After learning that the cultists expect Larion to report back on their activities, the party discusses what false information he could feed to his compatriots. They consider trying to drive a wedge between the Red Wizards and the Cult of the Dragon.
Raeyanne asks around about Azbara Jos, the red-hatted wizard traveling with the cultists, learning that he disappeared within the past day. Some of the roadhouse residents suspect he might have fallen victim to one of the swamp’s more dangerous denizens.
Garrett, meanwhile, casually spies on the cult and the warehouse. He determines that the cultists’ crates were taken into the strong room with the other valuables. He gets scolded by the camp superintendent, Bog Luck, for poking around the warehouse.
The adventurers ultimately decide Larion should tell his companions a version of the truth: that Garrett left for a short while and otherwise the party bedded down for the night uneventfully.
The next morning, Larion meets up with the other cultists in the communal dining room, while the adventurers sit down for breakfast. Bog Luck and the guard captain Ardred announce assignments. The party learns that they have the day off, as they will be assigned to guard duty that night. Meanwhile, the camp cook Gristle Pete complains about rats in the walls keeping him up all night with their rustling noises.
Raeyanne watches the cultists go about their business and notices that Bog Luck’s scabbard has five scratches on it, a design similar to the Tiamat symbol used by the cultists at the raider camp. Raeyanne’s other attempts to gather information are distracted by Beryl, who is hanging around the kitchen area getting progressively drunker and chattier as she works her way through two beers.
Garrett tries to spy on the cultists again and is confronted by his nemesis, the Calimshani cultist Zora. She tries to pick a fight with him, and when he won’t play ball, tries to start one by herself. She accuses him (wrongly) of murdering her friend, since he had been lurking around the cultists during the trip up to Waterdeep and had broken into the Wandering Serpent. When she comes at him with a scimitar, he deftly springs out of the way and parkours across the cavernous interior of the roadhouse, landing at a card table in the dining area.
“Deal me in, chaps,” he says, grabbing a drink.
A furious Zora storms off.
Meanwhile, Hurk and Jamna knock boots (and other things) in the party’s room. The combination of half-orc endurance and gnomish manic energy leaves the two of them indisposed for pretty much the entire day, denying Garrett a chance to nap.
The adventurers reunite at the end of the day, some more rested than others. They decide that Beryl (“BAHAMUUUT!”) is still too drunk to take a position on the roof, so she and Hurk will patrol the grounds, while the three rogues take their posts up top.
It’s a clear night, with the moonlight glistening on the swampy expanse of the Mere of Dead Men. Jamna claims she saw something large flying in the distance, but otherwise the rooftop sentries don’t notice anything.
Down on the ground level, Hurk and Beryl overhear rustling noises from the strong room around midnight. Hurk signals the sentries to come investigate. Raeyanne and Garrett play rock paper scissors to determine who will go downstairs, while a disgusted Jamna looks on.
Raeyanne is the victor and joins the dwarf and the half-orc downstairs. Working in near-darkness, she is able to pick the lock to the strong room and then stealthily slips into the pitch black room.
Thanks to their darkvision, Hurk and Beryl have a clear view as they stride inside. Three seven-foot tall lizard creatures are in the strong room. Two of them are in the process of hauling a crate into a secret trap door in the floor, while a third one stands guard. They are shocked to be discovered and start to reach for their weapons.