The succeeding chapter, “Doors,” opens with an in-milieu spy’s report before returning to the retrieval of Dutiful’s party and those they have recovered from Aslevjal. Those aboard celebrate the return and recovery, but Fitz lays out his purpose to Swift; he means to return to the Pale Woman’s domain to cremate the Fool and to confirm the death of the Pale Woman. He affirms as much to Dutiful when the Prince speaks with him as the rest board, adding that his return as himself will occasion problems in the Six Duchies.
Unbeknownst to either Prince or Fitz, Thick remains behind on Aslevjal with Fitz. His emergence startles Fitz, though his cleverness in remaining behind and easy acceptance of Fitz’s intent prevent the latter from sinking into depression. Thick also reports on Nettle’s status in Buckkeep, which displeases Fitz; she is not in a situation he would choose for her.
In the morning, Fitz sets out to find a way into the Pale Woman’s holdings, Thick trailing him. Progress in that line takes some days, and Fitz grows closer to Thick. In his sleep, Fitz communes with Nettle through the Skill, and in the morning, he wakes to find signs that the Black Man has been present. Pressing on, Fitz and Thick find their way to the home of said Black Man, who welcomes them in warmly and offers cryptic advice to Fitz. He also notes that he was once a White Prophet, relating some of his history on Aslevjal to Fitz as he sends him on to recover the Fool.
If I think about narrative structure, I am not certain how to regard the present chapter. I suppose this might be the beginning of what Freytag would call the denouement, what my musician self is inclined to call not a coda (that’s the epilogue), but another movement. Themes long heard in the work are being woven together, even if the main line of the melody is something other than what is being presented now. Something like a shift to another mode or a pivot into a minor key or a blues pattern begins to emerge…I think. After all, I wasn’t able to make it as a band director; my education in that line is truncated, so I might well have it all wrong.