|“||Your prey is not always in front of you, but sometimes behind.||”|
–Book Quote, (from Chapter 3: Nefrini's Crown)
Stormspeaker is the seventh book in the Fall of the Beasts series, and the fourteenth book overall. It is written by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. Uraza, Abeke, and Slasher are depicted on the cover in Maktaba.
The four friends have traveled to the deserts of Nilo seeking answers and an ancient and powerful relic that's connected to history of their world. There they discover a vast, secret library dedicated to preserving the wisdom of Erdas.
But this library houses more than just tomes and scrolls. Guarding this knowledge are their old friends Takoda and Xanthe, along with Kovo the Ape. With the Oathbound following close behind, can the heroes risk branding their friends as traitors?
The five Greencloaks–Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and Anka–are on a boat with Milo and Keane, two captains that Dawson paid to bring them to Nilo. They’re heading toward Maktaba, seeking answers about Stormspeaker, a powerful bond token that’s hidden in Abeke’s homeland. On the ship, they talk about Kovo—mostly how they’re not all that excited about seeing him and wondering if he has any knowledge about the bond tokens. Conor comes up and tells them about a vision he had. Abeke connects his description to the Taabara Chasm in northern Nilo.
Keane takes them to shore and they set off for the chasm. He says that he’ll stay in Badir and wait for the heroes for two weeks. Abeke and Uraza savor the fact that they’re in Nilo again. They walk to a river that leads to a waterfall, pouring into the Taabara Chasm. They go down into it, finding a narrow path leading up through the mountain walls. Rollan is reminded of the place that Tarik died in, as they were very similar-looking places, and a group of people with weapons trap them. Rollan tries to use diplomacy and fails, but luckily Takoda emerges from above, stopping the monks from attacking. They put their spirit animals into passive state and go to begin walking to Maktaba, but Sodu argues against it, telling him that he’s putting everyone at risk. Takoda gives a rousing speech that gets the monks on his side and they allow the Four into Maktaba.
As they travel up to Maktaba, Takoda warns them to not release their spirit animals because of how Kovo and the monks may react. They reach the top, admire the architecture, and Xanthe comes running over to greet them. She’s there to preserve Sadre's history. They finally spot Kovo, and Takoda explains the ape’s strange behavior since The Wyrm was abolished, meaning that he’ll be of no help finding information on the Dragon’s Eye and Stormspeaker.
While Takoda goes to get them dinner, Rollan goes and antagonizes Kovo to try and get a reaction, calling him several insults, including “giant hairball”. Takoda and Naveb stop him. Naveb is introduced as one of the greatest librarians in Maktaba and decides to help them find information on the two remaining gifts.
He brings them to a library and sits in silence for awhile until Conor asks if they’re waiting for something. Naveb addresses him by essentially insulting him because of what happened in Sadre when he was possessed by the Wyrm. His friends defend him and Naveb declares that they’ve passed his test. He also says that he meant what he said, repeating them in a less insulting way and adding on a deeper truth about Conor and Rollan. He then shows them a book that portrays Nefrini and Nazir, the keepers of Stormspeaker, but it doesn’t show where to find it. They do discover that it’s a crown, though. Naveb goes to find another book with the name Tembo engraved in it, but Sodu bursts in and tears it from Takoda’s hands, threatening to burn it if the Four don’t leave. Luckily, Naveb is highly skilled in martial arts and retrieves the book. Sodu leaves after being scolded.
Naveb leaves to scold Sodu some more, leaving the Four, Anka, and Takoda to surf through Tembo’s journal. They read about how Tembo came to Maktaba and brought with him Stormspeaker and the Dragon’s Eye, but the monks confronted him about it when they discovered them. He leaves a note for them that says, I depart as you wish, but in light of what is written, the orb carries onto no one, and the key to finding Stormspeaker is nowhere to be found. They begin to search through other books while Takoda goes to find Naveb, and Meilin takes Jhi out despite orders not to. Conor figures out that the part in the message that says Stormspeaker is nowhere to be found actually says Stormspeaker is now here to be found.
Soon after, Takoda bursts in, miffed that Meilin took out Jhi. They then look at the page numbers and find that the “5” looks more like an “s”, meaning that the page number is actually a code (one-S-nine) that the monks use to organize scrolls. Takoda goes to get the scroll, and Xanthe spots a bird outside the window. He returns with a scroll about the study of desert sands. They read it for awhile until Rollan figures out that they have to use light to see Stormspeaker and the Dragon’s Eye because of the quote in the message in light of what is written. A message is there, telling them to seek a face in a mountain, pass through a Valley of Skulls, drain the demon’s blood, and walk through clouds to the edge of the land to find Stormspeaker.
They’re about to head to bed when Naveb storms in, demanding that they leave at once because the Oathbound are coming. Apparently Sodu told the Oathbound that they were there. Xanthe decides to help guide them across the savannah, but Takoda urges her not to. She goes anyways, kissing him on the cheek and promising that she’ll return safe.
They begin their travels towards the mountain with the face in it which will most likely take them two or three days to reach. They rest before daybreak while Xanthe keeps watch. Rollan goes to eat, but a drongo tricks him into thinking it’s a macaw by mimicking it’s song and steals his fruit and leaves a “present” on his bag. They sleep until a shrill bird’s call wakes them. At first, they think it’s the Oathbound laughing at them, but soon discover that it’s a cackle of hyenas.
Abeke commences the fight by shooting one and Uraza leaps into action. Rollan and Xanthe team up while Briggan chases a few away. Conor and Meilin work together to fend off the hyenas. Abeke begins to question why the ferocious, wily creatures would attack such a transparently capable group of people. She realizes that while they were fighting, the hyenas went after the weakest of the group, Anka. She holds her ground by appearing and reappearing, thanks to Toey. They finally beat the hyenas, but gets the idea to fake their deaths and pretend that a few of them were killed in the skirmish. They rip up a few bags and bloody up a some of their cloaks—even Xanthe throws her cloak in, despite the fact that she needs it to protect her from the sun. Rollan then uses the Heart of the Land to make a tunnel for them to travel through in order to cover their tracks. Xanthe navigates with her uncanny ability to sense Erdas’ magnetic fields.
After awhile of crawling on their hands and knees, they rest and Rollan creates an air hole above them to release the stale air. They have a snack and Xanthe asks about Stormspeaker. When silence follows, she says something about not being worthy of the knowledge, reminding the Four of Worthy. They all go onto explain the Heart and the Wildcat’s Claw’s abilities, along with what happened to Worthy. When Xanthe presses them more, Anka halts her flow of questions and tells her that they can’t tell her everything. When they talk about resurfacing near the mountains, Xanthe asks why they don’t just go underneath of it with a petulant tone. Rollan cuts off Meilin’s reprimand by explaining how difficult it is to cut through stone. Abeke suddenly remembers an old Niloan proverb about the Valley of Death: “Better to enter the valley of death with someone who can see, than blindly run through life never knowing who surrounds you.” Rollan figures it’s a warning about not being alone, but they’re unsure whether it has anything to do with the actual Valley of Death or not.
Essix scouts the area and they resurface. They make camp and allow Rollan to rest for a bit while Conor, Abeke, and Xanthe travel through the mountains, seeking safe passage and refuge for Xanthe, whose skin is vulnerable without her special cloak. When Rollan falls asleep and the three head off, Meilin and Anka talk about what they’re going to do after the war is over. Meilin asks why Anka hides all the time, and she says that everyone hides a part of themselves. Hers is just the most obvious. Meilin questions whether love is a strength or a weakness.
Meanwhile, Briggan and Uraza chase a hyrax. Conor, Abeke, and Xanthe discover a cave that leads deep into the heart of the mountains, and Xanthe suggests that they use the Heart of the Land to make a tunnel to the other side where the caves end. They wait until the others come to decide. When they do, Rollan jokes about finding the Valley of Skulls and the demon’s blood. They explain their idea of using the Heart and Rollan figures out that he can make cracks in the stone and pull out the rubble to create their own tunnel to the other side. They make it to the other side where they immediately spot the face in the mountain. Beneath it is the Valley of Skulls, but there are no skulls in sight. Xanthe decides to leave them and hide out in the caves so that they don’t have to wait until nightfall to travel. Conor tells them about the vision of the tidal wave he had again.
They go down into the valley where Rollan is on the ground, laughing hysterically. He’s the first to discover that the “skulls” in the valley are actually just snapdragons that look like skulls. Abeke spots some trees on a ridge, figuring out that they’re demon trees and the “demon’s blood” is actually red sap. Meilin volunteer her and Rollan to climb up and get the sap. He tells her not to volunteer him but goes anyway. He makes up their excuse that their body weights are similar, so if one of the falls, the other will be able to support the other.
They begin their ascent. Rollan argues with Meilin about her ordering him around, but it doesn’t last long. Rocks and arrows are hurled at them by the Dasat, a Niloan tribe, whose territory they’re trespassing on. They try to get to the top, but a rock smashes into Meilin’s head, knocking her out cold. Rollan takes out the Heart of the Land and pours all of his energy into the moving the mountain to create a ledge for Meilin. It works, taking all of his energy with it. He puts Meilin on the edge by lowering her gently and comes down himself. He tries to get her to release Jhi, but she can’t hear him. He calls back Essix and decides to climb up to where Jehan, leader of the Dasat, is waiting for him to plead his case. Rollan kisses Meilin on the forehead and climbs up.
In the Dasat camp, Meilin is taken to be treated. Conor and Abeke try to explain that all they wanted was sap from the trees, but Khai, the guard they’re speaking to, pays them no heed. When Jehan comes over to them, Abeke tries to explain to her, but Rollan already has. She asks about how Rollan moved the mountain, and he lies, telling her that it’s part of his and Essix’s bond. Jehan then cuts Abeke free since she’s also Niloan and tried to send her to the tent where Meilin is being treated, but Abeke proposes having a hunting contest. Rollan pitches in the idea of an incentive for the winner, so that if the Dasat win, he’ll help Jehan discover more about her spirit animal bond, and if they win, they’re allowed to pass through and get the sap. Khai and Abeke are chosen to compete. Khai is momentarily offended by their representative and picks up Abeke to prove that she’s inferior, but she catches him off balance and pins him to the ground. Rollan is guided to Meilin’s tent and Abeke sets off to hunt.
She travels to a watering hole and spots a gazelle. She’s a about to shoot, but she hesitates as thoughts of shooting Uraza return. Khai takes advantage of her reluctance and takes the gazelle for himself, but hyenas find them. Abeke stays and helps him fight, but it can’t sugarcoat the fact that she lost.
Back in the Dasat camp, Meilin wakes up. She wakes Rollan, who immediately rises and hugs her, apologizing for arguing with her. He and Jehan explain what happened to her until Jehan is called out and Meilin releases Jhi to heal her. Rollan continues to explain until Jehan comes in, more stern than before. Within an hour, Meilin is fully healed and Khai returns.
Then, the Oathbound arrive. Jehan lets them leave since Abeke proved herself a friend to the Dasat by helping Khai. Jehan hands them the demon’s blood sap and directs them to the “edge of the land”. They reach the plateau in a heavy fog, but it soon diminishes as they climb higher, finding a place where it looks like they’re at the edge of the land.
Essix lead them to a crude, stone building with an untidy interior. They find a statue of Nefrini carved into the walls with her hands cupped before her. A message is engraved: The storm’s wrath has no mercy until hands drip with the blood of demons and ancestors. Conor leans against a windowsill and triggers something that causes a crazy storm. The Four figure out that they have to put the demon’s and Abeke’s blood into the hands of the statue. The storm leaves as quickly as it came and Nefrini appears. Abeke explains why they deserve Stormspeaker and tells her that her friends are loyal and true, then Nefrini tells her about Stormspeaker and how she was the first ever Rain Dancer. She gives them Stormspeaker, but there isn’t enough time to ask where The Dragon’s Eye is. They stay at the building for a night.
Two days later, Rollan is stunned at their luck, not running into any trouble on their way to Maktaba. He sees through Essix’s eyes and discovers that the falcon has found Xanthe, hidden in a cave nearby. They follow Essix to the cave and Meilin decides to take watch up on the ridge. Rollan asks if she wants any company, but Meilin turns to Anka, leaving Rollan crestfallen and wondering if he’s done something wrong.
Conor, Abeke, and Rollan enter the cave and spot Xanthe immediately. She questions if they’ve found Stormspeaker and asks if she can see it, but Abeke lies, claiming it’s in Meilin’s bag. Xanthe presses them about what they’re going to do if Takoda hasn’t found any information on the Dragon’s Eye, but Abeke changes the subject, and Xanthe changes it back again. Rollan tells her that they can’t reveal too much about the tokens, to which she’s rather miffed at. She says that Greencloaks always think that they’re superior and hopes that they aren’t repeating mistakes of the past, like with hiding the secrets of the Nectar of Ninani. They fall silent.
Meilin yells that there’s a fire in the distance, startling everyone. They realize that it’s Maktaba. Abeke tries to douse the flames with Stormspeaker, but the clouds are confined to the area that Stormspeaker is in. They go to the Taabara Chasm. Meilin and Rollan take up the rear and he begins to joke about the smell of victory in the air, but this only annoys her. Rollan asks her what’s going on as she’s been acting odd ever since they left the Dasat camp. She admits that she was just jealous of Jehan’s friendliness towards him when they were only there for a day. Rollan assures her that it’s because he moved a mountain for her, which he hadn’t told her about earlier. Meilin is touched and stunned into silence. She kisses him on the cheek and says that they’ll talk more later.
They reach the end of the tunnel and Abeke sets a storm upon Maktaba. They take out the Oathbound guarding the entrance and tie them up. Xanthe finds that the part they burned was a section of the library and regrets leaving Takoda to fight for Maktaba alone. When Sid the Generous is heard yelling, Anka hides them all with a bit of struggle. They spot Slasher, Sid’s wolverine, nearby, and it begins sniffing the air, but it’s senses are conflicted since he can’t see them and Abeke sends a breeze, blowing their scents away from Slasher.
A young Oathbound comes up to Sid and tells him that they can’t find any gold. Sid asks Naveb where the gold is, but he says that they don’t have any. Sid beats him while the monks protest. Sodu cries out that this “wasn’t part of the deal” and tries to strike a new deal by betraying Takoda’s knowledge of the Dragon’s Eye, but Takoda refuses to tell.
Kovo realizes that Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, Xanthe, and Anka are back, but Sid figures this when Kovo frantically signs to Takoda. Sid threatens Takoda’s life if they don’t reveal themselves, and Kovo begins to struggle again. With the Oathbound distracted, Xanthe leaps towards Sid. He throws a knife, supposedly hitting Anka instead and revealing the Four. Meilin tries to get to Anka but Sid threatens both Xanthe’s and Takoda’s lives. Takoda begs to let her go and agrees to tell him everything. He reveals that The Dragon’s Eye is in Xin Kao Dai in the catacombs in the Summer Palace. When pressed about the gold, Takoda tells him again that there is none. Unsatisfied with the answer, Sid plunges the knife into Xanthe.
After this, the Greencloaks prepare to fight. Rollan makes a plan to free Kovo by retrieving the key to his chains from Naveb. He begins to slowly make his way over to Naveb, all while trying to bribe Sid with the wealth the Greencloaks possess, but Anka surprises them all and stands, pointing a knife at Meilin. She’s actually the captain of the Oathbound and unveils Rollan’s plan to free Kovo.
Anka–whose name is actually Kana–fights Meilin. She sacrifices Jhi’s help to heal Xanthe, and Kana lands a kick before turning invisible. She sweeps Meilin’s feet out from under her, but Meilin gets back up and retaliates, slicing Kana. She kicks again, but Kana slices her leg, admitting that she was only learning how Meilin moved when they sparred as she was already a magnificent fighter. Kana tries to convince Meilin to join them while Meilin inches towards the fireplace, throwing ash into the air to reveal Kana. It works, but Meilin is taken down, along with the others. Kana takes the bond tokens and decides to take them to Xin Kao Dai rather than Greenhaven. The Four are forced to inhale a potion that puts them to sleep.
- This is the only book in Spirit Animals whose title is one word
- The animal on the cover is Slasher, Sid’s Wolverine, although a plethora of users frequently mistake it for Livora or Kovo.