Introduction

After being attacked by bandits, Arza was devastated.  She had promised Great-Grandmother Tam in her letter that she would take good care of the spellbooks, and they were stolen from her only a few weeks after she set out on her own!  She was successfully keeping her composure until she heard footsteps approaching.  They were from the opposite direction that the bandits had gone, so it must be someone else– perhaps someone who could help.  It didn’t take much to summon the tears that might help her find someone to aid her in her quest to get the spellbooks back.


Arturia was traveling west along the river and sunset was approaching. In the distance she saw what she hoped to be the fires of a campsite, but as she approached she realized was half right. What she came upon was a small campsite that had recently been attacked, Arturia suspected bandits of some sort. More people were alive than dead, which is always good. Among the people there Arturia encountered a young woman named Arza. She had just left home for the first time and something precious had been stolen away from her. Arturia could sympathize with this and she believed that she had the power to help. While helping set the camp back up she asked for details regarding the bandits that had attacked.


Arza took a long moment to regain her composure.  Once she knew her voice would be reasonably steady, she told Arturia that she had come across this group two nights ago and was traveling with them for a time.  They had welcomed her and taken her in, but the entire group was unprepared when the bandits attacked.  It was difficult to keep track, but Arza believed there were at least seven of them.  They had managed to sneak up on the group just as they were preparing their campsite for the night– Arza had been gathering more firewood and came back to find most of the group already subdued.  Two men attacked her and stole some books that she valued greatly.  Pleased with their find, they wounded her slightly, gathered their finds from her and the others, and left down the road.  This had all taken place a mere twenty minutes ago.


After hearing the details from Arza, Arturia considered her options. Going after the bandits now would be risky and taking them on definitely wasn’t an option, but she wanted at least some kind of lead. She signaled for Zinogre and Seregios to remain at the camp and then she left with Narga to try and at least get a bit more information about the attackers. Arza had indicated which way the bandits went and tried to track them. She was used to this kind of terrain so she was able to move swiftly through it. After about fifteen minutes she could see some torches and lanterns moving up ahead. She dared get too close to them, but she wasn’t there to fight, she was there to get a lead. Carefully creeping closer to them, Arturia was able to make out some more details. There were many more of them than what Arza had reported, around twenty. However, she could see a small group of them carrying a large load that looked like what Arza and the others had described. She lingered a bit longer to make sure that Narga could get familiar with the scent of these bandits before turning back. Arturia returned to Arza’s campsite after carefully retracing her steps back. She told them what she had scouted out and asked them if she could join them and what their destination was.


The leader of the group welcomed Arturia, just as he had welcomed Arza a few days earlier.  He informed Arturia that they were on their way to Echo Falls to look for work.  They had heard about some recent developments and asked whether Arturia had any information on the town.

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