The Party is ready to leave to start their journey west, when Telric is ambushed on the way to bid the Party farewell. Telric barely survives the encounter but three of the assassins escape, the fourth sacrificing himself in a fiery explosion. Gwydion arrives and vows to find these assassins, assuring the Party that they are good to go on their mission.
On the road to Needleton, they meet a merchant who complains about a group of soldiers guarding the bridge and collecting a fee to cross. He also complains about wizards in Needleton who he hired as guards but left after a day with his money.
The Party reaches the bridge and finds about 15 soldiers blocking the way, led by a man called Sir Darius. The title strikes the Party as odd, as the Crimson Blades shun all titles of nobility like “Sir.” They sweet talk their way past the blockage, only paying a small fee to do so.
As they approach Needleton, they hear more stories of wizards ripping off merchants. When they arrive, they see a fight between a giant named Gregory and man named Gunson. Gunson tried in vain to calm down a very drunk and belligerent Gregory, finally resorting to cutting Gregory’s 8-foot sword apart with a sword made entirely out of the strange crimson metal worn by the Crimson Blades. The Party learns of the struggle Gunson is having with law and order in this wild town of lumberjacks, and also the location of a former wizard of King Lior’s court – Kailor.
Gunson has a magical stone capable of holding and casting “Detect Magic” spells. He uses this to protect the dumb lumberjacks from getting scammed out of their money by wizards who frequently sell useless things as powerful artifacts. The Party has the opportunity to learn how to imbue certain objects with spells.
Believing Kailor to be the wizard responsible for ripping the merchants off, the party goes to his home to find it empty. The Party breaks into the house and finds a secret passage underground. The Party bypasses the first trap by figuring out a code on the wall, but fall prey to the second trap, an illusionary Gregory who attacks them.