The Matriarch rules over Mataano Qahndo with casual ruthlessness and unimaginable power. Her focus is entirely on the Bay, which seems to contain the mysterious source of the phage — an infectious agent that is both the cause of a bewildering array of maladies and the power source for all magic in the Revealed Lands.
Suraldisha is a woman who has lost everything but a tiny pouch of bones and an all-consuming need for revenge. She is one of hundreds streaming into the city, hoping to offer their bodies as vessels for phage in service of the Matriarch. But she is hiding more than seething hatred and a fish knife in her sun robes.
Will she get close enough to the Matriarch to carry out her plan? And what does justice look like in a world where power is drawn from the suffering of so many?