The following chapter, “Serpent Ship,” opens with the white serpent–who insists on being called Carrion–accosting Maulkin and the other serpents in his tangle. Carrion tries to get himself killed, repeatedly, and Sessurea is only barely discouraged from obliging him by Maulkin noting the scent of She Who Remembers in the water. They proceed towards the smell, finding sound that echoes it and rushing off to heed the call to recall.
She Who Remembers frets briefly as she rushes to meet the serpents, Bolt lagging behind. Maulkin greets her, and the two enter a communion that gives Maulkin back his full memory, and the memories spread to the other serpents. From the deck of the Vivacia, Kennit watches in amazement as the serpents churn and commune, and Bolt reiterates her demand to him, to which he agrees readily.
Elsewhere aboard the ship, Etta presses Wintrow as the young man considers his place and purpose. He voices his uncertainty to her, and she prods him to learn more–navigation, for one, and a return to his priesthood. They converse about the matter, and both realize that both have placed their faith in Kennit and not themselves–and that it should be in the latter. He slips into a strange meditation as he considers her words, and she quietly departs.
In the water, She Who Remembers considers Bolt and Wintrow with some confusion and trepidation. Maulkin joins her and notes his own suspicions, and they observe as Wintrow confronts the ship. It assails him, but the violence against him only spills his blood upon her wizardwood planks, where it soaks in and enhances the intertwined connection he has perceived within him and among them.
Once again, I find myself reading with affect as I read the passage wherein Wintrow considers that he cannot return to the priesthood that he had thought once and for years was his calling. I am in a similar place, having been obliged to exit the ivory tower in whose basements I long labored, hoping for a chance for a room of my own within it. I do well enough in my life outside it, of course, and I recognize that it has no real place for me within, but I still labored long to dwell within it, and that work cannot be undertaken without it doing much to the worker’s heart, in turn. I have not plied such waves as Hobb relates Wintrow has, nor are my scars as deep or extensive, but my currents have carried me far away, and my skin is far from smooth anymore, and I know not how to chart a course back to were I was before.