Having freed himself from the stone forests of Skandi, Tiger and Del return to
the South. They originally fled the South because, to save Del’s life, Tiger
broke his vows as a seventh level sword-dancer, declaring himself elaii-ali-ma.
Every sword-dancer in the South, even ones he once considered his friends, are
now bound to kill him. They don’t even have to invite him into the circle,
where sword-dances are usually conducted, they can execute him any way they
deem the simplest. Tiger returns to this land, originally, because the South is
his home and he hopes to rebuild the shodo at Alimat, where he was trained.
Soon he is haunted by dreams, dreams of a skeleton, of a woman’s voice that
commands him — “Find me,” she says, “And take up the sword.”