Anastasia corners Oliver at a pre-wedding party and he tells her that Maggie got Leviathan to summon the Krakens. Several of Anastasia’s and Hayden’s siblings show up for the wedding; Anastasia gets Hayden to introduce her, they are cordial, but don’t say a whole lot, call her “a favored one”; she also notices that they call certain men there “Uncle” – Jacob, Oliver, Grimnir, and Bjorne (who doesn’t arrive until right before the ceremony). She asks Hayden about it, and it’s a term they use for the fathers of their siblings. She then asks who Oliver’s and Grimnir’s children are, and he tells her about El Gigante and Die Spinne.
Sandrah, Elouise, Anastasia and Indigo are Bridesmaid’s; Dooley, Jacob, DJ Bass are groomsmen; Grimnir officiates – the ceremony is Indian; Tamati gives away Anahera; DJ Treble is the First Maid; Thin Man is the Best Man. At the end of the ceremony, Grimnir takes Thin Man and Anahera away for several minutes; when he returns, alone, he announces that there is a tradition of the best man “kidnapping” the Bride, and they’ve been given a ten minute head start. Whoever finds them first will be “the baddest.”
Anastasia goes with Hayden and ‘the family’ to discuss plans; Indigo goes her own way to hunt. After a while, the rest of the ‘family’ goes to make sure the guests are entertained, leaving Hayden and Anastasia; Hayden says he has known Thin Man since they were children, and he knows where to find him, they both change forms and stalk to a chicken coop, and then wait in hiding. During the wait, Grimnir is overheard discussing his new church, and invited to talk with El Oso. El Oso turns out to be a pious man (bear?), and wants to exchange emissaries between the Church of the Pattern and The Courts of Chaos, who are known to form small Amber cults. He invites Grimnir to visit with him and the King; Grimnir says that if he wishes to send students to the seminary, he should speak with Anya, and El Oso says he may bring whoever he wishes.
About 8 hours after the ceremony, Thin Man and Anahera show up – Thin Man raiding the chicken coop – Anahera says she told him he didn’t need to eat. Hayden and Anahera go on their “honeymoon.”
After convincing Grimnir it was ok to leave the Jewel in Amber, Grimnir, Anya, and Indigo decide to go visit El Oso. They trump to Veneto, but instead find themselves caught in a spider web. Turns out the spider web was a trap set by Die Spinne, who greets them as they work their way out – she is pleasantly surprised to see Grimnir, but worried that Anya is still under her mother’s influence. When questioned, she tells Anya the “truth” about Violetta – she is an ancient creature who creates armies of fantastic creatures out of her children, shaping them in her womb. When her body is eventually nearing exhaustion, she spawns one more child; a daughter. She raises this daughter in seclusion, molding the “favored one” to her desires, then takes the body and continues on. Die Spinne used to be a favored one, but managed to escape Violetta’s influence over her body by rebirthing herself, and she has been gathering an army to attack Violetta. Anya relates she had been told, somewhat, of her seclusion, but not of its purpose, and realizes that her mother still has her children in Veneto.
When Die Spinne hears of the children, she tells them they must be rescued at once, before Violetta is allowed to influence them further, and they cannot be saved. The planning begins. Anya decides she will influence the destiny of Veneto so it ends up next to Die Spinne’s shadow, and the three of them (Grimnir, Anya, and Indigo) cross into the shadow, along with several spiders from Die Spinne. As they enter, they are immediately met by one of Serpentine, who tells them that Violetta is awaiting them in the study. Indigo quickly dispatches the messenger, and sends the two spy-ders to reconnoiter. They continue towards the house, ignoring the servants as they head towards the nursery. When they arrive at the nursery, it is guarded by several servants, and the butler, who again tells Anya that Violetta is awaiting her in the study. Anya says she will go there, once she has her children. The butler will not let her pass, and chaos ensues!
Grimnir fights the butler, who grows into El Gigante, in the hall. Grimnir is able to overpower him with his force of will. Anya is able to stop him from killing The Giant by shouting that he is Grimnir’s brother. Indigo fights the servants, who are trying to prevent Anya from entering the room by grabbing her legs. After Indigo and the spiders dispatch the servants holding Anya, she enters the room, the front of which is filled with a giant, poison cloud. The posion starts to blind Anya, but she is able to shake it off, her body adapting as she walks. Indigo gets the cloud to leave by throwing Mormegil into it. As Anya approaches the womb, she sees that it is surrounded on all sides by Serpentine, and she threatens to strike as Anya walks closer. Anya tries reason, but to no avail, so, resigned, she goes with Grimnir to the study while Indigo stays in the room.
Violetta is lounging in the room. Anya demands her children, but Violetta refuses. She does offer her the boy, but says she can’t have either until they are born. They go back and forth a couple times, but no further compromise is reached, and Anya, resigned, decides to leave. As they make their way back to the nursery, both Anya and Grimnir realize that the shadow is closed off, and Anya realizes she does not actually have control over it. Anya turns around to go back to Violetta. When she arrives back at the study and asks how they are supposed to leave, Violetta says she would like to discuss a more amicable solution, and invites the group to dine with her. Anya leaves to convey the message to Indigo and Grimnir.
As Anya enters the room and nears the womb, Indigo, who had been standing guard near it, leaps forward to attack Serpentine, placing herself in the way of any of Serpentine that might try to strike the womb. Anya reaches out to contact the womb and try to help it. Serpentine strikes true on both the womb and Indigo, although Indigo slays several of her. As this is happening, the walls of the house falls away to reveal Violetta, in her true form, a giant, distorted womb topped by the torso of a woman. Serpentine flees as more of her are struck down by Indigo, but soon she starts to succumb to the poison, and collapses, dropping Mormegil.
Grimnir picks up Mormegil and charges at Violetta, slicing through her as blood sprays over him in a fiery shower. Anya is able to commune with her womb, only to realize that the children are fine, as it is endowed with her own extraordinary endurance. Indigo beings to use her Trump magic to stabilize herself. Through this all, spiders start to pour into the shadow through tears in the veil that surrounds it.
Grimnir collapses, charred beyond all belief, as the torso seperates from the monster and flies away. As the shadow begins to disintegrate, all three are caught in Die Spinne’s webs. Anya begins to reintegrate her children, then goes to help Grimnir and Indigo. Die Spinne insists on helping Grimnir, so Anya begins to assist Indigo, who has managed to stay the course of the deadly poison from Serpentine, but has not been able to recover from the damage already wrought. Anya heals her enough that she can begin to recover.
While Grimnir and Indigo are recovering, Anya and Die Spinne talk. She allows Die Spinne to enter her body and her mind, and she is able to tell Anya that the children has definitely been tainted by Violetta, as well as Anya. They discuss possible courses of action. Die Spinne can help her cleanse the taint now, but as the children grew, they would be reinfected from Anya herself, and were quite likely to be born under Violetta’s control, however insidious. It would also be exteremely dangerous for Anya to attempt to cleanse herself while carrying the children. Although Anya is very reluctant at first, she finally agrees to let Die Spinne assist her in cleansing them, and then allowing her to act as a surrogate, however painful it may be for her to let her children go again.
Die Spinne carefully takes the children from Anya, and ends up laying two eggs which contain them. While expecting it to take a further three months, the children “hatch” in only about two weeks. Grimnir takes the time to get to know his brother, The Giant, and takes him to Amber. Indigo and Anya have both taken that time to contact Bjorne. Anya asks him to make arrangements to care for the children, whom she now wishes to be raised in Rebma. Bjorne is overjoyed to oblige, and looks forward to seeing them. Indigo finds out, after talking to Bjorne, that she is not, in fact, Mareah’s child. Bjorne tells her Mareah was barren, so they went to a witch, who was able to create a child for them from Bjorne alone. They then needed a surrogate, who turned out to be Violetta. Eric, her brother, was the bastard son of Bjorne and a woman from the Golden Circle, named Audrey; a nomad who he has since lost track of.
After the children are born, a boy and a girl named Eric and Hope, Anya takes them, along with a few precious possessions Die Spinne managed to save from her shadow, to Rebma, where she leaves them in Bjorne’s care. The three then venture through shadow back to the Courts, to El Oso’s shadow. Indigo leaves the Pattern Blade behind. While they are greeted with a somewhat wary welcome, after allowing themselves to be searched by Royal Guard, they meet with El Oso and King Rigoberto Del Sotto. Grimnir and El Oso are soon deep into talk of religion, so the King invites Indigo and Anya on a hunt. Anya takes the opportunity to ingratiate herself with the King, who seems welcome to her overtures. Indigo falls back, chatting with the guards who accompany them. After several hours, they take their leave, although Anya leaves a trump with a manservant, in case the King should wish to contact her again.