The darkness that engulfed the Midglass seems like a distant memory only after a few days. Our heroes have opened diplomatic relations with the Marex, and have returned to Lake Dilreen having learned more about the Toothfish.
Olympia, finished working on the Truceblade with Tef, goes to investigate Lord Brandywine’s estate with her own eyes. An all too eager ferrymen takes her down river where she is escorted by a watchmen into the stump-dotted hillside that makes up the horseman’s new fiefdom. Upon discerning the conscript’s intentions, she promptly murders him, throwing the body in a ditch and absconding with his clothes. While trying to understand the social situation of the fief with a fearful serf she is grabbed by Brandywine’s goons and hauled off to his fortress. There, her attempts at assassination are stymied by Lucious Saldanna. The Scale assassin and the knight Sagava Robe conspire to keep her hostage along with several other women from the village.
In town, Marcus argues with Liam about the best course of action for procuring the land. The overglasser seeks out Kelzac’s help as an interpreter, while Kossick discusses security at the inn with an irate Memmnot. Tef is beginning to worry after not seeing olympia for a day. Grath even flies to Eastenbarrow to see if she’s with Jem Jezzeret and her kin, but she’s nowhere to be found. An message stabbed into the inn door with an arrow announces that Olympia has been arrested as a spy. A more private message reaches Liam Croix detailing the terms for the release of the Lady Memmnot.
Our four heroes make for Brandywine’s land and are greeted by Lucious Saldanna and the ever stoic Gettishkun Woswold, along with a contingent of weary foot soldiers. Their negotiations revolve around the legality of slavery in the area, and the representatives of the rogue noblemen claim to have been sold these women by a native of Lake Dilreen. They are allowed to take Olympia back with them, but to retrieve the rest of the women, a hefty sum must be paid. The matter of Lady Memmnot is entirely different, requiring either Memmnot’s collection of scrolls or a sum of one thousand silver pieces.
The proposal is taken to an emergency meeting of the town council. Before they can assemble in the Inn, Tef Eastenbarrow is discovered mangled in his shop. The poor blacksmith has been beaten within an inch of his life by Cian DuVan and his thugs. Legs badly broken, Tef cries out for someone to find his sword.
At the council meeting, they immediately agree to pay the ransom, leaving the question of slavery for another day. They task Grath, Marcus and Olympia with safeguarding the ransom, and ask Kossick to put together a goodwill feast to celebrate the end of hostilities between the two settlements. They agree, but begin to hatch their own plan upon leaving the inn. Before leaving the town, Grath helps organize some of the Scale marines to rout duVan’s forces at Eastenbarrow.
Upon arriving at the rinky-dink pier along the River Down, there is some difficulty lifting the overflowing treasure chest off on to shore. Cian duVan’s mooks attack. After slaying her share, Olympia runs off and avoids Brandywine’s men on the road. The rest route the diggers before Saldanna and Woswold arrive. Kossick and his men begin preparing the hearty feast, while the conscripts scour the woods searching for more Digger bandits. Saldanna carefully counts every last gleaming piece of silver, all the while, Olympia searches for her stolen longknife. When time grows short, she sneaks into Brandywine’s private tent.
A threat uttered, a pouch of black powder is lit atop Brandywine’s bandaged torso. The powder explodes, pushing Olympia out into the fortress’s courtyard and fleeing for her life through a hail of arrow fire. She meets up with the boat a mile upstream from the small dock after the others have fed the rest of the Horselord’s men. No doubt Brandywine has much to ponder before making his next move.