Having returned to town, the group attempts to revive the blue dragonborn who lies in a coma. Eventually she awakens, despite her awful burns and charred lungs. She coughs out that she is Sub-Lieutenant Maris Chordblade of the South Wing , under the command of Commander Avishul . She seems to believe that Tophat is a general in her army and discloses her mission: recon Grem’s Slide for a potential invasion. She describes a dragon attack in the strange southern mountain, routing her army and causing her to be captured by Speelock .

The adventurers leave Maris with Aveven , and head for the southern mountains – the Eight Straight Teeth of Ashadon . While they camp at the first mountain’s foot, a comet streaks by overhead and impacts in the distance with a rumbling crash. They investigate the next morning to find a massive crater in the side of the mountain, and a gargantuan red dragon – Ashadon – also coming to investigate. The ancient creature removes the comet and flies off with the huge hunk of star stone, and the adventurers move in to the crater to see if anything was left behind.

Darvin takes a look at the emerald he's been desperate to get rid of, to see that it's slowly turning black. Johann spots the stone in his hands and is magically compelled to kill the fellow elf! Firing a single arrow from his bow, Johann wounds Darvin and causes the emerald to drop from his hands - ending the compulsion. As the group stresses about what to do next, Leanor discovers a weak spot in the ground, and falls through into an underground chamber… housing Tulan , a teifling lich. He quickly puts the group at ease, freely giving them information about the dragons, and potentially a mysterious astral being that may be the real guiding hand behind the ongoing dragon war.

Darvin asks Tulan about the emerald he found within the Silver Oak , and the lich reveals it to be a cursed “Heart of the Tree .” If an elf spots a Heart of the Tree, they are magically compelled to kill the one who holds it and retrieve the emerald. Darvin doesn’t want to return it, and Tulan offers to imbue its magical essense within his body – effectively cancelling the curse, but harnessing its life-giving power. Darvin agrees and Tulan surgically and magically implants the emerald into Darvin’s chest.