The crew watches Captain Anderson’s team recede into the distance back the way they came, and then make ready to head back to the Simvan camp.
Back at the camp, the Simvan gather to greet the crew. No small amount of attention is given to Wyoming as she rides back in on an ostrasaur.
Argyle and Wyoming speak to Ug, and he says that the meeting with the other group is set for the next morning. Wyoming takes Loyal to go to find a hunting party to join, while Argyle, Mason, and Puck sit down at the campfire with Sanchez and Johnny, as Ug goes to find the Chief.
Ug casts the translation spell again. Argyle speaks the the chief about Captain Anderson’s offer. The Chief is not interested in anything but the dragon. Argyle conveys his concerns about anyone being able to control the dragon’s behavior. The Chief says that the danger comes when the dragon is left to its own devices, and that with the tribe’s influence, it will be raised properly. Argyle asks what assurance he can offer to Anderson of this, and Ug suggests that Anderson be allowed access to the camp, so he can see what they are capable of here. Argyle asks if Ug will remain on hand to assist, and Ug says that he must go where the spirits tell him to go.
Ug brings Argyle, Puck, Mason, Sanchez, and Johnny to see the egg itself. It’s being kept in a large tent in the center of the camp. It’s about 6 feet long, and nearly as wide across, as it’s roughly the shape of an ostrich egg. It’s dull gray in color, and its surface is irregular and pockmarked. Puck can detect a powerful magic emanating from it. He attempts to make telepathic contact, but there is not yet a consciousness to make contact with. Mason makes several complete circuits, scanning it thoroughly, and recording everything.
Wyoming and Loyal accompany the hunting party out into the wilderness, and they come across a Grox, which resembles a gigantic buffalo with a spiked tail. Wyoming sees the party spring into action, and while their tactics are not particularly sophisticated, they are nonetheless effective, and with Loyal’s help they bring it down quickly. The carcass is butchered and carved up fairly efficiently. A portion is left behind, and when Wyoming indicates it, the hunters make it clear that it’s an offering to the spirits. Wyoming speaks to Loyal, and informs her of Captain Anderson’s crew, including the dogboys. Loyal is surprised to discover that the psi stalker offered her a job. The hunting party is boisterous on the ride back.
The next morning, the crew gears up and heads out to Big Rock again. This time, there are already people there. There are six combat mages, and a tall slim figure in a black cloak and hood. When the leader throws her hood back, her delicate Elven features can be seen, but her skin is jet black. She approaches the group, and speaks to Ug directly in Simvan.
She introduces herself to the rest of the group as Ellisandre. Argyle and Wyoming introduce themselves. Argyle asks what they intend to do with the dragon egg. Ellisandre says it’s their intention to raise it properly. Argyle says that the Simvan have the same goal. Ellisandre says that the Federation has quite a bit more experience with dragons than the Simvan do.
Wyoming asks what the Federation would willing to offer in return for the egg. Ellisandre says that the Federation has many things that would be useful to the Simvan. She mentions TechnoWizard weapons, and the opportunity for the Simvan to free themselves from the need for eClips. Even Ug has to concede that this would be useful to the tribe. She also mentions several various other creatures that could be persuaded to join the camp; ogres, trolls, and the like.
Argyle and Wyoming tell Ellisandre that they will speak with the Chief and deliver her offer. Ellisandre thanks them, and she walks off with the six combat mages to the south. On the way back, Wyoming hangs back with Argyle, and they discuss the choices before them. Wyoming implies that if the choice were up to her, she’d destroy the egg so no one would have it. Argyle reminds her that this would bring the wrath of the tribe down on Ug.
Back at the camp, Wyoming asks to speak privately to Ug. He brings her to his tent, and lights a pipe, and they both partake. She asks him what he would do, and he admits he is biased, and says that the Chief should keep the egg.
Wyoming asks if Ug can see what’s in her heart. He says she carries a great sadness, almost as great as Mason’s, and that the two of them are connected. She admits that she was the one that made Mason what he is. She suspects he knows, but they haven’t spoken of it. She asks Ug if he sees how all this will end. He says he only gets glimpses.