Whisper receives a message that Silvaticus, the rose farmer, wants to see her. When she arrives, she finds his establishment destroyed, all his flowers dead, and Silvaticus himself wounded. He assures her he's fine, but says that a woman in skull-like armor came and told him to give a message to Whisper: the Mask of Winters says stay out of his business.
While Whisper is relaying (some of) this information to the rest of the party, the Emissary comes to visit their tomb-manse with a timely proposition: deliver a cart of silver and jade to Thorns, negotiate with the Mask of Winters for trade into Nexus, and earn the admiration and influence commensurate with an agent of the Council.
The group decides to go to Thorns by sea, and arranges a Council ship to take them there. On the way, they are ambushed by crazed death-pirates (think Reavers), whom Xie Lan mind controls. They make it the rest of the way to Thorns without further incident, except for Whisper seeing a small, white mouse eating her rations. She throws things at it until it runs away.
Once in Thorns harbor, Xie Lan and Whisper refuse to leave the ship, so Yoshi and Abra head to the palace, where the Mask of Winters sits in residence for the moment. They are stopped by nephwrack guards, who question them with hateful expressions, but cannot actually stop them thanks to Abra's anima. They are shown in to see the Mask of Winters.
The Mask negotiates with Abra regarding the trade deal she came to make, and she ends up doing very well for Nexus. They verbally dance around their other reasons for coming, some of which Abra doesn't know (ahem Whisper), before they finally take their leave. On their way out, the Mask invites them "and their friends on the ship" to a feast in their honor.
Whisper at last reveals the full details of why she came, and the party agrees to go to the feast, though Xie Lan lags behind. Eventually she catches up, seeming entirely too cheerful, but the group goes in for the feast. While there, the Mask denies sending anyone to threaten Whisper, points fingers at the Walker in Darkness, and suggests they look in Stygia's libraries for any hint of a weakness. The party is, as a whole, cold and aloof, and the Mask leaves them to come and go as they choose. They immediately depart. Oddly, all the death pirates are gone when they return to the ship.
The group returns to Nexus without incident, and Abra reports back to the Council on the success of their trade negotiations.