At a fishing village in Zhongdao…
With dawn slowly rising, and waves gently rocking a few fishing boats tied up at dock, we see a woman tending to a small garden. Some of the plants are dry and withered, but with a few whispered words, the gardener turns dry earth to soft loam to mud, until crystal clear water runs out of her hands to nourish the plants. Standing and smiling, she removes a headscarf to show close-cropped, blue hair.
Outside the outrider’s camp…
While most of the part slept a ways further afield, Tzzird, Gin, and Huijin kept watch over the outriders. Near midnight, Tzzird confirmed the presence of the Butcher’s shortsword within the camp, and Gin decided to enter. Under the cloak of invisibility, he went into the camp, filled with nearly a hundred armed soldiers. Trying to sow confusion, he untied a number of horses and lit a tent on fire, sending the panicked horses fleeing into the night and the camp scrambling to respond.
Gin returned to the scouting group, and they watched as a few of the horses were rounded back up. Though only a handful of horses were lost, the entire camp now seemed to be on high alert.
Just before dawn, thirty riders left from the camp, splitting into three groups that headed for the coast. The scouts returned the the rest of the group, where Sulsashi, Lu Bu, and Steve were preparing to return to the prior village to gain information on the freak storm they had seen a day prior.
Tzzird called upon Llolth to aid her, who responded by indicating that following one of the groups of soldiers would lead the party to something the Butcher sought. The rest of the party decided to change plans and attempt to catch up with the group indicated by Llolth.
Following the tracks of the horsemen through the day, they reached a small fishing village by mid-afternoon, and found the villagers being terrorized by the soldiers. The soldiers were looking for information regarding the storm they had seen, and demanded that the villagers reveal their secrets.
While Lu Bu and Sulsashi tried to get the soldier to stand down, it came to blows when one of the soldiers attempted to threaten a villager, and Gin interfered. Tzzird and Ivellios filled the village with unnatural plant growth and freezing hail, ensuring that the riders could not take a message out of the village.
While the fight went on, one of the villagers was killed, and a piercing cry came from nearby. A woman with close-cropped blue hair stood in a doorway, tears welling in her eyes. As they fell to the ground, a storm appeared overhead, and with the storm, strange water elementals sprang from the raindrops to attack the party and the outriders indiscriminately.
After a fierce battle, the last of the elementals was banished, and the soldiers were defeated, but the blue-haired woman had turned to flee…