Upon arriving, the party headed for Jaisein's estate to recuperate. On the way, they encountered Bomrek Omrenson, a philosopher; Jaisein invited him to the estate later to discuss old business. Elara learned that an old friend, the raider Komboso Mvoya, known as the Red Shadow, was in Balic. Jaisein dispatched Ino to find the Red Shadow. Bomrek arrived, and after talking with Jaisein, he met with Amaldria and offered a meeting with his patron in a powerful conspiracy at the estate of Duke Karme Calumnin.

The Red Shadow arrived and made it clear that he was willing to work for any friend of Elara's or any foe of the Gulgs, so long as his price was met. The royals considered sending him to harass Gulg caravans to Fyra, but held off on making a decision.

The meeting with Bomrek's patron, the Patrician Zarya Calumnin, went smoothly. She revealed the existence of the Hand of the Mind, a conspiracy of influential Balican nobles, merchants, and even templars. They believe that King Andropinis is a benevolent monarch fit to rule the Tablelands, and so they work behind their isolationist king's back to expand his power, primarily through nonviolent means. She offered to support the Fyras' bid to reclaim their throne financially and diplomatically, in return for two things: permission to establish a Balican university in Fyra, and their pledge to send the future heir to the throne to be educated in Balic. Amaldria promised to consider the offer.

A Gulg templar known as the Huntress appeared at Jaisein's estate and offered a large reward for the capture or death of the Red Shadow. Elara went to warn him, and to offer Jaisein's assistance in smuggling his band out of the city to avoid capture. On the way, she heard rumors that the Heretic, a powerful wizard and enemy of all sorcerer-kings, had taken up residence near her tribe's lands. Komboso listened to the warning and moved his band to Jaisein's estate to avoid detection.

Jaisein took Amaldria and Elara on a tour of the city. He showed them many wonders and works of art, but they were interrupted by the slave Petra's botched escape attempt. The party helped apprehend Petra and, after learning more details, escorted her back to her master with the intention of setting her free. Her owner, Master Dox, refused to sell her until he had publically disciplined her. Before that could happen, however, Elara snuck in and freed Petra.

The next day, Athellia insisted on seeing the city as well. Accompanied by Amaldria and Vabok, she disguised herself as a commoner and went to see the rougher parts of the city that Jaisein had not shown them. They met a dropout from the university and learned much about the education system. Suddenly, Athellia was grabbed by a bounty hunter who mistook her for her sister. In the ensuing confusion, the bounty hunter escaped and brought Athellia to the Huntress, but Amaldria tracked her magically. With the help of Zhun Hiatyr, a Nibenese nobleman, and Sparks, an elven urchin with a talent for arson, they overpowered the Huntress and her troops, saved Athellia, and killed the bounty hunter.

The fire Amaldria used as a distraction spread, killing several elves and two Balican citizens before it was brought under control. Furious, King Andropinis interrogated the Huntress and learned of the Fyras' presence in his city. He promptly sent a templar to summon Amaldria to an audience.

While waiting for the audience, Amaldria encountered Bomrek, who gave her several notes from Zarya. Amaldria learned that the pretender Queen Raclabastia's wedding to Sor Aholak was imminent, and that Om Ala had returned to Fyra, although Mirem's poison had left his arm useless.

King Andropinis told Amaldria of his disappointment that she had brought conflict to his city without informing him, and asked her to leave the city (after letting it be known that he was planning to execute the Huntress for her part in killing his citizens). Amaldria asked for three days to prepare for her departure, which Andropinis granted.

The royal party immediately began making preparations to leave for Nibenay. Amaldria accepted Zarya's offer, and Zarya promised financial support and a letter of introduction to Obrella Hiatyr, as well as assistance to Prince Sterrid's resistance movement. Grateful for their part in killing the Huntress, the Red Shadow offered to work for the Fyras. With the promise of the Hand's money coming in, Amaldria accepted. The party met with Zhun and enlisted his help for the journey to Nibenay.