Amar’s plan works, and the next day a large contingent of Royal guards head out to patrol the approaches to the Great Preserve. Making use of this opportunity, Theophilus and Amir make their move to rescue Tannen. They approach the guard tower, bluff their way in, and learn that Captain Hallem is out on patrol from his not-so-trusted lieutenant. It becomes immediately obvious that the lieutenant does not get along with his commanding officer, and partially due to this, Amir and Theophilus find it not very difficult to convince him that they are agents from the capital who have come to take the Fae prisoner back to Marda for justice. However, the party is surprised when the prisoner who is brought to them turns out to be a female elf. They maintain their composure and exit the tower.
Once out of the tower, the comrades hotfoot their way out of town and meet back up with Denrog. The newly freed prisoner introduces herself as Sylvana – she is a stranger in this country and has long searched for others of her kind. Though injured (she was apparently beaten badly – and worse) Sylvana is capable of travel, and agrees to help the party as well as she is able, and requests that she be allowed to accompany them back to Ithalliel once Tannen has been found.
The party decides to head on to the next village in search of their missing comrade. They pass a carriage heading back the way they came, but they make themselves scarce, and arrive at the next village without further encounter. A bit of questioning reveals that an individual matching Tannen’s description headed back to Melling the day before, presumably in the very carriage spied by the party as they traveled (the stable-boy’s description of the carriage matched the one they saw). The party heads back to Melling and arrives there without incident.
Upon their return to Melling, the party finds that Sir Molland has arrived with a large contingent of troops, and that the lieutenant has been sacked for letting his prisoner go (worse should have been done to him, but he was a favorite of the local baron’s chancellor, who has some measure authority over the town). Those who can easily pass for human (Amir and Theophilus) do some nosing about, but can unearth no information about anyone resembling Tannen, or what his fate might have been. The party’s best guess is that he must have headed back towards the Great Preserve, and they prepare to follow in that direction.