As we rejoin our heroes, they set out from Nexus to set an ambush for the caravan bound for Thorns, led by the deathknight Typhon and bearing a chorus of child-slaves for some nefarious purpose. Somehwat surprisingly, the Herald of the Final Rest asks to join them as they journey south. Pax agrees, and so he travels with them, a not entirely welcome guest aborad the barge, and one about whom Cybele in particular harbours powerful reservations. Still, she will let nothing divert her from her task when she is this close to at last recovering her lost son. Eventually, the Circle reaches the town of Varsi, where they watch and wait for Typhon to arrive.
At last he does, and it becomes clear that he has strengthened his guard since leaving Nexus. The mercenary ranks have swelled, and now include several Southern men, bearing their trademark firedust weapons. Indeed, the Mask of Winters would seem to be in the market for firedust, as the Southerners are protecting a small wagon full of the precious substance. AS she watches the ships unloading, and loading from the docks into the great Guild wagons rented for the purpose, Cybele sees the head of the household into which her son had been placed, even as Pax notes the wagons onto which the enslaved children were ushered.
Immediately the circle set out, and that evening, after the caravan had established camp, they struck. Tien Shan allowed his Solar anima to erupt into the night, and as the guards were drawn to identify the strange threat, the others launched themselves into the camp like the blade of a scalpel. The battle raged furiously, adn not long after it had begun, Typhon emerged into the camp. Even as he lashed out at Arrius, the Herald struck, falling into the camp like a dying star. His horrific blade fell among the guards, and bolts of necrotic enrgy leapt from his hand to char and rot them as they stood.
During the chaos of battle, Cybele entered one of the wagons, and there took back her infant son. Despite the glowing light that wreathed her, and the cast mark gleaming bright upon her brow, the child looked at her calmly, all unafraid by the din of combat and the stink of blood. As she emerged and looked around, she could se the battle was nearly won. Though Typhon fought with terrifying ferocity, sending Arrius flying from the circle of wagons with a vicious hail of blows, he was now alone, facing a circle of Solars. He snarled as he scanned the camp, until he spotted Cybele, and then he pounced in the most hideous way imaginable. Springing to the attack, he lashed out with a flurry of kicks, with the last knocking the child from her arms, and into his own. Seizing the child, he fell back, scooping up the flame piece of a fallen mercenary and using it to ignite a wagon that contained the child-slaves the Circle had come to save. with that cover, he fled into the night, vanishing in a burst of strange sorcery.
When the wagon burst into flame, the Herald gave a yell of denial and rage, then turned to plunge unhesitatingly into the inferno. Not long after, the back of the wagon exploded away in a flurry of splinters, and he emerged, his darkened anima unfurled about him, and cradling a young girl in his arms. At his insistence, Pax took the girl away, and then the Herald was stricken by phantom agony, his right arm exploding in blue flame, melting and withering before the shocked eyes of the rest of the Circle. When he regained his breath, he stood and turned to depart, pausing only to extract a mystically bound oath from Tien Shan to watch over the girl. With that, he turned into the night, leaving our heroes to wonder about their erst-while ally, and to rage with mounting fury against their shadowy foe…