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On the treeship Yggdrasil, Sol Weintraub and his baby, Rachel, meet the other six pilgrims chosen for the Shrike pilgrimage: the Hegemony Consul, Father Lenar Hoyt, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad, the poet Martin Silenus, the detective Brawne Lamia, and the tree Templar Het Masteen.
Weintraub suggests they each tell their stories to learn about each other and their connections to the planet Hyperion
The Yggdrasil drops them off in Keats, Hyperion's capital.
From there, they take a variety of different transports across the planet, listening to each others' stories along the way.
On the windwagon across the Sea of Grass, Weintraub tells his story, the tragic Scholar's Tale, revealing that his baby, Rachel, used to be a college student. She's aging backwards until she disappears.
After they cross the Sea of Grass, they watch as the Ousters shoot down the Yggdrasil, and Het Masteen disappears. They can find no evidence of what happened to him, but they assume he was murdered. There is tons of blood all over the walls, but no body.
They continue on their journey, taking a tramcar across the mountains to Chronos Keep, a castle built by followers of the Shrike.
After a night in Chronos Keep, the six pilgrims approach the Time Tombs, glowing eerily in the night, and prepare to confront the Shrike.