The evening of the spring market sees Arvo taking Finara for dinner, although the evening ends a bit earlier than he would have liked. Eldur meets Yeesha at the festival where they dance and eat.
During the night, Belkelel dreams of the tower. He finds himself all alone on a plane where the tower stands, tall and eerie-looking. He cannot tell why the tower should feel so menacing, but it does. He wakes up with the taste of dust in his mouth. This is a dream he has had quite a few times since he came to Tavor.
In the morning, he decided to do something about it. Since he has no idea where the tower can be found, he flies off to explore the vicinity of the town, but doesn’t find anything of interest. When he returns, he notices Daigo and Banba who are still following him around despite the fright he gave them yesterday.
Yeesha has her stand across the market place from him and he has heard that she sells a sort of sweet. Every kid likes sweets, right? So he goes and buys a chunk of toffee to bribe Daigo and Banba with. He has to wait for a few minutes because he tries the toffee himself and it glues his mouth shut.
The kids are slow to trust him, but eventually Daigo is brave enough to snatch the first small piece of toffee from Belkelel’s hand. In exchange for that, they tell him that the tower is about five days away south of the town. He decides to fly there once he has enough provisions and leaves Daigo and Banba with their mouths stuck shut from a huge piece of toffee.
He also asks Arvo for more information on the tower. Arvo tells him that it’s a sort of lookout for the town, keeping contact with a radio. They bicker a bit, Arvo doesn’t really take Belkelel seriously and Belkelel has no idea why since he so obviously is right about the things he sees. He warns Arvo that a darkness is coming towards the city. None of them notice Beringar working in the back of the garage, listening intently. Belkelel gives the same warning to a couple of customers over the next few days.
A few days later, just when Belkelel thinks he can start out for the tower the next day, the Derek, captain of the town guard, and two of his men come for him. They obviously mean business, although they don’t arrest him and Derek is civil when asking him to accompany him to the town council.
At the council meeting, Arvo and Eldur are already present. Eldur has been taken along by his master Vitur and Arvo has been asked to join by Beringar. They are asked to investigate the silence of the radio tower. There has been no word from the men there for the last five days or so. It’s possible that the radio has broken down, but of course there are lots of worse things than might have happened. Arvo is sent because he’d be able to repair pretty much anything, Eldur goes along as security and because his master thinks he needs the experience and Belkelel… Well, the council has heard that he has been asking about the tower and think he might know something. They ask to speak with him alone about another matter while the other two leave. Arvo does so angrily, he’s mad at Beringar for springing this upon him without asking first. Eldur takes the whole thing in stride.
Once the two are gone, the council warns Belkelel about spreading rumours and fear. People are already talking about his warnings that a darkness is coming towards the town and the council does not like that at all. One man in particular, the butcher Antero, goes beyond a warning and outright threatens Belkelel, for some reason he has a grudge against the Ikarim. Belkelel tries to read his feelings and gets an impression of anger, hate and grief.
The council has arranged for a mule cart and all the equipment the party will need, including spare parts for the radio. All three check on the cart at the caravanserai in the evening and there they meet Gedia who is the mother of one of the tower crew. She asks them to give him a small parcel and seems sick with worry. Eldur does his best to comfort her and promises to deliver the package.
Beringar waits for Arvo at his home and apologises for not asking him. He says that he honestly didn’t think it would be such a big deal for Arvo. They part at least on speaking terms and Beringar gives Arvo a human-made hunting knife.
Belkelel arranges for Daigo and Banba to get a hot meal occasionally at Yeesha’s stall. She offers him a piece of toffee on the house, a new recipe and Belkelel accepts. The taste is quite unusual for him (it has alcohol as the secret ingredient), but not at all bad.
In the morning, the party leaves after a few problems with getting the mule to move. The journey takes them through the surrounding farmland, so for the first two nights they can count on the hospitality of the local farmers, who also show them how to hitch the mule to the cart. After two days, they pass into the wilderness. Green pastures and fields give way to thorny shrubs and undergrowth, clinging to the red sand and rock on both sides of the road. They meet no-one except the coal delivery for Tavor, but that’s not unusual.
After five days, they arrive at the tower and it is indeed the one from Belkelel’s dreams. It stands alone on a patch of ground cleared from the undergrowth, with a barn to accompany it. There’s a bad smell coming from the barn. The tower is the highest building any of the three have ever seen, much higher than anything in Tavor. It’s human-made and the door and all the windows are shuttered.
Belkelel flies to the top of the tower and manages to slip under the roof, no mean feat for someone with a wingspan of eighteen feet. He finds nothing but the trapdoor into the tower, but it’s locked from within. He tries to see what has happened here and sees young man who climbs out of the trapdoor, seemingly relieved. Arvo investigates the barn and finds two dead goats, but nothing else. Eldur tries the door to the tower, but it’s locked as well. Arvo manages to open the lock and they find the door barred, but it open enough that Arvo can slip a rope over the door and around the bar. After a few futile attempts, Eldur raises the bar and they can finally enter.
The tower is cool and dark, its thick walls protect it well from the heat outside. It smells of dust and a slight smell of vinegar and there are cobwebs, it seems that the crew has been gone for a while or were just very sloppy about housekeeping. The ground floor is obviously the kitchen and storage room. There should be some weapons, but all they find is ammunition. The second floor are the crew’s living quarters. While climbing up, they notice that the tower has extremely thick floors, a good three feet. Again, they find dust and cobwebs, more than on the ground floor, and here they also find a fairly large number of tiny spiders unlike any they have seen before.
On the table is a game of dice and some stuff. There’s a crossbow on the floor and a bolt stuck in one of the cupboards where the crew store their personal belongings. There’s no blood and no sign of a struggle. Eldur and Belkelel hear a sound from above, like a door shutting, although it sounds more like stone, not wood. Belkelel also hears a scratching sound.
They go up to the third floor where they find the radio and generator, both indeed broken. The radio has fallen to the floor and is smashed. They also find a shotgun and signs that someone has fired the gun at the radio or at least at something or someone standing in front of the radio, the wall is peppered with buckshot. There is no sign of whatever made the sounds. Arvo takes a look at the radio and he thinks that with a day’s work, he can at least repair it well enough to notify the town of what has happened. Belkelel hears the scratching again, this time from below. The cobwebs and little spiders are everywhere on the top floor and the vinegary smell is strongest here.
They leave the tower for now. Belkelel flies off to investigate the surrounding area. To the west is the canyon of the dried out river, much deeper here than further north. To the east is the road and beyond that thick undergrowth that gives way to sandstone boulders after thirty yards or so. Eldur takes care of the mule while Arvo goes around the tower. He finds a huge cocoon behind the tower and calls to the other two to take a look at it. When they open it, they find a skull and bones, crushed and broken, maybe because the cocoon was dropped from a great height. The skull belongs to a Mada and they assume that it was one of the tower crew. Another flyby by Belkelel reveals nothing suspicious on the outside of the tower.
They clean out the stable and decide to spend the night there. Before it gets dark, they search the area on the other side of the road for any trace of the crew. With Belkelel searching from the air and the others from the ground, it quickly becomes clear that no-one broke through the undergrowth and no-one answers their calls. The night is uneventful.