​​​Alina’s first day training with Baghra goes worse than she expects. Alina is only able to use her power with Baghra’s help. The old woman gets increasingly frustrated with Alina as their day of training passes, lamenting that she can’t do anything with a Grisha who can’t even call her power without assistance. Baghra sends Alina away after only a short time of practice.  

After leaving Baghra’s hut, Alina heads to the library. She spends lunch with Marie and Nadia but finds no joy in their company. After lunch, Marie and Nadia walk with Alina to the stables for combat training with Botkin Yul-Erdene, a former Shu Han mercenary hired to teach the Grisha combat skills. Alina performs so badly that Botkin orders her to arrive early the following day to get additional training.  

Just as the three sit down for dinner, Alina is approached by Ivan and brought to the mysterious room behind the Darkling’s seat at the head of the dining hall. Fearing censure for having failed to perform at both Baghra’s and Botkins’ lessons, Alina is surprised when the Darkling is gentle and encouraging. She’s even more surprised when she discerns that he called her there just for conversation. 

The Darkling shows Alina a secret passageway that she can use to get to her dormitory without going through main hall. Alone in the hallway, the Darkling takes Alina’s hand and traces a scar on her palm with his thumb. He asks where Alina got the scar. As if reading her mind that the scar has something to do with Mal, the Darkling abruptly ask if Mal was also an orphan. He also enquires about Mal’s tracking skills. He seems deep in thought when he wishes Alina good night and she goes back to her room.  

The next several days pass much like Alina’s first day of training, marked by her failures to improve. Both teachers push her hard and the stress of it takes a toll on Alina, who loses her appetite and has trouble sleeping. Baghra argues that both conditions are tied to her inability to use her power and implies that Alina is holding back intentionally.  

While studying in the library one afternoon, Alina is surprised to find the Apparat looming beside her. His sudden presence sends a chill through her. The Apparat tells Alina that she should look toward him as a spiritual advisor just like the rest of the Grisha do. He tells her that he wants them to be friends and offers her a gift. Alina is reluctant to accept it. It’s a book about the lives of various Saints. The Apparat leads Alina in a riddle-like conversation, steeped in questions about why common people do not care for Grisha in the way they do Saints. The Apparat suggests it’s because the Grisha do not suffer in the way that Saints must. Alina tries to excuse herself but the Apparat takes this to mean that she does not like the gift. She politely finds an excuse to leave.  

Back in her rooms, Alina stashes the book away and sits down to write Mal a letter. She’s written him several letters but hasn’t gotten any word back from him. Left wanting, she wonders where he’s gone. 


​​​Alina’s first conversation with the Apparat sets up the way that the Saints are held in distinction to the Grisha by the common people of Ravka and proposes that Alina has the potential of bridging that gap. A curious motif of the novel, the Saints have appeared as background elements up until this point, but the Apparat brings them to the forefront by suggesting that there is a connection between the Grisha and the Saints by giving Alina a book about them. Though they are both seen as something “miraculous” according to the Apparat, the Saints’ suffering is what distinguishes them from the Grisha as it makes them relatable to the common Ravkans. This dovetails with the statements that the Apparat makes about how Alina herself has suffered and will likely suffer more, insinuating that she is saintlier than the other Grisha. The book the Apparat gives her has her name inscribed in its front cover, which effectively inserts her into the book itself, foreshadowing the way that Alina becomes saintly to the Ravkan people later in the novel.  

Even though Alina spends time with the other Grisha, she experiences increasing isolation while at the Little Palace, which forces her closer to the Darkling. Some of these points of isolation are self-imposed, like her avoidance of practice sessions with other Summoners by the lake or her desire to hide under her blankets when she fails to perform well in Botkin’s combat lessons. Other forms of isolation appear to be by the Darkling’s design. The Darkling starts to construct moments for Alina to separate herself from the other Grisha, a move that increases her emotional isolation from the group. The Darkling pulls Alina away from dinner in order to speak privately with her about her training, which shows to the other Grisha his preferential treatment. He also shows her a secret passageway that will help her bypass the other Grisha in the main hallway. While this seems innocuous on the surface, when coupled with the Darkling’s commentary about Alina’s singular talent and the way he keeps her from socializing in the village with the other Grisha for fear of assassination attempts, it takes on a new meaning. The effect is that he is pushing her toward holding herself at a level of remove from the other Grisha and thereby drawing her closer to himself.  

Alina’s struggle with her training brings up the theme of self-control and leaves Alina feeling abandoned. While she has trouble with both the Grisha training she is receiving from Baghra and the combat training from Botkin, we understand that her performance in both is related to self-control because Baghra lectures her about how she is wasting her energy fighting her power. While Alina doesn’t necessarily take this to heart, it does make her question whether Baghra is right about her power and what its implications would be if she were to be able to use it on her own. She sees her struggle to use her power as a failure and her confidence is shaken so badly that she comes to identify with the term “otkazat’sya,” which refers to people who cannot use Grisha gifts, but also means “orphan” or “abandoned.” This harkens back to her days in the orphanage with Mal, and points to the root of her problem with self-control.