Read a full summary of Two Dark Reigns, book #3 of Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series, right here. This page is full of spoilers, so beware! If you are wondering what happened in Two Dark Reigns, then you are in the right place!
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The Three Dark Crowns Series
#1 Three Dark Crowns
#2 One Dark Throne
#3 Two Dark Reigns
#4 Five Dark Fates
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in Two Dark Reigns?
Years ago, Queen Philomene gives birth to a surprise fourth baby girl. The High Priestess breaks tradition and orders that the first three babies be killed and that Illiann, the fourth-born Blue Queen, be brought home with her to raise as the true queen.
Katharine sits for her official portrait as queen. Pietyr tries to calm her. She fears the poison in her blood means she won’t be able to have triplets as is required.
They go to a council meeting to select new members. Luca chooses herself, Rho, and Bree. Katharine decides Renata and Paola will stay on. Margaret is upset with the choices, which leaves mostly poisoners and priestesses on the council. Katharine throws a poisoned knife in her direction as a threat.
Jules cuts off her braid and throws it into the sea in hopes of keeping Katharine in the dark that she’s still alive. Emilia is training Jules to help her learn to fight again after the poison damaged her legs. They go to a tavern to hear a bard even though Jules just wants to eat and go to bed because she’s so tired. After the performance, they eat with the bard, a friend of Emilia’s named Mathilde. Mathilde is an oracle who says when she saw Jules, one thing rang out in her mind: Jules was once a queen and will be again someday.
Arsinoe, Billy, and Mirabella go to the horse races for fun, but none of them win a cent. When they get back home, a girl is waiting with Billy’s mom. She’s one of the girls who’s interested in him. Billy’s mom likes her much better than Arsinoe.
Arsinoe wrestles with the loss of her title and the different expectations for women on the Mainland. She goes to Joseph’s grave to talk it over with him and hears his likely responses in her head. Then she falls asleep and dreams of a ship. It seems startlingly real. When she wakes, there’s a woman in black in front of her. Arsinoe isn’t sure if the woman is real or a vision.
Pietyr, Genevieve, and Katharine argue about Luca’s choices for the council. Katharine says she doesn’t want her reign embroiled in controversy. She’s going to hold a banquet to try to spread some goodwill.
While they’re out riding together, Katharine tells Luca of her plans for the banquet to welcome the new council members. Luca says it’s a good idea and Bree will be especially pleased. They notice a mist hovering in the harbor. They know it’s the goddess either keeping something out or keeping it in.
Emilia tries to tell Jules she’s a queen. Jules assures her there’s not a drop of royal blood in her family. Emilia says the botched ascension and the debacle of the quickening were signs. Jules’ power is also a sign. Emilia insists the goddess wants a new queen and Jules is the chosen one.
Billy and Mirabella discuss his long-term options. His mom wants to send Arsinoe away so he’ll stop loving her. That won’t work, yet he knows he must go to university to secure a job that will help keep his family’s future afloat. Mirabella says she’ll take Arsinoe away so the two sisters can build a life together, if that’s what he wants. Billy says that’s not what he wants at all.
Arsinoe appears shaking with cold, carrying a dirty dog she wants to rescue. When Billy goes to get things to clean the dog up, Mirabella asks what’s really wrong. Arsinoe doesn’t get a chance to tell her before Billy returns. In their room that night, Arsinoe still won’t tell her.
When she falls asleep, Arsinoe has the same dream again, but it goes further. It involves a boy named Henry and a girl named Daphne in the realm of Centra. He’s just been chosen as a suitor for the queen. His mother tells him he’ll leave for Fenbirnn soon.
Daphne tells Henry she doesn’t want him to leave. He’s probably going to either way, but he asks her why she wants him to stay, basically begging her to say she loves him. But Daphne just says because he has much more to learn. In anger, he says he’ll come back some day but will be a king and her lord.
When Henry leaves, Daphne turns to look in the mirror. Since Arsinoe has been living in Daphne’s mind, this is her first glimpse of the dark-headed girl. She’s surprised to see that Daphne is a foundling queen of Fenbirnn.
Luca meets with Bree when she arrives to Indrid Down. Luca believes Mirabella is dead, but Bree isn’t so sure. Whether she is or isn’t, Luca asks Bree whether she’ll choose to help rule in her new council position. She says of course she will.
But Bree does ask a favor: to let her friend Elizabeth restore her familiar, a small bird named Pepper. Luca agrees. When Bree goes to give Elizabeth the good news, she says she intends to take down all poisoners, including Katharine, for what they did to Mirabella.
Pietyr asks Katharine to dismiss the dead queens from her service so she can rule on her own. It’s evident he misses the sweet nature of hers that they block. In her head, they make her envision killing Pietyr, but she doesn’t let on. They’re not going anywhere.
Bree refuses to eat the food at the first council meeting, saying she’ll never trust the poisoners enough to eat anything they prepare. Luca advises there’s always an adjustment period after a change on the council. The queens in Katharine’s head are furious. Katharine orders the council to organize a search to make sure her sisters are dead and then says they need to plan the welcome banquet.
Emilia takes Jules to a tavern for dinner. A man throws a knife at her. Jules exhibits her war gift as she avoids it. She’s angry to learn it was a set-up to display her gift to everyone at the establishment. They want her to rise as queen.
A mist begins to descend on the island during the banquet. Katharine approaches the waterfront to investigate it. The dead begin emerging from the water. She recognizes them as the crew she sent to search for her sisters, Billy, and Joseph. They all perished but seem to be in such a state of decay that it happened long, long ago.
Mirabella hears Arsinoe muttering in her sleep and teases her about dreaming about Billy. Arsinoe says she’s been dreaming about the past, about people named Henry and Daphne. Mirabella knows history better than Arsinoe and realizes these people are from hundreds of years ago. Henry ends up being Queen Illiann’s consort, and Daphne is a long-lost queen. Arsinoe finally tells Mirabella the specifics of what she saw in the graveyard: the shadow of the Blue Queen pointing to Fennbirn.
Arsinoe accidentally calls Billy Henry as they’re gathering clothes to wear for the party. She plays it off by saying she thought that was his middle name.
Mirabella and Arsinoe go to Joseph’s grave, where she had her first vision. Arisnoe tells Mirabella about her latest dream. Daphne journeys to Queen Illiann with Henry in hopes of befriending her and helping Henry be chosen as a suitor. Daphne is an elemental and doesn’t even know it because it’s laid dormant off the island for so many years. The sisters think she’s a lost elemental queen.
Luca and Genevieve tell Katharine the bodies that came out of the water have been released to the families for burial. They’ve studied them as much as they can and still don’t know what happened to them. They wonder why the mist that’s supposed to protect the island behaved so alarmingly. They’re afraid it isn’t done with its job.
Mirabella and Arsinoe go to the governor’s wife’s birthday party. They each are on one of Billy’s arms as Christine, the girl who likes him, approaches. Mirabella is asked to dance, so Billy quickly asks Arsinoe. Christine is furious. As they dance, they talk about how Billy is eventually going to have to go to school to learn a trade and help his family. They soon sneak away for some private time.
When they fall asleep, Arisnoe slips into another vision. A Beltane Festival is underway. Henry is on the ship with the other suitors, so he doesn’t get to participate in the festivities yet. Daphne is at a play with the queen. She tells Daphne that she will always be welcome in the city whether Henry is chosen as a suitor or not because they’ve become friends.
Then the Disembarking Ceremony begins. Henry looks great and performs well, but through Daphne’s eyes, Arsinoe spies an evil competitor among the suitors: Branden.
Billy wakes Arsinoe from her dream. She had said ‘Henry’ in her sleep, and he demands to know what’s going on at the second mention of this name. She tells him the truth.
Mathilde and Emilia still try to convince Jules to seize the army willing to fight for the war-gifted queen and take the throne. She’s still hesitant. Margaret comes in to the tavern, telling them how Katharine ousted her from the council. Emilia leaves in anger.
Jules follows Emilia to see what the girl has against Margaret. It turns out she was Emilia’s mother’s blade sister. When she left them behind, Emillia’s mother died of a broken heart, and Margaret didn’t even send a note to the family.
The painter brings Katharine’s portrait in for her to view. She thinks it’s perfect except for the eyes. They look too serene. And then she notices the bones on the table behind her in the picture for the undead queen. Pietyr pulls her away before she can protest.
Katharine talks to Bree on their way to the council meeting. They’re approached by a fisherman who’s come all the way from Wolf Spring to tell them one of his employees was snatched by the mist ten days ago.
The mist at the waterfront rises again in the distance. A dead woman surfaces. The fisherman identifies her as his employee. The crowd assembled goes wild, shouting that this curse is because of Katharine and try to attack her. Pietyr tries to snatch her away to keep her safe, but Katharine ends up killing a protestor when the undead queens rise within her. Then the queens retreat inside her, and she realizes what she’s done.
Mirabella and Billy discuss Arsinoe one night in the kitchens. Billy wonders whether her visions are only dreams and nothing more. Mirabella thinks Arsinoe doesn’t know history well enough to dream the facts this accurately. Billy asks why the Blue Queen is so important anyway. Mirabella says she created the mist to shroud and protect the island. They discuss whether Mirabella should try to use low magic to tap into these dreams and help Arsinoe interpret them.
They hear Arisnoe upstairs, caught in another dream. They both see the shadow of the Blue Queen in the room before Arisone awakes. This time, she was dreaming about Daphne’s disdain for the evil Branden, Henry’s main competitor.
Billy and Mirabella discuss the dreams while they eat with his mother and sister. His mother is furious they won’t give the conversation up in favor of one more civilized. She takes Billy’s sister and leaves the room. Before she does, Billy’s sister answers a question that’s been plaguing them: Why is the Blue Queen visiting Arisnoe in her dreams? Billy’s sister says ghosts often come back if they have unfinished business.
Arsinoe goes to a shop on the far side of town to gather the things she needs to perform the low magic, mostly candles, oils, and herbs. The shop owner is a fortuneteller and knows exactly what Arisnoe will use them for.
Jules, Emilia, and Mathilde arrive at an inn in a small town and decide to make their first push to gain supporters. While the inn’s restaurant is filled with local patrons that night, Mathilde uses her storytelling skills to let them know about the Legion Queen.
They think Jules looks small and puny until Emilia throws a knife at a complaining patron and Jules easily stops it, deflecting it to the ceiling at the last second. Then they bring Camden downstairs to the tavern to show off Jules’ naturalist gift. Suddenly they pay better attention to what the three have to say. Jules is still hesitant about the whole thing.
Arsinoe meets Mirabella on the hill by Joseph’s grave and begins the low magic process. The Blue Queen soon appears and is gesturing about something. They confirm she’s pointing toward the island. She’s trying to say something, gaining energy all the time from the blood dripping from the sisters’ arms for the spell. She finally succeeds in getting one word out: Go! And she points toward the island again. Mirabella binds their bleeding arms to rob the queen of further strength because she’s frightened.
Pietyr asks Katharine if it was the dead queens in her that made her murder the boy. She says she doesn’t know, but if it was them, she won’t let it happen again.
That night at the ball, Bree asks Pietyr to dance with her to get back at Katharine for frustrating her earlier in the day. She dances hard and fast until Pietyr is tired and breathless. But Katharine refuses to let it bother her. A ruckus makes them realize the mist has come out of the river once again. It’s swallowing people up.
Everyone’s at a loss as to why the mist is doing this and how to get it to stop. Katharine orders Genevieve to write to the oracles and ask them to send their best. If they can interpret what’s going on with the mist, she’ll grant them a seat on the council.
Jules and Emilia parry with swords to train for the upcoming war. Mathilde slips into a vision while they’re gone. She sees Madrigal in danger at the Black Cottage. They pack up and head that way immediately.
Madrigal is bedridden to try to make her pregnancy last as long as possible. She prays for a healthy baby, but that’s not what her low magic vision showed her.
Arsinoe wants to seek a low magic cure to her dream visions. She’s tired of being a different person every time she closes her eyes. Daphne doesn’t understand why Queen Illiann isn’t favoring Henry. Her friend Richard says it’s because it’s obvious he has eyes for Daphne alone. She’s shocked to hear this. The queen’s frontrunner, Branden, tries to attack Daphne.
Arsinoe screams to try to pull herself out of the dream. She ends up in another one instead. She’s herself, but the Blue Queen is there. She again points to the island but isn’t able to speak. Arsinoe finally deciphers that she wants her to go to Mount Horn, the one the Black Cottage sits at the base of.
When the shadow draws closer, Arsinoe realizes it’s not Illiann but Daphne. She’s shocked. The queen gives her one more vision before she wakes: a picture of a battle. Camden is there with red-stained fur. Jules and Katharine are both there, too.
They still can’t find the latest round of people the mist snatched up. Katharine begins to question whether she’s supposed to be queen. Maybe the mist is attacking because it should’ve been one of her sisters. Pietyr tries to reassure her. Genevieve tells Katharine about the uprising Jules is raising in the north. They’re using the mist as a sign Katharine should be overthrown.
Jules finds out her mother is bleeding every day. Her water breaks, and there’s nothing they can do to keep the baby in any longer. The labor isn’t going well. Willa gets her tools to cut the baby out. Madrigal will not survive it, just like her visions suggested. Then Caragh throws everyone out of the room and pushes her sister to deliver naturally. A baby boy is born. Madrigal survives the birth, defying the vision.
Pietyr hasn’t learned much so far during his research into the mist and the possible tie to the dead queens. Arisnoe obtained a poison that will push the oracle to tell her the truth and then eventually kill her if she doesn’t comply with the questioning.
Theodora Lermont, a respected oracle, arrives. Katharine questions her in front of the council but doesn’t learn much about her reign or how Jules will challenge it. She invites the oracle to dine with her that night and slips the poison into her food. She learns the oracles want someone other than a poisoner on the throne and their confidence is behind Jules. Katharine asks where they are now. The oracle says Madrigal is in the mountains, riding toward Wolf Spring. Katharine sends someone to capture her. Then the oracle says the Blue Queen has come.
Arsinoe goes to the docks to hire a boat to take her to Fenbirnn Island. Billy and Mirabella appear, and the three of them hire a crew to take them that very day. The journey into the mist seems unending. Arsinoe and Billy decide they need to settle somewhere else if they ever get a chance to be together. They decide on Centra.
Caragh tells Jules about a second prophecy after her birth, one she’s never heard before. The oracle said she’ll be the fall of the island. They’re not sure if this is what already occurred, when the Ascension Year failed and the line of queens broke. Or it could be how the mist is now rising. Maybe it’s for Jules.
Just when the crew says they’re turning back, they see land. But there’s nowhere to dock and no small boat to take ashore. Arsinoe, Billy, and Mirabella must swim for it.
Luca finds Pietyr in the library doing research once again. He asks her if she’s ever heard of spiritual possession. He acts like it’s something he happened upon in a book. She says the only solution is prayer and a merciful execution or low magic.
Katharine has a vision that her hand is withered and old. But her maid assures her it looks normal. Then her vision shifts back, and she realizes the maid is right. In her head, she asks the dead queens if it was a warning of some kind. And she decides after all of this is over that Pietyr is right: They need to put these dead queens to rest.
Katharine and Pietyr go to visit their new captive: Madrigal. They question her about Jules. Madrigal lies and says she hasn’t seen her daughter since she tried to escape after the ascension. Katharine asks her about the blood binding next. Madrigal warns if they spill her blood now and Jules’ connection to her is lost, then her full war gift will be released and they should all fear that.
Luca thinks they should try to arrange a trade: Jules for Madrigal. She reminds Katharine that a queen can do great things when she must, just like when Queen Illiann created the mist to protect the island when a spurned suitor tried to invade.
The island the Blue Queen led them to is Sunpool, the land of the oracles. They hear that Jules is there, so Arsinoe goes in search of her while Billy and Mirabella gather supplies. She runs into Emilia, who takes her to Jules. They catch up on what has happened since they parted.
Emilia brings Billy and Mirabella to them, too. They talk about the mist, Katharine’s reign, and what they should do. They wonder if Arsinoe’s dreams are teaching her how the mist was made and how it can now be unmade.
Katharine tried to decide how to get a message to Jules as her army is marching closer every day. Someone suggests Pepper, Elizabeth’s familiar. Katharine sends Bree to talk to her. Elizabeth reluctantly agrees.
Pietyr asks Madrigal about low magic. He says he’ll arrange to sneak her out if she helps him. He asks her about spiritual possession. She says she’ll have to know the exact details if there’s any hope she can help. He won’t tell her because he doesn’t trust her, but she guesses it’s Katharine. Soon she knows the full story. She wonders if Katharine is the legion-cursed queen in the prophecy instead of Jules.
Madrigal says Katharine must go back to the Breccia Domain to put the dead queens back. Pietyr says she couldn’t possibly. Madrigal says they can also bring stones from Breccia to Katharine, cast the undead queens onto the stones, and then return them to Breccia. She sees that Pietyr loves Katharine and reminds him it’s a curse to love a queen.
Pietyr gets back just in time to see Katharine with Elizabeth. They send Pepper the woodpecker away with the message for Jules.
Mirabella and Jules discuss Joseph and his burial. When Jules leaves, Mirabella thinks how she’s only her sister’s keeper now even though she has the strongest naturalist gift in ages. Just as she’s thinking of her past life and its hopes and dreams, a bird from that time appears. Pepper has a message for her.
Arsinoe and Emilia argue about what is best for Jules and who truly has her best interests at heart.
Jules and Mirabella come with the message the bird delivered. Even though Jules is immediately ready to give her life for her mother’s, the group decides Katharine can’t be trusted to follow through with the trade. Jules and Arsinoe decide they’ll have to use the element of surprise and ambush Katharine’s troops during the trade.
Back in their room that night, Billy and Mirabella tell Arsinoe they’re furious she made this huge decision without consulting her. She tells them they don’t have to go. They say of course they’ll go with her, but they won’t speak to her until it’s over. Arsinoe goes to stay with Jules.
Katharine and her army march to the meeting place. When they bring Madrigal to join them, she says there’s no love lost between her and her daughter. Jules will never come for her.
Arsinoe dreams a different dream about them Blue Queen. She dreams of bodies torn apart inside the mist. The white blanket closes in around her friends and blots out the island. The shadow queen crouches on Arsinoe’s chest.
Katharine is the closest she’s been to Breccia since she escaped. She says she’ll never go near it again. She wants to be with Pietyr before the battle, but he doesn’t want to be distracted from his plan.
Luca and Pietyr walk through the camp and happen upon Elizabeth and her recently returned bird. Pepper’s trying to tell her something and is frustrated she doesn’t understand his message.
Arsinoe tells Jules she has to go to the mountain instead of the ambush to see what the Blue Queen is telling her. She thinks whatever it is must be vital. Billy will go with Arsinoe, and Mirabella will stay with Jules and the troops.
Arsinoe calls Braddock as she and Billy climb the mountain in search of the Blue Queen.
Pietyr sneaks away and goes to the Breccia Domain. He gathers as many stones as he can and goes back to Madrigal for further instructions. He needed to have enough stones to make a circle to perform the exorcism in, and he doesn’t have enough. Madrigal gives him an alternate option and tells him the other parts of the spell, including blood from his hand and Katharine’s.
A scouting party returns to Jules and Mirabella with news of Katharine’s encampment. They set their plan. Jules will have to be the bait that draws Katharine out.
The two armies meet on the battlefield. When Queen Katharine sees Mirabella, she loses control of the undead queens inside of her. They take over and have her slide her knife in Madrigal’s neck. Mirabella makes it to Madrigal and tries to have her get up so she can escape with him. When Jules sees what has happened, her war gift explodes out of her. It knocks Katharine’s horse on top of her. The blast also hurts Camden.
As Billy and Arsinoe ascend the mountain, Arsinoe doesn’t feel right. They’re not sure what’s causing it. When she lays down to sleep that night, she dreams of Daphne approaching Branden posing as Illian. She tries to give him poisoned wine, but he reveals he knew it was her all along. He begins to choke her. Illiann and Henry arrive to save her. Branden fights Henry and lands a blow that knocks him to the ground. As he’s about to land another more decisive one, one of the girls hits him with a blast of fire from her war gift. He’s burned badly and is furious. This is what starts the war between the island and Salkades.
When Arsinoe wakes from the dream, Daphne is creeping up from the back of the cave. Arsinoe asks her why she showed her these visions of the past. Daphne says she indeed created the war between the two nations as well as the mist. She wants to tell Arsinoe how to end it all.
Daphne was a sister of Illian, one who should’ve died but didn’t. In the midst of the war with Salkades, Illiann fell to her death, crashing into the mist of the ocean and became the mist. No two sisters are ever supposed to survive. That’s why elemental sister died and became the mist. Now Arsinoe’s elemental sister (Mirabella) must die to destroy it. It’s the only way to balance things out and make them right. Arsinoe refuses to listen to this. She loves her sister too much to let her die.
How did Two Dark Reigns end?
Luca suggests trying to bring Mirabella to Katharine’s side. She thinks Mirabella will since she raised her and thinks it can be done with an appeal to history and the law. Katharine is skeptical but agrees to let her try. When Luca leaves, Katharine tells Pietyr she’s ready to get rid of the dead sisters. If Mirabella returns to aid her, that’s all the help she’ll need. Pietyr is proud of her decision and says he thinks he‘s found a way to get them out.
Luca follows Bree and Elizabeth when they’re going to see Mirabella. She asks her to join with them and the true ascended queen. Mirabella will only offer this: She won’t interfere in the island business. But Katharine will have to fight her own battles. Luca is furious and yells that once she loved both of her sisters.
Arsinoe mixes a sedative made of mild poisons and goes in to see Jules. Her eyes are red because of broken blood vessels, and she’s destroyed the room she’s in, even the furniture. Arsinoe manages to get the sedative in her, and it works.
Arsinoe finds Mirabella to tell her Jules is better for now. She thinks about Daphne’s proclamation that Mirabella must die to rid them of the mist. She almost tells her but decides against it. She will find another way so Mirabella never even has to know.
Mathilde and Emilia assure the public that Jules is fine. Their Legion Queen is just in mourning for her mother. Mirabella asks Emilia what the new plan is because this is obviously a lie. Emilia says they’ll find a way to help her. Mirabella is doubtful Jules will ever recover from her war gift now that her mother is dead. She’s only being calmed by Arsinoe’s sedatives for now. What could the future possibly look like for her?
Pepper brings Mirabella a note from Bree and Elizabeth that says they have spoken with Katharine and believe she is true. It also says they’re leaving for Indrid Down and will be there if she needs them.
Pietyr performs the low magic as Madrigal described to try to rid Katharine of the dead queens. But her skin turns grey and mottled, and the queens fight their way out, overpowering her. They kiss Pietyr until his blood runs out of his eyes and ears.
Mirabella flags down a passing coach to head to the capital.
There you go! That’s what happened in Two Dark Reigns. Hope you enjoyed this Two Dark Reigns summary with spoilers!
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2 thoughts on “What happened in Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)”
Thank you for such a thorough review! This book actually needed something that captures the complexity of the storyline and all its players – you did so marvellously and clearly. Five Dark Fates I am so ready.
Well thank you! I really appreciate the compliment and am glad the recap was helpful. Enjoy Five Dark Fates! 🙂