The AdventureAgreeing that it is necessary to travel south to the jungles and bathe in the holy spring of Abbot Matteus, the quartet decides to hire itself as caravan guards and travel the Naissani Slave Road rather than make the trek alone across the countryside and into the jungle. They agree to take half-pay, a lion skin and ten otter skins, to guard the caravan until they reach Naissan’s borders. Elihas chooses instead to expend some of his resources and come along as a passenger.
While they believed it to be safer, the Slave Road takes them through all four Naissani city-states, nothing too dangerous unless the Ylish caravan leader, Shahem Quickstep, hires Fiona, a Naissani woman, to be one of his guards. The party is exposed to the gender discrimination inherent to Naissani culture. While traveling through Terracina, a group of philosophers take umbrage at Fiona’s presence and attempt to stop the caravan on its way out of town. Things turn violent quickly, the men drawing swords, attempting to kidnap Fiona to return her to “her husband and her proper place.” Three philosophers are quickly killed and the men flee back into the city.
While in Terracina, Elihas also learns the danger of traveling by one’s own – especially when that person is a foreigner and a runt. His size becomes his advantage while fleeing from muggers that follow him through the streets. He scurries up a drain pipe and hides on the roof, out of sight of his would-be pursuers. He returns to the group with a valuable lesson learned.
Another valuable lesson, one that does not come until Viadana, is the book the group in Ceccana is steeped in occult lore, hence their difficulty in deciphering its meaning. They take it to a bookseller, Entonio, known to dabble in occult sales. After inspecting the book, Entonio asserted that it was an impressive forgery, but that the original book had been destroyed 400 years previously. Errors caused by using a false copy of the tome most likely led to the Ceccanan merchant’s destruction. He offered to purchase the book, though, as he thought it a masterful copy.
Thus the party ended their days’ adventure in Astina, awaiting to make the trip into the unprotected wilds of the Naissani countryside and the D’ohme Jungle.