Inan stands shaken on the edge of the ruined village of Illorin. His plan has gone horribly awry. He watches as villagers weep among the ruins and corpses. Thinking of his father, King Saran, he repeats to himself, “Duty before self.” He must put the safety of Orïsha before his conscience. Yet he also thinks that these citizens are Orïsha.
The widespread destruction challenges Inan’s internal sense of right and wrong. Normally, he equates loyalty to his father with duty to his kingdom, and he puts that responsibility above everything. But seeing the chaos around him, Inan wonders if his father can truly be right. He begins to question if his father’s will is actually aligned with what is best for the people of Orïsha.
A strange cloud of turquoise air floats towards Inan, bringing with it a vision of Zélie sinking into cold water. Admiral Kaea can’t see the cloud or the vision. Inan worries that magic has infected him, a thought that makes him sick.
Saran has demonized magic to the point that Inan sees it as an infectious disease. This further dehumanizes divîners, as they are equated with danger and physical corruption.
Inan tells Kaea that the fugitives are nearby with the scroll. Desperate to hide the fact that he is infected with magic, he lies and says a villager gave him the information. Mustering his strength, he feels he must hide his magic and command the terrified villagers—after all, he is their future king.
Inan feels that he is diseased with magic, which shows the disgust and fear he has towards divîners. He frantically tries to hide this newfound magic, which shows that he’s also scared of being associated with the divîners, and that his status as the king’s son wouldn’t protect him. These prejudiced thoughts also realign him with his father, and Inan recommits to his duty of commanding and intimidating the villagers.
Kaea and Inan threaten the villagers until a girl comes forward. She says she’ll tell them everything they want to know, if they leave the rest of the village alone. Inan says that if she gives the information, the village will be safe, but he can see in the girl’s eyes that she feels they will never truly be safe again.