Ephram goes into town and finds the local oddities market Where he purchases an intricate mask that the shopkeeper claims to have been made out of wyrwood, an exceedingly rare and sacred druidic tree. Upon returning to the estate, he reunites with Isidore and Koroda. The three of them share their discoveries, Ephram confirms that the mask is composed of Wyrwood, and Isidore and Koroda note the distinct similarity between it and Duvalle’s mask. Ephram heads off to learn more about where the merchant found it.
Isidore goes around asking about tapestries, and is directed to Marquis Jeralt Dallon who is training with several others in the Proving Grounds. The Marquis says that he can show Isidore a fine selection of tapestries, provided that he comes to speak with the marquis later. While leaving the grounds, Isidore soaks a cat folk noble that looked at him funny. Meanwhile, Koroda bonds some more with Yvette, informing her of what he’s found out so far as well as lending a hand with the laundry so that she may have a break.
Meanwhile, Ephram returns to the stand to find that the merchant has gone off with several others to discuss wares. Tracking them down to a nearby warehouse, he changes into a rat and sneaks inside. There, he finds the dying body of merchant. He attempts to save the man’s life, only to be ambushed by a pair of small, masked figures similar to Duvalle. After a brief struggle, they manage to apprehend him, offering to spare his life if he returns the mask before the bell tolls, and on the condition that he speaks to no one along the way.
Ephram runs back to Elysius, where he finds Kadri snooping around his things and toying with the mask. A brief exchange is shared between the two before he leaves. He runs into Koroda on the way out, informs him of what has happened, and the two race to get back in town, arriving just as the bell tolls. They are ambushed again by the assassins, who are less than amused by Ephram’s failure to abide by their terms. He is swiftly cut down cut him down. They leave Koroda alone, warning him not to meddle in affairs that do not concern him as they recover the mask and vanish. Koroda carries Ephram back to estate, where he is healed by Listraya. It is at this point that they discover that in this timeline, Listraya is a paladin rather than a cleric, and takes a much harsher stance on heresy and blasphemy. Upon returning to his chamber, Ephram discovers that Kadri has stolen the dark wood staff.
The evening comes, and the party heads off the ball. Upon arrival, Sébannoçal offers them each a drink which he not so subtly hints is laced with a powerful hallucinogenic. After some convincing, Koroda and Isidore both agree to partake while Ephram abstains. Isidore is unaffected by the drug while Koroda succumbs to it. Ephram follows suit later on when he discovers that all of the food is laced with this same drug. The two addled adventurers enjoy the party, while Isidore has a conversation with Kelwirt who is also unaffected.
Later that night, a magic enhanced fireworks display is put on for the guests. As the show reaches its conclusion, one of the fireworks goes off in the forest, setting it ablaze. The party is provided the antidote to the drug as well as their gear and are summoned by Sébannoçal to investigate it. Ephram identifies that it was purposefully set. Kadri arrives shortly afterwards to confirm this, revealing that Taemoren was the one behind the fire and that he’s used it as a distraction to bring Errol to the cave where the elf druid was meeting with the Warden conspiracy members. They inform Sébannoçal of this, and then head off into the forest. Branz de Pannigi also joins them in this endeavor.
They arrive at the cave to find Taemoren and the masked assassins waiting for them. Words are exchanged, during which Taemoren reveals that he seeks to join the wardens out of his disgusted at his races moral decline and would do anything to see it restored to its former glory. The leader of the assassins, some sort of masked mage, order Taemoren to kill the party as his initiation. An epic battle is had as the group faces off against the powerful druid, and in the end they manage to claim victory at minimal cost to themselves. The assassins are disappointed and take their leave while refusing to answer any questions the group may have. Isidore attempts to soak them, only for the mage leading them to counter spell it.
The group leaves the forest where their host waiting for them. He places the blame on Kadri for not informing him of Taemoren’s misdeeds, and tells the party to keep this knowledge to themselves. Ephram discovers that one of Kadri’s wounds is infected, and convinces her to come back to the manor to be treated.
Upon returning to the manor, the party discovers the Cimmerian Quartet hiding out in the house. The leader introduces himself as Gwynn, claiming that they share a common enemy: the wardens. He refuses to divulge more, untrusting of the security of the house, and gives the group instructions on where they will meet the next evening.
Ephram treats Kadri’s wound the best he can, and asks that in return she gives him back his staff. Kadri feigns innocence, but Ephram isn’t convinced by her act. Regardless, she doesn’t make any promises and heads back to her shack in the woods.