Verne is planning to kill her mother. She asks for Harryet’s advice and Harryet tells her not to do it. However, Verne is very persuasive and convinces Harryet that she is doing what is necessary. She then talks to Drayk who supports her and says he can give her the Queen’s Guard. He encouraged her to win the support of Petra, strategos of the army, so she will have the troops to overthrow her mother. She attempts to win Petra with little success.
Verne is afraid that Petra will tell her mother about her treachery and starts experiencing what she calls an “irrational fear” which is very similar to her mother’s paranoia making her see enemies in every corner.
A woman from Taveni Island washes up on Tibuta’s Seawall and when she is dragged in front of the court, reveals that her island was destroyed by a freak storm. She describes an army marching ahead of the storm and a bird that looks like Callirhoe flying above it. The queen refuses to accept that it is the tempest.
Verne talks to Petra and discovers the strategos has not revealed Verne’s treachery to the queen. She tries to win her again and believes she is getting close.
Verne reveals her truly duplicitous nature and pretends to be loyal to her mother while plotting against her. She visits the woman from Taveni Island in prison and questions her about the bird, fearing it is Callirhoe. The woman is sick and says she has the ocean living inside her. When the woman vomits seawater all over her, Verne realises she has been turned into an anemoi, a wind demon, and is repulsed.
Verne learns that her mother intends to execute the woman from Taveni Island and asks her friends to spread the message to the people that she, Verne, does not support the execution. She realises the people believe the woman is a holy prophet and wants to maintain their support. Her mother hears of her plan and Verne thinks Hero has betrayed them.
Verne has another prophetic dream this time about her people. “Down the dreary march, down into the depths of the mines. They are dead, their lives snuffed out like insignificant flames, replaced by phantoms that walk in their place,” she says. She imagines them being consumed by an eagle like carrion and despairs that, “We, the people, have become food for the beasts.”
Drayk behaves oddly around her, offering to accompany her to the execution. It his clear his feelings for her are changing. At the execution, the woman from Taveni Island kills a guard by giving him the kiss of death: wrapping her lips around his then spewing seawater into his mouth. When she is hung, she explodes in a thousand droplets of water.
Believing the queen has killed a prophet, the people riot. Verne and the other royals manage to get back to the castle and defend the wall. Verne orders Petra to stop firing on their own people and the strategos obeys her order showing her allegiance in shifting. The queen and the other Talents use their gifts to kill people needlessly even after the gates are shut proving that they are cruel and bloodthirsty.