The Thirteenth Hour Story So Far…

This is a summary of the events in The Thirteenth Hour, Book One of The Cruel Gods series. It is meant to be a recap of the major plot points and events within the book for readers who would like a reminder. While this does not include every detail from the book, it does include MAJOR SPOILERS including THE ENDING of book one. Read at your own discretion!

For an explanation of the world and its characters, please see The Cruel Gods series page for character profiles, a list of the domains, the domain map, glossary, and pronunciation guides.

The Book Blurb

When the saints fail, the sinners step up.

Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.

Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.

To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.

For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.

The Summary…

Kayl is a member of the Godless, a group of heathens who oppose the gods that rule the city of Chime and the twelve domains. Each of these domains are ruled by a god who force their mortal subjects into obedience. On a mission to evacuate Vesper refugees from their home domain of Eventide into Chime, Kayl rubs shoulders with the Diviner ambassador, Elijah Karendar, by unwittingly witnessing him use his time powers, displaying an immunity no mortal should have. In her escape, she also accidentally takes the soul of a Glimmer, transforming into a Glimmer herself, before escaping and returning to her default Vesper form. She is often guided by a voice in her head, who aids her escape.

Quen AKA Quentin Corinth is a Diviner Warden sworn to protect Chime and serve the gods as their mortal eyes in the city. He is summoned by Elijah (Quen’s secret lover) and tasked with hunting down Kayl. Quen is also informed that mysterious aether creatures have been stalking Chime and killing Diviner by taking their souls. He is often plagued by visions of death.

Confused by her sudden transformation, Kayl isn’t deterred from helping the Vesper refugees who are being forced into Glimmer workhouses. Alongside her Vesper lover, Malk, she smuggles herself into one of the workhouses where she is Discovered by Quen and accidentally touches him, transforming into a Diviner.

Quen arrests her and brings both Kayl and Malk to Warden HQ. He questions Kayl and searches Malk’s memories for some clue as to her mysterious ability to swap domains through touch, but neither Kayl nor Quen can come up with an explanation. As per Warden protocol, Quen is forced to bring both Kayl and Malk to Eventide and hand them over to their god, Valeria, for being apostates.

When they face Valeria, Kayl discovers that Valeria doesn’t own her soul, and she isn’t a Vesper at all. With no clue as to who her god may be, or the origin of her strange powers that mimic the aether creatures killing Diviner, Kayl and Quen forge a partnership to discover the truth. In exchange, Quen will help return Malk, who is now in Valeria’s clutches.

Kayl stays with Quen in his apartment as he questions Kayl on her past. She learns that the voice inside her head isn’t actually her thoughts, but a separate entity or soul that calls itself Jinx.

Kayl and Quen then travel to the Golden City (an affluent city above Central) and meet with Walter Burns, an Amnae professor who examines Kayl’s past for clues to her origins, but comes to no conclusion. Quen then receives a vision on an aether creature attack in the steamworks. Quen and Kayl travel to the Undercity and meet with Doctor Finch, a Zephyr professor and expert on aether devices. There, Kayl encounters an aether creature that attacks Quen, but vanishes when Kayl confronts it. Kayl realises that she and the aether creature are alike.

In a last-ditch effort to try and understand what Kayl is, Quen brings her to a Mesmer dream parlor to examine her dreams, but is instead plagued by his own nightmares, including a recurring nightmare of Chime’s destruction. They return to his apartment where he admits to questioning the Wardens and his god’s faith during an Undercity riot years prior, where he was forced into a correctional facility. They share a drunken kiss. Quen is mortified, but interrupted by a telegram summons by Elijah. His attitude turns aggressive, and he locks Kayl in his apartment. Quen meets with Walter Burns before meeting Elijah and wipes his own memories of Kayl’s origins and their kiss, as he’s scared Elijah will order her execution. He then meets with Elijah, who does indeed order Kayl to be brought to him and punishes Quen for his sins.

Meanwhile, Kayl is stunned by Quen’s sudden attitude change and realises she shouldn’t have trusted him. With Jinx’s guidance, she makes her escape, where she is captured by the Glimmer and brought back to the Undercity. The Glimmer ambassador reveals they have a machine that can split a mortal’s soul from their god, but it needs two key components before it can be assembled. Kayl believes this could help Malk free himself from Valeria without needing Quen’s help, and also free the Godless from their gods, so she agrees. She returns to the Godless and convinces them to try it by fully revealing her new powers and ability to transform into any domain via touch.

Quen returns to his apartment and discovers its empty. He manages to track Kayl down to the Godless base, where he allows himself to be captured by them in order to infiltrate them, though Kayl is appalled that he has forgotten key details of their time together. She leaves Quen tied up with the Godless as she carries out the Glimmer’s instructions using her new powers – by stealing schematics from the steamworks, and also stealing energy prisms from Sinner’s Row, injuring the Ember ambassador in the process.

Quen learns of the soul-splitting machines and begs Kayl not to use it. She ignores him, and returns to the Glimmer with a handful of Godless. One of the Godless, a Mesmer named Reve, volunteers to try the machine and the machine destroys his soul, killing him. The Glimmer turn on the Godless, revealing that this was their plan all along – to destroy the souls of sinners.

Meanwhile, Quen discovers that he is the mystery benefactor behind the Godless organization, but he doesn’t remember as he kept wiping his memories. He is appalled by the Godless using a soul-splitting machine and pauses time to escape in order to stop Kayl. He also prays to his god, Dor, to help. He arrives in time to save Kayl and the Godless from the Glimmer. They escape back to the Godless HQ, where they are betrayed by one of their own and handed over to Warden HQ.

The Godless are locked away and Elijah informs Quen that he is aware of Quen wiping his own memories in order to help and protect the Godless, thus he orders Walter Burns to completely wipe all of Quen’s memories as a factory reset. However, Walter reveals that Elijah had been tampering with Quen’s memories all this time and abusing Quen, and instead completely restores all of Quen’s missing memories.

Meanwhile, Elijah questions Kayl and plans to submit her and all the Godless to the soul-splitting machine. He orders Quen to submit her, believing Quen’s memories to now be wiped. Instead, Quen destroys the machine to protect her. Elijah reveals that this too was a test, as he recaptures Quen and forces him to watch Walter Burns being submitted to an alternative machine. Walter’s soul is destroyed, killing him, and then Quen watches helplessly as Kayl is strapped in.

However, the machine splits Jinx’s soul from Kayl’s body, forcing Jinx to be rebirthed in her own body identical to Kayl’s. Jinx attacks the Wardens, kills the Glimmer ambassador, and reveals that both she and Kayl belong to Corentine, the hidden thirteenth god of Chaos. They are the aether creatures and have the ability to not only steal the soul of mortals but also the souls of gods. And her plan is to take Valeria’s soul.

Kayl and Quen escape Warden HQ with the Godless to stop Jinx. The Godless keep the Wardens at bay as Kayl and Quen enter Eventide as Jinx confronts Valeria. A battle ensues, where Valeria transforms into a giant snake and tries to crush Kayl, forcing Kayl to accidentally steal Valeria’s soul. At this, Malk is finally freed, but he, and all the Vesper, turn to dust. With Valeria’s death, the Vesper are no more, and Kayl, Jinx, and Quen are forced to escape Eventide as the domain falls apart and disappears.

They make it back into Chime. However, the destruction of Eventide causes the Gate to malfunction, allowing Chaos mortals to become unleashed on the city, as Quen’s vision once foretold. Quen confronts Elijah and the Wardens, allowing Kayl and Jinx to escape. He shoots Elijah in the head and is then killed by his own god for his traitorous actions.

Kayl is horrified at losing both Malk and Quen. She is dragged to the clock tower by Jinx and enters a hidden room behind the clock face where she discovers that Corentine, god of Chaos, is strapped to a chair like the soul-splitting machines and has been trapped there for thousands of years in order to power Chime. Corentine reveals that she is locked behind godly chains, and only the souls of all twelve gods can break the chains and free her. She wants revenge on Dor and the gods for trapping her. Jinx views Corentine as their mother and wants her free. As Kayl owns Valeria’s soul, she can break one of the chains and give Corentine more power. However, Kayl doesn’t trust Jinx or Corentine, nor does she want to be responsible for the destruction of another domain.

Kayl escapes the clock tower with Doctor Finch, who’d been held prisoner by Chaos, and manages to return to the Godless, where she informs them of Malk and the Vesper’s death. They vow to stand against Chaos and the Wardens if it comes to it. Jinx sees Kayl’s actions as a betrayal and vows to end the reign of gods herself.

Meanwhile, Quen’s soul is floating in the aether. He is pulled out and rebirthed into a new body by Dor, who informs Quen that he is now Dor’s new ambassador in place of Elijah and that he must lead the Diviner and Wardens against Chaos, as Chaos threatens the destruction of all domains. Quen realises that he once had a vision of Kayl destroying his own soul and so has no choice but to do as his god commands.