Iris realizes that what she’s seeing isn’t real when she is transported back to her prison cell, only to see the guards bring in Eric and someone that looks suspiciously like herself. Her vision fades and she finds herself reappearing in Salmonshore. The whole town appears to be empty and she wanders about it before hearing a commotion from the shore. She rushes out to see many people holding ropes attached to a creature in the sea. Just when she asks a person standing by what’s going on, though, she is transported again, this time to her hometown of Rondel, looking upon the burnt remains of her house. She heads next door to Eric’s home and discovers it empty. Upon entering Eric’s room, however, she finds a woman holding a baby. Thrilled that her vision isn’t going dark, she speaks to her briefly. The woman seems alarmed and asks who she is before Iris vanishes again.
This time she is back on the balcony where she began, suspended in the air in some sort of water bubble. She sees two men speaking, the one who she met the first time on the balcony, talking to some sort of strange bone man. When the bone man vanishes, her bubble pops and she falls to the ground, just managing to keep her balance. The man who remains asks her what she’s doing here and she explained that it had been him that sent her out to look for the pendant. He continues to talk in circles, which thoroughly frustrates Iris. He asks about the pendant, which she adamantly replies that she’s already told him what happened to the pendant. He then asks what date on which she lost the pendant, which she gives him. He tells her that that’s enough and her entire life flashes before her eyes before she is returned to… where she was standing before, god dammit.
He asks her if she wishes to join the Mythos. She questions what this is and gets a rather vague answer. She asks if it’s her destiny, with the prophecy and he shakes his head, saying that they hope to make sure that the prophecy never comes true. Reluctant, she asks him for some time to think over the matter. She is transported to a room with no doors. Frustrated, she calls out for someone and one of the ghostly men appear. He hisses to her, which annoys her to no end. She requests food and is delivered a purple haired hobo. Again, she attempts to drink his blood without killing him, but fails miserably. She requests that Eric be brought to her and is ignored. After a few minutes, the man shows back up again, demanding her answer. She keeps firmly requesting that Eric be brought to her so that she can make the decision with him. He says that this is her decision to make alone and that Eric cannot follow her into the Mythos. It is this straw that leads her to refuse the offer. If she cannot be with Eric, she will not join the Mythos. He says that it is a shame and she is “sent back to her old life” and is returned to the prison cell.
Meanwhile, Eric floats down (up?) the river into a canyon that is mostly certainly and definitely not a cave. The river flows up the mountain, defying the laws of gravity, and leads Eric to a large lake high above the mountian. He decides to set up camp by the shore and drinks some of the water from the river, which he finds out is infused with magic. That night, he has a dream where Markus offers him some stew, and then wanders into the lake. The next day, he takes some of the water directly from the lake and dilutes it into a potion. He drinks the potion and that night, he has another dream. This time, he sees Markus and two shadowy figures, and again they all wander off into the lake. The next day, he tries making tea out of some of the same water. When he dreams, he sees Markus, his parents, Iris’s caretaker and many hungry people, but this time, after they all walk into the lake, seven wolves remain behind, looking at him. He tries the water one last time and in his dreams he sees scores of men, guards from both Grinner and Heinrock. He even sees Randall of Rondel, a man he remembered from his childhood. He asks Randall if he has any message he’d like to pass to his family, but he answers with gibberish and smiles at Eric. Every night, as the figures vanish into the lake Eric would wake up a little agitated.
Having had enough of the bizarre dreams, Eric decides to leave the lake, but when he attempts to walk down the strange river, he finds out that it is capable of dragging him at a considerable rate, and all effort to outrun the current is futile. Realizing the only way to get down the mountain is through the other downstream rivers, he attempts to traverse one of them. But the rapids are too strong for him and he is sucked in. Through miraculous luck, he is thrown around for what feels like weeks to him, his head popping out of the water at just the right times for him to get a gasp of air. He eventually ends up on shore, having learned to swim the very… very hard way.
He makes use of his arcane powers to locate the direction back to Heinrock and begins travelling south-west, eventually finding the town of Nikervale. There he buys supplies and a horse and takes the road to Nina’s Crossing, deciding to take the longer but safer road to Heinrock.
Meanwhile, Iris realizes that upon both of their disappearances and with no more prisoners, the high security prison did not have anyone left guarding it. She waited a day or two, hoping in vain that by some chance, someone would come down there and find her. Her eyes adjusted to the dark in this time, allowing her to make a better jump to the platform. She manages to avoid falling in the pit of boiling water and heads over to the door. She finds it unlocked and pulls it open. Squinting, she allows herself to readjust to the light before heading up the countless stairs. After forever of climbing, she manages to get to the top, finding the castle to be almost completely empty. Claiming a damaged sword just in case, she manages to just simply… walk out of the castle.
Heading to the Fighter’s Guild, she realizes she needs a sufficient lockpick in order to get in. So she heads down to the marketplace, deciding to ask a merchant where a coinless girl can sleep the night. He directs her to a tavern, asking her to tell Orphelia that “Tuesday Bob” said hi. She agrees and isn’t surprised when she learns that this tavern doubles as a brothel. She asks to work for a room and spends her night with a man. Upon waking up, she sits down with two other prostitutes with a pipe, taking a big puff of it herself, unaware that it was opium. She manages to wheedle two bobby pins out of them but in the process gets too hammered to feel confident in raiding the Fighter’s Guild Tower. So she decides to wait until it wears off… which is a big mistake in itself. After she fucks her client that night, she vomits up the entire contents of her stomach in the waste basket. She returns to bed with him and wakes up… hungry. Unfortunately, he’s also awake at this time. She spends some time with him and smokes his normal tobacco pipe with him, having sworn off opium forever. She gains Kedric as a Tuesday regular. Taking the money to the market, she buys a sword from Mishka and a block of bloody meat from a merchant, hoping to stave off her hunger until the night. But when she headed back to the brothel, Orphelia caught her and demanded her cut. Iris realizes too late that she spent most of her money, which displeases Orphelia, who tells Iris to take the meat to the kitchen and to join her for dinner. Reluctant to give away her bloody meal, she agrees, asking the kitchen maid to make sure her portion is extra bloody.