The sound of vanara corpses dropping onto the deck of Mielikki’s Pride brings Kyle out of his reverie and Xena out of her quarters where she’s been crippled by seasickness. Elendria helms the frigate past the ships of undead, destroying one. They make their way back to Hellstrike in a day as she finds favorable winds. Guidsmar sends word to the vanara that the undead blight has been stopped.
They rush to Hellstrike, where Nellene gives Guidsmar a pass to see Agnur, the half-orc priest of the Raven Queen that sits on the Council. Agnur pales at the sight of the book and insists that they must destroy it right away. As he warns them that someone will come looking for it, Kyle trips across the room, stabbing himself with his rapier, screaming about a ghost in the wall. An enormous, headless undead coalesces out of a corner. Guidsmar summons an acid pit at its feet and they rain arrows on it until its body and possessions melt in the acid.
They retire into the next room, where Agnur performs the ritual. Elendria expires peacefully and the book is reduced to a black, scorched mark on the stone floor. Just then, a messenger child from Varin’s court arrives with a message for Elendria. Seeing her dead, he gasps and runs away,
Kyle turns Elendria’s body to a skeleton and starts grinding it into bonemeal, explaining to the dumbstruck Agnur that he’s performing a holy ritual. Guidsmar returns to Mielikki’s Pride and gathers the corpses of Kaz and the vanara so that Agnur can revive them. When he returns, Varin is bawling over Elendria’s remaining bones. Kyle gives Varin Elendria’s remains.
Guidsmar sends the vanara back to their people. He returns to his manse to find that children have been disappearing in Drunksmede, and that he (along with the other men) is invited to Varin’s bachelor party in three days. He gets more information on the missing children from his steward, and buys himself a fancy cloak worth 1000 gp that’s a deep black velvet covered in birds created from gems.
Elendria’s second in command, Franc, is promoted to baron by Varin as he feels this is what Elendria would have wanted.
Kaz discovers that Eridell is being approached by a nezumi water dragon.
Ruinier starts a hunters guild in the forest outside of Hellstrike. This grants him an income of 1000 gp per month.
Varin offers Xena audience to discuss her reward. Xena politely declines Marle’s invitation to her bridal shower.
Kyle goes to the city center and starts prophecying doom compellingly. A wasp comes to his shoulder and whispers that although he is doing quite a good job, his efforts are unsanctioned. It invites him to the spire for a meeting with Olina, the head priestess of Kalistria on the Council. They discuss his visions and conversion, and he is inducted into the council, provided with a badge, and directed to stamp out and report any acts of necromancy.
At Varin’s bachelor party, Guidsmar goads the guest of honor about Elendria and hooks up with a couple of dancing girls. Franc friendlies up with Nestor, until the old troublemaker works with Kyle to convince Varin to go upstairs with another dancing girl. Franc and Ruinier try unsuccessfully to intercede. They discover that Varin is giving Blackshore, Lorune’s old barony, to Marle, and that most of the other barons and exarchs are questioning his authority to do so. Franc’s succession is also questioned, but with less animosity. There are also questions about Marle’s background; no one seems to know who she is or where she came from.
After the party, the group hastens to Drunksmede. In the meantime, the water dragon god has reached Eridell. They visit the bodies of water near which the children have disappeared. The first, a deep well, has a secret magic door at the bottom. The next, a waterfall over a small pool, has a door much closer to the surface. They don’t visit the third, a deep swimming hole.
Kyle sends an image of himself through the secret door, through which he sees a long, winding passage to an enormous kitchen with walls of pure gemstone. Every race seems to be working the kitchen, each the most beautiful of its kind. They are guarded by nixies. Beautiful children seem to be acting as servers; they pass unhindered through a curtain of shimmering light that blocks passage to the next room. Kyle turns invisible, then leaves an image of himself on the ground near the curtain, which is retrieved by an elf woman who puts it in her apron pocket before returning to work.
Guidsmar confronts the nixie guards, who tell them they haven’t been invited to this party. Kaz recognizes the chocolates as those carried by Dinwiddie, and calls out to Guidsmar. The nixies are handily defeated in the ensuing battle.
The curtain splits in the center, and they see an incredibly gorgeous nixie woman who tells them that no one crashes Titania’s party.