Storm clouds loom dark and ominous in the distance, far downriver. As the heroes unlash The Laughing Crow from the docks in Chow Yau, the thundering hooves of a barbarian clan draw the party’s attention. Lac Do and his clan depart the town, furiously galloping along the stunted road that parallels Tuunma River, also downriver.
Midafternoon on the following day, the storm clouds now smeared harmlessly across the southern skies, the river slows, leaving the sandy highlands, winding its way between rolling hills on this dry, grassy basin. From behind a thicket of short, gnarled tress that line the shore a band of raiders plunges toward the river. A hail of arrows fills the air, targeting Otos as he operates the boat’s rudder.
The group is outnumbered ten to one, at least, and every one of the Mutabi-qi raiders appears a veteran warrior, skill enough to swarm aboard and take the junk. Barely half way across the beachhead, Banlak fills their ranks with his Siroco, causing men and horses alike to suffer the brutal wave of fiery death, or scramble out of the spell’s devastation.
Just as panic set into the raiders, a second, then a third wave of enemies crested the hill. Their leader barely escaped the fiery magic, and ordered a full-on attack, launching a volley of arrows that hit their mark. Otos staggered away from the tiller, and The Laughing Crow lurched onto a snag in the river. No wonder these raiders chose just this spot for their ambush.
Kumori heroically rides Kaminari, now transformed into a sleek, black pegasus, charging onto shore and challenging the leader of this brutal band of raiders. The fight turns frenetic, spells flying, arrows darting and blades whirling every which way. The Wheelbreakers begin to make headway when yet another wave of terrible barbaric riders rush over the brow of the hills, fiercely howling war cries.
But instead of these raiders joining forces with those already on the attack, they devastatingly slam into the rear of the Mutabi-qi raiders, adding frenzy to chaos. It is Lac Do who leads this clan into the melee. The leader of the raiders recognizes Lac Do, and turns his horse toward escape. Unfortunately, he charges directly into an invisible magic wall, erected by Banlak. Horse and rider unsuspectingly impact into this wall of force with full velocity. Needless to say, the raiders bolted in all directions when their leader fell.
Later, Lac Do informs the party that this rival clan, the raiders, were reportedly preying on boats navigating down the river, and he and his group had a severe enmity with them. Lac Do personally despised Khoqarit, their leader, and was grateful to Kumari for allowing him the honor of dealing the death stroke on his bitter enemy.
The evening was spend hauling The Laughing Crow on shore to effect repairs on her hull, reveling with Lac Do’s clan, and enjoying a few practical jokes played on Wikkit by Banlak and his new familiar Shunkichi.
With The Laughing Crow repaired, the party sets out for the Jhemulit camp to meet with their contact, arranged by Shikibu and the kami. The shaman, Ohokai is supposed to have procured the herbs needed for the ritual to reactivate the Braid of a Hundred Masters, to be performed once they ultimately reach the town of Nesting Swallow.