In the morning, Thorandir gathered the remaining adventurers and asked them to take on an assignment. The local bandit group, The Redbrands had been disrupting trade throughout the region, using goblins and orcs to terrorize merchants. It was up to the group to strike at their heart and dispose of them once and for all. According to Thorandir, the local Redbrands were led by a wizard, Iarno Albrek, and would be holed up in some ruins north of town. It was up to the group to make it to the ruins under the cover of night and decimate the bandits. In the morning, the local forces would make a frontal assault, crippling the gang. Facing the dangers of the road, the band of Melisandra, Erno, Freia, and Grim made their way north.
Dodging Redbrand guards, the group made their way to the hideout. Facing increasing odds, the adventurers pressed on, making it to a large gorge under the Redbrand hideout. Crossing over, they were suddenly overwhelmed by a terrible fear. It was as if the great secrets they hid were being forced out of their minds. Fighting through this invasion, the group found themselves face to face with a Nothic. Fighting the psionic beast, the group killed him and made their way to the heart of the hideout. There, they were met face to face with Iarno. The evil wizard laughed at the group. With a snap of his fingers, the visage of Grim gave way to that of a Doppelganger. Iarno ran off, leaving them to their doom.
Betrayed and surprised, the group was soundly defeated. As the doppelganger came to give the crushing blow, the straggling Thorandir came from behind and slit the monster’s throat. The Redbrands set upon the group only to find that they were under attack. Chaos reigned as the Bartorton guard crashed down on the bandits. In the confusion, Melisandra planted a letter and Freia left a signet ring. Only Erno hesitated in this subterfuge.
Back in Bartorton, the group recuperated after their near-death battle. The group observed in the weeks that followed, the Bartorton forces able to drive out the Brotherhood and the Iron Cross. With the Sons of Gnumaru’s power consolidated, the non-human majority of Bartorton was able to take control, with the Bartor family ceding power and leaving. Erno and the others were made honorary members of the Sons when the possible deception was revealed and the sword returned. A tentative peace was made between the former Bartorton and Damara. Trade goods would flow, but at a high tariff. Leaving the town, the group watched as armed gnomes and dwarfs entered the city and escorted the humans away. Making their way to the coast and Capt. Salt’s ship, the crew had terrible news. Damara had been attacked by the Confederacy of Rocks and the docks once again burned. Worse, the Salty D had sustained great damage. The Damaran Civil War had begun to heat up and no one was safe from its effects.