Zélie, Amari, and Tzain sneak into the backstage area of the arena. Zélie imagines bringing back a group of Grounders to exact revenge on the whole city. She can sense that the sunstone is nearby.
With much effort, the three break open the lock on the door to the sunstone. But just as they do, a young divîner boy dashes by, followed by a group of guards. When they see the door open, they start to beat him violently. Tzain tries to hold Zélie back, but she bursts out of their hiding place to stop the beating.
As she often does, Zélie chooses to put herself and her friends at risk in order to fight injustice, despite warnings from her family members.
The guards deliver a final, killing blow to the boy, but oddly, Zélie can’t feel his spirit. Forcing her gaze back on the guards and the announcer, she says that they want to compete in tomorrow night’s games.
The guards casually hurt and kill divîners because Orïshan society has determined that divîner lives are worthless. The guards know they will not be punished for hurting a divîner, as his death is meaningless in Saran’s kingdom.
Outside town, Amari and Tzain argue that Zélie’s plan will never work. But she has a secret weapon—she says she can learn an incantation to reanimate the dead as soldiers, a spell her mother performed many times.
Zélie’s can draw a special kind of strength from her magic: not only does it connect her to the gods and to other magic users, but it also connects her to her mother, whom Zélie sorely misses. Now that Zélie can do the same kind of magic that her mother could, it’s almost as if she can turn to her mother for advice in times of difficulty.
Zélie practices the spell unsuccessfully for many hours. She feels abandoned by the gods, as well as the clan scholars who could have helped her before the Raid.
In moments of difficulty, Zélie finds it hard to maintain her faith in the gods. It is difficult to understand why they seem to help her at some moments and abandon her in others. Zélie’s frustration with the gods echoes and feeds her frustration with the injustices of the real world, where so many that could have helped her have been killed.
Zélie focuses on the girl she offered water to. As the girl died, Zélie was able to see some of her memories. By focusing on them now, Zélie conjures the form of the girl in sand.
Zélie is able to reconnect to her magic by focusing on that which is most important to her: overturning the injustice that lead to the death of so many innocent people, like the girl Zélie met earlier.