When Fesh left the creepy old man's dungeon, he wasn't smiling. There was no familiar smoke figure above the chimney either. The old man leveled with Fesh, the Ivorians have reached him before Fesh did. When Fesh offered to double or triple whatever the Ivorians were paying, the old man explained that it was too late. Fesh understood when he saw on the old man's desk the familiar figure:
There is no way they can overcome the spell cast against them now. It's almost impossible.... yet miracles happen.