Gangs and factions rule the twilit streets of Duskwall, a city protected from the hungry dead by a wall of lightning. Now they’re joined by one more – the Court of Rooks, a small upstart band of thieves and spies operating out of a collapsing tower on the edge of the Charterhall district. They consist of:
- Les, a former guard at Ironhook Prison
- His half-brother Patch, a self-trained alchemist
- Sparrow, a 12-year old Tycherosi ghost whisperer
- The Magpie, an older Tycherosi and accomplished thief
The gang is offered a job from the cult of the Shrouded Queen to steal a relic – the iron skull of the cult’s first prophet – from the Dimmer Sisters, a notorious group of witches. The Magpie is reluctant to interfere with them, but Sparrow is enthusiastic and the money is good, so the Rooks takes the job. Sparrow learns more about the Sisters and their mansion from a ghost she knows, including that they have a private electroplasmic generator in their home that helps them trap and enslave ghosts; Patch figures this would be a useful thing to disrupt during the heist.
The Rooks use underground tunnels and canals to make their way through the Six Towers district to the Dimmer Sisters’ mansion, where they break in through a forgotten basement. They find the house patrolled by ghosts, but Sparrow guides the others past the guards to a dusty living room. Attuning to the ghost field, Sparrow senses the generator in the attic and the relic in the floor above. Patch and the Magpie scale the side of the mansion to reach the attic, while Sparrow and Les look for the relic.
Although Patch and the Magpie reach the attic safely, they trigger a ward on the window, and the alarm is raised in the mansion! Ghosts come for them as Patch attempts to blow up the ancient generator, but he only manages to injure himself and the Magpie is hurt as she attempts to avoid and drive off the ghosts. Meanwhile, Sparrow and Les find the iron skull within a cage connected to the generator, and with two corpses next to it – one of which rises as a shambling hollow!
Les beats down the hollow and uses Swallow’s lightning hook to draw off the electroplasm, letting Swallow grab the skull. This disrupts the generator enough so that Patch can shut it down – at which point the ghosts escape the mansion, moaning in joy, and screams of witchy rage echo down the halls! The Rooks try to get away via the canals, but their gondola is late, so in the end they bust into a neighbouring house and escape via the underground tunnels.
While they’re paid for their work, the Rooks are now in trouble with the law. Worse, the Dimmer Sisters declare all-out war on the thieves that broke into their sanctum, Patch has a falling out with his fence, the Magpie needs to recovery from her ghost-inflicted injuries – and Sparrow goes missing after overindulging in Tycherosi nightroot…