The Wolfriders clash with mountain-dwelling elves who are trying to carry on the legacy of the High Ones
Part 3 of The Grand Quest (read Part 1 / Part 2)
On their way to Blue Mountain, Cutter's family and Skywise meet up with three Wolfriders who had escaped the birds’ attack. When they come to the mountain, Cutter convinces Nonna’s human tribe, which lives at the foot of the mountain and worships the “bird spirits,” to let him and the others into the mountain via the entrance used by the humans.
Upon entering the mountain, they are confronted by two tall elves who try to hinder them. One is a pale female with long black hair named Winnowill, who has powers similar to a healers’ but uses them to hurt rather than to heal. The other, Tyldak, has a strangely shaped body, with wings coming out of his arms and talons instead of hands. (Later it is revealed that Winnowill re-shaped his body at his request so he could fly like a bird.) Cutter manages to pin down Winnowill, and the group sends to the captured Wolfriders, who come running to them from various areas within the mountain. But Winnowill frees herself from Cutter’s grip and summons help. The reunited Wolfriders are attacked by tall elves who are able to “glide” through the air—a power never seen among Wolfriders or Sun Villagers.
The skirmish turns in favor of the Wolfriders, and Winnowill dashes up some stairs to a cage, where Strongbow the archer is imprisoned. The Wolfriders all stop fighting, under threat by Winnowill that she will kill Strongbow with her magic. Leetah rushes to the cage and shields Strongbow with her healing magic. Her only advantage gone, Winnowill capitulates, and it is revealed that she has been torturing Strongbow as punishment for his having killed a fledgling bird that was to be the bond-bird of one of the mountain elves, and that the captured Wolfriders were given a choice: to be set free in exchange for Strongbow, or to all become servants of the mountain elves, who call themselves the Gliders.
Cutter demands to speak with the leader of the Gliders, and they are led to the throne room of Lord Voll, an ancient elf who is firstborn of High Ones (the elfin firstcomers to the planet). Cutter asks Voll to release Strongbow, and at first Voll refuses. However, in the course of conversation Voll learns that the elves have children (who are hiding in the forest below the mountain with Redlance). According to Voll, the Gliders are “dying within this mountain though unable to die” and stopped reproducing a long, long time ago, presumably as a result of shutting themselves off from the outside world. They pride themselves on having “recreated” the palace of the High Ones and retaining many of the High Ones’ powers, and they have deliberately stayed isolated from the outside world so as to not be changed by it to become less like the High Ones. Only the Chosen Eight, the community’s hunters and defenders, regularly leave the mountain, flying on massive birds, with whom they share a bond similar to that of the Wolfriders and their wolves. It is the Chosen Eight who had attacked the Wolfriders at Winnowill's bidding.
Voll agrees to release Strongbow in exchange for meeting Cutter’s children so he can “feel hope again.” The children are flown up to the mountain, and after meeting them, Voll releases Strongbow and invites the Wolfriders to stay in the mountain for a visit. The Wolfriders are given a private grotto in which to rest and decide whether or not to stay or return immediately to the forest.
Dewshine joins them in the grotto and it is revealed that she has Recognized Tyldak the bird-elf. While the Wolfriders are resting, Skywise meets Aroree, one of the Chosen Eight. Aroree takes Skywise on an exhilarating flight on her bird mount. The Wolfriders hear the wolves howling outside the mountain, and sadly realize that Cutter’s first wolf-friend and former leader of the pack, Nightrunner, has died because Skywise's wolf-friend Starjumper has rejoined the pack after having stayed with Nightrunner through his last days. The Wolfriders decide to stay in Blue Mountain for a while, except Strongbow who is dead-set against this, and he and his lifemate Moonshade leave the mountain to wait for the other Wolfriders in the forest with the wolves.
Although Voll is the Gliders’ official leader and venerated as such, the manipulative and cruel elf Winnowill holds greater day-to-day sway over the Gliders. Afraid that the Wolfriders’ presence will make Lord Voll desire contact with the outside world again and lessen her influence with him, Winnowill is determined to force the Wolfriders to leave Blue Mountain. She also plots to kill Petalwing, whom she refers to as a “Preserver,” because she doesn’t want Lord Voll to see it, for reasons as yet unrevealed. Dewshine overhears her and frees Petalwing from the cage in which Winnowill had trapped it. Tyldak catches Dewshine and says her soul name aloud, which Winnowill overhears.
Later, Leetah confronts Winnowill about her plans to kill Petalwing. Winnowill tells Leetah that if the Wolfriders don’t leave, she will reveal to them something that only she and Leetah know: that because of their wolf blood, the Wolfriders are mortal. Cutter overhears their discussion, however, and Winnowill, realizing that this threat is now useless, threatens to harm Cutter’s children if the Wolfriders do not leave. Cutter attacks Winnowill and almost kills her, but Leetah convinces him to spare her life.
Winnowill wastes no time in making her threat real. Tyldak and some of the Chosen Eight attack the Wolfriders while Winnowill magically puts Lord Voll to sleep and captures Suntop. Strongbow and Moonshade return to the mountain when they are sent for telepathically, to aid the Wolfriders in rescuing Suntop from Winnowill.
Winnowill also has help from the half-elf half-troll Two-Edge, who is living in Blue Mountain. He has created secret passages for her in the underbelly of the mountain, and he opens them and closes them at her request. However, Two-Edge has plans of his own, and he also opens a passage for the Wolfriders down to Winnowill's chambers, much to her dismay. Winnowill reveals to Suntop that it is she who has kept Savah's spirit from returning to its body. Before she can stop him, Suntop performs an astral projection through Winnowill, and Suntop's spirit leaves its body to look for Savah's spirit within Winnowill.
Winnowill enlists the aid of the humans who live in her quarters and tells them to attack the Wolfriders. The humans only half-heartedly obey, not wanting to harm 'good spirits.' During the altercation, Strongbow shoots Winnowill in the shoulder. He avoids killing her out of fear that Suntop's spirit will be permanently lost if Winnowill dies. However, the wound weakens Winnowill enough so that both Suntop's and Savah's spirits go free and return to their bodies.
Winnowill flees and the Wolfriders chase after her. The newly awakened Suntop tells Leetah that Savah believes Winnowill needs healing “in both body and mind.” Leetah manages to corner Winnowill on a tall staircase, and begins to try to heal her spiritually as well as physically. Winnowill, however, chooses to step off the edge of the staircase rather than allow Leetah to attempt the healing. It is a long fall and Winnowill is badly injured. She calls for Two-Edge to help her, and refers to him as her son. Winnowill drags herself into a private chamber and disappears from the Wolfrider's view.
The Wolfriders return to the dining table where Lord Voll sits asleep, and Leetah revives him. They tell Voll of all Winnowill's actions, and he is horrified. They also introduce him to Petalwing, the Preserver. Voll is amazed and excitedly tells the Wolfriders that the Preserver can lead them all to the Palace of the High Ones. Preservers are the winged creatures who had served the High Ones in their palace-spaceship. They had lived with Voll's tribe until Winnowill banished all of them to the forest. He realizes that his plan to re-create the High Ones and the Palace has failed, and he zealously proclaims his new intention to leave Blue Mountain immediately to seek out the actual Palace of the High Ones with the Preserver's help. Cutter, however, declines Voll's invitation to join him on his quest for the Palace, deciding that the Wolfriders need a break from questing, and that they must find a new forest home before winter sets in.
Voll and Cutter convince Dewshine and Tyldak to yield to the demands of Recognition, and they do so, with the understanding that they cannot live together or become lifemates. Dewshine's lovemate Scouter pledges to help Dewshine raise the child she will bear.
Voll presents the Wolfriders with a parting gift of winter fur clothing for all of them, and invites Cutter's family to leave the mountain by flying down with him on his bond-bird. Cutter accepts the offer, but instead of dropping Cutter's family off on the ground below, Voll continues flying and tells them that he will not put them down because he is determined for them all to accompany him to the Palace of the High Ones. Despite Cutter's command to the contrary, the Wolfriders follow Voll's bird, and Voll leads them toward the frozen mountains where the Palace is presumably located. Cutter and the Wolfriders are extremely angry with Voll, but on the way, Voll gives them a telepathic image of the palace which makes them all eager to find it despite their misgivings.
After a few days, they come to the frozen mountains and can feel the magical 'aura' of the Palace which is just beyond the mountains. But tragedy strikes: Voll and his bird get shot down and killed by a huge spear coming from seemingly nowhere. The bird plummets to the ground. Cutter, his family, the Wolfriders, and the Chosen Eight who had accompanied them find themselves surrounded by huge, ferocious warrior trolls. The Gliders pick up Voll's body and fly away, leaving the Wolfriders to their fate at the hands of the trolls.
The Wolfriders fight valiantly, but during the attack, Cutter is badly wounded, and One-Eye is killed. The Wolfriders are outnumbered and are losing the battle. But they are suddenly rescued by elves who ride on the backs of reindeer-like creatures.
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Elves and trolls engage in an epic battle for the Palace of the High Ones
Part 4 of The Grand Quest (read Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3)
Under attack from the newly arrived elves, the trolls retreat, and the wounded Wolfriders are taken to the lodge of the snow elves. Leetah manages to heal Cutter, who is on the verge of death. She has help from an elf who, after the healing, reveals himself to be Rayek, formerly Leetah's lovemate and Cutter's rival for Leetah's hand. Leetah is shocked, since she had found elf bones while traveling through the desert and had thought they were his.
Rayek later tells his story to Leetah: after he left Sorrow's End, he crossed the desert and journeyed through the troll caverns underneath the Wolfrider's burned-down holt. During his time in the caverns, he came across an ancient rockshaper elf named Ekuar who was missing a leg, an arm and a finger; apparently the trolls had used the rockshaper to open new tunnels and find gems for them, and they had badly mistreated him. Rayek and Ekuar became friends, and Ekuar helped Rayek grow in his magic powers to the point of being able to levitate himself and others. During the battle between Greymung's and Guttlekraw's trolls, Rayek and Ekuar escaped up the troll tunnel passage leading to the Frozen Mountains. Ekuar had told Rayek that the High One's Palace was in the Frozen Mountains, and Rayek wanted to search for it. But on the way, they were misled by a 'strange voice' (that of Two-Edge) which caused them to get lost and come out of the troll tunnel prior to reaching the Palace. They instead came to the lodging of the snow elves, who took them in.
The snow elves, a tribe of about forty elves under the leadership of their chief Kahvi, have hardly any magical powers and no longer breed using Recognition. As a result they are not as genetically 'refined' and tend to be a bit more crude and ungainly than other elves. They had been nomads, following herds of great deer, until eight years ago when they got close enough to the Palace to feel its magic “calling" them to it. They now call themselves “Go-Backs," a name which refers to their goal to “go back" to the Palace of the High Ones. To try to reach this goal they have been in a continual war with trolls, who apparently live to keep elves from accessing the palace. The Go-Backs are even more fierce and war-like than the Wolfriders. They are tough and hardened due to their long battle with the trolls.
The Go-Backs have been trying to reach the palace by crossing over or going around the mountains but are always stopped by the trolls. But Two-Edge has left Blue Mountain and is now in the frozen mountains. He appears to Cutter outside the Go-Back's lodge and opens up a hole in the ground which leads to a troll tunnel, telling Cutter that it can lead the elves straight into the heart of the trolls' kingdom, where the elves can fight and defeat the trolls once and for all and reclaim the palace. Cutter is now determined that, after all they have been through, they must persevere in reaching the High Ones' Palace. Cutter presents Two-Edge's idea to the Go-Backs and Wolfriders, and they all agree to it.
After a night of wild revelry, those who will enter the troll caverns to do battle prepare to leave. After a tearful farewell to the children, the wolves, and some of the adult elves who are staying behind in the lodge, the Go-Backs and Wolfriders go into the tunnel Two-Edge revealed. On the way in they free three wild wolves whom the trolls had trapped in a pit to kill any elf who came through. The three wolves accept Cutter as kin, and accompany the group into the troll caverns. Guided by Petalwing, the elves begin to make their way into the troll caverns and come to a mining pit, where they discover Greymung's trolls, including Picknose, working in the pit as slaves. Petalwing tells the elves they must go across the pit in order to continue on toward the palace. The elves attack only the troll guards and convince Greymung's enslaved trolls to aid the elves in the attack against the guards. Cutter tells Picknose that he can have all the treasure to which Cutter's sword New Moon apparently holds the key, if he and Greymung's freed trolls aid the elves in their battle against Guttlekraw's trolls. Picknose agrees, and Greymung's trolls accompany the elves through the mining pit and deeper on into the caverns.
They come to a crossroads and hear Two-Edge's voice through the walls, telling them that one of the walls is hollow. To escape the warriors coming toward them from one of the hallways, Ekuar the rockshaper opens a hole in the hollow wall and the elves and Greymung's trolls go through and find themselves in front of a huge set of double doors. The key in Cutter's sword New Moon opens the doors, which lead to a room filled with elf-shaped metal armor and weapons. This is the 'treasure' Two-Edge had spoken of to Picknose long ago, with the intent that the information would get passed on to the elfin owner of the sword New Moon.
Two-Edge reveals himself to all of them, and tells them how to use the armor and weapons. He claims that by using the armor, the odds will now be even in the troll vs. elf battle to come. Picknose, however—greatly disappointed that there is no treasure here as Two-Edge had promised him—plans to aid the elves in the battle in order to topple Guttlekraw and take over the kingship himself. Two-Edge is very upset to hear of Picknose's plan, because he wants elves and trolls only fighting each other, not helping each other. Torn between his elf and troll sides and not altogether sane due to childhood trauma inflicted on him by Winnowill, he had long ago begun to orchestrate this battle so that he can align himself with whichever race wins it.
As the newly armored elves and Greymung's trolls make their way through the caverns toward Guttlekraw's throne room and the Palace beyond, Two-Edge tries to separate the trolls from the elves, but does not succeed. They all make their way to Guttlekraw's throne room, where the decisive battle begins as Two-Edge looks on. With Greymung's trolls aiding the elves in the battle, it quickly turns in the elves' favor. Guttlekraw and his trolls are afraid that if the elves regain the palace, that they will rule over the trolls as they did in the High One's time, and Guttlekraw's army fights fiercely to prevent this fear from becoming reality. But in the end Guttlekraw is killed and his army defeated, Picknose declares himself the new king, and the elves' passage to the palace of the High Ones is now open.
Two-Edge, greatly dismayed that his plan to determine which race to align with has failed, disappears while the elves and Picknose's trolls celebrate their victory. When the elves return to the Go Backs' lodge, they learn that it had been attacked by some of Guttlekraw's trolls, but the trolls were defeated. Redlance, who had stayed behind in the lodge and is very peaceful by nature, was greatly shaken by the attack, and he and his warrior lifemate Nightfall voluntarily exchange soulnames.
All the Wolfriders and Go Backs finally make their way to the Palace of the High Ones, along with Picknose and some of the trolls. Once inside the Palace, one of the three wild wolves that had been freed from the troll pit starts acting strangely, and then suddenly transforms into Timmain, the High One, to the amazement of all.
Timmain talks with the elves briefly and realizes how much time has passed (almost 10,000 years) since she first shape-changed into a wolf. She also explains to them that the Palace is the resting place for the spirits of all dead elves. Cutter asks her if she can explain to them the story of the High Ones and where they originally came from, which none of the elves know.
Timmain takes them to a room which holds what she calls the Scroll of Colors, a magical spinning scroll which acts as a sort of movie screen, displaying a huge visual history of the High Ones. Timmain has Petalwing wrap her body in a cocoon of 'wrapstuff,' which allows an elf to live indefinitely in a hibernation state without food or water, so that she can control the Scroll of Colors from within the cocoon (to the disappointment of the elves who had hoped Timmain would stay among them). She then explains to them, speaking through Suntop and using the Scroll of Colors, the entire history of the High Ones. Timmain concludes by saying that the Wolfriders have a special significance because they alone “share blood with beasts born of this world. It was my gift to my son. He was the first of us to have the right to call the land his own. If you choose, Wolfriders, you too have that right—and none can take it from you.”
After hearing the story, the elves and trolls have mixed reactions. The Wolfriders decide to leave the Palace and settle in a new forest holt in the Forbidden Grove. The Go-Backs decide to stay right where they are, as do the trolls, who can now live in peace with the Go-Backs since it is clear that the elves have no intention of trying to rule the trolls. Rayek decides to live with Timmain and Ekuar in the Palace to try to find a way to make it fly again. Skywise at first wants to also stay in the Palace because it has the possibility of flying to the stars, much to Cutter's dismay. But Skywise changes his mind and rejoins the Wolfriders as they travel away from the Palace toward their new forest home.
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Winnowill is back, bent on revenge, and determined to rid the world of the Wolfriders!
It has been just a few days since the elves defeated the trolls in the frozen mountains and gained access to the Palace of the High Ones. Picknose, new king of the trolls, has found the mentally agonized and physically wounded Two-Edge, and sends him on a mission to capture Ekuar the rock-shaper, in exchange for a safe haven in the troll kingdom. Two-Edge goes to the Palace and encounters Rayek, Ekuar and Kahvi. Rayek has been obsessively lock-sending with Timmain and studying the Scroll of Colors for more details about his race's past and clues about how to make the Palace fly. Rayek, arrogant as always, is very judgmental of the High Ones and believes that their decision to take the Preservers and trolls with them when they left their dying homeworld was a huge mistake. Two-Edge's arrival gives Rayek an idea: to visit the Gliders with Two-Edge as his guide, and try to harness their power in an attempt to make the Palace fly again.
Three years later, the Wolfriders are still living peacefully and secretly in the Forbidden Grove. They are careful to hide when bird-riders from Blue Mountain pass overhead. Some of the Wolfriders are very anxious for news of their tribefolk who are still living in the Sun Village, and ask Cutter to let Suntop perform an astral projection so that he can communicate with Savah in the Sun Village. Cutter refuses, because Winnowill could ensnare Suntop's spirit again. The Wolfriders hold a council and decide that it's time to try to end the threat that Winnowill poses to all of them... not by killing her body (since her spirit would then still be free to harm them more than ever) but by taking away her power and trying to heal her spirit. Cutter decides to ask the humans Nonna and Adar to help him convince the human tribe who worship the Gliders, the Hoan G'Tay Sho, that their worship is misplaced, so that they will no longer be under Winnowill's command or influence. He sets off that same night for the human camp where Nonna and Adar live.
Later that night, a member of the Glider's Chosen Eight, Aroree, is seen flying over the Wolfrider's secret holt. They all hide as usual, except Skywise, who confronts Aroree about her desertion of the Wolfriders when they were attacked by trolls. Aroree begs Skywise to let her live with the Wolfriders. She tells him that Winnowill is now Lord of the Gliders and is very cruel: she keeps all the Gliders except the Chosen Eight in a deep sleep and feeds upon their power for some unknown purpose tied to the Great Egg (a magical ever-changing sculpture in Blue Mountain containing all the knowledge of the elves, very similar to the Scroll of Colors), and she has Tyldak chained to the throne. Aroree says that Winnowill had recently sent her on a mission to find the Preservers and bring them back to Blue Mountain so that she can wrap all the Gliders in 'wrapstuff' (which allows an elf to live indefinitely in a hibernation state without food or water).
Skywise brings Aroree into the heart of the Wolfrider's holt. They are angry with him for breaking the rule of secrecy, but Aroree begs them to let her live with them. But then Aroree sees Dewshine's infant son Windkin, who inherited the power of floating from his Glider father Tyldak. She grabs Windkin and flies away. She orders the Preservers to go with her, but they all refuse. As Aroree's bird takes off, Dewshine manages to grab the bird's harness and is carried to Blue Mountain, unknown to Aroree. Skywise, realizing what a big mistake he has made, sets off to find Cutter to tell him of all that occurred and enlist his help in rescuing Dewshine and Windkin.
Aroree presents Windkin to Winnowill, so she can be released from her duties as one of the Chosen Eight and Windkin can be raised to take her place. Dewshine tries to rescue Windkin but is stopped by Winnowill, who knows Dewshine's soul name and controls her with it. Aroree sets out to leave Blue Mountain, but is stopped by Kureel, another member of the Chosen Eight, who accuses her of disloyalty to Winnowill. Aroree attacks him and manages to escape Blue Mountain. Aroree feels terribly guilty about harming Kureel and also about having kidnapped Windkin but is too desperate to get away to try to make amends.
Meanwhile, Cutter has reached the humans' camp and is able to get Nonna and Adar to agree to accompany him to Blue Mountain and help free Nonna's tribe, the Hoan G'Tay Sho, from Winnowill's influence over them. As they are traveling by raft down a river toward the mountain, Skywise finds them and tells Cutter of Dewshine and Windkin's plight. They decide to try to offer Winnowill the Preservers in exchange for Dewshine and Windkin.
Back in the Wolfrider's holt, Ember convinces her brother Suntop to send his spirit out to get Savah's advice about the whole situation. He does so, and while he and Savah's spirits commune, Winnowill's spirit finds them and tries to capture Suntop's spirit so that she can gain access to the High One Timmain through him and “own them both.” However, at that moment Kureel sends to Winnowill that he needs her to heal him before he bleeds to death from Aroree's attack. Winnowill angrily leaves the spirit realm without Suntop.
Suntop tells the Wolfriders that all their kin in the Sun Village are doing well, and tells them that Winnowill's goal is to get any elf who is good at magic under her control and kill the rest. They prepare themselves for an inevitable attack from the Chosen Eight now that Winnowill knows where they live. Skywise returns to them and tells them of the idea of bartering the Preservers, and he, Scouter and Strongbow set off for Blue Mountain with the Preservers who have agreed to help them carry out this plan. However, Winnowill only agrees to trade Dewshine, not Windkin, for the Preservers. Dewshine refuses to leave without Windkin, and one of the bird-riders begins to attack the Wolfrider messengers, who send the Preservers to help Dewshine. Aroree shows up and flies low enough that the three Wolfriders are able to grab her bird's harness and then jump to the woods below to escape the attack. Skywise, however, does not jump but continues flying with Aroree. He spends some time with her and tells her all about the Palace of the High Ones. Aroree decides to visit the Palace herself and drops Skywise off in the woods.
Winnowill appears to the human tribe of the Hoan G'Tay Sho and tells them that the Wolfriders are demons who want to destroy the ancient bond between the tribe and the bird spirits. The Hoan G'Tay Sho vow to protect the “bird spirits“ against the “evil wolf demons.” When Cutter, Nonna and Adar arrive, Cutter stays hidden and Nonna tries to talk with them and explain to them that Winnowill is the evil one, not the Wolfriders. Half the tribe believes Nonna, but the other half believes Winnowill and start to attack Nonna, Adar and Cutter (as well as Clearbrook and Scouter, who have come to aid Cutter), and they escape the attack by running into an open tunnel in Blue Mountain before it closes.
Rayek has delayed his plans to travel to Blue Mountain with Two-Edge because he is waiting for Kahvi, the chief of the Go-Backs, to give birth to a child who might be his. Kahvi finally gives birth to a baby girl who is clearly Rayek's daughter, but Kahvi does not want Rayek to be possessive of the child and interfere with her upbringing, so she lies to Rayek and tells him that the girl was Cutter's and died during the birth. Rayek is disappointed and decides to leave for Blue Mountain at once with Two-Edge, who has become friends with Ekuar during their three years of living in the Palace. The High One Timmain indicates disapproval with Rayek's plan to bring the Gliders to the Palace, but Rayek does not change his plan. He, Two-Edge and Petalwing set off for Blue Mountain. When they near the mountain, however, Two-Edge spots a bird-rider and runs away in a panic, afraid to be captured again by his mother Winnowill, who had kept him in a cage during his childhood, where he witnessed his troll father's gruesome death at her hands.
The bird-rider turns out to be Aroree, whose bond-bird mistakes Two-Edge for prey and picks him up in his talons. Rayek introduces himself to Aroree, who warns him against going to Blue Mountain. Rayek arrogantly ignores both Aroree's and Two-Edge's warnings about Winnowill, and is sure that he will not fall prey to her control like so many others have done. Disgusted with Rayek, Two-Edge runs away. Aroree agrees to fly Rayek to Blue Mountain, hoping that perhaps Rayek will really be able to free the Gliders from Winnowill's control. However, not fully trusting of Rayek, Aroree decides to drop him off in the Forbidden Grove rather than taking him all the way back to Blue Mountain; she is afraid she will be killed if she returns there.
Rayek finds the Wolfriders' holt and convinces the acting chief, Treestump, that Winnowill might be able to be subdued through the combined magical powers of Leetah, Suntop, Strongbow and himself, while she is distracted by the Wolfriders already in Blue Mountain. However, when they reach the mountain, Rayek decides to fly ahead on his own, not wanting to put Leetah in danger and believing that he alone can stand up to Winnowill. But Winnowill easily manipulates him. She tells him her long-standing plan to transform Blue Mountain into a space-vessel just like the High One's Palace had been, using the Great Egg and the Gliders' power, and in it to escape the World of Two Moons forever. She sends him into a magical sleep, floating around the great Egg with other Gliders to join his power with theirs.
Dewshine has avoided capture by the Chosen Eight with the aid of the Preservers. She reunites with the Wolfriders who have come to free her and Windkin, and with Nonna and Adar's help they trick the Chosen Eight into drinking a drugged drink, and the Preservers are able to wrap all the Chosen Eight in 'wrapstuff.' Cutter, Dewshine, Scouter, Clearbrook, Nonna and Adar descend into Winnowill's private chambers to look for Windkin and also to free the humans who are her prisoners. Nonna and Adar are horrified at the mistreatment of the human prisoners, and Cutter explains to all the humans present that elves are not 'spirits' or 'demons' and should not be worshipped or feared as such. The newly freed humans agree to tell the rest of the Hoan G'Tay Sho the truth about Winnowill and all elves. Dewshine, Scouter, the Preservers and the humans look for a way out of the mountain while Cutter and Clearbrook head deeper into the mountain to confront Winnowill and rescue Windkin. Winnowill is breastfeeding the captive baby Windkin with magic milk which removes all the wolf blood from him.
Strongbow and Moonshade's son, Dart, stayed behind in the desert village of Sorrow's End when the Wolfriders left it to find Cutter during his quest for other elves. Dart has taught a group of the Sun Folk how to hunt and fight and ride on jack-wolves. After Savah's spirit-visit with Suntop, she tells the Sun Village about the danger the Wolfriders are in because of Winnowill. Dart decides to travel to the Forbidden Grove with some of the jack-wolf riders to aid the Wolfriders against Winnowill. They arrive in the Forbidden Grove just as the Wolfriders there are subduing an attack by some of the Hoan G'Tay Sho humans. One human youth, named Geoki, accompanied his father on the attack but did not agree with it because he does not believe the 'wolf spirits' are evil. When Geoki and Dart meet they feel an instant bond of friendship. The Wolfriders, the captive humans and Dart's jack-wolfriders all head to Blue Mountain together.
Meanwhile Two-Edge opens a door for Leetah, Suntop, Skywise and some of the other Wolfriders to enter Blue Mountain. Leetah approaches Two-Edge and partially heals him of the madness which Winnowill had inflicted on him as a child, but he runs away before she can finish. As the elves enter and try to make their way to Winnowill, Blue Mountain is rapidly shifting and changing shape to become Winnowill's space-vessel. They are tossed around by the shifts, and Skywise gets trapped in a rock formation. The mountain completes its transformation and becomes one huge floating mountain-sized Egg, to the amazement of all those gathered outside it.
During this time, Cutter is confronting Winnowill to distract her so that Clearbrook can try to rescue Windkin. Winnowill tells Cutter of her plan to take the Egg-ship into space; with its magic she will kill all elves with 'tainted' wolf blood, and gather all the other elves to the ship by the force of magic and take them away from the World of Two Moons. Once in space, all the elves except Winnowill will sleep forever in Preserver cocoons and she will use their power to control the ship. "The Egg's power will erase every trace of the first-comers' great blunder! We will begin again, clean and whole.” This was the plan she had wanted to enact while Voll was alive, but he hadn't allowed it.
While she is speaking, Leetah and Suntop enter the room. Leetah shields Cutter from Winnowill's magical pain, and the three of them subdue Winnowill and wake Rayek from his slumber. Leetah begins a healing of Winnowill and all of her painful memories begin to surface. The egg that Blue Mountain has become begins to fall apart without Winnowill's control of the sleeping Gliders to hold it together.
Two-Edge appears in the room and runs away with Windkin. He takes Windkin to Tyldak and frees Tyldak from his chains. Tyldak finds Dewshine and gives Windkin back to her, and also sends the bond-birds to carry Dewshine and the elves and humans with her down to the ground.
Clearbrook runs after Two-Edge and stabs him, in retaliation for his actions having led to her lifemate One-Eye's death. Two-Edge understands her anger, and opens a door to allow her to escape Blue Mountain before it collapses; then he disappears.
Rayek, contrite at realizing how he was tricked by Winnowill, ignores her pleas for help and carries Leetah and Suntop outside the mountain and safely to the ground. Petalwing has wrapped the weak and partially healed Winnowill in wrapstuff, and Cutter intends to carry her body outside so that Leetah can complete her healing, but Tyldak grabs her cocooned body and flies off with it. Cutter warns Tyldak not to kill her.
Cutter then goes to try to rescue Skywise from the rock hole in which he is trapped and suffocating. Cutter threatens the entranced rockshaper Door so strongly that Door moves the rock enough to allow Skywise to escape. Cutter's interaction with Door wakes Door up from his trance, and Cutter, Skywise and Door all look for a way out of the mountain. Rayek finds them and carries them all down with his floating power.
Except for the still-sleeping Gliders, all the elves and humans are now safely outside of Blue Mountain. They all watch as the huge floating mountain-egg vessel collapses, killing the sleeping Gliders within it. One of the Chosen Eight, Kureel, escaped the Preserver's wrapstuff and was not killed by the mountain's collapse. He flies out on his bond-bird and begin a vengeful attack on all the elves and humans on the ground. His bird picks up both Dart and the young human named Geoki whom Dart had befriended, flies high into the air with them, and then drops them to the ground in a presumably fatal fall. Dart's father Strongbow shoots arrows at Kureel and kills him. Dart's and Geoki's hands are clasped and will not come apart. Leetah performs a healing on both of them at the same time, and is able to save both of their lives. The human tribe has realized that the elves are not 'spirits,' and offer friendship to the elves instead of worship. The humans set off to look for a new place to live, and they take Door with them to care for him and honor him as the last living Glider.
The spirits of the dead Gliders have all gathered around Rayek, who promises to take them back to the Palace where the spirits of dead elves are meant to go. He also hopes that the Gliders' combined power, even as spirits, may also be enough to make the Palace fly again.
The Wolfriders and Dart's jack-wolfriders return to the Forbidden Grove and celebrate their freedom from the threat of Winnowill, even though they are somewhat worried because they don't know what Tyldak has done with her.
Tyldak drops Winnowill off on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean and leaves her there after freeing her from the Preserver's cocoon.
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