Cinder scouts the sentry perch in arachnid form and finds a dead brigand sentry along with a nasty dagger trap, which slashes one of his main spider forelegs. Making his way back to the others, he begins to succumb to the poison from the trap, only barely making it back to the others in time for them to heal the wound and neutralize the poison. Unfortunately, the mage is left in a reduced state of mental awareness from the neuro-venom, a condition that Rowen and Khabsha think will take some time to wear off. Cinder is able to follow commands and mount and ride his horse, but can't do much beyond that for the time being. (This is what comes of player absence)
The group places Cinder in a protected spot in the marching order and proceeds with caution. A little further on, Khabsha spots a second sentry that quickly vanishes. With little choice beyond turning back, they make their way forward, coming at last to a protected cave Graham says the brigands use for sheltering their horses. With little other choice, they decide to unpack and leave the horses, moving onto the brigand camp by foot.
While this is going on, the newest character, Taen, a Faelinarie rogue, enters the scene. Taen has been on a quest to find the Storm Crow, and has been tracking his movements and activities. She is hot on his trail and scouting the bandit camp from the air, when she spots the approach of Rowen and the others. She also sees the brigand scout report to his fellows, watching the bandit crew prepare an ambush.
Graham goes ahead of the party to scout and parley, hoping to meet his fellow outlaws and prevent an unwanted and violent greeting, but borrowing Khabsha's shield just in case this scouting mission goes anything like his last one outside of Wheat Hill. The confrontation is a tense one, but Graham is able to talk with the brigand's leader. The party enters the camp to find eight brigands led by Leather John. The dead scout in the sentry nest was one of Leather John's youngest men. Another of his men, Sam Creed, was killed right in camp, no more than a half candle past.
The Swans fill Leather John in on what has transpired at Wheat Hill, and the machinations of the Storm Crow. John informs them that the Storm Crow came into camp yesterday and hired twenty men for a raid. Taen sneaks close enough to hear the news, as well as swipe several spitted chunks of rabbit meat from the fires. With the prospect of an angry posse of Clan soldiers on the way, Leather John and his men decide to hire a boat south. When they learn that Sam Creed's younger brother is a fisherman who lives on the shoreline not far from their current location, it seems obvious that the Storm Crow was also hunting for a boat.
The two groups join forces and head to the coast. Taen flies on ahead to try and find the Storm Crow.
When Taen reaches the fisherman's hut on the promontory, she finds that the Storm Crow has already commandeered the boat and taken the fisherman hostage. The man's wife and child tell her the tale after getting over the wonder of the faelinarie's presence. Taen promises to return the fisherman safely before leaving.
She's just about to head out to sea when she spots the group of adventurers and outlaws approaching the promontory. Deciding she needs to catch the group up on the important bits, she zips down among them, reporting her findings to Rowen, (who tells Taen of the boat they saw out at sea), causing one hell of a panic among the Neran outlaws, and then quickly zipping out to sea, in pursuit of the Storm Crow.
Her attempt to catch the boat proves difficult. The winds off the coast whip her about incessantly and she quickly tires. She loses her sense of direction and gets blown off course and overland. Unable to catch the boat, she opts to return to the group, hoping to join up with them long enough to catch her quarry.
Meanwhile, the Swans opt to cut across the promontory and try a group of fishermen huts further south, reaching their goal around midnight. They decide to wait until morning before approaching, bedding down on the dunes.
Taen finds them a while after, approaching Rowen and telling her tale, offering to accompany the party since they are traveling in the same direction. As it turns out, the Storm Crow is Taen's foster brother, who has turned against her Syvani father's teachings. He recently stole a pair of magical daggers from her father. Taen is seeking him out to take back the daggers and stop Finn Colum - his actual name - if she can.
They hire a boat and and fisherman named Kerig to sail it, and set out on a trip that should be a day. Northward in their trip, they spy a wrecked curragh on a rocky spire. Kerig confirms that the boat is Ian's, the fisherman taken hostage. It is wrecked within a bit of inhospitable shoreline known to be the haunt of a water dwelling clan of Knockfar kudra.
Kerig brings their boat as close as he dares and works at keeping it there while Taen flies to the spire to investigate. She spots a shape in the wrecked boat for a quick moment but sees no sign of the Storm Crow or Ian. On top of the sixty foot spire she sees a bit of ripped sail with a stash of supplies. Investigating it, she is attacked by several Kudra wielding javelins.
She easily avoids their attacks and sends a return arrow between the eyes of one unfortunate Kudra before buzzing back to the others. As she reports her findings, several loud thumps sound from beneath the boat. Tearing back the canvas padding, they find that several barbed spear points have pierced the hull, negating Kerig's attempts to hoist sail and flee. Realizing quickly that they must cut the ropes anchoring them, Khabsha and Graham jump overboard, into the choppy, frigid waters, where they encounter several angry kudra warriors armed with thin spears.
The fighting is fierce, and both Graham and Khabsha take minor injuries, several times nearly getting skewered, but they manage to cut ropes and kill kudra. With the help of Rowan and the others above they get all but the last rope free, and the boat strains at its single tether. Not wanting to leave their submerged comrades behind, Rowen tosses a bit of spear tip with a light spell as a signal. Graham sees it drift down and notes with some surprise, a bloated shape floating thirty feet below them that seems to be tied with ropes. From beneath this contraption come several more Kudra.
As Khabsha and Graham surface, they grab hold of the boat just as Rowen dislodges the last of the anchors and the craft surges forward. With strenuous effort they are hoisted in and to safety as the boat speeds away.