Mord manages to reach his friend Fel to warn him of his vision. Fel shares the vision with Madoc, who scornfully reminds him of his duty as a soldier to protect Skalin’s Rib. Despite Madoc’s anger, the two visit the guard captain, Osa. Rather than dismiss the vision, she gives credence to it, but sends Fel and Madoc to Arat’s Landing anyway, along with the young guardsman Drahbet, a bard.
The four walk set out into the night, going east.
As they are leaving, Zeburon’s villainous band of Black Raiders are arriving. Arulo Barat’s quiet night is interrupted by the sound of 100 kanks storming over Skalin’s Pass. The raiders have overrun the guard outpost at the top of the pass.
The reavers, barely slowed by the garrison, roll on toward the Rib, torching fields and orchards along the way, spreading wildfires that Thuk’Cha must put out. The kreen druid, in the area to help Farmer Bulos with his olive trees, battles the blazes to the point of exhaustion, eventually halting their spread and saving Bulos Farm.
Drahbet, Fel, Madoc and Mord arrive just after dawn, as a plume of smoke rises from Skalin’s Rib. Determined to follow orders, the soldiers stay where they are.
Soon the main attraction arrives. Four giants, hired by House Wavir, carrying a massive platform loaded with spices from the east, arrive a couple hours after dawn. This leads to yet more obstacles; the bandit attack has cut way down on the available workforce, and help is needed offloading the goods. Despite their pressing need, the guardsmen pitch in and get the job done for, earning respect and grudging gratitude from Halman Wavir, scion of the merchant house.