Following their victory over the Black Serpent mercenaries, the combined Elver-Marsten army pursues the Ironborn and hillfolk into the mountains. Armen stays with the forces guarding the pass against another attack on castle Marsten, while the rest march down the coast toward the main hillfolk camp. Armen notices some odd behavior from his friend Joss, who abruptly becomes a rabid lunatic. After a brief struggle, Armen receives a superficial wound while Joss is immobilized by some well placed crossbow bolts. Meanwhile, the rest of the army encounters nothing but abandoned villages and camps, while hearing distant chanting coming from a nearby mountaintop. Unable to bring the Ironborn/hillfolk forces to battle, the army makes camp at the abandoned Ironborn landing site. Late at night, the chanting stops and the army is attacked by hoards of crazed hillfolk, Ironborn, and what appear to be crazed Marsten farm folk. The uncoordinated attack is bloodily defeated, and the Ironborn leader is captured after he falls into a fevered coma. No sign of Bleak Ormond, the Drowned God priest. Only the Elver archers suffer any significant casualties, but most soldiers and heroes are at least somewhat banged up. The army marches back to Marsten castle.