Alexia, Hypatia, Claudius and Luscinia head off to High Peak park to try to collect the heartwood of a prominent tree to exchange with the Lord of the Forest
They meet a Gyrfalcon of Virtue named Harald who challenges Hypatia to a contest for the rights to take the wood from its home. The contest leaves both parties injured but Hypatia the victor by virtue of not having been eaten. Claudius botches the extraction process and manages to mystically tie the heartwood to his own heart.
Luscinia and Alexia fail to extract a pair of suspicious children from a cave in. They are 95% certain that the kids were actually demons leading them to their doom, but the doubt niggles.
Seeking the other significant tree of High Peak the group meet a fairy dryad called Willow who becomes besotted of Claudius and is convinced to follow them back to Sherwood.
Gideon and Lillith remain at the covenant awaiting the arrival of Marglius, who is supposed to assist with the acorn investigation. Instead Marglius’ servant Morgan arrives, half dead, and they discuss that the quasitor has run afoul of a poisoner.
Gideon summons up his brothers ghost and they discover that the poison was magically empowered by a woman in Stafford who now appears to be dead in a convent. Travelling there they he bluffs his way in and raises her spirit only to have her shriek about witchcraft bringing the nuns down on his head.
Meanwhile Lillilth finds the herblist’s house and speak with her cat familiar who lets slip that she committed suicide. Gideon questions the beast more and discovers that the house was visited by a Redcap from Cad Gadu shortly before the incident.
Lillith manages to convince the nuns that they should investigate whether the death was a suicide, however they warn that the local bishop will be informed of the Order’s involvement in this matter.