Dougoon, Artur and Nor rejoin the party from their scouting expedition realising that any incursion toward Djorakholt or Kriegar's patrolled lands would be difficult at best, due to the discipline of the troops and their number. Cop and Cronny catch the others up on goings on in town, gather the mayor and soon begin interrogations of the prisoners from the Battle of the Green Dragon Inn. Under duress and application of force, they soon reveal that they are working for Kriegar Haelt who sent them to try some intimidation tactics on the people of the halfling village to convince them to give up their lives in the Valley. The Malarites were hired out by Haelt as well in order to scare the farmers and that they were hired as Haelt's first choice for the task, someone named the Butcher was not available.
Sharing their discoveries with Misty, the mayor and the innkeeper, they are told that the dragon has no real interest in driving the ranchers away as she is quite pleased at the easy source of food nearby. Any efforts to sway her would have to involve something of greater value to Fernourgiira. They also learn that Kriegar Haelt's legion is the strongest in the area. Even if Khyrael Redshield mustered her entire force to battle them, they would likely lose.
The party then discusses a multitude of plans, many involving a fictional barn of some kind. At the end, it is decided, quite against Dougoon's wishes that they try and secure the aid of the hobgoblins, bringing them to Hearthguardholt. The party splits, with Dougoon and Cronny preparing the village for an anticipated attack. Artur and Cop head towards the hobgoblin village.
On the way, they stop by Aldarbar where they reacquaint themselves with Finethir Shinebright. While reluctant to help at first, upon remembering the kindness shown to him by the slain Stedman, agrees to help – albeit without leaving his home. He promises them some sort of transmutational magic, perhaps involving bears.
The two continue their journey to the hobgoblin encampment which they find strangely quiet. The reason for this is revealed in deadly fashion as clockwork creatures spring to motion and pursue them. They wisely try to flee as they see all manner of familiar deadly creatures as well as a clockwork centaur that is new to them. However, their efforts to outrun the tireless constructs leads them to the base of a cliff with a clockwork myrmidon on their heels.
A pitched battle ensues, with Cop and Artur managing to escape by the narrowest of margins, but at the cost of Nor's life. As the two of them scramble away from the cliff that they just managed to climb, they spot a swarm of clockwork creatures below and realise that their threat is hardly ended.