The creature, whatever it is, threatens the group, demanding they show themselves to be “worthy”. Ash steps forward but when it probes his mind he is filled with regret over those he’s not sure he should have killed; the creature tosses him aside. Capriole tries to offer himself but despite summoning his willpower, the creature rejects him. Relentless offers herself, and the creature probes her memories, finding something it senses may satisfy its definition of worthiness – and pulling everyone into a replay of a story from Relentless’ past.
Years ago, after Relentless first came to Fallcrest, the town crier Evendur was murdered late at night. It was thought there were no witnesses but a man, Darvin, came forward and named Akmenos, a young Tiefling architect, as the killer. The news took those who knew Akmenos by surprise, but he would not defend himself to give an alibi, and the Lord Warden, wishing to put a swift end to the matter, announced a hanging for the next day. But Relentless knew things weren’t right and spoke to other townsfolk who felt similarly, organising them into a group who appeared at the execution and made it clear they felt justice was not being done. The Lord Warden, impressed but still annoyed, gave her three days to look into the matter and find another culprit.
The heroes are jolted out of the vision, and the creature mocks Relentless for her choice of memory, but she is resolute. Meanwhile Ash, worried about Ehljayy – who was badly wounded in the fight with the River Rats – takes the halfling toward the entrance of the crypt – only to find skeletons emerging from the ground. Ash summons the light of Kord and wards off the undead, and manages to make an exit from the vault with Ehljayy, while Cileth and Capriole stay with Relentless as the rest of the vision plays out.
Back in the past, Relentless went to see Akmenos and persuaded him to tell her where he was when the crier was murdered. He revealed he was with Pavel Marsk, son of Lord Marsk, the noble whose new manor house Akmenos is in Fallcrest to build. They were romantically involved, but there is a prejudice against such unions between Tieflings and humans. Akmenos did not wish to make this knowledge public – not least because he despaired that Pavel seemed to believe him capable of such a crime.
Relentless did some more digging, and confronted Lord Marsk, accusing him of the crime – he had the crier killed by someone summoning hellfire and then made his servant, Darvin, testify against the tiefling. Marsk vehemently denied it but Relentless was able to find the warlock responsible, and presented him to the Lord Warden. The warlock was hanged; Lord Marsk was stripped of his title and lands and banished; and Akmenos, heartbroken, left town.
As the vision ends, the creature considers, then pronounces Relentless worthy, granting her and her companions leave. The skeletons outside crumble into dust and the party heads back into town – their first stop the Moonsong Temple, where High Priest Ressilmae heals the wounded. While that’s going on, Ash visits the House of the Sun, where news of the shrine of Kord’s eyes glowing had been seen by some as a miracle. Aurion discovers him putting out candles left by petitioners, but gives him leave to tend the shrine, since he is a cleric of the god and thus the rightful one to do it.
Ash rejoins the others at House Azaer, where they spend some money on healing potions and new equipment. Capriole tries to apologise for his rash actions, but the rest of the party are still angry with him; indeed Cileth only agrees to give him back his armour and shield, but not his orb, leaving him unable to use many of his spells. After they’ve equipped themselves, Relentless goes to meet Kael, the half-elf she met at the Blue Moon Alehouse who told her about the missing caravan. He shows her the shipping manifest, and they discover that as well as the two boxes they know about – the small one and the long thin one Cileth found empty in the Blood Patch’s carriage – a third special order for [[Naerumar’s Imports]] had been added at the last minute.
To find out more, they visit the import business just before closing and speak with the proprietor, a tiefling named Orest Naerumar. After some persuading, he looks up the orders and reveals that the small box was an order of powdered diamonds for the wizard Nimozaran; the long one a magical sword, named “dragon slayer” in elvish, for someone named Namoriel, who has since left town; and the third an assortment of herbs and other items, which Cileth recognises as alchemical reagents, ordered on behalf of “Lord” Armos Kamroth, a wealthy landowner to whom many of Fallcrest’s farmers pay rent.
The party decide to take what they know to the Lord Warden, using cover of darkness to approach Moonstone Keep without being seen. They are shown inside by guards, and get an audience, where Ash asks for approval for their actions looking into the strange goings on in and around Fallcrest. The Lord Warden gives it, saying the group have earned his trust, despite some misgivings – including that an escaped tigron had attacked someone before being caught. They ask Lady Markelhay about the alchemical reagents, and she is surprised that Kamroth has ordered them; she doesn’t know exactly what they’re for, but they are the kind used in the transmutation of living (or once-living) matter, though they have a wide range of uses.
The characters decide it’s time to confront the Blood Patch at the Lucky Gnome, as the Warden confirms that he got their message and sent some watchmen to check out the place – which they’d also told many of the townsfolk to attend, telling a tale about “free drinks”. Then there’s the fact that the Blood Patch have been sent a note telling them Capriole is in the Elbarress Vault… Whatever’s going on, it seems time to confront the gang and see what they know…