Zélie awakens, awash with confused memories of Inan, Saran, and the scars on her back. The girl who healed Zélie enters, smiling brightly. She says that though she healed Zélie’s bleeding, she couldn’t make the scars on her back disappear. Regardless of her scars, Zélie thinks that her emotional pain will be permanent, anyway.
Zélie’s thoughts show once again that violence leaves scars beyond the physical. It can be an intensely powerful psychological tool, whether used to bring justice, or, in this case, to further oppression.
Tzain enters, cowering and uncharacteristically quiet. The sight pains Zélie. He says that he broke his promise to protect her, and that what happened is his fault. She tries to convince him otherwise.
Tzain takes his commitment to his family extremely seriously. While that makes him a strong and dedicated protector, it can also cause him to feel worthless when he worries that he has let his family down.
Also disturbing is the fact that Zélie can’t seem to access magic, which means she won’t be able to perform the ceremony. She wants desperately to conceal this. Amari enters too, and she and Tzain reveal that the solstice is the very next day. They are still very far from the sacred site, possibly too far reach it in time. The thought of losing magic overwhelms Zélie with memories of the Raid because she feels as if she is losing her mother all over again.
For Zélie, magic and divîner tradition are closely tied to her mother. She worries that losing her connection to magic also means permanently severing her connection to her mother. She also worries that without the ability to use the power they need to overthrow the monarchy, divîners will forever be trapped in Saran’s cycle of violence and oppression.
Tzain says they have to find Baba and escape Orïsha. Amari agrees, saying they will regroup and find another way to fight. But one of the boys from the bar bursts into the tent, angered by their words. He says people have sacrificed their lives for them. Now is not the time to give up.
Tzain’s principle commitment is still to his immediate family members. However, the boy reminds Tzain and Zélie that they have new relationships and new responsibilities now, to a family defined by more than blood.
If they go to the port city of Jimeta and take a boat to the island rather than traveling further overland, they may be able to make the deadline for the ceremony. But it is dangerous to go to Jimeta, a city of thieves and outlaws. Conflicted, Zélie attempts to appeal to the Sky Mother in prayer, but feels nothing. She feels abandoned by the gods and, because she knows she can’t perform the ritual if she can’t do magic, she feels like she’s letting everyone down. However, she wants to keep fighting, even though her connections seems to be severed. Zélie now fully believes that the Sky Mother chose her for this mission, and she wants to follow through. She tells the others they’re going—and they’re going to win.
Zélie’s feelings show an evolution in her faith. Previously, in times of deep difficulty, she would feel as if the gods had abandoned her, leaving her adrift and hopeless. Now, after meeting so many divîners who still believed in the gods and supported one another even when magic’s return seemed impossible, she is able to both struggle through her doubt and keep faith in the gods.