Welwyn and Markus are almost completed with their long journey. Their caravans have combined, and the two are passengers in a royal chariot. As they are passing through the narrow stretch of land where the South-Eastern peninsula begins, the sky blackens, and a beam of red light barrels out of the nearby forest at them, destroying the chariot, and killing the two coachmen. They go to investigate the origin of the beam to find the earth from where it was produced, scorched with evidence of human tracks. Markus and Welwyn would rather just ignore it and head towards The Academy, but Arias insists on obtaining this power, and runs off into the woods. After debating the best course of action, Welwyn and Markus hear a cry of help from the woods, deducting that Arias has gotten himself into trouble. They navigate the forest with ease, only stopping to dispose of a venomous snake blocking the trail. As they continue they come across some strange forest ruins. An inspection of the ruins yields a dark stairway into the earth. As they descend the staircase, they notice two guards while peering around the corner. Welwyn attempts to attack him quietly, but is found out, and the guard retaliates, while the opposite guard retreats to the other room. After killing the guard The party follows the aforementioned guard into the next room, where he is cowering. after a few threats, He says that there friend is beyond yonder door, but asks why they would want to save him. Markus answers that it is his duty to rescue him, while Welwyn pushes him up against a wall, demanding more information. He says there are enemies in wait up ahead, and they continue on. After entering the next room, Welwyn notices some small indents in the side of the wall, and assumes its some sort of trap. he looks around to find a pressure plate, and warns his teammates. As they step over the pressure plate, Whitemane follows, and bumps Welwyn into another pressure plate that they had not seen, causing a large swinging blade to swing from inside the wall, landing a crippling blow right on Markus. The party slowly makes their way through a long hallway of traps, when all of a sudden they hear a large mechanized noise closing in on them as they proceed. Ahead of them 3 more guards lie in wait and already wounded, the party falls unable to defeat them. Before their eyes close, however, the machine behind them stops, and the hear hushed voices, and heavy footsteps approaching.