With limited time and several sources of information to pursue, the group split up. First Kid speculated that the water rationing wouldn't affect the group and sold all of his water at a significant markup, a high risk / potentially high reward move. Afterwards Hafeeza and Kid spent the day speaking with advisers from House Wavir and surveying the area with the help of Trigger. What they discovered was a great dust storm in the sand wastes and what Trigger could only describe as birds as large as buildings. They also uncovered the movement of a much smaller number of people along the great road to the north. Fearing they had either been misled from the start or that the army had veered northwards to bypass Altaruk and march on Tyr, they immediately sought an audience with Olgem. They shared this news and beseeched him for immediate mounted transport to Tyr. He dismissed them to deal with this new information and said he would have news of their request in the morning, which they needed anyway for Chronicler to finish resting.
Meanwhile Malachi, Bright Eyes, and Dragonpaw sought leads for a means to escape if needed by looking for someone capable of smuggling a person out of town. Their barkeep knew of possible leads but his contacts would need assurances the party could afford the steep cost of what they asked. Bright Eyes and Dragonpaw displayed their emblem and lacquered mask as a sign of their status and waited at the inn for word from the barkeeps contacts. Malachi, not content with waiting, went to the southern wall to survey possible tunnel routes. He found suitable land for supporting a tunnel in only a certain section of ground and after much searching pursued one of the several caverns that led underground at the base of the mountains. Sure enough, through remarkable chance, this tunnel lead back to Altaruk and to a cellar of a house. Donning the shape of a gecko, he stepped out of the cellar and into a room where he found Bright Eyes and Dragonpaw in a bit of a predicament.
The pair had been lead around town in a dizzying pace and ultimately waylaid in an alley by 2 greasy thugs who wanted to know their business. They talked their way into an audience with the thug's patron, mainly by playing up their connection with Kyrie. The thugs lead them to a room with a well dressed man who questioned them further. All are meant to be free, he said to Bright Eyes and Dragonpaw. The two nodded quizically and the man immediately walked away, the others in the room grabbing them by their arms. Before the man could leave, Bright-eyes explained that they were not of his group (implying Veiled Alliance), and didn't claim to be, but they had worked with Kyrie, who was one of them.
The man agreed and also noted that the totems meant Dragonpaw and Kyrie were connected and had both drank from the ichor of the tree of life. But he said that connection was their own business and had nothing to do with him or his work. He would only help those allied with him in their cause. As Dragonpaw pointed out, however, Kyrie did believe in the cause and also clearly considered Dragonpaw trustworthy to have encountered him and left him alive. The man said that is why he would leave them alive, but he would do nothing more. Bright Eyes and Dragonpaw were blindfolded and lead around before being dropped off again. But the gecko Malachi headed straight back and noted the location of the cellar and tunnel.
The party regrouped at their room and waited for the morning and word from Olgem concerning mounts. At the Wavir tower the next morning they learned the most he could offer was the relative safety of travelling with a caravan. The mellikot mount leading the caravan would help make their trip more secure and well provisioned, but would be much too slow for the group's goal. He did agree to provide water, to ensure he appeared cooperative in case King Kalak indeed did care of the group's mission and found he had not provided sufficient aid. He also suggested they try Aristophanes, a wealthy Balican merchant and the only person who could possibly have mounts to spare. They did so and discovered Aristophanes was the man Bright Eyes and Malachi had spoken with the prior afternoon.
They negotiated a potentially lucrative deal that seemed to work in everyone's interest. He would lend them 4 trained, equipped, adult crodlu mounts to travel to Tyr provided they ensured the safe travel of his man, Sikur, within 6 days. He assured the group that this man would have no trouble entering the city gates, that he was capable of helping on the road, and that they only had to enter the city with him and he would go send word of the mission to the Balican trading outpost in Tyr. If Sikur made it to Tyr alive during this time and all the mounts survived then the group could keep one of the mounts. If the group made it to Tyr with Sikur alive but mounts dead, then they would return the remaining mounts and consider their contract fulfilled. However if the Sikur should perish or not make it to Tyr, then the group would have to reimburse the steep cost of any mounts they had lost along the way.
Horns began to blare as they loaded the mounts. Fearing any further delay the group went to the gates and Aristophanes used his leverage so the party could pass. They learned the horns signaled a giant attack. As the group sped off they managed to avoid and outrun the main giant force. However while travelling through the canyon that led north out of town they had no choice but to pass by an ambush. Some well placed spells and attacks threw the giants off guard and foiled the ambush, allowing the party to speed off to the Great Road. Their travelling companion seemed unphased by the sorcery and in fact remarked that perhaps they would survive this journey after all.