Zélie, Tzain, and Amari arrive at Mama Agba’s home in Illorin. They find Baba asleep there. Tzain scoops up his father and returns home to gather their belongings before they escape. Zélie explains all that has happened, handing Mama Agba the scroll.
Despite the presence of the magical artifact, Tzain has a single-minded determination to protect his family, and he continues to set that plan in motion.
To Zélie’s surprise, the scroll awakens Mama Agba’s magic. Zélie had assumed she was a kosidán because she lacks the divîner’s characteristic white hair; in fact, her power is the ability to see the future, and she was able to escape the Raid by removing her hair.
Mama Agba had to hide her physical appearance in order to escape the violence directed at divîners. This is a sign that divîners have been broadly singled out, attacked, and discriminated against based on their appearance.
Mama Agba says some words in Yoruba, the language the maji use to communicate with the gods. Since the Raid, everyone has been forced to speak only Orïshan. Hearing the old language is overwhelming for Zélie. She is filled with longing. Using the incantation is clearly exhausting for Mama Agba—the price of magic.
Saran outlawed the Yoruba language as a tactic to keep divîners from communicating with each other in a language Saran (presumably) cannot understand and therefore cannot monitor or control. Traditions like language help people to support one another, and, potentially, organize privately against oppressors.
Light explodes between Mama Agba’s hands, and Zélie suddenly feels that the gods have been with them all along. In the light, they see a vision of Amari, Zélie, and Tzain climbing a mountain with Nailah. Mama Agba says that Amari and Zélie are meant to go on a quest to bring back magic—for good. Mama Agba says they must go to the temple of Chândomblé to discover what to do next.
Zélie has not wanted to believe that magic or the gods could exist because of the cruelty of her day-to-day life and the serious misfortunes that have befallen her family. However, the undeniable reemergence of magic gives her a sense of hope and purpose.
Suddenly, they hear shouts from outside. The village of Illorin is ablaze. Zélie fights her way home through the chaos, desperate to find Tzain and Baba. When she can’t see them, but only their home in flames, she assumes the worst. When she thinks her brother and father have perished, she tries to drag Amari into the flames so that King Saran, too, will suffer loss.
Believing her family members to be dead, Zélie can think only of bringing more death, as if that will settle the score. In this moment, Zélie is motivated by a desire for revenge. Seeing that her family has suffered, Zélie wants to use violence to ensure that those who have hurt her suffer too—even if that means sacrificing Amari, who had no part in setting the town on fire.
Suddenly, Zélie sees her family afloat in a small boat, safe. Just then, the floating village breaks apart, and Zélie and Amari plunge into the water. For a moment, Zélie considers letting herself sink. But she knows the gods have other plans for her, and she kicks to the surface.
Already, Zélie’s newly returned faith has made her feel committed to a broader goal, as well as a sense of self-worth that she will preserve by staying alive and continuing to fight for what’s right.