PERSONS OF NOTE:
Mara, the Rich Man
Calloway, the Tinker
Seldick, the Soldier
Mothergaza, a Crone
Tarlun, a Barber (age 20)
Julius, a Servitor
Ronayon, a Piscator
Ananias: another Barber (age 42)
an unnamed Guardiner
the Marchion, plenipotentiary of the Vast
a courtier at the castle of the Marchion with an illegitimate child with another courtier
Nigel: lord Barrister at the castle of the Marchion
Anthony: the Clothier at the castle of the Marchion
Alisandra (a.k.a. 'Hint of Mauve'): daughter of the castle Tinker
Wisteria: a Lightfoot
Wisteria's brother, a scholar
Melehior (a.k.a. 'The Lord of the Bowl'): the Beggar king, mentioned in passing
Liana: former owner of a special handkerchief given as a gift to Elana by Julius; "the best Lace-maker of her time"
THE HOUSES OF CRAFT:
1. the House of Nobles (including the Crafts of the Rich Man and the Dowager)
2. House Sublime
3. House Mansuetude
4. House Ennead (a.k.a. 'The House of Nine'; composed of nine 'singletons', or Crafts with single bearers)
5. House Incarnadine
6. House Numinous
7. The Clerisy Rafters
8. House Pecuniar
9. House Puissant (including the Craft of the Soldier)
10. Manse Flagitious
11. House Oneiric
12. The Keep of the Orgulous
13. The House of the Immured
14. The Mantic Temple
15. The Lambent Society
16. Dis (a.k.a. 'The House Dismal')
17. The Minatory House (including the Craft of the Tinker)
18. The House Disseise (including the Craft of the Thief)
19. House Quondam
20. The Macedoine
21. The Polyonymous
MEMBERS OF THE ENNEAD:
Cressida: the Magus
an unnamed runner (Craft unknown)
an unnamed Fletcher
an unnamed man in green armor (presumably deceased)
someone who can cause bleeding from a distance
Lisbeth, the Linguist (presumably deceased)
EVENTS OF NOTE:
Zoilo, Elana, and Ellis have dinner at the house of the Rich Man Mara, where Calloway, Seldick, Mothergaza, Tarlun, and the Linguist Lisbeth have also been invited to discuss the ramifications of the trio's journey through time. Many things are revealed, including the names of the 21 Houses of Craft; however, the Marchion's ban on history makes it impossible for anyone to discuss matters predating their last natal day, hindering discussion. Further, when Zoilo enumerates the presumed Crafts of the rulers of Isle, Lisbeth becomes obviously distressed, advising the trio to learn their Crafts as quickly as possible, return whence they came, and have nothing more to do with the Vast.
Upon questioning, Lisbeth becomes even more distraught, finally using her Craft to prevent anyone else from doing so, thus giving her the opportunity to kill everyone else, as they now "have too much information". Fortunately, Elana is still able to use her Orator-like knack in order to stop the Linguist and free the other diners. Zoilo then pins Lisbeth to the wall using his hammer.
When questioned, Lisbeth will only say that she tried to kill them because they were a threat to the status quo. Elana advocates killing the Linguist to negate her threat, but is discouraged by Ellis and Tarlun, the latter of whom is offended by Elana’s harsh words and subsequently walks out. Elana is finally dissuaded by the Rich Man, who presents her with an ultimatum: if Lisbeth is killed, Elana will no longer be welcome in the Rich Man's house. Elana relents, Zoilo releases the Linguist, and Lisbeth walks out.
In the awkwardness that follows, Calloway and Zoilo take their leave. They find the Barber Tarlun waiting outside to take the guests home; in conversation, he tells Zoilo that while the Linguist may have walked out the door, he has not seen her leave. After Seldick the Soldier offers to house Elana if necessary, Ellis, too, goes outdoors to ask the Barber for transport, in the process requesting for tutelage in the Craft of the Barber, following her Soldier training.
Meanwhile, Elana follows Mara, who has gone upstairs, clearly upset. Mara tells Elana that, regardless of her eventual decision, she is no longer welcome in the Rich Man's house. Elana prepares to leave. The Servitor Julius attempts to convince her to stay, offering to use his right as a manservant to oblige Mara to keep Elana on. Elana declines, and Julius regretfully offers his services whenever she might need them, as well as a special handkerchief that can provide any of three small food items of her choice whenever she opens it. Elana also learns that Servitors have abilities that apparently allow them to traverse space and manipulate placement of objects within houses.
Outside, Zoilo goes to tell his master they can leave; only to discover that Calloway is already dead, murdered by the Linguist (as evidenced by his dissolving into momentarily word-shaped ashes). Ellis returns inside to find Seldick and Mothergaza being similarly destroyed, and Elana likewise walks in to Mara’s room to find Lisbeth in the process of killing Mara.
The Linguist calmly walks away, heading out of the house. As Zoilo and Ellis rush outside to warn Tarlun and ask for his aid, Elana spends four Rich Man's coins to summon a Piscator to avenge her master. At such a premium price for his services, the Piscator Ronayon is able to defeat the Linguist, deluging her with a torrent of water to prevent her from using her abilities, and finally spearing her through with his trident.
Elana thanks the Piscator and dismisses him. As she is berating Tarlun for preventing her from killing Lisbeth earlier and thus (to her mind) indirectly causing the death of Mara, Lisbeth's fellow members of the Ennead arrive to avenge their comrade's death.
Tarlun offers his aegis to the trio, eliciting a promise from them not to try to fight in the coming battle. The Barber then heroically defends the compass points, but is sorely besieged by the combined might of the runner, the Fletcher, the Architect, a warrior-like man in green armor, and an unseen person who can cause bleeding from a distance. Zoilo and Elana circumvent their promises by using the Crafts of Prophet, Orator, and Rich Man to assist Tarlun.
After the runner and the man in green cry mercy-- thus conceding their roles in the battle-- and the Fletcher is struck by her own windblown arrows (courtesy of Elana), the Magus Cressida comes to parley. She is not actually inclined to concede until a dozen Barbers come to Tarlun's assistance, after which Cressida departs in disgust. The heavily-injured Tarlun is treated by his fellows; and he, the trio from Isle, and an older Barber named Ananias retreat to Tarlun's home.
After some circular discussion and a late-night feast, the five decide to call it a night, with the trio resolving to visit the Baker in the morning at Calloway's home, in hopes that the Baker can resurrect their fallen masters. As they try to find sleep, however, Zoilo idly scribbles in his notebook, gleaning the following message through his prophetic abilities: "A Guardiner is coming, at the first hour past midnight".
As foretold, a Guardiner (or guardsman) does indeed arrive, presenting the Marchion's sigil-- a gold ring surmounted with a green gem-- to summon Zoilo, Elana, and Ellis to an audience with the Marchion. After a lengthy carriage ride, they arrive at the Marchion's court, where they are questioned closely regarding the death of the Linguist, and learn to their dismay that Ronayon has been arrested for the crime, and treated none too gently. Elana explains that the Piscator only acted upon the Rich Man's orders; and since Mara (presumably the only Rich Man in existence) is dead, the matter is dismissed.
To the trio's dismay, however, the Magus Cressida then steps forward, accepting blame on the part of the Ennead for the deaths of the other Craftsmen, and offering to make amends by adopting the three apprentices. The trio decline on the grounds that they have already accepted the aegis of the Barber's Guild. Reluctant to reveal too much of their histories and abilities, they claim that this is due to Zoilo's hair, which is unusually unruly, and therefore of special interest to the Barbers, and possibly dangerous to others.
Tarlun is then summoned to verify this. While waiting for him to arrive, Elana has a conversation with the Magus, in which Elana unwittingly uses her Oratorical abilities to make Cressida tell the truth: that she wants to adopt them in a bid to control their unusual knacks. Ellis, meanwhile, solicits the aid of the Lord Barrister Nigel, only to spot him later on in obviously complicit conversation with Cressida. Zoilo makes friends with a Minnesinger and attempts to activate his gift of Prophecy, but to no avail.
Tarlun arrives and verifies the trio's claims. Nigel attempts to argue the Magus's case, but the three explain that they wish to follow their masters' respective callings, and after shameless ploys for sympathy on their part, the matter is eventually decided in their favor. The Marchion further arranges for Zoilo to continue his training under the castle Tinker, and officially confirms Elana, Ellis, and Zoilo as Rich Man, Soldier, and Tinker's Apprentice respectively. They think this may be partly because it is the wee hours of the morning and the Marchion merely wishes to sleep, but as he is confirming them, he speaks to them in an undertone, revealing that he knows more and is considerably more intelligent than he lets on. He prevails on them to remain as guests of the castle for the next few days, that they might converse further.
The Barber returns home and the trio retire to adjoining guest rooms, where they are visited by the castle Clothier Anthony and the castle Tinker's daughter Alisandra. They also hear a voice in their heads which they assume to be the Hollow of the Isle, telling them that it has been two years (out of their allotted 25) since they left, and asking if they are ready to return. Since they are far from fully trained, they ask for another year yet.
They are just about ready for bed when Ellis discovers a note staked to her bed with a bread knife, offering training in exchange for payment from the Rich Man. She finds the Lightfoot Wisteria just outside her window, and Wisteria and Elana strike a deal: 25 pieces of silver in return for Ellis's training. They also learn that Wisteria is from an island called Tempoco, outside the Marchion's domain. She is therefore exempt from the ban on history, as is her brother, a scholar who accompanied her to the castle to make a plea regarding their home, which is slated to be annexed by the Vast. The twins agree to try to help her talk to the Marchion in exchange for consulting with her brother.
Wisteria bids them goodnight, though not before asking if Zoilo might be "available for suit". Deals arranged and loose plans made, the trio finally goes to sleep.