Shaggy, Raven, Herbmaker and the senior fighters of the clan attend council in the Chief’s chambers. Shaggy is still in his ceremonial regalia and, brandishing the severed head of the Horse clan prisoner, convinces Chief Hillwalker to lead the mission of reprisal himself, promising great glory is to be found in the west where the Horse clan dwell. He orders Raven to choose 10 men to go on the raid but to stay at the Roaring Water fort herself. Herbmaker and Shaggy are to accompany the party.
Procedural scene: after dark, Herbmaker goes down to the scene of the raid and finds one of the horses, perhaps that of the captured warrior. He gains the creature’s trust and eventually is able to take it as his own steed.
Raven finds Broken Stone at a lookout point, overlooking the farm. As they watch Herbmaker’s laborious process of befriending the horse from a distance, they talk about the upcoming mission. Broken Stone hints at being willing to do away with Hillwalker while on the mission, but Raven is reluctant to come right out and say what she wants: quite the opposite of that, in fact, as she has designs on becoming Hillwalker’s daughter-in-law.
Procedural scene: After a week’s arduous march to the west, the raiding party comes upon the edge of Horse clan territory, where a lone rider watches over a herd of cattle.
While the rest of the party hide in the long grass of the plain, Herbmaker disguises himself as a Horse clan member, using the captive’s clothing, and rides down into the valley to scout out the lay of the land.
He is spotted almost immediately by a patrol of three riders, who move quickly to pursue him.
As Herbmaker approaches, with the Horse clan riders following at a steady canter, Hillwalker is ready to pounce. However, Shaggy persuades him to bide his time. Herbmaker is taken under guard to the Horse clan encampment.
(kitty —> GM)
In flashback, before leaving camp, Herbmaker suggests to the Chief that they make up a whole set of Horse clan disguises based on the outfit they already have, and train the warriors in facing cavalry, with himself and his new steed as practice targets.
Hillwalker accedes to preparing disguises as far as resources allow, but says no to the training idea: one alchemist on a horse, he reckons, is no preparation for the real thing and is a waste of time.
Back in the present, Raven takes to the podium in the centre of the fort to address the whole clan, most of whom have remained behind. She orders all existing food supplies be brought to the stronghold where he can be protected from attack, arranges extensive hunting for meat, and plans a raid on the despised Upriver clan.
As desired, she wins the clan’s admiration for the way she is taking charge.
(kitty —> GM)
As Shaggy and the rest of the raiding party trail behind but out of sight, Herbmaker is conducted to a small nomadic encampment, where he is greeted by the dignified, weathered band chief, Ironhand, who conveniently speaks the language of the Hillfolk.
Ironhand refutes Herbmaker’s accusation that his people attacked the Roaring Water clan.
He tells Herbmaker that a neigbouring Horse band had half a dozen horses stolen from them by hillfolk recently. But that wouldn’t be enough horses to account for all those in the attack. Other than the Horse clan, only the Kingdom to the north would be likely to have a dozen or more horses available.
Herbmaker is somewhat dubious about the details, but Ironhand believes that Herbmaker accepts his version of events.
(GM —> Herbmaker)
Outside the Horse clan encampment, Shaggy informs Hillwalker that this is the sit where the spirits say he will gain his glory. Hillwalker fears for Herbmaker’s safety, but Shaggy says he has most likely betrayed the Roaring Water in return for clemency, true to his strange outside ways. He also grudgingly admits the possibility that Herbmaker is still a prisoner and is in danger.
Despite the odds against them, Hillwalker agrees to go for an attack at nightfall, sending two men to create a distraction by attacking the cattle herd outside the camp.
(kitty —> GM)
Herbmaker quizzes Ironhand on the details of Horse clan dress (specifically, the horsehair plumes in their helmets) to try and find any inconsistencies in his account.
The results are inconclusive.
Procedural: As Hillwalker launches his attack on the Horse clan, miles away in the hills, Raven and her fighters assault the Upriver clan village under cover of darkness. Unfortunately they run right into an Upriver patrol at the first watchpost. They manage to subdue these guards in a cutthroat scuffle that is over in a few seconds, but one of the Upriver warriors manages to crawl to the alarm bell and sound it with his last breath.
Upriver reinforcements arrive in numbers, killing several Roaring Water men. Raven and others are taken captive, bound hand and foot, and thrown into a pit to await their fate….