Arak and Trill, leading a fighting force of dragonborn, crashed through the Wyrmood; Arak’s frostbrand sword and ice breath carved the way, and Trill’s cunning lead them to the bandit camp in time to find the rest of the band.
Outside of the cave, they found a very angry Tully, who took command of the attack and charged in. Following after, Arak and his group tore in to the guards.
Kerith was able to break free, knocking out one of the guards before reuniting with her foster father; Tully and Trill mauled and shocked (respectively) the others to carve their way to dwarves and the captive Dagarn.
While the dragonborn teased Dagarn, and Arak chewed out both his commander and his near daughter, Marthan and Tully reunited, and others searched the complex. While they found beds and food, they didn’t find much in the way of treasure and even less in terms of information; the lead bandits, including the dragonborn, had left, and had either killed Melechor or taken him with them.
Metaphorical tails between their legs, Kerith and Dagarn spent the trip back to Crossings contemplating the many, many flaws that Arak had outlined for them in a booming voice.
That evening at the town, as accommodations were being arranged, Dagarn and Marthan scanned the crowd. There were a great many sellswords about, and a lot more town guard than a village the size of Crossings really needed.
While some of that might be due to the bandits in the region and the political situation to the east, Marthan noticed that some of the sellswords had mud on their boots; as if they had been hiking in the woods.
This observation, as well as the sheer number of blades in the town, caused the party to suspect something was up. As Arak paid out his promised gold to the party (Sans Kerith and Dagarn), they discussed next steps. Gerda was given the task of further investigation, after Arak explained more about how Crossings was a self-governed town, and Whitehold had no jurisdiction past the road.
Part of the conversation centered around Dagarn and Kerith believing that the cult of Tiamat was involved; both Karush and the leader had mocked and attempted to bribe the Whitehold knights, and in doing so tipped their hand.
Incited by this, Arak asked for them to continue investigating, but to make no strong moves that might land them in danger or might cause problems for Whitehold.
The next day, the party went to inform the mayor of the danger in the region. Mayor Bart’s office was busy, leaving Gerda and Marthan to stand in line, while the others hung out and watched business.
Merchants coming in were paying, in addition to taxes, a fee for the guards to escort them to the next town; and some of those guards, from the group’s observations, were the same sellswords from before.
The mayor was busy, so after overhearing the conversation of a tiefling merchant named Aziz who was importing spices from the west, the party made an appointment for the next morning.
On their way out, Marthan noticed (with a 26 perception check!) that one of the guards going with Aziz carried the same type of horn that the bandits had used.
Deciding to follow after the guards to confirm or disprove their growing suspicions, the party left the town going east, at a distance from Aziz.
When the bandits passed an axe stuck in to a nearby tree stump with a green scarf around it, the leader blew the horn. Two of the guards armed with crossbows shot at Aziz, almost felling him.
The party engaged, showing their strengths in out-door combat as they surrounded and overwhelmed the crooked guards; Aziz used desert magic to protect him, but ended up passing out with an arrow in him.
In the aftermath of battle, Gerda went and healed Aziz. Hearing roars in the distance, drawing closer, they hid Aziz under the wagon and took a quick rest, with Trill climbing a tree to watch out for whatever is making that noise.