Flashback: A girl stands weeping at a well set in a mountain. A chant begins from the crowd. A man steps forward, her father. She asks why, and he says that duty requires debts to be repaid, and this was a large debt to a powerful one to save the kingdom. She begs him not to go, and tries to hold on, but her uncle holds her back. Someone asks why she was brought and her father replies that he didn't have the heart to say no. He turns, comforts his little one, saying he is so sorry her mama and papa can't be there for her in the days to come. He goes to the well as the drums and chant increases to a fever pitch.
The girl's wailing continues past his descent.
As she's taken away she breaks away to kneel and whispers something inaudible to all but her uncle, who reprimands her. She turns to face him, face red from turns and coldly says: "I do. If a kingdom must protect itself by killing a man like my father, that world should burn."
Elenor Grinslow is seen walking the grounds early in the morning. A lady clothed in deep red rides up to her. She and her husband are now Count Luke and Countess Marion Markov and she wishes to to have their six year old son marry Elenor to form an alliance. Elenor refuses, knowing full well Marion (who went with her to school, oddly enough) is asking mockingly. She also notices that Marion's clothes aren't muddy, even though she rode all the way from the Markov barony. The intrepid heroes of chapter three arrive.
Elenor greets them, seeing some she knows, some she does, and all cloaked in blood. She sees Luke, and assumes by his stance that he's a lord. The others look beaten, and Thieran is unconscious from Jarl's torturing. Elenor finds out that Thieran is still alive, but barely. He's taken away to the healers.
Luke Markov introduces himself. Elenor tells him that his wife has just gone inside and is upstairs, and the Baron goes upstairs. Kincaid notices that Luke isn't in black and is made aware that Luke had no regard for his thug of an uncle whatsoever. Kincaid fills Elenor in. The Hungry One tries to reveal his intentions with Luke and the spiders, but is laughed off.
Claire introduces herself to Elenor, informing Elenor that she's a seer of the Church. Claire had traveled a long distance because she had received a vision to find Elenor and help her. Their introduction is cut short by Baron Luke's return.
The Baron comes with his Baroness to discuss the spider issue with Elenor. He demands the slaves of the other baronies be returned to them, since they're about ready to go to war over this theft. A Duel of Wits ensues:
Luke's terms: Return the spiders to their rightful owners
Elenor: I will do no such thing.
Luke narrowly won, but a major compromise was owed. We'll get to that in a minute.
Saddened by Elenor's stubbornness, Luke says that he is on their side, and will do whatever he can to abolish slavery. But for today the spiders need to be returned. Kincaid remarks slyly that Luke is just like his uncle, but Elenor rebuffs him.
At that moment spider screams can be heard from the compound where the spiders were stored. Kincaid and Elenor recognize the cries of some of the spiders as spiders of the Undernest, who are there to kidnap the males and take them back to their nests for consumption! By the time they got to the back 20 of the spiders had already been killed.
Kincaid asks the Undernest spiders why they attacked, and they explain that they were coming for their males. They had made a pact with the barons that allowed them to come and get males whenever they wished. Upon seeing Claire the spider screeches and lunges at her, only to be soundly defeated by Claire. Kincaid then knocked the spider unconscious.
The other Undernest spiders ran off with some of the males successfully, although Kincaid made sure they didn't get'em all.
Luke and Elenor set to work, trying to help all the battered Grinslow soldiers. After a bit of pushing they convince Marion to help out as well. Kincaid helps out with songs and meditations. Luke realizes that none of the spiders who remain can actually do work, and that returning them is pointless. Elenor points out that if Luke genuinely cares for the spiders now is the time to show it. Luke calls one of his servants over, and commands that all his fine clothes and other fine goods and sell them so he can make recompense the other baronies three times over for their loss. He tells Elenor that he wants to help her end slavery. When Elenor asks about Marion, he whistfully says she will work with them, that she has a path she must walk.
Luke goes over to The Hungry One and praises him for the valor he showed in battle, that it helped him decide to overturn slavery because of his nobility. An arrow grazes Elenor, badly cutting her cheek. She sees rustling in the trees, and Luke attempts to shoot the assassin. Elenor sees him and sends The Hungry One after him. The assassin purposefully fell on his own dagger, however. Claire runs up and says a prayer for the man's health, and with Elenor they stabilize him however briefly. Elenor questions him. He'se a man from an assassin's guild in Gilden (about 5 weeks away). The plan dictated that he needed to die so he wouldn't reveal what was going on. He was only supposed to graze Elenor, she wasn't supposed to die by his hand. He then dies.
Back at the estate Kincaid informs Luke that his wife is a liar, and after a short conversation with the angry Luke turns to go. The Hungry One intercepts him, however, and asks what his plan is. Kincaid wishes to talk to The One in the Deep to make a bargain with him. Claire and Elenor realize that Kincaid is up to no good, and try to stop him from leaving. Kincaid reveals the stone, and explains why he needs to go to them. A Duel of Wits ensued.
Kincaid: It is perfectly acceptable for an individual to leave as they choose.
Elenor: Not if they are a hazard and under the influence of evil!
Kincaid wins, but a regular compromise is owed. The Hungry One will come with him, and he will come back in a few months.
Down in the dungeon...
Jarl is cut, tortured, bleeding. Marion comes down to him. "Ah, they bled you enough, and now that I have the final piece (pulling out a small vial of Elenor's blood) your ability to control your own electricity will be mine. A servant enters, and informs her that they have found The Black Stone. She says preparations must be made to get the stone the next time Kincaid reappears.