Tamara and Tordek both arrive in Trilar at the height of Ascension Week, a celebration of the magicracy, and to find a patron to gain access to the wizards’ inner city. Between celebration, there is self-improvement and training, and getting some gold for the loot found within the ruins in the Valley of the Mists. For the most part, they stay within the northern half of the city, in an elven-run inn known as the Leering Pegasus. While they’re not the most welcome of guests, they pay, and thus stay as long as they can.
Tamara meets an up-and-coming magical student, the dashing man known as Roderick, both looking to perhaps prove themselves for the Ascension Week – Roderick, to reattain a position within the inner city; Tamara, on a lark. When Roderick and Tamara head to meet with Thordek, they find Thordek arrested by the local guard known as the Ruby Swords, an all-elven militia. The charge: murder. Since Tamara cannot rightly bring up an alibi, the elves consider the case open-and-shut: Thordek is to be hanged in eight days.
The next day, Tamara investigates Thordek’s story in person. That is to say, in prison (or rather, a small, single cell), at the central offices of the Ruby Swords. Thordek got into a fight with a drunken son of a tailor, knocked him out in a back-alley, and was very swiftly grabbed by the Swords for the accusation of murder. The young man was, indeed, very dead.
Roderick, for his part, finds out about a series of deaths around the northern section of Trilar, almost all involving the deaths of merchants’ sons except in one case where the merchant, himself, also died. Additionally, he comes across a closed baker’s shop where both baker and son died.
With names and identities and establishments in mind, Roderick and Tamara head out, that evening for the baker’s shop, the most recent location of murder after the one at the Leering Pegasus. They find a fleeing, dark-dressed woman running from them through town and guards alike. The two take chase, with Tamara not slowing down at all and capturing the woman in her iron grip. They deliver the woman to the Ruby Swords, after getting a confession out of her about her role at the baker’s shop – she was responsible for killing the baker, and wanted to steal a keepsake from him that very night.
The next day, however, the Ruby Swords come to Tamara and Roderick at the Leering Pegasus at the break of dawn, pretty much finding the two wearing little to nothing at all. They come delivering ill news. Thordek was murdered in the cell where the woman was delivered to as well, with no sign of the woman-thief. Tamara explodes in indignant rage, holding the Ruby Swords responsible for his death. The leader of the Swords dismiss her, ultimately stating she and her companion are no longer welcome in this part of town.