The battle against the remnants of Dirk’s camp rapidly turned into a rout. The bandits had little they could throw against the skilled and well armed adventurers arrayed against them, and with the fear of Dirk’s leadership removed the criminals had little morale with which to rally. Only a few managed to escape into the Shadowdepths, while the rest were cut down with relative ease.
The group searched the camp, liberating a good deal of stolen goods that they would be able to return to Three Streams. They also found some hints as to more of what was happening in the region. Dirk had been taking orders from Rorick the Butcher, and had recently recieved orders to take her large group of thugs to assist in a planned assault on a trading outpost up the northern road. There was something there that Rorick seemed to want, though the letter did not specify what that was.
There were more disturbing revelations, however. First, the brand on Thorneth’s arm had not disappeared with Dirk’s death and, though invisible to the naked eye, could be clearly discerned by Ferindel’s ability to detect evil. The mark still burned with a cold fire on the Sylvan Elf’s arm, but its meaning eluded the group. Perhaps more ominously, the rod that Dirk had used to inflict it upon her had vanished from her body while the group was distracted by the fight.
With far more questions than answers, the group turned back to Three Streams with a cart full of much needed supplies in tow. The efforts of the party was loosening the hold of the bandits on the town, and the recovered supplies were a great boon to the city. Not wasting any time, the group went north to the Trading post to warn its residents of the coming threat. They made great haste, and reached the post on horseback before nightfall.
The trading post was run by a Gnome, who carried a supply of both standard fare and a large number of magical trinkets. One such find was a black iron ring that bore the same symbol as had been branded onto Thorneth’s arm. The Gnome knew nothing of the ring’s powers or its history, but refused to sell it to the party. Though they could not convince the Gnome otherwise, the group did persuade him to evade the coming danger, and he opted to cut his losses and travel to fairer pastures – in this case the Magocracy of Callarea. It wasn’t long before the Gnome and his retinue had packed their things and left the post, leaving the group behind having opted to stay to learn more of what Rorick wanted and what he was planning…