Q & M reach Ekarriel and decide to ask around to see when Chasina was last seen there. Q starts at a local inn and talks to the innkeeper. In addition to 2 ales, Q finds out that she came through Ekarriel maybe 2 months ago. She stayed for a week or two, helped travelers coming back from the Orclands for free. She made quite the impression and was dubbed by some as the Messenger, although is sometimes described as a male. Apparently, people she (and Q & M) had helped elsewhere in Zarak and Quartedec were awed by the things she did, reportedly bringing the dead back to life (but not as zombies) and healing wounds that would have let many people die. They followed her through the mountains, tracking her by finding those she had touched. Q tells M what he found out and head out to the gate to talk to the caravan of travelers heading out to find her in the Orclands. Q talks to the old man who appears to be organizing the group, but decides that he is perhaps a bit too zealous in his desire to find Chasina and that the two of them could find her faster on their own. He gets the old man to tell him where she may have last been seen (she had aided two people after the village had been attacked by Orc raiders), and the two find the trail to the nearby village. They arrive at the village close to sundown, but the guard at the gate allows the two to enter and sleep in a barn for the night. The next morning, they engage him in conversation and find out there is larger town southwest of their current location and the trail should be easy to find though the trip will take about a day and a half.
While Q & M begin the second leg of their journey, Chasina wakes at dawn to begin working and helping the villagers. Shortly after noon, a little boy loses his pig but just as he is about to ask Chasina to help him find it, the pig finds the boy near the front gate. A little while later, Chasina hears “thuds” coming from near the village gate. She goes to get a closer look with her binoculars and sees an enormous armed and armored figure walking toward the gate. Behind it are several Orcs as well as another crouching giant talking to what appears to be a beardless dwarf. The lead giant sees her and runs straight for the gate, which is already open. Chasina and the local militia engage the enemy and keep them out of the village for as long as possible, while Q & M are approaching from road behind the attackers. The attackers manage to get through the wall and some of the Orcs begin taking what they can. After a tough fight with both giants, the orcs and the outcast dwarf, Galen, the PCs subdue the giants and enough Orcs which convinces Galen to surrender and order his group to surrender.
Galen tells the PCs that after being cast out of Zarak by Artos and the other dwarven leaders, he and other dwarven outcasts did what they could to survive in the Orclands. Q engages him in conversation and gets Galen to rant a bit about how he intends to gather items from the Elven ruins and get his revenge. Galen addresses Maksim (who took the magic ring from his finger) and tells him that there’s more where that came from and that he can tell them where to look if the PCs let him and his group go. Not surprisingly, Q & M don’t trust him enough and agree to let his group retrieve their armor before letting them go. Galen is told he will accompany the PCs to the closest ruins. They toss him in Chasina’s cart and head out, following the markers Galen put down to help him find it again. They manage to see a fortified village or town several hundred meters from the ruins, but the defenses and buildings themselves have been painted to blend in with the desert environment. M casts an invisibility spell on Q, who goes to take a closer look at the town. He reports back, but after seeing some things he can’t explain, Chasina heads out – invisible – with her binoculars to take a closer look. With her Magesight, she confirms that the buildings are an older style, most likely several hundred years ago, and along with the somewhat distinctive dress of the people she sees, she and Q think they may have been brought here by the Banestorm. While Q thinks they are a fairly recent arrival, Chasina thinks they have been here for a long time, possibly even a few hundred years based on the condition of their buildings and how they’ve adapted to their environment. Her Magesight reveals that their weapons (including the old black powder rifles they carry) and even parts of their buildings give off a slight magical aura.
They must decide to talk to the villagers or simply go around them and head for the ruins…