Tchak gets told by Uncle Vargas that it’s time to work for the family, in the process he steals a kank trinket and some coins from his dear sweet Uncle. Uncle wants him to escort two slave escapees to a secret village he knows. Uncle’s instructions are far more precise than his pronunciation of barbarian names, unfortunately.
Kweku is cooling his heels in the gladiator pens, having forgotten the advice of his tribal elders not to drink with desert traders. He and Jadon are are selected, along with another Mul and Half Elf to be sacrificed as part of the celebrations of Kalak’s ascension.
A giant wasp is their foe, unfortunately they are each tied to a pillar and the wasp (chained by one leg) is between them and their gear. There is a shocking white flash, everyone is blinded, an earthquake occurs and screams rise across the city with the smoke and dust. The wasp escapes and heads straight for the spilled date palm wine in the stands. The two other prisoners, who Tchak was supposed to rescue are dead. Kweku and Jadon escape in the confusion, Jadon spotting a glimpse of a rat man and what looks like an entire rat man undercity in a fissure.
They meet Tchak, who assumes they are the freed slaves and journey to down the Royal Road to Pawdler’s Rest, a refuge for escaped slaves. The town has an incomprehensible political system, loves the symbol of the kank and quotes slogans with excessive zeal.
They flamboyantly and heroically kill a bus-sized scorpion as payment for lodgings, then return to Tyr, noticing a distinct lack of merchants on the road.
Kweku, for reasons best known to himself, likes to meditate atop the highest spot he can reach.
Tyr, they discover, has several factions, with conflicting pronouncements, claiming leadership. This is a time of great opportunity for the quick and the brave, or the quick and the brave and his two new side-kicks, anyway.
Tchak claims Kweku and Jadon owe him money for being the wrong slaves, Kweku obliges with a handful of coins he grabbed from the stadium, left by fleeing patrons.