Waking in the morning, the party is told by the inn keeper in the lobby that someone has left a message for them. The letter simply says “Need a Favor” and is signed “D.” Assuming that the person in question is Darwin, the group parts, Halen and Racket going to the Bard college to visit Maggie and to begin Racket’s training as U’resh and Raneth go to Del’s shop in hopes of finding Darwin.
In the backroom of Del’s shop, they hear arguing and knock, the door opens to the tired faces of both Darwin and Vere. They explain that they need help, that they would like to know what happened to their missing party members and that while they cannot pay with coin, they do have several items that might be useful. They agree to start off tomorrow, giving Darwin some time to brew a few potions for them.
Meanwhile, Maggie does not seem to actually be inside her office, leaving both Racket and Halen to mull about in the library instead.
Having the day to spend in town, Raneth and U’resh decide to visit Boscoe at Books and Bobbles and eventually drop off the book but not before Boscoe suggests they retrieve a book from the Luna Tower that would help with speeding up the translation process since he predicts it could take months. They agree to bring it up to their friends.
That evening, Halen decides to drop by and visit Darwin, just to check in, but finds that Darwin is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he finds himself face to face with the always sour Vere. Together, the two of them have a surprising heart to heart and part ways managing to work out some of the tension between them.
The next day, the group is ready to set off and arrives at the shop where Darwin gives them the potions and they are given directions to Dunes Run, the last place Naella and Drava were seen. However, before leaving the city, U’resh mentions that visiting Luna Tower before they leave. There’s a brief discussion about what they should do – if they should set out to Dunes Run first or if they should stop by the Tower, but Halen, fed up by the waiting, decides to take off running instead.
He eventually arrives at Luna Tower, losing his friends behind him, and manages to talk his way in. Unfortunately, his recklessness has him ending up in chains and thrown in a holding cell within the tower. Bemoaning the loss of time, he waits for his friends to come get him.
The party does manage to convince the tower to release Halen to them, claiming that they are the Daxian city guards, and abandon the quest for the book, citing that they’ve wasted enough time.
Buying a pair of horses, they leave Daxia and make the day and a half trek by horse towards Dunes Run.
Following the trail into the hills, they find a hanging naked human body, dead awhile but continue forward. As they continue, they manage to spot even more signs of struggle but the area around them grows more and more quiet. Uneased, they decide to make camp, ensuring that there is someone to stand guard.
Unfortunately, when Racket’s watch comes, he finds himself nodding off and doesn’t manage to wake the next person on watch. When they wake that morning, they find themselves face to face with a familiar Goliath woman. Drava tells them that they are lucky to not have been found by the bandits. She guides them to Naella, who is seriously ill, and explains to them that she has been fending for the two of them for weeks now in the forest. Ambushing and killing her attackers who have been stalking them. She had found the group by chance and nearly attacked them but upon recognizing them, stopped and decided to keep watch for them.
U’resh, using his divine power, heals Naella who is grateful. She thanks them and hands them three hundred gold, in gratitude. The group then gives the pair their horses, telling them to go to Daxia as they are in much worse condition than the party is.
Still, the party is careful, and slowly they make their way out of the hills without any issue. In fact, it’s almost eerily easy to leave.
The walk back to Daxia is much slower without steeds and it takes them two days. When they get back, they immediately make their way into Del’s shop but find themselves opening the door to a heated shouting match in the back. As they enter the back room they find that their three friends Naella, Darwin and Vere looking distressed.