When a drunkard gropes her, Brynne gets into a confrontation in an inn in a border town. A young, mysterious Sirasean man named Heathcliff steps to her aid. Sharing a drink with Brynne and Samson afterward, Heathcliff pledges himself to Brynne’s service as a bodyguard for the journey, with her fine Draelian mare Sticks offered as payment upon safe return to her home in Yewll. At one point in the conversation, Heathcliff stands and demonstrates his powerful “Lightshard” enchantment, which can be cast upon a sword, enabling it to cut effortlessly through any material.
Just before retiring for the night, an incident occurs in which Heathcliff goes into some sort of paralysis. Just before passing out, he has Samson give him two drops of liquid from an unmarked vial….