Once the tree was destroyed, the two Supplicants seemed to lapse into a coma. The party was able to struggle their way back to Everlund with the prisoners. Dearborn advised taking them to the Temple of the Morninglord for possible healing, so that is what was done.
Gwen went to see Mistress Hucrele with the news that her daughter was brought back and in the Temple. After thanking Gwen profusely, the head of House Hucrele rushed off to see her daughter, leaving Gwen happy that was over.
Rak had gone to get his new shield cleaned, but they had all decided to go see the jeweler Tutlern to sell the loot from the latest trip to the Citadel. However, when they got there, they found Tutlern’s shop almost out of stock. Tutlern moved out from the workroom to greet his customers, then brightened slightly when he saw who it was.
“Greetings, Master Tutlern,” Clay greeted. “We have some more gems and such to sell.”
“Unfortunately, as you can see, I do not have much gold to buy with. There are bandits on the roads, and they have hit my last two shipments from Felbarr. I was hoping to hire you to see if you can recover my supplies and stop the bandits.”
“How’s he going to pay us?” Gwen asked, when they huddled to discuss it. “He can’t afford to buy the stuff we have now.”
“Actually, I was going to offer each of you a piece my work that I would normally sell for five hundred gold or less,” Tutlern interjected, because Gwen wasn’t as quiet as she thought she was. “I could give you gold eventually, but it will take time even once I get my supplies back.” They decided to help out the guy who gives them most of their gold for loot, and Tutlern told them he contracts with House Wavesilver to move his goods. They should speak to Edrys Springthorn as she is the one in charge of getting the Wavesilver caravans in and out of Everlund.
The Wavesilver caravaners were set up a block or so south of the Keep of Vigilance in the southeast section of the city. Once there, they were pointed in the direction of a pretty female half-elf dressed plainly in workclothes. As Clay perked up upon seeing her, she turned and yelled over her shoulder, “C’mon you fuckin’ twats, get those wagons loaded!!” Her tone was more cordial when she addressed the group. “Can I help you?”
“Tutlern asked us to look into the bandit attacks for him,” Clay answered smoothly.
“Oh, alright.” Edrys told them that the bandits seem to know just which caravans are carrying the most expensive cargo. They also seemed to be well-prepared and well-organized, not traits that the usual brigands have. “C’mon, Chatha, can you get a fuckin’ move on? We gotta get this shit loaded!” she paused to chide one of her workers. When she turned back, Rak noticed that he gave her a nasty glare.
The group started to leave to make some plans when Gwen realized they were going to have a hard time trying to find these bandits by just wandering around the wilderness.
“Oh, Edrys!” Clay called as he went back. “When is your next caravan going out?”
“Tomorrow morning this one leaves.”
“Could we maybe travel with it?”
“We can’t pay you, but we can feed you.”
“Done,” Clay said, and they turned to leave again. “Oh, Edrys,” Clay turned back once more. The caravan manager gave him a look that said this better be the last time. “We’ll be at Rugher’s later if you want to have a drink.”
“I would not be totally against that,” she answered after a moment’s thought. They finally split up and the group went to Rugher’s to make plans. In the evening, Edrys and a couple of her workers showed up to eat and drink with the party. the plan was to give Clay one of Gwen’s invisibility scrolls so he could try to follow the bandits back to their lair. They also decided to try to capture any attackers they could. Even though the others decided to get some sleep early, Clay, perhaps unwisely, decided to try to show Edrys he could stay up all night and still do his job.
The attack came near the end of the third day out from Everlund. Rak heard a clink of armor off to the side and suddenly there were attackers appearing from thin air. A couple of caravan guards took wounds in their surprise, as did Rak. Summoned creatures appeared and magic missiles flew. The struggle was brief before a horn sounded somewhere nearby and the bandits retreated. Rak had dropped one and Gwen ran one down until he was too exhausted to run anymore, the whole time saying he was not going to talk. Clay used the scroll and attempted to follow, but the bandits all got on horses and crossed the river. He overheard part of a conversation about how they hadn’t expected the stiffer defenses to be part of caravans yet, but then they rode out of earshot. He followed until it was clear they weren’t stopping soon, but saw that almost anyone could follow the trail they were leaving.
Back at the camp, Gwen took the one she had captured to the back of the caravan while Rak stayed with the wounded one at the front. “I’d tell her what she wants to know,” Rak told the man. “You don’t know how she can get.” A scream of pain came from the back, followed by some meaty smacking sounds. Rak just shook his head. The bandit looked a little ill.
When Gwen came back with some blood on her hands and asked, “Is this one talking?”
“South!” he fairly shrieked with panic. “We took over an abandoned keep across the river to the south! But we’re not Luskan!” and then, realizing what he had said, he clamped up again.
“Hopefully, Clay can tell us if that is where they went,” Rak said. And he did.
The next morning, they let the caravan go on without them. They crossed the river and followed the beaten down grass for less than an hour before there was smudge on the horizon. They crept closer and saw a small keep in the process of being repaired. Whoever they were, they were hoping to stay for awhile.