By Card Orson Scott
By Card Orson Scott
Speaker for the Dead was first published in 1986. It was written by Orson Scott Card as a sequel to his award winning book Ender’s Game. Like Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead was well received and would win both the Nebula and Hugo awards for science fiction.
Orson Scott Card himself was born in 1951, the third of six children. He was raised a Mormon and to this day his religion remains a strong influence on his life. His writing career began while studying at Brigham Young University. Initially, he focused on poetry but eventually transitioned into short and speculative fiction. He eventually took a position as assistant editor at Ensign Magazine where he would publish his first short story.
Following this he would write a series of audio plays for the Mormon Church along with doing other freelance writing and editing jobs. His big literary breakthrough would come with the publication of Ender’s Game in 1985. Expanded into a novel from an earlier short story, Ender’s Game would propel Card to fame in the world of science fiction literature and win him both the Hugo and Nebula awards. The follow year he would repeat this with Speaker for the Dead. The next two sequels in the Ender Saga, Xenocide and Children of the Mind would not be regarded quite as highly as the first two, but would nonetheless be well-received. Cards’s Ender books would spawn several connected spin-offs. Outside of that universe he authored many other books including his well regarded Alvin Maker series.
Outside of his fiction writing Card has worked extensively as a commentator on pop culture, politics and religion, sometimes leading to controversy. His outspoken views against homosexuality drew the ire of many within the gay rights movement.
Orson Scott Card lives in North Carolina with his wife Kristine. Together they had five children.
Speaker for the Dead is a sequel to Ender’s Game. The book follows the events on Lusitania as humanity learns to live with the Piggies, a race of sentient aliens. After the Piggies kill a pair of scientists Ender, the titular Speaker for the Dead, is called to perform a religious ceremony for one of the dead. Ender is a man with many secrets, however, and his arrival brings with it change and revelation that’s both welcome and potentially deadly to the people of Lusitania.
The primary setting for Speaker of the Dead is Lusitania, one of the Hundred Worlds, a collection of human colonies governed by the Starways Congress. Lusitania is home to a small colony of Catholics named Milagre. Lusitania is also home to the Piggies, a sentient but primitive race of aliens. The Piggies are the first sentient race that humanity has come into contact with in more than three thousand years. The first were the Buggers, an insect-like race that attacked humanity and were destroyed in the war that would follow. When the book begins the Piggies have just killed one of the scientists tasked with studying them.
The primary setting for the novel and home to the Piggies.
A cold climate planet and the human colony closest to Lusitania.
A loose federation of planets colonized by humans.
The governing body that controls and maintains the Hundred Worlds.
Invented during the Bugger Wars, the Ansible is a device that allows instant communication across the reaches of space.
In this novel humans travel the stars regularly. Their ships, however, travel for the most part in “relative space.” In relative space, a journey might feel only like days or weeks while in the real world decades are passing by.
Humanity’s ultimate weapon, used last to destroy the Bugger homeworld.
The final portion of the Bugger War in which the human fleet, led by the Ender Wiggin defeated and wiped out the entire Bugger race.
Speaking is the act of telling the story of a person’s life, but telling it with complete honesty. No rough edges are polished and no embarrassments or personal flaws left out of the story telling. Speakings are known to often be emotionally painful but also enlightening experiences. A Speaker for the Dead is someone who performs a Speaking; they are considered religious figures by the Starways Congress.
A book written by the original Speaker for the Dead (Ender Wiggin). Its main portion is written from the point of view of a Bugger Hive Queen, describing their way of life and lamenting their inability to communicate with the humans who would eventually destroy them. The proliferation of this book led to humanity eventually despising the Bugger Wars and their principle hero Ender Wiggin.
The study of alien life. Xenology as it pertains to the study of the Piggies is governed by a strict set of rules. These rules state that xenologers are in no way to influence the culture or development of the Piggies as far as it can be helped.
The study of alien life forms on a biologic and molecular level.
A disease that affects every life form on Lusitania. It nearly wiped out the human colonists before the book’s start. The only thing that stopped it was the efforts of the colony’s xenobiologers: Novinha’s parents. They found a treatment to control it in humans, but died from the disease before it could save their own lives.
A race of insect-like aliens. The Buggers are the first sentient alien race that humanity encountered. The first meetings were, unfortunately, violent leading to a war that would eventually see the Buggers destroyed. This war is known as the Xenocide.
After the Buggers were destroyed in the Xenocide, Ender Wiggin found a cocoon containing an infant hive queen. The hive queen, communicating to Ender telepathically, asks Ender to help resurrect her species on a new world.
A race of pig-like (hence the name) aliens. The Piggies are the second sentient life form that humanity has ever encountered and though they are primitive they learn fast and express a constant desire to learn from their human neighbors. The Piggies, like all indigenous life on Lusitania, have an interesting life cycle. They are born as small worm-like creatures, grow into bi-pedal life forms and after death transform into trees.
Male Piggies. They start off as worm-like creatures and grow into walking, talking Piggies. The majority of humanity’s contact with the Piggies is through the males of the species. Upon death, the male Piggies turn into trees. If killed in a ritualistic fashion known as “planting,” they can retain their sentience even in their tree form.
Male Piggies who have been planted and retained their sentient minds.
Non-sentient female Piggies. The Little Mothers are worm-like creatures much like the Piggy males. They are impregnated in their infancy by the Father Trees and are killed during the birthing process which involves their offspring chewing their way out of their bodies.
Sentient female Piggies. The Wives are female Piggies that were sterile in their infancy and grew into maturity. The Wives are the ruling force of the Piggy culture, directing and dictating the laws that govern the males.
The language used by the male Piggies to communicate to one another.
The language used by the Wives to communicate to one another.
A language used by male Piggies to sign and pray to the Father Trees.
A language used by the Piggies to speak directly to and make requests of the Father Trees. Instead of words, this language is made up of different series of drum rhythms played with polished branches.
The process by which a male Piggy is made into a Father Tree. It involves the systematic dissection of a live Piggy and then the planting of their organs in the ground like the roots of a tree. When performed properly, a tree will grow from the corpse.
Three phrases the book uses to describe the way humans look at other species. A “ramen” is something that you recognize as being the same as you. A “framling” is something that you recognize as being like yourself but still see as a stranger. A person from another town or country, for instance. A “varelse” is something that you see as being completely unlike yourself, an alien.
An order of Catholic monks devoted to the collection and preservation of knowledge. The order requires all of its members to be both married and celibate.
The titular character, Ender led humanity to victory against the Buggers almost three thousand years ago. He has since traveled the stars with his sister Valentine, staying young over centuries thanks to relative space travel. Following the Bugger War he wrote The Hive Queen and the Hegemon and in turn created a religion based around speaking the truth about the lives of the dead. He journeys to Lusitania to speak the life of Pipo, the scientist killed by the Piggies.
Valentine is Ender’s older sister. Following the Bugger Wars she chose to travel the stars with Ender, writing essays and books under the pseudonym “Demosthenes.” Her writings have summarily become golden standards of historical text, philosophy and political discourse.
The head xenologer at the beginning of the book, Pipo is killed by the Piggies in a ritualistic fashion after he reveals to them a discovery Novinha has made about the Descolada.
Pipo’s son, Libo is an apprentice xenologer at the start of the book. After Pipo’s death Libo takes over as the head xenologer on Lusitania. With time, however, Libo becomes too close to the Piggies and begins to help them directly in spite of the laws of the Starways Congress. One season when the Piggies are starving, Libo teaches them how to harvest crops, saving their lives and allowing their population to expand. They kill him shortly afterward, trying to plant him the way as Pipo.
The daughter of the xenobiologists who saved the humans on Lusitania from the Descolada. Novinha was left fairly cold and distant after the death of her parents and only came out of her shell briefly after she took over their job as the colony’s xenobiologists at the young age of thirteen. She came to grow very close with Pipo and Libo and blamed herself for Pipo’s death. Determined to keep the information that she thought Pipo died over from Libo, she married another man despite loving him and sealed her data files so that he would never be able to read them. Even so, she was unable to stay away from Libo romantically and he would secretly father her children.
Novinha’s husband. Picked on as a child for his large size and early maturity, Marcao spent most of his life as an outsider. As an adolescent, however, he was saved by Novinha, who stood up for him after he got into a fight with a group of boys who ganged up on him. This solitary act of kindness endears Novinha to him for the rest of his life, and when Novinha asks him to marry her years later, he leaps at the opportunity, even though she makes it clear that she does not love him and intends to keep seeing Libo on the side. Marcao suffers his entire life from a genetic disorder that leaves him sterile and his body in a constant state of decay. As the years go on he grows angry and abusive over Novinha’s continued infidelity, but eventually dies as a result of his condition.
Novinha’s oldest son and one of the xenologers working on Lusitania after Libo is killed. Miro is intelligent but often morose due to his rough home life. When the book starts he is working alongside and involved in a romantic relationship with Ouanda, his fellow xenologer and Libo’s daughter.
Novinha’s oldest daughter. Ela desires to follow in Novinha’s footsteps and join her mother as a xenobiologist studying life on Lusitania. Her mother, still trying to keep her data files under lock and key, is resistant to Ela’s ambitions. Much of Ela’s time is spent trying to hold her family together in the face of her father’s abuse and her mother’s neglect.
Novinha’s second daughter. Quara is very quiet, rarely speaking and spending most of her time lost within her own thoughts.
Novinha’s second son, Quim is incredibly religious and is very hostile toward Ender upon his arrival on Lusitania.
Novinha’s third son. Olhado is intelligent and curious and takes quickly to Ender upon his arrival. When he was younger he suffered an accident that cost him his eyes. He uses artificial eyes to see.
Novinha’s third son and youngest child. Grego is an aggressive and trouble child desperate for his father, Marcao’s attention. He frequently acts out in an attempt to mimic his father’s behavior.
One of Libo’s daughter and Miro’s fellow xenologer.
The governor of the human colony of Lusitania.
The head of the Catholic Church on Lusitania. He is extremely hostile to Ender and councils his parishioners to obstruct Ender’s work.
The head monk of the order of the Children of the Mind.
Dom Cristao’s wife and the head of the schools on Lusitania.
One of the Piggies that Pipo and Libo work with. They discover him one day dead and planted by his fellow Piggies.
One of the Piggies that associates with Miro and Ouanda. He is instrumental in the negotiations that eventually lead to a treaty between the Piggies and the Lusitanian colonists. He is planted by Ender.
A sentient computer program that lives in the Ansible. Jane is one of Enders closest friends and has the ability to control the Ansible at will.
Following their brutal war with the Buggers, which resulted in the complete extinction of the Bugger race, humanity has spread across the stars ever regretting that their one contact with an alien race ended so violently. Thousands of years later humans settle a world they dub Lusitania. To their amazement they discover another sentient race that they dub the Piggies based on their appearance. Hoping to make up for their past mistakes with the Buggers, the Starways Congress, which rules over all human worlds, decrees that the human population on Lusitania be limited and all contact with the Piggies be heavily regulated.
The prologue from this chapter is an excerpt from one of Demosthenes’ writings. The piece is written to discuss the difference between “ramen” and “varelse.” Ramen are creatures that someone looks at and sees to be the same as themselves while “varelse” are aliens.
Pipo, the xenologer in charge of studying the Piggies on Lusitania watches the Piggies go about their daily business. One of the Piggies, named Rooter is speaking with him, ever trying to worm information out of him about human life and what goes on inside the human colony, named Milagre. Pipo is careful not to divulge anything while still trying to obtain information himself. His study of the Piggies is dictated by strict guidelines: he must take every precaution not to force human culture on the Piggies. He cannot ask them any questions that might hint at an agenda or give hints to the aspects of human life. To do otherwise would be considered a contamination of the Piggy culture.
Failing to get any information out of Pipo, Rooter bids him farewell. Pipo returns back to the fence that separates Milagre from the rest of the world. Once inside he heads to the xenologer station where he does most of his work. There, he meets up with Libo, his teenaged son and an apprentice xenologer. Also, waiting for him is Dona Crista, a monk of the order of the Children of the Mind of Christ who manage the schools on Lusitania. She tells Pipo that a young girl Novinha wishes to drop out of school and take on the position of the colony’s xenobiologist.
Dona Crista doesn’t deny that Novinha is bright and could potentially pass the exams that would grant her the title, but many are reluctant to deal with her. She is a cold and hard young woman, made such by the death of her parents the previous xenobiologists who died developing a cure for the Descolada. The Descolada is a disease that exists even now on Lusitania. Without the treatment developed by Novinha’s parents, the entire colony would have perished. They didn’t develop it soon enough to save themselves, though, and Novinha was left alone.
The only person they can think of who likes her is Marcao, a young man whom Novinha spoke up for when a pack of boys was going to get him in trouble unjustly.
Pipo agrees to help the girl take her exams. When she comes to him though he questions her as to her intentions and what she hopes to achieve as the xenobiologist. Though her work would involve studying and manipulating all different kinds of life on Lusitania, she admits that her primary interest is to study the Descolada and the Piggies. She tells him about The Hive Queen and the Hegemon, a book written after the destruction of the Buggers detailing their lives and demises from their own perspective, and says she wants to tell a similar story for the Piggies.
This answer pleases Pipo, and he lets he take the exam. She passes with a remarkably high score and is made the new xenobiologist, working closely with Pipo and Libo. At first her interactions with the two are confrontational and awkward, much to the Libo’s annoyance. As she comes to know them and understand the difficulties and limitations of their work, however, she begins to soften and befriend them. In time, Pipo becomes like a father to her and she and Libo grow close in an increasingly romantic way.
One day while Pipo and Libo are out with the Piggies, Rooter starts questioning them about women. The Piggies own females have never been seen by humans. The male Piggies revere them with almost religious wonder and keep them hidden within their forests amongst the trees that they worship. Rooter is fascinated by what Pipo tells him about male-female relations amongst humans and runs off to share it with the other Piggies. Pipo fears they may have said too much, a fear that seems concerned when they find Rooter dead the next day. His body has been cut apart and a tree planted at its center. “Now we know why they name all their trees.” Says Libo. “They planted them as grave markers for the piggies they tortured to death.”
Some months pass and Novinha continues her research. She discovers that the Descolada disease doesn’t just affect humans but seems to be present in every bit of life on Lusitania. She shows Pipo her conclusion. This seems to strike a spark with him, and he leaves quickly to speak with the Piggies. The next day Libo finds Pipo dead, cut up in the same way that Rooter was. There is no tree growing from Pipo’s corpse.
The prologue to this chapter is a message from Pipo to another xenologer, apologizing for the often inconclusive nature of his research. He tells the other scientist that due to the strict restrictions on how they can approach the Piggies his research is often drastically limited.
The news of Pipo’s death is reported across the Ansible networks of the human worlds and horrifies many who fear the violence of the Bugger wars might again rear their ugly head. Paying close attention to this is Andrew Wiggin on the planet Trondheim, a Speaker of the Dead serving as a teacher at a university on the planet Trondheim. He hears of the news via an implant in his ear and asks his class about the Piggies. The answers as do most dealing with alien races, turns to the subject of Ender the Xenocide, the commander who led the human fleets against the Buggers and eventually destroyed their homeworld. He listens to them argue and after a time dismisses the class.
Andrew, it’s revealed, is actually Ender. The time distortion effects of space travel have kept him young over the course of the three thousand years that have passed since the Bugger wars ended. Since then he has traveled as the Speaker for the Dead; the original author of The Hive Queen and Hegemon. He is stopped by one of his students named Plikt. She tells him that out of curiosity she did some research on his background and found that she couldn’t access any files pertaining to Ender’s history or background. He tries to pass it off as simply being one of the perks of being a Speaker for the Dead. Plikt remains unconvinced and continues to push. She tells him that she suspects he’ll go to Lusitania after Pipo’s death. Ender has made no such decision, but a sense of dread fills him, as though he can sense the decision will come to hit.
The prologue to this chapter is a brief description of the Piggies: their eating habits and physical characteristic. The thesis of the description suggests that many of the Piggy’s primary bodily features seemed to have developed in an environment different from the one in which they currently inhabit.
The colony’s officials come to remove Pipo’s body. Libo is devastated but still trying to be strong. Novinha meanwhile is devastated by Pipo’s death, both for the personal loss as well as her sense of guilt. She believes that Pipo was killed over the information she showed him. The city officials finally take Libo away to be with his family. Novinha wants to be alone herself, but the city’s mayor notices her and insists she come and stay at her home for the night. Novinha reluctantly agrees and goes home with the mayor. Still grieving for Pipo, she sends out a request for a Speaker for the Dead to come and speak for Pipo.
Novinha realizes that with Pipo dead, Libo will become the next xenologer. Fearing that Libo will be killed as well she returns to her office and starts locking her research away so that he’ll never be able to access it. While she does this Libo comes to see her, having coming to the same conclusion that she did about why the Piggies killed his father. He asks to see the files. Novinha promptly refuses. He asks her why, and she tearfully tells him that she doesn’t want him to die too.
Hearing this Libo gives up and begins to break down. Novinha holds him while he cries Novinha begins to cry, as well. She loves Libo but if they were to ever marry he would gain access to her files and be put at risk. She resolves to never marry him even if it means being forever miserable. “To marry him would be to murder him.” Resolved to her sad course, she holds him through the night.
The prologue to this chapter is a description of the Piggy’s four identified languages. The first is the Males’ Language, used by the males to talk to each other. The Wives’ Language, which is used to talk to the never-before-seen Wives. The Tree Language which is the males use to sing prayers to their totem trees and the Fathers’ Language which seems to consist of the beating of polished sticks in certain rhythms along the trunks of trees. The Piggies insist the Fathers’ Language allows them to communicate with the trees.
Ender returns to his living quarters on Trondheim. Through the implant in his ear he hears a voice. “I have a surprise for you on the terminal.” The voice belongs to Jane. Jane isn’t a person but rather an intelligent computer program that developed spontaneously as humanity expanded to new worlds and the computer networks connecting them grew more advanced. Jane originated as a computer game that Ender played while studying in the Battle School for the Bugger wars. As such she has taken a particular in Ender, helping him and serving often as his private confidante.
Ender goes his computer terminal where Jane plays a simulation of the Piggies killing Pipo. He forces himself to watch, knowing that once the simulation is viewed by humanity at large that things could go badly for the Piggies. Up until now public opinion has been focused on protecting the Piggies for humanity. Now that they’ve killed a human, and brutally, it could easily sway in the opposite direction.
Jane suggests to him that he go to Lusitania to help. He is reluctant, but she points out that he could do a lot of good there, and not just for the Piggies. Ender has in his possession a Bugger egg that, if placed in the right condition, could give the species a second chance. The conditions on Lusitania combined with the limited human presence would be perfect for the new Bugger queen.
Ender is still reluctant; the population restrictions of Lusitania are very rigid on account of the Piggies. The colony there is also strictly Catholic and unlikely to give a travel license to a Speaker for the Dead. Jane tells him that someone on the planet, a teenage girl named Novinha, has put out a request for a Speaker to eulogize Pipo. The journey to Lusitania will take twenty years of space travel, but the colony officials would be legally bound to admit him.
He asks Jane why she wants him to go. She tells him that Piggies deserve their own book similar to what he wrote for the Buggers. Considering this he finally agrees. Jane sets to the preparations for his journey. There is one final thing to consider, however: Ender’s sister Valentine. For the three thousand years that Ender has travelled the stars, staying young via relativity, she has traveled with him. On Trondheim, however, Valentine found a husband and is now pregnant. Ender knows she won’t leave with him this time and thanks to the length of the journey they’d both be old if they every saw one another again. Ender’s love for his sister produces a moment of hesitation in him
This moment is disrupted by the voice of the hive queen in his mind. She is conscious inside her egg and impatiently urges Ender forward. Ender tells her that it wouldn’t be right to bring the Buggers to Lusitania if they’ll only supplant the Piggies. The new hive queen tells him that the Buggers can live in peace with others now that they’ve learned from their experiences with humanity. Ender’s guilt over his role in the destruction of the Buggers overcomes his regret at leaving Valentine and he agrees to go to Lusitania.
The prologue to this chapter is a recording made by Pipo. In it, he describes an exchange with the Piggies in which they discovered that Libo is his son. The Piggies are amazed that Pipo is already a father and seem to regard him more highly. Pipo draws the conclusion based on this that none of the Piggies they’ve met have ever had children. This leads him to question the age and status of the Piggies they’re dealing with as well as what little they’ve learned about the Piggy females whom the males seem to regard with a mixture of awe and ridicule.
Valentine is preparing to taking her students on a fieldtrip into the wastelands of Trondheim. She see’s her brother Ender approaching and is at once happy and disappointed, thinking he intends to join her on the trip. She loves Ender’s company but his powerful personality tends to overpower the innovation of her students. As Ender approaches her, however, it becomes clear that there is a different intention on his mind. She can perceive his purpose immediately: he’s leaving Trondheim.
He tells her that someone has called for a Speaker on Lusitania to speak for the murdered xenologer, Pipo. Valentine understands why he wants to go but is still upset; begging him to stay her baby is born. Ender tells her that if he doesn’t leave now he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to work up the courage to leave her later. This only upsets her further, but she concedes and Ender leaves Trondheim.
Life for Valentine goes on. The loss of Ender is devastating for awhile, but as she has children and grows more into the marriage with her husband Jakt the pain of her brother’s departure is lessened with time. Ender in time becomes something of a family legend, a figure revered and respected by Valentine’s children as they grow up.
Several years after Ender has left one of his former students, Plikt, approaches Valentine. She has written a story based on Ender and Valentine and reveals the Valentine that she knows that Ender is actually the infamous Xenocide, the commander of the fleet that destroyed the Buggers. She tells Valentine that she has spent many years investigating who Ender really is and is fascinated by his life.
She thinks that Ender has taken on the role of the Speaker as a sort of repentance for his sins. That he’s embraced the role of the man who turned humanity against him, too, is a form of self punishment. Valentine tells her that Ender is actually the Speaker, the first one and the author of The Hive Queen and Hegemon which served as the basis of the entire religion. Plikt, to say the least, is shocked but this revelation makes her even more devoted to Ender as a religious and philosophical figure.
Meanwhile, Ender journeys on his starship from Trondheim to Lusitania, the decades long journey feeling only like a matter of days to him.
The prologue in this chapter is a report stating that the Piggy’s only interaction with neighboring tribes seems to be war. The report recounts a story being told by one Piggy about an enemy warrior who fights honorably and in turn earns the respect of his opponents.
Though the trip to Lusitania from Trondheim is actually more than two decades long, it feels like only eight days to Ender. When he arrives, Jane tells him that Novinha actually cancelled her request for a Speaker several days after she made it. Luckily, however, there have been two more requests made in the years since: one for Pipo’s son Libo and another for Novinha’s husband Marcao. Jane tells him that while Marcao died of a longstanding medical condition, Libo was killed by the Piggies in a fashion identical to Pipo’s death. He still has a strong legal precedent to land on Lusitania.
This pleases not just Ender, but also the new Hive Queen who expresses her joy over their arrival. Ender tells her that she’ll have to wait a bit longer before he can finally free her. She tells him to take all the time he needs. She has discovered another mind on Lusitania that she can contact far easier than Ender’s. She is more than pleased to converse with it while Ender attends to his duties.
While Ender lands his ship, Bishop Peregrino of the church on Lusitania is addressing his parishioners. Ela, one of Novinha’s children, listens and at the same time tries to subdue her younger brother Grego who, as per his usual standards, is misbehaving. The Bishop begins to warn about a Speaker for the Dead arrival. The Bishop warns them to avoid the Speaker as much as they can. Ela is shocked to hear a Speaker is already arriving. It was she who put out a call for a Speaker to eulogize her father Marcao. She hadn’t realized that a Speaker was already on route to address an earlier call. The prospect of him arriving right away immediately leaves her excited but also nervous. Her brother Quim, a devout Catholic, is outraged at the very thought of a Speaker coming to Lusitania. Speakers are infidels in the eyes of the truly devout.
Ender arrives on Lusitania and is escorted into Milagre by its mayor, Bosquinha. She answers Ender’s questions about the colony and the Piggies politely, but it is clear that she resents his presence and that he makes her nervous. Ender wins her over, however, when he mentions that spoke the death of San Angelo, one of the founding figures of the Children of the Mind monks who maintain a strong presence on Lusitania.
Ender is given a small house to live in. He unpacks and wastes no time, setting out to start gathering information for his speech about the death of Marcao. The Hive Queen again reiterates her certainty that Lusitania is the world for the rebirth of the Buggers. Her certainty makes Ender nervous, but the Hive Queen assures him that all will be well before returning to her conversations with the other mind she discovered. Jane provides a map for him to navigate the city.
Even though he has the map, Ender thinks it wise to find someone to guide him through the city anyway, lest he look as though he knows more than he should. He comes to a group of children playing football. He asks them if they know their way to Novinha and Marcao’s home, but, per the Bishop’s orders, they brush him off. One boy agrees to help him, a youth named Olhado who uses mechanical eyes to see. Olhado starts to lead him to the house. Ender follows him as does Olhado’s sister Quara who shuffles along in sustained silence. Olhado soon reveals that he and Quara are actually two of Novinha’s children.
While Olhado is leading Ender to his home Miro, Novinha’s oldest child, is outside the fence that surrounds Milagre. He and Libo’s daughter Ouanda are the colony’s xenologers and continue the work of studying the Piggies. One of the Piggies, named Leaf-Eater, is questioning him about the spaceship that landed earlier in the day. Miro tells him that it was a visitor arriving in the colony. Leaf-Eater asks him if it’s the Speaker arriving and if Miro will bring him to meet the Piggies. Miro doesn’t answer either question. Glancing up at the gate he sees Olhado leading Ender to their family’s home.
The Ribeira House
The prologue to this chapter is a report by Ouanda discussing what they’ve learned about Piggy children. She surmises that they apparently grow and develop at a far different pace than humans. Most unusually thought, the Piggies seem to regard their totem trees as their fathers. The Piggy named Human for instance, says that his father is Rooter who was found dead by Pipo and Libo decades earlier.
Olhado leads Ender to his family’s house. Ender finds the home to be a fairly uninviting place. There is no decoration to be found and the house altogether is just a bleak and unhappy place. Almost immediately Grego appears and attacks Ender with a knife. Ender stops his attack and holds Grego in place telling Quara, who sits nearby to go and get whoever’s in charge of the house. Quara leaves and brings back Ela. Ela realizes that Ender is the Speaker for the Dead and asks him to leave.
Ender refuses, still holding Grego. “Are you kidnapping him?” Ela asks. Ender tells her that Grego tried to attack him with a knife and until someone shows some sign of stopping and disciplining him that he has no intention of letting Grego go. Ender’s defiance angers Ela, which does little to faze Ender. Still holding Grego, Ender sits down on a nearby chair. Olhado and Quara return to the room to watch the commotion. Ender asks Ela who she is, and she introduces herself. Quim enters the room and angrily demands Ender leave. “You aren’t wanted here!” Ender replies that he’s come to see their mother and will not be leaving until she returns home. Quim asks why he wants to see Novinha. “Actually, I want to see all of you.” Quim asks him who he says. “The apostle to the Piggies.” Quim tells him that their brother Miro will never let him see the Piggies. “Maybe I will.” Says Miro entering the house.
Miro reiterates the request for Ender to let Grego go. Ela tells him that Grego tried to stab Ender. Hearing this Miro tells Grego that his misbehavior may have finally caught up with him. In response Grego pees on Ender. The rest of the family is horrified, but Ender barely reacts, and after a bit more struggle Grego finally begins to cry and is subdued. Ender tells them that he’s here to speak the death of their father Marcao. Ela reveals that she was the one who called him. This outrages Quim whose anger grows only more poignant as his siblings begin to share details about their father’s abusive nature. Though he never hit his children he was verbally brutal to them, Miro especially, and frequently beat Novinha.
Quim tries to defend Marcao which in turn angers Olhado. “Have you forgotten what it was like?” He plays back a recording of Marcao that he took with his artificial eyes. It shows Marcao screaming at Miro. In the recording, Miro leaves and Grego joins Marcao at his side, mimicking his father’s actions. Seeing the recording Quim starts to cry. “I killed him.” He insists. He reveals that he prayed in anger for their father to die just prior to his demise. “I said I’d go to hell for it if only he’d die!” Weeping he retreats to his room and locks the door.
The recording has also bothered Grego who now sits in Ender’s lap whimpering the word “papa” over and over again. The other siblings are confused at his sadness, having never seen him act this way before. Miro tries to comfort him, telling him that their father is gone and that there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore. Ender tells them that Grego isn’t scared of their father, he’s sad that he’s gone. “Little boys don’t judge their fathers, they love them. Grego was trying as hard as he could to be just like Marcao Ribeira.” The siblings are shocked at the realization and realize how hurtful much of the poor things they’d said about their father must have been to Grego. Grego hugs Ender who embraces him back and after awhile he falls sleep in Ender’s arm. Ela leads him to Grego’s room where they put him to bed. Miro offers Ender a change of clothes and tells him that he‘s welcome to stay until Novinha returns home.
The prologue to this chapter is a memo written by Libo describing his difficulties maintaining the legally required distance from the Piggies. He describes how he feels watching them struggle and sometimes suffering, knowing he has information that could help them.
Novinha is at her office working late. She knows she can go home but is avoiding it, not knowing how to deal with her children. After awhile she relents and returns home. She expects to walk into the same mess of misery that usually defines her household but is surprised to find her children happy and laughing when she arrives home. Seeing Novinha, Ela tells her that the Speaker for the Dead is here. This stops Novinha cold in her tracks. “I’ll wait outside until he’s gone.”
Ela and Olhado try to convince Novinha to stay and that the Speaker is good, but Novinha doesn’t want to listen. Ender enters the room and greets her. Novinha apologizes for calling him to Lusitania and tells him that she tried to cancel her request. Ender shrugs it off and tells her that he has at least come to know her children. She scoffs at that, telling him that he couldn’t possibly know after only a few hours. “Better than you do, Dona Ivanova.”
Ender walks away, and Novinha hears more laughter coming from the house. She sees Miro speaking to Ender, a smile on his face. He turns to see his mother and the smile disappears. She again tries to persuade Ender to leave, telling him that she was only a naïve young girl when she called him hoping that the author of the Hive Queen and Hegemon would show up on her door and comfort her. Ender asks her how she could have read that book and think a Speaker would ever bring comfort. He tells them that the original Speaker wrote cruelly to shed a new light on the Buggers to a human race that still saw them as monsters.
Ender tells Novinha that he’s no longer here to speak Pipo’s death any ways and that he’s now here to speak the death of her husband Marcao per Ela’s request. This horrifies Novinha even more. Miro and Ela try to convince her that Ender is good, telling her about how he handled Grego and how Quara, usually silent, has even begun talking. Novinha ignores this and persists in begging Ender to drop his task. Ender refuses, telling her that whatever flaws Marcao may have had, that no man is simple, and everyone deserves to have their life seen honestly.
Enraged, Novinha orders Ender to leave. He finally complies, but this does little to abate Novinha’s fears. She can tell that Ender is a formidable person and fears that if he pries deeply enough into Marcao’s life that he’ll uncover secrets that she had worked to keep since Pipo died twenty years earlier.
The prologue to this chapter is a recording made by Novinha’s parents both of whom died finding a cure for the Descolada plague which nearly wiped out the humans on Lusitania. In their research, they surmise that the general lack of wildlife diversity on Lusitania is likely due to the Descolada. The species that inhabit the planet are the ones that managed to adapt to and perhaps even incorporate the disease into their biologic structure.
Ender leaves Novinha’s house frustrated at her obstructionist attitude toward him. He had come to Lusitania expecting her to want his help, and it bothers him to find her so hostile. Jane, speaking through the implant in his ear, reminds him of his own sentiments; she didn’t become this harsh person for no reason. Ender says he can’t help it. The damage that Novinha has allowed to befall her children bothers him.
He returns to his quarters and begins setting up an outline for the information he’ll need to speak Marcao’s death. Several questions loom. Why would Novinha marry Marcao? Why did he hate her and his children as he did? Why did Novinha change her mind about his speaking Pipo’s death? What killed Marcao? He decides the cause of Marcao’s death will be the easiest information to obtain, so he sets to that first. He seeks out Lusitania’s doctor, a man named Navio.
Initially, Navio is resistant to helping Ender. Ender, tiring of the Lusitanian’s insistence on fighting him every step of the way, tells Navio that if he doesn’t comply that he’ll report the colony to the Starways Congress on grounds of religious persecution. Such an action would revoke their Catholic license and destroy the current status quo on the colony. Ender knows this threat will makes its way back to the colony’s authority figures and in the mean time it convinces Navio to comply with Ender’s requests.
Navio tells him that Marcao died from a rare genetic disease that transformed all of his major organs into fatty tissue. The disease, usually beginning with the testes and moving through the rest of his organs, is generally passed down from parent to child. Ender asks if any of Novinha’s children have it. Navio tells him that they don’t. Though Navio fails to see the implications of this Ender grasps them immediately. Marcao was not the father of Novinha’s children.
After meeting with Navio, Ender discusses what he learned with Jane. She is amused by Navio’s naivety, but both she and Ender come to the same conclusion. Libo was the father of Novinha’s children. Marcao married Novinha because he was sterile and knew no other woman would want him. She, in turn, made a deal with him that she didn’t need to be faithful to him sexually. This became hard for Marcao to swallow as time went on, and each new baby served as a reminder of his wife’s infidelity.
In the forests outside the colony Miro and Ouanda are working with the Piggies. Violating the law they’re teaching the Piggies how to make butter. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. Beginning with Libo the xenadors have been secretly sharing human knowledge with the Piggies out of the hope of bettering their lives. Both Miro and Ouanda are aware that they’re likely to be caught someday, but hope they can make a difference in the Piggy’s lives before that.
While the Piggies work, one of them makes a joke about “the wives.” The relations of the male Piggies with the females remain an utter mystery. The Piggies have never allowed Miro, Ouanda or any of the scientists to meet their females. All they have to go on is the confusing way in which the Piggies discuss them. The Piggies seem to revere their females at one moment and then disparage them in the next.
One of the Piggies, named Arrow, pulls Miro aside. He tells Miro that they saw the Speaker’s ship landing, and they want metal so that they too might build their own ship and travel the stars. Miro tells him that this is beyond the help he can give them, much to Arrow’s frustration. Arrow lets the matter drop and shows Miro some arrows he’s made. The Piggies, through their help, have learned how to hunt the cabra, a herd animal that feeds on the nearby plains.
Several of the Piggies are reading a book brought to them by Miro and Ouanda. It’s The Hive Queen and Hegemon. Their love of the book is a constant source of annoyance to Ouanda, who being a devout Catholic, tried to give them a Bible. They had no interest in the Bible and used it for kindling. The Hive Queen and Hegemon, however, they treat as a holy book. The Piggies themselves seem to worship the trees, all named after Piggies that were killed in the same ritualistic fashion they murdered Pipo and Libo in.
A Piggy named Human asks Miro about the Speaker that came to Lusitania. Miro says that he met him. Human asks if the Speaker will come to meet with the Piggies. Miro tells him that they need to wait and make sure he’s trustworthy.
Miro and Ouanda head back to the colony, sharing a few kisses on the way. Unaware that they’re both Libo’s children, they’ve been carrying on in a romantic relationship for several years. Ouanda is not happy that Miro is associating with the Speaker. Miro insists that in a single night, the Speaker did a lot to help his family. Ouanda, believing the Speaker to be an infidel, resists the notion that he can be good. This aggravates Miro and the two have an argument. When it’s done, Miro finds himself thinking for a moment about his father, Marcao. He wishes that Libo had been his father. Ouanda laughs and says that if that were the case, they’d be brother and sister and couldn’t be together.
Children of the Mind
The prologue to this chapter is a writing by San Angelo, the founder of the order of the Children of the Mind. In it, he discusses the orders main tenet, that all its members must be married and celibate. He says that in adopting such a life they are better able to serve God, separate themselves from the community and work toward their goal of preserving knowledge.
Dom Cristao, the head monk of the order of the Children of the Mind is teaching a class when he receives a message that Bishop Peregrino wishes to speak with him. Cristao suspects he already knows what the Bishop wants to discuss. He dismisses his class and makes his way to the Bishop’s office in the church. He finds the Bishop waiting with Navio, Lusitania’s doctor. The Bishop is outraged over the Speaker for the Dead’s threat to inform the authorities of their unwillingness to work with him. Cristao is less than sympathetic. “You were a fool to interfere with the Speaker when you knew the law was on his side.” Thinks Cristao.
Cristao tells Bishop that the only way they can disarm this threat is to give the Speaker what he wants and cooperate. He tries to tell the Bishop that the Speaker is likely to be harmless and that if they let him be he will be unlikely to interfere with the Catholic establishment of Lusitania. “The only thing they do is try to discover the truths about the lives of the dead.” Cristao tells the Bishop that the Children of the Mind were founded on similar principles of truth. The Bishop continues to object, but Cristao eventually convinces him of the necessity of cooperation. “We must be patient, if for no other reason than this: [the government] has all the guns.” He tells the Bishop that it might be best for them to direct the Speaker to Children of the Mind’s monastery, so they might help speed along his research and spare the rest of the colonists from associating with him.
Later that day Ender is making his way to the monastery. As he walks through the grounds of the Church, he can almost feel hostility seeping out of every nook and cranny. Jane tries to chat with him through his implant, but Ender ignores her. Many within the Church consider implants such as the one he speaks to Jane through to be a sacrilege, using science to improve on God’s creation, and he doesn’t want to give them further reason to preach against him. He finds himself missing Valentine and the courage she often provided in the face of such hostility.
Ender comes to the monastery and is greeted cheerfully by Dom Cristao. Cristao invites him in. He inquires about a rumor he heard that Ender spoke the death of San Angelo, the founder of the Children of the Mind. Ender confirms this, much to Cristao’s delight. Even so, Cristao tells Ender that it would be best if his stay on Lusitania wasn’t prolonged. Ender tells him that he’s rarely ever stayed on a planet long.
Cristao introduces Ender to his wife Dona Crista. Ender compliments her appearance and asks Cristao he can bear to be married to such a lovely woman and still stay chaste. The Children of the Mind are allowed to marry, but they’re required to stay celibate if they wish to remain with the order. This close but chaste relationship reminds Ender of the years he spent travelling with his Valentine. Cristao and Crista are confused by his sadness. He explains to them how he left his sister to come to Lusitania. They try to comfort him but see the implant in his ear and are reluctant to continue speaking as long as it’s active. As a courtesy to them, he shuts off the implant cutting Jane off from their conversation.
Seeing that Ender’s shut off the implant Cristao and Crista are again willing to talk. Ender begins asking questions about Novinha. They tell Ender about the death of her parents when she was a child and how her relationship with Pipo and Libo eventually brought her back from the cold solitude their death left her in. It was a short lived change. “From the night of [Pipo’s] death, she became dead to us all.” Cristao tells Ender that Novinha became very business-like, not impolite but impersonal.
Cristao suspects that Novinha blames herself for Pipo’s death. He tells Ender that he read the transcripts of the conversations after the Piggies killed him. “A remark that Libo made, asking Novinha to show him what she and Pipo had been working on just before Pipo went to see the Piggies. She said no.” Cristao tells Ender that, upon further investigation, they found that Novinha had sealed all records of what she’d been researching that night, and without a proper reason to force override her lock, they had left it be.
They talk about Novinha’s marriage to Marcao. Most everyone thought it was insane. They knew that Libo loved her and wanted her as his wife and couldn’t understand why she would refuse him and pick Marcao instead. Cristao suggests that she did it as a form of punishment for what Novinha thought she had done to Pipo.
Ender, knowing that Libo fathered Novinha’s children, thinks they’re wrong. He tells them that he thinks Novinha refused to marry Libo to keep him from accessing her sealed files. She was afraid that whatever had gotten Pipo killed would kill Libo too. Cristao isn’t as sure, suggesting that no one would ruin their entire life just to keep a secret like that. Doesn’t argue, but is convinced that he’s right. Novinha wasn’t willing to live without Libo, so she slept with him. She only married Marcao to keep Libo away from her files and accepted Marcao’s abuse as penance for her sins.
Ender returns to his house and turns the implant back on. Jane doesn’t respond, and Ender finds himself suddenly afraid that in shutting her off he may have pushed away the only friend he has left. He leaves her a message on his terminal, “Come back to me, Jane” and goes to sleep.
The prologue to this chapter discusses how the Starways Congress has managed to maintain control of the many worlds inhabited by humans. It’s not through the threat of military force, but rather the Ansible. Without the Ansible, a planet would be cut off from all the rest of humanity, leaving them isolated and vulnerable.
Though to Ender, shutting off his implant was a small thing, to Jane it is devastating. An intelligent computer program living in the Ansible network that connects the human worlds, her body is built up of hundreds of thousands of levels of attention, most devoted to automatic processes much like the human body. Only the top levels of her attention are what comprise her thinking and feeling mind. Of all those top levels, a majority of them were devoted to following, assisting and speaking to Ender. When he shut off the implant, those levels collapsed into disarray. It takes what amounts to years for her to reorganize and restore those levels.
Ever since she, in the first seconds (years to her) of her existence discovered another program that she adopted as her own personality. The program was a fantasy game played by the children of the Battle School during the age of the Bugger Wars. Though the fantasy game wasn’t self aware, it was brilliantly intelligent and could reshape itself to fit the needs of its players. The most poignant player in its memory was Ender Wiggin, whose actions molded it more than any other child. She made the fantasy game a part of her and in turn fell in love with Ender whom she tracked down through the Ansible and befriended.
As she puts herself back together, Jane analyzes Ender’s turning off of his implant. He was unaware of the damage it would cause her. Jane determines that since he had no intent of harming her that he’s innocent of wrongdoing and that she will forgive him. Even so, being forcefully removed from Ender forces her to rebuild herself into a creature designed to live without him. She has no choice but to do this, even though it will inevitably alter their relationship in a negative way.
Jane, having repaired her damage, sets to busying herself with work that will be helpful to Ender. She determines that while the Piggies pose a physical threat to him, the biggest problem he faces will be the persistent resistance of Bishop Peregrino and the government of Lusitania. Jane decides to force their cooperation by giving them an enemy, a threat far more dire than Ender.
Using the satellites orbiting Lusitania she records evidence of the Piggies doing things they shouldn’t know how to do; agriculture, animal herding and shearing. Things that someone –Miro and Ouanda- would have had to have taught them. She distributes the evidence covertly through the scientific community. Within hours, the heads of the Xenologic society are reading her reports and coming to a single devastating conclusion. If the humans on Lusitania are altering the Piggies, then the humans must be removed.
The prologue to this chapter is a series congressional orders revoking Lusitania’s colony license and ordering a forced evacuation of the humans on the planet.
With Jane still not communicating with him, Ender has sought Olhado’s help using a computer. Olhado is just shocked that Ender doesn’t know how to use one. Ender tries to explain that when he was growing up these computers weren’t taught and that since then he’s had an intelligent program that has handled computer work for him. Ender tells Olhado that he’ll pay him for his help. Olhado helps him access his bank account, asking his name and then his password. Ender tells him his name is “Andrew Wiggin” and after several failed tries at guessing his password tells Olhado to try Ender. Olhado is shocked that Ender would use a “dirty word” for his password, but it works.
Olhado is shocked to find that Ender is rich beyond extravagance. Ender explains that he’s done a lot of travelling. “The only way you could get that much money from investments is if you were a thousand years old.” Says Olhado. “Are you a thousand years old?” Ender dodges the question and tells Olhado to take whatever sum he thinks would be fair and then asks him start comparing Pipo and Libo’s work just prior to their deaths. Olhado notes that Ender watches him closely while he works and realizes that Ender is more interested in how he’s using the computer than what he’s using it for. “I know what you’ll be doing tonight, Andrew Wiggin.” He thinks.
Later that day Novinha is going through her files when she notices that someone has been intruding in them: Ender. The realization that he’s openly trying to breach her files enrages her, more so because with each passing day he seems to be making himself an even stronger figure in her family. Her children over the past few days have seemed happier than ever. A part of her wants to be happy to see them joyful, but it’s overshadowed by the part of her that’s angry at and scared of what Ender might uncover in his research. “Except that, as usual, it’s my own fault.” She thinks. If she hadn’t called him here all those years ago, he would still be on Trondheim.
As she thinks over the situation her mind falls to Miro, who perhaps stands to lose the most no matter if Ender uncovers her adultery or not. He and Ouanda are in love and intend to marry. Even if Ender doesn’t share her indiscretions with everyone, she’ll be forced to reveal herself so that Miro and Ouanda don’t commit accidental incest.
As the day carries on, Novinha finds she can focus on her work. Quim comes to visit her in her office. He’s angry again over the Speaker, telling her that Olhado and Quara have spent much of the day with him. Novinha doesn’t seem shocked by this, causing Quim to grow even angrier. “Are you planning to turn down the sheets and let him take father’s place completely?”
The accusation enrages Novinha who strikes Quim. Quim, shocked by his mother’s unprecedented violence cowers away and apologizes for the comment. Novinha, feeling guilty for hitting him, tries to comfort him. She tells him that she is concerned about what’s going on, but that he can’t really think things are worse in the family because of the Speaker’s interference. Nonetheless, she decides that she wants to talk to the Speaker and asks Quim to lead her to his house.
They walk to Ender’s house and find him and Olhado playing a game together; a space combat simulator. Ender beats Olhado easily and greets Novinha. She tells him that she knows he’s been intruding on her files. Ender doesn’t deny it. “It got you here, didn’t it?” He says. She tells him that he has no right to look at her files. He tells her that he is here to speak several deaths, including Pipo’s and that he knows the contents of her files have something to do with why the Piggies killed him. He knows that she locked them away to keep the Piggies from killing Libo and persists in hiding them out of the hope of protecting Miro. “Your son and his sister go out every day to meet with the piggies, and thanks to you they don’t know whether their next word or their next act will be their death sentence.”
Novinha again begs him to drop the matter, but Ender refuses. Novinha, angry over his refusal, leaves and suddenly realizes that Ender referred to Miro and Ouanda as brother and sister. He knows about her adultery with Libo. With the exception of the files she’d been hiding, he had managed in a mere three days to uncover all her darkest secrets.
Back in Ender’s house Olhado is upset that Ender tried to access Novinha’s files. He accuses Ender of turning him into a traitor against his own mother. Ender realizes there’s nothing he can say to make amends to Olhado at the moment, so he lets him leave. Quara starts to leave as well, laughingly telling Ender that he’s managed to make everyone hate him in only a few days.
The prologue to this chapter is a conversation between Miro and Ouanda where they speculate on the gender of the Piggies. The only Piggies they’ve seen seem to be male, but exhibit no typical male sex organs.
Miro and Ouanda are out with the Piggies again. Human approaches and accuses them of lying. “Rooter says the Speaker for the Dead wants to come to us.” Miro tries to subdue his annoyance. The Piggies often reference information given to them by trees as though the trees were living, thinking entities. Not wanting to belittle the Piggy’s faith, they play along but find the practice exasperating nonetheless. Miro says they never said the Speaker wouldn’t want to come, but that rather he couldn’t because of the restrictions of the law. Human reminds them that they’ve had no trouble breaking the law in the past and wonders why they should have an issue with doing so again. “Rooter says the hive queen can’t give us her gifts unless he comes.”
Miro grows more impatience at the mention of the hive queen. The Piggies know very well that Buggers are all dead, no matter what their trees are “saying.” Even so, he plays along. Human demands they ask the Speaker if he’ll come and talk to them. Ouanda tells them no. This worries Miro. They have never flat out denied a request by the Piggies before, and he knows that her denial is based, not on any rational reasoning, but rather her beholding to the Catholic stigma against the Speaker.
Human reminds her that Pipo and Libo told them that men and women make decisions together amongst humans, so she doesn’t have all the say. He looks to Miro. “Do you say no?” Miro doesn’t answer; he knows that Ouanda expects him to take her side, but he doesn’t agree with her and doesn’t feel right bending to her will just because of their romantic relationship. Human realizes what’s going on. “He says yes, but for you he stays silent.” He adds with disgust. “You say no, but you don’t silent for him. You are nothing.”
Human departs. As he goes, Miro can see a brief exchange taking place between him and another Piggy named Leaf-Eater. He suddenly understands. “Human and Leaf-Eater. They’re on opposite sides.” He tells Ouanda that if they bring the Speaker out here then Human will win and if they don’t Leaf-Eater. “If we bring the Speaker, he’ll betray us, and then we’ll all lose.” Replies Ouanda. Miro insists that the Speaker can be trusted. Ouanda will hear none of it. She heads back to the colony, angry with Miro for not siding with her. Miro, in turn, becomes angry that she expected him to just bend to her for no good reason when she knew he disagreed. He tells her that she screwed up and that by blatantly refusing to bring the Speaker out to the Piggies, she may have cost Human his life.
Saying this, Miro knows it’s cruel and unfair. Ouanda sees the truth in it, however. “The executions have always been at night.” She says. “We have to get the Speaker here this afternoon, before dark.” Miro apologizes for yelling at her and she says sorry for being brash.
Back in the colony Ela is sitting next to a river. She’s asked the Speaker to meet her here and speak with her. After a short time, Ender comes rowing up the river in a small boat. Ela helps him pull the boat ashore and asks him about his intrusion into her mother’s files. Sounding defensive, he admits to having read them. “Why did you invite me here?” He asks. Ela realizes that he thinks she’s against him. She tries to correct herself and tells him that she wishes he had broken into all of Novinha’s files.
Ela tells Ender that she’s spent years studying to join her mother as a xenobiologist only to have Novinha try and stop her at every turn. “She doesn’t let you see those files, either.” Says Ender. No, Ela tells him, Novinha won’t share them with anyone. For years Ela has been trying to become a xenobiologist and though she’s now old enough to take the entry exams without Novinha’s permission she’s reluctant to do so because she knows that Novinha will react badly, perhaps even hostilely. “She made it clear that I wasn’t to take the test.”
Hearing this just strengthens Ender’s desire to access Novinha’s files and figure out exactly what she’s hiding and why. Ela suggests that her mother might be crazy. Ender doesn’t think so. Ela insists with the insanity charge, listing off several charges against her mother. Though it falls well within her jurisdiction Novinha has gone out of her way to avoid studying the Descolada, the plague that her parents died researching a treatment for. Even though the Descolada is under control at the moment, there’s still a risk of it re-adapting to humans if they don’t continue researching it. Ela suspects that whatever her mother is hiding, it pertains to the Descolada.
Ela tells Ender that Novinha also refuses to work with the xenologers. With their help, she could obtain samples of organisms and plant life from outside the fence surrounding the colony. Instead, she insists on doing everything by herself. Limiting the effectiveness of her research. This severely limits what her research can accomplish. Ender says she must have her reasons. Ela tells him that Novinha hated Libo and refused to work with him. Likewise, when Miro apprenticed to Libo she refused to work with Miro, something she continues to the present day.
Ela tells Ender that she’s been doing some studies on her own to the best of her abilities. Ender asks her what she’s discovered. She tells him that Lusitania isn’t very diverse when it comes to wildlife. She thinks the Descolada is to blame. She tells him that Descolada isn’t just a virus that attacks humans, it’s present in every organism on the planet and kills anything that doesn’t adapt to it. This may have led to many of the inexplicable reproductive anomalies they’ve encounter, such as the male Piggies not having male genitalia. Ela can’t explain, however, exactly how they’ve adapted. She suspects Novinha’s files contain the secret.
Ela asks Ender if he’s going to speak her father’s death soon. Ender tells her that he’s almost ready but that she may learn things that are painful. She tells him that she already knows all that there is to know. “That’s what everybody thinks,” He replies. “And nobody’s right.” He tells her that the only he has left to do is talk to the Piggies. Ela tells him that seeing the Piggies would be against the law. “That’s why it’s going to be hard.” He replies. Ender leaves to tend to some business and Ela returns home. As she arrives, Miro rushes in. He asks her if she’s seen the Speaker. She tells that they were just down by the river. Miro rushes off again. “Ela had a feeling the Speaker might get to talk to the piggies sooner than she had thought.” She remembers Miro’s urgency, however, and suddenly feels afraid that something might be wrong with the Piggies.
The prologue to this chapter is a recording of Miro and Leaf-Eater talking. Leaf-Eater asks Miro what humans do with their dead. Miro tells him that they bury their dead. Leaf-Eater is shocked. “Then your dead don’t do you any good at all.”
Miro and Ouanda are taking Ender out to see the Piggies. They explain to him that they fear there’s a power struggle going on between Human and Leaf-Eater revolving around whether or not the Speaker was going to visit them. They fear that Ouanda, in saying no, may have tipped the scales to Leaf-Eater and condemned Human to death. They hope that in bringing Ender out they might save Human’s life.
As they near the Piggy forest, however, Ouanda stops them near a trio of trees. Miro is annoyed. “Now?” Ender asks about the trees. They tell them that they’re totem trees, one belonging to Rooter, the Piggy that Pipo and Libo found dead decades before. Ender asks if the Piggies ever plant trees as anything besides funeral markers. Miro and Ouanda don’t know and have bigger concerns at the moment. Miro tells him that they weren’t just reluctant to bring him outside of the fence because of the law. They tell Ender that they’ve been violating the law and teaching the Piggies human skills. They insist that if he’s to go any further that he won’t report them. “I won’t promise any such thing.” Says Ender.
Miro and Ouanda are horrified at his refusal, begging him to not tell so that they continue working with the Piggies and helping them. “The Piggies, they’re like the buggers. Only smaller, weaker, more primitive. We need to study them, yes, but that isn’t enough. You can study beasts and not care a bit when one of them drops dead or gets eaten up, but these are- they’re like us.” He tells Ender that they love the Piggies. Ender asks if the Piggies would be any worse off if they were banned from studying them. Miro says that it wouldn’t make a difference. The Piggies have already seen too much just watching the colony to ever be as they were before they came into contact with humans. “They’re our children, do you understand that.”
Hearing this, Ender tells them that they can continue. Ouanda still insists he promise not to tell about the Piggies. Ender asks her if she’s ever read The Hive Queen and the Hegemon. “Can you conceive of anyone choosing to call himself Speaker for the Dead, and then doing anything to harm these little ones, these pequeninos?” He tells them that he will do as he pleases, but won’t do anything that could harm the Piggies. They continue forward. Miro tells him that the Piggies have been asking for him, insisting that he’s the original Speaker who wrote The Hive Queen and the Hegemon. The Piggies have also been saying he’s going to bring the Hive Queen to them. Ender remembers that Hive Queen in her cocoon had said she’d been speaking with someone new on Lusitania.
He asks them how the Piggies have come across this information. Ouanda tells them that they say the trees, the one representing Rooter in particularly, speak to them. “We’ve always tried to play along with it.” This angers Ender. He tells them that it’s this sort of arrogance that keeps them from really understanding the Piggies. “You’ll never learn anything from them. Because you think of them as animals.” He tells them that they act like they’re superior, like human culture is inherently more valid and that those assumptions will keep them from ever seeing the Piggies like real equals. “You treat them like they’re not responsible for their own actions.”
He tells them that the Piggies know more about him than they would believe. “What’s that supposed to mean? That you really are the original Speaker?” Before Ender can reply the Piggies emerge from the forest. The Piggies are astonished to see Ender. Miro identifies one of them as Leaf-Eater. Leaf-Eater, seeing Ender retreats back into the forest. Miro tells him that Leaf-Eater was the one that said that the Speaker for the Dead wouldn’t come, and that Ender showing up means that he lost the power struggle with Human. Ender asks if this means Leaf-Eater will die in Human’s place. Miro tells him that his gut feeling was that it was Human’s life in danger and not Leaf-Eater. But they don’t know for sure.
“These questionable activities…you introduced new food into their diet?” Ouanda tells them that Libo was the first to do it. The Piggies were starving, and he didn’t want them to die, so he taught them how to harvest new foods. She tells him that Piggies killed Libo right after that. Ender tries to make sense of why the Piggies would kill Libo after he saved them. As he thinks it over though he comes to realize that there are human precedents; the law for instance, banning Miro and Ouanda from their profession simply for trying to help the Piggies.
Back at Novinha’s house the remaining siblings are eating dinner. Neither Novinha nor Miro are there, which is a minor relief to Ela. The children behave better for her when they’re gone. In the middle of dinner, Quim looks to Olhado. “So you’re the one who taught that spy how to get into mother’s files.” Olhado tries to joke his way out of the conversation, but Quim continues attacking him. Finally, Olhado gives in. “I didn’t mean to do it.” Ela looks to them both. “I hope you aren’t apologizing for helping the Speaker for the Dead.” She tells them that they should all be helping Ender. She tells them that their mother’s secrets are a big part of why they have so many problems and that if Ender is trying to get them out in the open then they should consider Olhado helping him as an act of loyalty to the family. Hearing Ela’s absolution, Olhado starts to cry.
Ela turns around and is horrified to see their mother standing in the doorway. “Did you hear what Ela was saying?” Says Quim. “Yes.” Replies Novinha. “And for all I know she might be right.” She tells the other children to go to their rooms. Once they’re gone, she goes over to Olhado and holds him while he cries.
Back in the forest Miro and Ouanda are watching the Speaker converse with the Piggies. The Piggy named Arrow holds up the copy of The Hive Queen and Hegemon that Miro gave them. “You wrote this?” He asks. “Yes.” Replies Ender. At first Miro thinks Ender is just lying to them, but watching the way Ender moves and speaks he can’t see any signs of dishonesty. He plays with the idea of Ender being the original Speaker for the Dead. It’s technically possible, the nature of space flight could allow for someone to skip great lengths of time. But the original Speaker lived almost three thousand years ago, and the sheer coincidence of Ender being that man are just too much for him to believe.
Human asks Ender why Miro and Ouanda don’t believe them when they say that he’s the real Speaker. “We told them.” Insists Human. Ender explains that it was the idea of Rooter the dead Piggy and the Hive Queen being the sources of the information that made it impossible for Miro and Ouanda to believe. “Rooter is wise.” Says Human. “He’s a father; he would never make a mistake.” Ender tells him that is much they don’t understand about each other and suggests they start to rectify that. Human asks if Ender will bring the Hive Queen to them. “I haven’t decided yet.”
Listening to this Miro can’t help but be skeptical. The only logical explanation to him is that the Piggies have incorporated The Hive Queen and the Hegemon thoroughly into their culture but don’t understand that the Hive Queen is dead. Human asks Ender what he wants in exchange for the Hive Queen. Ender tells him that the needs to know their stories. Human is more than happy to provide them, but Ender says he only tells tales of the dead. Human insists that the Piggies are as good as dead. That humanities refusal to teach them can only mean that when they finally do know enough to leave Lusitania and travel the stars that there will be no worlds left for them. Humanity’s dominance will be total.
Miro looks back and realizes that indeed, many of the Piggies questions have been involved in one way or another with spaceflight. He can’t believe that, after all these years, this is the first time they recognized this desire in the Piggies. The Piggies ask again if Ender will bring them the Hive Queen and help them learn the secrets they wish to know. Ender says he’ll help them learn anything that won’t destroy them. They dislike this answer and tell him that if he truly sees the Piggies as being equals then their future should be left up them. They say if he won’t help them then he might as well kill them all as he did the Buggers in ages past.
Miro can’t believe the Piggies would compare the Speaker for the Dead to the Xenocide, but nonetheless finds that this affects Ender. He starts crying, something the Piggies have never seen before. Miro tells them that this is how humans show pain. The Piggies recognize it from when they killed Pipo and Libo. Suddenly realizing that they hurt the dead xenologers, the Piggies begin to cry in their own fashion.
Miro asks Ender if he is, in fact, the original Speaker and the infamous Xenocide who wiped out the Buggers. “She told them more then I ever thought she would.” Says Ender. Miro asks him how he could possible be both. Ender doesn’t reply but tells the Piggies not to grieve over what they did in ignorance. He tells Human that he’ll help them but first he needs to learn more about them so that he can tell the rest of humanity and calm their fears. Human is shocked to learn that humans are afraid of the Piggies. Ender explains that humanity is afraid of the same thing that the Piggies are. That someday they’ll find all the planets of the universe taken up by Piggies, leaving no further place for humans. Human tells him that the Piggies want to be there with mankind and not in place of it.
Human asks Ender what he wants to know. Ender, in turn, looks to Miro and Ouanda and asks what he should inquire after. Ouanda wants to know how they make wooden houses and arrows when they’ve never seen them using any stone or metal tools. Human doesn’t understand. Ender explains that Humans need tools to cut down and harvest trees and that they don’t understand how Piggies do it. The Piggies, hearing this are suddenly terrified. Human begs Ender not to cut down Rooter, who he says is his father tree. Ender calms them, telling them that no human on Lusitania has ever cut down their trees and that they have no intention of doing so.
Ender repeats the question, asking the Piggies how they harvest wood. “The brother gives himself.” Replies Human. “We tell the ancient brother of our need, and we show him the shape, and he gives himself.” Ender, Miro, and Ouanda want the Piggies to demonstrate. Human is reluctant, but Leaf-Eater soon emerges from the forest with instructions from the wives that they’re to cooperate with anything that’s requested of them. Hearing this, Human agrees to show them. He leads them to an old tree near the edge of the forest and begins to drum on it with polished branches. Ouanda identifies this as “tree language.”
After a short time, the tree begins to shed its branches and then, when it’s a smooth trunk it topples over. Human starts singing to it and the tree splits in two. He runs his fingers along the wood in various shapes and pieces of wood fall away from the fallen tree in those same shapes. The Piggies don’t just worship the trees. They can communicate with them directly.
In the chapter’s prologue, Human asks Miro why more humans don’t come to see them. Miro explains that the fence that surrounds the colony is incredibly painful to touch. Human asks why that’s a problem and asks if they don’t have any grass.
Mayor Bosquinha, Bishop Peregrino and Dom Cristao are meeting with each other. In the meeting, Bosquinha reveals that the Starways Congress has charged them with breaking the law and has revoked their colony license. In a matter of hours, the entirety of the colony’s data files will have been confiscated and their Ansible connection. Leaving the entire colony helpless. Bosquinha tells them that she has been doing research on the Speaker for the Dead and has discovered that he seems to have Ansible access completely independent of the official lines. If they use his lines, they can save their data files. The Bishop is resistant to this at first, pointing out that, by doing this, they’ll be giving him total access to all of the colony’s information. It’s soon pointed out to him, though, that their only other alternative is to do nothing and lose everything. The three all agree to upload their files in turn using Ender’s access.
Once they’ve decided upon that Bosquinha tells them that word just reached her that Ender intends to perform Marcao’s speaking that night. Dom Cristao says he’ll attend, and the Bishop tells her that he’ll likely send a representative. As it turns out, the Bishop, as well as the majority of the colony’s residents turn out for the speaking; giving into their curiosity despite the church’s vilification of Ender. Novinha and her children all attend, as well.
Ender begins the speaking without fanfare, launching immediately into a description of the Marcao and the way people saw him. At first he sticks to the technical facts; his name, date of birth and death, and other things taken from the public record. As he continues forward, however, he begins to delve into the darker qualities of Marcao’s life, touching upon his alcoholism and the abuse toward his family. The citizens of Lusitania listen to the portion with short-lived satisfaction, for as soon as Ender has finished describing the things that Marcao did wrong, he tells them the ways in which they contributed to his violent nature.
He describes the various cruelties that people visited upon Marcao as he grew up. He reminds them of the cruel games they played at his expense as he grew larger and stronger than the other children. Even the men who worked with him, he tells them, could find no respect for Marcao outside of the workplace. He tells them that they were all afraid of Marcao; his size and strength intimidated them, so they gave into instinct and treated him like a wild animal. In turn, he became one.
As soon as he’s done telling them the ways they mistreated Marcao, he vindicates them. He tells them that one could hardly blame them for doing what most children do by nature. He says that while their abuse may have turned him sullen, that it wasn’t the true cause of his violence. “Who was it who tasted his cruelty? His wife. His children.” He tells them that though many abusive men attack their loved ones out of a desire for control, Marcao simply wanted loyalty.
He reminds them of an incident when Marcao was thirteen. A group of boys bullied him, and Marcao finally defended himself. Because of his size and strength, though, his retaliation seemed disproportionate and he stood to be disciplined for his actions while the actual aggressors would walk away unpunished. Novinha, having seen the whole thing take place, however, interjected and saved Marcao from unjust discipline. It was one of the few acts of kindness Marcao experienced in his life and so he cherished it, and loved Novinha from afar. When she turned down Libo and asked Marcao to marry her he jumped at the proposition, even if it came with some stipulations.
Novinha, Ender tells them, didn’t marry Marcao out of any sort of love but rather because she blamed herself for Pipo’s death at the hands of the Piggies and wanted to protect Libo from a similar fate. Even so, Novinha wasn’t willing to live without Libo, so she kept sleeping with him. Marcao played along because the genetic disorder that would eventually kill him had left him sterile, and, though Novinha’s children weren’t his, it gave him the only opportunity he would ever have to play the part of a father and husband.
Even so, with each new child he became more discontented with his marriage. He wanted nothing more than to be good enough for Novinha, and every time she became pregnant it was a reminder of the fact that he wasn’t and never would be. His anger eventually boiled over, leading to the abusive behavior that would define him in the eyes of his children and their community.
The audience is shocked to hear this, none more than Novinha’s children. Quim refuses to believe it, calling Ender out as a liar in the middle of the speaking. He’s soon silenced, however, when Novinha doesn’t defend herself, and he realizes the allegations to be true. Grego weeps, crying that both his fathers are dead. The worst damage is done to Miro however who, in addition to discovering that he was actually Libo’s son, also has to face the realization that Ouanda is his sister. In a moment, his perception of the past is shattered as well as all his plans for the future.
The community meanwhile is shocked at the revelations brought to light by the speaking. They came to it hoping for gossip on Novinha, whom they never liked. Libo, however, was a beloved public figure, and it hurts them all to have his good name tarnished by such unsavory proofs. Ender closes the speaking by reminding them that though there were countless mistakes made by the people involved, they all suffered for it. He tells them that though Novinha sinned, she did it all in the name of saving Libo, who was killed in the end anyways.
The speaking ends. Ender watches Novinha and her children piteously; huddled together on the grass, weeping from the pain of the horrible truths he revealed to them all. Mayor Bosquinha approaches him. She tells him that his starship has been confiscated by the Starways Congress, explaining that their colony license has been revoked and that the ship will be used to transport a pair of criminals to Trondheim for a trial. “Miro and Ouanda.” Says Ender.
Bosquinha is surprised that Ender knows. He tells her that he won’t allow the two to be taken away. Bosquinha tells him that there’s no choice. The entire colony is going to be wiped away, leaving no evidence that were ever humans on Lusitania. She tells him that all their vital systems are controlled via Ansible and that there’s nothing they can do with the Congress in control. He asks if they were able to save any of their data files. Bosquinha admits that they commandeered his access to save them, though she doesn’t know what good it will do.
Ender asks her if she’s considered rebellion. She asks him what the point would be. He tells her not to arrest Miro and Ouanda and to meet with him in an hour, so he can explain. She asks why he’s so concerned with the fate of their colony. He tells her that he sees it as an opportunity to undo the Xenocide three millennia prior. “And here I thought you had just proved yourself to be nothing but a gossip-monger.” He asks if she’ll hold the meeting. She agrees to do it but says it will need to be in the Bishops office. She says they’ll need to win his support of they want any hope of accomplishing anything.
Ender finds that he’s suddenly alone. Everyone else has departed the gathering place. Suddenly Jane pipes in, speaking to him for the first time in days. She tells him that if they choose to rebel she can make it look like Lusitania’s Ansible has been cut off while still keeping it up and running. He asks her if she’s behind the Starways Congress discovering Miro and Ouanda’s illegal activities. She doesn’t reply, and Ender soon finds that he’s so happy to have her back that he doesn’t care.
Ender returns to his house where he finds Ela waiting for him. “Did I do what you wanted?” She tells him that she can’t believe that Marcao wasn’t her father and, for a moment, doubts her decision to call for a Speaker. Ender tells her that she and her family will likely be better off now that everything is out in the open. He asks Ela if she can help him. He needs her to convince Novinha to open her files and show the Mayor and the Bishop what she discovered about the Descolada. She doesn’t think Novinha will do it, especially after what just happened. Ender tells her that the survival of the planet and the safety of Miro depend on it. Believing that her mother will be willing to compromise herself if it could mean saving Miro, Ela agrees and heads off to find her mother.
Miro is devastated by the revelation that Libo is his father, and by extension Ouanda his sister. “Everyone felt sorry for you [Libo] because you had nothing but daughters. Now one to carry on the family name. You were brimming over with sons. And I have far more sisters than I ever thought. One more sister than I wanted.”
He wanders the colony and finds himself at the gate leading outside the fence to the Piggy’s forest. Not wanting to stay in the Milagre, he decides to go out to the Piggies and see if they’ll let him stay with them. He tries to open the gate but finds that his access doesn’t work anymore. He realizes that he’s been blocked out. A message pops up telling him that his access to the Piggies has been revoked and that he and Ouanda are under arrest for their violating of the Starways Congress’ laws governing their contact with the
Miro’s heart sinks. Their illegally helping the Piggies has been discovered. First he loses Ouanda and now his work is being taken from him. With nothing left to him, he resolves to tell the Piggies what’s going to happen. The Piggies usually have someone watching the fence, so he starts walking along the fence, looking for someone to talk to.
At the Bishop’s office, the meeting that Ender called for begins. The Bishop greets him and is surprised when Ender bows. Ender tells him that he’s a baptized Catholic which surprises him. The Bishop, in turn, admits that Ender perhaps isn’t the evil force that he initially thought he was. The Bishop asks him if he’s going to leave Lusitania now that the speaking is over. Ender tells him that if he can help to save both the humans and the Piggies then he will.
Meanwhile, Ela is looking for her mother. She finds Novinha outside their house. Ela tells her that Ender wants her help. After the speaking, Novinha is understandably reluctant, but Ela insists telling her that they need to know what’s in her secret files. Novinha is reluctant to join the meeting at the Bishop’s office, especially after being revealed as an adulterer at the speaking. Ela tells her that if she doesn’t come though and tell them what she knows about the Descolada, that the Mayor may be forced to arrest Miro and Ouanda. She tells them that Miro has been helping the Piggies illegally and that a fleet is being sent to remove them all from Lusitania. Wanting to save Miro, Novinha agrees to go to the meeting.
Even so, she’s angry that Ela is helping Ender. “All my children, one by one, he’s seduced you all-“ Ela insists that Ender hasn’t done anything wrong and that in telling them all the truth they might finally be able to care for each other as an actual family. “The poison of your lies hurt us all.” Says Ela. “I thank God for the Speaker. He was willing to tell us the truth, and it set us free.” Novinha breaks down and tells Ela that she loves her. They weep together, crying together for the happiness of knowing the barrier that’s divided all their lives may have finally been removed.
Back at the fence the Piggies finally approach Miro. Miro tells them that he and Ouanda won’t be able to visit them anymore. The Starways Congress has discovered their illegal activities and has ordered their arrest and the colony removed. The Piggies ask him what gave them away. Miro speculates that they liked saw something the satellites that orbit the planet; the Piggy’s crops or herds may have tipped them off. Human suggests they might have noticed the sudden population explosion of their tribe. He tells Miro that because of the excess food brought in by the herds and crops there have been almost three hundred new Piggies born over the past few months. Miro is shocked.
Human tries to reassure Miro that the Speaker for the Dead will make everything work out. Miro tells him that even if Ender can think of a way to help the colony, it will be too late for Miro and Ouanda. They’ll likely be arrested and shipped off planet within a matter of hours. The Piggies consider this and offer to hide them in the forest. Miro tells them that they can’t cross the fence. “But you have capim [grass] right there.” Miro doesn’t understand. The Piggy named Mandachuva breaks off a piece of grass and chews on it. With the grass still in his mouth, he then climbs over the fence.
“You can’t do that.” Insists Miro. The fence is designed to stimulate the body’s nerves so that it feels agonizing to touch. Mandachuva seemed to climb over it with no problem though. The Piggies show Miro that the capim grass that grows all over Lusitania can be used as anesthetic when chewed. Miro remembers that Libo, when they found him, had a wad of capim in his mouth. He realizes that for whatever reason the Piggies killed him, they weren’t trying to cause him pain.
This revelation aside, Miro realizes that the Piggies have been able to cross the fence all along and in turn have been spying on the colonists, making a mockery of the laws he and the other xenologers had been trying so hard to follow. “They kept far more secrets from us than we could possibly keep from them.” Miro agrees to join the Piggies in their forest and picks a piece of capim grass. The Piggies show him how to chew it, and he starts up the side of the fence. At first the capim seems to have the same effect on him as it did for Mandachuva.
It’s short-lived, however, and by the time he reaches the top of the fence his nerves are all raging with pain. He gets stuck on top of the fence. Mandachuva scrambles up and pushes him over. He falls to the ground below and lays there paralyzed, while the Piggies frantically decide what to do. Some want to “plant” him, killing him as they did Pipo and Libo. “Before he dies.” Insists Leaf-Eater. “We have to give him root.” Human stops them, however, and tells Mandachuva to run and find Ouanda.
Back at the Bishop’s office Novinha and Ela arrive. Ender can see that she’s nervous at being in the Bishop’s office soon after being revealed to be an adulteress. He’s surprised when she chooses to sit next to him. Ender tells them that they’re trying to decide whether or not to comply with the Congress’ demands that Miro and Ouanda be placed under arrest or if should defy the order and essentially rebel against the Congress. The Bishop reminds Ender that if the Congress can remotely control almost all of their virtual services, and by cutting off the Ansible could essentially isolate them from the rest of humanity. Ender tells them that there is another way.
He tells them that he has a friend (Jane) who can circumvent the Congress’ control of the Ansible. The Bishop insists that while the loss of Miro and Ouanda and the evacuation of the colony are tragic that they stand nothing to gain from a rebellion which could lead to open war. “A law was broken, and the penalty must be paid.” Ender tells him that a law was broken, but that it was a law based on poor perception. He tells them about his visit to the Piggies and their incorporation of The Hive Queen and the Hegemon into their culture. He explains that the Piggies don’t want the “protection” that’s being forced on them and instead want the opportunity to travel the stars and colonize worlds just as humanity has.
By denying them this, he says, humanity isn’t really trying to protect the Piggies but is rather trying to protect itself from creating another competitor that they might need to contend with down the road. “They’re savages” Insists the Bishop. Ender tells him that humans once looked on the Buggers with a similar attitude, but the xenologers have come to know them as people rather than just aliens. He tells them how Libo taught the Piggies to harvest crops when they were starving. “And look what they did to him!” Replies the Bishop.
Ender acknowledges this and tells them that to the Piggies killing Pipo and Libo was the equivalent of killing a Christian because you believed it would send to heaven. They weren’t trying to hurt them out of any sort of anger or malicious feelings, they were trying to honor them and send them to the next stage of life as they know it. Ender explains that when the Piggies die they turn into trees. When they killed Pipo and Libo, they were actually trying to “plant” them so they could grow into trees and become a part of their tribe.
The Bishop, Mayor, and Cristao are doubtful of this. Novinha interjects, however, telling them that if the Congress has indeed stripped away all their files then they now know what her files said about the Descolada. She tells them that no matter what the orders say, the colony won’t be evacuated. It can’t. She tells them that anyone or anything currently living on Lusitania is now a carrier for the Descolada. Her parents found a way to control the disease in humans, but it still exists in them. Every human on Lusitania is a carrier for the plague, and if they traveled to another world they’d infect it. “We can trigger the complete destruction of the biosphere.” She confirms what Ender has said. The only creatures alive on Lusitania are the ones that managed to adapt by pairing themselves with a form of plant life; the Piggies to their trees.
Not only can the Congress not remove them from the planet, it will also be forced to make sure none of them can ever leave. At best they can hope for quarantine while at worst the entire planet might be destroyed to prevent the Descolada from leaving. “In which case,” Says Dom Cristao, “why should we submit to their control at all?” Ela suggests that they could someday find a way to control the Descolada. The others are quick to point out that there’s no way the Congress will take that chance. He urges them to rebel. “They are already afraid of the piggies. And once they understand the Descolada, all pretense of trying to protect the piggies will be done with. For the sake of humanity’s survival, they’ll destroy us.”
All of the sudden, Ouanda enters the room, accompanied by a Piggy: Mandachuva. She tells them that Miro tried to climb the fence and is trapped on the other side with the Piggies. Ouanda tells them that the only way to reach him is to shut off the fence. They tell her that they can’t do it; the Ansible is out of their control at the moment. Mandachuva asks if this means they should plant Miro. Novinha is horrified. Ender tells him Mandachuva that they shouldn’t plant anymore humans. Ender tells the Mayor that if she wants to save Miro then they’ll have no choice but to rebel so they can regain control of the colony and the fence. The Bishop and the Mayor reluctantly agree, and the group follows Mandachuva back to the fence. On the way, the Bishop asks Ender if rebellion means he might be able to send missionaries out to the Piggies.
On the way to the fence, Mandachuva explains about the capim grass and how it didn’t work with Miro. When they arrive Ender calls Miro over to the fence. He tells him that they might be able to shut the fence off, but doing so will mean that their colony is at war with all the rest of humanity. Ender tells him that they must sign a treaty between their two peoples. Human agrees, but grows uncomfortable when Ender says that they’ll need to meet with the wives. Ender tells him that if they can’t see the wives, then the fence will stay up, Miro will die and all the humans will be forced to leave Lusitania. Human agrees to let him see the wives.
Ender turns to the Mayor the Bishop. The Mayor Bosquinha is still reluctant to defy the Starways Congress but refuses to let Miro die. The Bishop agrees as long as he can preach to the Piggies. With their consent, Ender calls on Jane who swiftly takes control of the Ansible and deactivates the fence. Ender and the Piggies carry Miro’s paralyzed body back over the fence, and Ender turns to follow them back into the forest. Ouanda and Ela insist on coming with to help. The three of them with the Piggies head into the forest to meet with the wives.
The prologue to this chapter is a government communication. In it, it’s revealed that the “evacuation fleet” heading to Lusitania contains the Little Doctor, the weapon used to destroy the Buggers. The communication also reveals that this information has bee revealed to the public who are outraged over its presence.
Ender, Ouanda and Ela are following the Piggies into the forest to meet with the Wives. As they proceed, Ender notes that Human seems to be especially pleased. Mandachuva explains that Human thinks his role in the upcoming negotiations will earn him the honor of passing onto the third life. Ender asks him what the third life is. Mandachuva replies, “The gift that Pipo kept for himself.”
As they delve deeper into the forest, they notice small, worm-like creatures clinging to the trees. The Piggies identify them as Little Brothers and Little Mothers; Piggy offspring. “If you harm them.” Says Leaf-Eater. “We will kill you unplanted and knock down your tree.” Ender promises not to harm any of the Piggies, and they proceed. They shortly come to another Piggy, larger than any other they’ve ever seen before. Mandachuva identifies it as one of the Wives. Ender asks its name, but the male Piggies don’t know, but say they call her Shouter. Shouter says a few words. Mandachuva tells him that she’s asking for him to come with her. Ender asks if he can have one of the male Piggies come with them as a translator. Shouter tells him that Human can come. Human tells Ender that she’s going to take him to the birthing place.
They follow Shouter, with Human serving as a translator. As Human speaks, however, Jane pipes in through Ender’s ear implant and tells him that she’s been analyzing the Piggy’s speech and suspects that Human isn’t translating his words exactly. Ender tells him to translate as closely as he can and not to add or drop anything. Human agrees reluctantly. They come to a massive tree, covered with infant Piggies. Ender touches the tree and one of the baby Piggies crawls onto his hand. Human says that it’s one of his brothers, and its father is Rooter. Ender asks who its mother was, but Human can’t answer. They soon learn why.
The Little Mothers don’t give birth to baby Piggies. The Little Mothers are impregnated in their infancy by attaching themselves to father trees and the baby Piggies chew their way out of the Little Mothers, killing them in the process. The Wives are actually Little Mothers who were sterile and, therefore, lived to grow into maturity. The reason the males Piggies have always referred to the female Piggies with contrasting tones of reverence and ridicule is because there are two types of female: the intelligent Wives and the Little Mothers who are almost mindless.
This discovery disturbs Ouanda and Ela who start trying to devise methods to help the Little Mothers give birth with dying in the process. Ender scolds them. “We didn’t come here to attack them at the root of their lives. We came here to find a way to share a world with them…They can decide whether to alter the way that their children are conceived and born.” Ender tells them that they need to focus on establishing a treaty.
Back in Milagre Novinha and Olhado are tending to Miro. Most of Miro’s body has been paralyzed by his climb over the fence, but as he rests he begins to regain some control over his body. Novinha and Olhado set up a computer to help Miro communicate by blinking. He has only once concern: the Piggies. They tell him that the fence has been disabled and that Ender is in the forest negotiating an agreement with the Piggies. Using the computer, Miro tells them things he wants Ender to know for the negotiations. Novinha decides to head to the forest and relay them to Ender.
Using Rooter as a translator, he begins hammering out an agreement with Shouter and the wives. The tents of the treaty are initially very simple. Out in the forest, the Piggy’s laws will reign while in Milagre, human law will be respected. Likewise, when the new Hive Queen is established she will have rule over her people. Any disputes between two species will presided over by the third.
Human says that their tribe will want access to all of humanity’s knowledge. Novinha arrives and tells Ender that Human’s tribe was planning to use their newly acquired knowledge to wage war on their neighbors. Ender agrees but says they’ll want the right to teach the other Piggy tribes, as well. Human objects to this, saying that their tribe intends to conquer the other Piggy tribes and that the humans helping them will remove the advantages Human’s tribe would have gained from the treaty. Ender, in turn, tells Human that if his tribe wants the colonist’s help then they can’t try to conquer the other tribes anymore.
This is very troublesome to the Piggies. They have always fought wars with their neighboring tribes, striving for dominance. Ender tells them that there are other ways to be strong then fighting and that Human’s tribe could be just as strong by allying themselves peacefully with the competing tribes as they could taking them over. The Piggies realize the validity of this and agree to abstain from fighting their neighbors, save in self-defense.
The Piggies make Ender promise to restore the hive queen. Ender tells the Piggies that they can no longer try to “plant” any humans. Human is confused, not understanding why humans wouldn’t want to pass on to their next life. Ender tells them that humans don’t have a third life the same way Piggies do. He tells him that when they planted Pipo and Libo, they died. The Piggies are horrified by this revelation that their attempts at honoring Pipo and Libo for their help, in fact, killed them.
Nonetheless, Human tells Ender that to finalize the treaty, Ender must plant him as a formality or be planted himself. Ender objects but Human insists. He says that the Piggies will respect the colonists’ aversion to planting henceforth, but that if the treaty is to be considered official it must be finalized in a fashion that is meaningful to the Piggies. Recognizing the importance of the treaty over his own personal issues, Ender agrees.
The Piggies depart to talk over the treaty with the Wives while Ender and the others return to the fence to wait for them. Novinha walks with Ender, telling him that she thinks he has what it takes to kill Human. Ender initially takes this as an insult, but Novinha corrects him. “[You’re] compassionate enough to put the hot iron into the wound when that’s the only way to heal it.” Whatever enmity Novinha had for Ender earlier is gone.
After a time, the Piggy’s emerge from the forest with a copy of the treaty they’ve written. Human is with them, ready for Ender to plant him. Ender is still reluctant, telling Human that from his human view, he’s killing him. Human, in turn, tells Ender that if Ender can’t do this it will be like he’s denying Human an honor. Ender agrees sadly and signs the treaty. Human asks Ender if he’ll write about his life the way that Ender wrote about the Buggers and the Hegemon. Ender agrees without hesitation. With the other Piggies instructing him, he plants Human next to Rooter’s tree. A small sapling shortly sprouts from Human’s dead body.
Ender and his companions start back toward Milagre to bring the treaty to Mayor Bosquinha and Bishop Peregrino. Along the way, Novinha walks with Ender again. “You signed it Ender Wiggin.” She says. It’s the name of the infamous Xenocide who killed all of the Buggers thousands of years before. Ender confirms that he’s the same person. Novinha tells him that she never confessed her adultery to the priests because she knew they’d be disgusted by her. “Yet when you named all my sins today, I could bear it because I knew you didn’t despise me. I couldn’t understand why, though, till now.” Ender replies. “I’m not one to despise other people for their sins. I haven’t found one yet, that I didn’t say inside myself, I’ve done worse than this.”
They meet the Mayor and the Bishop and present them with the treaty. As she signs it, Bosquinha tells Ender that every last one of their files was restored to their system before midnight. Jane has been busy. The Bishop tells them that the morning mass will be beginning soon. He invites Ender to join then. Ender waits for a moment, watching the Piggies and then joins the town at the Cathedral. He takes a seat next to Novinha and her children.
The Hive Queen
The prologue to this chapter is an excerpt from “The Life of Human,” a book written by Ender in the style of The Hive Queen and the Hegemon. The excerpt describes Human’s birth and life as a Piggy.
Miro’s body is ruined by his climb over the fence. Though he recovers from his initial paralysis, his abilities are horribly stunted so that he can manage only the clumsiest of movements and speak only in a barely intelligible slur. He tries to join Ouanda in her renewed study of the Piggies but finds he’s more of a hindrance than he is a help. Miro decides to leave Lusitania. He can’t go anywhere because of the Descolada virus that his body carries so, per Ender’s suggestion he decides to leave the planet fly the ship out and then return several decades later. His hope in this is that the passage of the years will have allowed his family to come to terms with their grief over his fate and that perhaps upon his return his perspective might find new use.
As he prepares to leave the planet, he tries to keep up on the work of his family and the colonists as best he can. His work is sluggish because of his body, but, with time, he finds that his computer seems to be helping him, as though it has a mind of its own. As he grows more curious about what’s going, on Ender approaches him. “It isn’t a new program helping you. It’s a person.” Says Ender. He tells Miro that the person helping him is Jane. He explains that she’s another sentient species, a thinking program that lives in the Ansible and is the only one of her kind.
Ender tells Miro that up until now Jane’s only friend had been himself, but now as he’s become more involved with Novinha and Miro’s siblings that he hasn’t been able to be there for her in the same way he used to be. “She’s lonely, and so I think she’s chosen another companion.” Miro is initially cranky about Jane but soon realizes how much her friendship has meant to Ender and how much it means that he would show her to him. Miro begins talking to Jane and the two quickly become friends; companions in the ways that she used to be with Ender. Miro finds that when he’s talking to Jane, he forgets his broken body and feels like himself again.
Some time passes and Ender having scouted the countryside is going with Olhado to finally release the new Hive Queen and resurrect the Buggers. They stop at a spot, and Olhado asks him about Miro. Ender tells him that Miro needs to leave Lusitania if he’s to ever have a chance at feeling whole again. Olhado understands and changes the subject. He asks Ender if he really is Ender the Xenocide. Ender says that he is. This amuses Olhado; he tells Ender that had they known that when he first arrived the entire colony would have shown up to stone him. Instead, they came to know and love him like a father. “Even Quim doesn’t hate you now.” He says. “When you really know somebody, you can’t hate them.” Olhado tells him that Novinha loves him.
He asks Ender how he could kill so many people and still be the Speaker of the Dead; the man who taught humanity to regret what they’d done. Ender explains that he was just a boy when he fought the Buggers, that he was tricked into thinking he was playing games. “[Even so] if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing.” He explains that humanity at the time truly thought the Buggers meant to kill him. Humanity at the present is scared of the Piggies and Lusitania the same way. Olhado understands but grows sad. “I don’t want Miro to go away for thirty years.” Ender tells him to think of it as though Miro’s just passing to his next life, as the Piggies do. They return to Milagre, leaving the Hive Queen in a fertile spot to begin anew.
Ender’s sister Valentine calls the next day. Because of Ender’s trip to Lusitania, decades have passed for while he’s still young. Ender finds that though she’s changed he still loves her just the same and delighted when she tells him that she and her family are going to be leaving Trondheim to join him on Lusitania. She tells him that the current events surrounding Lusitania have gotten her too excited to stay dormant and that she has already begun writing under her pseudonym Demosthenes to protest the military fleet on route to Lusitania.
Ender thinks of Miro and asks her if she would mind meeting him on the way. He explains about Miro’s injuries. “He’s lot all connections with our life here. Yet we’ll need him later.” Valentine agrees to meet with Miro’s ship and then begins to cry from happiness. Though it will be decades before Ender sees her, the journey to Lusitania will only feel like a few weeks to her. She says good-bye and Ender begins to the long wait for her arrival. The next day Miro leaves to meet Valentine in space and Ender and Novinha marry each other. The book ends with the Hive Queen emerging from her cocoon.
Sazed has traveled six weeks worth of distance in six days, using his metalminds from time to time. Whenever a metalmind runs out, he leaves it on the ground, trying to lessen the amount of weight he has to carry. He notices several pillars of smoke ahead, sure sign that there is an army or camp of some kind. He is surprised to see that the army camp is made up of koloss, a dark blue kind of monster barbarian, once controlled by the Lord Ruler. Sazed is found by a koloss patrol. They force him to come down from the tree he was hiding in and follow them into the camp. Sazed is surprised once again to see that the man controlling these koloss is Jastes Lekal, a one-time friend of Elend Venture. Jastes says that he plans to conquer Luthadel as his own. He ends up letting Sazed go, under the condition that Sazed tell Elend about what he has seen. Sazed leaves, feeling even more urgency about getting to Luthadel.
Elends meets with his advisors–Ham, Breeze, Dockson, and Vin. Tindwyl is there, too. They try to talk Elend out of this plan he has to go into his father’s camp and trick him into fighting Cett. They don’t think Elend can con someone like that, but Elend is insistent that he can manipulate his father any time he wants. Plus, Elend argues, he’ll have Vin with him, in case Straff tries to take his own son hostage. Vin, listening in to the conversation, discovers through bronze that Breeze is soothing Elend to make him more confident. After the meeting, Tindwyl chastises Elend for not acting more like a king. Kings cannot doubt themselves. They must always feel that they are the right man for the job and convince others of the same through sheer confidence. The discussion is interrupted when Elend gets word that Cett’s daughter has arrived in Luthadel, looking for Breeze.
Cetts daughter, Allrianne, has left her father’s camp and come to Luthadel to see Breeze, whom she affectionately calls Breezy. Breeze is completely embarrassed by this, but the rest of the group gets a good laugh at his expense. Allrianne says she hated staying in her father’s camp; she needs comforts only a city can bring, like fresh water and a bed. After Allrianne leaves to freshen up, the group decides it may be beneficial to keep her. It may prevent her father from attacking too soon.
Vin, hides, suspended in the mists, just above Keep Venture. She spies on Ham as he walks across a courtyard. As she follows him, as a predetermined time, OreSeur jumps from behind some boxes and howls, scaring Ham. Ham reacts by flaring pewter. This confirms to Vin that he is not the kandra imposter. Vin admits to Ham that she is out of atium, meaning she’ll die the next time she fights a Mistborn with atium. She wonders is there is a secret to killing someone with atium. Ham doesn’t think so, although there have been some theories about how to do so. It may be possible, for example, to surprise them somehow. After that, Vin has a heart-to-heart with OreSeur. They talk about the way kandra are often treated, beaten by their own masters. They spot someone approaching the keep’s walls. It turns out to be Sazed, who has returned with, as he puts it, “problems and troubles.
Sazed is telling the group in the kitchens late at night, what he saw in the Koloss camp. They are not happy to know that a third army is on its way to Luthadel. Sazed does not know how Lekal is controlling the creatures, but the group does know that 20,000 koloss could beat an army of at least four times that many humans, meaning there is nothing stopping them from reaching and taking Luthadel. Finally, Sazed also share his fear regarding the mist killing people. He thinks something was released when the Lord Ruler was killed, although he never personally saw the mist kill anyone. Cett’s daughter comes walking in, half disheveled, asking what’s going on. They dismiss her and the group breaks apart, everyone either going to bed or to some corner to thin. Vin takes OreSeur outside to patrol. Back in his room, Sazed meets Tindwyl, an old friend of his. She criticizes him for returning and having strange theories about the mist.
Vin is outside, thinking about the beating she hears to the north, just like the writer of the log book, the supposed Hero of Ages. Zane finds her, and again he tries to convince her to leave Elend and Luthadel, claiming that she is being used by them and that she can do much better on her own, free to do as she pleases. Vin insists that she is very happy doing what she is doing and that no one is forcing her to do anything.
Vin is woken by a quiet bark of warning from OreSeur. She reacts by jumping out of bed, reaching for a dagger, and downing a vile of metals. She does all this before she realizes that the person that was “sneaking up on her” is actually Tindwyl the Terriswoman. Tindwyl obligates her to go shopping with herself and Allrianne, something Vin knows she will detest. They take a carriage to the market, the three women and OreSeur, who everything still assumes is just an ordinary wolfhound, along with Spook, who is forced to go to carry the girls’ bags. Vin manages to find a dress that she likes, and Tindwyl arranges for the dress to be made special for a Mistborn. Meanwhile, a someone has identifies Vin and a large crowd has gathered outside the storefront. Vin reluctantly goes outside to talk to them. They obviously worship her, calling her the Heir to the Survivor–Kelsier. She tries to say something that will inspire hope, but she feels that she is really just lying to them. Meanwhile, Elend is at the wall when Straff’s men attack. The guards and archers on the wall are in a total panic, and they barely kill a few of the invading wave before it retreats to the Venture camp. This was a test, just to try out Luthadel’s defenses, it is explained to Elend. Straff is sending a message, just before Elend is supposed to go out to the camp and talk to his father.
Vin opens the box sent from the dress maker, happy to find that the new dress is very well designed for a Mistborn, allowing her to move and fight freely. It even has secret hiding places for her daggers and some vials of metal. OreSeur does not think going is a good idea, since Vin and Elend would be alone in Straff’s army camp. Vin knows she must go anyway. Elend and Vin ride into the camp. Over the meal, Elend tries to manipulate Straff, but the man seems to catch on too quickly. Then he sends Vin out of the tent, so they can talk alone, father and son.
Straff and Elend talk inside, and things don’t seem to be going very well for Elend. Straff says he’ll just have Elend killed and demand Luthadel to open the gates to him. Elend says that if he is killed, Vin will kill Straff. Vin is outside, listening. She begins to manipulate Straff’s emotions, making him feel afraid. Finally, she smoothes away everything–every emotion he has, leaving him feeling empty and dead inside. The trick works, and Elend and Vin get out of the camp safe. Meanwhile, Zane has a little chat with Vin outside the tent, telling her that she is nothing but a knife to Elend. After they are gone, Straff commands Zane to kill Vin. Back in Luthadel, Elend learns that the assembly has voted to remove him as king.
The group meets together to see what they’re going to do about the assembly’s vote. They try to figure out if the assembly already has someone else in mind to put on the thrown, or if they simple want to send a warning to Elend because he has been ignoring them of late. The discussion leads to an argument between Breeze and Ham, as always, and Vin gets a taste of kandra humor when OreSeur whispers that he could always eat one of them and solve the argument. Later, Elend gets another lesson from Tindwyl about how a proper kind should act.
At night, Vin and OreSeur have a talk. OreSeur doesn’t think it’s healthy for Vin to keep herself awake for long periods of time, burning pewter to stay strong. He also doesn’t like the way Vin treats Zane, who should be her enemy. In the middle of the conversation, Vin realizes that she’s figured out what the Deepness is.
Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.
The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.
Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.
Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.
Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.
Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?
Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.
Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.