After a challenging fight against a group of foglets, spirit entities that inhabit whatever dead body they can find, Tempus Alea makes sure to get out of the Evermist Wood as fast as possible.
Rana asks Talareg what exactly Gaetan told him before leaving the group. The ranger answers that the other man was called back by the council of Talonvale. Hesitating, he adds that the actual reason the rogue accompanied the party was to keep an eye on Lilli. According to the council, a darkness had attached itself to the cleric. No one in the party was supposed to know, least of all Lilli. Talareg suggests to fill in Keena and Colwyn, but leave Lilli in the dark. Upset with the council’s way of conduct and disagreeing with the ranger, Rana speaks to the cleric the following night. Together they discover that The Frozen One had been spying on them by using a scrying spell on Lilli, making the connection when he touched the cleric during the vision she had in Easthallow. The magical bond is disrupted, however, while Rana casts an identification ritual. The two of them talk for a while, agreeing that sharing more things within the party might be a good idea.
The party travels along the coast line until it hits the Sundercrest Mountains. From there, the group decides to return to the merchant road, hoping to have better access to the highlands of Caershire that way.
During one night, Rana is visited by her patron, Shub-Niggurath. The All-Mother informs the warlock that a former pact maker was hiding inside the Fortress of Dawn, the headquarter of the Twilight Sentinels. According to the All-Mother, that person had found a loophole to completely disconnect from her. In the patron’s eyes, this act of unfaithfulness has to be punished with death. Calling in a favor – back on the Astral Plane, she had helped Rana to bring back Verrin – the patron asks Rana to kill that person for her, since she, the All-Mother, was unable to enter the fortress.
Faced with this unexpected request, Rana agrees, seeing no other way to react at that moment. She asks if the “traitor” was her grandfather, but the All-Mother is unable to tell. Lastly, Rana allows her patron to hide inside her body to be able to enter the fortress. She promises the warlock not to cause any trouble.
After a few more days of travel, the party enters the highland region and eventually comes upon a small hamlet that seems to be almost void of life. They find a group of people inside a church, along with a priest. Once the people have left, they talk to the priest to see if maybe they can stay overnight. The priest turns out to be extremely wary of them, asking who they were and what had brought them to this place. Not satisfied with the answers he gets, the party members suddenly realize that they are within a magical circle of truth, unable to speak a lie. When they want to leave, the door of the church is barred from the outside. Choosing her words carefully, Rana explains that they are affiliated to the council of Talonvale and on a mission to hopefully retrieve information that will help to prevent a great catastrophe. Only when she points towards her grandfather’s dagger at her side, mentioning that it helped them find this place, the priest relaxes. He takes a closer look at the dagger and says: “You should have led with that. It looks like we got off on the wrong foot.”
Introductions follow and the party decides to stay for the night, seeing how a storm is brewing in the sky. At that, they realize just how much darker the sky has gotten all of a sudden. Staring intently at the storm front, Talareg suddenly grows pale. Inside the storm, he sees the form of a dragon. A blue dragon.
Together with the priest, Tempus Alea ushers everyone from the village to a wine cellar, then they hide inside the church, listening, holding their breaths. The beating of wings grows louder. They hear an earth-shaking thud, a minor explosion. They retreat downstairs. Large wings beat again, the sound grows distant. An icy mist creeps out from underneath the cellar door. Worried about the safety of the hamlet’s inhabitants, Lilli runs forward, ready to go back upstairs. But when she opens the door she stares up into the gaunt face of The Frozen One.