After tying up any loose ends the party had in Kalentha, they decided to head back to Algar to gather their gear before heading to one of the ley line locations. Bembe was no longer outside the ruins, and after contacting him magically, Kazamir found out that they had been inside for twelve days and that Bembe had headed home by himself. Taking the teleportation circle out of the Sanctum, the party backtracked through the mountains and down to Algar. During a days rest in the city, Kazamir unlocked the chest they had found near Akathis's work place, Mithrellis bought some maps, and the party heard two rumors. First, as it was nearing the winter solstice, there would soon be a large festival held in the town to the west. Second, the number of gnoll attacks had greatly increased in the area and the military was busy fighting them back.
Though the party had originally determined the capital city of Cieron to be their best bet for teleportation circle to one of the cities near a ley line, they decided something needed to be done about the gnolls and that they could then head south to Jin'lan. Seeing an opportunity to make some coin along the way, Kazamir wrote up a contract to form a mercenary contract to be officially recognized as "The Wardens" in Svain. The party headed South towards the Howling Savannah and the military camps fighting the gnolls there. Upon arriving in the camp, the party met with a familiar commander that Mithrellis and Sorin had talked to on the way north. While they did not want a mercenary company disrupting the disciplined ranks of fighters on the front lines, they did need scouts and did offer the party a two-week contract to scout north and west of the camp. The first two days of scouting were relatively slow, only finding signs of old battles and camps. On the third day however, Riardon found a recent gnoll camp and followed after the footprints that headed north. The party gave chase, and after some deliberation, decided to ambush the pack of twelve gnolls they had found. Having fought a group of gnolls before, the party believed they could easily defeat the pack, but the gnolls seemed strangely tougher than before. Perhaps this had something to do with the cabal of shamans leading the hord, one of which was among the pack.
After a brief surprise, the gnolls rallied back and attacked. Kazimir and Riardon jumped into the fray while Sorin, Jace, and Mithrellis hung back to throw spells and songs among the enemies. While some gnolls fell quickly, more leapt towards Jace and Mithrellis. Mithrellis turned into a blur of flashing steel as his blade deflected blows left and right and struck back in retaliation. Kazimir began tracking the cabalist that fled the battle, but just as he was about to enter the cave he had just discovered, the vines and branches around him struck out.