Kelsea was raised by her foster parents in a remote cabin to become queen when she turns nineteen. Carlin was strict and distant to make sure Kelsea would be a knowledgeable ruler. Her mate, Barty, was a medic for the queen’s guard before a sword injury to his knee made him retire. They raised her in isolation while her uncle, the Regent, rules in her stead. No one will tell her about her mother and her rule except that she died a long time ago. Now the late queen’s guard has come to collect Kelsea so that she can rule the Tearling until she is assassinated like the queens before her. Carlin tells her there is a gift in her saddlebag before sending her off with Carroll and his men. She shows them her sapphire necklace and the brand on her arm to prove who she is. Carroll shows his paperwork to prove they are not assassins. They ride hard until sunset. Kelsea takes care of her horse, May, while her tent is set up. Kelsea does what she can to be useful to try to earn the mens’ respect, but makes little progress. She takes the envelope Carlin left in her saddle bag and takes it to her tent. She finds a sapphire necklace identical to her own and a note that just says, “Careful.” Kelsea asks Carroll if he and his men will continue to be queen’s guard or if they will go to work for her uncle’s guard. He admits the odds are in the Regent’s favor, but that none of the men with him were likely to kill her. The next night (after a long day of riding) Kelsea joins the men by the fire and asks about what will happen when they reach New London. Hawks have been following them all day, so they assume the Regent has hired the Caden, an assassin’s guild (uses hawks trained by the neighboring country, Mortmesne). No one is allowed to tell her about her mother or who her father is. Kelsea asks about the Red Queen of Mortmesne. Elston says she is rumored to be a witch. Mhurn recounts his experience in the Mort Invasion when the Red Queen’s army marched to New London raping and killing everyone they found along the way. Lazarus, known as Mace, who originally took Kelsea out to the cottage as a baby, silently follows Kelsea to her tent to watch over her while she sleeps.
The Queen of Mortmesne wakes up from a nightmare and looks out over the city of Demesne from her room She dreamt about Elyssa’s daughter and trying to outrun a man dressed in grey. She does not bother to ask her seers about it, as her only reliable one died years ago. She has spent eighteen years trying to find where Elyssa hid Kelsea. The Queen realizes she did not see the sapphire necklaces in the dream. A slave, an Exiled (descendant of Mort traitors) snores in her bed. She presses a black button on the wall and four guards come in and grab him. She tells them to remove his tongue and any other parts that cause noise and offer him to Lady Dumont or Lafitte. The Queen knows the girl will be assassinated soon, one way or another. She goes back to bed. Kelsea wakes up to find the sapphire necklace she wares is glowing. She checks the other one, but it is normal. She puts on her darkest clothes to hid the glow and then starts packing up her tent. A little while later, Carroll starts giving out orders for them to split up. Pen gives Kelsea his armor and horse. It is decided Lazarus will ride near her. Kelsea thanks the men for helping her and promises their families will be taken care of no matter what. Carroll says he will die making sure she makes it to the keep. Mace gives her directions and then sends her off on Pen’s stallion, Rake. After an hour of riding, Kelsea finds herself in the Almont, the farming plains. She sees surfs, skinny and tired, working the fields for the nobles to get paid. Mace tells her to get down and a hawk attacks her. It gets her neck and wounds her on one pass. He kills it with his mace on the next. Suddenly, they have four Caden in red behind them. Mace has her rushing towards a river to try to get to a noblewoman’s house for shelter. More men dressed in black are coming at them from the side. Kelsea tries to get Rake to turn quickly, but he stops instead and she flies over his head. The four Caden catch up to her, but Mace is there to protect her. He kills three with no problem. The fourth one wounds him before Mace kills him. The masked men dressed in black arrive. Their leader has the men knockout Mace so they can take him with them rather than killing him and wasting his skill (most warriors would not walk away from one Caden, let alone four). A man named Morgan helps Kelsea onto his horse and gets on behind her. They ride across the river and Kelsea is confused because it doesn’t seem as deep as she thought. They get into the cover of the woods before more Caden arrive. Morgan warns the others that Kelsea is loosing too much blood from her wound. The leader tells her he is the “long death of the Tearling” before she is knocked out.
Kelsea wakes up in new clothes under a warm fur in a tent. She finds the leader watching over her. He admits he bathed and clothed her and assures her she is too plain for him. He calls himself the Fetch, but Kelsea explains the name has no meaning to her. He says his group wants to make her a queen. They are a band of outlaws who the Regent is after. He knew where she grew up with Carlin and explains the Caden would have killed her long ago if they had been hired when she was first hidden, but they had just recently been hired. He has a hatred for Kelsea’s mother and there are bets going across the land on who her father is. She tries to get some information from him, but he just tells her to get dressed and join him outside. When Kelsea emerges from the tent, she asks to see Mace. She asks him for answers about her mother, but he refuses, saying the past doesn’t matter. He starts to work on freeing himself. Kelsea asks him to consider being captain of her guard and leaves him before he can answer. Kelsea eats with the Fetch and his men and tries mead for the first time. They teach her how to play poker and discover that she will need to develop a poker face before she can be a queen. Kelsea asks that he make a decision on her life. He asks her what kind of ruler she will be and she tells him what she wants to accomplish. He is glad she has heard of Mortmesne, but surprised at the gaps in her knowledge. He has Lear tell her the story of the Mort Invasion. He starts off with a quick history of the American and Europeans coming to discover the new world. William Tear established the Tearling, but it had poor resources and the country had to depend on it’s neighbors for basic necessities besides food. The Red Queen took over New Europe, which is now Mortmesne. Queen Arla (Kelsea’s grandmother) died of sickness while trying to fight them off. Queen Elyssa immediately started working towards peace. The Mort invaded and reached the keep, but a treaty was made and they withdrew. The Fetch wonders why Kelsea is not fearing for her life like a normal prisoner. She tells her own story of a man who sacrificed his son’s finder to save his life, but the boy developed gangrene and died anyway. She knows she cannot cheat death. The Fetch admits she has passed half of his tests. However, the rest of the test will be how she rules. If she does not live up to her words, she will answer to him. He warns her that he can get to anyone in the Tearling. He didn’t kill her uncle because he was waiting for her to see what she would be like.
Kelsea wakes up the next day hungover. The Fetch tells her he has left her a great gift she will find out about later. Kelsea asks if there is anyway she can repay him and his men, but he refuses, saying he will collect the debt someday. He leads Kelsea and Mace (still blindfolded) away from the camp and points out the road that will take them to New London. He shows her the second necklace and says he will return it whens he has earned it. After he is gone, Kelsea helps free Mace. She tries to free him of his duty as well, but he insists his duty is to another queen. The road becomes densely populated as they continue t o travel. Kelsea asks about the state of the country, but Mace seems to leave information out of his answers as he talks about starving people and corrupt officials. She asks about the Fetch and Mace is surprised she saw his face. She admits she won’t betray the man that rescued them from the Caden. He explains no one has seen his face in the twenty years he has been known as a thief. He once took one of the Regent’s women (sold to him by poor families) and returned her impregnated. Kelsea expresses her hope of getting rid of her uncle. Mace explains he has good relations with the Red Queen and the disturbance could hurt the treaty. They stop just before dawn to make sure the hooves they have been hearing are far behind them. Kelsea dreams of a young woman in a wheat field holding a bundle of a bleeding girl. Mace wakes her up.
As they arrive in the city, Mace leads Kelsea through a blue district. She wants to give the women proper jobs, but she remembers Carlin’s teachings about not governing personal morality. They get closer to the keep and Kelsea is surprised by the mass of people . She had dreamed about her return, but never expected such a sad, starved crowd. She notices several large boxes and quickly realizes they are cages. Kelsea demands to know what is going on. Mace explains her mother had nothing to trade to the Mort Queen for peace, so they pay a tribute of 250 people per month drawn from a lottery. He sees she intends to do something and gives her a sword. Kelsea tells him she will end it. Mace vows to be her guard seeing possibilities in her he never saw in her mother. Kelsea explains they are going to empty the cages and burn them. Javel, a guard at the keep gate watches Thorne, Overseer of the Census, prepare the shipment of people that are to go to the Red Queen. He think of Allie and wants to drink to forget her, but he has trouble waiting until his shift is over. HE watches as the new Queen comes up to the cages with the Mace and demands the people be let go. The rest of the old Queen’s guard joins them. Thorne tires to argue with the new queen. She shows the crowd the sapphire necklace high above her head. Javel sees it glow and asks the other guard, Vil, if he sees it too, but Vil doesn’t seem to. The queen puts Thorne in charge of returning all the children to their families and announces there won’t be any more shipments to Mortmesne. Javel realizes the sun has set and his shift is technically ended. He is eager to drink away his memory of Allie. Vil tells him to hold it together. Another soldier, Martin, checks on Javel before returning to his own post. Kelsea is exhausted, but knows she must continue. Mace starts to announce to four women that the queen will need servants. Kelsea stops him and tells them she will do her best to protect them and their children. They will be free to leave at any time. Kelsea notices on of the women was in her nightmare holding the corpse of her young daughter. She was also screaming at the cages when they arrived. Kelsea looks back into the crowd to see the woman’s husband. When she looks back at the woman, she notices the bruising all over. Kelsea continues on and three of four of the women follow her. The other guards protect the women. Kelsea is given a torch and she throws it onto one of the cages meant for children before continuing into the keep. The Fetch has watched Kelsea’s action and is impressed. He thinks Thorne will hold a grudge against her and sends Alain to find out his plans. He plans to kill the Regent himself soon.
The next day, Kelsea wakes up in her mother’s room. She is disappointed in the luxuries while her people are starving. Mace wakes up and says he will have to leave to find a priest to crown her. He sends in her dame of chamber, Andalie, the distraught woman from the day before (and Kelsea’s dream). Kelsea is intimidated by Andalie (half Mort, half Tear) who only seems to show warmth when talking about her children. Kelsea asks what she did the night before her daughter, Glee, was to be taken. ANdalie says her husband, Borwen, had his friends take Glee because he know Andalie was going to try to run with her. Glee was already in the cage by the time Andalie arrived and she was debating how to kill her husband when Kelsea interrupted her thoughts. Andalie goes to make preparations to get Kelsea ready. Kelsea is unsure about Andalie, but Mace tries to assure her she will be loyal. He has a gift for reading people. They argue about armor until he convinces her to wear Pen’s again. Kelsea is upset by the lack of books on the book shelves and wants to send someone for Carlin’s collection (since she and Barty were to flee after Kelsea left). Mace tells her she cannot afford to send a loyal person away for books that most likely were already burned by the Caden. Mace and the rest of the queen’s guard surround her. She thanks Pen for the use of his armor and he tells her to keep it. They walk her up the aisle of the main hall. Kelsea is shocked at the scores of elaborately dressed nobles that have shown up for her crowning. Her uncle is sitting on the throne, though no one should have sat on it since her mother died. He asks for proof that she is the princess. She shows the necklace and brand. The timid priest is ready to start the ceremony and asks for crown. The Regent says the crown has been lost since her mother’s death. Kelsea has her guard get a tiara from one of the noble women’s head with a promise of reimbursement. He has to fight it away from Lady Andrews, but Coryn returns with the tiara. The ceremony starts and Kelsea notices Thorne from the corner of her eye. She feels pain in her back when a knife stick in her. The queen’s guard fights off the Regent’s mercenaries. Kelsea kills one herself with her knife. She insists on finishing the ceremony. She vows to rule by the law for the people and tells the priest she will leave God to the church. She tells her uncle to get off the throne. When he doesn’t, she tells him he has one month to leave the keep and then she will put a price on his head. He finally gets up. Kelsea makes him leave his mostly nude slave girl behind. She sits on the throne for as short a time as possible. Mace and Pen use their arms to forma chair and carry her out. They get her out of the hall and through a secret door. Someone makes sure her crown is secure.
The Regent, Thomas, wakes up in his bed hungover and his memories slowly come back to him. He rings a bell to summon his servant, Pine, who doesn’t show up. He puts on a robe and goes into the hall to find Coryn packing up all of Thomas’ things. Coryn explains anything int he keep belongs to the crown and the queen has demanded it. The girl he slept with the night before, Anne, packs up her clothes to leave. Thomas tries to convince her to stay with him, but she explains how badly she and the other girls were treated. She leaving to go accept an offer from a nobleman. Thomas wonders where he can go. The Red Queen might execute him if he shoed up in Mortmesne. The Fetch would definitely find him out in the open. Anne looks at him with disappointment and loathing like his mom used to when he would rather waste his nights in the Gut than learning. Anne doesn’t believe him when he says he will be back on the throne. She tells him he didn’t pay for the girls, but he will. Father Tyler (crowned Kelsea) originally was from a farming family. He became assistant to a priest in a small town church when his parents gave him as tithe (poor family with too many kids). When that priest died, Tyler went to Arvath. They quickly realized he would be better as a book keeper than a preacher. He ended up receiving several secular books and became a scholar. The Holy Father calls for him. Tyler goes to his throne and sees Cardinal Anders is there as well (rose through the ranks quickly and hates homosexuals). The Holy Father tells Tyler the queen will most likely choose him to serve in the keep’s chapel. He wants Tyler to be a spy and report everything back to him directly. Javel receives a note from Thorne and meets him in a bar. He takes a shot of whiskey and takes another with him to the table when Thorne calls him over to join him and a blind albino girl named Brenna. While Javel is distracted by the girl, Thorne poisons his drink. He tells Javel he will give him the antidote as well as his wife (who was shipped off to Mortmesne six years before) in exchange for not questioning something coming through the gate. Javel realizes Thorne is going to try to kill the queen. Javel feels like he doesn’t have a choice as he feels himself being taken over by the poison, so he decides it will not be his fault. The Red Queen is in her throne room discussing the monthly auction of slaves with Broussard, her Auctioneer, and wondering why the shipment is late. She does not get sick anymore with the exception of headaches that come and go. She is starting to get one. She sends Eve to get a Tear man for her bed and retires to her room. A few minutes later, her oldest servant, Beryl comes in with a scroll for her.
Kelsea wakes up and finds a rope that leads outside her room. She pulls it and Mace enters. He tells her they had to use an expensive doctor, but he doesn’t trust continuing to use either that are available in the city. She asks if he has found the person who through the knife into her back and he apologizes for the oversight in security. She trusts he is looking for the culprit. He warns her the Red Queen will notice the missing shipment soon. Kelsea asks for the Mort Treaty. Mace points out she is gambling with the entire kingdom. He takes Kelsea around to meet the people living in the queen’s wing. The cook, Milla, is very happy and another girl, Carlotta, will make Kelsea’s dresses. She finds Marguerite (Regent’s red-headed Mort slave) in the new nursery taking care of the children. Kelsea is put into a chair to meet the armorers. She tells them she wants a sword made for her build and to learn how to use it. They are led away saying how Kelsea is nothing like her mother. Kelsea sees her uncle next and allows him to plead his case. She agrees with Mace’s decision to confiscate his things. He asks her to stay in the keep in exchange for information about her parents. She denies him this and tells him he has twenty five days to leave. Last, Kelsea meets a book keeper named Arliss. The Mace chose him because he is the best with money. He is not honest (hand in black market, gambling rackets, etc), but he is trustworthy. Kelsea asks him why he wants to the job since it will pay considerably less than he makes with his own businesses. He hears people call ing her the true Queen and wants to be on the right side. She agrees to making him the treasurer. Mace and Andalie carry Kelsea back to her bed. She thinks about all she is about to face and knows it won’t be enough.
Kelsea works with Venner on becoming faster to be able to fight. After two weeks, she is still using Pen’s armor and a borrowed sword. She threatens to fire Fell if he doesn’t show any progress the next day. Mace comes in and Kelsea ends the lesson. He tells her the Regent has left the keep. He points out Kelsea will need a personal body guard so he can run her guard. She chooses Pen and mace is relieved because Pen wanted the job and is the best for it. Kelsea agrees to meet with Father Tyler, hoping she can get some books from the church. Kelsea returns to her room and notices Andalie looks uneasy. She asks what is wrong, but Andalie doesn’t know yet. Kelsea thinks Andalie might be a seer. She worries about the lack of medical expertise and education in the Tearling. She feels heat coming off her sapphire and knows it has some sort of magical properties. While in the bath, an assassin comes in and pulls Kelsea out of the tub. He demands her necklace with a knife to her, but Kelsea acts like she has trouble with the clasp. Andalie asks if she is alright through the door, and Kelsea says she will call for her when it is time to wash her hair. Mace comes to the door and opens it with the other guards behind him. Mace makes it in, but the assassin has his knife to kelsea’s throat and tells him to close the door. Mace notices the hole in the floor the assassin used to get in. The assassin tries to take the necklace from Kelsea. She hears a voice say it has too much to show her for her to die. Kelsea feels herself push back. The assassin is dead. Kelsea covers herself with a towel. Mace is furious because one of the queen’s guard had to let the assassin in. He tells Pen he will not leave Kelsea’s side. Andalie helps Kelsea clean her own blood off herself. She apologizes for not knowing the time and place of the attack. Mace is gone for three days on a secret errand. When he returns, he looks at a map with Kelsea. News of her killing a Caden spreads through the city while the man’s body rots on a spear. Dyer comes to get her and take her to a room where all of Carlin’s books have been shelved. She tanks Dyer for making the trip and then goes to thank Mace. She offers him whatever he wants to repay him and he warns her against open-ended promises. Kelsea helps the kids in the queen’s wing find books to read and is happy to see them in the library a lot. She goes to the balcony room and wishes she could see all the way to Mortmesne. She is suddenly flying in a bird’s body over the mountains. She sees the army the Red Queen has assembled and the cannons (though not even Mortmesne is supposed to have discovered the formula for gunpowder yet). The bird is shot down and Kelsea does not feel her body drop. When she wakes up, Kelsea insists on meeting with General Bermond and his first officer Colonel Hall. Bermond tries to convince her to make peace with the Mort Queen, but she refuses to give more people over for slavery. Bermond shows them where the attack is most likely to come from,but says there is no way to defend against it. Hall suggests guerrilla warfare as a delay tactic that would give Kelsea more time to continue planning. Kelsea agrees and puts Hall in charge of the operation and tells Bermond he will evacuate the boarder villages. Bermond is furious, but Kelsea points out she has control over the crown’s army. He says it is a waste of people. Kelsea points out the lottery is also. Pen tells her Hall’s brother was taken. She apologizes, but he waves it off. She dismisses them.
Despite his promise to himself, Javel goes to meet Thorne in an abandoned warehouse. There are two brothers (both Caden), a priest, and several other people there. Javel notices another gate guard, Keller, who is known for being particularly cruel. Thorne admits he wasn’t surprised their first attempt failed because he underestimated the Mace. To reaffirm the crowds confidence in him, he takes them to where the city’s best carpenter, Liam Bannaker, and a crew are making wooden cages. Thorne has already made a deal with the Mort. Javel keeps seeing Allie behind the cages. Thomas was only able to convince three guards to go to Mortmesne with him. The Journey is slow due to the weather. The Fetch catches up with the Regent, Thomas. The guards are killed instantly, but the Fetch wants information about the Red Queen. Thomas agrees to give it in exchange for the Fetch taking off his mask. When he does, Thomas remarks on how the man was supposed to be dead. HE tells his story and then the Fetch calls for an ax to kill him.
Father Tyler comes to visit the keep and meets with Kelsea and Mace. HE concentrates on one task given by the Holy Father. Kelsea questions his faith and is glad he seems sincerely devoted. She tells him he can be the keep priest if he converts the chapel into a school. She takes him to her library and he is impressed. She offers to lend him one book per week in exchange for one of his that she doesn’t already have. She is having all the books copied in hopes she will be able to make a press and increase literacy in the Tearling. She also wants to increase her own knowledge of Tear history. Tyler agrees and thinks about how to sneak back into the Arvath to read without anyone noticing. The guards bring the throne into the queen’s wing and Kelsea holds audience with her people. Many people come to swear fealty and bring gifts. Andalie’s husband comes and demands his wife and children come home with him. Kelsea says Andalie is free to leave whenever she wants. Andalie stands up to say she won’t go with him. Kelsea makes a decree that outlaws abuse and gives the man a chance to leave on his own. When he refuses, Kelsea allows Mace to chase him out. Lady Andrews gives a silk dress that is much too small for the queen and asks what Kelsea plans to do about the Mort Treaty; she thought the lottery was fair. Kelsea points out Lady Andrews didn’t have anything to loose from the lottery (children, beauty, etc.). Kelsea has a vision of the nobel woman locking herself away during the Mort Invasion. Lady Andrews points out Kelsea is in the same position and was never in danger of being drawn while she was in hiding. Mhurn tells how Lady Andrews locked herself in the tower and wouldn’t let anyone in, including his wife and daughter. He points out Kelsea would bring as many people into her keep as she could. Lady Andrews demands Mhurn, but Kelsea kicks her out and gives her back her gift. Mace thinks Thorne put her up to causing trouble. mace warns her the Census Bureau has the most educated men in the kingdom and will have to be dealt with delicately. She asks about Barty and Carlin, but Mace avoids the subject. Kelsea makes her way to her room and hears Andalie tell her kids they are staying because if Kelsea survives, she will be a True Queen. Kelsea eats in her room with Pen. That night, Kelsea dreams she is a woman in a village. Men have come for her and separate her from her two sons. They are put into cages. Kelsea wakes up screaming. She immediately gets up and tells Pen and Mace they need to go to a town called Haven where Thorne has gone behind her back to make a deal with the Mort and has started caging people. They try to hold her down, but Kelsea easily pushes both men away from her. mace tells her she will have to cut her hair and dress as a low-ranking military man. Andalie cuts her hair and Kelsea gets dressed after. During the process, Kelsea asks Andalie why she married her abusive husband. Andalie points out that you don’t always choose who you call in love with. She asks Kelsea about her shame for thinking about the Fetch constantly.
Kelsea is lead by the sapphire and keeps her guard riding through the night. She is furious that Mace and Pen don’t believe her. She tells Pen if he is loyal to Mace instead of her, she will want a new close guard. Mhurn is the only one that believes her until they see Throne’s eight cages in the distance. She urges them on, but doesn’t have a plan. Javel has tried to block out the woman begging to see her children. HE tries to think of a lie to tell Allie when he sees her, knowing she would not approve of him sacrificing these people to save her. After seeing A (Fetch’s man) sneak water to people in the cages, he decides he might be able to give the woman some time with her sons. After dark, Kelsea sends her archers to take out as many of Thorne’s men as possible before they put out their fire. She gives Elston the task of capturing Thorne alive. Pen, Venner (her teacher), and Mace stay with Kelsea. They hide behind a boulder when more men appear. Kelsea recognizes the Fetch’s voice and goes to greet him. He is surprised to see her and gives her the second sapphire necklace before going to join the fight. Javel gets Thorne a torch and then watches the fighting. Keller joins him on the sidelines. Javel tells him one of the cages looks loose. When Keller goes to look, Javel slits the rapist’s throat. A fire starts up and Javel realizes one of the cages has been set on fire. He tries to break it open with an axe, but the woman that had begged him to see her sons dies from the flames. Kelsea see the cage on fire and rushes towards it. Time slows and Kelsea knows she would pay any price to save the people inside the cage. She thinks about water and it comes down from the sky in a flood. Kelsea drifts off comfortable with dying for her people. The Mort Queen looks out over her balcony and sees bright blue lightning by the Tearling border. She tries to look closer, but cannot (she can never see Kelsea). She sends her page, Juliet, to find a young boy. When the drugged boy is on her bed, the Red Queen sends Juliet away. She cuts a slit in the boy's arm, soaks a cloth in his blood, and throws the cloth into the fire. The dark one appears knowing she needs help. He tells her Thorne has failed, she is not to invade the Tearling, and she will not hurt Kelsea. The Red Queen asks what she should do about her kingdom coming undone, but the dark one repeats she is not to hurt the Tear Queen. It devour the boy’s insides before leaving her.
When Kelsea wakes up, Mace and Pen fill her in on what happened. They take her out of the tent to deal with a few matters. Javel told them everything he knows. Kelsea is lenient on him because she recognizes him as the man that was trying to save the women from the burning cage. Next, Elston holds Mhurn while Mace explains they found heroine (from Throne’s black market) in his saddle bags. Mhurn says he hasn’t been able to get his daughters face out of his head since he found her mutilated body after the Mort Invasion. Kelsea has Coryn administer the drugs and then she slits Mhurn’s throat. As they travel, a highly respected member of the Caden, Merritt, comes to thank Kelsea for saving his son, who was in one of the cages. He promises the Caden are no longer after her and promises to repay the favor if he is ever in a position to. A few nights into their ride, Kelsea has trouble sleeping. She slips away from Pen to find Mace sitting alone. He tries to resign as Captain of her guard knowing his arrogance has caused several issues. She denies his resignation and tells him he can’t disobey her orders any more. Mace tells her that Barty and Carlin committed suicide right after she left their house so they couldn’t be used against her. Mace tells her the story of when he dropped her off at their house, Carlin decided she would be the strict one and Barty would provide the love, though both were in love with her instantly. She asks Mace what he has lost. He says he has lost everything, but he has found something else he values.
Kelsea is in the library with Father Tyler copying books, but they are both distracted. Tyler admits the Holy Father is ill and he worries about Cardinal Anders taking his place. Mace comes in the room before Tyler can finish. He takes Kelsea out to the balcony where people have gathered on the keep lawn. The Fetch has left her uncle’s head on a pike as a present for her. Mace explains her mom used to make announcements from the balcony and that is what the people are expecting from her. She announces she is changing her last name to Glynn for her foster parents. The people cheer and sing about her. Kelsea briefly sees the world, including a crumbling city skyline (from before the world shifted) in a land far away. She is grateful to be responsible for her kingdom.