After a summer’s evening party meeting the main factions operating in the New World, we meet our heroes as they try to decide whether they need to pick sides, and what sides to pick. Sympathies seem to lie with the Natives, though those sympathies would perhaps extend to the colonials were they not so thoroughly bent on genocide. So the characters choose to explore their Indian sympathies a little more, by visiting the native camp near Albany to speak to The Prophet. Unfortunately, when they arrive the Prophet is engaged in a sun-staring trance which, Magua tells them, will last days. So they speak a little with Magua, who reveals accidentally that he is a “follower” of the Prophet (even though the Prophet is Delaware, and Magua was Huron). Magua seems quite interested in peaceful relations with the characters, though they can’t tell why. They leave the camp, and return to town, where they are joined by a new character, a woodsman and colonial who has been drawn to them by a dream in which his woodland realm is destroyed by a mysterious force.
The characters are invited to meet the British Head of Spies at the Albany Freemen’s Club, where they are offered a new opportunity at fruitful work. The Spymaster, a Mister Jake Abanatha, reveals to them that the Delaware Indian tribes near Ohio have been suffering from a strange plague, against which their magic is useless. Rumour is flying around the Indian tribes that this is English work, and the British suspect French treachery. The characters are to visit the region and investigate the cause of the disease. If French calumny is involved, Jake suspects it will prove to be the work of the recently escaped spy, La Belle dame sans Merci, and possibly also foul-mouthed Jacques. If so they are to employ their usual discretion to destroy everyone responsible and undo the damage. They are to travel openly as agents of the British come to investigate the disease, and are to stay at Thorn Lodge, the home of a colonial magician called Jake Luma. David Williamson, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Colonial Militia, will also be present. The nearby trading town of Thorntown can be used to store goods and send or receive messages.
The characters set off the next day, but are interrupted in the afternoon by Magua himself. Initially suspicious, they soon find themselves at ease in his presence. He tells them that he has a favour to ask of them:
When you discover the true nature of the lodge you are staying in, if it suits you to do so, you will open the gates. My Braves and I will be waiting nearby, and will enter to cleanse the place
He tells them he knows no more than they do of this request, but was sent to ask them by the Prophet, who had a vision. That is all he can tell them.
The characters continue to Thorn Town, which they discover is home to a Hungarian gunsmith, who offers to sell them Hungarian Fire-lances if they are interested. Needless to say, they are, and they promise to return to investigate further. From there they proceed to Thorn Lodge, where they are welcomed by Jake Luma and David Williamson, and given rooms. Russell Ganymede searches the entire interior of the mansion with his Demonic Vision, and discovers that the Magician Jake Luma’s private “study” contains no evidence that it is a study – it consists of a couple of couches, a whisky cabinet and a bookcase of French porn. Where, then, does he do his “researches”? The characters are intrigued. The house is also heavily guarded by between 50 and 100 elite militiamen, which seems passing strange…
After night falls the characters sneak into the garden to explore, and soon discover at the rear of the grounds a large stretch of dense forest, whose exterior is patrolled by many militiamen. Speaking to one of the militiamen, the Woodsman is told that Indians attack through the forest, so it must be guarded. But another militiaman tells him it is an Indian graveyard, so he cannot enter. These two ideas are mutually exclusive! So the characters sneak inside, and discover that it is, indeed, an Indian graveyard, for they are attacked by a ghost. This ghost they kill, before Lord Merton moves forward to speak to the others in Huron, telling them he is here to investigate the land beyond, and not to desecrate the grave. Showing them his Iroquois coup-belt, he convinces the ghosts, and they point up the hill at the rear of the forest, into the darkness, begging him to free their land of “the stain which desecrates it”.
The characters move past the ghosts and deeper into the forest, travelling uphill until they come to a small clearing. Beyond the clearing is a waterfall, and perched near it a sinister stone building, squat and drab. Standing at the front of the building, still as the dripping trees, are two demonic-looking creatures the characters have never seen before: Myrmidons. What shall they do, and what does the building contain that it must be so guarded …?