Spaulding, Reed, Tookie and Bronze head west to find a creative way to kill themselves around Cyril’s Rest, the fate of Bronze’s travelling companions is discovered, and the party refines their normal strategy of walking straight into ambushes by doing it at night.
- Reed learns that Yosef Blades and other kharaz are superb horsemen and can teach him the ways of horse archery, assuming he can convince one to teach him. He would do this by learning to sing the Song of the Great Mother in kharaz, and be convincing about it.
- Heading west, the party minus Nan follows a river trail past a demolished fishing village they had encountered before. Despite all rules of narrative, nothing interesting happens there. This hamlet is now known as Chekhovtown.
- Near dusk, the party hears a probable gunshot somewhere to the north in some thick woods. Being rational people, they decide to approach, guaranteeing either an ambush by musketeers or a deadly combat with an innocent hunter.
- In the low light, they still manage to spot some corpses of various humanoid species plus a couple of horses, with a convenient blood trail leading them deeper into the woods. As they pondered why someone would leave corpses arranged like this, some torches flew out at them from being rocks and trees. Now they’ll never know.
- Naturally, the party prevailed over yet another terrible situation they walked into, although Tookie was badly wounded by a spear, which is what you get when you bring your menial servants into battle. Reed took the last surrender and howled, suddenly breaking into a very bad rendition of the Song of the Great Mother, which may have impressed Bronze. Or not. Hard to tell.
- The dead people were the rest of Bronze’s party (whom Reed and said hello to a few days earlier), although two kharaz among them were still barely alive, having been crippled and used for target practice by the cromen. The party recovered a usable musket, a destroyed one, and a bunch of dead and wounded cromen hiding behind some rocks, victims of the earlier combat. Bronze took the opportunity to brain a couple of the battle’s survivors with her flail. Gathering up the two survivors and Tookie, the party trudged off toward Appleville, looking for medical attention and an excuse for Nan to rejoin them.