Despite a just and fair rule, Karn is plagued by king-sent assassins even as he tries to hold court. However, sitting idly on a throne does not appeal to the adventurer in Karn, so when The Seer suggests he might quest for the sword of fighting to topple the wicked kings, Karn is tempted.
Starling confronts Karn, but during another onslaught of assassins and a verbal match, she is stabbed. The dagger's poison puts her into a magical sleep, and Karn is distraught, until the kings possess her and stab the seer. Presumably, he is still a little distraught.