Garrett spots the half-elf cultists and several others leaving the caravan. He tails them to a tavern called the Toad’s Meadhall. Beryl and Raeyanne, meanwhile, head to the tavern to relax and take part in a game of Three Dragon Ante. Beryl plays her cards well, but is no match for Raeyanne’s cheating.
The cultists meet with a strange Rashemi man wearing a ridiculous red cap. Garrett’s attempts to eavesdrop catches the attention of the half elf, who pretends not to see him. Raeyanne loudly jokes about Garrett’s interest.
Hurk, meanwhile, chose to stay with the caravan. Keeping a watchful eye on things, he notices that a dangerous-looking gnome with pink hair is asking merchants if she can join up. Hurk decides to chat her up a bit and see what she’s up to. The gnome introduces herself as Jamna Gleamsilver and claims to be a passenger heading to Waterdeep. Hurk lets her know he’s available if she needs anything heavy lifted.
Meanwhile, the cultists conclude their meeting with the red-hatted man and he returns with them to the caravan, where he appears to have joined as a passenger.
Beryl lingers in the tavern, having a bit too much to drink, and has to be escorted back to the caravan by Raeyanne. She has an unhappy evening.
The next day, Garrett avoids being crushed by a barrel of ale as he helps to unload Beyd’s wagon during a stop. Garrett and Raeyanne assume it was an assassination attempt by the cult. They notice that Jamna is watching the red-hatted guy, and is also quietly gathering information on them. She seems to be aware they are watching her.
Raeyanne confronts her, conversing via thieves’ cant. Jamna claims that she isn’t interested in the man’s red hat so much as what’s underneath it. She asks to meet with the party later that night. Hurk is confused why the two of them appeared to have a tense conversation about the weather.
Jamna interrupts their dinner to pick a bone sliver out of Hurk’s bowl. She claims that if swallowed, it would unfurl in his stomach and pierce his intestines, fatally wounding him. She warns that all of their food is likely poisoned with the things. The adventurers spread a rumor around camp that the stew is bad to discourage people from eating it. Hurk tries to convince Gilas to eat it, but noble shoos him away.
Beryl is concerned that she had already eaten some stew. The party consults with resident herbalist Green Imsa, who advises a purgative. They consider administering the medicine to the rest of the caravan, just to be safe.
Late that night, Jamna meets up with the four adventurers. She explains that she is there for the same reason they are, tracking the cult wagons to find out what they are up to. She indicates that she is working for some sort of mercantile interest that’s unhappy with how the cultists’ raids are impacting trade.
The gnome suggests an alliance and reveals that she’s not certain what the cultists are hauling. They inform her the wagons are full of stolen loot. In turn, she tells them that the red hatted man is in fact a Red Wizard of Thay, which raises a whole other set of questions.
Jamna isn’t sure what they can do about the “accidents,” other than try to survive until they reach Waterdeep. In the mean time, she will keep her distance. She doesn’t want the cult to get wind of their alliance, so that the cult doesn’t go after her, too. When they get to the city, they can regroup.
That night, Garrett seeks out the half-elf cultist and warns him to walk away from the cult. The young man seems to think long and hard about this warning.
The next day, Hurk notices a loose wheel on his cart. The day after, they find a spooked horse who had been drugged. That night, they plant Green Imsa’s purgatory mix in a barrel of ale in order to cleanse the rest of the caravan of any lingering bone slivers. Hurk makes sure to give Jamna a heads up.
The day after that, the adventurers awaken to a murder. A young cultist, who was seen hanging around the stern-faced woman Zora, has been stabbed to death. She is furious and accuses Garrett, demanding to see his short swords. They match the wound, but so would any shortsword. The merchants ignore her accusations and press on to Waterdeep, trusting the gods to administer justice
Finally, after two long months on the road, the caravan arrives at the greatest city of the Sword Coast. The adventurers are paid for their services as guards and the merchants start to go their separate way..