Captain Galloway is satisfied with the work of his Six, as their work to save Baronet Silas Bloodwater’s daughter has renewed interest in Galloway’s company. Now it is up to the Six to persue what leads they deem relevent as they try to piece together the mysteries that surround their mission.
The frozen battles of winter have given way to the muddy trials of spring. The Life and Times of Judythia Bluegill is not so much a magic item as a powerful conjuration of shadow. No easy trace is found of “Poppa” wererat, nor of the teen wererats who seemingly had him under their thumb. Jude, the orphan wererat, gets along well enough with Fiara, but there are unstated worries about his stability during the full moons.
It is never easy for friends to part, especially those who have held each others’ lives in their hands, but Galloway’s Six decide to do just that. Keeping the magic diary hidden under his robes, the Khinasi bard Majid rides for Anuire, the free imperial city. His destination is the college of magic. Gracing the right palms with gold, he becomes an official “student” on the roster. Months of research lead to no progress until he discovers a set of mental exercises which can be used to help the mind see through Shadow. He realizes that he can never remember the exact text of the diary after reading it. This leads him down a new path of investigation.
Liriel returns to the Elvenmere, a small forrest of elves granted soveriegnty within Roesone. There she trains future bladesingers, eventually befriending Mabghe, a young elf female whose spirit of adventure mirrors Liriel’s own. She never seeks out her father, though he should be in the same realm.
Miri travels briefly with Liriel and then takes on the task of caring for Jude, hoping to help him learn to control his were side by channeling his rage, much like a berzerker. She finds some success and earns some gold as a strongwoman in the process.
Interviewing the peasantry near Dumaire, Kenrick finds a pattern in reports of wererat activity. Low class men of unclear moral calibur appear in town with too much gold to spend, and then a child or two go missing. This trend extends to the north.
Govannon chooses to follow his instinct, spending his spring trying to attune himself to the land, hoping that some unclaimed potential of mabghiel misght yet exist. Months of investigating unusual natural phenomina leads him back to a cavern he knows well. Somewhere beneath the runic circle where the viscious acid demon was summoned, an untapped source manifestation may lie.