In a House Orien office in Sharn, the half-elf swordmage Caleb walks through a portal and comes to Stormreach, on the trail of Jin and his stolen notebook. A mercenary hired by the Aurum (a group of wealthy history scholars), Caleb meets with Jaris Cantar, a shipping magnate who runs an Aurum lodge, to get tips on where to go with his investigation and line up some local contacts. The trail takes him to the Lyrandar shipyards, where he learns of Jin’s death, and then to the funeral gardens of Respite, which are on alert after Alarich‘s body was stolen in a bloody fight. The trail seems to lead to Jin’s warforged allies.
Meanwhile, Sláine sequesters herself to tend to Master Áedan’s wounds, and Kaddik, Spark and Ballast question their prisoner in their room at the same inn. He turns out to be an employee of House Tharashk, part of the Liondrake’s Roar mercenary troupe, and as far as he’s concerned he’s done nothing wrong. Ballast’s interrogation draws out of him that Marik was taken away to ‘the outpost’ under the command of Sergeant Sinruth of the Roar, at which point the questioning is halted by the Stormreach Guard arriving to arrest the heroes for kidnapping and manslaughter.
Rather than take them to jail, the Guard bring them to the House Tharashk Refinery, to be questioned by enclave leader Kurn d’Velderan and refinery manager Durgran’Torrn. Kurn is inclined to wash his hands of the whole affair, but a spirited plea by Kaddik about the fate of his missing mentor modifies his response. He eventually releases them, promising an inquiry, but Durgran warns them that the Liondrake’s Roar squad taking them back to their inn will attempt to murder them. He’s almost right – instead they lead them into an ambush, where they are attacked in a market square by another masked woman and some horrid floating monsters, along with two berserk warriors that vomit poison gas in battle. Fortunately Caleb walks into the same ambush while looking for the warforged, and together they just manage to defeat the madmen and the monsters.
But something odd is definitely going on in House Tharashk…