Before leaving the Capitol, the group stops in the Scout Guild branch there only to discover it completely empty of Scouts and mostly empty of small furnishings and other such evidence of occupancy. Puzzled by the emptiness but finding no sign of struggle, the group moves on.
As the group enters Eastborne they realize there is a fire going, and lo and behold they discover the barracks on fire. There is also a large fight going on outside of Rowan’s place/the Assassin Guild between soldiers/guards and Assassins/Scouts. The group spots Rowan and jumps into the fight to bolster his ranks. After the fight is won, everyone congregates outside of Eastborne where Dru is given letters by Esben’s Guild Master, Zephania.
Everyone disperses and our heroes head back to Riften, where they discover Dionysia’s bar has been burned down, along with Vanya’s shop, and the tunnels between destroyed—effectively sealing off Rossi’s headquarters (“secret base that everyone knows about”).
In a hurry, the group decides to steal horses from the barracks—conveniently stealing the same ones they stole earlier, to Declan’s delight. (Except for Walter, who bought a horse and waited outside the wall.) Declan assisted Dru with the improv while Sina snuck into the barn and saddled up. They bust out, the boys grabbing onto their horses as Sina rushes by with them, and they are not chased very far outside the city gates before successfully escaping.
The group then sneaks upriver of Moat and Dru is about to swim to Moat proper when he’s stopped by a Nomad scout who reveals the battle is over and Esben, along with a larger group, is in a Nomad camp further north. The Nomad also reveals that Garrison Teal helped in the assault. Kirusha is also there and is to serve as their guide to the camp, but when the group decides they need to get more affairs in order before going to the camp, Kirusha elects to stay behind with the Nomads. The Nomads will patrol for a bit longer with an eye out for ally stragglers.
The gang finds itself again making its way to Podunk where Birgit urges Walter to leave before he gets caught and tells him people are looking for him. She gives him some money, assures him she’ll have Horace check in with his parents and shoos him out the door. Dru goes over the finer points of being a vagabond with Walter and how his promissory notes are meaningless as most likely his accounts are frozen. Walter learns the art of the hair beard.
Dru also concocts a plan, which involves Sina’s undergarments, to fake Walter’s death and puts it into practice when the group reaches the Capitol. Sina and Dru head off to do this and check in on a place for word of Esben. While Dru doesn’t expect anything to be there he finds Esben himself waiting for him. Dru tells Sina to rent a room and there they prepare to wait until Walter and Declan’s business is concluded. (Walter had said if they had no word in a week to go without them and assume they were captured.)