The heroes proceed south in search of Garstwulf, the Arai elementalist who is said to be able to free Nacu from the ice prison. After traveling three days they come across a Vel warrior of advanced years named Harachna who says that he has grown too old and is now a burden to his kin. Honoring the old way, he asks that one of the group give him an honorable death. Shir accepts and meets the Vel on the road for a duel. After a few moments of posturing, Shir strikes and Harachna leans into the blow, taking a fatal wound to the chest. Harachna falls to his knees and thanks Shir, after which Shir strikes off Harachna’s head to end the Vel’s suffering. Harachna’s body is burned in accordance with the old ways.
During the journey, Shir wishes aloud that there were a war annui to train Kur-Dan. Suddenly, a creature claiming to be The War Annui appears and converses with Shir. Little does Shir know that Utog has learned the arts of the Aelthenar, and as such can now create illusions.
After five more days of travel the heroes reach the village of Ostebrecht. In the village they hear rumors that Malathraxis has attacked Meunchen and that a Vel shaman has been healing plague victims in the Dal. After asking around they eventually find out that Garstwulf lives a few hours to the south, so they head to his hut. After speaking with Garstwulf, he agrees to free Nacu in exchange for a favor. A dire grimstak has taken control of a local grimstak pack and has been killing villagers around Ostebrecht, Arstwyk, and Joerderer. The heroes agree to the terms and Garstwulf uses an elemententalist ritual to free Nacu.
The heroes first travel to Ostebrecht, but they find that none of the villagers have been taken. They do mention that several merchants and travelers heading to the east have gone missing. Feeling that this is all they can find out here, the group heads to Arstwyk.
In Arstwyk the heroes learn that a hunter and a logger have gone missing in the Urstwallen Vol (forest) to the southeast. There are also a number of villagers who have seen the grimstak pack from a distance.
The group presses on to Joerderer, taking a room at the local inn. Here Shir runs into an Arai woman named Aelessa Tholfringr, a hunter and tracker of sorts. After negotiating with her, she eventually agrees to track the dire grimstak for 3 mp. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan mistakenly thinks Shir is bartering for other services, and smiles inwardly. In town they discover that several villagers have been killed and that a child named Jargen has been taken. When morning comes the heroes meet up with Aelessa and her grimstak Fanrir, after which they head towards the Urstwallen Vol.
As the heroes travel deeper into the woods, Nacu and Utog fail to notice odd features of certain trees, and so the group is taken by surprise when four of the trees spring to life and attack the heroes. Kur-Dan, with the aid of Nacu, does his best to keep the animated trees striking at him and not his more vulnerable compatriots. He is tossed about and raked by gnarled claws as Shir and Utog attempt to bring down their foes.
All is going well until one of the creatures gets two hands on Kur-Dan and tears him in half, sending a shower of entrails and fluids raining down upon the snow. Miraculously, the enchantments in Peacebringer bring Kur-Dan back to life and the fight continues. Seemingly moments later, one of the trees lands a vicious rake, severing Kur-Dan’s arm at the shoulder. Nacu springs into action and quickly reattaches the limb. As Nacu begins to give flame to the swords and claws of his allies, the tree creatures begin to fall. When only two remain, one of the creatures gets a hold of Utog in dire bren form and tears open his belly, but Nacu quickly revives him and the last tree is felled.
After tending to their wounds, Aelessa leads the heroes to a cave entrance. The heroes as Aelessa to scout for an alternative entrance and she reports back that she has found a small shaft leading into the cave, but it is too small for anyone to use. The group decides to have Nacu seal the front entrances with stone using his earth powers and to expand the side passage so they can use that instead. As they make their way into the cave as stealthily as possible, Nacu spots a concealed pit with only one narrow walkway that is safe. He also hears a child in the distance crying. After crossing this, they eventually come to the caves end where the grimstak pack appears to be sleeping, with the dire grimstak asleep next to the crying child. Shir attempts to sneak over and get the child, but when he steps upon the raised stone area the dire grimstak is there is a boom that wakes the pack. Shir quickly hides behinds some rocks before the pack is fully alert.
The grimstak attack the heroes and Shir emerges to attack the grimstak from behind. Shortly after he does, the dire grimstak leaps down from the platform and attacks Shir. His vicious bites and poisonous saliva badly wound Shir, who is pulled down to the ground in the middle of snarling grimstaks. Kur-Dan forces his way through the grimstak line and gets the attention of the dire grimstak, swinging the momentum in the heroes favor. Eventually the grimstak are eliminated and the dire grimstak falls.
Garstwulf enters the cave as the dire grimstak changes into the form of an Arai, and says, “Ulfhadnir, my brother, I hope you find peace.” With his dying breath, Ulfhadnir looks to Utog and says, “I pass my gift on to you, may you learn to control it better than I.” With that, the power of the Aroudin passes to Utog.
The heroes return to Garswulf’s hut where Garstwulf instructs Nacu in the ways of the Volcanist. Meanwhile, Shir negotiates with Aelessa to help them track the dragon Malathraxis. After much haggling, she eventually agrees to aid them for 10% of the dragon’s hoard.