The next chapter, “Confrontations,” opens with a story about the Others related in-milieu before pivoting to Fitz dreaming of Verity’s tower, Verity, and Jinna; it is an unpleasant dream. Fitz soon tumbles into communion with Nighteyes; the wolf offers a dire report of the circumstances in which he and the Fool have found themselves. Nighteyes also notes on the interpenetration of a deceased woman in the cat with which Dutiful is bonded. The Fool is assailed, and Fitz loses the connection to his wolf.
Fitz wakes and reassesses his situation and Dutiful’s. It has not improved, and he makes to wake the Prince. Dutiful responds harshly, and Fitz’s own anger rises in response. He stalks off to gather food, finding more wooden feathers as he does, and he makes to cook them as Dutiful returns. The Prince’s abductors work through him, and he attacks Fitz, only to be subdued swiftly and with ease–at first. The woman interpenetrated with the cat uses the boy recklessly, however, and Fitz is forced to fight more forcefully, inadvertently laying a Skill-command on the boy not unlike one Chivalry had laid on Galen before. He considers events in the wake of the command, forced to assess the situation again, and he makes to reconnoiter, securing the feathers as he does so and as he and Dutiful eat and wash.
Searching, Fitz comes across a number of alcoves filled with treasures; curious, he investigates further. The treasures defy him, and he scouts more, finding nothing. He notes as much to Dutiful, and the two confer about the Prince’s magic and how he has been trapped by it. Dutiful disbelieves to the extent he can, but Fitz has the right of it, and as the proceed, Dutiful stumbles upon a treasure showing a figurine of a woman on a fine chain. An Other soon confronts them, demanding the surrender of the treasures they have found; Fitz refuses, and they escape through the Skill-pillar, emerging in a ruined Elderling city. They transit again in haste, and Fitz wonders if Dutiful’s mind can endure it.
I appreciate the references back to earlier works in the Elderlings series, the attempt to harmonize the various series. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do, of course, and fandom can be (often is) punitive about such things. I have not been immune to commenting on such things, of course, and some earlier comments I have made are not necessarily as I would have them be–although it is the case that narrative consistency from an author who asserts the importance of verisimilitude, whose work does much to foster a Tolkienian inner consistency of reality, is a subject of fair critique. Here, though, the connections are clear enough to readers who have been doing their reading, and they do not conflict of run into retcon–which makes things all the better, although retconning may not be the worst thing. We are supposed to revise ideas when new information emerges, after all…