After days of traveling on foot, Riese and Fenrir have almost reached their destination: The township of Vidar, where, according to the stolen ledger, scores of children were sent. But despite being so close to their goal, Fenrir balks when they reach the gates, sensing danger. Riese insists they press forward.

Once inside the town, the princess and the wolf sense a presence unlike any they've felt before - it doesn't feel like an animal, but it is certainly not human. And this isn't the only oddity in this new territory: The town, despite being the destination of so many human chattle for the Sect, is completely deserted. Riese continues her search for the truth, though her apprehension mounts by the minute.

Still uneasy on the throne with Riese the Heretic at large, Amara grills her confidante, Trennan, on Riese's whereabouts. Trennan's back is to the wall, and he has no choice but to tell the false empress that there has been no word from Herrick because the trail is silent. Impatient with the slogging process, Amara suggests removing Herrick from the job altogether - and replacing him with Trennan, a proposal that makes Trennan's skin go cold.

And Rand, certain that recent reports of a heretic at large must concern his champion, turns his armies away from their battles and points them toward Vidar. His lieutenant, Garren, puts up a healthy protest, but Rand insists: Nothing is more important to him than finding Riese, and he would sacrifice the trust of all his troops in order to ensure her safety and reinstate her on the throne.