In this seventh of nine chapters, the already shaky relationship between Bone and Thorn collapses as the true nature of their monstrous offspring is revealed. Elsewhere in the Valley, Phoney Bone's terrible purpose comes to its fruition. It may be that nothing can stop an all-out war between humans and bones.
People would spot him climbing Tarsil’s tower on the outside, clinging to the narrow clefts between the stones with his razor-sharp but dexterous claws. As the sun lowered at night, worried mothers snatched their playing children from the streets and dragged them indoors, all the time looking about the darkening silhouette of the city’s shingled roofs and low pagodas, fearful that a hulking shape might appear as a stark shadow outlined in monstrous form against the purpling sky. As the people huddled in terror in their beds, they would sometimes hear the clump of heavy feet upon their roofs as Ishmael romped through Atheia, for he never slept and the night was his natural domain. Whispered rumors abounded regarding his terrible origins and his mysterious designs, and they were often as vulgar as the truth. Since Ishmael’s advent, in the short span of three weeks, the name Harvestar had ceased to be a word of blessing and had become a term of ridicule, and wizened old women often passed the forbidding tower at the city’s center and spat, and they made the sign of the Evil Eye. Old men sitting in the city gate said, “Dark times are upon us, and a monster from the primordial days has come forth from the Dreaming to punish us for our sins,” and they nodded their hoary heads at one another, and they too cursed the name Harvestar. [more...]