Despite Eckhard’s sudden unavailability, Astra was determined to carry on with her original plan and recruited a small number of people to help her, including Jedda, Merigon and the Ranger with no name. Buying supplies, she said goodbye to Eckhard and the party set out back along the path to Bloodstone Pass, intending to cross the river at the Ford of the Cross and head north to Palishchuck.
The clouds began to lower and the Ranger was warning of potential rain as they retraced their steps at twice the speed of the caravan, reaching the ravine at nightfall. Opting to cross through the ravine the next day, the set up camp at the former Gur site and set watches. At around midnight, the Ranger heard a noise and woke the others: all of them prepared for combat and Astra sneaked up the hill to see if she could see an intruder. Although she was unsuccessful, they all became aware of the measured thud of a large figure coming down the valley. The party hid as a twenty-foot giant strode past the camp and despite thinking about it, resisted the urge to attack. Neither Astra nor the Ranger was able to find any sign of an intruder, so the party resumed a guarded sleep.
The following morning, the Ranger climbed the cliffs, looking out for trouble, while the main group progressed through the ravine. No trouble was encountered and they made their relatively easy way back to the Ford. Crossing the river proved to be awkward: the bridge had partially collapsed during the War, and the only ways across were by a rickety wooden replacement or by crossing the Ford itself, which although shallow during summer was at serious risk of a flash flood. They eventually got their reluctant mounts across the Ford without incident, before getting on to the well-paved road to the north.
After a day’s travel, they heard a scream from off the road. Jedda charged to the rescue, riding around the corner to see an ogre menacing a Gur family of four, the father unconscious in the road and their wagon laid up with a broken wheel. The ogre was ready for the attack and knocked Jedda out with a single blow, but Astra was able to put it to /sleep/. While she administered the coup-de-grace, a second ogre appeared and attacked, knocking her into a boulder. The Ranger’s and Jedda’s attempts to take it out with missile weapons failed and it took a second spell from Astra to put it down.
The Gur were very grateful for the rescue and invited them to share their camp fire, providing general information about the area, including Palishchuck. They also told the party that they would be considered friends of the Gur in future, but refused to let the party travel with them, saying that the gaje would not be able to keep up on the open road. This proved to be correct the following morning when, despite the speed of her horse, Jedda was unable to see where they went once they’d rounded a corner…
Jedda and the Ranger with no name were played by guests. Merigon was played as an NPC.