Rae and Fern finally get to meet, and Rae makes a suggestion that is perhaps ill-advised for helping Fern with his magic problem. This is somewhat waylaid by a meeting with the other secondaries, and Fern becomes more and more aware of his situation, to devastating effect.
In so many stories about fantasy worlds, the protagonist encounters some ancient gods who have been locked away for zillions of years, and possess incredible wisdom. They are usually reserved, grave, dignified, and powerful. They point the protagonist in the right direction and aid him in every way they can, which is usually not so very much. They vaguely recall massive wars and squabbles with each other that stretched over hundreds of years and impacted the lives of mortals worldwide. Their histories, and their motives, are mysterious. Grayling is a story about a few such gods and how they got that way.