Abel took his leave this day to pursue “other matters.” He instructed his man, Balmonte, to assist Rook and Kor in their efforts to complete Mendelbrot’s task.
First, the party went to Mendelbrot’s Curios to talk to the goblin about their findings so far. They discovered him deep in conversation with a tall, beautiful woman, identified as the Lady Quedra Melisande Fiona Patience del Ararin. He introduced her to the group, and then yelled at them for wasting his time with mere rumors.
It was the consensus of the group that the smart thing to do would be to track down the murdered Zardoz-K in the Southern Reaches so as to commune with the spirit of the dead. But where to look? Questioning one of the town guards gave them a lead, and they set off down the Old Spice Road.
After several hours’ travel along the road and the River Zev, Balmonte, Rook and Kor came across the site of a horrible battle on the riverbank. Several Zardoz-K bodies lay riddled with arrows and savaged by scavengers. Kor was able to identify them as belonging to the Ten Horses tribe, neutral to his own Red River tribe. They made their camp there so that Balmonte could begin his meditations in preparation for communing with the spirits of the fallen warriors.
Unfortunately, these preparations were interrupted by the sudden attack of several ghouls and a ghast! Balmonte found himself paralyzed and his throat gnawed upon as Rook and Kor did their best to eliminate the rest. Fortunately, the group was able to overcome the threat without serious loss on their part.
At length, Balmonte completed his preparations. Before he could begin the rite, however, they were interrupted again — this time by the arrival of riders from the Five Vultures Zardoz-K. Kor identified himself as Red River, friends to the Five Vultures, and the new arrivals stayed their weapons.
A problem arose: the Five Vultures wanted to immediately “give the bodies of their brothers to the sky,” i.e. burn them in keeping with Zardoz-K tradition. Thinking quickly, Rook, sliding through the shadows, stole one of the bodies away and hid it as the others were burned.
The Five Vultures were planning on making camp, but were spooked by sounds off on the plains. They resolved to ride on, leaving the party to their own devices.