Seeking summaries of Will Wight’s Cradle series? Need a recap of each book? You’re in the right place! See all Cradle-related summaries available on my website here. Obviously, these are designed to have spoilers. Don’t read any of the summaries if you are hoping to go in to the series without being spoiled! If you haven’t yet read any of the Cradle novels, I have a no-spoilers review of the first two books.
The Angler, Iri, steals copies of Ozriel’s Scythe from Makiel. She trades them to the Mad King for a worldseed. This revelation horrifies Makiel, as he believes that the Mad King will immediately begin war on the Abidan. Given then, he instructs the Abidan to begin recruitment.
The Uncrowned King Tournament is an opportunity for this. Makiel sends a Hound, Kiuran, with a weapon called Penance. It can kill any one person without error. The winner of the tournament will receive it. Given the threat of assasination, one or more Cradle Monarchs will likely be forced to Ascend.
Lindon undergoes training in preparation for the tournament with the Akura clan. He duels the family members repeatedly, all of whom initially believe him to be weak. In a final show of strength before the tournament, he proves his worth to the clan. He is sent off with Akura Pride and Akura Grace to the tournament.
Yerin trains with Eithan and Naru Saeya for the tournament, honing her budding Sage senses. On their way to Ninecloud Court, where the tournament is held, Sopharanatoth disables their cloudship. Fortunately, the Winter Sage finds them and assists them. They make it to the opening ceremony just in time.
Lindon, Yerin, Mercy, and Eithan all make it to the top sixteen in the tournament. The top eight are determined by one on one duels. Northstrider pits Lindon against Yerin, much to his dismay. After getting over his reluctance, he gives her his all. Yerin, however, manages to touch the Sword Icon during the fight, giving her just enough power to win and move to the top eight. During the fight, Northstrider notices Dross and takes an interest in Lindon.
Orthos and Kelsa are together in Sacred Valley. After having saved her from Fallen Leaf School Sacred Artists, Kelsa accepts that Orthos is an ally. She’s still somewhat dubious, however, and doesn’t trust him fully.
The Shi family was turned out by the Wei clan after Lindon and Yerin left Sacred Valley. The Heaven’s Glory School was convinced they were harboring the Sword Sage’s disciple and set out to take their revenge. Now, they must hide themselves away in hidden encampments.
When Kelsa and Orthos reach the edge of the ramshackle village of exiles, she initially leaves him with a Kazan clan sentry while she goes to speak to her father, Wei Shi Jaran. Jaran was blinded by the Heaven’s Glory School during their attack, and her mother was taken for her Soulsmithing abilities. Despite Kelsa’s instructions, Orthos follows her anyway, staunchly proclaiming himself an alley to Jaran.
In discussion with Kelsa, he reveals that something is leeching power from him in Sacred Valley. He’s only a Jade here, now, where he was Truegold before. He tells her that Lindon is no longer Unsouled and is, in fact, a force to be reckoned with. Kelsa demands the whole story.
Makiel is out to catch a thief. After Suriel discovered the erased world, he finally has a clue. Using a celestial lens, he looks into the past to watch Iri, The Angler, as she steals twelve imitations of Ozriel’s Scythe from his vault. She ascended with the help of an artifact in her original world called The Endless Pyramid, which has left a triangular stamp on her eyes. She uses an artifact called the Ziomachus to steal the scythes, and intends to reforge them into something closer to the original.
Unlike most Abidan, Makiel has never altered his body beyond the inherent benefits of ascension, such as immortality. Now that Ozriel is gone, he’s feeling his age – and a deep concern. Those scythes having been stolen has become a priority now. They’re all on borrowed time.
After stealing the scythes, Iri moves on to the fortress of the Mad King, another of the Vroshir. He has agreed to meet with her.
The Vroshir are not unified like the Abidan – many fight amongst each other and rarely share common goals. Their methods, however, are all the same. When they find new Iterations, they take everything they want from it, scoop up the population, and move on. The people are moved to one of the massive Vroshir Homeworlds. The old Iteration is destroyed by chaos.
Iri lives in her greatest treasure: The Crystal Halls, a city-planet cut from a massive diamond and home to about a billion. It’s as large as Tal’gullour and more glamorous than the Mad King’s fortress.
Iri wears the Halo of the Deep Earth, which protects her from Fiends of Chaos (like the Mad King), a set of extra arms she made herself, and Meloch’nillium, a bracelet that can strike a blow even against Gadrael, the Titan.
Fiends of Chaos are entities that can warp reality, break minds, and destroy Iterations. The Mad King thinks he has his under control. Iri disagrees, and is frightened by that. The Mad King gives her a Worldseed, one of the most valuable objects to ever exist. There is little they can’t do. She gives him a scythe in return.
Knowing that it was the Mad King that destroyed the Iteration Suriel found is bad news to Makiel. The Mad King hates the Abidan – this will only be the beginning.
The Mad King destroys four more worlds, testing the Abidan’s response times. His fill strike will happen soon. He may target Asylum, freeing the other Class One Fiends, or Sector Fifty-One, Cradle (birthplace of the Abidan), or even Sanctum itself. For now, the Abidan will be retreating inwards with outer worlds left to fend for themselves. Makiel’s foresight tells him that the Abidan may survive, but they will lose much, and the Mad King will gain rulership over many. He determines that it is time to recruit.
Normally, people must ascend on their own to join the Abidan. Now, however, risking a little causal instability is worth it. They will lose some worlds to chaos with this choice, but it is necessary to give to give them all a chance as a whole. All the Monarchs on Cradle have already refused, but perhaps the upcoming generation could be swayed by a prize of great value.
Lindon is being tested by Archlord Akura Justice to confirm his suitability for representing the family in the Uncrowned King Tournament. Justice is horrified by his robust lifeline and the size of his duel cores, not to mention his mental capabilities thanks to Dross. He reports to Akura Charity that Lindon is, frankly, a monster.
The Akura family lives in their capital city, Moongrave. He follows Mercy into a building containing three dozen purple-eyed Akura Underlords. Charity arrives shortly after. She states that only one of the Underlords before her will fight alongside Lindon and Yerin in the tournament, hence her introducing them now.
Before Lindon can be introduced, Mercy interrupts, asking where Pride, her little brother, is. He steps forward, but Pride stops her from coming closer as he says now is not the time. Pride stares at Lindon with pure hatred.
Charity introduces Lindon, explaining that he owes the clan a debt and that his service here will repay it. She leaves, after instructing the Underlords to treat Lindon as an adopted brother and protected guest.
Pride attacks him almost immediately after. Lindon hesitates and holds back, and loses due to it. Akura Fury, a Herald, has been watching the fight, and notes that he doesn’t see much in Lindon. However, the third member of the team is his pick, and those fights will be coming up in a few months.
Fury fucks off by literally jumping into the sky with Mercy, leaving Lindon amongst the Underlords. One Underlady grudgingly shows Lindon to a guest room – which turns out to be a full, three story house rather than a simple room.
The basement contains and isolated cycling chamber. He brings out Dross and Little Blue – who is VERY unhappy about having been shut up in the void key so long. She makes Lindon make her a pure scale, rejecting those provided by the Akura clan. Soon, Akura Charity appears in the chamber – discovering Dross.
Charity believes him to be a simple mind spirit, and believes Lindon simply acquired a drop of Ghostwater. Lindon let’s her continue to believe it. Further, she goes on to impress the political implications of the Uncrowned King Tournament on Lindon. If they do not fight well, it’s likely that the dragons will take over the Blackflame Empire.
Charity provides a training regime to Lindon and a scale of her own madra to Dross. She warns that the other Underlords will be seeking to vent their frustration on Lindon.
Lindon struggles at first when dueling them. He’s used to fights to the death. Now, he must fight with rules and limitations. He duels with Underlords and works through the interactive trials provided by Charity to train.
Report on The King of Dragons, Seshethkunaaz. Sesh was born in the dessert and bonded to a human who was killed for having accidentally killed another person of lower advancement than him. He now hates civilization and believes that strength is everything.
Eithan and Yerin spar to help Yerin prepare. On advancing to Underlady, Yerin’s Blood Shadow has developed handily. Yerin, however, is still easily overpowered by Eithan due to his superior skillset. She demands he teach her more.
Later, she spars with Naru Saeya, third member of their team. She finds it frustrating, as they are a poor match for sparring – Saeya is too fast or Yerin hits too hard. Fortunately, a gift from the Akura family arrives to support their training. Scales, dream tablets, and more.
Eithan arrives for his share and to provide training tips to Yerin. He suggests training with a blindfold, relying on her spiritual perception instead. He also mentions that the Frozen Blade school will be at the tournament, including the Winter Sage. Yerin is surprised and not pleased – her master had almost married the Winter Sage.
Akura Fury meets with Charity, who talks to him about Lindon’s training. He sparks his interest, and he goes to see Lindon for himself. Little Blue immediately likes him, scampering over to him and speaking in her chime-like voice. She Fury asks what she thinks of Lindon, she says that she thinks he’ll be able to challenge Fury one day soon. Fury demonstrates a few options Lindon could take his Empty Palm, demonstrating his own Crushing Black Palm, and hells him
As more Akura Underlords filter in to challenge him, Lindon begins intentionally restricting himself to use them as training. Using only his pure core, forgoing help from Dross, and more. He loses, but he learns from it. Pride challenges him again, after informing Lindon just how unworthy he is for the tournament. He loses handily, though Dross’ model of Pride improves.
Charity realizes that he’s hit his limit. He’s unshowered, needs sleep, and needs a break. She provided him with a voice transmission construct which will activate for an hour after sunset every other day. Lindon lights up when he discovers it’s Yerin on the the other end. They speak until the hour is up, hungry for contact with one another.
The duels to determine Fury’s tournament choice have arrived. They fight beneath the Akura banner: a large star for Malice and two small stars for Fury and Charity over three mountains.
Lindon steps up to the stage after a few fights have concluded, stating he’d like to test the abilities of the others for himself one last time, as they will be his teammates. Fury grants his request – the winner will fight Lindon. Lindon, however, had something else in mind. He’d like to challenge every Underlord present.
Lindon disables the first challenger with a single Empty Palm, telling her she favors attacking from the left and that her movements are too wide when she uses her boots.
After the second, he looks up to Fury again, restating that he challenged *all* Underlords here. Simultaneously. Fury tells the kids to go wild. With Dross and having trained in simulations against them all hundreds of times, he defeats the first wave. Two opponents held back: Akura Grace and Akura Pride. He defeats Grace, much to her astonishment, taking advantage of an opening when tried to reinforce her weapon with soulfire.
Charity stops the match before he can fight Pride, stating that Lindon’s selection is final that they ought to get on with the selection tournament. Fury handwaves this away, saying he’s going to pick Grace or Pride. Those two can fight best two of three matches for the spot. He immediately leaves.
After this showing, Lindon is expected to make more public appearances as part of the tournament team. When he goes to a show with Mercy, she confronts him as to his feelings for Yerin. Lindon is uncertain and confused, but also clear about how much Yerin means to him. He’s worried that romance could change their friendship.
The day they leave for the tournament arises. A massive celebration is held, with crowds stretching as far as the eye can see to send them off. Lindon gains a better understanding of the politics around the tournament, vowing to do them proud. The tournament will be hosted by the Ninecloud Court.
They set off.
Yerin, too, is on a cloudship to the Ninecloud Court. Her blindfolded training with Eithan has progressed well, and she’s able to catch him before he can touch her with only spiritual perception. She uses the transmission construct to talk to Lindon, noting as it activates that it seems to drill into something deeper than simple dream and shadow madra (note: perhaps it touches the Way). She shares her triumph over having cut Eithan before he could attack today, but the construct has reached the end of it’s life and the connection is spotty. She’s noticed changes in her own spirit since she began training – it’s touching something deeper that warns her of danger before she actively senses anything. She’s unsure what it is.
Sopharanatoth descends on their cloudship from the sky. She’s seeking Lindon to gain her revenge; when she doesn’t find him, she damages their ship. It will take them a month to reach Ninecloud Court given the damage. The tournament starts in three weeks.
On landing at Ninecloud Court, Lindon and co discover that other ships have been attacked by dragons, including the Winter Sage’s. He begins to worry for Yerin.
Xorrus, she who attacked the Winter Sage, is a Herald – and she’s just arrived at the Court. Fury, who is known to be one of the arch enemies of dragonkind, attacks her.
The Ninecloud Court shuts their fight down with the power of their Monarch… Sha Leiala. This confuses Lindon, as he’d previously seen Sha Miara crowned as queen and Monarch with Suriel.
Yerin is losing hope that they will make it in time for the tournament. Fortunately, the Winter Sage, Min Shuei, arrives to help them. She carries a sword that is twin to the one Yerin inherited from the Sword Sage; they were both made by Min Shuei. The Winter Sage notes that she could not have gone to avenge the Sword Sage, as she too would be vulnerable in Sacred Valley. She asks Yerin why she never came home to the Frozen Blade sect. Yerin never viewed it as home given that she was only there a few months and always felt as though Min Shuei disapproved of her.
Report: Sha Miara. Uses the path of Celestial Radiance to disrupt, control, and manipulate others’ madra. They are named for their sigil, a nine-colored cloud (note: how many colors in cradle??? Royal madra is described as rainbow. Rainbow is ROYGBIV. That’s only seven colors.) They have a secret technique called Heaven’s Wish that allows them to pass their spirit to another – just once. Sha Leiala, Miara’s mother, used this to pass hers on three years prior to the current tournament. Her death is known only to a few, and the Sha family has created an illusory pretense that Leiala is still alive. Only her immediate family and the other Monarchs know Miara’s true name and identity.
The day of the tournament has arrived and Yerin still hasn’t arrived. Lindon is panicked, fearing she is dead. Charity has owls out looking, but she’s found nothing yet. Charity provides him with a temporary mental block, allowing him to focus despite his worries.
The announcements begin. Each Monarch and their faction has their own elaborate viewing tower from which they might watch the proceedings. During the announcements, Lindon finds himself placed directly next to a girl who looks just like the Sha Miara Suriel showed him – a girl who Suriel had placed on the same level as Northstrider and the Eight-Man Empire.
At the last minute, Yerin’s team arrives. They made it, thanks to the Winter Sage. Lindon’s relief is instant.
The Ninecloud Soul continues announcing teams. As Northstrider is commonly believed dead, unaffiliated sects compete under his name, including the Beast King. One of the Underlords on that team is familiar: Ziel, from Ghostwater.
The Aurelius family has a team and a viewing tower as well, though no Monarch is seated there. The Aurelius Monarch was killed. Eithan greets the team with smiles and waves.
Emriss Silentborn is a tree Remnant and Monarch. She manages and gifts language, allowing everyone on Cradle to communicate with one another.
Naturally, the dragons are present as well. Sopharanatoth is announced, and she emanates pure hatred towards Lindon.
The final tower belongs to the cults of the Dreadgods. Reigan Shen, Monarch of the Rosegold Continent has gathered the four sects under his banner for the tournament.
As the Ninecloud Soul begins announcing information on the first round, a voice echoes through the arena: “Hold.” A blue rift appears. Northstrider steps forth. He proclaims himself the new judge of the contest. All may fight fully and freely; he will prevent deaths and restore combatants to perfect condition as needed.
The first trial of the first round begins. Two construct armies fight; the combatant must lead one to victory. Lindon holds back on using his techniques and ekes out a victory. He is ranked low at 66th for a slower and messy victory compared to others. He’ll need to catch up; only the top 64 move forward. Yerin blasts her way through.
In the second trial, he must open a metal puzzle box the size of his hand. With Dross, he quickly opens it with little trouble. Yerin fights an Underlord construct for the key. Sha Miara simplt uses royal madra to command it open. Sophara melts it. Eithan, of course, engages the construct in conversation – he doesn’t want to open it too fast after all.
Lindon slowly moves up the leaderboard with each trial. He comes in tenth, moments before Yerin. Mercy is in eighth. And Sophara is in first. Sha Miara took second. Lindon is further confused – surely the Ninecloud Court couldn’t sneak their Monarch into the competition.
After the trials are over, Lindon and Yerin study dream tablets of the other competitors. The first round was recorded. The Ninecloud Soul arrives and announces their prize: a custom floating fortress suited to their Path. She also reveals the next round: a team elimination match between all teams at once.
Lindon suggests he and Yerin combine their flying fortresses, immediately flushing after when he realizes he’s effectively just asked her to build a home with him. Finally, Yerin agrees. She’s blushing bright red.
Eithan has turned his fortress into a giant floating garden. He’s aiming to extract maximum value from it. He mixes in decoys in addition to the resources he really needs.
Round two begins. Teams must capture the thirty two crowns cast across the island. If they can keep it on their head for one full minute, then they will return to the main area and pass to round three.
The dragons bribed two of the Eight Man Empire’s groups, the Tide walkers and Ghost-Blades, to ambush Yerin, Eithan, and Saeya. They are outnumbered. When the three crowns appear nearby, Eithan takes advantage of the distraction to turn the tide of battle.
Lindon, Mercy, and Pride find themselves surrounded by enemies and near the three crowns. The pressure is on, and Lindon and Pride are already butting heads over their plans and responses to threats. They feel Eithan release a burst of pure madra, and move to meet up with their team. They run.
They set up an ambush for he around one of the crowns, hoping to eliminate her. Sophara hangs back, but they face a black dragon – who also uses Blackflame. His mind has deteriorated from the use, and he is no longer sane. Since advancing to Underlord and incorporating the Archstone into his arm, Lindon can now use his hunger arm to feed from the dragon’s madra. His teammates manage to disable the black dragon, but Sophara circles back when she realizes Lindon is there. She’s too strong to fight head on; so, Lindon snatches up the crown… And places it on Sophara’s head, passing her to the next round but eliminating her as an enemy for this one. Lindon is killed, removing him for an hour from the contest, by blocking an attack by Sophara on Pride.
Ziel sits on the sidelines, not yet seeking a crown. He knows that the Dawnwing Sect will be hunting and opposing the Storm caller Sect, the group dedicated to the Weeping Dragon. It was the Sage of Calling Storms that defeated Ziel and mutilated his spirit and stitched it back together… Wrong. Once, Ziel had been one of the youngest Archlords ever. If Ziel can make it far enough, the Ninecloud Court has ways of restoring his soul. Even so, he never would have joined if Northstrider hadn’t personally requested it. Even if they restore his spirit, he’s still lost the rest of his sect and everything he cared about. Eventually, he drags himself towards a crown to make a token effort at moving on. For NS.
When Lindon reappears, Pride is waiting for him with a crown. He says his move with Sophara worked, and Mercy and Yerin already got their crowns. This one is for him. He throws it on Lindon’s head and walks off. Pride does not manage to get a crown. On the BE team, neither does Naru Saeya – though Eithan naturally does.
As a prize for passing round two, they will have the chance to choose one sacred instrument from the Archlord prize vaults. They will be able to use weaponry up to Archlord in the future rounds, though the Ninecloud Soul notes that better suited Underlord weapons are likely to produce better results.
The third round will be one on one matches to the “death.” Northstrider will prevent actual death, though no holds are barred. Only when the last member of the opposing team loses will you be victorious. Lindon and Mercy will compete against the black dragon, who is last of his team. His real name is Naian Blackflame.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs are politicking. With Mercy and Lindon’s comparatively poor showing, the Dragon King and Reigan Shen are gaining influence. They want to wake the Dreadgods and open the Western Labyrinth, hoping it’s security measures will weaken them sufficiently to be defeated. The Western Labyrinth lies on Sacred Valley, and the Akura’s territory would be devastated on the way. To regain influence, they must send a message with how they win round three. Lindon has an idea. Rather than having Mercy crush him, let Lindon battle him Blackflame to Blackflame. He asks Fury’s guidance in choosing a weapon and access to a Soulsmith foundry.
Report: Reigan Shen practices path of the King’s Key, which grants authority over space. His Path gives him an extra-spatial vault where he stores weapons, techniques, and even enemies. He was inspired by the first dread war, where twelve monarchs attempted to kill a Dreadgod and all but two died, to obtain monarch status. He won the first Uncrowned King Tournament, which was begun after the war to foster a new generation of Monarchs.
Lindon is preparing for battle with Naian. He stores Little Blue is in his soulspace. He has a shield crafted from a turtle shell made of force madra, and a floating sword called Wavedancer, and Archlord weapon of wind and water. In the fight, Lindon first uses his hunger arm to drain madra from Naian and weaken him. At the end, when Naian is weakest but Lindon about to die, he pulls out Little Blue. She cleanses him, returning him to sanity. Lindon dies, and is restored by NS.
Naian holds back when fighting Mercy to avoid going under again. He ultimately surrenders, bowing to Mercy, and then to Lindon.
After the battle, Naian returns to the dragon team. Sophara kills him in cold blood, just to spite them. Northstrider appears, stating that Naian asked for his last words to be delivered to Lindon: “The dragon advances.”
Eithan and Yerin run into the Aurelius team, who will be their next opponent. Eithan reveals that Reigan Shin was the one who killed the Aurelius Monarch and shattered their home. They formerly ruled over most of the Rosegold Continent. He also expresses that he’d like to meet with Veris, leader of the Aurelius team, when the Blackflame portal to the Homeland opens in two years – eithan thinks they may be able to help each other.
During the march, Yerin learns to sink deep into her spiritual perception to understand the back and forth between Eithan and Veris’ fight. Eithan wins, and it’s Yerin’s turn. Eithan hands her a blindfold, just like when the practiced before. At the start, she’s cut repeatedly by Altavian, on her back foot. But then… She gets a cut in herself. Her sword rings, and a perfectly controlled Endless Sword erupts.
The Winter Sage watched, choked up by Yerin’s performance. She’s like a mirror of the Sword Sage whom she loved. She still hasn’t forgiven Yerin for his death, but… Nevertheless.
Yerin wins and tears off her blindfold. Watching the recording, she is reminded of how it felt. She’s certain she touched something… Bigger. Deeper than the simple flow of madra.
Now, there are only sixteen participants remaining. Northstrider announces the final round will be single elimination solo combat. He has already paired each with the most appropriate enemy to demonstrate skill and resolve.
Ziel is paired against Therian Nills of the Storm callers, sworn enemies of his former Dawnwing Sect. Sha Miara also faces a Dreadgod cultist: Blacksword of Redmoon Hall. Eithan faces Yan Shoumei of Redmoon Hall.
Mercy, however…. Is set against Yerin. She immediately tears up at the thought of fighting a friend. Yerin is unhappy, but still intends to give it her best.
Lindon is paired with Sophara. Fear and thrill war within him.
The Ninecloud Soul states that before the fourth round begins, each of the remaining contestants will receive a gift from a Monarch. Eithan receives a cloudship as a backhanded compliment from Reigan Shen – a fast ship for running away. Mercy receives a dream tablet from an unnamed woman Monarch, from a famous archer of the eight Man empire, Larian. Ziel received a pill from Emriss Silentborn that will begin the process to heal his spirit. It will be painful, and it’s not a guarantee… But he may be a normal Underlord one day. He could use madra without pain, and be a real Sacred Artist again. If he wins, he may even be granted intervention by multiple Monarchs to restore him fully – back to the Archlord he was. Altavian gives Yerin a Diamond Veins elixir. It makes madra channels purer and more resilient, so that there is no worry about strain. The Aurelius give Lindon a heart that will make his iron body a hundred times more efficient and enhance his regenerative powers tenfold. Reigan Shen gives Sophara a Gate if Heaven elixir, which will help her reach Archlord.
Yerin and Lindon talk, Yerin expressing her slight excitement to be able to go all out against Mercy. It’s an honest feeling to her, showing someone everything she’s got. Lindon asks her help in testing his iron heart – asking her to cut him with her Endless Sword. She finds it unexpectedly difficult, emotionally, and claims she needs a break shortly after they start. After, they train a technique she’s working on learning from a dream tablet of her master.
Eithan runs into NS, who unbeknownst to most often roams the streets veiled. He mentions that Lindon’s hunger arm isn’t the only thing Northstrider may find interesting. Northstrider teleports him away to another part of the city. Eithan begins heading back to NS.
Lindon is continuing to train against Sophara simulations. If she wins, then the Monarchs move closer to allowing the Dreadgods into Sacred Valley and a gold dragon who personally hates him will be the most celebrated Underlord in the world. But, when his match begins, it turns out that Northstrider changed his opponent.
The person waiting across the arena from him is Yerin.
Nothstrider says it is neither plot nor punishment. Rather, it’s to push them an put them in an unexpected situation. Lindon tries to surrender, but Northstrider and Yerin both refuse simultaneously.
The fight begins.
Lindon is initially reluctant. He doesn’t want to hurt her or cut down her potential to reach the top eight and live up to her master. Yerin goads him, telling him she can tell he’s holding back. She begins preparing the Final Sword technique she’s worked on with Lindon. He prepares no defense. So, Yerin yells out to Dross to get him out of his self pity spiral. Dross explains that Yerin doesn’t want an easy victory. She wants Lindon to listen to her when she says she wants to show him her full power and also to see his. She wants to see the real Lindon. Right now, she’s angry and upset and hurting that he’s ignoring her needs. Lindon understands now, and rises up to meet her in a real fight.
He prepares the Void Dragon’s Dance for a final blow, but Yerin disrupts it by activating the binding on her Master’s Archlord level sword. He uses his hunger arm to absorb the icy madra from the Sage’s sword. Dross helps him handle it, but after he will need time to recover before he can help again. He channels it back at Yerin. She begins to prep a second Final Sword – as does her Blood Shadow, much to her concern given she never taught it that. Lindon prepares a layered technique he’s never shared, a massive dragon claw called The Dragon Descends. She manages to touch the Sword Icon, the thing that separates Sages from Archlords, and it gives her the slight edge she needs to be faster than Lindon and win the duel.
The spectators are astonished. Fury simply laughs on delight, while Charity is shocked by the touch of the Sword Icon. Pride tells Mercy that maybe Lindon IS good enough for her, to which he gets a wait what? In response. The Winter Sage decides she’ll demand the right to tutor Yerin herself, even if she is still upset about Adama. Northstrider thinks it is simply an anomaly; Underlords can’t sense the Way enough to manifest an Icon. He also realizes that when Yerin shouted Dross… Perhaps it wasn’t an insult, but a name.
Report Northstrider – uses Path of the Hungry Deep. Devours physical and spiritual strength of dragons and touches the Dragon Icon. Most powerful hunger madra path in modern use.
Lindon is torn after. He’d thought he was going to win, and loss hurts more than he expected. He’d wanted to hold back or surrender initially because even then he’d believed he would win. This is his first taste of loss since leaving Sacred Valley. Eithan comes in to talk to him first, and asks what he’ll do next. He goes to talk to Yerin, uncertain how he’ll handle it.
Before he reaches Yerin, representatives of the Abidan descend. The fifteen remaining candidates are gathered before them. The Monarchs present themselves above their viewing towers. Kiuran of the Hounds tells them that they will be offered a choice to leave this world one day, and encourages them to take it unlike their elders. The Court of Seven offers a grand prize for the winner. A weapon of the gods, originally created by the founder of House Aurelius called Penance. The founder ascended, and took the weapon with him. Now it is returned. Penance can be used to kill any one being in the world without error. Anyone who breaks rules, kills or punishes the champion for possession of the weapon, etc will be judged.
Lindon hadn’t told his friends of Sha Miara’s identity out of fear of reprisal by the Monarch. With this new development, that time is gone. He goes to gather them and warn those still in the tournament. They need to know they are comparing against a Monarch.
Northstrider intercepts him. He asks: who’s Dross?