It’s getting close to time to meet the Lidless Eye contact in Bulwark. Wary that this might be a trap set by Imperial agents, the party only send Thorni and Blink in to investigate the town while Jal, Angela and Zoe scout out the location of the meeting (and an ill Freddie recovers in the wagon).
Bulwark is being run by a Rose Knight loyal to the Empire named Andrew Alderton, who has enthused the townsfolk with his rhetoric. He happily confides in Thorni that he and his adventuring party have saved the village from a cult called the Order of the Lidless Eye who were terrorising its people and kidnapping them; in an attack on their headquarters he and his associate, Rini, were able to poison the leader of the cult. He’s confident that without a central figure the Lidless Eye will fall apart. In the meantime he’s remained in Bulwark to protect it from rebels. Thorni is disgusted at Alderton’s Imperialist rhetoric, but puts on a friendly face. Alderton shares with him some coded documentation that he captured from the home of a rebel spy they found in Bulwark, in the hope that Thorni is better with codes than him; Thorni makes a copy of this for later use.
BDMS meet with the Order’s contact on Hangman’s Hill, who turns out to be Pani Kash, the Whitendon name on Valdetti‘s list, and a member of the Rebellion. She tells BDMS that she’s fallen in with the Order after having to flee Alderton; that the Order’s leader has been poisoned by Alderton, that the Order don’t know what with, and that if BDMS can help find an antidote the Order will lend their magical assistance to the rebellion. BDMS agree to meet with the Order to see if they’re on the level.
The Order turn out to be a cult in the mesmeric thrall of an Eyebeast, Gaze-of-Dolor, which has indeed been poisoned; it promises that should they cure its poison, it will infiltrate the Seflheim sewers and “cause sorrow” for the inhabitants of the Imperial capital. BDMS are horrified to hear Gaze-of-Dolor gloat about the horrific tortures it forces those who worship it to inflict upon each other for its amusement, but decide not to threaten it when it has the drop on them. They agree to consider its request and leave, then agree between themselves to destroy the Order. At this point they realise they’re being followed through the woods, and capture their stalker, a ranger and associate of Andrew Alderton called Rini, after a long running battle in which Angela is mildly poisoned and Rini attempts repeatedly to flee into the darkness, but is thwarted by Zoe’s magitech.
The party interrogate Rini, who says that she was suspicious they would help the eyebeast and followed them to confirm or deny her fears. She tries to persuade them to help her assassinate Gaze rather than waiting for the poison to do its work as Alderton wishes; the party don’t agree, and leave her tied and gagged in the darkness while they go to finish off the Order. After a bloody battle, which features Freddie being repeatedly possessed by Gaze-of-Dolor and forced to attack Blink, and Gaze-of-Dolor exploding the heads of some of its followers in a last-ditch attempt to stop the party, the Order are defeated and Gaze-of-Dolor slaughtered. Some of the Order start to come round as Gaze’s power over them wanes; Freddie tries to talk them round to joining up with the Rebellion (since they face certain death should they return to Bulwark). BDMS argue about what to do with Rini, since she is now aware they’re rebels, and are worried that she’ll set Alderton on them; this is complicated by Blink falling in love with Rini as the only person she’s ever seen get one over on Angela. In the end, Thorni forcibly restrains Blink while Zoe murders Rini in cold blood, then defiles her corpse in an attempt to make it look like Rini was tortured to death by the Order of the Lidless Eye. Blink is understandably distraught about this. The party flee Whitendon, taking Pani with them; decoding her messages, they realise that she had been in contact with other people than her Rebellion supervisors, and Pani concedes — as their previous contact had — that the details of a contract made with a Devil prevent her from spilling any details. The party are kind enough not to push this further, but keep her communication.