Cadrigar reaches the hospital and manages to locate Mathias and Ulric; fortunately both of them have miraculously escaped being visited by the Theives Guild’s hired assassin and have also managed to recover much of their wounds, including the boatman’s mangled hands. The elf pedlar spends some time on updating the two men on what has recently transpired; once they have finished conversing they set off for the safe house. Carla briefly visits the Markt Platz and spends all her coin on some much needed ingredients before returning to the safe house. Inside the house Fickenja has been busy practising picking locks while Durgar has been teaching Heinrich the herder some basic swordsmanship techniques.
A few hours later they are picked up by coach and escorted by a couple of guild men, one of whom is called Gottlieb. They travel across town and stop outside a large mansion called Hochberg, only a couple of streets away from Marius Uns’ abode. They are taken inside and are brought into a large banquet hall where many familiar merchants and shop owners from around the Markt Platz and the rest of the town are sat on two rows of benches partaking in a feast; at the top of the room is the head table where three men sit, one of them is Marius Uns. The merchant brings the room to order and begins to talk, and it is clear at this point that Uns is not merely a patron of the Merchants Guild but is in fact the leader. In his speech he tells the assembly that due to the good work and successful completion of a number of important tasks the group are being sworn into the guild as probationary members. After the ceremony, in which they pledge their loyalty and swear and oath, they are taken aside into a nearby room where Marius has news for them.
Marius tells the group that he has been able to settle the blood debt on their behalf with the Thieves Guild for the payment of a princely sum of 2000gp; for this fee the Thieves Guild have agreed to withdraw the contracts on the groups’ lives. The merchant informs them they will have to pay this fee back to the guild by signing contracts for indentured service for a total of five years each; all the group decide that there is nothing else for it but to sign the contracts. At this point Marius also relays some tragic news – Dolwen’s body was fished out of the water two days ago; the elf merchant had been tortured and murdered for the group’s actions against the Thieves Guild. Many of the members are surprisingly without much sympathy for their unfortunate elf boss and only Carla says that she will visit his body in the temple of Morr. Fickenja then chooses to confess the latest palace job to Marius; she tells him that they have been tasked to place two mysterious packages within the home of a Til Vorman. Uns reveals that Vorman is the leader of the Thieves Guild and has the two mysterious packages opened by Gottlieb – the first contains a bloodied dagger, which the group theorise is the murder weapon used on Tarquinius, while the second package consists of Crimson Bliss, a powerful narcotic. The group realise that this narcotic is what they have been delivering to various locations around town for the Merchants Guild. It is clear to everyone in the room that the Palace has the intention of destabilizing and destroying both guilds. The group suggests taking action against the Palace but Uns warns them that they don’t understand just how dangerous the Palace is; he informs them that he will go and speak with the Thieves Guild again to discuss what should be done. Uns instructs the group to remain in the mansion where it is safe, until he returns.
The group retire for the night in a single room and go to sleep; everyone that is but Cadrigar, who feels shaky and ill. The elf pedlar is unsure what is happening to him but he really wants another dose of the restorative potion, Kussen Die Drachen. Unable to get to sleep and craving the elixir, Cadrigar decides to steal Jeffric’s money so that he can use the coins to buy another bottle; unfortunately for the elf, the woodsman wakes up to find the pedlar’s hands upon him. A scuffle ensues and Jeffric calls to Durgar for help and between them they manage to subdue the elf and tie him up. Waking up the rest of the group they discuss what has occurred, several of them doubting what they are being told – but it becomes clear to many of them that Cadrigar is addicted. The group spends the next few hours vainly trying to acquire some help for their elf companion, even sending a runner to the Markt Platz to ask Dr Schrodinger and The Emporium if there any cures for Cadrigar’s ailment. Upon the runner’s return they learn that a cleansing potion can be purchased for 100gp and that magical aid can also be obtained for a price; unfortunately the group has little coin in their possession. They attempt to obtain some help from their new employers but the Guild is loathe to help in such a personal matter at this time of considerable trouble.
Marius returns to the mansion just after lunch and tells the group that the slate has been cleaned with the Thieves Guild and warns against antagonising them further. He then reveals that he was approached by Captain Aldous, who is curiously well informed about the group being in the merchant’s employ. Their plans disrupted by the group’s actions, the Palace is now overtly compelling the Merchants Guild to carry out a pressing task for them. Marius instructs the group to go along with Gottlieb and Serge to see Ludwig Camus, the Reiksdorf Chancellor, and learn the details of the mission.
At 4pm Sgt Brent arrives outside the mansion with a coach; the group plus Serge and Gottlieb climb aboard and are driven across town to a completely different and unvisited district – the Palace district. They pass the well kept promenades and gardens and spot the imposing palace itself; the coach finally pulls up to the ornate offices next to the regal abode itself. They are escorted into the building, and taken up to the Chancellor’s opulent office where they find Captain Aldous and the mysterious man who recently took custody of the handwritten letters waiting. The Chancellor, a wily and shrewd politician, informs the assembled visitor that the regent himself, Prince Ruprecht, has an urgent yet dangerous task that needs to be accomplished. The job is to travel to the ruined town of Grenz which lies 12 miles to the south, beyond the great forest. They are to find the tomb of St Ignacious, an ancestor of the Prince, and retrieve all the heirlooms and artefacts contained within less tomb robbers steal them. The mysterious man, revealed as Pieter Quince, the court mage, gives them a couple of leather bags to transport the antiques. The group mutters few questions, some sensible, some impertinent, prior to being told to shut by the horrified Gottlieb. What they do learn is that St Ignacious is famous for fighting a powerful necromancer 150 years ago and that his tomb will probably be located near the centre of the ruined town.