As the party heads back to Heimat, they are met by Rynn, who took a group of recruits and followed them. The enlarged group heads back together, but is intercepted by a panicked herd of duck-bills, being chased by a flock of terror birds. After the chaos passes, Tico and Girrard are missing. Axtli is unable to find any sign of them and concludes that they must have jumped on one’s back to avoid getting trampled.
The follow the trample path, shortly coming to a group a feeding terror birds. Mirri goes invisible and spies on them, spotting a boot beneath one of the duck-bill corpses. Axtli decides to sneak in and call lightning to scare the birds off. He slips and catches their attention, all 20 of them. He calls for help as he gets swarmed. Thus begins the ‘battle of one(s)’.
Axtli had changed into a terror bird early on during the fight, hoping to fool the stupid birds into not attacking him. It failed and he fell. Yeferia had healed him enough to stabilize, so she thought, but after the battle he was found to be dead. Tico shattered her orb to reincarnate him. He came back a VERY unhappy gnome. Rynn made fun of him.
Tico and Girrard weren’t even under that duck-bill, however, they were under his neighbor.
During the next two weeks, Axtli discovers that his only hope for recovering his old self is in the Lost Citadel, an ancient edifice said to hold the spirits of his people. It is also said to be a testing ground and very dangerous. He plans to travel there shortly and recover a ring of three wishes. He is helping built Heimat and crafting a demonbone masterwork kaua’koi.
Tico, meanwhile, has become convinced that Manthalay Meravanchi has double-dealt Farshore, either with the Crimson Fleet, or even with her arch-nemesis, Demogorgon. She also discovers the grave violations of Avner and Vanthus. An attempt to determine why the head was stolen is partially successful at best, and no one even knows what to make of her attempts to discover if she will actually face Demogorgon one day.
Rynn begins proselytizing on behalf of the Archangels and drums up support and some coin. She is trying to find a publisher, but no luck so far.
Mirri is learning new spells at an almost desperate rate. She is also helping build Heimat, scrying on Meravanchi and even attempts to find Walker (no luck).
Girrard has turned noble and is sucking up to Manthalay so well that Manthalay thinks they’re kin. Turns out that lying is his true skill, after all.
Yeferia is tutoring Veira and practicing her Seeing arts. She several times tries to See dangers hidden in the Lost Citadel. Her results are here.
A newcomer, Setha, has arrived looking for Avner (he’s a deadbeat dad!) on behalf of three young sisters in Sasserine. She carries virtually no posessions except a bag and kusarigama and she talks of a god called Ilmater. She and Tico hit it off.