Kafu, Elowen, Arena, Ekring and Vian enter Eslen with the expectation that their Orcish companion, Kadgrale, will help broker some kind of lasting peace between Orcs and Men. However, Kafu’s ability to bargain with Kadgrale becomes strained while forces are afoot in the city that clearly have their own agenda. Three days of diplomatic discussion between the Thane and his closest rivals are interrupted by poisonings, murders, and an Ogrish emissary. While Arena helps to keep the diplomatic process on track Elowen forms a lasting friendship with the Dwarves of Norga and Kafu slowly reveals that the Corruption of the North may be linked to happenings overseas. Sadly, Katharta, Kafu’s main lead, commits suicide in broad daylight. On further investigation, the Thane’s Shaman inadvertently demonstrates that the taint in Norga has not been completely expunged, and pays for the mistake with his life. Events come to a climax during the last night of the Moot, with the assassination of Thane Hesha at the hands of the Skull Tribe and a highly tactical response to their actions by Glodurin (the Dwarven Governor of the city). During the following two weeks, Arena and Kafu ensure that the selection of a new Thane is appropriately handled, and in the process acquire no small amount of political power over the North. Elowen, meanwhile, cements her relationship with Glodurin.
With passage expedited by the new Thane (Asker) and his new Shaman (Sthenet), the party leave for Dalriada to follow up on their only two leads, a mysterious messenger called Cairns, and the figure known only as Urizen.