Our group of heroes is contacted by Torrent and instructed to meet at midnight on New Year’s Eve at a small inn called the Poison Apple Pub. At this meeting, Torrent makes it clear that the Ragesian Army is not far from the western walls of Gate Pass and that it’s only a matter of time before they come charging through. No one has any illusions that the Gate Pass Guard can hold them off. The Ragesians, for their part, claim only to be searching for those who are responsible for the death of Drakus Coaltongue. It is clear, they claim, that the perpetrators must be wielders of powerful magicks, for how else could the immortal emperor have been slain. To that end, the Gate Pass City Council has sealed the gates of Gate Pass and begun rounding up all the wielders of arcane magick, ultimately to turn them over to the Ragesians as a sign of good faith. Torrent believes it is wishful thinking to hope that this abjection will keep the Ragesian Army from enveloping the city and is working with a group known as The Resistance in an effort to foil the Ragesian Army and to help users of magick to defend themselves.
To that end, she implores the party to help her to retrieve a case of important military information (she thinks) that has been smuggled out of Ragos by a gnome named Rivereye Badgerface. Once the case has been secured, she says, they can work out a means of escape from the city, for she has arranged safe travel to Lyceum, a school of wizardry located on the southern peninsula of Dassen. While the group discusses possible escape plans, the meeting is interrupted by an ambush orchestrated by the Black Horse Mercenaries, hired as bounty hunters to subdue the arcane manipulators of the group and turn them over to the City Council. As the heroes rise as one to defend themselves from the bounty hunters, a forward probe of Ragesians assaults the city, testing its defenses with catapults and wyvern-riders who drop alchemical explosive devices on the wooden buildings, wreaking havoc and spreading carnage. Two battles quickly unfold, heroes versus bounty hunters in the common room of the Poison Apple Pub and wyvern-mounted soldiers versus griffon-riders in the skies above. During the fight, the Pub is struck by a bomb and is burnt to the ground, the heroes barely escaping and sending the Black Horse Mercenaries running. Kathor Danava, second-in-command of the mercenaries, is personally defeated but allowed to escape by the merciful heroes.
Torrent urges haste and the heroes plunge into the chaos of the raging battle to reach the Gate Pass Depository, a bank of sorts, where they are scheduled to retrieve the important case from Rivereye Badgerface. It becomes clear shortly after meeting the gnome, however, that he has been replaced by an impostor who has no intention of sharing the case and who flees into the night. Rivereye himself is discovered, unconscious and hidden nearby, and is able to explain that an eladrin spy named Shealis, undercover as a student at Gabal’s School of Wizardry, has stolen the case and plans to use its contents for the advancement of the Shahalesti kingdom.
The party internalizes this information and then repairs to a nearby temple of the Knights of the Aquiline Cross that is a safe house for The Resistance, but not before slaying a wounded Ragesian wyvern-rider who crashed into a humble home and slaughtered the family living within. At the safe house, they are introduced to Buron, a Resistance leader who shows them where they can rest and recharge.