It is late into the night when Varna, wine in her veins and a newly inked contract in her hip bag, comes home from a business meeting. She sees the door to her home cracked open and thrown from its hinges. Inside, her cousin and his wife and children lay dead, their broken bodies scattered around a terrible hole, a puncture wound ten feet across, is broken through the stone tile of the house’s floor.
Annegret tends to the Gardens at the temple of Morr, as all Initiates do, when she can feel the wamth of the rising sun against her face. She looks heavenward and sees ravens circling in the sky above the Elven district. She knows this as a sign of Morr and without a second thought, leaves the temple and travels across the city to find out where the crows want her to go.
Annegret is led to Varna’s house. Varna is at first puzzled by this new arrival, but upon realizing that a priest of Morr has come, allows Annegret entrance to her home to assist her with last rites. It is during the last rites that Annegret examines the hole at the center of the main hall and realizes that whatever had created it had dug up from beneath the house, not down from the house to below.
A crowd has started to gather outside of the house. People start to whisper and gossip amongst each other, some shout inquiries, while others still cry out about some paranoid scheme or another. The crowd parts and hushes at the arrival of Althenian Brightknife, an old friend of Varna’s family, and powerful member of Marienburg’s merchant elite. After taking in what has happened, Althenian tells Varna of a sword-for-hire that he has used on occasion and tells her to go hire him as her body guard on his behalf.
Annegret leaves soon after, taking this news to Brother Erasmus Greerson. Upon hearing her tale, Brother Greerson takes Annegret to his chambers and shows her his journals, including details of a skeleton given life through dark magic. He says Annegret should join the Elven woman, for it must be Morr’s will. Before Annegret leaves, Brother Greerson gives her a gift: an old and well-crafted mace.
Varna travels to another part of the city, a bustling part of the shipping district that houses an inn called the Butchered Boar. Here she finds Friedrich, a scoundrel and bounty hunter. He seems to want nothing to do with her but, upon discussion of gold, quickly joins her cause.
Varna, Friedrich and Annegret meet again at Varna’s home and investigate further. In the wreckage they discover two things: an old and battle-worn dagger decorated with the crest of Corrick’s Crushers, a well-known mercenary company; and a coin that dates back to before the independence of Marienburg. The three start to puzzle out what has happened as Annegret wonders if the Crushers have their own burial rituals.