Both PCs opt to be slaves, owned by Xin (greedy for that extra basic combat feat, I guess). They have been marched for three days through Eagle Tribe territory, and enjoy a fine meal of millet gruel. Yum Yum.
Eagle scouts have identified the Anubites as gnolls, creatures which are relatively easy for combat slaves to handle. The combat slaves are the first wave, to “tire out” the knolls so the freebooter mercenaries can finish them off. ONLY if things go bad, Tharon will send in the slave bearers. Things go bad, sooner rather than later.
The Anubites, special characters rather than minions, make short work of the freebooters, and their use of Tire actions leads to the survivors (both PCs and the bearer Appu) to flee at a fast limp. Unanimously failing a forced march, they have to use up the last of the good food to get even to a short distance before the Anubites begin tracking them at dusk. Oops, an 8… the PCs get a restless night of sleep.
Two days later, the PCs and Appu are locked in a cage with straw (not fresh straw, but straw) while Xin retires to “consider his options”. Xin, now penniless and down six followers, has few of those available.
In spite of the campaign write-up, the PLAYERS were upset at how poorly they fared, so an early evening was called. Everyone did get 1200XP, though, so they did make first level – and, in the words of one of the players, are finally competent.