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Australian edition cover
|Cover artist||Nick Stathopoulos|
|Series||The Well of Echoes|
|Published||29 September 2003 Penguin Australia|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||704 p. (paperback edition)|
Tiaan wanders the ancient, abandoned city of Tirthrax aimlessly. She still clutches the dead body of her adopted-sister, Haani, who was killed by a nervous Aachim shooter. Her previous withdrawal, that caused her to madly desire the strange crystal Amplimet, which lies unguarded near the gate she created to bring the treacherous Aachim to Santhenar from dying Aachan, has evaporated in her grief for her sister.
It is not long before Tiaan realises that she is being followed. Indeed she is soon captured, by her nemesis from the manufacturory, Nish and a strange young woman by the name of Ullii. Tiaan escapes twice but is recaptured both times. However, as Nish bounds her after her second escape attempt, in which Tiaan nearly falls to her death in the Well of Echoes, he is interrupted by an old Aachim woman who states herself to be the Matah of Tirthrax.
The Matah forces Nish to release Tiaan, humiliating him with a minor use of her powers. The Matah has Tiaan and Nish relate their story and becomes distressed at the knowledge of the Aachim invasion, led by Vithis. She speaks of the time of The Forbidding as if she were present. The Matah instructs Nish and Ullii to leave Tirthrax and warn their people of the Aachim invasion, though Nish had already sent word by skeet of what he had witnessed. The Matah befriends Tiaan and helps her to deliver Haani's body to the Well of Echoes, an honour befitted to only the greatest of people. The Matah reveals that she is in fact Malien, a heroine from the time of the Mirror. Tiaan decides to go and retrieve the amplimet from the gate room, but finds it missing. She originally accuses Malien, but they eventually realise that Nish is the only possible culprit.
Later, Tiaan and Malien head for the balloon on the side of Tirthrax to retrieve the Amplimet and succeed. Nish and Ulii manage to repair and refloat the balloon and head off.