/* Warning: This recap is included in the front matter of To Burn All Belief. It contains spoilers for events that occurred in An Ocean of Others. /*

Thank you for returning to the Dance of the Sibling Suns series! It has been some time since the release of An Ocean of Others — certainly a bit longer than I anticipated — so for those of you who have been waiting, this page should serve to refresh your memory for the story to come. I’ll include only what is necessary to enjoy To Burn All Belief. Click to toggle each section.


Benefactors are parasites infesting the brain of many characters, including Grim. They exist in an Incubating state until the host dies, upon which they take over the host’s body and transform them into an Emergent Benefactor. These monsters emit Auras that cause nearby people to experience sensory illusions and emotions. These are linked to memories and experiences of the infested host before they died. Those infested with Incubating Benefactors are subject to experiencing Deluges that force the victim to relive the memory of a Benefactor they came in contact with.

The Agency is an organization founded, on paper, to eliminate the Benefactors. In truth, the original Head of the Agency, Ulken, worked with his advisor to spread Benefactors as a means to gain control over the city of Liwokin. The organization has several classes of employee, listed below:
The Head, leader with full control over the Agency.
Nerves, couriers who relay messages from the Head.
Eyes, reconnaissance officers who discern Benefactor activity.
Fingers, field agents who carry out the Head’s commands.
Hands, groups of five Fingers dispatched to hunt Benefactors.
Organs, administrators for specific Agency operations, such as Logistics or Evidence.
Heels, low-level workers who perform menial labor.

Archemagic is practiced throughout the Bright Empire, mainly in the form of Archefire but sometimes as forbidden Archedark. The prefix Arche- is applied to many professions that employ magic in their craft (e.g. Archesmith, Archehealer, etc.). Archemetal is a metal imbued with the Fire, making it exceedingly durable and unburnable.

The Church of Light is the dominant religion in the Bright Empire, with a pantheon of two opposed gods, the Lightmother and the Darkfather, and personifications of the Sibling Suns.

The Sibling Suns are the Brightdaughter in the northern hemisphere and the Shadowson in the southern hemisphere. Both have unpredictable orbits leading to varying lengths of day. Time is marked in the Bright Empire by the Rhythm of Time, bells rung by mathemelodians who calculate the Brightdaughter’s movement through the sky.


The Bright Empire is the hegemonic empire of the northern hemisphere. Its capital, Vos, is located on the island of Paceeq. Led by a Bright Empress with a religious mandate and enforced by an Order of Paladins. Elzia, the latest empress recently passed away.

Liwokin is the capital city of Lawiko and a main trading hub of the Bright Empire. Divided into five districts:
The Gild, name given to both the financial district and the cabal of wealthy financiers that runs it.
The Burg, residential area where many Liwo own homes.
The Market, where merchants live and sell their wares.
The Artisans, where artists and craftspeople set up shop.
The Blight, common name for the run-down old city where Liwokin originated.


Grim, the last bounty hunter of Liwokin who rose to become Head of the Agency upon killing Ulken, the former Head. He underwent a Benefactor Emergence that left him mostly human and in his control thanks to the efforts of First Eye Reed. His Benefactor contains the memories of ten-thousand others who have been infested by the organism—the ocean of others, the source of a madness he struggles to contain.

Inac, Grim’s closest friend and a talented Archemage who lost the ability to control the Fire when his right hand was severed by Ulken. Working with Grim to maintain Agency operations.

Lorelay, a Paceeqi bard who joined the Agency while on the run from the Bright Empire’s Paladins with her brother. Grieving the loss of her brother in Reed’s Woods.

Dunnax, Lorelay’s brother and an oathbreaking Paladin who died while fighting a daggerclaw in Reed’s Woods.

Garret, a sardonic Ekoan ranger who is expert with a bow. Never far from the Skardwarf of Hand Sixty-Four.

Sentyx, a stone-skinned Skardwarf from the Old Country in the southern hemisphere. One of only two Skardwarves in the Bright Empire.

Vinlin, Bright Prince last seen fleeing Lawiko with a carriage full of of treasures, including a branch of the Grieving Pine.

Ulken, former Head of the Agency who attempted to gain the power of the Benefactor that Grim now possesses.

Yezna, Ulken’s wife and the first Benefactor, whose nullifying Aura caused the Great Riot of Liwokin. Current location unknown.

Reed, First Eye who founded the Agency with Ulken. Turned on Ulken when he discovered Ulken infested Yezna and became a Benefactor to steal the power Ulken cultivated with Prost. His Benefactor killed thousands of Liwo in Reed’s Woods.

Prost, Ulken’s advisor who worked to spread the Benefactors.

Jacquin, Eye with unwavering loyalty to the Head.

Arza, a promising technician who replaced lead mortician Tak after his death at the hands of a Benefactor.

Oltrov, Gildmember who worked with Reed to overthrow Ulken.

Bello, an elevator operator from the Blight.

Raylen, an enterprising smuggler who sold Druid’s Tears from the Enclave; however, the Enclave now refuses to do business with the Agency.

Cavern, Sentyx’s brother and the second Skardwarf in the north.

Tunnel, Peeker rescued by Garret, Grim, and Sentyx from the Mental Ward.


At the end of An Ocean of Others, Grim and the rest of Hand Sixty-Four defeat Ulken, who they discovered worked to spread the Benefactors with his advisor, Prost. In the process, Grim is nearly killed but rescued by Reed, who bestows him with the power Ulken had been seeking—the knowledge of ten thousand lives and more, the ability to see through eyes not his own, and the power to shape reality as he sees fit.

Within that ocean of others is Reed’s memory, which allows Grim to become an entirely new type of Benefactor. One that is human in form, not monstrous, and in Grim’s control. Benefactors evolve and learn, and by spreading through Peekers, the new type of Benefactor Grim inherited has much further reach and strength. The fact of Benefactors reaching the Peeker Mounds leads Grim to believe Prost is there as well.

Grim’s wounds are healed as his Benefactor Emerges along with a torrent of memories from everyone infested by the organism. Grim kills Ulken and becomes Head of the Agency, vowing to his friends that he’ll reform the Agency as a force for good so it can ensure humanity survives the Benefactors scourge.