Erith talks to Vilnullas and Cortonas about the Hawkwinter Costume Ball to be held this evening. They tell Erith that they are not going to attend. The bard presses them on why they are going to turn down a ball with attractive ladies, good food, fine wine, and the possiblity of making new friends, some of them quite wealthy. Cortonas speaks up and informs Erith that Tellazar and Uldred are not going to go to the ball either. Erith informs them that Uldred is attending. He also tells the two adventurers that the jester may show up at the Hawkwinter Estate and the party needs everyone to help track him down and destroy him if they can.
The warrior and the rogue concede that they should help the others get the jester. Vilnullas speaks up and says that they do not have dates, costumes, or entertainment for the evening. Erith gives them direction to Rulglar’s Wardrobe and tells them to pick a festhall and pay a lady to attend the event with them. He tells them to ask the festhall owner if they may hire any of their entertainers for the evening as well.
Later in the evening, every member of the Circle of Valor except Tellazar dresses for the Costume Ball. He has left for the Watchful Order to transcribe spells into his spellbook. Corthen tells everyone to carry a dagger for protection. Everyone climbs into their respective carriages and leave Silvaris’ home.
After picking up their dates for the ball, the heroes arrive at the Hawkwinter Villa. Inside they meet Lord Eremoes Hawkwinter who is dressed as a hawk. He greets his guests and allows them to mingle among the other costumed guests. The guest provided entertainment is spread out through the house and the costumed heroes listen to the musicians, the dwarven singers, and jugglers. In one room Filiare of the Dripping Dagger Inn and Delborggan the Blade of the Riven Shield are displaying swordfighting.
Kyrin Hawkwinter dressed as a falconer finds the party and asks if they will accompany her for a few minutes. She leads them to study where her father waits. He offers each person a drink before asking them to tell him about themselves. Each member of the Circle of Valor present tells him where they are from and more about they skills as adventurers. Lord Hawkwinter presses them on why they are adventurers and why they have made their way to Waterdeep.
Each person talks about their goals and why they became an adventurer. Some share that they chose their profession to become wealthy, others say to become famous, and a few answer that enjoy the thrill and excitement of the life. Lord Hawkwinter then asks about Tellazar and why he did not come to the ball. Saedellas speaks up and explains that his magical studies keep him so busy that he could not get away for even one night.
Lord Hawkwinter frowns but says nothing more on the subject. Corthen and Erith look at each other and wince. Lord Hawkwinter shares that he is looking to hire a band of adventurers who have certain qualities. When asked, he reveals that he is looking a group of young heroes of good reputation who have ties to some of the major elven cultures. He explains further that his family raises specially bred warhorses and that he wishes to find agents to help him travel and sell his breed of horses to the elves of Evereska and the High Forest Kingdom of Earlann.
He gives them each an offer of gold and a horse for each person present who wishes to accept the offer. Uldred asks if Tellazar receives a horse too; Lord Hawkwinter says that the mage is not present so he cannot offer him one of his horses since they have not met. Lord Hawkwinter tells them he has made his offer and for them to let him know if they wish to accept the offer or not.
The party is reunited with their dates and they and the other guests are summoned to dinner. Everyone enjoys the food and many different wines that are served with each dinner course. Corthen nearly chokes during dinner when the noblewoman dressed as a nymph places her hand on his thigh. He turns a bright shade of red but manages not to make everyone else aware of what is going on.
After dinner, Lady Kyrin invites everyone to the ballroom and everyone begins dancing to the music. After eight dances, Lord Agundar’s young fiancée who is dressed as a queen annouces that she has declared a ’Queen’s Dodge’. She explains that the game requires the male guests to hide on the estate. She says that then the female guests seek out the males, and anyone who she finds she may proclaim her spoils and require him to accompany her for one or two dances.
The male party guests spread out looking for places to hide on the estate. Several of them hide in different chambers of the house while others slip outside to the gardens. Erith, Corthen, Silvaris, and the many of the others are found by ladies and tagged for a dance. Cortonas has the strange idea to climb into a large tree in the gardens to hide from the females seeking dancing partners. He believes himself quite hidden in his tree from the costumed ladies until he feels a tap upon his shoulder. He turns to see who is there and finds himself staring into the grinning skull face of the Dead Jester! He screams in terror to find himself alone with the unstable fool.
The Jester grabs a tree limb and begins to flee over the wall to get away from the thief. Cortonas tries to tackle the skeleton while in the tree, misses him, and falls 20’ to the ground below. Some time later he is found by Hawkwinter servants. Lord Hawkwinter summons Saedellas of Corellon to aid his friend. The priest says a prayer of healing and Cortonas awakes. When asked what happened, the thief tells Lord Hawkwinter that he was in the garden when he was attacked by a skeleton.
The Costume Ball ends and the guests begin leaving the estate. While traveling in their shared carriage along with their dates, Saedellas and Uldred come upon another carriage being attacked by a group of men dressed in black. They also see Filiare and Delborggan fighting back to back against the darkblades. Several more jump out of the carriage while a woman screams from inside.
Being at a disadvantage of not carrying swords, Saedellas uses his powers to charm one of the attackers in black turning him against his comrades. Nolia and Corthen show up in another carriage and jump out to aid their friends. When Corthen is seen, one of the attackers screams “There’s the one we want!”
With Filiare and Delborggan’s help the four heroes present either kill or run off the attackers, but not before Corthen is wounded and found to be poisoned by a dagger attack from the assassins. Filiare gives the elf warrior a potion and the poison is neutralized. Uldred learns that the dead man in the other carriage is Orlas Ghostraven. They recognize him and the woman from the costume ball. Orlas wore a knight’s costume similar to Corthen’s. The city watch arrives and questions everyone present for a long time before releasing them. Filiare slips Corthen a brass medallion with a trident on it and quietly lets him know that he took it off of one of the attackers during the fight. Corthen recognizes the symbol as the same trident shape carved into the giant gar that the party recently killed in Undermountain.