On their way back to Breidablik, Silversack Sam, Xenephon, T'chon, Bryta, and Krissy encounter the brewmistress up in a tree while a pair of lions are about to start climbing up there to get her. They valiantly drive one lion off and kill the other before she is eaten. So thankful is she for rescuing her, the brewmistress offers them some of her most potent magical brews.
The celebration for the return of the brewmistress to Breidablik is a wild, loud, fun affair, with much cheering, clapping, and clanking of cups. Baldur the Beautiful, son of the god Odin and Frigg, makes an appearance. Baldur is so fair of feature, and so bright, that golden light shines from him. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious. He heard about the adventurers and their exploits, and he is pleased with their heroism. He explains that their story isn’t finished yet, that their test has only just begun. A war between the warriors of Valhalla and the dwarves of Nidavellir would surely tear Ysgard apart, and so it must be prevented. The diplomatic solution was a failure; war with the dwarves seems inevitable, unless the bloodprice can be paid. Baldur offers a magic item to each of the party members if they agree to avenge the death of a dwarf cleric named Alena and figure out who poisoned the dwarves in Breidablik in the first place. The Wise Council (especially Toki Melnirson) seems to think it was the doing of a hermit enchanter named Bargle, who resides at Castle Mistamere. While Baldur and Jarnskeggi are fine with the companions bringing Bargle in dead or alive, Toki insists that Bargle is to be killed.
While the Wandering Guardians seem to have failed in their quest to make peace with the dwarves of Nidavellir, the third party of adventurers — Hodd, Letha, and Calladastina — who left to meet with Odin, have not returned yet.
The journey to Castle Mistamere takes a few days, with the trail to the ruins leading through pleasant fields and olive groves. Eventually the party reaches the edge of Asgard's earthberg. Empty sky fills the distance between this and the next earthberg, which floats a hundred feet away. A rickety wooden bridge spans between them, swaying in the breeze. Other earthbergs can be seen scattered far away in the distance both above and below.
T'chon suggests flying everyone over the span to the other earthberg. Just then, a galeb duhr awakens nearby and addresses the party. He declares that his kind guard the bridge on either side, and none may pass without first answering a riddle:
You come across a lion and a unicorn in a forest of forgetfulness. The lion lies every Moonday, Tyrsday, and Wodensday and the other days he speaks the truth. The unicorn lies on Thorsdays, Feyadays, and Saturndays, and the other days of the week he speaks the truth.
Lion: Yesterday I was lying.
Unicorn: So was I.
Which day did they say that?
The only other creature encountered along the way is with a centaur playing a panpipe. He is a friendly cutter who gladly volunteers that he’s seen little dog-like monsters go in and out of the keep over the past few months. Xenephon identifies them as kobolds. The centaur has never seen Bargle, and is glad for it. He has no desire to enter that castle.
The walls of Castle Mistamere are jagged and full of holes where stones crumbled away. A gateway in the center of the front wall stands empty, and the massive outer doors lie rotting nearby on the ground, although the inner keep door still stands. Peeking over the outer wall in places are the ruins of the keep itself, backed against the sheer cliff of the mountain beyond. Lurking in a shallow den underneath the door is a carrion crawler, but the garbage-eating bug is easily defeated.
Ten kobolds are stationed in the courtyard, tasked by Bargle to keep watch for trouble. When the party enters the outer walls, the kobolds spread out and train their slings on the intruders, using the rubble littering the courtyard as cover. The companions sweep into the courtyard, slaying kobolds left and right amid a hail of slingstonefire. Those cowardly creatures that are engaged in melee flee toward the keep, but Silversack Sam blocks their retreat and they are cut down.
Krissy levitates up into a second-story window and slips inside while Silversack kicks down the front door. Most of the rooms appear empty, ruined, and abandoned. A giant bat swoops out of the chimney in one room and attacks the party, but it is killed rather quickly. Krissy finds nothing upstairs but some rusty silverware, which she pockets. When she comes downstairs to meet back up with the other members of her party, she finds a kobold shrine room dedicated to Kurtulmak.
Eventually the party notices a faint green light, which leads them to a library room. This chamber is lit by a magical Lantern of Revealing. The air here smells of ancient leather and old paper. A table and cushioned chair sit in the middle of the room. Books are everywhere else, on bookshelves or placed in numerous disarrayed stacks that tower to the ceiling. An old figure sits in ornate robes at the table, cradling a large book to his chest and rocking back and forth, muttering, “…Oblivion is coming… the chaos… the nothing…”
This is Bargle. His hair and beard are disheveled and he smells like he hasn’t bathed in weeks. Xenephon tries talking with him, but it's difficult to get anything past his mad babbling. Apparently he once visited Breidablik about a month ago to enjoy food, drink, and good company; and to pick up new quests wherein he could test new spells. On that visit, Bargle spoke with the Wise Council, and he discovered that there was more to Toki Melnirson than anyone else realized. He didn’t want to raise a fuss, so he returned to his castle to research it. The kobolds were summoned from Acheron by Bargle to act as his servants and guardians, but lately he's been so obsessed with his books, the kobolds have been running amok.
Xenephon asks the two kobolds in the other room if they saw anyone else in the castle lately, and they admit that they have seen what looks like a big grey toad walking about in the shadows, but he disappears when he's not illuminated by the green lantern. The azer gasps at this news — a grey slaad! Here in Ysgard!
"Could this slaad be Toki in disguise?" Bryta wonders.
Bargle seems to think that something terrible and forboding is coming, and something really bad will happen to him if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this. His mind is pretty broken. T'chon suspects that he's been the subject of numerous fear spells. While Bargle does respond to questions, his attention always seems to be elsewhere. “I must figure it out before… before they come for us… they’re coming … Oblivion is coming. It’s up to me to find the answer.” Needless to say, the companions conclude that Bargle did not sour the wine at Breidablik or poison any dwarves.
The room contains 2,000 volumes of varying sizes. Bryta offers to bring the mage and his books with them to a friendly firbolg who might be able to help him find the answers he seeks. It takes some convincing, but Bargle agrees. He says there's a wagon outside they can use.
Krissy notices a torn and stepped-on piece of paper on the floor. She picks it up and reads:
Harp and carp, Olidammara, she said
Harp and carp along with me
And if you dare to kiss my lips
Sure of your body I will be
Before they leave, the companions case the rest of the castle. They cuff the two kobolds in the shrine and take the pile of magic items the kobolds were using to summon Kurtulmak. Xenephon finds a zombie stuffed in a crate in a storage room. In one closet, Silversack Sam finds a hatbox lying on the floor. He goes to pick it up, but the hatbox opens its toothy jaws and lashes out with its tongue — a mimic!