You are marching along Northward and hear a ruffle of clothing and Mac 
lands among you. He looks terribly tired. He looks around at you and finds
Beren and gets his things. 

You realise that he has been gone about an hour or so.

"The potions in the bag we found from the soldiers, were Chiron potions.
 They recover fatigue from running, spell casting, etc. Does anyone mind
 if I take one of them?

 Mac takes a ragged breath and asks everyone to stop for a second so he
can tell you what happened. 

"I left from here and it took about 15 minutes flying to get back to Tix. 
Kai and Quill will know what I am talking about. There was a noticeable 
background of magic when we left Tix today. When I returned there this
evening, it was noticeable worse. While before it was like a recurring hum,
it was like a pounding drum when I returned.

I went to the gate and asked the guard there to speak with his superior 
officer. I took the Captain aside and told him my story. I wanted to leave,
but he insisted that I tell it to the Commander. He was distracted and I
told the rest of my story to the guard he left with me. I tried to leave,
but the Captain stopped me and brought me to the Commander.

I retold my story to the Commander who seemed upset of the loss of his 
troops, but was grateful to know of their fate. He only asked a few 
questions, How many elves were there, what happened to the horses, where 
it happened, and what happened to their equipment.

I told him the horses were dead and their equipment was buried with them. 
I realise that it is not exactly true, but he did not need to know that 
it was not buried with them, I did not want to be detained any longer than
necessary explaining how I was able to store their weapons elsewhere.

He took my answers and then told me I was free to go. As we exited the 
barracks, the ground heaved violently, when I looked up at the sky it 
appeared as if I were looking through water and it was collapsing around me.

The buildings started to crumple. I cast my spell of flight and flew 
directly up into the air. I went through some sort of No-Mana zone and
my spell wore off, but I was going fast enough to carry me outside of this
zone and recast my spell. I began flying north and looking back at the city.

The city was shrinking. I know it sounds odd. And in it's place was left 
cleanly cropped grass."

Mac falls silent for a moment. 

"It was like the town was just plucked off the ground. I would've stayed 
to watch, but I couldn't afford to cast the spell a fourth time and still
make it back. "

"the potions will do me no good at all but as i recall rest is far
easier to achieve than healing  it seems to me tactically weak therefore
to consume one to save an hours sitting rather than what may be a week's
bedrest  this said do as you see fit" drones Kai to Mac's query
regarding the Chiron...

When Mac's tale is told, Kai's monotone cranks out "i did not expect the
place to be grassy with all the magic that have been required to keep
the desert back   perhaps this is the best proof the expanding desert
has unnatural cause  mine oath to the dead is now half fulfilled and i
will pursue the other half   i believe there may still be some
connection but an ye others wish to return to the once tix ye may"

Sitting on Thunder Manon listens carefully on what Mac has to tell. 
Meanwhile checks he can easily access his helmet, crossbow and 
bolts from where he is situated.

To Mac, Dax says, "Lucky you were to essscape.  We mussst hurry if we are to
catch those we pursssue."  He moves off to the north a bit, and waits for the
group to resume its trek.

Beren, who has been listening intently, remarks, "What do you mean, the city
shrunk?  I've seen some very strange things, quite a bit in the last day, but
nothing is powerful enough to _shrink_ an entire city!  I mean, Tix is at 
least a mile across!" More quietly, but still audible, he says, "Manon, are
you sure we can trust such tall tales from one we know so little about?"

"I can only tell you this Beren" Manon answers "I hear what I hear 
and I see what I see. I have hard understanding what Mac is telling 
but until I can see for myself what have befallen Tix, I have to 
believe what Mac says. He has no reason lying"

Dismounting Thunder Manon now walks.

"With our current speed" Manon asks in the general direction of Dax 
and Gwar "will we intercept the assassins?"

Gwar returns to the main group and says...

"At this pace we will not catch the elves."  
"My question is, if we do catch them, what is the plan ?" 
"Is there a way to change their direction of travel? Lure or flush them
towards us?"
Better yet, is there anyway that we can get ahead of the elves and wait
in ambush ?"

Addressing Gwar "We will keep on moving. They have two days ahead 
start. We will have good time to decide what to do" says Manon.

Not satisfied Gwar turns from Manon and addresses the group: 

"There should always be a plan. If we make contact in an hour, what is our
plan? You are assuming they are moving away from us. What if they've
decided to engage us and are heading our way now? or waiting in ambush ? We
all need to know how the others in our group are going to react when we do
make contact, because we will. He pauses and adds:

"I tell you what I'm going to do, knowing not what you are all going to do."

"Near ambush, i will close in and fight the enemy."

"Far ambush, if a covered route presents itself, I will close with the enemy,
 otherwise break contact."

"Hasty attack, If we see them approaching us, i will hide and attack their
 flank, after part of the main body passes me."

"Of cause if we are no match for the number of enemies I will either break
contact, for ambushes, or in the case of hasty attack, hide and let the
enemy pass."

Glancing at each member of the group Gwar asks "What are you going to do
when we make contact?"

Gwar waits, seeming to want answers.

"If the enemy has archers or spell casters in the rear, perhaps
protected by a wall of force or some other magick, it would be
our pleasure to ..." and with a slight smile Kirion continues,
"distract them." Kirion volunteers.

"gwar has a point" grants Kai "if we but keep pace with them this stern
chase will go on until they reach their destination or prepare an
ambuscade  to take them on at least even footing we must needs scout
their location so we need not slow to track them"

Looking over at Quill, he churns out "perhaps some magical means of
tracking or divination can be used to make our travel quicker"

Turning to Kirion, with but "or perhaps" then to Mac while continuing
with "an aerial scouting in the expected direction would turn up their

Kirion states that flying is no more trouble for him than
walking is for Humans.  "We have to cast no spell to fly."
After a slight pause, perhaps remembering a similar situation
in the distant past, he goes on saying, "This Human form is
too cumbersome for a long journey in any case.  It only slows
us down."

Eyes forward again, Kai concludes "manon beren and i could gallop ahead
and try to find them out as well but i fear that would be likely to give
us away or even put the three of us in a fight without the support of
the rest"

Maybe in a couple of days I could scout ahead by air, but as it
is I am too tired and another casting could have dangerous side

But if Quill doesn't know the spell, I could possibly teach it to him and
he could scout ahead.

"If attacked, I will ssslay the nearest opponentsss, until no more remain."
Dax explains.

Meanwhile, Beren looks to Manon, waiting to see how his liege will answer the
question, and apparently trying to stand a bit taller, to impress Gwar with his

"Mac looks to Gwar, I too will fight. My role can be very versatile.
I can attack at the front or I can stand back and assist those who 
become double-teamed.

I can also sneak in and kill them in their sleep."

"The interest is not what each person can do single handed. Our 
interest is how we can act _together_ as a unit." the count starts 
off glancing at Gwar.

"So far we can conclude" the count continues "that Gwar, Dax and
Mac and can attack with hand held weapons at foot. Kai, Beren and I
can attack on horse making us a mobile unit. Quill, I hope, have
some offensive spellpower to use and Kirion can launch an aerial
attack, perhaps with Mac?"

"Who among us apart from Kai, Beren and me have the option to attack 
with missiles? And what can we expect from the elves? Arrows for 
sure, but this shield the dead soldier spoke about? Do we have any 
spells that can protect us from arrows?" the count inquires.

"although i will generally defer to the judgement of the captain given
time"  begins Kai when Gwars gaze lights upon him "i can tell what my
most likely actions are in the cases you mention barring other orders:

"near ambush  i will try to circle around to the left and flank or
strike any rear missile unit" Kai starts off.

"far ambush  i will fire once then close with the enemy covered or not"

"hasty attack  if we see them approaching us  i will try to circle
around to the left and flank or strike any rear missile unit"

"i will generally rely on the judgement of the captain as to whether we
are no match for the number of enemies but lacking his advice i will
move away at an angle to the rest of the group attempting to draw fire
and perhaps split the pursuers  if separated from the group i will
maintain a skywatch expecting kirion or mac to seek out stragglers

Kai continues, after a pause, "i will generally try to mount and ride
taking the most visible path and silhouetting myself as i cannot be
struck by missile fire  unfortunately this will likely result in the
demise of my mount  the scorpion although devastating is slow to reload
so in a pitched battle i will likely be most useful closing and taking
on our opponents with swordplay  if we are facing the undead i have
devices which will allow me to deal with them in which case protecting
me might be the most useful thing the rest of you can do  should there
come an occasion where i seem insensible or berserk i will follow the
captain's orders explicitly can he but issue them and i hear them"

The count moves closer to Kai and proclaims "I am honoured". Gives a 
short nod and continues walking next to Kai.

Gwar scans the group again, actually seems to smile a little, pauses,
Looks away and simply says "Very well." turns, and starts jogging north
back into position.

Count Manon walks over to Beren to exchange some words then he moves 
over to Kai's side. Speaks with the huge man briefly, then continues 
to walk next to him.

Moving closer to Beren as to talk to him privately Manon says "Beren, 
I would like you to support us, in a fight, with your accurate 
crossbow shots. If that is not possible, follow me and we will strike 
as one."

"Of course, sir.  I will do my best." Beren replies.
The story continues...
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