The Firstborn are contacted by a mysterious stranger known as Silver Fox, a member of the Shadows. He knows them by reputation, and offers to hire them to assist him in his search for Tyrone, a.k.a Korinag Shin, descendant of a famous Tide Fatespinner.
Located in the gatehouse, the house that Tyrone/Laerkes has dead-dropped messages to is owned by the Blackmoors, a politically powerful family in High Barrows. They have, on occasion, attempted to block political moves in the city to further their personal gain, but, essentially that meant going against the ruling family and Okni, so they didn’t push the limits too far.
Here in High Barrows, though, the Blackmoors’ eldest son, Kyle, is a drunken sot. He throws money about like its water, and spends hours on end wenching and carousing. Belias uses Kyle’s vices against him, and quickly becomes one of his companions. Unlike most other men his age, Kyle was able to avoid being drafted into the war with The Tide.
The party at the Blackmoors is touted to have a very special guest, a bard from up north, who has been rumored to have performed for the Emperor himself. Try as they might, the Firstborn can’t nail down this elusive performer, and they decide to get into that party to see exactly what is going on.
Three of the party get themselves invited, and the other three sneak in early that day, and hide until the party starts. When the sun goes down and the magical wards go up, the party turns from a collection of old money families to something more sinister.
The suprise guest is none other than Laerkes, the man they’ve been hunting for.
Tyrone has funneled a large chunk of cash into the Blackmoor family to buy their loyalty.
Kyle is the true target. While Stanis Blackmoor is a cunning political opportunist, he isn’t brash enough to take risks.
The Blackmoor family are recruiters for the Crimson Fork, the Tide version of the Riders of Rey’Leiar. All of the guests have been brought here to seal their alligiance to the Crimson Fork. As Laerkes starts to talk business with the older folk at the party, Kyle declares the situation “boring” and invites the Firstborn upstairs, where they can drink and dice in peace.
The perceptive Firstborn catch a glance pass between father and son, and realize that this, too, is all part of the recruitment process.
Upstairs, Kyle produces a bottle of wine, and proceeds to answer any questions the Firstborn have about the Crimson Fork. During the question and answer session, Kyle starts to sweat and show other symptoms of sickness.
All of a sudden, he falls over, frothing at the mouth. Seconds later, he’s dead. As the party runs downstairs to get help, the entire house shakes on its foundations. The windows blacken with a thick, oily liquid, and the front door will not open.
They discover the other guests of the party are all dead in the same way as Kyle. All died at the end of an apparent toast.
Heading back upstairs, the Firstborn proceed to search for clues in the house. The only clue they find is on the third floor, in the Observatory. Looking through the telescope, they can see, distantly, the image of the house they are in. They surmise that they narrowly escaped being part of a dark ritual that shunted the Blackmoor house out of its place in reality, and into a space in between the planes.
Since three of the party were on the guest list, and they survived, they speculate that being short three deaths for the ritual stopped it from being successful.
The Firstborn head back downstairs to discover what has happened, when they realize that all the bodies of the dead guests are gone. Signs point to the bodies being moved (or moving) towards the kitchen. The kitchen no longer has entrances to it. There were two doors that led in, but both of them have been sealed off magically. The party hears scratching and shuffling behind the walls, in the kitchen area. After failed attempts to break through the wall, the Firstborn retreat to other areas of the house to find out what happened. As the party continues its search, they hear a loud crash coming from downstairs.
Entering the foyer, they see the guests are now shambling corpses with the Firstborn as their targets. A brutal battle ensues, and when the Firstborn start to gain the upper hand, Laerkes appears and starts launching offensive spells.
They eventually manage to kill Laerkes, and with his death, the guests fall to ash. The house plane shifts back to its normal location, but the magical wards keeping the Firstborn in and the rest of the world out are still in place.