The party’s travel past Brinewall is surprisingly uneventful but the smooth journey ends almost as soon as they leave familiar lands. The unknown steppes of the Nolands seem to reject the party at once as the wooden bridge at its frontier presents an immediate challenge to the party. This bridge is uncertain and treacherous, and barely visible under the frothing, rushing river flooded far past its usual flow. This hazard is of no concern to Traftar who has found his way across the river somehow the party is unable to determine. Having brought a rope with him and stretched it across the bridge, Traftar allows the caravan to slowly negotiate a dangerous path over the submerged bridge, reaching the other side without incident.
The party enters the Nolands and finds much information from Yothan, who used to travel these lands with his parents before their unfortunate deaths that left him stranded in Sandpoint. At a very young age with no support, Yothan survived the only way he could by signing up with the local Sczarni gangs. Sandru becomes hostile and suspicious at this revelation, despite the fact that Yothan has stopped associating with the Sczarni for some unknown reason. At any rate Yothan’s warnings about the roaming bandit gangs that inhabit the Nolands induces the party to post a heavier nightwatch when making camp.
This decision proves prescient when thieves are spotted approaching the caravan, with Hirohito rushing to face them while Yothan wakes the sleeping caravan members. The party exhibits restraint while they subdue the thieves one by one – Koya magically holds one while Ameiko extends her imperial presence to intimidate them into submission. Shalelu’s form of restraint is to shoot one through the chest with an arrow, duly bringing him to submission. Senja leaps off a caravan onto a thief, smashing his head into the ground and holding him still while Hirohito beats him senseless with a shield. Seeing the remaining thief run to his horse, Senja then punches the horse in the face, nearly knocking it unconscious, much to Shalelu’s disapproval. Ameiko tells Senja to “stop horsing around” to which Senja replies with “neigh”.
With all the thieves subdued and (barely) alive, the party heeds Koya’s advice to let them live and return to their tribe, despite Yothan’s suggestion to kill the thieves since they will likely be killed in punishment when they return to their tribesmen anyway. The party relieves the thieves of their daggers and horses, eventually selling them for a good sum of gold.
This trading success was to wait, however, as the party pulls into Tomgruv and Ignatius attempts to assist the trading effort by entering the local tavern and treating the ladies inappropriately. As word of these shameful foreigners spreads throughout the town the caravan finds itself without willing buyers and moves on to the next town of Solskinn. There Ignatius’ drunken antics actually finds results, assisting the party by asking tavern patrons about what trade goods are in most demand.
The party leaves Solskinn along the winding caravan track that will take them around the periphery of the Land of the Linnorm Kings, with the eventual destination of Kalsgard. The steppe bandits and wolf packs of the Nolands have now given way to flocks of ravens that trail the caravans around these parts. Traftar notices one raven that is far bigger than the others and appears to have blood-red pinions on its wings. Kelda announces this is a “Blood Feather Raven”, an evil minion in the service of dark powers. Traftar has little time for her dramatic stories but notes that northern legends hold these birds to be at least a dark omen for the future. The party muses on this significance as the caravan heads into the darkness of the Grungir Forest.