While in Ostcliff, waiting for Halen’s father to get out of jail, the group discusses what to do about the assassins after them. During one shopping trip, a note is slipped to Bartok Ironclaw, asking to meet.
It turns out, the note is from Bartok’s previous employer, known simply as The Butcher. When they meet, The Butcher, passes off a tip to Bartok that he is being actively hunted by a very dangerous group of Assassins known by many as The Kings, short for “King Slayers” after they had successfully assassinated the previous king of Belebrought several years ago.
TheThe Butcher offers Bartok an out. He will take care of the Kings if Bartok promises to return the favor somewhere down the line, whatever that favor may be. Despite the unease he feels about the deal, Bartok accepts this offer, in the hopes of saving his friends, after all, they have nearly died several times from ambushes by them.
The day of Halen’s father’s release, the party decides to meet him, but find themselves directed to an office for information. There they run into a drow by the name of Enri, apparently, Enri’s precious cart has been impounded and the bureaucracy refuses to return it to her. Taking pity, they invite Enri out to a drink, where they find themselves at a local tavern catering specifically to the nondwarf races.
Unfortunately, their drink is cut short when a group of city guards wander into the tavern asking for the owner of a recently impounded cart. Halen, covering for Enri, claims that the cart is his, but this backfires on him when the guards intend to arrest him for the apparent illicit materials found in the cart unless they do a favor for him, with the added bonus of returning the cart should they complete the task.
Forced to agree, the group gears up and goes to tackle the task. Apparently twelve dwarves have gone missing in a nearby mine and the group has to retrieve them, either dead or alive.
At the camp, after speaking to a few of the miners, they find the miners unhelpful and most seem traumatized by whatever it is they encountered in them. Without much information to go on, the group enters the mine.
There they find it completely empty as mining as come to a complete halt. As they venture deeper and deeper, they find themselves no closer to the answer when suddenly, the floor begins to cave downwards. Escaping the potential disaster effectively, the group climbs down the newly created tunnel only for it to cave in. Narrowly escaping with their lives, they decide to abandon this expedition entirely, concocting a plan to trick the guards who’ve strongarmed them into agreeing on this quest.
As they return, they find a large cavernous tunnel that wasn’t there when they entered and after Halen shoots a blast down the tunnel, several rock figures begin approaching. The group high tails it, only to discover that the rock creatures stop at the opening of the cave. Fearful that the tunnel was made by a wyrm or an otherwise equally terrifying creature or magic, the group confirms their intention of abandoning the quest.
They successfully manage to trick the guards and escape and decide to retrieve Enri’s cart a different way.
After some investigation and questioning around town, they find that the cart has simply been impounded in a separate lot and manage to retrieve it with relative ease, much to the group’s chagrin.
They invite Enri to Halen’s home and there the group has a nice hearty dinner with the now reunited family as Halen’s dad has finally been released from holding. There, Halen has a heartfelt conversation with his father who asks the boy to return home. Halen agrees and goes to talk to his friends about his choice.
The next morning, with Enri gone, the Halen continues to discuss his decision with his friends. They are saddened and some take it better than others but eventually they press on without their friend towards their next goal.
Raneth tells the group that she’s uncomfortable with the idea that the Kings may be after the Dwarven King and asks the group to travel with her to Crestridge so that they may warn him. They agree and make their way to the Dwarven capital.
They arrive in the evening in Crestridge and decide to find a place to bunk. They find a nice enough tavern but soon after arrival, Raneth finds herself magically frozen in place and handcuffed by a human man. The party, quick to react, demand answers out of the man. The man explains that he is investigating a murder and that both Raneth and Racket are persons of interest.
Outraged, the group argues with him, claiming that the man is overstepping his bounds. After much argument, they finally settle on some form of understanding. The man is named Gregory Farose, he is Del’s brother and father of Alvin, the young boy who had been murdered at the shop. Raneth and Racket had been there during the murder and he intended to question them.
Raneth is still outraged but the group understands that the brash actions of the man had most likely come from his grief. As an apology, he offers the group an audience with a friend of his, the Loreholder, a position of high authority within the Dwarven kingdom.
Before heading to bed, Bartok is, approached by The Butcher, who calls in his favor. The favor being the murder of Gregory. Bartok is taken aback and asks several questions but is The Butcher refuses to answer the question.
The next day, they meet with the Loreholder who tells the group that the only way they can get an audience with the king is to find the Ancestral Mandate, a lost Dwarven artifact, lost somewhere in the Golden City, an ancient Dwarven city below Crestridge.
They agree and set off on this journey with Gregory in tow.
They get through the Golden City without much fanfare until they encounter stone statues that attack them. They find themselves fighting through these statues and other hazards. As they stop to rest, they hear a strange hissing sound from a nearby open large building, likely to be an old hall of some sort. Gregory decides to approach first and there he is met with a Medusa. After he explains that he’s just looking for an artifact, the Medusa, believing them to be thieves attacks.
The party is caught in a fierce fight as the Medusa has commands the stone statues littering the hall to attack as well.
Eventually, the fight ends with the group victorious but not without cost. Raneth has turned to stone and Gregory unconscious.