The party continues on their prolonged trip to Cago, they encounter an old and terrible Kharaz having a party in the woods, Reed discovers he can only hit someone with a bow if they’re more than 100 yards away, and the Implusiveness advantage rears its ugly head in a profitable fashion.
- While scouting, Reed hears some rather cromenish moaning and pleading from the woods. The party goes to investigate, somehow managing to sidestep a bunch of crude and cartoonish rope-spring traps.
- They find the errant Kharaz retainer Madspear, who has forgotten his assignment (for the past week) and has been merrily torturing some cromen he captured. When he’s reminded that he’s supposed to be reporting to Lord Sterling in the west, he absent-mindedly stabs his last prisoner in the gut and walks away humming.
- As they leave the woods, the group spots Coz watching them from up the road. There’s a bit of cantering back and forth, and Reed makes a seemingly impossible shot at 160 yards, hitting Coz in the shoulder. Coz disappears and later returns fire, sending an arrow bouncing off of Spaulding’s coif.
- The party gives chase on horseback; Reed is closest as the best rider, and follows Coz up to a little log cabin by the side of the road. Unnaturally suspicious, Reed dismounts and scouts out the side of the cabin. As he does this, Spaulding rides up and simply heads to the place where Coz used to be, encountering four confused (but better-equipped) cromen, two of whom are holding a rope.
- When the two see Spaulding, they naturally move to try and trip his horse. When Spaulding sees this, he naturally charges directly at them, gutting one with an unlikely sword/lance attack, dragging one of the rope-holders off his feet, and swinging halfway out of his own saddle, hanging on with one hand as he belatedly realizes that none of his horses are actually war-trained. Nan arrives, and things proceed as normal.
- Three of the four cromen are killed, and one runs into the woods as Nan, unable to catch up, settles for butchering one of his fallen companions. Coz takes a slash to the leg, and a bullet in the ribs, dropping him and ending the encounter.
- While the Jamesons are brought in to take shelter in the cabin (surrounded by a number of bloody and dismembered corpses), Coz is secured and questioned. He reveals that he works for nobles but does no know their affiliation, although eventually he reveals that one of his patrons is called Olan and is missing his left hand. Reed concludes that this means those darn Gossetts mustbe disguising themselves as long-dead Renssalears and dismembering themselves to make the disguise complete.
- A far-too-long debate ensues, ending with Reed making an agreement to let Coz live if he leaves the Cago area and gives up his hidden stash in the woods. The next morning, Coz is still too injured to move, so they leave him in the cabin, hopefully to die of sepsis, as they moved on.