A body washes up on the banks of the River Rhuan at dawn. It is a man, well dressed, with a dagger still embedded in his chest. Vash Cruiser discovers it and loots the body, only to be interrupted by another river scavenger, who demands that he be allowed a look over the body.
Meanwhile, Thomas Adder’s bodyguard, Mason, accompanies his master to a meeting, where he stations himself outside. Before too long, Adder tosses a corpse out of the building, ordering Mason to dispose of the body in the river, and to make sure that the body can’t be identified. Mason goes on to follow his master’s orders, and Adder leaves to meet up with someone he can hire to find answers.
The man he can hire is Alex Finch, a spy for hire. They come to an agreement, but the amount is more than Adder can pay. He promises the money anyway, planning to seek a loan from a contact. Finch leaves so that he can begin his investigation.
Back at the riverbank, Mason comes upon Vash arguing with the other riverman. Vash convinces the interloper that there are more lucrative spots to scavenge. The fact that Mason has a crossbow pointed at him doesn’t hurt. Mason also takes a moment to look over the body, and recognizes the victim as a member of the Cartwright’s Guild. Before they can investigate any further, the sounds of boots and jangling armor are heard in the streets just yards away. Vash and Mason hide the body in Vash’s cart and attempt to look inconspicuous.
Thomas Adder, meanwhile, scours the Low Banks for sign of the Worms – a River Guild of beggars and junkmongers. It doesn’t take him long to discover their territory.
Alex tries to make contact with a rumor-monger in a local pub, but unfortunately fails. He decides to go and seek out information from some of the urchin pickpockets that roam the streets. Vash and Mason, meanwhile, are questioned by the local city guard, led by Inquirer First-Class Iosef Hildebrand, who happens to be looking for information regarding a missing member of the Cartwright’s Guild. There is some posturing between Iosef and Mason, but the guard leaves forthwith, issuing a warning to Mason that they’d be watching him.
Adder secures an audience with the Beggar King, from whom he manages to procure a loan.