At midday, they paused briefly to eat, only to find that the rain had entered their bags and ruined most of their food. The bulk of their food stores had been breads, mostly dried biscuits and cakes with a long shelf life. Once a heavy dose of water was added, the rugged morsels were reduced to soggy meal.
The party was in dire shape as night drew near. Again, they left the road to try to find dry soil, but this night they were to be disappointed. No matter how far they ventured from the edge of the forest, still they found naught but waterlogged land. There would be no dry wood for a fire nor any dry ground on which to sleep.
The twins suggested seeking refuge in the trees, but Linvin was not convinced. Doing so, he told them, would be the same as sacrificing the animals, and without their steeds, they were as good as dead. He believed it would be best to return to the storm and hold out until morning. The Trogoandras, he believed, would have no stomach to be in such a maelstrom. The twins disagreed, saying only fire would keep them away.
“Enough of this bickering,” Anvar told them. “All three of you, go find as much wood as you can and bring it here. I will start the fire while you are gone.”
“But the wood is soaked, Uncle,” Bander pointed out.
Anvar was indignant. “I do not care. Do as I say!”
Having no desire to argue with their uncle, Linvin and the twins left the campsite and began collecting branches. As they returned with the first load of wood, they found Anvar making a fire pit. They stopped and watched him for a moment.
Anvar turned to them and yelled through the rain, “Unless you want to be a Trogoandras’ dinner, I suggest you fetch far more wood than that.”
The boys and Linvin returned to their scrounging. The next trip to camp saw Anvar piling damp wood in the pit. The next two trips looked identical. Upon returning on the following trip, a roaring bonfire blazed to nearly the point of burning the trees in the camp. Linvin and the twins stood dumbfounded.
“How did you do that?” Rander asked.
“If I were you,” Anvar called over the roar of the fire, “I would be more concerned about finding enough wood to keep it going.”
Such a blaze required vast amounts of wood. The wet logs created great clouds of smoke, which surely kept any predators at bay. They ate what was left of their food and spent the night feeding the fire. They found little sleep but heard no wolves that night.
Morning only provided more light and no reprieve from the storm. Both dried on the outside and drenched underneath at the same time, the weary travelers led their horses and mules back to the road to resume their journey.
The wind and rain showed no mercy as the weakening party plowed forward. They saw no choice but to continue. With no food in their bellies, they needed to stay ahead of their hunters while their strength held.