Wanting to travel quickly but discreetly, they spoke with Bob, who they had met in Whitewall, to get some horses. Bob was a guardsman who had been showing them around in Whitewall, and over the day they had taken a liking to him. Cloak decided that, upon returning to Whitewall, he would make sure Bob got an impeccable reputation.
They rode north from Whitewall, into rough and rugged terrain. Dagger could ride well enough, but Cloak was not used to horses, and nearly had a terrible accident. Kodia suggested she might kill his horse and take its shape, so that Cloak might ride upon her back instead – it was agreed, that this was wise, and so the Lunar carried him for the rest of the journey. As they made camp on the way, they often spoke of their homelands – Weilin, of the cold, wind-torn Haslanti, Kodia of the tall trees of Halta, and Velak of the strictures of his Realm upbringing.
After some time of travel, they realized that finding the Raksha Freehold on horseback might take a long time, in the inaccessible, mountainous terrain. While they would prefer a subtle approach, it was agreed they must favor speed over discretion, and so Weilin once more summoned his magical cloud and they took to the skies. Soon, they spotted a patch of strange fog, and flew to investigate.
Within this fog lay hidden the mysterious Freehold called Ice Blossom. Velak used his silver tongue and Eclipse anima banner to persuade one of the Fair Folk to guide them inside through the dangerous, freezing fog. Once inside, they found that the freeholds’ members were devoted to perfecting their skills, each within a given field. They located a guardsman named Himedallr, who had been practicing such keen eyes, and such keen ears, that he could find Rune instantly. Velak persuaded him to aid them.
Thus they discovered Rune, caught in the clutches of a Fair Folk torturer named Exquisite Pain. Rune explained, that he had made a bargain – the Raksha had been torturing many helpless mortals, who had been sold to him by the Guild. To spare their lives and souls, Rune had agreed to take their place. The deal had been such, that he could escape without breaking any oath – but strange gossamer manacles had him bound to the wall, and he dared not try to break them until the mortals had reached safety.
Weilin assured him, that they had seen no mortals in the surrounding mountains. Then, as Velak distracted the torturer, Weilin freed Rune from his bonds, and they escaped the Freehold using Himedallr’s services to find a safe passage out.
Once outside, they slew Himedallr and Rune thanked them for freeing him. Despite his horrible injuries, he was well enough to travel. They would return to Whitewall on horseback, for while Weilin’s cloud could not carry all four of them, Rune’s faithful horse had waited for him outside the Freehold.
As they traveled, they came upon an ancient monument used by Dragon Kings to summon the spirits of the dead. Thinking they might perhaps commune with Geyr Hammerfists’ victims, Weilin performed a ceremony, and a ghost answered – saying that Geyr Hammerfist was hiding on an airship somewhere in the mountains. The ghost also said that it was here seeking Geyr out of love – a love that had been born of his own murder. This greatly disturbed all four of the Exalts.
It was resolved that it was urgent to find Geyr Hammerfist. Rune promised he would return to Whitewall and do what he could to restore order there, while Cloak, Dagger, and Kodia should search the mountains for the hidden airship. Thus, they parted ways.