Up ahead in the mountains along the path we spot signs of a settlement, then observe the people in it for a while. They appear to be ravagers, but of a more primal and noble sort. They are dressed in furs rather than human flesh, are sitting around cook fires near crude tents and appear to have either women or young adults among their number. There is an obvious leader among them, standing in front of a more generously decorated tent that is watching over the other tribesmen. We decide to do two things at the same time – Milosh and I will try to talk to them and get on their good side while Mads steals from their tent.
The chief is remarkably receptive to Milosh and I when we come up the main path and ask to share their bounty. However, one of his people demand that we pass a series of trials before we sit at their fire. She names the trials mind, body and spirit, and that seems tailor made for the three of us. :-) I start with the trial of the mind, which involves taking a hallucinogenic drink and then trying to remember three women’s names. Milosh gets to fight in a gladiatorial snoo snoo battle with a gigantic bear woman named Fralka, and they go 10 rounds of axe and blade. Mads has to travel to a dragon cave and retrieve a pregnant statue without becoming pregnant himself.
We are all victorious! Much snoo snoo is had. That night, we celebrate with the tribesmen, who tell us about the smoke breathers, another tribe (?) who misuse the sacred vine and have generally been jerks. Milosh convinces them to help against the other ravagers, I get them to swear fealty to the synod (sort of, anyway). We also get a recipe for and a sample of some kind of milk that the tribe uses to release themselves from the effects of the virrid. We don’t ask them exactly what (or who) they extract the milk from.
Once we are done, we leave for point hope, passing through the ruined inn north of Berez and Kreszk first. In Kreszk we examine the progress that the town has made since the vampires were killed, and find lingering signs of Casimir’s promotion of us there. Mads is disturbed by the innkeeper’s deference to us.
Then we go to Point Hope. Milosh wants to check on Abalescu and try giving him the milk to see if it makes a difference. He meets Lucinda there and she mentions that she could probably make a serum to improve the soldiers here out of Abalescu juice, but that it would probably lead to the death of Abalescu. It’s not as bad because Abalescu has already asked to die, but Milosh wants to hold off and try giving him the milk instead so that everyone can be weak. Mads talks to Camille and she continues to complain about everything.
We then return to the Heimat to talk to our sponsor again. I start to tell her about the remaining proto ravager tribe, but Milosh kicks me before I can. Johanna brings out Sebastian and he starts having a vision of Heinrich near a dragon statue with outstretched wings. It doesn’t go far enough for Johanna, and she… encourages more from him somehow (something about a building with green shutters), which appears to cause Sebastian pain. Milosh interrupts her before she can go a third round.
Mads escorts Sebastian back to his room to recover (and not be chained up by Johanna).