The trio rides relatively unhindered until they come to what seems to be the edge of the forest. It has come earlier than expected, and they can hear rushing water.
"We must be at the Westward River," says Mara, "There would be humans here." Surely enough, can hear the faint clinking of armor, and as they get closer they begin to smell a cooking boar. They peak their heads out through the edge of the trees, making sure to keep their hats down.
The river is as large as they remember, much too large to swim across. On the south side, and a short ways down from where they are, they see what appears to be some kind of docking station and a plume of smoke. They wait.
They discuss their next move. At first Torix advocates commandeering a ship, but they see ships don’t stay long enough for that to happen. Constantine decides they should just walk up and pretend to be elf farmers. Mara and Torix agree. The three of them enter the station. Constantine approaches some of the soldiers.
Constantine: (with accent) Excuse me sirs, we would like to get across the river. What do we need to do to get on one of the boats?
The soldiers stare at them for a few seconds.
Soldier: Wait here.
they comply, Constantine asks about the boar, and the soldiers tell him its reserved for humans. The other soldier returns.
Soldier: Go to that office and talk with the officer. Go!
They start walking, but Mara decides to stay witht the animals to keep an eye on the soldiers. TnC enter the office and Constantine explains that they are elven farmers trying to get across the river to meet up with family. Officer Martin pulls out his crossbow from under his desk and starts playing with it. Torix gets the impression that he’s going to try to bully them into doing something. Officer Martin tells them that if they can clean up one of the old boats, they can take it across.
TnC get Mara and the animals and follow a soldier to an old barnacle-encrusted ship suspended in a tree. They get to work removing the barnacles, Mara and Constantine get pretty cut up, but Torix has tougher skin. They load the animals on, and they board the boat with two other soldiers. About half way across, one of the soldiers drops the anchor and draws his sword.
Soldier 1: Officer Martin thanks you for cleaning the ship, now its time for you to leave.
Constantine: What are you doing, man? Can’t you just take us across?
The soldier kicks Paard, and the horse falls in the water. Another kick to Bruto, and he goes in too. The wildebeest manages to get back on the boat. The soldier looks shamed, so he tries to kick Constantine into the water. Constantine eaisly avoids it, and the soldier goes in. Torix turns to the second soldier and stares into his soul.
Soldier 2: Don’t move!
Torix: Agreed. Why don’t you take us across the river before you humiliate your race again? (Torix looks like he’s throw the soldier into the water)
Soldier 2: Okay, okay. Look I got a wife and kids back home. I wanna be able to see them agian, okay? I’m taking you across, see?
The second soldier hoists the anchor, while the first soldier and the horse are struggling for air. They both drown in the water a minute later. They make it across and the soldier leaves them alone. They start walking throgh the Zonne. The vegetation is more dense, and they pass a few farms while walking. They hear something moving towards them, fast. Everyone goes to take cover, but Torix is a little slow.
A elven child (actually about 20, but a child by elven standards) runs right into Torix and bounces off his armor. The hits the ground, apparently knocked out. They can still hear more people coming, so Constantine hides the kid. Torix takes cover.
The running sounds stop, and they hear three people breathing hard, and they say something about the escaped elf. Torix gives the signal to Mara and Constantine that he’s gonna go and talk to them.
Soldier: You’re in the way! We’re looking for someone, get out of here!
Torix: Correction: you are in my way.
The soldiers are surprised by the audacity of the statement.
Soldier: Where’s the kid?
Torix: I haven’t seen any kids around here. Go look somewhere else.
Soldier and Torix stare at each other for a few seconds.
Soldier: Tell us where he is. (they look like they’re ready to fight)
Torix: What are you going to do if I don’t? No, let me rephrase that. What are you going to attempt to do if I don’t?
Soldier: (backing down) Who are you?
Torix: None of your business! Now, are you getting out of my way or not?
Soldier: Bye. (mumbling)Who is this guy…?
Torix smiles, and the other two come out of hiding. They decide to wake the kid up. Mara nudges his leg and he wakes. He’s understandably confused, and they fill him in. The kid tells them that he’s been running from New Kaspargrad for three days, and the soldiers were chasing him. Torix tells him that he can repay them for saving his life by telling them about the layout of the town. The kid draws in the dirt, and they transcribe it onto a piece of paper. They tell the kid that ther’re going to New Kaspargrad, and it would be safest to travel with them. The kid reluctantly agrees. He introduces himself as Qalim. He asks why they have cows, because they don’t do animals in this part of the Zonne. Mara wittingly replies that its what’s on the inside that counts.
They come to a clearing and stick to the sides. They notice a hidden trap in the clearing, and one uncovered. They are both 10-foot pits with sharp pieces of whatever stuck in the bottom. As they’re looking around a voice calls out to them.
Sergeant Terrance: Stop right there. Don’t try anything, I’ve got thirty men pointing crossbows at you.
An exaggeration perhaps, but not untrue.
Constantine: Hey man. What is going on here? We just noticed these traps here, we don’t want any trouble.
Terrance: I’m sure you don’t. I’m Sergeant Terrance, and you have something I want. Rather, someone I want.
Torix: What’s one boy to you? Don’t you have better things to do?
Terrance: No. No worker in New Kaspargrad is considered expendable. He was contracted to work for us, and that’s exactly what he will do.
Mara: Can’t we make some kind of deal?
Terrance: Didn’t you just hear what I said, woman? Nobody is expendable. Give him to us.
Torix: Fine, just leave us alone.
Torix gives the signal to prepare to fight.
Terrance: Good. Put that board over the pit, and leave him there.
Mara: What? I thought you were going to take him back to New Kaspargrad, not kill him!
Terrance: Do it, or my men will open fire.
They do as he asks, then they charge him. Between the three of them, they create quite the storm of desctuction. Terrance dies just after learning that he was facing Torix and Constantine. During the fight, one of the soldiers tackles Qalim and they both fall into the pit. After the cleanup of the soldiers, they pull Qalim out of the pit. He’s been impaled in several places, but Torix stabilizes him, and they keep on moving.
They hear New Kaspargrad before they see it. The sound of voices and the clanking of armor and weapons. At the edge of the town, they plan their next move. Constantine is getting to be a fan of the impersonation, so they decide to go with that. They are approached by a soldier as they walk into the town. Constantine convinces him that they have come to present Boss Kramer with a gift, and to find work. The soldier brings a dwarf over to talk to them. This was a surprise, but they hid it well enough.
Mr. Medved talks to them about signing some papers, and they falsify their names to get housing. Medved tells them the hierarchy of New Kaspargrad. Lieutenant MacLaurin heads the local garrison, Underboss Callahan works with Medved to coordinate dwarf-human efforts. And Boss Kramer is, of course, boss. By now they’re at the worker housing, and they tell Qalim to stay behind. Medved brings them to the Underboss.
Calahan says that they cannot present their gift to Boss Kramer because he’s away at a meeting in Osk. TnC look at each other angrily because they were looking forward to seeing Kramer again. However, Callahan has a job for them. He can tell that they’re not elves, but doesn’t ask who they are yet. Apparently someone stole from Boss Kramer’s personal supply of vodka, and if Callahan doesn’t get it back before Kramer gets back, he’s screwed. Mara and TnC understand, and ask what they have to do. Callahan tells them that they caught a man trying to steal from the supplies, but he hasn’t been very cooperative. Callahan then tells them that since he doesn’t want to know their real names, he’s going to give them some fakes.
Torix becomes Sebastian Todd, Constantine becomes Fritz Teufel, and Mara becomes Milo Ritter. They discuss payment. Callahan agrees to let them take some weapons and armor from the military stores. He sends them down to talk to his prisoner. It is none other than John Meursault. He starts giving them fake names and tells them they have the wrong man.
Torix: You better stop lying, or I’m gonna bust your face.
Meursault: Whoa! Think about this, if you bust my face I won’t be able to talk!
Torix: Yes you will. It’ll just hurt more.
Meursault: You’re serious?
Torix: Now why would I do that to the man who sailed us around the world?
Meursault looks confused, but gathers that he’s talking to TnC.
Meursault: What…? It’s you? We thought we wouldn’t see you guys for a long time! How’d you get here so fast?
Constantine: It was no big deal. We only crossed a desert and a jungle.
Meursault: Right (laughs). Is this who I think it is?
Constantine: Um. No.
Meursault: Come on, your messing with me.
Mara pulls off her hat. Meursault is entranced.
Meursault: I’m pleased to meet you. I haven’t seen another half-elf in a very long time. My name is John Meursault. (he kisses her hand)
Mara: I know. (looks indifferently at him)
Torix: Anyways…Where’s the Oblivion, and how did you end up here?
Meursault: The Oblivion’s on the river. We did actually steal from the vodka supply, but you can’t expect men like us to go without the simple pleasures of life for long. Everyone else made it back but me.
Constantine: I have an idea. Let’s tell Callahan that we’re gonna do something special to him. Water torture or something.
Meursault: Wait! I can’t just go out there like this, you haven’t even touched me. Torix, punch me.
Torix looks at him for a second, then punches him.
Meursault: Ah! I guess that’s another reason you’re captain. You know, Mara, it might feel better if you kissed it.
She ignores him, and they walk back to Callahan. Constantine tells him about the water torture, and Callahan buys it. They walk off unchallenged. Meursault hits on Mara the entire way there. They reach the shores by nightfall. They notice two fires, one much smaller and start looking around. The larger one is obviously a military camp, and directly across from it is the Chasing Oblivion. They appear to be staking out the ship. Mara, Meursault, the animals, and TnC head over to the smaller fire. They can hear people taking cover as they approach. TnC walk up to the fire and take a seat near it.
The crew of the Oblivion bursts out from the bushes and is awestruck. They too are surprised to see TnC. The brothers give them all hugs and handshakes, and give them the update. The crewmen trip over themselves trying to be courteous to Mara. Jim asks what the cows are for. Constantine opens the flap, and pulls out the explosives. The crew loads the explosives onto their raft, and since they don’t need the cows for storage anymore, they slaughter them. As Torix beheads Betty and Norma, he notes that now he and Constantine can rightly be called butchers. Everyone laughs.
Mueller says that there’s a camp of soldiers, and that the new cannons they acquired might be very useful for this fight. Mueller also tells them to get the cow blood on their clothes to intimidate the soldiers. It’s a little over the top, but their probably not going to use the farmer’s clothes again. The crew slaps them with the meat slabs until they are sufficiently bloody. The crew gets on the raft and heads over to the ship while Mara and TnC make their approach. They rush right into the fight, and make good progress against the soldiers. Lieutenant Taylor and his men are caught off guard by the volley of cannon fire that screams from the oblivion. No survivors, perfect
The next morning they wake on the ship. Mueller drops a big piece of steak in front of the three of them, and they feast. They head westward. Meursault is still eyeing Mara, and TnC know they have to talk to Crow’s Nest about their father. But in the mean time, they enjoy Mueller’s cooking.