Brother Graille, now a young man living an isolated life in the Shallyan Temple in Grunberg has his benevolence tested suddenly, when a passing traveller who is clearly very ill, warts and all, falls on the steps before the hospice. The intimidating Matron Betrix Berg calls repeatedly for Graille to leave the man, and return inside to do his chores, including washing the infirmary floor. Graille igores the threat of punishment and tends to the man, despite the Matron’s admonishments, tending to the poor traveller with blessings of health.
Upon the his illness beginning to heal miraculously, the man jumps up, startled and alarmed. It is revealed he is Heinrich Klien a Shallyan Priest who aggreed to disguise himself and take part in Graille’s right of passage; a test of his true selflessness. He reveals he is heading West to an early retirement in the tiny logging town of Fussen, having tired of the hustle and bustle of the Altdorf Cathedral. His mild warty illness was caught from a patient there, and he had not thought it worthy of Shallya’s blessing.
Before long he leaves again, with Shallyan priestesses Agnes and Diedre in tow to help maintain the neglected chapel.
A month or so passes and it is Graille’s turn to head south. Heinrich’s chapel was due to send alms, as well as tidings on how he is fairing, but no word has come yet. The pragmatic and sizeable Matron Berg, thinking it unlikely a punctilious Altdorf priest would be remiss in his duties, sends Graille to check on Heinrich and collect the alms himself. She also sends with him newly ordained Gretel, who has lived a more sheltered life than even the young Brother Graille. (Not to mention bandits are less likely to trouble a Priestess of Shallya. Male priests not so much.)
Their journey West is uneventful untill they reach the riverside town of Kliendorf, where they are met by a panicked Franz Bieber. He praises Shallya for their arrival, for he says a pox has striken their poor town. Graille, a faithful servant of Shallya, volunteers to help as much as he can. Franz seems to be at his wits end.
En route to Fussen, as the road, now little more than a dirt strip, delves deeper into the dark forest, a white dove flutters down to perch on a tree branch ahead. As Franz and Graille draw closer, the dove glides into the forest, away from the path, and coos serenely. Graille realises that Franz can’t see the dove, and feeling that it may be a sign convinces Franz to leave the path. The dove leads them out of sight of the road, and they’re barely hidden when the dove vanishes and a humongous beastmen with the head of an ox comes stomping onto the road. The ground shakes as it passes, and the fearful adventurers hear it growling to itself “Stone the sky strikes. Stone the sky strikes.” It’s heavy hoof-falls dissapear back down the road. It seems a higher power is watching over Graille today.