Ayla meets with Abbess Perra, who hires her to find the person who has been providing the Iron Roses with explosives. Pastor Matrell was able to track a number of Iron Roses making their way to Moss Park, but killed them before discovering their source. Ayla agrees, and makes her way to Moss Park.
Mad Martin is approaching a deadline for a shipment of explosives for Abbess Lillian of the Rosarium Sanct. He is almost done, but is out of a key ingredient – alder buckthorn. Normally, he’d have sent Kay to procure some, or Gordy to find and pick some, but he hasn’t seen them in weeks. He appreciates the alone time, but he needs to finish the job in time. He goes into the village to look for them.
In Moss Park, Sylvestus and his soldiers are interrogating villagers and searching the village for signs of Thonius. The village is trying to go about their business as usual, but there is tenseness in the air as Sylvestus and Samuel toss the huts while Thomas, Richard and Harold are interrogating the villagers.
As Pork was trying to leave, he is threatened by Thomas’s glaive. Pork has already been searched and his bags ransacked, but Thomas says Sylvestus needs to give his permission. Ayla watches as the Glorium soldier cuts Pork’s leg before Mad Martin appears and scares him off. Ayla tends to Pork’s wounds.
As Mad Martin stalks away, Ayla finds out from a young boy named Gordy that the man in the mask is the one she is looking for. She surreptitiously follows him into the circle of stones, where Kay is tending to the Abbot’s hurts by the Stonesheath Tomb. She is doubly upset, that the Abbot was hurt and that Len’s memorial was interrupted.
Mad Martin quickly stitches up the Abbot, and asks to speak with Kay, who is uncomfortable with the Abbot knowing of her relationship with Mad Martin. She catches up with him later, and reminds him that Len died only three weeks ago and she’s still mourning. Mad Martin tells her that he needs alder buckthorn, and fast.
After an interaction with Sylvestus and Gordy, Mad Martin returns to his hut in the woods. Ayla tracked him there and managed to bound and gag him to take him back to Abbess Perra.
As Ayla leads a helpless Martin through the Wilderness, they bump into Kay who is carrying a basket of buckthorn. She drops it, and tries to free Martin, managing to cut open his bonds before a bear arrives, sending Martin and Kay both running. Ayla manages to knock the bear aside before pursuing.
She finds Martin alone, and leaps from her watching place in the tree tops. Tackling him to the ground, she holds him down until he agrees to come with her to Staghead Sanct. They make the two day journey with little incident, passing by a stuck wagon before arriving in Staghead in the middle of the night.
Martin finds an adequate supply of buckthorn in the ritual fires, but Ayla and he decide to camp outside Staghead until the Abbess wakes. They see three men walk slowly, mysteriously into town.