A week after returning to Jaxson Ben, Lewen and Tiril are summoned to Scarlet’s parlor for their first assignment. The Halfling Oddlin is present for the meeting but Holgar the artificer, who is reading a large tome, excuses himself.
Scarlet assigns them to escort the merchant Blyson Gethers, who is traveling to Mistwatch with valuable items to trade. Two men-at-arms as well as Lewen’s cousin, Nansha, are also escorting the merchant. Scarlet wants them to guard the merchant’s wagons but has another task of more importance.
On Gethers’ last trip to Mistwatch, Nansha and Oddlin were part of the escort. On the third night of the journey Oddlin saw Nansha sneak off into the forest. He followed her and discovered she was meeting someone. He didn’t get too close on that night but suspected that the person or persons were shadar kai. The shadar kai are people from the shadowfell who reside in an ancient, ruined keep near the fortified town of Winterhaven. A century ago, the Beheaders stopped an evil priest from opening a portal to Orcus’ domain in the shadowfell. After, four of shadar kai and their troupe called the Raven Roost Performers took over the keep so as to prevent anyone else from opening it. The shadar kai are worshipers of the Raven Queen and are bitter enemies of Orcus. The Performers were a motely group consisting of humans, some dwarves and halflings that put on a morbid circus type show from time to time. Over the years they never gave the people of Winterhaven any trouble. Years later, a clan of shadar kai called the Ghost Talon took over the keep and their ways of appeasing the Raven Queen were more troubling than the former group. They are suspected of evil deeds and the people of Jaxson are encouraged to avoid them.
Scarlet wants Ben, Lew and Tiril to keep an eye on Nansha and make sure she is not up to anything foolish or Bahamut forbid something malevolent. She would like them to refrain from confronting Nansha but confirm the suspicions by spying on her.
The trip to Mistwatch takes nearly four days. On the third day before dusk the silhouette of a person is seen far away on a hill near the road. At second glance, the figure is gone. That night the three friends take turns keeping watch with the man-at-arms. Lewen sees Nansha leave the camp area and tries to follow her. Before he reaches the woods she returns and in an awkward exchange she tells him she was going out to pee. During Ben’s watch she leaves again and Ben follows her. In the woods, after a short trek, Ben sneaks down to a cave and witness Nansha meeting with a shadar kai woman who is trying to pursuade the girl to come with her. The shadar kai women promises Nansha powers only she can teach her and the girl appears interested but unsure. They agree to meet again in two nights when the merchant will be returning to Jaxson. Ben hides and the girl goes back to the camp. After the girl is gone Ben sees that the cave was an illusion as the shadar kai woman dispells it and two shadar kai men come out from their hiding place. “This will all be settled one way or another in two nights.” she tells them and they leave in the opposite direction.
The merchant Gethers goes into Mistwatch alone with his wagons when they reach the outskirts of the town and after he does his business they set out the next day. During the trip back they camp at the same spot and Nansha again sneaks into the woods. Ben convinces the others that they do not need to follow her because thay have comfirmed that she was meeting shadar kai. Nansha never returns to camp. The merchant Gethers is quite upset when he finds out and fears the wrath of the bandit queen because one of the blood is missing.
When they return to Jaxson and report to Scarlet, she is infuriated with them and sends them to a room in her cellar to wait while she holds council with the heads of the houses.