Back at the Inn, the party was winding down and the townsfolk were heading back to their homes. The adventurers mingled with the departing crowds, deciding how to proceed. Two of their number had already decided to go and investigate the strangely quiet druid’s grove, but the rest had identified a number of people acting suspiciously and decided to look into what was going on with them.
A barmaid had been passing messages to a couple of people, so Kurtis broke in to her room and found adventuring equipment in her closet. While this was not, in itself, proof of anything more than her not just being a barmaid, it did raise suspicions when they saw her making her way stealthily away from the inn after closing. They traced her as far as the town’s mill. Before they could find out any more however, there was sounds of a fight from the grove.
The adventurers there had discovered a grisly secret – the original Gatekeeper had been killed and replaced by a doppelgänger, and it had just murdered the apprentice who had been harbouring growing suspicions about his mentor’s behaviour. They burst in to apprehend the creature, and were able to subdue it. In the confusion they were able to smuggle the creature back to the ship, away from prying eyes.
With the bard’s powers of persuasion, the application of a large bribe and the threat of handing it over to the druids, the doppelgänger spilled the beans: the cultists at the outpost had allies in the town, holed up in the mill. The doppelgänger had been in place to spy on the town’s leadership. It had overheard the group reporting back to the Gatekeepers and warned its allies of the danger. The adventurers opted to keep it a prisoner on their ship for now, and briefed the crew on how to keep it locked away.
Under cover of darkness, the group returned to the mill and attacked, pushing past the barricades to take the fight to the mercenaries. The first wave of opponents fell easily, but the clashing of swords on armour produced a spark that ignited the dust in the air. The fireball was brief but left the group scattered and surrounded by enemies in a burning building. The druid Keil’s response was swift and equally unexpected. He caused the river to burst its banks and flood into the mill. Those fighting in the building’s cellar struggled to escape (except for the warforged who remembered they didn’t need to breathe)
Some very quick talking later, the group was allowed to leave, after claiming they’d raised the river to put out the fire that had obviously been set by the raiders who had attacked them when they arrived. Items in the cultists’ leader’s possession pointed to a ruined port a couple more days sail away. Destroyed by the Sharn navy in the dying days of the Last War, it had been a staging post for the Temple. According to the papers retrieved in the fight, a merchant would be there soon to pick up items excavated from the old outpost.
They agreed to set sail to try and intercept the merchant.