The Beast is dead. His war party has fallen around him, or scattered into the woods where Carvaron hunted them down. Honora checks his fallen corpse to find the elven locket of Arithura. They also find the Beast was carrying a strange acorn that pulses with power — likely enspelled to grow instantly into an immense oak — and some small bits of quicksilver lightning, fragments of thunderbolt in metallic form. They leave him where he lies.
After the battle Baden finds a secluded place among the elvish ruins. He prays and spends time reflecting on the good their group has done and resigning himself to what yet lies before them. During his meditations he notices a glimmer of light reflecting off a piece of debris. This flash sparks a moment of insight. Could the mirrors be used to target the Rider in White or the Faceless Gryphon? Who would understand mirror magic enough to let the group dictate the terms of confrontation? It seems likely to Baden that the Gryphon will be more active than ever, and perhaps the mastery of the mirrors could hold the key.
With the witch’s bearskin cloak and locket in hand, Honora begins the Valysan ritual to break the curse of the White Hind. The animal shudders and convulses as the binding spells are severed one by one. Finally her skin falls away, and a pale and exhausted autumn elf woman is left.
While Carvaron tends to his wife’s recovery, the four head for the “devoured village” to deal with the rest of the Beast’s hunters. With the troll-eater, the skinmage and the Beast all gone, the remaining huntsmen aren’t much trouble at all. The most trouble comes from a midden of gnawed bones that has gathered a measure of animation and undead power. The midden horror guards the entrance to the Beast’s lair under a massive tree, but with the group’s focus entirely on defeating it, it is gravely outmatched. The slayers are able to enter the Beast’s den and sift through the treasures there.
Arithura and Carvaron arrive to offer their assistance not long after. In particular, Arithura is accompanied by a pair of night bears, that she has convinced to act as pack animals for the group at least until the edge of the woods. The group loads some of the heavy coin and goods onto the bears, and they begin their march toward the Grinthorn border. Along the way, the much-recovered Arithura is able to tell the group more about the Beast. He was Kurgol of the Shrikeskin bugbear clan, a powerful hunter who crossed the first-born son of the fey Twist-Legged King. Kurgol killed the fey prince and ate his heart — and by the logic of the Twist-Legged King, that made him the new heir apparent. The Beast of Grinthorn thus gained the loyalty of his balestalker hunters, expanding his grip on the woods.
That night in camp, Honora makes the offer to plant the dragon’s tooth in Arithura’s service. She reasons that there are still threats in the woods even with the Beast gone, and this may be the best place for the spartoi to serve. Arithura remembers the name of the poison dragon Kheirtalhassa. She can’t say for certain how trustworthy a spartoi born from Kheirtalhassa might be, but she agrees to accept the gift.
They plant the tooth. A warrior in shining green scale armor pulls herself forth from the earth, a bow on her back and a pair of falcatas at her hips. Her skin is a polished wooden brown, and eyes and hair are a deeper shade of green. She demands her task, and Honora tells her she is to guard and assist Arithura. The spartoi salutes and then takes up position at watch.
They spend another day traveling and another night’s camp in Grinthorn. No more dangers present themselves; the wild animals avoid the camp, and it seems no more ogres or fey are raiding this far south. The conversation is polite but a little sparse; Carvaron is taciturn, Hassa seems to have minimal curiosity about things that don’t concern her present task, and Arithura clearly knows much of the forest and the god Faragnath but little of the outside world.
The following day they reach Harrowglen. There they meet with Bron and Brisery — Bron has yet to leave for Lanthorn, wishing to be certain the group had survived. Now that he is certain things are secure, he agrees to travel downriver to speak with the Countess and explain the recent events involving Cyr Egran and the Beast. From there he’s not certain where he will travel next — if Kindrevin becomes the new protector of Harrowglen as they hope, Bron will still have to remain at a distance until they can be sure that there won’t be trouble from Selpike.
Then there’s the question of what to do with the Beast’s mirror. After some deliberation, the group decides to wrap it up, smash it and bury it. It seems most likely that the power to pass through mirrors is granted by Zegriirgez, and the ability to master this possibly fey, possibly fiendish entity would be necessary. If the answer to this mastery is in Tythoas Nil’s library, then perhaps they would be able to discover more.
The group studies their maps of the area and decides to skirt the Selpike problem. They plan to cross the river and circle through the hills to the south, rejoining the river at the Mathraine ford. The hills are sparsely populated, which should make them difficult to track and provide an less than obvious approach. And as Bralta points out, there’s certain to be less trouble with hill bandits than there might have been a few months ago, when bands like Tulkar’s Trappers and the Devil’s Dozen were a serious concern…