For your convenience, we’ll post arc summaries here when the story is going. Obviously, there are major spoilers ahead, so it’s best to use this as a recap instead of a pre-reading summary.
Isla, confused and tired, doesn’t know what to make of these strangers claiming to be her friends. She has magic, an executable offense in of itself, and a single haunting vision of the witch that ensnared her. According to Lucian, the secret to destroying the witch and becoming uncursed lies in her scattered memories, but Isla isn’t so sure.
As it soon turns out, the ghost is more than a story and he isn’t happy to have visitors. When the squad arrives, the ghost raises an army of souls to tear them apart, and manages to split Isla away from Lucian and Solanus. Using her magic and some quick thinking, Isla manages to stop the ghost just in time by ripping out her memories, hidden in the ghost’s missing eye.
After further exploration, Isla and Lucian run into the demon in the mountains–a demon that is larger than any they have ever seen. They escape with their lives, but only make it to the house to find out that foul play is afoot. They quickly learn that Liam was the witch who summoned the demon, attempting to use it to retrieve Isla’s memories, and to use the magic in those memories to dispel his curse. In a pitched battle, Liam and Caelan are killed, and Isla retrieves her memories at last, though she’s left with regrets about the whole situation.
Isla awakes alone and with artifice etched on her arms in a palace in the sky that is straight out of a folk tale. She is introduced to the master of the palace, a regal automaton who offers to help find her friends while she recovers from her injuries. Isla accepts and tries to research and learn magic to help find her companions, and finds out that they are imprisoned somewhere. In using more magic to find where her friends are, she accidentally learns that the automaton servants in the palace are not quite as artificial as she thought they were.
Isla goes to confront the automaton, only to find Lucian has been turned into one of the servants herself. She defeats Lucian and confronts the automaton, but is quickly subdued. The next time she wakes, her heart has been replaced with an automaton’s mechanical heart as part of the automaton’s experiments in immortality. The witch appears to Isla, and sends her to forcefully retrieve her memories from the automaton and end it once and for all.