Five Friends of Red Jenny—Arturo, Asen, Ciaran, Eirwen, and Odelia—arrive independently in Brighthall, a small arling in the south of Ferelden, after hearing of strange behavior and disappearances there, apparently connected to the arl himself.
Arturo befriends a barmaid or two, Odelia meets up with a merchant contact of hers, and the group go to Silas, a local farmer who is said to have been affected by… whatever is going on. When they fail to ingratiate themselves to him, a demon appears and destroys his house, attacking the Friends. They kill the demon and question Silas.
They learn that the arl is apparently being especially welcoming to visitors recently, and it was upon meeting him that Silas was attached to the demon. Passersby have been disappearing into the keep, and townsfolk have been returning like Silas, who is able to give a short list of names: “There’s the butcher, Trum— a couple of prostitutes, Delia and Elene, and one or two other farmers, who go by Karan and Dwyer.”
Odelia and Ciaran plan to infiltrate the keep by posing as herb merchants the next morning.