Flying as birds to Mishaka, the Lunars passed over the horse-plains of Marukan. Below they spotted a large war party of Marukani horsemen. They landed and treated with the horselord, Reddas Arbogassu. He led the Marukani to the aid of Lookshy, and against the Realm, so the Lunars offered to join with his forces. Reddas and his advisor, the outcaste Juyo Mayhiros, were skeptical; they only knew of Lunars from the stories of Ma-Ha Suchi, who had sown chaos in the Scavenger Lands two generations before.
Cold-Eyes convinced the horselord that they were not allies of Ma-Ha Suchi, and in fact wanted to help the Marukani. She then convinced Reddas that Lunar support could bring strength and victory to the Marukani; the horselord called for a demonstration of might. Varg Silvermane obliged by lifting a draft horse and outpacing a charger. This impressed the horselord enough to make the Lunars his personal guests, and he invited them to tea.
The tea they drank in Reddas’ yurt turned out to be laced with an opiate. This was a prelude to six assassins in Marukani armor invading the yurt! One of them slew Reddas’ nephew, and two others gave Reddas himself grievous wounds. The Lunars jumped to action and tore apart several of the assassins before their leader kicked the teapot into the fire, sending up smoke and steam and allowing a cover for his escape. Cold Eyes and Silvermane struck down several of the fleeing assassins, while Silver Star applied his medical wisdom to ensuring that Reddas did not bleed out. The other Marukani were shocked that the Lunars were slaying what appeared to be their own soldiers, but Cold Eyes convinced them that the slain were assassins. The horselord’s life was saved, and the assassins determined to be hirelings from Thorns. The lead assassin, who demonstrated the Fivefold Shadow Hand style, could not be found.
Enraged at the cowardice of Thorns for sending assassins, Reddas redoubled the march to Mishaka. There they found the fortress-town besieged by three full Imperial legions, and one legion of Thorns auxiliaries. Varg was given command of mounted archers, and he led a devastating nighttime assault on the Thorns camp before wheeling away. The following two days the Thorns legion broke away from the siege and chased after the Marukani riders, who traded arrow fire while leading them further away.
At one point, the Thorns legion offered to buy out the Marukani, but were refused. Varg led the pursuing legion to a stream with a hill on the opposite bank, and planned to trap the enemy in the shallows. The Thorns commander, an outcaste named Quiet Earth, perceived something amiss and used his magic to create an earthworked dam that his legion could cross safely. In response, Silver Star set up his implosion bow to blast holes in the earthworks while the Thorns soldiers passed over them. Cold Eyes used her Gemstone of Solid Water to trap the soldiers in the muck, and the Marukani rained death upon them. Cold Eyes and Reddas followed up with a cavalry charge that broke the Thorns legion and sent Quiet Earth running.