Finally, the party arrives in Shadowdale. Local militia men complain about the Cormyrean mercenaries who are building roads for their armies. Also the High Chancellor of Ashabenfurt who's fled to the town seems to be particularly unpopular. Also there's a lot of tents with refugees who's fled from Ashabenfurt which leads to problems with the local populace. The only priest in town seems to be Munroe Cassimar, a priest of the Raven Queen who is tending to the sick and injured.
Kerrick sneaks off to the Temple of the Raven Queen, but it is closed at the time. According to some villagers, Munroe seems to unnerve them, but so far he has been the only priest around. After the masses he tends to disappear, but he is supposed to go to the Old Skull, a bar, every evening. He usually disappears again around midnight.
At the bar, the party overhears that some of the refugees have gone missing recently. The town militia tells them that the refugees often go to the forest to scavenge for food and probably get ambushed by robbers. They don't have any heightened motivation for further inquiries because they're understaffed, and the people from Ashabenfurt have feuded with Shadowdale for quite a long time.
Thana and Nimue go to talk with the refugees. They happen on the humpbacked cook of the Old Skull who is doling out food to the refugees. He doesn't believe that Munroe has anything to do with the disappearances.
Kerrick sneaks outside to catch Munroe before he enters the Old Skull. He shows him the tapestry which he looted off the dead driver. Munroe seems to know something about the image and presses Kerrick to tell him the truth. He is annoyed that Kerrick tries to lie about the tapestry's origins. Kerrick tells him about dreams he has had about the tower with the ravens circling around it. Munroe admits that he has had the same dreams and describes that as a dangerous calling. Following the call will almost certainly be dangerous but may yield (spiritual?) rewards. He promises Kerrick to keep silent about the dreams and their meeting.
While Shiel fetches Thana, the reclusive Lhaeo enters the bar. Since Shiel doesn't know him personally, he is mostly ignored sitting on a chair sipping on his beer. When told about the missing refugees, Munroe states that he has been searching for them himself but his search hasn't turned up anything. Thana suspects that he isn't quite telling the truth. Munroe is suspicious of Jambal Icehyll, the Chancellor doesn't appear to pay him, so how is he making a living?
Shiel finally gets to know Lhaeo who tells him that things are looking grim for the resistance at the moment and that he's supposed to bring any trustworthy allies to the Old Skull tonight. He confirms the kidnappings, the perpetrators seem to target female refugees only.
Back in the bar, when quizzed about the history of Laothan, Lhaeo tells Thana that according to stories, Laothan has left something important in each valley in the dalelands. Apparently, also in Ashabenfurt and the Golden Ear, two locations the party has already been to. The Golden Ear is even supposed to be the burial ground of Laothan's remains. Thana also learns that Munroe has reconsecreated the old temple of Chauntea to the Raven Queen.
The others agree to help clear up the mystery of the missing women. According to Lhaeo, 12 women have gone missing in the last 8 months. He is also expecting more members of the resistance and mentions a name: Arithon, who is supposed to arrive in about 2 days. Lhaeo identifies the dragon cult ring. After muttering some words, the stone of the ring changes into a green color. Apparently it is now attuned to a new master, a green dragon that seems to live close by in the woods. The ring seems to allow communication with dragons in the draconic language. Is the dragon connected to the missing women?
The party decides to visit Munroe at his temple to see what he is up to at midnight and to ask him about dragon activities. In the morning the party intends to ask the refugees about the women that have gone missing and to visit the High Chancellor. Kerrick even suggests to pay a prostitute to be bait for whoever is kidnapping or murdering women but so far the group dismisses his idea.