After returning to Blue Water from his new summer home, Delan spends one peacuful night but doesn’t get to finish breakfast before Sherriff Chennick bursts into the inn to speak privately with Val. The sherriff seems rather nervous and gets upset with something Val says. He shoots Delan a dirty look before storming out of the inn.
Val explains that there is some trouble at the kelp fields and asks Delan to accompany him to find out what is going on. Delan agrees, and then watches as Val’s daughters help him into his old armor. He strabs a massive scabbard to his back and a quiver to his thigh. He carries an impressive longbow. Delan realizes that Val never used the rapier that he gave Delan.
Delan, Val, and Jerrik leave town and hike a coupel hours west to the kelp beds and find a party of lizardmen sitting around a fire, an ornately deccorated pike thrust into the ground a few feet in front of them.
The leader of the lizardfolk introduces himself as Tatafu, leader of the Snaprock Tribe. He has come to request the aid of the soft-skins as part of the treaty negotiated by himself and Val more than twenty years before. Tatafu asks Val to take up the pike for the Snaprock Tribe, but Val indicates Delan as the new champion of Blue Water. Tatafu then asks Delan to take up the pike, telling him he can bring his mate if he wishes, but otherwise must complete the task alone (Jerrik is upset to be taken for Delan’s mate, but Val quiets him with a look). Val cautions Delan to not take up the pike lightly.
Delan pulls the pike from the ground, prompting all of the lizardman to turn away from him except for a smaller, dark-skinned lizardperson that Tatafu had called Rekka. Rekka maneuvers to follow Delan, watchign his every move.
Delan and Jerrik follow the lizardmen back to their small village, where he completes a skill challenge to realize several things: By taking up the pike, he has become a Ghost, and none may interact with him until his Watcher, Rekka, reports that his task is complete. He learns from the children and elders of town, who choose to speak common freely while he is nearby, that the village is being attacked by a great flying beast that steals the children and carries them back into the mountains. He learns that the water that flows down from the mountain is unseasonbly cold, and dead fish float downstream at regular intervals.
Delan and his “mate” travel upstream, fighting some fastieths and blood hawks before coming to a place where the stream water contains chunks of ice. Outside an ice-coated cave, they fights a small army of ice warrior shardlings, chunks of ice animated by the beast’s magicly cold breath. They enter the cave and find a very young cobalt dragon. Trapped in its lair, the dragon fights for its life, but the heroes finally slay it. They hear a whoop from outside the cave and look to see Rekka dash away along the stream.
When Delan and Jerrik make it back to the village, Rekka has been there for more than a day ahead of them, and a feast is underway. They learn that men have already been dispatched to fetch the beast and prepare its skin to be made into armor for the hero who slayed it. The Snaprock tribe celebrate Delan and his mate for a week, while the craftsman make his armor. Finally, they present it to him and he is allowed to leave, told that he and his mate will be welcomed by the Snaprock tribe as long as they live, paragons among the softskins.