Ray Vance, a Paladin in the Order of the Balanced Blade, has been assigned the task of finding out information on the dragon. He travels South to the city of Granpueblo. Soon after arriving, he is greeted by the sight of a Varangian airship landing at the port. The most beautiful woman he has ever seen emerges, speaks to the crowd, and drops off three men whom she claims are Arisen. Realizing their connection to the dragon, Vance watches the men. One of the Arisen, Tocatal, runs a race faster than he has ever seen a man run one before. He approaches the group but Tocatal and Stanton are drawn away by other pressing business. While he is thoroughly unimpressed by Porkrind, he does meet Fortunato and the two men decide to search for information on the dragon together.
Finding nothing useful, they dump Porkrinds at a bar and decide to search for work. They stop by the animal control office and learn that a bounty has been placed at a local village. Apparently, some sort of creature is entering the town at night and tearing the place up, trying to break into the houses and terrifying the residents. The men agree to the job and head out.
Upon arriving, they meet the village elder who gives them what little information he knows about the creature. Apparently, the creature tore up a tree with claws like a bear but also cracked a door with something hard like a beak. Whatever it was, the two men set out on the creatures trail.
The trail leads them to a river where they are attacked by Spriggans. After killing them, they investigate the bodies, finding some strange tattoos on them. Though beaten and bruised, they continue on through the forest.
Eventually, the part is accosted by faeries, who ask the party what they are up to. Upon learning that they are hunting a creature of the forest, they warn the party that there will be retribution if they kill it. However the faeries do tell the party that something is wrong and that some unknown entity hiding out in a cave is making several creatures act strangely. The party promises to investigate.
They eventually find the cave as well as their quarry: an owlbear. The discover that it too bears strange markings similar to what they found on the Spriggans. They return to faeries with their information and agree to work together to find a solution. The faeries allow them access to their healing spring to treat their wounds. They then use the faeries to distract the owlbear and sneak into the cave.
Going deeper, they find a lair of sorts. Rooting through a desk, Ray finds information on the dragon as well as the journal belonging to whoever owned the hideout. Fortunato finds some valuable books on alchemy and both men find several potions. Pushing deeper, they are attacked by a strange, humanoid-shaped creature which explodes when killed. They then find a trap door and go even deeper into the cave.
They find a dark room with several cages scattered about and animals kept inside. They don’t have much time to investigate as they are attacked by camouflaged creatures who blend in to the dark. They eventually beat them back and are able to investigate the room in full, finding that it is a laboratory where someone was experimenting on forest creatures. They find a strange circle but are unsure of what it is, guessing that it was probably used in teleportation. However, they are unable to find the culprit and ultimately leave.
They return to the faeries and tell them that their troubles are likely over, though they can’t be too sure. They then return to the village and inform the village elder the same. They then return to the city, largely unsuccessful though with a possible lead on something sinister.