As they wait for Leera to return from hunting the escaped slaver, John and Chris try to figure out what to do with their captive. The answer becomes rather apparent, however, as they realize what danger has been looming before them since the dawn – a wildfire. And with the winds being what they are on the plains, there is are unsavory odds that it will cut them off from their chosen route.
They are unable to wait for their comrade much longer than an hour, and hurriedly depart. Along the way they abandon both their prisoner, and eventually their donkeys. A great deal of equipment is stashed away, hopefully to be found later.
The duo rush north, alternating between a hustle and hike as best they can, and pushing through a few hours of forced marching. Tired, hungry, and sore, they see their chances of reaching the pass (and safety from the fire) grow even more slim.
Leera, meanwhile, tracks the runaway back to a camp, where he apparently rendezvoused with others. She quickly abandons a foray into the edges of the camp, and treks the way back to where she left the others. Dismayed, she sees only signs of their abrupt departure. Her story shadows that of the men, with better time. Despite having been separated for more than twenty-four hours, she finds herself only three hours behind them.