The group returns to traveling the trails in the thick and wild forest around them. Lord Cauldyth discovers a newer trail that has seen the passage of men in recent days. The group agrees to pursue this trail hoping to find either the wererats or evil priests of the dark god Cyric.
After midday the party is surprised by an ambush from the thickets and the overhanging tree branches above. The attackers hurl spears at the adventurers before they swarm forward and battle the party with broadswords. Lord Cauldyth tries to wheel about to charge these bandits but his mount is tripped by thin cords stretched across the trail and he and his horse go down.
Ayremyr, Corthen, Rehs, Uldred, and Rhiannon engage these leather clad bandits steel to steel while Tellazar, Samira and Erith use their spells to take out opponents. The heroes are battered and their attackers still have the upper hand due to their numbers and their ambush. Lord Cauldyth regains his feet and charges the enemy roaring, “For the Goddess!” He swings his two handed sword and he is able to push back bandits trying to overwhelm Rhiannon and Samira.
Erith casts his last magic, a Sleep spell taking out three of the bandits. Pushing back against the highwaymen, Corthen kills the bandit leader and another, when a trio of cloaked figures come running up to the skirmish. Corthen is preparing to cleave these new threats when they shout “For the High King!” and draw weapons. Realizing they must be allies, the leader of Guardians of the Past turns and kicks at a bandit before striking him with one of his longswords.
Now outnumbered, the remaining bandits are put down. Binding their wounds and securing the unconscious prisoner, the party turns to speak to their new allies. The three humans are two rugged males carrying longswords and red-headed female dressed in green robes. They introduce themselves as Elryn Tharr, Douglar Hyuukhaun, and Mairae Ulzander o’ the Winters. They ask the party if any of them are known as Rehs Wrenwinter or Erith Talvera. Both men acknowledge they are present.
Mairae comes forward to speak to both men and she says that Khelben has sent them to make contact with the group since they successfully delivered the shipment of swords to aid the High King. Mairae and her companions tell the heroes that they have earned their pins and that they have come to perform the ceremony since they missed them in Aithe. Repeating the watchwords taught to them by Hadanna during their training, Erith, Corthen, Rehs, Tellazar, and Samira complete the ceremony with the trio of Harpers presenting them with their pins.
After the congratulations have died down, Uldred and Samira begin the task of healing the party. Lord Cauldyth shrugs off the offer but he makes sure that his youngest daughter is tended to by Samira. Elryn offers several draughts of healing to the party to aid in their health. Mairae then offers the party a small harp that she says will aid them on their task of rooting out the forces of Cyric gathering on the islands. The Guardians thank the Harpers and watch as they depart.
Corthen, Rehs, and Tellazar set about to interrogate the bandit prisoner. They learn the bandit’s leader was a warrior named Halardas Murr and that their previous camp lies four days travel to the east across the Swanmay River. The bandit also shares that some nights ago a man in black robes approached their forest encampment with an offer. The priest offered one gold coin for each man to travel and engage the heroes when they came into the forest. He offered one hundred gold coins to each man for each hero slain in battle. Corthen makes the man agree to leave the forest and to put an end to his banditry. Corthen states that if he does not, and is met again, he will be cut down without mercy. The freed man runs off into the darkening forest as quick as his feet with take him.