Tsao Ho with his disciple monks and Golfo, accompanied by his wife Phi Phong, set out on the trail of Gwinch, Kawabi, and Goyat alone, guided by three villagers from Quitokai and the area. Afu declared that he would continue to investigate the slavers' dealings on his own, while waiting in Quitokai. Beatriss and Tetsukichi, accompanied only by Al-Fitar, made good time traveling to Menkan, and checked in at "The Nice Inn," their designated meeting place. And then they got ready to wait for one of Sansar Anca's ("Uncle") men to show up and take them to where the herds were grazing.
While waiting, they got to know the town.
Temple amidst the river-side slums, Bangkok, Thailand, a photo by JGHurst on Flickr.
The three visitors became the subject of much interest, both official and unofficial. They were questioned by the watch who, finding their papers counterfeit, ordered them not to leave the city until representatives from the Sansar family arrived to vouch for them. A fortune teller warned them that a man in yellow robes was looking for them. A dropped note let them know that they were being targeted as "Gwinch's friends" and that their "secret admirers" were meeting that night at a boarded-up tavern on the very south end of the riverfront. They found the moribund tavern, but rather than venture inside, lingered and watched.
Al-Fitar lifted Beatriss over his should like a sack of flour and made for the exit, Tetsukichi guarding his retreat and slaying several of the ratmen. But then the sorcerer threw a net of sticky black netting, like the web of spider, both blocking the exit and ensnaring Al-Fitar.
Tetsukichi, unencumbered by any immediate assailants, exchanged his katana for his bow and fired several arrows at the sorcerer who, responded by sailing into the air and out of sight. The black robed woman directed the remaining ratman and her personal guards to attack Tetsukichi, simultaneously offering him a chance to surrender. He hesitated, but then concluded his superior skills still outweighed his attackers' superior numbers (and if nothing else that he would have additional opportunities to surrender) made an all-out counter attack. He swiftly killed most of the his assailants and put the others to flight. For her part, the black-robed woman clumsily clubbed the helpless Beatriss and Al-Fitar and then ran for her life. Tetsukichi did not pursue her. Instead, he cut Al-Fitar's web and together they carried Beatriss across the bridge, and out to alleyway. They stopped to look for anyone following them, and Tetsukichi spotted the yellow-robed sorcerer, silhouetted against the moon. As he raised his bow, the sorcerer flew higher, but not fast enough. The arrow found it mark and a body wrapped in yellow robes plummeted from the sky, crashing the slanted roof of one of the alleyway hovels on its way down. Their were gaps and muffled cries of surprise all around, but the houses stayed dark and closed.
Treading their way through the slum, the three warriors returned to The Nice Inn. With some hot water and time, Beatriss muscles loosened and she was back to normal, save for a couple bruises. Tetsukichi and Al-Fitar had suffered some more serious wounds and the three concluded that they should stay at the inn for a few days.