Aras spends his days logging the woods outside the village of Rothsal, though he is having thoughts about leaving town and exploring life’s other possibilities due to his childhood friend Hilde having left town – he isn’t too content with his life as it is. His best friend Odver attempts to talk him out of such ideas, and they continue logging.
Upon returning to town, Aras is surprised to find that Hilde has returned to town – and is subsequently being beaten and arrested for stealing by his friend Lanver, a member of the town’s militia. Aras bribes Lanver in order to have him overlook the situation, and dutifully helps Hilde after her incident. Odver and Aras find themselves reprimanded by their boss due to their late arrival and lack of progress in the field after helping Hilde, and are informed that they will both be fired due to their incompetence if it keeps up.
Aras returns home with Hilde, who says that her visit to the North Ahrea capital city of Vels was decent – though she dodges the particulars of her stay there and why she came back to a town were she had nothing. Aras insists that she will always have a place to stay, and enters a conversation with his adoptive father Adgar after she has fallen asleep. Adgar convinces Aras to put more of a full effort into ensuring her well being, which Aras does by heading out in the middle of the night to cut firewood.
Odver and Motten (another lumberjack, and a member of the town guard that had attempted to arrest Hilde during the last night) head to the field the next morning, wondering where Aras had gone. They find him stacks deep in firewood, and help him despite Motten’s hesitance due to Aras’s money going towards Hilde’s pockets.
Upon returning to Rothsal, Aras, Odver, and Motten are paid 1 GP apiece for the amount of wood they retrieved for the day – far more than usual. Odver gives Aras his share, telling him to take care of Hilde with it. Ellever intercepts Aras on the way home – telling him to make sure he isn’t taken advantage of (obviously referring to Hilde), and that she wants him to tag along on a group hike the next morning. She kisses him on the cheek as she leaves, and Aras informs her that he’ll be coming along. Upon returning home, Aras gives Hilde her share of the money before the two fall asleep. In the morning, Aras invites Hilde along for the hike, though she’s rather hesitant due to the company involved.
Despite the initial hesitation of Lanver to allow Hilde to come along, the party sets off to see the outlook to the south of Rothsal – where they are unaware that a number of draconians known as Dakans have made their nest in the nearby ruins known as the Tomb of Dakavarn. The dakans assume the group to be a militia scouting party, and prepare to ambush them.
Hilde informs Aras that she lied about her reasoning for returning to Rothsal as the two fall behind the main group while they talk, but she is interrupted as the Dakans ambush them. The others realize that the two are in danger, but also find themselves under attack from a second group of Dakans. The party enters their first combat, and Aras is severely wounded in the stomach during the ambush. Though the party successfully kills their attackers, Aras ends up being knocked unconscious by a Dakan during the battle and appears to have died from blood loss.