Unending rains disheartened the caravan. Altheus and Volotok circled the wagons against a tide of disquiet.
Sigrid nearly died from fever but for her father, who found a curative herb called Pheasant’s Flower in the wilderlands.
The caravan continued under Altheus’ direction. A delicate wax rubbing he had made from an ancient engraving was his guide. The way, however, was blocked by an enormous aqueduct, roiling with flood-water.
They followed this to the crumbling ruins of a grand public bath. Carvings of magpies decorated the walls. Altheus deduced from his research that this ancient balnearium housed an enchanted reflecting pool. It is said that those who look into the reflection see that which they truly desire.
Curious they were of an enormous sculpture of a magpie weeping down a well. The jets of water coming from its eyes fell upon a treacherous bridge of glass. The slippery bridge crossed a fast moving underground river. Those who fell in would surely drown. On the other side a beautiful young girl, Hanni of the Rose Chip Tribe, cried for help.
The Spirit of the Baths keeps her trapped. The baths were once a wonder of the old world and patronized by similarly beautiful men and women. So, while her tribe camped nearby, he appeared to her one night as a strapping young noble. He lured her across the glass bridge and to keep her there he brought forth a deluge to flood the baths, making the bridge impassible.
Volotok and Kaustaa built a cover for the well out of wood gathered from the caravan. They hoped that stopping the water would make crossing the bridge possible.
Then the Spirit of the Baths appeared to the group, threatening their destruction.
Altheus battled the spirit in a duel of wits and was narrowly defeated by the snake tongued being. His final argument was so crushing, it left the spirit dumbstruck. Volotok, knowing a distracted spirit when he sees one, led Hanni quickly to the safe side of the bridge. The spirit, enraged, smashed the bridge, barring the path to the enchanted reflecting pool. The baths began to fall apart, as the group escapes.
The rain, however, has let up.