The next morning, the companions go downstairs to meet with Shadow, Hocke, and Pryft — and to eat a quick breakfast before heading out to search for the bandit camp. Delia, the innkeeper’s daughter, is there, too — also eager to join the party on what could be her first adventure.
- Zeke, Fereldan Freeman apostate (played by John)
tries to persuade Delia to remain behind and help her father run the inn, but
- Ukhai, Avvarian warrior (played by John-Diego)
- Vangquo, human rogue (played by Patrick)
welcome Delia’s joining the party.
- Shyun Bleedingtree, Dalish elf warrior (played by Sean)
tries to stay out of it.
Regardless, as Delia takes off her apron to join the companions, her father Liwis approaches, confronting her. The two argue awhile, about her responsibility to the family, about how Liwis had told Delia she could try the life of an adventurer (but before her mother was killed) — and it’s not long before the argument includes the companions, as well.
Liwis tells the party that, while they are invited to avail themselves of his hospitality as long as they’re in the employ of Bann Trumhall, they shouldn’t take advantage of his opening his inn to them. Saddened by Delia’s decision and irritated by the companions encouragement of her adventurous streak, he returns to the kitchen. With no wait staff to serve the companions their breakfast now that Delia has loosed her apron strings, the party will have to be satisfied with trail rations. So they embark.
Upon exiting the inn, the companions are greeted by Ridyk, the stablehand who stabled their horses the previous night. While shoveling up horse apples, the former retainer of Valdur Krole wishes the companions luck — and sheds some skeptical light on Bann Trumhall’s attempts to rout the bandits since his election. While Krole was criticized for being too conservative in his efforts, Ridyk has seen no improvement in the situation, or any more aggressive tactics used by Trumhall. Under Krole’s watch, the town guard took a mostly defensive stance, protecting supply trains and logging operations. Trumhall doesn’t even do that — he just hires adventurers to seek out the bandits while he continues the construction of his stockade.
Once out of Logerswold, on horseback, the party makes good time, heading east along the main road into the forest and toward the logger’s camp. As they get deeper into the woods, trees arching over the road blocking the sun and quiet damp setting in, the companions become more mindful of the possible presence of bandits. They approach a stretch of road with a ridge above and a slope below and spy archers along the ridge, waiting in ambush.
The companions engage the archers with ranged combat, and Vangquo tries to ride his horse through the pinch point between ridge and scramble-down slope, only to encounter several bandits on foot, armed with swords. Combat ensues. Delia is almost slain and turns her horse right around to head home, leaving the adventurers. The companions are hard pressed to eliminate the archers, and more bandits come around the corner on foot to engage in hand to hand. Eventually, all but one bandit is killed. The party questions him about the bandits and their camp — without learning that much more.
Continuing along the road, the party smells the logger’s camp before they reach it. The clearing is full of dead bodies, many on the ground, a week dead, and several hanging or crucified on nearby trees. Zeke posits that this goes far beyond mere banditry and this is more of a reign of terror — but to what purpose? Did the loggers set up camp too close to something that wanted to remain hidden? Or is the disruption of the logging operation supposed to have an additional effect, as well?
The companions search the camp, learning that the slaughter took place about a week ago, that the loggers were vastly outnumbered, and that they were attacked on all sides. Vangquo and Shyun discover several trails, some wider and most likely leading to logging areas, and a fewer smaller and less traveled. Many peter out after 100 yards into the woods or so, but some do not.
It is while exploring one such path that Ukhai hears the distant bark of a dog of some kind and sets out in that general direction. About 100 yards deeper into the woods off the path he was exploring, he finds another trail, one that will accommodate horses, if the somewhat fresh mound of horse droppings is any indication.
Ukhai alerts his companions, and the seven — including Shadow, Hocke, and Pryft — follow this new trail on horseback. The trail leads to a stream, which it crosses, and the tracks disappear. Ukhai and Vangquo search for tracks up and down stream and discover that the horses entered the stream and headed down stream. Continuing along the stream, the companions eventually come to a slight rise and a wisp smoke, perhaps from a campfire at the bandit camp.
Scouting ahead, Vangquo spots a lookout in a tree at the top of the rise. The scout is sleeping, so Vangquo stealthily approaches and climbs the tree to quietly slit the lookout’s throat. Then, Vangquo, Ukhai, Shyun, and Shadow sneak up to the edge of the camp to assess the situation. They find about a dozen tents, eight horses in a pen, and four bandits playing dice in the dirt. No one else is in sight.
The four begin to pepper the bandits with arrows, eventually engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Two more bandits emerge from a large tent, one of them Waldric the Gore-Hand, the bandit leader, and the rest of the companions ride in once the element of surprise is gone. Their numbers greatly diminished because of the fight at the ambush earlier in the day, the bandits don’t last long, and the companions defeat the criminals, knocking Waldric unconscious rather than slaying him.
Searching the camp, the companions find 175 silver pieces per party member, a half dozen silver bracelets, a fine hat made of luxurious fabric, and a locked box — which contains additional spoils of banditry, as well as Waldric’s journal.
The journal includes records of the bandit gang’s crimes, including the murder of Liwis’s wife, schedules of upcoming supply train activity and logging operations, and signs that the bandits were working in concert with Bann Trumhall. As the companions finish searching the camp, Vangquo spots a Mabari war hound at the perimeter, just before it slinks back into the woods.
Given the evidence in the journal, the companions decide to take Waldric back to Logerswold with them — and to go see Valdur Krole with their news.