. Captain is annoyed that she didn't give her the letter when she first arrived in Sacor City. They go to the Captain's spartan room and Karigan gives Laren the message. The captain says she will examine the note immediately, and dismisses Karigan.

Karigan goes outside. Shawdell is walking across the pasture, but seems shadowy. The moon doesn't touch him. She is uneasy, and hurries back to barracks.

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