The Dakan mage in command of the nest in the Tomb of Dakavarn cremates the bodies of the Dakans that were killed in the ambush on the Rothsal party. It states that the “lord” Vas will assist them in killing the humans and taking back the world that has been held by the humanoids for so long.
In the meantime, Aras wakes up in the town’s hospital, being tended to by Hilde, Adgar, and Odver. Aras is informed that it has been 3 days since he had been wounded, and had been in a coma since that battle. Having been wounded on the left side and in the face, Aras is rather pained from his injuries. Hilde tends to him for some time, though she is chased away by Ellever who takes over the duty.
Hilde and Odver go to the tavern for drinks after tending to Aras, but several of the Guard shame Hilde for spending Aras’s money while he remains severely wounded. Odver comforts her, though he notices Lanver looking at her in a remorseful way.
The next day, Aras attempts to return to work in the woods but makes his injuries worse in the attempt. Though he argues with Lanver and his boss about his capabilities, the two ultimately force Aras to return to bed rest in fear of him killing himself accidentally by working too hard.
Adgar and the Baron Odven discuss Rothsal’s response towards the Dakans due to the new threat, though Adgar presses the Baron to wait until more information is available – they are not aware of the exact location of the Dakan nest, and Adgar refuses to use his magic as a tool of war again. Adgar’s personal recommendation is to allow King Windsor the 2nd’s Riders of the North to deal with the situation, though the Baron is not thrilled with the solution. In order to satisfy Adgar, the Baron sends Rothsal Guardsmen Onell and Crears as messengers – Onell to the south towards the town of Durodes to personally request assistance from King Windsor the 2nd, and Crears northbound to Fortress Neren of the Northern Riders.
Unsatisfied, the Baron informs the Guards Captain Wesden to form a squad in order to determine the location of the nest and to intimidate them into not assaulting Rothsal in they event they make contact. He orders Lanver to escort Ellever and Alliver into battle – personally requesting him to ensure their safety.
Fearing for the general safety of his allies (and very aware that another ambush by the Dakans could result in the loss of human lives), Lanver decides to visit Hilde and request her help. Despite his hesitations, Adgar allows the Guardsman in, and Lanver finds Hilde in a very depressed state. He attempts to make peace with her for the last ten or so years, informing her that he needs to use her skills gained as a thief in order to quietly find the nest. He uses her fears of losing Aras in a long term war in order to gain her compliance, and arms her with a shortsword – very much intending to keep her alive for Aras’ sake and sanity.
The scouting party departs in the middle of the night, and reaches the outlook grove where the Dakans were encountered. Hilde is successfully able to determine that the Dakan nest is within the Tomb of Dakavarn, however she is discovered by Dakans guarding the nest and is intercepted. Wesden calls to abort the mission and orders the party to retreat, leaving Hilde behind. Lanver feels extreme remorse for leaving her in danger, however, and disobeys the retreat commands in order to rescue the girl. This causes a great amount of confusion, and several of the Rothsal Guard join Lanver in retrieving Hilde instead of retreating.
However, as the group intending to retrieve Hilde enters a clearing in the woods, the Dakans launch a surprise assault – using flares in order to blind the troops in the open while opening fire with their bows. Guardsmen Oryo, Ilan, Raen, and Kradas and Guardswoman Ori are killed in the ensuing battle – most of them being shot down in the open after being blinded by the flares. Lanver and Croden are able to rescue Hilde from being killed, though the two and Alliver are wounded by the enemy arrow volleys. After an intense battle with the Dakans, the surviving members of the scouting party are able to retrieve the dead and retreat to Rothsal.
Aras becomes aware of Hilde’s disappearance and finds her upon the scouting party’s arrival to town. He’s glad to see her alive – though it is at an apparent cost. He is mortified along with the rest of the town to find that 5 Guards were killed during the skirmish – being one of the most bloody days of Rothsal’s history within 20 years.