Gathering Darkness is the third novel in the Falling Kingdoms series.
In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:
Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred - the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic...
THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.
THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia's overpowering magic - all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.
THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally, in the flesh, with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia's powers to unveil the Kindred.
The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica... but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.
This is a spoiler-filled section. It is meant to be used more as a reference for those who have already read the book and desire a refresher on the story line or need the information for some other means. By no means is this meant to be an alternative to reading the book. The book is infinitely more complex and its majesty cannot be captured in a simple, short summary. The book is excellent. If you haven't already, go read it.
Nic tells Cleo about the kiss between him and Ashur and Ashur’s interest in the Kindred. Cleo urges Nic to get more information from them.
Jonas sends word through Nerissa Florens, the rebel disguised as a palace servant, to give to Cleo. Jonas and Cleo meet at a temple, and Cleo agrees to be a spy for him.
King Gaius questions Lysandra’s brother, Gregor, about his dreams with the Watcher Phaedra. When Gregor refuses to answer questions, Gaius brings in Lysandra and threatens to torture her in front of Gregor. Gregor tells him what Phaedra told him: that the Kindred must not be awakened or the world will burn. Gaius has Gregor beheaded in front of Lysandra, whom he orders to be executed the next day.
Magnus is upset about this and tells his father that his way isn’t always right, just like having the queen killed wasn’t right. The king justifies it by saying that the queen was opposing him. He reveals to Magnus that she wasn’t Magnus’s real mother anyway; Sabina, the king’s mistress and advisor ,who was killed by Lucia for threatening Magnus, was Magnus’s real mother.
Nic goes to see the Kraeshians to see if they might be allies. They, too, seek the Kindred and hope to find them before their father gets too interested and conquers Mytica in his search.
The next day, Lysandra and the last remaining rebel, Tarus, are brought to be publicly executed. Just before the executioner lowers his axe, an explosion goes off caused by Petros, a boy Jonas had met who has skill with fire and explosions. Thanks to Nic, Jonas and Felix, disguised as guards are able to rescue Lysandra and Tarus.
During the explosion, Lucia falls off the platform where her family observes the execution. She falls into the crowd and sees Petros running with a torch. She meets up with Amara and follows the boy into a tavern where she threatens him with her magic. She eventually realizes the darkness taking over her and lets him go, but Amara kills him.
On Lucia’s way back to the castle, she turns a corner and sees Alexius standing there in human form. He has left the Sanctuary, and tells Lucia that he exiled himself to be with her.
They return to the palace, and Alexius tells the king that he has been sent by Melenia to convey news to the king and to tutor Lucia in elementia.
Alexius and Lucia practice magic for many hours everyday. Lucia practices using her own magic, but she also practices taking magic away from others.
Cleo is introduced to Alexius, and when they go to shake hands, Alexius notices Cleo’s ring as the ring that had once belonged to the first sorceress Eva to control her unbalanced magic. Cleo pretends she didn’t know the ring was special.
Alexius helps Lucia with a ritual for summoning the crystals. Alexius conjures a map of light with his magic. Melenia has found four locations where magic is stronger than usual, and they have been connected with the Imperial Road. Three of the places have been affected by elemental disasters after blood has been spilled on the road.
Lucia senses the stones and awakens them one by one, but as she progresses, she gets weaker. She is able to awaken three stones before Alexius makes her stop and wait to do the final one.
Lucia, Alexius, Cleo, and Magnus go to The Temple of Cleiona where the earth crystal is located. They attempt to claim the stone, but it has already been claimed by someone else when they get there. Cleo had sent word with instructions and the locations of the first three stones to Jonas to go claim the stones before the other group could.
Lucia returns to the castle and attempts to awaken the final crystal which is located at The Temple of Valoria in Limeros. When she does, she sees a vision of how Eva had her magic taken from her, except in this vision, Melenia is the one who took Eva’s magic, not just Cleiona and Valoria.
Alexius wakes Lucia from her vision and tells her that Melenia had Watcher hawks scout the locations of the crystals, and they saw Jonas taking the crystal. Lucia realizes that Cleo must have betrayed her and told Jonas about the Kindred.
Later, Cleo shows up, and Lucia accuses her and nearly kills her. She eventually lets Cleo go, and Cleo runs away. Cleo is captured by guards by order of the king and taken to the dungeon.
Lucia seeks out Alexius, who comforts her. They make love. Afterward, Alexius convinces Lucia to elope with him to Limeros, where they can perform their vows at The Temple of Valoria and claim the final crystal. Lucia accepts.
The king tells Magnus that a wealthy lord saw Cleo speaking with Jonas. He wants Magnus to interrogate her, and then, regardless of her testimony, she will be executed.
On his way to the dungeon, Magnus gets a note from Lucia, informing him that she and Alexius have eloped.
In the dungeon, Cleo acts as if she has done no wrong. She says that Lucia almost killed her, and she tells Magnus that she doesn’t trust Alexius. Magnus tells her that they eloped, and Cleo replies that Alexius must be manipulating Lucia, using her to get to the Kindred. Magnus then kills Cronus, who had been tasked with executing the princess, and releases Cleo. The two depart for Limeros to hunt down Alexius and Lucia.
Nic overhears the king giving orders to his guards. Gaius informs them that Cleo has escaped and has probably taken Magnus hostage. They are to search for them as well as Lucia and Alexius. Additionally, he orders that the Kraeshians be arrested. The king has heard word that the Kraeshian Emperor is planning to send a fleet of ships to Mytica, and the king hopes to bargain with him, using his children to strengthen his position, before that happens.
Nic goes to see the Kraeshians at their villa, and tells them everything about the Kindred and what the king is planning. A guard comes in by the name of Burrus and tells them that Magnus and Cleo were seen boarding a ship to Limeros to follow Alexius and Lucia. Amara kills him and forces to Nic drink a sleeping potion, and they head to Limeros to confront the others.
Cleo and Magnus arrive in Limeros and are welcomed by a family friend, Lady Sophia, who lets them stay in her home. When Magnus and Cleo are alone, Cleo asks Magnus why he let her live. He says that, his whole life, he has been seen as the same as his father. Cleo’s strength and bravery is a light that shines through the shadow his father has over him, and he couldn’t let that end. They kiss, passionately, but are soon interrupted by Amara.
Amara and Ashur force Cleo and Magnus to go with them to the temple, and Nic is left behind, tied up in the villa, under threat of death should Magnus and Cleo rebel against the Kraeshians.
Meanwhile in Auranos, Felix, Lysandra, and Jonas have returned home after having searched for the other crystals. They were able to get one more, the Air Kindred, but the fire crystal had already been claimed. Jonas meets with Nerissa who catches him up on the news about the palace. She also says she looked into Felix’s background. Felix had told Jonas that he was orphaned as a young boy and was raised by a group of assassins and thieves employed by a very powerful man, but he had recently left the group. Nerissa says that Felix’s employer is King Gaius.
Jonas relays this information to Lysandra, and they decide to take on Felix together. However, Felix has been listening the whole time, and he and Jonas fight. Felix says that all of it is true, but when he met Jonas he decided to quit, desiring to make a difference in the world. He stabs Jonas in the shoulder, pinning him to the ground and takes one of the two Kindred, the Air Kindred, which he claims rightfully belongs to him because his blood was used to claim it, and leaves.
At the temple, Lucia is excited to claim the final Kindred. However, no blood has been spilled and no elemental disaster has occurred. Under the obedience spell, Alexius stabs Lucia in the stomach. Her blood spills, and an ice storm ravages the temple.
Alexius fights against the spell and tells Lucia to kill him before he kills her. Lucia just tells him to keep fighting against the spell, so he stabs himself instead. Lucia attempts to heal him with her earth elementia, but, as she learned earlier on in the book, healing elementia doesn't work on Watchers. Alexius dies in her arms.
The Kraeshians, Cleo, and Magnus arrive at the temple, but no one is there. Amara tries to claim the crystal, but they find that someone has already claimed it. Out of the shadows steps Nic, who arrived earlier and claimed the Water Kindred with the help of Ashur, who is revealed to have betrayed his sister.
Ashur tries to make Amara see the error of her ways. Amara pretends to repent and desire reconciliation between her and her brother. But when Ashur embraces her, she drives her dagger into his heart. Nic drops the Kindred when he rushes to Ashur's side, and Amara claims it. She says she will tell the emperor that Magnus killed Ashur, a proclamation that will lead to war. She then departs, commanding the guards to kill everyone else in the temple.
Ashur dies in Nic's arms. Magnus tries to fight off the guards, but one traps him and holds a sword to his throat. Before the guard can issue the killing slash, however, Cleo sneaks up and slices the guard’s throat. Magnus realizes, in this moment, that he has fallen in love with Cleo.
Back at the Limerian palace, Lucia waits by the cliffs. Alexius had given her instructions right before he died. Melenia shows up, having been released from the Sanctuary by Lucia’s spilled blood. Melenia has been plotting all of this to free the Fire Kindred. Inside the crystals are trapped elemental spirits, and Melenia had once been in love with the fire spirit. Melenia plans to kill Lucia and steal her magic, but Lucia had already summoned the fire spirit. Melenia is thrilled to see him, but he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. She is just another person who can trap him again. Melenia uses her magic to try to kill Lucia, but Lucia takes her magic away until all of it is drained. She stabs Melenia and kills her. The fire spirit asks for Lucia’s help finding his brother and sisters, the other Kindred spirits. Lucia agrees and is ready to see the world burn.
This Summary comes from the website "Recaptains", the link for which is includes below, and was written by Katie Fatiga. It has been slightly edited and links have been added, but most of the original script remains.