The party recovered from their wounds, resting up for their next assignment. During their downtime Ipster took the opportunity to get better acquainted with the locals in the barracks and met an interesting fellow named Zabyn, who catches Ipster’s eye because of his peculiar uniform. The gear looks like the equipment a cavalry soldier might wear: breastplate, high strong greaves, flexible helmet, but is struck by the fact that his armor is made from studded leather rather than steel and embossed with the Lady’s sigil. Unfortunately all his querries are able to unearth is that the fellow is rarely seen in the barracks, but generally well thought-of.
Nuana Kornis decides to have a look at the religious institutions of Nightfall and discovers a small Yesuchian community led by a wild-eyed old man. She is initially confused and off-put when the man uses abusive language about her family before turning her out as a heretic. It is only later, while conversing with Kiernan Longacre that she discovers that this strange wandering holyman is likely a Faziki hermit and evangelist, with wild notions about the Yesuchian faith and a temper to match his eccentric beliefs. Nuana and Sullivan Keth try to sit through a religious service given by the Faziki, but found themselves unable to either get into his good-graces or achieve anything more than a headache.
Fortunately they are not left in the company of the hermit for long, as Sgt. Mahsal brings orders to move out. The group are being sent on a border patrol and given the instructions to head south until they reach the Corthyn Morass (which he insists they will know when they see it). Then they are to head east along the northern boundary of the Morass, through the low hills until they reach the town of Gale. Once in Gale they are to collect themselves and head back to Nightfall. The trip is assumed to take between 2 and 3 weeks. Mahsal adds, cheerlessly, that they won’t look for the party to return for 2 weeks, and after 3 weeks will stop looking for them to return at all.
After gearing up the party begins traveling south. As they leave the town they hear Charis calling after them, wishing them good luck, and then telling them to keep their eyes open for the Aerie/Airy (though none of the party could hear the word clearly, and the group debated over whether it referred to a Faltaki military unit or to some monster of the Taint). After several days of marching they arrived at a vast expanse of water, stretching southward over the horizon. Though the water appears waste-deep at the highest points, the party is put off by the sight. Curious, Sullivan Keth tosses a stone into the water, and the party notices with surprise that the stone hits the water and slurps down into it, rather than splashing, as though the water itself was thick. Sully confirms this by scooping up a handful of the water – it feels and looks just like water, but thicker somehow like a clear slime or sludge. Assuming this to be the Corthyn Morass, the party stays well out of the water and begins heading east.
The party traveled for several more days, wandering through low scrub and into an area of low hills. Believing themselves to be near their destination of Gale, they tried to pick up the pace. And as they topped a tall hill, looking into the distance for sign of a town, they instead found themselves standing face-to-face with a party wearing Faltaki crests! As the Faltaki moved toward them, the party darted for cover.
The two groups faced each other from opposing hilltops and opened fire. While the party tried to keep their opponents’ heads down, Kiernan Longacre and Nuana Kornis tried to flank the opposition. The party soon realized, though, that these were not just thugs, but trained soldiers and that several were armed with muskets. The parties traded shots over the ravine as the air began to fill with acrid smoke, when finally Anast and Mot began a forward push up the opposite hillside. While Sullivan Keth covered them from above, Ipster rolled the log he’d been hiding behind down the hill and then rushed to find cover behind it, noticing, as he ran, a dark speck drifting toward them from the southeast, high in the air. At this point, Nuana Kornis and Kiernan Longacre rush in to engage their opponents, while Anast and Mot take heavy fire from the hillside above them. Mot leapt over one of the enemy barricades, sword held high, only to be struck hard by two musket balls and thrown to the ground, to the dismay of Anast and Ipster. However, the party watched in awe as she gathered up strength, as though drawing it from the ground itself, and surged back into combat.
The battle lasted a few moment longer, and the party whittled away at the remaining forces, pinning the last two musketeers in a narrow defensive position, when suddenly the dark shape in the sky manifested as a wyvern, swooping in to snatch away one of the defenders just as the party drove the last gunner into the ground. After dropping his quarry from an immense height, the wyvern swooped back to the ground, and a migrated soldier wearing the same sigiled leather gear as Ipster’s friend Zabyn slid off of the dragon’s back and introduced himself as Oni. He explained that he, Zabyn, and a third soldier make up the Lady’s Aerii. As he patroled the southeaster border he saw the gunfire and came to assist, having seen the group in the area. Before leaving to continue compassing the area for his reports, he told the party of a group of mounted soldiers he saw in the south, who seemed to be heading in the direction of Gale. After looting the bodies, the party headed out to try to beat the mounted unit to the Lady’s township.