Shiraka rejoins the group, saying she has been to the top of the hill and seen a village in the distance, off to the east. The group starts to head that way, moving through the forest till they find themselves at a ledge which drops down to a lower part of the forest. After some discussion they use rope from their packs to lower people down, and eventually all the prisoners are safely at the bottom, as is the group-proper.
They continue onward, and after a while spot a wide, well-used path coming in from behind and to the right, intersecting their current route. Shiraka leads them onto this road and they continue along it, still heading roughly eastward, eventually rounding a bend and coming within sight of the village. Mort queries Shiraka and the prisoners as to whether the group is likely to be welcomed within the village, and also whether anyone knows anything about it. Though none of the prisoners originate there, some believe it to be the village of Farwatch, so named because it lies within sight of the Farflow River. None of the prisoners believe the group will have much trouble, the local people being generally quite tolerant with those who don’t actively try to cause trouble.
The party approaches, Mort and Shiraka in front, and is greeted by a guard manning a small guard hut at the edge of the village. The guard, a human male, inquires as to the group’s business, and when Mort explains they have escaped from bandit captivity and are looking for somewhere safe, he gives directions to the village hall and allows them to pass.
The group moves into the village, finding the village hall with little difficulty, and are met outside it by Ulrik Himsfarth, the village elder. He welcomes the group, listens as Mort explains their business, and shows them inside the village hall where various villagers start setting up a kind of “emergency shelter” for the prisoners, fetching food and bedding for them.
Gregg and Mort spend a few moments speaking to Ulrik, who says that the prisoners are welcome to stay in the village for now, as is the rest of the group. He also mentions someone called “Komtor Sarumi”, about whom Mort intends to inquire further. At this point it is clear that Shiraka is very uncomfortable being inside a building and excuses herself, preferring to be outside in the open air – Ulrik understands this, and says she only has to ask if she requires anything.
As soon as she has stepped outside, however, Shiraka returns to inform Gregg and Mort that there appears to be some kind of problem – the two of them follow her outside to find that Bannek is standing with three soldiers. It seems he has attracted some kind of attention and has explained his former position as a member of the bandit camp. Mort, on seeing that Bannek isn’t being actively bothered by the men, goes back inside the hall, and so misses the guards saying that Bannek is being arrested for his part in whatever the bandits may have done. Gregg opposes this, but Bannek pleads with him not to stir up any trouble, and that he will accept whatever punishment is given to him. Shiraka says that if it is truly his choice, she will accept that and let him walk his own path in life. She also points out to Gregg that if he tries to stop what is happening, he is making Bannek’s choice for him and therefore technically not being any different from the bandits. Gregg turns his back on Bannek and storms back into the hall, where he goes to sit in a corner.
Mort, meanwhile, starts talking to Ulrik and inquires about various aspects of the region. He warns Ulrik of the bandits, saying that something strange is going on regarding their activities. Ulrik says that people have, over the years, occasionally gone missing, and indicates a villager who is moving between the prisoners, apparently looking for or asking about someone.
While Mort continues to speak to Ulrik, Gregg approaches this man, who sees him and goes over to him to ask him whether there were any other prisoners besides the ones the group brought into Farwatch. Gregg shows him the ring taken from Rezeel, and asks whether he recognises it. The man looks at it closely, clearly recognising it, then asks where Gregg found it. Gregg lies at first, saying that it belonged to a woman who escaped from the camp. The man sees through this, however, and pleads with Gregg to just tell him the truth. Gregg finally does so, and the man, overcome with emotion, manages to tell Gregg to visit him later at his house beside the tailor’s shop before hastily departing the village hall.
Meanwhile, Mort asks Ulrik about Komtor Sarumi – Ulrik explains that “Komtor” is a title, said to originate as a combination of the words “commander” and “protector”. He says that Sarumi amounts to being what is basically one of the overall rulers of the land, and has apparently been spreading his forces out over the country, Farwatch being one of the more recent places he has reached. Ulrik explains that the Komtor was responsible for the construction of an outpost within the village, where the local guards live and train, though as the area is reasonably peaceful there has been little of major importance for them to do so far.
Ulrik says that, regarding the bandits, Sarumi will most likely be interested in hearing what Mort and Gregg have to say. He explains that the Komtor is currently in the area, though not presently within Farwatch, and may be back within a few days – he is not certain precisely when, however. He then tells Mort that if he needs anything, he has but to ask the villagers, and also mentions that there are a few traders and some places which may be of interest to a traveller. He then excuses himself, as he has other matters to attend to.
Mort and Gregg then swap (some) information, Gregg explaining about the man and the ring, though not the fact that the man asked Gregg to visit him later. He also explains about Bannek’s arrest, though still doesn’t reveal the major details about Bannek’s past life. He expresses a desire to speak to the guards, or whoever’s responsible for Bannek being held, in order to provide evidence in the former bandit’s favour. Mort agrees to go over to the outpost and inquire, leaving his armour and weapons behind at the village hall, where Gregg has decided to remain for now.
At this point the minotaur is approached by a small girl named Meeka, who initiates the conversation by asking him whether he’s a “magic cow”. Mort is, perhaps surprisingly, polite with her and tolerates her innocent questioning, even “playing along” with her by confirming her initial query. During the short conversation, she mentions the Komtor a couple of times, mentioning that he has “big teefs”, and will “…find the bad people and make the big magic storm to scare them away…” – up till this point Mort had assumed the Komtor was human, so such descriptions change his mind somewhat. Meeka, however, says she has to go (having previously mentioned that she was helping her mother, one of the healers, take care of the prisoners), and disappears into the village hall.
Mort sees Shiraka by the well, and explains to her about Bannek (not thinking that she’ll already know this) – she tells him she is aware, reminding him that he was the one who first departed the scene of Bannek’s arrest. She explains her viewpoint on the matter – that she is willing to let Bannek go his own way, wherever that may lead. She also says that she spoke to the guards as they took him away, and was told that no-one would be allowed to visit him but also that he still might walk free. She says that she doesn’t think the local people are the kind who would simply execute someone, and that she believes they will speak to hiim first, hear his side of the story. She doesn’t seem worried about his fate. Mort agrees with her general viewpoint, that Bannek should be free to walk his own way, and says he has respect for her opinion on such matters.
As Mort heads on toward the outpost (which Shiraka has indicated is where Bannek is being held), Shiraka disappears off for a wander around the village. As Mort approaches the solid stone wall surrounding the outpost building, he can hear the clash of weapons which indicates the presence of a training ground beyond. The walls bear a banner of simple design – a green background with a red ring in the centre. Mort speaks to the two guards (a male human and a female elf), first inquiring about Bannek and then about the possibility of using their training area to practise. He is told that, indeed, Bannek is not permitted visitors at this time, and that it may be several days before anything is done concerning the young man since the village is currently quite busy with other things at the request of the Komtor. He is also told that it is quite likely he will be permitted to “borrow” the training ground, but that inquiries will have to be made first. The elf guard also mentions an area of the village known locally as the “Divine Path”, a road lined with shrines to various deities.
Mort is again told that the Komtor will probably return in a few days, though as with Ulrik, this guard is equally uncertain as to how accurate such a timeframe is. It is explained that the Komtor is visiting other villages in the area, “…those that still stand…”, and at Mort’s further questioning it is explained that one village, Downdale, was destroyed some years ago by unknown forces and that no-one goes there any more because it is said that “dark creatures” walk there. The guard says that the Komtor will probably have something done about it eventually, but is currently rather busy and so it may have to wait a while longer.
Mort thanks the two guards for the information and tells them he will return the following morning.