In Chapter 51, Dora performed psychometry on the dagger that was used by Risi to murder Ray:

She saw the same sitting room from the previous vision. Melisenn was sitting at the same desk, wearing the same dress. The dagger now lay on the desk next to her, but otherwise everything else looked the same. It was either later that same day or a maybe—probably—later that week, but little time—in the grand scheme of things—had passed.

There was another knock.

“Miss Melisenn?”

Ray entered the room. His appearance confirmed that this happened very, very recently. Except for one detail, Ray looked exactly the same as he did the moment he died. But that one detail did happen to be quite striking:

He was not rotting.

“Brayden,” Melisenn said before catching herself. “Sorry, Ray. Forgive me, old habits die hard!” She wasn’t using the little-girl voice with Ray. Her demeanor was now deliberately matronly. “I’m so glad see you! What can I do for you today?”

Ray was on edge. He looked exhausted. He’d not been sleeping much. Or if he had, it hadn’t been restful. He was twitchy, like a caged animal. “This shit’s fucking with my head, Melisenn.”

“I know, dear. I know.”

“I don’t know how much longer I can last.”

“I know. But the count says it’s almost over.”

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about! He has no clue what he’s into, here. This last one? The idol and the lake? It’s too much. It’s too much…”

Ray was pacing around the room, now. And watching Melisenn’s face, it was clear to Dora that she only had a general sense of what Ray was talking about. She got the gist, but “the idol and the lake” didn’t have specific meaning to her. As though perhaps everyone in this horrid house had plans and projects of their own and not everyone told everything to everyone.

“It’s okay… it’s okay…” Melisenn whispered.

“No, it’s not. I communed. And he spoke to me: The Prince in Chains. I think they’re all plotting against me. Maybe even the count. Something’s about to happen. Something’s going to go wrong. I don’t know if they… kill me? Let me die? I don’t know. And I can’t… I can’t find the right question to ask.”

“It’s okay… it’s okay…”

“It’s not okay! He told me. He told me!”

“All right… Ray? Come here. Sit with me. Can you do that?”

And this young man in his twenties, this powerful being capable of drawing answers from the heralds of gods sat on the floor and laid his head in Melisenn’s lap. Like a child would.

Stroking his hair, she said, “Did you have something you wanted to ask of me?”


“I’m listening.”

“If something happens… If something happens, and I don’t come back… or I come back changed… or wrong… or dead… or something…”


Ray sat up suddenly. “Is Risi coming?”

“She is.”

“Will you ask her to kill them? For me?”

“ALL of them?”

“All of them. No mercy.”

“Yes, dear. Yes, I will. I will do this for you. Because you asked it of me.”

“Promise me,” Ray urged.

Melisenn nodded serenely. “I promise.”

Ray nodded. He seemed happy about this. He pulled out a holy symbol of Zon-Kuthon from a belt pouch: a skull looped with chain. He took it off and put it in Melisenn’s hand. “Give her this for me. She likes murder. She’ll like it.”

“She will like it. And she’d, of course, take great delight in killing each and every one of them. For you. She likes you very much, you know. Very much.” It was obvious Ray didn’t know this for certain. And that the fact pleased him. “But, dear, she is a professional, you know.”

“Oh, of course.” He pulled out a very full coin purse, the one Risi was waving around and spending liberally from in the Stain on the day she encountered Ray, Grip, and Rony. “Here.”

Melisenn took the purse and smiled. Ray brushed his hair out of his eyes and left.

Melisenn picked up the dagger again. She held the blade in one hand and the chained skull in the other. She smiled to herself.

“How very interesting…”

And the vision faded.

First Reference: Chapter 51
Other Notable References: Chapter 62


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