The session starts with the party entering Westgate and into a scene of commotion, with the ship Chun Ye joined by many fishing boats in the river. No sign of the smaller Liu Zhi and the Zhu Di. The colonists appear to be shouting at one another, with some sort of argument underway.
Hirase greets the group and explains that there was a disagreement amongst the colony as to the likely providence of the Great Expedition, with not all certain that the party would turn alive. General Lucat is also present at the center of the commotion, and has ahold of a stranger dressed entirely in black. The General welcomes Talis back with unaffected warmth and is surprised to see the group’s newly acquired livestock, and is flabbergasted to hear that there were other traders from Delim at the Gathering.
The stranger is accused of poisoning a member of the colony, as well as being suspected of other crimes. A lot has happened in the month that the Grand Expedition has been gone: Marcus has been murdered, Gael has been poisoned, and there has been an attack of ratfolk on the colony. Springing into action, Moccan performs a ritual and manages to help stabilize Gael, helping the scribe survive the night. The party learns more of the events that have unfolded since their departure from the colony, such as the hatching of the new grondoki and the subsequent terror caused by the “problem child” of the clutch.
The party decides to split up; Talis and Ts’ao Hai will go to see the prisoner and see what he has to say in his defense, while Moccan and Rebecca visit the Kambral across the river with the mithral and steel ingots. Tails and Ts’ao Hai arrive just in time to prevent the prisoner from escaping the not so secure custody of Li. The prisoner, Fu, is despondent and bitter about his treatment and professes a desire to leave the colony. He can’t provide a solid alibi for either Gael’s poisoning or the murder of Marcus, and is rather hostile to the colony and in particular to the General. He claims that Lucat is unfair and is running a military dictatorship. He also states that Marcus died in the battle, which it turns out contradicts accounts of the battle gathered afterward by the party. The party decides that there is a need to reinforce the jail with additional guards and reinforced security in the form of Shopik and Xaxe.
Across the river, Rebecca and Moccan present the metal ingots to Anjis. She is pleased with the mithral and has some interesting reactions to the steel that the group presents. When told about the Gathering, she claims that there should not be other Kambral on the continent, and blanches when the names of the “fake” Kambral are recited. Anjis argues that these Kambral must be shapeshifters or monsters of some kind, not what they seem. Rebecca is shown the stela, and its purposes are explained to her.
Talis and Ts’ao Hai go to investigate the scene of the crime upstairs in the town hall. They discover that the ink Gael was writing with seems to have been tampered with. Ts’ao Hai guards the door while Talis fetches Galen Brewerhorn to examine the evidence. After the poison is examined, a vial of tainted ink is recovered and the scene is decontaminated. Ts’ao Hai and Talis put their heads together and realize that there are plenty of motives someone could have for harming Gael: the matter of the Zalimiri Succession, personal rivalries, rivalries within the colony, and his role as an official in the colony. The party meets back up and swaps tales of woe and warning, and convenes to decide what to do. It is decided that further investigation is necessary.
The party interviews Brewerhorn about the Battle of Last Ueno, and learns that Marcus was found dead after the main clash with two clean incisions in his kidneys, having been sighted alive and well shortly before hand. The party learns that the ink vial contains the unknown poison in Gael’s body; the source of the scorpion poison is unknown. The party decides to interview General Lucat about his account of what happened at the Battle of Last Ueno. The party does not learn much of interest from the General, but do find out that Fu appears to have been checking the colony out and had been asking questions about Carmen Duellos and Gael. A few more facts are established: no one knows where Fu lives or sleeps, and Fu came in on the Fatima’s Mercy.
The party thank the General for his time, and then goes to interview the High Priest Bon. Bon doesn’t have anything to add to the story of the Battle of Last Ueno, but does receive a private lecture in the importance of hygiene. The party goes to interrogate Zim about Fu’s behavior on the boat; it turns out that Fu was skulking about the boat as well, asking many questions while being cagey about his own history.
The party goes to the prison to interrogate the prisoner once more, and discover that Fu is comatose in his cell, paralyzed. The group determines that he is likely poisoned. Ts’ao Hai, under the supervision of Friday, begins to search Fu, and discovers that there are numerous poisons on his person, as well as all sorts of concealed assassination equipment and clever devices. Unfortunately, some of the delicate containers are damaged in the search, and Fu begins to convulse from the leaked substances. Ts’ao Hai sacrifices his magic white pearl to delay the poison and allow Galen Brewerhorn to arrive and attempt to save Fu’s life.
In the medical ward, Gael is purged of poison and after some drama Fu is saved from the worst of the poison and left to rest uncomfortably. Carbatkin comes into the medical ward and inquires about Gael under insincere pretenses, and the party asks him about Fu and his interactions with Carbatkin and his underlings. They part after much sneering and exchanging of veiled threats.
The party moves to the beach to have a conversation while Moccan stands watches over Fu. During the conversation, Commander Duellos comes up to talk with the party about current events and the meeting of the Colony council. Various matters are discussed, including Bon, the investigation, the functioning of the colony in the absence of the expedition, and the jealousy of the smiths.
The Chun Ye is given permission to search the seas for… interesting things to find, whose providence will not be closely questioned. It is decided that Bon shall now be the Warden, and Moccan will become the colony’s High Priest. Late in the day, the Palah’s Respite arrives with new colonists and new supplies. The session ends with the conclusion of the meeting, a tallying of the new arrivals, and much talk of crafting.