While fleeing Sardin, after his mentor's death, Cyrus is captured by Pargunese troops invading the Marches. The patrol taking him to a prison camp encounters the dy Santiago brothers, Antonio and Jozan as they are returning from their family's estates. They defeat the patrol together and free the prisoners. The three men take the surviving enemy soldier captive and flee towards the Pliuni border, trying to get ahead of the front line of the invaders. They encounter and defeat another patrol of enemy troops and capture two more enemy soldiers. As they are about to cross into Pliuni and safety, they hear hunting dogs approaching them. But what comes out of the woods are monsters, man-sized beasts with the bodies of dogs but the heads of eagles. They defeat the monsters and cross into Pliuni. There they find a border town being fortified by local troops and soldiers driven from the Marches by the invasion. They report to the local commander and provide what information they have learned during their escape. They find out the Santiago lands have been overrun, the family fortress was holding out against siege, but no word has come recently. The Pliuni commander says if they wish to stay and fight, they are welcome, but must enlist under the local command. They decide that they will fight for their homeland, but must be free to pursue their goals. The commander accepts that, but tells them they must leave his area if they will not serve under him.