The party rests briefly at Moonstone Keep, Ehljayy recovering from his injuries watched over by Capriole, while the others eat and gather their wits in preparation for the interrogation to come. In the Lord Warden’s banquet hall they meet a Wood Elf named Maeben, a ranger who has recently returned from an investigation into missing trade caravans on the road to Chalice. She couldn’t find the culprits but believes the Blood Patch were involved, and after striking up a conversation asks to join the others in their questioning. They agree.
The prisoners are being kept in four cells: the River Rats together, the wizard on her own, the half-orc man and large human woman together, and the leader – the giant half-orc woman – alone. They start with the young wizard, taking her into a separate room, and talking tough to her. She readily gives them her name, Alessa, but doesn’t say where she’s from beyond “the south”. She seems frightened and anxious – hardly surprising since the party questioning her killed her companions at Dragon Manor. She remains hostile to their questions, giving little away, until Relentless flicks her with her tail and the touch brings her situation into sharp focus, causing her to break down into tears and give in.
Alessa – also known as “Thumbs” – was hired by the Blood Patch after they lost their previous wizard, and had worked with Longfang and their group on several jobs. Two of these were for the group behind the letter using Tiamat’s symbol, but she says they hadn’t stolen any dragon eggs – they hadn’t recovered the one in the Manor when they were killed. Reluctantly she tells them what she knows: the man who hired them is named Akelis, and revealed little about himself or his plans. He told them to leave no witnesses to the jobs carried out for him, which is why they attacked the party when they discovered the Blood Patch at the manor. They were to retrieve the egg and take it back to Akelis, using the talisman, but she used it early when it seemed they would all be killed. Akelis was not pleased and let her see little of his base, situated inside a cave at the foot of Mount Ovasha, a few days’ ride from Fallcrest. She heard noises inside that reminded her of the creature Akelis brought through the portal, and knows there are other creatures there too, though not much more than that. She also gives details of their other earlier job for Akelis: picking up a sealed box from the Dancing Monkey, a dockside inn in the capital, and taking it to the Strangled Elf, a bar in the lower levels of Chalice used as a handover point for shady deals. They left the box there with the mark of Tiamat on it to be collected, though she doesn’t know by who.
Semesh, the big half-orc, is next. She came here for vengeance upon learning of the death of her brother, Longfang, and still wishes to kill Capriole and the others. But understanding her predicament, she reveals more about the caravan job: they were asked to stop the long box from getting to its destination and told to keep anything they wanted. This was another job from Akelis, passed to Setesh from Longfang – her brother. They followed the caravan north from Chalice, riding day and night to catch it up as it only travelled during the day.
Talking to the other half-orc, Kaladak, reveals little more. The large human woman is still unconscious.
The group write a note to the Lord Warden, asking to speak with him first thing in the morning, and head off to sleep. Maeben decides to slip back and speak with Semesh again on her own, but Cileth, also not sleeping, goes with her, but keeps to the shadows and observes. Maeben accuses Semesh of hiding information about the second caravan which went missing, but Semesh seems to genuinely not know anything about it. When pressed, and offered the possibility of a more lenient sentence, Semesh reveals that they rode day and night to catch up to the caravan, and they did see a group riding on the road in the dark – all of them wearing green cloaks.
In the morning, the group speaks with the Lord Warden, asking for leniency rather than the death sentence for the Blood Patch members – especially Thumbs. Then, realising they may have left some loose ends, most of them head to the Lucky Gnome, while Capriole and Ehljayy prepare the Blood Patch carriage for what might be a long journey ahead of them.
While checking inside the Gnome, Cileth, Maeben, Ash and Relentless find signs of a struggle that have been covered up, and someone has been through Kelson’s office. Upstairs it’s clear the Blood Patch had stayed here, but they also find the brutally murdered body of Dirk, and signs that objects have been removed. Maeben outside keeping watch sees someone watching from the shadows of a nearby alley, and alerts the others. Relentless and Maeben confront the figure and it attempts to leave via the rooftops, Ash Cileth and Relentless chasing it across the tops of nearby buildings and Maeben following along the ground. After two arrows and two spells, the person is cornered in a flophouse for porters; the person is a sun elf! Rendered unconscious, he is taken back to the Gnome. While Ash revives him, Cileth finds that Kelson’s hidden compartments downstairs have been emptied by someone who knew how to operate them. Maeben watches through a small window looking for trouble, but sees nothing, as the elf wakes.
The sun elf introduces himself warily as Namoriel, and reveals that he’d been watching the Gnome as he suspected an item belonging to him – a sword – might be there. The party realise he is the one who ordered the sword from Nauruemar’s Imports; while he didn’t know the tiefling personally he was hoping to order it through him so no-one would find out he was the one buying it. This clearly didn’t work and someone – now known to be the Blood Patch – stole it from the caravan. Relentless conceals the sword so Namoriel doesn’t know they have it, just as he says he isn’t the only one who’s been watching the Gnome – and at that moment, the party hear a noise from downstairs…