Zélie is chained up with majacite in a dark chamber. She thinks of all of those who died in vain, including Lekan and Zu. She thinks with horror about whether Inan could have betrayed her, after all they’ve been through. But then, Inan walks in, flanked by guards. Her heart sinks, thinking that he is responsible for her fate.
For Zélie, the many deaths and injuries that accumulated over the curse of their quest were justified by the larger goal of bringing peace and restoring magic to Orïsha. However, if those goals are not met, then their friends simply died in vain, which is a horrifying thought.
Inan orders the guards to leave. When they do, his face immediately changes. He says the guards discovered the encampment when some divîners went to a nearby town to buy supplies—so he didn’t betray her, after all. He says he doesn’t have much time, and Zélie has to tell him how he can destroy the scroll. Otherwise, Saran will kill her.
Inan’s revelation that he didn’t betray the divîner encampment seems the suggest that he has stayed steadfast in his decision to break away from Saran. But then, his request that Zélie tell him how to destroy the scroll suggests the opposite: it seems he is intent on destroying magic, just as his father is. Zélie cannot tell if Inan is more loyal to his father or to his own morals.
Zélie knows that destroying the scroll won’t solve anything—Saran won’t stop until he’s wiped out the divîners entirely. Now, she says she will die before revealing anything. The soldiers killed all those children, and nothing else matters.
One thing Zélie does know is that the prejudice Saran holds against the divîners runs far deeper than any reasonable fear of magic. He is not intent on peace, but rather genocide. The fact that his soldiers wantonly killed young divîner children is evidence enough of that.
For Inan, the feeling of grief is overpowered by fear. He says that Kwame took out three platoons in an instant, confirming the monarchy’s worst fears about magic. Inan says that Kwame took things too far. He says they can’t give people that kind of power. Zélie says she can’t believe what she’s hearing.
King Saran enters, overwhelming Zélie with memories of the Raid. But her desire for vengeance outweighs her fear. She knows he is at the core of hate and oppression in Orïsha.
Zélie feels a righteous anger towards Saran. He has fueled so much oppression and violence in the name of deeply held prejudices. She knows she must fight him in order to fight his evil ideologies.
Saran asks if she killed Kaea or knows who did. Zélie thinks about revealing Inan, but his terror stops her. Saran tells Inan that when Saran was young, he believed young divîners could be allowed to live. He thought the Raid would leave them afraid and obedient.
Saran demonstrates that although he was once apparently less ruthless towards divîners in the past, it was only because he believed he could keep them under his control using fear. Saran has demonstrated that by abusing and persecuting divîners in Orïsha every day for more than a decade.
Zélie yells that Saran has murdered and exploited her people, thinking they would never fight back, but now they are. Saran says that his own father fought for the maji’s rights, and they burned his family.
Saran’s oppression of the maji is rooted in his fear of the power of magic. He turned that fear into a widespread system of exploitation and oppression.