She's been the victim and the survivor…
Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.
The enemy and the warrior…
Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.
A lover and heartmate…
But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.
And now she will become Queen…
Casteel "Cas" Da'Neer takes a step towards the wounded Penellaphe "Poppy" Da'Neer, but Kieran and Jasper moves in front of Poppy growling at Cas. Queen Eloana warns Cas that all the bonds between the wolven and the Elemental Atlantians have broken. Cas realizes that all the wolven knew that Poppy had been in danger, which is why they had congregated in a protective circle around Poppy. Delano howls and calls all the wolven who live in Saion's Cove to come to the Temple. King Valyn explains that Poppy had called all the wolven to her when she was under attacked. Alastir mentions that he can feel Poppy's Primal notam, her mark. The Queen explains that if Cas approaches Poppy, the wolven will tear her apart because they are bonded to Poppy as she is the descendant of a deity.
Poppy orders all the wolven to stop and not to hurt Cas,. All the wolven go from attack stance to laying on their bellies. Cas comes to Poppy and Jasper signals all the wolven to return to what they were doing. Soon, only Cas, Poppy, Jasper, Kieran, Delano, the King and Queen, Alastir, Emil, Naill and the Crown Guard remained. Jasper, having shifted back to his mortal form, offers Cas's old bedroom as Jasper's house to Cas and Poppy. Kieran makes it clear that he was about to attack Cas and will not in the future as long as Cas does not give the wolven any reason to attack him. Kieran and Cas realize that Beckett is missing and connect the dots that it was Beckett who had led Poppy into the ambush.
Cas orders Naill, Delano and Emil to go find Beckett and then orders the guards to take Alastir into custody. The guards unsure of what to do stay near the King and Queen's side. The King explains that although Queen Eloana told everyone to bow to Poppy as the new queen, there had not been a coronation and therefore, the King and Queen were still in charge. In addition, King Valyn indicates that Alastir needs to be kept somewhere safe. Alastir protests but Valyn quickly tells Alastir that if he resists, Cas and Jasper and Kieran will tear out Alastir throat and Valyn won't stop them. Alastir shouts to the guard to protect the King and Queen, and the guards move in front of the King and Queen. Jasper shifts and jumps in front of Poppy, who is hit by an arrow. Jasper starts to turn grey.
Kieran jumps in front of Poppy and catches an arrow dripping with grayish liquid. He shouts to Poppy to run. Casteel jumps in front of Poppy and takes two arrows. Queen Eloana and King Valyn fight their own guards to try to get to Cas's side, but are stopped. Poppy, unable to feel any emotions from Kieran, Jasper or Cas, is consumed by rage and grief. Poppy allows the power to surge through her and starts to break the temple chambers with her rage. Multiple people wearing Descenter masks attack Poppy. She kills all that come near her and near Kieran's body. Poppy has a vision of a woman with hair like moonlight whisper and throw back her head and raise skeletons from the ground. Alastir stares at her and tells her that she has always been the threat. Poppy feels pain in the back of her head and blacks out.
Poppy wakes up in a crypt held in place by bones of a deity, which drain her of all her power. The bones are wrapped with roots that cut into her wrists and ankles where they tied her to the wall. Commander Jansen steps out of the shadows and explains to her that the bones of a deity were used to entomb deities that had become to dangerous and too powerful. After holding the deities in the crypts for centuries, the deities eventually died. Jansen confirms that Kieran, Jasper and Cas are fine and recovering. Poppy confirms this as the marriage imprint is still on her hand, which would have disappeared if Cas had died. Jansen then takes the form of Beckett, and explained that he was the last of the changelings who could change forms into other people. Although not originally planned, Jansen killed Beckett before the group left Spessa's End. Jansen knocks her out.
Poppy wakes up to Alastir apologizing for Jansen hitting her. He explains to Poppy that he is of an old Brotherhood and they were loyal to Atlantia, not the King and Queen that sit upon Atlantia. He informs her that the deities were fueld by their power and unpredictable emotions and would kill mortals for the smallest offenses. Alastir says that the violent trait is passed down to the descendants. Alastir reports that he has been working with the Ascended and plans to give the Ascended Poppy. He hopes that Poppy will attack them and they will have to kill her. Alastir assumes that eventually Cas will forgive him because the story will be that Poppy escaped and was captured by the Ascended. He tells Poppy that King Malec descended from Nyktos and that Poppy descended from Malec. He tells Poppy that he in fact did find her parents. The night that her parents died, they confessed to Alastir that Poppy had abilities. After Alastir realized that she was a descendant of Malec, he did not stop the Dark One (not Cas) from bringing the Craven and slaughtering her family. He left the inn that night with the assumption that Poppy had been killed. He tells Poppy that he must kill her to prevent a prophecy but cannot outright kill her because it would start a war between the Crown and the wolven. Poppy tells him that although he may say he is doing this on behalf of Atlantia, what he really seeks is power and influence over the Crown, which he would lose now that Cas married Poppy and not his great-niece.
Alastir leaves. Food and water is provided to Poppy. She eats it and realizes too late that it is drugged. She wakes up to find herself strapped down with the bones in the Wastelands along with Jansen and a few Descenters. As the Ascended approach and check Poppy, a bolt kills the Ascended. Delano, Naill, Jasper, Kieran, Cas, and King Valyn rescue Poppy. After Kieran releases Poppy, she gathers her power to take out the rest of the Descenters and remembers what Alastir said about the deities being monsters and decides to sit the battle out. As Cas is about to kill Commander Jansen, Poppy tells him to stop. Poppy kills Jansen as a descenter shoots a bolt through Poppy's chest.
As Poppy starts to bleed out and die, the sky turns into a storm. Against King Valyn's warnings, Cas decides to ascend Poppy. Jasper holds King Valyn back while Kieran pulls out the bolt. The Wastelands is being torn apart by the storm and lightning. A blood tree grows and the roots wrap around Cas and Poppy. Kieran breaks through the roots and Cas ascends Poppy.
Poppy goes in and out of consciousness and hears Kieran promise Cas that he will take care of both Cas and Poppy. Kieran proceeds to clean both Cas and Poppy. Poppy wakes up to find Kieran surprised that he can still feel her notam. Poppy is starving and hungry and launches herself at Kieran, who remarks that she has gotten much faster and stronger. Cas grabs her and tells her that she would much rather eat him than Kieran. Kieran notes that her eyes are still green and Cas sees that Poppy has no fangs. The two realize that Poppy has not ascended but is suffering from bloodlust. Cas feeds Poppy and they have sex against Kieran, while Kieran makes sure that Poppy doesn't drain Cas. Kieran leaves once Poppy regains control and Cas and Poppy celebrate each other. Poppy tells Cas that she loves him for the first time.
They discuss their love and Cas's decision to ascend her. Cas admits that he has no idea what Poppy is now but she is definitely not mortal. She rushes outside to see if she will burn in the sun. Cas catches up to her and Delano, in his wolven form, starts laughing. Poppy realizes that she is not wearing any clothing. Kieran comes in and the three discuss what happened since they arrive at Scion's Cove. Poppy explains that Commander Jansen, masquerading as Beckett, led her to the Temple where she was ambushed, waking up in the crypts, and the things that Alastir said. Poppy is in denial that she is a deity. Cas and Kieran explain to her that although their bond is broken, they still have a brother bond and that they simply made room for Poppy. Poppy tells Cas that she does not know how to summon her power again, but Kieran calls her out on the lie. Poppy talks about how she fears that Alastir is right and that she is a monster, but Cas and Kieran explained that the Deities were not violent because of their blood, but because they refused to sleep after being allice for thousands of years. They grew old and cold.
Cas tells Poppy that he did not kill Alastir and has saved him for Poppy. King Valyn was escorted to Atlantia by Emil and a few others to keep him from killing Cas for breaking Atlantia law and creating an ascended. Poppy jumps onto a horse without using the stirrups, prompting Cas to goad her into punching him. He realizes that she has gotten much stronger. Delano and Kieran shift as Poppy and Cas ride on Setti and Naill rides beside them. As the group reaches the Skotos Mountains, they see that all the golden trees of Aios have turned to blood trees. Poppy falls asleep and has a nightmare. She states in her nightmare that she is not a monster, and she hears a voice in her head that sounds like Delano. He tells her that she's not a monster, that she is their meyaah Liessa, and that she needs to wake up. Poppy wakes up and Cas explains that she did not scream but that Kieran and Delano were worried and kept looking back. Delano's howl woke her. As the group travels through the mist, the mist scatters in Poppy's presence and leaves the group an open path that closed behind them as they travelled through the mist.
The group arrive at an old temple at the Cliffs of Ione. When they arrive, they see King Valyn who is surprised that Poppy has not ascended. Although he can tell Poppy what Poppy might be, he refuses to do so without Queen Eloana. King Valyn leaves to return to his wife. Cas executes Alastir's supporters and Poppy comes out surprising Alastir. Poppy stabs Alastir but doesn't kill him. Kieran howls and all the wolven in the area and feast upon the bodies.
On the road to Jasper's house, the group is met by hundreds of Atlantians, who are crying at the sight of Cas. The older men and women kneel, place a fist over their chest, and slam their other hand against the sidewalk yelling Meyaah Liessa, which means my queen. When the group arrives at the courtyard of Jasper's house, hundreds of wolven appeared, shifting all at once to their mortal form, and doing the same salute to their Meyaah Liessa catching Poppy by surprise.
Poppy and Cas go to their room where Poppy finally cries about everything that has happened. Cas helps her with her first shower and gives her pleasure. While Poppy rests, Cas reads the Diary of Ms. Willa Colyns and theorizes that Ms. Colyns must be an Atlantian. Cas fetches some wine and food for Poppy. The two are interrupted by Kieran who tells Cas that King Valyn wants to see him.
Cas goes to speak with King Valyn while Kieran keeps guard of Poppy. Poppy tells Kieran that while they were at the temple, she had thought something in her mind, and Kieran had responded telepathically while he was in his wolven form. Seeing if they can replicate what happened, Poppy and Kieran realize that Poppy can communicate with the wolven telepathically once she recognizes their individual imprint.
Kieran's attention suddenly snaps to outside where Kieran realizes that he can no longer see Sage who was patrolling the wall outside. The pair hear shouts and Poppy, wearing just Cas's shirt, immediately tries to rush to the shouts. Kieran catches her arm and the two argue about whether Poppy should sit this one out. Poppy and Kieran are ambushed by males wearing Descenter masks and undead things with no face. There is a man on the wall who is carrying deity bones and mentions Lockswood, the location of the inn where Poppy's parents were slaughtered. The two fight off the group, and King Valyn and Cas join them. Most are slaughtered and the one on the wall escapes. King Valyn explains that those people wearing the mask were not Descenters but the Unseen, who wore thought to be disbanded centuries ago.
After King Valyn leaves, Poppy makes it clear to Kieran that he will not stop her from fighting in the future. Cas tells Poppy to forgive Kieran as he was only telling her to stay behind for her best interest. Kieran leaves and returns with his father and an old school book. The book explains that the faceless undead things are Gyrms and can only be summoned using soil from the immortal realm, Iliseeum. Jasper tells the group that Iliseeum can be entered from the mortal realm as it exists beyond the Mountains of Nyktos. The mist in the Mountains will instantly kill anyone who the mist does not recognize as a God.
Jasper explains that very few know how to get to Ilisseum, but Atlantia's Elders do. Jasper mentions Wilhelmina Colyns causing Poppy and Cas great surprise. Colyns is the oldest elder, over 2,000 years old and of the Changeling bloodline. Jasper informs the group that they could access Iliseeum under the mountains, where Kieran and Casteel had explored while young.
Later, Cas and Poppy discuss their future. Cas tells Poppy that whether she decides to take the crown or not, he will support her, but that she does not have a lot of time to decide. The two are interrupted by Delano who informs Poppy that there is a man outside, and his daughter has been severely injured in a carriage accident. Cas, Poppy, Delano, Kieran and Naill rush to the man's house. The daughter is already dead, but Poppy brings her back to life. The little girl wakes up and says that she was dreaming of a woman who said "you always had the power in you." Poppy recognizes those words but cannot remember where or from whom she heard it. Cas takes Poppy to a private garden and gives her pleasure.
The group goes around the city with Poppy enjoying many new things. Kieran, Poppy, and Cas stop at a museum where the three banter about cave cats. Poppy swears she saw one at the Capital, but Poppy and Kieran assure her that the cave cats died out two centuries ago. Delano invites them to a wolven wedding on the beach. Poppy joins the wolven in dancing and then sits with Cas on the beach watching the other guests separate in small groups. Poppy watches different groups have sex and watches Kieran and Lyra. Poppy sneaks off with Cas and gives him pleasure on the beach.
The next day, Poppy and Cas go to thank Kirha for letting them stay at her and Jasper's home. Cas, Poppy and Kieran go to meet with the King and Queen. The King and Queen inform Poppy that she must be the child of Malec, which is also impossible because Queen Eloana entombed him over four centuries ago under the Blood Forest outside Masadonia. Queen Eloana explains that Malec is Nytkos's grandchild, making Poppy the great grandchild of the Gods. In addition, there is no way Poppy has ever been mortal and that she is actually a deity. They inform Poppy that they were aware that Alastir had left a child to die in Lockswood, but they did not know it was Poppy nor did they know about it before Alastir did it.
Against Cas's wishes, Poppy walks in the garden with Queen Eloana shadowed by Kieran and Hisa. Eloana explains that Queen Ileana is the Queen of Blood and Ash and that the Descenters and Atlantians usurped the name. Queen Eloana assures Poppy that Malec was not a bad man and that not all deities were monsters. Poppy confesses that she and Cas do plan to free Malik and find her brother. She informs the Queen that if Ian is indeed Ascended, she will kill him and give him relief. Queen Eloana tells Poppy that although she does not wish for war, King Valyn and the Council of Elders are ready for war, retribution and bloodshed. The only way war could be avoided is if Poppy usurps the throne prior to Valyn and the Council declaring war. But Eloana only wants Poppy to take the crown if she loves Atlantia, not if Poppy just wants to forward her own agenda of finding Ian or freeing Malik. Eloana tells Poppy that she has about a week to decide.
Cas and Valyn approach with Vonetta, who informs them that a convoy of Ascended has arrived at Spessa's End. The convoy is led by Ian and he wishes to speak with Poppy. Vonetta informs Poppy that Ian is Ascended. Against Queen Eloana's and King Valyn's wishes, Poppy and Cas decide to go to Spessa's End. Poppy and Cas are accompanied by Jasper, Kieran, Vonetta, and a dozen and half more wolven.
After the group arrives at Spessa's End, Cas and Poppy retire to their room. Poppy reiterates that she will give Ian peace, no matter what pain it would bring her. As they enjoy each other sexually, Cas makes Poppy promise that she will not kill Ian if there is not a safe opportunity to do so. Poppy, Cas, Delano, Kieran, Vonetta and Nova move into the open to meet Ian along with four Royal Knights.
Ian and Poppy exchange retorts about Poppy's marriage and the Dark One. Ian, at the discomfort of the Royal Knights, seeks to speak with Poppy alone. Poppy declines and Ian informs her that Queen Ileana has requested a meeting with Cas and Poppy at the Royal Seat in Oak Ambler. Ian also hints that the Ascended are well aware of the armies gathering in the north. Ian informs them that the Blood Crown will win the war because they have the Revenants. Ian steps forward for a hug outside the hearing of the Royal Knights. Poppy decides that she will not kill him because it will start a war. As they hug, Ian whispers in her ear telling her that he knows the truth and that she needs to wake Nyktos, as his guards are the only thing that can stop the Blood Crown.
Poppy decides to take the crown, and the group plans to ride to Evaemon, the capital of Atlantia, to take the Crown and then travel to Iliseeum to wake Nyktos. Arden leaves first to go to Saion's Cove and then Evaemon to tell the King and Queen of Cas and Poppy's return. They group arrives at Saion's Cove and stay the night at Jasper's and Kirha's house. Dozens of wolven along with Naill and Emil join Poppy and Cas on the way to Evaemon. Poppy rides on her own horse.
The group is ambushed. Kieran takes Poppy's horse as Cas pulls Poppy onto Setti. Naill is hit with an arrow by the Unseen and the Gyrms. Dozens of unseen attack the wolven and head for Poppy. More Gyrms and Unseen join the fight, and Poppy worries that someone will end up hurt. She summons her power and kills all the Unseen and Gyrms and then burns their bodies using her eather.
Cas and Poppy arrive at the Palace where they inform Queen Eloana and King Valyn that they will take the throne. The Queen and King indicate that they can now relinquish the crowns to Cas and Poppy as the Council of Elders were already at the palace. Lord Gregori steps out of the shadows and expresses that he and some other members of the council have concerns. Poppy asks Lord Gregori to voice his concerns, which is no one really knows Poppy and she was raised by the Ascended. The King and Queen relinquish their crowns. The King's crown cracked and the bleached bones slipped away revealing the gilded bone beneath. Both crowns shimmered and were given to Poppy and Cas.
Eloana introduces Poppy and Cas to Rose, who manages the palace. Poppy requests that Rose change the emblem to where the sword and arrow cross each other evenly. Poppy and Cas head to the State Room to meet with the Council of Elders. While the pair wait for all the elders to arrive, Poppy wanders the hall and is interrupted by Wilhelmina Colyns, who Poppy recognizes as the waitress from the Red Pearl that had sent her to Cas's room.
As the elders, Poppy, and Cas sit at the table in the State Room, Lord Ambrose wishes to further speak about the concerns that some of the council had regarding Poppy. Valyn and Cas rebuke Lord Ambrose for bowing to Cas but not to Poppy. Cas commands Lord Ambrose to bow and show respect, or die.
Willa introduces Poppy and Cas to Atlantia as the new Queen and King, and the poeple respond with the fist across the heart and the pounding the first to the ground signaling to Poppy and Cas that the people of Atlantia will go to war on behalf of Poppy. The two retire to the East Wing of the palace where Cas shows Poppy the wooden horse that Malik had carved for Cas when Cas was six years old. Poppy and Cas ask Kieran to be there adviser.
Emil, Delano, Poppy. Cas, Kieran, and Vonetta go to Illesium. While traveling through the caves, the floor collapses beneath Vonetta. Poppy uses her eather to raise VOnetta out of the hole. When the group arrives in Illesium, skeletons raise from the ground. The skeletons attack the group and spits out snakes. Poppy uses her eather to set the skeletons and the snakes on fire. As the group travels towards the Chamber of Nyktos, Poppy touches a draken statute, which begins to crack. Th draken underneath the stone sniffs Poppy, and directs his head towards Nyktos.
The group bows before Nyktos, who threatens to kill the group, which Poppy objects to. Nyktos reminds her that he could simply kill Cas. Poppy walks into the Chambers with Nyktos. He informs Poppy that she is the grandchild of Nyktos, who is a primal god. Nyktos tells Poppy that he only has times to answer one question. Poppy indicates that she needs Nyktos's guards in order to battle something called a Revenant. Nyktos informs her that a Revenant is an abomination of life and death. Nyktos tells her "you were born of flesh with the fire of the gods in your blood. You are a bringer of life and a Bringer of death... You are the Queen of Flesh and Fire, due more than one Crown, one kingdom. What you seek you already have. You always had the power in you.
The group travels back to Atlantia and make plans for how they will meet Queen Ileana at Oak Ambler. Poppy meets Gianna and indicates to Gianna that if Gianna ever had feelings for Cas, Poppy would have to tear her apart and feed her to a pack of hungry barrats. The group decides that Hisa, Lyra, Vonetta and Emil will pretend to be Poppy and Cas and travel to Oak ambler by the main road, while Kieran, Delano, Poppy and Cas will enter the city via stealth through the sea. The group enters the castle through an underground passage.
While travelling the underground passage, the group stumbles upon a cave cat in a cage made of deity bones. Poppy approaches the cat and touches it; the cat transforms into a man momentarily and then transforms back into a cat that is sick and underfed. The group moves on and arrives inside the castle. The group are greeted by a handmaiden and some Royal Knights. The handmaiden threatens to kill Delano. But Ian enters and reminds the handmaiden that she was ordered to escort the group without bloodshed.
Ian leads them into a room where Queen Ileana, Tawny, Hisa and the other group, and some Royal Knights are waiting for them. Tawny is not ascended and starts to say something to Poppy, but Ian interrupts preventing Tawny from revealing to Queen Ileana that he and Tawny were conspiring against her. QueeN ileana is accompanied by Malik, who looked healthy and is dressed like someone of wealth and privilege.
Malik notices that Cas has gotten married. Queen Ileana reveals that Poppy is her daughter and she always planned for Poppy to marry Malik; however, after Coralena found out Queen Ileana's plans, Coralena tried to hide Poppy away. Ian confirms that Poppy was never Cora and Leo's daughter, but that the family was tasked with raising Poppy as their own. Queen Ileana reveals herself as Isbeth, Malec's heartmate. Queen Eloana had poisoned Isbeth, and Malec saved her by draining her of blood and giving her his own. Isbeth was not ascended because Malec was a god, the son of Nyktos, not a diety. Isbeth hid away but made Malec promise that he would come searching for her with their son. Malec set out to kill the Ascended because he recognized it to be an abomination to the Gods.
After years, Isbeth never heard from Malec and she pretended to be an Ascended to find out what happened to Malec. As Isbeth always had black eyes, it was not hard for her to hide as an Ascended as long as she acted as if she couldn't go out in the sun. She opens the curtains to prove to Poppy that she was not Ascended. After waiting for Malec, Isbeth marries Jalara who is prepping armies to fight against the Atlantians, and Jalara is made king. Isbeth came to realize that Malec and her son were dead.
Isbeth demonstrates that a Revenant cannot be killed, which shows Poppy that they could not possibly win the war. Isbeth demands that Poppy give over Atlantia as Isbeth wants the Atlantian to respect her and obey her. Poppy declines and Isbeth orders the beheading of Ian and kills Lyra. Poppy gathers the eather and tries to attack Isbeth, but Isbeth uses her magic to strangle Poppy. Cas surrenders himself to Isbeth in order to save Poppy.
Poppy wakes outside Oak Ambler and realizes that Cas traded his life for Poppy's. Isbeth stabbed Tawny with a shadowblade and gives Tawny to Poppy as a sign of good faith. Poppy is unable to heal Tawny. Poppy gathers her eather, casts Kieran and Vonetta aside, and goes to attack the seat at Oak Ambler. The handmaiden/revanant shows up to Poppy and tells Poppy that Isbeth has gone back to the Capital, and no one knows where she keeps her pets. Poppy decides not to wipe out Oak Ambler when the Revenant reminds her that the people of Oak Ambler are innocent.
While traveling back to Atlanta, Poppy realizes that she is a God. She goes back to the Palace and demands respect from Lord Ambrose by demonstrating her Godly abilities. She confronts Queen Eloana about lying to them about Queen Ileana's true identity and to her her that Cas has been taken. Poppy demands that the Blood Crown either send the King or Queen to meet her. Meanwhile, Poppy and Kieran go back to Illesium where they meat Nyktas in his mortal form. He asks her if she finally realizes that she can summon the guard because she is a God. She says she seeks the aid of the Draken. Nyktas says that the draken will follow her if she finds her father, Ires, the twin of Malec. Ires had awoken Jadis and gone into the mortal realm and has been missing since.
Poppy realizes that the cave cat in the deity bone cage was Ires, her father. Poppy agrees and the draken follow her into the mortal realm. Poppy goes to meet with the envoy of the Blood Crown. Poppy meets with King Jalara, a Revenant, and some Royal Knights. Poppy beheads Jalara while Reaver, the Draken, attacks the Revenant. Poppy tells the Revenant to return to Isbeth with King Jalara's head with the message that Poppy will burn every Revenant that stands between Isbeth and Poppy, that she will strike down every Ascended who defends Isbeth, she will topple every castle that Isbeth seeks to hide in, and that Isbeth's survival hinges on Casteel's wellbeing.