At the beginning of the novel, Joel and Thacia travel up the mountain on their holiday break and run into Daniel. Daniel recognizes the boy from his childhood and tells Joel to relay a message to his friend, Simon, who lives in the village. After receiving Joel's message, Simon travels to the mountain to talk with Daniel. When Simon meets Daniel, he tells him that his grandmother is dying and that Amalek is dead. Amalek's death is significant because Daniel was sold to Amalek and ran away from him to live on the mountain. Daniel feared going back to the village because he would have to work for Amalek again, but Simon assures him that he can safely return to the village. Daniel is hesitant about returning to his home but eventually visits his grandmother and sister, who are in bad shape.