- Edwin O’Flaherty, Goblin Militiaman and entrepreneur.
- Arren Pokathery, Denis the Menace.
- Faust, wandering spider-like Map-quest Clockwork.
- Esma, Goblin fan-girl of Edwin.
- Dr. Andso, Human Physician.
Evening rolls around and as the Nightwatch arises they can hear the turmoil in town as cries of passion echo out of the surrounding hills. Arren is checked on by Dr. Andso, who promises to do anything he can to help the lad recover. “Anything?” the boy asks. “Anything!” the Doctor states reassuringly. After he leaves, Arren slips out to join the two Goblins as they meet with Foust to make plans as to how to proceed, but Andso spots him and follows hastily, demanding to know what is going on. Arren invokes his promiss, however, and argues him into joining their next foray into the woods.
Together with the young doctor the five head out into the eerie forest. After several turnarounds (and haunted by the ever increasing cries of lovemaking echoing around them, which turns into a scream near midnight), they finally manage to find a door under a tree-stump, from which a bloody light slips from about its’ frame. Trying to be stealthy, Esma discovers the surrounding brush is filled with sharp thorny brambles, so they decide to charge in instead.
Within they find a bloodbath. The gory remains of the missing villagers leave several of the Nightwatch badly shaken (especially Edwin), but they quickly realize they are not alone. An old trapper, the first to disappear, still lives, badly mutilated with eyes and mouth sewn shut. Cutting his mouth open reveals he is also hopelessly mad. He lets slip that the monster behind all this is the Witch Vezreen, who had sought to drive the settlers of Respite from “her” hills, and had been in the middle of summoning and binding a large warband of Beastmen to her service when they arrived, forcing her to flee just moments ahead of their entering. To make sure she can’t simply come back and pick up where she left off, the gang burns her hut to the ground (Faust pausing only briefly to salvage her ritual elvish blade, her book of spells, and to slit the old man’s throat to end his misery).
They return to Respite, feeling the evil has left the forest. Ed and Anso wake the Mayor and fill him in on the situation, and in the morning he announces the plague over and the witch dealt with, all thanks to their Lord and Savior moving through his instruments – the Nightwatch.
Epologue: The Nightwatch decide they’ve had enough of Respite and its’ small-mindedness, deciding instead to follow the Weird Sisters (who now have no home thanks to the villager’s witch-hunting zeil) & Faust (who still has mapping to do) as they move to Permot. Andso persuades Arren’s family to let him take the boy on as his apprentice, and they too join the caravan, summarily leaving the local faith (which also ends his engagement to a local girl). As Andso travels through the woods into the Wastes he hears whispers of the Old Gods, and is eventually initiated into the Old Faith by a priesthe meets in Permot’s God Market. Esma gets knocked up on the trip by Edwin when the latter fails in a moment of weakness, and moves into his closet once they settle in Permot and Ed and 4th get themselves a Flat in Permot’s impoverished district of Greevings. Andso and Arren get a Flat across the way, finding work at the Quick Clinic in neighboring the neighboring district of Coins. Faust finds a job as a Butcher-bot at a questionable meat-pie shop, and takes residence in a crate in the alley behind it to continue his studies (though early on he loses Vezreen’s spellbook).