The group had been re-clothed, re-supplied and put on a barge hired from a reliable merchant house, along the canal from Meepsor to Syrtis Major. The journey would take approximately eight days.
The lands either side of the canal were fertile, and on most nights they would stop at a small village, and buy fresh produce or souvenirs.
On their third night out they stopped at Alvar, one such tiny community, and were forced to fight off a band of assassins who had apparently taken over the village. Of the original inhabitants, they could find no trace. One of the ringleaders bore a ring with a strange symbol. Rani examined it.
“They are the Ground Cleansers” she announced.
“The whom?”asked Sebastian.
“The Ground Cleansers. The Purifiers of the Soil. They hate Red Devils and wish them removed from Mars.”