After surviving the devious trap set by Father Montrose in the catacombs hidden beneath the crypt in the Cathedral City courtyard, Cromwell and Laura encounter the animated corpses Eyejelly warned them about. The slow moving zombies eventually fall before the heroes. In the room is a bier with Sarah’s body. Her ghost watches over weeping. Cromwell removes the amulet that traps her in the world and destroys it.
Once explanations have been made to Bishop Ferdinand the party departs Cathedral City and returns once again to Capital City. Once they arrive they learn of the death of the crown prince, an infant who died of crib death. The city closes for morning, and court is not held. To pass time Cromwell, Laura, and Eyejelly undertake a quest to find a missing hunter, and kill a direboar and return it for the pelt. Despite warnings from a Blackwood Ranger they encounter, the characters fall victim to a cockatrice and spend the next year and a half as stone statues.
A young acolyte returns Laura and Cromwell to their normal state, while performing his duties, which include searching the forest for victims of the cockatrice and applying a stone to flesh salve on them. He reveales that the church has declared cockatrice as agents of the Enemy. As a result bounties have been placed on the creatures and they have been hunted to extinction.
Cromwell finally gets his audience with King Aegis after speaking with his steward. After conferring with his advisor, the red robed Pentus, the King agrees to grant him access to the dungeons below Capital City, where Cromwell believes a dragon’s lair is, in exchange for a sworn oath of fealty. After a short ceremony in which Cromwell’s Uncle Wendell becomes enraged and refuses to speak to him, Laura is invited to the Princess Miora‘s chambers to play her harp. It is revealed that the princess has a love for adventure and is more interested in Laura’s sword than her harp. She indicates that when she is old enough, she is going to the Eastern Lands to find her mother.
In the dungeons below Capital City Cromwell discovers that a dragon cult has been meeting there. This cult has also heard rumors that the dragon is there and is attempting to wake him. The cult accesses the dungeon through a secret door in the base of a statue of King Aegis that leads into the city sewer near the dungeon.
On a break from attempting to find the dragon in the dungeons beneath the city, Eyejelly meets an owl named Hedgewig who, in spite being a spirit from the same plane as Eyejelly, seems bent on eating him. The party discovers that the owl belongs to Celeste, a mage from the Academy of Amethyst in the Eastern Lands. Celeste has traveled to Westerland to find a Westerlander she met and fell in love with at the academy. This Westerlander is Jared Flowers nephew of Lady Christa of house Flowers and cousin to Brightblade. During this time Laura learns through gossip that Lord Harper of house Stone is her grandfather on her mothers side.
Delving back into the dungeons beneath the city, Cromwell, Laura, Eyejelly, and their new companions, Celeste and Hedgewig are able to defeat the dragon cult. Doing so catches the attention of the dragon Galvan who reveals himself. He seems leary of Cromwell, but respects his heritage and his battle prowess, asking him to help him retrieve a magical scepter from the now abandoned lair of his arch enemy, another dragon. Cromwell agrees.
The party meets with King Aegis who declares that he’s hosting a feast in a fortnight for Lord Cromwell. They tell him that they intend to travel to Castle Stonehold, but they should be back in time to attend the feast. The abandoned dragon’s lair is near Castle Stonehold. Brightblade indicates that he is traveling to his home and that he will accompany the party as far as Castle Stonehold.
On the road Brightblade enjoys hunting trips and frequently returns with deer and rabbit. During one such trip, the remaining party members encounter a troll. With some effort they are able to kill it. When Brightblade returns a crowd has gathered around the burned corpse. The travelers assume that Brightblade is responsible for killing the monster in spite of his protests otherwise.
Free of the crowd surrounding the troll, the party stumbles into a group of Inquisitors who deride Brightblade for choosing to serve the King, rather than the church. One recognizes Celeste as a wizard and asks for her to be handed over. Brightblade intimidates them into leaving her alone.
Soon after leaving the inquisitors the group spots a group of plainsmen on the road. Brightblade informs them that no one has ever seen the wild horsemen this far north due to the fact that the forests and hills are too difficult to navigate on horseback. The horsemen attack, presumably to steal the party’s horses, but the party, with help from Brightblade, is able to kill the barbarians. During the battle, Brightblade’s skill becomes evident.