On the decks of Steadfast, Massie Burnson wakes Jimmi Docker, who orders the others back to their posts. As Lander arrives and all the captains return to their ships, King Whitson Mariner expresses his concern over provoking the Grimbles to Massie.
Steadfast remains an extra day at Halfway Harbor, but the other two ships continue on. As the river grows steadily more perilous, Burnley is sent before Vanguard. Fog surrounds both ships, and Massie becomes nervous. He sends Hayes to wake Whitson, and attempts to hail Burnley, but, too late, Vanguard collides with some unseen rocks. As procedures to abandon ship begin, Whitson orders that Queen Lillie be fetched, but she has been kidnapped by the Grimbles.
Massie reaches the shore with Lander, seething at the Grimbles' betrayal. Suddenly, Lander is nowhere to be found. Massie plunges into the nearby woods, where, upon following the young buck's tracks, he soon finds the prince. Lander urges Massie to keep his voice down and points out some unfamiliar tracks, which he thinks could be those of monsters. The two bucks enter deeper into the thicket.
Without warning, Lander suddenly dives into the edge of a clearing, having spotted movement. Massie follows, only for both bucks to be whipped off their feet and suspended upside down in a net-like trap. They are approached by a masked rabbit carrying a sword, who reveals himself to be Galt, an old friend of Fleck Blackstar who abandoned his own during the Battle of Ayman Lake. Galt frees Massie and Lander and offers them his help in finding Lillie in exchange for a pardon for his crime, to which Lander agrees. Galt then proceeds to tell the bucks of his backstory. After he had abandoned Fleck, he trekked along the river until he reached the island, where he made himself a home. One night, he awoke to eerie music, which he had traced to a group of hooded dragons sacrificing a rabbit. Galt tells Massie and Lander that he believes it is these dragons who have captured Lillie, with the help of Captain Grimble.
Later, Massie and Lander continue to hack their way through the brush, hoping to find the camp of the dragons. Eventually, they emerge onto the edge of a cliff, from the top of which they can see the camp, including a shack in which they suppose Lillie is being kept.
In the camp of the dragons, Lillie awakes, confused. Peeking out of her window, she spots Lander attempting to infiltrate the camp by lying prostrate on a raft, drifting towards shore. Just as a dragon is about to seize Lander, the young buck kills it with his sword. Taking advantage of the commotion, Lillie crashes through the door of the shack. Just as a group of rabbits is closing in on her, Massie appears. He, Lander, and a newly-arrived Galt temporarily take down their attackers. Massie and Lillie interrogate Tarn, one of Grimble's thugs, who reveals that the Grimbles are on their way to the island.
Massie and company hide, watching the dragons mourn their fallen comrade with an eerie rite. Just then, one of the dragons spots the group and orders chase, prompting the rabbits to flee back into the forest. They emerge onto a precipice of land above a churning river just as two of the swiftest dragons catch up with them; they try to escape by sliding down a steep mountainside.
Meanwhile, Whitson has taken Steadfast on a reconnoitering trip. As they approach a cliff, Whitson spots Lillie, Massie, and Lander running along its top, chased by dragons. The king orders the crew to drop anchor, and catches his wife as she and the others jump down onto Steadfast's deck. As Steadfast continues downriver, the king promotes Massie to captain for his service.
As evening approaches, Massie spots movement on the edge of the island. Whitson orders Brindle to take them closer to shore. Massie recognizes the creatures as the supposed dead of Vanguard's wreck. Whitson quickly holds a hurried conference with his captains, during which he explains his plan. Just then, Desolation emerges out of the river beyond.
The crew of Steadfast feign continuous mistakes, allowing Desolation to quickly gain on them. Whitson orders Brindle to pull hard to port, then back to starboard so that the ship is now aimed squarely at Desolation; the bow of Steadfast crashes right into the bigger ship's side. Though momentarily stunned, Grimble soon regains control and sends his bucks onto the decks of Steadfast. A fierce battle ensues, with Whitson and his followers winning in the end.
Back on shore, Massie and Lord Grant set to work leading provisioning.
Massie had dark-marked fur and dark eyes. He wore a uniform with Blackstar's patch on the shoulder, and he carried a bow and arrows.
Take a look at our gallery for Massie Burnson by clicking here.