Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Sword of the White Horse – Review & Summary
Written by Sorrosyss, April 5th, 2022

Note: Non Spoiler Review, but a full Spoiler Summary follows

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Sword of the White Horse is a new novel written by Elsa Sjunneson, and is published internationally by Aconyte books. As you might surmise from the title, it is set during the events of the game Assassin's Creed Valhalla, in 878 AD. Its primary protagonist is a woman named Niamh, a north Caledonian (Scottish) Witch-Warrior from Argyll. Niamh is part of another order who calls upon her aid, which sets her into a tale that leads to her crossing paths with none other than The Hidden Ones, The Order of the Ancients, and even Eivor herself.

As you might have guessed from the book's cover art, the story touches upon the subject of the sword of Excalibur. The mythology that surrounds the weapon, as well as that of Avalon, is still a popular legend to this day. King Arthur has been mentioned within the lore of the games themselves several times, with Excalibur itself of course also an equippable weapon within the Assassin's Creed Valhalla game. As a franchise, the overlap between mythology and the Isu continues to grow, so it comes as no surprise to see that here too.

With Niamh being Celtic, it is nice to see her background and beliefs being displayed throughout the novel. The author obviously spent a great deal of time and research on the era, as we see lots of insight into daily life of the time, as well as the position of women like her in that period. The battle between faiths and beliefs was of course a major topic throughout the lands in the ninth century, with the increase of Christianity putting paid to many of the more widespread pagan traditions. Coupled with the Viking invaders and their Norse heritage as well, it is impressive to see all of these groups of people represented throughout the
novel. As with the reader, Niamh finds herself thrown into this powder keg mix of society, whilst struggling to decide where her own trust and dedication should lie. I certainly found her to be an interesting and compelling main character throughout her journey. Encompassing Caledonia, Mercia and Lunden itself, it’s definitely a story that covers a lot of narrative distance.

Overall it is a strong historical tale, with a few small touches upon the Isu. It is certainly enjoyable as a standalone tale, but as is the norm for the transmedia, it can be enjoyed without little impact to the overall meta plot of the game and franchise. Certainly there is no Modern Day content here to mull over, but I will leave that to your discretion whether that matters to you or not. If the world of Valhalla is one you cannot get enough of, then you will definitely find more to engage your interest here. As stated, Eivor is present, as well as a few other familiar faces such as Hytham and Valka. If you are someone who enjoys the crossover of stories in this fashion, I have no doubt you will like what you find here too.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Sword of the White Horse is available from the 5th April 2022 from all good stockists.


Argyll, Caledonia, 878 AD
Niamh meditates besides the sea. She is disturbed by her apprentice, a young girl called Birdie, who provides her two missives. One reads of the requirement of a “Nimue” to assist a hidden group with her skills at the “Hawk's Nest” in Lunden. The second is from the Lady, a leader of the Women of the Mist. This group had trained Niamh at the secretive island of Avalon, where she had learned both poultice and swordplay. The Lady requests Niamh's presence in Lunden, and to take the place of “Nimue” to uncover who the secretive group is that operates in the shadows of the city.

It is a difficult decision for Niamh to leave, as her responsibilities to her village as witch-warrior include healing the sick, and attending to the birthing of babies. Nevertheless, she elects that she must answer the call, and requests Birdie prepares two horses and supplies to travel south.

The next morning, the two depart their village, and steadily make their way through Caledonia and across Hadrian's Wall into Mercia. After a lengthy journey of several nights, the two set up camp. As Niamh rests, Birdie does not wake her for her turn to take watch. Niamh thus awakens in the morning to realise that her apprentice has vanished. Following a series of tracks, Niamh discovers a terrified Birdie is held captive nearby by three dishevelled men, who were clearly bandits. At Niamh's approach a short battle commenced, with two of the men quickly slain by her, the last running into the woods in fear. After freeing Birdie, she tells her apprentice that she is not yet ready for the wider world, and instructs her to return home out of a kindness. Niamh then continues on to Lunden.

Lunden, Mercia, 878 AD
The city teems with life, leaving Niamh slightly disoriented from the difference in noise to her peaceful village home. Following the instructions on the missive, she finds the location of the Hawk's Nest – indicated by a crude eagle's head scrawled on the door to the building. Heading up the stairs she finds a man and a woman studying maps on a table. The man identifies himself as Hytham, who questions if she is Nimue. Niamh advises that her name is pronounced “Niamh” to try and avoid using the incorrect moniker around these individuals. Hytham explains that she has been requested to join their order for training, as one of her ancestors had been a part of them. His colleague introduces herself as Marcella, head of the Lunden Bureau, who states that it is she that Niamh ultimately needs to impress. Marcella is keen to know what fighting experience she has, but Niamh cuts her short instead desiring food and rest. She is provided sustenance, and directed to a ladder to bedding in the loft. There she lays to recover from the long journey and swiftly falls to sleep.

The next morning, Niamh wakes early and walks around the Lunden streets to acclimatise herself to the new location. She finds Marcella and Hytham both waiting at the bureau upon her return. Still untrusted by the Hidden Ones, Hytham initiates a test for Niamh, requesting she try and find him, before leaping out of a nearby window onto a hay bale. Niamh follows suit, but loses sight of Hytham in the crowd. She eventually spots his hooded outfit and follows him as he clambers up to a nearby rooftop. He motions to the crowd below. Realising it was her turn to hide, she leaps from the rooftop and bursts into a sprint. She spots a group of nuns walking in unison, and donning a similar cloth she blends into and walks among them.

The group walks into a nearby church, as another Caledonian voice speaks to Niamh, that of one of the nuns. She recognises her as a witch-warrior, and states that she has heard another nunnery has been placed in danger in the north from a group known as the Order of the Ancients. Departing with this knowledge, Niamh then attempts to hide from Hytham in a nearby tree, but he eventually walks below it to beckon her out. Returning to the Bureau, Niamh queries about the Order of the Ancients. She is told that the Hidden Ones have been at war with them for centuries, and it is they that Niamh's help is needed with. By way of a test, they give her the name of Father Deoric, a church leader at the village of Cote in the west. A known member of the Order of the Ancients, he stands guilty of smearing the name of the Hidden Ones and embarking on controlling ownership of the nearby inhabitants, as well as destroying the cairns of the old gods. Niamh is tasked with killing this man.

The next morning, Niamh awakes and is greeted by Hytham who has packed supplies to her saddlebag. He confesses that he would come with her, if not for the fact he was injured and still healing. He asks her to also let him know if she hears anything of the “Ladies of the Mist”, to which Niamh promises that she will and swiftly departs the bureau.

Cote, Wessex, 878 AD
Modern Day Somerset
Travelling west for two days through forestlands, she eventually reaches the villages of Cote. Realising she needs to change her attire to blend in, she finds an abandoned barn and tethers her horse whilst changing into a dress. Walking into the village, she attends the local church. There she waits and eventually Father Deoric gives a sermon to those present, allowing her to study and recognise the man she was about to kill. After the service she returns to walking around the village, finding a house belonging to a pagan. Introducing herself as a follower of the Lady, she is welcomed inside by a woman named Wisweth. She tells Niamh of how Father Deoric has made it his ambition to drive out any non-believers of Christ from the village, confirming the reports heard by the Hidden Ones that cairns had been destroyed – including that of her late husband. After sharing a meal, Niamh ventures out once night falls to investigate the destroyed cairn. There she finds the ground scorched as if by fire, and a crude cross displayed upon the grave. She replaces the cairn with her own version of the stones, and returns to the barn to rest.

The following morning, she plans out how to find Father Deoric alone. She attends to the graveyard near the church, pretending to be in mourning as she observes his movements. Soon it becomes clear the only time he would be alone is when he sleeps. As night eventually falls, she sneaks up to the Father's cottage next to the church. As his boy servant clears away the last supper, Niamh sneaks into the Father's office. Adorned with papers and journals, including a reference to Excalibur, Niamh is surprised when he spots her approach. Mocking her as he assumes she is a Hidden Ones' assassin, she quickly punches the man before overpowering him and slitting his throat with a dagger. She then drops his body and grabs as many papers from the desk as she can to aid the Hidden Ones' crusade. As she hears the boy servant returning, she dives out of the window and clambers to the top of the church tower to hide inside. As the alarms are sounded, she watches until dawn as the Father's body is carried away.

The mood in the town immediately turns ugly, as the villagers talk of a ritual killing. As Niamh slowly makes her way back to the barn, it is clear that her actions have endangered any remaining pagans. Once upon her horse, she gallops towards the house of Wisweth but arrives too late. The house is already aflame, with Wisweth's slain body within, a victim of retaliation and fear. Niamh is filled with anger, and decides to leave quickly to meet the Lady at the island of Avalon for her counsel.

Glastonbury, Wessex, 878 AD
In the shadow of the mist surrounding the large hill of Glastonbury Tor, Niamh found the stables overlooking the large lake. Leaving
Glastonbury Tor
her horse, she stood in the cold waters whilst a boat came out to meet her. Climbing aboard, it led her through the mist to the other side, the hidden island of Avalon. There she enters the nearest white stone building, and changes out of her clothes, giving her full attention to the bathing waters prepared for her. Donning a green priestess kirtle gown, she walked past the young women training with swords in the courtyard, knowing there were never any men present at the isle.

Making her way up the Tor itself, she meets the Lady at the top. There, a table lays out their most sacred objects, with the obvious exception of the sword Excalibur. The Lady tells of how long ago a man known as Arthur had pulled the sword from the stone it was set within, but after becoming King of the land he had been betrayed by the Order of the Ancients and the sword lost. Rumours persist that it was ultimately buried in a vault beneath Stonehenge, but word had now reached Avalon that a Norse had not only opened the vault, but had taken the sword for herself. The Lady thus tasks Niamh with the recovery of the sword from this Norse, who also supposedly has links to the Hidden Ones she already investigates. After changing back into her real world clothes and returning to her horse, Niamh leaves to return to Lunden.

Lunden, Mercia, 878 AD
As night has already fallen, when Niamh reaches the Bureau she scales the outer walls to her resting place atop the building. There she overhears Marcella and Hytham speaking to a norse seer below. Heading down to investigate, she is introduced to Valka, a mystic of the village of Ravensthorpe, where Hytham reveals he currently resides. Niamh is asked to reveal her quest outcome, to which she admits that whilst the kill was made, she failed to hide the body in good time. The truthfulness of her response warms her to Marcella, who grants her the rank of initiate. Hytham attaches a metal gauntlet to Niamh's arm, telling her that it is the chosen weapon of the Hidden Ones. Promising more training, they all collectively head to bed.

The next morning, Niamh finds Valka meditating, and the two converse about their respective positions as healers of their own clans. Valka tries to press for information on the Women of the Mist, but Niamh is closely guarded on her responses. The unease is broken by the entrance of Hytham, who requests Niamh assistance in rescuing a falsely accused pagan woman. Separately, they need to target a man at a keep known as Cyrus, a former Roman soldier whose machinations keep Marcella in hiding.

Hytham and Niamh head north from Lunden on horses. Once they arrive near the keep, they tie their horses and then infiltrate on foot through the woodland that surrounds the area. After eliminating a small patrol, the two climb the keep's walls, in turn dealing with the guards stationed there as quietly as possible. Towards the rear of the keep, a single door with no windows holds the pagan woman prisoner. As Niamh breaks her out, Hytham engages a large guard. The two struggle to defeat him, before Niamh continues further inside the keep. Locating Cyrus's quarters, she finds reference in the papers there to the Order of the Ancients working alongside the Descendants of the Round Table, the latter known to her as long standing enemies of Avalon. Niamh assumes they must be working together to locate Excalibur too.

As fire breaks out in the keep, Niamh looks for both the pagan prisoner and Hytham, but cannot locate either. After carefully making her way back out with the guards distracted by the blaze, she eventually locates Hytham and the woman hiding in nearby bushes. Both appear injured, so Niamh heads off to retrieve the horses. Once she arrives to the steeds, she is confronted by none other than Cyrus himself. Niamh engages him, but it is a tough fight, only ended when Cyrus's back is exposed to the prancing horse behind him, who promptly knocks the Roman face down and unconscious. Niamh elects to tie him up, and returns to Hytham with the horses. Alongside the pagan woman, the three return to the road and back to Lunden.

Upon returning to the Bureau, neither Valka or Marcella are to be seen. Niamh gently places the sleeping pagan woman near the lit fire to keep her warm, then helps the hobbling Hytham into a nearby chair. After preparing a poultice of herbs, Niamh treats his wounds, and bandages him appropriately. Hytham then retreats to his room for rest, as Niamh in turn tends to the pagan. The young woman relaxes when she realises she is not in danger, and concedes her name to be Ebba. She says that she and several other women had been kidnapped and taken to a nunnery by Cyrus for interrogation, seemingly looking for information on the Women of the Mists and Excalibur. Realising that Hytham would easily uncover her true background, Niamh quickly elects to take Ebba to her home village before the Hidden One awakes.

Upon Niamh's return to the Bureau, she enters to find a hostile Marcella awaiting her, with Hytham also present standing by the fire. Dismayed that Niamh had let Ebba go before interview, the two Hidden Ones' trust in her had fallen. Niamh pulls out the documentation that she had claimed from Cyrus's room, revealing the connections between the Order of the Ancients, Descendants of the Round Table, Excalibur, and the aforementioned nunnery. Desiring air from the tense atmosphere, Niamh heads for the door, but on her way out hears Marcella remark to Hytham that she wants to speak with Valka, as well as desiring him to warn Eivor at Ravensthorpe of her new sword's reputation.

Some time later, Niamh returns to find Hytham alone in his thoughts. Niamh suggests that they need to find out what is occurring in the nunnery, and suggests that Valka might be best to go with her to reduce suspicion. Hytham thus agrees and provides her with directions to Ravensthorpe itself. Niamh returns to her horse, and then instead makes her way to Avalon first.

Upon arrival, Niamh immediately reports into the Lady. She reveals that she believes Eivor of the Raven Clan now owns Excalibur, but she does not at present know her location. The Lady in turns reveals that the hostility made by the Descendants of the Round Table primarily stems from their leader, Mordred, whose bloodline originated from the Lady of Avalon in the time of King Arthur. Mordred now believes it is his birthright to be reunited with the blade as the one true king. Her report made, Niamh rushes to Ravensthorpe.

Ravensthorpe, Mercia, 878 AD
Stashing her horse outside of the small hamlet, Niamh slowly approaches the dane settlement. After asking for directions to Valka's hut, she meets the seer inside her home. Niamh proceeds to explain about the nunnery situation, and Valka agrees to go along with her to investigate. The two head east on their horses until they reach the town where the nunnery is located. Leaving their horses, they enter deep into the town, where a young girl tries to attack them. The child explains that she was trying to claim the bounty of keeping out pagans, as the priest had declared the village a Christian town. Anyone who failed to convert, was ejected from the town, though several women were apparently sited at the nunnery for their conditioning. Leaving the girl with Valka, Niamh heads to the nunnery to investigate by stealth.

Clambering a tree and scaling the high wall surrounding the nunnery, Niamh locates a guard near the bush she hides in and eliminates him with her hidden blade. Taking his armour, she tries to blend in and discovers room after room filled with female prisoners. Finding a few of them outside, she pretends to be a guard and leads them to a crack in the wall, and tells them to escape whilst they can. They tell Niamh that they know of a set of keys inside the guard house for the cells, and she makes her way there to find them. Rounding a corner she sees a bandaged Cyrus, who immediately recognises her and shouts for guards. After a vicious battle commences, several of the prisoners join in the fight with the guards, as Niamh and a few of the women make a run for the crack in the wall, and clamber over the tree back outside. Meeting Valka, they quickly head back for their horses and leave the town with the young girl in tow. After returning them safely to Ravensthorpe, Niamh elects to return to Lunden.

Lunden, Mercia, 878 AD
Upon arrival at the Bureau, Niamh finds Marcella waiting for her. The latter had travelled to Ravensthorpe only to find that Valka had left with a “Caledonian”. Realising that her conversation had been overheard, Marcella makes it very clear that she will not tolerate being undermined again by Niamh. The two women become engaged in a larger argument, before swords are drawn. Niamh manages to best Marcella, who storms inside the bureau in anger. Niamh and Hytham elect to not go inside after her, and go for a walk together. Niamh tells him all she saw at the nunnery, and suggests to him that the Women of the Mist could well be a valuable ally in the battle against the Order and Descendants. Realising how crucial Excalibur is to so many groups, Hytham is convinced that they must seek out Eivor.

Hadrian's Wall, Border to Caledonia, 878AD
Hytham and Niamh leave their tired horses, before crossing over the wall into Caledonia. As they had travelled, Hytham explained that he had been injured in a recent battle, and that his body regularly began to spasm under stress since then. He had sought the help of healers, who told him his medical state was now permanent. Niamh tended to his bandages as best she could, then they pressed on into Caledonia.

They soon come across a group of Picts in battle with a group of Danes. Amidst them was a tall woman with blonde hair and tattoos, wielding none other than the glowing sword of Excalibur. Niamh realised she had finally found Eivor. With Hytham and Niamh assisting in their battle, Eivor is quickly victorious and leads them all back to her camp. After being offered food and drink, Eivor and
Hadrian's Wall
Hytham disappear into the tents in conversation. Niamh wanders from tent to tent looking for Eivor's. After hiding for long enough, she eventually sets eyes upon Excalbur itself, resting in a brown sheath on the table. Unsheathing the sword, she beheld its majesty, before switching its place with her own sheathed sword. With Excalibur now in her possession, she leaves the tent quickly to reach Avalon as soon as possible. Whilst trying to navigate her way to a horse, she bumps into Eivor and Hytham. After a brief conversation, Eivor notices the large sword at Niamh's hip, and draws Hytham's sword upon her. The two women battle, with Niamh realising it is a battle she cannot win, and she elects to roll to safety before breaking into a run and out of the camp. Running down into a nearby meadow, she sees some horses with a small group of Danes, and immediately jumps onto a horse and escapes into the night.

Realising they might expect her to head south and back to Lunden, Niamh instead elects to head north into her homelands and the relative safety of the Picts. Eventually her horse tires and she ties it to a tree, and decides it best to hide in bushes for the night. The peace of the evening is broken by the shouts of Hytham, who is calling her name, evidently having been able to track her. Releasing the horse, he expresses dismay that he had lost her trail, and slowly walks back in the direction he had came.

After a time, Niamh continues to cross the difficult craggy terrain in search of shelter. In the distance she spots what she presumes are Pict campfires, and heads towards them. Offering herbs in exchange for assistance, she is promptly taken to a small hut where she is given clothes to change into. Realising she couldn't take the sword with her, she places it within an old barrel, wrapped in her warrior clothes. As Danes come to the entrance of the village, she did her best to blend in with the other women who were busy cleaning clothes. The Danes were keen to search the village for a woman, but the Pict leader would not allow them entry. Eventually the Danes leave, but Niamh knew they would be back in greater numbers to insist. She collected her clothes and the sword, and located a horse in a nearby stable. Realising she had to reach Avalon as soon as possible, she immediately heads south.

After clearing Hadrian's Wall once more, she rides for days until she reaches the midlands of Mercia. With her rations depleted, she stops to hunt for rabbits and builds a fire, hiding Excalibur below some fronds. As she cooks a rabbit, the sound of wolves howl out, suggesting people nearby. She quickly leaves the fire, and takes her horse into deeper cover. Mercian men arrive on horses at the fire, shouting that they had just missed her and that their superior would not be happy that the sword had evaded them once more. Niamh realises in her haste she had left the sword behind, thus she nocks an arrow to her bow, in turn killing one of the two men with an arrow through the throat. Battling the remaining man, she is shocked to see him pull out a poisoned blade, as he reveals he is of the Order of the Ancients, but also that he knows she works with the Hidden Ones and had taken the blade from Eivor. After she eventually bests him and strangles him unconscious, she finds a letter upon him stating that an assault is planned on the Lunden bureau. Niamh then notices that in her battle she had been caught by the poison blade. With time of the essence, she recovers Excalibur and travels on southwards without rest.

With the poison slowly coursing through her body, and her horse tiring, the two come across a small village. With a warm stable waiting, Niamh lets her horse rest. She enters the nearby tavern, drinking and eating, before electing to sleep in the barn with her horse for safety. A short time later, she awakes to find a dagger to her throat. Knocking the young man over, she quickly overpowers him and demands to know who he works for. He reveals that he is from the Descendants of the Round Table, and that the sword should be theirs by birthright. Niamh quickly decrees that it is the property of Avalon, that she should not follow her if he values his life, and with her rested horse now risen, the two again take to the road. Realising that the poison would likely take her before she reaches Avalon, she instead elects to head towards Ravensthorpe, in the hope that Valka may be able to heal her.

Ravensthorpe, Mercia, 878 AD
At the edge of the village, Niamh is relieved by the sight of Valka's hut. Knocking upon the door, Valka is angry to see her, exclaiming that she should return Eivor's sword immediately. Niamh swears that she is not a part of the Order of the Ancients, and shows her poisoned wound, promising she will explain if Valka can aid her. Valka admits that she witnessed her kind heart when she aided the nunnery, and for that deed alone, she allows Niamh inside. After taking a combination of herbs, Niamh starts to explain how she is from Avalon, and confesses that she had deceived everyone to obtain the sword, that is so sacred to her people. She tries to align its importance as so cherished as that of Thor's hammer, which Valka's Norse heritage can understand. As the remedy starts to work, Niamh is led to a nearby bed where her eyes become heavy and she falls into easy slumber.

Some time later she awakes with renewed energy, already feeling better. She is alarmed to recognise Hytham's voice within the hut though, as she hears Valka defending Niamh's true story against his rage. As Niamh looks out the window, she sees several men hiding in bushes nearby. Knowing who they likely are, she storms past Valka and Hytham, taking Excalibur with her and slices down one of the men outside. Hytham helps her, as eight attackers are in turn swiftly eliminated. After they catch breath, he admonishes her for her betrayal, to which Niamh responds that she had helped him by eliminating enemies of the Hidden Ones, as well as healing him. She then explains that she didn't steal the sword, as it wasn't Eivor's to begin with, but her people's – the Women of the Mist, and mentions that the Hidden Ones should be natural allies against their mutual enemies. Valka interjects, and suggests one solution would be to create a forgery of the sword, and have it destroyed in a Dane sacrifice to throw off their enemies once and for all. Hytham agrees, and offers to speak with the blacksmith whilst Niamh remains hidden in Valka's hut. There she rests and eats to recover her energy.

The next morning, Niamh awakes to find Valka and Hytham outside. They discuss the plan to perform a ritual to destroy the fake sword at the “White Horse”, a famous chalk depiction that is sacred to her people. Hytham shows Niamh the fake sword he had created, which looks very close to the original. He is saddened how events turned out, but appreciates that they must do what they can together to prevent their enemies utilising the symbolism of the sword to establish a “true king” upon the land under their thumb. Dressing in a way that clearly makes her look like a Woman of the Mists, Niamh leads them out of Ravensthorpe on horses, with a gleaming white steed below her. At the sight of their procession, people start to follow in hopes to bear witness to whatever event or ritual is about to begin, with Avalonians, pagans, and Danes among the crowd.

White Horse, Wikipedia
Now was the time for their pre-planned showcase. Niamh shouts across the crowd that the Women of the Mist could not agree to the sacrifice of Excalibur and demand they stop. Valka retorts that the Danes need its power, and it shall be destroyed to appease their gods. Hytham fires a shot from his bow at Niamh, narrowly missing. The crowd is then awed when he unsheathes the false Excalibur, and chases towards Niamh, who in turns plays her part and makes her dramatic escape – ultimately towards Avalon.

The procession continues to the White Horse petroglyph. There a large fire is lit, and Valka proclaims to the crowd that Excalibur must be destroyed to appease Odin and Thor. Chaos erupts, as Descendants of the Round Table emerge from the crowd to reclaim the sword, but Hytham manages to battle them off. The fake sword melts in the blaze of the fire, leading some to cheer, and some to scream in horror at the sight. Realising this event was rapidly getting out of control, Valka and Hytham quickly make their escape. Their plan is to then send a missive to Eivor explaining that Excalibur was destroyed, further hoping that the message is intercepted and spreading more word of its legendary fate.

Glastonbury, Wessex, 878 AD
Niamh returns to Avalon, keeping the real Excalibur closely gripped in her hand. She once more crosses on the riverboat into the mists, and on the other side is greeted by the Lady along with many of her followers. Standing on the shore, Niamh unsheathes the
glowing Excalibur for all to see. The glow surprises her, as it means that she has now been deemed worthy enough to wield it.

A few weeks pass, and by invitation, Valka and Hytham arrive at the lake. Niamh greets them, and they ride upon the rowboat in conversation. Word has reached the Hidden Ones that the Descendants of The Round Table have fallen into disarray at news of the sword's destruction. They reach the shore of the Tor, and are escorted by guards up the mound. There they meet the Lady, who explains that Niamh will be her Lady in Waiting, to take over from her when her time passes. She suggests that Niamh might yet aid the Hidden Ones further in the meantime, and that the Women of the Mists would be prepared to work alongside the shadowy assassins in direct defiance against the Order of the Ancients. A pact is formed, with a new friendship between them.

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