Standing in the middle of the road from Easteðgeat to Healwud, the group of four determine to split up. Shil McTire remains behind to make it appear as though the three men are the Clerics of Vecna that Lord Xavhorn is searching for, and to make it appear as though they put up more of a fight. Lina Bowman and Runa Egilsdottir head the hour and a half or so back to town to alert Sheriff Leaf to the bandit camp, now confirmed, in their minds, to be the single same that they had been kidnapped to previously. Ras returns to Healwud also to bring word to Lord Xavhorn Soulaxe that he has found and slain three Clerics of Vecna.
As Ras, Lina, and Runa enter Healwud at about four in the afternoon, Lina and Runa dash over to the Guards’ Headquarters, seeking assistance. They explain to Tegan Riverlarch, Leaf’s second-in-command, that they have found the bandit camp and that they need a detective or high-ranking officer with ranging or tracking experience in order to find out where the people in the camp have been taken. To their knowledge, there are also a few people left in the camp, so Runa and Lina request other support. Frustratingly, Tegan says his hands are tied, as he needs to remain in the city, and there is no one he can send, as he already has two bands of guardsmen sent down the west and south roads where the kidnappings have been happening. He offers no help, but is willing to lend the two women a horse from the East Gate to ride to find Sheriff Lyfalia, sent on a fool’s errand by Ra’s to find orcs in the East.
Meanwhile, Ra’s Al Ghul arrives at the court of Lord Xavhorn, and requests a private audience to disclose delicate information. Lord Xavhorn accepts this, and listens as Ras describes encountering three men on the road who fit the description of the clerics of Vecna, though, as he says, “words are just words, and one should never assume.” Xavhorn is pleased with this, and recommends that Ras, in the name of “keeping the people calm”, destroys all evidence of the bodies, for a fee. Ras accepts the bursary, agrees to destroy the evidence, and departs to spend some of his purse-change at the blacksmith’s shop.
Equipped with a horse at the east gate of Healwud, Runa and Lina ride straight east, turning only once when they see an explosion of flame to the north. After a ride of an hour or so, they encounter Lyfalia Greyelm, alone but having slain two wolves, and not too pleased with her lot. She is surprised at their appearance, but hears their story: while investigating out of town, they were ambushed on the road, but then found out where the bandit camp was. To their knowledge, some people still remain there, and they entreated Leaf most heartily to come with them and solve this present mystery, with evidence and enemies clearly visible, rather than remain in the East near the Ieldranweald hunting shadows of Orcs. As she had in a day’s march only encountered one camp, which did not even wholly resemble that of an Orc scouting party, Leaf is convinced to go.
The three women ride back to and through town, heading down the southern road from Healwud, and then letting the horses go, trek west through the woods, encountering the bandit camp. It was indeed the camp which Lina and Runa remembered; however, it was clearly abandoned. Tents were gone, shallow graves had been dug, tables had disappeared, tarps were in disarray, and footprints reflecting massive movement were scattered throughout the main clearing. Frustrated with coming up emptyhanded, the women entreat Sheriff Leaf to do some tracking and detective work. They explain that the way they met was in being abducted and brought to this very camp, and Runa rambles on about how detective work needs to be done to find out who employed Garrick, the ranger who kidnapped her in the first place, who appeared to lead the operation under the directions of some unseen foe, and who was likely in one of the shallow graves. Leaf is very much disturbed, but promises to follow up with a tracker the next day, despite the festival.
Back at the bodies, Shil is perturbed to see that all of his disguising has been for naught once Ra’s returns without Lord Xavhorn. Taking the pieces of “evidence” that his men were Clerics of Vecna— some black cloaks and a letter vaguely resembling the one which was found on the bandit Ranger— Shil walks back to town, intending to find Lord Xavhorn and at least get the money for his ICU commission before blowing open the whole case the next day at the festival. In town, Shil decides to head north to the shack in which he met Lord Xavhorn and received the commission in the first place. Frustrated with the lack of answer to his knocking, he picks the lock and enters…
Ra’s remains with the bodies and inters them as befits the traditions of Nehrule. Eventually, he returns to Healwud…