The villager led the party into the jungle for about an hour and then stopped to point ahead at a wisp of smoke. There was a clearing there, he explained where the prisoners were held.
The party approached until they came upon a path, where they were spotted by one of the slavers’ sentries. Before they could raise their bows to fire, the sentry ran away down the path, shouting the alarm. The party pursued him to a clearing and there a battle ensued. Beatriss and Tetskuich led the charge, but they were knocked to the ground, stunned, by a hidden spell-caster. Afu and Ju-Mei called on the power of the Sun Goddess to apprehend the slavers’ archers.
The slavers, numbering about half-a-dozen, commanded another 10-15 men from the jungle. Hunters rather than warriors, several of these men fell quickly under the blows of Golfo, Naron, and Al-Fitar, and the others fled. Beatriss and Tetsukichi recovered from whatever spell had affected them. The villager found his captive friends and began freeing them from their bonds. Immediately, the freed villagers began attacking the other prisoners with sticks and stones. Beatriss intervened. “What are you doing and why are you doing this?” The man they’d met at the river explained that, several of the captives were not village people, but jungle people. “They are the ones who help the slavers to find us and catch us. If you free them, they will kill us later.” Beatriss ordered that the “jungle people” should not be killed and should not be freed either. The party ordered the “village people” that they should follow them out of the clearing so they could be taken back to Quitokai. Golfo stayed behind to free the remaining captives, leaving them to find their own safety.
, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.