As most of The Five (now at seven) recover from combat and put out fires Aamar and a freshly healed Saffron rush to the rock outcropping where the group of Nak’s followers leadership seemed to be. It is dark, the embers of the burning trees and corpses does not provide much light.
Aamar mutters a few words and light emanates from his shield. The rocks don’t reveal much. From Mansaray they learn that a man in chain mail grabbed the book and took flight on one of the massive eagles, but there are tracks. Another man, probably the bowman, fled on foot. There is no light ahead as he scrambles through the rocks and brambles.
Both chasers and chasee will be slowed for different reasons. There is a chance they can catch him, if they run. And they do. They rush through the night, guided by a bit of Light on that shield the human, halfling, bear cub and sled dog are on chase. They are off in the night, a small group charging after a man with a bow.
For the most part the trail from the runner goes along the paths of the local deer and elk. At best guess they are roughly maintaining distance. After a couple hours the path crests a small ridge.
An arrow whistles past Aamar’s shield.
Just over that ridge are three men. The one with the longbow is familiar. The other two are new. Both have crossbows.
Aamar, Saffron their companions rush forward. The ambush failed, and they must take advantage. A rapid exchange of blows with the leather clad crossbowmen ensues. The longbow user starts to run. Aamar is off in chase.
Bernie, Saffron and her dog off one of the two remaining. Aamar’s chase only lasts a few dozen feet. He closes to within a couple feet. The runner takes two swings with a short sword, both miss. Aamar’s small axe cleaves through the runner. There will be no interrogation of that one.
After Bernie and Saffron take out one of the two that oppose them the other surrenders, begging for his life.
Here, there will be an interrogation.
There are a few learnings from this one. He’s poor and willing to soldier for money. He explains that “Anderson asked us to hold here in reserve to protect the retreat.”
Further along they find that Anderson is not the bowman, but a higher up, perhaps the one in chain that fled on the eagle. Aamar and Saffron discover that just down past this ridge is an encampment of Nak, and Anderson is merely a leader, not the leader. The bandit is sent back to the small village near the Glass Tower to serve Nima, matron of the family that cared for Saffron during the illness.
They pick through the leavings of the fallen soldiers. Take the money off the one that lives. After creating some distance from the violence Aamar and Saffron finally rest.
In the morning they trudge along towards the valley and the community of Nak. Now, under the soft light of a partly cloudy day they work towards an active volcano. They move slowly through the cover, not wanting to be ambushed again, and no longer having a reason to hurry. It is close enough to the Glass Tower that they should be able to see the size of the community, its location and still get back to their compatriots. That assumes that everything goes to plan (ha!).
And now they see the smoke of an active outdoor fire, as well as the thin trickles from household stoves. Saffron, Aamar, and their companions slow the approach even more. Now they creep through scrub, find bushes, scamper in little troughs of land.
A multi-racial group heads there way. All have companions, eagles and wolves accompany the mixed group of humans, halflings and a loan goliath. Saffron had separated from the Aamar and Bernie. She’s alone with very little cover. The six people of Kin are moving towards the members of The Five.
Saffron makes a little run to hurry towards another hiding spot. The group of six pause, chat and three return to the hamlet/camp. The other three, including the goliath walk towards where Saffron was. They’ve spotted the heroes.
A rustle of noise, like a flock of birds comes from a copse of trees off to Saffrons left. The goliath sends his eagle off to investigate. One of the humans, a woman, sends her dog as well. Another rustle and their full attention is drawn.
Aamar mutters and gestures. The little cantrip did its job. Saffron joins him. And now, thirty seconds later Silence surrounds them. They run, no ears can see and the cover is enough. They’ve managed to escape unharmed, but not unknown.
The return to the Glass Tower is safe.
Cortez is surprised to learn that Anderson is a leader, he had expected it to be his former student Chorl. He is also surprised that a semi-permanent settlement would be inside that valley, as it is a lahar. The two saw four small cottages, a medium sized building built to allow goliath entry and a larger structure clearly with a few rooms. There was at least one other building hidden behind a ridge, as there was a trail of smoke coming from that area. Saffron draws a quick map.
This place probably has the Lorebook. The leadership and most residents (maybe all) are parts of the Cult of Nak, a group that wants the companionship between beast and people to become even stronger, maybe even as one. There is a chance that something within that Lorebook could help that happen.
Telse is three or four days away. A messenger pigeon was sent, but The Five and Cortez have yet to hear back from the large town.