By Card Orson Scott
By Card Orson Scott
Children of the Mind was written by Orson Scott Card and published in 1996. The fourth book in the Ender’s Game series, it is a direct sequel to Xenocide and the last in the series.
Orson Scott Card himself was born in 1951, the third of six children. He was raised a Mormon and to this day his religion remains a strong influence on his life. His writing career began while studying at Brigham Young University. Initially, he focused on poetry but eventually transitioned into short and speculative fiction. He eventually took a position as assistant editor at Ensign Magazine where he would publish his first short story.
Following this he would write a series of audio plays for the Mormon Church along with doing other freelance writing and editing jobs. His towering literary breakthrough would come with the publication of Ender’s Game in 1985. Expanded into a novel from an earlier short story, Ender’s Game would propel Card to fame in the world of science fiction literature and win him both the Hugo and Nebula awards. The follow year he would repeat this with Speaker for the Dead. The next two sequels in the Ender Saga, Xenocide and Children of the Mind would not be regarded quite as highly as the first two, but would nonetheless be well-received. Card’s Ender books would spawn several connected spin-offs. Outside of that universe he authored many other books including his well regarded Alvin Maker series.
Outside of his fiction writing Card has worked extensively as a commentator on pop culture, politics and religion, sometimes leading to controversy. His outspoken views against homosexuality drew the ire of many within the gay rights movement.
Orson Scott Card lives in North Carolina with his wife Kristine. Together they had five children.
Children of the Mind takes place immediately after the events at the conclusion of Xenocide. With the planet Path cured of the obsessive compulsive disorder forced on it by Congress, Wang-mu joins Peter Wiggin on his quest to convince the Starways Congress to call off their attack on Lusitania. Meanwhile, on Lusitania itself the Ribeira family continues its research on the origins of the now harmless Descolada all while trying to find a way to save Jane, a sentient computer program who can control faster-then-light travel and will soon be destroyed by Congress.
Children of the Mind has three primary settings. The first is Lusitania, a planet ravaged by a genetically engineered virus and under the threat of destruction from an inbound human fleet. Lusitania is home to three races: humans, Pequeninos and Buggers.
The rest of the book takes place on the words of Divine Wind and Pacifica. Divine Wind is a planet with a culture that evolved from the Japan of old Earth. It is home to the Necessarians, a group of philosophers who hold extraordinary influence over the Starways Congress.
Pacifica is a tropical planet that’s home to a people who originated from the Samoans of Earth. It is also home to Malu and the religion of Ua Lava.
The primary setting for the novel and home to humans, Piggies and the Buggers.
Divine Wind is one of the most influential planets in the Hundred Worlds. It is home to a culture derived from the Japanese of Earth as well as the Necessarians, a prominent philosophy amongst the members of the Starways Congress.
A tropical world that serves as home to a culture based on the Samoans of Earth. It is also home to the religion Ua Lava and the holy figure Malu.
A loose federation of planets colonized by humans and governed by the Starways Congress.
The governing body that controls and maintains the Hundred Worlds.
Invented during the Bugger Wars, the Ansible is a device that allows instant communication across the reaches of space.
In this novel humans travel the stars regularly. Their ships, however, travel for the most part in “relative space.” In relative space, a journey might feel only like days or weeks, while in the real world, decades are passing by.
The idea, unproven at the book’s start, that it is possible to travel from place to place instantaneously.
Humanity’s ultimate weapon, used last to destroy the Bugger homeworld.
The fleet sent to subdue or destroy Lusitania after the colony there rebelled against the Starways Congress.
The final portion of the Bugger War in which the human fleet, led by the Ender Wiggin defeated and wiped out the entire Bugger race.
Speaking is the act of telling the story of a person’s life, but telling it with complete honesty. No rough edges are polished, and no embarrassments or personal flaws left out of the story telling. Speakings are known to often be emotionally painful but also enlightening experiences. A Speaker for the Dead is someone who performs a Speaking; they are considered religious figures by the Starways Congress.
A book written by the original Speaker for the Dead (Ender Wiggin), its main portion is written from the point of view of a Bugger Hive Queen, describing their way of life and lamenting their inability to communicate with the humans who would eventually destroy them. The proliferation of this book led to humanity eventually despising the Bugger Wars and their principle hero Ender Wiggin.
A book written by Ender Wiggin in the style of The Hive Queen and the Hegemon. It describes the life of the Piggy Rooter.
The study of alien life. Xenology as it pertains to the study of the Piggies is governed by a strict set of rules. These rules state that xenologers are in no way to influence the culture or development of the Piggies as far as it can be helped.
The study of alien life forms on a biologic and molecular level.
A disease that affects every life form on Lusitania, it nearly wiped out the human colonists before the book’s start. The only thing that stopped it was the efforts of the colony’s xenobiologers: Novinha’s parents. They found a treatment to control it in humans, but died from the disease before it could save their own lives. At the beginning of Xenocide, the disease is growing more aggressive in its attacks on human beings, prompting some to believe it could be a sentient race of its own.
The alien race that created the Descolada. They communicate by transmitting molecules and seem to lack any concern for foreign life.
A race of insect-like aliens. The Buggers are the first sentient alien race that humanity encountered. The first meetings were, unfortunately, violent leading to a war that would eventually see the Buggers destroyed. This war is known as the Xenocide.
After the Buggers were destroyed in the Xenocide, Ender Wiggin found a cocoon containing an infant hive queen. The Hive Queen, communicating to Ender telepathically, asks Ender to help resurrect her species on a new world. Ender transplants her on Lusitania where she and restarts her race and builds a colony in hiding. In Children of the Mind, she works with the Pequeninos and humans in their efforts to save the world.
A race of pig-like (hence the name) aliens. The Piggies are the second sentient life form that humanity has ever encountered, and though they are primitive, they learn fast and express a constant desire to learn from their human neighbors. The Piggies, like all indigenous life on Lusitania, have a fascinating life cycle. They are born as small worm-like creatures, grow into bi-pedal life forms and after death transform into trees.
Male Piggies. They start off as worm-like creatures and grow into walking, talking Piggies. The majority of humanity’s contact with the Piggies is through the males of the species. Upon death, the male Piggies turn into trees. If killed in a ritualistic fashion known as “planting,” they can retain their sentience even in their tree form.
Male Piggies who have been planted and retained their sentient minds.
Non-sentient female Piggies. The Little Mothers are worm-like creatures much like the Piggy males. They are impregnated in their infancy by the Father Trees, and they are killed during the birthing process, which involves their offspring chewing their way out of their bodies.
Sentient female Piggies. The Wives are female Piggies that were sterile in their infancy and grew into maturity. The Wives are the ruling force of the Piggy culture, directing and dictating the laws that govern the males.
The language used by the male Piggies to communicate to one another.
The language used by the Wives to communicate to one another.
A language used by male Piggies to sign and pray to the Father Trees.
A language used by the Piggies to speak directly to and make requests of the Father Trees. Instead of words, this language is made up of different series of drum rhythms played with polished branches.
The process by which a male Piggy is made into a Father Tree. It involves the systematic dissection of a live Piggy and then the planting of their organs in the ground like the roots of a tree. When performed properly, a tree will grow from the corpse.
Three phrases the book uses to describe the way humans look at other species. A “ramen” is something that you recognize as being the same as you. A “framling” is something that you recognize as being like yourself but still see as a stranger. A person from another town or country, for instance. A “varelse” is something that you see as being utterly unlike yourself, an alien.
An order of Catholic monks devoted to the collection and preservation of knowledge. The order requires all of its members to be both married and celibate.
The titular character, Ender led humanity to victory against the Buggers almost three thousand years ago. He has since traveled the stars with his sister Valentine, staying young over centuries thanks to relative space travel. Following the Bugger War he wrote The Hive Queen and the Hegemon and in turn created a religion based around speaking the truth about the lives of the dead. He journeys to Lusitania to speak the life of Pipo, the scientist killed by the Piggies. After the events leading up to the speaking, he marries Novinha and acts as a surrogate father to her children. At the end of Xenocide, he travels into the philote realm and inadvertently creates Peter and Val from his subconscious.
Valentine is Ender’s older sister. Following the Bugger Wars she chose to travel the stars with Ender, writing essays and books under the pseudonym “Demosthenes.” Her writings have summarily become golden standards of historical text, philosophy and political discourse.
The daughter of the xenobiologists who saved the humans on Lusitania from the Descolada, Novinha is the head xenobiologist of Lusitania and Ender’s wife. She is also fairly volatile, however, and prone to making decisions in times of crisis. At the end, of Xenocide Novinha joins the order of the Children of the Mind, retreating from her and Ender’s marriage and abandoning her scientific work.
Novinha’s oldest son and originally one of the xenologers working on Lusitania after Libo is killed. Miro suffered severe injuries at the end of Speaker for the Dead, leaving him crippled and bitter. He journeyed into space hoping the time that would pass while he was gone would make it easier return to life on Lusitania. After his return to Lusitania, he journeys into the philote realm and creates for himself a healed body. His aiua transfers into his new body, leaving him whole.
Novinha’s oldest daughter. Ela takes over as head xenobiologist of Lusitania after her mother joins the order of the Children of the Mind.
Novinha’s second daughter. A quiet and withdrawn child in Speaker for the Dead, she has grown up to be an abrasive and opinionated woman with few friends and a strained relationship with her family. She works with Novinha and Ela as a xenobiologist and spends much of Children of the Mind in conflict with her family.
Novinha’s second son, Quim was killed in Xenocide while working as missionary to the Pequeninos.
Novinha’s third son. Blinded in an accident as a child, Olhado is the only one of Novinha’s children that didn’t pursue a career in the sciences. He works as a brick worker and his utterly devoted to his own wife and children. Toward the end of Xenocide, he turns his talented mind toward helping his family and is key in helping Grego unlock the secret to the faster-then-light travel.
Novinha’s third son and youngest child. Grego is a brilliant physicist but also prone to aggression. His rashness in Xenocide led to the burning of the Pequenino forest neighboring Milagre.
One of Libo’s daughter and Miro’s fellow xenologer. She was once romantic with Miro, but their relationship ended when it was discovered they were brother and sister.
The governor of the human colony of Lusitania.
The head of the Catholic Church on Lusitania.
A Fathertree prominent to the forest near Milagre.
Human is the Fathertree that the human colonists have had the most direct relation to. He is also the Hive Queen’s closest friend amongst the Pequeninos. He was killed and brought to the third life by Ender in Speaker for the Dead.
A sentient computer program that lives among the philotic network that connects the Ansible. Jane is one of Ender’s closest friends and has the ability to control the Ansible at will.
The most basic building block of all matter. Everything living and dead has a philote and all things are connected. Living philotes, however, can share outstanding connections based on personal relationships.
The total will and personality of a sentient creature.
Born from Ender’s subconscious during his trip into the philote realm, Peter is based on his older brother and is a living representation of all of Ender’s worst traits. In Children of the Mind Peter travels the Hundred Worlds with Wang-mu to try and convince Congress to halt the destruction of Lusitania.
Born from Ender’s subconscious during his trip into the philote realm, Peter is based on his older sister and is a living representation of all of Ender’s kindest traits. In Children of the Mind
Formerly a servant to the Godspoken of Path, Wang-mu assisted in taming the Descolada on Lusitania and works with Peter to stop the fleet poised to destroy Lusitania.
A Japanese philosopher and one of the most influential Necessaries. Hikari is a resident of Divine Wind and.
A friend of Hikari’s and a follower of Ua Lava. She serves as something of a gatekeeper to Malu.
A holy man. He seems to be able to sense and see the goings-on of philotes and aiua. He believes Jane to be a god and is one of her staunchest supporters.
“I’m Not Myself”
Wang-mu accepts Peter Wiggin’s offer to accompany him aboard his ship and help him bring down the Starways Congress. Once aboard his ship, however, she is somewhat disappointed by him. The Peter Wiggin she read about in The Hive Queen and the Hegemon seemed much more mature and noble than this young man.
Peter, sensing her disappointment, explains that he isn’t the real Peter Wiggin. He tells her how Ender rode the faster-then-light ship into the philote realm and created himself and Young Val. Peter tells her that he isn’t the real Peter, but rather Peter as Ender saw him in his own mind. In a way, he is a separate piece of Ender, with all of his memories being the memories that Ender subconsciously thought he should have. The real Peter in Ender’s mind represented all of Ender’s negative qualities, his ambition and cruelty. In turn, these qualities are prominent in the new Peter.
Apologetically, he tells Wang-mu that he is likely to be unpleasant toward her and that if she’s going to accompany him, it’s something she’ll have to deal with. Wang-mu accepts this, but tells him that he has to at least try to be agreeable to her. He agrees, and they arrive on the planet Divine Wind, a center of political power in the Starways Congress.
“You Don’t Believe in God”
Ender is still intent on being with Novinha, even though she has devoted herself to the celibate order of the monks of the Children of the Mind. Despite her request that he stay away, Ender visits her at their monastery under the pretense of helping them tend to their gardens. Novinha works alongside him but acts for a time as though he isn’t even there. Ender, sensing what she’s doing, however, works his way gradually toward her until they finally cross paths and she’s forced to acknowledge him.
She reaffirms her devotion to the monastery. Ender, in turn, tells her that he is willing to join the order if it will mean he can be with her again. She reminds him that the Children of the Mind are a celibate order. Ender shrugs this off, “As long as I’m not having sex with anyone, it might as well be you that I’m not having sex with.” Initially, Novinha doesn’t believe that his offer is genuine. To prove his word, Ender shows her that he’s removed the implant from his ear that he used to use to communicate with Jane. The implant had been a constant source of resentment for her.
Hearing this, Novinha believes him and accepts his offer to join the Children of the Mind and tells him that she no longer blames him for her son Quim’s death. Ender is happy to hear this but even more happy to just his wife back in some capacity.
“There Are Too Many of Us”
Using Young Val as an engine for faster-then-light travel, Miro has been searching out habitable planets to be colonized by the Pequeninos and Buggers. Time is running out both before the fleet arrives and Congress shuts down the Ansible, crippling Jane and her ability to perform faster-then-light travel. As such, Miro and Young Val are working to exhaustion scouting out new planets.
After a trip out, they return to Lusitania. Miro’s siblings are waiting for him, along with Valentine. They tell him that Ender has joined the Children of the Mind with Novinha. Up until now they had been depending on Ender as something of a leader, but now that he’s joined the monastery he’s withdrawn from that role. Miro mistakes their concern to mean they want him to take over. “We don’t want anybody to take his place. We want him to take his place.”
They tell Miro that Ender has removed the implant he uses to speak to Jane. Hearing this Miro tells them that Ender would never have done such a thing unless he was genuinely serious about his intentions. He won’t help them the same way he used to.
Miro’s siblings have a car waiting for them. They drive Miro and Young Val back to Valentine’s home where they’re fed and rest.
Miro awakes the next morning. Out in the kitchen he can hear Young Val and Valentine speaking to each other. Miro joins them and finds they’re discussing Young Val’s nature. Like Peter, she was created from Ender’s subconscious, representing his compassionate tendencies. All of her memories are constructs, created to represent what Ender believed she would know being a copy of Valentine.
That said, she also suspects that she’s dissolving in the same way that Miro’s old body did. She explains that when Miro created a new body in the philote realm to replace his old, crippled one, his aiua lost interest in the old body and moved onto the new one. She suggests that Ender’s aiua is losing interest in her in a similar fashion. Peter is busy trying to overthrow Congress and stop the fleet, while Ender himself is now occupied with Novinha. The least active part of him is Young Val who is beginning to fade. She demonstrates that it’s already happening. A mere tug on her hair pull out a handful of it.
Miro realizes that he isn’t happy with this. He thinks he’s beginning to have feelings for Young Val and tell her so, suggesting that if they pursue a relationship she’ll become more attractive to Ender’s aiua. She appreciates the offer but turns him down. Embarrassed, he leaves the room, staying just within earshot so that he can still hear.
Valentine, recognizing how difficult it was for him to tell Young Val that and how equally hard it must have been for him to be turned down, tries to comfort him. “It was a very brave and naked thing for him to do.” She says that despite his body being repaired, the weight of his injuries still affects him.
Miro leaves and seeks out Ender at the monastery. He tells Ender about how Young Val is beginning to fade away. He wants Ender to do something. “Use your head Miro.” Replies Ender. “Was your decision to jump from your old body to this newer model a conscious one?” The point is clear: even if Ender wants to keep Young Val alive, he has no control over where the attention of his aiua goes.
Miro leaves the monastery. As he departs, Ender calls out to him “Tell Jane! If she can figure out! How to do it! She can have that body!” If what Ender’s saying is true, it might be possible for Jane to inhabit Young Val’s body, saving her from the shutdown of the Ansible system. He dislikes treating Young Val likes she’s a disposable person, but has to admit to himself that the idea of Jane finding a body is intriguing.
“I am a man of perfect simplicity!”
Wang-mu and Peter use their second day on Divine Wind to explore the planet and acquaint themselves with the local culture. Wang-mu finds the planet much to her tastes while Peter remains a constant well of criticism. Their quarrels escalate throughout the day until, at its end, they’re furious with one another.
Luckily, the next morning brings a more focused purpose and with it some peace. Peter tells Wang-mu that they’re going to visit a man named Aimaina Hikari. Hikari is an influential man amongst the Necessarians, a group of philosophers who believe that humanity should exist in peace with nature but should also deal with threats to its existence with such brutality that said threats will never bother humans again.
“His seminal work,” explains Peter. “Included the idea that Japanese people were born as rebellious puppets.” He tells Wang-mu that Hikari believes that Japan in World War Two was trying to break free from this role and establish themselves as a legitimate world power. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended this, but Japan learned the wrong lesson. Instead of returning to its humbler roots, Japan embraced the lifestyle of its conquerors. This was a mistake in Hikari’s eyes. “Japan was bombed, he says, precisely because they were already too European….so the gods sent the American bombs to stop Japan from becoming an imperialist state like the Europeans.” In turn, he views the forthcoming attack on Lusitania as a similar form of purification.
Peter tells her that they have an appointment to meet with Hikari. He tells her that he will be the one to lead their discussion while she is to play the role of a gnomic philosopher, offering ambiguous statements and nothing else. This angers Wang-mu who points out that though he might know then she does, she has more actual life experience than he does. She tells him that, in many ways, she has more to offer than she does. This reminder of his unnatural creation leaves him angry, but they continue on toward Hikari’s home.
Hikari meets them at the gate to his home, and immediately Peter begins trying to charm Hikari. Hikari is thoroughly unimpressed by Peter’s performance, however. “We have come to learn from you.” Says Peter. Hikari tells them that he has nothing to teach and tries to send them away. Wang-mu steps in, “We will teach you. For when we show you our ignorance, then you will see where we most need your wisdom.” This amuses Hikari and he admits them.
They enter Hikari’s home. Wang-mu takes note of how thoroughly he attempts to present himself as a humble man, despite being endowed with no small amount of pride. She tries to use this to her advantage. When a servant comes to bring them tea, Wang-mu insists that the servant share with them her knowledge of tea-making. Hikari not wanting to look arrogant insists on joining them, but the act of partaking in the servant’s work clearly flusters and removes him from his comfort zone.
They begin talking. Wang-mu begins to explain to them a “theory” of hers, making it up as she goes along. She tells him that she thinks there are two kinds of nations: “center” and “edge” nations. Center nations, she explains, are countries like Rome and America that dominate the world and transform the world around them almost effortlessly. Edge nations contrastingly, grow up in the shadow of Center nations and, when they become strong often attack and even conquer Center nations. In the process, though, even if they’re victorious, they often lose their own sense of identity as they’re transformed by the overwhelming styles and ideals of the Center nations.
She tells Hikari that she believes the Japanese worlds are an Edge nation who, through the influence of philosophers like himself, have gained control of the American Center nation. Hikari rejects this. “How can you say that the Japanese are now in control of Starways Congress and the Hundred Worlds? When was this revolution that no one noticed?” Wang-mu tells him that the existence of the Lusitania Fleet, driven by the Japanese Necessarian philosophers, is proof of Japanese control.
Peter takes this as a cue to explain further their beliefs about the Necessarian influence on Congress, and how his influence on the Necessarians was one of the driving factors behind the launch of the Lusitania fleet. Hikari objects to this claim but is also clearly upset by the idea of it. “I am a man of perfect simplicity!” He tells them. “You have come to torture me with accusations that cannot be true.”
Hikari’s distress continues to grow until Peter decides they should leave. He apologizes for offending Hikari and excuses them. Before they leave Wang-mu asks him one final thing. “Aimaina Hikari, you have spoken our names, but have you forgotten your own?” She asks him how a man whose name translates to “Ambiguous Light” could believe his ideas would only have the effect he desired them to have.
They leave and Peter congratulates Wang-mu for her performance. Wang-mu is surprised, having thought Hikari’s eventual anger to mean they had failed. Peter tells her that while Hikari will likely hate the both of them for as long as he lives, he inadvertently revealed something about himself in his distress. Peter points out how Hikari described himself as a man of “perfect simplicity.” This is a term that refers to another form of philosophy called Ua Lava.
Peter, with Jane’s help, tells Wang-mu that Ua Lava is essentially the belief that life is a balancing act between hurtful things and good things happening. If some experiences too much of an admirable thing, they’ll in turn have that balanced out by experiencing bad things. Peter tells her that their meeting with Hikari will have thrown a wrench in the balance he’d believed he’d found. He will be seeking a way to rebalance his life and in turn be open to outside influence.
“Not ours, of course.” Peter tells her that Jane is monitoring Hikari’s correspondence to see if he sends a message to anyone about their visit, seeking advice. When they find out who that person is, they’ll intercept them and try to turn them to Lusitania’s cause. That same day, Hikari sends a message to a friend on the planet Pacifica. Jane intercepts it, and Wang-mu and Peter prepare to leave Divine Wind.
“Nobody is Rational”
Miro and Young Val are on their way to the faster-then-light ship when Young Val realizes that Miro is going the wrong way. Miro tells her that they’ve already discovered more than enough planets suitable for colonization and that he wants to speak with the Hive Queen. Ender’s suggestion that Jane could perhaps inhabit Young Val’s decaying body has left him hopeful that he might be able to save both Young Val and Jane. Young Val’s body is dissolving away because Ender’s aiua is focusing it’s attention away from her. If Jane’s aiua can be transplanted into Young Val’s body, it will remove the need for Ender’s aiua.
Neither Young Val or Jane are enthusiastic about this plan. Young Val fears that if Jane takes over her body that the person she is will cease to exist. Jane, in turn, isn’t interested in stealing someone else’s body. Miro doesn’t think it will work that way. He tells them that he suspects that neither one of them will disappear, but rather that their experiences and memories will combine into a single person. This does little to make them feel better about the idea.
The visit to the Hive Queen offers little more in the way of comfort. She tells Miro that what he’s suggesting has never been done before, and she suggests that he and Young Val continue scouting out planets, per Jane’s instruction. Miro points out that just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Moreover, with Young Val fading away and Jane still under threat from the impending shutdown of the Ansible, they could both stand to die if they do nothing. Miro will be devastated by both their deaths and the loss of Jane will halt any further faster-then-light travel.
The Hive Queen says that she, with the help of the Fathertrees, will look into doing what Miro has suggested. She will only do this if Miro, however, if Miro continues scouting planets with Young Val. She also won’t do it unless she has the consent of Jane and Young Val. Miro is curious as to why the scouting is so important but agrees to continue the work. Young Val, though still apprehensive about losing herself by melding with Jane, agrees. She’s already sure she’s going to die and can see no reason why she shouldn’t give up her body, when it will just fade away anyway.
On the way back to the ship, neither Jane or Young Val are happy with Miro. They both argue that Miro is essentially murdering Young Val in the name of saving Jane. Miro continues to press the idea that they’ll meld together, and both be preserved. He tells them about when his aiua transferred from his old, crippled body to his new one. He says that, for a moment, he existed in both bodies and when he transferred in whole to the new body he had memories from both bodies. He thinks that when Jane and Young Val join it will be the same. Young Val is still furious and refuses to speak with Miro except to do with their work.
Jane broaches on the subject of their continued scouting mission. She tells Miro that the Hive Queen, along with the Pequeninos and the human scientists are hoping that their continued exploration will help them find the aliens who created the Descolada. Their most recent scouting missions have been directed toward this goal.
Miro asks what they’ll do if they find this alien race. Jane tells him that most likely they’ll just inform that Starways Congress, so they can destroy them. Miro is appalled by this. Jane tells him that the existence of the Descolada itself suggests that this unknown race has no regard for life outside of their own. If this proves to be true, they may have no choice but to destroy this race.
Young Val, hearing about the true point of their scouting mission, seems suddenly reinvigorated. She takes to her work with excitement and vigor where before she had seemed exhausted and fading. Miro realizes that Ender’s aiua has regained interest in Young Val and this new mission. She’s no longer dying and in turn may not want to give her body to Jane. Miro puts this out of his mind and sets himself to his work.
At the Children of the Mind monastery Ender suddenly collapses and falls ill. Novinha calls the other monks who seek out a doctor and does her best to resist her natural inclination to blame herself.
“Life is a suicide mission”
On the planet Pacifica, Wang-mu and Peter are seeking out someone named Malu. They try and seek passage to the island he lives on but find the locals are unwilling to take them there. They soon realize that the island on which Malu lives on is considered a holy place and that no one will be willing to take them there. Peter consults Jane, who tells her that Hikari sent his message to a woman named Grace Drinker, who then forwarded the message to Malu. Since Malu isn’t accessible, they decide to try and visit Grace instead.
The Hive Queen is speaking with Human about Miro’s desire to bind Jane’s aiua to Young Val’s body. The Hive Queen suggests it might be possible to catch a loose aiua if they were to create a philotic web. Doing so might allow them to capture Jane and transplant her in a body. She tells Human, however, that she and the other young Hive Queen’s are too weak to cast the kind of net they’d need.
Human interrupts to tell her that Ender is dying. Though initially, Ender’s aiua was able to maintain his three bodies (his own, Peter’s, and Val’s), he isn’t strong enough to do it in the long term. Initially it was Val’s body that was decaying. Now that his aiua’s attention is split between Peter and Val, however, Ender’s own body is starting to fade away.
Hearing this, the Hive Queen suggests trying to teach Human and the other Fathertrees how to join their philotic web. She wants to be able to catch Ender’s aiua after he dies as well as Jane’s. Human agrees and sets to studying the technique with the Hive Queen.
Ender is unconscious. His family is with him, monitoring his decline and doing all they can to help. Novinha, devastated by what seems to be the inevitable loss of her husband can’t even bear to be in the room to watch Ender die. Ender awakes only for a moment, muttering a brief bit of gibberish before falling back into a coma.
Jane informs Miro of Ender’s apparent forthcoming demise. Miro is shocked, but also realizes this might mean that Val could inherit Ender’s aiua and no longer be willing to play host to Jane’s. Jane tells Miro that the Hive Queen and the Fathertrees are working on a web that they can use to catch aiua’s and lead them to a specific body. If Val will agree, Jane could very well be taken into her body. Val is still scared of what might happen to her if she share’s her body with Jane.
As they discuss this, they teleport to another planet. Jane informs them that it’s teeming with life and technology. They’ve discovered the world that the Descolada originated from. The aliens try to send them a message, but Miro finds it undecipherable. It looks almost like the aliens are trying to communicate by manipulating gene sequences. With the aliens seemingly non-hostile for the moment, Miro and Val settle in to study them as best they can before returning to Lusitania.
Wang-mu and Miro are admitted to Grace Drinker’s home. Initially, however, Grace is too busy to see them. Instead, they dine with her family who greet them warmly and treat them to an opulent meal. Eventually, Grace joins them and gets right to the point. “All right, Chinese girl, what’s your scam?” She tells them how she received a message from Hikari describing a visit from a Chinese girl and a white boy identical to them just a few days before. She tells them that this visit was profoundly disturbing to Hikari. “Today a white boy and a Chinese girl…. Come to me wanting to get my help or permission or advice about seeing Malu.”
Wang-mu tells her that she wouldn’t believe the truth. Grace tells her that Hikari thinks they were sent by the gods. She, on the other hand, thinks, despite the impossibility of it, that they come from Lusitania. Peter admits he’s from Lusitania while Wang-mu says that she comes from Path. This information doesn’t even seem to faze Grace.
Peter asks if she’ll let them see Malu. “Malu decides who sees Malu.” Replies Grace. She tells them to be patient. “We have several deadlines.” Says Wang-mu. Grace correctly assumes that one of these is the approaching arrival of the Lusitania fleet. The other she guesses is the shutdown of the Ansible. She and her family surmise that their method of travel has something to do with the Ansible.
Grace tells them that they can’t see Malu because stepping foot on the island on which he lives would require weeks of purification ritual, which they don’t have time for. Malu wants to see them himself, however, and is on his way over to meet them at Grace’s house. Grace warns them that isn’t going to be like their meeting with Hikari. They aren’t going to debate Malu. They will listen and be respectful.
Miro and Val are on the faster-then-light ship in orbit over the Descoladore’s planet. Jane warns them that there are ships launching from the planet’s surface and are moving in to intercept them. Miro tells Jane to bring them back to Lusitania, but he tells her that they’ll need to return with Ela and Quara so that they can study the Descoladores more extensively.
Jane tells Miro that Congress has started the shutdown of the Ansible, and that if she brings them back to the Descoladore’s planet she might not be able to bring them back to Lusitania again. Jane returns them to Lusitania and Miro hurries to find his sisters.
“I offer this poor old vessel”
Malu meets Wang-mu and Peter on the beach. Malu leads them through a series of rituals and then begins speaking to them with Grace serving as a translator. He describes to them the creation of life. How it sprang from the philotic webs that bind the living universe. Humans, he says, weren’t bound to their world the same way as other animals. Likewise, the Buggers were different.
In the war between humans and the Buggers, there emerged another entity: a powerful philote with the power of a god. Wang-mu recognizes this to be Jane, all the while wondering how Malu can know these things. Wang-mu tells Malu that the Congress is trying to kill her by shutting down the Ansible. Malu replies that Jane doesn’t need to die. She is a unique philote and strong enough to inhabit any living vessel if she can learn how to jump to it.
Peter asks if Jane could inhabit an empty vessel, offering himself as an appropriate body. Malu tells him that though he makes the offer, his own personality is already subconsciously building up a wall to push Jane out. In short, Peter doesn’t want to die, and Jane won’t take his body if he isn’t willing.
The answer, says Malu, may lie with Ender. Peter and Val represent the opposite poles of Ender’s personality and Ender’s aiua isn’t strong enough to maintain them all indefinitely. If Ender dies, his aiua may try to merge with Peter and Val. If Peter can claim the entire aiua, it will mellow out his personality and leave Val vacant for Jane to inhabit.
Wang-mu asks Grace how Malu can know these things. Grace can’t answer this. Peter, hearing that it may be possible to be a full person, seems hopeful. Wang-mu, in turn, finds herself suddenly feeling affectionate toward Peter. She realizes that despite Peter’s constant arrogance and rudeness, she’s developed feelings toward him.
Jane, having listened to the conversation with Malu, relates to Valentine what they’ve learned. Valentine doesn’t know what to do with this. She tells Jane that this information would be more useful to Val or Ender, if they could wake him. Jane tells Valentine that the order to shutdown the Ansible has gone through.
Miro tells Ela and Quara about their discovery of the Descoladores and asks them to return to the planet with him to study them. At first they’re apprehensive. With Jane weakening, it could very well be a one way trip. Miro convinces them to come telling them that the though they could very possibly die, the information they learn from their research could save countless lives.
“What matters is which fiction you believe”
The Hive Queen along with Human and the Fathertrees are holding together their philotic web to catch Jane and Ender’s aiua should they die. They can’t hold it together forever, though, and Jane can’t seem to find her way to them. Jane’s only hope is Ender. Though Jane can’t find her way to the Hive Queen and the Fathertrees, it’s possible that because of her intense connection Ender’s aiua she might be able to find her way to one of his bodies. His aiua currently dwells most strongly in Val’s body, so she would be drawn there. Ender’s aiua needs to call out to Jane’s on a philotic level.
Despite her degrading state, Jane is able to find the strength to transport Miro, Val, Ela and Quara to the Descoladore planet one final time. With this though her strength is spent and Jane, for the first time, feels afraid knowing her death to be near. She calls out to Ender but having shut off his implant her cries are heard only by Miro and Peter.
Wang-mu awakes to hear Peter trying to comfort Jane. Wang-m finds herself irrationally jealous but is distracted from this when she realize that Malu is returning again to the beach. Grace is surprised at this as well and waits with Wang-mu for his return. Noticing the way Wang-mu looks at Peter, Grace asks why she doesn’t pursue him more openly if she’s interested. “I only just realized that I want him to love me.” Grace tries to push Wang-mu into action, but Wang-mu just tries to change the subject. “I didn’t ask for your advice.”
This is amuses Grace points out that Hikari didn’t ask for her and Peter’s advice. Likewise, she and Malu didn’t ask for them to come to Pacifica. They did that without anyone’s consent. “You wanted to get Malu to get me say something to [Hikari] so he’d say something to the Necessarians of Divine Wind so they’d say something to the faction of Congress that hungers for their respect, and the coalition that sent the fleet will fall apart and they’ll order it to leave Lusitania untouched. Wasn’t that the plan?”
Wang-mu admits that this is what they had in mind. Grace tells her that they were fools to think they could accomplish such a thing. “So we failed.” Wang-mu says. Grace tells her that they may not have accomplished what they set out to do, but that there time wasn’t wasted. “Lusitania isn’t blown up yet. And how do you know if that was ever really your purpose for coming here?”
Malu’s boat lands on the beach and Wang-mu, expecting him to go to Peter, is surprised when he instead walks up to her.
Novinha is resting in the monastery. Valentine comes to see her and tells her that the Ansible is being shut down and Jane is dying. Novinha can’t help but feel a pang of happiness over this. She has never liked Jane’s presence in Ender’s life and always considered her a rival for his affections.
Valentine can understand this. She and Ender are brother and sister, but for years, they were the closest of companions. She tells Novinha that she came to terms with this though when she married Jakt. She still loved Ender but found that with her husband she no longed needed him.
Novinha asks why Valentine is telling her this. Valentine replies that Novinha no longer needs Ender. Just like when Valentine married Jakt, Novinha has found the sort of peace in her children and the monastery that she had previously sought from Ender.
Jane, on the other hand, does need Ender, and if his aiua can find a way to reach out to her, then she might be able to survive the Ansible shutdown.
Novinha points out that this could mean Ender dying as well. Valentine tells her that his aiua no longer needs to live in his body. It’s more interested in what Peter and Val are doing. “Why don’t you set the bird free instead of holding it in the cage until it dies?” Plikt joins the room and asks what’s happening. “She wants me to wake him up and tell him that he can die.” Plikt asks if she can stay and watch. Novinha, angry at Plikt’s seeming callousness, lashes out at her. “No more of you! He’s mine now, not yours!” She says that Ender has spent his life with people constantly picking away at him, eating away at his life.
Plikt in turn yells at Novinha. “You’re nothing but a greedy, hateful woman and you used him and never gave anything to him and the only reason he’s dying is to get away from you.” Valentine slaps Plikt and tells her that she’s out of line. Novinha, weeping, tells Valentine not to be angry with Plikt. She says that Plikt’s right, and that she has lost so many men in her life that the thought of losing Ender is more than she can bear. Valentine tells Novinha that she has a choice. She can cling to Ender and lose him any ways, or she can let him go and move on.
“It smells like life to me.”
With the Ansible network shutdown, Jane’s aiua loses it’s grip on the philotic network that’s served as her body and starts to fade away. As this is happening, however, she remains linked to another aiua, Ender’s. Following the philotic connection between them winds up inhabiting the body where his aiua is strongest: Val’s.
Ender’s aiua, however, isn’t ready to leave Val’s body and resists Jane’s presence. Though Jane is strong enough to push Ender’s aiua out, she instead leaves and follows Ender’s philotic connection Peter’s body where she establishes herself. On the planet Pacifica, Peter’s body begins to convulse wildly as his small portion of Ender’s aiua tries and fails to resist Jane. This terrifies Wang-mu who begs Jane to stop. Jane’s aiua in turn flees to Ender’s original body. Again he convulses in agony as Jane tries to overtake him.
Jane could kill his aiua and take over, but she recognizes that she knew the person it belonged to and loved them. She doesn’t want to hurt Ender. Though she enjoys having a body and wants to keep it, she resists and forces herself away from Ender, Peter and Val. Leaving them behind, however, she senses another philotic network connected to them: the Hive Queen and the Fathertrees.
She makes her way to the Fathertrees and begins to inhabit them, running along their philotes. Human and the Fathertrees panic, fearing that she’ll try to take them over like she did with Ender, Peter and Val. The Hive Queen urges them to remain calm. “Only for a little while. Only until Ender understands and gives a body to his friend.” With Jane having vacated their bodies Ender, Val and Peter seem to recover for the moment.
Jane courses along the philotic network of the Fathertrees, but finds it insubstantial. Then she discovers a new part of the network that leads her to the Mothertrees. Though endowed with their own aiua, the Mothertrees are incredibly docile and their bodies are large enough to host Jane temporarily. She begins moving from Mothertree to Mothertree, enjoying the sensation of their living bodies.
The Mothertrees in turn begin to glow with life and, with Jane’s influence, speak for the first time, much to the wonder of the Fathertrees and the Brothers. Where once the Fathertrees feared Jane, they now treasure her presence for the voice she gives to the Mothertrees and don’t want her to leave. The Hive Queen reassures them that though Jane must find a body of her own, her aiua is too powerful to be contained by any vessel, and she’ll always have a connection the Mothertrees.
On Lusitania Olhado sits with his family and the Pequeninos of the forest near Milagre, listening and watching in wonder as the Mothertree springs to life.
“This has always been your body”
Wang-mu and Peter sit with Grace and Malu reflecting on what’s happened. Malu tells them that Jane has found a temporary home among the network of the Pequenino Mothertrees, but that she can’t stay there forever. She needs to have a body of her own to ground her permanently.
Peter tells them that up until the moment Jane entered his body, he was sure that he would be willing to let her have it. Feeling her aiua in him, though, he was suddenly terrified and found a powerful desire to live. “I found out, with her chasing me around, that Malu was right, I don’t hate my life, I want very much to live.” Peter isn’t alone in his desire to live. He, Val and Ender; the three bodies controlled by Ender’s aiua are all clinging to life. Until one of the three bodies is willing to let go and die, Jane won’t be able to find a permanent home.
It all depends on Ender. Though his own body is the weakest at the moment, his clinging to life is what’s holding back the entire process. He ultimately controls the will of aiua. If he lets go and dies, then his aiua will begin to shift away. If Val too is willing to let go, it might be possible for Ender’s entire aiua to flow into Peter. This would make him a whole person while leaving Val’s body empty for Jane to inhabit. It all comes down to who wants to live more. If Val has a heftier claim on her life, then it could be Peter who’s left open for Jane when Ender dies.
On the faster-then-light ship, Miro, Ela, Quara and Val are listening to Olhado detail what’s going on back on Lusitania. He tells them that the Hive Queen has said the situation is stable for the moment, but unsustainable. Jane’s aiua is presently able to share the Mothertrees bodies with their own aiua, but eventually she’ll overpower them simply by being there. She needs her own body.
He also tells them that the Hive Queen believes that once Jane has her own body, she’ll likely still be able to access the Ansible network, once it’s restored by the Starways Congress. If this can be done, she’ll again be able to act as a conduit for faster-then-light travel. Until then, however, Miro and his companions are trapped in orbit above the Descoladores’ planet. Their ship has no propulsion of its own and, with limited supplies, it’s just a matter of time until they die from lack of air.
Miro knows that much rests on Val. With Peter resistant to Jane’s aiua, Val’s is the only body that can serve as a permanent home for Jane. Val, however, thanks in large part to Miro’s affection for her, has established her own desire to live which complicates matters. Miro, in turn, finds that where he had once been confident that Jane and Val would both retain their personalities when Jane took over Val’s body, he’s suddenly scared that that won’t be the case. Thinking about it hypothetically is one thing, but facing the real possibility of losing Val utterly terrifies him.
“I don’t to lose you.” He tells her. Val reminds him that this is what he wanted before. “Walk the walk. Talk the talk. Put up or shut up. Fish or cut the bait.” The only thing giving Val the will to cling to life is her perception that Miro needs and loves her. If he can convince her that this isn’t the case, she might be able to let go so that when Ender dies her portion of his aiua will go to Peter and leave her body empty for Jane. He has to make her believe that he doesn’t care what happens to her.
Though he hates himself for it, Miro begins telling Val that she means nothing to him. That she’s worthless.” Don’t you understand that the only conceivable value that you have to any of us is if you just go away?” Though she wanted Miro to say these things, Val nonetheless weeps to hear him say them. “I will never forgive myself for saying these things.” Thinks Miro, continuing nonetheless. His cruelty works; Val loses her will to live.
On Lusitania Ender wakes up for a moment. Seeing Novinha, he tells her that he’s not going to leave her. “I keep my promise.” He tells her. Novinha tells him that she loves him and will miss him but that she doesn’t need him anymore the way she once did. She tells him that though he is ready to leave this life behind, his aiua still has things it wants and needs to do. She releases him from any sense of duty he might feel toward her.
Free from his sense of obligation, Ender closes his eyes as if to fall asleep. His body almost instantly begins to dissolve away, fading into nothingness. When it’s gone, Valentine gathers up what little remains for them to bury. Novinha, despite having released Ender, is still filled with sorrow at his passing. The Hive Queen and Human, sensing Ender’s death wait and watch to see what happens.
Jane decides that it’s time to leave the network of the Mothertrees. As she leaves, however, she senses Ender’s aiua drifting away. She recognizes that his body is gone now, leaving just the Peter and Val.
Jane guides his aiua to Val’s body, but upon arriving at it, they find Val filled with regret and sorrow. She has no will to live and so Ender’s aiua retreats from it. Jane leads him instead to Peter’s body. She helps Ender’s aiua to settle itself inside Peter and then returns herself to Val’s body, which is now empty. Peter, imbued with all of Ender’s aiua, is now a whole person. Jane, in turn, takes over Val’s emptied body. For the first time, she sees Miro through human eyes and marvels at the sensation of living in a flesh and blood body.
“Val?” Miro asks. Jane tells him that Val is gone. She hasn’t died, but her portion of Ender’s aiua is now with Peter to make him whole. Peter is saddened by losing Val and Jane tries to comfort him in her embrace.
“You call me back from the darkness.”
On the planet Divine Wind, Hikari pays a visit to one of his former students, a prominent businessman named Yasujiro. Yasujiro is happy and honored to see his old teacher, but is shocked when Hikari asks him to use his connections to try and influence the politicians of the Starways Congress to stop the progress of the Lusitania fleet. “If the Molecular Disruption Device is used against one world,” says Hikari. “It will be used against another.” Yasujiro is initially resistant to putting his fortune and family name on the line, but decides out of respect to Hikari’s wisdom and knowledge to help.
In orbit above the Descaladores’ planet, Jane is still holding Miro. Though she doesn’t want to seem unkind, Ela reminds them of the urgency of their work. They return to work trying to decipher the Descaladores’ language while Jane continues to grow accustomed to Val’s body. She has many of Val’s memories, which help her reflexively know how to use her body.
The Hive Queen contacts Jane, speaking to her mind. Though Jane is happy to hear from the Hive Queen, she finds that she has yet to master the emotional responses of her new body. The Hive Queen praises her for the way she handled the stress of finding her new body after the Ansible shutdown and Jane in turn beams with pride. When the Hive Queen seems disinterested in her, though, Jane feels sorrow and disappointment that she knows is out of proportion to what’s happening. The Hive Queen sensing that Jane is still having trouble adapting to the emotional turmoil of a human body offers to give her time to adjust and retreats from their connection, much to Jane’s relief.
Peter finds himself having similar problems. Though he’s already accustomed to a human body, the presence of Ender’s aiua in its entirety has come with its own changes. He finds himself no longer as abrasive as he used to be, and many of his nastier qualities have been toned down. He’s kinder to Wang-mu, who in turn is becoming more comfortable and open with her affection toward Peter. They rest together for a time as Peter contemplates the changes that have taken place in his life.
Plikt sits in her room writing a eulogy to speak at Ender’s funeral. Her entire life she has dreamt of serving as the Speaker at Ender’s funeral. As she approaches the moment of doing this, however, she finds that she’s filled with sorrow instead of joy. In reflection, Ender’s life touched so many lives –for good and ill- and affected so much of history. As she writes, all she hopes for is that she can do him justice.
“Am I betraying Ender?”
On the faster-then-light ship, Miro, Quara, Ela and Val continue trying to decipher the Descoladores language. It’s slow going. They know the Descoladores communicate by transmitting molecules, but they don’t know what any of the molecules mean. The only context they have is their knowledge of the Descolada and the way that the virus communicates. Quara suggests sending some of their information on the Descolada to the Descoladores and then see if they respond with anything familiar.
“Too dangerous.” Says Jane. “You’re suggesting we give to them precisely the weapon they used to devastate the Pequeninos planet…why not just slit our own throats and send them the blood?” Miro reminds her that they don’t have much time to figure this out. Their air will run out in only a few weeks. “We’re giving away too much.” Insists Jane, much to Quara’s annoyance. Jane tells that whatever benefits there might be to sending the Descoladores this information, they might also be giving them intelligence that they couldn’t get any other way.
With no other options, though, they decide to go ahead and send the information, so they can analyze what the Descalodores send back in response. “If we’re even on the right track.” Says Miro. Quara scolds him for being negative. “Can’t we all just get along.” Teases Jane. Quara snaps back at Jane. “Stay out of family conversations, do you hear?” Miro tries to argue back, but Jane silences her. “[Quara] you are quite brilliant and very good at what you do… but you are not smart enough… to make it worth putting up with more than fifteen seconds of the egregious bullshit you heap on you and everyone else.” Jane tells Quara that if she continues to behave abrasively, that Jane might develop a negative attitude toward her that could make it difficult to bring her back to Lusitania if she regains her ability to perform faster-then-light travel.
Quara takes this as a threat. “I would never kill you.” Corrects Jane. “[But] the thought of you might be so unendurable that my unconscious mind would reject that thought and exclude you.” Quara continues to rant angrily against Jane until Jane finally leaves them room. Miro follows and finds her weeping in another compartment of the ship. Miro realizes that she’s crying out of anger. She’s had no experience dealing with human emotions first hand and, now that she has a body of her own, she’s having trouble coping with the emotional stresses of it.
“It was so simple before I felt these things.” Miro tells her that all people have the same difficulties and that she just needs time to accustom herself to dealing with her feelings. “Quara never learned.” Says Jane. Miro tells her that Quara’s behavior is likely a result of the abusive household they grew up in. Before Ender married Novinha, she was married to an abusive man who routinely assaulted her. Quara grew up watching the two of them fight and, wanting her father’s attention, adopted a goading personality out of the subconscious hope that someone would treat her similarly.
Discussing Miro’s family life prompts Jane to start crying even harder. She tells Miro that she misses Ender who, in addition to being her closest companion for the majority of her life, was also much like a father to her. Miro is sad to realize that to an extent Jane will always care for Ender for than she does for him. Jane tells him to think of it as he thinks of Quara’s need for her own, long dead father. “I don’t want you to be my father she says.”
Jane kisses Miro and tells him that she loves him. “I want to be human, Miro, I want to do everything. I want to be part of human life from edge to edge. And I want do it all with you.” Jane asks Miro if he’d like to get married, and though Miro says they should keep it to themselves for the moment, he agrees. They rejoin Quara and Ela in the main part of the ship and continue their research.
“Till death ends all surprises”
Peter and Wang-mu join Grace and Malu on a tour of a nearby university where Malu’s followers, per Jane’s instructions, have spent the past weeks saving essential parts of her computer self to be uploaded back to the Ansible network once it’s restored. Their hope is that the programs will eventually spread across the entirety of the network, and that Jane will in turn be able to reconnect and reclaim control of the Ansible as she did before.
If Jane can’t reconnect to the Ansible, there’s a decent chance that her aiua will never again have the strength it needs to perform faster-then-light travel again. Though the prime importance of this at present is to save Miro, Ela, Quara and Jane herself from dying in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet, Wang-mu and Peter both have a stake in it as well. Neither of them wants to live out their life on the planet Pacifica, and without faster-then-light travel, they’ll be forced to rely on relative space travel, which will cause decades to pass them by every time they travel.
They’re shown to the computers storing Jane’s essentially parts. Though the Ansible network is still shut down, the Ansible of Pacifica is being used to form a smaller, contained network that will serve as the foundation of Jane’s digital restoration. They begin uploading the necessary files to this new network. “How will we know if all of this has worked?” Asks Wang-mu. “Peter will tell us,” replies Grace. If their plan is successful, Jane should be able to communicate to him again through the implant he wears.
On Lusitania Grego and Olhado are waiting in an open field. The faster-then-light ship is supposed to be returning from the Descoladores’ planet soon, if Jane’s aiua can find the strength to move it again. The network on Pacifica goes online and they wait to see if the ship will return.
Aboard the faster-then-light ship, they have sent out a message to the Descoladores and received a reply. As they try to analyze it, they receive a message from Pacifica. Recognizing this to mean that her digital parts have been restored to the makeshift network there, Jane decides to try and transport them back to Lusitania. She sits back in a chair and seems to pass out. Miro knows this to mean that she’s left her body and that her aiua is trying to take them home. He holds her hand and sits with her to wait and see what happens.
Jane’s aiua travels the philotic network and makes its way to the network Malu and his followers have set up for her on Pacifica. It is leagues smaller than the network she’s used to, and she worries that she won’t be able to move the faster-then-light ship with so little to work with. She tells her allies on Pacifica that they have been successful in their efforts and sets herself to her own task.
Knowing the Pacifica network lacks the space she’ll need to move the ship, she begins looking for more. As she searches, she realizes the Mothertrees might be able to provide the space she needs. Their bodies are massive and their aiua small. She connects herself to the network of the Mothertrees and moves the faster-then-light ship back to Lusitania. On Pacifica, Malu can sense that she’s been successful and rejoices. Wang-mu and Peter join in the happiness. With faster-then-light travel possible again they’ll be able to travel as they want.
Aboard the faster-then-light ship, Quara begins to panic. “We’re cut off!” She declares. “I was getting [the Descoladores’] broadcasts and suddenly now there’s nothing!” Miro realizes that the messages have stopped because they’re no longer in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet. Jane has returned them home.
Jane wakes up. “You did it.” Miro tells her. “And rather easily.” She replies. “After all that worry.” Quara, realizing what’s happened is angry. “How dare you do it without so much as a warning!” Miro realizes that Quara is angry because of Jane’s earlier warning that she might be left behind. She was scared and her anger is in part her expressing her relief at not having died. They leave the ship and Jane marvels at the sights and sounds, this being the first time she’s seen a planet through human eyes.
“How they communicate with animals.”
The fleet bound for Lusitania has almost arrived. Aboard the fleet’s flagship its commanding officer, Admiral Bobby Lands, contemplates what’s about to happen. He has no desire to destroy Lusitania, the Pequeninos or the people living there but recognizes the danger of the Descolada and knows that he must follow his orders even if it means a second Xenocide and himself being remembered by a monster throughout history.
Throughout the Hundreds World, the Ansible is reconnected, albeit in a limited fashion that prevents Jane from inhabiting wholly. On Divine Wind, Yasujiro uses this as an opportunity to contact his family members and business associates to relay to them what Hikari has told him about the moral evil of the impending destruction of Lusitania.
As Yasujiro waits for a response, he can’t help but contemplate the consequences of these messages, should his family and associates not agree with what Hikari has said. His life and career will be effectively ended. To his relief, the head of his family replies with a message affirming their support of Hikari’s viewpoint and tells him that already their agents are contacting the Necessarian members of the Starways Congress to try and turn their support away from destroying Lusitania. With support for the act already shallow, there’s a decent chance they’ll succeed.
On Lusitania, their sensors pick up the fleet slowing down from relativistic speeds. As the fleet draws near the last remnants of the colonists flee to the last remaining spaceships on the planet’s surface. The Pequeninos and the Buggers do no such thing. For the Pequeninos, there is no life without their forests and the Hive Queen can’t bear to leave her friends among the Fathertrees. She resolves herself to face the coming doom as her ancestors did when Ender destroyed their homeworld three thousand years before.
Jane, having regained her ability to transport objects at faster-then-light speeds begins removing the ships with the human colonists. Before she will remove anyone else, she insists on evacuating Novinha and her family as well as Valentine and her children. The object to the specific treatment but Jane insists. “I will not stand by and let you be killed when I have it in my power to save [Ender’s family].” Miro, Ela and Quara are returning to the Descoladores’ planet to continue their research. Jane forces the rest of the family to join them and along with herself, teleports them away. She then begins evacuating the other colonists.
With their ship back in orbit over the Descoladores’ world Miro, Ela and Quara set back to their research as best they can. With Lusitania’s potential destruction about to occur they find it difficult to concentrate but do the best that they can. As they examine the message they received from the Descoladores, they realize that it’s a molecule. The molecule is designed in such a way that if it were absorbed into a human body, it would incapacitate them.
They realize that the messages they’re receiving aren’t communication; they’re biological commands meant to manipulate their bodies and bend them to the will of the Descoladores. This doesn’t bode well for communicating with them. For one, they have no way of knowing how to send any useful sort of information in the form of a molecule and likewise, the contents of the molecule the Descoladores sent them suggests that they may be hostile. Ela suggests communicating to them aiua to aiua via Jane. “Maybe Jane can find some way to connect to them philotically.” Miro agrees it’s a possibility but tells her that it will have to wait. Jane’s attention is utterly consumed by the task of evacuating Lusitania.
Aboard the fleet Admiral Lands has received a message from the Congress. At the last minute, many of their members decided to change their minds and vote against destroying Lusitania. “You are not authorized to use the Molecular Disruption Device.” Lands can’t believe what he’s hearing or understand why Congress, without the benefit of any new information, would change their mind. As far as they know, Lusitania is still a threat to human life. Despite his new orders, Lands decides to attack the planet anyways and launches the M.D. device. With that done he surrenders himself to his second in command and they wait for the missile to reach the planet.
“We’re giving you a second chance”
A satellite orbiting Lusitania detects the launch of the M.D. device and relays the information to the faster-then-light ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet. Jane can’t believe it. “Congress voted to establish a quarantine and specifically denied the fleet authority to launch the M.D. device.” She tells them. Miro tells her that they have at most half an hour before the M.D. device destroys Lusitania. He suggests she use her faster-then-light ability to move it to the philote realm and leave it there. She tells him that there’s no knowing what kind of damage the M.D. device could do there. “Besides. I can’t pick things up that I haven’t had a chance to examine.” She’s never seen or touched the M.D. device so she can’t move it. Miro asks if Peter still wears an implant to speak with her.
On Pacifica Jane tells Peter that the fleet has launched the M.D. device. Peter isn’t sure what to do but asks Jane to take him back to Lusitania. Wang-mu insists on going too. Their ship is too far away, so Jane transports their bodies without it. Jane sends them to the starport on Lusitania. Seeing the ships, Peter gets an idea. He and Wang-mu board a ship. He then has Jane track the M.D. device and then teleports their ship so that it’s travelling at the same speed, with the M.D. device inside it. With the missile inside the ship, Peter touches it, allowing Jane to examine and memorize its form.
Jane then teleports the M.D. device back onto Admiral Lands’ ship. She sends Peter and Wang-mu as well. They’re almost immediately confronted by Lands and his second in commander who are horrified to see the active M.D. device aboard their ship. They deactivate the missile as Peter explains what’s going on. He tells them that the Descolada is no longer a threat and that the Pequeninos along with having learned how to use much of human technology are now allied with a third alien race: the resurrected Buggers.
Peter tells Lands that had he succeeded in destroying Lusitania he would have been wiping out not just the Pequeninos, but also the Buggers. Lands is horrified. “I thought it was the right thing.” Peter tells him that he should think of this as a second chance to redeem the mistake he almost made. Peter tells them that the Lusitanians have also discovered faster-then-light travel, which is what allowed them to move the M.D. device back onto Lands’ ship. He says that if Congress wants access to this new technology, they will restore the Ansible network to its former form and allow Jane unlimited access to it. Lands agrees to inform Congress of what’s happened.
With that situation corrected, Peter and Wang-mu teleport to the ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet where Wang-mu introduces herself to everyone.
“How do you know they aren’t quivering in terror”
Aboard the faster-then-light ship in orbit over the Descoladores’ planet, the group is discussing what to do about the Descoladores. Though they haven’t been studying this new race long, all signs point to them being an entity that humanity, the Pequeninos and the Buggers won’t be able to communicate with. More troubling is the fact that their messages are made up of molecules designed to incapacitate human beings, which hints at unfriendly intentions.
Quara says that they may have to destroy the Descoladores if they prove hostile. Just weeks earlier Quara had been staunchly against destroying the Descolada on account of her belief that the virus might be a sentient race. Her sudden support of violence against another race surprises her friends and family to no small degree. “You’re thinking of blowing up a world populated by a sentient race?” Asks Wang-mu.
Quara explains that she only suggests this as a last resort and that she believes they need to study the Descoladores further. Miro takes it further, suggesting that they should study them until they find a way communicate with them and never give up on it. “We can keep a fleet watching this planet.” Suggests Peter. “For centuries. For millennia. There’s no hurry.” Says Peter. “I think that’s dangerous.” Replies Quara.
Peter, frustrated with her attitude, tells her that she’s just acting on her impatience to see the situation resolved. “You are not part of this project.” Quara tells him. Peter tells her that if this is the attitude she’s going to have, then he will have Jane bring her back to Lusitania and make sure she never goes near the Descoladores again. This enrages Quara.
Jane returns their ship to Lusitania and they all depart to enjoy the planet, now free of an impending doom for the first time in decades. Quara, however, remains on the ship, sullen. Wang-mu decides to speak with her, to try and calm her anger. Quara tells her to leave, but Wang-mu refuses. Quara continues to be abrasive and insulting, but Wang-mu continues to talk with her. As they converse, Wang-mu recognizes that in a way Quara has allowed herself to become a form of varelse. She’s made herself into an alien, unable to properly communicate with the people around her. Wang-mu resolves herself to break through Quara’s anger and help her through the issues that have plagues her through her life.
“The road goes on without him now”
With the various crisis’s threatening Lusitania resolved, a funeral is held to mourn Ender’s death. Plikt serves as a Speaker for him, reciting the story of his life before an audience of humans and Pequeninos. There’s even a Bugger present to serve as eyes for the Hive Queen. As Valentine watches, she remembers her life with Ender, his trials and tribulations and the guilt he suffered for his part in the destruction of the Buggers. Seeing the various species sitting together, though, she believes that for all the harm that Ender may have done in his life he may have managed to do even more good.
After Ender’s funeral Valentine, along with her friends and family journeys out to the Pequenino forest that neighbors Milagre. Under the shadow of the new Mothertree, a priest marries Miro and Jane and Peter and Wang-mu. With the ceremony finished, they say their good-byes and teleport away to start new journeys.
Katniss knows that Cinna has placed himself in a world of trouble by making this statement and she silently appreciates him but worries about him all the same. The crowd is beside themselves with sadness over the fact that Katniss and Peeta will never be able to get married as one of them will soon die but Peeta surprises the audience by telling them that he and Katniss are already married in their minds.
Peeta says that they performed a traditional marriage ceremony in District 12, though it is not legally binding; then he shares with the audience that Katniss is pregnant with his child, which catches Katniss by surprise. At the end of the interviews the tributes all take stage together, and, as a symbol of unity, they all join hands before the audience. The Capitol is outraged as this show of solidarity and sends everyone home who is not directly involved in the games.
The next morning Cinna dresses Katniss for her second turn in the Games and puts her into the tube that will bring her to the arena. The tube closes, but Katniss is not sent up to the arena right away, instead she is stuck watching as Cinna is beaten and dragged away by peacekeepers. Katniss is send up into the tube, in total shock, and finds herself in the middle of a huge body of water; the message to Katniss seems clear, a “girl on fire” cannot survive in water.
Katniss realizes that each tribute is standing on a platform in the water and must swim to a land arm that connects to the cornucopia; Katniss feels fortunate that she knows how to swim because she is sure that many tributes do not. When Katniss arrives at the cornucopia she finds that Finnick is the only other one there, but he seems to be wearing a gold bracelet just like the one she saw Haymitch wearing so she thinks he is supposed to be her ally, though she does not trust him.
Finnick saves Katniss from the District 5 man, and she takes the opportunity to take a bow and arrows from the stockpile of supplies. Katniss works with Finnick to fend off some of the other tributes. They soon realize that the cornucopia has nothing but weapons, no survival supplies, so they take as many weapons as they can.
Katniss sees Peeta still standing on his platform because he does not know how to swim so Finnick goes to rescue him and then gets Mags and the four of them quickly retreat. Katniss climbs a tree to check out the situation and sees that several tributes have died at the cornucopia. They decide to look for fresh water, but as they are walking Peeta walks straight into a force field and falls to the ground.
Peeta’s heart has stopped beating so Finnick performs some sort of strange act of breathing into Peeta’s lungs (CPR, though Katniss has does not know what it is called) to bring him back to life as Katniss screams and begs for him to come back to her.
After Finnick saves Peeta they decide they must find water now, especially because Peeta is weakened. Finnick asks Katniss how she knew a force field was there because he saw that she was about to yell before Peeta ran into it, and she tells them that she can hear the electricity with the ear that the Capitol fixed for her after the last Games; this is not true though, Katniss learned how to see force fields from Beetee.
They walk the perimeter of the force field, and find no water so they take the slope downward and decide to make camp for the night.Katniss goes out on her own and sees an animal in a tree that looks like a rat, and his mouth is wet; Katniss knows there must be water somewhere. Finnick and Mags have created a shelter for the four of them, and Katniss gives Peeta the rat creature she killed to cook for dinner.
That night eight faces are shown in the sky and Katniss realizes there are only eight of them left in the arena. Katniss gets a gift from a sponsor, and it is recognized as a spile; Katniss realizes she has to tap the trees for water and it works. As Katniss keeps watch that night, she hears a loud gong sound go off twelve times and struggles with what it could mean. Soon a fog comes over their camp that makes Katniss’ skin blister.
As Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and Mags all run from the fog they realize that not only is it blistering their skin but it is also taking control of their nerves, making it difficult to have control over their bodies.Peeta and Mags are affected the worst, and cannot walk for themselves so Finnick carries Peeta and Katniss tries to carry Mags. Katniss cannot hold Mags for very long and Finnick knows he cannot carry both, which he tells Mags; to Katniss’ shock Mags gives Finnick a kiss on the cheek and runs into the fog, killing herself. As the three stumble to the water’s edge to escape, the fog Katniss realizes that the salt water greatly soothes her blisters and she shares this information with Peeta.
The two of them have to drag Finnick into the water because he is hurt worse than they are and cannot move for himself. Peeta goes to tap a tree and Katniss realizes that the monkeys in the trees seem to be congregating together, and staring down at them. Katniss calls to Peeta but as soon as he moves the monkeys attack. Katniss uses all her arrows and asks Peeta to throw her more, and he drops his knife in the process. Unarmed, Peeta is nearly attacked by a monkey but the girl from District 6 jumps in between Peeta and the monkey, saving him and badly injuring herself.
As the monkeys retreat, Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick try to help the girl who saved Peeta, but her wounds are too severe and they just keep her company and hold her hand while she dies. Katniss offers to keep watch so Finnick can rest that night, but he refuses, insisting that she sleep and Katniss can tell that Finnick wants some time to be alone so he can grieve for the loss of Mags.
In the morning, Katniss’ blisters itch terribly so she asks for Haymitch to send her something and only moments later she receives some tar ointment that looks atrocious but soothes the itching. Finnick catches some shellfish for breakfast, and the trio sees three other people stumbling out of the woods coughing; Katniss recognizes them as Johanna Mason from District 7 and Beetee and Wiress. Johanna seems to dislike Katniss and tells her that she only saved Beetee and Wiress for her, which Katniss does not understand. Beetee has injuries that Katniss attends to and Wiress keeps babbling incoherently “tick, tock, tick, tock”.
That night Katniss sees the lightning accompanied by twelve gongs sounds again and realizes what Wiress is trying to tell them; the arena is a clock.
Katniss tells everyone what Wiress has discovered; each section of the arena corresponds to a time on the clock and in each section of the clock a different kind of attack happens – the fog, the monkeys, etc. They decide to sit at the cornucopia and watch the different sections of the arena to see what each section does and at what time.
At the cornucopia, they restock their weapons and Peeta draws a picture of the arena in the sand so they can keep track of the sections. As they are distracted, the tributes from Districts 1 and 2 attack; Katniss and Johanna manage to kill the tributes from 1 but not before they kill Wiress.
The tributes from District two hide behind the cornucopia and Katniss chases after them but the island they are all standing on begins to spin out of control and everyone is forced to hold on for their lives. When the island stops spinning, Finnick saves Beetee from the water and Katniss swims out to Wiress’ body to get the wire that Beetee found in the cornucopia and seems so important to him.
The five who are remaining head back toward the jungle and despite Katniss’ uneasy feelings she goes off with Finnick to get water while Peeta stays on the beach with Johanna to make another clock drawing. In the jungle, Katniss hears Prim’s screams.
Katniss runs after the voice and soon realizes that Prim’s scream is coming from a jabberjay, a genetically mutated bird, and Katniss kills the bird. When Finnick comes after her, he too hears the voice of someone he loves and runs off in the other direction. As Katniss and Finnick run away they come to a wall that does not let them get away from the birds, they have to wait until that section of the clock is done with its torture. Katniss and Finnick are both convinced that their loved ones are being tortured by the Capitol, and their screams were recorded, but Beetee assures them that it would be all too easy for the government to create the false screams of anyone they want.
That night they watch the faces of the dead flash in the sky and receive a gift of rolls from District 3. Beetee is sure to count the rolls before anyone eats them, and they decide to save some of them for later. Peeta and Katniss keep watch together that night and Katniss finds that Peeta has brought a locket with him that contains pictures of Mrs. Everdeen, Prim, and Gale; he uses the locket to try to convince Katniss to let him die to save her but Katniss refuses.
The next day Katniss tries to convince Peeta that they have to break away from the others because they will have to kill them soon enough, but Peeta thinks that they should wait. Beetee comes up with a plan that day to kill the District 2 tributes; he will run his wire from the lightning source that strikes at midnight into the water and kill the tributes when they are on the beach.
They all hike up to the lightning tree together, and Katniss tells them where the force field is so they stay away; Beetee is amused when the others tell him that Katniss can hear the force field because he knows that he taught her how to see it. After Beetee is done examining the tree, and the area around it they all go back to the beach where they dine on seafood and more rolls that have been sent from District 3.
The next day they all head to the lightning tree so Beetee can rig the electrical wire. Beetee tells Johanna and Katniss to run down to the jungle, carefully placing the wire, so they can quickly head off to section one of the clock where they will be safe. Katniss does not want to leave Peeta behind because she still worries that the others are going to turn on them and separating them will create the perfect opportunity; however, Katniss and Johanna are the fastest so it makes the most sense.
Halfway down the hill Johanna gives the wire to Katniss and shortly after the wire snaps back at Katniss and she finds herself being thrown to the ground with a hard blow; Katniss is barely conscious, but she can feel that Johanna is sitting on her and digging her knife into Katniss’ arm. When Katniss comes to, she is sure that her fears have been realized and she runs back up the mountain to get Peeta.
Katniss finds Beetee unconscious with wire securing a knife to his hand, and she remembers what Haymitch told her before she left for the Games – to remember who the real enemy is, which Katniss knows is the Capitol. Katniss wraps the wire around one of her arrows and shoots it into the force field; sure that is what Beetee was trying to do.
Lightning strikes and Katniss sees the arena start to fall apart right in front of her eyes. A hovercraft comes and takes Katniss out of the arena, and she finds herself in the presence of the head gamemaker before she passes out. When Katniss comes to she finds herself in a medical room and Beetee is in the bed next to her; she is sure they have been captured by the Capitol. Katniss feels that Peeta must be getting tortured, so she grabs a syringe that she plans to use to kill him so he will not suffer, and goes down the hall.
Katniss hears Finnick’s and Haymitch’s voices coming from another room along with the head gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee. Katniss reveals her presence and she is told that there was a plan in place all along to rescue Katniss from the arena and many of the other tributes had made their promise to save Katniss and Peeta at all costs, even if it meant their own lives. Katniss has become the face of the rebellion, and she needs to live to spark hope in others and they knew that if Peeta did not survive then Katniss would not be a strong enough leader.
Katniss finds out that Peeta was not rescued by them; however, because the Capitol got to him before they could, and also finds out that they are on their way to District 13 where people are still living and the rebellion is stationed. Katniss is devastated by her fear for what is happening to Peeta in the Capitol and confused at the new information. Gale comes into the room, injured, and tells Katniss that her family is fine but District 12 has been destroyed.
What Happened to Candide, Cunegonde, Pangloss, Martin, Etc.
The group sets out to rescue Cunegonde and the old woman, and on the way the Baron and Pangloss tell their tales. Candide apologizes to the Baron for stabbing him, but the Baron graciously forgives him. He says that after he was stabbed a surgeon took him in and nursed him back to health. Later, he was abducted by Spanish troops and sent to prison. Eventually, he ended up employed in Constantinople where he was caught bathing with a Muslim. For this crime, he was sent to the galley as a slave.
After hearing the Baron’s story, Candide asks Pangloss to reveal how he survived. Since the Inquisition has more experience burning people than hanging them, they did not tie the knot well, and his flow of air was not entirely cut off. A surgeon took his “corpse” home to dissect it, but when he cut into Pangloss’s body the philosopher screamed. Startled, the surgeon fell back, and his wife came to see what the commotion was. After Pangloss begged for their help the surgeon sewed him back up, and the wife nursed him back to health.
Later, Pangloss entered the service of a Venetian merchant and one day went into a mosque. There, he saw a beautiful young woman accidentally drop a bouquet that lay by her bosom. In returning it, Pangloss “took too long” and was ousted as a Christian. His crime was to be sent to the galley where he met the Baron, and they spent many days arguing about whose crime was worse. Candide asks Pangloss if, after all his hardships, he still believes everything is for the best. Pangloss still thinks that is true and does not renounce his philosophy.
How Candide Found Cunegonde and the Old Woman Again
During their conversation, Candide and the group arrive at the house of the prince. They see Cunegonde and the old woman outside doing laundry. The Baron and Candide are shocked at Cunegonde’s transformation – her skin is browned and wrinkled and she has lost all of her beauty. Candide ransoms Cunegonde and the old woman and decides, with the old woman’s advice, to buy a small farm.
Once they are settled, Cunegonde reminds Candide of his promise to marry her. She is not aware that she is no longer beautiful, and Candide cannot turn her down. The Baron, however, still insists that Candide cannot marry Cunegonde because of their slight difference in royal blood. Candide reminds the Baron of all that he has done for Cunegonde, and the fact that he just rescued the Baron from slavery. Still, the Baron insists that Candide cannot marry his sister while he is alive.
In truth, Candide does not wish to marry Cunegonde because she is so ugly, but wants to prove the Baron wrong. He consults the others, who all have different opinions about how to deal with the Baron. They decide to send him back to the galley without telling Cunegonde, and go ahead with the plan.
Now that Candide is with Cunegonde and all his friends living in peace, he and the others should be happy. However, instead they are miserable and bored. Cunegonde keeps getting uglier and harder to handle, the old woman becomes increasingly feeble, and Cacambo, who works in the garden, curses his work. Martin is the only one who stays the same. From time to time, they still talk about philosophy and good and evil. Candide wonders whether it would be worse to go through more hardships or to be bored as they are now. Martin comes to the conclusion that man is never satisfied. Even Pangloss, though he says everything is for the best, does not truly believe it.
One day Paquette and Friar Giroflee come to the farm. All the money Candide gave them is gone, and they are even worse off than before. Martin gloats at being right in that the money would only bring them more hardship instead of making them happy.
After a while, Candide and the others go to ask a famous Turkish philosopher about all the questions about life and happiness they have not been able to answer. The great philosopher is not helpful and slams the door in their faces. On their way home, they meet an old man who invites them inside for food. Candide is impressed by the man and his children, as well as their simple lifestyle. Most of all, he realizes that they are happier than any others he has encountered on his journey, even the wealthy.
He decides that man was not born to be idle, and that everyone needs to work in the gardens on their estate. Each member of the household learns a skill and helps around the house. Sometimes, Pangloss reflects on the string of events leading up to their life on the farm. Candide listens to him, but always replies that they need to “cultivate the garden.”
Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.
The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.
Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.
Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.
Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.
Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?
Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.
Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.